Saturday, September 17, 2011

Recalls: End of the Road for Toyota?

Toyota HQ in Toyota City.
Akio Toyoda, Totota CEO (2011)
Toyota, once a stellar example of automotive reliability, has lost considerable grip on the reputation it has enjoyed for decades. The main culprit is sudden unintended acceleration (SUA).The skid actually started in 1986, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) recalled some Toyotas for “speed control problems.” But the issue then did not attain the major proportions it has now.

The Toyota brand explained
It reared its ugly head again in 2003, when “unwanted acceleration” occurred during production testing of their Sienna minivan. Worse, they didn’t report it to the NHTSA until five years after. The worst incidents occurred in July 2007 and August 2009: In the first, Troy Edwin Johnson, sitting in his car, was killed by a Camry speeding at around 120 mph. In the second, an off-duty highway patrolman and his family were killed when their rental Lexus crashed. “Uncontrollable acceleration” was reported to be the cause of both accidents. Since 2003, the NHTSA has conducted numerous investigations of different Toyota models, mostly with reported acceleration problems. Many of these have led to recalls.

Toyota has paid nearly 50 million dollars in recall-related fines, and the bad news does not end there. They still face numerous lawsuits, for charges ranging from lost resale value to injuries and death as a result of the reported defects. These cases could drag on for many years, resulting in steadily increasing losses.

The most damage may be to their reputation. Can they rebound from such a major financial and legal disaster, or will they go down the drain? Only time will tell. This is probably the greatest challenge ever faced by an automaker, or any company, and how they handle it will be their biggest test ever. Will the company that dethroned GM as the world’s number one carmaker fall?

Should hot rodding be illegal?

If only these hot rods were real! But nevertheless, you'd still have a lot of fun with these fine, detailed models! One of them's a coffin on wheels! Cool! Get these super hot rods by clicking here or on the image.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

If I Need a Car in Italy, I’ll Go to Garagedelparco

I came upon this used car website that’s totally Italian. If it weren’t for Google’s translation, I wouldn’t have known what it had to offer. So I thought I could help out a little bit to let other people know about this site, Here’s what I have to say about it.

In Italy, like elsewhere, you can face problems when buying a used car (compro auto usate). Used cars in Milan (auto usate milano) are the same as anywhere else in the world. Many used car sellers (vendita auto usate) don’t tell you the whole truth about the car’s age and condition.

Checking out the Garagedelparco website, it seems to me that used car buyers would have less of a problem if they will take the time to visit the site and see what it has to offer. The website is attractive, chock-full of information, and easy to navigate.
The way I see it, Garagedelparco doesn’t just sell cars, they also sell worthy rides. If I’d need to buy a used car in Italy, I’d ask for documentation, and Garagedelparco seems aware of the need to provide complete papers that are in order. Their cars are also checked inside and out and thoroughly tested. It seems they won’t sell you what they won’t buy, and they won’t merely replace easily worn out parts, like the timing belt, tensioner bearings, and even the water pump. The list of parts under warranty (depending on the car’s mileage, of course) is comprehensive.

You can ask for an over-the-phone estimate of your own used car’s value, based on data you provide, such as the exact make and model, year of registration, mileage, and any options the car may have.
This site is quite useful for those in need of a good used car, particularly if you’re in Italy. So if ever I’ll be in need of a used car in Milan or elsewhere in Italy, I think I’ll check out Garagedelparco.