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Labor Day Weekend New Car Sales

Credit challenged consumers sometimes assume they can only finance a used car but for many a new car is also possible and Labor Day weekend may be the best time to buy

What we know

At Auto Credit Express we want applicants with bad credit to understand that their only vehicle choice may not be just a used car. We were reminded of this after reading an article from NADA Used Car Guide.

New cars

Besides that “new car” smell, buying new comes with a number of advantages including:

• A full warranty – Most come with a minimum 36 month 36,000 mile “bumper to bumper” warranty with no out of pocket expenditures for covered systems.
• Many warranties include additional perks such as roadside assistance for flat tires, gas and mechanical repairs.
• Most states have new car lemon laws that cover defects the dealer cannot fix.
• Most subprime lenders offer lower interest rates and longer terms for new cars.

Great new car deals Labor Day weekend

According to NADA Used Car Guide, the upcoming Labor Day weekend is an excellent time to buy a new car, as many manufacturers are offering savings to clear out 2014 inventory for incoming 2015 models.

But that’s not all, according to NADA a slowdown in sales means “manufacturers have dialed up incentive spending and many kicked off model year sell-down sales back in July to get a jump start on the competition.”

More good news for car shoppers with credit issues is that “some of the best deals can be found in the hotly contested compact and midsize car segments.” More importantly, cars in both of these categories are typically very affordable, even when financed with a subprime auto loan.

If you have a trade-in, there’s even more reason to buy now. According to Jonathan Banks, Executive Automotive Analyst at NADA Used Car Guide, “Dealers are hungry for quality used vehicles so they continue to make highly competitive trade-in offers.”

A word of caution

But remember:

• The objective is to reestablish credit, not finance your dream car. Keep the payment below your maximum budget.
• Do your research at sites such as consumerreports.org for quality and reliability data.
• Pay attention to fuel economy
• Compare car insurance rates. If given a choice of vehicles that are similar in size, price and reliability, pick the one with the lowest rate.

The Bottom Line

If you qualify for one, a new car can be a good choice, provided you keep it well within your budget. If you plan on buying one in the next couple of months, we want you to know that the folks at NADA Used Car Guide believe that the Labor Day weekend will offer big savings to new car buyers.

Something else we want you to know: at Auto Credit Express specializes in helping consumers with problem credit find those dealers that can give them their best opportunities for car loan approvals.

So if you’re ready to establish your car credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loan application.

Article source: http://www.autocreditexpress.com/blog/2014/08/31/labor-day-weekend-new-car-sales/

Jeff Gordon set for 750th race

Aug 29, 2014; Hampton, GA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon during practice for the Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will mark a milestone in Jeff Gordon’s racing career. It’ll be Gordon’s 750th start at the Cup level. It’s fitting that such a milestone come at AMS, as the track played host to then-Winston Cup start number one. That race was the last race of the 1992 Cup season. As the Gordon era of NASCAR racing was being ushered in, the Richard Petty era was coming to a close. Gordon’s first race at the Cup level was also Petty’s last as a driver.

Not only will Sunday’s race be Gordon’s 750th start, overall, at NASCAR’s top-level, it’ll also mark 750-consecutive starts for the driver, as he’s never missed a race since that first event at Atlanta nearly 22 years ago. As a frame of reference, the next highest consecutive-race streak among active drivers is that of Matt Kenseth at 526 races, according to NASCAR.com. The all-time record streak of consecutive start is held by Ricky Rudd at 788. With 11 races to go in 2014 after Sunday night’s race, Gordon is on course to break Rudd’s record in 2015.

Gordon was asked about the milestone on Friday. Here’s what he had to say:

TALK ABOUT YOUR 750 STARTS:

“That is a big number. I hadn’t thought about it a whole lot until I saw a decal with it made up. I thought ‘man that is a lot of races, especially in a row’. Really proud of that, it’s been an amazing career in the Cup Series. It seems like it was yesterday that it started right here over 20 years ago. I love this track. I love racing here so it’s pretty cool to have 750 happening here.”

WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR LONGEVITY TO?

“My strong back (laughs). No I got very fortunate that I got a very young start as well as I got a chance to start with one of the best teams and team owners out there with Hendrick Motorsports and Rick Hendrick. It’s funny I did a thing this week with Kasey Kahne for Valvoline and we were talking about our start and how we got to the Cup Series and our path there. So we were reminiscing a little bit about some key moments that got us here. While he didn’t start as young as I did when he did start it was a pretty quick path. For me, when I moved to Indiana and started racing sprint cars and midgets and things like that it’s amazing how quick things happened. It seemed like one year I was graduating from high school and a year later I was going to drive a Nationwide car. A year later I was getting offers to go Cup racing and then two years later I was in the Cup Series. Two years after that I was winning my first Cup championship. All I can contribute it to is just a lot of good things happening at the right moments, meeting the right people and getting here at a young age. Then good genes too. I’ve taken so big hits. Some that could have taken me out of contention to stop that streak. Yet, either the schedule worked out or my body healed itself or whatever happened. Here we are at 750. At the time I didn’t really think about that, but now I look back on it and it’s something I’m proud of.”

Here’s a graphic (courtesy of NASCAR) that lists some of Gordon’s milestones, including Altanta Motor Speedway milestones:

Follow Stock Car Spin on Twitter @SCSblog or like Stock Car Spin on Facebook. Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner

Tags: Atlanta Motor Speedway Jeff Gordon NASCAR

Article source: http://stockcarspin.com/2014/08/31/jeff-gordon-set-750th-race/

2014 Hyundai Equus — a Korean entry in the German-dominated luxury car field.


The 2014 Hyundai Equus, a luxury car from Korea. (All photos by Michael Taylor)


The Equus comes in two flavors -- Signature and the more expensive Ultimate. The Signature is $61,250; the Ultimate, $68,920.


The Equus is Hyundai's most expensive car; next down the line is the Genesis, newly revamped.


For 2014, the car got a mild facelift  they tweaked the grille and the front bumper, added LED foglights, and played with the taillights a bit. The 19-inch wheels are now thin-spoked aluminum.


Rear seat passengers get the full-boat comfort treatment.


Entertainment/navigation screen for rear seat occupants.


The two-zone HVAC is now three zone (the two front areas and the rear.) Ive  always felt this divvying up of temperature zones was a bit of a marketing gimmick; its a small cabin, guys, and there isnt much room to make distinctively different climates in there.


Buttons on the left side of the front passenger seat seatback allow for adjustments so the driver doesn't have to get out of the car, come around to the right side and do it with the adjusters the passenger would normally use.


Rear seat HVAC vents and information panel.


Rear seat passengers get their own control panel, in the form of a center arm rest.


The rear-wheel-drive Equus is Hyundais top of the line. It sports a 5-liter V8 engine that puts out (and this is a curious stat) 429 horses when fueled with premium and 421 horsepower when its drinking regular. All this is driven through an eight-speed automatic that has the requisite manumatic option that lets you saw through the gears.


The Ultimate package: lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert (it beeps when a car is crossing your stern), power sunshades in the rear, head-up display (speedometer readings show up in the windshield, imitating a fighter jets display), smart cruise control (it will bring the car to a dead stop, if necessary) and a 17-speaker stereo that will blow you out of your leather seats. When your car needs servicing, Hyundai will send someone to pick it up (at home or office) and leave you with a loaner.


Front seat adjustment buttons are mounted on the door.

The question is not whether this is a fine, well-appointed luxury car – you’ll make your own decision once you’ve had a look at the 2014 Hyundai Equus. The question is whether this car will ever penetrate the tight circle of luxo barges that already appear to have a lock on the market – Audi’s A8, BMW’s 7-series and the S-class Mercedes-Benz. Much of this market is driven by perception, snobbery, keeping up with the Joneses and, of course, an appreciation of fine machinery.

But the underlying theme is image, or a lack of it. What this means can be seen in the face of anyone I meet who asks what I’m driving – sometimes, they look over my shoulder to see if they can identify the big white whale behind me (the Equus). When I say, “it’s a Hyundai,” they may say, “a Honda?” or they may say, “Hyundai?” or they may just look vague. Again, it’s perception – for many people, what you drive is who you are.

So the best advice may be: get over it. If you want a big luxury car, with all the safety gizmos and the luxury appointments and the hushed cabin at 70 miles an  hour, you owe it to yourself to try all of them – the German Three, plus Jaguar, Cadillac, Maserati, Lexus, Infiniti and Hyundai. This is probably a losing battle – the die is cast when it comes to high-end cars, and people will continue to follow the herd into those Audi, Benz and BMW showrooms.

Since this review is about the 2014 Hyundai Equus, sit still for a few minutes and eat your Hyundai oatmeal. It’s not gonna hurt.

What we have here is a nearly two-and-a-half ton four-door sedan that has plenty of room in front and plenty of room in back. The rear seat passengers in this Ultimate edition (there is also the less costly Signature edition) are treated almost as well as their peers in front – dual rear screens for watching the navigation do its dance or watching movies; the rear center console through which you can control almost every function of the car, save driving it; the chilled seats.

The rear-wheel-drive Equus is Hyundai’s top of the line. It sports a 5-liter V8 engine that puts out (and this is a curious stat) 429 horses when fueled with premium and 421 horsepower when it’s drinking regular. All this is driven through an eight-speed automatic that has the requisite manumatic option that lets you saw through the gears. For 2014, the car got a mild facelift – they tweaked the grille and the front bumper, added LED foglights, and played with the taillights a bit. The 19-inch wheels are now thin-spoked aluminum and the two-zone HVAC is now three zone (the two front areas and the rear.) I’ve  always felt this divvying up of temperature zones was a bit of a marketing gimmick; it’s a small cabin, guys, and there isn’t much room to make distinctively different climates in there.

Being a super car means there are all the high-end electronic driving aids to help you down the turnpike. The Equus is nothing if not replete with these, most of them standard, some of them added with the Ultimate package: lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert (it beeps when a car is crossing your stern), power sunshades in the rear, head-up display (speedometer readings show up in the windshield, imitating a fighter jet’s display), smart cruise control (it will bring the car to a dead stop, if necessary) and a 17-speaker stereo that will blow you out of your leather seats. When your car needs servicing, Hyundai will send someone to pick it up (at home or office) and leave you with a loaner.

On the road, all this becomes a small symphony of svelte motoring. It’s not much different from all its competitors: the Equus is quiet, supple and, frankly, feels a bit heavy. When you compare their sizes, the three Germans are all within three inches of the Equus’s 203-inch length. When it comes to pricing, however, they are leagues apart.

The Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S550 and BMW 7-series can range from the low seventy thousands into well over $100,000 and, in some cases, $150,000. The Equus Ultimate (the fancier of the two Equus models) is $68,920. That’s it.

In the future, of course, Hyundai may well raise the price of the Equus, but for now they have to get those customers in the door and have them pull out a checkbook and start writing, rather than just walking around the car and then heading for the (name the well-known brand) dealer next door.

Luxury car sales for 2013 compiled by goodcarbadcar.net show that Mercedes sold 13,303 S-class cars; BMW retailed 10,932 of the 7-series; Audi did 6,300 of the A8; and Hyundai sold 3,578 Equuses.

Maybe it’s the name. If they found a new name for their upscale cars, as Toyota did with Lexus and Nissan with Infiniti, things might change.

For now, however, what’s nice is the fact that you can go out there and buy a car that in many respects is the equal (Equus equal?) of the German troika but you don’t have to pay those prices.

There are worse deals in the auto marketplace.

For more consumer information on cars, check these Web sites:

Safety data can be found at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)  and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Reliability information can be seen in the  dependability studies conducted by J.D. Power; and at Consumer Reports.

Fuel mileage figures are available at this site, maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy.

For trivia lovers: the sticker you see on the window of every new car for sale in the United States is known in the auto industry as the “Monroney.” It is named for U.S. Senator Almer Stilwell (Mike) Monroney, the Oklahoma Democrat who sponsored the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958, which required all new cars to have labels that detail the price of the car and its options.

 

Article source: http://blog.seattlepi.com/carsandtrucks/2014/08/25/2014-hyundai-equus-a-korean-entry-in-the-german-dominated-luxury-car-field/

Tony Stewart makes public statement

Aug 29, 2014; Hampton, GA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart during a press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Stewart is returning to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500. On Friday, he spoke publicly for the first time since the Aug. 9 incident at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that claimed the life of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart didn’t take questions but made the following statement:

“This has been one of the toughest tragedies I’ve ever had to deal with both professionally and personally.  This is something that will definitely affect my life forever.  This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life.

“With that being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward’s family and friends are experiencing is something that I can’t possibly imagine.

“I want Kevin’s father, Kevin Sr., and his mother Pam, and his sisters Christi, Kayla, Katelyn, to know that every day I’m thinking about them and praying for them.

 “The racing community is a large family, as you guys know.  Everyone’s saddened with this tragedy.

 “I want to thank all my friends and family for their support through this tough emotional time, and the support from the NASCAR community, my partners, all of our employees, it’s been overwhelming.

 “I’ve taken the last couple weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family, and also to cope with the accident in my own way.  It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted.

 “I miss my team, my teammates.  I miss being back in the racecar.  I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.

 “I also understand that all of you have many questions and want a lot of answers, however I need to respect the ongoing investigation process and cannot answer and address the questions at this time.  Emotionally I’m not sure if I could answer them anyway.

 “We’re here to race this weekend, and I appreciate your respect.  There will be a day when I can sit here and answer the questions.  Thank you.”

While Stewart didn’t answer questions, Stewart-Haas Racing Executive Vice President Brett Frood did. Here’s a transcript from the press conference:

Q.  Brett, NASCAR issued a statement yesterday that Tony had received all necessary clearances to race.  What was the process of going through clearances?  What approvals did he need?


BRETT FROOD
:  Well, as you all know, when a driver’s out of the car, there is that process.  I’m not going to get into the medical side of it, but I will say we’ve been in close contact with them throughout the process, have gotten from them what he needed to get back in the car right now.
Q.  The investigation as we understand is still open.  Was there any thought to not having Tony race until it was closed?  Why now?


BRETT FROOD
:  Well, I think for Tony, it’s all about this healing process.  That’s part of why he’s in the car.

 

Besides his mom, his dad, his sister, his niece and nephew, his family is here, it’s at this racetrack.  It’s part of the healing process of being with his family that he’s been with since 1999, knowing that these people are going to help him get through this.  I think that’s one side of it.

 

The other side of it is he’s a racer.  We have 270 employees.  I think him putting a helmet on will help him cope with this situation.
Q.  Brett, respecting the process, the investigation, knowing there’s things you can’t comment on, are you able to say whether you know whether Tony has a clear picture in his own mind of what happened that second or two that night?


BRETT FROOD
:  I am not going to comment on the incident itself.  It was a tragic accident.  Right now the focus is to be on Tony and the car this weekend and how he’s going to get through this.
Q.  The fact that Tony is racing this weekend, should we read anything into that about what you know about the investigation and where it’s at in the process?


BRETT FROOD
:  No.  I mean, we’ve really been respecting the process, as Tony said, and the investigation.  Him being in the racecar right now is about him getting through what has been a very emotional two weeks, what his next step is in coping with this.

 

There’s been a great deal of empathy and sympathy for that family and what they’re going through.  For Tony, it’s just been extremely emotional.  This is what is going to help him.
Q.  Can you talk about where Tony is at emotionally right now to step into the car?  Was it 100% his choice not to race the last couple of weeks, without the involvement of the sanctioning body that we will hear from next?


BRETT FROOD
:  I’ll address the latter first. Yes, the decision to be in the car is 100% Tony’s.
Q.  Please define his emotional stage at this point.  A very fragile Tony Stewart at this point.


BRETT FROOD
:  You just saw Tony.  It’s been a difficult two weeks.  But Tony is ready to be in the racecar.  He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t.
Q.  Brett, you’ve worked for Tony for a long time.  You’ve seen him in ways we have not.  How would you characterize his preparation for this and what you think he’ll experience as he gets back in the car?


BRETT FROOD
:  I think it’s going to be very overwhelming being in that garage today.  He’s going to feel an awful lot of support.  As I just mentioned, this is his family.  It’s the crew members, it’s the officials, it’s the drivers.  It’s his family that he’s been with since 1999.  This is going to be part of that process for him.  I believe it’s going to be an overwhelming process, this weekend.

 

That being said, Tony Stewart is a racecar driver.  He’s been a racecar driver for the past 35 years.  When he puts that helmet on in practice, I’m quite convinced he’ll be ready to race the car, he’ll be able to separate the two.
Q.  Brett, this obviously is a tremendous tragedy.  Obviously in the sport of racing, these guys learn to deal with that part of the sport.  Why do you think this has hit Tony so hard?


BRETT FROOD
:  Because he was involved in an accident and a young man died.  I can’t imagine what he’s going through.  I can’t imagine what the kid’s parents are going through.

 

It’s something, as Tony said, that he hopes no one in this room or certainly anywhere will ever have to go through.  He was involved in a tragic accident.
Q.  I noticed Tony mentioned Kevin Ward’s family members by name.  Has he reached out to them personally at all?


BRETT FROOD
:  Tony has sent the family flowers and a card around the services.  Besides that he’s been very respectful of them and their time to grieve.

 

I do know that it will be very important, it’s important for Tony, to spend time with the family.  I do believe that will happen in the appropriate time.
Q.  Obviously it’s an emotional time.  Internally how do you deal with it as an organization, the prep work?  Let’s face it, it’s not an ordinary weekend that all of you are dealing with.


BRETT FROOD
:  We’ve got 270 employees back in Kannapolis working hard.  Tony has three other team members.  These are folks that are at Stewart‑Haas because they believe in the leadership, they believe in the ownership, believe in the folks that we have surrounding them, and we believe in them.

 

So for them, I think their focus has been undeterred over the last several weeks.  They’re obviously really excited to have Tony back in the car, that leader, the guy they believe in.  So I think the focus will be there this weekend from those guys.  We should be good.

Follow Stock Car Spin on Twitter @SCSblog or like Stock Car Spin on Facebook. Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner

Article source: http://stockcarspin.com/2014/08/29/tony-stewart-makes-public-statement/

Tony Stewart returns

Tony Stewart is back on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series scene. After missing three Cup races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Michigan International Speedway and Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway, Stewart is set to return to racing action at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500, according to a release from Stewart-Haas Racing.

“Tony Stewart has received all necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities, and therefore is eligible to compete this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said in a press release from NASCAR. “NASCAR has remained in constant contact with his race team, and we will stay very close to this situation as Stewart returns to competition.”

Stewart was involved in a sprint car accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on Aug. 9 when his car struck Kevin Ward Jr. who had climbed out of his car and was on the track during a caution period. Ward died from the injuries he sustained. Stewart has since been in seclusion, canceling all racing-related activities.

Nationwide Series driver Regan Smith drove Stewart’s No. 14 Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet at Watkins Glen, and semi-retired driver Jeff Burton drove the car in the two most recent races at Michigan and Bristol.

Stewart returns to the Sprint Cup circuit 26th in the championship driver points standings with 21 starts to his fellow-competitors’ 24. He is winless, so far, on the season. According to NASCAR rules regarding Chase eligibility, Stewart will not be eligible for the Chase, even if he were to win Sunday night at Atlanta or next weekend at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, unless NASCAR offers him some kind of exemption. Rules stipulate that drivers must attempt to qualify for all races. Stewart did qualify his car at Watkins Glen, but not at Atlanta or Bristol.

Stewart has not yet spoken publicly. He is expected to participate in a press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday afternoon. NASCAR President Mike Helton will also participate in a press conference Friday afternoon.

Follow Stock Car Spin on Twitter @SCSblog or like Stock Car Spin on Facebook. Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner

Tags: Atlanta Motor Speedway NASCAR Tony Stewart

Article source: http://stockcarspin.com/2014/08/29/tony-stewart-returns/

Oh Thank Hydraulic! Infiniti Q50S to Get G37-Derived Steering System for 2016

2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S
If you, like us, have been disappointed in Infiniti’s aloof Q50 sedan as the ostensible replacement for the sporty G37—which, incidentally, Infiniti still sells as the “Q40″ for 2015—we have good news. The Q50S model is set to get considerably more sporty for 2016, thanks to a retro revision headed where the car needs it most: the steering rack.

You see, the Q50′s base steering setup is an electrically assisted unit. Although some manufacturers have coaxed decent feedback from these systems, making them nearly as talkative as the hydraulically assisted racks we’re always reminiscing about, Infiniti is still chasing that bogey. At least the Q50S’s EPS marks an improvement over Infiniti’s wonky Direct Active Steer (DAS) option, which offers zero road feel and lacks precision. Happily, Infiniti got enthusiasts’ message and is looking to the past to cure its current sins. Speaking with Infiniti’s head of product planning, Keith St. Clair, we’ve learned that the brand is working on ditching the Q50S’s base electric power steering in favor of a rack derived from the G sedan’s heavenly hydraulic-boosted setup.

“Some members of the enthusiast community, including the media, suggested the car could benefit with enhanced steering feel, as in more engagement similar to the former G Sedan Sport,” St. Clair said. He told us development engineers built a prototype from one of its pool cars, with the steering system of an old G, along with some tweaks to the exhaust system to bring the Q50′s sound closer to that of earlier Infinitis.

“The results were very clear and pronounced. The car is a blast to drive,” said St. Clair, who noted that his team subsequently presented the car to the powers that be in Japan. He added that Infiniti is “now looking into the fastest path for adopting these into regular production.”

The revised Q50S is likely to appear sometime in the 2016 model year, St. Clair said, and would be accompanied by amped-up styling and chassis upgrades. It isn’t clear what the proposed changes mean for the Q50S Hybrid or for regular, non-S Q50 models, but needless to say, we can’t wait.



2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S

Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/oh-thank-hydraulic-infiniti-q50s-to-get-g37-derived-steering-system-for-2016/

Car crashes into historic Columbia City building


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)


The Carol Cobb Hair Salon and The Grecian Delight building is shown after an SUV crashed into the historic Columbia City building. The crash injured 7 people. Photographed on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)

Seattle police and fire personnel are investigating a Columbia City scene where an SUV drove into a hair salon in a historic building, injuring seven people. The structural integrity of the historic building may be compromised after a concrete support pillar was demolished, said Seattle firefighters on the scene.

Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street were closed near the scene. Most lanes opened up again about 90 minutes after the crash. The closure affects traffic in the heart of the Columbia City neighborhood.

The incident occurred about 1:20 p.m. The hair salon, the Carol Cobb Salon, is neighbored by two restaurants in the same building —Grecian Delight and La Teranga. They were also damaged in the crash with the car largely coming to rest inside Grecian Delight.

The driver, a woman believed to be in her 40s, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Harborview Medical Center as a precautionary measure, Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said.

Three people in the Greek restaurant – a mother, a father and their 10-year-old daughter – were trapped by the SUV and extricated by crews. They, too, suffered minor injuries and some burns and were taken to Harborview.

Inside and near the salon, two women and a boy believed to be 6 to 8 years old were struck by the SUV. The boy and his mother suffered burns and were taken to Harborview, while the third person was hit by debris, but declined aid, Moore said.

The woman who declined aid said she works next door at Bikeworks and had just picked up lunch when the SUV went careening into the building. She heard screaming immediately after the crash.

Salon owner Carol Versey-Cobb, who has owned her corner business for 20 years, said she just finished a significant remodel of the building. The same thing happened to the building about 10 years ago when a car drove into the business, she said while surveying the damage. However, this time the damage was much more significant, she said.

Crews are assessing the structural integrity of the building; the crash caused two large cracks, reports say. Hydraulic bracing from the fire department is currently supporting the building, Moore said. Meanwhile, the building was turned over to the owner, who must bring in an independent engineer to examine the structure.

The SUV remains inside the building.

Authorities have not announced what caused the SUV to veer into the structure.

Article source: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2014/08/28/car-crashes-into-columbia-city-hair-salon/

Checklist for Labor Day Car Shopping

Labor Day is a federally-recognized
holiday which celebrates hardworking Americans with a day off from work.
Unofficially, this day also marks the end of summer and is considered one of
the best times to buy a new car.

TrueCar.com estimated that Labor Day weekend last year would boast 1.13 million unit sales among the
country’s leading automotive manufacturers. With
the car-buying trend likely to pick up at a similar speed from the last Labor
Day weekend, it’s clear that now is the best time to buy a car for those in the
market. But like any other major purchase – particularly purchases that require
haggling – it’s important to know the obstacles you’ll face at the dealership.

Whether you’re goal is to drive off
your local dealership lot in a new car or you’re waiting for incentives at the
end of the year, it’s important do a bit of reconnaissance about your target
vehicle, and be armed with the right approach to secure the best deal.

Here are 10 must-dos before signing
on the dotted line: 

1. Know your budget.

Calculate your monthly or recurring
financial obligations before coming up with a price you’re willing to spend on
a car. Once you’ve determined how much your output is for bills and other regular
expenses such as groceries and personal care items, consider your income after
taxes. As a guide, a conservative range for a monthly car payment is within 10 to 15 percent of your available discretionary budget. A mistake that many rookie car buyers make
is filling up the remainder of their available money stores with a massive car
loan payment, without breathing room for essentials such as gas, annual
registration, car insurance and maintenance.

2. Check your credit report.

Purchasing a car involves a two-way
negotiation, particularly when you’re financing a car instead of buying it
outright. The reality is that loan lenders use your credit report and credit
score as a basis for determining whether to even approve you for a new line of
credit, what financing percentage of the vehicle purchase to offer, as well as
what interest rate to charge on the loan. All of these factors affect the
overall affordability of the car you’re eyeing.

Before the test drive, know where
your credit stands. Request a copy of your credit report to make sure there aren’t any errors
casting your financial reputation in a negative light. If your credit score
seems unusually low, and you’ve identified a mistake on your report, contact
the three credit bureaus immediately to correct the issue.

3. Test drive ahead of time.

Cast a wide net by feeling out a
variety of car models within your price point – before you decide you’re ready
to buy. The car you’ve dreamed about may not handle as well on the road as
you’d have hoped, and there may be features you were expecting that the
manufacturer doesn’t offer for that model. Test driving a car on the day you’re
expecting to buy can add undue pressure on you at the dealership and cause
anxiety because you’re unprepared.

4. Identify the trim level you want.

Besides locking in your
budget and deciding the make and model of the car you want, make sure you know the
features and upgrades you need, are indifferent about and simply do not want.
Make these granular details known to the sales associate you’re working with,
and be firm about what you want. This way there isn’t a question about whether
you’d be OK with paying more
for a moonroof and 18-inch wheels when you walked in wanting a base model at
$2,000 less.

5. Research average price points.

At this stage in the game you’ve
identified how much you realistically can afford and what you want in a car,
but what’s equally important is knowing what price points are available for the
car specifications you want. Using online tools like TrueCar.com can help
demystify how much of a deal you’re really getting.

Car-buying sites can reveal a wealth
of information about pricing, which you can use when negotiating a car purchase. When walking into a dealership, it’s
important to know the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the invoice
price (how much the dealer pays for the car) and the average amount paid in
your area.

6. Seek out manufacturer or dealer promotions.

High car-sale periods of the year,
like Labor Day weekend, are a good time to buy a new car because dealerships
are looking to push current year inventory out to make room on the lot for 2015
vehicle models. Some manufacturers also recognize these holidays are a good
opportunity to encourage more purchases, so keep a lookout for discounts or
rebates for 2014 stock
.

7. Get a preapproved auto loan.

Probably the most vital – and
effective – item on this checklist is securing preapproved financing from your
bank or credit union. Preapproval shows dealerships you’re serious about
purchasing a car now, so you can cut some of the back-and-forth haggling from
the get-go. Also, it keeps your budget defined, helping you avoid up-sells, and
likely keeps your auto loan rate as low as can be, as dealership-based loans
are often not highly competitive compared to local bank and credit union
interest rates.

8. Watch out for add-on features.

Despite all the measures you’ve
taken thus far to avoid getting charged more money out the door, it’s always
important to ask for an itemized cost list when discussing pricing. Sometimes
tricky financing managers try to sneak in extras like an extended warranty that
increases your price overall.

9. Beware of negotiating with four-squares.

If for whatever reason you found
your way to a dealership without getting preapproved and you’re, in fact,
interested in financing through the dealership, make sure you stay mindful of
the overall picture. Often car buyers will be shown a four-square worksheet that is used to distract them from how the numbers are
being shifted around. The squares are used to identify any trade-in credit,
vehicle price, down payment and monthly payment. 

Throughout the negotiations, you’ll
notice the notes in the squares become a lot more cluttered, disorganized and
confusing. The goal of this tactic is to make you think the dealership is
actually working with any pricing hesitations you may have and to get you to
focus solely on the monthly payment instead of out-the-door pricing.

10. Take the pressure off.

At the end of the day, you have more
leverage over the car-buying experience than you realize. Even if you spend
three hours trying to get to your ideal price point, you can still walk away
and give yourself the week to think about the purchase if you’re feeling
pressured. 

Article source: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/08/28/10-step-checklist-for-labor-day-car-shopping

BLOG: Car dealers miss tire education opportunities

DETROIT (Aug. 28, 2014) — As a teen, I didn’t know how to change a tire. Neither did my girlfriends.

In fact, I don’t know how to change a tire now. My plan is to call roadside assistance if I ever have a problem.

But that could be a long wait and, depending on the neighborhood, a scary one. So I should learn. And this is where savvy car dealers have an opportunity to do community outreach and get consumers in their doors for new or repeat business.

A recent survey, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, says 52 percent of American teens ages 15 to 17 do not know how to change a tire. It also says 44 percent don’t know how to check tire tread depth, and 32 percent do not know how to check tire pressure.

The study, paid for by Michelin North America Inc. and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), surveyed 1,001 teens in late June.

If the study is accurate, the need for education in car maintenance is clear.

I believe a lot of people take basic car care for granted given the technology upgrades that now allow for such conveniences as run-flat tires and computer warning systems to alert you to problems.

I have written about auto dealerships that offer service clinics to customers. They teach some of the service basics, educate consumers on how an engine works and introduce them to local service technicians. Some clinics also teach customers how to use the technology on their cars.

But I don’t know of any car dealership that offers a car maintenance clinic to teach youths, or anyone else, the hands-on basics of car care: how to check the oil level, check tire pressure and troubleshoot vehicle problems that might arise on the road.

Such a clinic would be a community service and build customer loyalty and satisfaction. It also would allow some of us a chance, finally, to learn how to change a tire.

Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business. This piece appeared on its website. Ms. LaReau can be reached at jlareau@crain.com.

Article source: http://www.tirebusiness.com/article/20140828/NEWS/140829928/blog-car-dealers-miss-tire-education-opportunities

LIVE TRAFFIC BLOG: Multi-car crash on Outer Loop

Sky 9 flew over this scene where an accident has traffic stopped on I-495 on Thursday morning.

Article source: http://www.wusa9.com/story/traffic/2014/08/28/traffic-accident-crash-outer-loop-dc-md-va/14724971/