According to recent research from Interest.com, of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, a median income household can only afford the average price for a new car in one area. The only metro that could afford the average prices of a new car was Washington, D.C.
"What this research indicates, more than anything, is that a lot of Americans are spending too much money on their cars," said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. "Car costs are one of the most controllable parts of a household's budget. For example, if you live in New York City or San Francisco, you're probably going to have to pay a lot for housing, but you don't have to pay a lot for a car.
Sante added that you're better off driving something more affordable and saving, or investing the difference.
Interest.com recommends sticking to its 20/4/10 rule when deciding if a household budget can afford the cost of a light car or truck. The rule is a down payment should be at least 20 percent of the price of the car, financing should not last longer than four years and principal, interest and insurance for the vehicle should not exceed 10 percent of the household's overall income.
Those looking to put off a new car purchase and extend the life of their vehicle should look into Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats.
Cars are more valuable these days
While automakers would not be too happy with the latest report, cars nowadays are lasting longer and providing cost saving measures in other areas, like money spent on fuel. According to Kelley Blue Book, vehicles have never offered such a wide range of amenities at the prices they are offering.
"Since the 2011 model year, nearly every vehicle in each major selling category has undergone a significant redesign that has upped expectations of consumers by a sizable margin," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book . "Shoppers considering one of the latest and greatest can count on significant improvements in fuel economy, performance, build quality, amenities and style from the generation being replaced, and all for only a modest bump in its manufacturer's suggested retail price."
Those looking for good deals on new cars in February looked to buy Ford Fusion and Honda Accord. According to KBB, the Fusion was available with $1,500 in cash rebates or $20- per month for a 24-month lease with $2,588 due at signing while the Accord was available with a 36-month lease priced at $249 a home with $2,299 due at signing.
TrueCar.com recently put outs its February 2013 sales and incentives forecast and it looks like the automotive industry will see yet another strong month in terms of sales.
According to the report the report, new light vehicle sales are expected to reach 1.2 million units in February, up 5.7 percent on a year-over-year comparison and up 16.5 percent on a month over month comparison. The sales translate to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 15.7 million new cars, up from 14.5 million a year ago and up from 15.3 million last month.
Auto experts said that the full size pick up truck segment saw surprising gains, helping contribute to the expected strong sales month.
"The unusual strength of the full size truck segment in February helped industry sales to nearly reach the 15.7 million SAAR mark, despite gas prices increasing," said Jesse Toprak , senior analyst for TrueCar.com. "Pent up demand for pick up trucks by small businesses will be a critical factor in this year's continued sales recovery."
Those who have recently or are considering a pick-up purchase should look into Husky Liners® truck floor mats. These liners will ensure a trucks interior keeps spills off the carpet and looking clean for years to come.
As for incentives in the February, pent-up consumer demand has allowed automakers to ease off discounts.
"Automakers enjoyed a month of ideal conditions for profitability in February with incentives down nearly four percent and sales up double digits compared to year ago levels," said Kristen Anderson , analyst for TrueCar.com. "We expect incentives spending to track within a narrow range the rest of the year as the supply of vehicles and consumer demand are forecasted to increase at similar levels."
J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information network and LMC Automotive issued a similar report expecting auto sales to reach 931,100 vehicles in February.
John Humphrey said that all signs are pointing to a healthy auto industry in February. He added that average transaction prices are up, incentives are level, leasing is at a strong level and newly redesigned models continue to make an impact.
Toyota Tundra unveiled earlier this month
As Americans are heading to car dealers in high numbers for pick-up trucks, the new 2014 Toyota Tundra will be sure to win consumers over in the coming months. The truck was unveiled at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show and features a new chiseled exterior design and all-new interior, featuring improved driver ergonomics and easy-to-use technology.
Vermont state officials are worried that a decline in hunting and fishing licenses will hurt the state's economy, Fox News reported.
According to the news source, in 2000, Vermont issued 100,000 hunting licenses, which was the highest the state had seen. Now, the state has only issued 75,000 licenses. As hunting numbers are down, state officials are worried that the economy could be affected.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board recently give preliminary approval for 355 permits for moose season, which starts in October, the Berkshire Eagle reported. The number of permits issued for moose season is down from the 385 issued last year. With the latest alteration in permits, hunters are expected to harvest nearly 200 moose during the season, which runs October 19 to the 24. A special archery season, featuring 50 permits, will be held October 1 to 7.
The board is looking to the slow the moose population growth in certain areas while hoping to increase numbers elsewhere. Moose project leader Cedric Alexander told the news source that Vermont has an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 moose with the largest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom.
Those heading to the outdoors for any upcoming hunting seasons are reminded that Husky Liners® mud guards will prevent damage to your car's exterior as you venture off road.
Recent changes by the Division of Natural Resources are looking to expand black bear hunting season to more than a dozen counties. The changes, if they are approved, would also allow bears to be hunted with firearms during the 12-day fire arm buck deer hunting season, in addition to the regular four week season.
The DNR is looking to control the bear population by increasing the areas where they are hunted.
"We did a [scientific public-opinion] survey of all the state's counties to determine what [bear] population level people are willing to tolerate," Chris Ryan, DNR's game management services supervisor, told the West Virginia Gazette. "Using the findings from that survey, we fine-tuned our population objectives for each county. These regulation proposals are designed to keep those populations in line with our management objectives."
The counties affected include Barbour, Braxton, Clay, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Lewis, Mercer, Mineral, Monroe, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur and Webster.
Hunters looking to apply for bear hunting season in Washington will need to have permits in by midnight February 28. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is issuing 363 permits in west Washington and 314 east of the Cascades.
Those heading out for the upcoming bear hunting seasons should equip their vehicles with Husky Liners® vehicles floor mats, to protect their interiors from damage while on the hunt.
The Daytona 500 is just days away and NASCAR has increased the hype for the already much anticipated event by launching its largest brand campaign ever.
The new campaign will lay out NASCAR's creative vision, featuring more than two dozen drivers, with nine spots in both English and Spanish. The new campaign will be featured at the Daytona 500 on Fox and Fox Deportes on February 24.
"The campaign was created to excite existing fans while engaging with new audiences, and is representative of where NASCAR is headed as a sport," said Kim Brink, NASCAR, vice president, marketing. "In developing the spots, we wanted to celebrate the heart of what makes our sport unique, challenge existing perceptions, inspire the entire industry and do it all as authentically and confidently as possible."
The campaign looks to capitalize on NASCAR's seven planks of growing the sport which are Gen Y, Youth, Multicultural, Digital/Social Media, Event Experience, Product Relevance and a focus on Driver Star Power. Along with looking to attract a larger fan base, many of the new campaign spots will be available in Spanish to appeal to Hispanic populations.
The spots will feature an unprecedented amount of drivers in the most comprehensive campaign NASCAR has ever launched. Some spots include We Are, which highlights the sports ability to engage fans; Twist, which shows the emotion of the sport in unique fashion; Rivals, spotlighting the sport's on track rivalries; Chess, showing off the mental aspect of NASCAR; Resumé, using a soft tone to highlight driver personalities and Wanna Know, providing fans a look into NACAR's newly revamped website.
NASCAR received help for the campaign from Ogilvy & Mather's New York Office, after beginning a well planned pitch in 2012.
"There's no sport in the world with a more loyal and passionate fan base than NASCAR. Drivers are what make NASCAR racing so dramatic and unpredictable for everyone," said John Seifert, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather North America. "To bring the NASCAR experience to life, we helped create a brand platform that reflects the roots and character of what makes NASCAR unique, personified by remarkable athletes who will ensure that this sport remains the greatest show on earth."
Last year's Race for the Sprint Cup
One driver that is sure to be featured in NASCAR's latest campaign is 28-year-old Brad Keselowski who took 15th place at last season's final race at Homestead-Miami to secure the overall points lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and give him is first Sprint Cup win. Keselowski was able to hold office second place Jimmy Johnson, who has won the Sprint Cup five times through his career, after he had to leave Homestead-Miami's race when his car had mechancal issues.
Keselowski's win was also a monumental victory for his team owner Roger Penske, who hired the young rider four years ago. Penske had earned numerous accolades and titles throughout his NASCAR career which include 15 wins at the Indianapolis 500. However, up until last year, Penske had never won a Sprint Cup.
"Personally, I feel amazing that I've been able to achieve this in racing," Penske said at the time of the Sprint Cup Victory. "I think it took guts for me to stay in the sport. We could have thought, `Well, we won the Indy 500 15 times and we're a big deal.' But I'll tell you one thing ... I think I just woke up here tonight, and it's a big thrill."
Penske also added the win was only made possible through the whole organization and Keselowski, who is the youngest Sprint Cup champion in NASCAR history.
NASCAR enthusiasts are reminded to equip their own vehicles like the pros do, with Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats.
There might be a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding the economy and fiscal decisions being made by Washington, but the automotive industry continues to thrive .
What was a bright spot for the economy in 2012 and is expected to continue to show gains in 2013, the automotive market has been able to encourage consumers to purchase new cars. According to Kelley Blue Book, vehicles have never seen such a wide range of amenities at the prices they are being offered at.
"Since the 2011 model year, nearly every vehicle in each major selling category has undergone a significant redesign that has upped expectations of consumers by a sizable margin," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book . "Shoppers considering one of the latest and greatest can count on significant improvements in fuel economy, performance, build quality, amenities and style from the generation being replaced, and all for only a modest bump in its manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP)."
KBB's Fair Purchase Price showed that those looking to purchase a new car in February can expect to pay 94 percent of the MSRP, virtually unchanged from the prices consumers were paying in January and December. KBB said that good cars to buy in February are the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord as the Fusion is available with $1,500 cash rebates or a $209 per month 24-month lease with $2,588 due at signing, and the Accord has an available 36-month lease offer priced at $249 a month with $2,299 due at signing.
Billy Burrington's truck up for auction
Those looking for a truck in February, or fans of country musician Billy Currington, can bid on Currington's 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn starting February 19. As a part of Ram Truck's Road to the Ram Jam, fans and car enthusiasts alike will have two weeks to bid on the truck before it's sold.
Any potential auto buyers should remember to equip their vehicle with Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats.
Brantley Gilbert's truck sold last week, raising $34,552 for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Currington's truck proceeds will go toward Team Rubicon, which helps veterans find professions in emergency crisis positions.
"We have found that the skills military veterans cultivate on the battlefield are imperative for disaster response work," said Jake Wood , president and co-founder of Team Rubicon. "Team Rubicon has responded to countless disasters here at home and abroad, and helped thousands of veterans find a new mission after war. The proceeds from this auction will help us continue that mission."
According to a recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California is seeing an uptick in commercial fishing numbers after they were declared an economic disaster in 2000. The increases appear to be primarily due to groundfish fisherman numbers.
The federal regulators showed that West Coast groundfish fishery yielded $54 million in 2011, up from the average of $38 million in the five years prior. A new system of catch shares, which limits the amount of fish that can be caught without devastating the industry, seemed to have aided in the recovery.
"When the disaster declaration came on line, for several years after that, this fishery was in a very bad situation," Frank Lockhart of the National Marine Fisheries Service, told the Daily Journal. "A lot of people were losing money, and on average, the fleet as a whole was losing money. "What it looks like now, in 2011, the first year of catch shares, they were able to turn that around, and more people are making more money."
As fishing numbers are expected to improve, fisherman need to be ready as the season is just around the corner. Those taking to the outdoors in the new year should equip their vehicle with Husky Liners® mud flaps to protect their exterior.
Ram has promised to make a donation for every view of its Super Bowl "Farmer" advertisement to the National FFA (formerly known as the Future Farmers of America) Organization for up to $1 million. It only took them a week to get the 10 million views, which equates to the maximum donation.
The 'Farmer' video, which starts out with a tribute to farmers made decades ago by radio broadcast Paul Harvey saying "So God Made a Farmer," already has 18 million views at Ram Truck's website and on YouTube.
Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer, Chrysler Group said that the imagery of America's heartland in the commercial combined with Harvey's 'So God Made a Farmer' resonated with viewers across the nation. He added that Chrysler is proud of the dialog the video sparked, as they had looked to show their support for farmers, who are the foundation of the American character. "
The video was the start of Ram Trucks 2013 campaign titled The Year of the Farmer, which looks to honor and bring attention to American farmers.
"'Farmer' is about having America appreciate everything that farmers and farm families do on a daily basis and captures the hard work, determination and character of the farmer in all of us," said Fred Diaz , president and CEO – Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico. "We are so pleased and excited that this has touched the hearts and souls of so many people in a positive way."
The money Ram Truck donated to the FFA will go toward the organization's hunger relief efforts in local communities across the United States.
"Ram scored a major win for American agriculture and our producers and ranchers with its 'Farmer' Super Bowl commercial and has sharply elevated the image of agriculture in the public's mind," said National FFA Organization CEO Dr. Dwight Armstrong . "This highly successful partnership with Ram through the National FFA Foundation has generated $1 million of new support for FFA that will be utilized to drive our 'Feeding the World-Starting at Home' initiative and other programs that will benefit our nearly 560,000 FFA members in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands."
The inspiration for the campaign and "Farmer" video came from Paul Harvey's "So God Made A Farmer," a tribute he made in 1978 at a Future Farmers of America Convention.
Ram 1500 racking up awards
Even without the tantalizing video and ad campaign, Ram Truck would have no problem pitching its 1500 truck to the public. The 1500 has been named the Truck of the Year by a number of sources including Motor Trend, AOL Autos, The Detroit Free Press and Four Wheeler Magazine. Most recently, the 1500 received the title of 2013 North American Truck/Utility of the Year by the North American International Auto Show.
"For the Ram Truck Brand, this ranks as one of the proudest days in our history," said Diaz at the time of receiving the award. "Every truck-maker aspires to win the North American Truck/Utility of the Year. I tip my hat to the folks who worked behind the scenes to make the 2013 Ram 1500 a technological triumph."
Diaz added that there is not other truck on the market that offers Ram's combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency – 25 miles per gallon and Pentastar and HEMI engines.
The truck also features new technologies never before been seen in its segment. Those include an eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, which include grille shutters and active air suspension.
Every truck owner knows that jobs can be hard on the vehicle. Husky Liners® truck floor mats are available to provide extra protection.
Valentine's Day is upon us and that means you have to bring out all stops to show that significant other just how much they mean to you.
Sure dinner and maybe some roses will tell them you like them as much as all the millions of American's treating their loved one the same way. But you're different. You want them to know that you care more than just a heart shaped box full of cheap chocolates.
You know you have to give them a sign that you're willing to do anything for the enduring love you two share and there's only one way to do it.
Picture it, you walk up to their door to pick up them up for your Valentine's Day date. You give them the roses, chocolates and card. They expected it.
Then, out of nowhere, as the tender lover you are, you open the door for them and they see it. It's better than anything they ever imagined on the most romantic day of the year, Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats.
They're head over heels for you now. You're car will remain cleaner than ever and your Valentine knows your willing to do anything to impress them. They say let's skip dinner and put the seats on recline instead.
Well done you sly dog you, well done.
Honda was recently given the first-ever Driving Engagement award from the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Word of Mouth Marketing Association at the Chicago Auto Show for having the best social media campaign of any automaker in 2012.
"We are thrilled and proud that the latest edition in our Honda Loves You Back social media campaign has been recognized. We're so grateful for the love our customers express for their Honda vehicles," said Alicia Jones, manager of Social Media at American Honda Motor Co. "I think it's the simplicity of the campaign's intent – to say thank you and share the conversation with them – that makes it work."
Every automaker that wanted the Driving Engagement award had to submit why they were best suited for the award. Word of Mouth Marketing Association then selected three automotive manufacturers. After all was said and done, Honda came out on top and Nissan and Dodge were the two runners-up.
Nissan submitted its 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Presents: An Improv-tastic Road Trip campaign while Dodge entered its Inspired by You campaign. Honda won with its Honda Loves You Back campaign after surprising the startup band Montsters Calling Home by booking them as a musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, while using social media to to their story and hype up the event.
"We are so impressed with the social business efforts from the auto industry over the last year," said Suzanne Fanning, president of WOMMA. "We saw major brands engaging with Pinterest, great use of video and humor as well partnerships to showcase artists and embrace fans. We are grateful to the Chicago Auto Show for allowing us to help recognize the best campaigns of the year, and we look forward to working with them in the future to further 'drive engagement.'"
Honda also wins big in resale value
A separate report by Kelley Blue Book recently placed a number of Honda vehicles as the most likely cars in their segment to retain their value after five years of ownership. According to KBB, a vehicle is expected to retain only 38.2 percent of its original value after five years, as depreciation is the primary expense of owning a car.
The Honda Fit won the subcompact category, the Civic won the compact , the Civic Si won the sporty compact and the Accord won the mid-size.
As depreciation will weigh heavily on a cars resale value, it is important to do what you can to maintain the car. Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats will ensure an interior is safe from damage.
Toyota recently unveiled its 2014 Tundra-full size pick at the opening press days of the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. Company officials noted that the truck is a product of the customer feedback on past Tundra models.
"Toyota prides itself on listening to its customers and the development of the 2014 American-born Tundra is a perfect example," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "Tundra's new exterior design and all-new interior were inspired by customer feedback requesting a more chiseled exterior and refined interior with improved driver ergonomics, and easy-to-use technology, giving customers more of what they want instead, in addition to what they need."
Company officials said the latest truck holds true to the award-winning Tundra name. In the past seven consecutive years, the Tundra has won the Full-Size Pick Up segment of the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.
The 2014 Tundra model has been completely redesigned, accounting for the first major changes since 2007. Officials said the outside of the car will have a more chiseled look as the hood and grille offer a more modern industrial image. In addition the interior improvements include easier access to controls, whether the driver is wearing work gloves or not, the large knobs allow for easier use. Drivers are also encouraged to install Husky Liners® truck floor mats to keep that interior looking spotless.
The truck is also featuring some never before seen features in its segments. The Tundra will include a new Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a back-up camera and standard Bluetooth.
Tundra towed a space shuttle
Last year, the Toyota Tundra CrewMax towed the Space Shuttle Endeavor over busy LA freeway, providing proof of the trucks towing capacity. Officials said the half-ton CrewMax successfully pulled the 290,000 pound shuttle and trailer without any modifications to the vehicle.
At around the same time, J.D. Power and Associates named the Toyota Tundra CrewMax and the Ford F-150 the safest pickup trucks on the market.
"Every 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax is equipped with 8 airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger," the J.D. Power Associate's website stated. "Additionally, the Tundra comes standard with 4-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, trailer sway control, and a Smart Stop system designed to prevent the truck from accelerating if the brake pedal is pressed. A reversing camera and front and rear park-assist sensors are optional."
As a federal mandate will require new cars to achieve at least 54.5 miles to the gallon by 2025, automakers are stepping up the ways in which they are saving on fuel.
General Motors recently got a pat on the pack from the National Biodiesel Board for its new 2014 Chevrolet Cruze light-duty diesel passenger car as the vehicle has recently been approved to use 20 percent biodiesel blends (B20).
"We applaud General Motors for its foresight in approving the new diesel Chevy Cruze for use with B20 biodiesel blends," said Steve Howell, technical director for the National Biodiesel Board. "Many people do not realize that today's new technology diesel engines powered by ultra-low sulfur biodiesel blends provide tailpipe emissions as clean or cleaner than natural gas or gasoline, while providing superior fuel economy, horsepower, and durability. In addition, when you combine the increased efficiency diesel engines with the low carbon nature of an Advanced Biofuel like biodiesel, new technology diesel engines are positioned to become the clean - and green - technology of the future, and we're proud to see GM leading the way with its support for B20."
The new Cruze gets an estimated 42 miles to the gallon highway with its clean turbo diesel engine. Chevrolet said that the by using the renewable B20 biodiesel fuels, the Cruze is the cleanest diesel passenger car ever produced by General Motors.
Those with new cars are encouraged to keep them clean with Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats.
Mazda wins Green Car Technology Award
General Motors is not the only automaker vying for fuel efficiency. Mazda recently received the 2013 Green Car Technology Award by Green Car Journal for its SkyActiv Technology.
The technology was selected among the top 10 technologies in the auto industry that are looking to change the way vehicles perform and reduce CO2 emissions.
"The approach that Mazda is taking by incorporating its full suite of efficient SKYACTIV technologies in its all-new models is important," said Ron Cogan , editor and publisher, Green Car Journal. "Optimizing the entire vehicle, from engine and transmission to chassis, body structure and all the components large and small that make up a modern vehicle is truly paramount. This holistic philosophy epitomizes the ideal in delivering the enabling technologies so important to creating the efficient, fun-to-drive models required for a more environmentally compatible driving future."
Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North America said that it is their goal to increase global fleet fuel economy by 30 percent within the next two years compared to 2008.
BMW recently reported January sales of 123,276 cars, accounting for a 9.9 percent increase compared to the same month last year and its highest January sales ever. The automaker is just one of many posting a strong start to the new year.
"We made a successful start to the new year, selling more BMW Group vehicles than ever before in the month of January," said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW. "We remain true to our strategy of balanced sales across the globe by achieving growth on all continents last month. Looking ahead, we expect the headwinds in Europe to remain, however we are confident of healthy sales growth in other regions, especially Asia and the Americas. With new models arriving this year to enhance our already successful portfolio, we are aiming for further growth in BMW Group worldwide sales in 2013 and are targeting a new all-time high for the third consecutive year."
BMW was not the only automaker with increased sales in 2013. Kia reported January sales of 36,302 units, up 2.2 percent from this time last year, while Toyota reported sales of 157,725 units, up 21.6 percent over the same period of time.
Car owners looking to preserve the life of their vehicles should outfit them with Husky Liners® custom fit floor mats.
Kelley Blue Book recently announced that Lexus has the most loyal customers on their website. The automaker is boasting new designs and strong resale value are what keeps them coming back for more.
"Lexus recently redesigned its GS, ES, RX and LS, and each model has played a part in driving increased interest to the brand among KBB.com new-car shoppers, while also influencing current owners to again consider the manufacturer for their next purchase," said Akshay Anand, market intelligence Web analyst for Kelley Blue Book 's KBB.com. "Lexus has moved in a bold new direction with its vehicle styling, even creating a signature feature with its unique 'spindle grille,' while also catering to financial-minded shoppers by winning the prestigious title of Best Resale Value: Luxury Brand in Kelley Blue Book 's 2013 Best Resale Value Awards."
KBB said that shopper loyalty for Lexus vehicles is up 9.2 percent from this time last year. The automaker topped all other luxury brands in the fourth quarter, only behind Toyota, which has remained at the No. 1 position for five consecutive quarters.
Toyota and Lexus are top in resale value
Last month, KBB gave both Toyota and Lexus Best Resale Value Awards for the brand and luxury brand categories, respectively.
“The competition for Best Resale Value within many segments has become very heated in the last few years, as major vehicle redesigns and new model introductions have challenged the traditional favorites,”said Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting for Kelley Blue Book. “However, for the second year in a row, Toyota and Lexus retain the top Best Resale Value ranking for both non-luxury and luxury brands, based on the average 60-month residual value across all models in each brands' respective lineup. Combined, there is an impressive total of 12 Toyota and Lexus models bringing home 2013 Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards this year; half of the Top 10 models with Best Resale Value for 2013 hail from either Toyota or Lexus.”
KBB said that a 2013 car will only hold 38.2 percent of its original value after five years of ownership and customers are beginning to factor this into their auto purchases.
Those looking to extend the life of their vehicle should check out Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats.
As shoppers are learning to invest in automobiles that will get them the best return years down the road, these liners will keep a car far cleaner than whatever is outfitted in your vehicle.
A new study from the Wildlife Society Bulletin is showing that as duck hunters fall, the conservation budget for the birds falls right with it.
The study shows that the number of duck stamps, which are licenses a hunter has to purchase in order to hunt, has declined drastically over the last few decades. According to the Wildlife Society Bulletin, in the 1970s there were more than 2.1 million stamps sold each year but between 2004 and 2008 the number of stamps fell to 1.3 million.
Mark Vrtiska of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said that the waterfowl population has reached 40 million six times since 1995. He added that prior to that those high numbers were only seen nine times since the records began. While this technically should be the glory days for hunting ducks, the number of hunters has still dropped. While one would assume that this is good news for the ducks, it's actually hurting their conservation efforts.
"You may think the fall in hunters would be good news for ducks, but ironically it is leading to less money for the conservation of their habitat," Vrtiska said. "Federal funding for conservation is dependent on the revenue raised by selling the duck stamps, a unique dynamic for wildlife managers in the United States. Up to 98% of money raised by the duck stamps is used to purchase or lease habitat within the National Wildlife Refuge system."
Vrtiska said that if the number of hunters kept consistent with the number of ducks, then 600,000 more duck stamps should have been purchased between 1995 and 2008 compared to the numbers that were actually sold. He said that would account for a loss of $126 million in conservation efforts and maintaining the wetlands.
"Duck hunting has been a tradition for rural America for centuries, yet a cultural shift and changing attitudes has seen a slow decline in hunter numbers," Vrtiska said. "The resulting fall in funding is impacting all those involved in habitat conservation which is only made more important by the dramatic rise in duck numbers."
One area in the United States is bucking the overall trend in duck numbers. According to the Times-Picayune, the estimated number of ducks in Southeast Louisiana in January was 718,000, down from 1.5 million on a year-over-year comparison.
Any hunters this season are reminded to equip their vehicles with Husky Liners® mud guards.
Kelley Blue Book recently issued a report indicating which car brands and models were projected to have the lowest cost of ownership. The new and used car information website based information on their 5-Year Cost to Own data, which assess the value of new cars five years after ownership.
KBB says that depreciation can be the greatest cost associated with a car, yet many consumers do not take this into account when making a purchase. In addition, KBB factored expected fuel costs, finance and insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs and state fees for new models to their 5-Year Cost to Own data.
“New-car shoppers often are most concerned with the upfront cost of a vehicle; however, consumers would be wise to consider their purchase from a more holistic standpoint by examining the total cost to own a vehicle over the initial five-year ownership period,” said Dan Ingle, vice president of vehicle valuations for Kelley Blue Book. “Kelley Blue Book's 5-Year Cost to Own information allows consumers to evaluate which brands and models make the most sense for their pocketbooks as they prepare for a major purchase decision in buying a new car. This year's winners provide the top options in multiple categories and at the brand level.”
KBB named Mazda the winner of its 5-Year Cost to Own brand category. In addition, the Mazda MAZDA5 was featured as the winner of the minivan/van model category.
"This award celebrates everything Mazda has been working toward over the past few years so we are honored to receive this recognition from KBB.com," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North America. "As we move forward with our new sixth-generation of products that showcase improved quality, fuel efficiency and driving dynamics, owning a Mazda will continue to be an enjoyable experience that doesn't have to break the bank to maintain."
Keep a car clean to fight against depreciation
As the years roll on, too often to auto owners feel there is nothing they can do to fight against their vehicle's constantly depreciating value. There is an answer. Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats are available to protect a car's interior from damage and curb the cost of depreciation.
In addition to safeguarding a vehicle with reliable liners, auto owners can keep a car's value high by making sure to follow scheduled maintenance and repairs. The car owner's manual is the best source to correctly caring for a vehicle.
As Americans are demanding more alternative fuel vehicles, one automaker is looking to take advantage of the growing market.
Ford recently announced that more than 900 of the company's dealers will soon be certified to sell plug-in electric vehicles, up from 200 in November and accounting for one third of all the automakers dealers. The company expects to be selling EV's across 50 states come springtime.
Ford currently has three plug-in vehicles that will soon be available nationwide, including the Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi. Any auto owners, whether their car takes gas, electricity or runs on sunshine and rainbows, should equip their car with Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats to keep their interiors looking spiffy.
"With so much excitement and activity surrounding Ford's new electrified vehicles, we can rest assured our certified dealers are invested in being prepared to provide the best possible customer service," said Paul Russell, Ford's field operations manager. "Whether a customer is stopping in to look at one of these vehicles for the first time or picking up their brand-new plug-in hybrid, the certification program ensures we are ready."
Ford recently reported record January hybrid sales, following a record setting fourth quarter of hybrid sales.
C.J. O'Donnell, Ford Electrified Vehicle Marketing manager said that research shows that 60 percent of new car shoppers are considering hybrid products.
Hybrids on the up and up
According to a WardsAuto report, General Motors, Ford, Honda, BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes all recently entered the hybrid market and soon Acura, Infiniti, Honda, Nissan and Subaru will join in the races as well.
Last year proved to be a pivotal year in the hybrid market. The WardsAuto report showed that 427,605 hybrids were bought in 2012, up from 261,507 in 2011. In addition, it showed that hybrids managed to outsell a number of mainstream segments within the auto industry including midsize luxury cars, small cross/utility vehicles and each of the three SUV segments.
A Thomas Reuters report, Auto Industry Sets Sights on Alternative Power, showed that automakers are increasing research and development for alternative-powered cars. The report showed patents for alternative power increased 182 percent in 2011 when compared to 2006.
"With stringent new fuel economy standards introduced in the U.S. that require global auto manufacturers to double their average mileage requirements, car companies have gotten very serious about alternative power," said Bob Stembridge, an intellectual property analyst at Thomson Reuters and author of the report.
Automakers are off to a good start in 2013, as January sales reports are just coming out and showing promising figures. Coming off a strong year in 2012, momentum has carried over into the new year as many car makers are seeing record sales numbers in the first month of the new year.
One company reaping the benefits of pent-up consumer demand is Kia Motors America. The automaker recently announced all-time record sales in January of 36,302 vehicles , accounting for a 2.2 percent increase on a year-over-year comparison.
Kia reported that the Optima, which is made in the U.S., as well as the Sorento CUV, lead in sales during the month after selling 11,252 and 8,005 units, respectively.
"January's record performance comes on the heels of the historic sales milestones Kia achieved in 2012 and signals the beginning of an aggressive launch cadence that will deliver a collection of new cars and CUVs, fulfilling our promise to advance value to new levels of sophistication," said Byung Mo Ahn , group president and CEO of KMA and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. "Customers continue to flock to our showrooms in search of vehicles that represent a smart buy with world-class style, modern amenities and cutting-edge technologies."
Kia also announced that they are one of three automakers to post overall sales gains in the U.S. in the past four years. In 2012, Kia surpassed 500,000 units sold for its first time.
The automaker has invested $1.4 billion in the U.S. over the past 10 years and is expecting continual robust growth through the rest of 2013. Any consumers looking for a good way to keep their car looking clean should look into Husky Liners® vehicles floor mats.
Toyota posts strong sales pace in January
While Kia was posting record sales in January, Toyota was also showing strong gains to start off 2013. The automaker reported that January sales reached 157,725 units, accounting for a 21.6 percent increase on a daily selling rate basis.
The Toyota division sold 141,514 units, up 21 percent from January 2012 on a daily selling rate basis.
"The sales pace we saw in the fourth quarter of last year rolled into January, exceeding our expectations for the industry," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, Toyota Motor Sales. "Toyota started the year off strong, with total sales up over 26 percent, more than double the industry average. With the 2013 Avalon and 2013 RAV4 off to a great start, our focus remains firmly on new products and taking care of our customers."
The Lexus division sold 16,211 units in January, up 26.8 percent on a year-over-year comparison.
Luxury automaker sees record January sales
Like Kia, Mercedes-Benz reported a record January sales of 24,059 units, accounting for a 10.7 percent increase from January 2012.
"We've set another record this January and are breaking into 2013 at a strong sales pace," said Steve Cannon, president & CEO of MBUSA. "It's a historic time for the brand with product milestones that will drive our momentum. Our new CLA, the star of our Super Bowl ad this weekend, will reset the entry point. Stay tuned as product innovations continue throughout the year with the introductions of our completely redesigned E-Class and new generation of our flagship S-Class."
The automaker reported that sales were led by Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles and SUVs. The C-Class posted sales of 7,214 units, up 10.6 percent on a year-over-year comparison, while the ninth generation E-class sold 5,469 units and the M-Class sold 2,928 units.
After showing a strong recovery in 2012, automakers are poised for significant growth in the new year as consumer demand is up and affordability conditions are encouraging new car purchases.
Super Bowl advertisements directly affect automakers business, and a study recently showed Americans' behavior after seeing these commercials.
Autotrader.com showed that vehicles that were advertised at Super Bowl XLVII saw a 245 percent increase in search activity after their ads ran. Hyundai saw the largest increase, with a 1,004 percent increase in search activity for the automaker's Sante Fe following a commercial. The Kia Forte saw a 750 percent increase, while the Kia Sorento saw a 512 percent increase.
"Hyundai really benefitted from their sponsorship and ad buys during the pre-game," said Rick Wainschel , AutoTrader.com's vice president of automotive insights. "While this percentage lift is attributed to the 'Team' spot, there's no question that the 'Epic Playdate' spot and their pre-game branding elements also helped catch shopper's attention."
Last year's Super Bowl commercials were a huge hit on YouTube, as eight automakers were featured in the top 20 advertisements and seven of those were debuted in the Super Bowl.
This year's ads ranged from flying babies, genies, Chihuahuas, Alpacas and a farmer.
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Carfax recently issued a report warning consumers looking to purchase a used car to be wary as many vehicles on the market have unfixed recall issues.
According to the report, those looking to buy a car in Texas, California and Florida need to be especially careful as these three states have topped the list of the highest number of cars sold with open recalls in the past two years. According to Carfax, there were approximately 2.1 million cars on sale online in 2012 that had open recalls on them, down from 2.7 million in 2011.
In addition, the report also showed that the number of unfixed vehicles with open recalls increased by more than 25 percent in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax, said that while Americans are becoming more aware of this problem, there is still a long way to go as millions of cars are still on sale with unfixed problems. This not only threatens the driver of the vehicle, but anyone who is on the road with them.
"Before a car changes hands, there's lots of opportunities for everyone involved to check for open recalls," Ganache said. "Yet this data is proof that it's not happening enough. A simple online check and visit with your local dealer is all it takes to help improve public safety."
While water is one of the top threats to a car's interior, Husky Liners® vehicle floor mats are available to protect a car from damage. Not only do these liners keep a car looking nice while you are driving it, they also help preserve a car's resale value.
Nine million cars registered to Sandy-hit areas
A report last year from Experian showed that there are nearly 9 million registered vehicles in counties that were hit by Hurricane Sandy last year.
"In the wake of any natural disaster, consumers need to be acutely aware that there will be damaged vehicles out there that will be cleaned up and sold to unsuspecting buyers," said Scott Waldron, president of Experian Automotive. "With such a large number of title-washed vehicles on the road today, consumers need to arm themselves with as much information as possible when shopping for a used vehicle. An AutoCheck vehicle history report includes past title brands and designations of prior damage, providing used vehicle shoppers with the peace of mind that the vehicle they are buying is reliable and, most importantly, safe."
Its no secret that the Super Bowl is big business for companies that are debuting commercials during the big game, especially considering if you want a 30 second spot you'll have to pony up a cool $4 million. Since that is the record average companies have paid, it's safe to say you can expect a lot out of this year's commercials.
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Kelley Blue Book is already making predictions on which commercials will resonate with consumers. According to KBB, the redesigned Toyota RAV4 will come out on top of the other automakers featuring ads. KBB expects that more shoppers will head to their website to research the vehicle compared to any other model featured in this year's big game.
"Similar to last year's advertising buzz surrounding Honda's CR-V ad, we anticipate the Toyota RAV4 will experience a similar effect with a surge of visitors researching the car on KBB.com," said Arthur Henry, manager of market intelligence for Kelley Blue Book. "The RAV4 also competes in the popular compact SUV segment, which is in high demand due to its fuel economy and affordability. As one of the last vehicles to receive a redesign in its segment, coupled with a high-profile ad campaign featuring The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco , the RAV4 is sure to experience a jump in shopper activity on KBB.com."
KBB also expects that the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA will catch the eye of consumers, as its Market Intelligence survey showed that Americas are buzzing over model Kate Upton being showcased in the ad. The survey showed that 25 percent of consumers who watched all the auto commercial teasers recalled the Mercedes-Benz commercial most often.
A separate KBB survey showed that 74 percent of KBB visitors plan on tuning in for the Super Bowl and more than 25 percent said that the commercials will be the highlight of their evening.
"With a large number of consumers tuning into the Big Game and paying close attention to the commercials, automakers who run advertisements during this event will have the opportunity to garner a tremendous amount of Internet traffic, both to new-car research websites like KBB.com and auto manufacturer sites," Henry added. "Furthermore, with the game being streamed on the Internet in addition to the television broadcast, it makes it even easier for consumers to research the advertised models and brands online."
While millions around the world will be tuning in for the big game, these commercials often live on through social media and other outlets. According to a report by AdWeek, of the top 20 YouTube advertisements in December, eight of them were from car companies and all but one were featured in last year's Super Bowl. The advertisement from Volkswagen, titled the Bark Side, featuring no cars whatsoever, was No. 3 on the list and the top of the automaker's with 18 million views on YouTube.
Transaction prices up in January
While automaker's expect to see big sales numbers from subsequent Super Bowl advertising hype, January transaction prices increased 1 percent when compared to December 2012, as automakers remain smart about incentive offerings, according to a recent report by TrueCar.
"Transaction prices continue to be at record levels as attractive leases and low cost financing options are enabling consumers to afford more expensive vehicles with rich content while keeping their monthly payments at about the same levels," said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar. "Automakers are getting better at employing "smart incentives" that produce better returns vs. the one-size-fits-all programs of the pre-recession days."