Media post: Lexus History – the new premium

1989 Lexus LS 

When Toyota decided to build a new premium sedan they code-named it F-1. Designing a brand new car from scratch is a pretty big thing, so a secret code name is a must. Well, all that secret measuring and engineering and drawing board stuff began in 1983, and after six years of exhausting creative labor, the Lexus LS was born. That luxury car was an immediate hit with consumers and after the initial vehicle came out, Toyota produced the sedan, convertible, SUV and Coupé models, which also were mega hits around the world.

The Lexus was conceived as a luxury vehicle by Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda. He had the very bright idea to build the world’s best car. Since his company already manufactured some of the best cars in the world he felt that Toyota should also be competing against Mercedes Benz and other legendary luxury carmakers. Of course, while the Lexus was being carved out in clay and the designers were in the middle of creating more head, leg and arm room in the context of one of the most comfortable cars ever made, the question came up as to how to market this new elegant automobile.

That question was answered quickly with the help of Toyota’s advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. They came up with the name Lexus by going through a number of beautiful sounding (and meaning) names and whittled them all down to a combination of “luxury” and “elegance,” which somehow came out to Lexus. Of course, that name fit the car to a tee and the advertising team ran with it.

We could say the rest is history but we wanted to share a little about what it really takes to design and manufacture a brand new automobile from just an idea from the chairman of the corporation. As we said, it took six years from concept to launch, but it also took the work of 24 engineering teams, 60 designers, 1,400 engineers, 220 support workers (we’re still trying to figure out exactly what they did), 2,300 technicians to build 450 prototypes of the Lexus. All this creativity cost Toyota over $1 billion. That is, in case you forgot how much a billion really is, 1,000 million dollars, which is a lot of money.

Was it worth it, you might ask? Well, the popularity of the Lexus brand has only increased each year since it came out and you can see why when you take a Lexus for a test drive at Atlantic Lexus of 110.

Media post: To Fiat or not to Fiat?

Fiat 500 detail 

To Fiat or not to Fiat, that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to drive a big gas-guzzling car or to take aim at a sea of troubles and avoid the heartache that big cars bring – is a thought devoutly to be wished. Yes, that is a quote from shakespeare’s play “Fiat, The One and Only Fiat.” The manuscript was discovered in Turin, Italy not too long ago and has since been widely read and performed. Apparently, the bard did plagiarize a few Italian playwrights in the sixteenth century and changed the names to protect the innocent – or at least that’s what we think.

Had he written about Fiat, he would most likely have made this beautiful little subcompact car his starring vehicle, no pun unintended. Fiat should be the star of every play, in our humble estimation, for it is the car of the future and most certainly, the car of the present. It’s small, but comfortable. It’s dependably, yet attractive. It’s cunning, but agile in tight spots.

Fiat has been around longer than most United States carmakers have. Fiat actually set up a manufacturing plant in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1908 and produced some very cool cars up until 1917 when the company packed up and moved back to Italy. (Apparently, The United States and Italy were at war but let us say this here and now: Fiat had absolutely nothing to do with that unpleasantness at all! There, we said and we feel better.

The 1950s brought Fiat back to the states and the Fiat 500 was introduced to the American car buyer. They did okay but for some reason they didn’t do as well as expected – we thing that America just wasn’t into small cars yet and Fiat was way ahead of its time. After going back to Italy to re-tool, re-design and re-engineer the Fiat – that cool little car just got a lot cooler. So, Fiat came back, showed off its new look and design and sales went through the roof. They are still going through the roof today because the United States is finally ready for what Fiat has to offer: beauty, agility, gas economy and the perfect size and price – all in an Italian sub-compact car. Ciao Fiat! Ciao America! Take a test drive at Fiat USA of Larchmont.

Media post: The Dodge brothers

Dodge Brothers delivery trucks in Salt Lake City, 1920. Picture courtesy Wikipedia

Hey, whatever happened to the Dodge brothers? Well, the Dodge brothers have been gone for almost a hundred years but their cars and Ram tough trucks are still around. Horace and John Dodge were at the right place at the right time to get into the burgeoning car industry. They opened up a machine shop in Detroit in 1900 and called it the Dodge Brothers Company. They manufactured automobile components and distributed them to car companies, the main ones being the Olds Motor Vehicle Company and the Ford Motor Company.

They were highly successful in the car parts business but they always wanted to build their own car, which they did in 1914. They actually competed with their former client, Henry Ford, with their Model 30 automobile. They went up purposely against Ford’s incredibly popular Model T, only the Dodge brothers marketed their car as a higher quality vehicle than Fords car, which put them on the naughty list at the Ford plant.

They didn’t care much because Ford ended up buying their Ford stock back for about $25 million, which put them in a very happy and lucrative position in the auto industry. Their Dodge Model 30 had a lot of innovative elements to it that made sales sky rocket to number two in the nation – right behind Mr. Ford’s car numbers. They and Mr. Ford had not seen eye to eye for years and John Dodge was quoted as saying: “Someday, people who own a Ford are going to want an automobile.”

Consumers loved Dodge cars and they relished the quality that was heaped on each vehicle. Dodge got a big boost when Lt. George Patton (yes, that George Patton), was in Mexico chasing Pancho Villa. Patton was involved in a gun fight with several of Villa’s officers and when it was all over and the smoked cleared, Patton had the dead bodies of the Mexicans tied to the hoods of the Dodge Model 30 cars and drove them to his headquarters. The photographs were not very flattering to Villa’s men but they boosted sales of the Dodge Model 30.

The Dodge brothers both died in 1920 during the worldwide influenza outbreak. Their valuable company was sold initially to an investment firm and then it ended up (fortunately) in the hands of Walter Chrysler. And the rest is history. You can see the 2017 Dodge models at Locklear’s.

Media post: How one man built a leader in the Auto industry

Walter P. Chrysler. Picture courtesy

Most people are familiar with the name Chrysler but do they really know where it came from? There are Chrysler automobiles and how about the famous Chrysler Building in the heart of New York City? These are both named after one man, Walter Chrysler, Walter Percy Chrysler, to be more precise.

He was born in 1875 in a very small town in Kansas and then he and his family moved to an even smaller town, probably to get away from all fast paced wheat and dairy farmers. You know how they are. When Walter got to be old enough he took correspondent courses and earned a mechanical degree and started working as a machinist and railroad mechanic. It doesn’t sound all that romantic, but wait a bit the interesting stuff is coming up soon.

We’ll skip the years of hard work on the railroad and jump right into the place where Walter, at 36 years of age, through a railroad connection, met the president of Buick, who offered him a job as head of production for the car company. Well, Walter jumped at that idea and headed to Flint, Michigan, and started impressing everyone with his ability to cut costs and increase production, which, of course, meant that profits were increased also. The big guys at Buick loved the idea of making more moolah and they loved Walter for being able to do it.

Chrysler’s bosses were so enamored of him that they gave him the unheard of salary of $10,000 a month (equal to $165,000 now) and a half a million dollars in a year end bonus, along with another half million in stock. Apparently, this guy could really get the job done right!

He stayed for three years, sold his stock for $10 million and was hired to turn around the Willys-Overland Motor Company at $1 million a year and left a couple of years later and took control of the Maxwell Motor Company. He started the Chrysler Corporation in 1925, which absorbed Maxwell and then he purchased the Plymouth and DeSoto brands and then he bought Dodge in 1928. Okay, here’s where the Chrysler Building comes in to play. He started to build the Chrysler Building the same year (1928) that he took over the Dodge Company. That’s all you get about the Chrysler Building. You can get more information on the Internet.

Walter Chrysler was one of the real automobile manufacturing titans in the United States. Every car that bears his name is built with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, just like Walter would have wanted. Come see his beautiful cars at Texan Dodge Chrysler.

Media post: Buying A Used Car Online Safely

Buying a car online comes with certain risks and often we write it off as a bad idea. But like everything else within the car industry, there are pros and cons attached.  Surprisingly buying a used car online is more common than you may think, thanks to websites like eBay and Gumtree.

However, it is important to protect yourself and take extra caution as you won’t have the same sort of customer services, rights or protection offered buying privately that you would get when buying from a registered dealer. On the plus side, there are serious bargains to be had on eBay motors and it is definitely worth taking a look when the time comes to buying a new (used) car.

Read on for some helpful guidelines to follow when buying a car online that will help keep you safe from being conned and ensure you don’t end up with a written off banger.

First of all, when it comes to using eBay always check the seller’s feedback. This will give you a general idea of the type of person the seller is and if you see anything suspicious it is best to avoid this person (plenty more sellers online).

Always examine the photos and descriptions in depth for any discrepancies and ask the seller as many questions as possible. This will also give you a good indication of what type of person you are dealing with and if they are not forthcoming with answers this should raise red flags.

When you do find a car online that suits your needs and budget, always purchase a full car history check. For the sake of a few quid, this will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Purchasing a car history check will tell you: the car’s legal status (if it’s ever been written off or if there is outstanding finance on it), MOT history, mileage and the running costs of the car.

If you do buy a car that has finance on it, that car will belong to the finance company and you will run the risk of it being repossessed.

If you are satisfied with the background check ask to view and test drive the car. Never exchange money for a car that you haven’t viewed! If the car isn’t as described you are under no obligation to go through with the purchase.

When it comes to test driving the car, remember don’t test drive a warm car as the seller may be trying to cover up a fault. Take someone with you when test driving to help you look out for any faults with the car such as strange noises when driving etc.

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.