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The Fallout of the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

Its been almost five months now since the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal emerged in September, creating an absolute firestorm for the company, including a tumbling of its stock price. And if you thought that the worst was over for Volkswagen since the revelations back then, you'd be wrong. As more and more details emerge, the situation has grown much worse for Volkswagen and its brands. Here's an update on the situation:

 

 

What's the Main Issue

The main issue is that Volkswagen, as the Environmental Protection Agency has stated, sold around 72,000 Volkswagen diesel vehicles in the United States during 2008 to 2015 that had special software installed to control emissions only during government agency tests. In reality, they released close to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide. In addition, Volkswagen has also been accused of also installing similar software on the 3-liter diesel engines that are used in some Porsche and Audi models.

 

The accusations and admittance of guilt from Volkswagen continued to grow since then. In December, Volkswagen stated that around 36,000 of the cars that it manufactures per year in Europe had irregularities in their carbon dioxide emissions levels tests.

 

 

 

The Consequences

This is an issue that is affecting Volkswagen worldwide. They have stated that they will recall 500,000 vehicles in the United States and 8.5 million in Europe. This is not even taking into account Asia, in which Volkswagen has not yet determined how many vehicles will need to be recalled. In fact, countries such as Italy, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, South Korea, and the United States have all launched investigations. Its sales are also down significantly.

 

In Europe in November 2015, it experienced a 26.8% decline in sales compared to the same time period a year ago. This decline in sales is mainly the result of the terrible public image that Volkswagen now has in many people's minds, leading to them suffering greatly from both a financial and public relations perspective.

 

To exemplify this point, in October, it posted its first quarterly loss in 15 years of around $2.73 billion. It has also set aside $7.3 billion to cover its eventual recall costs.

 

In the United States, Volkswagen is facing an enormous amount of pressure. On January 12th of this year, the California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB, rejected a proposal by Volkswagen concerning how to rectify the situation involving the 76,000 affected Volkswagen vehicles in the United States with their 2.0 liter diesel engines. Volkswagen had wanted to use a catalytic converter to solve the emissions problem, but CARB has stated that it is not adequate. CARB has stressed, which the EPA has also agreed with, that Volkswagen is not acting fast enough in solving the issue. Volkswagen also will be meeting with the EPA soon in February, but the results are expected to be similar.

 

Moving forward, Volkswagen has a major uphill battle to climb. While they can't change what has already been done, they need to develop an organized and directed approach that is efficient and extremely responsive. Otherwise, the damage to their health as a viable company may become permanent.

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Anticipated Cars of 2016

With each new year comes brand new car models. 2015 was a fantastic year for auto sales, as they were the highest that they have ever been in the United States since the 1930s. This momentum is expected to carry over through2016, especially with the economy continuing to improve. So what are the cars being released in 2016 that have been the most anticipated? Read below to find out more:

 

 

 

Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu has been redesigned to improve rear passenger room, as well as to improve its fuel economy. As a midsize sedan, it now features a wheelbase that is 3.6 inches longer, allowing for more leg room and space in the back. In addition, it also weighs over 300 pounds less than the old model and will be offered in three versions, including a full-hybrid, complete with a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor with a 1.8 liter gas engine. The new Chevrolet Malibu has been improved all around.

 

 

Ford Focus RS

Ford is releasing the new Focus RS to join its already-successful Focus ST. It will be an all-wheel drive vehicle, with a 2.3 liter, 315 horsepower turbo four-cylinder engine that's been developed by Mustang. Additional features compared to the Focus ST are a six-speed manual and an improved clutch. This is supposed to be a very powerful vehicle, even allowing for the engine power to be directed at the outside rear wheels for help in turning corners. It also features a drift mode and advanced Brembo disc brakes.

 

 

Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF has been improved with a brand new engine, a new exterior design, and perhaps, most importantly, a new aluminum lightweight chassis. This new aluminum chassis means that the Jaguar XF's rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models will weigh 132 pounds and 265 pounds less, respectively. Furthermore, it will also feature a V6 engine, with either 340 or 380 horsepower, depending on the model. Its new InControl Touch infotainment system is also a major improvement.

 

 

 

Cadillac CT6

The all-new Cadillac CT6 is expected to be one of the flagship cars for Cadillac. While it is modeled after the Cadillac CTS, it is over six inches longer. There are three V6 engine options available for consumers, with the top of the line one being a brand new 400 horsepower, 3.0 liter twin-turbo engine. Another feature of the Cadillac CT6 is that has an Active Chassis System that allows for rear-wheel steering. And while it is larger than the Cadillac CTS, it actually weighs 200 pounds less thanks to the aluminum used in its build.

 

 

Honda Civic

While it has been a mainstay for years, the Honda Civic has been completely redesigned. It has a new angular and sharp appearance that is backed up by improved vehicle performance. Though it  doesn't have a hybrid version, it offers a base model that has a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine and a more expensive model that has a 1.5 liter turbo four-cylinder engine. You also can choose from having either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic. 

 

2016 is already looking like a great year for auto enthusiasts!

Moving Toward A Greener Transportation: Safety, Standards, & Technology

There have been many interesting developments recently when it comes to the evolution of self-driving cars and the technology that will be needed to ensure their safe implementation. President Obama mentioned the transportation industry, and specifically, the movement toward electric and away from fossil fuels, during his State of the Union address in January. To solidify these plans, the president outlined a $4 billion investment in self-driving cars over 10 years to accelerate the process of merging the latest technology and clean energy solutions into the cars of tomorrow.

 

The president’s brief mention of the need to be less reliant on fossil fuels just highlights some of the recent developments in the industry, many of which are indicative of a renewed focus and commitment to clean energy and transportation safety. In this blog post, we’ll look at the events of the past year to see what changes have occurred--and what changes lie ahead--for new technology, smart cars, and a dedicated plan for clean energy in transportation.

 

Where We Are; News & Developments From 2015 

The transport industry saw some important developments in 2015, especially in terms of integrating a long-term plan for safety and energy efficiency. Two important programs, Beyond Traffic and the Smart City Challenge, were put into place by Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx. On the heels of these two programs, the Paris Climate Talks put forth an actionable plan with scientifically backed goals to be integrated by 2020.

 

The Beyond Traffic program was started in Feb. 2015 with the idea of starting a dialogue between operators, policy makers, and the public. There were no rules or regulations tied to the Beyond Traffic program; it was simply designed to start a conversation around the issues of transportation in certain areas, particularly those regions projected to be most affected by population growth.

 

The meat of the program is in the 30 year transportation framework, which aims to create a national discussion that will have U.S. transportation systems, and how to improve them, as the centerpiece of the dialogue. In the video below, you can learn more about the 11 megaregions which are expected to be the most affected areas of the U.S. between now and 2045.

 

The Smart City Challenge is another program developed under the direction of Foxx and was launched in December 2015. Building on the reports from the Beyond Traffic program, the goal of the Smart City Challenge is to encourage cities to incorporate data and technology to improve safety, efficiency, and reduce environmental impact.

 

The challenge includes a contest between cities, for which the winner will be awarded up to $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Competing cities must submit their plans by Feb. 4 with the finalists being announced in March.

 

The Paris Climate Talks, which were held in Nov. and Dec. of 2015, established some firm guidelines and goals for the worldwide transport industry for the first time. (You can read more about the details in a previous blog post by clicking here.) Though the terms of the plan will not be fully put in place until 2020, it does call for regular collaborative meetings by world leaders every five years.

 

$4 Billion Investment In Vehicle Safety Technology

After President Obama spelled out a plan for moving more quickly toward implementing safety innovations into the transport industry, the National Highway Safety Administration made it official in early 2016. As part of the president’s budget proposal, several billion dollars will be invested into vehicle safety in the coming years.

 

The investment will take place over the next 10 years and include input from state governments, as well as a the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). Working together with state legislatures and the AAMVA, the NHTSA aims to develop both state and national vehicle safety regulations.

 

Part of the plan is to remove certain obstacles that might hinder automakers in their attempts to incorporate new technology and safety features. For this purpose, car manufacturers may be granted exemptions that allow for trials and safety tests.

 

A key component in moving toward a modern, sustainable system of transportation, is the full integration of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles; something which is a focal point of the investment. In light of recently failed legislation proposals and electric vehicle usage goals, the plan for a 21st century system is a welcome sign, both for consumers and those working within the industry.

 

Companies like Google and Tesla (and possibly Apple) are already testing the waters with self-driving vehicles. Elon Musk has said that a Tesla will be able to drive itself within two years. Google’s Self Driving Car Project already has prototypes zipping around their headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Apple CEO Tim Cook has also made references to his belief that autonomous driving is the future of personal transportation.

 

Along with a dramatic rise in population that is expected to increase day-to-day traffic in major metro areas, a significant increase--estimates put it around 50%--in freight cargo will come along with it. Both of these issues have been looming as potential problem areas in the future of transportation and the events of the past year have signaled a major push in the direction of addressing them in terms of safety, efficiency, and environmental responsibility.

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The Best Sites to Find New Car Price Quotes

 

In the past, when shopping around for a new car, you would often have to physically visit multiple dealerships in order to find out what the prices being offered were for the specific model and features that you wanted. However, today, this process is much easier, in which you will be able to save both time and money.

 

On the internet, you'll be able to find new car price quotes quite easily by searching through certain websites. Having these price quotes will allow you to make a more informed decision as to what car to eventually purchase, as well as to be able to better negotiate with car dealerships thanks to having a healthy amount of price quotes available. But what websites should you visit? Here are some of the best ones:

 

 

CarsDirect.com

At CarsDirect.com, you'll be able to have access to full 360 degree views of most vehicles, as well as be able to find instant car price quotes that are usually better than what you'd find visiting a dealership. You have the ability to also obtain an instant online quote and can even save the vehicle price quotes to view at a later date.

 

In addition, CarsDirect.com offers you the ability to purchase the vehicle right on their website with their CarsDirect price, which is usually one of, if not, the best prices that you can find. They're a well-known and respected website in which you'll be able to obtain rebates, financing, and even the manufacturer's warranty. Should you decide to purchase a vehicle through CarsDirect.com, you'll be put in touch with a service advisor and told what local dealership to pick it up from. And best of all, your CarsDirect.com price is locked in, so the dealer can't make any changes later on!

 

 

Edmunds.com

Edmunds.com is also another widely-used and credible site. They offer the ability to obtain free price quotes without any obligation, as well as the nifty feature of allowing you to view real dealer inventory numbers. You will also be able to see what the prices are in your region or specific area.

 

On the website, you'll find the Edmunds True Market Value price, which Edmunds.com states will get you one of the best deals on your particular car available. You'll be able to view any rebates that are available, including factory-to-dealer incentives. Knowing the factory-to-dealer incentives will give you a tremendous amount of negotiating leverage.

 

 

Cars.com

With Cars.com, you'll be able to search for free price quotes from 3 local dealers. You'll also be able to include all of the specifics of the vehicle that you're interested in. While it does only allow you to find price quotes from just 3 local dealers, you can always do another search if you want price quotes from additional dealers.

 

A neat feature is that Cars.com allows you to choose which dealerships you want to receive a quote from. If you're not particularly fond of a local dealership, for example, you can choose not to receive price quotes from them.

 

There are also some other credible websites available, such as from CarClearanceDeals.com and TrueCar.com. The most important thing is that you spend some time viewing multiple quotes from different sources. Happy car hunting!

Changing Your Car Registration When Moving to a New State

If you've decided to move to a new state, one of the things that you may have to do, in addition to finding a new place and moving your belongings, is to register your vehicle.

 

 

Unfortunately, each state in the United States has its own unique set of laws concerning vehicle registration  Since moving can be an extremely stressful situation, you want to make sure that you're well aware of the vehicle registration laws of the new state that you're settling in. Otherwise, you could end up in serious violation of state laws, which will significantly add to your stress. The following guide should get you on the right track:

 

 

Visit or Call the State's DMV 

Even before you move to the new state, you should get in contact with its DMV. Just do a simple Google search online to locate its website, which should have all of the information that you need readily available.

 

Another good site to visit is DMV.org. At their link, you'll be able to find contact information and some of the rules and regulations concerning your vehicle registration for each particular state. Do your research ahead of time to avoid any surprises.

 

 

Be Aware of How Soon You Will Need to Register Your Vehicle 

Each state has different requirements as to when you need to register your vehicle when moving. In some states, such as New Jersey, you will have to register your vehicle within 60 days, while in some other states, such as California, you will only have 20 days. In Michigan, it's expected to be immediate, meaning that you'll basically have to do it within 24 to 48 hours after you arrive.

 

 

See If You Need a New Driver's License

In some states, before you're even allowed to register your vehicle, you will also need to get a driver's license issued from that state, while in other states, you don't have to, provided that you have a valid driver's license. You can often do both at the same time at the DMV, which will help you save some time.

 

 

Update Your Car Insurance

You will also need to update your car insurance. The vast majority of states have certain minimums that you will have to meet in terms of liability requirements, in addition to various regulations that have to be followed. In order to register your vehicle, you will need to show the DMV your proof of insurance, regardless of the state that you're in.

 

 

Take Care of Your License Plates

Make sure to return your old license plates to the state in which they were originally issued. Not every state makes this a requirement, but some do, as they will charge you a penalty fee otherwise. In some cases, you will be given a refund for any of the fees associated with returning your old license plates. You will also need to receive new license plates in your new state.

 

Once again, it's important to note that every state has different rules and regulations as it pertains to car registrations. As long as you do your research and get in contact with the state's DMV, you should be fine!