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Cars

These cars are still good to drive even a decade later making them stand out from most other cars.

Just as the U.S. population is aging with the Baby Boomer generation passing into retirement, the nation’s fleet of cars and trucks is likewise approaching senior citizen status. The average age of all light-duty vehicles in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 11.5 years according to IHS Automotive. A separate study conducted byAutoMD.com found that two in three consumers are now driving vehicles with over 100K miles on the odometer.

Not only do those numbers account for a majority of models being piloted by their second or third owners, an average 13.5 percent of cars a decade or older are held onto by their initial purchasers, according to a study conducted by the car shopping website iSeeCars.com, with some models boasting over 26 percent long-term ownership.

At that, 15 models were found to be at least 1.5 times more likely to kept by their original owners. All of them are imports, including nine Toyotas, five Hondas and a single Subaru; we’re featuring the full list with pertinent percentages noted in the accompanying slideshow.

“While it’s not surprising that many Toyotas and Hondas made the list as they have based their reputations on reliability, what is surprising is the makeup of the cars,” says Phong Ly, iSeeCars.com’s CEO. To that end, 10 out of the top 15 models cited are crossover SUVs and minivans. “These vehicles tend to be largely family cars, so if people buy these cars when they are just starting their families, it stands to reason that these cars would suit them for many years,” says Ly.

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The recent dream for car companies is to be able to sell a car that can drive itself, which company will get there first?

Last week’s “exclusive” in the Guardian claiming to “confirm Apple is building self-driving car” raised quite a buzz. Much of that buzz was skeptical, with many pointing out that the facts failed to support the Guardian’s conclusion.

The logical leap that Guardian made was that an Apple engineer’s interest in the GoMentum Station vehicle test track confirmed Apple’s driverless car program. This is too big a leap, as a range of Apple car-related aspirations—self-driving or not—might have use for such a test track.

Let’s assume, however, that the Guardian is right and Apple does have a driverless car ready for testing. (This is possible, as Apple has hired many automotive engineers, including the former CEO of Mercedes Benz’s Silicon Valley research center.) What would that say about the relative state of Apple’s driverless car?

It would tell us that Apple is millions of miles behind Google, and falling further behind every day.

As one of the few companies in the world richer than Google, Apple can match the cars, sensors, processors, navigational systems and other pieces of hardware that Google might deploy. It can replicate the sophisticated maps that Google has compiled. It will have a very hard time, however, catching up with Google’s on-the-road learning.

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While self-driving cars are expected to have many positive impacts, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Just as Wired magazine published a headline-grabbing story about hackers taking control of a new Jeep Cherokee with UConnect, engineers, computer programmers, professors, and lawyers were meeting in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to discuss evolution of the autonomous, connected automobile.

The Automated Vehicle Symposium is held every year by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB), and so it measures advances in these technologies in increments. Questions and concerns about security, ethics, and who’s responsible for the first crash caused by an autonomous car are not new for this group.

This year’s AVS followed the University of Michigan’s grand opening of its Mcity autonomous vehicle test track, where some of the suppliers and automakers participating in the symposium gave demonstrations of their latest technologies. I stayed indoors and listened to presentations. While there were no revelations, there were some interesting ideas that give clear indications where the automobile industry and our transportation system are heading. Herewith, a few tidbits:

The University of Michigan is extending its three-year-old testing of smart cars on public roads into an “entire system of connected roads,” entailing some of the major roads between metro Detroit and Ann Arbor, according to John Maddox, assistant director for the U-M Mobility Transformation Center (MTC). It could rival Google’s autonomous car-testing efforts in Silicon Valley and adds the element of ice- and snow-covered roads, which semi-automated cars can’t handle very well so far.

The MTC essentially is an extension of the university’s test of smart car technology that began on public roads in 2012, with a $100 million budget funded by automakers and suppliers, state and federal governments, and the university.

Read more here.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) has issued it’s “Hot Spots” report listing the top 10 cities in the U.S. for auto thefts relative to their population size in 2014. It looks as though the Golden State is golden for auto thieves with California claiming seven out of the top 10 spots on the list.

Here are the cities that made the list with the number of vehicles stolen during 2014 noted in parenthesis.

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (29,093)
  2. Bakersfield, Calif. (5,211)
  3. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4,245)
  4. Odessa, Texas (886)
  5. Modesto, Calif. (3,047)
  6. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (3,032)
  7. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (2,414)
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (20,268)
  9. Fresno, Calif. (5,260)
  10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (10,531)

On the plus side, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says car thefts of all kinds are steadily on the decline after seeing a slight increase in 2012. The FBI says there’s been a 5.7 percent reduction in motor vehicle thefts during 2013 and 2014, and they’re down by a whopping 42.8 percent since 2003.

Read more here.

A former car salesman of 12 years shares his top tips for buying your next car.

1. If you’re in no rush to buy a car, the end of a model year is a great time to get a deal. Determining when this is for a particular car can be difficult, but if a dealer has two years of a new vehicle on its lot (say, 2014s and 2015s), chances are the older ones are going to be priced to move. The last week of the year is another good time to buy. You’ll find lots of specials and manufacturer incentives at both times of year.

2. If you’re looking to get information on a car or talk about a deal, but you aren’t quite ready to buy, a weekday afternoon is a great time to go visit a dealership. You’ll get more personal attention than you would on a busy weekend.

3. Don’t be afraid to listen to dealership suggestions. I’m not talking about bait and switch, but salespeople offering really good alternatives. When I sold cars, it was common for people to come looking for a particular model because of its low sticker price, but then drive out with a nicer car at the same or a lower price, thanks to the special programs and incentives that they didn’t know existed.

4. If you’ve already picked out a car from a dealership’s online inventory and worked out a price, do as much of the deal paperwork you can get over the phone. In many cases, you can be in and out of a dealership in less than an hour if you started the deal-making process online and over the phone. Why sit around in a showroom if you can avoid it?

5. Test-drives are still an important part of car buying. Bring along the people who will regularly ride in the car with you, if possible. Have them try all the seats. It’s better to learn that your teenage son doesn’t fit in the backseat before you buy the car, not after.

6. When you’re trying to negotiate a lower sales price, give the dealership a reason to discount the price. If you’ll use the service department, say so. If you’ll refer friends, be sure to say that, too. If you’re likely to give a perfect survey or buy a future car from them, share that with the dealership, too.

Read more here.

If you’re sick of companies tracking and analyzing your every move, you’ll want to keep reading.

Technology related to tracking patterns in consumer-spending habits continues to improve, allowing advertisers or marketers to better target the public with specific, albeit mostly unsolicited, product offers. Now, MasterCard International appears to be looking to jump further into that game by looking for a better way to analyze purchasing data to reflect automobile choices and driving habits.

Specifically, the credit-card giant has applied for a patent related to technology that can scan purchasing habits to determine a consumer’s car type and driving habits, according to Free Patents Online. Anything from car-buying information to service-station expenses to gasoline purchases could theoretically be analyzed.

Read more here: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/06/26/mastercard-patent-car-driving-habits/

The life of a new graduate is expensive. There are student loans, rent, food and cell phone bills to pay for. Graduation is a transition for students from the comfortable life of class to working full-time. A cost effective car to get them to work and back while being stylish is important for new grads.

Moving up is an ideal time to move on and scrap the old clunker that may have sufficed for a student, but just seems shabby for an up and coming mover and/or shaker. Fortunately, the range of models in today’s new-car market is so broad, those entering a new-car dealer’s showroom for the first time can choose from an ample selection of affordable makes and models that can stir the soul and be kind to the pocketbook while transporting an owner from the proverbial Point A to Point B.

How affordable? The personal finance website GOBankingRates recently compiled a compelling list of 30 cars from the 2015 model year that can be purchased and financed for under $300 a month. Actually, most of the models on the list can be had for a monthly nut of less than $250, with a few – including the Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage coming in with payments under $200. That’s a new car for what is essentially the cost of stopping at Starbucks each day on the way to the office.

We’re featuring 30 2015/2016 cars GOBankingRates determined can be financed for less than $300 a month (at least in their base versions) in the accompanying slide show, with estimated payments noted for each.

These models run the gamut from the small and economical (Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta) to the expressive (Dodge Dart, Kia Soul and Fiat 500) and the downright aggressive (Jeep Renegade, Nissan Frontier and Hyundai Veloster). The selection even includes a fuel-saving gas/electric-powered hybrid car, the Toyota Prius c.

Of course one doesn’t have to be a recent graduate to appreciate a new car at an affordable price, so each of these models possesses broad appeal for the budget minded of all ages.

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Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugatti are some brands that create the most coveted and wanted cars in North America, however only a select few drivers can afford these types of cars. The Joneses set a high standard to follow when it comes to these select few.

Maybe a Hennessey Venom GT, for a suggested retail price of $1.2 million, would represent a step ahead of the Joneses. Hennessey says its 1,244-hp Venom GT set a Guinness World Book-sanctioned record time of 13.63 seconds from zero to 300 kilometers per hour, or 186 mph, in January 2013. However, anyone who wants to buy one better move fast, pun intended. The company plans to build a total of only 29 units, and 11 have already been sold, including just five in the United States.

No. 1 on our list of the 10 Most Expensive Cars for 2014 is the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, which retails for $4.5 million — if you can get one. Lamborghini says it plans to build only nine of them in 2014.

Next year could be a good one for the exotic automobile industry. Wall Street bonuses could be 5% to 10% higher than last year when they are handed out in early 2014, according to Johnson Associates, and that’s a prime source of buyers for high-end automobiles. Exotic-car dealers keep close track of the stock markets, since that’s where many of their customers get their disposable income, whether those customers are shareholders or captains of industry.

The automotive upper-upper crust also includes traditional brands whose names ring a bell like Bugatti and Ferrari. British brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley are also traditional choices, although they are not in the business of hair-raising performance at all costs.

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Apple’s loss of hundreds of engineers is now yesterday’s news. This is because, just one week later Apple flips the situation with a report from Financial Times. Apple now declares that they tend to hire many in the automotive industry to develop a secret, new feature with Mercedes-Benz. This story has grown due to WST and Reuters fanning the flame.

Among those hires? Johann Jungwirth, who until very recently was President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America. His arrival, plus talk of other automotive engineers joining the ranks more quietly, has a lot of people speculating that Apple’s next one more thing will be a car.

I won’t rule out Apple rolling out something on wheels sometime down the road, but for now, the most likely applications of this vehicular know-how are a lot more subtle — but potentially a lot more interesting.

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, or MBRDNA as it’s more tersely known, is the Silicon Valley epicenter for M-B’s fancy thinking. I toured the facility when it opened in late 2013, and it is quite a place. Big and open and full of glass and brushed metal and, indeed, feeling very Apple-like.

To read more click here

 

To many Calgarians, living without a car would be unfathomable. One mother, Shari Wynne, took on the challenge and made the choice to raise her family without a vehicle in the city.

“I don’t even have a licence, and it’s never been a problem,” the mother of an adult son, teenage daughter, and toddler said.

Originally form Toronto, Wynne relocated to Calgary from Yellowknife in June 2009 after researching transit systems across the country and settling on Alberta’s largest city as her family’s new home.

“That was one of the benefits of Calgary – a really well laid out transit system,” she said.

The family now resides in Albert Park, close to major bus and C-Train stops, but previously managed to live car-free in Millrise and Coventry Hills.

Wynne’s daughter Caeli Callaghan, 17, said transit “completely” meets her transportation needs and she has no plans to get a driver’s licence.

Both mother and daughter described car-free living in Calgary as easier and more enjoyable than many might think.

Travel times are longer on the bus, they admit, but the ride is more relaxing and the cost savings are enormous when compared to owning, operating and insuring a vehicle.

Wynne figures the all-in costs of a car would eat up a quarter of her income. Callaghan, meanwhile, combines her part-time work, online schooling, and minimal transportation expenses to live a lifestyle of regular travel.

“With my job I’m able to save my money and take monthly vacations to different places around the world,” she said.

Still, they are in a small minority in this city.

There were 93.7 licensed drivers in Calgary per 100 residents aged 16 and over in 2014, a mark virtually unchanged since 2011 across the population as a whole, but one that saw some age-specific shifts in those three years.

Read the full story here.