Auto News for July 14 – Remember When There Was NO A/C?


Typical summer weather here in Maryland, humid and hot with actual air temperatures in the 90’s and a “feels like” temperature in triple digits. Yet next to me at a traffic signal was a fairly new car with all the windows open and presumably, the AC shut off. That brought back memories of the days when there was no AC in cars and we all sweated our way down the road with the roar of the breeze in our ears. Yet change came hard in New England, as is its style, with many people asking why I was so happy with my first AC car. “Why did you get that,” many asked. To relive those memories yesterday, I shut down the cooling air, opened the windows and drove on, ten miles or so, until the sweat became oppressive. So much for the “good old days.”

Having said all that, if I had to pick my favorite summer car it would be, hands down, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Top down, of course!

GM will NOT have to shut down its North American production lines due to a lack of parts from a Massachusetts firm. A bankruptcy court gave GM the right to keep the tooling that Clark-Cutler-McDermott used to make interior products for virtually all of its models. CCM has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, laid off all of its workers, and shut down production saying it was losing money on its deal with the General. With the recovery of its exclusive tooling equipment, GM said there were other firms that would take over production of the equipment, and its production lines can keep humming. But it will no longer rely on a single company for those parts.

Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. Nearly 2 in 3 drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of ten believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

California authorities have rejected a Volkswagen plan to fix 16,000 passenger cars with the 3.0-liter diesel engine that the state said exceed air pollution rules. The Air Resources Board said the plan would not allow it to completely determine if VW’s plan would fix the emissions problem. It called the proposal incomplete and substantially deficit. The two sides will continue talking.

For the fifth time in as many years, Hyundai workers have voted to go on strike as talks continue over a new wage package. They will stage a partial strike for four days next week that could slow production of Hyundai’s hot selling SUV’s. Among other things, union leaders are seeking a 7.2 percent wage increase.






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