Friday, August 17, 2012

New IIHS Test Weeds Out New Cars

frontal crashThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began crash testing cars in 1995, at the tail end of Clinton’s first administration. Since then, the tests haven’t changed much, and cars these days regularly ace them. But now, the IIHS (the people who bring you the “Top Safety Picks”) will launch a new frontal crash test, one that’s more challenging and stricter than current standards. What will this mean for tomorrow’s cars? Well, for one, expect a higher dropout rate than West Point’s freshman year.
The new tests will pinpoint weak spots in a type of offset frontal collision, which occur more often than head-on collisions, or even the offset test that the IIHS currently uses. For many cars, the head-on crash aspect that the federal government tests for has been well covered with crumple zones, safety cages, and crush-zone structures. The IIHS’s offset frontal crash test has also resulted in good scores from most manufacturers, to the point that the Institute’s “Top Safety Pick” is rapidly turning into “everybody gets a trophy day.”
But for slightly offset crashes—such as when two vehicles hit head-on headlight-to-headlight, or if a vehicle hits a pole or tree—the areas around the front suspension, wheels, and firewall are weaker. Wheels can get pushed into the passenger compartment, damaging occupants’ legs. The IIHS calls these “small-overlap” crashes, and the new test evaluates a vehicle’s performance in this common form of collision. Most crumple zones don’t extend out to the vehicle’s edges, but it turns out these small-overlap crashes are a common source of injury, even among vehicles that the IIHS has been cited as performing well. Even with cars that scored Good or Acceptable, small offset crashes accounted for a quarter of serious or fatal accidents.
Hence, its inclusion into the IIHS’s frontal crash safety tests.
“Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “Small overlap crashes are a major source of these fatalities. This new test program is based on years of analyzing real-world frontal crashes and then replicating them in our crash test facility to determine how people are being seriously injured and how cars can be designed to protect them better. We think this is the next step in improving frontal crash protection.”
In the test, a car is driven at 40 miles per hour into a rigid barrier that’s five feet tall, designed to replicate a tree or telephone pole. The barrier impacts 25 percent of the car’s front end: compare this to the IIHS’s existing overlap crash test, in which 40 percent of the car’s nose hits the barrier. No such tests are conducted by any other agencies, such as the NCAP tests in Europe; and only a few car companies go through with such tests.
The IIHS tested midsize luxury sedans first, as luxury cars usually have the newest and most advanced safety features. Based on the new criteria, only three out of 11 cars came away with Good or Acceptable ratings: the Acura TL and Volvo S60 were Good, while the Infiniti G scraped by with Acceptable. The Lexus IS bent its A-pillar and its footwell imploded, and the Mercedes C-Class’s hypothetical driver would have had his feet entangled in the pedals. The Volkswagen CC’s door fell completely off, something you won’t see in the company’s next round of print advertising.
Ultimately, the IIHS will bundle the small-offset test with its front crash tests for all 2013 models, though current 2012 cars which perform admirably—such as the Acura, the Volvo and the Infiniti—will be cited for their stellar performances. The IIHS has been continuously tightening its safety standards since 2006, but as Lund says, manufacturers have been rising to the occasion: “Manufacturers recognize that this crash mode poses a significant risk to their customers,” he said, “and have indicated they plan structural and restraint changes to improve protection in small overlap frontal crashes.”
Next up: the IIHS will test midsize sedans, such as the 2013 Ford Fusion and Honda Accord. For the highly competitive midsize segment, a good rating will be a huge boom in sales—and vice versa, of course.

IIHS Small Overlap Crash Test Results

  • 2012 Acura TL – Good
  • 2012 Volvo S60 – Good
  • 2012 Infiniti G – Acceptable
  • 2012 Acura TSX – Marginal
  • 2012 BMW 3 Series – Marginal
  • 2012 Lincoln MKZ – Marginal
  • 2012 Volkswagen CC – Marginal
  • 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • 2012 Lexus IS 250/350 -Poor
  • 2012 Audi A4 – Poor
  • 2012 Lexus ES 350 – Poor
Source: IIHS

Why Upcoming IIHS Test Changes May Hike Price of Automobiles

What price in the name of safety, to paraphrase a familiar cliche. Well, apparently it’s gonna cost plenty if you’re an automaker.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety plans to release results of its latest vehicular crash tests later this week. The private, non-profit organization is keenly watched by both automakers and the car-buying public. While no IIHS results and recommendations are legally binding on automakers, its Top Safety Picks are valued as much as, if not more, as the star safety rating system by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The IIHS’ new test involves front end crashes. Unlike previous tests, which measure impact of a vehicle going at 40 mpg against a barrier with 40 percent overlap, the new one involves a barrier with 25 percent overlap. Such “small overlap” crashes account for 25 percent of the 100,000 fatal front-crash accidents per year. In such accidents, the fragile steering wheel is absorbed the impact instead of the vehicle’s crash cell.
The IIHS has tested 11 mid-sized vehicles for this new test. IIHS Institute President Adrian Lund believes automakers will make alterations to their vehicles’ front ends once the results are released. Automakers who apparently have seen the results have already expressed concerns with such alternations. Honda and Mercedes-Benz, for example, can see such new front ends affecting their vehicles drivability and performance. Vehicle costs could rise as well, something the IIHS acknowledges. States Lund, “There’s no free lunch. Yes, it’s going to cost some money to change the vehicles. Probably, in the early designs, it may add some additional weight to vehicles as well. We suspect that, over time, automakers will be designing from scratch to do well in this and then they will be more efficient about how they build it.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gas prices up to $3.57 in Georgia

Gas prices jumped again in Georgia and around the nation as last-minute travelers close out the summer driving season, AAA Auto Club South reported.
Gas prices in the Southeast reached year-ago levels and the national average for regular retail gasoline is $3.69 -- some 8 cents more than a year ago.
In Georgia, gas averages $3.57 a gallon, compared with $3.48 a week ago, $3.26 a month ago and $3.58 a year ago.
Last week an unexpected refinery fire in California and a pipeline leak in the Midwest caused retail gas prices to spike, AAA noted. In addition, the price of crude oil continues to trade at more than $90 a barrel.
“So much occurred in the last couple of weeks that has led to current pump prices,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, in statement. “Elevated oil prices, domestic supply disruptions, tropical storms and more have led to the spike at the pump and it looks as though prices will continue to increase throughout the month. Hopefully, retail prices will drop after the Labor Day holiday when demand tends to fall and we switch to a cheaper fuel blend.”

Senior Online Editor- Atlanta Business Chronicle

Honda Fit Shuttle and Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid

Honda Fit Shuttle and Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid

Honda Fit Shuttle and Honda Fit Shuttle HybridHonda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that the all-new Honda Fit Shuttle and Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid compact cars will go on sale in Japan from today. With all the advantages of a compact, easy-to-handle 5-number body size, the Fit Shuttle features a large cargo area, outstanding fuel economy and a refined, comfortable and quiet ride.
Leveraging the advanced packaging technologies that Honda developed for the Fit, the Honda Fit Shuttle and Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid are a new type of compact car perfect for a wide variety of lifestyles. They defy the conventional wisdom about compact cars to offer a superb combination of spaciousness, utility, fuel economy, refinement and comfort.
Honda’s innovative center tank makes possible an exceptionally spacious cabin and large cargo area. By enhancing IPU (Intelligent Power Unit) layout in the Fit Shuttle Hybrid, flat and low cargo area has been possible, further adding to utility. Featuring the world’s first double-hinge structure*3, the reversible floor boards*4 make possible many different cargo area arrangements.
The Honda Fit Shuttle features a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine and offers best-in-class*5 fuel economy of 18.6 km/liter as measured in JC08 mode and 20 km/liter as measured in 10·15 mode*6-the same as the Fit*7.
The Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid features Honda’s original compact, lightweight hybrid system, 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine plus IMA (Integrated Motor Assist), and offers fuel economy of 25.0 km/liter as measured in JC08 mode and 30 km/liter as measured in 10·15 mode-the same as the Fit Hybrid.
Offering an exceptional level of value for money, both models are priced affordably. Pricing of the Fit Shuttle starts at ¥1,610,000*1, and the Fit Shuttle Hybrid starts at ¥1,810,000*2 [Source: Honda] .

Honda To Launch Compact Crossover Based on the Fit

The Fit is go, for expansion: Honda is planning to do a crossover on the Fit’s compact architecture, to coincide with an all-new generation.2011 Honda Fit Sport Front
Honda has been planning a Fit soft-roader for a while now, but this time it’s going to be based on an entirely new version due sometime in 2014, “the middle of the decade,” says Honda’s sources. It will be aimed at European and US markets, but expect some differences between the two models when they go on sale on the two continents: Honda will give more freedom to its regions to suit our markets. That most likely means that this Fit crossover will be built in Mexico, at Honda’s new facility in Celaya.
And around the world, Honda will expect sales of 400,000 models of this new Fit crossover. Which shouldn’t be a problem
There’s a slew of such tiny SUV-lets in Europe—the VW CrossFox and the CrossPolo, the Fiat Panda 4×4, the unfortunately-named Ford Kuga (a lifted Focus), and the Opel Mokka, which we get as the Buick Encore. Hell, Jeep is expecting a tiny version of Fiat’s Panda to replace the soon-to-be-discontinued Patriot and Compass twins. In America, expect a taller Fit to withstand some mud-soaked driveways in bigger tires than the regular model, but it might look like it can scamper across the Serengeti.
Source: Autocar

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Debut Event of 2013 Honda Accord August 20,2011

On Monday, Aug. 20, Honda will host an event to mark the production launch of the all-new 2013 Honda Accord at the Marysville Auto Plant.
Media attending the event will have the opportunity to interview Honda leadership, the Accord new-model team and government leaders.
Launch of the new Accord is taking place as we prepare to celebrate 30 years of Honda auto production in North America, which started in Ohio at the Marysville Auto plant on Nov. 1, 1982. Historical generations of the Honda Accord will be on display during this event.
Production Line-Off Event
1:00 pm Reception at Honda Hall
Media Interviews with Honda leadership, Accord New Model Team
Plant access for interviews and to shoot video and photos

1:30 Accord Walk-Around Event Mike Fischer, Accord New Model Leader
2:00 Media escorted to Marysville Auto Plant
2:30 Plant Launch Ceremony, followed by media scrum
Hide Iwata President & CEO, Honda of America Mfg.
Jeff Tomko Plant Manager, Marysville Auto Plant
Mike Fischer Accord New Model Leader

Off U.S. 33, northwest of Columbus in Union County
Marysville Auto Plant
24000 Honda Parkway
Marysville, Ohio 43040 Enter at Gate B and proceed to the Honda Operations Office

Please RSVP by contacting Ron Lietzke
Office: 937-644-6627
Cell: 937-441-0968

Source: American Honda at

Monday, August 13, 2012

Atlanta Gasoline Prices

Average retail gasoline prices in Atlanta rose 5 cents per gallon last week, averaging $3.60/g Sunday, according to gasoline price website
The national average increased 5.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.67/g.
Including the change in gas prices in Atlanta during the past week, prices Sunday were 3.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 28.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 24.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 5.7 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"The national average has spiked 25-cents per gallon just in the last month, thanks to an onslaught of refinery problems- mainly in the Great Lakes and California," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While these situations are temporary in nature, it goes to show this nations dependence on domestic refineries. While oil prices have gained in recent days, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for motorists: driving season will be over in less than a month and soon thereafter the EPA also relaxes gasoline mandates, meaning cheaper winter fuel."
Source CBS Atlanta

A Look Into the Future for Honda

Honda has been keeping pretty busy these days, but what are they cooking up for the next few years? Thanks to a few resources we got to take a peek and share it with you.
Debuting with the all-new 2013 Honda Accord, we will see the new and more efficient “Earth Dreams” family of engines spread throughout the Honda lineup as they get redesigned or refreshed. The engines have direct-injection and dual-overhead cam, producing a 10% increase in fuel efficiency.  
In addition to that, even the base four-cylinder will have a twin-cam profile setup, variable valve timing and direct injection. There are also rumors that a 1.6-liter diesel engine that can get up to 220 pound feet of torque could show up in the United States.
Also debuting with the 2013 Accord, you will see Honda put heavy emphasis on Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT). However, not all of the lineup will receive a CVT, performance and off-road models will keep geared transmissions.
Product Line:
Fit – A redesigned Fit comes in summer of 2014. However, Honda might not wait until then to install the Earth Dreams engine and a CVT.
Fit Crossover – There has been rumors that Honda is studying the concept of a compact crossover that would be below the Honda CR-V. A smaller, entry-level crossover might be in store for 2015.  
Insight – The redesign is set to come for the 2015-model year.
Civic – Last year, Honda announced that it is working on a Civic refresh for the 2013 model set to come out this fall. You can expect improvements on the instrument panel, but the Earth Dreams engine and CVT might not be integrated until the 2014 mid-cycle refresh.
Crosstour – A mid-cycle refresh is due for the 2013-model year which will include a six-speed automatic transmission, but not an Earth Dreams engine.
Pilot – The redesigned Pilot will come out fall of 2014. It will most likely get an Earth Dreams V6, with a CVT for the front-wheel-drive version and a six-speed automatic transmission for the all-wheel-drive version.
Odyssey – The Earth Dreams engine will most likely be incorporated for the 2014-model year refresh.
Ridgeline – The redesigned Ridgeline is coming in 2014. Honda will most likely keep the handling dynamics and packaging, but change the styling and improve the fuel economy.
S2000 – Honda has alluded to the possibility of reviving the S2000, but it is not a priority at the moment.
Besides that, if you want to know what Honda is thinking for the next generation of vehicles, check out the 5 coolest concept cars by Honda post.