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Ford Pays $3.8 billion in Cash To Health Care Fund

On: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 1:00PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Ford Pays $3.8 billion in Cash To Health Care Fund test 1-1

Although the auto industry is no longer the giant of the U.S. market it once was, Ford Motor Company is confident enough about the future of its brand that the company is planning to pay $3.8 billion to its union health care fund this quarter.

The requirement was for Ford to pay $859 million to the United Auto Workers Medical Benefits Trust for Ford retirees by June 30th. Not only did the Detroit auto maker pay its obligation on time, the company paid in cash, even though there was an option to pay $600 million from its stock under last year’s union contract. Ford also opted to prepay $2.9 billion toward the company’s commitment for health care expenses.  

“There was speculation that they would pay with equity; that would have been a bit alarming,” said Colin Langan, an analyst with UBS Securities. “With all of the risk out there, it’s a good sign that they feel they can pay with cash.”

Watch the Daytona Holiday Race In 3D!

On: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 12:55PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Watch the Daytona Holiday Race In 3D! test 1-1

If you are disappointed because you cannot make it to the holiday races in Daytona this year (like me), why not do the next best thing; watch the race in 3D!  The media group, NASCAR Media Marketing and Entertainment along with Turner Sports recently announced that NASCAR’s very first venture to produce a 3D program will take place on July 3rd with the special presentation of the Coke Zero 400.

U.S. Auto Sales Predicted to Be Low in June

On: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 12:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

U.S. Auto Sales Predicted to Be Low in June test 1-1

The automotive industry in the U.S. is not looking like recovery will be just around the corner, in fact Bloomberg News reports that; “U.S. auto sales this month probably posted the smallest increase since February as consumers concerned about unemployment and the economy avoid large purchases.”

Forecasters predict that sales of cars and light trucks may have slowed in June after May’s improvement.  Automakers sold 1.1 million vehicles in May, the best month so far this year. J.D. Power and Associates, Truecar.com is predicting that June sales will drop below 1 million.

Fun In The Sun For Everyone!

On: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 10:07AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Fun In The Sun For Everyone! test 1-1

Not all convertibles are created equal. Similarly, not all convertible drivers are created equal either. Just because a car has a drop-down roof doesn't mean it can be lumped together with all others of that same category. In fact, aside from that feature, the only broader generalized grouping would be to place each in the 'automobile' category. Although July is probably the worst time to actually buy a convertible, it does happen to be the time that everyone takes notice of their roof status, especially if it's of the fixed variety. 

If you are in the market for a convertible, or simply want to learn a little more about some drop-tops that have come and gone for a future purchase, then look no further. Newer is not always better, especially if you have an eye for value, and know what a car has to offer. Detailed below is a series of cars that all fit in the convertible category, but each of their unique intrinsic and extrinsic differences and characteristics are laid out. Also, because this is Autoshopper.com, all of these cars were picked out of your local Autoshopper magazine.


Recent Survey Indicates Motorists Feel Safe Even After Recalls; iPhone App Says They Shouldn't

On: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 1:37PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Recent Survey Indicates Motorists Feel Safe Even After Recalls; iPhone App Says They Shouldn't test 1-1

In spite all of the recent media on recalls for many automotive brands, a survey conducted by Speedemissions Inc in Atlanta, suggests that motorists in the U.S. feel safe, or safer driving their vehicles than they did a year ago.  In fact, the survey polled over 1,300 motorists and 79% responded favorably.

But according to an article posted on Speedemissions.com; a new iPhone application that diagnoses an automobile's computer systems points out that consumers may not be as knowledgeable about the mechanical safety of their vehicles as they may have initially believed.

Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Cars

On: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:31AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Cars test 1-1

It’s that time of year again when the tragic statistics start to appear nationwide regarding unfortunate children who die of heat stroke from either being left in cars or accidently getting trapped in automobiles in the heat. Every year the numbers seem to be very predictable, but this year some research indicates that that number is on the rise.

Eight kids across the nation in the toddler/infant age group have reportedly died since June 13th this year, the largest number in over 10 years.

Susan West, a registered nurse in Oklahoma who was interviewed by News Ok.com, reports that children have many special physical challenges when their bodies cope with rising temperatures.  Kids have less overall body fluid so they dehydrate much more rapidly than adults. Overall children’s bodies heat up five times faster than a person who is full gown, and on top of that, an infant does not develop mature sweat glands to help cool the body until around 6 months of age. "They're just defenseless, they can't help themselves," said Susan West, Safe Kids Tulsa. "They're just victims." West also said;"They're heating up faster, they're dehydrating faster,"


The Daily Commute in the Year 2020

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 2:26PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Daily Commute in the Year 2020 test 1-1

It’s always fun to read about the latest in automotive technology and imagine just what the newest most innovative features will enable cars of the future to be able to do.

A recent article in Popular Science has done just that, as they have projected how several different future automotive technologies will define the average driver’s commute in the year 2020.

The first category describes how “traffic probes” will be automated.  PopSci projects that phones and cars will be equipped with GPS navigation technology that will read the traffic patterns and display reports in real time pertaining to which route is least congested and accident free.

Nationwide Gets New Cars, Dodge Challenger Is Gorgeous

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 1:46PM | By: John Welch

Nationwide Gets New Cars, Dodge Challenger Is Gorgeous test 1-1

NASCAR is unveiling (that’s right, I didn't say "NASCAR is reveals . . .") new bodywork for the second-tier Nationwide Series. This is bad because these new silhouettes are much closer representations of their respective models then what are used in the Sprint Cup Series, and they are also much more desirable models. Ford and Dodge have pulled out all the stops, serving up bodies that are not aero-perfect but that follow the spirit of racing much more closely than in years past. Win on Sunday sell on Monday works much better if the winning car represents at least some of the content provided by the customer car. Seriously, who buys a Fusion because it is fast? Fusions aren't fast, so nobody. The Mustang on the other hand . . . just sayin' . . .

Daimler AG to Test New Electric Car Fleet in US

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 12:06PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Electric Smart Car  test 2

Daimler AG – the gargantuan German automaker – is looking to go ‘green’ this year with the announcement of the launch of their newest electric vehicle innovation: Smart USA. The manufacturer of these newer mini electric cars is owned by Daimler, and is being spurred forwards by the company in attempts to capture potential US holdings of the ever-growing and expanding consumer demand for efficient and green electric cars in the US. Similar to the late 90s, when GM released the first electric car in the US, dubbed the EV1 (or Electrical Vehicle One), these newer Smart Cars will only be available for leases to businesses, as the company does not plan on selling them at dealerships right away.

The Wall Street Journal report really offers some perspective on what the German carmaker is hoping to accomplish by leasing these new test fleets in the US. “Smart will lease a fleet of 250 electric cars to businesses, organizations and select people, in Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Indianapolis; Orlando, Fla.; and the Washington, D.C.-Boston corridor. A similar effort was started last year in Europe and will spread to Asia next year for a total test fleet of 1,500, Smart said in a statement.”

As to the range and efficiency, as well as the leasing terms, of these newer electric cars by Daimler, the Wall Street Journal report said that, “The car would be leased for four years at $599 a month and would be under warranty during the full period. It would have a projected range of 82 miles and would be limited to 62.5 miles per hour.”

The move by Daimler to start making electric cars in the US is tantamount to growing competition in all sectors with rival automakers, according to the Wall Street Journal report. “Smart also is joining a growing group of auto makers betting on electric vehicles. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is the most ambitious, with plans to sell as many as 150,000 electric cars in the U.S. in 2013, but Toyota Motor Corp. , General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC all have announced electric cars due out in the next few years.”

The president of Smart USA, Jill Lajdziak, stated in an interview with the newspaper that, “Certainly, for growth of the brand, this is a milestone. The mere perception in the marketplace of Smart is of an environmentally friendly vehicle.”

Platform Sharing 101: Scion

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 11:23AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Platform Sharing 101: Scion test 1-1

The Toyota Motor Corporation established the Scion as a separate marketing entity to attract generation Y car buyers-those coming of age in the car buying market in the mid-2000’s. Toyota debuted the Scion in 2002 at the New York Auto Show with a formal launch in mid-2003 for the 2004 model year. The Scion xB is a quirky little car designed like a "matchbox" but priced for a market of young buyers.

Scion is a US division of Toyota founded in 2003. It currently has three models: the xA, xB and the tc (a design based on the European Toyota Avensis), the xD 2008-current  and iQ early 2011.  The Scion xA is one of Toyota's top-selling vehicles in Europe.

Just as General Motors owns Chevrolet, Toyota decided to separate itself from Scion in order to create a completely different identity for a new market of younger buyers.

Government Mandate on Fuel Economy May Increase Auto Prices

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 10:44AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Government Mandate on Fuel Economy May Increase Auto Prices test 1-1

Experts have reported that although there will be savings at the gas pump, the cost of automobiles will rise significantly. It is estimated that consumers will pay approximately $434 more for each vehicle they purchase in the year 2012, and by model year 2016 that number will go up to $926.

According to the Transportation Department and the EPA, consumers would actually save over $3000 on fuel expense in the lifetime of their vehicles.

The new mandate will cost the auto industry somewhere around $52 billion, but the government reports that the program will provide $240 billion in savings to consumers, who will realize the savings through lower fuel consumption.