Even though most folks have been in holiday mode, there's been a lot of auto-related news filtering across the airwaves--so much, in fact, that I had to split them into a couple of posts. Here are a few more items to ensure you remain the savvy, up-to-date carhound I know you are:
- Foreign automakers scale back: Yeah, we all know that automakers around the globe are feeling the economic pinch. What's slightly different is the way that some of them are handling it. Case in point: when Chrysler puts workers on hiatus, it pays them 70% of their salary and tells 'em to stay home, but Toyota's U.S. factories pay workers their full rate and offer training seminars as well as community volunteer opportunities. Which would you prefer?
- GMAC becomes bank, gets bankrolled: The details of the $6 billion are mind-bogglingly complex, but don't sweat the small stuff: all you really need to know is that GMAC is in better shape than it was before, and folks with credit scores below 700 should have an easier time financing their car purchases. (Or maybe not.) See--how hard was that?
- Locomotion through liposuction: Anyone who's ever snuggled up to a big, greasy cheeseburger knows that fat = flavor. For California doctor Craig Alan Bittner, however, fat = fuel. The enterprising cosmetic surgeon took the fat he'd extracted from his patients and turned it into Beverly Hills biodiesel for his car and that of his girlfriend. Sadly, that's illegal--which is a shame because using oil from our bodies in place of oil from the ground seems like the greenest technology ever.
- Wackiest green cars not necessarily green: In classic year-end fashion, the folks at Hybrid Cars have culled a list of the 10 craziest green concept cars revealed in 2008. They're all fabulously far-fetched, but IMHO, the built-in mood-lighting--and mood-fragrance--of the Citroën Hypnos take it where no car has gone before.
- Toyota recalls over 120,000 cars in China: A recall is better than potential lawsuits to be sure, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the guilty designer. How do you say "ouch" in Mandarin, again?
- Bad driving punished by tunes from the Hoffmeister: Taking a cue from the shock therapy used in days of yore, a group of designers have cobbled together a training device that punishes bad driving with bad music. How bad? I supposes that depends on how much you like David Hasselhoff. (via Jalopnik)
- Lincolns get help with parallel parking: Yes, apparently Ford is adding a self-park system to new models of the Lincoln MKS and MKT (video). That's good news to city dwellers, but old-timers like me can't help looking back fondly on the days of the parking portion of our driving exams. These kids today....yeesh.