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New ‘Ejection’ Safety Rule – Saving Lives or Idiot-Proofing?

Lately, it seems as if NHTSA is on a regulatory binge. In addition to proposing mandatory back-up cameras, NHTSA has recently announced a new rule that is intended to prevent “ejections” during a rollover. While this new rule could save nearly 400 lives each year, some critics argue that rollover ejections are limited to un-belted passengers, and that the new mandate amounts to “idiot-proofing.”

These critics  may be surprised to learn that, in many cases, someone using their seatbelt can be ejected during a rollover…but there’s more to the story than that.

Fleet Sales Don’t Compare to Retail Sales – Even With Trucks

If you’ve been following the auto industry long enough, at some point you’ll hear someone talk about the negatives of fleet sales. What follows is a basic review of the difference between a fleet sale and a retail sale and an explanation of the fleet buying process. If you’re interested in why fleet-heavy truck sales figures from Ford, GM, and Chrysler should be discounted when compared to Tundra sales, this post might be interesting to you.

If not, you might want to skip it (there is some math involved). Here we go.

Ford’s EcoBoost Tear-Down Stunt Is Gimmicky

At next week’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford will be tearing-down an EcoBoost engine live in front of the public as an attempt to prove how tough and reliable their new twin-turbo V6 truck motor is. While this sounds like a great way to demonstrate the toughness of this particular motor, it’s really just a gimmick.

EcoBoost engine tear-down gimmick

Ford's "live" EcoBoost tear down is more of a gimmick than a predictor of engine reliability

To be sure, Ford’s plan sounds impressive:

Ford powertrain engineers will tear down an engine that…has the equivalent of 160,000 miles and 10 years of rugged use. Engineers punished it in temperature and load extremes simulating nearly 10 years of use – a regimen tougher than any consumer could ever subject a truck to….It hauled 55 tons of lumber…It ran at full throttle for 24 straight hours towing 11,300 pounds [and] completed the world’s toughest desert endurance race, the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 in Mexico

The thing is, there’s a difference between simulated wear and tear and the real world.

Ridgeline Will Continue?! Honda Blows Smoke

Last week, USA Today reported that Honda will “keep it’s Ridgeline pickup,” saying that “the Ridgeline pickup will go on.” This news would seem to refute our prediction that the Ridgeline will be discontinued in 2012. While Ridgeline fans were understandably excited about this news, we think that Honda’s announcement was just meant to keep sales from crashing.

Honda Ridgeline canceled

Honda says that the Ridgeline will continue, but we think it's smoke.

Here’s why:

Toyota Entune System – Preliminary Review

At the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota announced a new in-car electronics system called Entune that seems to be very similar to Ford’s “Sync” system. While we have yet to actually use Entune, the system might best be described as a smart phone or tablet PC that’s built into your Toyota. It features a large touch screen, a number of built-in applications, and the ability to connect to the Internet by tethering itself to the driver’s smart phone.

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How it Works: Entune connects your car to the Internet using your smart phone. You install a special Entune app on your iPhone, Blackberry, or Android-powered phone, and then you use Bluetooth to connect your phone to your car. As long as your phone is on and the Entune app on your phone is active, Entune will be fully functional.

Needless to say, if you don’t have a smart phone with a data plan, Entune might not be useful to you.

Entune Features Include: