The Truth About Cars » Test Drives The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 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 (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 » Test Drives Mazda Test Drive Ends in Crash Due to Automatic Brake Failure Tue, 12 Nov 2013 07:58:59 +0000 2013 Mazda CX-5. Picture courtesy

When the year 2025 comes around, and your sons and daughters purchase their autonomous commuter pod sans steering wheel, you may want to check the automatic brakes just to be sure they’re able to stop your children from smashing through the commuter pod in front of them, much like what happened to one customer during a test drive at a Mazda dealership in Japan over the weekend.

A customer and a dealership employee were putting a CX-5 equipped with the Smart City Brake Support through its paces when said braking system crashed through a urethane testing barrier, resulting in a severe neck injury for the hapless test driver, and a fractured arm for the employee. Normally, the braking system would have sounded an alert while applying the brakes and curbing engine power were the driver to approach a detected obstacle, all through automation.

The Smart City Brake Support was introduced in the automaker’s home market as an option for the crossover in 2012, only to become standard last month on all CX-5s in Japan for the 2014 model year.

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Viper Sales Slow, Inventory Grows, Production Cut. Gilles: Potential Buyers “Intimidated” By Car’s Reputation Thu, 03 Oct 2013 16:46:04 +0000 viperimg_0193_r

Citing increased inventory due to slower than expected sales, Chrysler will cut production of the SRT Viper from 9 cars a day to just six and reassign some of the workers at the Conner Avenue assembly facility that assembles Chrysler’s V10 powered sports car.

Ralph Gilles, who runs the SRT brand in addition to being in charge of styling for the Chrysler group, said that quality control issues slowed the new Viper’s deliveries to the 443 Chrysler dealers that are certified by SRT to sell the Viper.

The reintroduced and redesigned 2013 Viper was revealed at the New York Auto Show in April of 2012 but deliveries didn’t start until a year later.  “We got off to a late start. We had hoped to begin shipping vehicles late last year, but we shipped the first 67 units in April,” Gilles told Automotive News.

Priced at $104,480 for the 2014 model year, including destination charges and a day of professional driving instruction at a race track, production of the reintroduced Viper was initially slated to be limited to only 2,000 cars a year. Sales, though, have not even reached that figure, with only 426 units for the first eight months, leaving dealers with 565 Vipers in stock, which is equivalent to a 289 day supply at current sales rates.

“We’re really looking at the reality of this type of car in this economy, as well as us controlling the market and making sure that we don’t overbuild,” Gilles said, saying that interest in the Viper is strong and that the company booked 2,000 dealer and customer orders for the 2013 calendar year, which includes the new 2014 models that are now being built at the Conner plant.

Gilles also attributed slow sales to seasonal factors, saying, “We typically do very well with the Viper in early spring.” The Viper is somewhat notorious for its ability to break traction and while the new Viper now complies with U.S. federal standards that require electronic stability control, its high performance tires are not meant to be used in snow, so the car is not expected to sell well over the winter months.

To increase demand, Gilles said that SRT would organize a road show, visiting Viper dealers in the Southeast as part of a program to encourage potential buyers to take test drives. Part of the problem is the car’s reputation as a potentially dangerous car to drive. Some dealers have been reluctant to let consumers with unknown skills to test drive the Viper. “We really have to focus on putting butts in seats,” Gilles said. “A lot of people are unnecessarily intimidated by the car.” The test drive road show will be expanded to other markets early next year.

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Housekeeping: The Ethics Of Undercover Snooping Sat, 05 May 2012 17:33:53 +0000

Since it seems to be Housekeeping Day, here an email from someone who hides behind a Gmail address, who does not sign his mail, and who calls us unethical .

Mr Anonymous writes:

“I’m writing this in response to Mr.Derek Kreindler method of acquiring the Aston Martin V8 Vantage for his recent review.

Mr.Kreindler stated while he was at the dealership, he pretended to be a well to do business man so that he can get his hand on the vehicle for a test drive. I won’t have a problem with this if he was actually comparing vehicles for his purchase. That’s how car buying goes, if you don’t like it, you don’t buy it. It’s quite obvious that this is not the case.

I know people do this all the time, but I don’t expect an editor from TTAC to do so. What he did is basically stealing a salesman time and hope. The time that he could have spent on other customers, and the hope of making a living. I just need to ask TTAC one question, how would you like it if you were the salesman? The fact that this article was published tells me that TTAC have no ethical standard in this arena.

Perhaps, you might think that I’m a salesman myself and took this personally. I have never been in the sales business, but I will call out an unethical conduct when I see one. “

Dear Mr. Anonymous:

I don’t call that unethical, I call that showing initiative. When I was young, I was in the investigative reporting business, and I operated as ethically as an undercover vice cop. Compared to that, what Derek did was benign.

If not buying a car after a test drive is stealing a salesman’s time and hope, then some 70 percent of people who ask for a test drive would be criminals. Last I looked, wasting someone’s time and robbing someone’s hope was not against the law. I wish it were, I could launch thousands of lawsuits. I see huge class action suits against politicians, corporations, presumptive employers, alleged lovers. The concept would make divorce proceedings very interesting:

“You cheated!”

“You wasted 25 years of my time and stole my hope for happiness. Let’s call it quits.”

I tell you what is unethical: Giving ringers to journalists. Carmakers who insist that only official press cars should be tested often have something to hide. A car for a test drive should show the best sides of the car.

Having said that, our first approach will always be to get a press car. If we don’t get one, dealers, friends, rental car agencies are fair game.

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