Car Rental Tips From a Traveling Journalist Part II

We’ve read about upgrades and downgrades, but you yourself can avoid car rentals disasters by using some common sense.

The more you’ve rented a car, the more you can learn. Here are two memorable debacles. Read more


Will the PUMA Purr for Seattle Car Buyers?

Imagine what Seattle parking lots and roads will look like once some of these cheap and efficient concept cars start rolling off of assembly lines. They’re very much the “value meal” of the car industry, just the basics and a whole lot smaller. One things for certain, bulk shopping at Costco would become virtually impossible. Read more

Are Seattle Car Dealers Getting Desperate?

“I got my Civic at $100 over invoice!” beams Leonard L., a Redmond resident who picked up a new 2009 Honda Civic earlier this year. Leonard is among the growing group of recent car buyers who have snagged up great deals as local Seattle car dealerships have begun feeling the economic recession.

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Updated! Great Deals for Seattle Car Buyers

If you’re looking to buy a car sometime soon, here are some deals to consider. Be warned many dealers will make up for these savings by trying to sell you other items you may not need. Luxury items and options in the finance office such as sealant or warranties are classic examples.

Don’t forget to take a look at some of the protection incentives from Ford and GM. These will essentially pay your monthly car payment if you lose your job. Be aware that each car maker has different rules for their plans, such as owning the vehicle for a few months before it actually kicks in.

If you don’t like the dealership experience, check out the SeattleAuto.net buying service, as we have teamed up with a customer focused auto buyer. Email cam@seattleauto.net with the make, model, year, and color you are looking for. The more specific you are the better help we can give you. We can find essentially any new/used car at a great price and you won’t have to step foot into a dealership.

Here are some great deals that will come to an end this month.

Buick, GMC,
Cadillac,Chevrolet,
HUMMER, Pontiac,
Saturn, Saab-
0% APR financing for up to 60 months on many models. New GM Total Confidence Plan includes payment protection, some protection against negative equity. Expires: 4/30/09

Ford- 0 % APR financing for up to 60 months, plus rebates up to $5000 on many 2009s, plus payment protection under new Ford Advantage Plan- Expires: 6/30/09

Toyota- Many models have 0% financing and cash back offers. However deals vary depending on region. Cash back rebates can reach up to $4000 on certain models- Expires: 4/30/09

Mazda- 0 – 0.9% APR financing for 36 months, can also be combined for cash back offers on certain models- Expires: 4/30/09

BMW- 0.9% APR financing (up to 60 months), plus no payments for 60 days on most 2009 models Expires: 5/31/09

Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep- Employee Pricing Plus Plus sale – 0 % APR financing for 36 months, plus employee pricing discounts, plus cash back offers varying by model

Volkswagen-0% APR financing (60 months) on 2009 Passat Wagon, Routan, and Toureg 3.9% APR financing on most models- Expires: 4/30/09


Cars that Are Selling…or Are They?

Seattle drivers, for the most part, are smart. They follow the beat of their own drum and rarely do we follow any type of national trend. But seeing between the lines of national statistics can tell you a lot.Take into consideration the Top 15 Cars Americans Are Still Buying by Forbes.com.

Numbers can be deceiving. They can be manipulated to serve a purpose by just about anyone. In terms of the Forbes story they used recent sales numbers provided by Autodata based on sales each month. They compared the number of sales from February 2008 and February 2009. But take it with a grain of salt. While individual models made gains, it wasn’t enough to save the overall losses by the company.

According to the Forbes.com story written by Hannah Elliot:

Despite the gains, individual models don’t reflect the industry at large; most of the cars with the strongest gains come from brands that lost ground last month. Audi’s A5 and S5 coupes, for instance, gained 28.6% in sales from February 2008, but the brand declined 24.4% in overall sales. Models like the Audi A3 (down 51.6% in February), Audi A6 (down 47.5% in February) and Audi A8 (down 67.5% in February) did more than their part to drag Audi down.

Similarly, the Nissan 350Z’s 33% gain couldn’t fully mitigate the brand’s 37.1% loss compared to February 2008. All told, only Kia (0.4%), Smart (28.5%) and >Subaru (1.4%) posted overall gains last month over February 2008.

Manipulation of individual numbers is a good way to avoid the doom and gloom of the overall auto industry. Take the BMW M3 convertible, according to last years sales there was only one sold in February 2008! All they had to do was sell two and it would’ve doubled their sales for 2009.

Therefore, the best thing to do is eliminate the sales that are less than 1,000 and take a look at the rest. When you do that, what’s left is a better overall picture of cars that sold better to the masses.

If you go by that method, Hyundai is making a lot of waves this year with the Genesis, Elantra, and Accent. This isn’t the first “top” list they’ve made this year. Check out these individual sales for Hyundai models in the United States from last year to this year.

Hyundai Accent
MSRP: $9,970

February 2009 sales: 4,334
February 2008 sales: 3,335
Increase: 30.0%

Hyundai Elantra
MSRP: $14,120

February 2009 sales: 8,978
February 2008 sales: 6,750
Increase: 33.0%

See the entire article and list at Forbes.com.


The Best 2009 Cars for the Money

Everyone is looking for value. Gone are the days when you spend too much on features and buy something loaded with items you don’t need. The Seattle area driver for the most part is smart. In today’s Seattle car market, most people looking to purchase a vehicle are educated, and aren’t willing to spend frivolously. Read more


Ten Easy Tips for Defensive Driving

You’ve heard the term defensive driving tossed around a lot, but what does it really mean? Many people conjure up images of a slow, hesitant driver that only drives in the right lane and signals a block before turning. In reality, defensive driving is a set of good habits on top of your existing driver skills.
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Understanding a Vehicle History Report

Used vehicle history carAs a follow-up to our earlier article on Ten Reasons to Get a Car History Report, we’re now going to walk you through the process of actually reading and understanding vehicle history reports. You’ll quickly learn how to spot the good, bad and the ugly, so that you can be one step closer to buying your used car.
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How to Avoid the Unlicensed Car Dealer

The internet has all but revolutionized the process of buying a used car, as buyers have access to a seemingly unlimited supply of vehicle listings online. Unfortunately, one of the criminal elements that is becoming more popular due to the internet are unlicensed car dealers. To help you identify and avoid these shady dealers, we’ve asked the experts for help. Read more


Top 5 Speeding Ticket Cars

Nothing ruins a day faster than a seeing the blue and red lights of a police or highway patrol car in your rearview mirror. Little did you know the car that you’re driving has something to do with it.
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