Posted on November 2nd, 2012 No comments
Consumer Reports posted a nice article on what to look for to avoid buying a flood damaged vehicle.
Some good basic tips in there and something to keep in mind when considering that “almost new steal” at a local dealer lot.zp8497586rq
Posted on November 1st, 2012 No comments
For the Prius c and probably all other upper package 2012 Prii.
My 2012 Prius c recently started giving me problems when connecting my iPhone to it. It would just load either, for a very long time or non-stop. Sometimes, afterwards, the entertainment system would crash and be useless until the car was powered off and back on.
Turns out, the problem was somehow linked to recently upgrading iOS6.
A simple and quick hard reset on the phone and now it connects via USB in seconds and plays just fine.
Posted on October 31st, 2012 No comments
I just finished my seventh as second driver to the new Prius c. It's a package IV in black metallic pearl with a sunroof.
But that's not my problem.
It's not Priusy enough. For me.
My wife, who is first driver, loves it. I don't. I don't dislike it. I enjoy driving it. The MPG we've pulled out of the car without really trying is fine. Consumer Reports just rated it as one of the most reliable cars you can buy right now.
My problems are mostly my own. I hate the floor mounted shifter. I the computer system in it is slow and the touchscreen is more of a push hard screen. The telematics are better, in many ways, than other previous Prii but also worse. The nav is slow, clunky and neutered by a “Confirm” screen as well as being disabled while the vehicle is moving (as it is with all other Prii).
For me, it's the conscious decisions Toyota made to make this vehicle more “mainstream” that frustrate me. The stuff other Prii have that this one doesn't. Some of the little technological flourishes like the ceiling mounted LED spotlight in my Gen2.
That said, I don't hesitate to recommend the c to new, potential Prius buyers. I'm fairly sure they would not see the things that annoy me as annoying having no history with Prius.
I'm working finishing several video reviews one of which will detail my ownership experience with the c, coming soon. Then you can hear and see all my little gripes and see all the good things about the Prius c. As usual, you can then make your own judgment.zp8497586rq
Posted on October 31st, 2012 No comments
I don’t normally like to link to Jalopnik but, credit where it’s due, this is their story.
It seemed, to me at least, that this story was pretty quiet in social media today. I saw a small number of posts and they could all be described as quiet.
So, what does it mean if a dozen or more (16?) Karmas burn after being submerged in salt water. Well, the obvious thing is, do not submerge your Karma in salt water. I’m not sure this story is yet another well deserved slap up side the head to Fisker or if they were just one of the many victims of Hurricane Sandy. To know for sure I would need to see what happened to other vehicles similarly treated. It’s a pretty extreme test for anything. Salt water is notoriously unkind to most things.
I almost want to say that no matter what, this looks bad for Fisker but I’m not saying that. To be fair, this could have been, to one extent or another, unavoidable.
Posted on February 10th, 2012 No commentszp8497586rq
Posted on November 28th, 2011 No comments
Here's a commercial for Japan's Prius Alpha. The Alpa is the “v” in the US. It's the wagonized version of the Prius we all know and love.
And speaking of love, I love this spot.zp8497586rq
Posted on November 15th, 2011 No comments
Thanks to Prius Chat for the video…
Posted on May 23rd, 2011 No comments
From my friend and What Drives Us co-host, Danny Cooper. It's a great review and interesting since we basically spent the entire together examining and driving various V models.zp8497586rq
Posted on May 23rd, 2011 No comments
You want to know about the first and newest member of the Prius family? Of course you do. I got to drive the v and spent some serious time taking it apart and learning about it. What I saw is at the page below.
Posted on April 6th, 2011 No comments
Martyn Williams of IDG News posted…
Microsoft and Toyota Motor will announce a collaboration between the two companies later Wednesday, they said.
Details of the tie-up between the world's biggest software maker and world's biggest auto maker will be disclosed in a video conference by Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, and Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor, at 1 p.m. PDT (8 p.m. GMT).
So what will happen to Entune? Details as this develops.zp8497586rq
Posted on April 6th, 2011 No comments
The Prius family of owners has gotten a lot larger.
“Toyota announced the one-millionth US sale of the Toyota Prius. It is the third milestone for Toyota’s hybrid lineup in the last six months that started with the announcement of worldwide Toyota Prius sales topping 2M in October 2010 and overall global Toyota hybrid sales passing 3M last month.”
Time for my Gramps Simpson reminiscence. I remember a time when people would come up to me and ask, all the time, did I have to plug my car in and did it really only have a top speed of 35MPH. I remember when seeing another Prius on the road was an unusual circumstance and we waved at each other.
Now Prius truly is a main stream vehicle. It's just another car on the road.
Which kind of cool.
Congratulations to everyone at Toyota and to the million of us owners here in the U.S.zp8497586rq
Posted on March 23rd, 2011 No comments
Straw men are easy to construct and even easier to knock down. That's really the idea isn't it? Create a fake issue, then counter it, voila! Your argument is made and won, all in the same breath.
So it goes with Marty Padgett's piece on carconnection, “Why Detroit Isn't The “New” New Orleans“.
I was directed to this piece by John Voelcker, an associate of Padgett's. I've read, argued with and agreed with John's writing for years. Basically, John is a good guy and so, I am sure, is Mr. Padgett. Which leaves me wondering, what was the impetus for carconnection to deliver what's really a flame at the people of Detroit. Was it really one sentence in some Jalopnik piece? And how many sentient beings out of their teens really take Jalopnik seriously about anything?
Let's start with the straw man. Padgett writes…
They're both withered and pretty much defenseless–but does that mean Detroit is the new New Orleans? Does it deserve some kind of federal intervention? Here's what our colleague, Jalopnik editor @RayWert says:
“Detroit's New Orleans-like loss of population received no telethons or FEMA assistance. America doesn't care about Detroit people.”
About what I would expect from Jalopnik. And Padgett deftly explains that no, you don't get FEMA assistance for the kind of slow burn economic disaster that's befallen Detroit for the last two decades (or more). That's obvious. And without reading the Gawker piece (after years of wasting my time, I just don't bother giving Nick Denton the click) I can't really further delve into why Wert wrote what he did. Nor do I care to. I'm much more interested in what Padgett wrote for his site.
My argument with Padgett begins here:
And yet Detroit got cash anyway. The city and its suburbs–via automakers and by extensions, suppliers, employees, and dependents–received billions in bailout loans in 2009 that probably prevented the city's head count from falling twice as far.
We have to parse this one carefully to really see the folly contained inside. On the exterior, it seems to a reasonable, common sense remark but it isn't and here's why.
“Detroit” didn't get the “cash”. GM, Chrysler and Ford have been getting the cash. The difference is enormous. That, for the most part, GM, Chrysler and Ford care really care less about Detroit and the other former locations where they once made cars is self-evident. In the rush to “stay competitive” the big three have off-shored as much production as they possibly can ignoring any tie to the communities left behind in the desolation.
Then Padgett drops the trickle down bomb, “The city and its suburbs–via automakers and by extensions, suppliers, employees, and dependents–received billions” but it's a weapon of misdirection. Again, the people of Detroit, the city of Detroit didn't get this money. The automakers who have become pseudonymous with the city they once built cars in got the cash. Some of that federal largesse went to facilities in Detroit, much of it, arguably most of it, did not. None of it went to the people of Detroit or the city of Detroit to help them grapple with the problems they face.
That doesn't even begin to account for the ongoing subsidies Detroit gets indirectly from federal programs for investing in green-car technology and in sub-federal money that keeps factories alive when they probably weren't viable on their own account.
Again, the difference between the city receiving monies and the car companies, two thirds of which are now located the suburbs surrounding the city, cashing in is enormous. In many cases the big three have invested that subsidy money, as they have to, domestically. Have that money been spent in Detroit? No, not in its entirety by any means.
As for factories that “weren't viable on their account” who is to blame for that? The people of Detroit? Are they somehow less productive employees than other places? Or maybe it's the city of Detroit, maybe the city itself is to blame? I think the blame for the viability of factories rests solidly, but not solely, on the car companies, their managers and executives. Those same executives, by the way, who have been real benefactors of the government bailouts Padgett mentions. Those execs have been collecting their salaries and bonuses while their former factories decayed and their business models were invalidated. Blaming it on the city or on the employees isn't just wrong, it's malicious.
Padgett continues to erect straw creations for ceremonial burning…
The second point's much worse. “America doesn't care about Detroit people” is political plutonium.
And then he launches into some sideways thing about George Bush. Look, honestly, America doesn't much care about Detroit any more than it cares about Wilkes-Barre, Cleveland, Gary, Pittsburgh, Rochester, South Bend, Flint or Milwaukee (to name just a few cities). America, passively or otherwise seems to be pretty comfortable allowing the industrial part of our economy to wither and die only to be replaced by the service economy, yes, a nation of fast food and hotel employees. I don't want to get off track and dig into the politics of all of that but I do think it bear mentioning that if we, as a nation, cared about this sector of the economy and the cities and states that depended on it, we might have talked about building other things or modifying the ways we build things here. Instead, most of us were perfectly content to encourage and subsidize the big three to move as much manufacturing out of this country as possible. If that is “caring” I'll take apathy.
It's inflammatory, much like the Jalopnik post that inspired Padgett to write what he did but I do think there is something valid in the comparison. Not a direct one to one comparison, life and reality is seldom that simple. But as a metaphor things like the image below help us see things differently. They force to re-evaluate the so odiously misnamed common wisdom and perhaps, see more truth than we did before. This is one of the first page of Michael Moore's 1996 book, “Downsize This!”
The top image is the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that was bombed by Timothy McVeigh. The lower image is a closed factory in Flint. Before you dismiss the comparison, again, not a direct one, consider the following. The Murrah tragedy was the act of one man intentionally trying to destroy federal property and maim and kill. The second image, the Flint factory was the direct result of auto executives making intentional decisions to close a local factory, fire workers there and demolish the building. They're not the same acts by any means but the point Moore makes in his book is simple and obvious, both acts had much the same results. Lives were ended prematurely. Families were destroyed. Communities were devastated. Was this the fault of those workers? Were they just not good enough? Did they deserve what they got?
In his second to last paragraph Padgett blames Detroit's ills on, “the unions, and an overbearing, overburdened city government”. Notice what's missing?
Padgett won't get an argument from me that some unions have, at times, been out of control. But it's difficult to blame the big three's ills on the unions, after all, did the big three also sign onto all those contracts? If those contracts are burdensome or badly negotiated, why did they agree to them?
And Detroit's civis issues have been well publicized. Their laughable civic government is, well, laughable. And not defend them but allow me to add this. Anyone who has ever run a business can understand this. A growing business is one that is typically much more simple to manage than one that is shrinking. Detroit has been a basket for a long time because of an ever more eroding tax base, and ever increasing burden of costs associated with managing a shrinking economy. For anyone, even the best of civic leaders, Detroit would be a serious challenge.
And ponder this for a moment, what's been run worse? The city of Detroit, with no federal help and a shrinking economy or the big three car companies with tons of federal assistance and a mandate from the government that they are too big to fail?
Padgett closes with the follow…
New Orleans has levees. Detroit has denial. They're both Achilles' heels, but one doesn't have to be.
Wow, game, set, match. If only Detroit would just pick itself up by its rusty bootstraps and be a real city, it wouldn't be losing population at a ridiculous rate, turning over entire blocks into improvised gardens and still be host to innumerable empty factories, homes and offices.
I would say that there is some serious denial taking place but it isn't on Detroit's part. No, it's denial from those of us who think that a city devastated by outsourcing, rampant with private enterprise management as malfaisant as the very worst of its civic mishandlers, can just bounce back with a good attitude and the power of positive thinking. Detroit, as a place full of people, is emblematic of the what's happened to once vibrant middle class this country had. And we ignore that lesson at our own peril.
My note: The title of this piece is, obviously, a line from Pink Floyd's “Time” which, for some reason I only half understand, was resonating in my head while I wrote this. -russellzp8497586rq