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BUSINESS
July 27, 2011 | By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
Although the reliability of new and redesigned automobiles fell, consumers generally found them more appealing, according to an annual survey. New launches and revamped models paid off for carmakers across the board as they appealed more to consumers than carryover vehicles, the 2011 JD Power & Associates Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study found. While kinks in the new launches hurt reliability ratings — many got lower scores in last month's JD Power reliability study — the fresh looks of and new technologies in those same models were found to be highly appealing to consumers.
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BUSINESS
November 12, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first major North American auto show of the new model year. It is known for automakers introducing hybrid, fuel-efficient and electric vehicles that grab the attention of California's eco-conscious drivers. It's also the place for big, splashy debuts of sports cars, the kind of vehicles that people fantasize driving on Pacific Coast Highway. This year's show, which opens to the public Friday, will have plenty of both. Audi plans the American debut of its S line of sports coupes.
BUSINESS
September 24, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Despite the European debt crisis, the lack of job growth in the U.S. and other generally depressing economic news, auto sales continue to tick along. The retail sales rate for new vehicles in the U.S. this month looks "much stronger than in August," according to J.D. Power & Associates, which gathers sales data from about 8,900 dealers. That's about half of all the dealers selling cars nationally. "Coming off a solid Labor Day sale, retail sales exhibited unexpected strength in the second week of September, as the recovering inventory levels have helped to bring buyers back into the market," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power.
BUSINESS
June 23, 2011 | By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
Touch screens and voice commands didn't go over too well with new-car buyers. A key auto quality study found that new or redesigned 2011 models were less reliable than the previous year's line, much of it because of new high-tech navigation systems that didn't work properly. Domestic nameplates, which have been pushing the new technologies, were hurt the most, allowing imports to regain their lead in reliability after losing that distinction for the first time last year, according to the J.D. Power & Associates annual U.S. Initial Quality Study.
BUSINESS
July 29, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
Set against the stalemate of the debt-ceiling debate, President Obama on Friday hailed agreement on an ambitious increase in auto fuel-economy standards as evidence that compromise and progress are still possible. The agreement, which Obama called "the single-most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," was hammered out in weeks of negotiations involving automakers, environmentalists, unions, White House officials and the state of California.
BUSINESS
November 16, 2010 | Michael Hiltzik
If you regard the annual L.A. Auto Show that opens to the public Friday as a key signpost of where the auto industry is heading ? and why not? ? then the declaration by its organizers that the event marks "the official arrival of the electric car era" raises the following question. Isn't this the same industry that told us a few years ago that there was no market for electric cars? I know: Times change. But the apparent enthusiasm with which the automakers are jumping into a technology that they once suggested might not be ready for prime time within our lifetimes should be scoured for hidden lessons.
BUSINESS
March 31, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. is raising prices on six models starting with vehicles produced in May. Depending on the model, the increase of $90 to $250 represents a hike of 0.3% to 1.5%. The models receiving price increases include the 2012 Toyota Prius v, Camry and Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, Tacoma pickup truck and the 2013 Scion tC. They are all fuel-efficient vehicles, which so far this year have been the hottest segment of the U.S. auto market, a reflection of how higher gas prices have shifted consumer preferences.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2012 | Ian Duncan
The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to employ technology against technology in its campaign against distracted driving. Cars should be designed to refuse to send text, tweets or Facebook messages while they are moving, according to draft regulations. Other tasks, such as pulling up a saved address in a GPS system, would be allowed. But they should be performed in two-second glances away from the road and with fewer than seven button pushes, according to the draft rules. The proposed DOT regulations are voluntary recommendations for automobile manufacturers.
BUSINESS
January 11, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said Monday that the Japanese automaker needed to add more excitement to the styling of its vehicles. Speaking to reporters at the North American International Auto Show ? his first visit to an American auto show ? Toyoda said, "I think cars need to be better looking. We are going to come up with better-looking, nicer cars. " One way Toyota plans to improve the design of its vehicles is by giving more authority to its design studios in the locations where the vehicles will be sold and produced, he said.
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