What are America's top-selling cars so far in 2017?All of these vehicles have something important in common: They all sell in big numbers, meaning that they're big generators of profit for their manufacturers.But for the most part, that profit won't be what it was last year. Seven of these ten cars have something else in common: Sales are down in 2017, as more buyers are choosing SUVs over traditional sedans.Let's take a look.When General Motors (NYSE: GM) launched the latest Malibu for 2016, it was given high marks. (Your humble Fool was deeply impressed.) A huge improvement over its so-so predecessor, this Malibu has sleek styling, a spacious and well-trimmed interior, and great fuel-economy numbers.Sales were strong -- at first. But they've faded in 2017, in part because GM has been cutting its sales to rental-car fleets. Through October, Malibu sales are down 16.5% from the same period last year.Hyundai's (NASDAQOTH: HYMTF) compact Elantra has come a long, long way from the brand's … [Read more...] about These are the 10 best-selling cars of 2017 — so far
Returning rental car early
As I noted in this column a few years ago, the car rental industry has been getting fee-happy for years now. Of course, this mirrors what's been happening with other travel sectors, such as airlines, hotels and cruises. But there's a difference: When you're at the rental counter finalizing your purchase, you're more likely to encounter a hard sell for optional extras.What's more, many rental agents are incentivized to upsell ancillary products and collect more fees, so consumers can be particularly vulnerable if they haven't considered their options in advance. All this could make for an unnecessarily expensive transaction. Wrong and costly choicesIn recent months I twice booked rentals with the same rental firm. On both occasions I encountered unusually aggressive agents intent on having me upgrade the vehicle class, purchase Loss Damage Waiver and opt for the Roadside Service Plan; the more I said no, the more they openly questioned my decisions. Was I SURE?I also was told -- not … [Read more...] about Dodging fees – and the hard sell – when renting a car
Many savvy travelers spend hours comparing prices on airfares and hotels, usually the two biggest items when pricing out a trip. Then they spend virtually no time comparing prices on ground transportation. This can be a costly mistake. You’ll make better decisions by assessing your needs up front and then estimating the average costs.Will you be making multiple stops? Traveling with others? Traveling at odd hours? Traveling to out-of-the-way locations? Traveling in congested areas? All this and more needs to be considered.Four of the most popular options for getting around are renting a car, taking a metered taxi, employing an app for Uber, and using public transportation. We’ve taken a look at a variety of sample itineraries in Chicago, one of the nation’s busiest destinations for both business trips and vacations. We considered the following scenarios:• A multi-stop business trip for five days, booked seven days in advanceWhat we found is that … [Read more...] about Transportation face-off: Uber, taxi, rental car, transit
The Oregon man accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering a young Starbucks barista last week stole a friend's rental car in 2011 after suffering a "mental breakdown," according to a police report. The bizarre incident was detailed in a police report posted online Wednesday by Portland newspaper The Oregonian. Jonathan Holt, 25, who could face the death penalty if convicted of killing his neighbor, Whitney Heichel, 21, vanished with his friend Nathan Bargas' rented 2010 Chevy Cobalt when the two took a trip to a Best Buy in Gresham on Aug. 18, 2011, according to the report. Bargas told cops at the time that Holt stayed in the car while he went inside to buy a video game. EARLIER: NEIGHBOR ADMITTED TO SEXUALLY ASSAULTING WHITNEY HEICHEL, SHOOTING HER TO DEATH: COPS When Bargas came back out, the car was gone, the report said. "Nathan said that he and John sometime play jokes on each other, so he waited for John to return with the car” but he never … [Read more...] about Jonathan Holt, accused of killing Starbucks barista Whitney Heichel, stole friend’s rental car during ‘mental breakdown’ in bizarre 2011 incident: report
Take a good look at the registration sticker on that Zipcar before you get behind the wheel. Salim Fields got stranded when Zipcar rented him a car with an expired registration - and it got towed. “The last thing I would expect is that a company would rent out a car that’s illegal to be on the street,” said Fields, 43. The Brooklyn Heights artist picked up the Honda CR-V from a neighborhood garage Oct. 1 so he could haul paintings from a site where he’d shown his work during the DUMBO Arts Festival the previous weekend. Fields took a day off from his job as an executive assistant at a investment firm to run his errand. On the way he stopped for lunch and parked on Gold St., where he mistakenly thought it was okay to put the car because alternate-side rules were suspended that day. When he returned the car was gone; a traffic agent told him to check for it at the NYPD’s Brooklyn Navy Yard tow pound. NYPD personnel couldn’t allow him … [Read more...] about Zipcar leaves Brooklyn Heights customer stranded with expired car registration
Solomon Dwek, the Monmouth County man at the center of the state's largest federal corruption sting, was released from federal prison this week, after serving less than 30 months of a six-year sentence, officials said.Dwek was transferred March 17 from federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland, into a local halfway house, U.S. Prisons Bureau spokesman Ed Ross said. He was placed in home confinement days later.The 42-year-old real estate investor and son of a prominent rabbi was released due to good conduct and the 16 months he spent in jail after his bail was revoked, Ross said. U.S. District Court Judge Jose L. Linares revoked Dwek's $10 million bail in June 2011 and sent him to federal prison after he failed to return a rental car and lied to the FBI about it.While in home confinement, Dwek will be under supervision, Ross said. He will be able to leave the house to go to work and attend certain community activities. What happened to Solomon Dwek's properties? When Dwek was … [Read more...] about Solomon Dwek, 42, released early from federal prison
FRANKLIN “It’s turning! It’s turning,” said Jonathan Colella, his eyes fixed at the wheels on the “Cockroach.”To the naked eye, the Cockroach looks like a "MacGyver" experiment: a piece of wood, some heavy-duty wheels, a car battery and a tiny gasoline motor. The only reason it was actually going forward was because of a push from a homemade go-cart behind it.But, for a few seconds last weekend, its small tires were slowly turning through a makeshift course at Franklin High School in the township's Somerset section.And the wheels were turning by themselves.“In a best-case scenario, this could potentially change the world,” Colella said in an interview before the test run.The Cockroach is DriveAI’s first prototype of its self-driving car, a project nearly two years in the making — including a summer of 12-hour days programming software and designing the mechanics to make it work.The team will … [Read more...] about No driver, no problem: NJ’s self-driving car developers
On his third day in the big leagues, the newest first baseman in town wanted to clear his head. It was a lovely spring afternoon. He decided he would see a bit of Corona, walk to the ballpark. He left his hotel and made his way past a rental-car place, a wall with black graffiti and a Mexican restaurant. On Roosevelt Ave., the No. 7 train rattled overhead. In a few minutes time, Ike Davis found himself at the handsome gates of his new workplace, Citi Field.Not even 72 hours earlier, Davis was going 2-for-4 before 4,613 fans in Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo. Now, after all of 33 at-bats in Triple-A ball, he was the embodiment of hardball hope in the biggest city in the country, sweet-swinging salve for a troubled franchise and its beleaguered fandom, a kid who got a standing ovation just for being announced as "Start Me Up" blared out of the Citi speakers. How do you prepare for this, exactly?"The first few days were a whirlwind," Davis says. "I still felt like it was a fake like I … [Read more...] about Early votes are in and Mets fans have spoken: It’s Ike Davis in a landslide!
Want to start an argument? Tell your travel companion you won't be arriving two hours before your flight.Go on, try it. I'll be right here.This is the time of year when emptier airport terminals are making a lot of passengers question the conventional wisdom about check-in times. And no, this isn't a frivolous, first-world problem. Vacations have been ruined because of it. Marriages have ended. So let's settle this question once and for all.As with so many things in travel, there's a simple answer — and a complicated one.The simple answer is: Two hours for domestic flights, three hours for international flights. More or less."The two-hour recommendation is fairly standard across the industry," says Heather Lissner, a spokeswoman for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. "We recommend the two hours so that travelers have enough time to get dropped off or park their cars, check their bags and get through security to their gates."The complicated answer: It depends.Lissner … [Read more...] about How early should you really arrive for your flight?
It seemed like a great deal at the time.Morgiana Celestine-Lewis and her cousin Angie Taylor had scored a room at the Westin near Los Angeles International Airport for $124 the first night. As part of a birth-year promotion, they paid $73 the second night because Taylor's birth year is 1973.When they got the bill at checkout, they found a $25-a-night fee for parking plus a $2.50 parking tax, charges they say the hotel did not disclose when they booked online. Parking their car for two nights came at a cost approaching that of parking themselves in a room for a second night."Had we known about all the extra fees and insane parking costs, we would have stayed elsewhere," says Celestine-Lewis, a book publisher in Oakland.Travelers are starting to get used to fees charged by airlines. But they're increasingly being faced with more fees once they land. Hotels are doing more of it. Rental car companies are doing it. And now even cruise lines are dallying with it. AIRFARE EXPERT: Airline … [Read more...] about Travelers hit with fees every step of the trip