Filed under: Acura , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , Honda , Lexus , Mercedes-Benz , Scion , Toyota For the first time since 1998, J.D. Power and Associates says its data shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased . The finding is the result of the firm’s much-touted annual Vehicle Dependability Study, which charts incidents of problems in new vehicle purchases over three years from 41,000 respondents. Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, the study found an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (PP100, for short), up 6 percent from 126 PP100 in last year’s study, which covered 2010 model-year vehicles. Disturbingly, the bulk of the increase is being attributed to engine and transmission problems, with a 6 PP100 boost. Interestingly, JDP notes that “the decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with four-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100.” Its findings also noticed that large diesel engines also tended to be more problematic than most five- and six-cylinder engines. Among individual brands, Lexus has taken the prize for most-dependable nameplate for the third year in a row, registering just 68 problems per 100 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz , Cadillac , Acura and Buick rounded out the top of the class with 104, 107, 109 and 112 PP100, respectively. Broken down into specific models, General Motors brands continued their success, winning eight dependability awards for its 2011 models, including prizes for the Chevrolet Volt , Cadillac Escalade and Buick Lucerne . Toyota followed that up with seven prizes split between its Lexus, Toyota and Scion nameplates, while Honda tallied six wins.
Filed under: LA Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Technology , Hatchback , Audi , BMW , Honda , Mazda , Toyota , Diesel The list of finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year has been announced, and in a genuinely bizarre twist, there’s only one hybrid and no electric vehicles among the five contestants, despite the arrival of cars like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S . Taking the place of the EVs are a pair of diesels, repping a technology that last won a Green Car of the Year award in 2009, when the Audi A3 TDI took the title. No diesel was in the running for last year’s award. Naturally, both of the diesel finalists are fielded by the Germans – with BMW’s 328d and Audi’s A6 TDI getting the nod. In the case of the 3 Series , BMW installed a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel, capable of delivering 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, while returning 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Audi and its larger, 3.0-liter, V6 turbodiesel produce quite a bit more grunt, with 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of grunt, but net a very impressive 38 mpg on the highway in the A6 . Finalists for this year’s awards include two diesels, three gas-powered cars and a plug-in hybrid. This year’s awards are a coup for gas-powered vehicles, as well. Both the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 are finalists, with jurors citing the Mazda’s i-ELOOP and Skyactiv technology, which allow the handsome car to net up to 41 mpg. The Corolla, meanwhile, offers a new Eco trim, which can return 42 mpg from its 1.8-liter, naturally aspirated, gas engine.
Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota , Electric The Toyota Prius , the most popular hybrid in the world, was also the most popular plug-in vehicle in U.S. last month. Compared to sales of the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf , which sold 1,462 and 370 units , respectively, the $32,000 Prius Plug-in quietly sold 1,654 copies in April, reports PluginCars. With such strong name recognition and pent-up demand for a Prius with a cord, this shouldn’t really have been a surprise. But it still kind of is. Toyota sold more Prius models in the U.S. last month than ever before in April (March 2012 was the Prius’ best month ever ), even though the number of selling days was short . The four members of the “Prius family” sold a combined 25,168 units, an increase of 126.9 percent compared to April 2011 (which was right after the Japanese tsunami). Overall, Toyota and Lexus sold 32,593 hybrids last month, 30,126 of them wearing the Toyota badge, 2,467 of them the upper-class Lexus models. Last year, Toyota said it expects to sell 16,000-17,000 Prius Plug-in models in 2012 .
Filed under: Car Buying , Budget , Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota Toyota is pretty sure that its expanded Prius family will drive up sales of the world’s best-selling hybrid, and the early sales returns indicate that the company is right, right, right. After the Prius V sold about 8,400 units in the U.S. in the first ten weeks , the smaller, cheaper and more efficient 2012 Toyota Prius C is also getting a lot of attention. Toyota announced today that the C sold 1,201 units in just the first three days it was on sale. That’s enough to make it “one of Toyota’s fastest-selling vehicles,” according to the automaker, which also pointed out that those three days of sales is more than either the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt sold all last month. If anything, those 1,201 sales are not as impressive as the C managed in Japan (where it is badged ‘Aqua’) – Toyota obtained 120,000 orders in the first five days it was on sale , though it isn’t immediately clear how many units have actually been sold. So far, the newly expanded Prius family has sold almost 10,000 units in the U.S. through the first half of March. This certainly points to the Prius franchise doing well in 2012. Last year in the U.S., Toyota sold 136,463 examples of its Prius Liftback (it sold 140,928 in 2010) and expects to sell 220,000 Prius models of all types here this year.