Neither rain, nor hail, nor catastrophic hurricane will ever keep flacks from their appointed inanity:

Subject: stats: Who buys kids their cars?
From: "xxxxx@hodgespart.com"
To:

Dear [redacted],

If you are slammed with Katrina related assignments consider holding onto this for next week — nice light or "news-you-can use" story — and a rare 10 best used cars for under $10K list.

Three out of four student drivers have their own cars and more than half were bought for them outright by their parents. Of those cars, 82 percent were bought used and more than half cost under $10,000.

These are a few of the key findings of the AutoExtra.com Kids' First Car Survey that I've pasted below and then below that the top 10 used cars for under $10K compiled with the help of Lauren Fix - the Car Coach - who is available for interview.

Let me know if this piques your interest and i can send you more materials.

My contact information:

Steve Cummings
The Hodges Partnership
804.788.XXXX
xxxxx@hodgespart.com

Need a light news-you-can-use piece to counterbalance all that depressing Katrina coverage? Steve's full release is after the jump.

AutoExtra.com Kids' First Car Survey Key Findings

The national telephone survey of 500 adults who have children ages 16-22 and enrolled in school found that:

 76% of their children have their own car
 82% of those cars were bought used

Money Matters:
 54% of the cars cost under $10,000
 51% were paid for in-full by the child's parent or parents
 23% shared the cost with their children
 72% of the parents did not have cars bought for them when they were students

Major factors parents said are extremely/very important when buying a car for their child:
 safety and reliability 90%
 price 79%
 fuel efficiency 68%
 age and mileage 67%
 make/model 42%
 style/coolness 24%
 car's color 13%

Major factors that parents thought were extremely/very important to their children when buying a car:
 style/coolness 66%
 safety/reliability 61%
 age/mileage 53%
 make/model 53%
 price 52%
 fuel efficiency 50%
 color 37%

Buying habits:
 58% purchased directly from a dealership
 36% purchased from a private seller
 2% purchased through an online auction

The national telephone survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation from Aug. 12 Aug. 17, 2005. The survey was conducted among a sample of 500 adults who have children aged 16-22 and are currently students. The polling has a margin of error of +/- 4%.


***


Top Ten Used Cars A
utoExtra.com's 10 best used cars under $10,000 for student drivers are (in no particular order):

2000 Chevy Blazer
For those parents who want their child in a full-sized SUV, the Blazer is a good mix of safety, fair MPG (for a full-sized SUV) and insurance costs. "Four-door vs. two-door doesn't matter as much as getting as many additional features as possible look for AutoTrac for example," said Fix. "If they 'go in the snow' and haul around a ton of gear, this is a good choice for kids"

2001 Honda Civic DX
Comfortable entry-level car that's gets great miles-per-gallon (MPG), low maintenance costs, and a good resell value. "Even though this car is small, it's safe; the more airbags installed the better," said Fix. "This is a good example of a savings not often talked about lower insurance costs because of the sheer number of cars out in the market. Insurance costs tend to be lower for cars where cheap replacement parts are available, and with the Civic, parts are everywhere."

2002 Toyota Corolla CE
All the benefits of the Honda Civic: MPG, low maintenance, good resell but in a little larger vehicle. "I like that parents can get their kids into an 2002 Corolla the newer the car the more standard features like driver and passenger air bags in this case," said Fix.

2001 Nissan Altima XE
A comfortable car for five and a large trunk for hauling sports gear and dirty laundry back and forth from school. "Even the 4 cylinder model has a lot of pep," said Fix. "If you can get into a higher mileage 2002 with a great maintenance record for under $10,000, go for it."

2003 Hyundia Elantra GLS
Korean Manufacturing has combined quality with affordability. "And the cars are safe," said Fix. "The Elantra gives you the most powerful engine in its class for '03 and fantastic J.D. Power crash ratings."

2003 Ford Ranger (Half Bed)
Ford Rangers are everywhere as they are top sellers perfect solution for the child who has lots of stuff to transport. "Ford Rangers are the best bet of the U.S. manufacturers and this one comes with driver and passenger airbags. One word of caution - look over the bed carefully for any signs of rust" said Fix.

2003 Suzuki Aerio S
The Aerio is the least expensive all-wheel drive vehicle on the market according to Suzuki, which makes it a good choice for snow prone schools. "Some might think the small size is a problem, but for students attending a big-city school, it's a great car to squeeze into small spaces," said Fix.

1998 Toyota 4Runner
A top selling SUV which translates into better resell and low-cost maintenance. With a larger wheel base it is less prone to roll-over. "SUVs are just a more expensive vehicle so you'll need to get an older model and factor in gas costs," said Fix. "The 4Runner is a good bet even from '98, but be very selective and try to find one with a well documented and well-kept maintenance record."

2001 Mercury Cougar
This Cougar has a distinctive look inside and out and has plenty of standard features like power windows, four bucket seats, power-heated mirrors, and a detachable audio panel. "This is a great car with a distinctive look," said Fix, "lots of storage in the back, and the back seats have great leg room."

2003 Ford Taurus LX
The Taurus LX has low-maintenance costs, standard V6 engine and is loaded with options. "This is the car for kids going off to remote schools, because Taurus parts are everywhere, and it has plenty of trunk and interior space to haul gear," said Fix. "Plus every '03 Taurus includes dual-stage airbags for added safety."