RepairPal Blog

Ever since I saw this clip from the BBC's Top Gear, I've been waiting for the Toyota Aygo to appear in America.  I've read several times that it's coming, but it's been a couple of years since Edmunds and Autoblog shared whispers of this sort.  With the success of the Smart ForTwo, you'd expect Toyota to make it happen.  This tiny city car, which may go for less than 10 grand, has both a Renault and a Citroen mechanical twin, which should also both come to the US, but of course won't.

Once the Aygo hits our shores, if I can find a willing partner to donate the use of an abandoned airstrip, I'm totally putting together an Aygo Soccer League. It may be best if the airstrip is relatively close to a hospital.

The Green Car Journal recently named five finalists for their 2009 Green Car of the Year Award.  The Award was created to reward environmental responsibility among automakers.

The five finalists are:

California Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed increasing state sales tax 1.5% from 7.25% to 8.75% for 3 years to make up for the $11.2 billion budget shortfall. Included in the governor's proposal is levying sales taxes on auto repair services, which currently are not taxed. Up until this point, only auto parts have been taxed.

Such efforts to tax auto repair services in Florida have met strong opposition and have failed. Schwarzenegger is now going to face a similar backlash. The governor says the increases are needed to stabilize the state budget.

David Leggett mentions today in his blog at just-auto.com that in the midst of the horrible economic turmoil and uncertainty facing General Motors, the company has opened an auto manufacturing facility outside of St. Petersburg in Russia.

The plant opening ceremony was last week, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attended, so it was obviously a pretty big deal.  Mr. Leggett makes the important point that despite the recent nasty rhetoric being flung between Russia and the United States, an American company has made a big investment in Russia, and Russia likes it.

According to the Associated Press, Dean Kamen, the inventor of the famed Segway scooter, has created the first hybrid electric car based upon the Stirling engine.

The Stirling engine was first developed by Robert Stirling, a Scottish clergyman and inventor, in 1816.  A Stirling engine uses external heat to drive the internal pistons – the heat is applied to the outside of the cylinder walls to power the engine. 

Today President-Elect Barack Obama hosted his first press conference since being elected. He made the following comments about his plans for the US auto industry:

"The news coming out of the auto industry this week reminds us of the hardship it faces -- hardship that goes far beyond individual auto companies to the countless suppliers, small businesses and communities throughout our nation who depend on a vibrant American auto industry. The auto industry is the backbone of American manufacturing and a critical part of our attempt to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

It's all over the Internet this morning: General Motors had another astoundingly bad quarter and continues to hemorrhage cash.

You can read about it in Autoblog or in the New York Times.

Need a little more oomph under the hood? General Motors has announced that the LS9 under the hood of the Corvette ZR1 will be available as a crate motor next fall. With 639 hp and just over 600 ft. lbs.of torque, this monster is ready to be dropped into a willing engine compartment!

We won't be providing estimates anytime soon on the cost of installing an LS9 into your vehicle, but like they say, "If you have to ask..."

According to The New York Times, General Motors is putting the final touches on the next generation Presidential vehicle.

Would President Obama, Michelle, Sasha, Malia and their new puppy enjoy traveling in this car?  I’d like to propose they brand it “Obama” by turning it red, white and vibrant blue – carrying on with the theme and colors used during the campaign. They also need to add a roof rack for the girls’ gear and an entertainment system to keep the kids satiated during long road trips.  I also think that Obama would much prefer a fuel efficient vehicle, hopefully GM will consider using alternative energy to power this beast.

A Tesla Roadster, driven by Tesla's Director of Sales, was wrecked in a demonstration gone wrong. He took a turn at 100MPH on a wet road with low visibility and lost control. Remarkably, neither the driver nor the passenger (who was ejected from the car) were seriously injured. According to Wrecked Exotics, this is the 3rd accident involving the Tesla Roadster and none have resulted in serious injuries.

Thankfully Tesla has built passive and active safety systems into the Roadster's Li-ion battery to prevent thermal runaway (aka explosion), unlike Sony batteries.