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GM Recalls 40k 2005-2006 Chevrolet Corvettes for steering column issue.

On: Mon, May 3, 2010 at 3:08PM | By: Drew Christy

GM Recalls 40k 2005-2006 Chevrolet Corvettes for steering column issue. test 1-1

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced that General Motors has issued a recall for 2005-2006 Chevrolet Corvettes. The recall is for all Corvette models built between March 2004 and January 2006 with tilt and telescoping steering wheels.

Movement in the steering column could cause signal interruption and illuminate the message “Service Active Handling System” warning light. This problem could also cause the brakes to pull the car to the left or right, thereby causing an accident. This recall affects a total of 40,028 Corvettes. For more information contact the NHTSA’s vehicle safety hot line at 888-327-4236 or call Chevrolet at 800-630-2438.

Chevy Cans The Orlando; Does America Care?

On: Mon, May 3, 2010 at 11:41AM | By: John Welch

Chevy Cans The Orlando; Does America Care? test 1-1

In order to please the AutObama administration and its investors, (re: Us!) GM has go about streamlining its business operations. Simplifying the complicated, downsizing the unwieldy. One way to go about skinnying up a corporate dinosaur is to limit complications in production. Do a few things really well. As it applies to GM, those "things" would be the Traverse, Equinox, Malibu, and the upcoming Cruze. GM plans to remain efficient by limiting the number of new models its American factories are pumping out.

To this end, GM’s president for North America, Mark Reuss, has leveled the proverbial "ax" on the Chevrolet Orlando. According to Reuss, this action is being taken in order to maximize the output of current top-sellers, the Malibu and Equinox. Along with the Traverse, GM has added a third shift at the plants that produce these cars. There are even plans to produce the Equinox and Malibu at other facilities.

Considering the Orlando will still be offered in other markets, could this be a good sign for the Volt MP5? Perhaps the Orlando is deemed to similar to the Equinox, and Chevy is trying to avoid the sort of inter-company cannibalization that led to GM's financial melt-down in the first place. Answers to those questions are not going to come soon, or easily. If you ask Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet’s product marketing director for small cars and crossovers, you might come away a little disappointed. She isn't all that specific . . .

Gas Pedals Not Up To Caliber

On: Mon, May 3, 2010 at 11:14AM | By: Clay Ritchings

Gas Pedals Not Up To Caliber test 1-1

The Dodge Caliber is being probed for sticky pedal issues. Chrysler says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating a problem with sticky accelerator pedals in the 2007 Dodge Caliber. The NHTSA said, in a document posted on its Web site, five consumers reported that the accelerator pedal became stuck and would not return to the idle position when released. But it is not aware of any accidents, injuries or property damage.

Chrysler says in a statement that the problem is limited to a small number of vehicles built during a five-week period in March and April of 2006. The automaker says the problem appears to be with a parts supplier and is mechanical, not electronic. The parts in question were made by CTS Corp; if that name sounds familiar, it should. CTS is the supplier of pedals involved in Toyota Motor Corp.'s January recall of some 2.1 million vehicles. Chrysler says it will cooperate fully with the investigation. There has been no recall of the vehicles.

Honda Recalls 167,000 Acura Sedans

On: Mon, May 3, 2010 at 7:54AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Model In Question: test 2

In car news this week, according to a recent press release, Honda has recalled over 160,000 Acura TSX Sedans due to a potential safety hazard—a faulty power steering hose and o-ring gasket which has the potential to deteriorate prematurely, possibly resulting in a fire hazard.


Auto Dealers Are Skeptical About Fuel Efficient Hybrids

On: Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 7:27PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Auto Dealers Are Skeptical About Fuel Efficient Hybrids test 1-1

Recent federal fuel efficiency protocols announced by the Environmental Protection Agency were considered a major success by the Obama administration and automakers, but many new car dealers feel reluctant to make the transition to offering so many hybrids.

“With tight family budgets and a shaky job outlook, consumers want to maximize their transportation dollars, not pay more for redundant rules and an unnecessary bureaucracy,” said Ed Tonkin, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. “Under these new mandates, the price of new cars and light trucks will rise significantly, meaning fewer Americans will be able to buy the new vehicles of their choice.”

Based on the new EPA regulations, the average fuel economy for cars is mandated to be no less than 37.8 MPG by 2016, while light trucks are expected to average 28.8MPG. Automakers are already beginning to design all types of new hybrids in greater numbers to meet the standards that the government has set.

Toyota Prius Gets A New Image

On: Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 6:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Prius Gets A New Image test 1-1

When you think of the Toyota Prius Hybrid many people get an image of liberal Birkenstock wearing bleeding hearts. In a scene from the movie “Network,” Howard Beale yelled into the microphone, “Give me a break! I’ve got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies.” which demonstrates mainstream thinking regarding the iconic green car.

German Press Calls Electric Cars an "E-llusion"

On: Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 11:24AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

German Press Calls Electric Cars an

German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to hold a meeting to discuss, with senior advisors from the major German automakers and utility companies, the future possibility of the electrification of the automobile. He has given the subject top priority, particularly after missing the boat on the recent popularity of Japanese car technology, such as the popular Prius.

But according to the widely circulated German periodical called “Der Spiegel,” the electric vehicle is a “great e-llusion.”

Toyota Is Not A Bum!

On: Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 11:15AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Toyota Is Not A Bum! test 1-1

Up until recently, Toyota has essentially been the Japanese version of Rocky Balboa.

The little company from Japan threw themselves into the ring with the big three of the automotive world (you can decide who was Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago). On October 31, 1957 Toyota Motor Sales dressed up like one of the heavyweight American car companies for the very first time. They set up shop on US soil in what was essentially the automotive version of a dingy gymnasium: An abandoned Rambler dealership in Hollywood, California. The brazen car company started selling cars the very next year, and sold about as many cars as there are two syllable words in Rocky's vocabulary. An underwhelming 288 vehicles in all staggered off the floors, 287 Crown sedans and one whole Land Cruiser. The future looked bleak for the heavy underdog of the automotive world.

But Toyota was not to be denied. The Landcruiser continued as the flagship model until Toyota hit the market with a stunning flurry of blows to their opponents. The extremely popular Corona was introduced in 1965; that helped nearly triple sales almost overnight.

Then Toyota brought the haymaker, in 1968, in the form of the Corolla, the car that would end up being the most popular automobile ever produced. After a few decades of dedication (running up mountains, doing tons of sit-ups, and chopping down trees presumably), Toyota worked at building a solid, practical, safe car for the entire middle class. The little upstart company stood toe-to-toe with the big boys for 12 rounds of showroom floor battle and did not falter. They had arrived, and proved they should not be underestimated any longer.

From 1990-2007 Toyota more than doubled its share in the US market, going from 7.5% to 16.3%. With an eye on value and reliability, Toyota grew into a juggernaut with cars like the Camry that became the most popular car sold in the United States 11 out of 12 years from 1996-2008. Then the Prius became the first mass produced hybrid, and the first hybrid to sell a million vehicles in May of 2008. Even with the economic problems in that same year,

Toyota TKO'd GM as global sales champion, and became the first automaker to hold the title, other than The General, since 1931. It would be a glorious finish to a movie, but alas life does not always imitate art.

When It Comes To Future Cars, Lighter Is Better

On: Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 5:22PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

When It Comes To Future Cars, Lighter Is Better test 1-1

One of the major ways to save on gas is to shed the weight in an automobile. The less weight there is to carry around, the less energy is needed to do the hauling. Over the years as the automobile has evolved, the average weight has increased, not only to provide more space and comfort, but also to help to increase safety ratings in crash tests.

Grand-Am Post-VIR Update

On: Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:31PM | By: John Welch

The Famous Tree at Turn Twelve test 2

The Grand American Road Racing Series started the season off with a tremendously entertaining Rolex 24 at Daytona. A brand new team, Action Express, won the race. Utilizing a passenger SUV-derived engine, and a cast-off Riley chassis from Brumos Porsche, Action Express fought off the might of the Chip Ganassi BMW Rileys all night and into the next morning. After twenty four trips around the dial, Action Express was on top of the podium, and a spectacular season was underway.

The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is the support/feeder series for Grand Am. Think of it as GP2 for American sports car racing. They raced in Daytona and at every Grand Am date since. The series is comprised of road-going GT machinery, divided into two classes, Gran Turismo (redundant anyone?) and Street Tuner. GT and ST from here on.

The last race weekend, at Virginia International Raceway (or VIR) featured heart stopping excitement around every corner. The Rolex Series is covered in this post, Continental Challenge in Part Two . . .


Toyota Recalls Sequoia SUVs To Address Stability Control

On: Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 2:21AM | By: Clay Ritchings

Toyota Recalls Sequoia SUVs To Address Stability Control  test 1-1

We all heard about Toyota's problem with unintended acceleration, right? Well, now there are problems with the 2003 Sequoia's lack of acceleration. The recall is triggered by complaints that the stability control activated at times it should not. In such cases, the vehicle's stability control system—which regulates the vehicle's brakes and engine to help control a lack of traction while cornering—can needlessly kick in at lower speeds, thus making the truck go slower than the driver wants. This sounds like a big safety issue to me; can you imagine trying to merge into heavy traffic, and you hit the gas, and you are going nowhere—fast? I can see the dump truck in my rearview mirror now…

Apparently this problem has been going on since the fall of 2003 and Toyota has been replacing the skid control units when customers complained. If you own a Sequoia, have no fear; starting in late May, Toyota will send letters to all affected Sequoia owners included in this recall. The automaker is also will reimburse customers who were charged for the fix when the work was done after their warranty ended.

Steve St. Angelo, Toyota's chief quality officer for North America, said, “Toyota is committed to investigating customer complaints more aggressively and to responding quickly to issues we identify in our vehicles. As a result, we are voluntarily launching this recall to ensure that as many 2003 Sequoias as possible are serviced to the full satisfaction of our customers.”

More details and answers to questions are available to customers at http://www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331. You can read the press release after the jump.