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Shoppers can take simple steps to protect themselves against fraud

We use the Internet to research and purchase all sorts of products, but the Better Business Bureau is reminding consumers to be wary when buying a car online. Just like that time you tried online dating, appearances aren't always what they seem.

People outside the car industry are having a bigger influence on its future

Right at the outset of his presentation, Tom KraMer confesses. He doesn't know a lick about the auto industry. He designs medical devices and surgical tools for a living.

Lauren Fix answers your questions about fuel economy and more

I purchased a Honda 2013 Accord 4DR EX-L on Oct. 1, 2012. As time goes by, I have questions and concerns. When I'm driving and then I go to use the brake, the car hesitates or jumps a few times.

This just in: early reports inform us that water is, in fact, still wet. Also, the clever minds at CNW Market Research have discovered that an individual's personal tastes in a vehicle varies greatly depending on gender and age. Shocking, we know. According to the data, women typically base their purchases on rear visibility, cost, front visibility, remote side mirrors and side air bags, in that order. Well, the last three are tied, but pretty much in that order.

Wal-Mart offers a closely-targeted audience: buyers looking for the best deal. Other companies have tried to piggyback on that and grab a slice of the immense Wal-Mart fan base. A used car company called Live X Auto Exchange could be the latest: it has set up portals in two Phoenix-area Wal-Marts that provide used car listings from local dealerships, banks, and private sellers.

Chet Czaplicka doesn't own one of the Big 3's suppliers or run a car dealership. Instead, he is the chief executive of a blood-processing firm in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan. But like most people in that part of the country, he has several autoworkers in his family. And, perhaps more importantly, he understands how extensively the overall US. economy is enmeshed with the production of automobiles.

General Motors is throwing out the results of some recent customer satisfaction surveys because it says some of its dealers cheated. GM won't say how many surveys were tampered with or how many dealers are accused of doing it, but they are taking it seriously. A GM spokeswoman told Automotive News (sub. req'd.) the tampering was not widespread.

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