"Should I buy an Audi Q7 or an Acura MDX?"
"Should I buy an Audi Q7 or an Acura MDX?"
We'd like to think most auto executives drove to work this morning listening to The Cars' "Good Times Roll." June and July turned out the best seasonally adjusted auto sales since before the recession. In raw numbers, new-car sales saw the healthiest July since 2007.
The fastest sellers, unsurprisingly, were also some of the strongest. Recent redesigns of the 2014 Acura MDX (July sales up 29.5%), 2014 Lexus IS (sales up 58.6%) and 2014 Subaru Forester (sales up 52.5%) joined the updated 2014 Honda Odyssey (sales up 10.9%) among July's fastest-selling cars.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover topped the list, but the sybaritic SUV was redesigned a year ago. No matter: Each Rover stayed on dealer lots less than a week apiece, and July sales flew 111.3%.
Stranger still, the Audi Q5 has gone without a substantial redesign since it arrived in early 2009, yet it was the third fastest seller on the list — and it's been among the fastest-selling cars for nine of the past 10 months. Its Q7 sibling, meanwhile, has been on the roster for four straight months despite showing up in late 2006.
Joining automakers such as GM and Ford, whose respective infotainment systems — Chevrolet MyLink and MyFord Touch — offer drivers the ability to find the nearest station with the cheapest gas, Audi has added an app to its lineup helping folks find where to fill 'er up frugally. The German automaker announced this week that, beginning in May, members of its A3 family of hatchbacks equipped with Audi connect will have access to Refuelling Stop, a new online service that provides information about where to find the cheapest gas.
According to Audi, the service consults an online database of gas stations and prices and matches the list to the driver's current location or destination. The driver can sort search results by price or distance, and simply click on the station and set it as the navigation destination. The system will even consider the type of fuel required by the A3, which can be premium or diesel depending on the engine.
It appears shoppers clamored more aggressively for incoming 2013s last month. Cars for the 2013 model year averaged just 23 days to sell from the day they hit lots while 2012s averaged 121 days. Combined, the group averaged 73 days to turn. That's a wider gap than October 2011 when 2011 and 2012 cars averaged 15 and 93 days to turn, respectively.
New or redesigned cars topped the month, with the seventh-generation Nissan Sentra and all-new Subaru XV Crosstrek taking just five days each to move. The redesigned Ford Fusion and Honda Accord plus the all-new Ford C-Max Hybrid made this month's movers, as well.
We focused on just 2013 models for October since automakers had a vast majority of 2013 models on sale. October did have one notable redesign in the Loser column: the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, which averaged 92 days on dealer lots. The regular Malibu, meanwhile, took 32 days to sell. That’s better but still below average for 2013s. Is the new Malibu getting lost in the slew of redesigned family cars? Sales fell 6% in October, putting the Malibu behind the Fusion and well in back of the redesigned Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.
Here are October's fastest- and slowest-selling cars:
Cheap gas prices aren't the only thing on drivers' minds this year. U.S. sales of diesel-powered vehicles are on a roll. According to research firm Baum and Associates, sales of diesel vehicles during the first six months of 2012 are up 27.5%.
Through June of this year, 61,214 diesel-powered vehicles have been sold in the U.S., which doesn't look like much, but sales are on a steady climb. U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles increased 22.3% in June, compared with last June. Similarly, they increased 14.4% in May and 28.2% in April compared with those months in 2011.
A spatial audio rendering technique, wave field synthesis essentially creates a sound quality that permeates the cabin of the car — in this case, a prototype Q7. No spot in the car has less sound quality than any other spot.
The speakers are arrayed in the roof pillars, in doors and even in the instrument panel beneath the windshield. The system can even create the illusion of sounds coming from outside the car. In its demonstration, Audi included the sounds of a lion roaring nearby and a helicopter buzzing overhead.
Don’t get excited too quickly, though: There are no plans yet to make the Audi Sound Concept commercially available. The project is mostly about demonstrating what is possible with in-car sound technology (not to mention it’s probably quite expensive). For now, Audi buyers are stuck with the 14 speakers of the Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system.
Audi Sound Concept: One Car, 62 Speakers (Gizmag.com)
It’s that time again: The auto show season is winding down and all the brand-new models have been unveiled, but car companies still have to update existing nameplates. Audi is offering minor tweaks to its Q7 SUV, including a mildly revised front and rear end. The most noticeable change, of course, is the LED running lights encircling the entire headlight design. The rear also gets full LED brake lights.
The interior remains basically the same, with new leather front seats and Audi’s third-generation infotainment system with MMI (multi-media interface). The voice-activation feature for the navigation system is quite interesting. Users just need to say commands, such as “I need gas” or “I’m hungry,” for the computer to find the right points of interest in the vicinity.
Engine choices include the existing 3.6-liter V-6 and 4.2-liter V-8, along with a new TDI option for those looking for a diesel alternative. Audi says its 2010 Q7 TDI will get 25 mpg with a 600-mile range.
The 2010 Q7 goes on sale this fall. A few more images are below.
Audi announced that its 2009 Q7 TDI will start at $51,900. The Q7 TDI has a clean-diesel engine that complies with emissions regulations in all 50 states and gets 17/25 mpg city/highway. That’s a 30% improvement over gasoline engines of a similar size. The Q7 also qualifies for an Alternative Motor Vehicle tax credit of $1,150.
The 2009 Audi Q7 TDI will go on sale later this month.
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