Category Archives: car industry

Buying A Car Guide: How To Come Prepared

Buying a car can be a super fun process or a long, drawn out process. Our goal is for this to be fun so we put together a guide for you to come prepared. Going to the dealership with everything you need can help speed things up.

Below is a list of things you may need. Most of these items are for those who plan to finance, but rather be safe than sorry! Remember our goal here is to make this fun. 

  1. Proof Of Address: This can be a piece of mail or rental agreement/lease
  2. Drivers License
  3. Proof Of Income: Pay stub
  4. Existing Proof Of Insurance
  5. Check Book

Very simple and painless. Come with the above five things and you’re well on your way to your dream car!

If you plan on trading your car in, there are a couple more pieces of information you need to bring: 

  1. Certificate Of Title
  2. All Keys
  3. Co-owner Signature: If you co-own the car with someone else, make sure the title is signed by the both of you. 

On top of these things we recommend coming with your car cleaned out so it’s all nice and ready to go.

And just like that, you’re set up for success. 

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Local to Syskeville, Maryland or live in a surrounding area? 

Come check us out! We offer financing and to help you come ready to go, click here, to pre-apply.  To view our inventory ahead of time, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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New Year, Used Car: The Best Time to Buy a Pre-Owned Vehicle

It’s no secret that the best time to shop for a new car is between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. But what about a used car? A brand new car may not be what you are looking for – whether you need a second car for your family, a car for a new driver, a work truck, or something that you can use as a commuter vehicle – sometimes pre-owned cars are the way to go.

It may seem like a stretch to spend a large amount of money right after the holidays, but January is the best month to buy used vehicles. And here’s why:

Strong December Sales

Many new car dealerships run great specials on vehicles in December to make room for new-year inventory. This means they have a lot of used vehicles on their lot that they want to sell.  In order to make room for new cars, these dealerships will likely have the used cars on excellent sales and provide low prices with attractive financing.

Given that over 1/2 of new car sales involve a trade-in and resale takes an average of 45 days, dealerships will be eager to get used vehicles off their lot, meaning the buyer has the upper hand in negotiating deals and better prices.

Slow Retail Month

After the holidays and going on spending sprees, many people tighten their wallets in the new year. People use what extra money they do have (after paying off credit card bills and debts) towards less frivolous things.

However, car dealerships still have to make money and meet sales quotas. This means one things: A buyer’s market. Dealerships and salespeople are eager to close deals and make sales, making January a great time to negotiate a better deal. This will even extend into February and even March, until people have paid off their debts and reenter the retail world.

Leased Vehicles Ready for Resale

Many people lease cars at the end & beginning of the year, which means many 3-year-old vehicles are available for resale in January. These vehicles are generally in great condition and will be “restored” to like-new condition. Since the mileage is lower than many used cars, you can find a steal – a newer model with low mileage for an exceptional price.

Luxury Deals

If you are shopping for a sports car or luxury model, chances are, you’ll land the best deal during the winter months. There is little supply-and-demand for sporty little cars with convertible tops or flashy little cars no suitable for harsh winter roads, which means you will likely get your pick of the best luxury vehicles for a much lower price than if you wait for the weather to get warmer.

Typically the more expensive cars on the lot, come January, these sporty little models suddenly drop in price and become more reasonably priced and the best deals out there.

Another Year Older

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, used vehicles suddenly become one year older meaning their value drops, and sometimes that drop is significant. For instance, Edmunds says the typical 2009 model sold for $19,392 in December 2012, but $18,738 in January 2013 – a 3.4% price drop in just one month.

This is true for models that are only 1 or 2 years old as well – you can find an “old” model that is just 2 years old, and in most cases, it will be in mint condition with just some miles put on.  For this upcoming January, look into 2017 models instead of a 2018 model and you’ll be shocked at how low the price is compared to it’s 2019 counterpart.

Shop Around for Financing Deals

Oftentimes, the finance deal the dealership will offer you isn’t the best you can find – especially in the new year.  A lot of banks, credit unions, and regional banks will offer financing incentives in the new year for existing customers. Contact your bank to see what deals they are offering and if you qualify for low interest rates. There may be discounts available if you enroll in auto-pay or use an existing bank account for the monthly payments.

Before settling on a pre-owned vehicle, be sure to look up what the MSRP was for the vehicle originally, and if there is any resale information. This can help you negotiate prices and deals in the long run. The most important thing to keep in mind is to have a set price that you cannot go over. No matter how great a deal, if the deal is more than you are able to spend, it’s not worth it.  Never overspend just because a dealership is pressuring you to sign a deal to help them meet their quota.  Keep shopping around – you will find the best deal for you!

 

Why December is the Best Time to Buy A Car

There are arguably a few different times throughout the year that are ideal for buying a car. But December is the best time to buy a car.

It’s enough that dealerships are generally emptier during the holidays due to people traveling, but sales teams have looming quotas to meet before the year’s end. To put it simply, they want cars out the door. And the best way to do this is to run unbeatable deals.

In fact, consumers can expect to get almost 8% off MSRP values when buying a car in December as opposed to waiting until January.

Like any big purchase, it’s important to do your research before you buy a car, so do your research (and maybe even test drive a few) during the fall. This will give you plenty of time to decide what make, model, and trim options you want in your dream vehicle. But when it comes to making a purchase? Pull the trigger between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.

Here are just a few reasons why December is the best time to purchase a car:

Better Leverage (& Negotiating)

Dealerships tend to be slower during the winter months, so in order for the sales team to meet their quotas, they will be desperate to get cars out the door and on the road. This means you, the buyer, will have better leverage to get a great deal on the vehicle you desire. Take advantage of an empty dealership to ask lots of questions and get in-depth about the car’s features, amenities, safety ratings, and when it comes down to price, don’t be afraid to haggle.

Making Space for Newer Models

October, November, and December see a lot of new makes and models come onto the scene in preparation for the new year. But this means the old inventory has to find a new home so there’s room on the lot. Meaning… prices will drop. If you are shopping for a car, instead of buying a 2019 model, look at 2018 models instead. The prices will be significantly lower because they aren’t the newest model on the market anymore. But December is when the prices hit the lowest – the longer a car sits on the lot unsold, the lower the price drops.

Peace of Mind

You may not think about this when you are purchasing a vehicle right away, but have a safe and reliable vehicle can bring you a lot of comfort during the winter months when road conditions are treacherous. Having a vehicle with new tires, top-notch breaking capabilities, and updated technology can give you more confidence when you are driving on slick and snowy roads.

Holiday Bonuses

Everyone loves a little extra cash for a holiday bonus. Why not out it to use and put it towards a down payment on a vehicle.  If you can put down a higher percentage, you will be able to get a better interest rate, or better yet, if you can pay with cash, there’s a huge chance you can talk down the price even further!

If you’ve been dreaming of a new car, now is the time.  This is the best time to buy a car, so put your haggling skills to use and be prepared to get the best prices on the market!

Best AWD SUVs in 2018

When the winter months are upon us, driving safety becomes a concern. Slick roads, poor road conditions, and rough terrain are all something to think about when you travel for the holidays or winter getaways.

Some of that concern can be alleviated by having an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, especially a SUV.  Heavier vehicles operate better and are more reliable on poor road conditions because of their weight, which helps with traction support.

If you are in the market for an AWD SUV, here are some of the top ranking vehicles in 2018.

Best AWD SUVs in 2018

1. Nissan Rogue

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The Nissan Rogue offers value and comfort but doesn’t skimp on safety and all-terrain capabilities.  Because each trim level offers an AWD option, you don’t have to sacrifice safety for price.  Each option also comes equipped with a rearview camera and split-folding rear seats for convenience when you need additional cargo space.  The Rogue provides surprisingly ample leg and head space for taller passengers in its luxurious interior.

2. Jeep Wrangler

No surprise here, but the Jeep Wrangler is in this lineup since it’s frequently referred to by its loyal owners as a 4×4. But the new Jeep Wrangler offers more than just AWD off-roading abilities.  Full customization between 2- or 4-doors and 4- and 5-passenger models offer a wide range of compatibility for everyone.  If you prefer the more rugged style without all the bells and whistles, the Sport trim is for you – removable doors and roof, crank windows, and off-road tires.  If a more luxurious ride is your preference, there are optional upgrade packages that offer amenities like heated seats, remote start, and power features.

3. Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Essentially (and originally) built for off-roading, the Jeep Grand Cherokee offers optional AWD on all trim packages. But regardless of the trim you select, you’ll find features like rearview camera, parking sensors, an infotainment system, and keyless entry/start.  Drivers even have their choice between a V6 or V8 engine. The cabin is spacious to fit 5 adults comfortably.

4. Ford Explorer

Consistently topping most lists, the Ford Explorer is one of the most practical AWD vehicles on the market, year after year. Thanks to its V6 engine and large tires, it performs excellently in both dry and wet road conditions, and handles well on all terrains. The customizable Explorer has 3 different engines and 5 trim options to choose between, that can seat 5 to 7 passengers, so you are sure to find a model that suits you and your family’s needs.

5. Honda CR-V

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If an AWD vehicle with lots of options is what you are looking for, you’ll find it with the Honda CR-V. Honda offers 4 different trim options, all with optional front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.  Standard equipment and amenities include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, Bluetooth connectivity, and 17-inch wheels. Upgrades like a leather interior and power liftgate are available to those who select a Touring trim.

AWD is becoming more standard as the auto industry is shifting toward a SUV-heavy consumer base. Automakers are opting to make new and improved versions of already high-performing SUVs to create a loyal customer base and win over those drivers who have yet to convert to an SUV lifestyle.

Find the SUV of your dreams at Trust Auto today.  Call to make an appointment or schedule a test drive.  Don’t wait – our best cars go fast!

How the Internet Changes the Way We Sell (and Buy) Cars

A decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a car salesman to spend 6-8 hours with a single customer.  They would show the customer 3-4 vehicles, answer broad questions regarding the make, model, and basic amenities, and guide them through a very choreographed sales process.  

Fast forward to today, and the sales model has completely changed.  People spend approximately an average of 2 hours at a dealership when they go to make a purchase.  

Why?

Because of the internet.  

The Internet Changed the Process

Years ago, the sales process consisted of 5 clear and defined steps:

Enter → Research → Dealer Visit → Decision → Ownership

It was a very linear path and oftentimes, the research was done simultaneously as the dealers visit, when the salesman would inform the customer on vehicle stipulations and the differences between makes and models.

Nowadays, the process is much more fluent and the research is done independently by the consumer. There is a self-serve mindset that allows the customer to receive instant information about the vehicles they research and compare.

This is due to the rise of mobile devices.  

Over ⅔ of auto shopping is done on mobile devices because the consumer is always shopping. The average American touches their phone screen 3,000 times in one day, meaning the ability to look at cars and conduct research can happen all day. Anytime, anyplace. 

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The internet provides an immense amount of transparency when it comes to cars and MSRP pricing, so there is less haggling and negotiating and customers know that if a dealership won’t give them the price they found online, they can go somewhere else.  It’s a Buyer’s World, instead of a Seller’s World.

Old selling tactics won’t work in today’s car-buying society. So both consumers and dealerships need to understand how this process has changed and how the system works to be effective for everyone.

How Has the Sales Process Changed?

  1. Consumers start with more information

Thanks to the internet, auto shoppers start the process with more information than ever before.  In fact, 42% of customers know the make and model of the vehicle they want to purchase before even setting foot into a dealership. 32% know the dealership from which they are going to purchase a vehicle.  This means dealerships have gotten more competitive in their advertising because they aren’t just selling cars anymore – they’re selling their services, their sales team, and their dealership as a whole.  

Because users know more information before even starting the initial research step, the urgency to buy has increased.

2. Consumers look for maximum transparency

During the research portion of the car-buying experience (that is now a constant, ongoing process thanks to the “always shopping” mentality), people are visiting an average of 12 auto touch-points before making a final decision – and this doesn’t include advertisements seen on social media or online.

Because consumers are spending more time researching and conducting more thorough research on auto websites and 3rd-party platforms, it’s important that a website provides the most information possible – including pricing.  

80% of buyers are looking at prices first during their research process.

Most websites only provide approximately 40% transparency and consumers are being more selective about which dealership they use. So it’s crucial to auto dealerships that their website be top notch (and mobile responsive) in order to compete with other dealerships in their area.  

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3. Consumers need validation when choosing a dealership

Inventory variety and vehicle pricing make up for 50% of why a consumer chooses a specific dealership when going to make a purchase. And one of the most important factors is knowing they aren’t getting ripped off.  

Consumers need price validation.  

This is critical for locking down customers and creating loyalty in your buyers. Everyone wants to know they are getting a good deal. When a consumer is at a dealership, it’s likely they are looking at the same vehicle online, whether it’s on a  manufacturer’s website or a competitor’s website to make sure they are getting the best deal possible. And they aren’t afraid to go elsewhere if a dealership won’t match the price. Make sure your sales team is providing a coherent and comprehensive experience – your online information must match what is being presented in person.  

Dealerships need to be aware of how they reach out to potential customers during the early stages of the process, because that will ultimately affect their decision to make a purchase or not.  Consumers want to be contacted in a way that is most convenient and comfortable for them – if they reach out via text, email, or Facebook, respond to them using the same method of communication.  This puts the consumer in control, which is vital in converting a lead into a customer. They choose the method of communication – it’s the dealership’s job to present the right information at the right time.  

4. Consumers visit fewer dealerships and take fewer test-drives

The decision process is one that consumers make quickly after completing their own thorough research.  

In fact, on average, Americans contact 3.1 dealerships, physically go visit 2.1 dealerships and only 1.6 test drives before deciding which car to buy. Because they already know the make, model, and dealership before going to purchase a car.  This ties back into the first step of the new sales model, making sure you are selling the actual dealership instead of just cars.  Make your dealership appealing and trustworthy and the sales will come. Have a positive online experience that offers full transparency and the sales will come.  Provide your users with all the information required to make an informed decision, and the sales will come.  See a pattern?  

Because consumers are doing most of their car-buying process before even setting foot into a dealership, it’s important that dealerships offer a pressure-free environment and deliver a simple, fast purchase experience. All while providing full transparency.  

It’s simply a matter of how consumers are purchasing vehicles and how dealerships are adapting to those changes and how the sales process as a whole is changing to fit the needs of consumers.  

Dealerships are competing more avidly with local competitors and now, they’re even competing with interaction-free car-buying experiences.

How has this shift affected the way you buy or sell a car?

How to Trade In Your Vehicle: The Dos and Don’ts

So you want to buy a new or used car.

But you currently own a car that you still owe on. Should you sell it yourself or trade it in? How can you negotiate the best deal? What do you need to negotiate a good trade?

Truthfully, if you sell your vehicle privately, chances are that you will get more money. But it takes a significant amount of work and will take much longer to find a buyer and settle on a deal than if you trade in your vehicle at a dealership.  

Trade-ins at a dealership typically result in less profit than if you sell privately because the dealership takes into account how much any repairs or reconditioning will cost in order to resell. Plus, you are taking a hit simply because of convenience. Let’s take a look to see how a trade-in at a dealership can be handled and some tips to get the most out of your experience.  

Tips for Trading In a Vehicle

1. Appraise Your Vehicle’s Worth

Before stepping foot into a dealership, do some research.  Be sure to know how much your car is worth, and know that there is a wide range of accepted trade-in values.  Using tools like Kelley Blue Book and Edmund’s Car Appraisal Tool will give you a good indication of what you can expect to get back from your vehicle during a trade-in. Print out your appraisal and take it with you when you go to shop for a new car.

It’s important that you are honest regarding your vehicle’s service history, the amenities your vehicle offers, and the current condition of your vehicle in order to get an accurate estimate. Very few cars are in “outstanding” condition and most fall within the “good” condition category. If you are really unsure, it’s better to undersell the condition – err on the side of caution.

2. Shop Around

Not every dealership is going to offer you the same amount for your trade-in, so it’s okay to shop around until you find a dealership that offers you a deal you are comfortable with.  This will all depend on the dealership’s current inventory, their need for pre-owned vehicles, and how likely they feel the car will resell. Auto industry professionals recommend taking your car to a dealership that does not sell your make or model (For example, taking your Ford to a Nissan dealership) because then you are not competing against other vehicles just like your own.

3. Season Appropriate Trade-In

As crazy as it sounds, make sure you are trading in your vehicle during the correct season.  For instance, trying to trade-in a convertible during the winter will get you less money during the winter months than an all-wheel drive vehicle.  Following automotive trends and news can help you determine when the best time of year is to trade-in your vehicle, and can also help steer you in the right direction regarding where to take your car for a trade-in.  Car trends change weekly, so going to the dealership at just the right time could affect the value of your vehicle.

4. “Curb Appeal” is Real

Don’t take a filthy vehicle to trade-in.  The best advice is to detail, detail, detail! From top to bottom, make sure your vehicle is best aesthetic condition.  This will show a dealership that the vehicle has been well maintained and may get your a higher estimated value. Getting a fresh coat of wax, shiny tires and rims, and making sure your interior is spic-n-span clean make your trade-in vehicle much more appealing than a vehicle that has a dull exterior and crumbs all over the backseat.  

5. Have All the Right Documentation

Save yourself time and a lot of stress if you show up to a dealership with all your vehicle’s documentation.  Make sure you have your title if you own the vehicle outright, or if you still owe, bring all the loan documentation. This ensures you are responsible for the vehicle and have the legal authority to trade it in.  Also bring any and all maintenance documents you have from your vehicle’s service history – this can help your trade-in value by describing all the service that has been done to your vehicle. Have the documents that came with your vehicle on hand when you go to negotiate your trade-in.  This includes the user manual, any buyer contracts, and original information about the vehicle. This will all help the value of your vehicle and make the process much smoother.

 

Common Trade-In Mistakes

Overestimating Your Vehicle’s Worth

It’s common to have some sentimentality when it comes to your vehicle.  Perhaps it was the first car you ever bought. Or the vehicle that you took cross country after graduation where you started a new job.  Or maybe it’s the car that drove you to the hospital to have your first child. Regardless of the personal value the vehicle has to you, to a dealership, it’s just another vehicle. Overestimating the value of your vehicle will only hurt your chances of getting the best possible amount for a trade-in.  

Dumping Money into Repairs

Spending a ton of money on repairs prior to trading your vehicle in may SEEM like a good idea, but in reality, you will lose money in the process. Dealerships have access to make the same repairs at much cheaper costs, so whereas the trade-in value may be slightly less than a KBB estimate, it’ll save you money from making unnecessary repairs.  

Failure to Negotiate

Without negotiating your trade-in, you risk losing a good amount of money.  Go into a negotiation with an idea of how much you want for your trade-in and what you’re willing to bend on.  If you are not offered something within your range, then shop around and go to a different dealership. If you are unable to negotiate a price that you are happy with, try negotiating a deal for benefits like oil changes and other maintenance services.

 

Tailgating 101: How to Get Your Car Ready

Football season is back with a bang and that means spending time with family and most importantly, cheering on your favorite team and tailgating with other fans!

There are a few crucial necessities to tailgating, but equipping your car is something not everyone thinks about.  But think about it: Everyone crams their cars into a parking lot and parties and celebrates. That doesn’t always bode well for your vehicle.  Keeping a few things on hand will give you peace of mind and help keep your car looking pristine (no matter how rowdy that game of Flip Cup gets!)

Creating the Perfect Tailgate

Plan Ahead

Before you pack up the car, check the weather conditions and know what to expect.  Rain will make tailgating messier, so bringing a pop-up tent will keep everyone dry.  Also throwing in some extra ponchos and umbrellas can keep your grill master dry. Plan a menu a few days in advance so you can properly prepare and pack your food in the proper food-safe storage containers. This will keep your tailgating area cleaner and more organized once the party gets started.  

Tip: Using reusable plastic Gladware is perfect for tailgating because they stack well and come in lots of sizes.

Food Sanitation

While you are outside in all types of weather during football season, it’s important to keep your food properly stored to prevent it from spoiling. A high-quality cooler like Yeti or Orca can be pricey, but the investment is worth it. They can keep food cold for much longer than a soft-sided cooler bag or lower quality cooler.  Make sure you have some extra plastic storage containers or storage bags to help with clean up – especially your grilling utensils. They will be greasy and dirty, so keep your other things clean by putting them in a separate bag.  Check the National Fire Protection Association for more grilling safety tips.

Have plenty of hand sanitizer and paper towels on hand for easy clean up and to keep your hands germ-free (You’ll want to wash your hands before you eat!).  Paper towels clean up germs better than cloth towels after handling raw or undercooked foods at the grill. Be sure to pack a few extra trash bags to keep your area clean.  Throw away one bag of trash before the game and do some extra clean up around your area after the game before you head home.

Appointing a D.D.

What’s associated more with tailgating than throwing back a cold one (or two) before the game? Nothing! But before you go to the game, be sure to designate a driver to ensure everyone’s safety during and after the tailgate festivities.  Getting to your car after the game can be a hassle and dealing with traffic as you leave a tailgating parking lot can be very stressful, so having someone that hasn’t had any libations during the game will give everyone peace of mind.

Your Tailgating Kit

Keeping some tailgating essentials in your vehicle will make game day a little easier. Folding chairs, an extra blanket for when the weather gets cold, and some paper plates and utensils keep easily in your trunk and are things that you may forget while you are busy getting your food and drinks prepared for the day.  

A tailgate wouldn’t be complete without a grill, and fortunately there are lots of tailgating-friendly grill options that are compact enough to store in the back of your vehicle.  

 

 

Keeping Your Car Clean and Safe

After the game and you get back to your vehicle, walk around your tailgating area and clean up any trash, beer cans and/or bottles that could potentially damage your vehicle if you run them over.  Keeping a pack of sanitation wipes in your car are good to wipe your shoes off before getting in the car to prevent mud and dirt from getting inside. Pair this with rubber floor mats with deep grooves to contain dirt and mud.  Having some ArmorAll Clean Up Wipes in your car will carefully and gently remove any dirt or mud or grime that may get on or inside your vehicle – a quick “spot clean” can help maintain your car’s appearance.

 

What’s New: Cars to Look for in 2019

As we enter the cooler months, there’s a lot of excitement about the new models and cars that are appearing, and reappearing, in 2019.  Manufacturers are bringing models back from the dead, redesigning crowd favorites, and adding new models for consumers to enjoy.

The largest market in 2019 is following trend and there will be many new crossovers and SUVs that are introduced to the industry. The Acura RDX is being redesigned and the Subaru Outback is getting a big sister. Families who have outgrown the 2-row Outback will now have the option for a 3-row Ascent SUV.

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Truck buyer will have their pick of the litter. After 8 years of retirement, the compact Ford Ranger reappears and newly redesigned models of the the ever-popular Chevy Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, and GMC Sierra 1500 are hitting the scene.  

Regardless of your preferences, 2019 will be the year of ample choices. With fast-moving technology and invention, these makes and models are eons beyond their predecessors.  

New (and Improved) Cars for 2019

2019 Chevy Silverado –

The newly redesigned Chevy Silverado was created with 1 goal in mind: to give the Ford F-150 a run for its money.  This new model offers class-leading cargo volume, weighs 450 pounds less than the previous model, and offers your choice of 6 different engine options.  

2019 Infiniti QX50 –

The all-new QX50’s cabin is driver-centric, but offers passengers the same level of comfortability.  This model offers top-notch interior materials, a variety of convenience and safety features, and unparalleled interior space.

2019 Ford Ranger –

After being discontinued in 2011, the Ranger is back by popular demand.  The Ranger has a high-strength steel frame, 2.3 Liter EcoBoost engine, and 10-speed automatic transmission.  

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2019 BMW 3-Series –

A complete redesign, the BMW 3-Series constantly ranks for top luxury small sedan.  Not much has been confirmed regarding the redesign, but consumers can rest assured that multiple turbocharged engine options will be available.  A 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder engine will be standard in base models, but the M340i trim (or equivalent) can expect to have a 3.0 Liter 6-cylinder engine.  

2019 Cadillac XT4 –

In 2017, Cadillac introduced the XT5 – a midsize luxury SUV. For 2019, they are introducing it’s little sister – a small luxury subcompact SUV named the XT4.  Consumers will have their choice of 3 trim options – Premium Luxury, Luxury, and Sport. 4G connectivity, as well as an 8-inch infotainment console come standard. The XT4 standard engine will have a 237-horsepower inline-four and is expected to get approximately 30 mpg on the highway.

Why August is the Best Time for Car Buying

Traditionally, when you ask someone when they the best time to buy a car is, they’ll tell you December. It’s common that automakers will offer end-of-year deals and incentives to boost sales for the final quarter.  But what is less known is that there are also incentives to purchasing a vehicle in August.

Historically, August has shown to have the lowest transaction price of the year (a 2.4% decrease versus the average).  The end of summer is when dealers are trying to clear out their aging inventory to make room for new inventory. With such a large volume of vehicles passing through car lots and showrooms, dealers can offer a great flexibility in price in August.  

Back-to-School Car Buying

For growing families, back-to-school time means carpool, soccer practice, and hauling kids around to after-school activities.  As kids get older and bigger, it only makes sense to invest into a larger vehicle that will fit a growing family.

Other families may decide that back-to-school time is a good time of year to buy a safe, reliable car for the new driver in their family or to a child who just got their learner’s permit.  Families may also decide that their new graduate needs a vehicle before heading off to college, so cars with good fuel efficiency, bluetooth capabilities, and navigation are in high demand.  

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Regardless of the situation, August is a peak time for families who are looking to buy cars. Automakers and dealerships can be motivated by the year end change to move their existing inventory.  

Model Year End Car Buying

With the new year inventory starting in October, many dealerships clear out their older models to make room for their new year models.  So in order to make room, they want to offer great deals to customers. Buying a car in August will allow you to take advantage of the specials that dealerships are running while there is still a good amount of current-year models available.  

SUV Deals

Families and buyers interested in SUVs are in luck if they purchase in August. On average, SUV prices are lower than any other month of the year.  Customers who have been holding out for better pricing will see the best options and availability for savings during this time.

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August offers historically high buyer incentives, great discounts, and larger prices drops than other months. Also keep in mind that purchasing a vehicle in the beginning of the month can result in a 1.3% decrease in price or an average of $390 in savings, compared to the rest of the month.  If you find a dealership that is open on Sundays – go then! The largest decrease in average transaction price occurs on Sundays – averaging 4.6% or $1,402 in savings.

Happy Car Buying!

Hydrogen: The Fuel of the Future?

Although hydrogen-powered cars were introduced in the 1990s, the conversation was sidelined after Elon Musk and Tesla Inc. dismissed hydrogen as a viable fuel source, calling it, “mind-boggingly stupid.”

That didn’t stop 2 French engineers from automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen. They developed a blueprint that combined two tried-and-true technologies: a gasoline engine and hydraulics.  In 2010, the pair formed the Hybrid Air Program. The powertrain used a hydraulic pump and a piston to compress nitrogen in a tank called the high-pressure accumulator. Pressing on the accelerator released the pressurized gas which then moves hydraulic fluid through the same pump in reverse. The pump acts as a motor to power the wheels.

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Hydrogen is either the fuel of the future, or a technological bust.

A survey conducted by KPMG found that most senior automotive industry executives believe that battery-powered cars will fail in the long run – which means hydrogen fuel-cell cars will make their big debut and breakthrough for electric mobility.

Almost 1,000 of the executives that were polled said hydrogen cars will prevail. Cars that emit only water will rise above battery cars because their tanks can be filled in minutes as opposed to a charge time of 25-45 minutes.  

Toyota Takes on Hydrogen

Luckily for Toyota, they stood firm in their belief that hydrogen was the future.  Over the past few decades, they’ve spent their time developing mass-market hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Toyota is even willing to bet that hydrogen will triumph over batteries.

In fact, in 2012, the then R&D chief, Takeshi Uchiyamada criticized EVs saying that the cars “do not meet society’s needs,” referring to the short driving range and long charging time. Since FCEVs refuel in just minutes and have similar ranges to gas-powered cars, Toyota is relying on them to be the future.

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In 2015, Toyota launched the Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). This polymer electrolyte  fuel cell vehicle outputs 114kW of energy and the hydrogen tank can hold up to 11 lb. (when completely filled). A full tank in the Mirai can travel up to 310 miles.  Handling like a Toyota Camry, this car is basically a conservative family car. And as long as you are not expecting a rapid, sports-car-like acceleration, the Mirai delivers a rather elegant ride.

World Recognition for Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

There have been massive investments for hydrogen fuel-cell cars, from all over the world, with Japan and California being the top 2 areas of interest. Japan is vying for fuel-cell cars and buses to transport athletes during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and California just recently spent $100 million on building fueling stations.  Because there is a hydrogen infrastructure in limited areas, the Mirai has only been sold 5,500 units globally. Primarily in California, Japan, and Europe.

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In 2016, a ride-sharing service called BeeZero made Munich the first city to offer this service that was comprised of only fuel-cell-powered hatchbacks. However, it was expensive to maintain due to the lack of fueling stations in the area and being outnumbered by other green ride-sharing services like BMW-owned DriveNow, which is comprised of battery- and fuel-powered rental cars.

Although you can purchase these cars (at a steep price), Toyota has sought-out high-profile operators to lease, like the German-based transportation company, CleverShuttle, which currently owns a fleet of 80 Mirais across 4 cities, as well as London’s Metropolitan Police, which has 11 cars they used for both marked and unmarked pursuit vehicles. The focus on leasing to companies instead of individuals is simply a way to generate interest and encourage energy companies to add hydrogen pumps to their filling stations. A car sitting in someone’s garage won’t do either of those things.

With hydrogen fuel-cells being “mature” enough, Nikola Motors is working with NEL Hydrogen’s Lars Jacobsen, on developing and building hydrogen trucks – a $9 billion deal that was secured with Anheuser-Busch.  These trucks are projected to travel up to 1200 miles on a single tank of hydrogen and could hopefully open doors for more consumer-based vehicles.

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High Cost for Emission-Free World

Because huge investments have been made in lithium-ion battery technology, the prices of electric vehicles are being significantly lowered. The BMW i3 retails for approximately $46,200 while the comparable Hyundai ix35 retails for approximately $80,600. Combine that with the limited availability of fuel-cell filling stations and how tricky it is to extract hydrogen from other elements and plug-in battery-powered cars are seemingly much more practical.

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The Hydrogen Council is urging governments to invest. Fuel-cells can store energy more efficiently than fossil fuels – which means they can power machinery, generate electricity, and heat buildings.  The initial investment is extremely high, but for long-term use, the cost will be justified according to forecasts, reaching 26% of automobile sales by 2050.

The Air Isn’t Always Cleaner

Like everything, there’s always a downside. Both hydrogen and batteries carry environmental costs to the point that neither can be called completely green.  The manufacturing process of batteries means they’re almost as bad for the environment as gas-powered cars. Only once they hit the road do the improvements begin.  

As for hydrogen, the majority of hydrogen is not created using renewable sources, but rather, is being mass-produced with steam-methane reforming. What this means is that hydrogen is being produced, but so is a large amount of carbon monoxide.  Not only that, but during the process, it’s possible for methane to leak and it is 100 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide.

This problem is being addressed, but because it is a new source of energy, it takes time to narrow in on one solution that works. Denmark’s BioCat Project is working to use a biological process to turn carbon dioxide and hydrogen into a synthetic natural gas to use in power stations, and while it’s still emissions-heavy, it used renewable energy sources.

Any solution that doesn’t involve burning fossil-fuels is a step in the right direction.