Here's the Thing

A 19 mpg BMW X6 Active Hybrid is not 'green'

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(January 2010) A headline in the current issue of Automobile magazine hit me the wrong way. It caught my eye and got me thinking. The line on the index page proclaimed, "The BMW X6 Goes Green." This, of course, was in reference to the new Active Hybrid X6. The hybrid X6 gets 17 mpg in city driving driving and 19 mpg on the highway, a savings of one mile to the gallon highway and four miles to the gallon in boulevard cruising.

Reliability of the SAAR metric is questioned

(January 2010) As 2009 comes to a close, the automotive industry can reflect on a tough year that generated some ideas that were truly inspired, and some ideas better left behind when the calendar page. The last ten days of December were terrific for auto sales, but it is premature to say that the economy has turned around, according to

The best and worst ideas of 2009 — as compiled by

(December 2009) As 2009 comes to a close, the automotive industry can reflect on a tough year that generated some ideas that were truly inspired, and some ideas better left behind when the calendar page turns.

Everyone has a 2010 prediction — here are a few of ours

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(December 2009) This is the time of year virtually everyone who has a newspaper or magazine column or access to the worldwide web will make some type of predictions for the coming year. Tiger won't win a major. George Clooney will win an Oscar. The Cubs will not win the World Series. The Yankees will not repeat. Fast food's $1 menu items will increase.

One in five new vehicle buyers say the future of a brand reason for avoidance

(December 2009) Nearly one in five new-vehicle buyers who avoid a particular vehicle model cite their concern over the future of the brand as a reason for avoidance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Avoider Study released Dec. 15.

This may be a very good time to buy a full-sized SUV

(November 2009) We crunched some numbers. We ran some figures. Eventually, our theory proved out — Buying and driving a full-size SUV costs less today than when gas was $2 per gallon. That's a generalization, of course, but one that can't be made about mid-size sedans, compact cars or crossovers, all of which cost measurably more to operate today.

The news is not good at Chrysler, General Motors

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(November 2009) We are a little dismayed at the state of affairs at two of the three domestic automakers. Chrysler's seemingly unstoppable slide into automotive obscurity continued with a 25  percent drop in sales from November 2008 to November 2009. It continued a precipitous 2009 drop from 2008 sales, now measured at 38 percent with just a month left in the year.

A practical adjustment to window stickers

(November 2009) has submitted a recommendation to make new car window stickers more useful to car shoppers by highlighting usage costs rather than miles per gallon numbers.

The recommendation was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy and available for viewing at

Loose floor mats a potential problem in any vehicle

(August 2009) The vehicle testing team at has confirmed that it is possible for the floor mats of essentially any vehicle to dangerously interfere with its accelerator pedal, as is suspected in the recent Toyota and Lexus accidents that generated a huge recall and many news headlines.

The testing team recently reviewed the floor mats of vehicles in its test fleet. Out of the 12 vehicles inspected, three floor mats were out of position, and two additional vehicles had broken floor mat attachment mechanisms that could allow the floor mats to move out of position at any time.

While the plan may not be totally workable, at least Chrysler has a plan

By Al Vinikour

(November 2009) We had never seen Sergio Marchionne in person, and other than the fact he looks like Jonathan Pryce, we didn’t know much about him except his role in Fiat over the last five years. He doesn’t have the larger-than-life image that Lee Iacocca may have had but his “everyman” appearance and deadpan self-deprecating humor and quick mind automatically command respect.  He doesn’t suffer fools wisely and we would image that working for him could be quite stressful – but a job some would fight to keep.