Monday, August 30, 2010

Buying a Car? Top 5 Negotiating Tips

In today's world, you do not get anything unless you ask for it. If you've decided to buy a new or used car, be sure you're not getting a discount or offer unless you ask for it and negotiate. Here are the top 5 negotiating tips and dealer scams that you need to be aware of while going for your car purchase.

Your Negotiation Strategy
Go online. The very first step of negotiation involves online research to find out how much the dealer must have paid for the new car you are looking to buy. Once you've got it, leave around 5 per cent profit for the car dealer and start your negotiation.

Secondly, get familiar with the car buyer forms. By itself, the paperwork can be extremely confusing and dealers in India love to add more to the confusion. If you know of someone who's recently bought a car, just have a look at it and get familiar, lest the dealers and papers will turn out very confusing at the dealership.

How Long Should You Negotiate
If the auto dealer quotes a very low amount, which does not happen most of the time, don't give him a second chance to re-think the amount and hike the price. Finish off the deal quickly. However, if you've tried to convince a dealer to lower the car prices for half an hour and there's no sign of any changes happening any time soon, just leave. You may just be wasting your time.

Always have the half an hour deadline. If you haven't convinced the dealer by then, you probably will never be able to convince him even after spending hours together. Don't haggle when you know there are other dealerships out there ready to give you your dream car at the price you want. Also, you never know, walking out of the dealership may work the magic and the dealer may reduce the price instantly.

Thorough Preparation is the Key
Eat well and sleep well before going to the car dealership, and dress well while you are going there. Do not go very casually in shorts, lest they'll take you lightly. You have your research data ready with prices of all models that you have shortlisted. Have it tucked neatly in a folder. The dealer is going to dread that folder knowing that you've done your homework pretty well.

However, carry the data of all variants of a particular model just in case you change your mind about purchasing the variant you earlier had in mind. You must have requested for quotes from dealers while researching on the Internet; have that data too in the folder. Most car dealer web sites offer free quotes. If you haven't got them, get the quotes right away.

Don't discuss auto loans with the dealer unless you are very sure that the dealer offers loans at very low rates. Find out online details on loan agents that offer car loans at the best rate. You may then shortlist a few, negotiate in a similar manner as you're doing for your new car and go for the final deal.

Single = Danger; Many = Danger for Dealer
You go alone to the auto dealership and you are going to get tortured. Take your friend along. It will then be difficult for the dealer to convince two people instead of one. Your friend can be of great help by identifying the dealer's tricks that you may not have noticed, and that's going to drive the dealer mad explaining. If he tries to separate the two of you with two salesmen coming in, that's a trick that you shouldn't oblige to. Also, there are mind games that the dealer can play.

Don't get convinced when he says, "Sir/Madam, this offer is available only today. You may lose out on such a great deal if you wait for tomorrow", or, "This model sells like hot cakes. So many have bought it very recently and customers are very delighted. Why will I give it to you for a lower price when so many people are buying it at a much higher price?"

If many cars have already been sold very recently, he must have received a huge profit. So, what will he lose if he gives you new car for a little lesser price? If the dealer's offer holds good only for that day, let him know that so does yours. There are many dealers out there and you're not going back for the same price tomorrow.

Stay Stubborn with Your Offer
Since you've browsed on the Internet and you know what price to get down to, explain that to the dealer. Let him not interrupt you until you finish the explanation. In case he does so, raise your hand a little which will be an indication for him to stop. Explain to the dealer that it's not just you who's getting a profit. He too is getting it when you come back in future for warranty repairs, services or parts. Give him the bigger picture. Let him get your point, or you leave. If he points out explaining he would have no profit with that deal, show him your research data.

Hybrid Cars Advantages and Disadvantages

Hybrid cars are considered as the car of the future. It is able to effectively conserve fuel and at the same time, it only produces low levels of toxic fumes. Because of these benefits, hybrid cars are now growing in popularity every single day. Many people are now considering getting rid of their conventional cars and purchase a hybrid car to help in cutting fuel consumption cost.

Hybrid cars have two engines for it to effectively conserve fuel consumption. It has the traditional gasoline engine and it also has an electric motor and batteries. The two engines work together in order to cut fuel consumption. With this technology, you will be able to cut fuel usage by more than half. Just imagine, with a hybrid car, you will be able to go more than 60 miles to the gallon. With this kind of savings, hybrid cars are definitely the car of the future.

Hybrid car owners virtually do not feel the increasing cost in fuel prices. This is the main advantage of the hybrid car. There are other advantages that a hybrid car can give you. Recently, the President of the United States has signed an agreement that hybrid car buyers will be able to enjoy tax incentives. This means that by owning a hybrid car, you will be able to save money on taxes.

There are other benefits that the government imposes on hybrid car owners, such as free parking, and free entry to car pool lanes. Some even offer discounted fees on toll gates.

The braking in hybrid cars is also configured to capture the energy released and uses it to charge the batteries inside the hybrid car. This means that unlike electric cars, hybrid cars do not actually need to be charged from your home electric outlet.

However, with all the advantages that a hybrid car can give you, there are also disadvantages. The main disadvantage of hybrid cars is that the retail price is quite expensive. Only people who have enough money can purchase hybrid cars. However, the twist in all this is that hybrid cars are actually cheaper when compared to conventional cars in the long run. If you compute the total fuel consumption of both cars, you will actually see that you can save a lot more money on hybrid cars.

The only thing is that hybrid cars are expensive right from the car lot.

Hybrid cars are relatively heavy because of the heavy batteries installed inside the car. This is why hybrid car manufacturers integrates smaller internal combustion engines and are constructed with light materials and should be aerodynamic in order to maximize efficiency. This means that hybrid cars can never really go fast.

Another issue about hybrid cars is that it is very risky in accidents. What makes a hybrid car work effectively is also what makes it risky if it ever gets involved in an accident. This is because hybrid cars stores high amount of voltage in its batteries. This means that there is a high chance of getting electrocuted when you get involved in an accident. This also means that it is relatively difficult for rescuers to get the drivers and passengers out of the hybrid cars because of the dangers of high voltage in the car.

These are the advantages and the disadvantages of hybrid cars. Car manufacturers today are now looking for ways to get rid of the disadvantages of hybrid cars. In the near future, you will see that hybrid cars will be lighter and also contains less risk due to high voltage dangers.

BMW "No Reverse" Transmission Problem


An automatic transmission is just that- automatic, consequently most people tend to pay very little attention to it until a major problem rears its ugly head.

Picture the scenario- you are driving along in the lap of luxury, the satellite radio blaring and the heated seats on. You have become accustomed to the comfort level and great driving experience brought to you by BMW.

You decide to stop at the local convenience store on your way home to grab some ice cream for the kids and a bottle of water for yourself. Upon returning to your car, you start it up, check your rear view mirror, put the shifter in reverse and then the unthinkable happens- the engine just revs as if it is in neutral and the car goes nowhere!

This article deals with the reasons behind an unexpected loss of reverse in certain BMW automatic transmission equipped vehicles, specifically the 3 series and 5 series vehicles that use the ZF5HP19 or steptronic transmission. This includes the popular 323i, 323ci, 325i, 328i, 330i, 525i, 528i, 530i, X3 and X5 models well as some others built in the 1999 to present model years.

To eliminate confusion, this does not apply to vehicles equipped with the GM 5L40 E transmission, just the ones with the sometimes problematic ZF5HP19. The 5L40 E has some issues of its own that are beyond the scope of this article but are certainly going to be the subject of another.

The failure rate for these transmissions seems to be very high and is expected to become much more of a problem as time goes by.

Typically, the vehicle is working perfectly while driving forward but when it is put in reverse there is a complete and permanent loss of movement to back up.

Reverse is typically a major feat for any transmission to accomplish- imagine the demands that are placed on a gearbox as it is asked to reverse the torque of your engine so that you can back up your nearly 4000 pound vehicle.

By far, the most common cause of the reverse problem in BMW's is the failure of the D-G clutch drum. Specifically, the snap ring that retains the D or reverse clutch breaks out of the clutch drum resulting in an inability for the clutch pack to apply.

The good news is that there is hope in regards to a proper repair. The factory has released an updated part that so far appears to be a permanent fix for this problem.

In our testing and in conjunction with several hundred successful repairs at our facilities, the new part seems to be metallurgically superior in several ways. 

We have found that there is an improved radius area as well as slightly thicker casting. In addition to this, the grove that retains the snap ring is also relocated further away from the edge of the drum.

With this issue addressed and attention to detail in several other areas of the ZF5HP19 unit, the transmission can be repaired to "better than new" condition by a competent transmission rebuilder / remanufacturer. In fact, when properly repaired, the ZF gearbox becomes quite robust and can provide an almost indefinite service life.

2010 Honda Insight Twelve Month Test - Month 4

Hybrid owners tell me that fuel economy tends to go up after the first few thousand miles -- but with nearly 9,000 miles on the clock, our long-term Insight's MPG has been dropping, not rising. This month, I think I've figured out why.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My 100 Post......

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2010 Audi S5 by Sportec..



When we discuss tuning kits provided by Sportec, we are usually talking about Porsche models. However, the British tuner actually tunes many different brands including Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, and even Fiat models, among others. Their latest package sees them tweaking the power on the Audi S5, both coupe quattro and cabriolet.

The package is called the "Stage One" and it uses the Audi’s 3.0-liter supercharged, V6, TFSI powerplant, a free flowing air filter element, and ECU remapping to completely revamp the car’s output. The result of this hard work is an output of 425 HP at 6640 rpm (an increase of 97 HP over the standard model) and a peak torque of 520 Nm at 4250 rpm (up from the standard 440 Nm). And as an impressive little touch, the maximum torque output is available from 2750 to 6250 rpm. With the new amount of power, the S5 makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in to 4.6 seconds, while top speed is limited at 155 mph for safety reasons.

The Sportec Stage One upgrade is priced at £1950.00.

Prestige Cars Abu Dhabi Lists Plethora Of Supercars On Jameslist..



To be honest, none of these cars are in our price range. We’ll get that out of the way just in case somebody starts dreaming of owning one of these bad boys someday.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, there’s a nice collection of some of the world’s most luxurious – and expensive – supercars on Jameslist courtesy of Prestige Cars Abu Dhabi’s extensive collection of Mansory-tuned machines. The fact that there’s ‘prestige’ and ‘Abu Dhabi’ in the name should give you an indication of what type of cars are included in the collection.

The price tags of these cars are not being disclosed because, quite frankly, none of us can afford to buy any of them. Maybe we can buy a grille or a door panel, but even those would probably cost us an arm-and-a-half.

But if your curiosity is getting the better of you, we’ll s----the beans on what cars are included. There’s a blue and gold Rolls-Royce Ghost, a Bentley Vitesse, an Aston Martin Cyrus, a G-Wagen Couture, a Porsche Cayenne Chopster, and a Bugatti Veyron Vincero.

Not exactly cars that you’d call affordable, huh?

Cars Spining With No Drivers..

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tips To Prevent Car Theft

  • Take Your Keys. Nearly 20 percent of all vehicles stolen have the keys in them.
  • Lock Your Car. Approximately 50 percent of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked.
  • Never Hide a Second Set of Keys in Your Car. Extra keys can be easily found if a thief takes time to look.
  • Park in Well-lighted Areas. Over half of all vehicle thefts occur at night.
  • Park in Attended Lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots.
  • If You Park in an Attended Lot, Leave Only the Ignition/Door Key. If your trunk and glovebox use the same key as the door, have one of them changed. Don't give the attendant easy access to your glovebox and trunk. Upon returning, check the tires, spare tire, and battery to be sure they are the same as those you had when you parked.
  • Never Leave Your Car Running, Even if You'll Only be Gone For a Minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up.
  • Completely Close Car Windows When Parking. Don't make it any easier for the thief to enter your vehicle.
  • Don't Leave Valuables in Plain View. Don't make your car a more desirable target and attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight.
  • Park With Your Wheels Turned Toward the Curb. Make your car tough to tow away. Wheels should also be turned to the side in driveways and parking lots.
  • If Your Vehicle is Rear-Wheel Drive, Back into Your Driveway. Rear wheels lock on four-wheel drive vehicles, making them difficult to tow. Front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front end first.
  • Always Use Your Emergency Brake When Parking. In addition to ensuring safety, using the emergency brake makes your car harder to tow.
  • If You Have a Garage, Use It. If you have a garage, take the time to use it rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable.
  • When parking in a Garage, Lock the Garage Door and Your Vehicle. By locking both the garage and vehicle doors, the chances of deterring a thief greatly improve.
  • Don't leave the registration or Title in Your Car. A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title at your home or office, and carry registration in your purse or wallet.
  • Disable Your Vehicle When Leaving it Unattended for an Extended Period. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, rotor distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle anytime thieves may have extended access to it.
  • Replace T-Shaped Door Locks With Straight Locks. Some vehicle doors have lock assemblies at window level that flare out in a knob or "T" shape. A thief can use various tools to gain access inside the vehicle, grab and pull the lock. Straight locks prevent this.
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Stolen cars/parts are more easily traced when vehicle VIN numbers have been etched on car windows and major parts.
  • Engrave Expensive Accessories. Engrave personal ID numbers on car stereos, cellular phones, etc., so the thief will have difficulty disposing of them.
Investing in Vehicle Protection

  • Ignition Kill Switch. Splice an inexpensive toggle switch into your ignition wire. The trick is hiding the switch well. Keypads, pressure pads and more expensive "immobilizers" and "passkeys" can also be used.
  • Fuel Kill Switch. The valve that halts the fuel supply is closed. Visible Steering Wheel Lock. Prevents the steering wheel from being turned.
  • Floorboard Locks. Devices that disable the gas or break pedal.
  • Gearshift Locks. Disables shifting of the transmission.
  • Tire/Wheel Locks. Prevents the vehicle from moving.
  • Hood Locks. Prevents the thief from gaining access to your security system and battery.
  • Armored Collar Around Steering Column. Protects the column and ignition.
  • Electronic Security Systems. Audio alarms sound loud warnings when doors/hood/trunk are opened. Optional sensors include glass breakage, motion, tampering and towing. Panic buttons and automatic engine disable features are also recommended.
  • Vehicle Tracking This is done with a transmitter hidden in the car that allows police to track the vehicle.
Drive safely!

Most Stolen Cars


This list of the most stolen cars in 2009 was compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), which is a not-for-profit organization financed by auto insurers. They monitor every report of a stolen car.
  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Ford Taurus
  • Chevrolet Caprice Classic
  • Ford F-150
From this list of stolen cars, the most recent models are put on the market once again after some slight modifications to conceal the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Older models are stolen so that the parts can be distributed among unscrupulous mechanics who then install them in your car, passing them off as brand-new and making a hefty profit in the process.
Toyota and Honda parts are especially in great demand since they fit different models of their make from the same year; they're basically the equivalent of type O-negative blood - universal donors.

Keep Your Old Car Running Like New

Brenda Rivera, 30, of Tulsa, Okla. does a lot of driving. She already has 80,000 miles on her seven year old Ford Taurus.

“My husband and I travel to Oklahoma City at least twice a month to see family and it’s over 100 miles each way,” says Rivera. “Between those trips and just every day driving, the miles add up.”
Rivera says she wants to keep her car running for as long as possible because she doesn’t want the expense of replacing it, and she is in good company. A significant number of drivers are keeping their vehicles longer. According to national surveys, the average age of passenger cars and light trucks nationally is now between 8.8 and 9.2 years.“Thanks to better built engines and vehicles overall, improved technology in rust inhibitors and other anti-corrosives for automobile undercarriages and bodies and the general sticker shock relating to the average price of a new car, people are keeping their older cars longer and taking better care of them than ever before,” says Dave Kunkel, retail sales and marketing manager for Citgo’s Automotive Lubricants Division. “With proper maintenance, it’s not unusual to see vehicles accumulate 200,000 miles or more without needing expensive overhauls or repairs.”
Kunkel says it’s important to realize, however, that higher mileage vehicles have different needs when compared to newer vehicles. Over time, engine parts experience wear, deposits form on metal surfaces, and seals can dry out. “Older engines have different lubricating needs and require more attention than newer ones if they’re going to continue functioning well,” says Kunkel.
Citgo's Supergard Ultralife Motor Oil, introduced in October 2002, is specifically formulated to meet the needs of this growing population of older, higher mileage vehicles.
“The oil gives engines an extra layer of protection by providing additional cleaning agents for critical engine parts and conditioning seals, which, thereby, helps reduce oil leakage and prevent valve deposits,” says Kunkel.
Rivera says keeping her car running in tip top shape is very important. “It’s our family vehicle. I have two small children and it gives me piece of mind to know I’m doing something to keep my car running longer,” says Rivera.
Look for Supergard Ultralife Motor Oil at Citgo branded fast lubes and leading retail stores in your area.

Most Fuel Efficient Cars


Most Fuel Efficient CarsThese are the cars that use the least amount of gas (highest mileage per gallon). Figures show MPG City and Highway.
    Most Fuel Efficient Overall Honda Insight - 60 66 Most Efficient Minicompact Cars MINI Cooper Manual(5) - 28 36 MINI Cooper Automatic(variable) - 26 34 Most Efficient Subcompact Cars VW New Beetle (Diesel) Manual(5) - 37 44 VW New Beetle (Diesel) Automatic(6) - 35 42 Most Efficient Compact Cars Honda Civic Hybrid Automatic(variable) - 49 51 VW Golf (Diesel) Manual(5) - 37 44 Most Efficient Midsize Cars Toyota Prius (Hybrid) - 60 51 Hyundai Elantra 4 cyl, Manual(5) - 27 34 Most Efficient Large Cars Hyundai Sonata 4 cyl, Manual(5) - 24 34 Hyundai Sonata 4 cyl, Automatic(4) - 24 33 Most Efficient Small Station Wagons Pontiac Vibe 4 cyl, Manual(5) - 30 36 Toyota Matrix 4 cyl, Manual(5) - 30 36 Scion xB 4 cyl, Automatic(4) - 30 34 Most Efficient Midsize Station Wagons Ford Focus Station Wagon 4 cyl, Manual(5) - 26 34 Ford Focus Station Wagon 4 cyl, Automatic(4) - 26 32

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Modifying Your Car Engine

Modifying Your Car Engine Boosts Power and Performance



In order to milk every last ounce of power and performance from your ride, you'll need to invest in numerous modifications. While modifications like body kits, performance wheels, aftermarket brakes and wing spoilers all add performance, only modifying your car engine will help you produce the horsepower needed to power your car down the street or the strip. Here are some of the most popular ways to modify your car engine and get the performance that you crave:

    * Cold Air Intake – A cold air intake can help boost the performance of your car engine by a substantial amount. OEM intakes absorb warm air from around the engine, which detracts from the performance capabilities of your car's engine. By supplying a steady stream of cold, dense air, a cold air intake can give you better combustion, which provides more power per stroke, propelling you down the street with greater gusto - a visit to AndysAutoSport.com will help you find the intake for you.
    * Custom Ignition System – Your car engine can benefit from a custom ignition system. Performance spark plugs and spark plug wires can add horsepower to your engine. In addition, advanced timing can also give you greater oomph. Performance plugs and wires provide more spark (what ignites fuel and drives the pistons in your engine). When combined with the benefits of a cold air intake, a custom ignition system provides considerable performance enhancements.
    * Superchargers and Turbos – Superchargers and turbochargers can ramp up your car's engine performance to a dramatically higher degree. Each system offers different benefits, so you will need to choose the right one for your needs. For instance, a supercharger provides performance enhancements across a wide range of the power band. A turbo, on the other hand, offers greater performance at higher RPM ranges (basically, a supercharger is great for the street, while a turbocharger is ideal for the track).
    * High Performance Radiators – A high performance engine produces more power, and, thus, more heat. A high performance radiator will be needed to keep it cool. These radiators are designed to deal with much higher temperatures and pressure ranges than OEM radiators are. These will help keep your performance engine safe from overheating and running smoothly no matter where you run your car.

These are just a few of the modifications that you can make to a car engine in order to maximize power and performance. With the right tools and a little help, you can ramp up engine performance to incredible heights.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Car Accessories

Car Accessories – What You Want Onboard

Tuning your ride is the best way to attain a powerful, stylish vehicle. Numerous car accessories exist to help you change your ride the way that you want. If you have never tuned your ride before, you may need a few tips to point you in the right direction. Here are the hottest car accessories on the market today and what they offer you.

Carbon Fiber – Carbon fiber is the hottest customization material on the market, today. Most of today's supercars make dramatic use of this material. While carbon fiber may not have been used when your car rolled off the factory assembly line, you can still add it at a later point. Carbon fiber hoods and trunk lids are the most popular car accessories to make use of this material. They are stronger, lighter and more durable than their metal and fiberglass counterparts. However, before you rush out and buy just any old hood with the carbon fiber label, you should understand a few things.

First, not all carbon fiber hoods are authentic. Make sure that the hood you purchase is not just a carbon fiber veneer over metal for fiberglass. Second, make sure you purchase a hood that is made to fit your exact make and model (AndysAutoSport.com can help you here).

LED Taillight – LED taillights are also incredibly popular. LEDs have actually been mandated by the federal government on many new production models. These taillights offer you a wide range of styles, from Euro to Asian-inspired options. In addition, they provide a long-lived lighting solution. LEDs can last many times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, which will save you money in the end. LEDs also offer brighter illumination to make you more visible on the road. Smoked, clear, red and other lens finishes are widely available to enhance your style.

HID Headlights – These car accessories pull double duty, operating with much a much brighter light that helps you see better at night, as well as providing you with a great look for your ride. HID conversion kits can be used to transform your ride from mundane to custom with a quick installation procedure. These lights are also available from a wide variety of distributor, giving you the options you need to make your ride unique.

Customizing your ride can also include other car accessories. LED wheel-well lights, custom car interiors and lighting, and many other options can make your car an extension of your personality and sense of style.

Summer Driving Tips

A quick and easy automotive checkup can help prepare a vehicle for the stress of high temperatures and increase its reliability on long road trips.

      * Tires -- To help prevent dangerous and inconvenient tire failure, examine tires for uneven or excessive tread wear. Make sure all tires, including the spare, are inflated properly.

      * Belt, Hoses and Fluids -- With the engine off, look for worn or cracked belts and damaged, blistered or soft hoses. Inspect the antifreeze/coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.

      * Motor Oil -- Check motor oil level and condition. If driving under extreme conditions, such as very hot temperatures or towing a heavy trailer, switch to a motor oil with higher viscosity. Check the owner's manual for specific oil recommendations.

      * Air Conditioning -- A properly working air conditioning system also will help motorists keep their cool in summer heat. If needed, have the air conditioning serviced by a qualified technician, using the refrigerant R-12 in older systems or R-134A in new or modified air conditioners. Do not use non-approved substitute refrigerants.

      * Emergency Kit -- Because even properly maintained vehicles can break down, AAA Minneapolis advises motorists to equip their vehicle with an emergency kit containing at least the following items: A flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, and a cellular phone to summon emergency assistance.

Interesting Car Facts

Top fuel dragsters accelerate at up to 5g from standing start. The nitromethane injection produces 6000 BHP.
The fastest time for removing a car engine, and replacing it is 42 seconds for a Ford Escort, on 21 November 1985.
An airbag moves up to 4500 mph within a second when triggered. A force of 200g is generated. They are designed to explode at an impact speed of 19 mph. The bag inflates within 40 milliseconds of a crash.
The Ferrari Formula 1 team is unique in the fact that it produces both chassis and engines for its cars.
Ferrari makes a maximum of 14 cars every day.
There were only 107 models of the Ford GT40 made of which only 7 were road cars.
The Worlds longest traffic hold-up was 110 miles long, between Paris and Lyon on the French Autoroute in 1980. A more recent contender for the title was a 100 mile long traffic Jam, near Hamburg in Germany in 1993.
The first known automobile was built in 1668, it was a two foot long steam powered model constructed by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Belgian Jesuit preist.
Luxembourg has the most crowded roads in Europe with 570 cars per 1,000 people.
The first car race ever seen in the United States was held in Chicago in 1895. The track ran from Chicago to Evanston. The winner was J. Frank Duryea, whose average speed was 71.5 miles per hour.
In 1924 a Ford automobile cost $265.
The first auto insurance policy is purchased in Westfield, MA, in 1897.

More On The 2011 Chevrolet Volt


Translogic episode 5.3 takes a look at the 2011 Chevy Volt and what makes it tick, and next week we'll get behind the wheel to tear up GM's Milford Proving Grounds in our in-depth road test. But first, let's clear up a few issues. With the Volt just months away from going on sale late this year, consumers still have plenty of questions about how it works and why General Motors built it the way it did.
Q: Why does the production Volt look different from the concept that was shown several years ago?
A: The more conservative look of the production car has drawn some criticism for not looking super cool like the concept. But Chevy said the original design presented a few packaging problems with regard to the amount of interior space buyers would expect. Another problem was that the concept car's layout made for an unacceptably large turning radius.

Q: Is the Volt a plug-in hybrid?
A: Chevy reps are quick to point out that they don't consider it a hybrid at all. They say hybrids use two sources of power to drive the wheels of the car. But the Volt uses only electricity to drive the wheels; the on-board, 1.4-liter gasoline engine serves only as a generator and never actually moves the car. Since Volt runs on electricity at all times, but with a gasoline engine that can generate that electricity, Chevy considers the Volt an electric car with a range extending gas generator. We think it might be more accurate to call the Volt a "series hybrid," similar in operation to a diesel-electric locomotive or a large cargo ship.

Q: So how do you charge the Volt?
A: You can plug the Volt in to a standard 110-volt outlet with the included household-style power cord and a full charge on its 16 killowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery pack will take 10-12 hours. Opt to have an extra-cost, 240-volt home charging station installed and that time is reduced to about 5 hours.

Q: How long will that battery pack last?
A: There's no way to know for sure but GM is standing behind the Volt's battery and related components with an 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty. To protect the expensive battery pack, GM engineers developed a complex, on-board battery management system. Lithium-ion batteries work best if they're never fully depleted or fully charged so the Volt's on board monitor always keeps the charge level between 30 and 85 percent of total capacity. Also, there's an automatic thermal management system that uses liquid to heat or cool the battery. Chevy says the battery will work in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees. The thermal system works primarily when the car is plugged in but can also be powered by the battery or gas engine while the car is on the road.

Q: How far can the Volt go on a charge?
A: With the battery fully charged, the Volt can travel 40 miles on the electricity stored in the battery. If you're lucky enough to have a daily commute that's less than 20 miles each way, then you could drive all week without burning even a drop of gasoline. Once the batteries are 70 percent discharged, the gasoline engine comes on and creates more electricity. Chevy says you can then drive another 300 miles this way, so the total range is about 340 before you need to plug it in or fill up the gas tank. When you fill up, you'll need to grab the premium nozzle. You can run regular unleaded without causing any harm but Chevy says premium is "recommended."

Q: What kind of fuel economy does the Volt get?
A: The simple answer is we don't know and it will likely vary for each owner. You may remember last year GM was touting the Volt as getting 230 miles per gallon, but it has since backed away from that claim. The EPA hasn't yet given the Volt a rating. Recently, GM engineer Andrew Farah told the Detroit News the target for the Volt once the gas engine kicks in is 50 miles per gallon.

Q: How much does the Volt cost?
A: The price of the 2011 Chevy Volt is not exactly clear, so here's the bottom line: The retail price is $41,000. However, many buyers will qualify for a federal tax credit of $7,500, depending on income. The tax credits are good for the first 200,000 vehicles sold by each manufacturer and will gradually be phased out over a year. There's also a leasing option: $350 per month for 36 months with a $2,500 down payment. But don't go looking for a Volt at your local auto mall, as initially the Volt will only be sold in California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Chevrolet plans to build just 10,000 Volts for the 2011 model year.

Least Expensive Cars of 2010

1.Hyundai Accent Blue, $10,690

Last year, Hyundai chopped the price of the Accent to undercut Nissan's Versa (see below) by $20, but you had to buy a more expensive model in order to get any options. The price is unchanged for 2010, but you can now add air conditioning for an extra $1,000, although you'll still have to buy the pricier Accent GS if you want a stereo or automatic transmission. Hyundai has tweaked the powertrain for better fuel economy -- hence the name change from "GS Base" to "Blue" -- but they've also limited color choices to blue (of course), white, and shades of gray. The Accent is good fun to drive in a back-to-basics sort of way, but the lack of advanced safety features and mediocre crash test scores make it difficult to justify.

2.Nissan Versa 1.6,$ 10,710

Compared to the Hyundai Accent Blue, the Nissan Versa 1.6 offers two extra doors, a nicer and roomier interior, and better resale value -- well worth the extra $20, if you ask me. That said, the base-model Versa is pretty well stripped. Color choices are limited, as are options -- you can get air conditioning ($1,000), an automatic transmission ($1,000), and antilock brakes ($250), but if you want a stereo or power windows you'll have to go for one of the pricier Versas. But even the pricier Versas aren't that pricey -- an automatic Versa 1.8S with a CD player, power windows and locks, A/C, and electronic stability control can be had for just over $16k.

3. Kia Rio Base Sedan, $12,390

For 2010 Kia has raised the base-model Rio's price by $250 and dropped the standard stereo, leaving the Rio Base with four airbags and little else (the only options are floor mats and, inexplicably, a trunk-mounted spoiler). If you want anything nicer, including a paint color other than white, black or silver, you have to buy the Rio LX, which gets air conditioning, a CD player, and antilock brakes (ABS) -- but at $14,490, it's a whopping $2,530 more than a Nissan Versa with optional A/C and ABS. (At that price, the Versa lacks a stereo, but that's easily solved with a trip to Best Buy.) And the Nissan has better resale values and crash test scores. Just goes to show that a low price doesn't always mean good value.

4. Smart Fortwo Pure, $12,635

It's no surprise that the smallest car in America is also one of the least expensive, but the cheapest version of the Smart Fortwo, called the Pure, is pretty sparse -- no power windows or mirrors, no air conditioning, not even a stereo. But it does include an automatic transmission and lots of safety gear, including side airbags, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control  (ESC) -- in fact, it's the least-expensive car to offer this life-saving technology as standard. And the creature comforts missing in the Fortwo Pure come standard in the Fortwo Passion, which costs only $2,000 more.

5. Chevrolet Aveo LS Sedan, $12,685

Like most cars at this end of the price scale, the base-model Chevy Aveo is a stripped-down model, though it does get an AM/FM radio with an input jack for an MP3 player and a provision for dealer-installed air conditioning (at extra cost, of course). The Aveo offers a tan interior with fake-wood trim, which sounds cheesy but actually looks pretty nice, and you can get a hatchback version for $200 more. On the flip side, the Aveo doesn't drive very well, it's weak on safety equipment, and adding factory A/C, a CD player and power windows pushes the price well past $15k. For that kind of money, you can do much better.


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Thursday, August 19, 2010

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Vauxhall Cars History & Background

Vauxhall Cars

Vauxhall Motors is a United Kingdom car manufacturer. It is a subsidiary of General Motors. The company was first founded in 1958 by Alex Wilson. 

The Vauxhall Company originally manufactured pumps and marine engines. It wasn’t until 1903 that the company built their first automobile. In 1925, Vauxhall was sold to General Motors.

During the Second World War, Vauxhall suspended car manufacturing and designed and manufactured Churchill tanks. The tanks were being manufactured on a large scale.

After the war ended, Vauxhall resumed car manufacturing. This time the company focused on cars that could be massed produced for the general public and in turn the company grew. 

In the 1960s, Vauxhall developed a bad reputation for building models that were prone to rust. Despite the company’s proactive efforts to correct the problem the reputation lingered for the next twenty years.

Vauxhalls would closely resemble and follow the design of the Opel brand. In 1994, Vauxhall began giving its models a distinct grill marked with a ‘V’ for Vauxhall to help distinguish themselves from Opel. 

Vauxhall has its share of up and downs and so has its parent company, General Motors. Despite its past woes, the company has managed to produce several reputable vehicles, including the Agila, Astra, Corsa, Meriva, Monara, Tigra, Signum, Vectra, and the Zafira.

The Vauxhall Agila is a mini MPV. The Agila is a five-door hatchback that comes with three engine choices including a diesel option. Production of the Agila began in 2000.

The Vauxhall Astra is a small family car that was designed to replace the Opel Kadet. The Astra has been produced in three generations and five different body styles and was first produced in 1991.

The Vauxhall Corsa is a supermini that was designed to replace the Opel Kadett City. The Corsa was first produced in 1983 and has been produced in four generations. The Corsa is available in six body styles; three and five-door hatchback, two and four-door sedan, five-door station wagon, and as a two-door pick up truck. 

The Vauxhall Meriva is a mini MPV that is available with a range od petrol and turbodiesel engines from 1.3-litre to 1.8-litre. The five-door MPV was first produced in 2002.

The Vauxhall Monara is a muscle car that is available as a two-door coupe or as a four-door sedan. The Monara was first produced in 1968 and has been produced in three generations. 

The Vauxhall Tigra is a sports car and was originally introduced as a small coupe in 1994, and was introduced as a roadster in 2004. The Tigra is marketed in several different countries under various names.

The Vauxhall Signum is a large family car sold almost exclusively in the United Kingdom. The Signum was designed to replace the Opel Omega. The car was first produced in 2003 and is available as a five-door hatchback. 

The Vauxhall Vectra is a large family car. The Vectra was designed to replace the Vauxhall Cavalier. The Vectra was first produced in 1988 and was produced in three generations. The Vectra was replaced by the Opel Insignia. 

The Vauxhall Zafira is a compact MPV. The Zafira was first produced in 1999 and has been produced in two generations. The Zafira has three rows of seats and can accommodate seven passengers. The car also sports the Flex 7 seating arrangement with removable seats.

Tesla Model S Bringing The Heat

Tesla's Model S sport sedan will be part of a significantly more crowded market than when it was initially under development even as little as a year ago. Whether competition from the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus, the Coda sedan, or even the Chevy Volt will truly hurt Tesla's sedan remains to be seen.




Specs:

  • Type: Dedicated electric vehicle
  • Class: 5-passenger sport sedan
  • Manufacturer: Tesla Motors
  • Propulsion system: "Proven powertrain from leading EV mfr" (?)
  • Top Speed: 120 mph
  • Zero-to-60: 5.6 seconds
  • Vehicle range: 160 miles (standard), 300 miles (enhanced)
  • Fuel(s): Electric
  • Battery system: 42 kWh lithium-ion
  • Time to full battery recharge: 8 hours at 110V outlet
  • Price: $57,400 ($49,900 after a $7500 Federal tax credit)
  • Availability: 2011

The manufacturer says

"With the 45 minute QuickCharge or a 5 minute battery swap, you can drive from LA to San Francisco, Washington to New York or take even longer road trips in about the same time as in a conventional car."

Overview

Tesla's follow-up to the Roadster debuted in March of 2009 at—where else—the Geneva Auto Show. Formerly known as the Whitestar, the Model S is still awaiting a real name, but her go-time is fast approaching. The Model S has two trunks, including one under the hood; the rear seats fold down, and the hatch opens up a bit, giving the sedan "passenger carrying capacity and versatility rivaling SUVs and minivans", according to Tesla.

What we like

The design: Former design director for Mazda Franz von Holzhausen is the sedan’s chief designer, and he’s put together an attractive-looking sedan than should compete with the likes of the BMW 5-series, and is significantly hotter than either the Nissan Leaf or the Coda sedan.
The brand loyalty discount: Tesla is giving Roadster owners a number of advantages over the general public in acquiring a Signature Series Model S—chiefly, they get a $10,000 price discount, bringing the cost of the vehicle under $40k. Now's a good time to buddy up to a lonely Roadster owner and see if you can't buy his Model S, even if the chances of this scenario, from every angle, are exceedingly small.
The onboard touchscreen: Tesla's promising a 17-inch onboard touchscreen with in-car 3G connectivity. Will it really be part of the production model? Seems unlikely but it sure would be sweet if it is.

What we don’t

The unknown battery supplier: What futuristic super-battery maker will be supplying the promised premium battery pack, the one capable of an astonishing 300 miles on a single charge? Will it matter? On the heels of the record-setting 313-mile journey of a Tesla Roadster during the Global Green Challenge, we're suddenly confronted with the notion that, if you drive conservatively, your battery may be capable of much more than you might imagine.

Conclusions

Tesla's Model S sport sedan will be part of a significantly more crowded market than when it was initially under development even as little as a year ago. Whether competition from the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus, the Coda sedan, or even the Chevy Volt will truly hurt Tesla's superior sedan remains to be seen. But few of us at FutureCars.com think Elon Musk will have any trouble at all moving enough units to make the Model S a smashing success.