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December  Newsletter
Audi Q-7

In the Midsize Luxury SUV division, a shakeup was not predicted. We always thought that the Japanese carmakers were always going to be at the top of the class in overall reliability. In 2014 the Acura MDX was rated among the top of the Luxury Midsize SUV while the Audi was rated at the very bottom.

How things can change in a short period of time. 

The new Audi Q-7 has really come a long way. In the beginning, it had major problems with reliability. I didn’t recommend it to my clients. I actually steered them away from it because of its many problems. What has changed the Audi to make it go from the bottom of its class to the top of its class in the consumer reports midsize Luxury SUV division?

Here is what Consumer Reports rated the top Luxury Midsize SUV for 2018 models.

AUDI Q7 90    LEXUS RX350 79    BMW X-5 76   MERCEDES BENZ GLE 67    INFINITI QX60 66    ACURA MDX 66

This may be a historical change from when the Japanese car companies dominated the top 5 slots in the Consumer Reports to now when the Acura MDX is not Recommended for 2018. The Audi has fixed its problems and it looks like the Acura MDX has gone in the opposite direction. It looks like the MDX has some reliability problems because they were rated below average in predicted reliability for 2018. 

Audi looks like they came to grip with their reliability problems and fixed them. 

They didn’t produce the Q-7 in 2016 and it looks like they went back to the drawing board to fix some of the nagging problems that consumers were complaining about. The Q-7 was rated worse than average in reliability in 2014. In 2017 they came out with a new body style and were rated as the top SUV in their class. What a big move.

One last note is that Consumer reports don't advertise any automotive companies on their website or magazine. This makes them a little more credible in their results than some of the other Automotive magazines that advertise car companies in their pages.

Tesla – a Giant Experiment
August 2017 Newsletter

Elon Musk, the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla, has started producing cars for the masses.  The price tag for the new Model 3 is $35,000.  Here is an idea of what to expect.  On Tesla’s website (www.tesla.com) their goals are as follows:

 

A range of 215 miles per charge; Seating for five; Autopilot hardware (self-driving); Supercharged i.e., can be charged from a wall outlet and on the road with an adapter; andFive star crash rating.

 

These, of course, are just goals for Tesla because the cars haven’t started production.  The innovation that Tesla has brought to the marketplace is profound.  Forbes Magazine has said that Tesla can be the catalyst behind transforming the auto industry from ICE (internal combustion engines) to electric engines.  With an estimate of over 400,000 Model 3 cars ordered, we will be able to see if Tesla can mass produce cars and make it affordable to its customers.  Growing pains aside they have projected to build and sell 500,000 cars in 2018.  That is a lofty goal when they only produced and sold 76,000 cars in 2016.  We will see if Tesla can make electric cars a reality for many customers of today.

The Triple Threat
April 2017 Newsletter

With the onset of sustainable low gas prices, it seems that most family’s are buying more SUV’s.  The most popular is the small compact group. Within this group are the 3 most popular SUV’s.  The Honda CRV, Subaru Forester, and the Toyota RAV-4 are my choices for the most reliable, safe and fuel-efficient small SUV’s on the road today.

 

The Subaru Forester took the number one spot on the Consumer Reports best compact list with the Toyota Rav-4 coming in second. The 2017 Honda CRV wasn’t rated at the time of this article. The Honda CRV was rated in 2016 used car guide as the best in class and I’m sure that it will be in the top 3 small SUV’s when rated this year.

Should I Lease or Buy one of these three?

Leases, fortunately, are based on resale value and Honda, 3 years Toyota and Subaru have very high resale value’s so leasing one of these makes a lot of sense. The higher the resale value the lower amount of depreciation you have to pay ove3-year term of the lease.If your resale value stinks it usually means that your lease payment will be much higher than a reliable model.

 

Of course, some lease companies manipulate the resale value of their lease’s and can get you those lower payments. If they predict the resale value to high they can get stuck with cars that they are forced to take a loss at the end of the lease.

 

If you buy any of these small SUV’s they will hold their value over long periods of time. So if you want to keep it and wait until you “drive the wheels off of it” you may have a long wait. Resale value and reliability go hand and hand and these 3 SUV’s are the hands down winners

 

Toyota's U.S. sales chief, Bill Fay, said: “consumers' shift from cars to SUVs is one of the most dramatic the industry has ever seen.” Automotive News said that: “Three years ago, trucks and SUVs represented 50% of the U.S. market. They closed 2016 at 63% of total sales, and analysts don't see that changing anytime soon. Boomers and millennials both like space and the higher ride that SUVs offer and improvements in fuel economy make them competitive with cars. The Honda CR-V was the best-selling SUV in the U.S. last year, with sales up 3% to 357,335.”