The Car Geek: What’s Your Perfect Dog Car?

The Car Geek

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?