Honda SUVs – Safest in the world!

Are you a safety conscious car buyer? Then you should definitely read this post. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety based in Virginia, USA recently released its List of the safest cars for 2010, after conducting a tough test of protecting people in front, rear, side, and also rollover crashes. Eight SUVs and nineteen passenger cars received top safety awards. Ford and its Volvo brand bagged the highest – six awards, followed by Volkswagen and Subaru with five awards for outstanding safety each.

The test for safety ratings by the Insurance Institute has become a lot tougher this year, so fewer cars made it to the top list this year. The insurance Institute has introduced a new test to determine overall safety of a car, by testing the strength of car roof in case of a rollover. In order to pass the safety test, the car roof has to withstand a force equal to four times the weight of the car without crushing the roof five inches inward.

Honda Jeep Patriot Crash Test

Honda cars received top honors in the safety ratings. Honda Civic 4-door models with optional electronic stability control, as well as, Honda SUVs – Honda Element and Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags, won safety awards. Honda’s achievements do not stop there. Honda also produced the least polluting and most fuel efficient cars on American roads as per the U.S. government projections for 2009.

However, in a surprise twist, the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, did not receive any safety awards this year. This was partly because of the fact that Toyota cars did not have car roofs strong enough to withstand rollover. A number of vehicles missed this safety list because of the new roof strength rating requirements.

Honda also leads the U.S. market in electric/gasoline hybrid cars, for being the cleanest and most fuel efficient vehicles. So looking at these achievements, if you are looking for good, clean, fuel efficient and safest cars, Honda may be the perfect choice for you.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Panasonic PC batteries for Electric Cars

Considering the growing need for eco-friendly cars, Panasonic Corporation Japan has developed a new technology for binding together Lithium-ion batteries meant for laptop PCs to power electric cars.  Panasonic claims to have discovered this new and cheaper method for connecting the cells by using existing production facilities.  It was Tesla Motors who were the pioneers in building a battery pack made up of 6,831 laptop PC battery cells for the Roadster. Panasonic went a step ahead by producing lithium ion and nickel metal hydride batteries for Toyota’s hybrid and plug-in vehicles.

Panasonic Japan is in this business of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for computers for quiet sometime now.  They also manufacture the normal bulky rechargeable batteries meant for cars and other vehicles.  However, with the announcement of using computer batteries for cars, Panasonic has become first electronic company to venture into advanced battery making for automobiles.  Usually these kinds of batteries for electric vehicles are being created by established automakers or small companies which specialize in with manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.

panasonic pc battery for toyota hybrid car

According to Panasonic, they can cut down the price of manufacturing batteries for electric cars by using their existing battery plant and production facilities.  Till now,  battery packs for electric vehicles are specially designed or assembled to meet specific design requirements and this drives the cost of electric car up compared to other gas vehicles. Having most of the facilities already set up, Panasonic  has this advantage of succeeding in this business of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for automobiles.  While most of the automakers like Ford, Nissan and General Motors are competing for building or converting existing assembly lines, Panasonic has actually worked on cost cutting technology.

Despite of having all facilities, Panasonic still has a long way to go and hit the market with its latest batteries.  It may take about four years for these newly developed batteries for cars to be available in the market.  These  batteries can also be used to store electricity from fuel cells, wind turbines and residential solar panels, apart from powering electric cars. Thus, these batteries also have a good potential market in the home renewable energy sector.

Talks were on for a long time about Panasonic entering automotive market with its latest battery but now the real story is out.  Even though it’s prime competitor, Sony has announced long back about creating batteries for automobiles, but it is Panasonic which has actually done it.  Other companies like LG, BYD and Samsung are also trying to venture in to this market of manufacturing automotive batteries.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Toyota Prius Top Selling Car in Japan

Toyota Motors whose popular hybrid car Prius posted top-most sales in Japan for the 6th consecutive month.  Apart from being an fuel efficient car, something which helped the domestic sales of Prius is the Japanese government policy to offer subsidies and tax breaks for purchasing eco friendly vehicles.

In this gloomy situation of Auto Industry, Toyota Prius is turning out to be a rare bright spot.  With Toyota Prius you can drive about 38 Km per liter.  In heavy traffic situation, hybrid cars like Toyota Prius rely completely on their electric motors and thus burn no gas.  As of now Toyota’s Prius, which works on both electricity and gasoline, continues to dominate Japanese auto sector.

toyota prius japan

According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), Japan’s biggest automaker – Toyota sold over 26,900 Prius hybrid cars this October, which is quiet a big leap considering its October sales last year which was just around 6,341 units.

After facing losses for three consecutive quarters, the biggest auto maker from Japan – Toyota – has finally hit the bull’s eye in the month of July and September by gaining profit of around 22 billion yen (US $240 million).  Toyota Motor Corp has also reduced its expected loss by 50% for this financial year. Increasing domestic demand of Prius has helped Toyota to post a surprise profit this quarter.

Meanwhile for the fourth consecutive month,  Honda’s Fit – a people carrier, occupied the second position, selling around 15,440 units in Japan. Compared to last year’s October sales Honda Fit has gained about 26.7 percent more sales. To boost its sales, Honda wants to come up with the hybrid version of the Fit next year. Even though the Fit is not a hybrid vehicle, it still eligible for all subsidies and tax breaks given by government as it is fuel-efficient vehicle.

This October third position was occupied by Vitz subcompact from Toyota whereas, the direct competitor of Toyota’s Prius – Honda Insight occupied ninth position.

Considering the environmental concern, and the initiative taken by the Japanese government, Japanese auto market is experiencing increase in the demand for environmentally friendly and fuel efficient cars.  These eco-friendly cars are going to dominate for few more years.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Japanese Cars Most Reliable – US Survey

According to a recent annual survey for 2009, conducted by – Consumer Reports for Car Reliability in America, Japanese Vehicles were found to be the most reliable. American consumers favor Japanese brands like Honda and Toyota for reliable vehicles.  This substantiates the first class engineering of Japanese Automakers who create world class automobiles.

In the Consumer Reports Survey – on the basis of reliability and dependability – Japanese cars have comfortably outperformed American models.  Out of 48 models which topped the reliability scores, around 36 were from Asia and 33 models were from Japan alone.  Japanese models which topped the list in this vehicle reliability survey are Toyota with 18, Honda with 8, Nissan with 4 and Subaru with 3 models.

The only American automaker which made to the top in the reliability survey is Ford. Many of the Ford models such as mid sized Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are consistently near the top of their respective classes.

On the whole,  Japanese automobiles are consistently performing well in the reliability survey.   All the Japanese brands such as Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Honda and Acuras were ranked average or above.

Toyota, with its Scion and Lexus brands was the winner with 18 models.  The only vehicle that failed in the reliability survey was the Lexus GS AWD.   Toyota’s model Scion which is youth-oriented brand occupied first position for the second year in a row.

Honda Insight was judged as the most reliable car – It is s 27 times more likely to have a problem than Volkswagen Touareg – the least reliable vehicle, as per the survey.

The Nissan’s  performance was quite good as four of its models including the Infiniti QX56 and Nissan Armada SUVs performed to reviewers’ satisfaction.

Like every year, most of the Subaru models were considered very reliable. Except for Subaru’s turbocharged sports car Impreza WRX, all the other models are average or above.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,