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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Toyota Remains World's Largest Automaker Despite Recalls

On: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 11:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Toyota Remains World's Largest Automaker Despite Recalls test 1-1

When American news reports on the Detroit “Big 3” they are referring to Ford, GM, and Chrysler, the major automakers that for many years made Detroit their home and were the dominant forces in American auto manufacturing. The emphasis is on “American.” When you look at top global sales figures for autos, the Detroit “Big 3” is joined by other automakers, such as Toyota and VW.

For the third year in a row, Toyota Motor Corporation can claim the title of “world’s largest automaker.” That’s pretty impressive given the hit that Toyota took from its recent massive recall and bad press. Regardless of those negatives, Toyota was happy to proclaim that deliveries from its Daihatsu Motor, Hino Motors, and Lexus Marque affiliates actually grew by 8% to a total 8.42 million cars sold in 2010.


Roads of the Future--Idaho Inventor Envisions Solar-Powered Roads With No Ice

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 6:10PM | By: Chris Weiss


Roads of the Future--Idaho Inventor Envisions Solar-Powered Roads With No Ice test 1-1

Having lived in the Rocky Mountains for about five years, I've often daydreamed about a smarter type of road. The road crews here are generally quite adept at clearing things quickly, but there is always the chance for snow build-up and icy patches. There's only so much you can do to keep the roads clear, dry, and safe and, as is the case throughout the rest of life, Mother Nature really has the last say.

But what if we could make a road that snow and ice don't stick to? It doesn't seem that hard to imagine some type of heated road surface that simply doesn't allow for freezing or snow build-up. An Idaho start-up called Solar Roadways has just such a plan.


Henrik Fisker Makes Rosy Prediction "Plug-Ins Will Take Off Like Smartphones"

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Henrik Fisker Makes Rosy Prediction "Plug-Ins Will Take Off Like Smartphones" test 1-1

Well, here's a media sound bite that I'm dismissing as complete, investor-befriending positioning. Henrik Fisker was quoted last week as stating that plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles will take off the way that smartphones and flat-panel TVs did. It's a fair comparison in terms of new, cutting-edge technology, but there's one major difference: flat-panel TVs and smartphones were flat-out better than existing devices in every discernible way. Plug-in vehicles, while certainly more efficient and cheaper to own in the long run, are not quite at the same respective level.


Ethanol Fuel Standards Get A Boost From EPA

On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 8:29AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ethanol Fuel Standards Get A Boost From EPA test 1-1

Back during WWII, Americans were encouraged to start their own Victory Gardens. By growing their own produce they could effectively take the burden off farmers, who needed to send food to the men and women fighting overseas. These gardens were all the rage. Now, new versions of Victory Gardens are cropping up all over as more and more folks are turning to the “organic way of life” to feed their families. One by-product of a home garden could be feeding your car as well. The EPA announced today that they are easing the mixture content on gasoline and ethanol from 10% limit to a boosted 15% limit. Good news for people who want to make more home-grown fuels. Bad news for automakers, so they say.


 

GM Creates Technological Chief Position

On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Weiss


GM Creates Technological Chief Position  test 1-1

Over the past few years, the technological and automotive industries have been tied more and more closely. Cars are now controlled with the help of advanced computer systems, and advanced GPS systems help drivers navigate and find businesses and services that they need. Over the past two to three years, the amount of technology in vehicles has spiked, extending to such features as in-vehicle Wi-Fi, voice-activated texting and email, and advanced smartphone-integrating infotainment systems.

So it should come as no surprise that companies are looking to compete and one-up each other on vehicular technologies. And in order to position itself as a technological leader, GM created a new senior executive post to oversee its technology efforts. The company named Vice Chairman Thomas Stephens its first Global Chief Technology Officer.


No Surprise: 2010 Recalls Highest In Years

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:29AM | By: Chris Weiss


No Surprise: 2010 Recalls Highest In Years  test 1-1

In a year of major headlines, Congressional hearings, and media outrage, anyone who watches the news once in a while could have guessed: U.S. automobile recalls for 2010 reached their highest numbers since 2004. In fact, the only thing surprising there is that they weren't at an all-time high, because I'll certainly remember 2010 (and late-2009) as the year of the recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that the infamous (and not all that infamous) recalls of 2010 affected more than 20 million vehicles.


Mercedes-Benz Working On Smart Charging

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:24AM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes-Benz Working On Smart Charging  test 1-1

Much of the auto-show drama and theatrics of the past several years has been centered on the advanced technologies and promising efficiency of plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids. But there's been a side plot that is equally compelling, if not quite as flashy: charging technology.

With the growth of the plug-in market comes the need for a better charging infrastructure. Companies and team-ups between automakers and electric start-ups and mainstays have been working hard to make charging as fast, intuitive, efficient, and inexpensive as possible. Technologies like wireless charging and smart homes have been undergoing testing and promise to make a better future for plug-in vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz is spearheading one large effort toward creating a smarter charging system. The system would allow cars to communicate with the greater electrical grid toward providing less expensive charging.


BMW, Audi And Mercedes Will Build U.S. Factories

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:11AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 BMW, Audi And Mercedes Will Build U.S. Factories  test 1-1

The official word from the automotive world is clear: “the world’s three largest luxury automakers will expand factories this year to ease capacity constraints.” Translation: BMW, Daimler, and Audi are building bigger factories which means new jobs all around! Why can’t they just say that?

Actually, the race is on between those three big European automakers to see who is going to come out on top. However, they’re not only thinking about sales this year, but they they’re already talking about who is going to be the industry leader for 2015. That’s confidence.


Porsche Working On A New Flat Four

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 6:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


Porsche Working On A New Flat Four  test 1-1

Porsche executives confirmed at the Detroit Auto Show that Stuttgart is working on a new, small powerplant that will be applied to future versions of the Boxster, Cayman, and possibly the 911. The new flat four-cylinder is still under development.

Outgoing head of development at Porsche Wolfgang Durheimer said of the engine: "We have a four-cylinder boxer engine under development," adding that it could be applied to the Cayman and Boxster. According to reports, the engine will have a displacement of 2.5 liters and will put out around 360-hp in turbocharged form.


Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:31AM | By: Chris Weiss


Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year test 1-1

Tesla is looking at a much more competitive future. Not only is Mercedes plowing full steam ahead with its SLS AMG E-Cell, but a new competitor just made things official. North Carolina-based Li-Ion Motors—a company that previously seemed to be hedging precariously on the edge of vaporware—announced at the Detroit Auto Show that production is go for its Inizio and Wave II models. And the company is looking at a quick turnaround, claiming that it will deliver the first models to customers this year.


Daewoo Is Dead; Will Anyone Mourn/Notice?

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:15AM | By: John Welch


Daewoo Is Dead; Will Anyone Mourn/Notice? test 1-1

We remember the Daewoo brand fondly, don't we? The awe inspiring Nubria, the effervescent Lanos, the stunning Lacetti, the imaginative Matiz . . . wait, we never got the Matiz. Dang it. Our loss. All sarcasm aside, Daewoo has been responsible for more then its share of commuter boxes over the course of the last twelve years. Most Suzukis are actually Daewoos, most small Chevrolets, the Cobalt being the lone exception, are in fact Daewoo-designed vehicles. The Euro-market Chevrolet Lacetti, Spark, Captiva (can anyone say "Saturn Vue"?), and Orlando are all, in fact, Daewoo products. Which begs the question, "why aren't they Daewoos?"

Following the lead of Ford's "One Ford" global platform plan, GM has systematically phased out all semblance of Daewoo badging world-wide, placing bowties where a weird, tri-pointed waterfall once sat. Americans will hardly notice, we haven't had a Daewoo branded product since 2004. The question is, will Korea notice? Also, will Korea be willing to buy enough Chevrolets to give GM a coveted extra percentage point in the Korean market? GM thinks it can expand from 9% of South Korea's new car sales to 10%. They're sending over their best and brightest, begining with the Chevy Camaro. In return GM Daewoo is giving us the new Sonic small car, as well as the Spark/Matiz, possibly by the end of the calendar year. Possibly. Venture inside the post for GM's side of the story . . .