Cadillac ATS has a 3-1 chance of being the best new car of 2013

5 of the best new cars in America

By Alex Taylor III | 

The Cadillac ATS takes aim at the segment-leading BMW 3 Series.
The Cadillac ATS takes aim at the segment-leading BMW 3 Series.

It isn’t quite like being an Oscar nominee, but the North American Car and Truck of the Year organization has announced the finalists for its car and truck of the year awards. The eventual winners will be voted from those lists and their identity will be revealed at the Detroit auto show in January.

Endorsements by third parties like the journalists on the NACTOY panel are increasingly important in the car business, and the awards, now in their 20th year, have been growing in visibility. (Full disclosure: I am one of the 50 jurors). So it is not too soon to start handicapping the contest to see who the early favorites are.

Jurors are asked to drive and evaluate cars for factors like innovation, handling, performance, safety, and value for dollar. And like the members of the motion picture Academy, they are subject to their own predilections and interests. Critics have decried a hometown tilt by jurors, many of whom are based in Detroit. Executives at Toyota are still angry that the revolutionary hybrid Prius was passed over in 2001 for the cute but inconsequential Plymouth PT Cruiser for Car of the Year. (The snub was partly corrected when the next-generation Prius won the award in 2004).

In recent years, Car of the Year voting has shifted to a more international outlook (Volkswagen and Range Rover were winners in 2012), but it still favors the domestics. Detroit has won 10 awards, Asian automakers but four. Toyota’s Camry, perennially the best-selling car in the U.S., has never won and has been a finalist only once.

This year, the short list is balanced but the betting here is that hometown pride will once again be the deciding factor in who wins North American Car of the Year. Here are 5 of the top contenders for the award.

Cadillac ATS

For years, General Motors has been trying, and failing, to build a car that could compete with BMW’s 3 Series. The ATS is this year’s fighter and has been scoring very well in road tests. Unlike other automakers, GM tends to get judged against itself — how much better a new model is vs. the one it replaces — rather than the competition. With all that in mind, the ATS is clearly “the best Cadillac ever.”

Odds of winning: 3-1


Cadillac Driver Assist Package aka “Super Cruise”

Cadillac recently released the 2013 XTS and 2013 ATS Sedans with the beginnings of a new technology called “Cadillac Driver Assist” aka “Super Cruise.” Driver Assist in its current release will stop a slowly moving car before it hits something. Here is an example of this technology. I don’t want to get too into it because I already wrote a blog post about this part of the technology. You can read that here

The Exciting part is that this is just the beginning. Cadillac is slated to make a car that completely drives itself using driver assist by 2015. Driver assist was just the beginning.

CUE “Cadillac User Experiance” by Cadillac

Cue by Cadillac will be introduced on the all new 2013 Cadillac XTS, ATS, and SRX. It is a very inovative new technology that replaces the traditional dashboard and console with touchscreen LCDs.

From Cadillac’s website

Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive in-vehicle experience that merges intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and entertainment data, will benefit consumers by offering safe, connected driving beginning in 2012.

Chevrolet Impala is the top selling Certified Pre-Owned vehicle for April 2012

Posted on May 10th, 2012 by Dealer in News

Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in the U.S. reported 23,062 sales of certified pre-owned vehicles for April 2012. This represents an 11.6 percent decrease compared to April 2011, and a 28.4 percent decline compared to an exceptionally strong March – the highest-selling month since March 2011.

Through April, dealers reported 101,313 sales of certified pre-owned vehicles, a 3.4 percent decline compared to the first four months of 2011.

“April’s sales performance was on par with the industry in light of the fact that we had three fewer selling days than we had in April 2011,” said Larry Pryg, national manager, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles.  “We are approaching the first full, successful year of the Owner Care program, and we’re confident that our program and focus on the core brands will continue to provide customers with quality vehicles and a positive ownership experience.”

During April, the Chevrolet Impala led the way with the highest total sales. For April, the top two sellers for each brand include:

Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac
Impala LaCrosse Acadia CTS
Malibu Enclave Sierra 1500 DTS

To see the latest Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles’ incentive program, please visit: GM Incentives and

For more information about Chevrolet/Buick/GMC Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles and Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, to locate a dealer or to learn about the details of the warranty and benefits, please visit and

About Chevrolet/Buick/GMC Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Chevrolet/Buick/GMC Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles are high-quality, reconditioned vehicles, available at participating Buick, Chevrolet and GMC dealers. Each Certified pre-owned vehicle features Owner Care, a two-year/30,000-mile standard vehicle maintenance program, and the first offering of its kind from any automotive manufacturer’s certified pre-owned program. For more information about Chevrolet/Buick/GMC Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, please visit

Business Use Tax Deduction – Section 179

2012 Deduction Limit = $139,000
Section 179 Deduction limit after adjustment for inflation has increased to $139,000 (maximum allowance would have been only $25,000 prior to the new legislation).

2012 Limit on Capital Purchases = $560,000
Section 179 Threshold for total of equipment & software that can be purchased has increased to $560,000 (threshold would have been only $200,000 prior to the new legislation).

2012 Bonus Depreciation = 50%
The new law allows 50% “Bonus Depreciation” on qualified assets placed in service during 2012

Please Note:

Section 179 Deduction is available for most new and used capital equipment, and also includes certain software.

Bonus Depreciation can be taken on new equipment only (no used equipment, no software)

When applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first, followed by Bonus Depreciation – unless the business has no taxable profit in 2012.

What is the Section 179 Deduction?
Most people think the Section 179 deduction is some mysterious or complicated tax code. It really isn’t, as you will see below.

Essentially, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves.

Several years ago, Section 179 was often referred to as the “SUV Tax Loophole” or the “Hummer Deduction” because many businesses have used this tax code to write-off the purchase of qualifying vehicles at the time (like SUV’s and Hummers). But, that particular benefit of Section 179 has been severely reduced in recent years, see ‘Vehicles & Section 179‘ for current limits on business vehicles.

Today, Section 179 is one of the few incentives included in any of the recent Stimulus Bills that actually helps small businesses. Although large businesses also benefit from Section 179 or Bonus Depreciation, the original target of this legislation was much needed tax relief for small businesses – and millions of small businesses are actually taking action and getting real benefits.

Essentially, Section 179 works like this:
When your business buys certain items of equipment, it typically gets to write them off a little at a time through depreciation. In other words, if your company spends $50,000 on a machine, it gets to write off (say) $10,000 a year for five years (these numbers are only meant to give you an example).

Now, while it’s true that this is better than no write off at all, most business owners would really prefer to write off the entire equipment purchase price for the year they buy it.

In fact, if a business could write off the entire amount, they might add more equipment this year instead of waiting over the next few years. That’s the whole purpose behind Section 179 – to motivate the American economy (and your business) to move in a positive direction. For most small businesses (adding total equipment, software, and vehicles totaling less than $139,000 in 2012), the entire cost can be written-off on the 2012 tax return.

Limits of Section 179
Section 179 does come with limits – there are caps to the total amount written off ($139,000 in 2012), and limits to the total amount of the equipment purchased ($560,000 in 2012). The deduction begins to phase out dollar-for-dollar after $560,000 is spent by a given business, so this makes it a true small and medium-sized business deduction.

After passage of the ‘Tax Relief Act of 2010’, large businesses that exceed the threshold of $560,000 in capital expenditure can take a Bonus Depreciation of 50% on the amount that exceeds the above limit. Nice.

All businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $560,000 in new or used business equipment during tax year 2012 should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction. If a business is unprofitable in 2012, and has no taxable income to use the deduction, that business can elect to use 50% Bonus Depreciation and carry-forward to a year when the business is profitable.

Most tangible goods including “off-the-shelf” software and business-use vehicles (restrictions apply) qualify for the Section 179 Deduction. For basic guidelines on what property is covered under the Section 179 tax code, please refer to this list of qualifying equipment. Also, to qualify for the Section 179 Deduction, the equipment and/or software purchased or financed must be placed into service between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

The deduction begins to phase out if more than $560,000 of equipment is purchased – in fact, the deduction decreases on a dollar for dollar scale after that, making Section 179 a deduction specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. However, as noted above, large businesses can expense all qualifying capital expenditures with 50% Bonus Depreciation for the 2012 tax year.

What’s the difference between Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation?
The most important difference is both new and used equipment qualify for the Section 179 Deduction (as long as the used equipment is “new to you”), while Bonus Depreciation covers new equipment only. Bonus Depreciation is useful to very large businesses spending more than $560,000 on new capital equipment in 2012. Also, businesses with a net loss in 2012 qualify to deduct some of the cost of new equipment and carry-forward the loss.

When applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first, followed by Bonus Depreciation – unless the business has no taxable profit in 2012 because the unprofitable business is allowed to carry the loss forward to future years.

Section 179’s “More Than 50 Percent Business-Use” Requirement
The equipment, vehicle(s), and/or software must be used for business purposes more than 50% of the time to qualify for the Section 179 Deduction. Simply multiply the cost of the equipment, vehicle(s), and/or software by the percentage of business-use to arrive at the monetary amount eligible for Section 179

Change your oil every three months or 3000 miles!

Sound familiar? More than likely your parents ground it into your memory, so every time the little sticker in the corner of our windshield matches our odometer we immediately head for the nearest Jiffy Lube.

When was the last time you went 10,000 miles without changing your oil? If your like most of us, probably never, however, some cars are made to run that long or longer on a single oil change thanks to tighter engine tolerances, better materials, and synthetic oils.

According to a recent government survey only 33% of people had ever driven their cars 4000 miles or more on a single oil change.

The truth is, changing your oil every 3000 miles is just too often, todays engines are made to run 5, 8, 10, and even 20,000 miles between oil changes. The average oil change costs around $30, and lets say we drive the standard 12,000 miles a year, that’s $120 a year in oil changes when really you should only be spending half that, it’s not a big savings, but over time really can help line your pocketbook.

Every year we throw away millions of gallons of half used oil, one analyst from said “you wouldent change your bath water halfway through, why would you change your oil” and he’s right. If you want to find out how often you should change your oil you can either check your service manual, or go to put in your year make and model, and it will tell you how often you really need to stop in to the service station.

AWD 2012 CTS Performance Coupe by Rapid Chevrolet Cadillac

by Peter Kottwitz

Welcome to the new world of sports cars. In today’s age people want a track ready race car, as well as a car you can cart your grandmother to church in. Introducing the Cadillac CTS All-Wheel-Drive Performance edition, this car is a more subtle version of the modern CTS-V released in early 2009, with 318 horsepower, and 273 pound feet of torque, paired with a 6 speed automatic or manual transmission the performance does 0-60 in a blistering 6.8 seconds, and with a price tag for a fully equipped model just under fifty two grand, and getting 18 city and 27 highway miles to the gallon, it’s also good for your wallet!

With the CTS, its specialty is not American strait line muscle, the magic really starts happening in the corners! Between its Nürburgring sport tuned suspension, larger brake calipers and more “hands on” feeling in the steering wheel this car will absolutely come alive!

The sports car feeling starts as soon as you go to open the door, it features poplock handles recessed behind the door frame for the best in aerodynamics, as well as push button door handles on the inside taken directly from a page in the Corvettes hand book. There is a cool modern touch from the LED lights at night that make you feel like you’re driving a spaceship. The interior offers very comfortable power heated seats for both the driver and passenger, as well as memory seats for the driver, so switching drivers is a breeze. The inside of the CTS also features a 7 inch touch screen navigation system that retracts into the dash with the push of a button, and with the new 40 gigabyte hard drive you can store all your music right in the car and not have to worry about unsightly cords from your IPod or mp3 player.

The cargo room in the CTS is class leading, beating out the reigning champ BMW 3 series. It features 13.6 cubic feet of trunk space, plenty for carrying your golf clubs to and from the green on Sunday afternoon.

All in all, we love the new CTS Performance Coupe, it has a distinct shape we have never seen before in any other cars, as well as features that you wouldn’t get anywhere else but in a $100,000 Mercedes S class, and with the maintenance being covered for 4 years or 50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty going all the way out to 5 years 100,000 this is without a doubt a big bang for your buck.

2012 Cadillac CTS

So what do the numbers on the motor oil mean?

1. The API service rating – this is a two letter rating that basically tells you the type of engine the oil is for ie gas or diesel and the quality level

2. The  next is viscosity grade for example 5W-30. This is the thickness of the oil. Water has a low viscosity and something like molasses would have a very high viscosity.

3. The last bit of information may be there or not bus basically tell you whether or not it’s “energy conserving”

Viscosity is ordinarily expressed in terms of the time required for a st­andard quantity of the fluid at a certain temperature to flow through a standard orifice. The higher the value, the more viscous the fluid. Since viscosity varies inversely with temperature, its value is meaningless unless accompanied by the temperature at which it is determined. With petroleum oils, viscosity is now commonly reported in centistokes (cSt), measured at either 40°C or 100 °C (ASTM Method D445 – Kinematic Viscosity).

a SAE 30 motor oil is the same viscosity as a 10w-30 or 5W-30 at 210° (100° C). The difference is when the viscosity is tested at a much colder temperature. For example, a 5W-30 motor oil performs like a SAE 5 motor oil would perform at the cold temperature specified, but still has the SAE 30 viscosity at 210° F (100° C) which is engine operating temperature. This allows the engine to get quick oil flow when it is started cold verses dry running until lubricant either warms up sufficiently or is finally forced through the engine oil system. The advantages of a low W viscosity number is obvious. The quicker the oil flows cold, the less dry running. Less dry running means much less engine wear.

Multi-weight oils (such as 10W-30) are  made possible by adding polymers to oil. The polymers allow the oil to have different weights at different temperatures. The first number indicates the viscosity of the oil at a cold temperature, while the second number indicates the viscosity at operating temperature. Another way of looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot.

You may hear people say that they wouldn’t use a 5W-30 motor oil because it is, “Too thin.” Then they may use a 10W-30 or SAE 30 motor oil. At engine operating temperatures these oils are the same. The only time the 5W-30 oil is “thin” is at cold start up conditions where you need it to be “thin.”

Six Good vehicles for Families: Part 6 of 6

2012 Cadillac Escalade

2012 Cadillac Escalade

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade continues to impress. 2012 Cadillac Escalade is the kind of vehicle that could be your great choice if you are looking for a strong car with large capacity. You can begin considering about its exterior and interior design and see whether the vehicle matches your standard and expectation in term of the appearance. It delivers the luxury and elegance that would really fit your lifestyle, along with the comfortable interior parts that would make your travel time more comfortable. This car is the perfect choice for you who often travel in long distance. The wheelbase as the part of the basic elements also provides comfort in dealing with any types of road.

2012 Cadillac Escalade AWD 4dr Luxury – Summary
Brake ABS System: 4-Wheel
Disc – Front
Disc – Rear
Front Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in): 13.0 x 1.2
Rear Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in): 13.5 x 0.8
Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Volume to Seat 1 (ft³): 108.9
Cargo Volume to Seat 2 (ft³): 60.3
Cargo Volume to Seat 3 (ft³): 16.9
Engine Type: Gas V8
Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase (in): 116.0
Length, Overall w/rear bumper (in): 202.5
Width, Max w/o mirrors (in): 79.0
Height, Overall (in): 75.9
Ground to Top of Load Floor (in): 31.6
Ground Clearance, Front (in): 9
Ground Clearance, Rear (in): 9
Step Up Height – Front (in): 20.2
Step Up Height – Side (in): 20.2
Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx (gal): 26
Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity: 8
Front Head Room (in): 41.1
Front Leg Room (in): 41.3
Front Shoulder Room (in): 65.2
Front Hip Room (in): 60.5
Second Head Room (in): 39.2
Second Leg Room (in): 39.0
Second Shoulder Room (in): 65.2
Second Hip Room (in): 60.8
Third Head Room (in): 37.9
Third Leg Room (in): 25.6
Third Shoulder Room (in): 61.7
Third Hip Room (in): 49.1
Fuel Economy Est-Combined (MPG): 15 (2011)
EPA Fuel Economy Est – City (MPG): 13 (2011)
EPA Fuel Economy Est – Hwy (MPG): 18 (2011)
Suspension Type – Front: Indep torsion bar
Suspension Type – Rear: 5-link coil springs
Spring Capacity – Front (lbs): 3600
Front Tire Order Code: QST
Rear Tire Order Code: QST
Spare Tire Order Code: ZRS
Front Tire Size: P285/45R22
Rear Tire Size: P285/45R22
Spare Tire Size: P265/70R17
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Trailer Wt. (lbs): 5000
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Tongue Wt. (lbs): 500
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Trailer Wt. (lbs): 8100
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Tongue Wt. (lbs): 1215
Drivetrain: AWD
Rear Door Type: Liftgate
Front Wheel Size (in): 22 x 9
Rear Wheel Size (in): 22 x 9
Spare Wheel Size (in): 17 x – TBD –
Front Wheel Material: Aluminum
Rear Wheel Material: Aluminum
Spare Wheel Material: Steel

Part 1 – Chevy Suburban

Part 2 – GMC Yukon

Part 3 – Toyota Sienna

Part 4 – Toyota Highlander

Part 5 – Chevy Tahoe

Despite the harm some cars do to the environment, the automobile is actually the most recycled product in the world.

GM’s Environmental Commitment

Product Life Cycle

At GM, when we develop new vehicles our designers and engineers work to find ways to improve the impact our products will have on the environment throughout their entire lifecycle. We look at everything from the materials that go into our vehicles and the manufacturing processes used to build them, to energy consumption on the road and the recyclability of our vehicles at the end of their useful life.

Vehicle Design

Components of the headliner in the 2010 Buick Lacrosse are made from recycled cardboard scrap salvaged from manufacturing operations at GM’s Marion Assembly plant in Marion, Indiana.

When designing new vehicles, we use recycled and bio-based materials from renewable resources whenever economically and technically possible. Engineers in our “Design for the Environment” group work with materials and components suppliers to  identify opportunities to continually increase the use of these materials. Recycled materials in our products come from a variety of origins – from things like old pop bottles, blue jeans and nylon carpet, to used tires and recycled vehicle bumpers. In fact, we’re even beginning to explore some opportunities to use recycled waste products from our own manufacturing facilities in parts for our new vehicles. This allows for an entire closed loop process where we can divert waste that may otherwise go to landfill butinstead is put to good use as part of a new product.

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette uses renewable balsa wood, the fastest growing tree in the world, in its floor panel. Fibers from the kenaf plant, a quick growing, tall-stalky plant, are used to create a component of the headliner in the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox.

We’re also beginning to make use of some renewable natural fibers in vehicle parts to make our cars and trucks more sustainable. Right now we are using balsa wood in the floor panel of the Chevrolet Corvette, and kenaf fibers – as a component in the headliner of some vehicles.

Here is a link to GM Dismantling Manuals.  (GM Dismantling Manual)

Automotive Recycling Association (ARA)

Since 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is an international trade association which has represented an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of automotive parts, and the safe disposal of inoperable motor vehicles.

ARA services approximately 1,000 member companies through direct membership and over 2,000 other companies through our affiliated chapters. Suppliers of equipment and services to this industry complete ARA’s membership. ARA is the only trade association serving the automotive recycling industry in 12 countries internationally.

ARA aims to further the automotive recycling industry through various services and programs to increase public awareness of the industry’s role in conserving the future through automotive recycling and to foster awareness of the industry’s value as a high quality, low cost alternative for the automotive consumer. ARA encourages aggressive environmental management programs to assist member facilities in maintaining proper management techniques for fluid and solid waste materials generated from the disposal of motor vehicles.

Facts About the North American Automotive Recycling Industry.

  • Total annual revenue is estimated to be $22 billion.
  • In 1997, auto recyclers acquired 4.7 million vehicles for the purpose of recycling.*
  • Recycling vehicles provides enough steel to produce almost 13 million new vehicles.*
  • Saves an estimated 85 million barrels of oil a year, that would have been used in the manufacturing of new or replacement parts.
  • Automotive recyclers spent nearly $50 million on environmental compliance in 1997.*
  • The majority of automotive recycling businesses used a computerized inventory system.*
  • Automotive recyclers provide wholesale and retail customers quality parts that sell for up to 50% less than the comparable new parts.
  • Automotive recycling businesses employ some 103,108 people at more than 8,267 businesses around the country.
  • An estimated 86% of automotive recycling companies is full-service and employs 10 or fewer people.*
  • Total annual payroll is estimated to be $3.3 Billion.
  • The majority of automotive recyclers can often locate parts faster than new part dealers because the facilities are connected by telephone, satellite and/or computerized communications systems to recyclers across the globe.*
  • Automotive recycling decreases insurance rates by purchasing inoperative vehicles from insurance companies, thus allowing for recovery of financial losses. These vehicles came primarily from individual owners and salvage auctions
  • Automotive recycling keeps highways and roads clear of abandoned and disabled vehicles by providing a place to deposit these vehicles.

Sources: *Most recent ARA statistical data regarding the automotive recycling industry. Data compiled from a 1997 survey by the private consulting firm, Axiom Research Company and Automotive Recycling: Your Cars Afterlife (2-13-2006).

Automotive recycling serves a vital role in preserving natural resources and reducing the demand for scarce landfill space. For example, each year approximately 95 percent of vehicles retired from use are processed for recycling.  The recycling of these vehicles saves an estimated 85 million barrels of oil that would have been used in the manufacturing of new or replacement parts.  Additional energy and resource conservation is realized by recycling rebuildable “core” parts to the automotive parts rebuilding industry.

In addition to conserving natural resources, automotive recycling plays an important role in reducing air and water pollution, and solid waste generation. Automotive recyclers must abide by stringent local and national regulations on dealing with waste generated by salvaged automobiles. Many individual automotive recyclers have also instituted their own unique programs to further reduce the potential effects of harmful materials to their businesses and communities.

The closest auto recycler to us in South Dakota that is also a registered member of the ARA is located in Colorado.

Colorado Auto Recyclers
Jolane Hochstetler, Executive Director
(303) 457-2119
(303) 451-7567 Fax

YouTube video tour of a recycling company.