Loan amounts and payments hit all time high!

March 5th, 2015 by Ed Pol

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We all know prices of new cars are not going down so obviously loan amounts are going up, but the thing that hurts is how much. Most of us need a car to get back and forth to work. I’m not saying that we need a new car but sometimes there is no other option and some deals are to hard to pass up.

The average amount financed for a new vehicle is $28,381 and that was a record setter for the fourth quarter of 2014. This was an increase of $950 from the year earlier quarter and a rise of $582. The rise in transaction prices parallels that in amount financed. In December light vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367, making December the highest month on record for average transaction prices.

Experian’s data showed that the average new vehicle payment also hit a record in the fourth quarter, reaching $482, up from $471 in the year-earlier period. The average used-vehicle loan rose to $18,411 in the fourth quarter but this was not a record setter.

With these loans and payments hitting all time highs I have to wonder how most average people can afford a new car. Most baseline smaller cars are in the $20,000 range but once you start getting to your four wheel drive crossover/SUV territory prices start to sky rocket. Up here in New England it is almost needed to have an all wheel or 4 wheel drive car, especially this winter.

Nissan 370Z Sets Twin Drift World Record

December 18th, 2014 by Ed Pol

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Nissan has announced that its Nissan Middle East branch has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest nonstop twin vehicle drift. Prior to the attempt the record committee set the minimum distance required with was 15.5 miles. The record was easily beaten by two drivers that drifted modified Nissan Z coupes around a wet track for a nonstop run at 17.7 miles.

This was a great record to set at the beginning of Nissans 370Z Drift Experience event as the program was launched by Nissan Middle East and the Prodrift Academy in an effort to teach anyone how to drift masterfully. Dubai was a great place to do this because the drifting in the area is very popular with some events bringing in at least 15,000 attendees.

This year the 370Z is getting a much needed price drop which will not start at $30,800, the Nismo Coupe with run $42,800 which is a good price for an entry level sports coupe.

You can watch the video below of the pair of 370Zs making its way into the Guinness World Records.

Iconic Movie Cars – Goldfinger – 1964 Aston Martin DB5

August 15th, 2014 by Ed Pol

Goldfinger (1964) Quad

Shaken, not stirred is a very famous quote from the driver of this weeks iconic movie car! In the movie Goldfinger from 1964 James Bond drove an Aston Martin DB5 which became an iconic movie car throughout the years of James Bond and his popularity among young and old viewers. In the book James Bond drove a DB Mark III but the Aston Martin DB5 was the company’s latest model when filming began.

 

The car used in the film is a prototype to the DB5 and another car was used to film all of the stunts. During the 1964 New York World’s Fair it was dubbed “the most famous car in the world” and during this time with the movie release and with advertising it helped boost car sales. The first DB5 prototype used in the movie was stripped of its weaponry and gadgetry by Aston Martin and then resold. It was then retrofitted by subsequent owners with non-original weaponry. That DB5 was stolen in 1997 from its last owner in Florida and is currently still missing.

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Famous for its array of gadgets, the film’s script initially has the car armed only with a smoke screen. However, the gadgets rapidly increase with ideas from the crew members. The cars gadgets included, machine guns, Tire-Shredding blade, Bullet screen, Radar Scanner and tracking screen, Passenger ejector seat, Oil slick, Smoke screen, Bullet-proof windscreen, Revolving number plates, Rear water cannons, Alpine 7817R which was Bonds communications device. Promotional and unused gadgets were: Caltrop dispenser, Radio telephone, Front and rear extending rams, and a concealed Compartment under the driver’s seat. For the time, the car was awesome and Bond had no problems kicking butt with it!

 

The DB5 was prodAston-Martin-DB5-Goldfinger-Thunderball-GoldenEye-Tomorrow-Never-Dies-and-Casino-Royale1uced 1963-1965 and a total of 1,023 were made. It came with a few different body styles of which were a 2-door 2+2 coupe, 2-door Convertible, and a 2-door shooting brake. The car was equipped with a  3,995 cc Tadek Marek inline 6 Motor.  A 4 speed manual with optional Overdrive was one of the three transmissions included with the car, the other two were a ZF 5-Speed all-synchro manual and a Borg Warner DG/Model 8 automatic. The 0-60 mph acceleration was clocked at a sluggish 8s and the Top speed of the car was 143 MPH. The car produced 282 bhp at 5,500 rpm. The DB5 Vantage was introduced in 1964 featuring a three Weber twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft carburetors and revised camshaft profiles delivering greater top end performance. This engine type produced 315 hp and only 65 of these were built.

There is no denying that this is a pretty car and pretty damn iconic being behind the man known as James Bond. I doubt there is a single person alive that if you mention the name James Bond that they wouldn’t know who you were speaking of. I am sadly not a huge James Bond fan but I have always loved the cars that they display in their movies.

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BMW Maintenance plan a no go for 2nd owners

August 13th, 2014 by Ed Pol

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One of the best things a consumer of a new car can buy is the maintenance package programs that dealers offer to their customers. This alleviates the stress of having to pay for oil changes and whatever else the specific maintenance package covers. For obvious reasons it is not free for dealers to implement this program and with rising costs BMW is taking action.

The original person buying or leasing isn’t going to see any difference, but the program is no longer transferable to a second owner, unless that person is in the household. The people in question would include parents, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. All you would have to do is contact BMW to make them aware of the new user. There will be a new program offered to 2nd owners and it will cover the vehicle up to 100,000 miles.

The Press Release is as follows:

The BMW Maintenance Program

For model year 2015 or later vehicles sold or leased by an authorized BMW center on or after July 1, 2014, BMW Maintenance Program coverage is provided for the exclusive benefit of the initial purchaser, owner, or lessee of a new vehicle, sales demonstrator vehicle, Aftersales Mobility Program (AMP) vehicle, or BMW Group company vehicle from an authorized BMW center in the United States (including Puerto Rico). Accordingly, BMW Maintenance Program coverage, with one exception, is not transferable to subsequent purchasers, owners, or lessees. The sole exception to the non-transferability of BMW Maintenance Program coverage is that household transfers – transfers within the United States (including Puerto Rico) to members of the household of the initial purchaser, owner, or lessee of a BMW vehicle from an authorized BMW center – will not terminate BMW Maintenance Program coverage. Household transfers are limited solely to transfers to a current or former spouse or spousal equivalent, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or grandchild from the initial purchaser, owner, or lessee of a vehicle. In the event of a household transfer, purchasers, owners, or lessees of a BMW vehicle should promptly advise their authorized BMW center to document and confirm the household transfer for purposes of BMW Maintenance Program coverage. The payoff of a loan on a vehicle by the initial purchaser and the purchase of a leased vehicle by the initial lessee are not considered transfers for purposes of BMW Maintenance Program coverage.

The BMW Maintenance Program covers all factory recommended maintenance as determined by the Condition Based Service (CBS) system. Additional specific items that need replacement due to normal wear and tear, and that are not covered by the original New Vehicle Limited Warranty – such as brake pads, brake rotors, and wiper blade inserts – are included, provided wear and tear exceeds BMW wear limits. Any applicable adjustments required due to normal operating conditions are also included.

Exclusions from coverage include the following:

Items reimbursable under your New Vehicle Limited Warranty

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Gasoline and diesel fuel additive

Diesel glow plugs

Diesel particulate filter

Windshield washer additive (except when in conjunction with scheduled maintenance)

Tires, wheel alignment, tire balance and rotation

Parking brake shoes/linings

Reset Tire Pressure Monitor

Wear and tear of soft trim items, such as: seats, carpets, moldings, headliner, door panels and all chrome trim

Damage, including consequential, which results from negligence, improper operation of the vehicle, wear and tear or deterioration due to driving habits or conditions, improper repair, environmental influences, flood, accident or fire damage, road salt corrosion, alteration, installation of non-genuine BMW accessories, or use of improper, poor quality or contaminated fuel

Altered or unreadable Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or odometer irregularities or vehicles where the true mileage cannot be determined

Maintenance or repair after the vehicle is deemed a total loss

Maintenance or repairs performed by other than an authorized BMW center within the United States or Puerto Rico

‘Topping off’ low fluids (e.g., engine oil, antifreeze, washer fluid, etc.) except when done in conjunction with a scheduled maintenance or other required maintenance work (as outlined in the customized maintenance checklist printout) that is performed during an applicable Maintenance Program period
Vehicles used in competitive events

Oil changes performed outside the recommended maintenance intervals as indicated by the Condition Based Service

Any other vehicle-specific exclusions described in the Service and Warranty Booklet included with the vehicle

Iconic Movie Cars – The Italian Job – 2003 Mini Cooper

July 25th, 2014 by Ed Pol

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Welcome back everyone to another installment of Iconic Movie cars! Sorry for the bit of the hiatus but we have been quite busy. This week’s movie is The Italian Job (2003) and the 2003 Mini Cooper that was moded to steal quite a bit of gold, actually 3 Mini Coopers were moded in the movie. The movie was about a team of thieves 112_0806_09z+movie_cars+mini_cooper_the_italian_job[1]who plan to steal gold from a former associate who double-crossed them. Most of the film was shot on location in Venice and Los Angeles.

The plot involves your normal betrayal in a movie and the usual “I’m going to get you back” type of story-line. Steve double crosses the group after a gold heist and leaves them for dead. A year later Charlie finds out that Steve is living in L.A. and starts to plot on how to get the money back. The gang devises a plan to get 3 small cars to drive through his house in order to quickly steal the gold. Those cars were the 3 2003 Mini Coopers that were updated with mods to make them quicker and to make them carry the amount of weight that the gold will add to the trunk of the car. With the driving through the house plan falling through, they end up blowing a hole in a busy L.A. street in order to steal the gold from an armored truck and drive the Mini’s through the L.A. subway system.

In 2001 the Mini Cooper was the first model on the new generation of Mini. It was available in a Cooper and Cooper S model. 2003_mini_cooper-1It sported a 1.6L engine that had an option for a supercharger and the S after the cooper is what signified that. The Cooper heritage was further emphasized with the John Cooper Works (JCW) range of tuning options that are available with the Mini. Mini also created a one-off racing model of the Mini Cooper S named the Mini Cooper S Works. This car had many extra features that would help to improve performance, such as a racing exhaust and high performance air filter as well as an upgraded suspension. The car also had one-of-a-kind 17 inch racing wheels.

I have never driven a Mini Cooper before but I know a few people that have own them. One of them being a taller than average person and he would surprise me when he would tell me he had so much room to fit in his car, granted no one would be sitting behind him but he was able to fit in it and be comfortable. These cars do look like a ton of fun to drive and they seem like little go karts zipping around. In the movie they made this car even more desirable by putting Charlize Theron behind the wheel and of course all the upgrades they did to the car and the locations where they were driving it.

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Traveling with your dog this summer

July 24th, 2014 by Dan Tole


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Keeping your dog safe and secure in your car is important whether you’re just going for a quick trip around town or on a cross country summer adventure. An unrestrained dog can become a potential hazard and a serious distraction.

In 2011 AAA and Kurgo conducted an online survey of 1000 dog owners and found that 84 percent of survey takers allowed their dogs to roam freely in the car and 65 percent admitted to being distracted by their dog while driving. So, here are a few tips to keep you and your pup safe this summer:

Don’t put a pet crate on the front seat; airbag deployment could be fatal to your dog in an accident

Don’t leave your dog in your parked car, car temperatures can rise quickly in the heat and heat stroke can happen in minutes

If you’re transporting your pooch in a small pet carrier the best place for it is on the floor between the front and rear seats, if it was designed for use with a seatbelt then go ahead and put it on the backseat restrained with the seatbelt.

Make sure the tag attached to your dog’s collar has your correct information including a cell phone number.

Take a minute to learn of a vet in the area of your destination, also keep a pet first aid kit and health records should there be an emergency.

Before you set out on the road take a few minutes and do a little research on the best way to restrain your dog in your vehicle, there are many choices for harnesses some of which have been crash tested.

Have fun and stay safe on the roads this summer.

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