Dan Hall:

Toyota Prius c: PC Car for the Masses

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Conspicuous conservation is for the rich. Or at least that’s what the data show. In general, AutoPacific research shows that buyers of hybrids make more money than buyers of comparable vehicles. Not surprising, since hybrids are more expensive than single engine vehicles and generally do not reap the economic rewards of their fuel efficiency before they have been traded in.

But now that there are more than 2.5 million Prius’ on the road worldwide (1.1 million in the US), economies of scale might help make having a PC ride possible for the masses. In fact, by the end of the decade, the Prius family of vehicles may be the leading nameplate for Toyota sales in the US. At least that’s what’s Toyota is betting on with the Prius c.


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Jealous George – No Detroit Auto Show This Year

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North American International Auto Show Logo

An annual pilgrimage for the auto industry is to attend the press days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit each January.  Unfortunately, this year I cannot attend because my physicians caution that I should not be heaving carry-ons into and out of overhead bins and baggage carousels.

So, I’m jealous.

One of the primary businesses of AutoPacific is to keep on top of what is the latest in the auto industry worldwide, so AutoPacific will still be well represented at Detroit.

I asked each of our staff members to remind me why I should or should not be jealous of them attending instead of me.  Read below the break for their input.


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Audi e-tron Spyder

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Sometimes things start out great and end up only OK, or perhaps worse. The smell of coffee in the morning. Most Superbowls. A full bottle of Patron. We recently had the opportunity to experience the Audi e-tron and came away excited by the vehicle, but wondering why we got to see so much of it.


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New York Auto Show 2008 – MINI JCW Brings History Up to Date

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The next time someone calls my Cooper S “cute” I think I’ll commit a felony. While I understand the sentiment, it misses most of what a MINI is.
At the New York Auto Show Jim McDowell, Vice President – Marketing, MINI USA introduced the John Cooper Works MINI to North America with a reminder that MINI has racing in it’s blood, including Monte Carlo Rally wins in 1964, 1965, 1967. John Cooper has been synonymous with the high-performance MINIs for forty years. Earlier this year, MINI acquired John Cooper Works JCW as a sub brand of MINI.


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New York Auto Show 2008: BMW’s Ultimate Tanning Machine is about to get more interesting.

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In a town where most tans are purchased and delivered indoors, BMW offered the US release of the outdoor Ultimate Tanning Machine, the M3 Convertible.
Strolling Miami and LA beaches for years, the 3 series convertible has become iconic for the look-at-me yuppie set. Many have been delivered to brand-enthusiasts with little care for the vehicle’s performance potential. In recent years, however, BMW has offered up M versions of the coupe and convertible to those drawn to open top tanning and motoring. The coupe M3 launched in 1986 and two years later the first BMW M3 Convertible hit the streets.


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New York Auto Show 2008 – Improved Honda Fit

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We’ve liked the Fit since it was first imported from Japan for US Sales in April 2006. Conceptually very good, but lacking a sporty look. The second generation of the Fit for US sales gets a lot better looking, as well as some package improvements to make it more compelling. “The goal is to provide entry-level vehicle customers with functionality and refinement that’s a class above,” said Dick Colliver. “Buying a Fit is a choice, not a compromise.” Ah yes. A nod to the aspirational small car.
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New York Auto Show 2008 — Scion Hako Coupe Concept

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You have to look long and hard to find a more difficult job than designing future Scion products. In its short life, Scion has raced to the forefront of Gen Y desirability. From zero to 173,000 units in just 4 years. Toyota Motor Sales claims the Scion brand to have a median buyer age of just 30 years old, which makes it the youngest brand in the United States. From the same group of people who bring us the Camry and Avalon, both standards for Boomer buyers, but neither evoking a youthful image.


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2008 NAIAS Audi TTS: A Good Thing Gets Better.

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The VehicleVoice editorial management staff if very good to me. Being primarily on the consumer research side of AutoPacific I’m not the first choice for industry analysis or vehicle evaluations. In spite of this, I get some pretty cool assignments. Having the opportunity to drive the 2007 Audi TT along California’s Riviera this past summer was one of those assignments. The newest interpretation the Audi’s iconic design clearly exceeds its predecessor in every way. The challenge of re-designing an icon, has given Audi an even more beautiful TT. In addition, the upgraded platform, engines and transmissions have transformed the TT from a beautiful car, into a true sports car. So getting to cover the 2008 TTS at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show is a nice assignment. The TTS marks an anniversary for Audi. In 1998 the TT Coupe was introduced to the world and immediately became a design icon.


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2007 SEMA Show – Toy Store for Auto Junkies

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Viva Las Vegas
I love Vegas. Lights, gambling, food, beautiful women, cocktails, and not a working clock in sight. Hell meets Disneyland in a world that does not shun alcohol or tobacco for breakfast. Don’t misunderstand me, moderation saves, but this environment screams fun. Regardless of your level of debauchery, the guy next to you makes you feel like a saint. If they could figure out a way to thwart my email connection, I’d move here in a heartbeat.
I look forward to the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas more than most of my assignments, and we at VehicleVoice get assigned some pretty cool marching orders.


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Audi R8 – VehicleVoice Drives Audi’s Super Car

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Sonoma, California: Audi’s long awaited R8 has landed here in the States. This past week, VehicleVoice had the chance to review and drive the vehicle at Audi’s New Performance School at Infineon Raceway.
Purpose built to showcase new Audis to the press and host driving events for owners, the new facility at Infineon has the unmistakable Audi presence, with the proper applications of glass, steel, asphalt and, of course, aluminum. Both track and autocross courses were made available to the press for the day.


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