Toyota's 'game plan' wins the battle but loses the war
After two more years and 20 more deaths linked to alleged unintended-acceleration issues, Toyota changed its tune and set the course for massive floor-mat-related recalls. Then it rolled out several more recalls for everything from sticky accelerators to brake issues. In fact, it seems like Toyota has done little over the last six months but issue recalls (and, let's not forget, grovel to the public).
So how did those cost savings turn out?
Chrysler's much-anticipated Pentastar V6 goes into production.
The situation has been so bad for so long that it's become fodder for punch lines. In his piece on J.D. Power and Associates' dependability study for Exhaust Notes yesterday, Lawrence Ulrich wrote:
"And some things never change: Not one Chrysler brand scored better than average in dependability."That's been the pattern for a while; for the last several years, Chrysler has remained unloved by pretty much anyone ranking quality, desirability or safety.
So what's the beacon of hope for this struggling brand?
AutoWeek looks to reduce impact -- environmental, that is -- with a virtual car show.
Our friends over at AutoWeek (who, you no doubt have noticed, contribute regularly to Exhaust Notes) have come up with a solution: a virtual car show.
Retail gas prices highest since 2008.
The current price, based on national average? $2.799 per gallon; this marks a jump of almost 19 cents per gallon in the last month, and a year-over-year increase of 87 cents.
By Greg Migliore
McLaren Automotive laid out its ambitious plans to become a competitive player in the high-performance car market on Thursday and wants to build up to 4,000 top-shelf sports car annually by the middle of the decade.
The company held a grand opening at its base in Woking, England, to celebrate the progress of the MP4-12C as it moves toward production. The estimated 592-hp supercar is expected to be exceptionally light and aerodynamic as the company takes aim at the best of Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Additionally, McLaren broke ground this month on a new production center in England that will be the centerpiece of its growing road-car business. The $61 million development will measure more than 344,000 square feet and create up to 300 new jobs. Ultimately, it will employ up to 800 people when production ramps up.
"We have long held the dream of building a range of innovative McLaren sports cars," chairman Ron Dennis said. "Sports cars that take the raw elements of Formula One principles, processes and performance and forge them into a unique package that adds the requirements of quality, efficiency, comfort and reliability--traditionally opposing goals that I know we can deliver."
Car brands vie for coveted spots in J.D. Power and Associates annual rankings.
American carmakers, especially General Motors and Ford, complain that their cars are often as reliable as anything from Japan and that the real problem is simply that consumers don’t believe them. Too many people assume these are still the companies that gave us rotten-to-the-core rust buckets like the Ford Pinto in the '70s and the Chevy Citation of the '80s.
The ongoing improvement of Ford and GM was one highlight of the J.D. Power and Associates' 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study, one of the industry’s most closely watched measures of car quality. This year's biggest surprise: For the first time in a decade, the industry’s most reliable car was from Detroit: The Cadillac DTS luxury sedan. In fact, seven of the 10 most reliable vehicles in the study were built by Ford and General Motors.
What I like about the study is that it measures problems in three-year-old cars, so it delivers a loud and clear picture of what owners really think after their car has logged some serious mileage. This year’s study surveyed more than 52,000 owners of model-year 2007 vehicles, who checked off 198 different problem areas that cover every aspect of the vehicle. Important to note is that survey-takers are not simply asked about what breaks, but also things that just bug them about their car, from a loud cabin to poor ergonomics.
5 reasons Hyundai customers keep coming back.
Few words describe Hyundai better than economical, and buyers have come to expect a quality car at a ridiculously good price. Every vehicle in the company’s lineup starts at less than $35,000, and that’s a fact customers respond to. Even the current top-of-the-line Genesis sedan offers buyers BMW-level luxury for Honda Accord-level prices.
According to new research, what used to be an insult could now be the way to avoid traffic fatalities.
According to an interesting piece in The New York Times Freakonomics blog (reposted to Wheels, naturally), while women may get into slightly more accidents per mile driven than a man, a man's accident is far more likely to be fatal.
Why is that?
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Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5