Latvia January 2017: Octavia leads, Kia Cee’d & Peugeot 2008 shine

The Peugeot 2008 breaks into the Latvian Top 10 in January. 

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

The Latvian new car market is up 14.5% year-on-year in January to 1.445 registrations. The Skoda Octavia is the best-seller for the month thanks to sales up 133% to 93 and 6.4% vs. 3.2% over the Full Year 2016. In fact, the Top 10 is alive with staggering year-on-year improvements: the VW Passat up 106% to #2, the Kia Cee’d up 253% to #3, VW Tiguan up 293% to #5, Kia Sportage up 200% to #7, Toyota RAV4 up 127% to #8, and the Ford Fiesta up 1267% to #9. In terms of improvements vs. Full Year 2016 ranking though, the Kia Cee’d (+18 to #3) and Peugeot 2008 (+26 to #10) are the best performers.

Previous post: Latvia Full Year 2016: Qashqai and Octavia top market up 15%

Two years ago: Latvia Full Year 2015: Nissan Qashqai and VW Passat outpace Skoda Yeti

Full January 2017 Top 10 models below.

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Media post: A quick look at the Kia Optima

Kia Optima

The 2017 Kia Optima is waiting for you. Its well-appointed interior will thrill you with its luxurious look and feel. This sedan has something for everybody and once you take a test drive at Monroeville Kia you will see what we mean. Get behind the wheel and then reach over to the infotainment touchscreen interface. See, isn’t that nice? It’s so close and so easy to use. The 8-inch infotainment touchscreen interface is large enough to see what you need at a glance. That’s why they call it user-friendly – because it is. It comes with a smartphone interface and a navigation system to let you where you’re going and how to get there.

Now start it up. Wow, hardly any vibration and the cabin remains as quiet as before the 2.0-Liter turbocharged engine turned over. The interior was designed to keep the fun in and the noise outside and the designers succeeded very nicely – once again. Now you can sit back and look around and one of the first things you may notice is that there is ample headroom. The next thing will be the legroom and then the amount of space there is for shoulders and viewing out the windows. For a mid-size car, the Optima offers a lot of luxuries.

Kia is a South Korean company that started making bicycle parts in 1944. It branched out to making motorcycles in 1957, trucks in 1962 and then began manufacturing cars in 1974. Trying to catch up with carmakers who had been building cars 70 years before Kia jumped into the industry was tough but obviously not impossible. Kia has caught up with them and is now the second largest car manufacturer in South Korea, right behind Hyundai.

Kia and Hyundai are related in a sense: each one owns part of the other’s company. Kia owns over $8 billion worth of stock in companies owned by Hyundai and Hyundai owns a little more than a third of Kia’s stock. Kia has over 700 dealers in the United States and operates a manufacturing plant, where the Optima is built, in the state of Georgia. The Optima is one of Kia’s best sellers in this country and after sitting in it, starting it and taking it for a test drive, we understand why the Kia Optima is so popular.

Media post: Love at First Sight: The 2017 Challenger

Dodge Challenger 

Love that 2017 Dodge Challenger! It’s comfortable, it’s fast and it’s great looking! In fact, its look can be intimidating to some people – to those people who aren’t driving a Challenger, that is. Yes, it is a muscle car, to be sure and even though some cars try to look like a muscle car, the Challenger is the real thing.

As we said, it is fast. The 2017 Challenger SXT with the V-6, 305 horsepower engine will get you to 60 in 6.4 seconds. That’s pretty good for any car. It’s bigger brother the Challenger SRT Hellcat, however, is a bit of a show off when it comes to pushing its speedometer clockwise. It has a powerful V-8 that will whoosh you to 60 in 3.6 seconds. That’s faster than the Porsche 911 Carrera S.

The Challenger is much roomier, however than the Porsche and it is more fun to drive because…hey, it’s American engineered and built. It was designed for the driver who knows what he or she wants and created for those who want a superior automobile, which is the same as saying: it was built for those who want an authentic muscle car.

And they don’t just call any car a muscle car. The 2017 Challenger harkens back to 1969, when Chrysler put the Dodge Challenger on the market. It was the first generation Challenger and the company produced it until 1974. They also built another generation of Challengers from 1978 to 1983 but they were built by Mitsubishi Corporation. Dodge got back into manufacturing Challengers again in 2008 and has been going strong ever since.

Back in the mid 60s and the early 70s muscle cars were extremely popular and just about all the big American car manufacturers built them. Now, however, one of the most valuable of all the original muscle cars is the Dodge Challenger. And the 2017 Dodge Challenger is no different. It is extremely popular today not only because of its speed, (the V-8 Hellcat can reach 60 mph in 3.4 seconds) but because it offers easy handling, great braking system, a user friendly touchscreen infotainment interface and it is one of the coolest looking cars that this century will ever see. Chrysler of Culpepper carries all the Dodge vehicles so you can pick whichever fits you best.

Media post: What American Muscle Can Best the Porsche 911?

Dodge Charger Pursuit

Hey, here’s a question for you: What American made muscle car is faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera S? No, it’s not a Fiat 500. Although the Fiat 500 isn’t an American muscle car it certainly is a great little car and a great little guess. Okay, give up? It’s the 2017 Dodge Charger. “Of course,” you’re saying to yourself. “The Charger is one of the original American muscle cars and it has always had the large reputation of being super fast and a super muscle car.”

Okay, enough with the talking to yourself. You’re right though, the Dodge Charger does have that rep and it has since the mid 1960s when it was first conceived and became the leader in stock muscle cars available at Chrysler/Dodge dealers all across the country. It still has that mystique about it because when people see it at a stop sign or signal light they always wonder if it is going to ‘lay rubber’ as they used to say and screech out from a dead stop to hit 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, which is faster than the aforementioned German import.

The Charger, besides being a really fast car, also has a luxurious interior and user friendly dash controls along with a large (8.4-inch) infotainment touchscreen interface. Everything was designed to make this “Hellcat” (the top of the line Charger) easy and most of all, fun to drive. Ask anyone at Puente Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep and they will not only tell you how great this car is but they will show you so you can see for yourself in a test drive.

Once you are behind the wheel of the Charger you will find out for yourself just how awesome this muscle car really is. You’ll also find out about all the safety features that the Dodge engineers and designers installed just to make sure you wouldn’t have to worry about anything except what you’re going to tell your wife when you didn’t come home for seven hours after buying your brand new Dodge Charger. Driving one of these wonderful cars is simply too much fun to go straight home, as you will soon find out. And don’t forget, we can only vouch for your whereabouts while you’re at the dealership. Good Luck!!

Media post: Always Fast & Never Out of Fashion

Dodge Charger 

What was that streak of lightning that just flew past us? That’s what a lot of people think when they see a 2017 Dodge Charger speed by them. The Charger is one of those muscle cars that just never seems to go out of fashion. They are fast (as lightning) and as comfortable as a luxury car and maybe that’s why drivers in the know are scooping these up so fast from DCH Auto Group in Temecula.

There could be other reasons too. Even though the Charger was conceived of as a powerful American muscle car, its designers also thought about safety. They put in so much safety gear and engineered it so meticulously that the NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) gave it their highest rating of five stars for overall safety. Yes, we said “Wow.” too. The NHTSA is an official agency of the Executive Branch of the United States government, so those five stars really mean a lot.

Some of the safety gear that comes with the Charger is: lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warnings, adaptive cruise control and lane-assist control among others such as automatic emergency braking and 9-1-1 emergency assistance.

As far as speed goes, the Charger Hellcat version is capable of hitting 60 miles per hour from a dead stop in only 3.4 seconds, which is quicker than a Porsche 911 Carrera S. Who would have known that? Porsches are nice and obviously fast but apparently the 2017 Dodge Charger is much roomier and nicer and faster. We’re not suggesting that when you buy your Charger that you start challenging all comers on the roadway. Just know that you will be behind the wheel of one fast and very safe car and if you need the extra speed to get you out of a tight spot, then go with confidence and have a great time doing it.

The 2017 Dodge Charger comes in several trim levels and optional engine sizes. The V-6 models are every bit as responsive as the more powerful and faster V-8s and you get the same beautifully engineered body design that will intimidate just about any other vehicle owner out there. The DCH Auto Group in Temecula has the 2017 Dodge Charger in the showroom just waiting for you to see how it fits. Take a test drive – you’ll find out what you’ve been missing.

Media post: The World’s Most Expensive Cars

When it comes to the world’s most expensive cars, style, power and exclusivity are a must. When you have this much money in your pocket, a practical run-around to get you from A to B just won’t do. The super-rich want a rare piece of manufacturing perfection from record breaking top speeds to a diamond encrusted finish. These cars are in a league that only the elite could realize. Money may not buy you happiness, but owning one of these would definitely put a smile on our faces.

Thanks to Refused Car Finance you can now see the most bank breaking cars to have been sold new. Find out which cars made the list below.

Try before you buy – hire cars as an extended test drive

For most people buying a new car is one of the most significant purchases that they will ever make, often only second in cost to their home. What’s more, it’s a purchase that many are predicting will become more expensive over the next few months.

So with so much at stake it’s important to feel 100% confident that it’s the car for you before you commit to buy. So far, so logical, but the standard dealership test-drive can only tell you so much. For example you’ll probably have the salesperson by your side who will be doing their utmost to play up the benefits and features of a particular model while glossing over any shortcomings that it may have. You’ll also probably be directed over a route by them – and one which will only last a few minutes. So most people would agree that this is hardly enough time to judge how a car performs in a number of different driving conditions.

That’s why more and more people are choosing to hire a model they are interested in buying and really putting it through its paces for a whole day or even longer. In this way, they can really see if it’s the car for them and it can also give the opportunity to compare a number of different variations on the same model, for example manual, automatic and even hybrids, to see which suits them best. Plus, unlike dealer test drives that will generally be restricted to A roads in the vicinity of the dealership, it gives the chance to try a car out everywhere from motorways to winding country lanes. And by using the car for different everyday purposes like going for the weekly supermarket shop it also gives a clearer idea of its practicality for a particular lifestyle.

However, if you are thinking about taking this route to choosing your new car there’s one important element that you should consider. Driving any car that you’re unfamiliar with may put you at an increased risk of having a bump, maybe because you misjudge your car’s width when squeezing through a tight gap or simply by underestimating its power and acceleration, and zooming straight into a wall or the back of another car at the slightest touch of the accelerator pedal. So it’s well worth considering safety measures you could take. That’s because If you do damage a hire car that’s when you’ll discover the very high excess that most rental companies apply, not to mention the comparatively expensive charges that they will make for repairs.

Many will offer you additional excess insurance to cover this when you hire the car but this, too, is likely to be very expensive. Far better to arrange excess insurance of your own from a leading expert in the field. What’s more the rates are the same whether you’re hiring a Ford or a Ferrari – though in the case of the latter you’ll probably be hiring it just for fun instead of seriously considering a purchase. So, if you’re thinking of investing thousands in a new car, it not only makes sense to try before you buy – you should also have the excess cover in place if you want real peace of mind that if you do have a scrape it won’t also prove to be a very expensive mistake.

Media post: How much is my old car worth?

If you are ready to upgrade your car, a likely first step will be trying to decipher how much your old car is worth. Several different factors determine the value of your car. Your automobile is going to probably be worth more if you sell it outright than if you trade it in. But when you take it to a dealership, you don’t have to worry about all the hassles involved in a private sale. Additionally, selling to a dealership may help you get best used cars deals and better financing options, or be able to afford that new car you have your eye on. In general, there are specific formulas in place to determine how much your old car is worth.

Car dealerships and apps or websites (like Edmunds) use standard formulas to determine the value of a used car. The problem is that things like condition and other specifications can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder. Setting the right price can make the difference between getting all you should for your used car, or having it sit waiting for months while the car devalues.

The different categories that are used to value a used car are:

Year, make and model

In general, the newer the model is, the more it’s worth — unless, of course, it scores lower in other categories. Just because you have a newer car, that does not make it more valuable if you have damage, fewer options or higher mileage. The first thing to consider may be the type of car that you are trying to sell. But the year and model are only two things that are used in the equation.

Style and upgrades

When the car was purchased new, even if not by you, there may have been several options and upgrades available. Things like trim, car mats or type of material used for the interior are all upgrades that affect the price of the car both at the time of purchase and over time. Other features that can be in this category are things like whether it is four-door versus two and the type of engine it carries.

To best decide how much your car is worth, you will need to know the specifics of the engine and transmission, such as if it has all-wheel drive. These are all factors that will affect the worth of the car. Upgrades such as navigation systems, leather, climate control options in the back seats and even a sun- or moon-roof are all things that can factor into the value. Knowing what you have is necessary to know how much it is worth.

If you aren’t sure which options or upgrades your car has, many of the websites and apps that you can use to determine the cost will go through a list of available options for your car. Sit in the car, bring the owner’s manual, or take stock while in it to answer the questions for a realistic value.

Condition

One of the most difficult decisions to make, is what type of “condition” your car is in. Just like any of your valuables, people tend to overestimate how good of a shape their car is in. Don’t discount those little things in the side, the burn hole in the interior, or the general overall condition of the inside. You may fool yourself into thinking it is in excellent shape, but you won’t be able to fool anyone who is considering buying it used.

The condition is not just about how many miles it has, whether it has unrepaired damage from an accident, or if it is older than dirt. Everything that affects the car’s appearance will affect the price. If you are a smoker, then that will likely have a bearing. If you have kids, that definitely will have a bearing too. Make sure to be realistic with your own estimation to come up with the best value for your car.

Overall, you are probably going to get the most money for your car if you sell it privately, but that doesn’t come without its own hurdles. Selling your car on your own will often take longer, and you must be available to show the car and have the time to sit and wait for it to sell. Weigh the pros and cons of selling it yourself versus using it for a trade-in to decide if the potential extra couple hundred dollars is worth it.

Media post: Asian Cars That You Don’t See Any More In The U.S.

Isuzu Trooper in Eureka, NV 

Even though the United States has over 250 million cars on the road, this isn’t an easy country to break into with a new car brand. The problem is that there are so many great car brands here now with complete dealer networks and infrastructures up and running. This hasn’t stopped a number of companies from trying, though. In this article, we will look at several Asian manufacturers that gave the US market a good shot but were unable to sustain the effort. Do you remember any of these?

Suzuki

Suzuki had been successful for decades as a motorcycle manufacturer. In 1985, they leveraged their excellent brand name and started selling Suzuki automobiles in several countries around the world. The United States was one of them. By the end of the decade, they were selling large numbers of their Cultus, Swift and Samurai models here. All three of these models were considered to be well built and extremely thrifty on fuel. Despite selling over 100,000 cars in 2006 and releasing a new compact sedan, the Kizashi, the great recession doomed the brand in America. According to Lustine Toyota of Woodbridge, a local Toyota dealer in Woodbridge, VA, Suzuki exited the American market in 2014.

Isuzu

Back in 1972, General Motors partnered with the Japanese automaker Isuzu to build and import the oddly-named LUV pickup truck into the US. Their reasoning was sound; the big three automakers were all selling boatloads of large pickup trucks, but a certain section of the market wanted a smaller model. General Motors quickly partnered up with Isuzu and soon had the LUV truck on the market. The LUV truck wasn’t a huge success but it did introduce Isuzu to the US market. Soon the brand was building steam and they introduced the rugged Isuzu Trooper and the attractive Impulse sports car to the US market. Sales were strong but the economy slowed down in the early 1990s and Isuzu began to stumble. Its final two models, the Vehicross and Axiom were innovative, but they were too late. Isuzu left the US marketplace in 1998.

Daihatsu

For several decades, Daihatsu was one of Japan’s largest carmakers. By the late ’80s, with American demand for Japanese cars was building steam and Daihatsu entered the US marketplace. In 1987, Daihatsu released the Charade, a subcompact hatchback, followed in 1988 by the Rocky, a Suzuki Samurai-like subcompact. An impressive effort but a lack of dealership network and brand recognition spelled the end for the brand in 1992.

Daewoo

Remember Daewoo? Metro Kia of Cartersville, a local Kia dealer in Cartersville, GA, explains Daewoo is a large conglomerate in South Korea and their automotive group came into the American market in 1986. Their first model was the compact Pontiac LeMans which was created in a partnership with General Motors. Available as a three-door hatchback and a four-door sedan, it was sold until 1994. In 1998, Daewoo released a trio of small cars: the Lanos, Leganza, and Nubira under the Daewoo brand name. The roll out of these three models was poorly organized and in 2002, the company was bought by General Motors.

Sterling

The British auto industry was known for making fine looking and handling automobiles from the 1930s to 1970s.They especially excelled in their interiors which offered luxurious leather and exotic burlwood dashes. They weren’t known for their quality and reliability, though, and by 1980, most of the British brands were in trouble. The reason? Buyers in the United States switched over to the thrifty, reliable Japanese and Korean cars.

The British Rover Company came up with a genius concept. By partnering up with Honda, they could build a car with great styling, famous British interior appointments and a highly reliable chassis. In 1986, Rover launched the Sterling 800, a luxury sedan based on the Honda Legend. Unfortunately, the Sterling was poorly built and had boatloads of problems. The brand never gained any traction and Sterling disappeared by 1992 after five years and fewer than 40,000 sales.

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