Joseph Choi's Articles

Honda S660 Roadster a Hit with Brand Aficionados

With the long-lasting success of Honda's S2000 roadster in mind, the automaker has begun to get its groove back by means of its new, Japan-only S660 model. The market, however, is not reacting exactly how the company anticipated.

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Nissan Altima’s 2015 Sales Performance Delivers, at a Cost

As we make our way through the second half of 2015, Nissan has much to be excited about from a sales standpoint regarding its mid-size Altima model. With nearly 206,000 deliveries through July, the Altima has a 15,631 unit sales lead over the Honda Accord after a 17,244 unit sales deficit just a year ago. The Nissan Altima’s 1.4% year-over-year sales improvement puts the model squarely in second place within the mid-size car segment. Now behind the Toyota Camry, Nissan sedan finally surpassed the Accord, which had sold more often than the Altima for years. Notably, the Accord’s 14% sales drop versus last year contributed to its current third place status. After taking a deeper look into the factors with the greatest effect on these sales trends, it appears the Altima’s sales performance is not as great as it seems at face value.

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Mazda Brings 2016 MX-5 Miata Back to Basics

When the Mazda MX-5 Miata was introduced 25 years ago, it made a huge impression and was named “Most Trouble-Free Sports Car” in the 1990 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). By 1991, the small, lightweight roadster won over the hearts of its drivers worldwide and achieved nearly 30,000 registrations in the United States alone. Although Miata volume has steadily declined since its peak, the iconic car remains a fan favorite and holds the title of best-selling two-seat sports car of all time. As evidence the Miata hasn’t rested on its laurels, the roadster has regularly earned recognition as a J.D. Power award winner over the years, including its most recent award in the 2015 IQS Compact Sports Car Segment.

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Analysis: BMW i8 Offers Value and Performance

In 2011, the BMW i8 Concept plug-in hybrid electric vehicle was unveiled at the International Motor Show Germany and featured in the blockbuster film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. With its futuristic design and bold color scheme, the car was truly a sight to be seen; however, as the electric supercar was the product of the automaker’s nascent BMW i division, it remained to be seen if the car had the substance to match its style.

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2016 Mazda CX-9 May See a Value Retention Boost

At the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show a few weeks ago, Mazda Motor Corporation President and CEO Masamichi Kogai revealed the brand’s newest-generation CX-9 model, a seven passenger crossover. It was a celebration of sorts as the three-row crossover is the final model in the product lineup to transition to Mazda’s Kodo design language. Resultantly, the unveiling was the completion of a shift to a new era for the company with a new look and array of SkyActiv technologies. Thus far, the transformation has had a positive effect on the brand’s portfolio, but to get a sense of how one-year value retention may improve for the 2016 CX-9, we will analyze the company’s three highest-volume models, the CX-5, Mazda3 and Mazda6 during the periods each model was updated.

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Korean Automakers’ Rental Penetration Levels not a Red Flag

Last week, Automotive News published an interesting piece analyzing changes in the rental market over the past few years. The article concluded that as domestic automakers General Motors and Ford Motor Company have lowered sales to rental fleets, Asian brands led by Hyundai and Kia from South Korea have stepped in to fill the gap with increased fleet deliveries of their own. A deeper dive, however, reveals that although the Koreans’ current rental penetration is higher than it was a few years ago, it is fairly modest by Korean standards over the past decade.

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Will the 2017 Acura NSX Present the Same Value Proposition as its Predecessor?

Acura recently released pricing information for its much anticipated 2017 NSX and unsurprisingly the supercar will carry a lofty price tag to match its high expectations. Pricing will start at $157,800, including destination, but those looking for all the trimmings will have to pony up $207,500. While the newest NSX is certainly a vehicle only afforded by individuals with deep pockets, it is important to remember the original model wasn’t exactly cheap either despite having a much lower MSRP. What made the previous generation NSX particularly special, however, was its ability to hold its value over the years, which is something the new NSX will try to duplicate in addition to meeting its obvious design and performance goals.

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Outgoing Honda Ridgeline’s High Retention Sets Bar for its Successor

At the recent 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, there was much anticipation regarding whether Honda would be able to best its successes from 2015. Last year proved to be huge for the Honda brand in the United States as it set a new calendar year record for light truck sales with 661,188 deliveries, a nearly 12% improvement over prior year. In order to continue its sales push, however, the automaker will need to revitalize its Ridgeline nameplate, which is exactly what it set out to do in Detroit this year.

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Analysis: Used Market Affordability of Nissan GT-R

Wondering if you will ever be able to afford a Nissan GT-R? Here’s what one analyst discovered after crunching used values.

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The Fiat 500e Exemplifies FCA CEO’s Disdain for EVs

In a recent interview with Car Magazine, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne expressed how little he believes in the potential of electric vehicles, and portrayed driverless vehicles as “a mandatory future option and not even expensive.” After failing multiple times to court other automakers — many of whom have spent far more on EV technologies and alternative powertrains — into a merger with his troubled company, Marchionne’s positive remarks about autonomous vehicles are not only convenient, but a bit self-serving (Google already works with FCA on self-driving minivans). That being said, despite the automotive titan’s disregard for electric vehicles, his company does offer one electric car for sale in California and Oregon. So how has it performed in the marketplace?

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