Archive for March, 2012
I hope you’ve read boss man Tom Appel’s blog about Nissan’s plan to resurrect the Datsun brand for vehicles to be built and sold only in such places as China and India. As Tom notes, Datsun is still very well known and well regarded globally, and I agree that it’s a shame to sully the name by slapping it on Third World cheap wheels. Sorry—make that products designed to sell for what emerging-market consumers can afford.
With a lengthy commute to the CG headquarters every day—31.4 miles each way—I do my fair share of driving, to say the least. Avoiding peak rush-hour times has become my number one hobby, and I have become quite well known by several different gas station attendants near the office and near my home in the ’burbs. I’m such a showoff, I know.
That’s what several gas stations I passed on my way to work this morning were demanding for a gallon of regular. Last week it was $4.35. Last month it was $3.75. Last December it was $3.41.
Normally this would make me cringe. But not today. Because today, I’m driving our new extended-use Mitsubishi i.
In a stunning about-face, Fox News now seemingly loves the Chevrolet Volt.
A victim of partisan politics since its introduction, Volt became a symbol of everything commentators on the popular conservative news channel found troubling about President Barack Obama and especially the auto-industry bailout.
I would describe my political affiliation as slightly left of center, but I get aggravated with people on the far left—particularly those whom I call PEECHES (Progressive, Educated, Eco-Conscious, Holier-than-thou Elitists). So when my wife asked me to pick up her vitamins at the Whole Foods in Evanston, Illinois—one of the most liberal cities in America—I knew I was in for a blood-boiling episode.
In my seven-plus years as an auto critic, I’ve driven my fair share of Subarus. I have been behind the wheel of the Impreza, WRX, Legacy, Outback, Forester, and Tribeca—in different trim levels with different features—in the city, on the highway, and even on the racetrack. To be completely honest, I’ve never been a big fan. None of the vehicles were ever “bad,” but they never really lit my fire—not even the ultra-high-performance Impreza WRX STi. Until now.
I’m not some anti-government whiner. I pay my taxes, am glad that my water’s clean, and really appreciate the fact that someone plows my street when the snows come. Additionally, I am pretty darn happy about most of the safety equipment on my car.
Honda has announced that it will open a new plant in Mexico, where it will build Fits and other vehicles. The company projects that the new facilities in Celaya, Guanajuato, will have an annual capacity of 200,000 units. The plant will begin operation in 2014 with production of the company’s popular subcompact model.
“Considering the needs of the Mexican market, which is expecting continued growth in the future, and also serving as a global production base for the North American region and beyond, we decided to make the Fit the first product to be produced here,” said Honda CEO Takanobu Ito.
Currently, the Fit is built in Japan. But with the yen’s rising foreign exchange rate against the dollar and euro, Honda is producing more and more vehicles outside the country. In January, Honda announced that it would build the Acura NSX sports car at a new plant in Central Ohio.
In an interview with Automotive News, Honda executive Rick Schostek stated that in the coming years, more than 90 percent of Honda and Acura models sold in the U.S. will be built in North America.