Friday, December 28, 2007
Are Muscle Cars Facing Extinction?
Are muscle cars facing extinction? The answer should be on the negative. I do love muscle cars.

And if the production of these cars will be stopped, I will be one of the many buffs that will be disheartened. Sigh.

When General Motors Corp. pulls the wraps off its new supercharged Corvette at the Detroit auto showin January, it could also mean the beginning of the end for the great American muscle car.

The car's chief engineer Tadge Juechter has said the Corvette ZR1 may be the last performance car from Detroit. "High-performance vehicles such as this may actually be legislated out of existence," Juechter said at a recent showing of the ZR1.

President George W. Bush recently effected a law that calls for more fuel efficient cars and a wider used of ethanol, describing it as a ‘major step’ to free the country from foreign energy dependence. The legislation requires automakers to raise fuel efficiency by 40% to an industry average 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

But Aaron Bragman, an auto analyst with the consulting firm Global Insight said predicting the death of the muscle car might be premature. Although fuel economy figures were not released for the ZR1, he said the Corvette is fuel efficient when compared with its competitors and, according to him, gets around the same mileage as a Chevrolet pickup truck.

"I think it's a little over-dramatization," Bragman said. "GM wants to sell big, high-performance, fun cars. And typically that's what Americans want to buy." He added that performance cars of the future may be powered by smaller engines or electric motors, but they will not die.

2009 Corvette ZR Specs:

* All-new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 targeted at producing at least 100 horsepower per liter, or 620 horsepower (462 kW), and approximately 595 lb.-ft. of torque (823 Nm)
* Six-speed, close-ratio, race-hardened manual transmission
* New, high-capacity dual-disc clutch
* Higher-capacity and specific-diameter axle half-shafts; enhanced torque tube
* Specific suspension tuning provides more than 1g cornering grip
* Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels
* Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires--P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear--developed specifically for the ZR1
* Standard carbon-ceramic, drilled disc brake rotors--15.5-inch-diameter (394-mm) in the front and 15-inch-diameter (380-mm) in the rear
* Larger brake calipers with substantially increased pad area
* Standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension
* Wider, carbon-fiber front fenders with ZR1-specific dual vents
* Carbon-fiber hood with a raised, polycarbonate window--offering a view of the intercooler below it
* Carbon-fiber roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, exposed carbon-fiber weave
* ZR1-specific full-width rear spoiler with raised outboard sections
* Specific gauge cluster with boost gauge (also displayed on the head-up display) and 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout
* Only two options: chrome wheels and a "luxury" package
* Curb weight of approximately 3,350 pounds (1,519 kg)
posted by Car Addict @ 5:03 AM  
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
More Americans To Travel This Season

We all know that the price of petroleum fuel is on the rise. So if you want to save for gifts and such things for the holiday season, it would be better to just stay home. But AAA Chicago reported that more Americans will be traveling this year during the holiday season than last year.

Millions of Americans will be making trips more than 50 miles from home. Beth Mosher, AAA Chicago's director of public affairs, had this to say according to The Auto Channel: "Whether driving or flying, Americans face steep increases in their travel budgets during this holiday season. Fuel prices remain at unprecedented levels for this time of year with prices around three dollars a gallon and the airfare has increased 16 percent since last year."

The group also pointed out that the price of gasoline in average in Illinois and Indiana as well as for the rest of the country as a whole are quite high. "Holiday auto travelers will find gas prices nationwide currently averaging $2.99 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline-up 69 cents from last year. Illinois motorists will pay an average of $3.04 per gallon - up 73 cents from last year, and Indiana drivers will pay $2.97 per gallon, a 72-cent increase from last season," reads the report.

It is expected that 62.5 million Americans will be traveling this season. Of that number, about 53 million will be traveling by automobiles. And that would translate to a large number of vehicles on the road. And that, in turn, will lead to a bigger risk of getting into a vehicular accident. AAA Chicago advises motorists to drive responsibly. "Slowing down or moving over near accident scenes, or where roadside assistance vehicles are stopped along the shoulder, can help keep emergency responders and motorists safe during the holiday travel season," said Mosher.


posted by Car Addict @ 5:43 PM  
Friday, December 14, 2007
Toyota's Lentz Congratulates Senate

The issue about CAFÉ standards has been in the air for so long that I think it is affecting the auto industry too much. The U.S. Senate is hard at work to create the legislation that will be fair to automakers and at the same time, be strict enough so that new vehicles will be more eco-friendly. With the increasing threat of global warming, the time to take action is at hand.

Japanese automaker Toyota is one of the automakers considered to be in the forefront of the battle against greenhouse gas emission thanks to its Prius. Recently, The Auto Channel reported that Toyota Motor Sales' president Jim Lentz congratulated the U.S. Senate on the passage of CAFÉ legislation. The statement reads:

"The U.S. Senate's action today is a clear signal to our entire industry that it's now time to move into overdrive to meet these ambitious new national standards. Toyota is wasting no time in our pursuit of 35 miles per gallon in 2020."

"Toyota congratulates the Senate for persevering to pass this CAFE legislation. This is a critically important vote for the auto industry and the nation."

"We at Toyota have long said that we want a CAFE bill passed this year that will provide the certainty of one national fuel economy program. The U.S. Senate has delivered, as their colleagues in the House of Representatives did last week. We thank all the Senators who provided leadership for today's historic vote on CAFE."

"The Senate action represents a major step in the right direction that will result in significant oil savings and reductions in CO2. It provides important new goals and targets for our entire industry to achieve. Toyota will strive to meet them. We look forward to the concurrence of the House of Representatives next week and to the President's signing it into law."

posted by Car Addict @ 6:03 PM  
Monday, December 10, 2007
Driving Tips For Teen Drivers

This is not to discriminate teen drivers, but this post is about protecting them or you if you are on. Although grown ups tend to get into car crashes too, there is more concern about teen drivers behind the wheel. Why? Because car crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities. So if you don't want to be just another statistic, I think you should drive carefully. And to help you become a better driver, Allstate Foundation has these tips for you as reported by The Auto Channel:

  • Keep your eyes on the road. According to a national survey of teens conducted by The Allstate Foundation, 56 percent of teens talk on their cell phones while driving, and 13 percent read or write text messages. Driving with distractions is a major cause of crashes. Make it a goal to celebrate 2008 with your friends instead of the mortician.
  • Slow down. The survey also found nearly 90 percent of teens admit to speeding. Speeding is one of the main causes for teen car crashes. Be a rebel and drive the speed limit this holiday season.
  • Half of teens from the survey said they wouldn't speak up if a friend was driving recklessly. Would you speak up if your life was in danger? If not, make a New Year's resolution to grow a backbone.
  • Use your buckle. Roughly two-thirds of teens who die in car wrecks are not buckled up, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This season, give your friends the gift of life and tell them to buckle up.

These are just some easy tips which you can have no trouble following. You can follow these tips not only during the holiday season but throughout the year for all your times behind the wheel.

posted by Car Addict @ 5:57 PM  
Land Rover Celebrates Victory For The First Time

We are fed with lots of negative information about Land Rover failing to have the same amount of profit than what they had before. And then the Ford Motor Company decided to sell some of its shares for this brand together with another Premiere Automotive Group member Jaguar. Now, for more than several decades, the car brand has finally gone through producing many cars.

Land Rover celebrates victory for the first time in 59 years of being in the business when they finally produced the 200,000 sales barrier.

In November 2007, the noted global sales of the legendary 4x4 manufacturer reached 205,717 compared to last year's November adding up lots of numbers to its sales last month. After several months of being a non-profitable car maker, Land Rover is now celebrating the glory of their hard work. Several markets including Russia, China, France and Spain recorded their best ever November.

Phil Popham, Land Rover's Managing Director, said, "This is a significant milestone in Land Rover's history and puts us on a firm footing as we approach our 60th anniversary. This sales achievement has been driven by exciting new product with improved environmental performance. Confidence is high - we're firmly in the black with innovative new products that will continue Land Rover's sustainable development."

Land Rover handles a diesel V8 that delivers a 32% fuel improvement on the petrol version it replaced. This is maybe the reason why more buyers became so interested on buying the new revised car model. The Freelander 2 had become very interesting after they changed what’s under its hood.

Last year, Land Rover was noted to be committed on reducing the impact of environmental hazards and thus the company decided to give the new Land Rover the bold evolution featuring the latest and the most updated technology and lightweight materials.

posted by Car Addict @ 3:51 PM  
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Winter Driving Tips From AAA Chicago

Winter has arrived in some states in the country. And with the year’s first incoming major winter storm in Illinois and Indiana this week, everybody should take some safety precautions when driving through cold and foggy roads. Thank God AAA Chicago has several important reminders and survival tips for all motorists to keep in mind when driving this winter season. Check this out as published in TheAutoChannel.com:

Winter Driving Tips

  • Get rid of snow and ice from your car to improve visibility. Remove snow and ice from hood, roof, trunk, turn signals, tail lights and headlights.
  • Slow down when visibility and road conditions are worse, and amplify the following distance among vehicles.
  • Expect hazards including ice on bridges, unseen lane marks, caught up cars and poor visibility.
  • Make use of the right winter braking techniques. For vehicles exclusive of anti-lock brakes, use "squeeze" or "threshold" braking by stepping on the brakes just little of lock-up, then easing off the brake pedal a little. For vehicles with anti-lock brakes, constant, rigid braking is needed.
  • Keep away from skids by easing off the accelerator and not locking up the brakes. In a skid, carefully steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go and straighten the wheel as soon as the car begins to go in the desired direction.
  • It's important for every person to observe the weather forecasts that may affect their driving plans during the winter days. AAA reminds everyone that it is best to remain inside the vehicle rather than taking the risk and move away and end up lost while looking for help. This is the basic thing to do when you become trapped in the winter. In this situation, a winter survival kit could save you from any kind of situation. AAA advises all motorists to carry the following items in their vehicles during the winter months:


Survival Gear

  • Cell phone
  • Ice scraper & brush
  • Boots, gloves, hat, blanket
  • Tools & flashlight
  • Tire traction material such as sand or cat litter
  • Shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Food
  • Coffee can furnace
  • First aid kit


posted by Car Addict @ 9:42 PM  
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Family Cars: More Dangerous Than 4WDs When Reversing
You read it right. Compared to 4WDs, your car could put your family in much danger…

According to the recent NRMA test, family sedans are more dangerous than four-wheel drives when reversing. One child is run over in their driveway every week, accounting for about 10% of all child pedestrian deaths and injuries, said the leading insurance, motoring and travel firm. The insurer today released the findings of its "visibility index'' to highlight child pedestrian deaths.

The NRMA conducted tests on sedans and 4WDs, including those fitted with reversing cameras on their rear vision, according to a News.com.au report.

Pam Leicester, NRMA spokeswoman, said 7 luxury 4WDs fitted with the cameras scored 5 stars. But 3 out of 4 of the most popular family sedans, without the cameras, received a 0 star rating on the index.

"This is a real concern because many of these vehicles have hazardous reversing blind areas, usually caused by high rear window lines and boots,'' Leicester said.

She urged automakers to install reversing cameras on all cars. "Manufacturers installing display screens for audio, GPS and air-conditioning systems can add a reversing camera for minimal cost,'' she said. "That's why we urge manufacturers to offer reversing cameras as standard equipment to help keep small children safe.''

Leicester told ABC Online the automakers have been quick to place life-saving rear cameras in their top-end cars but not in their family sedans. She added it only costs a few dollars for a camera to be installed during a car's manufacture.

"People wouldn't be aware that it affects sedans as much as it does large vehicles, such as four-wheel drives," she concluded. "It's really about design, so it's got to do with the seating position of the driver. In sedans, that's sometimes quite low combined with a high rear-boot line, so that makes it extremely difficult to see something of a toddler's height behind the vehicle."

Caveat: Your family car should safeguard the dearest people of your life so don’t put their lives at risk by purchasing a mediocre vehicle as a means of transport. Remember, they are priceless.
posted by Car Addict @ 11:34 PM  
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