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A record number of new vehicles were purchased with zero-percent financing in March, according to Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. In March, more than 22 percent of financed new cars were purchased with zero-percent finance deals. Last March the total was just 13 percent. The prior high was 21 percent in July 2006. Remarkably, 71 percent of new Toyotas financed in March had a zero-percent APR — nearly twice the previous Toyota record of 39 percent in August 2009.
Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, reports that the average automobile finance rate dropped to 4.4 percent in March, its lowest since 2002 when Edmunds.com began to track finance records. In March 2009, the average interest rate for the industry was 5.8 percent. Of all brands, Toyota had the lowest average finance rate, 1.9 percent. Mazda's average finance rate was next lowest at 2.5 percent and Mercury was third at 3.3 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, Kia had the highest average interest rate in March, 7.1 percent.
Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne is preparing to detail Wednesday a five-year plan for how Fiat intends to proceed in a beaten-down and stiltingly recovering global auto industry that Marchionne believes must contract to a handful of ultra-large-scale players. Fiat's moves already may be underway. Fiat confirmed it would announce at a press conference Tuesday that Fiat Group chairman Luca Cordoro de Montezemolo is resigning as Fiat Group chairman. John Elkann, Fiat vice chairman, will succeed him.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s reputation may have taken a whack in recent months, but those troubles apparently are nothing a good deal couldn't make buyers forget. According to data released today by Edmunds.com, parent of AutoObserver, a remarkable 71 percent of all Toyotas sold last month were financed through a 0-percent loans. Battling the tide of negative publicity surrounding a string of recalls related to unintended acceleration, Toyota in March took the uncommon step of offering 0-percent loans for as much as 60 months on even its most popular models — including, at least in some markets, the Prius hybrid-electric vehicle.
The luxury buyer returning to the automobile showrooms as the economy emerges from its deep recession is a different kind of buyer with a new set of requirements, says the head of Audi of America. "At Audi, we believe the future belongs to the automaker that can best define - and deliver - what we are calling progressive luxury," Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen told reporters at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit this week.
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It's hard to get comfortable in the driver seat if your head is squashed against the headliner and your knees are up beneath your chin. Naturally, taller drivers are the ones who are most afflicted with this problem; for many of these folks, driver space can play a profound part in determining whether a vehicle is a match for their needs. Edmunds lists the Top 10 Sedans, Top 10 Trucks and Top 10 SUVs for Tall Drivers.
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