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France and Spain with a Peugeot 3008 – Part 1: Paris to Bordeaux

Quentin the Peugeot 3008 in St-Clément-des-Baleines on Ile de Ré.

Officially unveiled at the Paris Auto Show in October 2016, the second generation Peugeot 3008 then gave me mixed feelings that were swiftly brushed off by its win of the 2017 European Car of the Year trophy. Since, the 3008 could almost be singled out as the sole responsible for returning the PSA Group to profitability – and above archenemy Renault in market value for the first time since 2009, leaping from one sales success to another. It climbed to #4 at home in France as early as January 2017, peaking at #2 in May 2018, nabbed the outright best-seller spot in Spain in September 2018 and cracked the European Top 10 three times, in February, July and September 2018 when it became the continent’s best-selling SUV outright. Adding its 7-seater twin the 5008 to the sales equation uncovers even more impressive sales feats, such as the unofficial #1 spot at home in France during 5 of the past 10 months (as of end October).

Our itinerary for Part 1 takes us from Paris (outside the map north) to Bordeaux.

Here at BSCB we always endeavour to test drive the best-selling cars around the world to try and uncover the real reasons behind their success, and choosing the 3008 for a week-long spin in both France and Spain, the two countries where it has been the most successful so far, was therefore a no-brainer. This test drive took place at the height of European summer during the last week of July, braving the tourist crowds in what are the two most visited countries in the world: France with 82.6 million annual visitors and Spain with 75.6 million. A courageous feat indeed, which will take us from Paris towards the French Atlantic Coast, wine country near Bordeaux, the French and Spanish Basque regions, Navarre,  Cataluña, Central France and back to Paris. It’s in the Poissy PSA factory west of Paris that I take delivery of a 3008 Allure BlueHDi 130 6-speed manual in Magnetic Blue valued at 34.350€ (US$39.200). After Mikey the Tesla Model XNatasha the Toyota C-HROmar the Toyota Prado and Pasha the Toyota Land Cruiser, we need a male name starting in Q as this is a crossover, which has a masculine gender in my native tongue, French. I can never stray too far from these ingrained perceptions even though I have been living in Australia for over 15 years now… The 3008 is French, we are in France, so Quentin it is.

Good: the GPS shows diesel prices in each nearby petrol station…

Before we get into the thick of the start of our French exploration, let’s record my very first impressions as I take the wheel of Peugeot’s best-seller. First an incredible surprise: the GPS features on the map the price of diesel (as this is a diesel model) in every nearby petrol station. I hadn’t heard of – let alone driven – any car offering this service before and was certainly not expecting it. It’s simply a game-changer and instantly creates a human-machine complicity where the 3008 ensures you always pick the cheapest price for petrol, a hot topic in France as diesel prices have increased a whopping 25% since the start of the year. The digital, personalised dashboard is very impressive and genuinely transports you into the premium universe: I had a hard time convincing myself that I wasn’t in an Audi, which says a lot about Peugeot’s stunning progress with the 3008. The surprisingly small steering wheel fast becomes second nature and makes you feel like you’re driving a Formula 1 car, quite a feat for an SUV! The experience is so intoxicating that getting back to traditional steering wheels afterwards feels like driving agricultural machinery… My automotive journalist friends told me I’d be bluffed, and even though I had never been a fan of French cars I have to admit: I am bluffed by the 3008 indeed.

Bad: impossible to read cruise control commands…

There are negatives though – no car is perfect! – and pretty dumbfounding ones at that, especially given all the attention paid making the 3008 a truly sophisticated experience. The driver’s seat being manually adjusted with a unsightly metallic bar does feel like 1988 all over again, at a time when even 5.000€ Chinese cars offer electric seats. Unforgivable in my opinion. But the most frustrating feature of this new gen 3008 has to be the cruise control wand, completely hidden from view behind the steering wheel whereas it should be in plain sight on the wheel like on the Volvo XC40 which we will test drive shortly. What does it mean in real life? Simply that on the highway – basically the only time you actually do need the cruise control feature – the only way to get a look at and understand the intricate options the wand offers is to turn the wheel 90 degrees (yeah, can’t do that) or to stop and look at it. Even then, you will always be blind when manipulating as there is no way to catch a sight of it from a driving position. The actual words on my voice memo for that day were: “I don’t understand how they have managed to f&!@ this up so much”. Couldn’t have said it better. I still love you very much Quentin, but you now have some very precise pointers for your mid-cycle upgrade.

Tintin’s Château de Moulinsart is based on the Cheverny Castle.

Our first stop for the day is 200km / 125mi south-west of Paris in the Loire Valley to admire the Cheverny Castle, located only 18km / 11mi from the legendary Chambord Castle. According to the Lonely Planet, this is “perhaps the Loire’s most elegantly proportioned château, the perfect blend of symmetry, geometry and aesthetic order” as well some of the most sumptuously furnished rooms anywhere in the Loire valley. Built in 1624 by Jacques Hurault, the château and the domain that surrounded it before its construction have been almost continuously owned by the same family since the second half of the 14th century, that’s over 600 years! Although I concur on all of the above compliments, the main reason I wanted to visit Cheverny is because it is the model (bar the two outward aisles) for the famed Château de Moulinsart (or Marlinspike Hall) in the Adventures of Tintin of which I am an absolute fan since childhood. According to Tintin’s Belgian author Hergé and as explained in The Red Rackham’s Treasure, the castle was built by an ancestor of Captain Haddock, the Chevalier François de Hadoque, a ship-of-the-line captain in the French Navy under King Louis XIV… I must say I much prefer the castle’s fictitious origins…

Full Report below.

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Media post: Do You Need to Ship Your Car?

Like most people, when visiting distant locales, you need a car to get around.  For most of us, the solution is to simply rent one. This is especially true when you are gone for just a week or so, such as on a vacation or business trip.

There are times, however, when it makes more sense to have your own car. Picture “Snowbirds,” those that escape the frozen north by heading south for the winter. For these folks, using their own car would be far cheaper than renting. The problem is keeping your car with you without physically taking it on a long road trip.

The solution? Have your car shipped to your distant destination by a shipping company. These businesses offer safe, reliable ways of getting a vehicle from Point A to Point B. As with anything, though, it’s good to know the fundamentals before you jump in. Here are some insider tips from some people who have been through it.

Do Your Research

First and foremost, do your homework. Most people aren’t familiar with the process of shipping a car and with so much to consider, the process can get confusing quickly. Start with Google and find articles and websites that cover the basics. Here’s a few a few important factors to keep in mind as you research.

Open vs. Closed Transport

An open transport is by far the most common way to move a vehicle. It involves putting your car on a open, multi-level, car transport trailer. But, as is true with most things, you get what you pay for; open transport means your vehicle will be subjected to road dust, debris, and the elements during the trip. For your average car, this option is just fine however. Closed transport is the high-priced spread. It involves a smaller trailer, with walls and a roof. For many  people, this is exactly what they want because it will ensure their vehicle isn’t exposed to the hazards of the road. However, it also means more money is involved.  Still, for those transporting expensive cars, the extra money spent may be worthwhile.

Carriers vs. Brokers

Perhaps the biggest distinction in the car transportation business —and one many don’t know about—is whether a shipping company is a Carrier or a Broker. If a business is a Carrier, it means they own their own trucks and driver. This vertical business approach means the company has complete control over the moving process. Brokers are a form of middlemen. They do not own their own trucks, but act as the interface between customer and carrier.  Shipments are usually arranged using carriers they know or have dealt with in the past. Each type of business has its own benefits: working with carriers is more streamlined and direct, while brokers may have connections across the country that could help with long-distance trips.

Proof of insurance

Needless to say, you want to work with a shipper that has comprehensive insurance. In fact, suggests Marburger Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Shelby, NC, when you find a shipper, ask to see a copy of the insurance policy in writing. And if you’re using a broker, ask to see insurance credentials from the carrier they hire as well.

Pricing

But be warned: the cost of shipping a car varies widely and depends on any number of factors, including whether you want an open or closed transport, whether or not the vehicle itself can run, and the distance the car is being shipped. A major determinant in the pricing you will be quoted is timing involved. If you need your car delivered quickly, it will cost much more than when a shipper can fit you into a trucks normal schedule. Think about it; they’re not going to go cross-country for just one car. It’s also a reason why it may take longer for them to pick up the car—they have to wait until they have enough in line to make the trip profitable. By the way, be wary of really low estimates, especially from brokers. You know why.

Prepare for Departure

Once the pick-up date has arrived, you should be ready before the carrier gets there. Make sure that you have taken all personal items out of the car. Another thing to do is to take pictures all around the car before it leaves. Although it is rare, sometimes cars get damaged while being transported and insurances claims need to be filed. A few other things to do are to make sure the odometer reading is recorded at both pick-up and delivery and the car alarm system is disabled.

Good Luck!

Media post: How to Get Your Car Ready for Winter, Part 2

It’s Time for a Tune Up!

Mechanics are busy this time of year preparing all their customer’s vehicles for the coming storms and freezing temperatures. Make sure you call up and schedule whatever you need sooner rather than later to get your car ready in time.

Tune up: Most brands recommend a basic tune-up every 30,000 miles to ensure the hardware and connections of your vehicle’s engine are still in good shape. If a milestone should come during the winter months, schedule the appointment early to be sure everything is up to snuff for the white stuff!

Oil Change: With all the stress your engine will be going through during the winter, it’s important to be sure it’s fueled with all the right fluids.  Oil should be changed when dirty anyway, but winter may require your engine to be changed to a thinner viscosity to combat the freezing temperatures. Your owner’s manual will tell you more on what your vehicle needs!

Antifreeze: The ratio of your engine’s coolant is variable by the time of year, as well!  According to our technical consultants at South Point Dodge (Austin, TX), during the summer months, your car functions on a ratio of 50/50 coolant-to-water, but in the cold months it should be adjusted to a ratio of 60/40.

Brakes: There will be a lot of slips and slides if you’re caught out when the snow starts coming down, so it’s important to have reliable brake pads to keep your vehicle in control and minimize accidents the best you can.  Just take it slow and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.

Stock Up!

There are some extra accessories and helpful items that make dealing with snow and ice much more manageable if you’re out on your own.  Easy habits improve your vehicle’s condition and keep you safe while out on the road.

De-Icer: Cold temperatures and ice make doors stick, handles freeze, and plastic brittle!  If you can’t open your car door due to a coating of ice-rain or frozen melt off from the night, don’t yank.  You can preemptively buy glycerin to de-ice your door free, or otherwise use warm water if you have it on hand.

Fuel:  Keep your gas tank as close to full as often as you can.  Cold weather can cause condensation to form within a near-empty tank, which then could freeze in the fuel lines and cause a lot of damage and headaches.  It’s recommended to keep your needle no lower than a quarter- to a half-tank empty for the length of the winter.

Emergency Kit:  It’s always good to have one handy wherever you are, but winter requires some extra supplies that can help you keep you safe, warm, and prepared for anything.  Items such as a snow brush, scraper, kitty litter or salt, and a shovel can help you get out of built up snow and clear off your vehicle for your own and others’ safety on the road.  Sometimes, it’s best to wait for help, though, and in those cases, you’re going to want some comfort items.  Blankets are best for hunkering down; just throw a reliably warm one in your rear seat or trunk for the winter.  A flashlight, extra batteries, and flares are good safety items to make other drivers aware of where you are.

Plan ahead and stay safe out there!  Always consult your owner’s manual and local mechanic shop to be sure your car can take on the cold!

Media post: How to Get Your Car Ready for Winter, Part 1

The leaves are falling, and we all know the flurries aren’t far behind!  Some of us dread winter and the cold, others embrace this icy time of year and rejoice at the chance to return to their favorite mountain lodge with a season pass. Now is the time to check up on your car, SUV, or truck to ensure you have a reliable startup and a safe drive throughout your journey that gets you to your intended destination. There’s a number of easy tasks and check-ups you can do on your own or through your mechanic to be sure your car is ready for the snow and ice.  Our list of three go-to rules of thumb provides a comprehensive checklist so you can drive at your most confident!

Check Up!

Cold temperatures and slippery roads mean driving demands more out of your vehicle’s systems to start and maintain a controlled momentum, but you can ease this strain a bit by making sure your car’s equipment is still in a like-new condition and performing to the best of its ability.

Tires:  The tread left on your tires tends to be people’s first check to ensure their vehicle has enough traction to get you through bad conditions. That’s not all you should be considering when giving your vehicle a winter once-over; cold temperatures naturally shrinks air pressure, meaning your tires will be less full. Check your tire pressure. Consult your owner’s manual for the exact pressure you should fill them with for best cold-weather performance.  A secondary place to check for proper tire pressure, according to Victory Layne Chevrolet (Ft. Myers), is on your car’s front door jam stickers. Snow tires are worth considering, and if you live in areas with extreme snowfall, studs or chains can aid the control of your vehicle stupendously!

Windshield wipers: Keeping your vision clear through rain, sleet, or snow, wipers go through a lot of wear and tear in the winter to clear away rough ice. Standard lifetime for wipers is between six and twelve months depending the weather they’re exposed to. There are specialized winter wipers you can buy that prevent icy buildup while you’re travelling through a storm. We also recommend buying winter washer fluid! This comes with an antifreeze agent mixed in to prevent it freezing on your windshield and aids in defrosting. Always stand your wipers up when you expect snowfall, and never engage your windshield wipers should you forget to do this.  You don’t want to burn out your wiper motors for when you most need them!

Battery:  Frosty mornings and bitter evenings demand more current from your battery in order to get a reliable roar from your engine with every turn of your key. You want a battery that’s still full on charge, and these days some batteries come with a built-in hydrometer for a one-look assessment of how much voltage is left. Before you turn over your engine, turn on your headlights then key the car into starting up; if your lights get brighter afterwards, your battery might be low on juice!  Your mechanic can easily follow up on your concerns with their own voltmeter to get an exact read on what charge your battery has left.

Media post: New Cars 2018 in Indonesia

This article is in bahasa language for our Indonesian audience. Please click on the title to see the full article.

Jakarta – Sepanjang tahun ini (Januari-Oktober) pasar otomotif di Indonesia diramaikan dengan banyaknya mobil baru yang meluncur. Berikut ini daftar yang Carmudi rangkum:

Untuk melihat spesfikasi semua jajaran mobil baru itu silahkan klik di sini.

Dan untuk melihat harga mobil baru 2018 secara detail, klik di sini.

Mobil Baru Januari 2018

  1. Membuka awal tahun Toyota Astra Motor (TAM) Agen Pemegang Merek (APM) mobil Toyota di Indonesia secara resmi meluncurkan All New Rush. Sebenarnya mobil yang berada di segmen segmen sport utility vehicles (SUV) itu sudah diperkenalkan pada November 2018, namun peluncuran dan harga resminya baru diumumkan 3 Januari.

All New Toyota Rush untuk pasar Indonesia ditawarkan dalam empat varian seperti Rush G M/T Rp242,15 juta, Rush G A/T Rp252,15 juta, Rush TRD Sportivo M/T Rp253,55 juta dan Rush TRD Sportivo A/T Rp263,55 juta.

  1. Di tanggal yang sama saudara kembar dari All New Rush yaitu All New Terios juga resmi meluncur.

Astra Daihatsu Motor (ADM) APM Daihatsu menawarkannya dalam sembilan varian, di antaraya X MT Rp197,3 juta, X MT DELUXE Rp207,3 juta, X AT DELUXE Rp217,3 juta, R MT Rp230 juta, R MT DELUXE Rp240 juta, R AT Rp240 juta, dan R AT DELUXE Rp250 juta.

  1. Pada 18 Januari Datsun meluncurkan Cross.

Ada dua pilihan yang dijual ke konsumen yaitu Datsun Cross MT Rp161,490 juta, dan Cross CVT Rp173,990 juta.

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Media post: 10 Best-selling Car Models Throughout History

Here is the ranking of absolute bestsellers of the automobile world. In this rating, all the sales of different models’ generations are taken into account. There are completely different cars in this list but still many of them have certain features in common.

By the way, if you’ve got a “do my essay” task about car history or any other topic, now you know where to go.

First of all, almost every “bestselling” model has been sold all over the world. And they still are. Some of them even get assembled and released on different continents at once.

Second, most of these models appeared back in 1970s: when fuel prices in Europe were not as high as they are nowadays, and when the serous fuel crisis happened in the USA making Americans interested in compact car models. But what is the main point is that most models shown on the list were maximally appropriate to the user’s demands of their time. And some of them still are wanted.

Toyota Corolla (since 1966)

Sales: more than 37 million cars.

Average price: nearly $16 000.

Toyota Corolla model that earned the image of a cheap and economic car, survived 10 generation changes: the Japanese company nowadays sales the 11th version of this sedan. At first, this car became popular across its homeland due to compact sizes and low fuel consumption levels. Later, these qualities helped it to earn good positions on the US market, and at the end of 2000s the Japanese sedan conquered Europe and countries of the former USSR. In Russia, Corolla became the most widespread imported car of the year 2009. In USA, the model is stably present in top 10 bestselling car models.

Ford F-Series (since 1948)

Sales: more than 35 million cars.

Average price: nearly $23 000.

The Ford F-Series family was holding the title of the most popular pickup truck in the USA for more than 35 years. And 30 of them were years of absolute domination. Nobody could prevent Ford’s success: competitors as Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra or Dodge Ram or growing fuel prices were unable to break the rise of this model. According to experts, the popularity of this model is explained by its universality (both farmers and city inhabitants like pickup trucks in USA) and by the wide range of modifications and engines for any wallet: the most affordable F-Series truck can be bought for 23-25 thousand dollars, while prices for top equipped variants can reach 60 to 63 thousand dollars.

Volkswagen Golf (since 1974)

Sales: more than 27,5 million cars.

Average price: nearly $18 000.

The model was previously thought to become a descendant of the cult VW Beetle became at least as popular as the Beetle itself and gave a name to the whole class of cars. Its title – Golf (which was the trademark in Europe) – the car received after the Atlantic warm stream: Gulfstream. In USA and Canada, this model appeared almost at once after the European premiere, but the trademark was different (Rabbit). In South America, the new car was renamed into VW Cariba. It was the Golf which became one of key products of Volkswagen concern and helped the German car manufacturer to enter the top-3 world’s biggest auto-giants. VW Golf still remains the main European bestseller, even in its sixths generation!

Volkswagen Beetle (since 1933)

Sales: more than 23 million cars.

Average price: nearly $20 000.

VW Beetle became the first Volkswagen: “the people’s car” developed while taking into account needs of an average German family in 1930’s. The car designed by Ferdinand Porsche got the unusual rear-engine configuration, but its interesting design and low fuel consumption of a “baby” capable of carrying two adults and two children, made this newcomer an attractive purchase. Later, same qualities helped Beetle to conquer USA and the Latin America where Beetle was released till recent times.

Ford Escort (1968 – 2000)

Sales: more than 20 million cars.

Average price: $12 000.

A compact car (for Americans) Ford Escort was created for the European market: the history of this model started with a debut in England. It was an answer for European manufacturers and their small models of Volkswagen, Fiat and Renault. As a result, a car became very simple and cheap to maintain, so it gained popularity quickly. In 1981, Ford decided to introduce Escort to the home market, but it couldn’t repeat its European success even despite the brand is “native” for Americans and the model had an economic engine which was an advantage at that time. Escort went through five generation changes until was pushed away by its descendant – Ford Focus.

Honda Civic (since 1972)

Sales: more than 18 million cars.

Average price: nearly $16 000.

Begore Civic appeared, the Honda company was mostly known as the motorcycle manufacturer. Nowadays, Honda Civic is one of the most popular car models in the USA. The Japanese manufacturer tried to make all 9 generations of this model cheap (at least for the US), attractive and maximally economic: they release even a Civic with the hybrid engine for the United States market. Civic had an average demand in Europe, although this did not prevent Honda from starting its production in the UK. In 2011, Civic got away from the list of top 10 bestselling cars of the USA.

Honda Accord (since 1976)

Sales: mare than 17 million cars.

Average price: nearly $22 000.

The history of a middle-sized Honda Accord sedan started from the Japanese market, but the real popularity expected this model in the USA. It appeared on the market exactly when fuel prices began to grow. The American market full of big engines needed a more fuel-efficient model. So, the Accord with the 2l engine became the very first Japanese car model produced and assembled in the USA. Nowadays, the American sedan has not many things in common with its European or Japanese brothers.

Ford Model T (1908 – 1927)

Sales: more than 16 million cars

Average price: $ 260 (of 1920’s).

The Ford Model T became the very first really massive car of the world, and this only fact already makes it the legend. But its achievements are not limited to that:16 million exemplars of Ford T were sold out in times when cars were not things affordable for every American family. The main reason of a crazy popularity was the price which was really cheap for its time: Henry Ford was able to keep it thanks to conveyor assembling process. Additionally, Ford was the first to introduce new car trading principles and created a wide network of dealers in Europe and America.

Volkswagen Passat (since 1973)

Sales: more than 15,5 million cars.

Average price: nearly $20 000.

The Volkswagen Passat sedan is famous for not having anything that makes it special. It does not have a noticeable appearance. It has a good and a high-quality interior and a quite wide choice of engines, transmission and equipment packs. But the Passat is a 100% respected and recognized car in any country of the world. That is why it is stably wanted in the USA, in Europe, and of course in China. Though, it fell behind a younger Honda Accord in this list. The Passat is the only business sedan of a European top 10.

Chevrolet Impala (since 1958)

Sales: more than 14 million cars.

Average price: nearly $26 000.

At first, Impala appeared as a two-doored coupe roadster, and it became a good alternative to classic sport cars thanks to a V8 engine in it. Still, the history belongs to a much more prosaic Impala with 4 doors that appeared in the beginning of 1960s. The sedan was created to attract new, family clients, who had a critical demand about two back doors to be installed. As a result, the roadster stayed on a conveyor only till 1976 and the coupe model – till 1985. But the sedan is still on sale. In 2014, the tenth generation of Chevrolet Impala was introduced.

Media post: Burt Reynolds’ Top Automotive Moments

You probably know that screen legend Burt Reynolds recently passed away. We trust that you know that he was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, in particular if starring in “car movies” was part of the criteria. Active in movies for over four decades, Reynolds was an actor idolized by an entire generation for what he represented; freedom and automotive nirvana. Reynolds himself said he starred in over 100 movies, some of which featured some of the wildest car chases and jumps ever to grace the silver screen. In this article, we will look at the top five Burt Reynolds automotive moments.

Smokey and the Bandit

Released in 1977, Smokey And the Bandit is the quintessential car jumping movie. Produced with a budget of $4.3 million, Smokey & the Bandit posted an astounding worldwide gross of more than $300 million. Featuring a star-studded cast, a key scene in the movie is when Burt Reynolds and Sally Field sail over a broken Georgia bridge in 1977 Pontiac Trans Am as hapless cops pile up behind. Often referred to as the Mulberry Bridge Jump, Waseca Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Waseca, MN says it has been recreated many times to commemorate various anniversaries of the film’s release. Rumor has it that the Smokey and the Bandit movie was directly responsible for over 100,000 additional Pontiac Trans-Am sales.

The Longest Yard

If you thought Burt’s vehicular occupation related purely to American muscle cars, you need to see 1974’s The Longest Yard. The premise of the film sees a disgraced American footballer wind up behind bars for stealing his lover’s Citroën SM. The car chase mayhem features J-turns and carnage before the SM takes a plunge into the sea. Reynolds nailed piloting the Citroën with such skill that he looks like he is a professional stunt driver.

Deliverance

Deliverance was Reynolds’ breakthrough role, and while the film makes for uncomfortable watching, there is at least some car action. Driving a 1970 International Harvester Scout, Burt Reynolds and Jon Voigt traverse through the dense swamplands of the Deep South. The automotive scenes are not back projected, the driving is real and you feel as though you are in the cabin with them. Apparently, the Scout driven in the movie is the very vehicle Reynolds used to travel back and forth from local airport to the Chattoga river during filming. It was reportedly left at the airport and never seen again.

White Lightning

Based around an ex-con teaming up with federal agents to assist breaking up a moonshine ring, White Lightning packed in more car action than had ever previously made it to the big screen. Reynolds’ car was a 1971 Ford LTD Galaxie 500. The vehicle is like a main character in the motion picture, climaxing with a chase sequence that ends with Reynolds’ car sailing from a river bank onto a barge.

The Cannonball Run

We don’t have to tell you much about this one. This movie is about a cross-country car race with Reynolds earning $5 million for four weeks work; this made him the best paid actor in the business. It’s difficult to pick Reynolds’ best moment in the film but when trying to figure out which car to take on the Cannonball rally, he quips: “We could get a black Trans Am,” before answering his own question with “Nah. That’s been done.”

Media post: Are You Upside Down?

Owing more than a vehicle’s worth on a car loan is often referred to as being “upside down.” If you owe $8,000 on your car loan and its only worth $6,000, well, you do the math. Instead of upside down, financial professionals use a less colorful term: “negative equity.” Whatever term you use, it’s an issue you may have to deal with if you ever go to trade in your car for a new one. Being upside down on a trade is pretty common these days.  In fact, in 2017, approximately 32% of car trade-ins had negative equity. So, don’t lose sleep over this. It just simply happens in some car transactions.  That being said, let’s learn a little more about being upside down.

Negative Equity

New cars lose a good piece of their value in the first month of ownership. That loss in value becomes a non-issue several years into the loan. That’s when you hit the breakeven point, or “the point when your loan balance matches the car’s value”. With today’s long loan terms, hitting that break-even point can take a while to reach.

Getting Positive

Carrying over negative equity to another car loan is often the only way forward if you want to buy another car or truck. But before you proceed, know that every thousand dollars you roll into the next loan can easily increase your monthly payment by $18. That means a negative equity of $3000 could mean an additional $54 per month tacked on to your new monthly payment. Here’s three alternatives to adding more debt.

Keep your present car: As the sales staff at Rochester Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Rochester Hills, MI advise, it might make more sense to make payments on your existing car for a while longer. Stick it out until you hit the break-even point. If you can make larger monthly payments to your lender, that will help to.

Buy a new vehicle with a big rebate: If you need to get out of your car or truck right away, consider buying a vehicle that has a large cash rebate. A good cash rebate will help offset your negative equity. Some car companies offer these rebates when they need to sell more inventory.

Lease a new car: Rolling over the negative equity into a lease might also make sense. Since lease payments tend to be lower than traditional car payments, your monthly payments might be lower.

Stay “Positive” Sometimes you can’t avoid being upside down. But if you understand how negative equity works and how to manage it, you will have the best chance of getting right side up again.

Media post: Five Reasons Routine oil Changes are Critical for your Kia

If you are like most car owners, when that oil sticker says expired, you might be wondering how far you can push it. Oil changes are not only expensive, but they can also be burdensome and put a real kink in your day. Although not very convenient, an oil change is more important than you probably realise. If you are going to skip one maintenance must when it comes to your kia, it shouldn’t ever ignoring an overdue oil change alert or a check engine light. The oil level and quality of the oil, is one of the most critical things to your car’s overall functionality and makes a difference in the longevity of your car.

  1. Oil lubricates the engine

Oil is the elixir that keeps everything running smoothly under the hood. When your car starts to get hot, oil is what keeps friction low, and stops the wear and tear of the components of your car. If you don’t have enough oil, then you are putting excessive wear on the parts of the engine that are needed to help your car run smoothly. Without oil, your car engine is nothing but a squeaky wheel, and, unfortunately, a squeaky wheel is more prone to breaking down and being severely damaged.

  1. Oil removes engine sludge that can lead to wear and tear

If you want to ensure that your car doesn’t overheat, then oil is one of your car’s best friends. As you drive your car dirt and debris can build up in the engine, and that can cause a significant amount of corrosion. As the oil in your car begins to age, if not changed, it can become “sludge.” If you have a whole lot of sludge due to infrequent oil changes, your car heats up irregularly and you run the risk of excessive wear and tear, which will cause a whole lot of trouble.

  1. Oil helps improve your gas mileage

Just like full tires and well-designed aerodynamics are important to your car’s gas mileage, the way that the engine operates and the amount of friction that goes on under the hood impacts performance. Higher friction and heat creation can lead to higher energy consumption. In other words–without good oil, you’ll burn more fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that by maintaining regular oil changes, you can increase your car’s gas mileage by a minimum of one to two percent. That might not sound like a whole lot, but when you add that over the decade or two, that measly one to two percent becomes pretty significant. The small cost of an oil change will save you a lot over the course of driving your Kia.

  1. Oil cools the engines various components

Friction is a car’s worst friend. If your car is overheating due to a lack of oil or oil that has become sludge, it is a lot harder to fix than having a routine oil change. Don’t let your engine feel stressed. If you want to make sure that you’re never roadside with a car that is burning hot and has shut down, then you will want to limit friction in the best way possible: by maintaining your Kia’s oil.

  1. Oil increases your Kia’s longevity

If you want your Kia Rondo to last you awhile, then regular oil changes are essential to limit excessive wear and tear that damages your engine. When you don’t remove old oil that turns to sludge, you make your car work harder, which limits the number of years it will run the way that it should. If you treat your Kia right, it will be sure to return the favor. Those car owners who think that an oil change is unnecessary and just a gimmick to get car owners into their local Kia service center are unfortunately misinformed. Oil changes are stressed because they are important! To make sure to keep your gas mileage low, your engine cool, and your Kia moving freely and smoothly, an oil change is key to keeping your car as young as possible so you can enjoy it for decades to come.

Media post: The First SUV – the International Harvester Travellall

Want to start a spirited discussion among car enthusiasts? Ask which American car manufacturer made the first muscle car. With a little luck, the discussion will stay civil as the Chevy, Ford and Chrysler people battle it out. On the other hand, ask the same group who made the first SUV and things should be far quieter; the first SUV, or “4×4 truck-based passenger wagon” was the 1956 International Travellall, a company almost unheard of today.

The International story

The International company was founded by Cyrus McCormick in 1831. Producing a large assortment of farm implements, including buggies and carts designed for passenger use, International became a major supplier of equipment to America’s farmers during the 1800s. By the late 1800s, the demand for passenger vehicles was well recognized and in the early 1900s, International began working on motorized versions. By 1907, the company began production of their first motorized passenger car called the Auto Buggy. Before long, International was producing the Auto Wagon from the same basic structure, complete with a bed that could haul an 800-pound load. Over the next several decades, International became a major producer of pickup trucks.

The Travelall

In the early 1950s, International Harvester infused the DNA of its rugged, commercial trucks into a passenger vehicle. Called the Travelall, this vehicle started out as a modified R-Series commercial panel truck with side windows and a new tailgate design. Roughly comparable in size to today’s Chevy Suburbans, the first Travelalls were two-door models. In 1957-61, they had an interesting third door on the passenger side. Later, all Travelalls came with four doors. Travelalls quickly became popular: Ansel Adams used one to travel the United States, often photographing his famous black-and-white landscapes from a custom-built platform on the roof. International’s successful Travelall model was followed by the smaller Scout in 1961. The Scout came only with two doors in various hardtop and soft-top configurations.

The first SUV

Technically, the first SUV was 1956 Travelall with optional 4×4 drive. True, the Chevrolet Suburban had a similar body layout, but the Suburban didn’t acquire four-wheel drive until 1960 and Reed Chrysler of St. Joseph, MO says Dodge’s large Town Wagon wasn’t offered with four-wheel drive until 1957. International was the first with what we consider today as an SUV: a “4×4 truck-based passenger wagon.” A common question that arises is “what happened?” How did International Harvester lose out on SUV boom that struck just a few years later? The answer might be a simple matter of distribution.

Advertising and distribution

With advertising campaigns that emphasized four-wheel-drive practicality, early International marketing campaigns were directed at suburban families rather than at farmers or tradesmen. However, Travelalls were sold alongside commercial trucks through International Harvester’s dealers, most of which were in rural areas rather than in the urban and suburban markets.

Leaving before the party started

This mismatch between advertising and distribution led to sluggish sales and a departure from the consumer truck market in 1980. Had it been able to hold out a while longer, International, a company with a real heritage and a history in rugged commercial trucks, would probably still be a player in an SUV market successfully populated by Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler, along with such unlikely truck makers as Porsche and BMW.

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