The Aftermath OF The Volkswagen Diesel Emission Scandal

The whole automotive industry is changing due to the emissions scandal with Volkswagen, now everybody is looking into the possibility that other companies could have possibly been lying too. As Volkswagen AG strategizes to keep its business afloat and put its current crisis – the rigging of its “clean” diesel cars to cheat on U.S. emissions tests and misleading customers about its TDI vehicles’ green credentials — behind it, it must face the fact that the debacle will likely dog its reputation for years.

Not only will the actual fixes to diesel cars take two years or more to sort out, but New York Times reporter Jack Ewing has struck a six-figure book deal to write the yarn of what happened. Megastar Leonardo DiCaprio has already signed on to be a co-producer of the film version and might even star in the story. With the book taking a year or so to produce, and the movie presumably taking another year after that to make, VW can count on an epic rehash of the debacle after two years of damage control.

Conversations with several current and former Volkswagen executives over the past week since VW of America CEO Michael Horn testified before Congress portray a company that is vast and layered with bureaucracy, on top of a culture of fear and engineering arrogance.

One longtime executive said, “I can totally see how this could happen and very top managers not know. … I’m not saying that they didn’t know, but it is possible.”

How could that be? “You have no idea how much stuff lands on the desk of these senior guys to approve and sign, and they rely on their underlings to organize it,” said another former executive who now works for a different car company. Said another: “It’s possible, too, that the engineers couched the software addition in language that very senior people who signed off were meant to not see what it really was.”

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Six New Additions Innovated By BMW To Make The 7 Series A Fine Vehicle To Drive

What is it that makes the BMW 7 series a much better car for drivers to purchase? What have to they added to this vehicle that makes it stand out from all the rest. A few well-placed features in this car will make your driving experience a lot better.

With the proliferation of technology across all vehicle segments, luxury automakers have to work harder to differentiate their cars. After all, when Buick and BMW both have Apple CarPlay, there isn’t much brand discrepancy via the dashboard display.

The 7 Series is BMW’s flagship and therefore the German luxury car company’s technology standard-bearer. Previous generations debuted the first in-dash navigation system, active safety features and center-console infotainment controller, iDrive, which other automakers later adopted.

BMW boasts that the all-new 2016 7 Series features 24 new innovations, and that half of those are segment exclusives. I got a chance to test drive the new 7 Series at a press event earlier this week and came away impressed with these six new tech features.

Gesture Control

Not only is the new 7 Series the first BMW with a touchscreen, but to activate certain features it doesn’t even need to be touched. The 7 Series has gesture control thanks to an infrared camera positioned in the headliner that detects the position of a hand in a small sweet spot above the shifter. Twirling a finger clockwise increases the volume of the stereo and twirling it counter-clockwise decreases it. Simply pointing at the screen can perform answering a call on a connected Bluetooth phone or swiping a finger can ignore the call. Two gestures can also be programmed to control a pair of favorite features.

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Bundle Up, Ford Is Getting Ready For Colder Weather

It may not be time for scarves and mitts but in Fords testing center it is cold enough.

It’s a steamy 35 C in this small city on the Florida panhandle. Meanwhile, I am inside a giant chamber, suited up in full winter gear and watching snowflakes fall from the ceiling onto a line of vehicles below.

It’s -28 C inside the McKinley Climatic Laboratory on the Eglin Air Force Base, and Ford is showing me how it tests its cars and trucks for winter compatibility.

“One of the things we’re looking at is cold starts,” says Rich Shimon, technical expert on gasoline powertrain calibration for Ford. “When drivers get into the vehicle, they expect it to start right away and have a comfortable idle speed. Our job is to make sure our vehicles do that under any conceivable condition and with any conceivable fuel, and now we’re doing the extreme cold-weather testing.”

Accurate testing depends on stable conditions, which is why McKinley was constructed in the first place. Many fighter planes wouldn’t start in the cold during the Second World War, and since it couldn’t count on consistent weather outside, the U.S. government commissioned the facility for testing during equipment development. It was finished in 1947, and following a major renovation that wrapped up in 1997, it was then opened up to outside companies. It runs 24 hours a day and is fully booked for the next three years.

Its five chambers can reproduce any type of weather, except tornadoes and lightning strikes. It’s the largest in the world at 5,110 square metres, can go from a high of 48 C to a low of -65 C overnight, and can replicate hurricanes, fog, freezing rain and sandstorms.

Depending on the chamber used and the type of weather requested, rental costs range from $8,000 to $30,000 (U.S.) per day.

Ford uses the big chamber for three weeks each year, primarily because of its capacity. “We’re able to get 72 vehicles and 54 engineers into the chamber,” Shimon says. Back in Michigan, his team has to share Ford’s four smaller test chambers with other departments, and it would take months to do what he can achieve in Florida in three weeks.

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Car Companies Now Target New Tech Features

Apple, Google and Tesla have added new features to the everyday car that allow it to stand out to target consumer.

Targeting techies is an important marketing strategy for automakers, according to a study released today by J.D. Power.

The company’s 2015 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report — Summer edition found that 30 percent of new-vehicle drivers cited their vehicle’s latest technology as a reason for purchasing.

J.D. Power has released the report twice a year since 1987, but this is the first time respondents were asked about technology features as a reason for purchase.

Among luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 43 percent said cutting-edge technology features influenced their purchase. Lincoln, Infiniti, Cadillac and Audi drivers had the highest proportions of respondents who cited technology features as a reason for purchasing.

Among non luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 28 percent were looking for the latest technology. Mazda, Buick and Chrysler drivers were the most interested in technology when deciding on a vehicle.

“Targeting these technology seekers with the right messaging is critical to using marketing dollars effectively to reach consumers who will actually buy new vehicles because of technology,” Arianne Walker, J.D. Power’s senior director of automotive media and marketing, said in a statement today.

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New 3D Printing Shop by Ford Designs Molds of F150’s

Ford has created a first for automotive shops with their new 3D store. Customers are now able to create their own 3D models of the classic F150 trucks. You are able to customize the truck to your desire or choose of the thousand other models already created.

Available 3D-printed Ford models are 1/32nd (one thirty second) scale in plastic and models included in the launch: the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date. The Ford 3D Store is powered by, which provides automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. I have to say that the F-150 Raptor pickup truck looks pretty tough as a plastic model. When you click on the model within the Ford site, you are immediately taken to the Turbosquid site, which offers more views of the model and pricing. The F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149.

According to a news release the company sent me: “3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.” Since I visited the Ford 3D printing lab, in person, last year while on the 3DRV road trip, I can attest to the many ways that the company is using 3D printing and 3D materials science to advance car making. I wrote about their unique metal bending machine and some of their virtual reality work to help engineers move rapidly through product changes. You can read those posts here and here.

According to Juniper research, sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014. That’s a pretty big increase in new 3D printers soon to be on consumer desks, but one that pales in comparison to the number of people who might try out 3D printing via a service bureau, particularly if you make it easy to customize and click-to-print a model.

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What To Do If Your Car Knocks, Ticks Or Squeals

Each tick, knock, grind or screech that your car makes is its way of telling you that something is wrong. By ignoring these noises, simple issues can begin to grow. Find out what each sound means so that you can fix it quickly.


You hear a high-pitched squeal that stops when you shut off your engine: Readjust or replace the belt. These belts should have about half an inch of play and shouldn’t be frayed, cracked, or glazed on the underside.


You hear a continuous high-pitched sound that may continue after the engines shut off: Check the radiator pressure cap. The rubber gasket may be worn.


Something ticks rhythmically while your engine idles: Shut off the engine, wait ten minutes for the engine to cool and the oil to settle, and then check the oil level. If you have enough oil, have a mechanic check the valve adjustment.

If you hear a loud tapping or knocking sound in your engine, pull to the side of the road and call for road service. The source may be a loose rocker arm or carbon buildup inside the engine, but if it’s a loose bearing or a faulty piston, it can destroy the engine.

Mild knocking or “pinging” may be the result of using fuel with the wrong octane rating.


You hear the engine running after you turn off the ignition: Your engine is dieseling. This condition only happens to cars with carburetors. It is usually caused by an idle speed that’s set too high or excessive carbon in the combustion chamber.


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Decrease in the Fuel Economy Means Better Prices at Dealerships

The insanely low gas prices seemed like a miracle to everybody this winter, however the gift continues far beyond the gas station. What many drivers don’t realize is that the price of gas, the cost of a new car and the deals you receive with it actually go hand in hand.

Since the price of gas was so low car drivers everywhere are saving on gallons a day, which means they have more money saved to invest in a new car. Car dealerships and makers receive more money per purchase due to the bigger budget, which usually means a bigger and more expensive car and invest that money in better deals, lower discounts and larger incentives on future purchases.

Of course dealers and carmakers do not always put every penny of their new-found riches into the deal-making side of the business. They also look to book healthier profits.

But with more money sloshing around in the system, notes auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, it is fair to expect a new wave of offers and enticements in the Canadian light vehicle marketplace. We are seeing this now.

There’s more to this story, too. Lower pump prices are acting as an economic windfall for the average car owner. DesRosiers estimates that the typical Canadian uses about 1,820 liter18s of fuel a year. A 30-cent drop at the pump puts $546 into the pocket of every driver – and nation-wide amounts to a $13 billion economic stimulus.

What we have here is a country of enriched drivers being chased by an army of dealers and manufacturers with more money to spend on incentives.

Read the full story here.

Volkswagon Redesigns The Minivan With The New Touran

Volkswagon recently revealed the new minivan, the Volkswagon Touran. This model is recently exported from Europe and introduces a seamless connection for your smartphone as well as new activated safety features that you can discover. In addition, there is more room for storage and luggage with the biggest compartment in its category. This allows more options for you while still being comfortable and light, with room to adjust depending on the situation.

The Touran is the first minivan and third VW brand model after the Golf and Passat underpinned by the automaker’s highly flexible MQB architecture. The new platform allowed VW to reduce the Touran’s weight and lengthen its wheelbase to increase interior space, VW said in a statement.

The latest Touran, which will be made in Wolfsburg, will go on sale in Europe in September. It will not be sold in the U.S. but it will also be built in Shanghai for China with a launch scheduled for the end of this year.

VW gave no details on prices for the third-generation minivan but a spokesman said they would not be much different from the base 23,250 euro price tag in Germany of the current model despite new added content.

The Touran will debut at the Geneva auto show on March 3. It will face new competition from another Geneva debut, the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer, an all-new model that BMW hopes will poach new customers for its brand from rivals such as the Touran and Mercedes-Benz B class.

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VW Golf Named North American Car of the Year

It seems to happen on a yearly basis. Naming of the North American Car of the Year. Each year a bevy of journalists get together and name the Car of the year. Who took it this year, you might ask? Well let me tell you. Volkswagen, with their brand new 2015 Golf. Beating out the Ford mustang and the Hyundai Genesis. Currently in its seventh generation the Golf offers more selection than most of its competitors. So no wonder why it was chosen as the winner.

That wide range of choices is one of the factors that led us to choose the Golf as our 2015 Best Car To Buy. Volkswagen’s last win was the  North American Car of the Year in 1999, with the New Beetle.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck took home 2015 North American Truck of the Year honors.

For the 2015 model year, the F-150 was fully redesigned with several efficiency-focused features such as a lightweight aluminum body and downsized 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine option, joining the previous 3.5-liter version.The F-150 was chosen over the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup and 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover, giving Ford its eighth Truck of the Year award.

The awards–now in their 22nd year–judge vehicles based on a number of factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction, and value for money.

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Press Release – Installation of the Crow Environmental Vehicle De-Pollution System

Toronto, ON – October 14th, 2011 – Standard Auto Wreckers ( today announced its adoption of the Crow Environmental ( vehicle de-pollution system in its Toronto, Ontario location. Crow’s innovative de-pollution system is an effective system for the de-polluting of end-of-life vehicles by removing toxic fluids and pumping them to fluid storage tanks for re-use and environmentally safe disposal. The Standard Auto Wreckers facility recently installed one high volume stand-alone system along with four  customized units and now has the only Crow Environmental five bay system in Ontario.

Paul Coon, Vice President of Green Vehicle Disposal commented, “We currently have more than 100 auto recyclers in our program across North America and I highly recommend all affiliates and any auto recycler who is serious about protecting the environment to invest in a Crow Environmental System, it is that good!”

David Gold, Owner of Standard Auto Wreckers shared his excitement about the Crow system. “I can’t tell you how excited we are to have this system installed in our recycling yard, we searched for years for the best solution and we finally found it with Crow Environmental vehicle de-pollution system. You can’t put a price on protecting the environment; this system represents a substantial and worthwhile investment for us!”

In addition to being the founding member of the Green Vehicle Disposal Program ( in Canada and the USA, Standard Auto Wreckers is also well known for their charity work and are the founders of Charity Car donation programs in both the USA and Canada ( and