Monthly Archives: February 2013

VW XL1 Gets 261mpg

The new VW XL1 is the car of the future, but how far in the future is anybody’s guess.

For instance, the vehicle is a hybrid that uses a small diesel motor to supply power for an electric generator to keep the battery charged. It also has a carbon fiber so it weighs about half as much as the average American sedan.

Like most highly fuel efficient vehicles the XL1 only seats two, so it’s not exactly a family car. And diesel fuel has not been popular among US new car buyers since the diesel fuel debacle on the 1980’s when diesel vehicles were clunky, noisy and belched a lot of black smoke.

Also, to save weight, only a cut-out in the window rolls down, not the entire thing, and perhaps worst of all, the vehicle has a top speed of just 99pmh.

For American consumers who have become increasingly addicted to power, size and speed, switching to the XL1 would be an extreme sacrifice. Forget about cross-country road trips with the kids–no room. And you might want to consider using an alternate vehicle if you are going to the airport because storage space too will be limited.

But for car buyers looking for the most economical commuter vehicle to get them back and forth to work, the VW XL1 might just fit the bill. With 261mpg you could make 6 trips back and fort to work (with an average of about 40 miles per trip) on just one gallon of diesel. Although diesel fuel is selling for about 50 cents more per gallon than gasoline that’s still a bargain. What remains to be seen, however, is the price tag. So far VW has not said how much they will be asking for the new XL1 nor how many they anticipate selling. Those are important questions for an automaker, but ones that VW seems willing to forgo for the moment in favor of showing off the world’s most fuel efficient vehicle.

Rabbits Wreak Havoc In Denver

Turns out, hungry bunnies like to eat electrical wiring. At least, they do in Denver, specifically the rabbits living near the Denver International Airport. Their victims are vehicles parked at the airport while their owners travel the world for business or pleasure.

Unfortunately for the bunnies, not only is electrical wiring not healthy (what, didn’t their mothers teach them to eat carrots?) but officials at Denver International Airport have decided the bunnies must go before more serious damage is done.

So far only three vehicle owners have reported damage as a result of the rabbit incursion. Considering there were more than 4 million different parking transactions at Denver International Airport last year, the rabbits clearly aren’t getting around as much as you might expect if you watch a lot of Bugs Bunny cartoons. But as far as DIA is concerned, three is clearly too many.

Denver International Airport officials have launched an all-out war against the rabbits which includes capturing and relocating the furry critters. So far this year the plan is to remove 100 of bunnies a month from the area, likely to be relocated some place where parked cars are not on the menu. They have also asked parking companies to install special fencing and barriers which will help make it more difficult for the bunnies to gain access to parked cars.

The DIA is also offering some free suggestions to people who park there and want to protect their vehicles from the rabbits. Specifically, what is being recommended is urine. Not just any urine, but the urine of an animal which is the rabbit’s natural predator, like a coyote or a fox. Believe it or not, animal urine is readily available at hunting stores.

So if you’re planning a trip out of Denver International Airport any time soon you might want to make a quick stop on your way to the parking area. Just try not to sniff the bottle for authenticity.

Can’t DIY With Most Of Today’s Car

You can change DIY (Do It Yourself) to CDIY, or Can’t Do It Yourself-the motto of most of today’s automobile owners.

Today’s cars are much more complicated than ever before. They don’t require ‘grease monkeys’ as much as they do IT professionals because most of your cars systems are likely computer controlled.

This is hardly new. In fact, computerized systems have existed in vehicles since the 1980’s, but not to the extent they currently do. Lift the hood of a 2013 model vehicle and the chances are you won’t recognize anything you learned about in auto-shop class in high school. Without a special piece of computerized system analysis equipment you won’t be able to know exactly what is wrong with your car, beyond “it won’t start.”

Gone are the days when you could clean a carburetor to keep your vehicle running right. If you start digging around under the hood of your new vehicle, and you don’t know exactly what you are doing, you are liable to do much more harm than good. Your ignition system, environmental control systems, even the vehicle stabilization and control systems are all wired together through a central processing unit, just like your desktop computer only with a lot more horsepower.

Some might say today’s vehicles suffer from an over-reliance on technology to do what yesterday’s cars did just fine with simple mechanical systems. But the truth is that today’s vehicles do a whole lot more-and a whole lot better — as a result of these technologies. You simply can’t have the same sort of driving experience with an older vehicle that you have in a new car. And those computer systems have a lot to do with it.

So before you pop the hood and try to solve your next vehicle issue alone, give serious consideration to taking it to a trained professional. You might save yourself a lot of headaches and a lot of money.

Ford Bets $1 Billion On Lincoln

Lincoln posted their worst sales in 32-months this past January, but Ford still believes the market is ripe for the picking and is investing $1 billion to turn the Lincoln luxury brand around and get those sales going in the other direction.

However, it is fair to expect some hiccups along the way and Ford is already dealing with its first batch. For instance, Ford says a lack of inventory available for its Lincoln MKZ model was responsible for the decline in sales last month. According to Ford the MKZ has more pre-orders than any vehicle in the company’s history. Demand is there, they say, but the supply has not been able to keep pace.

To help counter this they have begun shipping Lincoln MKZ models from their factory in Mexico to a plan in Michigan where they will inspect the vehicles to maintain quality.

The idea is sound: vehicles built in Mexico do not always meet the same standards as vehicles built north of the border. Ford knows this so they have taken steps to ensure that quality is paramount in their Lincoln brand. Without the level of quality luxury buyers have come to expect in a Lincoln having an abundance of vehicles available for them to buy is not going to help spur sales.

Luxury automobile buyers expect to pay more for their vehicles because the vehicles are higher quality. This quality then becomes the moniker of a “luxury” automobile. If the quality is not there, the buyers won’t be either. By making a commitment to maintaining their quality, but also making certain the supply is there for buyers, Ford is committing itself to keeping Lincoln alive without watering down the quality customers have come to expect.