New Kia Forte: It’s Coming…

Kia is teasing Americans with released images of its yet to be released Kia Forte sedan. And, assuming the pictures are accurate, the Forte will be one sexy, sleek sedan, a real triple “S” threat.

2013 Forte Styling

If you have been looking at Kia vehicles but found the Optima and Sportage to be a bit too sharp and edgy for your taste, the Forte just might be exactly for what you have been waiting. Though the Forte possesses many of the same stylings of the other two, its lines are simpler, more rounded, and, (Dare I say it?), friendlier.

The South Korean automaker will start selling the Forte in its home market early next year. It is thought that it will be offered in America around the same time.  Given its potent blend of affordability and reliability, the new Forte will be an ideal new car for anyone who is worried about getting approved for a car loan due to credit or income issues. 

German Students, Daimler, BMW Developing Electric Vehicles

Students from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (Technical University of Munich) are being assisted by BMW, Daimler and perhaps 12 other groups in their effort to create an electric vehicle for small cities. The EV, named the Vision.M, will be categorized by the European Union’s as being an L7e vehicle, not a car.

These heavy motorized quadricycles are limited by law to having a 15-kilowat electric motor and weighing no more than 882 pounds. EV experts estimate that a 15 kw motor is about the same as a 20 horsepower engine and should have the ability of reaching a top speed of 50 miles an hour.

Though private companies such as Daimler and BMW are providing guidance, the funding for the Vision.M comes from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Zipcar Teams with Wheelz Investment to Help Students Become Car Owners

Finding dependable transportation can be tough for cash-strapped folks such as students. Buying a new car can be even trickier for these people. This lack of new cars on college campuses has got Zipcar and Bill Ford Jr.’s Fontinalis Partners LLC to join forces and give cash to Wheelz Inc.

Zipcar, a car-sharing company, and Fontinalis are investing $13.7 million in Wheelz, a peer-to-peer car-sharing company, so that more financially-challenged students will be able to take advantage of various car-sharing plans within needing student car loans.

Though car-sharing may seem odd at first thought, the idea behind it couldn’t be simpler. Car owners are able to sign up with Wheelz and earn some cash each time their car is borrowed, while wheel-less souls can pay to borrow cars for short stints of time. 

While Zipcar is similar to Wheelz in that it lends out or rents cars for short periods of time, its business model is different since the cars it manages belong to the company.

When the process rolls along as designed, it is fine example of the free market at work. Car owners win by earning cash. Students needing to do some grocery shopping, visit a far flung friend or go on a date win by gaining access to a car when they may otherwise not be able to. Also, this type of lending spreads the cost of car ownership over a wide base, which means auto dealers win as well.   

Award Given For First-Time Car Buying Video

Car Loans Galore, an internet company that arranges auto loans, recently received an award from a student group for its educational video on first time auto buying.

The video produced by the company focuses on the auto buying process. It covers the new vs. used debate, buying from an individual, how to inspect a car before buying, a buyer’s legal rights, and how to obtain the best student car loans available. A company spokesman said, ”We are very appreciative of the honor that the student group has bestowed upon us, and we will be continuing to show the video, and even producing more videos on the topic, so that our future consumers go into the market knowing full well what is available to them and what pitfalls to avoid.”

First time car buyers are often taken advantage of. Videos like this will help a young person avoid predatory dealers and lenders, which should help them establish positive credit from their first car on.

Report Details Gen X Auto Buying Trends

The Gen X demographic, those of you who are 28-45 years old, is a fairly large buying market. Because of its buying power, the consumer trends of the demographic are widely followed. A recent report from TrueCar.com suggests that the generation of car buyers prefers roomier vehicles.

Analysis of the recent vehicle buying habits of Gen X shows that the group tends to buy minivans and larger SUVs. The Nissan Quest, Nissan Armada, and the Volkswagen Routan seem to peak particular interest from the group. Keep in mind that this is a generation that is still transporting children around and have a need for a roomier vehicle. These preferences can be compared to another study that showed Gen Y (under 28 years old and generally 1 child or less) tended to buy smaller, more trendy fuel efficient cars.  This also true for those in their early 20’s, the bulk of the student car loan market.

The most glaring aspect of this study should be the shifting trends of each generation. Gen X was buying sports cars 10-20 years ago. Gen Y is moving into a period when many of its members will be needing room for a family. As the needs of the generation shifts, so will its buying habits. Makes you wonder which wheelchair will be most popular when Gen X hits its 60s and beyond?

More Proof Of Distracted Driving

In a small, unofficial study, a student at the University of Alabama Birmingham found that at least 33% of her fellow students use mobile apps while behind the wheel of a car.

The study only encompassed 93 of her fellow students and was limited to mobile apps. She did not inquire about texting, so the numbers could have been higher. The results of her study were fairly dramatic, though. 10% of respondents said they used apps frequently, often, or almost always while driving. 33% responded that they used apps sometimes.

Distracted driving has been linked to an ever increasing number of traffic fatalities in the last five years. Thirty-three states ban texting while driving, but no state bans mobile apps at this time. Many of the apps do not require hands on use other than to open and start them, but the time spent looking at something other than the road while you drive is dangerous time spent.

Perhaps insurance and lending companies should get involved, campaigning against practices that are not only unsafe, but will cost them money in the long run.  After all, the leading cause of defaults on student car loans is repairs.  Evidence is surely building that distracting driving leads to accidents.

How New Graduates Can Make Their Paycheck Work

You just finished struggling through high school or college, now your first job is all that is on your mind. You may even have it, but are a little less than dazzled by your take home pay. Don’t worry, it will get better for most of you. Until that day of wallet enlightenment, here are a few ways to make your paycheck work.

  • Unless you have a clunker that is killing you on repairs and gas, do not buy a car. When you do apply for student car loans, shop carefully. Sure you want a sporty model that says ”I’ve arrived”, but your zealousness could destroy your credit for the long term. Buy slightly used, certified used cars. At the very least, look at last year’s models. They will have much better value and incentive offerings than the newest cars.
  • If your parents are amenable, live at home for the first six months. Of course, that only benefits you if you save some money while there. If that is not feasible, then share an apartment with a coworker.
  • Manage your student loans. Take a deferment early on, but only one. Look into what programs are available. If your income is low, read up on the Income-Based Repayment program.
  • You do not have to buy new furniture. Avoid rent to own furniture and electronics.
  • Do not eat out every night. It is hard to cook for one, especially if you do not know how to cook. Learn a new skill and save yourself up to $50 a week.
  • Contribute to your company’s 401k. Even if it seems like a meager sum, it will grow and you will be glad for it when it comes time to retire. A 1-2% donation each week is less than you drop in a vending machine. Will you really miss it?

The first paycheck is the most disappointing thing in the world for some new grads. If you learn how to work your money, it will eventually work for you.

Top 6 Cars For Recent College Graduates

Assuming that you can find a job fresh out of college, you are going to need a reliable ride that is also going to be as easy on the wallet at the pump as possible. Here are the six best cars for recent grads; three new and three used.

New Cars

  1. The Scion Xb offers 22 city and 29 highway, starts under 18k and Toyota is offering a $1,000 rebate for recent grads.
  2. The Ford Fiesta offers 29 city and 37 highway, starts under 14 grand and Ford is offering a $500 rebate for grads.
  3. The Hyundai Elantra offers 29 city and 49 highway, starts under 18, and Hyundai is offering a $400 rebate.


Used Cars

  1. The 2006 Volkswagen Jetta offers 22 city and 29 highway and you can buy one for less than $12,000 with about 59k on the mile-o-meter.
  2. The 2009 Ford Fusion offers 20 city and 28 highway and should run right at $14,000 for a model with less than 45,000 miles.
  3. The 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer is rated at 22 city and 28 highway. One with about 31k on the odometer should run in the $13,000 neighborhood.

Each of these cars is highly rated for safety and have decent appointments in their trim packages. If they are still too pricey for your tastes, them you will need to be careful about the car you choose. Look for past safety ratings and recalls that affected the model. Research the price range online before shopping, and get pre-approved for a student auto loan. A little research can go along way towards buying a reliable vehicle.

Subcompacts Chasing Compacts In Sales

As gas prices rise, you might expect the sales of subcompacts to begin to outshine their near cousins the compact car, especially for students. That is nowhere near truth.   The answer can be found in the vital statistics like price and mpg.

The Ford Fiesta and the Honda Fit are the two best known subcompacts. Fiesta sales are less than half of Ford’s compact Focus. The Fit sells at about a third of the clip that the compact Civic does. The reasons can be found in fuel efficiency ratings that are very similar and base sticker prices that are less than $1,000 apart.  Given a choice, most American buyers, even students, opt for the bigger option.  And with only a $1K difference in price spread out over the course of a student car loan, the per-month payments are virtually the same.

These statistics seem to only hold true in America. The Fiesta is the top selling Ford offering in the U.K and the Fit is the best selling model in Japan. Perhaps roller-coaster highs in gas prices will drive more buyers to the subcompact models in the months to come.

Toyota Gives $1,000 Reason To Graduate College

In May flowers bloom and students graduate. College graduates may find themselves needing a new car and facing a shortage of cash for a down payment. Toyota is offering a $1,000 cash incentive to fix that.

Qualified college graduates are being offered the $1,000 cash rebate as well as being eligible for the College Graduate Finance Program, a student car loan which allows them to finance a new Toyota, Lexus, or Scion for zero down and no payments for 90 days or have their security deposit waived.

There is, of course, fine prints, definitions, etc that have to be met in order to qualify. You can find all of the information about the program at www.toyotafinancial.com/collegegrad or www.scion.com/college.