January 19th, 2012
Hello all, for those that follow sorry for the long delay. The holidays came and went and time got away from me. I have so much to talk about. I thought I would start by quickly giving you the low-down on the 17 models that will be dropped for 2012. It’s sad but true. Some I had never heard of, others I’m not surprised by, and a couple are leaving us after many years.
I’ll just give you the rundown of the retired models. Before I do, take a guess at home many models you will recognize? 5? 10? 17??
BMW ActiveHybrid X6
Cadillac DTS and STS
Ford Ranger - this model can’t meet the government standards without expensive updates, so it’s leaving.
Ford Crown Victoria
Mitsubishi Eclipse and Endeavor
Nissan Altima Hybrid
Volvo S40 and V50
Well, how did you do? How many were familiar to you? Tell the truth. I personally will not miss any of these models. The new 2013 and 2014 models are way more exciting to me.
December 1st, 2011
Hello again, sorry I’ve been gone…the holidays, etc. You know how it is, I’m sure?? I have some car news that you must hear about this week.
A few weeks ago, I reported that there was a potential problem with the Chevy Volts and the batteries possibly a fire hazard. There were three fires that broke out after side-crash tests were performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These fires happened 7 days to 3 weeks later. Anyways, the news is that the General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, says that he will buy back any Chevy Volts from people that are afraid their car will catch on fire. He says the Volts are perfectly safe, but he wants to keep customers happy, so he will take them back. The NHTSA is still trying to figure out why the fires broke out.
In other news, the November sales were great. Chrysler had a 45% jump in sales in November with large demands for Jeep vehicles. Nissan rose 19%, Ford 13%, Toyota and GM up 7%. Truck sales fell 5.4%, with almost every model down.
Subaru has stopped the sales of the 2012 Impreza, Legacy, and Outback as of November 25 because customers have been complaining of faulty brakes. Subaru is recalling 3000 of these models that have already been sold and delivered. This freeze of sale should be over in the next few days. They know what the problem is and are fixing all the models.
Fewer young people are getting their license. About 87% of 19 year olds had their license in 1983 and only 75% have their license in 2008. This study was done by the University of Michigan. More older people have their license as well.
One last bit of car news for you tonight. Owners of Lexus and Mini brands are the most satisfied customers when buying new cars, according to J.D. Power and Associates. I’m not surprised by Lexus but alittle surprised by the Mini brand.
November 22nd, 2011
Since it is Thanksgiving week, and many of us will be seeing snow soon (and many have already seen it,) I thought I would remind all of us how exactly we should drive in the winter conditions that are coming our way. Mark Cox who is the director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, CO gave his input on how to deal with the winter driving.
~The first snow storm is usually the most dangerous driving. This is because driving in snow is a “physical skill that most of us haven’t practiced in 5-6 months.” Also the ground isn’t frozen yet, so the snow turns into a sheet of ice that is very slippery. Also, there aren’t any snow banks to keep us on the right. Be extra careful during these early snowstorms.
~You should never accelerate while turning. Don’t brake while turning either. You should also stay out of the slippery tracks on the road especially around stop signs and traffic lights. Try to drive 3-4 inches away from those tracks. You should be able to get traction there safer.
~The colder it is, the better the traction. If the temperature is below freezing, the driving conditions are better less icy.
~Don’t forget that if you own or drive a SUV or truck that you are not invincible. Yes, you can get through snow much easier, but when it comes to stopping and having control, you are in the same boat as the rest of us, and the weather conditions are just as dangerous for you as well.
~Slow can be good, but not necessarily the best choice. It depends on the traffic and conditions. Just gauge what is the safest speed for you under your given circumstances.
~Make sure you have snow tires, or at least very good all-weather ones. And replace your windshield wipers. What’s worse than having your wipers not work when the snow is coming down hard and you can’t see?
Good luck. Best advice. Just stay off the roads during the first snowstorm if you can. It’s safer. Too many bad drivers forgetting how to drive out on the roads.
November 13th, 2011
Did anyone see the news about the fire that was started in the battery of the Chevy Volt? Here’s the story as I read it. The Volt went through a series of safety tests where the NHTSA conducts tests, and it actually got a five-star rating, which is the best possible rating. Then the Volt was moved to a place where these test cars go to after they have been tested. After awhile, the coolant fluid, which had leaked out in the crash test, “crystallized” and eventually came in contact with some Lithium battery cells causing the battery to short and cause a fire. GM says that the NHTSA was not aware that the protocol after crashing a battery car is to ”de-energize” the battery. GM continues to say that the battery car isn’t at any higher of a risk of a fire than a gasoline car. There has always been a worry in the car world of the safety of the batteries in vehicles. Obviously the automakers say that there is nothing to worry about, but it still seems to be a worry. As more and more plug-ins hit the roads, it will be easier to determine if the batteries are unsafe, or if these plug-ins are just like every other million car on the road. As I’ve said before, I’m not yet sold on plug-ins such as the Volt, but not because of safety. They are expensive, the driving range is not great, and the inconvenience of finding charging stations has me turned off as of right now. This could (and probably will) eventually change, just not yet.
November 6th, 2011
There are many cities in the U.S. that you can pretty much easily survive without a vehicle. It actually is a much bigger problem to have a car in some cities….really expensive to insure and park. The key is that there must be a good public transportation system whether it be a subway, train, or bus system. A website 24/7 Wall Street researched and came up with the top 10 cities to live in without a car. There were a few factors in determining the list such as the percentage that was available to the transit system, service frequency, how many walked, jobs that were reachable within 90 minutes, and commuters that road bikes to work. Here is the list.
1. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
2. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR/WA
3. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY/NJ
4. Honalulu, Hawaii
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
7. Denver-Aurora, CO
8. Salt Lake City, Utah
9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
10. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA
The western cities are the definite winners. I’m kindof surprised that Washington, DC didn’t make the list, but I guess once you leave the city, it’s harder to get around. These people may save money not having a car, but the expense of living in these cities is crazy. I guess not having to have a car, helps your living expenses.
November 2nd, 2011
Here’s your latest, in my mind, newsworthy car information for you tonight.
~The Las Vegas auto show, SEMA, started yesterday. This is one of the most premier specialty products trade shows in the world. Some awards were given out at the SEMA breakfast yesterday. The hottest SUV 4×4 went to the Jeep Wrangler. The hottest sport compact car went to the Fiat 500; these cars are both Chryslers. The hottest car went to the Chevrolet Camaro, and the hottest truck to the Ford F-series pickup. The show ends Friday.
~Poor Honda. Just as they began to get their production back to normal and sales were up from the Japan earthquake in March, they received another blow. The flooding in Thailand is causing a parts shortage. Honda says that it will slash production in the US by half through the beginning of November for sure. Hopefully this shortage won’t last as long as the last.
~Ferrari has decided to offer a “tailor made” personalization program for its 599 GTB. The car costs $410,000, but if you want you can get cashmere covered seats or gold-colored exteriors. The “tailor made” effects will cost anywhere from 20-60% more. I guess if you have enough money for the car, you may want to be totally different, and get some extras. I’ll never have to worry about cashmere covered seats. That’s for sure.
~General Motors has announced that it will be investing $385 million at an engine plant near Detroit. This will create or keep 320 jobs. The engine will be a new fuel-efficient motor, but that is all the details available at this time.
October 29th, 2011
Hello, friends. Sorry, I’ve been missing lately. I’ll try not to let it happen again. I just found a “car race” of sorts that is currently going on on the west coast, and I’m really jealous. It’s called the Autoweek America Adventure. This is a sponsored race by Autoweek, that will eventually end up in Las Vegas on November 7 for the SEMA auto show. There are 27 2-person teams in the race. They started on October 26 in Seattle, Washington. Each day they will have to manuever through the countryside and end up in a new city. There will be certain places the teams have to get to, and then take pictures, and then get another clue to a new location. There is GPS on their vehicles, so Autoweek can follow these vehicles and ensure they are not speeding or breaking any rules. If you do, you will lose points. There are 7 keys available on the Autoweek America Adventure. Each day the team with the highest points for the day will receive a key. At the SEMA auto show, one of the keys will start the grand prize, a 2011 limited edition Mopar Dodge Charger.
If you go to the website, you can see the teams and follow them on twitter and facebook if you choose. I like to see the daily adventures. It reminds me alittle of the Amazing Race show on CBS. If you are looking for something different to surf on the internet, I would recommend the America Adventure. It’s just true fun, and sometimes we need alittle stress-free fun in our lives.
October 16th, 2011
I read several reviews on the new redesigned 2012 Honda Pilot, and I thought I should share the Pilot with you guys. It has gotten great reviews. This mid-size SUV has been a popular car for many since it first became available in 2002. I can’t believe it’s been around for about 9 years. I don’t remember them until more recently.
The exterior of the 2012 Pilot hasn’t changed very much. Actually you may not even be able to tell the difference, but the interior has greatly improved (according to the reviews.) In higher end models, a new satellite navigation system is included. If you have the navigation system, you also will have a back-up camera. I’m a big fan of the backup cameras, especially on a car like the Pilot that has a high body and big hatch. Too bad my cars don’t have them. Maybe next time.
The ride is supposedly very smooth with the 250-horsepower V6 engine. New technology in the Pilot allows you to shut-off cylinder and run on a three or four-cylinder engine if the additional power isn’t needed. That’s a great idea, I think, but I really wonder how many people will actually use it. The gas mileage on the new Pilot is a little better getting 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel drive, and then 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway for the four-wheel drive.
The Honda Pilot offers third row seating to accommodate 8 people, and you have a total of 87 cubic feet of storage space if you put the second and third row seats down. You also get about 2 1/2 feet of space hidden under the second row seats. The price starts about $28,000. People are really excited about the 2012 Honda Pilot. Maybe we should be as well.
October 11th, 2011
Did you know that there are many different Denalis on the road? I didn’t, so this is why I am writing about this to inform, you and I, about Denalis. I always thought that the only Denali was the GMC Yukon Denali, and I knew that it was the loaded model. Then last week, I saw an Acadia Denali, and had to find out how many more there were. In all, there are 7 different models of Denalis, but really only 3. Does that make sense? Here’s why.
The Denali models are:
Acadia Denali, Sierra 1500 Denali, Sierra 2500HD Denali, Sierra 3500HD Denali, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL Denali, and the Yukon Denali Hybrid.
All are souped up to the max and expensive. GMC, in addition to the Denali line, has a hybrid line and a commercial line. So, now we all know that there are several Denali models on the road, and try to peek in the windows. They look awesome inside.
October 3rd, 2011
Do you think we are headed/in another recession? Well, if you look at the car sales, specifically in September, you may feel differently. Maybe car sales will help keep the economy afloat. That’s about all that can happen at this point. It seems crazy to me that some of these automakers are having really great sales months, while the unemployment number is so high, and everything else sales wise is down.
If you can believe this, Chrysler had its best month since 2007 in September. GM says that sales for full-sized pickup trucks and SUVs “surged 34%.” Honda and Toyota are finally completely recovered from the March earthquake that caused them so many problems. Their sales were up in September as well.
Even though the numbers make everything seem good, and looking better, that’s not the entire truth. The current pace of sales is about 13 million for the year, which is still well below the average of 17 million vehicles sold before the recession started. It is better than the 10.4 million that were sold in 2009.
I guess overall it’s good that the car sales are still doing ok, but everyone is still feeling the pinch of our economy right now. I am, and I’m sure you are too.