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NHTSA Analysis Shows Driver Error Caused Most Toyota SUA Crashes

By Chris Haak

According to a , people familiar with an extensive analysis done by the Department of Transportation told the paper that the agency has found that in all of the crashes that it investigated, the accelerator was applied and the brakes were not.  The DOT did not find any indication of electronic “gremlins” that had been suspected as a potential cause of the recalled Toyotas.

Though Toyota seems to be in the clear regarding any type of electronic glitches, the WSJ points out that the electronic exoneration does not extend to the issues for which millions of Toyotas were recalled.  That is, the floor mat entrapment and sticky CTS-supplied accelerator pedals still are still issues that have to be addressed via recall repairs.

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Making Sense of the Toyota/Tesla Deal
Jul13

Making Sense of the Toyota/Tesla Deal

By Charles Krome

When you think about it, Elon Musk’s decision to name his electric sports-car company after Nikola Tesla made for a perfect match. Tesla, the scientist, was originally known for his groundbreaking research into electricity and electromagnetism, but his later years were taken up by lawsuits, constant battles to get his projects funded and an increasingly eccentric personal life.

Needless to say, it doesn’t take much creative license to apply that template to Musk, which would seem to make Tesla, the automaker, an odd choice for a Toyota investment. Yet back in May, Toyota ponied up $50 million and the NUMMI plant in California to partner with Tesla on future products, with the future arriving a lot quicker than most people thought.

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Toyota Plans Three New EVs/Hybrids for 2012

By Chris Haak

Late last week, Toyota officials confirmed that the 2012 calendar year will bring a series of new environmentally-friendly vehicles.  Some will be hybrids, some will be pure EVs, but all will be electrified in one way or another.

First up will be a production version of last year’s FT-EV concept.  This car is an EV version of the forthcoming Scion iQ, which of course likely means that the production car will likely wear a Scion badge in the US.  The iQ is sold as a Toyota in Europe and Asia, since Scion does not exist in those markets.

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GM to Allow Corvette Buyers to Build Their Own Engines

By Chris Haak

A few years ago, I wanted to buy a new Corvette in the worst way.  I stalked the Internet forums about them, visited dealer websites daily, went to Corvettes at Carlisle, and even ed my insurance agent to get a quote on how much comprehensive and collision coverage would cost on one.  Then I looked in the rearview mirror and saw two little boys sitting in their car seats, looked to my right and saw my wife’s smiling face next to me, then looked at my bank statement, and realized that this was a dream to be realized later in life.  So I bought a Cadillac CTS instead; it has four doors, after all.

In my year- of online Corvette research, I learned about several of the programs that GM offers for buyers of new Corvettes.  You can watch your specific car be built in the company’s Bowling Green, Kentucky plant, and you can have your new Corvette delivered to you at the adjacent National Corvette Museum, then you can drive it home.  Also, buyers of new ZR1s receive a two-day driving instruction course as part of the car’s purchase price at one of two official driving instruction schools.

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A Visit to LeMay – America’s Car Museum
Jul12

A Visit to LeMay – America’s Car Museum

By Kevin Miller

I consider myself a car guy to the core. That said, my knowledge of cars built much before the late 1970s is not very good. Most cars produced later than that I can easily identify by sight or sound, but the first eighty-or-so years of automotive history happened before I was born, and much like world history, I haven’t taken the time to learn about most early vehicles.

That being said, a visit to the at Maryhill in Tacoma, Washington is a thrill, allowing me to experience unfamiliar cars from different eras in automotive design. The museum showcases vehicles collected by Harold LeMay, a Tacoma-area businessman whose primary businesses were towing  and waste collection. Together with his wife, Nancy, the LeMays amassed the largest privately owned collection of automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, other vehicles and related memorabilia in the world. At its peak, the LeMay Collection held more than 3,000 vehicles and thousands of artifacts, and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as such.

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