Entries in Car (13)


Ferrari Looks to Limit Car Sales and Emails

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MARANELLO, Italy) -- Not long after Ferrari decided to sell fewer cars in 2013, the carmaker is instituting a policy to limit intra-office emails as well.

According to a company statement, Ferrari has decided to "place much stricter limits on the number of emails being sent." Ferrari employees will now only be able to send an email to  three coworkers at a time, eliminating the constant bombardment of "reply all" emails.

The proposal is aimed at limiting the amount of emails sent to large groups, and hopes to increase productivity. While the limit does not apply to emails sent outside of the company, Ferrari is hoping that their employees will "talk to each other more and write less."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


CES 2013: Audi Car Parks Itself and Picks You Up with a Tap of an App

Joanna Stern / ABC News(LAS VEGAS) — Forget valet parking. The car of the future can find a spot for you and then pick you up.

And the future has driven to CES 2013. Audi’s Connect car not only drives and parks itself but the iPhone is its key.

“Imagine you are at a shopping center and you want the car to pick you up. That’s exactly what it will do,” Annie Lien, Audi senior engineer, told ABC News.

We witnessed it firsthand. At a demo at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Las Vegas, Audi set up a working demonstration of the technology. Press the Pickup button on the Audi app, and you can set the time at which you want the parked car to come pick you up.  Tap the button again and it will turn on the ignition and come get you. No one in the driver’s seat.

How does it work? Audi has been developing its own self-driving technology, which it prefers to call piloted parking or driving. (It says it wants to stress that humans can take control at any time.) The car uses twelve ultrasound sensors to navigate and avoid obstacles.  It parks itself with a combination of sensors in the car, the garage and roads.

The hope is that parking garages will have computers that communicate with the car, telling it where there is open space. The car is able to make turns on its own and knows how to maneuver around the garage with external laser sensors.

The road to autonomous cars isn’t a short one. Audi announced that it has become the first automaker granted a license to drive or operate autonomous cars in Nevada. Nevada passed a law last year making it legal to test self-driving cars in the state, and other companies, such as Google, have been granted licenses as well. Audi says it expects the technology it’s working to be commercially available in the next decade.

Until then, we’ll continue to look for parking on our own.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Lower Gas Prices Driving More to Travel on Memorial Day

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Summer unofficially kicks off this weekend and millions plan to hit the road for Memorial Day.

The automobile group AAA expects that nearly 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles from home for the holiday weekend -- a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

That boost is partly due to drivers getting some relief at the pump.  Gas prices have fallen about 25 cents in April, contradicting predictions by experts who said they would hit $5 a gallon by Memorial Day.

Yahoo! Finance's Daniel Gross says several global factors have led to the drop in price.

"Tensions with Iran have lessened and that was pushing oil and gas prices up.  The global economy has certainly slowed down," he notes.

Another reason for the decrease, Gross explains, is that Americans are using less gasoline.

"Our cars are much more fuel efficient.  GM sold 100,000 cars in March that got 35 miles a gallon or more.  A lot more people are riding the bus.  There's a lot more light rail than there used to be," he says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Self-Driving Car License Approved in Nevada

Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- Nevada is putting the pedal to the metal on those autonomous automobiles.

It was just two months ago that the state approved and set regulations that would allow self-driving vehicles on the state’s roadways.  And on Tuesday, it announced that it has approved Google for the first testing license under the new rules.

Google, which was instrumental in pushing through the original legislation in Nevada, has been testing its very own self-driving automobile for a number of years on its campuses and other secret locations.

“It is the first license issued in the United States under new laws and regulations that put Nevada at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development,” the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement.

This now means that Google will be able to test its self-driving Toyota Priuses on the roads.

Other drivers will be able to tell self-driving cars apart by a red license plate, which features an infinity symbol on the left.  Of course, they also will be able to tell the difference by the large scanning laser device on the top of the car.

While Google is the first to file for an application for a license in Nevada, other car manufacturers such as BMW and Audi are working on similar vehicles.  The cars themselves use a mix of hardware and software to drive themselves.

Google maintains that the technology is not supposed to replace drivers, but rather help them.  Instead of attempting to text while driving or change the GPS location, drivers can let the car do the work while they are distracted. 

Nevada requires that two drivers be in the test cars now -- a human back-up driver and a passenger.  In the limited test program, however, Google is asking to exempt those back-up drivers from text messaging while driving laws.

Humans can always gain control of the car by taking hold of the wheel or stepping on the break.

While this is a big step in the future of the self-driving vehicle, we probably won’t be seeing these cars hitting prime time just yet.  Google’s version is still in the prototype phase.  General Motors has predicted the technology will be standard by 2020.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hiriko Electric Fold-Up: Car of the Future for Crowded Cities?

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- The modern automobile sets us free and ties us down all at once.  It takes us wherever we want to go -- but it gets caught in traffic, is a pain to park if you live in a major city and pollutes the air.  Which is why a team at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) tried inventing a car for city use.

They call it Hiriko, meaning "urban car," and built a prototype with seven small firms from the Basque region of northern Spain.  They've now shown it off with help from European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.  The first two-seater production models should be on the streets in Spain next year.

"This is an electric vehicle that gets the equivalent of 200 mpg," said Kent Larson of MIT, who heads the Changing Places project at the institute.  "Combined with shared-use, it greatly reduces congestion, pollution, and energy consumption."

In cities where parking is at a premium, the Hiriko has an advantage over conventional cars: It folds up.  When folded, it is shorter than most cars are wide.  Three Hirikos can use a parking space ordinarily needed for one standard sedan.

How can a car fold up?  The Hiriko, with an electric motor attached to each wheel, does not need a drive train as a traditional car does.  And the wheels are mounted at the corners of the chassis, so the car can turn in place if necessary, or even move sideways.

There are also no side doors.  The entire front of the Hiriko opens for easy access, and the controls swing out of the way.

A car as small as the Hiriko may seem inherently unsafe, but its designers say they thought about that.

"This is designed for central cities, where the average speed is often below 20 mph," Larson said.  "It is not designed for highway use."

Larson said that while the Hiriko may be bought by people who want one, it may be better for the cars to be shared.  The sticker price would be about 12,500 euros, or $16,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Car Dealerships Overstocked for Labor Day Weekend

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- If you’re planning on buying a car over the Labor Day weekend, you’re in luck.

According to a popular search engine for cars, many dealerships will be overstocked and ready to potentially dish out some great holiday deals for prospective buyers over the holiday weekend.

The website, called Chug, released a list Friday compiling the top 50 vehicles due to crowd U.S. dealerships over Labor Day.

Chug, which maps the entire national vehicle marketplace, found that auto dealerships have the highest inventory supply of the year this Labor Day weekend, and are looking to clear their overcrowded lots for incoming 2012 models.

"If you are currently in the market for a new vehicle, there is no better time to buy than this Labor Day weekend," said Chug CEO Len Short. "Car buyers will find some of the most popular models such as the Ford F-150 and the Honda Odyssey on the over-supply list, as well as the much buzzed-about Chevrolet Volt." 

The top 10 makes and models overstocked this weekend are Nissan’s Murano CrossCabriolet, Ford’s Super Duty F-750 Straight Frame, Subaru’s Impreza Wagon WRX, Toyota’s Prius, Subaru’s Impreza Sedan WRX, Audi’s Q5, Chevrolet’s Volt, Mercedes-Benz’s SLK-Class and BMW’s 6 Series.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Adjust How You Drive and Save on Gas

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You can't control gas prices, but you can get better mileage by adjusting how you drive.

One tip is to keep all of your tires properly inflated.

"You really can get 3 percent better fuel economy if you keep them properly inflated," says Mark Solheim of Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

Another tip is to shed excess weight.

"If you're carrying around a toolbox or just some junk in your trunk get rid of it.  You can improve your fuel economy by 2 percent," Solheim says.

Avoiding traffic jams can also help, and if you drive with cruise control at 60 mph that's an added plus.

Solheim says if you go over 70 and use your brakes a lot, "you'll decrease your fuel economy by 33 percent."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Your Car Costing You More?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From the rising cost of the rubber on your tires to a two-year high in oil prices, it's no surprise that families are having a tougher time budgeting for driving. Gas has always been an expense for families, but with prices skyrocketing, many are finding that their cars are becoming their most serious budget concern. AAA has calculated that simply owning a small car costs you $6,758 a year -- an SUV can cost upwards of $11,239.

"I did have sticker shock. It was $76 to fill up a tank of gas!" minivan driver and mother of four Karen Slimmon told ABC News. That is almost as much as she paid for groceries to feed her family.

Gas prices across the nation are nearly a dollar higher than they were a year ago. That can make a huge difference in a family's budget.

There are many reasons why oil prices are going up -- from the turmoil in the Middle East to a continuing recovery.

The uprisings in the Middle East have disrupted oil-producing countries, including Libya, which exported 1.5 million barrels of crude a day before the rebellion spread and created pitched battles for prime oil fields. Although the United States does not import any oil from Libya (it mostly supplies Europe -- notably its former colonizer Italy), a fear that protests would topple larger oil providers such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, disrupting the flow of the economic lubricant, sent oil prices skywards.

Beyond the uprisings, the price of oil had already been steadily rising as demand increases in both Europe and the United States while economies recover. This is in addition to strong continuous demand from China and other developing nations.

This combination of both rising demand, and the risk of dropping supply, are the two main factors pushing prices higher globally.

It's not just oil that has people rethinking their budgets. Many other costs associated with your car are rising. The high price of driving goes well beyond filling the tank.

Rubber and other raw materials have jumped 15 percent in cost this year, meaning replacing your tires just got even more expensive. There's also something many people rarely think about, the depreciation of their cars. That's up almost 5 percent as those huge gas guzzlers quickly lose their value. Add insurance and maintenance and AAA says driving now costs you an average of $0.59 a mile.

President Obama said Wednesday that a good option for people is to trade in for a more economical model. "If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon...You know, you might want to think about a trade-in," he said in eastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Or you can try simply try leaving your car at home.

That's what Steve Mazor in Southern California is doing. He calculated his gasoline use down to the penny. "The cost per mile of gasoline has been as low as 8 cents…these days it's running over 20 cents," he told ABC News.

That means his 140-mile-a-day commute costs nearly $400 a week. So Steve, who works for the automobile club of Southern California, is spending more days working from home.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Honda Recalls 97,000 Automobiles

Image Courtesy - PR NewsFoto/Honda(TORRANCE, Calif.) -- Honda is recalling more than 97,000 vehicles throughout the U.S. due to safety problems with its 2009 and 2010 Honda Fit hatchbacks, the automaker announced in a press release on Thursday.

The recall involves a problem with the "lost motions springs" part that could potentially cause the engine to stall. Honda blamed a lack of lubrication for the defective part.

There have been no accidents reported, according to Honda.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GM, BMW Returning with Ads During Super Bowl

Photo Courtesy - NFL(NEW YORK) -- The car industry will be back in the game at this year's Super Bowl.  As many as nine car brands plan to advertise during the most watched television program of the year.

For the first time in three years, General Motors is returning to the Super Bowl with a new Chevrolet commercial.  BMW, on the other hand, will be back for the first time in a decade.  Mercedes-Benz, Kia and Hyundai will also be among the other automakers televising ads on Feb. 6 when the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in Dallas.

Fox, which will air the championship game, is said to be charging companies as much as $3 million for a 30-second ad.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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