RepairPal Blog

In order to get you the most accurate price estimates for keeping your car/truck on the road, we survey dozens of parts suppliers on a regular basis. Historically, parts prices have been pretty stable, increasing a few percent each year at most. So far this year we're seeing increases averaging 5%, with some price increases exceeding 10%, and much of the increase has occurred recently, just as the economy is struggling. Why would parts makers increase prices just as marginal demand is flagging? The answer lies in the extraordinary volatility the commodity markets are experiencing.

It's been just two weeks since Ford, GM and Chrysler asked Congress for $25 billion and now it's gone up to $34 billion. The new number breaks down as a $9 billion loan to Ford, a $7 billion loan to Chrysler and a $18 billion loan to GM. With the help of this loan, Ford hopes to breakeven or return to profitability by 2011. They play to accelerate their electric car program with a 2010 model and invest $14 billion in "advanced technologies and products to improve fuel efficiency".

As we were all expecting, the auto industry November sales numbers are very, very bad across the board. You can read all of the gory details on Autoblog. John Neff observes that while much of the media attention lately has been on the woes of the US automakers, all of the foreign automakers are suffering the same huge volume declines. Nissan's sales decline was worse than all but Chrysler's. I'll be interested to see whether or not Congress raises questions later in the week as to why Detroit needs government money, while foreign automakers seem to be able to suffer through this so far.

According to Reuters, Ford Motor is looking to sell Volvo.  It’s no surprise, Ford is in dire need of cash.  Ford bought Volvo back in 1999, however, sales in 2008 are down 28% (as compared to 2007).  Some of the possibilities for Volvo include a spin-off into its own entity, or, selling Volvo to a buyer such as Tata of India. 

Today is Black Monday (also known as Cyber Monday).  What does this mean?  Well, there are loads of post-Thanksgiving deals and savings out there to be found on the Internet.   While searching some of these offers, I stumbled upon a handful of deeply discounted auto accessories.  Many of these Black Monday deals make it a good time to stock up on holiday gifts.  

Pictures have started to surface of the 2010 Porsche Panamera sedan and it definiitely shows its Porsche DNA. The standard Panamera S is fitted with 400hp 4.8-liter engine. For those who need MORE power, the Panamera Turbo will have a 500hp motor. Not bad for a grocery getter. Add the optional roof rack and you are ready to hit the road with the whole family. See more pictures on Autoblog.

I believe the biggest point of confusion that motorists who own modern vehicles encounter besides the Check Engine Light is whether or not they need a "tune up".  A quick search of any automotive repair help forum or catch-all answer solution like Yahoo Answers will reveal any number of owners asking whether their car needs to be tuned up, what happens during a tune up, and how much it should cost. Check out our write-up on tune ups, which includes everything you need to know about tune ups--even the history behind what it used to mean to give a car a tune up.

With turkey day just around the corner, I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to find out if the Chrysler Plymouth had any association with Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass. Chrysler introduced the Plymouth in 1928 (it was retired in 2001) as a low-priced vehicle.  Back then, the logo on the car was of the Mayflower Ship.  Chrysler said the Plymouth name was a great symbol to represent the “endurance and strength” of the vehicle, similar to that of the first American Colonists, the Pilgrims.

With the release of the James Bond flick “Quantum of Solace” this month, the latest Bond vehicle of choice was revealed:  the 2008 Aston Martin DBS 2-door coupe.  Apparently, the franchise started out with the Connery and Moore Bond driving British cars, but by the 1990s, the Brosnan Bond drove a BMW.  Well, now the British car fleet is back. If you’re interested in scooping one of these Bond cars up, the 2008 Aston Martin DBS will set you back a mere $265,000.  However, you’ll get a racing vehicle with a 510 horsepower, V12, 6.0L engine which will take you from 0 – 60 in just 4.3 seconds. 

Ford introduced the 2010 Fusion and its cousin the Mercury Milan this week at the LA Auto Show. The hybrid Fusion/Milan features the SmartGauge cluster with EcoGuide, which coaches the driver to drive more efficiently. The gauge cluster has a central analog gauge with displays on either side for lots of flashy graphs. All this and it gets 6 mpg better than the Camry Hybrid for $27K and change.