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NEMPA Panels Dig Into Green Vehicle Technology

May 22nd, 2015

DSCN1961

This week we attended the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA)’s panel discussion on the future of green vehicle technology, California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and mass-market adoption of these technologies. It was a terrific, fruitful discussion. Two 4-person panels brought together expertise and opinions from automakers, energy research groups, electric utilities, and state politicians as they discussed the industry’s current strategies and what needs to change to increase the desirability and sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Electric Vehicles, General Chat, Green Updates, Hybrid Cars

Why Toyota Shouldn’t Build a New Sports Car

May 22nd, 2015

Toyota sports car concept

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think Toyota should build an inexpensive sports car.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a freak about sports cars. I clamor for rear-wheel-drive, manual-shift, great-handling coupes and roadsters. I was thrilled when the Subaru BRZ came out, and I’ve gushed about the new Porsche Boxster and basically all iterations of the classic 911.

My brother-in-law races Miatas, and my father-in-law raced Porsches in his younger years.

I love sports cars and everything they represent.

There have been rumors that Toyota would build a sub-$20,000 RWD sports car, but, believe it or not, I don’t think it should.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , , , ,

GM Offers Best Rewards for Military Service

May 21st, 2015

Corvette convertibleMemorial Day weekend fast approaches. It’s a great time for new and used car shopping with summer just around the corner. More importantly, it’s an important time to recognize the military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Some automotive manufacturers extend special discounts to military personnel (and sometimes retired veterans) that might be worth considering if you’re shopping for a new car. Check their websites to find the models you might want. (The website MilitaryRates.com has a list of companies offering discounts.)

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat , , , ,

Airbags: Saving Lives (Mostly) Since 1991

May 19th, 2015

airbag recall

Have you ever had an airbag deploy in your car?

I’m lucky, because the only airbags I’ve ever seen in use have been in videos of crash tests. Airbags stay hidden most of the time, silently tucked away and forgotten. The only reminders of their existence are the subtle etchings in the surfaces that hide them.

Airbags are meant to save lives, and they have, with many thousands of people owing their continued existence to an explosive cushion of air. Airbags, though, have also taken lives by ejecting with too much force, ejecting with young children in the seat, or, most recently, exploding and sending shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Parts, Car Safety, General Chat , , , ,

Toyota’s Partnerships: Good for Toyota, Good for the Industry

May 15th, 2015

2018 Toyota Supra

Toyota is one of the world’s largest automakers, but at least one of its coolest cars is the result of a partnership with another automaker.

Automotive partnerships don’t always work. One failure that comes to mind immediately is the Chrysler TC by Maserati.

I guess “failure” might be a little harsh, because the car does have its own club and plenty of fans. Those people see the car as misunderstood and elegant, while the rest of the world sees a Chrysler K-car with a spit-shine.

The TC lasted only three model years and cost close to $40,000 when new. That high price bought a Maserati body with a Chrysler engine, pretty much the worst from each partner at the time.

Toyota seems to have the partnership thing figured out, though, with at least three marriages to other major automakers. Will they fare better than the Chrysler-Maserati tie-up?

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , , , ,

While 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Debuts, Save Big on Current Sports Cars

May 14th, 2015

New Camaro Logo

This weekend the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro will debut in Detroit. Chevy has slowly teased photos in an attempt to whip up a media frenzy. Why the special focus? A couple of reasons: The Camaro is an automotive icon, and sports cars are suddenly hot again with lower gas prices and an improving economy.

It’s a great time to crave a sports car. There are traditional coupes like the Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang. Throw into the mix sedans like the Dodge Charger, the Nissan Maxima, and the Subaru WRX, and there is no shortage when it comes to selection or deals.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat

Fastest Selling Cars Mean No Bargains Available

May 7th, 2015

2015 VW Golf Sportwagen photoIn the car-selling business, there is a term “days to turn.” It refers to how long a vehicle sits on a dealership lot before it sells. Cars, trucks, and SUVs with a low days-to-turn number rarely see good deals, while higher numbers work in the buyer’s favor.

What’s that mean for you as a buyer? Wait a month or two if the car you seek is on the fastest-selling list below. Passions cool, especially if it’s a recently introduced new car. You’ll never regret waiting a few months if that means significant savings.

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Car Industry News, Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat

Will Chevy Follow Ford and Introduce Aluminum Trucks?

May 6th, 2015

2015-ford-f-150-04

Ford’s gamble with the aluminum 2015 F-150 could have ended two ways:

  • As an embarrassing failure
  • As a trendsetting new way to build trucks

Ram, with its little comment about aluminum’s best use being for beer cans, pretty much secured its future of steel bodies.

Chevrolet stayed pretty quiet on the issue, presumably to take a wait-and-see approach. Watching the new Ford keep its status as the number one truck in America, while scoring a 5-star safety rating, might have had a hand in convincing Chevy to join the aluminum body movement.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , ,

2016 Mazda Miata: Saving Manuals and Inspiring FIAT

May 5th, 2015

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata pic-4558201182130151607

Could Mazda singlehandedly save the manual transmission *and* make FIAT exciting again?

Those might seem like two completely unrelated things, but the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has the potential to do both. It’s a tall order from an automaker that ranks 15th in size by production worldwide, but sometimes it’s the smaller guys who rise up to make the biggest impact.

Car enthusiasts in the U.S. are painfully aware of the slow demise of the manual transmission. They are also aware that driving a FIAT basically means you’ve given up on attaining any type of thrill from driving.

But fear not, friends, because the Miata is here to save the day.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , , , ,

Do Too Many Cars Look Alike?

May 4th, 2015
The Porsche 924 looks just like a...

The Porsche 924 looks just like a…

Some people have an uncanny ability to spot a car and instantly recognize what other brand of car it resembles.

Look-alike cars have been around since the Model T, and each era since has had vehicles that seem like they were created by a single group of traveling designers.

The car that sparked this conversation in my household was the old rusted 1977 Porsche 924 that pulled up beside us and looked, to my wife, nearly identical to a 1970s Datsun hatchback. I can’t argue with her. Even the shape of the window behind the B-pillar is nearly identical.

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Her next comparison was even more ridiculous… but right on.

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