Used Luxury-Car Prices Continue Slide in March

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Models from luxury brands accounted for seven of the top 10 used cars with the biggest price drops in March. That's the same number of luxury brands we saw on the list last month. Overall used-car prices held mostly steady in March, down just $6 to an average of $23,243.

Used Luxury-Car Prices Drop Most in February

Luxury brands had the majority of cars on the list, but the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car experienced the biggest price drop. It was down 3.1 percent ($811) to $25,000. This winter has not been kind to used Volt prices, which are down 10.5 percent ($2,922) since Dec. 1, 2013.

By Mike Hanley | March 27, 2014 | Comments (4)

Chevrolet Helps Drivers Pull Fast One With Corvette Data Recorder, 4G Wireless

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Whether your need for speed manifests itself on the track or online, GM is offering two new ways to get a quick fix. This past weekend at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the automaker announced a first-of-its-kind performance data recorder for the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which allows drivers to record video and audio of their hot laps and then use telemetry technology to analyze and improve their times. Meanwhile, the Stingray and a host of other 2015 Chevrolet models will also be available soon with an accelerated data connection to AT&T's high-speed 4G LTE network.

GM developed the performance data recorder with British motorsports-engineering firm Cosworth, and the system will be available on the 2015 Corvette; pricing will be announced later. The PDR's three major components are a high-definition camera mounted in the windshield header to record the driver’s point of view, a self-contained telemetry recorder that uses a GPS receiver to record performance data and a 32-gigabyte memory-card slot in the glove box for recording and transferring video and vehicle data of up to 13 hours.

By Matt Schmitz | January 6, 2014 | Comments (1)

Report: Plug-in Sales Increased 84% in 2013

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In January 2013, Nissan cut the starting price of its Leaf EV by $6,400. Shoppers responded and Leaf sales more than doubled by year's end. For the segment, 2013 sales for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles increased 84 percent, according to Ward's Automotive data reported by the Detroit News.

Shoppers bought more than 96,000 plug-in cars in 2013 — 47,600 EVs and nearly 49,000 plug-in hybrids, the Detroit News reports. Meanwhile, traditional non-plug-in hybrid sales increased by 15.3 percent, reaching nearly 490,000 new-car sales in 2013.

Automakers cut prices on "nearly all" plug-in hybrids and EVs to jump-start low demand, the newspaper said. Still, it didn't work for all players. In August, GM slashed $5,000 off the starting price of its Chevrolet Volt, but sales ended the year down 1.6 percent, which iswell below former GM CEO Dan Akerson's 2011 annual production goal of 60,000 Volts.

By Kelsey Mays | January 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

Study: Most Clueless About Electric Vehicle Subsidies

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Similar to the old "if-a-tree-falls-in-the-woods" question, if government incentives to encourage the purchase of plug-in vehicles are offered, but no one knows about them, do they make a difference? A research team at Indiana University conducted a survey that shows not only are consumers unaware of available subsidies, rebates and other benefits — financial and otherwise — to owning a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle, that disconnect could be keeping sales of the zero-emissions electric vehicles from reaching White House goals.

By Matt Schmitz | November 19, 2013 | Comments (3)

Chevrolet Eyes Summer 2014 for Natural-Gas Impala

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In the ongoing trend toward vehicles that get better mileage on cleaner fuels, GM thinks natural gas is a natural progression. The automaker today announced plans for a bi-fuel-powered car that can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas. First reported by cnbc.com, GM later released a statement about the plans.

A Chevrolet Impala will house the bi-fuel system but no price was announced. The company says the vehicle is slated to go on sale next summer to both fleet customers and regular consumers. The car has a compressed-natural-gas, or CNG, range of 150 miles and a gasoline range of an additional 350 miles, with the ability to switch between the two while driving, according to cnbc.com.

By Matt Schmitz | October 16, 2013 | Comments (4)

GM Offers Siri Eyes Free Integration on Six More Vehicles

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Look for Siri Eyes Free Integration on a host of 2014 GM vehicles. Previously offered on the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark, Apple's voice-activated "intelligent assistant" — requiring neither the driver's hands nor eyes for use — will now be available on the Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, SS and Volt, the automaker announced Monday.

Through the vehicles' available Chevrolet MyLink multimedia system, users with a compatible iPhone running the iOS 6 or iOS 7 operating systems can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. To use the feature, motorists connect their iPhone with the MyLink radio via Bluetooth, pair with the system and use the steering-wheel voice-activation button to begin and end sessions. In addition to the feature's no-look use, it prevents the iPhone's screen from lighting up, further mitigating distraction.

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Which Cars Have Heated Seats with Separate Back and Bottom Heaters?

In the new Chevrolet Impala, I noticed the heated seats are two-stages like GM vehicles used to have. But many GMs I've been in recently have just the one setting for bottom and back combined. Is this GM-wide? Which vehicles have the two-setting heaters?

Anonymous

By Rick Popely | September 29, 2013 | Comments (1)

Cars Help Parents Say 'Buckle Up'

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A friend once told me she and her husband figured they've told their kids to brush their teeth about 3,500 times. It made me wonder how many times I've done the same — and not just brush your teeth, but clear your plate, clean your room and most importantly, fasten your seat belt.

Two automakers have reduced my need to repeat myself; Volvo and Land Rover have gone above and beyond with their seat belt notifications, saving my sanity. The automakers' systems don't just provide a seat-belt light and chime (typically reserved only for front-row occupants), Volvo and Land Rover vehicles will tell you exactly who is buckled and more importantly, who isn't — even in the backseat.

By Sara Lacey | August 22, 2013 | Comments (2)

GM to Add Wireless Smartphone Charging to Some 2014 Models

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In-car wireless smartphone charging has been a long time coming. Back in January 2009, Powermat — a leader in the field — said an in-vehicle charging platform, which replaces a cord with a wireless electromagnetic charging mat, was on the way. Then, in early 2011, the company announced that the 2012 Chevrolet Volt would debut wireless smartphone charging. GM's venture-capital subsidiary would invest $5 million in Powermat to "accelerate the technology's development," the companies said in a joint press release at the time.

Well, the Volt never got its Powermat. Now both companies promise availability in some GM models by the 2014 model year. Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine told the Detroit News that GM would be the first carmaker to integrate wireless charging. Toyota and Chrysler have also said wireless-charging technology may become available for the 2014 model year, the newspaper notes. Of course, you could rig your own in-car setup today by connecting a Duracell Powermat to a DC-to-AC inverter for functional — if inelegant — wireless charging. GM's integrated setup should be a lot more seamless, but it will likely require phones outfitted with Powermat's wireless charging case.

Research firm IHS told the Detroit News it projects worldwide shipments of wireless charging devices to increase twentyfold between 2012 and 2015. Still, we'll believe in-car versions are here when we see them.

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By Kelsey Mays | August 19, 2013 | Comments (2)

GM Reduces Price of 2014 Chevrolet Volt

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A price cut on the 2014 Chevrolet Volt will save buyers of the gas-electric hatchback $5,000 compared with the 2013 version, GM announced today. Prices for the 2014 model will start at $34,995, including an $810 destination charge; the previous year's starting price was $39,995, including an $850 destination charge. Factoring in federal tax credits of as much as $7,500 (depending on individual tax liability), Chevrolet customers could ultimately drive their Volt home for $27,495 when it hits dealerships later this summer.

"We have made great strides in reducing costs as we gain experience with electric vehicles and their components," Don Johnson, a spokesman for Chevrolet, said in a statement. "In fact, the Volt has seen an increase in battery range and the addition of creature comforts, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and MyLink, since its launch in 2010."

By Matt Schmitz | August 6, 2013 | Comments (0)

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