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Archives for the Category: More Car News

 Customize Your Own Miniature Ford 

Every little boy had a collection of toy cars and model automotives, and now Ford allows you to create your own. By customizing and changing the everyday truck model customers can now create their own perfect miniature Ford.

Available 3D-printed Ford models are 1/32nd (one thirty second) scale in plastic and models included in the launch: the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date. The Ford 3D Store is powered by TurboSquid.com, which provides automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. I have to say that the F-150 Raptor pickup truck looks pretty tough as a plastic model. When you click on the model within the Ford site, you are immediately taken to the Turbosquid site, which offers more views of the model and pricing. The F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149.

According to a news release the company sent me: “3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.” Since I visited the Ford 3D printing lab, in person, last year while on the 3DRV road trip, I can attest to the many ways that the company is using 3D printing and 3D materials science to advance car making. I wrote about their unique metal bending machine and some of their virtual reality work to help engineers move rapidly through product changes. You can read those posts here and here.

According to Juniper research, sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014. That’s a pretty big increase in new 3D printers soon to be on consumer desks, but one that pales in comparison to the number of people who might try out 3D printing via a service bureau, particularly if you make it easy to customize and click-to-print a model.

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Consumer Reports Readers rate Jeep Crossovers Least Reliable

Regardless of what type of vehicle we’re purchasing, we expect reliability, but some manufacturers always seem to do a better job when it comes to making vehicles that last. In the small crossovers category, Jeep models are the least reliable.

For 2014, Consumer Reports polled its readers to find out which small crossovers and SUVs proved the most reliable, and Autoblog compiled the top three and bottom three performers.

Here are the top 3 least reliable small crossover SUVs:

  • Jeep Patriot
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Ford Escape

Read more here.

When Does The Time Come To Get Rid Of Your Car

It is hard to get ride of things that matter to us. However, there comes a time where getting something new will help you more than repairing something old.

 

Of all the things we buy, maintain, use, and eventually scrap at the end of its lifecycle, nothing involves emotion like our relationship with our vehicles.

 

Perhaps it’s because of the cost and the sacrifices we make to own and operate them, or because they represent independence and mobility. But regardless, all this emotion can cloud our decision-making process when it comes to parting with our beloved daily driver. Many automakers invest as much time and energy in creating and developing an emotional bond between their products and their customers as they do in designing and building the vehicles themselves. If you doubt this, consider the amount carmakers spend on advertising each year compared to what they spend on R&D. While every auto manufacturer will supply an endless list of reasons why you should buy their particular product, few will help you decide when, and if, it’s time to leave your wheels by the curb and buy or lease something new. Here, then, is some advice to help make that decision easier.

 

Time and distance

Of all the auto executives I’ve met over almost four decades, only one ever admitted to the lifespan for which they design and build their vehicles to survive. While no auto company will admit it, the useful life for the majority of mainstream, non-luxury vehicles is about 10 years and/or 250,000 kilometers. While many cars, light trucks and SUVs may exceed that mark without exceptional repair or maintenance, a good percentage are relegated to the boneyard much sooner. A vehicle’s reliability takes a decidedly marked downturn once these milestones are passed. Does this mean we need to rush to the nearest dealership when the odometer clicks past that fateful mark? No, but it means it’s time create a succession plan. No matter the many variables when it comes to our relationships with cars, there’s one constant you can rely on: when you are forced to make a rushed decision on purchasing or leasing a vehicle (because your present chariot is dead in the driveway) it will cost you more than if you planned ahead.

 

Major repair estimate

Everyone dreads this call. They’ve had the family car towed into their repair provider because it failed to start/move/stop, and they get the estimate to overhaul/repair/replace something big. A good rule of thumb in these circumstances is to review your options of repairing or replacing your vehicle if a single-repair estimate approaches or exceeds its wholesale value. A quick internet tour of just about any used vehicle sales website can pinpoint this value. Just take the average asking price for the same vehicle in your area (with identical equipment and mileage) and subtract around $1,500 from a retailer’s asking price to come up with a wholesale value. Vehicles, unless it’s a collector classic, are a depreciating asset. Spending its entire value in one repair won’t double its worth.

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Will Lack of New Sales Incentives Affect Car Sales Overall?

What really sets one car apart from another? Are incentives, price, or specific features the most important factor for consumers? If it is the incentives, there is a possibility of them drying up for good.If so, will people still buy as often and what will happen with competition between companies? What will drive people’s decisions?

This has become a concern due to the fact that we Canadians may have become addicted to incentives and recently the amounts of incentives are decreasing. Last year alone the average amount of incentives was only 17.2% of the $29,312 purchase at $5,041.

That’s about as rich in real dollars as the average in 2013, when the incentive money represented 17.6 per cent of an average transaction price of $28,259 — or $4,973.58. Thus, for more than two years now, carmakers and their dealers have used $5,000 to lure Canadians to pull the trigger on a new ride.

The incentive money certainly lit a fire under buyers. In 2014, Canadians bought a record 1.85 million new cars and light trucks. That sales boom broke the previous all-time record set in 2013. As J.D. Power put it in a note to clients, “the doldrums of the recession years are clearly in the rear-view mirror, albeit perhaps closer than they appear.”

We’ll call that a cryptic caveat. That is, J.D. Power and auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants both see reasons to be optimistic about what lies ahead for 2015 – but it’s a cautious optimism.

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Supercar to be Built in Ontario

The new 2017 Ford GT super car, will be built in Markham, Not., in partnership with the privately-held Toronto based company Multimatic. Joe Henrich, president of the Americas for Ford Motor Co,. and former president of Ford Canada, told the press Thursday a the Canadian International Auto Show. There was some speculation that Ford would build the supercar with an outside supplier.

The two-door supercar, developed secretly before being revealed at the Detroit auto show in January, will feature lightweight carbon-fibre design, rear-wheel drive, a two-seat cockpit, upward swinging doors, and “a mid-mounted, next-generation twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 producing more than 600 horsepower,” Henrich, in animated voice, told a gathering of media on press day at the Toronto show.

A privately held company headquartered in Toronto, Multimatic designs and develops lightweight composite automotive system at manufacturing and engineering facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. The company engineered and built the Aston Martin CC100, contributed to GM’s Camaro Z/28, and has worked with Ford for about 30 years.

To read more about this amazing supercar, click here.

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Are our cars getting too technical?

Modern day vehicles just keep on getting smarter, in fact car manufacturers seem to chomping at the bit to out modernize the other with whose vehicle is more modern. Have you ever tried to change a clock on a car? The older ones it seems easier, you have two buttons, that’s it. However now that just doesn’t seem good enough.

An example of this is cars with a GPS. Some vehicles require the system to be re-programmed to set the time. The navigation system comes with a CD that contains details of the geographic area and territory as set by the selling dealer. The vehicle then links up with the appropriate satellite that provides the GPS guidance.

This disc must be initialized into your navigation system to set the correct time zone and recognized landmarks. Once the time zone is set, you must activate daylight savings to get the correct time displayed for your location.

Another example is scrolling through your radio tuner one frequency at a time. I’d much rather choose the station myself, not arrive at what the radio thinks is the next best frequency. There are now multiple ways of scanning the radio air waves, and if you do not set the parameters properly, you’ll find you car radio jumping all over the frequency bands.

 

To read more, click here.

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Why You Should Make the Switch to All-weather Tires

Every winter, Canadian drivers will be driving on all season tires that have the potential to freeze in the cold, slip on slush, and can take twice as long to stop on ice. This year Kal-Tire is trying to help Canadians learn the difference between all seasons and put some thought into using all-weather tires. The kind of tire that you can drive no matter the season.

All-weather tires are not the same as all-season tires. If you drive in any kind of winter weather, or even just below freezing climes, all-weather tires are superior to all-season.

All-weather tires carry the Transport Canada pictograph of mountain peaks containing several snowflakes. This logo indicates these tires pass the test as a “snow/winter” tire. The important difference is they can be left on the car all year round.

All-season tires do not carry this logo because they have not passed the winter test. All-season tires were originally meant to be able to cope with snow and ice, but their grip falls as fast as the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve when temperatures drop.

Read more here

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Buffett Buys in to Auto Industry

The billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, has made his debut in the auto industry by agreeing to buy America’s fifth largest auto retailer with plans to buy more dealerships over time.

The billionaire investor on Thursday agreed to buy America’s fifth-largest auto retailer and use it to launch a consolidation of the highly fragmented business.

His Berkshire Hathaway Inc. would acquire an about $8 billion retail business with operations from Florida to California, and use it to snap up family-owned dealerships elsewhere. The retailer, which will be named Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, can leverage Berkshire’s other companies to provide car sales, financing and related services.

he move comes as car-retailing is poised to undergo significant changes that provide greater efficiencies. Dealer profits have been rising as auto makers culled less financially stable businesses during last decade’s financial crisis. Customers also have embraced the Web to shop for cars, cutting dealer overhead costs.

“We’re certainly thinking big and would like to grow the business,” said Jeff Rachor, president of Phoenix-based Van Tuyl Group, which Berkshire agreed to acquire in an all-cash deal. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

Mr. Rachor, who will become Berkshire Hathaway Automotive’s chief executive, said the new company intends to pursue dealer acquisitions in the South and Midwest where Van Tuyl already has stores, relying on its new owner’s deep pockets. He estimated there are about 5,000 dealerships that have the scale that match its acquisition goals.

Van Tuyl, a closely held business that was founded in Kansas City nearly 60 years ago, owns dealerships that now sell about 240,000 vehicles a year. The company has been controlled by Larry Van Tuyl, the founder’s son who will become chairman of the new business.

Read the full story here.

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Brands that Dominate North American Car and Truck of the Year Short List

It may not come as a surprise that the these four popular car brands – VW, Ford, GM and Toyota – are dominating the North American Car and Truck of the Year short list.

Volkswagen Group of America has four vehicles in the running for North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

The 10 cars and 12 trucks on the 57-member jury’s short list also include three each from Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. The list of nominees will be reduced to three cars and three trucks in December, with a winner from each category revealed in January at the Detroit auto show.

No vehicles from the BMW, Cadillac or Kia brands made the short list, despite having multiple eligible nameplates. The awards recognize the best vehicles that are “new or substantially changed” in the past year, according to the program’s website.

GM swept the 2014 awards with the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Silverado. GM also won the 2013 car of the year award, for the Cadillac ATS, but it has no cars on this year’s short list.

Ford last won in 2011 when the Explorer received the truck of the year award. The redesign of Ford’s most important vehicle, the F-150 pickup, to use an aluminum body makes it a favorite to win truck of the year. The F-150 won each of the last three times it was redesigned — 2009, 2004 and 1996. But among its competitors this year are GM’s two new small pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

Read the full story here.

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The New and Improved McLaren

McLaren is a internationally known name for any who enjoys fast cars and modern design.  McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche have all come out with their hybrid-powered hypercars, vehicles that boast the bleeding edge of what is possible with today’s road-car technology. The next step, at least in the case of McLaren and Ferrari, is to push that bleeding edge just a hair further, with even faster, more focused versions of the P1 and LaFerrari. At the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, McLaren will be the first to give us a glimpse of that boundary-pushing machine.

The British automaker has announced that the P1 GTR Design Concept will make its global debut smack dab in the middle of Monterey’s legendary car week, with the veil lifting on Friday, August 15 at 6:00 PM EST.

McLaren doesn’t go into many specifics here, simply calling the P1 GTR a track-focused variant of the P1, which we kind of already knew. Based on what we can see from the lone teaser sketch, the new model will have a much more dramatic aerodynamic presence than the street model, with a massive rear wing and a huge rear diffuser. Sandwiched between those two items are a pair of exhaust tips that wouldn’t look out of place on the deck of your average battleship. Carbon fiber should feature prominently, with a few exposed sections of the stuff visible in the teaser image.  Although the concept car is yet to be released, I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us.

Read full article here 

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