By Brendan Moore
NADA Used Car Guide and Kelley Blue Book, the two most popular used vehicle value guides for consumers, and two of the most often used wholesale vehicle pricing guides used by dealers and lenders, have both announced that they are dropping values for Toyota models affected by the current recall.
Black Book, a used vehicle guide used only by entities in the trade like auction buyers and used car managers has already seen it’s pricing for the affected Toyota models drop.
NADA Used Car Guide, used virtually by every dealer in every state, has dropped the wholesale (loan) values of used Toyotas a little over 3%. The retail values will drop a corresponding amount.
Just as a note to consumers, the NADA book that you can purchase at Barnes and Noble or Borders lists only the retail value amounts of vehicles; there is a different edition of the book printed that contains both wholesale and retail values that is only available to lenders like banks and credit unions, and, of course auto dealers of every stripe.
By Brendan Moore
BMW and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen have signed a deal to continue working together on a series of small engines destined for Mini, Peugeot and Citroen small cars. The engines will be 1.4 liter and 1.6 liter four-cylinder variants.
Since the joint venture started in 2006, over 1.3 million engines have been jointly produced by the two companies.
By Andy Bannister
Industrial action has brought chaos to Fiat’s factories, offices and even some dealerships in Italy, in a concerted attempt to fight the planned closure of the company’s plant in Termini Imerese, on the island of Sicily.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne’s determination to close the troubled factory next year has infuriated opinion in the country, attracting criticism from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and even Pope Benedict XVI. Left-wing unions and far-right activists have been among the most vocal protestors.
Italians certainly know how to protest, and Wednesday saw up to 80,000 Fiat workers across the country take part in a four-hour strike, while one neo-fascist group used plastic tape to try and seal off some 40 dealerships as well as the entrance to Fiat‘s Turin headquarters.
By Chris Haak
Perhaps it’s a case of kicking a company while it’s down, perhaps it’s a case of political grandstanding, or perhaps it’s a case of genuine concern for the safety of Toyota owners and their fellow motorists. Whatever the situation, Toyota’s rough week is getting worse. On top of the bad news from Washington, which I’ll get to momentarily, officials in Japan announced that they have asked Toyota to investigate the brakes in the current (third-generation) Prius after receiving more than 100 complaints about them. The issue is apparently tied to complaints about low-speed braking performance, and braking performance on rough surfaces.
Most likely, that issue is caused by the transition between regenerative braking and mechanical braking. Regenerative braking depends on wheel-speed sensors and does not generally handle the last few miles per hour of a stop; at that point, the traditional friction-based brakes kick in. Tightly integrating two very different braking systems into a single unified “feel” is one of the most difficult things that hybrid makers have to do, and while recent models are getting better at it, countless factors such as pad wear, moisture/humidity, temperature, etc. affect friction braking, and can cause the computer to “guess” incorrectly at how hard or soft to apply the regenerative feature so that it closely matches the friction brakes. Perhaps the issue could be resolved by a software fix.
By Chris Haak
Eras in the automobile industry continually wax and wane as time passes. Just going back 40 years, we started with the muscle car era of the 1960s and early 70s (with low, wide, squared-off cars), then moved to the malaise era (from the mid-70s through the early 1990s, as the global auto industry struggled to keep up with increasingly stringent fuel-economy, emissions, and safety requirements.
I’m not sure what we’d call the 1990s, which saw a number of unfortunately homogeneously-designed vehicles with cheap interiors early in the decade, followed by the rebirth of serious performance cars as quality began to improve and cars grew beyond the size of their 1980s downsized predecessors. Then there was the first decade of the 21st century, with a continuation of the performance and vehicle-size trends of the 1990s, but with a renewed focus on design and perceived quality as well. Let’s call the 2000s the second performance car era – or the second horsepower wars era.
Editor’s note: Yesterday, we published a review of the same truck written by Alex Kalogiannis, a freelance automotive journalist who contributes to Techshake periodically. You can find more of Alex’s work at his own site, . Meanwhile, Techshake was able to secure its own Raptor for review, which Roger tackles below.
The Ford Raptor is the best truck in its class, and it got that way by being the only truck in its class. It was designed, in FoMoCo’s words, to be “versatile enough to take on the most challenging desert adventures, as well as the everyday commute.” Mission accomplished, I’d say. The Raptor, which sells for a starting price of $38,000, barely $3000 more than the F-150 FX4 (my loaded test truck had a sticker of $46K), can cross desert terrain at speeds of up to 100 mph, with no on-road penalty in terms of ride comfort and maneuverability; no other 4X4 comes close. I know all this from watching test videos. Not having a desert handy, I didn’t drive my test truck quite that fast off-road, but I did manage 45 mph up a pretty rough mountain trail, the deceptively named Serenity Drive, off the spectacular Devil’s Backbone pass, about 25 mi. SW of Austin. Some of the hill’s steeper gradients approach a 60-deg. angle, with plenty of rockfalls to negotiate. I’ve driven all my test 4X4s there, mostly Jeeps, all perfectly competent, of course, but able only to creep upward at low speeds. Not the amazing Raptor. With 4-wheel-high engaged in “Off-Road Mode,” it leaped ahead, cushioning the hollows and smoothing out the bumps.
By Chris Haak
Although Tesla just got its start a few short years ago, and in fact has only just reached the 1,000-unit milestone in Roadster production, the company filed for an IPO yesterday and – as is required in such a filing – spilled the beans on several financial details and future plans that had not been public knowledge to this point.
Tesla reported in its IPO filing that it lost $31.5 million during the first nine months of 2009, which is an improvement over the $57.3 million that it lost during the same period in 2008. Revenue shot up from $580,000 in the first three quarters of 2008 to $93.4 million during the same period in 2009.
By Alex Kalogiannis
The majority of us, if not all who read this, spend a great deal of their day on the endless network of paved highways, back roads, main streets, parkways and parking lots. Regardless of whether or not we’re in the most mundane of family shuttles or in a face-melting speed machine, there is always, at some point, the inescapable sense of confinement. Traffic, road work, or even the errant deer will throw a monkey wrench in the transport system, immediately awaking the reality that ultimately, we’re no more free to roam than a slot car on the living room floor.