DETROIT, MI - The top-selling car in America will soon get an update.
Toyota says it's a couple of weeks away from unveiling changes to the midsize Camry sedan, which has only seen a modest sales gain this year.
Bill Fay, head of the Toyota division in the U.S., says the update includes making the front-end stronger to pass a new crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Fay isn't disclosing when the revamped Camry might go on sale. He says engineers are still working on the car.
Through November, Camry sales grew only 1.3 per cent to nearly 379,000. Sales for its main rival, the Honda Accord, are up almost 11 per cent to over 324,000.
Fay says the changes will help Camry in the most competitive segment in the U.S.
On April 17th, the Ford Mustang turns 50 and to celebrate that accomplishment, Ford has unveiled its new sixth-generation milestone edition. As part of their “One Ford” plan, Ford simultaneously unveiled the Mustang globally in six different cities including Barcelona, Dearborn, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai and Sydney.
“From day one, we knew if we were going to build a new Mustang, we had to do it right,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “We built a new Mustang from the ground up that is quicker, better-looking, more refined and more efficient, without losing any of the raw appeal that people have associated with Mustang for decades.”
And that they did making the new 2015 Mustang lower, wider, sleeker and more modernized than the outgoing model. You can argue that it was made smaller to cater to the global market and you would be right, but the Mustang still boasts plenty of power that made it the American icon that it is today.
To acknowledge the Mustang’s history and tradition, each 2015 model will have a badge on the instrument panel that shows a galloping Mustang with the words “Mustang – Since 1964.”
When the Mustang becomes available, customers will be able to choose between three engine choices: the 5.0-litre V-8 (more than 420 hp and 396 lb.-ft. of torque), the 3.7-litre V-6 (more than 305 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque) and the all-new 2.3-litre EcoBoost (numbers to still come). The V-8 and V-6 are what you would expect to be offered, but a lot of buzz and intrigue will surround the combination of a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine with the powerful American muscle car.
“This EcoBoost engine delivers where a Mustang driver expects it to with a broad, flat torque curve that pours out when you stand on it for easy passing or hustling down a twisty road,” said Pericak.
Ford is featuring an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension for the first time to go with an all-new front suspension. Everything in the suspension has been modified for a combination of high-performance and handling improvement leading to a more refined ride.
Catering to new markets in Europe and Asia, the Mustang had its roof lowered 1.5-inches, the hood 1.3-inches and the dashboard by more than 2.5-inches. These reductions along with the return of Mustang fastback create a smaller, sleeker look to cater to a global marketplace.
The new rear suspension even contributes to more shoulder and hip room for passengers, as well more practicality in its trunk that can now accommodate at least two golf bags.
From what we see and hear, large improvements have been made to the interior. Many new technologies have been added that have never been in previous Mustangs including Push Button Start, SYNC, MyKey, a new Shaker Pro audio system, adaptive cruise control and collision warning and some Track Apps.
There’s been a long wait for this sixth-generation Ford Mustang and we will have to wait a little longer until it gets to the showroom level. There’s hasn’t been an exact announcement when, but we’re estimating that it will go on sale in the later part of next year.
It took an extra five weeks, but the AJAC “Best New” winners were announced today at a news conference at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto. The twelve new winners were released and now they’ve all been entered to win the 2014 Canadian Car of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year.
Before we announce the winners, let’s get down to how they were scored. Close to 80 Canadian journalists came to 'TestFest' in Niagara Falls, Ontario to test and score vehicles in their assigned groups. These tests were conducted through back-to-back ride routes of the vehicles in their respective groups. Scoring was based on styling, occupant environment, performance and vehicle dynamics. Once the scores were inputted, the international accounting firm KPMG tabulated them through a scoring system that takes account the price of each vehicle.
Now on to the 2014 winners:
BEST NEW SMALL CAR (under $21K) – Mazda3
BEST NEW SMALL CAR (over $21K) – Mazda3 Sport
BEST NEW FAMILY CAR (under $30K) – Kia Soul
BEST NEW FAMILY CAR (over $30K) – Mazda6
BEST NEW LUXURY CAR (under $50K) – Lexus IS 350 RWD
BEST NEW LUXURY CAR (over $50K) – Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
BEST NEW SPORTS/PERFORMANCE (over $50K) – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
BEST NEW PRESTIGE CAR (over $75K) – Mercedes-Benz S-Class
BEST NEW SUV/CUV (under $35k) – Jeep Cherokee
BEST NEW SUV/CUV ($35k-$60k) – Kia Sorento
BEST NEW SUV/CUV (over $60k) – Acura MDX
BEST PICKUP – GMC Sierra
It was a great showing for Mazda that won in all three categories it entered in. While Kia won in 50 per cent of its categories entered in taking home two AJAC awards. General Motors was the only other automaker to scoop up multiple awards from their Chevrolet and GMC brands. Rounding out the other winners were Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep and Acura. It was nice to see Infiniti, Jeep and GMC take home some prizes as all three have not had a winner in over a decade.
It was a victorious day for many automakers, especially Mazda, but now the tide shifts to February 13th when the Car of the Year winners are finally announced at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto. For the past three years a vehicle worth under $30K has won the Canadian Car of the Year, so we will see if that pattern changes.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fans of "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker erected a makeshift memorial near the site of his fatal automobile crash, as investigators worked to determine the cause of the fiery weekend wreck that also claimed the life of his friend.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said speed was a factor in Saturday's one-car crash, though it will take time to determine how fast the car was going.
Roger Rodas, Walker's friend and financial, also died, according to Walker's publicist, Ame Van Iden. She said Walker was a passenger in the 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT when they drove away from a fundraiser in the community of Valencia, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Sheriff's deputies found the car engulfed in flames when they arrived at the site of the crash, near the fundraiser at Rodas' sport car dealership. Officials have not identified either person found in the car.
Because Walker is so closely associated with the underground culture of street racing portrayed in the popular film franchise, the accident had an eerie quality — a tragic end for a Hollywood hero of speed.
On Sunday, fans of Walker, 40, gathered to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action movies. His "Fast & Furious" co-star Tyrese Gibson broke down when he visited the crash site.
"Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and we're gonna see to it that his energy and presence lives on forever," Gibson later posted on his Instagram account.
Sheriff's deputy Peter Gomez said investigators were trying to determine how fast the car was traveling and what caused it to go out of control, including whether the driver was distracted or something in the road prompted him to swerve.
After the Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree, it burst into flames. The downed light pole had a speed limit sign of 45 mph.
Walker rode the "Fast & Furious" franchise to fame, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001. He had been on break from shooting the seventh installment; production began in September and while much of the film has been shot, it's incomplete.
Universal Pictures has not said what it plans to do with "Fast & Furious 7," which currently is slated for release in July.
Walker and Rodas had thrown a fundraiser benefiting victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. The event was held by Reach Out Worldwide, a charity Walker founded in 2010 to aid victims of natural disasters.
The fundraiser and toy drive took place at Rodas' custom car shop, Always Evolving, in an area of warehouses and office parks. Rodas, 38, and Walker co-owned an auto racing team. Rodas competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races this year, the racing organization said in a statement.
Attendees rushed to the crash, which was nearby but out of sight, to try to put out the flames with fire extinguishers.
One attendee of the event, Jim Torp, said he heard the loud sound of a car's engine revving and then an explosion. Walker and Rodas planned a quick ride, Torp said.
"The last words Paul said to anybody were, 'Hey, I'll be back in five minutes. All right?' And that was it," according to Torp.
Torp said Rodas had a young son, whom he tried to stop from running to the accident scene, but could not catch him in time.
Walker left behind two completed films. He stars in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama "Hours," which Lionsgate's Pantelion Films is to release Dec. 13. He also stars in "Brick Mansions," a remake of the French action film "District B13" that Relativity plans to release next year.
He is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.
You shouldn’t just be picking any winter tire, but one that will last throughout these tough Canadian winters. A good option is to go to your local tire store and seek what specials they have, but an alternative would be to go the classified route.
A popular classified choice is Kijiji, who can provide you with options from new, previously owned or gently used tires. Kijiji has more than 30,000 tire listings online, so they must be doing something right. As for winter tires, those ads have increased by 33 per cent from 2011 to 2012.
So before you run out and buy a set of winter tires, Kijiji has put together some key tips including how to get safe and durable tires at a good price without compromising road safety:
Check for wear and tear. It is recommended to check the general wear and tear of tires. Check the entire circumference of your tire’s tread and note if there are any unusual wear patterns at extremities (tire lacking air), in the middle (tire too inflated) or on a side (which could indicate a problem of permutation or alignment).
Check if tires are at the end of their life cycle. There are three ways to do this:
1. The traditional way – Using a quarter, it is possible to determine if your tires are still in shape for another season, which represents approximately 10,000 km. Insert the quarter in the tire grooves. If the tip of the caribou’s muzzle is not visible, then the tires are still good to go.
2. Indication from the manufacturer – All tires have a wear indicator. The latter is a small rubber square elevation located inside of the main grooves. When the main grooves are worn to the point of being the same height as the indicator (1.6 mm or 2/32 of an inch), it is the time to change those tires.
3. Using a Tire Groove Depth Gage – The tire groove depth gauge is a small tool to measure the groove’s thickness in 1/32 inches or in millimeters. It is also the most accurate way to determine whether or not it is the time to buy new tires. It is strongly recommended to change tires when the groove is less than 4millimetres high (5/32 inch), but the law allows them to be kept until the groove reaches 1.6 mm (2/32 inch).
Check the tires’ date of production. Even if the tire grooves remain deep enough for operational use in winter conditions, when your tires are older than 6 years, their life cycle is over. If you have any doubts on the status of a tire, please consult a specialist or your dealer for professional advice tailored to your needs.
For more information on tire listings currently on Kijiji, visit Kijiji.ca.
The answer is yes, no and maybe! Your credit score has for many years been used by traditional lenders such as banks to put you into a category of risk. This risk category has come to be numbers driven, especially in the age of the internet when car loan applications are delivered online and approvals spit out according to a lender’s algorithm. What this means is that those lenders that only use a numerically based credit scoring approach, consistently will refuse your application for a car loan if you have a low credit score.
There is a solution to being refused for a car loan by a traditional lender. Bank alternative lenders or sub prime lenders have filled the gap for consumers who do not fit into the traditional lender criteria. These lenders have developed programs for auto loan financing that do not base lending decisions strictly on a credit score. Bank alternative lenders focus less on a credit score and more on an applicant’s current credit status. They look at current bill payment history, employment and housing history. For some clients, the requirement for a down payment or security deposit may also be a condition of the lending agreement. Bank alternative lenders assess their lending risk on a customer’s ability to repay the loan, rather than just their credit score.
Benefits of Obtaining a Bank Alternative Car Loan and Your Credit Score
Obtaining a bank alternative auto loan has its benefits. The approved loan enables a consumer to re-build their credit by making on time and regular payments. Bank alternative lenders have an obligation to the consumer to report their payment history to credit bureau reporting agencies. By keeping their loan obligation, consumers can develop a favourable payment history that will be reported to their credit bureau and assist in raising their credit score.
A bank alternative loan approval will also improve a person’s credit score by limiting the number of inquiries into their credit history.Each time a consumer applies for credit, the potential lender of the financing will pull a credit bureau report against them. If consumers plan on shopping around for a vehicle, a pre-approval commitment will prevent the need to pull a credit bureau report every time they find a vehicle they like. Credit inquiries are kept on a credit bureau for a minimum of two years, and the more inquiries made on a consumer’s credit report, the greater the negative impact on their credit history report. Multiple inquiries can leave lenders with the conclusion that a consumer is shopping for credit and continues the process because they’re being declined.
There are bank alternative lenders such as TREND Financial that provide auto loan financing to consumers across Ontario. TREND Financial will work with consumers to improve their credit history by providing loans that are manageable and if maintained, will help in the credit re-building process. TREND Financial has an obligation to its clients to report the credit payment history to the credit bureau reporting agencies. Where in Canada, there are two agencies that record credit history, Equifax and TransUnion. Re-building a credit score can take time but with an auto loan designed for a low credit score, a bank alternative approval can be the first step in the credit score re-building process.
All bad personal habits don’t affect the lives of others. Bad driving habits, however, negatively affect every driver on the road and add unnecessary danger to their lives.
Whether it’s a lead foot or the inability to put your smartphone down, everyone has a vice when they are behind the wheel. Laws have been put in place to deter drivers from offenses, but some people will continue their bad habits until something bad happens—which could be too late.
Do your part to make the road a safer place. Here are six bad driving habits to break today:
Distracted driving has become such an issue in North America, which has led to the U.S. government building an official website for distracted driving in order to educate drivers of all ages. Texting, eating, grooming, applying makeup—the list of distractions is long, but they all have one thing in common: they endanger the lives of drivers, passengers, other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
There are three main types of distraction: manual, visual and cognitive. Texting is viewed as the worst of all distractions because it disturbs all three. Remember: One text or call could wreck it all.
Not Checking Blind Spots
No matter what angle you adjust your side and rearview mirrors, there will always be a blind spot to manage. Many drivers believe they don’t need to turn and look, but changing lanes without quickly checking your blind spot is like playing Russian roulette on a highway with two-ton vehicles.
The best preparation is to always stay vigilant of your surroundings. Scan your mirrors every five seconds because it pays to know what is around you, especially if you plan on changing lanes. When the time comes to manoeuvre, click your turn signal first and then glance over before you go. Don’t cause an accident because you “didn’t feel like” doing it.
Not Wearing Seatbelt
A U.S. Department of Transportation study found that seat belt use in 2012 rose to 86%, up 2% from 2011. There is a tremendous amount of data proving that seat belts save lives, so why would anyone not take the 0.5 seconds to click their belt on? It appears 14% of drivers still refuse, and if you are one of them you need to break this life-threatening habit immediately.
Audiovisual reminder systems, also known as the chime and dashboard light, have been around for over 40 years. And even with all of the new braking systems and technology on modern vehicles, seat belts remain the #1 vehicle safety device. Do yourself a favour—buckle up for safety.
“I’m in a hurry.” “I won’t get caught. I don’t care if I do!” No matter what kind of ignorance a speeder is suffering from, numbers don’t lie and speed is a killer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in three fatal crashes involves speeding, and speeding is the third leading contributor to all crashes. And the statistics don’t stop there.
The National Safety Council has a long list of reasons not to speed. 13,000 lives are lost every year from speeding. Speed-related crashes cost society over $40 billion annually. Slow down and save lives.
In addition to irritating other drivers, tailgating is a highly dangerous action because it leaves you little to no time to brake. Standard driving practice is to leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you to see their tires. Riding their bumper may cause the driver to become scared or angry which can lead to them slamming on the brakes in fear or frustration.
Tailgating will also impact your fuel economy. All of the constant gas-brake tapping is not conducive to saving gas; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that aggressive driving like this can reduce your MPG by 5% in the city and 33% on the highway.
Everyone knows the dangers of driving drunk, and thankfully most drivers avoid doing it. But driving drowsy can be even more dangerous and does not receive half the attention it deserves. The symptoms are the same as being impaired except for one drastic difference—you could fall asleep and have 0% control of a moving vehicle.
Driving drowsy is equal parts dangerous, selfish and irresponsible. Wait until you are awake to drive.
About the author:
Doug Climenhaga is president of SVI International, Inc., a leading supplier of parts for industrial lift equipment. With more than 20 years experience in the hydraulic and automotive lift industries, he holds two patents and has designed scores of problem-solving products.
NIAGARA FALLS, ON - The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) is an organization that is dedicated to assisting, promoting and maintaining the integrity of automotive journalism. It has held a reputation over the years as the largest Canadian automotive journalists association and prides itself on operating only under the highest of code of honour and ethics.
The association, however, is well known for being extremely difficult to join. In order to join, one must meet a set amount of requirements before joining and if you’re one of the few accepted in, the advantages are boundless.
The most exciting event that you’re invited to, as long as you meet the 26 car review quota for the year is TestFest, held in Niagara Falls. TestFest is where AJAC journalists come to test and score the latest model cars for the year, eventually leading to naming the AJAC cars of the year.
This year, I was able to get a feel for the TestFest scene as a guest on Open Thursday. I wasn’t able to drive any of the cars, being just a guest, but the open venue with all the latest cars was enough to get me excited.
As I entered the new venue at the Legends on Niagara Golf Course, I was a bit struck with feelings of acceptance, envy and pride, as I caught a glimpse into my own future. Having car enthusiasts read my thoughts on why this sedan or that SUV deserve the title of Car of the Year didn’t seem too far way.
However, on this very day, I felt like I stood out like the Stig in a grocery store. Representing the driver as a writer, but unable to actually drive any of the cars, the only thing left for me to do was engage in what my college professor’s call “networking”.
I stepped into the cold that was TestFest with my typical Oakville Sperrys on and made it my mission to absorb as much information about AJAC. I would be a sponge for the next six-to-seven hours. It was quickly apparent to me that most of the journalists were busy conducting their drive tests and had limited time for this lanky, 19-year old with more questions than a game of cranium. Eventually accepting defeat, I wandered the event with our video crew; looking at cars, filming them, sitting in them trying to stay warm and out of the rain.
With the day dwindling and getting windier by the second, I eventually ran into a peculiar man who stood out from the rest. To my surprise, this was Charles Renny, the current AJAC President. This conversation was just what I had been hoping for. It satisfied my cravings for useful information and left me inspired to pursue my automotive writing career with the hope to one day join AJAC.
In the end, TestFest was a success. I went with the idea to review a few cars, but instead got a unique perspective of someone looking from the outside in. Now, being determined to join, I plan to dedicate myself to this profession and one-day cast my votes for Canadian Car of the Year. See you next year TestFest!
We are reaching that time again when the temperature dips below 7°C. If you’re in the know, you can identify that number being the special temperature threshold to determine when you put on your winter tires.
Most Canadians understand when to put on winter tires, but there are still those Canadians who aren’t sure when to take that plunge. Global warming has made that decision more difficult to determine what weather is on the horizon. We no longer can wait until November 15th to change our summer or all-season tires like clockwork. We actually need to follow the weather reports and follow through when we see the temperature stay below 7°C.
The good people at Canadian Tire have gone one-step further to help those drivers figure out what time is best to switch over to winter tires. They’ve teamed up with a leading rubber Research & Development organization called ARTIS to develop as they call it – “a temperature-sensitive, colour-change all-season concept tire.” It’s a mouthful name for now, but I’m sure when this concept becomes reality they will name it something more catchy.
On hand to explain the tire concept was Dr. Joe Hallett, Commercial Manager at ARTIS, who’s also in charge of this tire project. He went through the motions on explaining how all-season tires harden and lose its tread below 7°C; while winter tires possess flexible tread allowing you to drive, brake and handle closer to normal road conditions attacking that snow, sludge and ice.
The concept that ARTIS is creating on behalf of Canadian Tire will have a white rubber sidewall strip on an all-season tire that can determine the temperature outside and if it’s below 7°C that white colour turns to blue.
“Our team at ARTIS took a particular interest in this project as it presented an idea we believe no one had considered before Canadian Tire,” stated Dr. Joe Hallett, Commercial Manager, ARTIS. “Canadian Tire is one of few leaders in delivering the message of winter driving safety. As a father of young children, I share their desire to communicate how important it is to use winter tires. Through an extensive Research & Development process, we have created a concept that could help to change our thinking.”
It’s kind of an idiot-proof concept to help consumers out. Is it needed? Not really. Is it cool? Sure. Would different colour tires cause a distraction on the road? Possibly, but who knows how it will look when ready.
It’s early days and still in the concept stage, but it’s nice to see that Canadian Tire is trying their best to look out for the safety of their consumers. There’s no timetable as of yet and it seems this concept won’t be in production for some time. When more information comes out – we will let you know.