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Friday
Aug142015

Remembering My Father

There are times parents give advice you both know you will ignore. This was one of those times.

By Christopher A. Sawyer

About the time I was ready to transition out of high school and into college, there came the inevitable question: “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” The only thing I knew for sure at that point was that the world was filled with cars, and cars were the only thing I knew. Only I had no clue how to turn that into a career. That dinner table conversation “decided” I should get an MBA – I didn’t, I have a liberal arts degree, but it probably explains my disdain for MBAs to this day – but it wasn’t enough. My late father knew I wanted to be a product planner and that I’d need an engineering degree to go along with the MBA if I was to have any hope of joining that fraternity. There was only one problem: I hated math and was horrible at functions and differential equations. (The math problem – and a basic inability to understand credits and debits – also helped me flunk accounting course twice.) He, on the other hand, could do them in his head, and understood what they meant and the meaning of the theory behind them.

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Friday
Aug142015

Random Thoughts: 8/14/15

While at the regional launch for the Scion iA and iM recently, I asked Doug Murtha, the head of Scion, why Toyota’s American sub-brand wasn’t doing a Nissan Juke-like small crossover instead. He said that, having been through the so-called Great Recession (still ongoing for many), “They aren’t interested in expensive vehicle upgrade kits or even vehicles that are impractical. They may be just as individualistic as the first Scion customers, but they’re not as willing to so blatantly stand apart from the crowd.” Or maybe there’s another reason: Toyota didn’t have a vehicle that fit the bill.

That will change when Toyota launches the production version of its C-HR concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Built on Toyota’s modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the production C-HR will sit above the RAV4 in the lineup, and be sold as part of the Auris family in Europe. (The new Scion iM is an Americanized Auris hatchback.) First spotted testing nearly 18 months ago, this small, sporty crossover will launch in Europe almost two years before it makes a move to the U.S. This will give Toyota time to launch a new TNGA-based xB and tC, as well as the oft-rumored higher output FR-S before turning its attention to the production C-HR.

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Friday
Jul312015

Notes of Note: 7/31/15

News, facts and other stuff clogging our e-mail system

Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety, in conjunction with worked with MGA Research Corporation, have conducted rigorous crash testing on leading pet crates and carriers that claimed to be ”Tested”, “Crash Tested,” offer “Crash Protection” or claim they are for use in a vehicle. The tests were carried out using specially design crash test dog dummies that approximate the size and weight of real dogs. Some of the crates and carriers tested failed completely, but three emerged as top picks. These include the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8-foot Tie Down Straps, and both the PetEgo Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection and Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock.

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Friday
Jul172015

Notes of Note: 7/17/15

News, facts and other stuff clogging our e-mail system. 

Boston-based Nissan Leaf buyers will two years free public charging when buying from Leaf-certified Nissan dealers in that market. The “No Charge to Charge” promotion includes fast chargers that can bring a Leaf from empty to 80% charge in 30 minutes, as well as the more common Level 2 (240-volt) chargers. Boston is the 17th U.S. market to embrace this promotion, and Nissan expects to roll it out to a total of 25 markets by the end of the year. 

Nissan now offers "No Charge to Charge" in 17 U.S. markets, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Denver and Washington, D.C. It plans to offer the "No Charge to Charge" program at Leaf dealers in at least 25 U.S. markets later this year. You can find chargers eligible for this promotion at https://www.ez-charge.com/stations/ or via the Nissan EZ-Charge app for iOS or Android.

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Friday
Jul032015

Fiat Chrysler Needs Clear Thinking, Not a Merger

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Alfa Romeo’s new Giulia sedan could lead to a new start for Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat

Alfa Romeo's new Giulia sedan has had many false starts, but could lead to a new dawn for Chrysler.After years of false starts, promises and delays, Alfa Romeo finally introduced its new small sedan to the world. Known in eternally as the 159, the menacingly aggressive red sedan rolled onto the stage at the Alfa Romeo Museum on the 105th anniversary of the founding of A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) as Andrea Bocelli sang an aria from Turandot. Low key this introduction was not. Then again, how could it be? The 159 project has moved in fits and starts, shifted from a transverse front-drive platform to a (sort of) Maserati Ghibli-derived rear-drive architecture, and was developed in secret by a group of about 600 engineers working in a nondescript building in Modena located between Ferrari and Maserati.

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