Archives for the Category: More Car News

Tesla Specializes In Seating In- House

With the competition tight in the automotive industry, each company trying to get ahead of one another, sometimes it is easier to manufacture certain products inside the company rather than importing it in. The latest: the Model X’s second-row seats.

In August, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told investors it was difficult to make the seats, which he described as a “sculptural work of art, but a very tricky thing to get right.” They were so challenging that they led him to reduce the electric-car maker’s delivery forecast that month to as few as 50,000 from 55,000, which set off a wave of skepticism over his ambitious plans.

“We have substantially in-sourced the seats at this point,” Musk said Tuesday during the third-quarter earnings call with analysts. “Tesla is producing its own seats.”

Musk has long been a fan of doing things on his own as much as possible, such as building the world’s largest battery factory outside of Reno, Nevada, to streamline production and reduce costs to bring a more-affordable car — the Model 3 — to market. When an analyst asked Musk about the enormous costs of the automotive industry, Musk said that Tesla is becoming more capital-efficient.

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Safety Upgrades You Can Make To Your Old Cars

Before now if your car was older than some of the new safety technologies you were out of luck. However now you don’t have to be left out of the technological revolution. Audiovox makes a rearview camera that can be added on.

The rearview camera is one of the most popular of a growing list of add-on devices and services that promise to bring modern features to aging jalopies.

“Lane departure and collision warning, pedestrian warnings, high-beam control and traffic sign recognition — all of those can be retrofitted in a customer’s car,” said Elad Serfaty, a vice president at Mobileye, whose technology is built into a variety of vehicles from BMW, Volvo and other carmakers that offer collision detection and prevention.

A warning and monitoring system that can be added to older vehicles, like the Mobileye 660, costs roughly $1,000 including a professional installation, Mr. Serfaty said, but he pointed out that the benefits could outweigh the costs. A Highway Loss Data Institute study of Honda Accords and Crosstours equipped with lane departure and forward collision warnings, for example, found a 14 percent reduction in damage claims compared with models without the systems.

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Big Discounts On The Horizon From Car Companies

When is the best time to purchase car, and during what season do car companies have better deals. Well thanks to further insight it seems, as though right now might be the best time if you need to or want to buy a new car.

We are now approaching the end of the dog days of summer and dealerships are customarily quiet. Buyers generally are not overly interested in a new ride during vacation time.

This makes for a buying opportunity.

Take Kia. The 2015 Soul qualifies for an extra $1,000 in bonus cash as part of Kia’s end of summer “Best-in-Class” 12-day sale. That brings the combined factory and dealer discounts to about $3,000 on a $22,195 wagon-like runabout.

Ford, of course, wind down summer with its annual Employee Pricing extravaganza. The $2,551 discount on the Fusion sedan can be combined with 1.49 per cent financing for up to 60 months. Insiders suggest the savvy shopper will be able to squeeze out even more in hard negotiations.

Also consider models like the Hyundai Elantra, which is coming to the end of its current body style (Hyundai has released teaser illustrations of the next-generation Elantra). To keep interest healthy, Hyundai has slapped a $4,000 spiff on a $25,549 Elantra. And you should get at least another $1,000 in a negotiated dealer discount. That comes to at least a 20 per cent total discount on this Elantra.

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State Bird, State Flower, State Car?

When traveling across the United States you will see many different types of cars, seeing as each state tends to like certain types.

If you were to take a list of the most popular cars in each state in the U.S., it’d be a pretty monotonous list. A bunch of Ford F-150s, some Chevy Silverado and Ram pickups, the odd Honda Accord or Toyota Camry here or there.

But we were curious: What car was the most distinctive in each state? What model of car did, say, California buy far more often than any other state in the Union? We turned to auto analyst Tom Libby of IHS Automotive to help us crunch the numbers. First, Libby pulled data about the make and model of every car sold in the U.S., and calculated the popularity of each by percentage using registration data. Then, he did the same at the state level, and compared each state to the national average.

“I compared the share for each model in, for instance, Alabama with the share of the same of model in the United States and came up with a ratio,” says Libby. “Then I basically ranked those ratios within each state. It’s an interesting methodology—you’re basically able to compare the individual demand of a model in a state with the individual demand at the national level, and see what ways is each state unique from the nation.”

Some states seem to conform to stereotypes—Texas loves the hulking Cadillac Escalade EXT, NPR-loving New England enjoys their Volvos, and in the rough country of North Dakota they love the GMC Yukon Denali XL. But there are surprises: Georgia, for instance, seems to have a thing for Nissan Leaf. “Georgia had very, very strong incentives to buy electric vehicles,” says Libby, referencing the fact that until very recently, the Peach State offered $5,000 in state tax credits (in addition to $7,500 in federal tax credits) to anyone who bought an electric vehicle. In other words, everyone who bought a Nissan Leaf in Georgia saved themselves a cool $12,500.

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 What Stands In The Way With Cars Being Able To Drive Themselves

The autonomous car is a dream for all car companies to sell, however they may need to wait a little longer to be able to put this car on the market as they fix these few bugs.

As more than 800 engineers, software developers, transportation experts and other technical folks met last week in this Detroit suburb to discuss the risks and benefits of autonomous and connected vehicles, they were raising more questions than finding answers.

Here are six unsolved challenges that stand between the technologies’ potential and reality:

  1. Cybersecurity and privacy protection. Maybe this can’t be solved until there are thousands of pilot vehicles on our roads, but last week Wired magazine writer Andy Greenberg wrote about two cybersecurity experts who accessed a newer Jeep Cherokee’s computer brain through its Uconnect infotainment system and rewrote the firmware to plant their malicious code. The result: hip-hop began blasting through the stereo system, the AC turned to maximum force. Then the hacker’s code killed the transmission and brakes. We know autonomous cars will have even more software coding. One major attack and consumer confidence in the technology could be severely damaged.
  1. How much will these vehicles cost? Established automakers are introducing progressively more advanced autonomous features in their most expensive models. Ride-hailing or other fleet-based services such as Uber or Lyft will try to deliver their service at a lower price than competing options.

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 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, 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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