Luxury Cars

"The difference between men and little boys is the price of their toys."

Fast Cars

"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."- E.B. White

Car Technology

"And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system."- Robert Brault

Green Cars

"Environmentally friendly cars will soon cease to be an option ... they will become a necessity."- Fujio Cho

Safe Cars

"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New York Auto Show

Anyone with a car has seen the upward drift of gas prices, which have jumped an average of 17 cents in the past two weeks. And the auto industry is watching that trend closely, rolling out a variety of more economic, fuel-efficient vehicles.

They're on display at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javitz Center. Hybrids are getting a lot of attention this year, offering electric power assist for lower gas usage. And the other flavor of the moment is the crossover utility vehicle, or CUV. This is the fastest-growing sector in the United States, outpacing even the remarkable growth of SUVs in the 1990s. A cross between a station wagon and an SUV, their attraction lies in spacious and flexible interiors, all-wheel drive, and better fuel efficiency than larger vehicles.

Courtney Caldwell, editor in chief of Road and Travel magazine, highlighted some of the hottest newcomers for The Early Show Wednesday.

Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid
The Vue Green Line is expected to be the lowest-cost hybrid-powered SUV on the market, and advertises a combination of fuel savings, value, and utility. The company says it will deliver an estimated 20 percent improvement in fuel economy, depending on driving conditions. It is expected to carry an EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which would make it the best highway fuel economy of any SUV currently on the market.

Electric Motor/Generator improves fuel efficiency by:
  • Fuel shuts off upon deceleration
  • Engine shuts off when vehicle is stopped
  • Promptly restarts engine when brakes are released

    Other features:

  • OnStar, an in-vehicle navigation, safety and security system.
  • Price: $23, 000
  • Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    New York debut of Saturn PreVue

    The PreVue seems like a glimpse of a possible future design direction for the Saturn brand as it tries to broaden its appeal to include sportier vehicles notes the Auto Blog. Sharp-eyed readers will recognize the PreVue as a rebadged Opel Antara GTC concept from last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, more evidence, if any were needed, of General Motors' shotgun wedding of the two brands. Not that this is a bad thing - Opel's Antara was one of our favorites in Frankfurt.
    The concept car is powered by a transverse-mounted, twin-turbo Ecotec diesel, putting out 212 hp (156 kw) through a six-speed automatic.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Saving private US auto industry

    The accelerating woes of Ford and General Motors and the ongoing crisis in auto parts have produced vows from Detroit that business-as-usual won't continue. Yet unless U.S. trade policy changes, too, and Washington imposes sweeping emergency tariffs on imports of manufactured goods, the American-owned automotive industry will soon disappear, and along with it much of the rest of America's core manufacturing.

    For a quarter-century, Washington has dodged the biggest trade problem plaguing domestic automotive producers: an import tidal wave of vehicles and parts from rivals enjoying a host of advantages unavailable to U.S. automakers. Though Japanese, German, and Korean automotive companies sell freely to the U.S. market, their home markets have been tightly protected. These governments also use numerous other tricks to promote their auto sectors such as currency manipulation and subsidies.

    Since the import flood began in the 1970s, U.S. leaders have lacked the will and economic savvy to counteract these unfair competitive advantages. And unfortunately, Detroit has flunked the trade policy challenge, too.

    In the 1980s, the United States imposed import quotas in part aimed at forcing foreign automotive companies to produce in America. But because no overall competitiveness strategy accompanied these barriers, they handed the Europeans and Asians not only new access to U.S. markets, but bargain-basement labor and health-cost structures with no retirement obligations.

    During the 1990s, domestic automotive producers strongly backed NAFTA, believing that such a deal would strengthen American manufacturing by enabling labor-intensive operations to be sent to low-cost Mexico and by requiring Asian and European manufacturers to use high levels of North American content if they wanted to sell here. However, even though foreign-owned factories produce millions of vehicles in the United States, car and truck imports from these countries keep surging.

    More here.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Motorola in automotive electronics sale

    Motorola Inc. said Monday it is selling its automotive electronics business to Continental AG.

    The German tire company will pay about $1 billion for Motorola's auto electronics business, which generates about $1.6 billion in annual sales.

    The unit will join Continental's automotive systems division, which has annual sales of about $6.5 billion.

    The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year, pending customary closing and regulatory conditions.

    Motorola's automotive unit currently is a component of its Networks & Enterprise business and has nearly 4,500 employees worldwide.

    Continental is a supplier of brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics and tires. At present it has a worldwide workforce of approximately 80,000.

    Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola (NYSE: MOT) manufactures a variety of communications devices and has operations here in the Valley.


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