By Kevin Gordon
Once, a soon-to-be-dead older man told Tobey Maguire “with great power comes great responsibility.” It appears as if the engineers at Ford took this statement to heart. The American muscle car wars have always been about numbers. Most of the time the numbers were focused on how fast to 60, or horsepower and torque. Now, Ford gear heads can stand around their local car show and brag about their miles per gallon.
I remember hearing on launch of the new Corvette ZR1 that it was the most fuel efficient 600 HP car ever built (it gets 20 MPG highway) and I thought to myself, what a useless statistic. Well, I guess that muscle car MPG deserves more respect than I had given it. Ford’s recently announced EPA mileage numbers for the 2011 Mustang V6 and V8 have captured the media’s attention.
By Roger Boylan
In my recent review of the 2010 Toyota 4Runner, a fine vehicle but (I thought, regretfully) a boring one, I made reference to the deep and irrevocable blandness of most Asian cars. However, at the time I’d never driven a Toyota FJ Cruiser. Whatever the FJ Cruiser is, it isn’t bland. In fact, it proves that Japan can make cars with as much personality and oomph as any other nation’s: Britain’s, for instance, or Italy’s, to name but two. And cars made in Japan, or by Japanese firms, tend to be a lot more reliable, not only than British or Italian ones, but than pretty much any others. So, if you can combine reliability and personality, what’s not to like? Throw in a distinguished heritage and you have a winning combination.
By Chris Haak
Website insure.com, a site that allows users to request quotes for various insurance products such as auto insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, and other insurance products, has released its lists of the most-expensive and least-expensive cars 2010 model year cars to insure. There are few surprises on the absolute lists – there are a lot of underpowered economy or family-hauling vehicles on the ‘cheapest’ list, and a lot of expensive, high-horsepower, low-weight, high-cylinder count vehicles on the ‘most expensive’ list.
The study’s methodology was to assume a single 40 year old male driver with a clean driving record who commutes 12 miles to work, “with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. He has a clean driving record and good credit. The policy includes uninsured motorist coverage.” The study’s authors then went on to survey six large insurance carriers (State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO, Farmers and Nationwide) in ten different Zip codes per state to arrive at average costs per model. The site goes on to say, basically, that “your results may vary,” depending upon personal factors that apply to you such as your driving record, credit history, age, marital status, geographic location, and more.
By Chris Haak
We at Techshake often get emails from readers (actually, more often, we get spam, and not from readers, but I digress). Some of the messages are kudos for a job well done, some are comments or critiques about something that the individual saw on our site, and some are questions. You can always us via email at . Today, in the interest of public service, I’m copying and pasting one of those letters here (with its author’s permission), along with my public response. If you have suggestions that either the letter-writer or I haven’t considered, by all means, please share them in the comments section.
I’m in the market for a new car, and need expert advice! I’m driving my 2003 Hyundai Accent, but it’s got over 100,000 mi. on it now, and we want to replace it soon. My spouse wants something with all-wheel drive (so we don’t have to do the all 4 tires switch-out every season), and something bigger. I LIKE a small car, and want a car, NOT an SUV, NOT a station wagon, definitely NOT a van, maybe one size up from the Accent for compromise, with my only “want” being cruise control, which this Accent does not have. Any suggestions? I was thinking Hundai Elantra or maybe Sonata, or maybe Subaru Legacy or Impreza. I liked my Taurus and my Chevy Impala, too! I need help! I’m not sure what to even start looking at. Any suggestions would be welcome! – A.J. in PA
By Chris Haak
The Congressional Oversight Panel, created by Congress to oversee the Treasury’s spending of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money, said late last week that GMAC could have been required to undergo a quick-rinse bankruptcy similar to what GM and Chrysler did last year. Bankruptcy would have allowed GMAC to shed itself of the millstone of its troubled non-core ResCap division, which continues to lose considerable amounts of money thanks to bad mortgages that it assumed during the real estate boom years.
The panel, chaired by Elizabeth Warren – an attorney and Harvard law professor – also criticized Treasury for not requiring GMAC to have a viable business plan in place going forward, despite receiving its first bailout money more than a year ago. To date, GMAC has received more than $17 billion USD from the US government to prop up the company’s finances. Both Treasury and the company assert that it is now solvent and will not require any additional bailout funds, but the Office of Management of Budget estimates that the government will never recover $6.3 billion USD of the money given to GMAC.
Daimler partner rides a huge wave of overall Chinese auto sales to break sales record
By Brendan Moore
If you’re Chinese auto and battery maker BYD Co. and you have already signed a partnership deal with Daimler, an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Volkswagen AG, garnered superstar investor Warren Buffet as a major financial backer, and positioned yourself in the world’s hottest car market as a major player, what do you do to further impress?
You crush your Q4 profit forecast numbers, that’s what.
That is what BYD has done, earning 1.46 billion yuan ($214 million USD) instead of the 891 million yuan previously forecasted and compared with the 243 million yuan made in the same quarter last year.
There is more good news as BYD says it will almost double its unit sales from 2009. It plans to go from 440,000 sales in 2009 to 800,000 sales in 2010.
By Brendan Moore
Nissan showed a concept version of its NV2500 work van last year, and has now revealed the production version. The NV (stands for Nissan Van – yes, not imaginative) is merely the first in a lineup of full-size body-on-frame light commercial vehicles that Nissan is planning to sell in the North American business vehicle market.
The thing you notice first is that Nissan has eschewed the snub nose look of its competitors, and sports a long nose on its van; a nose that looks a bit familiar. There’s a good reason for that sense of familiarity – the NV is based on a modified version of the Nissan Titan pickup’s F-Alpha body-on-frame platform.
By Chris Haak
It might be an understatement to say that Suzuki is a company that is fighting for its survival in the US market right now. The brand, which had seen some degree of success in the US as recently as 2006, has been knocked down a few pegs in the race for American consumers’ hard-earned money. Much of the problem has been that Suzuki made the strategic decision to no longer rebadge cheap, but lower-quality Korean-built Daewoos and sell them to US consumers. Unfortunately, Suzuki didn’t really have a fallback product in place after the departure of the likes of the Forenza and Verona. With a smaller model lineup and small marketing budgets, it’s difficult to get traction in the difficult US market. To address this hole in its lineup, Suzuki spent over $1 billion USD (according to its advertisements) to develop the Kizashi, its new small midsize sedan.