Thursday, January 31, 2008
Consumers Not So Keen With Diesel Autos

The call for greener vehicles has resulted to automakers developing cleaner vehicles. Gas electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius are very popular among consumers even if it does not look very cool to many. While Japanese and American automakers are dawdling with these hybrid vehicles, European automakers are tinkering with diesel engines which they claim are much cleaner than diesel engines of the past. In fact, a Volkswagen Polo with a diesel engine is said to be the cleanest car in the United Kingdom - beating the Prius.

In the United States though, Kelley Blue Book's study reported that consumers are still wary about purchasing diesel engined vehicles. Jack Nerad, the executive editorial director for KBB, had this to say according to The Auto Channel: "Many automakers are looking toward diesels as a very workable solution for the future, especially in light of the recently passed energy bill, but the results of this study should give them pause and make them realize they need to do a better, more thorough job of winning over the American consumer."

"Clearly many Americans still think of the dirty diesels of the past and are not aware of the benefits of new clean-diesel technology. Some manufacturers, such as Volkswagen with its 'Diesolution Tour,' are doing their part to ensure consumers are educated about today's diesels. However, not enough is being done by the auto industry as a whole to help American consumers understand the benefits of modern-day diesel technology," Nerad continued.

Rick Wainschel, vice president of marketing research and brand communications at KBB, added: "As auto manufacturers look toward development of future products and technologies, it's important for them to track, trend and understand current perceptions among in-market new-vehicle shoppers. Knowing where shoppers stand on these issues also can help manufacturers devise successful marketing campaigns to ensure proper education about new technologies and ultimately, success in the sales of their future products."


posted by Car Addict @ 6:32 PM  
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Cummins Expands In Indiana

Auto industry heavyweight Cummins recently announced that they will be adding about 500 professional employees in their Indiana plant. The Auto Channel reported that most of them will be engineers. The workforce increase is expected to take place in the next two years.

Joe Loughrey, president and chief operating officer of Cummins said: "We are pleased to be able to further strengthen our commitment to Columbus and the state of Indiana by bringing new, well-paying jobs to the region. As a large and growing employer in the city, we have a significant stake in helping Columbus remain a vibrant community. This project, along with the other initiatives outlined as part of the city’s Vision 2020 plan, is a big step in that direction."

Governor Mitch Daniels who was present when the announcement was made had this to say: "Last year 600 new production jobs, this year 500 new professional jobs. We’re proud of Cummins and the growth the company is bringing to south central Indiana."

Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong added: "Today's exciting announcement is another example of the revitalization of downtown Columbus and the success of our Vision 2020 plan. Cummins continues to be a major driver of our success as a community, and we are thrilled with the Company’s latest commitment to the city."

Lawrenceburg Mayor William Cunningham also said: "The City of Lawrenceburg and our Regional Economic Development Grant Committee is pleased to be able to assist our regional neighbors in expanding the commercial and industrial environment here in Columbus. It is our hope that with investments such as ours, Indiana will maintain, and improve, its reputation as a Midwestern economic powerhouse."

With that much support from the local government, one can expect that Cummins will continue its operation on the area for a long time.

posted by Car Addict @ 5:58 PM  
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Cattle Ride Or Ram Drive?

Which do you want a breathtaking cattle ride or a rugged ram drive? Choose.

Of course, both rides are nerve-racking. And every adventure-thirsty buff would definitely grab the opportunity to have both.

If you are present on the first day of media previews at the North American International Auto Show, your dream was already satisfied.

Chrysler LLC flaunted its revamped Dodge Ram. The automaker’s latest masterpiece is heralded by a herd of 120 cattle through the city’s street. The workhorse appeal is really fantastic!

“If you think that our truck is ... (all) hat and no cattle, keep an eye on yonder horizon,” Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Jim Press said at the preview.

Chicago Sun-Times reports:

The trucks drove the herd down barricaded city streets with a group of riders on horseback keeping them in check. But as Press detailed changes to the Ram, such as coil springs designed for a better ride, the cattle kept stealing the show.

“The bulls want to see the trucks, they don’t want to leave,” Press said as some of the longhorns appeared to mount the other cattle. “Oh, look at that. Well, let’s not watch that.”

Before the cattle drive, which came men in cowboy hats and ranch work clothes loaded bales of hay into a mud-spattered Ram and hammered together fences.


The Auburn Hills-based automaker is famed for building catchy stunts at the NAIAS. It can be recalled that Chrysler crashed a Jeep through the glass front of the Cobo convention center. What’s more, the automaker has introduced a simulated indoor snowstorm to launch the Aspen SUV. “This is a product-driven company,” Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli noted.

In the pickup truck segment, the closest rivals of Dodge Ram include the best-selling Ford F-Series and the equally competitive Toyota Tundra.
posted by Car Addict @ 6:45 AM  
Monday, January 14, 2008
Ford: The Pet Friendliest Automaker

No creature is as cute as our pets. We treat them like our very own family... a dependable aid... our best friend! If we are meticulous in choosing the best vehicle, pets do have their own preferences. Sounds odd but cool! Thanks to DogCatRadio.com, pets were given the chance to voice out what they need. And guess what automaker they chose? It’s the Ford Motor Company!

According to the Auto Channel, Ford has been named "Pet Friendliest Automaker" for 2008 by the renowned pet company DogCatRadio.com for its large variety of models that offer safety, comfort and easy entry access for pets. DogCat Radio is a nationwide radio station that accommodates exclusively to pet lovers across America.

"The vehicle that stood out hands down was Ford's Taurus X," says Adrian Martinez, CEO at DogCatRadio.com.

"We feel the Taurus X is the perfect family size vehicle - not too big, not too small. It handles well, has plenty of power, great visibility all around and offers four-legged passengers as well as their humans a comfortable ride. Of course, the foremost issues are always safety and value," added Martinez.

posted by Car Addict @ 4:47 PM  
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
U.S.' Top-Selling Vehicles

What’s the usual vehicle you often see in an average American garage? U.S. has been known to embrace the greatest automobiles in the planet and they have their own preference of vehicles. Let’s get to know them as we unveil the country’s top 20 best-selling vehicles of December 2007.

The results were compiled by Reuters as reported by auto manufacturers. Overall sales of the top 20 vehicles increased 2.8 percent or 160,955 units to 5,866,133.

Check out the complete list and rankings courtesy of the Auto Channel:

RANK VEHICLE - 2008/2007/'07 RANK/%Chng
1. F-Series - 690,589/796,039/1st/-13.2
2. Silverado-C/K Pickup - 618,257/636,069/2nd/-2.8
3. CAMRY- 473,108/448,445/3rd/+5.5
4. Accord * - 392,231/354,441/5th/+10.7
5. COROLLA - 371,390/387,388/4th/-4.1
6. Ram P/U - 358,295/364,177/6th/-1.6
7. Civic * - 331,095/316,638/7th/+4.6
8. Impala - 311,128/289,868/8th/+7.3
9. Altima - 284,762/232,457/10th/+22.5
10. CR-V * - 219,160/170,028/20th/+28.9
11. Sierra - 208,243/210,736/12th/-1.2
12. Cobalt - 200,620/211,449/9th/-5.1
13. TUNDRA - 196,555/124,508/33th/+57.9
14. PRIUS - 181,221/106,971/NA/+69.4
15. Caravan - 176,150/211,140/19th/-16.6
16. Focus - 173,213/177,006/16th/-2.1
17. Odyssey - 173,046/177,919/16th/-2.7
18. RAV4 - 172,752/152,047/15th/+13.6
19. Econoline/Club Wagon - 168,722/180,457/11th/-6.5
20. Escape - 165,596/157,395/22nd/+5.2


posted by Car Addict @ 4:34 PM  
Friday, January 4, 2008
Ford Stars In "I Am Legend"

Cars in movies are common these days. The Transformers film has marketed General Motors vehicles while Volkswagen used the Bourne Ultimatum. Recently, it was Ford's turn to have their vehicles starring in a Hollywood film.

Autoblog has the lowdown on Ford's placement of its car in the movie. And here are the scenes where you can find Ford vehicles driven by Will Smith playing the role of Dr. Neville.

  1. Ford gets major play in the opening minutes of the film, which have Neville racing through deserted city streets chasing a herd of deer in a red Shelby GT500 that Manhattan Ford no longer needed, seeing its clientele is either A) dead or B) hairless, bloodthirsty monsters. Dr. Neville seems like a pretty good driver, too, as he powerslides the Mustang through corners (with Sam the dog riding shotgun, unfettered), steering with one hand while lining up a fleeing deer in the sights of his M4 at what must be 70 mph. It's so much fun to watch (and listen to... especially when the blower whine cuts through the deafening cacophony of the engine) that you're more than happy to ignore the fact that the car looks like it was just detailed. Granted, Dr. Neville does have plenty of free time on his hands.
  2. Mustang fans will be disappointed to learn that after the film's opening scenes, the GT500 doesn't make another appearance. The "hero car" for the remainder of the film is an accessorized black Expedition, which appears to be one of a pair that Neville rides in during flashback sequences showing the evacuation/quarantining of Manhattan after virus hell has broken loose. It also gets used in a memorable scene that takes place following a highly traumatic encounter between Neville, his dog, and some monster baddies. We learn that off-road lights aren't popular with night-stalking creatures, and jumbo SUVs make for excellent bowling balls when they're driven into swarms of monsters. At least until the monsters get organized and flip said SUV onto its roof, putting our hero in peril.
  3. The final scene of the film involves Anna and Ethan, two other survivors who (very conveniently) find Dr. Neville and rescue him as he is about to become monster chow in the scene described above. In the final minutes of the movie, they pull up to a gigantic walled and gated survivors' colony in Vermont. They're carrying Dr. Neville's cure to the virus in an inexplicably immaculate Ford Escape that's lovingly photographed head-on as it arrives. My first thought after noting the product placement was, "Who knew that keeping your cars sparkling was such a critical part of humanity's fight for survival?" Then comes the closing voiceover and we fade to black.
  4. The most interesting bit of Ford placement is something only car geeks are likely to notice, and only if they pay very close attention to the background. It happens early in the picture. At the end of the GT500 deer hunting sequence, we're presented with a wide shot of Times Square, which is, as you know, covered in advertising. All the fanboys in the audience immediately noticed a billboard for a mythical Batman/Superman crossover movie. I was drawn to another billboard - a make-believe Ford advertisement for some future model. That future model, in this case, happened to be the Ford Interceptor Concept. Damn you, Ford, for waiting until the apocalypse happens to give it to us!

posted by Car Addict @ 6:22 PM  
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Toyota Tomorrow Project

Last year we are talking about Toyota becoming the world's largest automaker "next year". Well, that's today right, its 2008 and Toyota is closer to become the world's largest. And the automaker from the Orient has a plan which they call the Toyota Tomorrow Project.

According to Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe: "The various activities designed to achieve sustainability as we envision it have been entitled the Toyota Tomorrow Project. The Toyota Tomorrow Project incorporates the sentiment of making every possible effort as a company to achieve the prosperous global society of tomorrow. In the name of this vision, we hope to further enhance our activities."

The company is also looking to capitalize on the growing auto markets around the world. "We are currently very much aware that the automobile industry has reached a turning point in many senses. For example, we must respond to the expansion of markets in countries with energy resources and exhibiting significant economic growth, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as to environmental and energy issues on a global scale, including moves to strengthen regulations, such as the recently passed Corporate Average Fuel Economy bill in the United States and planned new CO2 regulations in Europe."

Watanabe also pointed out the importance of quality improvement saying: "When responding to these changes in circumstances, we recognize that it will be extremely important to make individual decisions concerning those things that must be changed and those that must be kept the same. I am always saying that "without improving quality, Toyota cannot expect to grow", and I believe that quantitative growth is the result of improved quality. For this, we understand well that corporate management must achieve growth that maintains a balance between corporate activities and environmental preservation, as well as between volume and quality."

posted by Car Addict @ 9:06 PM  
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