Top 5 Speeding Ticket Cars

February 6, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Nothing ruins a day faster than a seeing the blue and red lights of a police or highway patrol car in your rearview mirror. Little did you know the car that you’re driving has something to do with it.
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Train Spears a Car in Kent!

January 31, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

(Kent, WA) January 30

Around 1:15 pm this afternoon a train hit a semi truck carrying cars in downtown Kent. Two of the vehicles on the truck were struck, this one was dragged a few blocks. Luckily the driver of the semi escaped the collision and no injuries reported.

Any idea what kind of car that is the photo?

It looks like a KIA.

Photo courtesy the City of Kent

Seattle Test Drive Review for the 2009 Toyota Venza

January 27, 2009 by · 4 Comments 

After reading and hearing so much about the 2009 Toyota Venza, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When driving most cross-over type vehicles it’s either one or the other. Either it feels like a truck but looks like a sedan, or handles like a sedan and looks like a SUV. It’s rare to get a true combination of both. But after driving the 2009 Venza, I know why Toyota waited a while to get into the crossover market, they wanted to get it right. Read more

Snow Driving Tips: Getting up the Hill

December 19, 2008 by · 14 Comments 

Seattle is known for it’s rolling hills and beautiful mountain ranges. But come winter, those same hills turn into steep, slippery nightmares for most drivers.

However, there’s a few tips on how even a novice driver can conquer many a Seattle hill. Read more

It’s Done, a $17.4Billion Bailout for US Automakers

December 19, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The US Federal govenment is getting into the car business. With this latest attempt to save the American auto industry, the Fed will partially own a stake in the Big 3.

What will this do for the future of American cars?

For the long term is this good or bad?

Will every American car soon look like FBI vehicles?

For the immediate future it is needed, but keeping an eye on the long term effects will be interesting.

Here’s what Debb Reichmann wrote in the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Citing danger to the national economy, the Bush administration approved an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry Friday, offering $17.4 billion in rescue loans in exchange for deep concessions from the desperately troubled car makers and their workers.

The Feds would then have the option of becoming a stockholder in the companies, very similar to that of the major banks. That would somewhat nationalize the US auto industry.

A nationalized car industry, how will this effect local car dealers, if it does at all?

See the full AP article

The Best Cars for Snow

December 18, 2008 by · 4 Comments 

It’s finally here. Snow has blanketed western Washington and has caused havoc on the roads. If they’re actually closing down parts of 520, and I-5 is down to one lane, that’s a red flag to stay off the streets. If you absolutely have to get somewhere, then you absolutely have to have a vehicle that can handle it. Read more

The Washington Huskies Formula Motorsport Team

December 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

While the Washington Huskies have suffered through their worst football season ever, on the upper campus, another UW team is gaining praise throughout the nation – the Motorsports team.
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Stolen Cars in Washington vs the Nation

December 2, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a terrible feeling, walking out to the parking lot and all you see is broken glass and an empty parking stall. It happens everywhere in the Seattle area, no neighborhood is safe. While certain areas are hotter than others, car theft is a problem everywhere. Read more

Why Toyota Wins From the Auto Crisis

November 19, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

From a blog posting I just read:

Do you know how many hourly jobs GM has laid off from 2006 to July 2008? Take a guess. How about 34,000? And now, they’re talking about another 5,500 layoffs.

OK, here’s a better question. How many hourly jobs has Toyota’s American production system laid off in the same time frame? Zero. That’s right. ZERO. How? Isn’t Toyota experiencing the same slow down in auto sales as GM is? Yes, it is. And yes, Toyota has halted production at its Texas and Indiana plants for the past 3 months. But the 4,500 people who work at those plants have not been laid off.

The answer: Toyota has a special culture, deep-rooted values, and respect for their workforce. Toyota’s tradition is to NOT lay off employees during hard times. This tradition hasn’t really been put to the test until now. And Toyota has stuck to its guns and its values.

“This was the first chance we’ve really had to live out our values,” says Latondra Newton, general manager of Toyota’s Team Member Development Center in Erlanger, Ky. “We’re not just keeping people on the payroll because we’re nice. At the end of all this, our hope is that we’ll end up with a more skilled North American workforce.”

For the full article: What Toyota knows that GM doesn’t

My thoughts on this is two fold. First, I’m impressed with Toyota as a consumer. Second, I’m sentimental to the fact that this really is the end of the American car industry.

Back in the 80s, when America stopped importing “cheap” Japanese cars and Lee Iacocca was making history at Chrysler, the American car industry seemed pretty much unstoppable. The “Big Three” were called that because they were actually the biggest – not because they are the only ones left standing – as is the case today.

Through mergers and acquisitions, the industry, even with all it’s clashes with the union, the auto industry had the history of supporting it’s workers and ensuring a career out of tens of thousands of skilled laborers at a time that many corporations dumped their workers en masse.

But that was then and this is now.

In a surreal flip, it would now appear that those clunky Japanese car companies are the industry leaders today; and have been for more than a decade. While Detroit was drinking the oil-is-forever koolaid and pumping out beefier and bigger engines, the Japanese were hard at work perfecting their engines and builds to six-sigma and improving efficiency.

With gas hitting $4 a few months ago and the credit crisis, it wasn’t so much that the Japanese won the bet, but rather, Detroit found itself with an empty hand. Saddled with factories meant to churn out beefy SUVs, Hummers and trucks, the new paradigm in energy and economics poured cold water all over the roaring party up until this point.

GM is losing a billion dollars a month and will likely buy out Chrysler. Layoffs in the 30,000 – 40,000 range are to be expected, along with 12 factories closing. Morale is no doubt at an all time low, with every worker wondering if he’s next on the cutting block. Even if GM is able to magically survive with an infusion of cash (bailout), the Volt is still years out and a grasp for straws.

Meanwhile, Toyota has taken a page straight out of the American automaker book by proving its loyalty to the company workforce. Though Toyota is halted on much of its production, they are taking the down time to train their workers to be even better skilled, educated and efficient workers. When the economy picks up again, Toyota will be the equivalent of a fully rested team going to the playoffs against a miserable and beat-up team that has just played 10 losing games in a row. It’s no contest who will win.

If the Seattle Auto Show was any indication, the consumers have already voted, as we saw crowds around Toyota, Honda and Jetta. All the while, the sprawling 2-ton Ford F150 rotating 360 degrees might as well been invisible. Chevy and Escalade Hybrids were looked on more with a sense of derision or perplexed bewilderment rather than consumer curiosity (though this is Seattle).

The new automotive landscape is already here – it’s just across the sea.

Welcome to the new Seattle automobile blog

November 8, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

Welcome!

This is the first post for the brand new Seattle Auto blog. We will be talking all about cars and automobiles, from sports cars to family vans. Look for future interviews with local Seattle car dealerships and our exclusive guides on negotiations, selecting the right car and tips and tricks on what to look for.

We look forward to educating and entertaining you!

– Seattle Auto Blog team

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