Thursday, September 29, 2011

Auto news: National Safety agency probes Jeep & Honda vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website published that it has received seven consumer complaints claiming the airbag on the Liberty SUV deployed without a crash. Five of the complaints reported injuries.

This investigation covers an estimated 387,356 Jeep Liberty vehicles.

A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a manufacturer needs to address a safety issue.

The safety agency also opened a separate investigation into an estimated 20,000 Honda Odyssey minivans for the 2009 model year for possible power liftgate problems.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Honda news: Honda Launches 'Brio Hatchback' in India

New Delhi, Honda Motor Co. Tuesday introduced its second hatchback and cheapest car yet in India. The auto maker seeks to challenge the dominance of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and Hyundai Motor Co. in the country's most popular vehicle segment.
Honda Brio Hatchback
The price of Honda Brio lies between 395,000 rupees ($8000) and 510,000 rupees at showrooms in New Delhi It’s powered by a 1.2-liter gasoline engine and would compete with Maruti's Swift and Ritz, Hyundai's i10 as well as Toyota Motor Corp.'s Etios Liva and Ford Motor Co.'s Figo.
Takashi Nagai, president and chief executive at Honda Siel Cars India Ltd., told a press conference, "We have been able to launch the Brio at a competitive price due to our efforts to control costs, maximize production efficiencies and minimize impact of currency fluctuations, and we have achieved this through higher localization," Honda Siel Cars is 99.9% owned by Honda, and 0.1% by India's Siel Ltd.
Mr. Nagai said, Honda Siel sources 80% of the Brio's parts locally, which it aims to increase to 90%, adding that the company has no immediate plan to introduce a diesel variant of the car.
"Our customers have mostly been in bigger cities so far. With the Brio, we expect to reach out to customers in smaller cities as well," he added.
The Honda Brio will add to Honda's Jazz hatchback, the City, Civic and Accord sedans and the CR-V sport-utility vehicle in India.
Honda Brio
The small cars comprise about 70% of all passenger vehicles sold in India, sought after because of their cheaper price tags and higher fuel efficiency. The last two years have seen a rush of new hatchback models in the country introduced by Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co.
The onset of the Indian festive season makes it an opportune time for Honda to introduce its new model. Rising fuel prices and interest rates have crimped demand for autos in India. The companies expect sales to recover during the festival months of October to December, which are considered auspicious by many to make new purchases.
The Honda recently also cut prices of Jazz by up to 23% to bolster demand for the premium hatchback.
Mr. Nagai, “the company will consider exporting the Brio to neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan in the near future. Honda has already started exporting Brio's parts to Thailand, where it already ships parts of City and Jazz models”.
 Filled Under: Honda & The Wall Street Journal

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Toyota news: For first time, Toyota launches tiny 'Kei' car in Japan.

Toyota has launched its first minicar, the Pixis Space for the home market in Japan recently.

These tiny cars, known as ‘Kei-class’ vehicles have become increasingly popular in Japan and now generate about a third of all new car sales there, the Associated Press reported from Tokyo.
Toyota Pixis Space

The Pixis Space is basically a rebadged "Move Conte" from Toyota-owned Dahaitsu Motor, which specializes in small vehicles. Starting price of these cars is 1.12 million yen ($14,700).

The Kei vehicles that qualify for lower taxes are defined under Japanese regulations being a maximum of 11.15 feet long, 4.86 feet wide and 6.56 feet high along with an engine smaller than 660 cc.

It may be tiny; the wheelbase is just 8.2 feet. But it offers a full range of options: six trim levels and a 660cc engine and CVT power train with start-stop which can be had with a turbo and with front or all-wheel drive.

The automaker, Toyota plans two more minicars for the Japanese market, believed to be a tiny van and a micro-truck, although it has not said when those will launch. Its goal is total annual sales of 60,000 in Japan for the three.

Minicars are popular for the tax savings and also with people who use cars for short commutes or grocery shopping, as well as with younger people who don't see cars as status symbols as did the older generation.

These cars are also easy to handle on Japan's crowded streets, and some come in cute designs and colors. Toyota photo above is a case in point which appeals to Japanese consumers.

The entrance of Toyota, the elephant of the Japanese market, into the segment is expected to heat up the competition in Japan. These minicars might also give Toyota additional products for some emerging markets.

Japan's No. 2 automaker, Nissan, has a deal with Mitsubishi for Mitsubishi to make minicars for Nissan.

Another automaker, Honda already sells several minicar models in Japan and sold 160,000 totals last year, about a quarter of its sales in Japan.

Filled under: TOYOTA & USA TODAY

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Feature, Price & Picture of  2012 HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE

MSRP: $22,250- $32,250

The 2012 Genesis Coupe is a 2-door, 4-passenger family coupe, available in 8 trims, ranging from the 2.0T Manual to the 3.8 Track Auto.Upon introduction, the 2.0T Manual is equipped with a standard 2.0-liter, I4, 210-horsepower, turbo engine that achieves 21-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard. The 3.8 Track Auto is equipped with a standard 3.8-liter, V6, 306-horsepower engine that achieves 17-mpg in
the city and 27-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard.The 2012 Genesis. Coupe is a carryover from 2011.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Feature, Price & Picture of 2012 BMW 7 SERIES (750Li Sedan)

2012 BMW 7 SERIES (750Li Sedan)
MSRP: $71,000- $91,200

The 2012 BMW-7 Series is a 4-door, 5-passenger luxury sedan, available in 6 trims, ranging from the 740i Sedan to the 750LixDrive Sedan.Upon introduction, the 740i Sedan is equipped
with a standard 3.0-liter, I6, 315-horsepower, turbo engine that achieves 17-mpg in the city and 25-mpg on the highway.The 750Li xDrive Sedan is equipped with a standard 4.4-liter, V8, 400-horsepower, turbo engine that achieves 14-mpg in the city and 20-mpg on the highway.
 A 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard on both trims.The 2012 7  Series is a carryover from 2011.



Feature, Price & Picture of  2012 HONDA CIVIC COUPE

MSRP: $15,605- $23,455

The 2012 Civic Coupe is a 2-door, 5-passenger family coupe, available in 9 trims, ranging  from the DX 5-Spd MT to the EX-L 5-Spd AT w/ Navigation System.Upon introduction, the    DX 5-Spd MT is equipped with a standard 1.8-liter, I4, 140-horsepower engine that achieves 28-mpg in the city and 36-mpg on the highway. A 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard. The EX-L 5-Spd AT w/ Navigation System is equipped with a standard 1.8-liter, I4, 140-horsepower engine that achieves 28-mpg in the city and 39-mpg on the highway.  A 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard.The 2012 Civic Coupe is redesigned for 2012.



Feature, Price & Picture of 2011 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO

MSRP: $212,000- $248,000

The 2011 Gallardo is a 2-door, 2-passenger luxury sports car, or convertible sports car, available in 5 trims ranging from the LP560-4 Coupe to the LP570-4 Spyder Performante.Upon introduction, the LP560-4 Coupe is equipped with a standard 5.2-liter, V10,560-horsepower engine that achieves 12-mpg in the city and 20-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional. The LP570-4 Spider Performance is equipped with a standard 5.2-liter, V10, 570-horsepower engine that achieves 14-mpg in the city and 20-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is optional.The 2011 LP560-4 Coupe is a carryover from 2010. The LP570-4 Spyder Performante has been reskinned for 2011.


Feature, Price & Picture of 2011 FERRARI CALIFORNIA

MSRP: $192,000- $192,000

The 2011 California is a 2-door, 4-passenger luxury convertible, available in one trim only, the Convertible GT.Upon introduction, the California is equipped with a standard 4.3-liter, V8, 453-
horsepower engine that achieves 13-mpg in the city and 19-mpg on the highway. A 7-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard.The 2011 California is a carryover from 2010.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Feature, Price & Picture of TOYOTA VENZA 2011

MSRP: $27,125- $30,400

The 2011 Venza is a 4-door, 5-passenger sport-utility,available in 4 trims, ranging from the FWD I4 to the  AWD V6.Upon introduction, the FWD I4 is equipped with a standard 2.7-liter, I4, 182-horsepower engine that achieves 21-mpg in the city and 27-mpg on the highway. The AWD V6 is equipped with a standard 3.5-liter, V6, 268-horsepower engine that achieves 18-mpg in the city and 25-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard on both trims.The 2011 Venza is a carryover from 2010.


AUDI A6 2011

Feature & Price of AUDI A6 2011 

AUDI A6 2011
MSRP: $45,200- $59,150

The 2011 A6 is a 4-door, 5-passenger luxury sedan, luxury sports sedan, or luxury wagon, available in 4 trims,ranging from the 3.2 Premium Sedan.FrontTrak Multitronic  to the 4.2 Prestige Sedan quattroiptronic. Upon introduction, the 3.2 Premium Sedan FrontTrak Multitronic is equipped with standard 3.2-liter, V6, 265-horsepower engine that achieves 21-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highway. A variable speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard. The 4.2 Prestige Sedan quattro Tiptronic is equipped with astandard 4.2-liter, V8, 350-horsepower engine that achieves 16-mpg in the city and 24-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard. The 2011 A6 is a carryover from 2010.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Honda News: Honda eyeing first Russian car plant - Nikkei

TOKYO (Nikkei)-- Honda Motor Co. (7267.TO) plans to begin making cars in Russia, The Nikkei reported Sunday.
This automaker will set up an assembly plant, importing the necessary components from elsewhere. The plant will be Honda's first in Russia.
Honda submitted the plan to Russia's Economy Ministry sometime before Saturday and started talks with officials.
The company plans to turn out 30,000-50,000 cars in Russia, with the initial investment likely to total several billion yen. The site for the plant will be chosen after consultation with ministry officials, with the maritime region in the Russian Far East a likely candidate.
Now, Honda has no local production in Russia and imports cars sold in the country from the U.K., the U.S. and Japan. Tariffs of about 50% on imported cars make Honda vehicles more expensive than autos made by rivals locally.
The Honda is hoping a Russian plant will give a big boost to sales in the country, which totaled about 18,000 cars last year.
The competition is intensifying in Russia among Japanese automakers. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.TO), Nissan Motor Co. (7201.TO) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211.TO) is making cars in the country, and Mazda Motor Corp. (7261.TO) is expected to follow suit in 2012.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Auto painting tips

One of the most time-consuming and expensive projects you'll ever perform on your car is to either paint it yourself or have it painted. Paint and bodywork have long been considered an art more than a mechanical procedure. A good paint job is certainly the result of many hours spent welding, sanding, and preparing the body for paint. In fact, rather than the common misconception that a "paint job" is a single step process, painting a car is really a multi-step process that leads up to the actual painting of the car. Being a good painter requires a lot of patience and a certain amount of perfectionism because that new, glossy paint job will reveal the slightest blemish underneath, but what's necessary to perform proper bodywork?

Car pain splash.
Car painting & tips-1: Surface Preparation
Taking your time and properly preparing the surface is the first step in achieving success. You cannot get high quality results without high quality preparation. Unlike house paint auto refinish paint hides nothing. If anything, the high gloss clear coat system magnifies imperfections.

Car painting & tips-2: Surface Cleaning

Before sanding, affected surfaces should be washed with mild soap and water. After drying, clean with some form of wax, oil and grease remover, often know as Prep-Sol. Prep-Sol removes road tar too. The best procedure is to use a clean lint free wipe to apply the Prep-Sol wet to approximately one panel at a time. Allow the liquid to work dissolving wax and contamination for a few minutes. Then wipe off dry using a fresh, clean wipe. If the Prep-Sol is allowed to dry on the surface before wiping dry the contamination will remain on the surface and the process needs to be repeated. Contaminated wipes are not to be used over again in paint processes. Prep-Sol is not to be used on sanded surfaces. If a solvent based cleaner is desired on a sanded surface there are products made for that purpose. Products with silicone in them, typically aerosols like crab cleaner, brake cleaner, Armor-All etc. cannot be used anywhere near where painting processes are performed.

Car painting & tips-3: Sanding Existing Painted Surfaces

Sand out imperfections using more aggressive sandpaper. If the resulting surface requires primer, the final scratch should be no coarser than 320 in wet-or-dry sandpaper. Areas to be sprayed with color should have a final scratch of no coarser than 600 wet-or-dry. Areas to be sprayed with clear only, as in blend areas, call for a final scratch of no coarser than 1000 wet-or-dry. For purposes of selecting sandpaper grits metallic, pearl and base coat colors are more apt to show sand scratches than solid and single stage colors. After primer has been applied, usually 2-3 coats, wait a minimum of 2 hours before sanding. The exact waiting time is a function of primer build up and temperature but there is no harm in waiting overnight.

Car painting & tips-4: Sanding Replacement Parts

New aftermarket or OEM flexible parts like bumper covers are usually sanded with a gray scuff pad, sometimes in combination with scuff paste. That would be followed by washing with soap and water, drying, and spraying with an adhesion promoter before color. Replacement sheet metal parts are almost always coated with satin black e-coat. E-coat is a rust inhibitive coating that color will not stick to. It should be sanded thoroughly with a red scuff pad and primed. Gray scuff pads are approximately 800 grit and red are 400 grit. After priming the e-coat sand the primer with 600 wet-or-dry or a gray scuff pad. We stock several colors of primer to go with the intended topcoat color. Coordinating the colors allows for faster coverage and improved color match. If you are painting previously painted surfaces either plastic or metal, and the existing finish is sound, as in a good clean used part, just clean and sand for new color.

Car painting & tips-5: Masking

Obviously mask thoroughly before priming. I prefer to "over" mask to protect adjacent surfaces if possible to avoid spraying primer to the edge of repairs. Primer builds up quickly and it could contribute to the ledge or stair effect created at the perimeter of a repair. Professional repairs are usually masked at least twice, once for priming and a second time for color application. Start by outlining the repair area with ¾ inch tape. Extend out from there with a minimum of 12 inches of masking paper with more ¾ tape attached to that outline tape. Tape up the 12 inch masking paper end seams too. Always attempt to disguise the refinish areas with creative masking like folding back the 3/4 tape length wise at corners or body style lines. This helps create a soft edge on lines where light reflection helps disguise color match and edges. 3M Door Aperture tape is made for this. 3M also makes pull back tape to go under rubber seals to lift and mask them like around glass. 3M Fine Line tape is used to form radiuses and two tone edges with out the crepe, texture consequences of conventional masking tape. Understanding that it can be very costly in time most high quality refinish work is done on parts prior to their installation on the vehicle. This procedure is the best way to replicate factory paint work. On a smaller scale this could mean painting a door handle, gas cap door or rear view mirror off the vehicle. Use a decent grade of fresh automotive masking tape to avoid adhesive to substrate transfer.

Car painting & tips-6: Priming Flexible and Rigid Plastic Surfaces

A book could be written on painting flexible plastic parts. Mostly this relates to flexible bumper covers. Part of the problem is the variety of different plastics used, many calling for different preparation procedures. For the most part, when rigid or flexible parts, typically bumper covers, are being repaired, if the bare plastic is soap and water clean, sanded with a gray scuff pad, and sprayed with adhesion promoter per the directions on the can, color will stick. If, however, you are installing a new front cover on a late model vehicle we need to develop a more comprehensive plan addressing stone chip resistance and flexibility. In a nutshell adhesion equals flexibility and greater levels of adhesion can be obtained by using selected 2 component products. In the case of putting new color on previously painted plastic and flexible parts, like used parts, no special attention is needed, just clean, sand, and apply color.

Car painting & tips-7: Priming Metal Parts

For bare steel, aluminum, or galvanized surfaces, spray self etch primer on the larger exposed surfaces. In the case of e-coat as discussed earlier, re-prime the e-coat with hi-build primer as needed and sand for color. Again, if existing parts have sound flawless finishes there is no need to prime them, just clean, sand and spray. The exception would only be to assist in coverage in the case of a dramatic color change, for instance changing a used red part to white in which case you may want to quickly prime with light gray.

Car painting & tips-8: Spraying the Color

Shake can thoroughly. Spray a test panel in a uniform pattern. Make a mental note of the coverage characteristics of the color. Determine the suitability of the color match. In the case of base coat you may wish to clear coat the test panel to determine the suitability of the color match. If it is unacceptable, stop and call a clergy person and then the store.
If the color is perfect or "bendable" it is considered to be acceptable to spray. Spray color in a deliberate organized east-west pattern, overlapping each previous pass by ˝. This is known as one single double coat. The first coat in particular should be no more than a medium coat. Very heavy wet coats, especially with metallic are never advisable. You should be able to see through the first coat if not both the first and second coat. It may be possible to alternate coats between an east-west pattern and a north-south pattern. On a larger horizontal repair this may assist in metallic-pearl orientation. You will probably need 3 to 4 coats of color depending on the color, the color of the substrate and your spray technique. Do not sand between coats other than to scuff out a minor unforeseen imperfection. Allow each coat to flash off. That is, for the surface solvents to escape. In the case of single stage you will be able to brush the masked, over sprayed surface adjacent to the repair with the back of your fingers without sticking. In base coat the surface will change from wet and glossy to a satin level of gloss. Sufficient base coat should be applied to obtain hiding. Excessive coats provide no value. Base coat dries to a matte finish, it has to be clear coated for gloss and durability. Single stage is applied to achieve coverage with possibly one extra insurance coat. Total coverage will probably be achieved in 3 to 4 coats.
When in doubt, wait longer between coats. Excessive material applied too rapidly will have a tendency to dry slowly and take an impression, for instance thumbprint, the following day. After the last application of base coat has flashed apply the clear. About 2 to 3 coats usually, definitely 3 coats if planning to scuff and buff.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Car Maintenance

The July 1, 2009 edition of Bottom Line Personal, one of my favorite publications, included an excellent column on car maintenance tips. Columnist Eric Peters, author of Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, shares his tips for maintaining cars and extending their useful life. As the owner of a 19 year-old vehicle, I appreciated the tips, and wondered if my vehicle would be in better shape had I read this several years ago when I first started driving it.

5 Maintenance Tips For Getting To 300,000 Miles Easily

1. Keep your battery charged. This is especially important if you don’t drive your car that often. If you plan to let a vehicle sit for more than a couple weeks, you should invest in a “trickle charger,” or battery tender, which plugs into a regular household outlet and keeps your battery fully charged, automatically. I have a battery tender for my lawn tractor battery for winter months, and it guarantees a strong start in the spring.
2. Keep at least half a tank of gas in the car. Plenty of reasons not to let your car run on fumes, but one I had never considered before reading this article is that an empty gas tank is more prone to rust.  The rust can leach into your fuel and clog filters and fuel lines downstream. Rust could also eventually eat through your gas tank leaving a hole.  At today’s gas prices, who can afford for that to happen!
3. Don’t forget the tires. When you fill up your gas tank, or every couple weeks, whichever happens more frequently, be sure to check your tire pressure. If you drive an older vehicle like me you’ll need to pick up a tire gauge. Look at the label inside the door, or in your owner’s manual, to find the correct tire pressure for your specific model. Low tire pressure causes things like uneven wear on your tires and decreased gas mileage.
4. Change the oil. There is some debate in the frugal car owner world on whether or not you should change your oil as often as prescribed by car manufacturers (and those express oil-changing facilities). I’m no expert, but I think you should stay pretty close to the suggested schedule, only deviating a month or two, or a couple hundred miles. Peters agrees with me. Besides, a $30 oil change is much cheaper than a new engine, and if you are ultra frugal, you can even change your own oil!
5. Be kind to your clutch and your brakes. If you drive a car with a manual transmission you know at some point you will likely have to replace the clutch. But you can extend the life of your clutch, and your brakes, by not riding either one for long periods of time, and by using your accelerator (or not using your accelerator) to coast a bit as traffic ebbs and flows.
Automobiles are becoming more and more expensive these days. In fact, next to buying a home, it is probably the largest single purchase most people will make in a lifetime. Use the steps above to increase the chances your vehicle will last well beyond your car loan, guaranteeing you many years of debt-free driving. 

Car Wash

 I like to stop by and talk cars, or "bench race" as car
 lingo goes, with friends as my father deal with 
a garage and I learnt it from my childhood. Car enthusiasts wash their cars to keep them looking pristine, but also to help their cars 
retain their showroom finish for maximum value at resale time. And the majority of other motorists can relate to that "value" factor -- it's a budget issue. Yet there's more to a truly clean car than what you can actually see. The underside of a car is where

many cases of rust begin to erode body sheet metal. Road debris, mud and sand accumulate under fenders, on suspension components and on the under structure (chassis or "sub frame" hardware). When these foreign materials build up, they harbor the moisture for extra hours and even days beyond a rainy spell -- contributing to the development of rust.
        Now, I have heard more theories opinions on techniques and tips for car washing than I can remember. What I do remember is my own lesson with one of the worst things that you should never use when washing your car: household laundry detergent! Household detergents are too severe for automobile paint surfaces -- and that's one universal "don't" that I can pass along.

Keeping It Clean

Tip #1 Use a Mild Commercial Car Wash Soap

Visit your new car dealer, an auto parts store or automotive department in a department store and you will find a variety of excellent car wash soaps. They cost only a few dollars and will deliver quality performance and peace of mind.  Never use a kitchen or household liquid detergent to wash your car as these products can damage your car's paint finish.

Tip #2 Before the Wash, Check for "Pre-wash" Areas
Look closely at the paint for signs of road tar (especially in the lower body panel areas). Also look for dried bugs (again, especially on the front section of the car: leading edge of hood, body areas around headlights and air dam (if so equipped). You can find special solvents made especially for removing road tar at the same place you purchase your car wash soap. Dried bugs can be easily removed with a mixture of baking soda and water (be sure the baking soda is completely dissolved to ensure that it will not be abrasive). Remember that it's easiest to see and treat these "pre-wash" areas when the car is dry -- and since of these cleaning techniques remove surface wax, don't forget to re-wax the areas after the wash.

Tip #3 Wash Your Car in the Shade

As a first step, spray the body surface with water to soak the film of dirt, dust and grime that has accumulated on the paint finish. By leaving the water to soak for a minute or two, much of the dirt will easily float off the car when you go to sponge it clean.

While the top of the car is soaking, get beneath the car and rinse off the dirt, mud and debris from all of the underbody areas: inside fenders, above and below the exhaust system hardware, off of the underpin area, etc. Don't forget those potential dirt "hiding" spots behind bumpers, too.

Now with the car wash soap blended with cool water, use a large sponge or washing mitt to apply the mixture. Remember to rinse the sponge/mitt regularly to rid it of dirt the can accumulate and scratch the paint -- and also rub the sponge gently as you work the suds over the body surface. Work from the roof and windows down, hood to trunk and upper-to-lower sides. It's a good idea to give a quick scrub to the headlights and other light lenses while your on the front and back sections, too.

It's all downhill from here. Allowing the water to dry on the body paint surface will frequently leave a spotty film, as it's difficult to completely eliminate soap with just the spray rinse. So, It's best to use a large chamois to wipe down the entire paint surface -- wringing the chamois as you go -- so that no areas a are left to "air dry."