California residents to get less expensive car facts
What a vehicle 'problem' should mean -- and what it shouldn't.
Toyota chief Akio Toyoda may want to pack his fire-retardant driving shoes for this week's congressional hearing, considering that participating officials have pledged to “hold Toyota’s feet to the fire.” In between bouts of grandstanding, the politicos will also subject the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to scrutiny -- which they should. There are recurring inconsistencies in the way consumer complaints to NHTSA turn into actual investigations; there's a similar lack of rhyme or reason to the pace of investigations, which could be wrapped up in 10 days or drag on without closure for several years.
This raises important questions about why some cars are investigated or recalled after just a handful of customer issues, which others are not, despite thousands of consumer complaints. Based on my own reading of complaints to NHTSA, I’ve long suspected that what bothers some people is simply the way their car works. Without minimizing genuine defects, I’ve met plenty of drivers who simply don’t know enough about cars to offer objective criticism of their functions.
Damaging revelations about Toyota's attempt to save costs with limited recall.
Well, this isn't going to help Toyota's reputation.
According to documents requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (as part of the government's investigation into the myriad Toyota safety issues), Yoshimi Inaba, Toyota's head of U.S. operations, crowed to the company's Washington staff that Toyota had saved about $100 million through its work with the government to limit regulatory action in the face of unintended-acceleration issues. The statistic was part of an internal presentation by Inaba during a July 6 meeting in Washington and was listed under a subheading called "Wins for Toyota."
The documents were recently obtained by the Detroit Free Press.
New Optima to be unveiled in New York
Sure, the Korean automaker is making a (new) name for itself with capable and dependable models like the Soul and the Borrego -- all with a bang-for-the-buck factor, considering their low price points.
Which is not, of course, to say that you're going to have your head turned by a Kia rolling down your street.
But could that change? Based solely on the picture above (and, yes, that's a Kia), perhaps: That image is the concept version of an all-new, redesigned Optima that, it has just been announced, will make its debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show, in April.
Will the production model resemble the sleek, mean, low-slung monster that looks like a powerhouse Audi/Beemer mash-up? Few models bound for showrooms closely mirror their concept counterparts, so probably not. But considering the side-by-side view of the current Optima against its slick rendering, we are, yes, excited to see exactly how the transformation plays out.
By Chrissie Thompson, Automotive News
General Motors will create a European arm for its Cadillac luxury brand after distributor Kroymans Corp. declared bankruptcy last year.
Cadillac Europe will import, market and distribute Cadillacs through a sales and service network in “key European markets,” GM said on Monday in a statement. The company said it would give details later.
Kroymans, a Dutch dealership group, went bankrupt in March. But some Cadillacs, such as the CTS and the CTS-V sedans, have remained on sale in Europe since then, Cadillac spokesman Nick Twork said in an e-mail.
Police to charge Pennsylvania man for, well, being an idiot
Also: He was in only his underwear.
This was no joyride, though, but rather the result of a domestic dispute that found the police at the receiving end of a complaint about a man riding on the hood of a car, clad only in his skivvies, screaming at the woman driving -- who happened to be his 28-year-old girlfriend. Not to mention the fact that the area was recently hit by some serious snow and the temperatures at the time of the dispute were in the teens.
Unsurprisingly, drug paraphernalia was found at the scene.
Secretnewcars captures the Cygnet on the streets of London
However, when you slap an Aston Martin badge on the thing, then bump up its price tag to Mercedes-Benz C-Class levels, things get a little interesting. And by "interesting" we mean, "Seriously? What in the hell are these people thinking?"
Not to mention the fact that only current Aston owners will have the, ahem, privilege of plunking down the $40,000 to $50,000 this repurposed Toyota will cost. All others who have some weird need for a golf-cart-sized Aston that is an Aston in name only will have to go out and purchase an original DBS or V8 Vantage for the pleasure.
Check out another shot of the Aston Martin Cygnet out and about after the jump.
Automotive News' special section is a fascinating feat of reporting.
The brand, which had been launched nationally 25 years earlier, in 1985, was part of the massive GM restructuring that saw Pontiac likewise shuttered, as well as the eventual sales (details of which are still being worked out) of the Saab and Hummer divisions.
The result is a far-reaching look at what happens when an automotive brand is shuttered.
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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