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CarGurus Announces 2019 Best Used Car Award Winners

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 8, 2019 -- CarGurus (Nasdaq: CARG), a leading online automotive marketplace, today announced the winners of its third annual Best Used Car Awards. The 2019 awards identify the best recent-year used models across sixteen body style categories based on the company's analysis of long-term projected value retention, driver satisfaction, expert reviews, and both model popularity and availability.

"CarGurus knows that research is the bedrock of a great car-buying experience and we hope that our third annual Best Used Car Awards help today's car shoppers in that process," said Matt Smith, Senior Editor at CarGurus. "These award-winning vehicles are popular, plentiful, well-reviewed and—based on our projections—should retain their value for years to come. For people shopping for a great used car, these vehicles are certainly worth considering."

The 2019 Best Used Car Awards recipients and finalists are:

2019 Porsche 911 Speedster Available to Order

ATLANTA, May 7, 2019 -- Last year, Porsche celebrated its 70th anniversary of building sports cars by showing two 911 Speedster Concept vehicles to the public. Now, the production version — the last of the 991.2 series 911 GT cars to be produced by Porsche — is available for order. Powered by a naturally aspirated, motorsport-based 4.0-liter flat-six engine that develops 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque, the 2019 911 Speedster can sprint from zero to 60 mph in as little as 3.8 seconds, with a top track speed of 192 mph. To deliver a particularly engaging driving experience highly desired by purists, the 911 Speedster, with a 9000 rpm redline, is available exclusively with a GT Sport six-speed manual transmission.

Porsche Speedster models began in the United States in the early 1950s, as a lightweight, and less expensive option for the burgeoning California market and rapidly developing car culture. Speedsters combine open-top driving pleasure with incredibly distinctive driving dynamics, have been part of Porsche history since 1952. The forefather of Porsche Speedster models, the 356 1500 America Roadster, had an aluminum body manufactured entirely by hand. It weighed about 20-percent, or approximately 350 pounds (160 kilograms), less than the 356 Coupe it was based on, and its top track speed of 108 miles per hour (175 km/h) with its 70-hp four-cylinder flat engine was impressive at the time. Featuring slot-in curtain side windows, a folding top, lightweight bucket seats and no heater, this car, developed exclusively for the US market, embodied several key elements of the speedster design that would be repeated in future models.

By 2010, eight different production and special models bearing the "Speedster" name had been created. The 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster represented a highlight in 1957, and the first 911 Speedster followed in 1988. Limited to just 356 units worldwide, the 997 generation Speedster built in 2010 was the latest model to be fitted with the famous designation.

The 2019 911 Speedster is the first developed by the Porsche Motorsport department in Weissach and is immediately recognizable as a Speedster. The low-cut front windshield and side windows as well as the manually operated lightweight fabric top are characteristic for a Speedster model and make the car stand out from other series production 911 models. The two streamliners atop the rear decklid are made from carbon fiber are yet another design highlight rooted in the model's history.

The interior of the 911 Speedster is characterized by a focus on the essentials of driving. Lightweight door panels with storage nets and door pulls emphasize the dedication to weight reduction. The standard black leather interior can be supplemented with red stitching for the dashboard and the "Speedster" designation in the headrests. With this option, the door pulls are also fitted in red, and the GT Sport steering wheel is decorated with a red 12 o'clock center marker. The interior trim, which spreads to the gear shift knob as well as the door sill guards with "Speedster" model designation, is carbon fiber.

NASCAR, Genius Sports Form Landmark Exclusive Betting Data Partnership

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., May 3, 2019 -- NASCAR and Genius Sports, the global leader in sports data solutions, today announced a landmark deal that will see Genius Sports develop an official NASCAR gaming offering for legal sportsbooks. The new agreement is the first step toward creating an advanced live betting product that will drive fan interest and deepen engagement around NASCAR race events. 

Genius Sports will utilize NASCAR's official data feed to build a high-end live betting product to be sold to legal sportsbooks around the world. Exclusive access to NASCAR's official data allows Genius Sports to create a real-time gaming platform that provides up-to-the-minute odds and a suite of traditional wagers and prop bets. The new initiative will enhance the race day experience and keep fans engaged with the sport for longer periods of time.      

"Partnering with Genius Sports allows us to deliver a dynamic fan engagement platform in the rapidly-growing world of legalized sports gaming," said Brian Herbst, senior vice president, broadcasting and innovation, NASCAR. "This new relationship will provide another entry point to the sport and complements our strategy to create a more immersive experience for fans."

As a result of the agreement, Genius Sports becomes the exclusive provider of NASCAR data to licensed sportsbooks. The new data partnership marks NASCAR's first in the growing U.S. sports betting sector.

"NASCAR fans are some of the most devoted in the world, and we look forward to helping them to create a deeper, more connected experience that is both safe and secure as the business of sports betting continues to evolve in the U.S.," said Mark Locke, Genius Sports CEO. "Furthermore, our global relationships will help bring the excitement of NASCAR racing to new audiences both within the United States and in new territories around the world."

With 40 cars on the track reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour, NASCAR's official data is vital to the development of a gaming platform. Only licensed sportsbooks in regulated territories will have access to the official data, providing greater transparency, accuracy, and cooperation to monitor and safeguard NASCAR events.

National Gas Price Average Sets a New High for the Year at $2.88

One week after the U.S. State Department announced the end of waivers for countries to import oil from Iran, increasing crude oil prices and pump prices show no signs of slowing down. With a four-cent jump on the week, today’s national gas price average sets a new high for the year at $2.88. This average may only be seven cents more than a year ago, but it is nearly 20 cents more than a month ago and 63-cents more expensive than at the beginning of the year.

“Compared to the beginning of this year, motorists have definitely felt an increasing squeeze on their wallets at the pump,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “These increases mean Americans are having to work more to afford to fill-up their gas tanks. AAA found that Americans must work 22% longer than at the start of the year to buy one gallon of unleaded gasoline- that’s 7.3 minutes compared to 5.76 minutes in January.

Working with OPIS, AAA identified the median income for each county in the country broken down to an income by minute assuming a 40-hour workweek. The average gasoline price today was compared to the income per minute finding that counties in the Southeast have been hit the hardest, especially in some parts of Kentucky For example, in McCreary County, some workers are working an additional 4 minutes when compared to January in order to buy a gallon of gasoline.

With 17 states within a dime of or already at $3/gal or more, Americans can expect the national average to likely surpass 2018’s high of $2.97 set during Memorial Day weekend,” added Casselano.

Quick stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Utah (+13 cents), Delaware (+12 cents), Rhode Island (+10 cents), Idaho (+9 cents), Massachusetts (+9 cents), Alaska (+9 cents), Nevada (+9 cents), New Jersey (+8 cents), Connecticut (+8 cents) and West Virginia (+8 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Alabama ($2.51), Mississippi ($2.53), Louisiana ($2.54), Arkansas ($2.56), South Carolina ($2.56), Missouri ($2.58), Oklahoma ($2.61), Tennessee ($2.62), Texas ($2.62) and Kansas ($2.63).

  Case Study: 2007 Ford Explorer 2WD 5R55S 5R55W 5R55N Transmission
  Dave Riccio, Owner/Technician

By Dave Riccio, ASE Certified Technician, Owner of Tri-City Transmission & Auto Repair, Co-host of Bumper to Bumper Radio

CASE STUDY: Customer Saves $2,300 over independent repair facility quote

5R55S, 5R55W, 5R55N - These are the slight variations of the same transmission - These vehicle specifically had the (S) denotation.

This was a clean, one owner, Ford Explorer that would not move either forward or backwards. Our customer had it towed to their normal trusted mechanic. Their trusted mechanic quickly diagnosed the problem and said the transmission had failed and would need to be replaced. The cost, $4,200. This customer was already growing tired of the vehicle and certainly did not want to invest that kind of money in a vehicle that they were no longer fond of.

With a little bit of internet research, this couple found us at Tri-City Transmission Service. They were looking to minimize the money they had to spend on a vehicle that was at the end of the life cycle for them. The customer contacted us asking the question that we get day in and day out, all day long. "How much for a transmission for my vehicle"? Our standard response, “we would be happy to give you a price as soon as we have diagnosed the issue.” They said, "Their mechanic already had diagnosed the problem, the vehicle wouldn't move and obviously needed a transmission". To this, we indicated, it would only be obvious if you weren't sure what you were looking at. Sometimes it seems logical that you might need a new transmission. Transmission repair often times can seem counter intuitive as so many assumptions are made by the novice that is absolutely not correct about how transmissions function. Good logic built on poor assumptions is not good logic at all. Seasoned general repair technicians make those bad assumptions. To put it in perspective, our transmission shop will diagnose, service and repair a couple hundred transmissions in one month. An automotive generalist may diagnose and replace less than two transmissions in a single month. These are completely different paradigms. With explanation, this customer agreed with our philosophy and had the vehicle towed in for our thorough diagnostic process.

Case Study: 2007 Ford Explorer 2WD 5R55S 5R55W 5R55N Transmission

The results of our preliminary transmission diagnostic was a stuck pump flow control valve located in the transmission pump. In order to access this valve, the transmission would need to be removed from the vehicle for a minor transmission bench repair at the front of the transmission. The customer agreed to perform this repair. Upon transmission removal and autopsy of the transmission, we confirmed what we diagnosed. A sticking pump flow control valve. Inspection of the rest of the transmission showed the transmission was in great shape with the exception of worn intermediate and overdrive servo bores. With this information, we had a conversation with the customer about how long they actually wanted to keep the vehicle. They said, realistically, they were not prepared to buy a car within the next 12 months, but would be shortly buying one after that. Between the customer and our team we decided to correct the servo bore issues, the pump flow control valve, reseal the transmission with new fluid and filter, and provide an 18 month, 18,000 mile warranty. This all took place for a touch less than $1,900 including the tow bill. They knew that 12 months later they could sell the vehicle with a clean conscience knowing the transmission was in good shape. This type of repair fit their needs, way better than the overkill of a replacement transmission that came from who knows where for $4,200.00.

Unfortunately, when simply replacing transmissions, as a lot of dealerships and automotive generalist do, they often times don't know a cheaper repair is almost always possible. We would equivalate this repair to replacing an engine when all you needed was a timing chain at the front of the engine. In a lot of cases it is way overkill, especially toward the end of the life cycle for the customer in relation to their ownership of the vehicle.

New Vehicle Retail Sales Continue to Decline, But Demand for Expensive Vehicles Rises

Costa Mesa, CA, April 26, 2019 --

The Retail Sales Forecast
New vehicle retail sales in April are expected to fall from a year ago, according to a forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Retail sales are projected to reach 1,041,600 units, a 5.3% decrease compared with April 2018 on a selling day adjusted basis. (Note: April 2019 has one more selling day than April 2018). The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for retail sales is expected to be 13.3 million units, down 500,000 from a year ago.

The Total Sales Forecast
Total sales in April are projected to reach 1,366,600 units, a 3.5% decrease compared with April 2018 (all results are selling day adjusted). The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total sales is expected to be 16.9 million units, down 0.4 million from a year ago.

The Takeaway
Thomas King, Senior Vice President of the Data and Analytics Division at J.D. Power:
"From an overall volume perspective, the industry continues to show signs of softness with April representing the 10th straight month of year-over-year retail sales declines. Yet, we continue to see strength in other key industry health metrics, with a large increase in average transaction prices and lower manufacturer incentives."

Regular Exercise and Stretching Can Help Older Drivers Keep the Keys Longer

New AAA research shows fatigue and poor physical functioning are leading factors that cause older adults to stop driving

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that increased fatigue and poor physical functioning are leading factors that can result in older adults limiting their driving. But simple steps, like weekly exercise and stretching, can improve safe driving abilities and keep older adults on the road longer.

The AAA Foundation commissioned researchers at Columbia University to evaluate eight domains- depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain interference, physical functioning, pain intensity and participation in social activities – to determine how changes in physical, mental and social health affect driving mobility for older adults.

The report found that fatigue and poor physical functioning are most common among older drivers who spend less time behind the wheel.

“Older adults who give up the keys are more likely to suffer from depression than those who remain behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “It is important that we find ways to keep older drivers in good physical health in order to extend their mobility.”

Research shows that daily exercise and stretching can help older drivers to improve overall body flexibility and move more freely to observe the road from all angles. Physical strength also helps drivers remain alert to potential hazards on the road and perform essential driving functions, like:

2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition Available for One-day-only Preorders on Jeep 4x4 Day

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., March 30, 2019 --

All-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator Launch Edition: Fully loaded Rubicon model with unique badging, wheels and interior accents

Concierge preorder experience: Select Gladiator Launch Edition, estimate trade-in and connect with a dealer via the dedicated online Gladiator concierge site

Gladiator Launch Edition limited to 4,190 vehicles in U.S.; production numbers chosen as a nod to Toledo, Ohio, where the truck is built

Gladiator Launch Edition buyers will then be exclusively eligible to enter Jeep's "Find Your Freedom" contest where they can win one-year's salary of $100,000, giving them the chance to take time off to pursue their own adventures

The all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator – the most off-road capable midsize truck ever – has been highly anticipated since its reveal last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Used Vehicle Prices Increase for the 1st Time in 6 Months

McLEAN, Va., April 19, 2019 -- In the April 2019 Used Car and Light Truck Guidelines Industry Update, analysts at J.D. Power Valuation Services note that after six consecutive months of declines, the used vehicle market bounced back in March. As a result, the J.D. Power Valuation Services' Seasonally Adjusted Used Vehicle Price Index increased by 1.1 points – relative to February – to 117.5. March's positive result comes after weaker than usual January and February 2019 performances.

Highlights from the free monthly report point out:

Wholesale Prices Increase in March
Prices up by an average of 2.7%

Used Vehicle Price Index Grows
Index reaches 117.5

New Vehicle Sales Struggle
New sales down 2.2%, SAAR reaches 17.48M

Incentive Spending Declines
Incentive spending per unit fell 5.2% to $3,799

"In terms of full-year 2019 expectations, the used market is expected to slow in 2019," said David Paris, Executive Analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services. "As a result, prices are forecast to fall by around 2%. Increasing levels of used supply along with more volatile credit conditions and increasing gas prices, which are expected to apply downward pressure on the used car market."

It’s Time to Bring U.S. Headlight Standards Out of the Dark Ages

ORLANDO, Fla. (Apr. 16, 2019) – Driving at night carries the highest fatality rate for both drivers and pedestrians but could be made safer by headlight technology already on the roads in Europe and Canada. New research from AAA found that European vehicles equipped with adaptive driving beam headlights (ADB) increase roadway lighting by as much as 86 percent when compared to U.S. low beam headlights. AAA believes this technology, not presently allowed by U.S. standards, is the first real solution to providing more light for drivers at night and AAA supports changes in the law to allow ADB to be used to its full capability.

“Driving at night doesn’t have to be such a risky undertaking for Americans,” said John Nielsen, managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, AAA. “The technology not only exists but is being used in other parts of the world to effectively provide the amount of light needed to keep drivers and pedestrians safer.”

Previous AAA research found that a majority of Americans (64 percent) do not regularly use their high beams. This means when driving at moderate speeds like 40 mph with low beams on, motorists will not have enough time to appropriately react to something or someone in the roadway. High beams, however, improve forward illumination by 28 percent in comparison and are much more effective at providing the proper amount of light when traveling at higher speeds. With ADB, the high beams are always on and when another vehicle is detected, that area is shaded to prevent glare that would otherwise interfere with the other driver’s field of vision.

Some newer U.S. vehicles are equipped with a similar technology that automatically switches between high and low beam, which does help to address this issue and increase visibility, but only when other vehicles aren’t present. However, once an oncoming or preceding vehicle is detected, the car will switch from high to low beams, thus losing the benefit of the additional light.

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