Toyota & Scion offer Extended Free Service Maintenance on New Cars

FRrom AutoRemarketing – Toyota provided a strong selling point for its dealers this week, making standard maintenance plans for all new Scion and Toyota brand vehicles a free, permanent selling point. 

 

As well the complimentary normal factory-scheduled maintenance, included in the Toyota Care and Scion Service Boost plans is free 24-hour roadside assistance.

These services are provided for whatever the vehicle reaches first: two years or 25,000 miles.

Looking at the specifics, owners will be provided complimentary oil and filter changes, tire rotations, lubricating key chassis parts/components and a 19-point inspection. Moreover, the 24-roadside assistance includes things like protection from lockout and changing flat tires as well as providing towing and jump-start services, all of which are complimentary, as well.

The impetus for Toyota Care and Scion Service Boost was some positive feedback Toyota received after it started providing complimentary maintenance plans under its seasonal sales program this spring.

Almost three-fourths (73 percent) of those customers found that their confidence in the automaker was lifted.

“The two complimentary maintenance plans were developed to help improve overall cost of ownership and provide invaluable peace of mind for our customers,” said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division. “The new programs were inspired by owner feedback and once again reflect how Toyota

New Government Auto Crash Standards

Automakers have made safety a top priority for every car and truck.  Today, with the implementation of new, innovative technologies that enhance passenger safety, new cars and light trucks coming on the market have more safety features and functional design improvements than ever before. See video for more http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041440/vp/39515009#39515009

This week, the US Department of Transportation is announcing some changes to its 5-Star Safety Rating System for new cars and light trucks. This ratings system reflects how new autos and light trucks perform in government crash tests, and gives consumers an important way to compare different models.  These latest changes to the star program include new, more rigorous front and side tests, as well as new, more stringent standards that will affect how the vehicles are rated.  The new rating system will start with model year 2011, but not all the changes will be immediately obvious to car shoppers this fall.  

To help consumers understand how the new ratings system works, the Auto Alliance has launched a new web site – www.newstarsoncars.com – to supplement the federal government’s web site, www.safercar.gov.  Both sites are aimed at helping car buyers use the new safety ratings effectively and appreciate how the program differs from earlier model years as it is being phased in.

For example, it is especially important for shoppers to know they can’t compare Model Year 2011 vehicles with Model Year 2010, and earlier, vehicles since they’ve undergone different tests.  Also, consumers can expect that the tougher tests will mean that many vehicles’ scores will go down – even when there have been no changes to the vehicle.  Because the program is just rolling out, some 2011 cars and light trucks may be labeled “not rated” or “to be rated.”   

 

When evaluating how a new car performed on the new tests and scored in the new rating system, consumer must be aware of how the test scores match up between models.  For example, frontal test results can only be compared between models in the same weight class (within 250 lbs), yet the frontal test results affect a vehicle’s overall rating score.  Thus, car shoppers must be aware of these nuances to ensure they are comparing “apples to apples” as they evaluate scores between models. 'Female' crash test dummies have been added for the first time…. yes, women do drive cars and understanding women's safety in a vehicle is paramount.

The Alliance, representing 12 car and light truck manufacturers, is aiming to help new car buyers make sense of these changes with an easy-to-understand web site that explains the new stars system in the context of the previous system.  The web site is optimized for smart phones, enabling car shoppers to access the site easily on the showroom floor.  

The new star ratings will reflect those advances and, when fully rolled out into the market, will give car buyers even more confidence in their purchase decisions.

For more information on changes to the US DOT “5-Star Rating System” go to www.newstarsoncars.com or to the government site, www.safercar.gov.

CRUZEn in the USA

CRUZn in the USA?

Well, maybe it was "ROCKn in the USA" by Mellencamp. Perhaps ROCKn was a momentary name consideration that Chevrolet's Marketing Team looked at, but they went with CRUZE instead. Maybe there was a legal issue with ROCKn or maybe I am just working too hard on coming up with a catchy title.

That being said, there is nothing 'catchy' or gimmicky about Chevrolet's new 2011 Cruze. They studied the competitve landscape purveying the Corolla from Toyota and Honda's Civic, and frankly, designed and engineered a superior mid-sized compact. With styling, design points, safety, comfort, handling and connectivity taken into consideration, it leaves little room for imagination when driving this car visa vi the other brands.

Will be doing a formal Women-Drivers.com HIS and HER Car Review shortly on this car, so will hold on all its' bragging points, but this 138 horsepower six speed engine, is quiet and serene on the hilly Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes on my 100 miles trek driving it. I wasn't sure about the ponies, but the Cruze cruzed and handled the cruves with aplomb and ease.

StabilityTrack Electronic Stability Control, Disc brakes, 10 standard airbags, On Star (6 mo.), BlueTooth, Navigation system (6 months), XM Radio (3 months) and so much more. Starting at $16,250 and topping off at $24K, this car is backed by an unprecedented 100,000 mile/5 year Powertrain Warranty. Mileage? 24 city and 38 (or higher) highway. And, made in the USA.

Go to the oldest Chevrolet dealer in the USA Colussy Chevrolet or, locate the Cruze at any other of the 3,000+ Chevrolet dealers now. Ladies, they are so confident about this vehicle, most dealers will have the Honda and Toyota models on their lot so you can save time, and test drive those. Bold? Agressive? Confident? I think so. After driving the Cruze today, I get why. It is in the category "Best Buy".

 Drive Your Bargain,

Anne

Ford looks at Purchase Preference by Region

From AutoRemarketing:

Ford’s annual look at U.S. vehicle-buying preferences revealed favorites are sometimes connected to local sports teams and weather conditions, but some surprising trends still came to light.
 
For example, Ford indicated it sold the most red-colored vehicles in Cincinnati — home of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team — and the most units with molten orange paint in Phoenix — home of the Phoenix Suns basketball squad.
 
However, the automaker also learned buyers in rainy, cool Seattle had the highest frequency of Ford vehicles equipped with moonroofs and air-conditioned seats.
 
“New-car buyers are not all the same, and they can surprise you,” said Brad Munn, Ford’s cross-vehicle product strategy manager.
 
“It’s important that we know what people are buying from coast to coast to make sure we are matching the right vehicles with regional consumer tastes,” Munn added.
 
Ford’s study found that because the cities of San Francisco and Seattle are known for environmentally conscious consumers, they ranked as the top two in hybrid sales. Next were Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix.
 
As the popularity of moonroofs in Seattle shows, Ford emphasized its data can turn up unexpected trends. Another case was residents in some large cities having an affinity for the traditional stick shift. Executives believe it defies the popular perception that only rural owners like to shift their own transmission.
 
Ford’s top five manual transmission markets include Minneapolis, Phoenix and Boston.
 
Moving on to more discussion about vehicle color, Ford mentioned that muted colors, including gray and silver, are most popular in large cities on the coasts, with California and the Pacific Northwest showing a particular affinity for gray cars.
 
The automaker said red is popular in the Midwest, regardless of bodystyle or vehicle type. And the East is distinctly green, with Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and New York rounding out the top five in that color.
 
“Car and truck owners throughout the country often try to convey different messages about themselves to the world,” explained Susan Swek, Ford’s group chief designer, color and materials design.
 
“Color choice is a powerful way to do that,” Swek added.
 
Turning next to technological features, Ford thinks it’s not surprising San Francisco and Los Angeles ranked as the top two cities were new-vehicle sales included navigation systems.
 
The automaker determined New York led the way in purchasers opting for rear seat DVD players, followed by Los Angeles and Dallas.
 
Ford also learned the top markets for tow packages include the perennial pickup truck capitals of the country — Dallas and Houston.
 
The automaker said towing is also a priority for residents of Memphis, Kansas City and Atlanta. Executives believe these areas likely reflect the presence of businesses that require towing capability and residents interested in getting out of town with either a boat or a travel trailer hitched to their truck.
 
“Not surprisingly, the peak cities for towing packages closely parallel the top markets for Ford F-Series trucks,” noted Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group marketing manager.
 
“About 95 percent of our Super Duty customers tow,” Scott added.
 
Another vehicle feature in which Seattle buyers led the way was for Ford’s rear-view camera and blind spot information system.
 
Ford also added that Seattle also only trailed San Francisco in use of active park assist, a system that offers drivers hands-free parallel parking.
 
Thanks to extensive sales analysis along with feedback from customers and dealers, Ford stressed that it has been able to optimize its model mix and meet customer needs.
 
“Ford focuses its efforts on delivering the right option combinations for its customers, and everyone reaps the benefits,” Munn declared.
 
Ford Vehicle Preferences Study
 
Posted below are the top five markets for various Ford colors, powertrain and feature options by percentage in 22 major U.S. metropolitan areas:
 
Exterior colors
 
Black
1. Boston
2. Detroit
3. New York
4. Miami
5. Chicago
 
Blue
1. Washington, D.C.
2. Pittsburgh
3. Seattle
4. Chicago
5. Detroit
 
Gold
1. Miami
2. Memphis
3. Orlando
4. Phoenix
5. Houston
 
Gray
1. Los Angeles
2. San Francisco
3. New York
4. Seattle
5. Philadelphia
 
Green
1. Boston
2. Philadelphia
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Pittsburgh
5. New York
 
Orange
1. Phoenix
2. Los Angeles
3. Miami
4. Denver
5. Seattle
 
Red
1. Cincinnati
2. Kansas City
3. Minneapolis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
 
Silver
1. Los Angeles
2. Phoenix
3. San Francisco
4. Orlando
5. Boston
 
White
1. San Francisco
2. Memphis
3. Los Angeles
4. Phoenix
5. Dallas
 
Powertrains
 
Diesel
1. Atlanta
2. Denver
3. Houston
4. Phoenix
5. Los Angeles
 
Hybrid
1. San Francisco
2. Seattle
3. Los Angeles
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Phoenix
 
Manual Transmission
1. Seattle
2. Minneapolis
3. Denver
4. Phoenix
5. Boston
 
Four Cylinder
1. Pittsburgh
2. San Francisco
3. Detroit
4. Boston
5. Denver
 
Six Cylinder
1. Los Angeles
2. Atlanta
3. Philadelphia
4. Memphis
5. Charlotte
 
Eigth Cylinder
1. Orlando
2. Memphis
3. Charlotte
4. Houston
5. Seattle
 
Available Features
 
Moonroof
1. Seattle
2. New York
3. San Francisco
4. Atlanta
5. Los Angeles
 
Air-conditioned Seats
1. Seattle
2. Denver
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. Washington, D.C.
 
Heated Seats
1. San Francisco
2. Atlanta
3. Charlotte
4. Seattle
5. Denver
 
Towing Package
1. Dallas
2. Houston
3. Memphis
4. Kansas City
5. Atlanta
 
Navigation System
1. San Francisco
2. Los Angeles
3. Seattle
4. Denver
5. Boston
 
Rear-seat DVD Systems
1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Dallas
4. Chicago
5. Atlanta
 
Active-Park Assist
1. San Francisco
2. Seattle
3. Denver
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Los Angeles
 
Rear-view Camera
1. Seattle
2. San Francisco
3. Kansas City
4. Los Angeles
5. Denver
 
Blind Spot Information System
1. Seattle
2. San Francisco
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Los Angeles
5. Denver

Los Angeles
5. Denver
 
Blind Spot Information System
1. Seattle
2. San Francisco
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Los Angeles
5. Denver

Hybrid Savings Don’t Offest Higher price Premiums

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Though widely held notions may suggest otherwise, stronger resale values and lower fuel expenses in hybrids are typically not enough to make their ownership costs less expensive than traditional gas-powered models, according to a recent study from CarGurus.

In fact, the site analyzed 45 hybrid cars and found that a typical hybrid's ownership cost is 25 percent higher than a comparable gas-powered model.

Take MSRP, for instance, which CarGurus said was, on average, close to $6,400 heavier for hybrids.

"But the popular idea that hybrids actually cost less to own and drive via higher resale values and reduced gas expenses proved false in 76 percent of the cases examined," officials shared.

Moreover, most of the time, the heavier price tag on a hybrid was stronger than fuel-cost savings.

Langley Steinert, chief executive officer and founder of CarGurus, noted: "Hybrid cars really only make sense for consumers if the total cost of ownership — including the initial cost to purchase and the better gas mileage — outweigh that of a gas only equivalent vehicle.

"Unfortunately, the vast majority of the hybrids we analyzed don't fit this criteria. Consumers need to be careful not to overpay for a hybrid in the form of higher MSRP pricing," Steinert continued. "Otherwise, that upfront investment at the time of purchasing the car won't be recouped during the time of ownership even given the improved gas mileage of a hybrid."

CarGurus advised shoppers who are interested in hybrids to steer clear of models with high MSRP premiums and go for the ones that aren't significantly more expensive when it comes to purchase price.

"In this regard, some of the worst buys are hybrid trucks, namely the Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid and the GMC Yukon hybrid, which have MSRP premiums over their non-hybrid counterparts of over $10,000," the site shared.

Also, CarGurus encouraged buyers to go after hybrids whose gas-mileage advantage over these gas-powered versions is significant.

The company dubbed the Ford Escape and Fusion hybrids as "good investments" as far as gas-mileage improvement is concerned.  

"In both cases, these cars benefit from a low MSRP price premium and substantial gas mileage improvements (of up to 50 percent higher) over their gas-only counterparts. In both cases these cars have a lower cost of ownership than their gas-only equivalent models," officials noted.

2010 Pa. Governor’s Conference for Women

Pittsburgh – The Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women, co-hosted by Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, today announced that American playwright Eve Ensler, astronaut Mae Jemison, author Kelly Corrigan and Citizens Financial Group CEO Ellen Alemany will be part of the 2010 keynote lineup.

The Seventh Annual Conference is set for Oct. 14 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. “The Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women continues to be the state’spremier leadership forum for women across the state,” said Governor Rendell. “This year’s theme – ‘Your Time is Now!’ – captures the Conference’s investment in the future of Pennsylvania by helping provide the opportunity for women to make positives changes in their own lives and communities.”

Ensler is a playwright, performer and activist. She is the award-winning author of “The Vagina Monologues,” which has been published in 45 languages and performed in more than 130 countries. She is also the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised $70 million and educated millions through art and activism. Ensler's latest book, “I Am An Emotional Creature,” was released in February 2010. She will direct the film adaptation of her play, “Necessary Targets,” in 2010.

Jemison launched into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992, as the world's first woman of color to go to space. The founder and president of two technology companies, she also founded and chairs The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which hosts an annual international science camp. Prior to joining NASA in 1987, Jemison worked in the fields of engineering and medicine. She was a general practitioner in Los Angeles with the INA/Ross Loos Medical Group. She also served as a Peace Corps medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa in 1980s.

Corrigan is an accomplished author and columnist. Her book “The Middle Place” spent six months on The New York Times bestseller list and her columns have appeared in Glamour and Good Housekeeping. She is now a contributor to O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. Corrigan is also the founder of CircusOfCancer.org, a website dedicated to helping friends and family of cancer patients cope and learn how to help and support patients.

Alemany is chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Americas, the North and South American operations and subsidiaries of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc. Recognized by Forbes Magazine and U.S. Banker Magazine as one of the most powerful women in banking, Alemany is the first district representative on the Federal Advisory Council, directly consulting with and advising the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. She is a member of the boards of directors of The Financial Services Roundtable and The Clearing House Payments Company.

This year, the conference will once again partner with Women For Hire to host a career fair for attendees. Led by Women For Hire CEO Tory Johnson, who is also workplace contributor on ABC's “Good Morning America,” the career fair features resume critiquing and the “Mentor Match” program, helping attendees to strengthen skills and advance in their careers.

UPMC Health Plan and Citizens Bank will serve as co-presenting sponsors of Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women.

“As a co-presenting sponsor, UPMC Health Plan is proud to partner with Citizens Bank and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women to offer the women of the commonwealth this exceptional line-up of presenters not often found in events open to the public,” said Diane P. Holder, President and CEO of UPMC Health Plan. “We encourage women to seize this extraordinary opportunity for selfdevelopment.”

“Citizens Bank is honored to serve as co-presenting sponsor of such a comprehensive symposium,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Citizens Bank in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “The keynote speakers – including Citizens Financial Group’s Chairman and CEO Ellen Alemany – will make this signature event both inspirational and informative.”

The conference will feature dozens of experts leading seminars on the issues that matter most to women, such as professional development, business and entrepreneurship, health and work/life balance. To register or learn more about the seventh annual Pennsylvania Governor’s

Conference for Women, visit www.pagovernorsconferenceforwomen.org.