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Mercedes-Benz Debuts New Augmented Reality Technology at 2019 U.S. Open

ATLANTA, Aug. 22, 2019 -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today announced an all-new Augmented Reality (AR) experience featuring 2017 U.S. Open champion and Mercedes-Benz Ambassador Sloane Stephens. The interactive consumer exhibition will debut at this year's U.S. Open in which the brand is also an official sponsor. From August 21 through September 8, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY, spectators can try their hand at a virtual lesson from the tennis pro as she competes in real life on the court. Following the U.S. Open, on September 15, Mercedes-Benz' AR activation will travel to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, available during the first Atlanta Falcons home game of the season featuring Falcons quarterback and Mercedes-Benz Ambassador, Matt Ryan.

Mercedes-Benz developed a new kind of AR technology experience by capturing the style and play of beloved athlete Sloane Stephens and translating the footage into AR features, with no mobile device target or facial recognition software needed. To capture Sloane's superior performance in high quality, Mercedes-Benz recorded the 2017 U.S. Open Champion in front of a green screen as an alpha-channel enabled video, which creates an illusion mimicking her real-life behaviors and motions.

To activate the game, guests approach the tennis court backdrop and verbally ask, "Hey Mercedes, teach me to play like Sloane," and she will appear in the game. Guests will be fully immersed in court side play with an untethered racquet in hand to experience a highly personalized and sometimes comical, one-on-one tennis lesson, learning form and precision from the tennis superstar.

Getting Your Car Ready for School

It’s back-to-school time and the Car Care Council wants to help families get their vehicles ready for car pools, playdates, soccer games and more. An informative new video from the non-profit organization provides motorists a with a five-point checklist to be performed before the start of the school year.

“There is always a lot to do before school starts and making sure your vehicle is running safely and efficiently should be at the top of that ‘to-do’ list,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Our new back-to-school video offers maintenance and safety tips to help parents and their precious passengers travel safely to and from school and all kinds of activities.”

Produced in conjunction with AutoNetTV (ANTV), the Car Care Council’s Back to School video highlights five areas that should be checked to make sure vehicles are kid-safe and road ready:

Cheap Crude Oil Paves Way for Significant Savings at the Pump

WASHINGTON (August 22, 2019) – When filling-up at the pump this fall, the majority of U.S. motorists will find savings of potentially more than 25-cents/gallon compared to this summer. The national gas price average, which is already 15-cents cheaper than just five weeks ago, is poised to continue pushing less expensive due to several factors, including less expensive crude oil prices, the drop-off in gasoline demand after Labor Day and the move to winter-blend gasoline. AAA forecasts the national average to drop to $2.40 or lower this fall and offers motorists easy tips to maintain fuel efficiency throughout the year.

“AAA predicts that fall gasoline prices will be significantly less expensive than this summer with motorists finding savings in every market across the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Many factors are driving this decrease, but the low price of crude oil is chief among them.”

AAA forecasts crude prices to range between $50 and $60 per barrel this fall. That is a considerable drop from last fall when prices ranged between $60 and $75. Why so cheap? Current total domestic crude inventories sit at 438.9 million bbl, which is 31.5 million bbl higher than last year at this time. The continued glut of oil encouraged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners to extend their 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement through the end of the year. However, so far, reduced supply from OPEC and its partners has not led to a sustained higher price for crude.

As always, hurricane season has the potential to cause declining gas prices to shoot back up. This month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that 2019’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be above normal, with 10 to 17 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes. The mere threat of a hurricane making landfall can shutter domestic crude production, leading to spikes in crude and gasoline prices. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused the national gas price average to jump 30-cents in a matter of days.

Fall Regional Outlooks

West Coast: This region is consistently home to the most expensive markets in the country, even though the crude refinery utilization rate in the region has grown to nearly 97 percent this summer. Growing stocks have helped to push prices lower across the region. Gas is $3.01 or more in all seven states in the region except Arizona. As fall brings lower demand for gasoline, AAA expects the West Coast to see gas prices drop, in light of higher stock levels, during the months ahead.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 15, 2019 --

Ram Truck tops rankings as Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand

All-new Ram 1500 leads Light Duty Pickup category

Legendary Jeep® Grand Cherokee reigns over Mid-Size SUV category for third consecutive year and ninth time in last decade

Dodge Challenger modern muscle car tops Sporty Car category for third consecutive year

Stylish Chrysler Pacifica heads minivan category

The Ram Truck brand claimed the Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand award in the AutoPacific 2019 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, while the Ram 1500, Jeep® Grand Cherokee, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler Pacifica topped their vehicle categories.

The Ram Truck brand, propelled by the power, luxury and capabilities of the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup, reigns as the Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand in the 2019 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards from AutoPacific. The 2019 Ram 1500 earned top honors in the Light Duty Pickup category.

Ram's performance in this year's Vehicle Satisfaction Awards is just the beginning:

The legendary Jeep® Grand Cherokee topped the Mid-Size SUV category for the third consecutive year. Over the past decade, the Grand Cherokee has led this category nine times

The Dodge Challenger modern muscle car, with its heritage-inspired styling, led the Sporty Car category for the third consecutive year

The stylish Chrysler Pacifica, a beacon of 35 years of minivan leadership, ranked atop the Minivan category

"FCA has done an outstanding job understanding and delivering vehicles and features that delight consumers," said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. "They've done this in the face of strong competition and a challenging retail environment."

The Vehicle Satisfaction Awards measure owner satisfaction with 32 distinct attributes, ranging from interior design and seating comfort to driving performance. The awards are determined based on responses from more than 50,000 owners of 2019 model-year new cars and light trucks.

Redesigned 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback Gets Fresh Exterior and Interior Styling, Updated Technology and Expanded Manual Transmission Availability

Civic Hatchback receives more aggressive front and rear styling

Sport Touring trim now available with 6-speed manual transmission

Civic is the retail best-selling car in America three years running

TORRANCE, Calif., Aug. 15, 2019 -- The 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback returns with updated exterior styling, new interior trim, and a revised Sport trim that adds Smart Start and Entry and an upgraded Display Audio system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration. In addition, the line-topping Sport Touring trim is now available with a 6-speed manual transmission for the first time. The 2020 Civic Hatchback goes on-sale tomorrow with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $21,650 (excluding $930 destination and handling), joining the 2020 Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe which were refreshed last year.

Exterior and Interior Updates
Exterior styling refinements to the 2020 Civic Hatchback lineup include revised styling of the lower bumper fog light housings, which now feature a body-color crossbar. The Honda-signature "wing" grille crossbar is also updated, and the headlights now feature a sporty blackout treatment. In the rear, the lower bumper openings receive similar changes to the front, with a new body-color crossbar. All trims feature new wheel designs, in either dark gray or black. Sport Touring trims also benefit from improved LED headlights with wider and longer light beams.

Inside the 2020 Civic Hatchback, new dash trim differentiates various trim levels, with Sport trims receiving a new geometrical pattern, LX and EX a new painted pattern, and EX-L and Sport Touring an exclusive brushed black treatment. The EX trim also adds an 8-way power driver's seat in place of manual adjustments, plus a new leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Sport Touring trims also now come with HomeLink®, plus the option of a 6-speed manual transmission mated to the standard 1.5-liter turbo engine. All Civic Hatchbacks also benefit from additional sound insulation in the floor, trunk, and front and rear fenders.

Domestic Gasoline Stocks Soar, Push Down Gas Prices

The national gas price average, $2.64, represents a seven-cent drop on the week as domestic gasoline stocks built by a surprising 4.4 million bbl, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest data. Contributing to the build was at least 1.2 million b/d of imports at U.S. ports. With the large bump, stocks now sit 235 million bbl – a U.S. stock level not seen in nearly five months (end of March).

“On the week, nearly half of all states saw gas price averages decrease by at least a nickel,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “While gasoline demand increased week-over-week, it wasn’t enough to stay on pace with the huge jump in gasoline stocks. Therefore, pump prices continue to decline across the country.”

Today’s national gas price average is 13-cents less than a month ago and 21-cents cheaper than a year ago.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-19 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Illinois (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Florida (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Louisiana (-6 cents), Missouri (-6 cents) and Georgia (-6 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.27), Mississippi ($2.28), South Carolina ($2.31), Alabama ($2.31), Arkansas ($2.32), Oklahoma ($2.34), Tennessee ($2.37), Texas ($2.38), Missouri ($2.39) and Kansas ($2.41).

Great Lakes and Central States

Motorists in five Great Lakes and Central states saw significant – double-digit – declines at the pump this week: Ohio (-19 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Illinois (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents) and Kentucky (-10 cents). These states not only lead the top 10 list for weekly declines in the country, but also lead the largest monthly decline with savings as much as a quarter since this time in July: Illinois (-33 cents), Michigan (-32 cents), Ohio (-29 cents), Indiana (-30 cents) and Kentucky (-24 cents).

While all states in the region saw declines at the pump, they were not all significant. South Dakota saw the smallest decrease of just a penny. Gas prices in the region range from $2.79 in Illinois to $2.39 in Missouri.

Gas prices declined as gasoline stocks in the region jumped by 1.1 million bbl to bring total levels to 50 million bbl. The increase in stocks was supported by a 5% increase in regional refinery utilization, which was reported at 100% by the EIA. The Great Lakes and Central states are well-known for weekly volatility. While this week is starting with significant savings for much of the region, there is the potential for this coming week to bring increases.

Seeing your child off to college is an emotional transition, especially if they are going far away from home. Sending them away in the family vehicle can create even more worry and stress. A little advance planning and a well-maintained vehicle can offer peace-of-mind to parents.

Get a sendoff vehicle inspection: College is a busy time for students and it is likely that car care at college will not be top of mind. Be sure to schedule a thorough vehicle inspection before packing up the car so you can rest easy knowing your child is driving a road-ready vehicle.

Make an emergency plan: Discuss a plan with your child in case they experience a roadside emergency. Be sure they know who to contact for roadside assistance and stock the car with an emergency kit, including jumper cables, emergency flares, a flashlight with batteries, blankets and extra clothes, water and non-perishable snacks, a first aid kit, a portable USB charger and a fully charged cell phone. To be prepared for inclement weather, include an ice scraper, a snow brush and small shovel.

Hit the books: Encourage your child to learn about auto care by reviewing the Car Care Council’s online Car Care Guide and becoming familiar with the owner’s manual. The printed Car Care Guide fits easily in a glove compartment and covers the most common preventive maintenance occasions and procedures that should be performed to keep cars safe, dependable and efficient.

Stay on schedule: To stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance, sign up for the council’s free Custom Service Schedule and receive email service reminders and recall notices so that you and your child are aware of any issues and can address them in a timely fashion.


Spark Plugs Need to Be Replaced Periodically

That little engine part called the spark plug performs a huge job in delivering a vehicle’s power, performance, dependability and fuel efficiency and, according to the non-profit Car Care Council, should be replaced periodically.

“Spark plugs are one of the hardest working parts of a vehicle. A spark plug can fire 400 times per minute per cylinder or 1,600 times a minute on a four-cylinder engine,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Many car owners delay spark plug repair on their vehicles, even after they have failed. This is a mistake since fouled, damaged or worn out spark plugs can lead to engine damage, reduced fuel efficiency and poor performance like misfiring, hard starting and sluggish acceleration.”

If you spot any of the following symptoms, the Car Care Council recommends having your vehicle checked to prevent more costly problems from developing.

  • Rattling, pinging or knocking noises. When spark plugs begin to misfire, you may notice unusual noises from the force of the pistons and combustion not working properly. Pistons travel at high velocities; if the spark plug fires at the wrong time, this could lead to constant rattling, pinging or knocking sounds.
  • Hard vehicle start. If your car is having trouble starting or just feels disjointed and jerky, your spark plugs may not be working right. This can lead to misfires and erratic performance.
  • Reduced performance. Spark plugs fire when you accelerate and change gears. If the spark that the plug generates isn’t functioning at 100 percent, your vehicle performance will be poor, and you’ll experience a sluggish and fuel-wasting drive.
  • Poor fuel economy. Lots of things can lead to poor fuel economy. In the case of old spark plugs, fuel is wasted because your vehicle fails to receive the proper, heat-generating spark at the right time.

The Car Care Council recommends that consumers consult their owner’s manual for the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended spark plug replacement intervals. The council also recommends replacing all of the plugs at the same time and with the same type of spark plug that the vehicle was originally equipped.

“Replacing spark plugs is a relatively inexpensive maintenance task and can be performed by a do-it-yourselfer or by a professional technician at any auto repair shop,” said White.

Welcome Back Teachers!


In appreciation of your efforts in preparing for another school year, Desert Car Care wants to provide you with some auto service TLC!

Complimentary Oil Change & 15 Point Car Safety Inspection

Saturday, August 17, 2019
8 AM - Noon

95 N Dobson Rd
(480) 726-6400

Enjoy music and refreshments while you wait!

  • The Hungry Monk
  • Coffee Run Mobile Expresso
  • Vendors

Please bring your school ID. Complimentary oil change includes full synthetic oil and filter with a 15-point safety evaluation test. Both services are a $69.99 value! See website for details. First come first served - vouchers will be available for rescheduling if necessary.

Click Here for more information about Desert Car Care in Chandler

Record Truck and Robust Car Sales Drive Solid July Gains for American Honda

Record Honda truck sales plus strong Acura performance push American Honda trucks to best-ever July

Honda Civic continues stellar performance with 11% July sales increase

Honda CR-V sales top 33,000, as Ridgeline and Passport team to push Honda trucks to new July record

Acura ILX continues to demonstrate segment retail sales leadership with 40% jump

Acura RDX and MDX combine for nearly 10,000 units; MDX gains 9% in best month of 2019

"Despite industry headwinds, our strategic approach to the market continues to pay dividends for both the Honda and Acura brands," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of Automobile Sales at American Honda Motor Co. "Honda strengthened its position as the #1 retail passenger car brand in America in July, even as we grow our SUV sales. Additionally, Acura maintained strong SUV sales and segment-leading performance from our gateway models which are key to bringing young buyers into the brand."


Honda trucks set a new July record, gaining 3.1% from strong performances across the lineup. Honda cars also delivered in July, with Civic gaining in double-digits, Accord topping 24,000 units and electrified models exceeding 5,000 sales.

Civic sustained strong momentum, up 10.9% on sales of 29,167 units. Despite somewhat tight supply, CR-V continued to lead Honda brand sales with 33,656 vehicles delivered in July. Ridgeline jumped 10.5% on sales of 2,749 vehicles. Pilot remained strong with 11,874 deliveries and Passport notched 3,511 sales, even as several new competitors enter the market.

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