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Bending but not breaking the tire tech rules

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By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 24, 2017) Michelin has joined up with the worlds largest producer of wheels, Maxion Wheels, to reinvent the wheel so that it bends without breaking. According to Michelin Chief Operating Officer, Florent Menegaux: “Car wheels have been getting bigger and bigger, as they contribute to making cars look more premium, and large shiny alloys are an integral part of all modern car designs. However, the resulting low-profile tires with short sidewalls are much more susceptible to damage on today’s deteriorating roads.”

2018 Honda Odyssey



PHOENIX — 
It occurred to me that the Honda Odyssey, first introduced almost 25 years ago in 1994, is the perfect stealth vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging any suspicious or illegal activity. But Odyssey’s never been a vehicle that will turn heads or be followed home to ask the owner what they are driving. They’re everywhere, yet no one pays any attention to them. But who cares?

2018 Lexus LC 500



KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Almost everything about Lexus’ new flagship coupes screams “irresistible.” Inspired by the 2012 LF-LC concept car, the LC 500 and LC 500h hybrid have presence and savoir-faire that are nearly off the charts. At the recent media introduction of the all-new Lexus LC500 on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Lexus executives made it abundantly clear that their objective is for the words “boring” and Lexus never to be used in the same sentence.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid



LOS ANGELES — Nearly 35 years after Chrysler introduced the original minivan, it again plots revolution. It’s only after a full day of driving the Pacifica Hybrid down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, through the canyons around Malibu and Hollywood, and on open Interstate does the significance of this van develop. It will shake the segment to its core.

Vehicle of the Week

2017 Mazda CX-5 — Making a good crossover better



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Mazda checked all the boxes with its first compact CX-5 crossover introduced in 2012, and it has followed up with a second-generation that takes everything up a notch from build quality to styling to driving dynamics to cargo and livable passenger space.

Here's the Thing

Kelley Blue Book offers advice on flood-damaged cars

(September 23, 2017) IRVINE, Calif. —  While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted as many as 1 million vehicles, according to Cox Automotive and Kelley Blue Book analysts, the effects of these events extend beyond those with severely damaged vehicles.

Rural Americans less likely to wear seat belts, more likely to die in crashes

(September 22, 2017) ATLANTA —  Adult motor vehicle drivers and passengers in America's most rural counties had motor-vehicle death rates 3 to 10 times higher than those in the most urban counties, according to data released this week in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Rural Health Series.

Overall, the study found lower seat belt use, higher death rates, and a higher proportion of drivers and passengers who were not buckled up at the time of the fatal crash in rural areas of the nation.

Nissan reveals 86% of drivers in wrong-colored car for their personality

(September 21, 2017) PARIS — The vast majority of drivers are in the wrong-colored car for their personality. That’s the surprise finding of a pan-European study by Nissan, which reveals a staggering 86% of those polled made an incorrect choice in the showroom.

The research found that even though there are now more vibrant exterior colors and personalization options than ever before, car buyers are still too conservative when it comes to picking paint.

Inside the Industry

Toyota's Indiana plant builds its 5 millionth vehicle

(September 23, 2017) PRINCETON, Ind. — When long-time team members Sandra and Andres Chaparro saw the first vehicle roll off the line in 1998, they felt a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing they’d had a hand building it. Little did they know; their hands would be busy building 4,999,999 more vehicles over the next 20 years.

“It’s really seems like yesterday we opened the plant and started our journey with Toyota,” Chaparros said. “After 20 years — and 5 million vehicles—Toyota has really become our second family.

About 1,000 collector cars to be auctioned at Mecum Chicago

(September 22, 2017) Mecum Auctions will host Chicagoland’s only annual collector-car auction when Mecum Chicago 2017 returns to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Oct. 5-7 with an estimated 1,000 collector cars headlined by American muscle cars, classics, Corvettes, Hot Rods, Resto Mods and more.

Mixed reality technology meets car design at Ford with Microsoft HoloLens

(September 22, 2017) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford designers have been swapping some clay-sculpting steels and rakes for mixed reality headsets and visualization software that can change vehicle design elements — side mirrors, grilles, vehicle interiors and more — in mere seconds.

Abandoned Car of the Week

An Arizona Chevrolet tow truck


This very interesting looking Chevrolet tow truck was discovered in Mayer, Ariz., by Jim Prueter. We seldom come up empty handed when doing research to identify vehicles, but this one has us stumped. It looks a lot like an early '60s Corvair truck, but the front end does not match up with the Corvair. Only certainty — it's from the early '60s and it probably hauled a few broken down cars in its day. (Photo by Jim Prueter)