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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car News

Ford Develops New Eco-Friendly Material for Seat Cushions

On: Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 11:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Develops New Eco-Friendly Material for Seat Cushions test 1-1

Ford has done it again! The Detroit automaker, known for changing with the times, is now adding more eco-friendly materials to their automobiles. For example, the new 2011 Ford Explorer will offer a new bio-based polyurethane foam made from soy in seat cushions and seatbacks, as well as a 25% increase in fuel economy over the 2010 model.

Ford was the first automaker to discover that soy-based foams could be used for automotive purposes, revolutionizing its use in seats as far back as 2008 in the Ford Mustang. Now Ford plans to continue developing the use of soy-based foam in the interior of nearly all of its 2011 line-up as part of a project to start utilizing more recyclable and renewable resources in designing all of its automobiles.

Already there are over two million Ford vehicles that have the bio foam used to construct interior seat cushions; Ford reports that the implementation of the innovative material has helped the company reduce the use of petroleum oil by three million lbs every year as well as reducing greenhouse gas emission by 11 million lbs. Those are very impressive numbers evolving from simply substituting one substance for another.

Ford, the First Automaker to Use Soy Based Eco Friendly Material for Seat Cushions
Prnewswire                               http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ford-adds-soy-foam-seat-cushions-to-ford-explorer-expands-use-of-eco-friendly-material-across-lineup-96996819.html
 
Ford has done it again!  The automaker has been known to change with the times is now adding more eco-friendly materials to their automobiles.  For example, the new 2011 Ford Explorer will offer a new bio-based polyurethane foam made from soy in seat cushions and seatbacks as well as 25% increase in fuel economy over the 2010 model. 

Pleading The Fifth

On: Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 1:37PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Pleading The Fifth test 1-1

 

In the court of public opinion it seems that the previous generation M5 (designated E60 inside BMW) was indicted on charges of impersonating a super sedan for the American public. It seemed the jury found the chassis too stiff, the sequential auto shift too difficult to use for everyday driving, the engine too… well… too racy. The Formula One-inspired, naturally aspirated V-10 produced 500hp from its five liters (100hp per liter is such a high benchmark that it is reserved mostly for those that use turbochargers or superchargers). Despite its 8000rpm shriek, it managed a peak of ‘only’ 383lb-ft of torque at a very lofty 6100 rpm. The race-inspired V-10 also had the thirst of a track car averaging only around 11/city and 17mpg on the highway.  

Add to that condemnation a haughty as- tested price of entry at around 90k and a competitor from Cadillac in the form of the mighty LS6 and the even more potent LS9-powered CTS-V, that had more torque, more horsepower, and an entry price almost 30 grand less and you have a case mounting against the German hot rod. GM all but threw the book at the E60 with a very impressive run around the Nurburgring Nordschleife (a 12.9 mile track that sports 33 left hand turns and 40 right hand turns) in the CTS-V, making the Cadillac currently the fastest sedan in the world. At the end of that trial you have a car in the M5 that is guilty of asking too much for just not enough.  

The Bavarians are not known for sitting on their laurels, however, and they quickly bailed out their V10 super car. They have been working with the M5, and began its rehab program in the hopes it will be vindicated of the defamation it suffered at the hands of critics and Cadillacs alike. Though still a year or so away it doesn’t look like a full pardon is going to be a problem.  


Stock 2011 V6 Mustang Travels Over 533 Miles On One Tank!

On: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 3:16PM | By: John Welch


Stock 2011 V6 Mustang Travels Over 533 Miles On One Tank! test 1-1

Plenty of companies have come up with plenty of hairbrained hypermiler cars in the past. Oddities mostly. Not all that useful or relevant. High strung diesel engines bolted into single-seat, bob-sled sized cars don't really appeal to the average US consumer. A base-engined Ford Mustang, on the other hand, that is a little more palatable. Being proud of their new six-pot steed, Ford engineers decided to see just how many laps of Bristol Motor Speedway their baby could finish on one tank of gas. The goal was 1,000 rotations around the Bristol, TN,. bull ring, and they met that mark with flying colors.

“This is beyond our wildest dreams,” said Tom Barnes, the lead engineer for the Ford Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge. “There have been a lot of people who have done a lot of things in preparing this 2011 Mustang V-6 to run the Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge and have the success we have had today. It was great when we went past the 1,000 lap mark with David, but nobody could ever imagine that we still had five hours ahead of us. This is a fantastic feeling and it shows again what a great car the 2011 Mustang V-6 is.”


J.D. Power Deems Ford Brand Number One in Quality While Toyota Falls Precipitously

On: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 12:08PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


J.D. Power Deems Ford Brand Number One in Quality While Toyota Falls Precipitously test 1-1

The 2010 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) shows that Ford is considered the top non-luxury brand in the industry with the highest quality level. The Taurus, Mustang, and Focus were three of the most popular of Ford’s line-up that were considered the vehicles of most distinction.

Ford moved from last year’s eighth place position to fifth place, which is the highest that the Ford brand has ever ranked. Fourth place and above, performers were dominated by vehicles in the luxury car group: Porsche AG’s namesake vehicles, Honda Motor Co.’s Acura, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota’s Lexus, according to the market-research firm.

Lincoln also saw improvement in its ranking this year and is now listed among the top 10 brands. Lincoln was ranked 26th last year and moved up to eighth position.

Toyota, on the other hand, fell from sixth place all the way to the Japanese automaker’s lowest ever ranking (since the inception of J.D. Powers quality studies) of 21st place. According to David Sargent, J.D. Power’s VP of global vehicle research in a Bloomberg Newsweek interview; “Toyota’s problems were directly related to the recalls. This will certainly hurt their image a bit.” Sargent also stated, "For Ford, this is the culmination of nine years of improvement.” Ford has gradually moved up the rankings for the past nine years in a row.


 

The Launch of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

On: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 9:57AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The Launch of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee test 1-1

Everyone knows that Chrysler Corporation has had no picnic recently; in the past three years, the company has seen three different owners. The Chrysler line-up has become outdated and there has been very little activity, as far as announcements of new products, until now.

The 2011 Grand Cherokee is about to change all of that with new models that will soon be filling the show rooms. Initial development of the Grand Cherokee started as far back as 2006, when Chrysler was still tied up with Daimler-Benz (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz). So, although the new owner of Chrysler is now the Italian Fiat Company, the newest Jeep shares many features with the Mercedes-Benz ML.

The styling is purely Jeep. "It's our other icon," says Mark Allen, head of Jeep design, referring to the difference between the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler. The 2011 model keeps the familiar Grand Cherokee appearance on the exterior, but it has been described as having “a more athletic sculpting and softer edges, the new Grand Cherokee is better dressed to mingle with the soft-roader crossovers in the suburbs.”


Strikes Are Contagious in China; Toyota Is Now Involved

On: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Strikes Are Contagious in China; Toyota Is Now Involved  test 1-1

It seems that on going labor strike at a Honda auto parts manufacturing plants in China has become all the rage among the media recently, and the latest news is that Toyota is now being affected by the strikes in China as well.

 In the past few weeks strikes have broken out in several of Honda Motor Company’s auto parts manufacturing plants in China, and now Toyota is being plagued by a rash of auto workers going on strike as well.  In fact last week Toyota was forced to shut down operations at their southern China plants as a result of labor unrest.

Walkouts are spreading throughout the Southern China region where last month Honda was forced to raise wages for workers in 3 different auto parts factories in order to end the labor strikes; a sign of China’s diminishing cheap labor force.


The 2011 Mustang RTR Package

On: Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 12:28PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The 2011 Mustang RTR Package test 1-1

The 2011 Ford Mustang has arrived with the great looks and performance you would expect from Mustang, but now Ford is announcing a new RTR dealer-installed package from Vaughn Gittin Jr. (driver of the No. 25 Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang).

In an interview with Mustang News.com Gittin is quoted as saying, “I have been getting ready for the launch of Mustang RTR, which is a project I have taken on as my vision for a new generation of Mustang to get some new eyes on the car. It is a dealer-installed package that has Ford Racing parts on it. Other than that, I have been working on some really big things that we are going to announce soon, including a really big sponsor coming on board shortly. I am out in Charlotte testing my brand new 2011 Mustang.”

The introduction of Mustang RTR enhances the notoriety and success that Gittin has seen in  the Formula Drift, with a significant lead in the championship point standings. Gittin took first place while driving the Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang GT at the opening competition in Long Beach. He also took second place in the more recent "Road Atllanta."

Some of the upgrades include in the package:  Mustang RTR 19x9.5-inch wheels, Ford Racing mufflers, and Ford Racing handling pack (performance-tuned dampers and springs).

Mustang RTR transforms an already great looking Mustang into a real head-turner with exclusive styling, accentuated by a chin spoiler with splitter and supports, rocker splitters, a rear diffuser and aluminum rear spoiler. A distinct Mustang RTR stripe scheme adds even more character. The interior upgrades include RTR-exclusive floor mats, shifter knob, and emblems.

When Vaughn Gitten Jr. was asked what he liked most about the new Mustang, he replied, “It is unbelievable. It is a Ford Racing 5.0L V-8 and we are testing a new tire as well. Between the grip of the new tire and the extra horsepower we have, it is just an unbelievable car. It is a lot faster and I just cannot wait to compete with it.”

The RTR package was created in partnership with Classic Design Concepts, a Michigan company with a great reputation for high quality and stylish flair. The Mustang RTR package is available at select dealerships for the 2011 Mustang GT. A Mustang V-6 package will be available in late 2010. Visit the website at www.mustangrtr.com for more information.


New California Bill May Allow For Electronic Ads on License Plates

On: Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 10:00AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


New California Bill May Allow For Electronic Ads on License Plates test 1-1

In the past, electronic flashing billboards on major roadways were illegal in many states, for obvious safety reasons, as the glitz of bright colored lights can be extremely distracting and potentially hazardous to motorists, particularly at night.

But times are changing, as California legislators are preparing to consider allowing electronic advertisements on license plates, as if drivers are not already distracted enough with all of the electronic toys inside their automobiles these days! The decision would be aimed at taking a bite out of the $19 billion deficit the State of California  now faces. Yes, advertisers would pay the state to relay their light-up subliminal messages on a newly-discovered, untapped canvas.

The electronic advertising device would allow for the license plate to appear as a standard plate when the vehicle was traveling down the road, but when stopped for a period of more than 4 seconds, such as in heavy grid-locked traffic jams and traffic lights, the digital message for the advertisement would appear. The automobile’s license plate number would remain visible in some part of the plate at all times, even when the ad was being displayed. Emergency traffic information, special alerts, and road conditions could also be displayed on the license plates.

There is no data yet on how much the state would charge or an estimate on the amount of revenue that the state would expect to bring in, but it has been reported that would-be advertisers would contract directly with the DMV in California to request their ad space.


UAW New Hires Make 20% Less Than Average American

On: Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 9:27AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


UAW New Hires Make 20% Less Than Average American test 1-1

In the latest news from Detroit, new union autoworkers are sadly receiving only about $14.00 per hour vs seasoned employees who are getting paid twice that. Statistics in 2006 showed that UAW’s wages were 74% above the average individual’s salary in the United States. Some workers reportedly took home wages in the six figures when their overtime pay was included. Today, that number has decreased to BELOW 20% of the average worker’s income.

In the past, the Federal Reserve kept a close eye on the UAW’s salary rates as a strong indicator of wages in the United States. Long gone are the days when other industries would adopt the UAW pay and benefits in order to compete for new employees they needed to hire—competitors such as "Toyota would match their pay.”

According to Steve Barnas, union bargaining chairman at GM's Enclave plant near Lansing, Michigan, "It's difficult to look across the line at someone getting paid more for doing the same job you're doing,"


Donde Esta La Fiesta?

On: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 2:30PM | By: John Welch


Donde Esta La Fiesta? test 1-1

"Summer Release" is rather arbitrary phrasing. Here in Florida, the word "Summer" could refer to July; it could also mean March or September. Ford unleashed a doozie of a marketing campaign on Americans last year, doing anything it could to get publicity for the upcoming "Summer 2010" release of the US-ified Fiesta. Ford tried everything from grinding a Fiesta into dust to straight up giving them to hoity-toity post-grad movers and shakers. It worked. We all know what the Fiesta is and plenty of us want one. Now where in the eff are they?

According to Ford, they are right on schedule. Ford began shipping the cars this week from an assembly plant in Mexico. On Ford's Fiesta Facebook page, some customers awaiting their pre-ordered car vented about it being at least two weeks late. One complained of Ford's lack of communication about the holdup. Ford insists both accusations are inaccurate.

“We've been very transparent with our customers who've made pre-orders,” said Angie Kozleski, a Ford spokeswoman. “We have a reservations call center and a reservations hotline. In the case of this vehicle, there's been a lot of communication with them.”

Ford has approximately 2,000 early orders for the car. Ford's Kozleski said those are orders from customers who put cold, hard cash down to buy the Fiesta.


UPDATE! Proposed Issa Bill Would Prohibit GM and Chrysler from Lobbying

On: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:36AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


UPDATE! Proposed Issa Bill Would Prohibit GM and Chrysler from Lobbying test 1-1

Representative Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the Government Reform Committee, plans to initiate a proposal that would prohibit General Motors and Chrysler Corporation (as well as any other bailout company, such as Ally Financial and AIG) from being able to lobby as long as they are owned by the government. In other words, until the bailout funds are completely paid back to the tax payers.

The new amendment, if approved, would broaden the current limitations on lobbying by government-controlled institutions, such as Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, federally funded mortgage conglomerates. This amendment would prohibit lobbying for any corporation of which the federal government owns five percent or more.

A Fannie Mae spokesperson reported that the company was banned from lobbying in 2008 after the corporation was placed in "federal conservatorship." 

According to Kurt Bardella, press secretary  to ranking member Darrell Issa, “Any company that has borrowed taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to hire a lobbyist until the taxpayers have been repaid in full. There is no justification for allowing a company subsidized by taxpayer dollars to hire a lobbyist so they can try to influence the very government that owns the company.”

UPDATE: The Issa Bill was squashed this morning by the financial services conference committee. In a 9-13 vote the bill was put to rest, re-opening Lobby-Season for tax-payer owned entities. Woot?