By: Jerry Reynolds
September 22, 2014
Following up on my recent column about using restraint when purchasing a car, I often hear from people who have a car and can no longer afford the payments. Sometimes it is because the person lost his or her job, but more often than not, it is because the person didn’t think through his or her budget very well. I actually hear from people who want to trade their cars to lower their payments $50-$75 per month. Normally this cannot be done because they owe more on their car than its true value.
Often people contact me just before they know it is going to be repossessed, and that mean they are usually two payments behind and another one coming up.… Read more
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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 30 model-year 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicles manufactured March 31, 2014, and Mini Cooper Hardtop cars manufactured between Feb. 2 and May 30, 2014.
The Problem: The airbag inflator may not have been assembled correctly, preventing the airbag from deploying properly in a crash and increasing the risk of an injury.
The Fix: BMW will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will replace the front passenger side airbag for free.
What Owners Should Do: Owners can call BMW at 800-525-7417, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.… Read more
1). Vehicles Affected: More than 150 model-year 2011-12 Mercedes Benz S-Class luxury sedans, including the S550, S550 4matic, S63, S600, S65 AMG and S400 Hybrid, all manufactured between March 3 and July 30, 2011.
The Problem: The tire pressure monitoring system indicators may only illuminate for a portion of the time required by federal standards, and under certain conditions may not re-illuminate immediately after the vehicle is restarted, as required. If all four wheel sensors are simultaneously malfunctioning or missing, the tire pressure monitoring system will provide an initial warning, but the warning will not automatically repeat on subsequent ignition cycles, failing to remind the driver that the system is offline.… Read more
Vehicles Affected: More than 70,000 hybrid crossovers, including model-year 2005-08 Ford Escape hybrids manufactured between Oct. 13, 2003, and June 20, 2008, and 2006-08 Mercury Mariner hybrids manufactured between June 10, 2005, and June 20, 2008.
The Problem: The coolant pump for the hybrid system may fail, resulting in the hybrid electronics overheating; if this happens it may shut down the powertrain, resulting in a stall-like condition and increasing the risk of a crash.
The Fix: Ford will begin notifying owners Oct. 27, and dealers will inspect and replace the original motor electronics coolant pump with an improved, brushless pump for free.… Read more
GM has issued a stop-sale order on about 2,800 new Chevrolet Corvettes, a spokesman for the automaker told The Detroit News. GM spokesman Alan Adler told the newspaper that the Detroit automaker has instructed dealers to halt delivery on about 2,000 2015 Corvettes to repair a problem with the driver-side airbag, and has temporarily stopped shipments of the high-performance sports cars from its Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.
Another 800 Corvettes, most still at dealerships, were also placed on hold because they may have been built with only one of the rear parking brake cables fully seated and engaged. The part must be inspected to ensure the brake is operating on both brake drums, Adler told the newspaper.… Read more
Mercedes-Benz executives confirmed plans to launch 10 new hybrid plug-in models by 2017.
Following the launch event for the S500 plug-in hybrid, Mercedes-Benz development chief Dr. Thomas Weber promised the company is set to maintain an average of one new plug-in hybrid model arriving on the market every four months.
“The S-Class forms the spearhead of a true plug-in hybrid offensive for Mercedes,” he said, as quoted by CarAdvice.
The executive noted that the expanded lineup will include plug-in variants across the C, E, and S-Class car lineup, along with several SUV models.
The plug-in S500 integrates an 8.7 kWh battery pack that provides up to 20 miles of electric range, before the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 kicks in to help out.… Read more
The all-electric 2015 Kia Soul EV aims to be the most city-centric Soul yet with its EPA-estimated electric range of 93 miles. The Soul EV Base trim level starts at $33,700 when it goes on sale later this fall, and a feature-heavy Plus trim starts at $35,700. Prices do not include a destination fee, which hasn’t been announced, though a gasoline-powered Soul’s destination charge is $800.
The four-door Soul EV hatchback qualifies for the federal EV tax credit of $7,500, which is not reflected in the starting price. California markets are first to see the Soul EV on sale, and lease prices are expected to start at $249 per month; term and more details will be available closer to the Soul EV’s launch date.… Read more