IIHS Bumps It Up: IIHS Crash Test Results For Midsize Family Cars

December 21, 2012

I wonder how the small clown cars are doing?

Crash tests continue to get ever tougher, and the new “small overlap” test from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety is giving engineers fits. The new procedure, launched in August, subjects just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to an impact at 40 miles per hour, and it’s proven to be a lot tougher to ace than the institute’s old 40-percent overlap test, which is also still in use. The test is designed to simulate impact with a pole, tree or an offset other vehicle – all common crash scenarios.

In its initial round of tests, the IIHS found just three of 11 midsize luxury and near-premium cars up to the job of earning acceptable or good ratings. In this latest go around, the IIHS subjected 18 midsize family sedans to the test, with two earning good ratings, 11 earning acceptable scores, three netting marginal and two suffering poor marks. Of those tested, the Honda Accord and Suzuki Kizashi earned top marks.

Interestingly enough, the IIHS has gone out of its way to highlight the poor performances by the Toyota automobiles it tested. The Camry and Prius V were both called out for poor performances in the small overlap, deeming them “the worst performers of the midsize group.” This, despite the fact that both models were new for 2012. Interestingly, both vehicles previously earned Top Safety Pick status, showing just how tough the new small overlap test really is.

IIHS also called out the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta for a poor performance, noting that its driver airbag module actually detached from the steering column during the crash test. The IIHS notes that the detachment occurred “relatively late in the crash and didn’t affect the dummy’s movement,” but it still marked down theVolkswagen as a result.

For a complete list of the vehicles tested and their scores, see the official press release and a video of the test below.

Bias naw not from the independent IIHS… Ya thunk? And how did GM cars do???

GM Losing Their Shirts On Sales

December 16, 2012

Looks like Government Motors, Obama Car… LOL. may need another bailout.

According to Automotive News, Alan Batey, GM’s U.S. sales chief, was shocked and surprised that Ford and Chrysler were offering so many high-dollar incentives and promotional deals to consumers. In fact, according to GM, the average amount of money spent was $500 more per pickup, with the highest amounts totalling as much as $1,500 and $1,700 more than Chevrolet or GMC.

Of course, Ford and Ram were spending big mostly because they are trying to sell down their 2012 models on the lots to make way for either an all-new 2013, like the Ram 1500, or significantly upgraded models, like the 2013 F-150.

In some ways, GM is suffering from the fact that it has a highly anticipated all-new model coming for 2014, so it needed to build up a hefty stockpile of 2013 models to accommodate the change-over downtime that each of the half-ton production plants will need to endure while manufacturing changes are made. (For those who keep track, that’s why the days’ supply of GM half-tons is higher than they would like, at 139 days.)

If there’s a silver lining to any of this, Batey notes, it’s that even though GM’s sales may be flat or a touch behind compared with last November (some dealers attribute it to fewer incentives), the automaker does have an average transaction price about $2,700 higher than last, all of which goes directly to GM’s bottom line.

It’s no surprise that Ram dealers want to get rid of the 2012 models quickly to make way for the coming all-new Ram 1500, but the big test will come when we see how well the market responds when the full lineup is available. Likewise, GM dealers will need to be very careful how they prepare themselves when the all-new Silverado and Sierra 1500s finally roll off the plant lines.

Dealerships and truck makers will have to be very careful how much money they’re willing to put on the hood of a new truck just to make a sale. Toyota found out how punishing that game can be, and we’re guessing GM will have to be very good about walking the tightrope with its new truck as well.

Just over 1/2 of 1% of anything is a paltry number

November 27, 2012

… unless you are a fact-free Enviro-Mental – in which case it is cause to revel.

These (electric/hybrid) vehicles were 0.65 percent of total North American sales, again a best-ever performance.

If that’s a record – more than a decade and about $6.5 billion-in-government-subsidies-just-since-2008 into the experiment – it may be time to end the experiment.

Does lead Enviro-Mental President Barack Obama think so?  Not so much.

Obama’s Goal: One Million Electric Vehicles By 2015

Some car manufacturers, however, are reaching this eminently logical conclusion.

Read the rest of this entry »

2013 Was Supposed to Be EV year

September 24, 2012

Other than a bigger battery and bigger car what could you want…. For your Crushable, clown car.

2012 was supposed to be the year the all-electric version of the Toyota/Scion iQ made a splash. Instead, it appears that while it remains technically true that the iQ EV will launch this year, it will be a much, much smaller splash than previously anticipated. According to Reuters, the iQ will have an “extremely limited release.”

That’s a kind way to say that the 100 iQ EVs that Reuters says Toyota will now sell in the U.S. and Japan is a much smaller figure than was anticipated. The writing has been on the wall for a while. All the way back in 2009, Toyota hinted that the EV, which can only go 50 miles on a charge, might be destined for car-sharing services, and in 2011, a Toyota spokesperson confirmed the iQ EV would be a “low-volume vehicle.”

Now, the official Toyota line (see below) is that

From the crestfallen Reuters….:

Toyota has seen that many customers are not yet willing to compromise on range, and they don’t like the time needed to re-charge the batteries. Moreover, the infrastructure for recharging has not become as widespread as originally anticipated.

So, even though Toyota is ready with the iQ EV, we believe a plug-in hybrid solution offers a better way than pure electric for most customer needs in the short- to medium-term, and that is where we will concentrate our commercial activities.

Toyota vice chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada tells Reuters, “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.”

Sales have been small for the electric semi-chokes…

2012 Toyota Prius V Hybrid put to the TFLcar Tuba Test & Review

September 18, 2012

The 2012 Toyota Prius V hybrid is largest and most roomy car in the Prius family of hybrid vehicles. But just how roomy is the Prius V? You probably know that it will easily swallow 5 people and their stuff. You may also know that it gets over 40 MPG on both the city and the highway. But you may not know that it has two sun roofs and that the back seats recline move back and forth. What you certainly don’t know is if it is big enough to fit three stunt tuba players and their massive instruments. To find out just click play to watch this first ever TFLcar Tuba Test and Review.

It’s about all a Prius is good foor.


Insight: GM’s Volt – The Ugly Math Of Low Sales, High Costs

September 10, 2012

General Motors Co sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August — but that probably isn’t a good thing for the automaker’s bottom line.

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

And while the loss per vehicle will shrink as more are built and sold, GM is still years away from making money on the Volt, which will soon face new competitors from Ford, Honda and others.

GM’s basic problem is that “the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced,” said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group.

And in a sign that there may be a wider market problem, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi have been struggling to sell their electric and hybrid vehicles, though Toyota’s Prius range has been in increasing demand.

GM’s quandary is how to increase sales volume so that it can spread its estimated $1.2-billion investment in the Volt over more vehicles while reducing manufacturing and component costs – which will be difficult to bring down until sales increase.

Tehe doom of the quest to sell something people don’t want to buy … Liberalism. when was the last time in the last months, you drove down to the Chevy dealer to look at a Chevy Volt? Ah that’s the problem.

Joe Gives It Another GO

August 15, 2012

Flops again.

Not only did the correction falls apart like a dove at a dove shoot, the next takes about as long to dissect.

Romney took the shot …

You really can’t make this stuff up. This time Biden apparently had trouble remembering what century we’re living in.

Joe Biden Speaking In Blacksburg, Virginia, today: ‘Folks, Where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles?

Toyota leads the world, not GM … Look it up. Toyota had to pause, because of the tsunami …

Except in Joey’s mind’s world.

It’s not written Joey, the hi9ghest corporate tax on planet earth sort of stops it. According to GM’s current CEO, about 70% of GM production is done offshore. So that rosy tale, splashes down for the count.

The Romney campaign responded with …

Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, responds: “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will ensure America leads the world in the 21st century by strengthening middle-class families and creating jobs. President Obama and Vice President Biden have taken our nation backward with failed policies that have resulted in higher unemployment, more debt, and a weaker economy. A campaign based on rage and divisiveness can’t hide the president’s failed record.”

Well said.

Splash two …


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