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Archive for February, 2008

Toyota Unveils Green Sporty Car

February 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Japanese auto making juggernaut Toyota has been the face of the green revolution in the automotive industry. Although the automaker is not the first to offer a hybrid to consumers especially in the United States, its Prius is what caught the attention of many. But Toyota is not just about green cars.

Recently, the automaker launched a sports car. When you hear the word sports car, you might think that it is one of those fast machines that guzzle gas as it rack up the miles. But this one has a Toyota badge on it so we can safely assume that this is a green car.

The automaker announced that the Future Toyota Hybrid Sports or FT-HS concept will give consumers the best of two worlds. If you want a fast car, this is the one for you. And if you want a car which produces very little emission then, this is for you too.

Doug Soden, manager of product development at Toyota said: “There is a stronger need for hybrid vehicles to be on the market, or much more fuel efficient vehicles. Whichever way you look at it, whether it is a petrol-electric or hydrogen-electric, there needs to be that hybrid interface.”

I just hope that this is not a hybrid just for the sake of it being a hybrid. I mean, the FT-HS should be a hybrid not because it’s what people with money want. It should be a hybrid because there is a need for vehicles to reduce their greenhouse gas emission. And if the second case is true for this sports car, then Toyota should have designed it to be fast and really “green”. Also, it should be as an Acura valve cover gasket.

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Volvo Launches Its 15 Millionth Car

February 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Indeed, life in the car industry (as in all other fields of business) is such an unpredictable game. Nothing manifests it best than Ford’s luxury brand Volvo which has produced its 15 millionth car — an all-new convertible Volvo C70, as reported by the AutoChannel yesterday.

According to Wikipedia, Volvo founder Asaar Gabrielsson, upon losing his wife in a car accident, promised to uphold the production of safe cars. On April 14, 1927, the first Volvo car, called Volvo ÖV 4, was introduced in the Swedish market. Continuing its production had been a struggle for Volvo particularly during World War II. It took the company 23 years before it produced its first 100,000 cars. At present, that is equivalent to only three months of production. See the difference?

Autounleashed.com reported that the new convertible Volvo C70, like the Volvo ÖV 4 that signifies “Open Car” with four cylinders, is also an open car — a sports car, noted for its functionality and spaciousness. Also, it boasts of its two cars-in-one capacity, which is its ability to transform from coupe to convertible at the touch of a button via its three-piece retractable top. Hmm, it must be equipped with high-quality performance pulleys, musn’t it?

However, reviews from edmunds.com said that although the new Volvo C70 has qualities that are proven to be user-friendly with its comfortable interior and safety features, it also comes with a middling acceleration and braking performance as well as an average steering feedback. It is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine which is capable of producing 227 horsepower. Other important characteristics of the convertible Volvo C70 include a leather steering wheel and gearshift knob plus revamped air vents.

The convertible Volvo C70, produced in Volvo’s factory at Uddevalla, Sweden, was launched yesterday as Volvo celebrated its 8oth anniversary — marking another milestone in Volvo history.


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New York International Auto Show Features First-Ever Virtual Garage

February 16, 2008 Leave a comment

“I’m a new lover of cars. I found my favorite car (the Shadow Grey Aston Martin Vanquish) was discontinued and I think my heart died a little. So I’ve begun to dedicate myself to finding my own car, one that I could tune to my personality and style and ride it into the sunset. Can you help me?”

Those were words posted by 19-year-old car enthusiast Kitsune of New Jersey at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) Virtual Garage, accessible at autoshowny.com.

For the first time in auto show history, the NYIAS now features a Virtual Garage, an online publication of car enthusiasts’ personal garages to promote communication and friendship among present and future generation of car lovers. How? It’s simple. By logging in to the NYIAS’ Virtual Garage section, members get the chance to upload photos and videos of their cars, provide some personal information, become a “fan” of other members and discover other members’ garages while non-members can register to avail of the same privileges. Like maybe you have an Acura car that’s so much dear to you. So you go and show the world why. It may be because of the outstanding quality of its MDX bug shield. Surely, you’ll learn more from others who have mutual sentiments as yours.

At edmunds.com, Show Director Candida Romanelli said that the virtual garage is a great opportunity for all car enthusiasts around the world to keep in touch with each other and share personal stories about their cars.

Online community group was initiated by facebook.com and myspace.com. The NYIAS is the first auto show to adopt the same practical and technological system.

According to AutoChannel, this year’s NYIAS will unveil more or less 1,000 collections of innovative and top-of the-line vehicles including impressive concept cars. The NYIAS, North America’s oldest auto show, will be held at the Javits Center next month starting from March 21 to 30.

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Fight The Cold

February 12, 2008 Leave a comment


With this cold weather we are having, it is not surprising that there have been a lot of vehicles breaking down on the road. Thus, it is always important to check your car before driving out there. There are simple things you can do and some of them do not even include using auto parts such as thermostats.

AAA Chicago published their tips thanks to The Auto Channel. Since everyone driving around in this weather should be armed with information, here are those tips:

  • Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power.
  • Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.
  • Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.
  • To avoid frozen door locks, buy a lubricant available in most auto supply stores. If your lock freezes, heat your key with a pocket lighter but remember to wear gloves or hold the key with pliers. Or, fill a plastic jug with hot water. Hold it against the door panel or lock area. Do not throw hot water on the car. It may freeze and run the risk of cracking glass.
  • If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle. It provides excellent shelter from the cold and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. If you can start your engine, run it only enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free. Keep emergency supplies in the car, such as a cell phone, boots, hats, gloves, blankets, a “coffee can heater”, flashlight and reflective triangle.

I hope that these tips will help you keep safe this season.

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Who’s To Define 2008 Global Auto Sales?

February 7, 2008 Leave a comment

“How quickly does it improve and where does it go to, that remains to be seen.”

I agree with the words of General Motors’ North American Operations Head Troy Clarke. Indeed, who’s to define the fate of the auto industry for us?

Despite many auto analysts’ predictions that this year would mark the worst US sales in a decade, expecting a 17 million drop as compared to that of 2005, auto manufacturers remain hopeful.

Auto executives told the Associated Press about the possibility of federal stimulus package and lower interest rates to boost consumer confidence.

“We’re beginning to see, after six quarters of declines, the beginnings of some pent-up demand. You could make a case that the second half of the year could be significantly better,” Clarke said to AP.

Meanwhile, Ford Americas President expressed the same sentiment pointing out the importance of interest rates cut in stimulating sales.

“We do see opportunity in the second half,” he said.

Based from reports in Reuters, auto industry sales for the last six months of 2008 is forecasted to range from 16 million to 16.5 million vehicles. Would that be enough to hood research firm Global Insight’s calculation that vehicle sales will decrease by 15.5 million units this year?

Well, as Clarke puts it succinctly, that remains to be seen.

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Best January for MNAO

February 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Mazda North American Operations had a promising start this year with its record-breaking 10.2 sales increase for January 2008 – the first after 14 years.

Mazda had sold about 21, 212 vehicles in 2008’s first 31 days! Whoa! Whatta great start, isn’t it? These cars must have the same quality like Acura cars with great fender flares.

Mazda3, or Mazda Axela, a compact car, led the volume of record sales with 6, 579 units sold. On the other hand, Mazda6 or Mazda Atenza, a midsize car, got the best January sales since its launch last 2002 with 6,333 units sold up 27 percent than last year while the Mazda5 also known as the Mazda Premacy, a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) that was redesigned for 2008, garnered a 28.4 sales increase with 1,699 units sold. Also, Mazda CX-9, a full-size crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV) described as a “modern station wagon” and was recently named North American truck of the Year, declared sales of 1,850 while CX-7, a mid-size crossover SUV, had 2,555 units sold.

Overwhelmed by the public’s demand for Mazda cars, MNAO President and Chief Executive Officer Jim O’Sullivan said, “After closing 2007 as the fastest-growing major car company in the US, we kicked off 2008 signaling our intention for another strong year.”

Mazda North American operation is the largest foreign component of Mazda Motor Corporation. It has two headquarters – one in Irvine, California and another in Flat Rock, Michigan.

According to bloomberg.com, Mazda’s 10 percent gain was the lone increase among Asian brands like Nissan and Hyundai whose combined market share declined by 0.2 to 41.9 percent.

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