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North Carolina International Auto Expo in Raleigh

The 22nd annual NC International Auto Expo was held in downtown Raleigh this past weekend, featuring virtually all of the major vehicle manufacturers and their new and future vehicle models. As WRAL reports below, a centerpiece of the show was the upcoming crop of flex-fuel, hybrid, and electric vehicles that are being planned. Many think, however, that with the economic sl0wdown new car purchases are being put on hold, especially with the significant price tags some of these greener vehicles come with. With the already tremendous amount of R&D dollars spent on development of these vehicles, one hopes that the lines will not be scrapped altogether for lack of consumer interest. Since it seems that most of the manufacturers have plans through 2012 to produce these vehicles, consumers will hopefully be emerging from the recession with a) old cars that they want to replace, b) plenty of greener alternatives from which to choose, and c) renewed consumer confidence to lay out that kind of money. That combination could pave the way for renewed interest on the part of industry to make such vehicles more cost effective, as new technology always costs more in its early years.

In the meantime, (most) dealerships are not going away and are going to be hard pressed to make a profit from the few vehicles that they do sell. This means that consumers in North Carolina and elsewhere need to be ever vigilent that they don’t get taken advantage of by the ever shifting methods of auto dealer fraud. If you think that you might have fallen into an auto financing scam, been sold a vehicle that isn’t what the dealer told you it was, or may be the unlucky owner of a lemon, call the Norris Law Firm for a consultation.

Ford, GM jump into green-car fray

Posted: Today at 5:00 a.m. Updated: 7 minutes ago

Raleigh, N.C. — Automakers showcased their newest environmentally friendly models at International Auto Expo in Raleigh this weekend, including an SUV that can get up to 120 miles a gallon.
Car enthusiast Carl Jensen was among those who strolled around the Expo. He said he doesn’t see a more expensive hybrid vehicle makes financial sense during tough economic times.
“When they get that cost down, then the hybrid could be a solution. But right now, I don’t think it’s a viable solution,” he said.

Automakers say they are trying to bring down those costs and go even greener. Ford showed off a new Escape plug-in hybrid vehicle.“You could easily just plug this in, put it in your garage, five to 10 hours later, you have a fully charged vehicle,” said Peter Jap, with Ford.
Peter Jap, with Ford Motor Company, said the charge allows you to drive up to 40 miles on an electric motor.
Progress Energy is testing a plug-in hybrid in the Triangle. The company is studying how much charging an electric car might add to a person’s power bill. “A plug-in vehicle … is probably only adding about the same amount of electricity as a blender in your kitchen might, in the long run,” the utility’s Scott Sutton said.
General Motors showed off its stable of green vehicles for 2009. There were a lot of choices, from hybrid SUVs to a flex-fuel Hummer. Despite greener vehicles to choose from, some people might be asking if now is the right time to buy a new car.
“I think so. Right now, more than ever, you can get the best deals at the dealerships. They’re willing to work with you,” said Araba Dowell, with General Motors.Jensen said hybrid technology is just an interim step on the way to a greener auto industry.
“Hybrid is what we can buy right now. But if you’re patient, I think that will change,” Jensen said.

Ford plans to have a family of plug-in, battery and hybrid vehicles by 2012. Chevrolet plans to introduce an electric car to the consumer market by the end of next year. Toyota says it plans to add solar panels to its hybrid Prius in 2010.
Reporter: Brian Shrader
Norris Law Firm, PLLC
A North Carolina Lemon Law Firm serving North Carolina Consumers