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Archive for July, 2007

China’s Top 10 Most Unpopular Cars

Every one of us has his/her own tastes when it comes to choosing vehicles. I either have a bad taste or a good taste in the eyes and opinion of some people. But either way, some cars are obviously underrated and some are admired. It depends… it’s your choice at the end of the day!

Anyway, here’s the real score for today: China’s top 10 most unpopular cars! It’s obvious that China’s development in the automotive industry is quite booming for the past years. They have produced quality vehicles that are competent in the world market. At present, China is the third largest automaker in the world! All the well-known automakers worldwide are competing to race through the finish lane in order for them to get their share of the profits, introducing brand new models and amplifying production in China. Some models have been successful in China and unfortunately, several other models have flopped!

On the other hand, Gasgoo has revealed their top 10 unpopular car in China. I guess these vehicles are not as impressive as the Great Wall! Anyway, let’s try to get to know these vehicles and learn why they turned out to be underrated.

1. Honda’s Acura TL
Although the Americans gave a warm welcome to Honda’s most popular vehicle, the Acura TL, it seem like the Chinese don’t like this US loved car. Only 200 Units were sold during the first six months of 2007.

2. Mitsubishi Galant
The Galant was introduced in China last November. Unfortunately, during the first half of the year, their sales went down rapidly. A total of 4062 units were sold and that is not even half of Toyota Camry’s monthly sales.

3. Fiat Perla
Fiat Perla, which is developed by Fiat and its Chinese joint venture partner, went on sale last September. Perla had only 2,000 units sold on its half-year sales. At this time, Perla has monthly sales of only 300 units – way lower than the company’s hopes and targets.

4. Kia Rio
The new Kia Rio came up short in displaying its over-all performance. Dongfeng Kia was expected to sell more than 5000 units per month, and it considered the model as its bread and butter. But it turned out the other way. Rio only sold 4,996 units up to the present. Too bad…

5. FAW Vitz
Where on earth this car came from? Ok, it’s from Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile Co. and it only sold 904 units of the Vitz during the first half of year. No big deal. Next!

6. Suzuki Liana
Suziki Liana’s half year sales amount to a mere total of 5,416 units.

7. Hyundai Sonata
Beijing Hyundai, Hyundai’s partnership in China, sold 7,808 units of the Sonata.

8. Ford S-Max
The S-Max minivan recorded a wholesale number of 2,260 units.

9. Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius’ half-year sales-176 units-were limited by the too expensive price.

10. GM Park Avenue
SAIC GM sold just 934 units of Park Avenue during the first six months.

Currently, the Perla has monthly sales of only 300 units, and that is well below the company’s expectations.

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Distracted Driving Is Dangerous And Deadly!

When you place yourself behind the wheel, make sure your focus is on the road and nothing else more! Can’t you see? Outrageous behavior while driving could be deadly! I guess we should talk about this matter right now before anything else goes wrong. So you better listen to this piece of info I got from the autochannel.com and leave your repair manuals on the shelf.

The latest survey by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) asked participants and respondents to give an example of distracted driving instances which they have experienced or witnessed… and they revealed facts that are quite shocking and eye-openers! Yes, it was an alarming study that made me stunned as well! If you think people talking on their cell phones or eating while driving is two of the most outrageous behavior behind the wheel, well there’s worse than that – it the worst of the worst!

Imagine this: some participants admitted and told AISI that they have witnessed a lot of cases wherein some people change their clothes or use their laptops while driving! Wow, now that’s shocking!

A respondent narrated that one situation he witnessed was a driver who talks on a Bluetooth headset, eating a fast-food breakfast, putiing make-up and looking at a piece of paper or letter beside the seat next to her while behind the wheel. Outrageous indeed! The respondent indicated that, occasionally, the driver did not have any hands on the wheel and was perhaps steering with her knees.

One more outrageous revelation revealed by another respondent is when he/she was reminded witnessing a doctor glancing at one of his patient’s x-rays while he was driving. It only means that he was not paying enough attention!

“These examples, along with hundreds of others we all see on a regular basis, highlight how important of an issue distracted driving really is. The steel safety cage in a car is the last line of defense for vehicle occupants in the event of a crash, but we as an industry advocate safe, non-aggressive driving and an extra dose of common sense to avoid a crash from even occurring. Everyday we are hearing about more and more accidents caused by distracted driving, so it’s time that this issue becomes front and center in our everyday conversations,” said Bill Heenan, the president of the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI).

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is projected that almost 80 percent of car-crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes implicated some form of driver inattentiveness or disturbing actions within three seconds before the event. Also, the American Automobile Association (AAA) approximates that between the numbers of like 4,000 and 8,000 crashes associated to distracted-driving takes place during the daytime in the United States.

“It is important for drivers to be aware of the consequences that come with being distracted behind the wheel. It only takes a second of being distracted for an accident to occur,” said Heenan.

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Ford’s Land Rover and Jaguar received More Bids

A few weeks ago, Ford was reported to have put out in the market two of its subsidiary brands under Premiere Automotive Group (PAG). But the rumors that Jaguar and Land Rover which are the two brands on on sale is possible to happen according to the spokesman of the British car maker. The Ford Motor Company made a soft deadline last Thursday for interested bidders to submit their interests but the decision will be announced months from now.

John Gardiner, the Ford spokesman in London, said, “We’ve had contacts from third parties, and we’re actively evaluating them as part of our strategic review. They’ve only been preliminary discussions, and no decisions have been made.” Gardiner did not mention anything with regards to how many bids they have already received.

The American car maker had lost a huge amount of $12.7 billion in 2006 and on this year’s first quarter, they noted a $282 million loss as well. They have undergone several job cuts and closed facilities to pursue their business.

Last year, the company mortgaged their company to a cost of $23.4 billion to pursue the reconstructions of some of their facilities as well as to cover up some of their losses to continue their operations. They are expected to spend up to $17 billion before they can become profitable next year.

Some analyst studied the situation of Ford and they say that the company had to burn more millions of dollars to raise funds in order to continue selling their British brands.

One of its PAG members, Aston Martin, was sold to private companies last March for $848 million and now, it is still said that the company is open for options including the partial sales of another PAG member, Volvo.

The company did not identify the officials who revealed the news because the bidding was confidential. But they announced that only the bids for Jaguar and Land Rover were entertained. The bids for Volvo were ignored.

Jaguar was sold to Ford last 1989 and Land Rover became a part of the company in 2000. Together with Volvo and Aston Martin, these four brands formed the Premier Automotive Group.

Jaguar was noted to have a continuous loss over the past months starting last year until this very day. This is perhaps the reason why Ford has decided to sell the PAG member according to Paul Newton, an Global Insight automotive analyst of a research firm in London. Newton added, “I don’t think anybody’s going to bid cold, hard cash for Jaguar.”


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Top-Down cars are Hotter than the Summer Sun

Top-down car models are scorching hot – even hotter than the sun – this summer. Whether it’s a soft top or a hard-top, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s top-down, it would sell. The Auto Channel released a list of the hottest car models this season. I got the list when I visited their site early this morning when I was looking for a ball joint and some Subaru belts. Here guys, take a look at the list:

Mini Cooper S
MSRP: $22,000 to $26,050
Number of sun lovers: 2
Top: Manual soft top
MPG: 22-26/32-35

Mazda MX5 Miata
MSRP: $24,440 to $27,620
Number of sun lovers: 2
Type of Top: Power retractable hardtop
MPG: 25/30

VW Eos
MSRP: $28,110 to $$36,970
Number of sun lovers: 4
Type of Top: Automatic metal
MPG: 22/29

Toyota Camry Solara
MSRP: $27,190 to $30,460
Number of sun lovers: 4
Type of Top: Automatic textile
MPG: 20/29

Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
MSRP: $25,699 to $29,599
Number of sun lovers: 4
Type of Top: Automatic textile
MPG: 16-19/24-26

BMW 3 Series
MSRP: $43,200 to $49,100
Number of sun lovers: 4
Type of Top: Automatic metal
MPG: 20/29

Mercedes-Benz SLK
MSRP: $43,350 to $62,500
Number of sun lovers: 2
Type of Top: Retractable hardtop
MPG: 16-20/22-27

Saab 9-3
MSRP: $43,100
Number of sun lovers: 4
Type of Top: Automatic textile
MPG: 17-20/28-30

Volvo C70
MSRP: $39,090
Number of sun lovers: 4
Type of Top: Retractable metal
MPG: 21/29

Audi TT
MSRP: $36,800 to $45,900
Number of sun lovers: 2 + 2
Type of Top: Manual textile
MPG: 18-22/24-29

Porsche Boxster
MSRP: $45,600 to $55,500
Number of sun lovers: 2
Type of Top: Manual textile
MPG: 20-21/27-28

Jaguar XK
MSRP: $80,835 to $91,835
Number of sun lovers: 2 + 2
Type of Top: Automatic textile
MPG: 15-16/23-25

Lexus SC430
MSRP: $65,455
Number of sun lovers: 2
Type of Top: Retractable metal
MPG: 18/25

You can click this link if you wish to see more of the specifications of these top-down car models.

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HUMMER.com Ranked Number One!

What automotive manufacturer site do you usually visit? Of course, it depends on your favorite brand and model, right? But what do you think is the most useful and reliable among all these sites? I think J.D Power and Associates has the exact answer for this question!

The results from the 2007 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study Wave 2 has been declared by J.D Power and Associates. So who got the number one spot? Do you have any clue? Get ready for this… HUMMER.com earned the highest ranked automotive manufacturer Web site! The study was distributed to new-vehicle shoppers online as their respondents, and without a doubt, HUMMER.com got the highest evaluation from respondents earning 870 index points – an increase of five points since the release of Wave 1 back in January 2007.

Steve Witten, the executive director of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates, said, “A continuing focus on clear, simple navigation and crisp images and videos that demonstrate both the appearance of HUMMER’s models, as well as the features included in them, allow HUMMER to regain the highest ranking for usefulness among automotive manufacturer Web sites. This is the third time that HUMMER has achieved the difficult feat of outpacing the industry since the brand was first included in the study five years ago.”

“The wide variety of manufacturers scoring significantly above the industry average demonstrates that these companies truly understand the needs and the limitations of their specific shoppers and have designed sites that showcase their models within those parameters,” said Witten. “As manufacturers feel more empowered to take risks, there will be a further explosion in creativity on these Web sites. New and unique forms of interactive media, tools, and page design will emerge. But manufacturers must always balance that creativity with site usefulness and usability to help site visitors find the information they need easily at the same time that they are ‘wowed’ with the experience.”

Here’s a quick peek of the 2007 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study Wave 2 rankings. Check it out!

Manufacturer Web Site Ranking (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

  1. HUMMER- 870
  2. Toyota- 858
  3. Jeep- 856
  4. Suzuki- 855
  5. Land Rover- 854
  6. Lexus- 854
  7. Kia- 852
  8. Chrysler- 849
  9. BMW- 848
  10. MINI- 847
  11. Honda- 845
  12. Mazda- 845
  13. Pontiac- 845
  14. Mitsubishi- 843
  15. Lincoln- 842
  16. Saab- 842
  17. Chevrolet- 840
  18. GMC- 840
  19. Saturn- 840
  20. Dodge- 838
  21. Cadillac- 837
  22. Ford- 836
  23. Industry Average- 836
  24. Volvo- 835
  25. Buick- 833
  26. Subaru- 832
  27. Nissan- 831
  28. Infiniti- 830
  29. Jaguar- 828
  30. Porsche- 828
  31. Mercedes-Benz- 826
  32. Acura- 822
  33. Hyundai- 820
  34. Scion- 811
  35. Mercury- 803
  36. Volkswagen- 792
  37. Audi- 773
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The 2007 Car Movies of Cars.com

Which car movie do you think captures the number one spot this year? Will it be the 2006 DeLorean DMC-12, (Back to the Future) or one among the three debutants on this year’s list? Well. As expected, Back to the Future’s DeLorean DMC-12 remained to be on the top spot this year. While six among the top ten cars last year remained to be on the top ten picks.

The three new car movies on the top ten list are the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey and the Bandit), 1976 AMC Pacer (Wayne’s World) and a 1932 Ford coupe (American Graffiti). Other car movies remained to be on the list.

Patrick Olsen, the managing editor of the Cars.com, said, “When we came up with our list of Top 10 Movie Cars last summer, we had no idea our readers would be so passionate about their favorite car films. With ‘Transformers’ arriving on the big screen, we revisited our list – listening to last year’s reader feedback – and determined once again which cars deserved to make the top 10. Some cars were able to hold on to their spots, while others were shuffled to make room for more-worthy contenders. With ‘Speed Racer’ hitting the big screen next year, expect another round of evaluation.”
So, stop looking for Ford wheels for a while and take a few time to view the top ten car movies this year. Theautocahnnel.com released the 2007 top ten movies from cars.com. Here, take a quick view on the list:
No. 1: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, (Back to the Future)
No. 2: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, (Smokey and the Bandit)
No. 3: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT, (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
No. 4: 1964 Aston Martin DB5, (Goldfinger)
No. 5: 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390, (Bullitt)
No. 6: 1976 AMC Pacer, (Wayne’s World)
No. 7: 1932 Ford coupe, (American Graffiti)
No. 8: 1974 Dodge Monaco, (The Blues Brothers)
No. 9: 1959 Cadillac Ambulance, (Ghostbusters)
No. 10: 2003 Mini Cooper S, (The Italian Job)
Other cars on the honorable mentions were 1958 Plymouth Fury, “Christine”, 1973 Ford Falcon, “The Road Warrior” and 1975 Lotus Esprit, “The Spy Who Loved Me”. If there are three new car movies on the list, of course, there are those which landed on the losing end. These were the 1973 Ford Falcon, “The Road Warrior”, the 1958 Plymouth Fury, “Christine” and the Batmobile Tumbler, “Batman Begins”.
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BMW and Mercedes Collaborates in Making Small Cars

Two of the most famous car makers of Europe will be collaborating to make small cars according to the German auto magazine Auto Bild. The news said that BMW and Mercedes-Benz are now talking about a negotiation that will push through their plan to make subcompact vehicles.

This July, the two huge companies are anticipated to land on a decision whether they are building the new generation Mercedes A-Class which would come BMW’s Mini platform. The news was revealed by Auto Bild on their Friday edition without mentioning its sources.

The reason why BMW is looking for a potential partner in making their subcompact vehicle is because the plant they have in Oxford, England may already reach its full capacity. The heavy cost pressure can be the cause why MINI may run out of budget.

The Japanese auto maker Honda Motor Corporation which already has PSA as their partner could be included on the discussions. But BMW is considering their arch-rival Mercedes to be their partner.

Mercedes was actually planning to build the next A-Class this coming 2012 and the Chrysler group will be joining the German car maker to let this plan push through but because the DaimlerChrysler had a few cost-cutting problems, they had to drop the plans.

Michael Ganalm, the sales and marketing head of BMW, actually had a suggestion to expand the current cooperation between Mercedes as according to the news released on the interview by the WirtschaftsWoche, also a German magazine. Aside from that, they will also develop hybrid powertrain, Reuters added.

The German magazine also informs that the A-class is not profitable and too expensive enough to be reproduced. The source was not revealed by the WirtschaftsWoche.

Mercedes refused to give comments about this however, the M-B sales and marketing chief, Michael Ganal, was quoted saying that they want to cooperate with its rival BMW to share the benefits over the research as well as the development costs.

Both the A-class and its B-class car models are the only front-drive car models on the Mercedes line-up. They used to sport the ever famous M-B platform with a gorgeous interior and real time crash protection. However, with these features, the car models are not that expensive when it comes to production.

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