gets some attention as car-buyers dip toes into new-car consideration again

December 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

Things have been pretty slow over on our Web site since the economic meltdown. The car companies were too busy struggling for survival to give much thought to promoting their cars, so some of our ability to test-drive new cars was curtailed. Then, too, car-buyers lost much of their interest in replacing their old vehicles, and if they had to, they tended to buy used instead of new.

I took this to the extreme, passing on a last-model used car to replace my increasingly unreliable minivan and snaring two vehicles with lots of good service left for less money combined  than one-quarter of the cost of a new economy car. My Plymouth van got donated to charity, and in its place I have a ‘97 Toyota Previa van as my DogCar (one owner, 102K miles) and an ‘86 Mazda pick-up  as my daily driver and weekend farm truck (one owner, 65K miles).

Kim and Keith are still driving and reviewing vehicles — Kim has the Kia Soul this week, with review to follow soon — but I actually got tired of driving a new car every week (I know, seems funny even to type it!), so I’m not reviewing at all.

dogcarSeems some people are wading cautiously back into considering new cars, though. Of course, the Cash For Clunkers program really moved the merchandise, but even with that over we’re seeing traffic up on, and more e-mail from people asking about different models.

The media is showing increased interest, too, as evidenced by  in this piece from the Deseret News (Utah) about people considering their dogs when buying a car:

More than 30 percent of people consider their pets’ needs when picking out a family vehicle, according to a recent survey by That’s up from 12 percent in 2006 and 8 percent in 2003. The trend’s not lost on car manufacturers and auto insurance providers, who are making adjustments to make sure Fido stays safe and comfortable on the road.


Molle Hess, a science teacher at Hillcrest Junior High, for example, had a long list of things she needed to accommodate her five dogs. She wanted a van with rear air, double doors, removable back seats and enough space to fit four dog crates.

“I told the car salesman, ‘I won’t buy the van if the crates don’t fit,’ ” Hess said. “I made him take out the seats and put in the crates right then just to make sure.”

Such demands are far from unusual, said Taylor Johnson, a sales manager for Ken Garff Honda.

“People bring their dogs in all the time to see if they ‘like’ a particular car,” he said. “Just the other day I thought I’d made a sale and the guy told me, ‘Oops, sorry. My dog won’t fit in the back of that.’ ”

Car dealers, eager to accommodate doting pet-owners, which, according to a recent American Pet Products Association survey, represent more than 40 percent of the population, are starting to offer pet-accommodating add-ons for popular vehicles.

Check out the article here.…

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