Monthly Archives: June 2015

10 hot spots for auto thefts in the U.S.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) “Hot Spots” report listing the top 10 cities in the U.S. for auto thefts relative to their population size, California is home to seven out of the top 10. Looks like the Golden State is golden for auto thieves.

Here are the cities that made the list with the number of vehicles stolen during 2014 noted in parenthesis.

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (29,093)
  2. Bakersfield, Calif. (5,211)
  3. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4,245)
  4. Odessa, Texas (886)
  5. Modesto, Calif. (3,047)
  6. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (3,032)
  7. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (2,414)
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (20,268)
  9. Fresno, Calif. (5,260)
  10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (10,531)

On the plus side, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says car thefts of all kinds are steadily on the decline after seeing a slight increase in 2012. The FBI says there’s been a 5.7 percent reduction in motor vehicle thefts during 2013 and 2014, and they’re down by a whopping 42.8 percent since 2003.

Read more here.

Cool summer cars with even cooler price tags

Dream of driving through the country or along the coast in a cool and classy convertible? This could be the summer you make that dream a reality.

A web site,, has picked five used cars that fit the bill for summer fun, mostly small roadsters and under $10,000. Here’s the lineup:

MGB convertible

The MGB is called “every bit as fun and stylish as the pricier British roadsters.” There are many enthusiasts who own them and parts are still available to fix them, which judging from those we know who have owned one, you’ll be doing often. says the best years are 1966 or 1967. The 1970s ones are the cheapest.

Triumph TR6

The Triumph TR6 is set apart by what calls as “lusty six-cylinder engine.” It says the car has been underappreciated in the last decade, which could help when it comes to price.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Even today, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is still made and has such devoted fans that Mazda has been able to drop the “Miata” part out of the name. It was introduced in 1990 and the early ones are fun because of their hidden headlights.

Read more here.

See how vans and minivans have evolved over the years

The vans and minivans you see on the road today are a far cry from the ones you would have seen many years. Their evolution has progressed along in anything but a straight line.

There have been rear-engine/rear-drive, front-engine/rear-drive, and front-engine/front-drive chassis topped with many different styles of bodies.

Check out Autoblog’s gallery of the weirdest, wildest and worst vans and minivans of all time.

Best quality BMW vehicles not built in Germany

Most of us think of BMWs at “German cars.” But how “German” are they?

Yes, the fundamental engineering comes from Deutschland but BMW (like most automakers today) builds cars all over the world.

According to a recent J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, the BMW factory with the fewest defects per 100 vehicles is in Rosslyn, South Africa, producing the 3-series compact luxury sedan.

The study, which only includes assembly plants producing vehicles for the U.S. market, showed the Rosslyn plant with an average defect rate of 15 per 100 vehicles.

BMW’s Dingolfing 01 factory in Germany, which produces the 3-, 4- and 5-series cars, earned a Silver award with an average of 21 defects per 100 cars.

Read more here.