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By on February 19, 2011

If you only get excited by the sausage of a car and not by the sausage making of a car factory, hop on to the next article, because this will utterly bore you. Everybody gone? Alright, talking to myself again. We’ve always said, not really in jest, that two industries profit the most from just in time manufacturing: The real estate industry and the trucking industry. Honda wants some of that money. Read More >

By on February 19, 2011


Here I am, back in Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina for the second annual Southern Discomfort 24 Hours of LeMons, and the seventh LeMons event to take place at CMP. The ’10 Southern Discomfort really was uncomfortable, with freezing-ass temperatures and plenty of frigid mud all around, and that scared off many of the usual Southern LeMons teams this time… but the joke was on them; the 50 or so teams that had the guts to show up will enjoy beautiful 70-degree weather all weekend. Read More >

By on February 18, 2011


With GM’s announcement of a new SYNC-competitor system, the issue of whether or not in-car connectivity systems are compatible with the government’s desire to reduce distracted driving has raised its head once again. So we put the question to you, our Best and Brightest: will the government ever step in to regulate in-car electronics? Should it? After all, distraction comes in all shapes and sizes… from fast food to in-car Facebook updates. Can the government draw a line between acceptable distractions and unacceptable ones? Will any government action actually make a difference in the statistics?

By on February 18, 2011

These three men have been charged with criminal damage of property after vandalizing seven 2011 model-year Toyotas at the Chicago Auto Show, reports the Southtown Star.

Police said they caused about $30,000 worth of damage to the vehicles, which had speakers cut open, dashboards ripped apart, seats sliced and windshields scratched.

Responding officers caught the three in a blue Toyota Camry, damaging the interior with razor knives and flathead screwdrivers, according to police.

They said other Toyotas were found in the immediate area with similar damage, and the three were taken into custody by McCormick Place security personnel, who contacted Chicago police. The men told police they were angry about American jobs going overseas. [emphasis added]

Read More >

By on February 18, 2011

The Barcelona Reporter, er, reports that a new law passed by Spain’s parliament

allows dealerships a full refund from manufacturers for unsold cars and, in some cases, to charge carmakers for sales teams’ labour and other related expenses… Car manufacturers will have to repay dealerships for any cars they fail to sell after three months, under the new law.

In the event carmakers’ contracts with distributors expire or are cancelled, they must also pay for layoffs at salesrooms and compensate them for lost custom.

Proponents argue that the law, which was bundled with a number of economic measures, would protect Spain’s 150k dealer jobs which, they argue, exist “at the whim” of manufacturers. Needless to say, the OEMs are not amused, and the association of foreign automakers who build cars in Spain (ANFAC) hints that investments by members like Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen will have to be reconsidered in light of these new rules. And even within Spain, the measure is drawing controversy. Industry minister Miguel Sebastian complains

How will a German, Japonese or French (car manufacturer) understand this law if I do not even understand it myself?

In other “Spain hates cars” news, Auto Motor und Sport reports that the country has also approved a new urban speed limit of 30 km/hour (about 18.6 MPH) in order to reduce pedestrian deaths.

By on February 18, 2011

There is one area where the feared Chinese export machine is way behind, and this is cars. According to data published by the China Association of Automobile manufacturers CAAM, 566,200 units were exported in 2010. At and in the same time, China imported 813,600 units. Read More >

By on February 18, 2011

Doesn’t that profile look familiar? Haven’t we seen that somewhere? Having taken the British brand in a bold new direction after decades of stylistic stagnation, Jaguar’s chief designer Ian Callum is letting Bertone take the lead in setting a stylistic direction for Jag’s forthcoming 3-Series competitor… and Bertone seems hell-bent on dragging Jag back to its XJ-obsessed recent past. But Bertone design director Mike Robinson won’t cop to the seemingly obvious charge, telling Autocar

Jaguar is looking at a new design direction and a small car — and we think this is the right style, with a very light glasshouse and the visual weight concentrated on to the wheels… I’m an anti-retroist. This is not an old classic design. It’s a new classic.

But is it? The (B) pillarless four-door screams XJC in proportion, and the whole effect is of a step backwards. Besides, when classic XJ proportions meet a 3-Series-sized chassis, the interior is going to face some serious space restrictions. In any case, Callum took one the boldest steps in automotive design when he left the XJ styling cues behind and penned the XF and the stunning new XJ. With this B99 concept, Bertone just seems to be muddying the waters. Let’s hope Jag keeps rejects the concept and keeps design of its forthcoming smaller luxury sedan in-house.

By on February 18, 2011

Arizona is home to the oldest continuously operating speed camera programs and the US headquarters for the two largest private companies that operate the equipment. It could also be the latest state to join the fifteen jurisdictions that ban automated ticketing machines. The Arizona Senate Government Reform Committee voted 5 to 1 on Wednesday to approve legislation repealing the statutes that have allowed the use of red light cameras and speed cameras in the state. The move represents a significant reversal for a legislature that in the previous session introduced no significant legislation to curtail photo enforcement thanks to a leadership that fully backed the program.

Read More >

By on February 18, 2011

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers finally has returned from the Chinese New Year festivities and got around to counting the real official sales number for China in January 2011. China’s auto sales in January rose 13.81 percent to 1.894 million units. Passenger vehicles did not rise 12.6 percent to 965,238 units in January, as prematurely reported by the Associated Press. Passenger vehicle sales in China rose 16.17 percent to 1.529 million units last month. Read More >

By on February 17, 2011

Wards Auto reports that Ford now has more dealerships than Chevrolet “for the first time in years.” Not that this is a sign of growth on Ford’s part… it simply cut fewer dealerships (62) last year than Chevy, which wiped out some 372 at the behest of the government and its consultants. Chevy, meanwhile, has struck back at Ford by offering its version of Ford’s SYNC system… some 3 years after Ford built the only real brand in what is now the crowded field of in-car connectivity options. Of course, Chevy hasn’t released a date or price for MyLink sales, but at this point, what’s the rush? Besides, Ray LaHood is going to really roll up his sleeves and take on the “epidemic” of distracted driving any minute now… right?

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