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 January 10th, 2010 No comments
Motor Trend ran a reader poll for Car, Truck and SUV of the 2000′s. Guess who won in the car category?
Although that’s my 2010 pictured above, the readers at Motor Trend voted the 2004 Prius the Car of the Decade. Of course, being Motor Trend, it wasn’t enough that the Prius beat the car (Cadillac CTS) that came in second by more than twice the votes. No. Motor trend wanted to add three comments from voters who begrudgingly acknowledged the Prius’ importance during the naughts.
What struck us about the voting was the willingness with which people chose the Prius even if they didn’t particularly like the car. “I hate to say it,” said 3800ccgnx, “but it’s gotta be the Prius.”
“It totally set the standard for the ‘green’ movement, which has swallowed up every aspect of the industry,” said Delspencerdeltorro.
From JanRasmus: “The Prius. It’s the only car of the bunch that it actually outstanding…it’s not just been fancy-looking, or nicely executed, or powerful: it’s been groundbreaking – defining a new formula instead of just refining the old one and starting the hybrid game that everyone else now so desperately wants to play. And, yes: it’s not pretty, it’s not fast, it’s not premium and it’s not dirt cheap.”
Read more: http://wot.motortrend.com/6625425/miscellaneous/you-decided-motor-trends-unofficial-car-truck-and-suv-of-the-2000s/index.html#ixzz0cGFU7NUB
Hey, cheers to the Motor Trend for voting for the Prius even if they had to hold their nose while doing so. I think it’s silly behavior on their part but in the end, at least they found a way to admit Prius is a revolutionary vehicle.
Here’s a 2004, image courtesy of Toyota.
Posted on May 29th, 2009 No comments
There’s been a lot of harumphing in the media over the slow down in auto sales, if you’re like me (and if you are, my apologies) you’ve seen this story in dozens of different versions talking about how lower gas prices and a depression economy have “killed” hybrid sales.
Yes, while all sales slowed, hybrid sales were by no means dead.
And now, with two very exciting new hybrids on the market, I’m seeing things like this, from Daily Tech,
While the auto industry as a whole has struggled, Honda and Toyota have been experiencing new international success, thanks to their new 2010 Insight and Prius hybrid vehicles. With a healthy profit margin of $3,100 per vehicle, these lean, clean, green small cars are selling out and acting as a bailout for their respective companies, while other models and competitors languish.
In Japan, Honda’s Insight already became the first hybrid vehicle to top overall sales charts. Now Toyota’s Prius has a success story of its own on its hands.
Earlier this year Toyota, battered by the economic downturn had to stop production and assembly at many of its plants in an effort to reduce output and lower inventories. However, thanks to the better than expected demand for the Prius, thanks in part to rising summer gas prices, Toyota is putting these plants back in full-time action.
States Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco, “We are considering steps to increase production to meet demand.”
Meanwhile, I notice that one company is promoting this upcoming release…
And I would further note that the speculation is that they’ll be filing for bankruptcy protection soon. Maybe that will slow down their luxury SUV release cycle a bit?
Maybe, but I tend to doubt it.
Posted on March 30th, 2009 No comments
Include this paragraph in your already too long rant on “eco-motoring”. From the TimesOnline…
Smug hybrid drivers like to imply they are doing the planet some good, whereas the truth is that they are, at best, simply not causing as much damage as the rest of us. (Even this is debatable: according to one report, if you take into account the energy used in producing and disposing of vehicles, the petrol-swilling Jeep Wrangler is actually greener than the Prius). And while SUV owners risk having their cars vandalised by environmentalists, the reality is that some SUVs are less polluting than supposedly greener small cars (The Mini Cooper S, for instance, does around 33mpg on the combined cycle of city and open road driving, while the BMW X3 2.0d will give you around 39mpg).
All the cliches of the lazy writer. Passing on the debunked CNW survey (without naming it, either lazy or disingenuous). Using “smug” as the first word in the paragraph. It’s all the same, usual, rationalizing crap rolled into one nice, neat paragraph. Go ahead, drive the Land Rover, those hybrids are nasty anyway.
Posted on March 20th, 2009 1 comment
Casey Williams of car-data.com sent an email asking if he could respond to a couple posts here commenting on his writing that mentioned the Prius. I told that I would be happy to publish anything he cared to say Prius related so below are his responses to two POG posts (the original posts noted in a link above the comment.
Thanks to Casey for taking the time to write. Casey, you’re welcome to post your opinions here anytime.
In response to the POG post “Is the best way to sell a Yukon to insult a Prius?” Casey Williams said,
“You have to know I’m a big Prius fan and have tested several of them (first two generations) over the years. I would love a third-generation for my personal garage. They’re great cars. I was just having a little fun with the Yukon review, not trying to insult the Prius. During the morning about which I wrote, there were over 12″ of fresh snow in my driveway in Indianapolis with taller drifts on the main roads. None of the roads were plowed yet. I literally busted down drifts with the bumper of the SUV driving to work. Almost no cars were going anywhere, including my friend’s Prius. No insults meant. It was just a good analogy to point out the differences, and focus, of the Yukon Hybrid. Compared to a Prius, it drinks a lot of gas and has few of the benefits Prius owners enjoy so much. It does, however, get in-town fuel economy comparable to a mid-size sedan (a big improvement over non-hybrid Yukons), can tow a 30-ft. travel trailer, and clear 12″+ of snow (which a Prius, and most other sensible cars, can’t). Each vehicle has its purpose; owners of both are very happy.”
In response to the POG post “Let’s pretend” Casey Williams said,
“I have not driven a Chevy Volt – almost no journalists have. However, I have driven the Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle and GM’s notorious EV1. GM engineers claim the electrical system in the Equinox is very similar to the Volt’s, with the key difference being that the Equinox gets its electricity from a chemical conversion of hydrogen while the Volt has an on-board gasoline generator and can be plugged in. The beauty of the GM design is that they can essentially “plug n’ play” powertrains (diesel, hydrogen, gasoline, ethanol, etc) while using the same basic electric drive system (unlike a Prius, the Volt is an electric car with the wheels always driven by motors and batteries). Despite its limited range and complete failure in the market, the EV1 was also a lot of fun to drive and accelerated briskly.”
Thanks again Casey for taking the time to comment on our posts.
Posted on February 19th, 2009 No comments
You know, almost from the opening graph it’s going to be good…
If the Big-3 challenge were as depicted in the press, their failure would not only be foreordained, but without much societal loss. They are widely depicted as thickheaded dinosaurs who clung to outmoded and outsized SUVs, caved to absurd union demands, denied climate change – and thereby lost, big time. Every blast has some truth, but this one is more misleading than accurate.
Dr. Jeffrey Sachs is no fool but the story he presents is certainly one that would comfortable exiting the mouth of a fool. While I agree with much of Sachs says in the article he’s worded it very carefully to take much of the blame that should be firmly attached to fools who have bled their own companies dry with bad decision after decision and made it an issue of, it’s all of our fault.
Well Dr. Sachs, not exactly. All of us, that is.
And Sachs undermines his point saying that indeed, the big 3 even had a more rational strategy in how they did business elsewhere in the world, just not here. And taking the blame off the big 3 management for terrible decisions, insisting that we as a nation should have had national health care in place, for instance, is correct technically but who, I wonder, were the big money people behind lobbying against such decisions? Could it be the management of the big 3?
Sachs seems to believe that the same people, the management of the big 3, who have screwed things up so thoroughly are still the people who can lead the change. I would contend he’s 100% wrong there. They, the big3 management, have proven they have no vision other than to collect next quarter’s bonus. They vastly prefer, to the point of their own destruction, to follow the same failed business plan. The big 3′s half-hearted and mostly insincere efforts to change are just that, half-hearted and insincere. The big 3 are led by dinosaurs who have proven, in word and deed, that they are not capable of making the changes necessary. It’s time for them to leave and for new people, people who do understand the challenges we face and do believe in solutions that will work, to take over. That’s the first step and anything else is simply throwing away good money after bad.
Posted on February 4th, 2009 No comments
I was watching MSNBC with my wife and the talking heads there kept talking about how this must not be foul play and had to be something related to the hybrid batteries.
Here’s a shot from the one of the news helicopters covering the story. Now, you see the blast damage, where do you think the hybrid batteries in the Lexus are? Quick, no cheating.
Here’s a hint if you don’t know, it’s nowhere near where the blast clear originated. I knew that much from watching thirty seconds of television yet the TV and now news web sites continue to blather about how it was a hybrid malfunction and how “the police had ruled out foul play”.
However police do not believe foul play was involved, saying the incident could have been caused by a malfunction with Dr. Trent Pierce’s hybrid Lexus SUV, according to affiliate WREG
Honestly folks, just stop. How could the police rule out foul play within an hour and suspect a hybrid battery pack nowhere near the origin or the explosion?
TV does make you more stupid, I’m convinced.
Now, tell me how anyone with even a basic knowledge of hybrid vehicle would look at that and immediately determine it wasn’t “foul play” it was the hybrid system exploding? What is it right underneath the right lip of the front bumper that could explode? Answer below…
Foxnews, for what it’s worth, is now reporting it was a bomb. You think?
In the meantime yet another new myth about “exploding hybrids” has been born.
Posted on February 4th, 2009 No comments
– Frank Ahrens
Big Three Bloodbath: Chrysler Down 55 Pct., GM Down 51 Pct., Ford Down 39 Pct. In January
It was a terrible month for all automakers but especially for Detroit’s Big Three, which saw sales drop by an average of nearly 50 percent compared to January 2008.
Chrysler was the grim “winner,” watching sales drop 55 percent compared to last January.
Sales of Chrysler cars dropped 64 percent, according to Autodata. The company simply can no longer make a passenger car anyone wants to buy, it seems.
General Motors’s January sales were down a staggering 51 percent compared to January 2008 and Ford sales plummeted 39 percent.
Almost all automakers continued to struggle with a global recession: Toytota’s January sales dove 32 percent, while Honda’s were down 30 percent.
The bright spots: Light-selling Subaru, which saw an 8-percent sales bump in January, Hyundai, up 14 percent, which is offering to take back newly sold vehicles for no charge if buyers lose their jobs, and Kia, up 4 percent.
GM’s sales were driven downward by a 80-percent decline in fleet sales, added to a 38-percent drop in sales to consumers.
Ford sales to individual customers in January were down 27 percent while fleet sales plummeted 65 percent, to arrive at the 39-percent drop, the company said.
Ford said its January sales were in-line with its assumptions.
Ford sold 93,060 cars, small trucks and SUVs in January, compared with 155,832 in the same month of 2008. Toyota sold 117,287 vehicles, down from 171,849.
The January report for other automakers:
– Volkswagen was down 12 percent.
– Porsche was down 36 percent.
– Daimler was down 36 percent.
– Mazda was down 27 percent.
– Audi was down 26 percent.
– Mitsubishi was down 35 percent.
Ford is the only Big Three automaker that has said it doesn’t need federal bailout money — yet. If sales conditions deteriorate to a “worst case” scenario, chief executive Alan Mulally has said, the automaker may need to tap the federal aid.
For January, Ford sold 90,596 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, putting it on a pace to sell 1.09 million vehicles in 2009.
By comparison, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sold 1.78 million vehicles last year. Of course, sales vary by month.
Posted on February 2nd, 2009 No comments
Despite lower gas prices, local SUV sales are not experiencing benefits
By SAM BRUNELL
Decreasing gas prices have not necessarily helped SUV sales at many local car dealerships.
“They really haven’t gone up,” said Dario Gutierrez, general manager at Brian Bemis Toyota and Scion, 1890 Sycamore Road. “Compared to seven months ago, no one was buying them but now some people are.”
Ed Storm, used car sales manager at Brad Manning Ford, 402 Manning Drive, said lower gas prices are just a contributor to their SUV sales.
“It’s a combination of the weather and gas prices,” he said. “Pricing is also very good on them.”
With people steering away from purchasing SUVs the past few months, Storm said the availability and selection of used SUVs is stronger than ever.
“We’ve probably got 15 SUVs here in stock so it gives people a good selection,” he said.
For some dealerships, like Tom Sparks Buick Chevrolet, 216 S. First St., car sales have not been affected by the economy and, more specifically, the gas prices.
“We really have not noticed any change over the last several years,” said internet sales manager Tim Jennings. “For example, last November when the economy was supposedly at its worst, we sold one more car than we did the previous year in November.”
One trend that is relatively common among the different car dealerships are Hybrid vehicle sales.
“It’s not as strong as it was a year ago,” Storm said. “It was so hot a year ago, it almost had to come down.”
Gutierrez said Toyota recently announced a rebate for the Hybrid Prius, Toyota’s top selling hybrid.
“They went from being red-hot to just another car,” he said.Regardless, hybrid sales still remain high.
“It’s still probably about two to three weeks after we get them that they’re gone,” Storm said. “We sell out every time we have them.”
Posted on January 20th, 2009 No comments
For years Bob Lutz and his comrades in the auto industry had it easy. The business was, mostly, a no brainer. A good thing as the executive management of the American auto companies have demonstrated that aside from negotiating great goleden parachutes for themselves, they’re not much good at anything else.
In this WaPo article Bob whines a lot.
For one, gas prices have been falling. Over the summer, as oil prices spiked at an all-time high, consumers clamored for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Now that prices at the pump are under $2 a gallon, analysts say consumers are migrating back to trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
“When it was $4 a gallon, we couldn’t make enough Cobalts,” Bob Lutz, General Motors’ vice chairman of global product development, said of the fuel-efficient Chevrolets that get 30 mpg on the highway. “Now we have trouble pushing the Cobalts out to the dealers.”
With fuel prices declining, government mandates that automakers build highly fuel-efficient cars will be no more effective than combating obesity by forcing clothing manufacturers to make only small sizes, Lutz said.
“It put us in the industry in the position where we are at war with the customer,” Lutz said. “Because the customer, given the gas prices, is going to want one thing. And we’re going to be forced by regulation to produce something entirely different.”
Can you hear the mewling? It’s terrible.
As I mention below, gas prices here have shot up about thirty cents a gallon in the last month. Anyone who predicts gasoline will someone stay under $2 a gallon, for the long term is either ignoring history or serving an agenda that doesn’t require the facts. Gas will go up again, count on it. So planning to keep the truck/SUV business model isn’t good or original thinking, it’s falling back on doing the only profitable thing you know how to do. Regulation isn’t the problem right now, it’s the only thing barely keeping the American car companies in business and frankly, since he’s playing around with a whole big pile of taxpayer money, I think it might behoove Maximum Bob to just shut up and take it.
There’s nothing, not a thing, preventing GM from making the Escalade and the whatever other big trucks they want to make. They just can’t make only those vehicles. Regulations require their fleet to be, overall, more efficient than it has been in the past. And this, apparently, is the untenable straightjacket Maximum Bob finds himself bound within.
Poor, poor Bob.
Oh, and one more thing. The Cobalt? It’s a piece of cheap, plastic Chevy junk. Drive one. Then go drive anything from Scion or Toyota. Look at the fittings in the car. Notice how the seat belts are run. Notice the door panels. Then look at the relative resale prices of cars from both companies. Bob, if people aren’t buying the Cobalt I would opine that, as much as it is short sighted consumers making a poor choice, it’s the matter of your entry level offering being a vehicle no one wants unless they’re forced into it.
Posted on January 2nd, 2009 No comments
Austin school kids say they would rather not enjoy the fumes of vehicles idling while waiting to pick them up.
I live half a block from an elementary school. This is a daily thing for me. Dozens of cars, typically large SUVs, idling, waiting for kids to get out of school.
Posted on December 19th, 2008 No comments
Funniest rumor so far this year. Now GM is floating a rumor about a “Cadillac Volt” SUV? Come on. They haven’t even made the little, teeny Chevy Volt and already the concept is being ported over to a hulking Cadillac SUV? Add in the fact that the Volt is reportedly going to cost $40k or more, and now they want to take the concept to a Cadillac SUV that will cost what, $70K, in the worst economy since the Great Depression?
Get serious. Is this is intelligence test?
And speaking of jokes. The mountains of publicity someone is buying to promote this new Chinese hybrid is reaching epic proportions. Before we get all excited because financial experts are expressing concern maybe we should actually see the vehicle on American streets? Maybe we should find out if the thing works? Maybe. Apparently “financial experts” are the most easily panicked and intimidated species on the planet.