* To Find Out If There Is A Recall On Your Vehicle, visit www.safercar.gov/vinlookup.

* To Find Our The MSRP And The Invoice Cost Of Any New-Vehicle, Check Out Our New-Car Pricing Guide.

* Car Shopping? Looking For A Hassle-Free Car-Buying Experience? Email nohassle@jeffcars.com.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is Uber Driving Their Drivers Into Subprime Car Loans?

A livery driver for a fleet owner in Boston was looking for a way to obtain his own car and drive for Uber, the popular ride-sharing service. He heard about a vehicle financing program Uber was promoting to drivers who, like him, had a poor credit history. Roger, who asked to use only his first name for business reasons, signed a lease in September with an Uber-referred lender for a brand new Chrysler minivan.

Now less than a year later, Roger says he is on the brink of bankruptcy while facing weekly payments of $450 for his car lease plus late fees.

Uber, with a head-spinning valuation of $50 billion, has become a dominant force in the passenger transportation industry in large part by luring more drivers to its platform than anyone else. In an effort to maintain that edge and expand its pool of self-employed drivers beyond those who already own a car, the company has been steering potential drivers with bad credit to subprime lenders whose leases lock borrowers into years of weekly payments at sky-high interest rates.

On its website and in promotional emails to current drivers, Uber promotes its vehicle solutions program with pitches right out of the subprime lending playbook. “Credit challenges? No problem. Get on the road in 2 days with $0 down,” reads Uber’s driver signup page.

One of Uber’s first subprime leasing partners was Santander Consumer USA, a subsidiary of the Spanish banking giant. The lender drew the attention of federal authorities in 2014 when the Department of Justice issued subpoenas to the company as part of an investigation into the subprime auto loan market. In February Santander agreed to pay $9.35 million in a settlement with the Justice Department for illegally repossessing more than 1,000 vehicles from active military personnel. To read more of the story >

Auto Factoids: Credit, Car-Buying, Auto Loans And Millennials

More than 71-million consumers had an auto loan in the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 1.2 million from the previous time period in 2014 and the largest growth since the Great Recession. Consumers under age 30 experienced the largest increase, with 8.5% year-over-year growth. (TransUnion)

The youngest consumer group – those under age 30 – continued to experience average balance growth in the first quarter of 2015. The average auto loan balance for this group was $14,995, up 3.1% from $14,550 in the first quarter of 2014. The number of younger consumers with an auto loan balance also grew in the first quarter. Nearly 900,000 more of these consumers had an auto loan than in the first quarter 2014, an 8.5% year-over-year increase. (Transunion)


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 Lexus GX 460 4WD: The Luxury Brand’s Off-Road, 7-Passenger SUV

Highlight: The Toyota 4Runner and the GX 460 are based on the same platform.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $62,785 (Base Price $50,410)

Seating Capacity: 7

Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; LED headlights; ABS; an automatic dimming interior mirror; a stability control system; a trailer sway control system; a downhill assist control system; a hill-start control system; a back up camera; a first aid kit and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect system (automatic collision notification, SOS button, a stolen vehicle locator, an emergency assist button, and enhanced roadside assistance)

Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; roof rails; an automatic climate control system; a power sunroof; power front seats with lumbar support; a memory driver’s seat; 4.2-inch infotainment screen; and second/third reclining and adjustable seats

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recall Mondays: Chevy, GMC, Pontiac, Lexus and Toyota Are In The Hot Seat

1. AUTOMAKER: General Motors

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks manufactured January 6, 2014, to April 1, 2015. In the affected vehicles, the hooks that secure the driver's and/or front passenger's seat frame may not have been properly attached to the vehicle body during assembly. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 207, "Seating Systems."
If the seat-frame attachment hooks are not secured properly, the seat may not be adequately anchored to the vehicle, and in the event of a crash, the seat occupant could be at an increased risk of an injury.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Latest Safety Study On Midsize Crossovers And SUVs

If safety is of concern to you, this is a video worth watching before making your move.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Recall Mondays: Dodge, Jeep And Mitsubishi Are In The Hot Seat

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain model year 2006 Dodge Viper and Jeep Wrangler and Liberty vehicles manufactured July 1, 2005, to July 31, 2006. In the affected vehicles, the springs within the clutch pedal position switch that prevents the vehicle from starting unless the clutch pedal is pushed down may break. As a result, the vehicle may not be started when the clutch pedal is pushed down or the engine may crank and start without the clutch pedal being pushed down causing the vehicle to unexpectedly lurch.
If the vehicle unexpectedly moves there is an increased risk of a crash.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Customer Returns: Top 5 Most Traded-In Vehicles During The First Year Of Purchase

2014 Buick Regal
10.77% of owners  traded-in after the first year!
Possible Reasons: Too small in comparison to other midsize vehicles in the segment like the Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata.

2014 Chevy Sonic
8.9% of owners trade-in after the first year!
Possible Reasons: Lower gas prices have consumers shifting to larger vehicles.

2014 BMW X1
7.8% of owners traded-in after the first year!
Possible Reasons: Owners realize there are less pricey crossovers, offering more features and space.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2015 Lexus IS 250/350: The Brand’s Sporty Looking Entry-Level Sedan

HighlightThe IS offers a 2-door hardtop convertible, which is known as the IS-C.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $37,485 (IS250 Base Price $43,715)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; LED daytime running lights; fog lamps; ABS; electronic brake distribution; a brake assist system; a traction control system; a first aid kit; and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect System (automatic collision system, collision notification system, emergency assistance and enhanced roadside assistance)

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; a manually-operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; dual chrome exhausts; push-button keyless ignition starter system; an automatic rear view mirror; power front seats; pseudo-leather; and a power sunroof