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Monday, January 30, 2012

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Survey: Gen Y buyers prefer high-tech hybrids By Jerry Hirsch Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — When it comes to their autos, members of Generation Y want hybrid cars stuffed with technology. They could be the “generation that leads us away from traditional gasolinepowered vehicles,” said Craig Giffi, the Deloitte automotive consultant who oversees the accounting firm’s annual survey of Generation Y auto consumers. Deloitte defines the Generation Y group as those 19 to 31 years old. Automakers seem to be targeting this market with many of their latest offerings. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week, Toyota Motor Corp. displayed a tiny new Prius hybrid that will reach Toyota showrooms this spring with the lowest price and highest fuel economy of any hybrid that can’t be plugged into a wall socket. The Prius c will have a list price starting at less than $19,000 and a highway driving fuel economy rating of 53 miles per gallon. Ford Motor Co. unveiled a standard hybrid and a plug-in version of its next-generation Fusion sedan that goes on sale this year. Honda Motor Co. showed a concept version of its new Accord sedan, which also will be sold as a plug-in hybrid. Even BMW got into the act, showing off a hybrid version of its latest-generation 3 Series sports sedan that will go on sale this year. General Motors Co., meanwhile, is offering versions of

According to the Deloitte survey, 59 percent of Generation Y respondents said they preferred an “electrified vehicle” over any other type of car or truck. They generally defined “electrified” as a hybrid gasolineelectric vehicle. the Chevrolet Malibu, Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal sedans with small hybrid systems designed to boost fuel economy. “The cost of ownership is much more important to Gen Y consumers than their parents, and the big variable there is fuel efficiency,” said Erich J. Merkle, Ford’s U.S. sales analyst. According to the Deloitte survey, 59 percent of Generation Y respondents said they preferred an “electrified vehicle” over any other type of car or truck. They generally defined “electrified” as a hybrid gasoline-electric vehicle. Just 2 percent said they wanted a pure battery electric vehicle, which reflects the small number of such cars that people are purchasing. Just 37 percent of the respondents preferred vehicles with the traditional gasoline-only powertrain. That preference for hybrid vehicles paints Generation Y consumers in the U.S. as

Los AngeLes Times/mCT

The interior of the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid. “game changers,” Giffi said. “At nearly 80 million strong, they are one of the biggest automobile buying market segments and the largest consumer segment since the baby boomers,” he said. About 1 of 4 new automobiles sold this year, and 40 percent of vehicles sold in the next 10 years, will be purchased by Generation Y consumers, according to the consulting firm. The auto industry is expected to sell about 13.8

million vehicles this year, including purchases by rental companies, commercial customers and government agencies. The consumer portion of the market will account for a little less than 11 million vehicles. Generation Y buyers say they are also looking for cars rich in technology — not unlike their smartphones, the survey found. Almost three quarters — 73 percent — surveyed said they liked touch-screen interfaces in their cars. Genera-

tion Y consumers also ranked smartphone applications as highly desirable in a new automobile and they want to be able to purchase additional accessories and upgrades for their automobiles on an ongoing basis in the same manner that they can add new applications to their phones and tablets. “When it comes to cars, they want something that will work with the technology that they carry around in their pockets every day,” Merkle said. “To many young-

er folks, cellphones are just as important as the cars that they drive.” Ford’s market research indicates that Generation Y buyers are most likely to purchase a compact car such as a Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze or Hyundai Elantra because they like the combination of their small size and fuel economy. But older Generation Y buyers also will look at midsize sedans and small sport utility vehicles because they might have small children and need more space.


Page 2 / Monday, January 30, 2012

Tallahassee Democrat / OnTheMOve

Just a Sunday drive – in a Lamborghini

Photos by Carline Jean/sun sentinel/MCt

Mitchell Mirabal sits in a Ferrari before a dream car tour. Gotham Dream Cars offers people a chance to spend six hours driving six different vehicles including a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo & Murcielago, a Bentley Continental GT and an Aston Martin DB9. At right, Andy Ward, with Gotham Dream Cars, gives instructions on a Lamborghini to Mahmood Hai, left, before a dream car tour.

Company offers six-hour ‘Dream Car Tours’ on the streets of South Florida By Ihosvani Rodriguez McClatchy Newspapers

FORT LAUDERDALE — A joyride on the Florida Turnpike in a Ferrari F430 is a hassle. For starters, there are state troopers on patrol. Then there’s the engine. It’s loud. OK, so the ride is actually pretty sweet. But when Mahesh Neelakanta recently got behind the wheel of the $200,000plus Italian sports car, he noticed a problem right away. “Nobody wants to race you,” Neelakanta said. “They know they don’t have a chance.” Neelakanta, 41, of Boca Raton, was among a group

of people who took a $900 “research” tour recently to find out first-hand the woes of driving some of the most expensive vehicles in the world. His buddy, Simon Leung, rode shotgun for free. New York-based Gotham Dream Cars provides such adventures on the streets of South Florida through its monthly “Dream Car Tour.” Participants take turns driving six uber-luxury cars on a 150-mile sightseeing trip. They stop every half-hour to exchange vehicles. “We’re basically renting out dreams to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to drive these types of cars,” said the company’s operation manager, Jon Ferretti. Ferretti’s company has

been offering the tours throughout the country for six years and opened an office in Dania Beachthree years ago. Drivers don’t need special training but must provide full-coverage insurance, he said. Spectacular accidents in spectacular speed machinery are unusual but not unheard of. In 2005, a customer in New York raced a Ferrari in second gear, causing the car to catch fire. Speeding tickets? Let’s just say breaking the speed limit is officially discouraged. Along with two different-model Ferraris, drivers on the recent South Florida tour took turns maneuvering cars that included a Lamborghini Gallardo and

If you go

gotham DReam CaRs What: Drive six hot cars on a 150-mile tour of South Florida. CaRs: Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo & Murcielago, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB9. Cost: $895, passenger rides free. hoW: Tours are offered three times a month. oN the WeB: http://www.gothamdreamcars.com

a Lamborghini Murcielago. They also took the wheels of a Bentley Continental GT and an Aston Martin DB9. The four- to five-hour trip begins with a brief safety talk and an overview of each vehicle. Then it’s off to the races, so to speak, from the North Miami Beach entrance to Florida’s Turnpike northward toward Pompano Beach.

Then the expensive caravan circles back, with pit stops in Sunrise, Weston, on Alligator Alley half-way toward Naples and finally North Miami Beach. Most of the drivers who took part in this month’s tour got their rides as gifts from loved ones. Pirina Mirabal, of Miami, bought a ride through Groupon for her husband, Mitchell, a self-

described “car nut.” “We’re pretending like we are shopping for our next car,” she said. Lee Knoeble, a 71-yearold snowbird from Illinois, got his ride as a birthday gift from his two sons. The owner of several Corvettes, Knoeble was looking forward to something less powerful in horsepower, but just as powerful in prestige. “I am really liking the Bentley,” he said. “It’s the four-door car for the old guy.” But he wasn’t looking too disappointed when he got a chance to hop in the Ferrari. “This is pretty wild,” he said, his wife, Donna, as his passenger. “There’s nothing to complain about.”


Monday, January 30, 2012 / Page 3

OnTheMOve / Tallahassee Democrat

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Page 4 / Monday, January 30, 2012

Tallahassee Democrat / OnTheMOve

Monday, January 30, 2012 / Page 5

OnTheMOve / Tallahassee Democrat

Range Rover Evoque proves unexpectedly stunning By Barry Spyker McClatchy Newspapers

Man alive! Land Rover has thrown us a real curve ball here. When is the last time we saw a Land Rover, or any SUV for that matter, with head-turning looks and spunky performance — on the road and off? How about a Land Rover with a raceinspired powertrain — yet it’s a 4-cylinder engine that could get nearly 30 mpg on the highway? And a sexy color palette, topped by a full-length sunroof? The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is all new and appears to be an instant hit. In addition to a parade of other awards, this month it was named North American Truck of the Year. That’s appropriate: The lime green test car was more a South Beach star than a mountain climber. It elicited a nod, smile and thumbs-up from two young dudes in a soupy Subaru. And a guy in Merritt Island squawked about his brother-in-law, a Land Rover salesman, for not telling him about this new beauty. “I will have one as soon as he can get it on the lot,” he told me. Evoque has stunning looks: This crossover SUV h as 19 -i nch wheels i n sparkle-finish alloy, sleek lines and twin rectangular exhausts. Its compressed, Dodge Magnum-like roof looks like it was smashed into the rear cabin. That, by the way, shortens up on the rearwindow height and slightly compromises visibility. Add a devilish grille and steeply raked windshield and you have a bold and daring design, far better than the boxy LR2 that Evoque replaces. Does it perform as well its looks advertise? Oh, yeah. Its performance on the road is remarkable and, as

Range RoveR/MCT

The all-new Range Rover Evoque won the coveted 2012 North American Truck of the Year award. marketing folks like to say, it exceeded my expectations. I was not ready for a BMWlike kick, but I got one. It’s quick, and it only has a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine — yes, a Land Rover with a 4-banger. But it’s turbocharged and puts out 240 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. With the help of direct fuel injection and twin variablevalve timing, this little powerplant jolts you to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. It feels even quicker. More important, it’s as agile as a big cat chasing down a zippy impala. It’s nearly as nimble as a roadster, handling corners flat and with a tacky grip. Opt for the Adaptive Dynamics system, and the suspension adjusts for even

crisper handling. Rotate to Sport, and the Evoque is good clean fun. A six-speed automatic tranny, controlled with a rotary dial (think Jaguar), takes Evoque swiftly and evenly up the dials. Steering is on the heavier side but responsive and precise. All-wheel drive is standard and, while I did not take the Evoque off road, it comes with Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. Like its big brothers, the system has settings to regulate the engine, suspension and traction to handle various off-road environments. It also has a hill-descent feature. Motor Trend said it easily climbed rocks the size of watermelons and coun-

2012 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER EVOQUE n Base price: $43,995

(including destination charge) n As tested: $58,520

tered holes that could bury a wheelbarrow. On the road, where most of us will be, expect mileage figures in the mid to high teens around town, and high 20s on the highway. Entering the Evoque at night offers a nice novelty: A small spotlight — featuring a Batman-like outline of Evoque’s profile — so one can ensure not to step into something before getting in. Wouldn’t want to track anything into this sweet

cockpit with is two-tone color scheme and elegant, soft-touch materials. The layout of instruments and dials is neat and similar to the Range Rover Sport. The touch-screen controls are a breeze to use, if a bit sluggish. I loved the navigation system’s “take-me-home” button. Unfortunately, even after programming in my home address, it would have gotten me hopelessly lost had I not known where I was going. Human 1, nav system 0. Headroom and legroom are decent, especially up front. I strongly suggest choosing the four-door model over the coupe: The rear door is a must for easier access, and it’s more accom-

modating for passengers back there. Stowage space is even less accommodating, dead last in the luxury compact SUV segment. Still, I found it deep enough even for larger suitcases. Evoque keeps passengers safer with impact beams in all doors. Seven air bags include front and side curtain bags. Traction and stability control are standard. Safety options include adaptive headlight that look around corners and front and rear parking sensors. Evoque comes in a twodoor coupe and a four-door, which I once again highly recommend. An SUV without the functionality of four doors will disappoint — you don’t realize how often you’ll want access to the midsection of the vehicle. Both body styles come in the base Pure Plus and Pure Premium. The Pure Plus is loaded, though: Standard are 19-inch wheels, the Terrain Response system, the parking sensors, panoramic sunroof, Bluetooth, 11-speaker sound system. Opt for the Pure Premium and you get extras like blindspot warning, 360-degree camera system for parking and 17-speaker sound system. Then you can choose between two design themes: The Dynamic and Prestige. The Dynamic gets sportier colors and trim and offers a rear skid plate. The Prestige gets a bit classier with richer leather inside and more seat adjustments. A nd that’s what the Evoque is all about. Badged as a Range Rover, it’s more about style and fun than sloshing through mud and bounding over rocks. Still, don’t let this mini Rover fool you. It’s said to be a gutsy compact off-roader, and it’s fun to drive, too. A bit pricey, maybe, but all in all there’s a lot of bang for the buck here.

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Page 6 / Monday, January 30, 2012

Tallahassee Democrat / OnTheMOve

Modifying driver’s seat can impinge on air bags

By Paul Brand

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

QUESTION: About three years ago, the air bag light came on in my 2005 Hyundai. The dealership fixed it, and the light remained off until the driver’s seat was moved to accommodate a taller driver. The dealership again fixed the problem but told me that I would have to replace the air bag system next time and that the air bags would not deploy in an accident if the light was on. Is this true? The light is on once again. ANSWER: When the air bag warning light is illuminated, the supplemental restraint system — the air bags — is disabled. Hyun-

dai and other carmakers warn against modifications or repairs to the front seats that could interfere with deployment of the side airbags built into these seats. So moving or remounting the driver’s seat may be part of the problem. Ask the dealer or an independent shop to plug in a scan tool to read the specific B-series fault code or codes that have triggered the warning light. Because the first problem with the air bag warning light occurred before the seat was moved, the problem may be easily repairable. But be aware that the seat modification may make it more difficult to find a dealer or shop willing to do the repairs.

Q: I have a 2007 GMC Yukon with 89,000 miles. I take good care of it and change oil every 3,000 or 4,000 miles. In the past year I have noticed that the “low oil” warning light comes on right around the time I am due for an oil change. There are no visible signs of a leak or burning oil. This seems unusual in light of the mileage. This engine switches between V-8 and V-6 mode depending on engine load. One mechanic told me that when switching back from the V-8 mode it dumps the excess oil and burns it off. Is this true? A: This aluminum-block V-8 engine has an engine management system that

switches between eight and four cylinders. It does this by hydraulically preventing the intake and exhaust valves from opening and the fuel injector from delivering fuel to the cylinders that are being disabled. In the oil pan is a pressure relief valve that sprays excess oil generated by the cycling of the hydraulic valves that control the valve lifters. If this spray of oil is a bit excessive because of high engine speeds, clearances and wear and tear, it can lead to deposits in piston grooves that can “stick” piston rings and lead to higher oil consumption. My Alldata automotive database pulled up GM service bulletin 10-06-01-008B, dated March 2011, outlin-

ing this potential problem. If oil consumption is less than 2,000 miles per quart, the suggested fix is to clean the pistons with a specific application of GM’s upper engine and fuel injector cleaner and install a deflector around the pressure relief valve in the pan to control and redirect the oil spray. Q: I just purchased a V-8 five-speed 2006 Mustang GT with 40,000 miles. I will be parking it in a dry, unheated garage for the winter. I am not sure what I need to do to be sure it fires up next spring without any issues. A: With such a new, lowmileage vehicle, not much. The basics: Fill the tank

All-wheel, four-wheel, front-wheel drives explained By Brad Bergholdt McClatchy Newspapers

QUESTION: It’s now a snowy winter in the hills and mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Suppose I were to buy a small model vehicle, like a Hyundai. What are the differences between front-wheel, fourwheel and all-wheel-drives? What drive would be most effective in my area? ANSWER: This is a great question, as the terms can be confusing, and new technology has created a huge number of all-wheel-drive variations. Front-wheel-drive is the typical and basic two-wheeldrive system used on virtually all small and midsize vehicles. Having the weight of the powertrain atop the drive wheels aids traction and stability in slippery conditions, as opposed to rear-wheel-drive, which is used in larger vehicles and trucks. Unwanted wheel

spin during acceleration is also easier to control, with less chance of an accidental spin-out, compared to a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. Adding traction control to a front-wheel-drive vehicle provides the simplest and least expensive solution of all the choices. Traction control uses smart-engine and existing anti-lock brake system controls to limit wheel spin with virtually no additional hardware. Four-wheel-drive is typically found on larger SUVs and trucks. This term generally refers to a system that allows engageable fourwheel-drive and a transfer case that provides low range gearing for demanding offroad or towing conditions. Four-wheel-drive cannot be used on dry pavement, as there is no center differential to allow differing wheel speeds in the front and rear. Four-wheel drive is the most proven, sturdiest and least sophisticated of the multiple-wheel-drive choices, and

All-wheel-drive systems are tricky to describe, as there are so many variations. All wheels are driven continuously in wet or dry conditions, with a varying distribution of torque between front and rear wheels. Some all-wheel-drive systems enhance vehicle stability during all driving conditions, while others summon additional rear-wheel driving force only as conditions require it. can also be enhanced with traction control. All-wheel-drive systems are tricky to describe, as there are so many variations. All wheels are driven continuously in wet or dry conditions, with a varying distribution of torque between front and rear wheels. Some all-wheel-drive systems enhance vehicle stability during all driving conditions, while others summon

additional rear-wheel-driving force only as conditions require it. This is the easiest to drive, most capable allaround four-wheel system, but isn’t designed for serious off-roading. Highly sophisticated and sometimesfussy mechanical components and smarts are used to blend power between the front and rear wheels, and in some cases from side to side. Adding traction control

and vehicle stability control creates a super-competent light- to mid-duty driving machine. In the vehicle size range you are considering, the choices are likely frontwheel or all-wheel-drive. The trade-off boils down to cost versus competency. If your driving conditions are frequently demanding, all-wheel-drive makes a lot of sense. The down side is additional cost to purchase and some potentially scary maintenance and repair costs down the road. Compared to front-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive will require slightly more fuel and might result in shorter tire life. I like things simple and easy to live with. Mechanical things break, and electronic stuff usually doesn’t. If it were me, I’d look at frontwheel-drive with traction control and stability assist, if available. And when conditions are really lousy, park it and switch to the 4x4 pickup, with plow.

with nonoxygenated fuel and add SeaFoam; disconnect the battery and charge once a month or connect an automatic battery maintainer; make sure all routine maintenance like oil changes are up to date; inflate the tires to 35 to 40 pounds per square inch; toss dryer sheets throughout interior, trunk and engine compartment to discourage furry visitors; plug the exhaust outlet with a rag or tennis ball; spray brake rotors with a light rust inhibitor; check antifreeze for anticipated temperatures; open two windows just a fraction, and cover vehicle with a light, breathable car cover. Say, “Goodnight, sweetheart, we’ll meet again next spring.”

German automotive plant to open in Dublin, Ga. The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ga. — Gov. Nathan Deal says a $39 million German automotive plant will open in Dublin. The Courier Herald in Dublin reports that Munichbased Erdrich Umformtechnik GmbH & Co.KG will bring 178 jobs to the area. The 130,000-square-foot metal stamping facility will be Erdrich’s first U.S. plant. Erdrich is a family-owned company that manufactures complex metal parts for the automotive industry. The company will work with the state’s workforce training program, Quick Start, to get new employees ready for the plant’s 2013 opening. Erdrich has plants in Germany, the Czech Republic and China that supply parts to BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen.


OnTheMOve / Tallahassee Democrat

Monday, January 30, 2012 / Page 7

TD-0000197448


Page 8 / Monday, January 30, 2012

Tallahassee Democrat / OnTheMOve

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