Posted by & filed under Resources.

Sara Lacey
For Utah Rides

Last week I went to San Diego to attend a conference for woman automotive journalists.  This event was put together by a group called Heels & Wheels, who believe it’s important for all of us to be reminded of the purchasing power of women.  For example, women account for 49% of the car-buying market.  Also, almost 80% of the purchasing decisions are made by women.  Lastly, American women have a purchasing power of over $5 trillion.

Knowing this, Heels & Wheels worked with some auto manufacturers to bring cars to us women writers to drive.  After spending the day with a whole bunch of vehicles, we were able to participate in a round table about what we find important in a vehicle, what is important to those we represent.  In addition, we discussed the dealership experience and how it may be improved upon. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.

Debbie Cenziper
AP

HAMERSVILLE, Ohio — The first dollar Rick Doyle ever earned as a $3 million-a-year dealer of aftermarket motorcycle parts is tacked to the wall of a dusty barn in rural Ohio, where two custom-built bikes have been pushed to the corner, forgotten. There is nothing here now except a 10-year-old tractor. The biker calender above the desk still reads February 2006.

That’s about when Doyle made an unsettling discovery about an industry that for decades catered to motorcyclists who pride themselves on customizing bikes with unique features and high-powered parts. Read more »

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By Andy Stonehouse
For Utah Rides

Austin, Texas – It turns out that those stereotypes we Western drivers hold about our Lone Star State visitors might be a little bit true, though when you spend a few days rolling around in Texas, you understand that their adversarial driving is simply a matter of survival.

High speed limits, built-up urban areas and those maddeningly endless one-way expressway service roads all seem to conspire to create a uniquely challenging atmosphere, despite all that land mass. The nine-point U-turns in the middle of Main Street in Park City remain an inexplicable Texas phenomenon, but that’s another story. Read more »

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By Tom and Ray Magliozzi
King Features

Dear Tom and Ray:

My wife and I just purchased a brand-new 2012 Nissan Juke SL, with a CVT transmission and the 1.6-liter “turbo” engine. It came with a bonus of “lifetime FREE oil changes.” Now that we have driven roughly 1,000 miles, we scheduled an appointment with our dealer’s service department, and dropped the car off without any fanfare. Later, they called my wife at home to tell her that the free oil isn’t really free. They say that because our model is a turbo (all Jukes have a turbo), it requires synthetic oil, and the free oil change offer includes only “standard — SAE” engine oils. They told us the upgrade to synthetic will be $60 more per oil change. My wife said, “No thank you,” and asked them to put in the standard oil. The owner’s manual, which calls for only standard, 5W-30 SAE-grade oil, makes no mention of requiring synthetic oil. Did we do the right thing? And wasn’t the dealer being a bit slippery? — Craig Read more »

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By Aaron Cole
For Utah Rides

Somewhere, French horns are serenading white swans. White gloved men are softly playing coronets to sleeping silver spoons — or something.

And the 2012 Jaguar XJL purrs alone in a velvet garage with butlers festooned head-to-toe in goose down.

OK, so you get that the XJL is smooth, really smooth. I mean the XJL makes Barry White sound like The Black Keys.

For the money, approximately $102,000 as tested, it better be. But that’s not what makes the Jaguar so interesting. Read more »

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By Aaron Cole
For Utah Rides

Let’s consider ketchup.

Not simply ketchup, but rather, the packet.

From ages 1 to 28 for me, the only ketchup packet available for consumption was the foil packet.

On some days the packet would rip too far down the side, not rip at all, or if the conditions were just right, spray all over my Looney Tunes shirt.

Then, once the packet was open, you could empty the contents in one-fell squirt; patient, rhythmic squeezes; or roll it up like toothpaste and extract every ounce of Heinz (if you were lucky, or something that tasted like soap if you weren’t) onto your fries.

Then it ‘s over. Read more »

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By Chris Woodyard
AP

Automakers are pushing factories and workers to the limit to try to meet burgeoning demand for new vehicles.

Some plants are adding third work shifts. Others are piling on worker overtime and six-day weeks. And Ford Motor and Chrysler Group are cutting out or reducing the annual two-week July shutdown at several plants this summer to add thousands of vehicles to their output. Read more »

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By Sara Lacey
For Utah Rides

It’s the end of May already, the long days of summer stretch out in front of us, and we look forward to picnics, hikes, days at the zoo and the pool and the park.  What does that mean for our lives in the car? It means being prepared!

First off, wouldn’t it be nice to have a fresh cooler in the car all ready to go with chilled water to keep everyone cool?  I’ve recently come to realize that I am actually the grownup who is responsible for this sort of luxury.  I know I can’t keep a cold cooler in there every day (really, who can?) but I like to stash some water bottles and snacks  in the cargo area in the event of an unplanned long commute or a breakdown.  In addition, if you have small kids throw in some extra diapers and wipes.  It seems like the only time I’m short on essentials is when I’m already in a crisis. Read more »

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By Tom and Ray Magliozzi
King Features

Dear Tom and Ray:

My fiance and I are planning to buy a new car that fits our lifestyle and our budget. We are currently looking at the Honda Fit, the Toyota Matrix and, my personal favorite, the Honda Element. Anyway, here’s some info about us:

–We live in the mountains outside of Las Vegas (at 8,000 feet!), so we get lots of snow.

–We also drive about 300-400 miles per week, so decent miles per gallon is important.

–We are cyclists, and I am starting a gardening business, so we need lots of cargo room.

–We are cash buyers looking to buy a used 2008-2011 vehicle for less than $20,000.

Now, with all of that information, would you agree that the Element is a good choice? I am mostly concerned about repair costs and resale value, because Honda has discontinued the model. My main question is this: When a car manufacturer discontinues a model, does the resale value typically increase, or decrease? How about the cost of repair? Elements are hard to find used by private sellers, and I’ve always heard that Element drivers LOVE their cars, so I wonder if the resale value might even increase. Thank you so much! — Kaelin Read more »

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By Aaron Cole
For Utah Rides

NASHVILLE — You wouldn’t believe what passes for foreign these days.

Mein Volkswagen Passat? Built in Chattanooga, Tenn. Derr Mercedes M-class is built in Alabama.

Toyota Camrys are “Made in the USA” too.

Now guess what? More Nissans nowadays are less Hideo and more Jimbo. The 2013 Altima, for instance, is made in Smyrna, Tenn., which is now home to Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits and the Nissan D platform line.

This isn’t reverse xenophobia; I’m fine with foreign manufacturers making cars in the U.S. for Americans. It’s been that way for years, and it couldn’t be truer sometimes that the (insert major beer manufacturer here, or baseball team here, or newspaper) is less “American” than the Nissan in your driveway. Read more »