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AUTOS
May 6, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
BMW is recalling 42,000 of its model year 2002 and 2003 3-series cars because of front-passenger-side air bags that may not inflate properly in a collision, the automaker said Monday. BMW is the latest to join a group of five other automakers that have recalled more than 3 million vehicles because of the air bag problem, which could spray shrapnel around the cabin in a crash. "We have not had a single case of a reported failure in our cars, but it is the same problem, yes," said BMW spokesman Julian Arguelles, in an interview.
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BUSINESS
November 1, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
Second of three parts The J.D. Byrider used-car dealership in Visalia, Calif., sits amid a jumble of tow yards, hubcap vendors and vacant lots littered with empty beer cans. It may not look like much, but selling aging cars to waitresses, secretaries and farmworkers is a lucrative business. That's why private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners of Palo Alto bought the J.D. Byrider chain in May for a reported $50 million. Altamont's offices, on the 10th floor of a luxury office tower overlooking Stanford University, are 200 miles and a world away from the Visalia lot. On a recent morning, a dozen executives could be seen huddled in a glass-walled conference room, reviewing a slide presentation on plans to buy some franchised Byrider lots.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Buyers shifting their shopping to small, fuel-efficient vehicles because of high gas prices run the danger of making a long-term decision on a short-term price spike and finding themselves driving a car they don't want, some analysts warn. "It is like people who look out the window, see that it is raining and then think it is going to rain for the next four years," said Jack Nerad, an analyst with auto information company Kelley Blue Book. Though most oil watchers believe the cost of petroleum is on an ever-upward curve, the steepness of the climb is likely to be uneven, and it's not clear whether prices will remain high if political turmoil in Arab oil-producing nations recedes.
BUSINESS
May 22, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Rising prices and a looming vehicle shortage make this summer one of the worst times in years to go car shopping. But if your vehicle is on its last leg or your lease is about to come due, here are some tips on how to navigate through a difficult market. • Consider cars with incentives: Manufacturers still offer some incentives, especially for cars that are near the end of their model cycle or are slow sellers. Most of the big auto information companies, including Edmunds.com, TrueCar.Com and kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book)
AUTOS
April 2, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Tesla Motors has worked out a deal with several banks to sell its pricey electric sports sedan with a guaranteed buyback after 36 months. The transaction is meant to be competitive with leasing, a key component of luxury auto sales.  In a lease, people essentially rent fancy nameplates such as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar -- instead of putting up a lot of cash or taking a large loan to finance the purchase. Tesla is now getting into that game, with a transaction that works like a lease but actually is a resale agreement.
BUSINESS
July 9, 2010 | By Brent Snavely
Though sales of cars and trucks in the U.S. continue to be more sluggish than expected, automakers are enjoying the largest increase in average transaction prices in more than five years. Industrywide, consumers spent an estimated average of $29,217 on a new car or truck from January through May — an increase of $1,057, or 3.7%, from last year, according to estimates provided by Edmunds.com. Edmunds' figures are based on a sampling of data from about 40% of U.S. dealers. The Detroit Three are outpacing the industry's gains — giving the automakers an opportunity to improve profit margins.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
If you are planning to sell or trade in a used car, the next couple of months might be the most optimum time. Prices of late-model used cars are expected to peak for the year over the next six weeks or so, according to analysts at the National Automobile Dealers Assn. Used Car Guide. That's because auto dealers are trying to stock up on their used car inventory for the busy spring and summer seasons and there is a shortage of good used cars, an echo effect of the recession. Auto sales plunged to their lowest level in a generation in 2009, when Americans purchased just 10.4 million vehicles after buying an annual average of well over 16 million for the previous decade.  That removed millions of potential used vehicles from the market.
BUSINESS
August 25, 2010 | By Wailin Wong
Teachbook.com has two employees and fewer than 20 users signed up for its free Web community. The site has yet to officially launch. But the Northbrook, Ill., company, which provides tools for teachers to manage their classrooms and share lesson plans and other resources, has been thrust into the spotlight by social networking giant Facebook, which sued the start-up for using "book" in its name. "We've been sitting here scratching our heads for the last couple of days," Teachbook's managing director, Greg Shrader, said Wednesday.
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