Friday, July 27, 2007

New Proton Sedan will be lunch!


Pic Cedit to:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2009 BMW 7-Series Spy Shots

A refreshed BMW 7-Series is undergoing testing, and's spies have nabbed it a year before it goes on sale.

We're expecting the new 7-Series to have a completely new front end, similar to the 6-Series styling, and sources say the current model's extravagant design will be toned down quite a bit. The sedan should have a more elegant look than ever before. The position of the headlights and turn signals indicate low-mounted, wrap-around headlights and a wide grille, as well as a sleeker body and a more dramatic overall appearance.

In addition to the exterior updates, BMW will be introducing a new version of iDrive and, rumor has it, an eight-speed transmission.

The new 7-series is not expected to be released until sometime during the 2008 calendar year, and will arrive as a 2009 model.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

9 Ways To Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs

1. Shop Around

Prices vary from company to company, so it pays to shop around. Get at least three price quotes. You can call companies directly or access information on the Internet. Your state insurance department may also provide comparisons of prices charged by major insurers. (State insurance department phone numbers and Web sites can be found here.)

You buy insurance to protect you financially and provide peace of mind. It's important to pick a company that is financially stable. Check the financial health of insurance companies with rating companies such as A.M. Best ( and Standard & Poor’s ( and consult consumer magazines.

Get quotes from different types of insurance companies. Some sell through their own agents. These agencies have the same name as the insurance company. Some sell through independent agents who offer policies from several insurance companies. Others do not use agents. They sell directly to consumers over the phone or via the Internet.

Don't shop price alone. Ask friends and relatives for their recommendations. Contact your state insurance department to find out whether they provide information on consumer complaints by company. Pick an agent or company representative that takes the time to answer your questions. You can use the checklist on the back of this brochure to help you compare quotes from insurers and on the same coverage.

2. Before You Buy a Car, Compare Insurance Costs

Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Car insurance premiums are based in part on the car’s sticker price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record, and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft. These include daytime running lights and anti-theft devices. To help you decide what car to buy, you can get information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (

3. Ask for Higher Deductibles

Deductibles are what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or more. Before choosing a higher deductible, be sure you have enough money set aside to pay it if you have a claim.

4. Reduce Coverage on Older Cars

Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverages on older cars. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars. Or you can look it up online at Kelley’s Blue Book ( Review your coverage at renewal time to make sure your insurance needs haven’t changed.

5. Buy your Homeowners and Auto Coverage from the Same Insurer

Many insurers will give you a break if you buy two or more types of insurance. You may also get a reduction if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce the rates for long-time customers. But it still makes sense to shop around! You may save money buying from different insurance companies, compared with a multi-policy discount.

6. Maintain a Good Credit Record

Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Insurers are increasingly using credit information to price auto insurance policies. To protect your credit standing, pay your bills on time, don't obtain more credit than you need and keep your credit balances as low as possible. Check your credit record on a regular basis and have any errors corrected promptly so that your record remains accurate.

7. Take Advantage of Low Mileage Discounts

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive a lower than average number of miles a year. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who car pool to work.

8. Ask about Group Insurance

Some companies offer reductions to drivers who get insurance through a group plan from their employers, through professional, business and alumni groups, or other associations. Ask your employer and inquire with groups or clubs you are a member of to see if this is possible.

9. Seek Out Other Discounts

Companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for a number of years. You may also get a discount if you take a defensive driving course. If there is a young driver on the policy who is a good student, has taken a drivers education course or is at a college out of the area without a car, you may also qualify for a lower rate.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Ford tried to bit the time

Ford executives bemoan the fact that their turnaround is looking better internally, but that the company is outwardly fighting a perception gap that its vehicles aren't as good as those made by some Japanese companies.

Mark Fields, Ford president of theAmericas, said the company is making good headway at stabilizing its market share. Ford has lost market share in the U.S. for eleven consecutive years, he explains, but its new product line - which he described as "the strongest in the company's history" - is giving the struggling carmaker a shot at finally ending the slide. Ford is actually ahead of schedule in stabilizing its market share at about 14 to 15 percent, one goal of its Way Forward restructuring plan, Fields said. The company's newest products such as the Mercury Milan and Ford Fusion, have been boosted by an aggressive marketing campaign, and have increased their sales this year. The Ford Edge is now outselling the Toyota Highlander and the Lincoln brand has become one of the fastest-growing luxury brands in the market, Fields added. The new Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner also have been doing very well and have given Ford added traction in the rapidly expanding crossover segment, which had been dominated by Asian brands. In May, 52 percent of Ford's sales were cars or crossovers, and same trend is holding true during June. Fields said it's the first time since 1994 that Ford's cars are outselling its trucks and minivans. The 2008 model year lineup includes the revived Taurus and Sable sedans and the updated Taurus X crossover. Formerly the Five Hundred, Montego, and Freestyle, the changes to the products went beyond the badges, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's product development. A total of 500 hundred different engineering changes were made to the vehicles for 2008. Exterior mirror housings, for example, were notched to help improve fuel economy and reduce wind noise in the cabin. The Ford Focus also being revamped for the fall. While the 2008 Focus is built on a carryover platform, it's quieter inside and has been outfitted with features such as an iPod jack and Ford's new Sync system, which uses Bluetooth technology to enable hands-free calling. The upgrades to the interior of the vehicle will give the look and feel of a new car, Ford promises. The automaker is preparing, in fact, to make the Focus the centerpiece of a major marketing push, officials said. Kuzak also said even though the 2008 Ford F-150 is in the final year of its life cycle, an admission Ford officials have generally avoided up until now, the company has approved several enhancements including a new cargo organizer system and a built-in tool box. A new King Ranch version of the F-Series is being brought back and the back-up assist that shows a picture of what's directly in back of the tailgate on the rearview mirror is also available as option. A Chip Foose version of the F-150 also is in the works, he said. "Customers are telling us they like the product," added Fields, who noted the company's market share is stabilizing even as it reduces its dependence on fleet sales. "What we're telling people is to put us on their shopping lists," added Fields, admitting the company has to change customer perceptions. Going forward, Ford expects to concentrate its resources on safety, fuel economy, reducing cabin noise, and features such as electrically assisted power steering where the company already is a leader. Fields also said Ford essentially has met its goal of cutting 14,000 salaried jobs. Ford was seeking to reduce white-collar employment by 10,000 this year, in addition to about 4000 who left last year. "We actually are done with that,'' Fields said. "We do have some folks that are staying with us a little bit longer, through the remainder of the year, in some critical positions.'' About 27,000 U.S. hourly workers have left Dearborn-based Ford under buyout or early retirement offers as part of its effort to pare down its workforce, and Fields reiterated that number on Friday. Fields, however, also admitted the company faces substantial challenges, including repaying the $23 billion it borrowed last winter.

"Time is not our friend," he said.