Auto News for Dec. 9

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The Honda Civic, Chevy Malibu, and Mazda MX-5 Miata are the finalists for North American Car of the Year. In the Truck/Utility category the finalists are the Honda Pilot, Nissan Titan XD pickup, and the Volvo XC90. A jury of 53 auto writers will decide the winner with a formal announcement at the start of the Detroit auto show next month. If I were voting, my ballot would be cast for the Miata and the Volvo.

It will become more difficult for automakers to achieve the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-star rating for crash safety. The agency is adding a new crash test, and will be using more human-like crash test dummies. Further, it will rate crash avoidance technologies and asses how the design of a vehicle addresses pedestrian safety. It will also add half star increments to its ratings. NHTSA said the new ratings will be a “significant step forward in our efforts to save lives and prevent injuries.” Consumers are expected to begin seeing ratings under the new system by model year 2019.

The fourth generation Prius is now on sale in Japan and will arrive in U.S. showrooms in January. Toyota claims the redesigned Prius will deliver 52 mpg. Automotive News said Toyota has cut its global sales target for the hybrid given the current low gas prices.

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Rolls Royce is offering 15 customers the chance to purchase a cocktail chest unlike any other. It will contain “every necessary accoutrement” required to create the “perfect” cocktail. The materials are such that it takes eight weeks to manufacture a chest made from American Walnut Wood and the “finest Natural Grain Leather” that is also present on RR cars. Each implement is hand-made and the glassware comes from Theresienthal, “Europe’s most revered glassmaker” and supplier to many of the “Continent’s Royal Courts.” The glasses themselves take one month to complete “owing to the utilization of a time-honored technique that sees the glass blown into beech wood moulds, guaranteeing an exceptionally smooth surface,” RR said. Many of the craftspeople represent the fifth generation to work at the foundry and the presence of the human hand at every stage of the production process ensures no two glasses are the same, yet the differences are only perceptible to the person who made it. The rims are finished in platinum. No price was given for the chest, but you know, if you have to ask…

 

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