Q. What are the best used cars
teens that cost approximately under
$15,000? -- K.A. (via Internet)
A. Here's one way to find out: The Highway Loss Data Institute, looking at models from 2011, found the fewest driver casualties per million registered vehicles were associated with these cars: Subaru Legacy, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9 AWD, Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Jetta. These cars should be in good to better condition, with average miles driven. It's always smart to have a mechanic check them out.
Q. New car dealers offer all sorts of incentives, but I hear there are incentives they don't want car buyers to know about. What are they? -- E.G. (visa Internet)
A. They're dealer incentives. Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy a vehicle from an automaker to below invoice. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
Q. If the rakish, legendary, classic 1936 Cord 810 was such a hit at that year's New York Auto Show, why did it soon fail? -- P.S. (via Internet)
A. The Cord 810 drew many orders because of its unique styling, advanced engineering and performance. However, the car was rushed into production without enough development time by its faltering manufacturer, and it showed: Front wheels began to shimmy, the engine overheated, the transmission jumped out of gear, the concealed headlights didn't crank open, the electric shifting often wouldn't work and few auto mechanics even tried to fix the car. However, savvy Cord owners eventually fixed the problems. They also could have been fixed by the car's engineers if they had been given more time.
Q. Ferraris are supposed to be
exclusive. So is it smart for production to be upped worldwide from
approximately 7,600 to 9,000 cars per year? -- M.G. (via Internet)
A. Of course, Ferraris are exclusive. They have a great name, cost hundreds of thousands and Ferrari keeps them in pretty tight supply, at least in America). But the world market for exotic cars is continually growing (just consider China) and such cars thus have an expanding audience. Besides, Fiat-Chrysler, which owns Ferrari, wants to make extra bucks selling more Ferraris and costly Ferrari-related merchandise.
Q. Do you think that gasoline-powered cars are on the way out in America, considering all the media attention given electric cars? -- J.G. (via Internet)
A. A major study says 94 percent of cars in 2014 will use fossil fuel. For one thing, gas-engine cars are continually becoming far more efficient and pollution-free without losing power. Moreover, there's a vast network of gas stations in America, but only a relative handful of charging stations for electric cars. The mass media is emphasizing electric cars because it's generally, as always, car-dumb and it's easy for it to emphasize electric cars.