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BUSINESS
January 25, 2012 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
New legislation in Sacramento aims to protect car buyers from being overcharged at used-car lots by requiring the dealerships to post the fair market value on each vehicle they sell. The goal, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) said, is to help inform consumers who otherwise have no idea what a fair price for a vehicle is before agreeing to buy it. Although the bill applies to all lots selling used cars, he said AB 1534 is aimed specifically at Buy Here Pay Here dealers, which sell to people with low income and bad credit.
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BUSINESS
October 6, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Jane Wolff used to spend days visiting car dealers and reading auto magazines to figure out which car to buy. Even then, the retired schoolteacher said she wasn't sure she was getting the best deal. The Internet has changed all that. Wolff went digital with her research this time, collecting price and trade-in data from auto information websites operated by Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book and TrueCar Inc. The bottom line: Wolff last month negotiated a Subaru Outback Limited for near the invoice price.
BUSINESS
September 27, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for: Investment advice — In his new book, "The Vigilant Investor," former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Pat Huddleston offers tips to help investors avoid Ponzi schemes and other scams. Among them: • Check with state regulators to make sure the salesperson is properly licensed. If the person is not licensed, it's probably a fraud. • Check federal court records (available for a fee through http://www.pacer.gov )
BUSINESS
September 22, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Auto information company Kelley Blue Book is warning buyers not to fall victim to a scam using a fake version of its KBB.com website. This is the same problem that has plagued rival auto information company Edmunds.com in recent years. In both instances, the perpetrators are using websites that imitate the look, feel and naming conventions of the companies to solicit money from car buyers. Shoppers are sucked in through an attractive price offered for a car. They are then told to deposit a partial or full payment for the car in an escrow account that supposedly operates as a guaranteed buyer-protection program by the auto information company.
BUSINESS
August 12, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Normally, the value of a new car plunges as it's driven out of the dealership by its new owner. But slumping auto sales and leases in recent years have changed that axiom by creating a shortage of late-model-year used cars, according to auto price information company Kelley Blue Book. The average value of a 1- to 3-year-old used vehicle has increased from $15,000 in 2008 to more than $23,000 in 2011, an annual average increase of nearly 16%, Kelley analysts said. They expect used-car pricing to remain strong because it will take several years of strong new-car sales to replenish the shortage of used vehicles that is pushing prices up now. "While depreciation typically affects a vehicle's value most in the first two years of ownership, it will not be as pronounced as it would have been a few years ago when the used-car supply was still very high," said Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book.
BUSINESS
July 19, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Hyundai Motor Co. is solidifying its image among auto shoppers. The South Korean automaker toppled Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. to take the top spot in brand loyalty, according to Kelley Blue Book's measure of brand loyalty during the second quarter of this year. Although Hyundai has held that position for a month once before, it was the first time since the auto information company began tracking the data that Hyundai has held the No. 1 spot for an entire quarter.
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)
BUSINESS
March 24, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
To buy or not to buy? That is the question facing many car shoppers these days. That's because rising gas expenses and a looming shortage of Japanese-built hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles are starting to pump up prices for gas-sipping autos. But analysts at auto information company Kelley Blue Book say that with all this turmoil in the marketplace, consumers should think twice about jumping to buy a new car. They say it's a mistake to pay a premium for a fuel-efficient car when gas prices could easily drop in the coming months and the price of the vehicles come back down.
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.
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