The Car Geek

The Car Geek

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Come to a bad time

The 2009 model year version of the Ram looks like a Charger. And that makes the Ram look more aggressive. The body and the rear of the 2009 Ram is unchanged. But since production of the 2009 Ram is still far off, it is possible that there will also be changes made to the rear and body of the Dodge Ram. With General Motors and Toyota both having new full-size pickups in showrooms, Ford is understandably keen to push up the development cycle of its pivotal Ford F-150, likely due as a 2009 model.

The ford and Chrysler came to sudden fall and at horrible time as they get ready to bring their new updated pickups to the market, the full-sized pickup segment. At 1.65 billion the segment is expected to fall about 500,000 units this year to an all-time-low.

The Ford’s best-selling vehicle is the Ford F-Series and the Dodge Ram is no less for Chrysler. Before the market gets any worse both companies were counting heavily on the two updated models but are now scrambling to get rid of their 2008 inventories. With the $4 a gallon average aside, even devoted large-pickup can’t afford to buy a new model since the trade-in values are decreasing significantly as demand weakens. For the past three months sales in the pickup segment have been falling. Ford’s F-Series, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. lost its number one spot last month to the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Camry.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally says, “The most important thing is to just bring down the production but also have a very successful launch,” “Later on, we’ll figure out what is the right (production) footprint for the long term.”

Saturday, May 31, 2008

BMW M1 Hommage concept

CAR has the new issue to reveal, The BMW is preparing the M1 Hommage concept for production." We have the know-how, we have the right engine, we even have the infrastructure to build such a car,’ vows BMW board member Herbert Diess. The supercar was shot exclusively for CAR, and following interviews with BMW executives, the July issue reveals key project details including:

  • • The timetable for production
  • • The three-strong powertrain line-up
  • • The lightweight body construction
  • • The plan for ‘heron-wing’ doors, and a driver-focused, multi-layered interior
  • • And why BMW’s new supercar won’t be called M1

The head of design Adrian van Hooydonk told the CAR that the car was nothing more than a celebration of BMW design and had no plans of making production version, when the BMW released the M1 Hommage concept at the Concorso d'Eleganza 2008 di Villa d'Este. The car was revealed with no engine, no interior, and it is simply had working headlight and a steering.

According to CAR, BMW is working on the production model. “We have the know-how, we have the right engine, we even have the infrastructure to build such a car,” said BMW board member Herbert Diess.

The July issue of CAR reveals the timetable for production, and why the car won't be called the M1 and the powertrain line-up. . Supposedly the lightweight body construction with ‘heron-wing’ doors will be driver focused with a multi-layered interior. It is expected to go head-to-head with the Audi R8.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Defective pumps overcharge customers as fuel prices soar

Every one of us could be in store for a sharp increase in vehicle costs as auto manufacturers are oblige to transact with adverse exchange rates, increasing raw material rate and new fuel-economy and productions rules. These issues are growing cost pressures on car producers and it shows the trouble will expected be passed on to purchasers.

As fuel rates persist to skyrocket to record highs, many consumers are ever more keeping cautious of just how much they are paying at the loading station or pump. However, latest information in the U.S. asserts defective fuel pumps can be partially responsible for the higher cost of fuel and customers are being overpriced with no further notice.

This trouble is approximately happens to some rural places where older loading stations have just kept on using their original and old pump. The stations’ minor sales amount and low income limits mean improving or changing the pumps with latest products that can hold the higher prices is almost not possible. A new pumps price is between $10,000 and $15,000 apiece, while upgrading cost over $650 for every pump.

A momentary answer for this problem has done, called ‘half pricing’, is permissible in some places. The procedures engage posting the price of half a gallon of fuel, and after that, doubling-up the sum shown on the pump after loading.

This isn’t the first time the crisis has take place, on the other hand. In 2005, the jump past $3 per gallon led a lot of stations to improve or change their pumps with meters capable of $3.999. The upgrade was quite limited, and now lots of of those holders are experiencing very similar circumstances again and again.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ford - A cheerful situation for a turnaround

As several cheering marks begin to become known from Ford Motor's turnaround tactics, a lot of the credit is probably go to Mark Fields (president of Ford Motor Co.) Also known as the “The Leading Man”.

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Ford Motors proclaimed $100 million earnings in the quarter, although sales lagged General Motors and Toyota. I think Ford as a totally underrated corporation that at last is manufacturing first-rate vehicles, in many places around the globe, moreover, I don't believe expensive gasoline costs will have greatly outcome on the turnaround.

Ford's continuing Way Forward improvement preparation - with full-year profitably assurance for coming 2009 - has become face-to-face into a trade and industry slump that has effect sales all over the industry.

Soaring gas prices have caused purchasers to insist many small cars, which are worse profitable in all compare to the large SUV’s that have influenced Ford's incomes for long time. Its upcoming brand-new small car model, Fiesta, won't arrive to public in the USA until 2010.

If the profitable quarter keeps on going, Ford Motor for this time is promoting for merely 14 times next year's profits. With incomes about to $40 billion in the quarter, a business person who is smart and high-personality definitely might cut the fat as of that as well as reverse a profit, and that is precisely what turnaround expert CEO Alan Mulally is doing.

I'm pleased that citizens and the stock market at last understand that Ford is creating a brilliant product. Ford has been for many years but in reality they seem to have gotten it as one now. Cars are lastly receiving as much consideration as trucks and it confirms.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Honda Civic GX: Part Of 'Greenest Vehicles Of 2008' List For The Fifth Straight Year

Honda’s continuing effort in enhancing environmental-friendly and fuel efficient vehicles had paid off by earning top honors from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) as the "greenest vehicles of 2008". This award recognizes the company’s dedication in the application of efficient alternative fuel technologies. According to the Auto Channel, the Civic GX natural gas vehicle took the crown of being one of the greenest vehicles with a rising thermostat for the fifth straight year.

The 11th annual ACEEE's "Green Book(R) Online" results were announced by the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. a few days ago. The Civic GX topped the list along with the gasoline Civic, Fit and Civic Hybrid. In addition to this, this is the eighth consecutive year that a Honda car achieved the top ranking and the seventh successive year that Honda vehicles seized a minimum of four spots in the top 12.

"The ACEEE awards speak to the commitment Honda has made to lead the industry in lowering emissions, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing dependence on oil. Honda continues to set the standard for socially and environmentally-responsible automotive products and our commitment to alternative fuels will further expand with the zero emissions FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle coming to market this summer," says John Mendel, the executive vice president of American Honda.

The company holds a long and glorious history of environmental leadership that includes the unveiling of the America's first hybrid, the Honda Insight.

The first vehicles to meet stricter emissions standards, includes:

  • The first gasoline Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV), the 1996 Honda Civic.
  • The first gasoline Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle (ULEV), the 1998 Honda Accord.
  • The first gasoline Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), the 2000 Honda Accord.
  • The first Advanced Technology Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), the 2001 Civic GX natural gas vehicle.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Museum Of Modern Arts To Feature Mercedes-Benz Bionic Car

I never knew some automakers can make great philosophers too. Not until, I came across Daimler Chrysler’s philosophy. As we all know, Daimler Chrysler is the leading automobile manufacturer in terms of technological advancements. And it lives by these philosophies: Thinking the unthinkable. Looking beyond the horizon. Leaving familiar paths and giving new ideas a chance.

Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz Technology Center’s commitment to safety, comfort and most importantly to environmental compatibility complemented by its engineer’s creative minds paved the way for the Mercedes-Benz bionic car -- a concept vehicle inspired by nature but utilizes the diesel engine technology for practical use. According to, this bionic car features qualities similar to a fish -- with streamlined contours and outstanding aerodynamics. Biologists, bionics scientists and automotive researchers took the challenge of finding the ideal creature that suits their concept of a car transformed from nature to technology. Finally, they found all the qualities they’ve been looking for in Ostracion Cubicus better known as the boxfish -- agile and streamlined at first sight but is a good swimmer.

By finding homes in the coral reefs, lagoons and seaweeds of the tropical seas, the boxfish has developed good maneuverability -- great characteristics that is common with Daimler Chrysler’s ideal car.

The Mercedes-Benz bionic car, a four-seater compact car with two doors, windscreen, glass roof and a tailgate, 4.24 meters long, 1.82 meters wide and 1.59 meters high. It also incorporates cameras as substitute for exterior mirrors and rear wheels covered with sheets of plastic flush-fitted door handles.

The bionic car is equipped with a 103 kW per 140 horsepower direct-injection diesel engine, consumes 4.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers and has a top speed of 190 kilometers per hour. Hopefully, it comes with high-quality oil filters as well though it promises about 80 percent lower nitrogen oxide emissions using its selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

Starting on February 24 up to May 12, this bionic car from Mercedes-Benz will be displayed in the “Design and Elastic Mind” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, which honors and recognizes the powerful innovations and latest developments in science, research and design.

Indeed, by exploring the beauty of one's philosophy, anyone can turn simple things into amazing achievements.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Teens Unite To Prevent Car Crashes

Car crashes is among the primary cause of several fatalities for teen drivers in the past years. It’s sad to know that they pay a major price for being too neglectful and aggressive behind the wheel whereas control arms won’t even save their precious lives. As a result, dedicated teenagers in the U.S., students from 25 different schools, came together and compete to generate a significant and convincing safe driving communication campaigns. According to the Auto Channel, the program is intended to encourage their friends and classmates of the hazards of perilous behavior while driving.

Project Ignition sponsored by State Farm(R) and organized by the National Youth Leadership Council(R), announced the ten finalist schools for this year. Here are the finalists in the fourth year of the program:

  • Ada High School - Ada, Okla.
  • Bergen County Technical School - Paramus, N.J.
  • Bishop McNamara High School - Forestville, Md.
  • Harry D. Jacobs High School - Algonquin, Ill.
  • Howenstine High Magnet School - Tucson, Ariz.
  • Louisburg High School - Louisburg, Kan.
  • Medina Valley High School - Castroville, Texas
  • Nease High School - Ponte Vedra, Fla.
  • Owen Valley High School - Spencer, Ind.
  • Upper Arlington High School - Columbus, Ohio

"Project Ignition embodies the true meaning of service-learning and how teens can have a direct impact not only on the lives of their peers, but also on the community. Teen driving behavior and habits are a major factor in teen driving accidents. Project Ignition uses service-learning as a tool for young people to educate themselves and their neighbors on the risks they face every time they get behind the wheel," says Dr. James Kielsmeier, the president of NYLC.

Nearly 7,000 teens, ranging from 16 to 20 years old, were involved in deadly car accidents in the United States last year. The death rate for drivers’ age 16 to 19 years, based on miles driven, is four times that of drivers' aged 25 to 69 years according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Today's young people are faced with hazards both inside and outside the vehicle. Through service-learning, the Project Ignition program empowers teens to influence their peers and make a positive impact on driving behaviors and attitudes. State Farm's goal is to make the roads safer for all drivers and help save lives," says Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President of Community Relations for State Farm.


Monday, February 11, 2008

GEMA Plant, Noted For Operational Excellence By Shingo

Focus. Practice. Commitment to outstanding results. These highly-regarded “virtues” in business processes make a Shingo Awardee - considered as the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing.”

Based from a report in Autochannel, on the 20th Annual Shingo prize for Operational Excellence Conference in Dallas, Texas scheduled this coming March 31 to April 3, the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan that holds facilities in producing fuel-efficient engines for Chrysler will be receiving the 2008 Shingo Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence. Last year, it also bagged the same award making it as the sole automotive manufacturer to receive such recognition.

According to Vice President for Chrysler Limited Liability Company (LLC) Manufacturing and also a member of the GEMA Board of Directors, Richard Chow-Wah, it is a pleasure to be receiving such recognition which he considers a confirmation that they accomplished their mission of setting a revolutionary pace in engine manufacturing by maximizing manpower, processes, technologies and systems. Meanwhile, Global Engine Manufaturing Alliance LLC President Bruce Coventry dedicates the success to the committed and hardworking members of the GEMA team. According to him, the 330 GEMA employees including the 265 partner employees who keep the facility going just the way an Acura Legend tie rod enables your Acura car wheels to turn deserve the applaud and the honor.

He pointed out, “At the same time, in the spirit of continuous improvement we recognize there are many opportunities in our processes. We understand that manufacturing excellence is a never-ending journey, not a final destination.”

GEMA is known as a producer of 1.8-, 2.0-, and 2.4-liter engines used for Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible, Dodge Caliber, Avenger and other vehicles using what are considered as the “World Engines,” these units developed by the joint efforts of Chrysler, Hyundai Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

According to, the GEMA plant in Michigan, which has been operating for three years now, was also a recipient of the Top Plant Award given by the Plant Engineering Magazine in 2007 while in 2006, it was given the Environmental Achievement Award from the Environmental Management Association.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Johnson Controls Open Li-ion Plant

The call for green vehicles is steadily increasing. Automakers are also responding to this call by manufacturing vehicles which use very little petroleum fuel or none at all. Toyota manufactured the Prius, a gas-electric hybrid which means that it is powered by a small internal combustion engine and sometimes supported by an electric motor which draws power from a nickel-metal hydride battery.

These batteries are being used because, well, it’s the only choice. But it will soon be phased out as lithium-ion batteries are starting to crop up. Li-ion batteries are favored by many over Ni-MH batteries as it weighs considerably less than the latter and stores more power. The only catch is that battery developers have not yet come up with a very good solution to make Li-ion batteries safe for automotive application.

That problem will soon be over though as Johnson Controls announced that they have opened the first Li-ion battery manufacturing facility in the world. That could only mean that the company has found a way to manufacture Li-ion batteries safe for vehicles. The Auto Channel reported that the said assembly facility will be manufacturing battery packs for "hybrid, plug-in, fuel cell and electric vehicles". I am sure that these battery packs will be as safe and reliable as Acura coil springs.

Mary Ann Wright, vice president and general manager for hybrid battery business for Johnson Controls, said: "This manufacturing facility demonstrates our ongoing commitment to hybrid technology. We are the first company to produce the batteries for the automotive industry and have recently announced a number of production and development contracts. We are confident that we will continue to be a global leader in the development and manufacture of advanced energy solutions for automotive batteries that make cars more energy efficient."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Car Shoppers Still Not Convinced With Diesel

A study done by Kelley Blue Book’s marketing research team was recently concluded and the results showed something quite interesting. A small number of new vehicle shoppers have disclosed that they still are not convinced with diesel being a good source of fuel with only 6% believing in diesel.

The study continued to disclose these facts:

  • 40% of the respondents still go for hybrids
  • 20% are for hydrogen fuel cells
  • 17% would rather have flexible fuel systems

Consumers interested in hybrid vehicles still continue to bloom and this simply means that the need for BMW parts made specifically for hybrids would also go higher. Also, consumers who took part of the KBB study said that they still look at diesel engines as the dirty and noisy ones. It looks like no matter how good the new diesel engines are marketed, it would take quite a while before shoppers get the idea that these engines are no longer like the old ones.

Jack Nerad is the executive market analyst and the executive editorial director for KBB and on the study, he disclosed via The Auto Channel, “Many automakers are looking toward diesels as a very workable solution for the future, especially in light of the recently passed energy bill, but the results of this study should give them pause and make them realize they need to do a better, more thorough job of winning over the American consumer.”