The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:26:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/customer-relations/ New Startup Zirx Provides Concierge Services For Drivers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/new-startup-zirx-provides-concierge-services-drivers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/new-startup-zirx-provides-concierge-services-drivers/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 07:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963002 This Saturday will be one of the most brutal shopping days of the year, as everyone will be trying to find that last-minute Christmas gift for their loved ones. The last thing anyone needs is to try to figure out where to park, wasting precious shopping minutes while circling the lot in their mythical brown […]

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ZIRX Xmas 2014

This Saturday will be one of the most brutal shopping days of the year, as everyone will be trying to find that last-minute Christmas gift for their loved ones. The last thing anyone needs is to try to figure out where to park, wasting precious shopping minutes while circling the lot in their mythical brown diesel manual RWD wagon.

For those in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, there is a solution.

San Francisco-based startup Zirx provides shoppers — and anyone else who needs it — with an array of automotive concierge services, from charging your Tesla Model S or Nissan Leaf for $10 and $15 parking so you can get on with it, to $4/gallon refueling and $30 full-detail car washing service for your Dodge Charger Hellcat or Ford F-150 Platinum Edition. Overnight parking in monitored garages and oil changes are available, as well, and all prices include tips, so you can put that tipping calculator away.

Said services are initiated via an app on your iPhone or Android unit of choice, with a Zirx agent popping by within five to seven minutes. The agents work seven days a week in the downtown cores of the aforementioned cities, with hours of operation between 7 a.m. and midnight on most days, depending on the city. Your car is covered by a $2 million insurance policy split evenly between your car and its agent, with coverage in effect from the start of your requested service, to the time your car is returned.

Though Zirx is in just three cities, the concierge startup is looking at expanding to other locations. As for Windows and BlackBerry users, the app will come to their phones in the near-future.

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Baidu Buys Major Stake In Uber http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/baidu-buys-major-stake-uber/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/baidu-buys-major-stake-uber/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962882 Chinese Internet overlord Baidu is buying a major stake into everyone’s favorite transportation network company, Uber. According to CNBC, neither company stated how much the stake cost Baidu, nor how large the stake is. The tech company joins Google and Goldman Sachs in the big-name-investor group backing the TNC, which is currently valued at $40 […]

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Baidu_headquarters

Chinese Internet overlord Baidu is buying a major stake into everyone’s favorite transportation network company, Uber.

According to CNBC, neither company stated how much the stake cost Baidu, nor how large the stake is. The tech company joins Google and Goldman Sachs in the big-name-investor group backing the TNC, which is currently valued at $40 billion.

As for what will happen as a result of this pairing, Baidu wants to help Uber gain a foothold into the Chinese car-hailing app market — expected to jump to 45 million users next year, from 18 million in 2013 — which is dominated by Alibaba’s Kuaidi Dache and Tencent Holdings’ Didi Dache. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said his company would integrate with the Baidu Maps app, in the hope of helping users get to where they need to go.

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100 Fatality, Injury Claims Approved For GM Compensation Fund Payments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/100-fatality-injury-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund-payments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/100-fatality-injury-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund-payments/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962842 It’s been a while since the TTAC Zaibatsu checked in on the victim compensation fund created by General Motors and overseen by the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg. How have things gone since the last time? One hundred fatality and injury claims have been approved. The Washington Post reports the milestone was announced Monday, when […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

It’s been a while since the TTAC Zaibatsu checked in on the victim compensation fund created by General Motors and overseen by the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg. How have things gone since the last time?

One hundred fatality and injury claims have been approved.

The Washington Post reports the milestone was announced Monday, when four new fatality and seven injury claims linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall were approved. The new total to-date comes to 42 fatalities and 58 injuries approved for payment.

Overall, Feinberg’s staff has received 2,326 claims since the window for acceptance opened August 1 of this year, 306 of which were rejected, 568 deemed deficient in information, 907 were missing verification documents, and 445 — including 46 linked to wrongful death — are under review at this moment.

As for the 100 approved claims, 57 have received and accepted settlement offers, 22 of which have been paid thus far. The window for filing, originally set to close in the final days of 2014, will do so at the end of January 2015.

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NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962073 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags. The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in […]

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Takata-jpg

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags.

The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in addition to those already recalled.

The first act in bringing the named parties to trial will be a formal demand letter issued to all concerned. Upon refusal, the NHTSA will file a suit against each party in U.S. District Court, a process that could last for months, if not years.

The die was cast when Takata rebuffed the agency’s request earlier this month to expand its recall efforts beyond high-humidity locations in warm climates around the United States, including Florida and Hawaii.

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Volvo Entering Digital Sales, Limiting Show Appearances http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volvo-entering-digital-sales-limiting-show-appearances/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volvo-entering-digital-sales-limiting-show-appearances/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961729 Volvo may not be ready to directly sell its models to the public in the same way Tesla does, but the automaker is ready for online orders. Reuters reports Volvo will gently wade into Internet sales around the globe, and increase spending on digital advertising, though consumers will still need to visit their nearest dealer […]

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2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-main

Volvo may not be ready to directly sell its models to the public in the same way Tesla does, but the automaker is ready for online orders.

Reuters reports Volvo will gently wade into Internet sales around the globe, and increase spending on digital advertising, though consumers will still need to visit their nearest dealer to complete the transaction for now, per sales boss Alain Visser. He adds that around 80 percent of the automaker’s base are already well-versed in online shopping, and believes the habit will transfer into cars soon enough.

Just as Volvo adjusts its backwards cap and velcro sneakers before rolling out onto the information superhighway upon its magic keyboard, however, the automaker will not be attending as many auto shows as it once did. Instead, it will hit a single show per year in Asia, Europe and North America — specifically, Shanghai/Beijing, Geneva and Detroit — preferring to produce its own annual global event for the latest and greatest.

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Trucks, SUVs Best Premium Sedans In Over $50K US Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961313 Keep those Benzes, BMWs and Audis in the garage, son: $50,000-plus trucks and SUVs are where it’s at for the ballers and players these days. TrueCar says trucks and SUVs account for six of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States market, specifically the segment where transaction prices of $50,000-plus are the norm. […]

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2015-ford-f-150-in-detroit-rear-side-view

Keep those Benzes, BMWs and Audis in the garage, son: $50,000-plus trucks and SUVs are where it’s at for the ballers and players these days.

TrueCar says trucks and SUVs account for six of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States market, specifically the segment where transaction prices of $50,000-plus are the norm.

The biggest of them all? The Ford F-150, whose projected 2014 volume of 189,776 “will likely surpass total U.S. volume of luxury car benchmarks including BMW’s combined 3, 5 and 7 Series sales or total deliveries for the Audi brand this year.” The Blue Oval will see revenue of $10.8 billion from those high transactions, making up a third of an estimated $33.2 billion for the overall F-Series portfolio.

The demand for looking California and feeling Minnesota is helped in part by a recovering U.S. economy, improved vehicle quality, and a growing supply of cheap gasoline, which is helping the $50,000-plus transaction segment, as well: approximately 8.1 percent of total 2014 sales will transact at that level, up from 6.6 percent in 2013.

Finishing out the podium per TrueCar is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram truck lineup, with sales of 76,266 at the $50,000 transaction level, Mercedes taking third with its E-Class at 67,006.

TrueCar 2014 50K USD Transaction Table

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Richardville: Michigan Doesn’t Allow ‘Predatory Lending’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/richardville-michigan-doesnt-allow-predatory-lending/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/richardville-michigan-doesnt-allow-predatory-lending/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961257 Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, the senator behind the bill that would allow auto title loan companies to do an end-run around the state’s title loan ban by posing as pawnbrokers, proclaimed the 276-percent interest loans the title companies would provide consumers weren’t predatory. The Detroit News reports the outgoing senator said […]

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Randy Richardville, King of Financial Slavery in Michigan Since 2014

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, the senator behind the bill that would allow auto title loan companies to do an end-run around the state’s title loan ban by posing as pawnbrokers, proclaimed the 276-percent interest loans the title companies would provide consumers weren’t predatory.

The Detroit News reports the outgoing senator said as much before reporters last week during the state legislature’s lame-duck session, adding that he isn’t trying to “ram the bill” through said session, despite introducing it the day after Election Day, and making sure it could bypass committee on the way to the floor for vote.

Richardville also said bank and credit union representatives were meeting with those in the pawn industry to reach a compromise on the bill, which was news to one of the bill’s opponents, Michigan Pawnbrokers Association president Mark Aubrey:

The Michigan Pawnbrokers Association has not been contacted by any agency for compromise. There is no middle ground here. Title lending has no place in the Pawnbroker Act and no place in the pockets of Michigan’s consumers.

Should the bill — No. 1138 in the Senate, No. 5954 in the House — pass, a loan of $1,000 that adds $360 of interest in 12 months — based on a cap of 3 percent per month — would pull in $2,760 within the same period at an interest rate of 276 percent annually, thanks to a 20 percent so-called “usage fee” charged monthly.

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Iowa DOT Introducing Driver’s License App In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/iowa-dot-introducing-drivers-license-app-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/iowa-dot-introducing-drivers-license-app-2015/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959217 Live and drive in Iowa? The state’s DOT will soon have an app that will act as your license. The Des Moines Register reports the app will be free of charge to all Iowa drivers when it arrives sometime next year, and is as official as the traditional plastic license card one receives after waiting […]

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Iowa Drivers License App

Live and drive in Iowa? The state’s DOT will soon have an app that will act as your license.

The Des Moines Register reports the app will be free of charge to all Iowa drivers when it arrives sometime next year, and is as official as the traditional plastic license card one receives after waiting forever and a day in the DMV; drivers can still get the more tangible version if so desired.

Iowa is also one of 30 states that allows drivers to present insurance information in electronic form during a traffic stop. Per Iowa DOT director Paul Trombino, having a digital license is only logical. He adds that the app will be secure via PIN verification, and will be accepted by security in Iowa’s airports, as well.

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Ford Kills MyFordTouch, Introduces SYNC 3 Connected-Vehicle System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959081 Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system. Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones […]

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SYNC 3

Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system.

Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones and tablets. The system also offers day and night settings, reduced complexity, and better voice recognition.

Speaking of smartphones, users can connect theirs via SYNC 3’s AppLink, allowing them to control their smartphones through voice commands. The latest version of AppLink can automatically discover music and news apps such as Spotify, iHeartRadio Auto and NPR One.

Software updates can now be achieved via Wi-Fi: once a user links the system to their home network, updates can happen while the car is parked in the garage or on the driveway.

Finally, users can dial 911 via the subscription-free 911 Assist service, which uses a Bluetooth-connected phone to call first responders in the event of an accident, and providing detailed information location, whether airbags were deployed, how many seat belts were used, and the type of crash that occurred.

Owners can expect SYNC 3 to arrive in the 2016 model year, with full replacement by New Year’s Eve 2016. Lincoln will have a slightly touched-up version for its customers, as well.

SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3

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Mobius Leads Path Toward Local Manufacturing For African Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mobius-leads-path-toward-local-manufacturing-african-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mobius-leads-path-toward-local-manufacturing-african-consumers/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958457 Today, 50 units from Nairobi-based manufacturer Mobius are set to be delivered to customers, marking the first step for the company as it aims to prove Kenya — and the continent of Africa — can produce just as well as it supplies raw materials. Reuters reports the vehicle, known as the II, will go for […]

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mobius-motors-two-front-three-quarters-view-outdoors

Today, 50 units from Nairobi-based manufacturer Mobius are set to be delivered to customers, marking the first step for the company as it aims to prove Kenya — and the continent of Africa — can produce just as well as it supplies raw materials.

Reuters reports the vehicle, known as the II, will go for KSh950,000 ($10,500 USD) before taxes, and is meant to tackle the rough roads the Chinese have yet to pave over. Thus, for ease of maintenance and repairs, the II has little more than a front windscreen, minimal electronics, and a sturdy suspension upon which its aluminum body rests. Forty-five percent of the vehicle is derived from local sources, while the engine and other pieces come from outside suppliers.

Mobius joins Ugandan automaker Kiira Motor Project in designing, building and selling an African-made vehicle for Africa, overcoming long-standing concerns that the continent cannot make anything like the II for its people, let alone the rest of the world; the last attempt by a local concern — the Nyayo Pioneer in 1990 — fell apart soon after production began.

So far, Mobius is doing well for itself with its business model, with enquiries from neighboring nations, western Africa and beyond. Kiira, meanwhile, received an initial commitment of $70 million from the Ugandan government, and is seeking a total of $350 million to build a factory for its planned vehicle, a $20,000 sedan in the vein of the Toyota Camry aimed at office workers and executives.

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Trade Group: CFPB Non-Bank Oversight Threshold ‘Too Low’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trade-group-cfpb-non-bank-oversight-threshold-low/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trade-group-cfpb-non-bank-oversight-threshold-low/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958417 A trade group representing lenders is finding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal to regulate non-bank auto lenders too much to bear. According to Automotive News, the American Financial Services Association says “the threshold the CFPB proposes for larger participants in the automobile finance market is too low,” and could disproportionately drive up compliance costs, […]

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CFPB - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sign

A trade group representing lenders is finding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal to regulate non-bank auto lenders too much to bear.

According to Automotive News, the American Financial Services Association says “the threshold the CFPB proposes for larger participants in the automobile finance market is too low,” and could disproportionately drive up compliance costs, push out smaller lenders from the auto finance game, and make things more difficult for the consumer as far as credit goes.

The threshold in question defines said participants as those originating 10,000 or more auto loans and leases in a given year, a definition that could fit 38 lenders representing 91 percent of all non-bank institutions. The AFSA suggests a threshold of 50,000 loans and leases in a given year, excluding smaller players while putting the oversight upon 17 lenders, or 86 percent of the non-bank market.

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Michigan Bills Could Open Door To Auto Title Lenders http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/michigan-bills-open-door-auto-title-lenders/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/michigan-bills-open-door-auto-title-lenders/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957929 Auto title lenders, whose practices are aligned with those dealing in payday loans, furniture leases, and cheaply made wheel-and-tire rentals, may soon be able to profit off of Michigan consumers should a bill in the state senate be passed. The Detroit News reports a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, Mich. […]

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Dirtbag America Auto Title Lending Store and Krispy Kreme 2012

Auto title lenders, whose practices are aligned with those dealing in payday loans, furniture leases, and cheaply made wheel-and-tire rentals, may soon be able to profit off of Michigan consumers should a bill in the state senate be passed.

The Detroit News reports a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, Mich. — with an identical bill led by Rep. John Walsh of Livonia in the state House — would add a loophole to a century-old pawnbroker law to allow those affected to charge a 20 percent monthly “usage fee” to consumers, instead of the 3 percent charged now.

The state’s pawnbrokers are among those opposed to the bill, stating that such an increase would only lead to more defaults, affecting consumers “in an adverse way,” according to American Jewelry and Loan vice president Seth Gold.

As for who is in favor, two opposing lobbyists have found Georgia-based Select Management Resources to be the primary backer of Michigan Senate Bill No. 1138/House Bill No. 5954.

Should the bill go through, auto title lenders could act as pawnbrokers in Michigan, going around a ban of their usual business model in so doing. Further, a loan of $1,000 would go from accumulating a manageable $360 in interest over 12 months, to an insane $2,760 over the same period.

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Takata Lost Value Suits On Hold Pending Judicial Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-lost-value-suits-hold-pending-judicial-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-lost-value-suits-hold-pending-judicial-panel/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957905 Consumers looking to file a lawsuit against Takata over its defective airbags may be waiting a little while longer to do so. Bloomberg reports U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King issued a stay on a proposed class action filed in Miami, where a panel of federal judges will decide after January 29, 2015 whether said […]

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Takata Sign

Consumers looking to file a lawsuit against Takata over its defective airbags may be waiting a little while longer to do so.

Bloomberg reports U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King issued a stay on a proposed class action filed in Miami, where a panel of federal judges will decide after January 29, 2015 whether said case will be combined with over 50 others, and who will be the judge to preside over them.

As for where, the defendants — Honda and the other automakers with ties to Takata — want Pittsburgh, Penn. — where they and two Takata subsidiaries have facilities — as the venue for the multi-district litigation proceedings, while the plaintiffs want Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston or Los Angeles.

The cases against Takata and its clients were filed by consumers seeking damages for lost vehicle value as a result of the plaintiffs’ vehicles being equipped with the supplier’s airbags, which are linked to a number of fatalities and injuries due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Nine others were filed in order to claim damages related to said fatalities and injuries, some of which could be combined for evidence-gathering prior to the panel.

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Toyota Increasing Mirai Production To Meet Strengthening Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957394 Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect. Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate […]

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Toyota Mirai in Red

Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect.

Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate and public-sector demand, which is likely to exceed the 700 units currently planned for assembly by the FCV’s showroom debut December 15.

The investment will allow for increased fuel stack and hydrogen tank production at its main factory in Toyota City, with upgrades planned at a nearby facility where final assembly of the Mirai is conducted. In turn, the move could spur on related investments in infrastructure and other products by interested companies.

Toyota expects to sell 400 Mirais in its home market by the end of 2015, with 3,000-plus moved in the United States by the same period in 2017, and around 50 to 100 in Europe in 2016. Exports to the U.S. and Europe are set to begin next summer.

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GM Replacing Keys In 2014-15 Trucks, SUVs Due To Ignition Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956898 Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys. Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys.

Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have the keys replaced. Per the bulletin issued by General Motors:

Some customers may comment that if the tilt steering column is in the full-up position and the shift lever is moved between gears, the shift lever contacts the head of the ignition key. Some contact force may rotate the ignition key and shut the engine off. When this condition occurs, the brake pedal was applied.

The keys are already available, as the automaker made the fix in February of this year. The bulletin requires dealers to issue the new key to customers who bought their vehicles prior to the change, and complain of the issue as noted.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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T&E: European Test Cycle ‘Not Fit For Purpose’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/te-european-test-cycle-not-fit-purpose/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/te-european-test-cycle-not-fit-purpose/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955698 The European test cycle for fuel economy and emissions may need to be taken out back, based on findings by policy group Transport and Environment. According to Ward’s Auto, T&E proclaimed the New European Driving Cycle “is not fit for purpose,” finding the laboratory results reported by automakers and those uncovered in real-world scenarios have […]

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VW XL1

The European test cycle for fuel economy and emissions may need to be taken out back, based on findings by policy group Transport and Environment.

According to Ward’s Auto, T&E proclaimed the New European Driving Cycle “is not fit for purpose,” finding the laboratory results reported by automakers and those uncovered in real-world scenarios have a gulf between them, one that has widened over time: 8 percent difference in 2001, 31 percent in 2013, and a predicted 50 percent by 2020 if no action is taken.

Per the group, the NEDC is “obsolete, unrepresentative of modern cars and driving styles, and full of loopholes that car makers exploit to produce better test results,” as the lab results fail to account for external factors.

A replacement is in the works: the AECA is helping to develop the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure, meant to replicate the real-world conditions the NEDC fails to account. The European Union would like the WLTP ready by 2017, but T&E clean-vehicles chief Greg Archer wants to see it sooner so that automakers can be stopped from “exploiting the flexibilities” in the current procedure.

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Aluminum Mainstreaming May Mean More Dent & Ding Policies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/aluminum-mainstreaming-may-mean-dent-ding-policies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/aluminum-mainstreaming-may-mean-dent-ding-policies/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955409 Planning to buy a new 2015 Ford F-150 soon? You might be purchasing a dent-and-ding policy for your ride, too. Automotive News reports the aluminum pickup has created an opportunity for F&I departments to sell dent-and-ding polices, playing on the notion that the metal isn’t as tough as steel when it comes to such things. […]

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aluminum

Planning to buy a new 2015 Ford F-150 soon? You might be purchasing a dent-and-ding policy for your ride, too.

Automotive News reports the aluminum pickup has created an opportunity for F&I departments to sell dent-and-ding polices, playing on the notion that the metal isn’t as tough as steel when it comes to such things. Ford begs to differ, as the F-150’s “high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body is more dent and ding resistant” than the outgoing steel-paneled model, per representative Mike Levine.

However, the increased use of aluminum would mean those polices would cost a pretty penny. EFG Cos. executive vice president Cliff Eller says repairing the panels with paintless dent removal would be more labor-intensive and time-consuming than doing the same for steel panels, with the aforementioned increase likely to push the cost of an average claim upward.

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Takata Faces Forced Recall After Defying NHTSA Order http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955385 Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter. Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less […]

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Takata

Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter.

Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less of a factor in the catastrophic failures than previously proclaimed by Takata, adding that the agency would hire an independent expert within the week to conduct more tests.

Takata claimed in its letter to the NHTSA that a nationwide recall was not necessary, as there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to mandate such an action that would take away from fixing the problem in high-humidity zones, creating needless delays in conducting repairs. The supplier also took the agency to task for not providing enough notice, and that it was already on its way to improving the safety of its products.

Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut encouraged the NHTSA to force Takata into compliance, and to expand the nationwide recall to cover passenger-side airbags as well. Friedman said the agency’s next move would be to force said recall, which could take several weeks or months. He added that he didn’t have a set timetable to bring about the action.

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Lyft, Uber Et Al Impact US Medallion Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/lyft-uber-et-al-impact-us-medallion-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/lyft-uber-et-al-impact-us-medallion-market/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955337 Transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber are making an impact on the United States livery market, particularly in cities where medallions are sold. The New York Times reports the price of medallions in cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia are falling as more people opt to use TNCs to get around, […]

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080912medallion1CS

Transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber are making an impact on the United States livery market, particularly in cities where medallions are sold.

The New York Times reports the price of medallions in cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia are falling as more people opt to use TNCs to get around, leading drivers to wonder why they should bother purchasing or leasing a medallion at all. In New York, the price for one of the 13,437 medallions available fell 17 percent between the spring of 2013 and October of this year, landing at $872,000. Philadelphia, meanwhile, can’t sell a single medallion for its asking price of $475,000, and aims to try again at $350,000.

Nailing down how things are proves to be difficult, due to the low number of sales/leases, or posting inaccurate numbers by omitting most sales. For New York, it’s the latter; they omit sales that go for $10,000-plus below the previous month’s average. Over in Chicago, weekly lease rates for medallion taxis are falling alongside the number of medallion sales in the Windy City, while others jump-ship to Uber or Lyft.

Drivers in New York also face a challenge from the new green “boro taxis” that serve fares in northern Manhattan and the boroughs surrounding Manhattan, with medallion owners having gone as far as the courtroom to rein in the green taxis, only for the ruling to fall in favor of the defendant.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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NHTSA: GM Has Enough Parts To Repair All Affected By February 2014 Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955009 Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience. AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of […]

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chevy_HHR_2008_08

Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience.

AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of the 2.66 million vehicles covered by the recall, and is urging owners to bring their vehicles in as soon as possible. GM added that it will help owners schedule repairs after work and on weekends, with the procedure to take 90 minutes.

Presently, approximately 1 million units still need to come in, with the automaker proclaiming 60 percent of all vehicles under the original recall have been fixed. The vehicles in question are the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, and 2007-2011 Saturn Sky.

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Hearings, Recalls Et Al Darken Takata’s Doorstep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/hearings-recalls-et-al-darken-takatas-doorstep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/hearings-recalls-et-al-darken-takatas-doorstep/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954497 Takata and those associated with its airbag recall crisis are heading back into the fire this week, one that could grow into a firestorm soon enough. Detroit Free Press reports the supplier is expected to submit its responses to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing how and when it knew of the first signs […]

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Billboard advertisement of Takata Corp is pictured in Tokyo

Takata and those associated with its airbag recall crisis are heading back into the fire this week, one that could grow into a firestorm soon enough.

Detroit Free Press reports the supplier is expected to submit its responses to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing how and when it knew of the first signs of trouble regarding its airbags, as well as the delay in reporting the defects to the agency. Further, Takata will be asked how long it will take to replace the airbags of 7.8 million affected vehicles with safer units; competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive have previously stated they would help supply replacements.

The NHTSA issued an order last week that the supplier recall those units nationwide by December 2, with resistance to be met with a mandatory recall that could take months and several hearings to make happen. The agency is also in the process of replacing current deputy administrator David Friedman with Obama nominee Mark Rosekind, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before taking over.

Finally, Takata and Friedman will also give testimony in a second round of congressional hearings before the lame-duck Congress calls it a day for the rest of the year.

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Fuel Prices To Hit $2.55 By Christmas With Help From OPEC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954473 Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC. CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend […]

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Gas Prices Circa December 2014

Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC.

CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend its piece of the petroleum pie from shale drillers in the United States, whose efforts added 1 million barrels/day to the nation’s oil production in less than a year.

In turn, prices for West Texas Intermediate fell to $66.15/barrel, while fuel prices averaged $2.79/gallon over Thanksgiving, the lowest average since the same time in 2009. The price is expected to fall further, per Lipow Oil Associates president Andrew Lipow, who expects the average to hit between $2.55 and $2.60 per gallon nationwide by Christmas.

However, if OPEC hoped to thwart U.S. production — currently at 9 million barrels per day, a rate not seen since 1986 — the organization may be in for a shock. Lipow explains:

I expect oil production is going to continue to increase in the U.S. over the next three to four months as shale oil and Gulf of Mexico projects that are underway get completed.

Meanwhile, production at existing wells would be cut back as exploration and production companies look to refocus their budgets toward the most productive sites.

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Toyota: Don’t Drink The (Mirai’s) Water http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954449 Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion. Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion.

Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does have depend on what passed through the stack in the first place:

Depending on the place you are driving, some parts of the world might have certain issues, such as organisms like E. coli, which could be hazardous to your health. You never know what the quality of the air intake is.

That said, if you are interested/desperate enough to wonder if the Mirai produces Evian, you’ll be happy to know that the water is said to be “slightly acidic,” with a pH of 5 to 6, just below the levels found in acid rain and beer.

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