The Car Geek: December 2007

The Car Geek

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The R8 Dominates

The face of the future is here, courtesy of the Audi R8! Automobiles will never been the same again… this is the beginning of the revolution of premium cars. Oh yeah, radiators are totally smokin’. Anyway, much has been said about the R8 - it’s perfect, right? All the best words that you can say about the vehicle have been brought up already. Anyway, I just want to add another R8 highlight. The Audi R8 just earned the 2008 Automobile of the Year from Automobile Magazine. Whew, this ride is definitely a winner!

Here are some quotes which I got from my source:

“The R8 absolutely captivated the automotive world this past year. It propels Audi into a whole new league of driving dynamics, and it emphatically caps Audi’s steep ascent from the somnambulant lull in which it languished in the early 1990s. The R8 is a thrilling new sports car from a company that’s stronger than it’s ever been,” says Jean Jennings, President and Editor-in-Chief of Automobile Mag.

“We honor the designers and the engineers who have so perfectly realized a truly civilized grand touring coupe. It is far more comfortable than cars of equal performance, and it features a highly focused environment for the driver but a relaxed and more open space for the passenger,” says Design Editor Robert Cumberford.

Friday, December 21, 2007

IBC Names Canada's Most Stolen Cars For 2007

What are the most stolen cars for this year? Any idea?

If you think your 2-door 1999 Acura Integra is safe from thieves, how come it’s on the 4th spot of most stolen cars? You love the Acura CSX A/C condenser, but is the car one of the most desirable (in thieves’ point of view)?

The top 10 cars stolen in Canada, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada:

  1. 1999 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
  2. 2000 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
  3. 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX/WRX STi 4-door AWD
  4. 1999 Acura Integra 2-door
  5. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Grand Caravan/Voyager
  6. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Grand Caravan/Voyager AWD
  7. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Caravan/Voyager
  8. 1998 Acura Integra 2-door
  9. 2000 Audi TT Quattro 2-door Coupe
  10. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Shadow/Sundance 2-door Hatchback
If you are a proud owner of the mentioned cars, be wary. The IBC said the majority of these cars are being targeted by organized car thieves who then ship the vehicles overseas.

The Globe and Mail reports:

The 1999 and 2000 two-door Honda Civic SiR was the most frequently stolen vehicle for the third year in a row, the bureau said, primarily because it lacks an approved electronic immobilizer, which requires a special key or small electronic device to start a vehicle's engine. When activated, an immobilizer shuts off one or more parts of the engine's electrical system, such as the starter, ignition or fuel system. The device disarms when an authorized security code is received from a transponder during an attempt to start the engine. Staff Sergeant Jim Peebles, who heads the Edmonton Police Service's Tactical Response for Auto Theft Prevention program, said that if car owners don't want to invest in the immobilizers - which cost an average of $400 - a simple steering wheel lock like The Club can also help. "[Thieves] want to be in and out as quick as possible. The ease to steal those vehicles is what attracts them," he said.
So what does the government do?
In Vancouver, an aggressive "bait car" program has foiled hundreds of attempted car thefts since it was launched in 2002, police said. Equipped with GPS tracking technology, as well as video and audio recording equipment, bait cars, trucks and vans are planted in target neighborhoods of the city. When a thief opens the door of one of these vehicles, an activation alarm is sent to the monitoring station, where technicians can remotely disable the vehicle at any time. "We've had a number of incidents where the criminals themselves are ... realizing the jig's up and they're right away commenting that it's a bait car, inside cars where we've got video footage of them," said Vancouver police spokesman Constable Howard Chow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How To Do It Right: An Impact To Auto and Homeowners Insurance Claim Customer Satisfaction

J.D. Power and Associates' 2007 Insurance Claims Study said that there is a huge impact on homeowners about the filling of insurance claim for them to repair the damage.

Jeremy Bowler, the senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates, said, "It becomes extremely important to manage customer expectations as far as how long it will take for their vehicle or property to be repaired or replaced. Proactively contacting the customer, keeping them informed and explaining the process at each step can soften the impact of a particularly long claim process - enhancing customer confidence and satisfaction with their insurer."

The customers are expecting their cars to be fixed in the maximum of 14 days. They also expect to experience the following factors: claims settlement, claim servicing, first notice of loss, estimation process, repair process, and rental experience.

"As the number of representatives a customer interacts with increases, so does the likelihood that the customer will need to repeat information regarding the claim, which negatively impacts their overall impression of their insurer and adds to the amount of time spent in the claims process. Customers with a local agent are most likely to be satisfied with claims servicing if they report the incident to the agent and that agent remains as the primary claim contact thereafter," Bowler also added on his statement.

The Auto Channel has the story. I also look for Acura condensers because my old car needs it. Visit the site just incase you need to know more about it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What’s Your Perfect Dog Car?

Here's a news release headline that could shock: "Honda Element Wins First Ever Dog Car of the Year Award." said the boxy Element's "versatile cargo space, easy-clean flooring, crate-friendly rear design and optional all-wheel drive were... the key ingredients for the perfect dog car." Among the other vehicles earning 5-paw awards were the Buick Enclave, Dodge Grand Caravan, Scion xB and Volvo XC70. Toyota Plant Faces Production Challenges
Toyota Motor Corp. annually ranks at or near the top of capacity utilization studies, but the Japanese automaker faces challenges at its San Antonio truck plant. The plant, which started production in late 2006, makes the Tundra full-size pickup. It likely will be underutilized next year as Toyota deals with a difficult market for full-size trucks, Global Insight, a Waltham, Mass., economic forecasting company, predicted in its outlook for 2008. Toyota is struggling to keep the Tundra on pace for its sales target of 200,000 units a year, which would be needed to keep the plant busy full-time, said Detroit Free Press. A slowdown would be a rare miscalculation for Toyota, which averaged 103% capacity utilization in the 2007 Harbour Report on North American auto plants. Acura Evolves Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., said his company was serious about turning around the Acura brand, which has seen sales slump this year. Talking with journalists and analysts at Honda's holiday reception last week, Iwamura would not directly answer questions about whether the manufacturer of Acura CL oxygen sensor would add a rear-wheel drive, V8 sedan to its lineup. Iwamura, meanwhile, said Honda understood what luxury buyers expected and would fulfill those expectations.
Lexus, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz, the leaders in the luxury segment, all have rear-wheel drive and V8s. Have you noticed it too?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Honda Further Develops ASIMO Robots

Honda is not only known about their cars but also for their advances in robotics. The automaker is expanding their development of robots called ASIMO. The latest technology that the automaker has developed allows robots to act without human input and act in a way that they would not interrupt services in an office.

The Auto Channel reported that the Japanese automaker has developed a technology which allows humanoid robots to either step back and yield right of way for other robots or humans or just continue walking. This means that two or more humanoid robots will be able t o work together perfectly in any environment. The automaker also developed a technology which makes it easier for ASIMO robots to carry tray and push carts. The new technology also allows these robots to recharge themselves when their battery level reached a preset level. These robots are also made to help each other out. So, if a robot is charging, other robots can take over that robot's task.

Two ASIMOs will be tested staring today at the second floor lobby of the automaker's Aoyama, Japan headquarters. In a nutshell, here's what Honda added to the already advanced ASIMO humanoid robot:

  1. New function to work together In situations where more than one ASIMO works together, information regarding the current status of each ASIMO will be shared constantly among the multiple networked ASIMOs in order to share tasks in the most efficient manner. More precisely, first, the distance between the current position of each ASIMO and the site where each task needs to be performed will be calculated. Then, taking remaining battery levels into consideration, the most time efficient way to share tasks among the multiple ASIMOs will be determined. Based on this decision, each ASIMO autonomously performs its assigned tasks.
  2. New function to avoid oncoming people ASIMO identifies oncoming people through its eye camera, calculates traveling direction and speed, predicts forthcoming movements of oncoming people, and chooses the most appropriate path so that it will not block the movement of others. When there is not enough space, ASIMO will step back and yield the right-of-way.
  3. New autonomous battery charging function A new battery charging station was developed for ASIMO's autonomous recharging. When the remaining battery level falls below a certain level, ASIMO will automatically identify and walk to the closest available battery charging station and re-charge while standing.

With those new technologies and functions, these humanoid robots have become more advanced that simple auto parts such as Nissan Altima parts.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What’s The Perfect Car For Santa?

We have always known Santa Claus as the big old fat guy in a red suit, distributing gifts during Christmas Eve to all nice kids all over the world! And he is always associated with the cute little elves, his magical sled and of course Rudolph and the rest of the reliable reindeers.

All of us have his or her personal wish lists this Christmas, even Santa too! Remember that Christmas is for everybody - there are no exceptions just to remind you. So, if we were to guess what’s on Santa’s wish list, a dazzling car with splendid rib belts could be one. I’m not saying he’s tired of riding his sleigh for centuries now but I think the big man deserves a special present too… something that he can probably use during his spare time, right? That’s why specialists at RM Auctions have come up with a very imaginative guess at what a man like Santa Claus with a perfect taste would write in his Christmas wish list. And oh, it’ll always come in red!

Let’s take a look at Santa’s possible wish list below:

  • 1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton
  • 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt
  • 1959 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder
  • 1922 American LaFrance Type 48 Triple Combination Pumper
  • 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz ("The Raindrop Car")

Allstate Foundation's Teen Driving Tips

We all know that teens are the most common victims of road accidents especially during holidays. This is the time where most teenagers are out of town and are having a great time with their friends. And we know what they do and they usually they drink and drive home not knowing the possibility that accidents may come their way.

A national survey was done by The Allstate Foundation and they finally revealed the following tips to help these teen drivers be safe even during the holidays. The Auto Channel posted the tips online on their official website. Here are the tips:

Holiday Driving Tips for Teens:

  • Keep your eyes on the road. According to a national survey of teens conducted by The Allstate Foundation, 56 percent of teens talk on their cell phones while driving, and 13 percent read or write text messages. Driving with distractions is a major cause of crashes. Make it a goal to celebrate 2008 with your friends instead of the mortician.
  • Slow down. The survey also found nearly 90 percent of teens admit to speeding. Speeding is one of the main causes for teen car crashes. Be a rebel and drive the speed limit this holiday season.
  • "Holla" at your friends. Half of teens from the survey said they wouldn't speak up if a friend was driving recklessly. Would you speak up if your life was in danger? If not, make a New Year's resolution to grow a backbone.
  • Use your buckle. Roughly two-thirds of teens who die in car wrecks are not buckled up, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This season, give your friends the gift of life and tell them to buckle up.

Tips for Parents on How to "Holla" about Smart Driving in the New Year

  • Practice what you preach. Be a positive role model when you're behind the wheel. Your teen is more likely to be a calm driver, put down the phone and mp3 player, wear a seat belt and follow the rules of the road if they see you do the same.
  • Don't rush the training process. Just because teens have permits or licenses, doesn't mean they're ready for every driving condition. The roads are especially dangerous during inclement weather. By easing into the training process, you'll ensure your teen will be ready for most situations.
  • Empower your teen. Being a passenger in another teen's car can put your teen at risk. Make sure your teen knows it's okay to say something if he/she is uncomfortable while riding with a friend and help your teen to practice what to say in these situations.
  • Understand your state's laws. Every state has Graduated Driver Licensing to help new drivers get their initial on-the-road driving experience under lower-risk conditions, protecting them while they are learning. Familiarize yourself and your teen with these requirements, and establish your own rules for when, where, how and with whom your teen may drive.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cars With Great Over All Resale Value released the Best Overall Car Resale Values on their official website. To some car buyers, the residual value is not important when buying cars but it should also be one among the first things you should keep in mind. assures that all models of 2008 will come to its original value after three years.

Meanwhile, here is the list of the Best Overall Car Resale Values

  1. Infiniti G37 Coupe (sport ) 63%
  2. Jeep Wrangler Sahara (2-door) 62%
  3. BMW 3 Series 328i (convertible) 61%
  4. Toyota Tacoma Double-cab (PreRunner V-6) 61%
  5. Porsche 911 Carrera (coupe) 60%
  6. Honda Civic Si (sedan) 60%
  7. Mini Cooper S (convertible) 60%
  8. Ford Mustang GT Premium (coupe) 60%
  9. Honda CR-V (EX) 60%
  10. Subaru Impreza 2.5i (sedan) 59%

Infiniti from the Nissan Motor Corporation topped the top ten list having a 63% residual value. There absolutely no Acura cars with an Acura CL 2.3 radiator on the list but the Jeep Wrangler Sahara goes to the second spot with a 62% residual value. After the Sahara, comes the BMW 3 Series. The Toyota Tacoma follows with Porsche on the fifth spot. Honda Civic also comes next with 60%. Mini Cooper S with 60% also comes on the seventh spot having Ford Mustang GT Premium on the eighth spot. Honda and Subaru come on the ninth and tenth spots respectively.

The next time you buy a car, you should put into mind the importance of the residual value. This will give you more cash when the time comes that you are ready to sell your car.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Another Safety Study Held At The GreenRoad

Looks like the car industry is very much concerned about the safety of kids on the roads so much so that they are conducting studies to further access the different factors that could control accidents encountered by teens. GreenRoad Technologies, Incorporated, the well renowned leader in driver safety technologies, was announced to be collaborating with AAA Colorado and has selected the GreenRoad Safety Center for their study that could help improve the safety of teen drivers on the road. Six months testing will allow the study staff to install the Safety Center on 200 AAA Colorado member teen drivers' cars. This will help them identify the different behaviors and mannerisms of these teens during driving that could lead to accidents.

AAA Colorado's goal is to promote driving safety among parents and teens by providing a tool that shows how teens are driving but "does not invade their privacy or monitor where they are driving” as reported by The Auto Channel, where you can also get information about car parts like Acura TL parts.

"AAA Colorado offers programs to ensure that new teen drivers are operating their vehicles as safely as possible. Through our partnership with GreenRoad, we hope to change teen driving behavior and ultimately reduce teen road accidents and fatalities," said AAA spokesperson, Eric Escudero.

The Safety Center will be using a sensor in order to identify the driver’s skills and safety in five categories:

  • speed
  • braking
  • acceleration
  • lane-handling
  • turning

The sensor will automatically identify any wrong move that the driver has executed and it will make the driver understand the mistake he did. Moreover, complete driving sessions will also be viewed using a webcam to show all the safety levels and detailed information on areas that need improvement.

The divers were given ratings through color coding:

  • green (safe)
  • yellow (moderate)
  • red (aggressive)

Dan Steere, GreenRoad Chief Executive Officer, said, "Statistics show that car accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teens in the United States. Now technology is making it possible for us to see risky driving behavior and change it before an accident occurs. GreenRoad's mission, in partnership with AAA, is to help teens and parents take action that can ultimately save lives."

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Ten Best

We all have out own type and taste when it comes to buying anything. What your neighbor wants for a daily driver may not be what you want. But there are resources of information regarding vehicles that we listen to. Take, for instance, the Car and Driver magazine. Recently, the automotive authority named its ten best vehicles of the year.

According to The Auto Channel, here are the winners and how many times it was included in the list:

  • BMW 3 Series - 17
  • Cadillac CTS - 1
  • Chevrolet Corvette - 14
  • Chevrolet Malibu - 1
  • Honda Accord - 22
  • Honda Fit - 2
  • Mazda MX-5 - 9
  • Mazdaspeed 3 - 2
  • Porsche Boxster/Cayman - 9
  • Volkswagen GTI - 3

One can immediately notice that Chrysler and Ford failed to land even a single model in the list making General Motors the only North American automaker to have a vehicle in the ten best list. Also noticeable is the absence of any Toyota vehicle in there. One can also marvel at the Accord's record 22 times being included in the list. Honda really knows what they are doing.

Csaba Csere, the editor-in-chief of Car and Driver, had this to say: "The increased competition between domestic and foreign manufacturers has created a tougher annual contest, but the eight repeat winners deserve accolades for continuing to deliver outstanding quality, performance, value and driver satisfaction. Last year, we saw a return of the small car to the list. This year, the strong showing by General Motors proves that the company's stable management and consistent strategy is really starting to pay off. For the new Chevy Malibu to make our list demonstrates that, for the first time in about twenty years, GM can compete with the likes of Toyota and Honda in the important family sedan segment."

These ten vehicles are chosen by Car and Driver not only because of their looks which can be covered by an Acura CL car cover but also because of their safety, performance, fuel efficiency, and other attributes.