Filed under: Car Buying , Audi , Buick , Honda , Kia , Lincoln , Mazda , Porsche , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Ownership The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year’s list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year’s list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean. Acura isn’t the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC , which declines 10 positions to 19th. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker’s reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports , complaints about “in-car electronics” were the most grumbled about element in new cars.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Buick , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , GM , Lexus , Toyota The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists. Why has Toyota applied to trademark ” Supra ,” the name of one of its legendary sports cars, even though it hasn’t sold one in the United States in 16 years? Why would General Motors continue to register ” Chevelle ” long after one of the most famous American muscle cars hit the end of the road? And what could Chrysler possibly do with the rights to “313,” the area code for Detroit ? There are a lot of possible answers to these questions, since automakers apply for trademarks for a variety of reasons. While a filing can be the first sign of a new model – or the return of an old favorite – moving to secure a trademark can just as easily be a smoke signal. Frequently, it’s just a routine legal procedure to maintain rights to a famous name so it can be used on t-shirts and coffee mugs. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists. Though there’s strong circumstantial evidence Toyota may in fact be working on a Supra-successor, for now the name is simply a filing that’s weaving its way through the federal bureaucracy. Toyota has let the Supra trademark lapse in the past before reapplying for it.
Filed under: Etc. , BMW , Buick , Chrysler , Ford , Honda , Lexus , Mercedes-Benz , Mini , Porsche , Toyota The sixth edition of the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards have crowned a wide range of winners – in a couple of cases the recipient of the laurels might say more about KBB users than they do about the actual winner. Compiled from the responses of more than 12,000 shoppers on KBB.com over the past year, there are 13 categories broken into non-luxury, luxury and truck segments “representing the combined wisdom of the American car-buying public.” The award categories have been revamped this year , with some dropping off, some new ones appearing and at least one other given a new term. What isn’t surprising is that Honda won Most Trusted Brand for the second year running, Best Value Brand for the third year in a row and took Best Overall Brand, which wasn’t on last year’s list of awards. On our own shores, in the non-luxury categories Chrysler got Most Refined Brand and Buick took Best Value Luxury Brand. Neither one of those marques won anything in last year’s Brand Image Awards, while Cadillac , which won Best Interior Design Brand and Best Comfort Brand last year – those awards disappeared this year – went home without a single accolade. Winners that made us go “Hmmm…” are Toyota for Best Overall Truck Brand and Mini for Best Performance Brand in the non-luxury segment. Last year’s truck award was for the Most Rugged Truck Brand and was won by Ford ; the switch to “overall” takes things in a completely different direction for KBB users, it seems. And Mini dominating non-luxury performance is something we’d like to hold some focus groups to find out more about. Check out the press release below for all the winners and the details.
Filed under: China , Japan , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GM , Honda , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen The unrest in China may have positive consequences for automakers like Volkswagen and General Motors , according to Automotive News . As protesters continue their streak of violence, many owners of Japanese vehicles are leaving them home for fear of damage. Protesters have vandalized Japanese businesses and those that sell Japanese goods, including car dealerships, as well personal property. Reports indicate some owners are swapping their Toyota badges for those of Chinese automaker BYD in hopes of fooling vandalism-minded mobs. Nissan , Toyota and Honda have all reported attacks on their dealerships, and China’s Passenger Car Association has predicted Japanese automakers may lose their market lead to those based in the U.S. and Germany. General Motors sold a total of 1.84 million vehicles in China under a total of three brand names, while Volkswagen moved 1.49 million units this year. By comparison, Nissan has sold just 485,000 vehicles. The protests mark the 81st anniversary of the Manchurian Incident, which saw Japanese forces invade China. General Motors and Volkswagen may benefit from anti-Japan protests in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Sep 2012 11:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Car Buying , Etc. , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , Hyundai , Toyota The stereotype of elderly drivers preferring Lincolns and Buicks has to come from somewhere. TrueCar.com took a look at the past two years of car sales to buyers at least 65 years old and found a couple common threads. The first thing these buyers are looking for is familiarity. The nameplates and vehicle types that were popular when these buyers were younger rank high with senior buyers, kind of the same way people’s musical preferences get frozen in time. Value is also a big attractor for the senior dollar, a consideration for buyers nearing the end of their careers or already on fixed incomes. The brand names on the list may not surprise anyone, though the Cadillac and Buick brands high scores show that those divisions’ push for a younger average buyer age hasn’t put off longstanding customers. In fact, there are some models that owe their continued existence to this older demographic. So which cars are they? Hit the gallery and find out.