Long-term road tests: insufficient sample

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 →

Chrysler and the problem with fleet sales

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 →

Misleading headlines:
Prius fails emissions test

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 →

Another nail in the coffin of the manual transmission?

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 →