Wed, 27 February 2013

Another Audi Canadians can't own revealed-By John LeBlanc, National Post

Another Audi Canadians can't own revealed

2014 Audi RS Q3

Photograph by: Handout , Audi

After last week's S3 Sportback, the German automaker let the cat out of the bag that yet another not-ready-for-Canada vehicle will be unveiled at the upcoming Geneva show: the RS Q3.

First seen as a concept at last year's Beijing auto show, the new RS Q3 is the top-rung model in the compact, Euro A3-based Q3 crossover family.

Borrowing the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder from Audi's TT RS sports car, the RS Q3 sports 306 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel-drive is standard, as is a seven-speed, dual-clutch autobox. And, yes. The RS Q3 is not coming to Canada anytime soon.

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Sat, 23 February 2013


Wed, 20 February 2013

Tim Hortons launches EV charging station pilot project

Tim Hortons launches EV charging station pilot project

Tim Hortons launches EV charging station pilot project

Ford Motor Company of Canada provided Tim Hortons with the C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid for testing purposes.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons customers may soon be able to charge up their electric cars while they fill up on double-doubles and honey crullers.

The Canadian coffee giant has just launched a pilot project, with the installation of an electric vehicle charging station at one of its Oakville, Ontario locations.

The project, made possible through a partnership between Tim Hortons, Oakville Hydro and the Town of Oakville, is the first of what is hoped to be a broader network of charging stations at Tim Hortons restaurants. They have already entered into negotiations with other municipalities in a push to expand the project.

In a press release, Paulo Ferreira, Tim Hortons' Senior Director of International Design and Building Standards, talked up the role his company might play towards this green goal.

“The electric vehicle infrastructure is in its infancy and we see a potential opportunity for Tim Hortons to help make a true difference by expanding that infrastructure in Canada,” he said.

“At this stage, the goal for us is to explore and understand the technology, to see how it can work at our restaurants and how we can, in turn, support our guests who choose to go electric.”

In addition to retro-fitting some existing locations, Tim Hortons plans to wire up the parking lots of new locations to allow more charging stations to be installed in the future.

Fri, 15 February 2013

4 Warning Signs That Your Automobile Is In Need Of New Tires

4 Warning Signs That Your Automobile Is In Need Of New Tires

If you do not have the time to stop by your this afternoon, you can follow the below steps to do a quick spot check while you find the time to make an appointment with one of our automotive mechanics.

1. “Check the inner and outer sidewall of each tire for bubbles, bulges or cracks”

The inside and outer part of the sidewalls should be perfectly smooth. If you spot a bubble, bulge or crack with the naked eye on any of your tires you need to get your automobile into the automotive repair facility as soon as possible. Bubbles, bulges or cracks are weak spots within the tire and can be a sign that a leak is developing or even worse a “blow out” is waiting to happen at any moment leaving you in a tough and dangerous situation while driving at high speeds down the road.


2. “Tread Wear Indication Bar”

Newer tires have a convenience that older tires lacked. They have tread wear indicator bars built into the tires themselves. These bars, invisible or barely visible when the tires are new, gradually begin to appear as the tread wears down. They appear as flat rubber bars running perpendicular to the direction of the tread itself. If more than one or two of these are visible on a tire, the tread is getting low. This should be particularly obvious in the wet tracks that your tires leave after you drive through a puddle.


3. The “Penny” Test

The tread on your automobile’s tires should never fall below 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimeters) in depth. If you regularly drive on slick, wet surfaces, you’d be even better off with twice that much. You can buy a gauge to measure the tread depth the way the professionals do, but there’s an old trick that will give you a rough idea of how much tread depth you have left on your automobiles tires and it won’t cost you more than a penny.

In fact, it requires a penny. Take a Lincoln-head penny, the kind you find in your change every day, and insert Abe’s head (head-down) into the tread. If Lincoln’s entire head remains visible, you don’t have enough tread and you risk dangerous driving conditions or catastrophic results.


4. “Automobile Vibrations”

Every automobile owner has experienced slight vibrations with their automobile at different periods while driving down the road. If your automobile starts to vibrate and does not stop that is usually a sign of a bigger problem. The solution could be something as small as needing your tires balanced or aligned or something much bigger that has been brewing with your automobile that is starting to affect your automobiles tires and should be checked out immediately.

If you are ever in doubt or unsure of whether or not you are in need of new tires, take your vehicle to your local ASE Automotive Mechanic for a professional inspection.

Tue, 12 February 2013

All signs point to Mercedes-Benz in latest Die Hard film

A promotional display for A Good Day To Die Hard, in Oslo, Norway. (From Reddit.)

Fans of action movies take note: A Good Day to Die Hard opens this week. The latest chapter in the venerable action series – part 5 if you’re counting – once again stars Bruce Willis as a fish-out-of-water New York City cop forced to play the hero under extraordinary circumstances.

This time around, he’s in Russia, battling bad guys and averting a nuclear catastrophe. But more importantly for our purposes here is the fact that, in the film, just about every major character drives a Mercedes-Benz.

It’s not just an observation based on a few still photos and a clever promotional installation in downtown Oslo (see photo above). Mercedes-Benz makes no bones about the fact that they partnered up with the studio to ensure their cars were featured prominently in the movie.

Article from

Fri, 08 February 2013

Driving on Snow and Ice: 10 Safety Tips

Driving on Snow and Ice: 10 Safety Tips


Expert Advice To Prevent a Car Crash

Chevy Suburban - Going Sideways
  • Chevy Suburban - Going Sideways

    The front tires of this vehicle lost grip and the driver made the common error of continuing to turn the steering wheel. The excessive steering didn't — and couldn't — help. | March 18, 2010

winter driving: Sometimes it's best to stay home, or at least remain where you are until snow plows and sanding crews have done their work. If you crash on a snowy or icy road, you'll certainly be late — or worse. But since you can't always call in to work claiming a "snow day," it's better to learn how to correctly deal with driving in the snow.

I've battled snow- and ice-covered highways in two-dozen states behind the wheel of both passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers. I've performed hundreds of tire tests on snow-covered roads, attended snow-driving schools and done precision (translation: "barely in control") driving in the snow for videos and still photos. From this experience, here are some snow driving tips the average driver can follow to reduce the chances of a crash.

1.Get a grip.
To have adequate snow traction, a tire requires at least 6/32-inch deep tread, according to The Tire Rack. (New passenger-car tires usually have 10/32-inch of tread.) Ultrahigh-performance "summer" tires have little or no grip in snow. Even "all-season" tires don't necessarily have great snow traction: Some do, some don't. If you live where the roads are regularly covered with snow, use snow tires (sometimes called "winter tires" by tiremakers). They have a "snowflake on the mountain" symbol on the sidewall, meaning they meet a tire-industry standard for snow traction.

2. Make sure you can see. Replace windshield wiper blades. Clean the inside of your windows thoroughly. Apply a water-shedding material (such as Rain-X) to the outside of all windows, including the mirrors. Make sure your windshield washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid. Drain older fluid by running the washers until new fluid appears: Switching fluid colors makes this easy.

3. Run the air-conditioner.
In order to remove condensation and frost from the interior of windows, engage your air-conditioner and select the fresh air option: It's fine to set the temperature on "hot." Many cars automatically do this when you choose the defrost setting.

4. Check your lights. Use your headlights so that others will see you and, we hope, not pull out in front of you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are clear of snow. If you have an older car with sand-pitted headlights, get a new set of lenses. To prevent future pitting, cover the new lens with a clear tape like that used to protect the leading edge of helicopter rotor blades and racecar wings. It's available from auto-racing supply sites.

5. Give yourself a brake.
Learn how to get maximum efficiency from your brakes before an emergency. It's easy to properly use antilock brakes: Stomp, stay and steer. Stomp on the pedal as if you were trying to snap it off. Stay hard on the pedal. Steer around the obstacle. (A warning: A little bit of steering goes a very long way in an emergency. See Tip 8.) If you drive on icy roads or roads that are covered with snow, modify your ABS technique: After you "Stomp" and the ABS begins cycling — you will feel pulses in the pedal or hear the system working — ease up slightly on the pedal until the pulsing happens only once a second.

For vehicles without ABS, you'll have to rely on the old-fashioned system: You. For non-ABS on a mixed-surface road, push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. Repeat this sequence rapidly. This is not the same as "pumping the brake." Your goal is to have the tires producing maximum grip regardless of whether the surface is snow, ice or damp pavement. Use the tips in "How To Survive the Top 10 Driving Emergencies" to practice before the emergency.

6.Watch carefully for "black ice."
If the road looks slick, it probably is. This is especially true with one of winter's worst hazards: "black ice." Also called "glare ice," this is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Test the traction with a smooth brake application or slight turn of the wheel.

7.Remember the tough spots.
Race drivers must memorize the nuances of every track, so they can alter their path for changing track conditions. You must remember where icy roads tend to occur. Bridges and intersections are common places. Also: wherever water runs across the road. I know people who lost control on ice caused by homeowners draining above-ground pools and by an automatic lawn sprinkler that sprayed water onto a street in freezing temperatures.

8. much steering is bad.
If a slick section in a turn causes your front tires to lose grip, the common — but incorrect — reaction is to continue turning the steering wheel. That's like writing checks on an overdrawn account: It won't improve the situation and may make things worse. If the icy conditions end and the front tires regain grip, your car will dart whichever way the wheels are pointed. That may be into oncoming traffic or a telephone pole. Something very similar happens if you steer too much while braking with ABS. Sadly, there are situations where nothing will prevent a crash, but turning the steering too much never helps.

9. Avoid rear-tire slides. First, choose a car with electronic stability control. Fortunately, ESC will be mandatory on all 2012 models. Next, make sure your rear tires have at least as much tread as your front tires. Finally, if you buy winter tires, get four.

10. Technology offers no miracles.
All-wheel drive and electronic stability control can get you into trouble by offering a false sense of security. AWD can only help a vehicle accelerate or keep moving: It can't help you go around a snow-covered turn, much less stop at an icy intersection. ESC can prevent a spinout, but it can't clear ice from the roads or give your tires more traction. Don't let these lull you into overestimating the available traction.

Regardless of your driving skill or vehicle preparation, there are some winter conditions that can't be conquered. But these tips may help prevent snowy and icy roads from ruining your day.

Wed, 30 January 2013

Top 10 most underrated new vehicles By John LeBlanc, Postmedia News

Top 10 most underrated new vehicles

Top 10 most underrated new vehicles

The Volkswagen Golf TDI is one of the best diesels on the market today.

Photograph by: Derek McNaughton , Postmedia News

Leading up to the spring selling season, auto shows are promoting the latest and greatest 2013 models from the manufacturers. But “new” isn’t always the “best.” And with hundreds of new cars and trucks available today, some cars, inevitably, get left behind in consideration. For the vehicles that have been on the market for a while, don’t get any marketing support from their makers, or are soon to be replaced with something shinier or newer, here are our Top 10 Most Underrated New Vehicles you can buy today:

2013 Buick Verano

Nobody under the age of 80 buys a Buick, right? So it’s a bit odd that in a segment targeted at young, urban professionals, General Motors’ demi-luxury brand offers the best value.

We’ll be seeing a slew of compact luxury cars in the near future from the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti — to name a few. But right now, if you want a small luxury sedan for a good price, the ($22,895) Verano spanks its only real competition — the ($27,790) Acura ILX — on power, features and driving dynamics. Yes, a Buick …

2013 Ford Taurus SHO AWD

In the all-wheel-drive, mid-sized luxury sedan segment, everybody buys German. But instead of paying $59,800 for a 2013 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro with 310 horsepower or $64,900 for a 300-hp BMW 535i xDrive, why not try a $49,199 2013 Ford Taurus SHO AWD with 365 hp?

If you can ignore its plebeian Blue Oval badge, the Taurus SHO AWD is a big, comfy highway missile with few rivals. The Ford’s 3.5-litre V6 is state-of-the-art (direct injection and turbocharging) and scoots the big sedan from zero to 100 km/h in only 6.3 seconds.

2013 Honda CR-Z

As the only affordable hybrid sports coupe you can buy, the 2013 Honda CR-Z is a unique proposition. After sales peaked in its first full year on sale in 2011 with 517 units sold in Canada, only 238 CR-Zs were sold last year, giving the $22,590 Honda supercar-like exclusivity on the road.

Unlike other hybrids — even ones claiming to be sporty — the CR-Z actually is, with crisp and eager handling. It’s also the only hybrid vehicle on sale today that can be bought with a manual transmission. A new lithium-ion battery pack and larger 1.5-litre gas engine for 2013 now make 130 horsepower (up seven from last year) and pound-feet of torque goes from 128 to 140.

2013 Honda Ridgeline

With draconian fuel economy regulations coming in between now and 2016, automakers are panicking on how to make their big (and profitable) pickup trucks more fuel efficient. Funny enough, Honda’s already been there since 2005, with its Pilot crossover-based Ridgeline.

With only a 3.5-litre V6 and 250 hp, the Honda pickup’s towing is meagre. But the $34,990 Ridgeline’s versatility, car-like handling and fuel economy (13.6 L/100 km city; 9.6 highway) — plus its clever storage box in cargo bed — is more than likely all the pickup most buyers need, without the sloppy ride-and-handling associated with traditional trucks.

2013 Infiniti M37 Sport

Just as the Taurus SHO is underrated as an all-weather highway machine, say hello to the near-invisible 2013 Infifnit M37 Sport, a serious alternative for BMW 5 Series fans.

While the $73,500 M56 Sport’s 420 hp V8 offers serious mojo, the $10,000-less M37’s 330 hp V6 (matched to a snappy, seven-speed autobox/paddle shifters) has plenty of juice. And with a rock-solid chassis, beautifully made and sculpted interior, plus an athletic and aggressive chassis, the underrated M37 Sport is a fantastic value.

2013 Mini Clubman S

We’ve been inundated lately with a variety of new Mini models — from the two-seat Roadster to the all-wheel-drive, VW Golf-sized Countryman. So it’s easy to forget the underrated Clubman model, our fave of the current bunch of Minis.

Like most Minis, the Clubman is not cheap, from the 121 horsepower $24,950 Cooper to the warmer 181 hp $29,950 Cooper S to the red-hot 208-hp $38,400 John Cooper Works. But by using the Cooper hatch’s body, stretched to add leg and cargo room plus the unique feature of a third side door, the Clubman balances the nimbleness of the original Cooper hatch and the practicality of the not-so-mini Countryman.

2013 Nissan Juke

Combining the fuel-efficiency and nimbleness of a compact car, but with a taller body and all-wheel-drive availability, compact CUVs are an appealingly new proposition— especially for urban drivers. So while the Mini Countryman gets plaudits galore, we prefer the Juke from Nissan.

Despite its unique styling and surprisingly fun-to-drive nature that make the Juke it stand out in a sea of subcompact hatchbacks, Nissan hasn’t gotten greedy with the its pricing. A front-wheel-drive Juke with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $19,998. Even our topline SL AWD comes in for only $27,078 — a steal compared to a comparably equipped $33,536 Mini Countryman S ALL4.

2013 Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Altima sedan sells at about a 6 to 1 ratio over the less-popular Maxima. But if you were already looking at the top-line $33,698 Altima SL, we recommend popping for the $37,880 Maxima. You’ll have fewer regrets in the morning.

The under-the-radar Maxima is based on the same FWD platform as the mid-size Altima. But by blessing it with more aggressive styling (that Nissan says was inspired by its GT-R supercar), from the outside at least, the car looks ready to reclaim its “four-door sports car” moniker. Plus the Maxima uses the same V6, but offers 20 more horsepower than the Altima’s 270 rating.

2013 Subaru Impreza

No doubt, Canadians love compact cars; particularly practical hatchbacks. Now imagine a model that offers all that plus great fuel economy, a stellar reputation for reliability and all-wheel-drive. That’s the wall flower we call the $20,895 2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0 5-door.

With a new, four-cylinder matched to an equally new CVT, Subaru claims the Impreza is the most fuel-efficient AWD car in North America, with 7.5 L/100 km city and 5.5 highway scores — a whopping 38 per cent improvement in highway mileage over the old model’s four-speed auto.

2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI

Although governments and our friends south of the border don’t like ‘em, we Canadians love diesels — especially turbocharged ones. And the least expensive diesel (turbo or not) car you can buy in Canada is the 2013 $25,425 Golf 2.0 TDI Comfortline.

With a nicely screwed-together interior made from quality materials, German road manners, and an inherently frugal diesel engine, we think the compact Golf TDI four-door hatchback is one of the most underrated vehicles you can buy, regardless of price. And if you need a bit more room in the back, feel free to opt for the more practical $27,025 Golf Wagon TDI.

Wed, 23 January 2013

Your car is calling By Vito Pilieci, Ottawa Citizen

Your car is calling

Your car is calling

It wants you to know where it is and how fast it’s going. And by the way — it’s due for an oil change

Bill Syrros is CEO of Lixar, the company has made a device that allows people to monitor their car’s diagnostics over their cellular phone.

Photograph by:
Bruno Schlumberger , Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — An Ottawa company has been working with in-car electronics giant Delphi Automotive to develop technology that allows car owners to monitor their vehicle’s diagnostics, track its location at all times and lock and unlock its doors remotely — all with a cellular phone.

Lixar IT Inc., which employs about 90 people in Ottawa and describes itself as a “boutique” technology firm, created the software behind U.S.-based Delphi’s newly announced Connected Car system. The product was showcased at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where it won a Popular Mechanics “editors’ choice” award.

The system sets up two-way communications between a tiny module that plugs into the car’s error code reader, known in the industry as an on-board unit (OBU), and an application on the owner’s phone or other device running Apple Inc.’s iOS or Google Inc.’s Android software. Lixar designed the entire system.

Connected Car is similar to General Motor Corp.’s OnStar system. But while OnStar is available only in the GM vehicle in which it has been activated, Lixar chief executive Bill Syrros said the Delphi offering can be moved from one vehicle to another.

“You just plug it into the OBU. If you get a new car, or for people who are leasing, it’s easily transferable,” he said. “You can have multiple cars on this system.”

With the technology, an owner can open the car doors for a locked-out loved one on the other side of town, track the geographic location of the vehicle or see how fast it is travelling. “Geo-fences” can be set up to alert the user if the vehicle leaves a certain area, and all error codes and scheduled maintenance information for the vehicle are automatically sent to the user’s wireless device.

“For a long time now, our industry has had the vision of a connected car,” said Kathy Winter, vice-president of advanced engineering and software services for Delphi Electronics and Safety, in a release. “We believe this product will significantly accelerate the pace at which cars on the road become connected.”

The system will be released by Delphi on Verizon’s cellular network in the United States in coming weeks. A cellular connection for the Connected Car system itself will be required. Information on pricing has not been released. Delphi has also not said when the technology will available in Canada.

Syrros said Lixar was approached by Delphi a little over a year ago to help design the Connected Car system. Lixar has a history of technology design work and has collaborated in the past with Ottawa’s QNX Software Systems Inc., a division of Research In Motion Ltd. QNX software controls the electronics in a many automobiles around the world.

Syrros said Lixar jumped at the opportunity to create the technology. If a cellular phone can be used as a replacement for a television remote control, why couldn’t it be used to interface with an automobile’s on-board computers?

“You’ve got a whole list of real applicable functionality that you or I or anyone else would just see as a no brainer,” he said. “You want to know where your car is? Do you want to know where your children are driving your car? You’d have that ability and we certainly see huge value in that.”

Lixar was brought in to develop the unit on a contract, so its involvement with the system is over, Syrros said. The Ottawa firm was paid to develop the technology for Delphi, and will not receive royalty payments or other considerations as a result of its sales.

Delphi is the world’s largest supplier of electronics and technologies for the automotive industry. The company, which was spun out of GM in 1999, employs more than 185,000 people in more than 30 countries around the world. In its most recent quarter the company posted net income of $269 million U.S. on sales of $3.7 billion U.S.

Article from:

Thu, 17 January 2013

GM offers employee pricing in Canada

General Motors, which began offering higher incentives in United States in an effort to clear out its bloated supply of pickups, now is also offering incentives on its pickups in Canada despite a much lower supply there.

GM Canada is offering employee pricing for two weeks on all pickups, as well as some other vehicles. The amount of the discount will depend on the price of the vehicle, a spokeswoman said.

The offer, which began Monday and will last until Dec. 30 at participating dealers in Canada. It comes on top of discounts previously in place.

Eligible for the program are the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze and all 2013 GM vehicles except the Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette, Volt, Spark, Orlando, Express, Traverse, and Trax; the GMC Savana and Acadia; the Buick Enclave and Encore; and the Cadillac ATS and XTS.

Last Thursday,GM Canada was offering incentives in the range of $5,000 (Can.), or about $5,080 U.S., for all pickups, the spokeswoman said at the time.

"GM Canada will be competitive in the market, but we are not chasing market share at all costs," she said.

GM's sales in Canada have dipped 5 percent this year to 212,202 units through November, in an overall market that has advanced 7 percent.

GM ended November with 12,754 pickups -- a 27 day-supply -- in Canada, according to data provided by the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association.

In the United States, GM ended the month with 243,691 pickups -- a 138 day-supply -- in inventory, its highest levels since before GM's June 2009 bankruptcy. It also had a 9 percent decline in U.S. pickup sales from November 2011.

On Dec. 7, GM launched a U.S. program that gives dealers the option to add as much as $2,000 in customer cash on 2012 and 2013 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras through Jan. 2. That's on top of $1,000 in bonus cash GM already was offering on the trucks.

GM also began offering 0 percent financing on the 2013 Sierra and Silverado 1500.

The new 2014 GMC Silverado and GMC Sierra, which were unveiled last week, featuring three new engines, are expected to hit dealer lots in the second quarter, around late spring.

GM built up stocks this year to prepare for 29 weeks that its truck plants would be down for retooling. But this month, GM acknowledged that it will likely end the year above its target of about an 85-day supply in the United States.

Contact Automotive News

Tue, 15 January 2013

Canada to invest $254 million in auto industry to spur jobs

January 4, 2013 - 1:43 pm ET
UPDATED: 1/4/13 4:25 p.m. ET

OAKVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) -- Canada will invest C$250 million ($253.69 million) in the country's auto industry, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday, as Ottawa tries to encourage private sector investment and create manufacturing jobs.

Harper announced a five-year extension to the Automotive Innovation Fund, which was set up in 2008 to provide government support to research and development projects in Canada's automotive sector.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: "Our government remains focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and to keeping Canada's automotive manufacturing sector globally competitive and innovative."

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG


"Our government remains focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and to keeping Canada's automotive manufacturing sector globally competitive and innovative," Harper said, speaking at an event at the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario.

In order for companies to be considered for the funds, they need to make auto sector investments of more than C$75 million. The government said its support to date has leveraged up to C$1.6 billion in industry investment.

Companies who have made use of the fund include Ford Motor Co of Canada, Linamar Corp., Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Canada and Magna International .

The government subsidy comes as the industry is still reeling from General Motors' announcement last month that it will produce the next generation of its Chevrolet Camaro in Lansing, Mich., instead of at GM's Canadian production hub in Oshawa, Ontario, where it currently produces the sports car.

Canadian Auto Workers union president Ken Lewenza welcomed the government support for the auto industry, but said Canada needed to do more to match the level of incentives offered by other countries and certain U.S. states.

"I'm very grateful for the fact that they established the fund, but I still think we have to take a look at a longer term approach to how do we sustain it long term, because what we know is investment comes and goes," Lewenza told reporters at the event.

According to the CAW, Canada was the fourth largest auto producing jurisdiction in the world in 1999. A decade later, hit by a range of factors including a soaring Canadian dollar, which hiked manufacturing costs, Canada has fallen out of the top 10 and the number of industry jobs has shrunk by a third.

Separately, Harper said the Canadian government does not intend to keep its stake in General Motors over the long term, but it will not be influenced by the United States on when to sell.

"We are not bound by what the United States decides," Harper said. "We'll sell in a way that attempts to maximize the value for the Canadian taxpayer."

Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis said last month that he was "concerned" about GM's decision to move the Camaro and that Ottawa would hold the Detroit automaker to the commitments it made in return for the Canadian government's investment in the company.

The Canadian government and the province of Ontario, the heartland of Canada's auto industry, pumped more than C$10 billion into GM in 2009 to bail out the struggling automaker.

In return, the Canadian governments required that GM maintain its share of production in Canada for several years moving forward.

Thu, 10 January 2013

GM recall includes Canadian pickups, SUVs

The Associated Press

AUTO . General Motors is recalling nearly 69,000 pickup trucks, SUVs and vans worldwide, including a number in Canada, because they can roll away unexpectedly.

The recall affects certain 2013 models of the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Avalanche and Express. Also included are the GMC Sierra, Savana and Yukon, as well as the Cadillac Escalade.

GM says the vehicles may have been built with faulty park lock cables or malformed steering column lock gears. The vehicles can be shifted out of park even if the ignition key is in the off position or removed.

The recall includes almost 55,000 vehicles in the U.S. and another 14,000 in Canada, Mexico and elsewhere in the world.

Tue, 08 January 2013

Regulators Warn Canadian Dealers of Another Online Scam


On December 5th OMVIC warned Ontario dealers about Ambient Auto Center, a phantom dealership supposedly based in Oklahoma, that was specifically targeting Canadian online car buyers and dealers. Ambient was a scam: neither the dealership or inventory existed.


After OMVIC issued a news release to the media Ambient shut down its website and phones ? unfortunately the warning came too late for some. OMVIC is aware of five victims who lost nearly $200,000 and Oklahoma authorities believe there are many more victims who may have lost millions.

Today we have learned Ambient is back, now operating as Sprint Luxury Autos. Below is OMVIC?s latest news release and media alert to warn the public about this ongoing con.



Ontario and US Regulators Warn of Another Scam Targeting Car Buyers


Toronto ON, December 21, 2012 ? OMVIC, the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, and the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission (UMVPC), are warning car buyers of yet another online scam specifically targeting Canadians.

According to UMVPC Investigator John Cobb, Sprint Luxury Auto, is advertising on the Canadian sites of AutoTrader, Wheels, E-bay, Craigslist and Kijiji: their ads offer high-end late model vehicles at prices that are often ?too good to be true?. Cobb states this phony dealer?s website claims to be based in Oklahoma City, however the business does not actually exist: ?They are not licensed and they have no physical presence. Their advertised address is actually a call center for Sprint Wireless. This is a blatant attempt to use Sprint?s name and location to gain credibility. Make no mistake, is a scam?.

Terry O?Keefe, OMVIC Manager of Communications, says this latest fraud is very similar to one that appeared a few weeks ago. That scam involved Ambient Auto Center, also with a supposed address in Oklahoma. ?Ambient?s address turned out to be a cornfield? explained O?Keefe. ?Unfortunately these are both sophisticated operations. The websites are very professional and contain extensive inventory and convincing customer testimonials?. ?We know of five victims of the Ambient scam so far: those victims lost nearly $200,000. We expect there are many more victims yet to come forward?.


According to Cobb within hours of OMVIC?s December 5th news release, warning Canadians about Ambient, the company shut down its website and phones, but it hasn?t taken them long to resurface as Sprint. ?Just like cockroaches, when you shine a light on them they scurry away, waiting for a chance to resurface?.


Unfortunately because of the multi-jurisdictional and international nature of these scams, investigations and prosecutions are difficult and expensive. ?The scammers know this ? it?s why they are targeting Canadians? explains O?Keefe. ?The best way to deal with these types of scams is for consumers to be cautious and educated. Recognize that if something is priced below market value, it should be viewed as a warning, not an opportunity?.


OMVIC strongly cautions Ontarians considering buying vehicles remotely, whether privately, or from a dealer in another state or province. Ontarians are only protected by Ontario?s consumer protection laws and only have access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund when they buy from an Ontario-registered dealer. If consumers buy privately or outside the province, and something goes wrong, they are basically on their own.


The first lesson buyers can learn from Sprint and Ambient is not to buy without confirming the seller and vehicle actually exist and that the vehicle is in the seller?s name. ?Buying remotely is a huge gamble? says O?Keefe. ?Buyers should travel to see the car and verify the facts. If that?s not possible, hire an appraiser to do it ? but don?t wire money or give a credit card number without doing all your homework?. Cobb agrees. ?Not only will the victims of these scams lose their money, I?m certain the information they give these scam artists will be used later for attempted identity theft. It?s simply not worth the risk?.

Article from:

Mon, 07 January 2013

Calgary gas station gives diesel fuel instead of regular to 500 cars

The gas station company is promising to cover the costs after one of its gas stations had Calgarians pumping diesel fuel into their cars

Mon, 07 January 2013

Do I really need four winter tires?

Driving Concerns

Do I really need four winter tires, or can I just get two on the front of my front-wheel drive van?
– PB

If you've got winter tires on your van's front wheels and all seasons on the back, your front tires will stick while your back tires will slide – and your car could spin right off the road.

“The rear tires won't be able to grip as well as the front tires,” says Denise Koeth, managing editor of Tire Review, a tire industry magazine. “When braking or turning, the rear tires could break loose, losing traction and causing the van to fishtail.”

You & Your Car

The rubber in all-season tires starts to get hard, like a hockey puck, at around 7 C. And hard rubber doesn't stick to roads. The rubber in winter tires stays softer at lower temperatures, giving them better traction and shorter braking distances than all seasons when it's cold.

Under normal driving, you might not notice that the back wheels aren't gripping. But if you brake suddenly when it's especially slippery, you'll notice.

“If you have winter tires on the front wheels and hit the brakes, the back tires without the traction keeps going,” says Antonia Issa, spokesperson for the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC). “It's unsafe – most tire places will refuse to put on just two.”

It reminds me of that Maestro Fresh Wes song from high school. With apologies to Maestro (and my editors) – the front grip is amplified, so just glide, and let your back tires slide.

Another word for fishtailing is oversteer, but both words mean that your van’s rear end will skid to one side. And that unintentional donut could make you spin off the road or into another car.

If you switch the tires around – with the two winter tires on the back and the all seasons on the front of a front wheel drive vehicle – the front tires won't grip as well as the winter tires in the rear and you'll get understeer. Again, the result could be a loss of control.

“Understeer is basically when the vehicle keeps moving forward, but the front tires do not respond to any steering input by the driver – making it very difficult to steer the car where you actually want to drive,” Koeth says.

You can see a front wheel drive car with two front winter tires lose control at low speeds in a
2007 road test video by Transport Canada, the RAC, and the Automobile Protection Association (APA).

So does a rear-wheel drive vehicle need four winter tires too?

The APA, an industry watchdog, says they do. The steering of a rear wheel drive vehicle can wash out if you have snow tires on the driving wheels only, the APA says. Plus, anti-lock brakes and electronic traction control won't work properly if all four tires aren't the same.

Transport Canada recommends four identical tires on all vehicles. That means all four tires – whether snow tires, all weather or all seasons – should be the same size and make, have the same tread and be worn equally.

Sat, 29 December 2012

Toyota settlement over acceleration problems to top $1 billion

Toyota settlement over acceleration problems to top $1 billion



Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

Toyota has recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems in several models and brake defects with the Prius hybrid.

Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay as much as $1.4 billion to settle U.S. litigation claims that its vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated, according to court filings made public Wednesday.

The company said the deal will resolve hundreds of lawsuits from Toyota owners who said the value of their cars and trucks plummeted after a series of recalls stemming from claims that Toyota vehicles accelerated unintentionally.

Steve Berman, a lawyer representing Toyota owners, said the settlement is the largest in U.S. history involving automobile defects.

"We kept fighting and fighting and we secured what we think was a good settlement given the risks of this litigation," Berman told The Associated Press.





The proposed deal was filed Wednesday and must receive the approval of U.S. District Judge James Selna, who was expected to review the settlement Friday.

Toyota said it will take a one-time, $1.1 billion pre-tax charge against earnings to cover the estimated costs of the settlement. Berman said the total value of the deal is between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion.



Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Toyota since 2009, when the Japanese automaker started receiving numerous complaints that its cars accelerated on their own, causing crashes, injuries and even deaths.

The cases were consolidated in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana and divided into two categories: economic loss and wrongful death. Claims by people who seek compensation for injury and death due to sudden acceleration are not part of the settlement; the first trial involving those suits is scheduled for February.




The deal includes direct payments to customers as well as the installation of a brake override system in about 3.25 million vehicles, plaintiff attorneys said. The terms also include a $250 million fund for former Toyota owners who sold vehicles at reduced prices because of bad publicity, and a separate $250 million fund for owners not eligible for the brake override system.

The settlement would also establish additional driver education programs and fund new research into advanced safety technologies.

"In keeping with our core principles, we have structured this agreement in ways that work to put our customers first and demonstrate that they can count on Toyota to stand behind our vehicles," said Christopher Reynolds, Toyota vice president and general counsel.

Current and former Toyota owners are expected to receive more information about the settlement in the coming months. Some information is also available at, a website created for Toyota owners affected by the settlement.

"We are extraordinarily proud of how we were able to represent the interests of Toyota owners, and believe this settlement is both comprehensive in its scope and fair in compensation," Berman said.





Toyota has recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems in several models and brake defects with the Prius hybrid. Toyota has blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals for the unintended acceleration.

Plaintiffs' attorneys have spent the past two years deposing Toyota employees, poring over thousands of documents and reviewing software code, but the company maintains those lawyers have been unable to prove that a design defect — namely Toyota's electronic throttle control system — was responsible for vehicles surging unexpectedly.

Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA were unable to find any defects in Toyota's source code that could cause problems.

The company has been dogged by fines for not reporting problems in a timely manner.

Earlier this month, NHTSA doled out a record $17.4 million fine to Toyota for failing to quickly report floor mat problems with some of its Lexus models. Toyota paid a total of $48.8 million in fines for three violations in 2010.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda appeared before Congress last year and pledged to strengthen quality control. Recent sales figures show the company appears to have rebounded following its safety issues.

Information from the Associated Press and Reuters was included in this report.

Article from:

Thu, 27 December 2012

The 11 best new cars in Canada

AJAC awards

The 11 best new cars in Canada

AJAC’s annual TestFest roared to life last week as 60 new 2013 models were put through their paces to determine the best new vehicles in 11 categories.

From these 11 category winners, Automotive Journalists Association of Canada members will vote for the 2013 Canadian Car of the Year and the 2013 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

The overall winners will be announced Feb. 14 during the media preview day at the Canadian International Auto Show.

The winners (Click on the links below for the full story and the other cars in each category):

Best New City Car: Ford Focus EV

Best New Small Car (under $21,000): Mazda3 Skyactiv Sedan

Best New Small Car (over $21,000): Hyundai Elantra GT

Best New Family Car (under $30,000): Honda Accord Sedan

Best New Family Car (over $30,000): Ford Fusion Hybrid

Best New Luxury Car: Cadillac ATS

Best New Prestige And Performance Car (over $75,000): Porsche 911 Carrera S

Best New Sports/performance Car (under $50,000): Ford Focus ST

Best New Sports/performance Car (over $50,000): Porsche Boxster

Best New SUV/CUV (under $35,000): Ford Escape 1.6 L EcoBoost

Best New SUV/CUV ($35,000-$60,000): Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T

Mon, 24 December 2012

Electrics lose resale value quicker

Blue-book value up to ten percent lower

Wed, 19 December 2012

Ford, Chrysler Canadian sales climb in November while GM drops

TORONTO (Reuters) -- New vehicle sales at both Ford Motor Co. of Canada and Chrysler Canada made big gains in November, lifted by strong consumer demand for cars and growth in the Canadian auto industry.

Ford, which retained its rank as Canada's top-selling automaker, said total vehicle sales rose 7.4 percent in November from a year earlier, as car sales jumped 14 percent and truck sales climbed 5.6 percent.

"We saw strength across the entire lineup," Dianne Craig, CEO of Ford Canada, said in a statement. "The Canadian auto industry has seen incredible growth in 2012 and we're pleased that Ford of Canada has outpaced it in November."

New car sales climbed to 4,444 in November from 3,899 in the same period last year, while truck sales rose to 15,003 from 14,204.

Chrysler Canada said its vehicle sales rose 4.7 percent in November, extending its streak of year-over-year monthly sales gains to 36 consecutive months.

The automaker said total November sales rose to 17,013 vehicles from 16,244 in the same period last year.

Car sales jumped 47 percent to 2,802 vehicles, while truck sales dipped 0.9 percent to 14,211 vehicles.

Chrysler, majority owned by Fiat SpA, said the new Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 helped power the passenger car sales surge.

Year-to-date sales are up 5.9 percent to 229,089 vehicles, the company said.

General Motors Co. said total Canada sales fell 3.2 percent to 17,372 vehicles. The company's statement did not give a full specific sales report by brand or vehicle.

"Canadians continue to embrace our smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles," Marc Comeau, vice president of sales, service and marketing at GM Canada, said in a statement.

Toyota Canada said its total sales declined slightly to 14,512 vehicles from 14,563, but year-to-date sales were up 21 percent.

Article from:

Tue, 11 December 2012

Canadian Car of the Year announced



In an early morning press conference at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the Hyundai Elantra was declared the 2012 Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

The Elantra was up against the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Optima. All three were among many vehicles put through a series of tests by 70 Canadian automotive journalists in the last week of October, 2011.

The win comes just over a month after the car was named the 2012 North American car of the year during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where it edged out the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Passat.

"The all-new Elantra was simply the single most important new vehicle that Hyundai has ever launched," said Steve Kelleher, President and CEO, Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. "The Elantra competes in Canada's critical compact segment, so for it to win Canadian Car of the Year is vindication for all the effort Hyundai designers and engineers invested into the project. We wanted to bring Canadians a new take on the compact sedan; one with great style, quality, safety and incredible fuel efficiency. So, we couldn't be more proud that AJAC agreed it should win Canada's highest automotive award."

Thu, 06 December 2012

Automotive Financial Services in Australia and Canada

Car dealers in Australia and Canada excel at selling additional financial services to consumers

London, November 2012 - New research from Finaccord, a market research consultancy specializing in financial services, reveals that car dealers in Australia and Canada are among the best in the world at selling additional financial services to consumers when they buy a new or used car.

Across the world, car dealers routinely sell cars with loans or leases, and many of them also distribute motor insurance. However, there is great variation internationally in car dealers' success at selling other financial services, such as extended warranties, creditor insurance, road assistance and guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance, as well as niche products such as prepaid service plans, scratch, dent, tire and rim insurance, and protection against excess wear and tear on leased cars.

Out of a total of 38 countries researched between 2010 and 2012, Finaccord found that on average the value of these products exceeded 3% of the value of the new and used cars that dealers sold to consumers in just five of them. Canada led the way with 4.0%, followed by Portugal (3.7%), France and the UK (both 3.6%), and Australia (3.5%). The average across these 38 countries was just 1.4%, while motor insurance premiums originated through the automotive trade (including renewals) were worth more than double this figure, at 3.3% of the value of the new and used cars sold by dealers to consumers.

"Finaccord's survey of car dealers in Canada did not find any that sold motor insurance, due to regulatory barriers, which makes it all the more important for dealers to replace it with other products. They have been very successful in this, and promote products not seen in most European countries, such as scratch, dent, tyre and rim insurance, and protection against excess wear and tear on leased cars. These products were worth about USD 1.44 billion in revenues in 2011, and car dealers earned significant commission from them" commented David Parry, Managing Consultant at Finaccord.

While car dealers in Australia do sell motor insurance, they face stiff competition from other channels. Finaccord estimates that motor insurance policies worth USD 519 million were originated through car dealers and manufacturer brands in Australia in 2012 (including both new policies and renewals), but that this was overshadowed by the value of other products sold by dealers, at USD 1.47 billion. The most important components of this were extended warranties and GAP insurance, both of which were more valuable than motor insurance in terms of premiums and similar revenues; these were followed at some distance by creditor insurance, road assistance, and tire and rim insurance.

"The Australian market is similar to those of France and the UK, where motor insurance is generally sold by other channels and where the automotive trade has had more success in selling ancillary insurance, warranty and assistance policies. In contrast, car dealers are a primary distribution channel for motor insurance in Asian countries such as China and South Korea, but they rarely sell other financial products. Portugal is an exceptional case, where dealers are an important distribution channel for motor insurance but also make significant sales of extended warranties, prepaid service contracts and creditor insurance", continued Dr Parry. "A good combination of these products helps the automotive trade to boost profitability in times of both economic growth and recession: in a boom, customers may be more willing to take out premium products such as prepaid service plans with new cars, while in a recession, extended warranties sold with used cars can become important."

Finaccord is a market research, publishing and consulting company specializing in financial services. It provides its clients with insight into and information about major issues in financial services in the UK, Europe and globally, with a particular focus on marketing and distribution topics such as affinity marketing, bank assurance and strategic alliances.

Consumer Automotive Financial Services in Australia and Consumer Automotive Financial Services in Canada are two country-specific reports published in September and October 2012, respectively, which provide a comprehensive overview of the distribution of financial services to consumers through the automotive trade. These reports harness the results of extensive primary research covering 125 car dealerships across the two countries and up to 40 automotive brands per country. The studies break down the market for finance and leasing services, plus creditor insurance, extended warranties, GAP insurance, motor insurance, prepaid service contracts, road assistance, scratch, dent, tyre and rim insurance, plus (for Canada only) excess wear and tear protection.

These reports form part of a series of 38 titles as of November 2012. The graphic below is drawn from several of these reports; it shows the estimated value of financial services sold by car dealers and manufacturer brands with new and used cars bought by consumers (excluding loans and leasing), where premiums and other revenues are calculated as a percentage of the value of the underlying car sales. These financial services are split between motor insurance and 'other'; these 'other' services are as listed above, though they vary by country; the figures are for the years 2010, 2011 or 2012, again depending on country.

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