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The Garage: Focus on autos | Garage Briefs

Camry tops research list on Kelley site

July 14, 2007|Daniel Yi | Times Staff Writer

The Toyota Camry is the bestselling car in the U.S., but the buzz seems to be only now catching up with sales.

Kelley Blue Book reported this week that the Camry dethroned the Honda Civic as the most researched new car on its website, www.kbb.com.

The rankings are based on data collected from more than 70 million visitors to the website through the first half of the year, the Irvine-based provider of car pricing and other information said. Last year, the Civic was the most researched car, followed by the Honda Accord and the Camry.

This year, the Civic, the country's third-bestselling car, was the second-most researched, followed by the Accord, the second-bestseller.

Only four American cars made the top 20. The Ford Mustang was 14th, the Ford Escape 16th, the Chevy Tahoe 17th and the Jeep Wrangler 18th.

For the first time, a hybrid made the list: The Toyota Prius was 11th.

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Nissan recalls 140,000 Altimas

Nissan Motor Co. is recalling more than 140,000 of its bestselling Altima sedans to replace air filters that could catch fire.

Four engine compartment fires involving Altimas in February and March prompted the carmaker to launch an investigation, the Associated Press reported. Flammable objects such as cigarettes may get caught in the filter and cause a fire.

The risk is minimal, but the company decided to launch the recall as a precaution, a Nissan spokesman said.

Recall letters went out to owners Friday. The recall affects 2007 models with four-cylinder, 2.5-liter engines.

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GM, Ford offer truck incentives

Price competition in the full-size pickup truck market heated up this week with General Motors Corp. offering buyers of its regular cab Silverado or Sierra trucks as much as $2,000 in cash or reduced-rate financing, including interest-free loans for up to three years.

Buyers of EXT and Crew cab models are being offered as much as $3,500 on some models or low financing.

Meanwhile, Ford extended its summer sales program through August. It offers $2,007 in cash to customers buying 2007-model Ford, Lincoln or Mercury trucks or sport utility vehicles.

The sales incentives from No. 1 U.S. automaker GM and No. 2 Ford underscore a cooling truck market. GM sales slipped 7% in the first six months of the year and Ford sales were down 11%.

Last month, Toyota upped the ante with rebates of as much as $3,500 or interest-free loans of up to five years on its revamped Tundra pickup.

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Next week in Highway 1

* Dan Neil drives Lincoln's 2007 MKX crossover. Are Ford's high grades for quality paying off?

* Throttle Jockey columnist Susan Carpenter checks out one of Harley-Davidson's new offerings.

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