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‘Potential’ without Perspective

|Friday, Aug. 01, 2014

Last week brought a slew of positive news for the automobile industry. Most of it sprang from analysts’ predictions that by this year’s end Americans would once again have purchased more than 16 million new vehicles. Everyone sees this as another sign that our economy is finally about to break loose and truly catch fire.

Left out of the Equation: The Driver

|Friday, Jul. 25, 2014

Has the EPA found religion? Suddenly the agency seems concerned that the methods it uses for testing fuel efficiency on new cars and trucks sold in America may not reflect real-world driving conditions. It has come to this conclusion before and, in 2008, rewrote the rules on how manufacturers need to test vehicles for mileage. After that the federal agency recalculated the fuel efficiency of vehicles from long ago, in order to show that in previous decades vehicles were even less fuel efficient than we were once told.

Trucks

Friday, Jul. 18, 2014

Recently our esteemed media competitor in the eastern part of the Metroplex wrote a column about Toyota’s decision to move to the Metroplex. Its thrust was that witnessing how many pickup trucks there are in North Texas and how our citizens use them might change the way Toyota’s executives view their Tundra. Once here, when those executives see for themselves that trucks are as much a lifestyle vehicle as a mobile tool for working Texans, some believe they will demand changes to make their truck more competitive.

Massey’s is headed for the wrecking ball

| |Thursday, Jul. 17, 2014

The Fort Worth landmark, known for its chicken-fried steak and made famous in Dan Jenkins novels, will be demolished, the building’s new owner said.

Buying Direct

|Friday, Jul. 11, 2014

When Tesla came to the market and violated many states’ consumer protection laws, which require a car manufacturer to sell only through a franchised dealership, Elon Musk’s fight to overturn those laws stirred many individuals and political organizations to vocal outrage. It also demonstrated the stunningly widespread lack of basic knowledge of how large-scale industrial consumer manufacturing entities operate and earn their profits.

October 2067

|Friday, Jul. 04, 2014

Almost 20 years ago, a friend who sat on the National Acura Dealers Council was invited to attend meetings in Japan with Honda’s top executives to discuss their long-term plans. Unlike here in the States, where our entire business focus seems to be what the stock price for GoPro will be on Monday, Honda’s top people laid out then where their automotive focus would be, not just five years out, but in 2050, the year that Honda believed would mark the end of the Oil Age.

Bad Automotive Ideas

|Friday, Jun. 27, 2014

Sometimes I think that those trying to create the automobiles of the future are dumb as dirt. Engineers and computer software developers are so busy trying to see if they can get your next car to offer some new capability, they are blind to logic that suggests no car should have that capability in the first place. And the National Transportation Safety Board, doing its job, is demanding that automakers quit putting things into vehicles that would create more distracted drivers. The automakers swear that is the last thing on their mind, yet keep making their vehicles unnecessarily complex.

The Boomers

|Friday, Jun. 20, 2014

In 1971 I graduated high school and set out to make my way in the world, along with 80 million-odd other Baby Boomers. The first of our generation had a five-year head start on my graduating class, while the last of the Boomers would accomplish the same goal by 1982.

Your Car Will Tell on You

| Friday, Jun. 13, 2014

It was the late 1990s when stories started circulating about Black Boxes, which recorded certain basic events critical to accident reconstruction, being put into automobiles. Like the NSA, automakers misled the public on how many such devices new cars were carrying, at first claiming it was just small test of those devices; ultimately we found out that their usage was already widespread. But the implications were clear: Should you be involved in a major accident, your vehicle’s Black Box might tell a completely different story than the one being peddled in a lawsuit.

An American Dream

| |Friday, Jun. 06, 2014

Lately a serious financial doubt has surfaced in the news: Can anyone still achieve the American Dream? Much of the debate has centered on the battle over the minimum wage, but that seems disingenuous; such jobs alone will never move one into the middle class. True, to a teenager, flipping burgers is a valuable lesson in developing workplace skills. But, if you’re still doing the same thing at 30 years old, your odds of becoming a solid middle class citizen have probably slipped away. And no improvement in the minimum wage is going to better those odds.

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