Already I’m starting to see it: people around the Internet are criticizing 2008 models for low EPA ratings. What they’re forgetting is that the EPA has revised the methods used to calculate fuel economy ratings for 2008 model year vehicles to make the numbers more realistic.
For years the car magazines have conducted long-term road tests (links from Google). The manufacturer gives them a car to drive for 30,000 to 40,000 miles, and they write up both their impressions of what the car is like to drive and what broke. No problem with the first bit: you might learn more about a car when you drive… More →
It’s popular to blame Detroit’s decline on lazy, obstructive middle managers and lazy, greedy factory workers. In her latest entry at AutoObserver.com, Michelle Krebs tells GM what to do about the former, one of which she recently encountered lazing away the day at a high school sporting event: Get rid of them! Problem is, these groups aren’t the problem.
Many Detroit boosters will point out that Toyota has also led the industry in the number of recalls over the past year. Surely this will put an end to their reputation for reliability, right? In my opinion, it won’t. Instead, I believe that the significance of recalls has been greatly exaggerated. They are generally a minor inconvenience and they cost… More →
It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s here: in the first quarter of 2007 Toyota sold about 90,000 more cars worldwide than GM did. It’s not a happy event for me. A decade ago I spent a year and a half inside GM, observing how they incorporated the voice of the customer into product decisions (executive summary of… More →
Automotive News (subscription required) reports this week that nearly half of Chrysler brand vehicles (48.5 percent) were bought by fleets in recent months. This is more than any other brand (Pontiac is next with 44 percent.) Critics of Detroit often mention the high percentage of fleet sales, and Detroit executives often talk about reducing their dependence on these sales. What’s… More →
I just updated the list of most popular price comparisons for the first time since January 1st. As before the list is based on the past 90 days. As in the past, the rankings remained surprisingly stable even though nearly four months have passed (I will try to update it more frequently going forward. I do update the “Top 6” on… More →
On an increasingly large number of cars, bodyside moldings are becoming optional, or ceasing to be available at all. The reasons: clean bodysides are in fashion at the moment, and it saves a few dollars.
A couple days ago CNN reported that the Georgia emissions test was incompatible with the 2004 Toyota Prius. The hybrid’s engine cuts off when the car is not moving, resulting in a “fail” that Georgia automatically waives. Blogs ran the story with headlines like “Toyota Prius Fails Georgia Emissions Test.” This re-ignited the usual pro/anti debate on the Prius. The anti crowd read the headline… More →
The percentage of cars bought with a manual transmission has been declining for decades. The United States led the world in the shift to slushboxes, but the world has been following, and over half of all cars worldwide are now built with automatics. In the United States, most models aren’t even offered with a manual anymore, and even when a… More →