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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Here’s a question: how do millions of dollars in gold-colored coins and tons of candy end up spilled on a highway? No, nobody tried to hijack the Lucky Charms Leprechaun.
Instead, a serious crash occurred North of the border in Canada. A Brink’s tractor-trailer carrying millions of dollars in loonies and toonies (that’s what Canadians call their one- and two-dollar coins) somehow crashed on a highway this morning, spilling its loot.
The crash also blocked what must have been a slippery road because it wasn’t long before another semi collided with the first, this time sending candy cascading all over the scattered money.
Including the originally-crashed truck, three tractor-trailers and a minivan ended up in the collision. We’re guessing the candy will be written off, but Police had to stand by while a magnetic crane gathered the scattered coins.
It’s probably far from a legitimate gold rush, but people hoping for a lucrative camping trip this summer might try pitching a tent in the Ontario North along the Trans Canada Highway near Bastion Street. No doubt the local Canucks will have picked it dry shortly after the police disperse, but how often can you put coin hunting on your camping to-do list?
Unfortunately this story isn’t all sugar and money, as the two Brink’s truck passengers suffered life-threatening injuries and are currently in hospital. All joking aside, we wish them a swift and full recovery.
[Photo credit: CBC]
Last week Scion launched a new online campaign that showed off their darling sports car the FR-S. Visitors were given the opportunity to interact with the car in several ways, similar to any car’s configuration site.
This is unique because the Scion FR-S hasn’t come out yet in North America and likely won’t for be on sale until later this year. The site showed off the different colors, the history and the praise that the car is getting from the automotive press us included. There’s just one odd thing about the site: it’s Canadian.
It’s no mistake. Go to scionfrs.com and you’ll be greeted with a message from web host GoDaddy, asking if you’re interested in buying the domain. Scion hasn’t even registered the site’s domain. But go to scionfrs.ca and you’ll get to experience the whole she-bang.
Why would Scion go through all this trouble for a couple of sweater-wearing, hockey-playing Canucks? Is Canada the right audience for Scion’s new lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car?
We went to Scion Canada for some answers. Scion Canada helped clear things up.
“We knew a lot of customers would be looking to purchase sports cars between March and May, before the arrival of the FR-S. We knew consumers couldn’t decide without having seen the car, so the next best thing was to take consumers to the car,” Scion said
“We’ve given consumers an inside view of what it takes to make a great sports car, letting them explore everything about the vehicle they’re considering. More than just pictures and specs, we included the history to delineate the performance heritage behind our latest sports car.”
It sounds a lot like what every car company considers when deciding to devote a chunk of web-space to a single car, but why Canada?
Accordin to Scion Canada, studies conducted in 2010 found that Canadians spend more time online than any other country, up to 42 hours a month.
“This is even more important for Scion, given that Scion has one of the youngest demographics in the industry. We wanted to present information in a way that’s relevant, so we had to be engaging, informative and exclusive. This was the best way we could do that,” Scion Canada said.
So there you have it: Canadian’s spend more time surfing the internet for, um, cars and therefore deserve cooler sites than Americans, eh.
Think you’ve got an original excuse to explain your speeding? Think again. A traffic unit from London, Canada released a list of the most common excuses for speeding with some amusing results.
Take a look through and see if you’ve used any of the following:
- “I’m running out of gas and need to get to the next gas station.”
- “I have to go to the bathroom.”
- “I’m late for work.”
- One speeder told the officer that it was a new car and he wasn’t used to it.
- Another told the officer that his father had passed away. It turned out to have happened — 6 weeks prior.
- One motorist said he was speeding to get home because his father was possibly dying. The officer led the way and called an ambulance only to find out it was all a lie.
- Another motorist sped past a police cruiser and when stopped his excuse was that he thought police didn’t like to be tailgated so he wanted to get in front.
- Recently a woman was ticketed for speeding on her own street. Police were conducting speed enforcement near her home. The fire department attended the area as well for an unrelated matter. When the woman saw the fire department she raced toward her home to see what was going on only to be given a ticket for speeding.
We imagine that these excuses aren’t specific to Canadians… what excuses have you ever tried to get out of a ticket? Have you tried one of these? Tell us in the comments, or better yet tweet us @AutoGuide.
What better way to sell your car than an outrageous YouTube video?
Lettrage Perfect Design, a company in Lavaltrie, Quebec that sponsors modified cars is seen here with a C6 Corvette, and way too much spare rubber.
Watch as this driver creates a smoke show in front of a small crowd. The driver then does a few donuts and calls it a day, but not after showing us a fresh pair of (probably) rear tires that are ready for “the next show.”
Canadian car thieves have an affinity for the ugly, or so it would seem based on recently released data.
Do you remember the Pontiac Aztek? It’s OK if you don’t, we smacked our heads against a brick wall over its design too. But its ugly looks haven’t stopped it from making number eight on the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s top 10 stolen cars list of 2011.
Specifically, it’s the 2001 four-wheel drive model, not that there’s a difference between the dumbly-designed SUV that ceased to exist, much like it’s manufacturer.
Just to recap, we’re talking about an SUV with a 3.4-liter V6 making 185 horsepower. It weighs 3,779 lbs and gets a miserable 16/23 mpg city/highway, oh and has a face a mother couldn’t even love.
Why anyone would bother stealing this scrap heap is beyond us, especially considering the fact that there are plenty of perfectly easy-to-steal Cadillac Escalades out there that fetch a much better resale value.
That’s the one good thing we can say for the Aztek, if it get’s stolen you’re only out a couple grand. Heck, those thieves probably did you a favor by towing it free of charge.
Over the last two-decades, BMW has given us quite a few “Z” cars. There was the chic Z3 that James Bond helped unveil in the movie “Golden Eye,” followed by the sinfully pretty Z8 (also used in a Bond flick; The World Is Not Enough), which was penned by Henrik Fisker (yes, the same guy who went on to design some Aston Martin‘s and then started his own car company).
More recently, we have seen two-generations of the Z4 model, and while there was a Z9 concept car, when it eventually went into production, it became the 6-series.
In North America, very few know about the car that started the whole “Z”-line of cars at BMW. The very first model to wear this alphabet was appropriately called the Z1.
Like all the “Z” cars that went into production, the Z1 is a front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car. Unlike all other “Z” cars (or any other production car for that matter), the Z1 had doors that would drop down into the sills. Yes, getting in and out is a bit more challenging than usual due to the high sills, but it is worth it for the reaction it causes in public. Plus you can park in a tight spot and not worry about being able to swing open the door. The doors would move up and down via an electric motor, so no muscle power is needed.
Speaking of muscle, the Z1 was powered by the familiar 2.5-liter, straight-six cylinder engine, that can be found in other BMW models. This engine produces just 168-hp and 161 lb/ft of torque, which is not a lot for a car that weighs 3200-lbs. Power was fed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. According to BMW, this sleek roadster took 9.0-seconds to accelerate from 0-62 mph, and would top out at 137 mph. Not slow, but not nearly as fast as it looks.
During its two-year production run from March 1989 to June 1991, BMW made just 8000 examples of the Z1, well short of their target of producing 35,000 copies initially.
Nowadays, the Z1 is considered to be a rare, modern classic, and finding one for sale in North America (a market where it was never officially sold) is extremely difficult.
But we have found a clean example sitting in Calgary, AB., Canada. This black on grey and charcoal example has covered about 20,600-miles. The seller has not provided much else information, and has mentioned a wrong engine size in the ad. The asking price is CAN$29,999, which equals to $29,400 in our currency at today’s exchange rate.
So if you’ve always wanted a Z1, or just want a car with disappearing doors, you can check out the ad yourself in the source link below.
Volkswagen Canada is pulling a television commercial after receiving complaints that it is insensitive and offensive. The ad features the Volkwagen Passat, but the complaints center around what happens after the man pulls into the emergency lane.
He jumps out of the car in a panic, saying his wife is having a baby, but stops to chat about how great his Passat is after the EMT seems impressed. They ignore the woman’s cries to check out the interior, and the spot ends with the husband shutting the driver’s door, apparently having forgotten his wife altogether.
Volkswagen Canada spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff told the Winnipeg Free Press that the company apologized after a small number of customers said they thought the ad portrayed pregnant women in a bad light.
The website Art Threat tried to take credit for the removal, but Volkswagen insists that they removed it a week before the site published its article, and that their decision was a response to their customers.
GALLERY: 2011 Volkswagen Passat
[Source: Winnipeg Free Press]
You can watch the ad below
Things have been changing for a few years already, and the future is not looking good for Canada. Thanks to their lower labor rates and production costs, more and more car companies are looking to move their operations down to Mexico.
Currently, Canada accounts for 16-percent of production for North America, but since 2008 Mexico, has accounted for 20-percent, and that number will likely grow.
If the trend continues, Canadians might lose their jobs well south of their border. However, not all is doom and gloom for our northern neighbors as vehicle production increased in 2011 by 2-percent to bring a total of 2.1-million units produced.
General Motors is supporting the Canadian economy by announcing that the new Cadillac XTS sedan will be built in Oshawa, Ontario (where vehicles like the Camaro are already built), and Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that it will invest C$545-million to upgrade Toyota production facilities in Ontario.
[Source: Automotive News]
Honda announced today that they would use excess capacity at their Alabama plant following a $300 million investment in the facility. The investment will allow for a total of 340,000 units anually.
Rising exchange rates are forcing Honda to devote more resources to North American production while reducing exports. Honda will shift their Acura MDX luxury SUV to the plant from their Canadian factory in Ontario, and use their Ontario plant to produce the 2012 Honda CR-V crossover.
An abandoned BMW dealership outside of Toronto, Canada is up on the market, with an asking price of $3.6 million. Citation Motors of Oakville, Ontario was said to have had its BMW franchise revoked in 1988, and closed its doors soon after.
The property remained abandoned in an eerie, “frozen-in-time” sort of way, and 2 1988 BMWs, a 635csi and a 5-series still sit in the showroom, while other cars populate the backlot. The property is said to be maintained by the former owner of the dealership, who visits from time to time.
Even though real estate prices in the Toronto area are sky high, we have a hard time believing that this property will fetch the asking price.
Gallery: Abandoned BMW Dealership
[Source: Endras BMW]
Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis of Scarborough-Agincourt, Ontario, Canada, is a long time political activist for speed limiters with the intent of reducing the number of car accidents caused by excess speed.
Though a previous attempt in 2006 to present a speed limiter bill to the House of Commons was unsuccessful, a recent high-speed car accident in Toronto that tore a vehicle to two pieces, killing driver Wyongfong Shen, has further motivated Karygiannis to reintroduce a bill for electronic speed limiter devices to be installed on all new vehicles.
Jim Karygiannis explains, “It was estimated that this individual was doing 180 kilometers an hour, so should the speed limiter have been at 150, it would have cut him off and he wouldn’t have been able to speed… I figured cars shouldn’t be going over 150 kilometers an hour [93 mph). Nobody needs it. Nobody wants it."
If the bill passes, it will amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, effectively making speed limiters mandatory for all new vehicles sold in Canada.
The Automobile Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC) has just released its list of contestants for this years competition, which will be held in the Niagara region of Ontario.
Last year the winner was the Chevrolet Cruze. Which will win this year? The results will be revealed at the Toronto International Auto Show in February 2012. The North American Car of the Year list was published earlier this year.
Hit the jump to see the full list:
Last weekend, Nissan Canada officially began the reservation process for the all-new electric Leaf. Within two hours, all Leaf inventory was reserved.
On August 27th, Canadians attended one of 27 Nissan Leaf certified dealers and were invited to reserve the electric vehicle for a refundable $99 deposit. Judy Wheeler, Nissan Canada’s director of marketing, said, “Response from Canadians since we first revealed the Nissan Leaf in 2009 has been astounding, so we’re not surprised that our first inventory of 40 model year ’11 cars were snapped up so quickly”.
Nissan says that Leaf deliveries will begin sometime in September for Canadians that reserved the vehicle. Nissan will also be selling 600 units of the 2012 model year Leaf sometime soon.
General Motors will invest $117 million in the Oshawa Assembly Plant in preparation to build the all-new Cadillac XTS. This move will also solidify 400 jobs on the company’s felixble assembly line. The XTS has been designed to compete against other large luxury cars, and production should begin in the first half of 2012.
“This investment further extends the capabilities of the award-winning Oshawa Assembly Plant and pays compliment to the achievements of its dedicated workforce, one that consistently strives for excellence,” said Kevin Williams, president and managing director of General Motors of Canada. “Adding the Cadillac XTS affirms GM’s commitment to a strong manufacturing base in Canada, ensuring Oshawa will have a critical role in the ongoing transformation of Cadillac.
Last year, the plant underwent significant change to produce the Chevrolet Equinox, the Chevrolet Camaro Convertivle and the Buick Regal. This production change added two new shifts and 1,300 employees. The plant also builds the Chevy Impala and employs over 4,500 workers. GM Canada employs more than 10,000 people accross the coutnry.
The XTS concept car was unveiled last year and the final production model wil debut in the coming months.
Chrysler has taken the title of number one light-truck seller in Canada from Ford in the first half of 2011. Deliveries in the light truck segment have grown at twice the rate of the rest of the Canadian auto industry, and Chrysler led in sales last month for the first time in 2011.
The Dodge Journey has seen a boost in sales by 50 percent to 16,069 in Canada, and is touted as Canada’s best-selling crossover, while the Grand Caravan, Ram pickup and Jeep Wrangler also had their best Canadian sales month ever this June. According to a report by Bloomberg, an upsurge in the construction industry is responsible for the light truck segment’s sales climb.
Apple has officially rejected any inclusion of DUI checkpoints in its iOS apps. In this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple updated its app store to prohibit applications informing users of DUI checkpoints.
This recent update was a result of a group of U.S Senators sending numerous letters of concern to Apple, Google, and RIM, asking the smartphone companies to remove and disable all apps that would inform users of DUI checkpoints.
Section 22.8 states:
Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.
Developers may be able to remove the DUI functionality from their apps, however most of the programs that identify law enforcement activity pertaining to checkpoints and speed traps are crowd-sourced, which means users submit the checkpoints themselves without app developers knowing what they’re identifying.
Concerns have be raised about relaunching Fiat in the United States, however early sales figures of the 500 have exceeded expectations. A cabriolet version of the hatchback is now appearing in showrooms, with the Abarth and EV versions to follow soon after.
Fiat does not want to interfere with Chrysler’s traditional markets in the U.S, so Fiat won’t sell any vehicle larger than a Focus.
US brand boss, Laura Soaves said “Fiat will be the small car brand,”. “It will never have anything larger than a C [segment].”
Alfa Romeo’s planned ‘halo car’ will offer a modest amount of vehicles when first released. However Alfa Romeo hopes to sell 150 8C cars before the 4C is deemed effective for launch in North America.
Discuss this story at Fiat500Owners.com
The Chrysler Group has repaid it outstanding debt worth $7.6 billion in loans to the U.S and Canadian governments. This ends nearly two years of public ownership of the third largest U.S automaker.
Chrysler made a payment of $5.9 billion to the U.S Treasury and $1.7 billion to Export Development Canada- finally ending loans that bailed Chrysler out of near bankruptcy in June 2009. It is impressive that the automaker managed to repay all debts six years ahead of schedule.
“Less than two years ago, we made a commitment to repay the U.S. and Canadian taxpayers in full and today we made good on that promise,” CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “The loans gave us a rare second chance to demonstrate what the people of this company can deliver and we owe a debt of gratitude to those whose intervention allowed Chrysler to re-establish itself as a strong and viable carmaker.”
The repayment became possible for Chrysler through its 16 new or refreshed models this year. The company reported a first quarter net profit for the first time since exiting bankruptcy under the control of Italy’s Fiat S.p.A
The automaker initially borrowed $5.1 billion from the U.S and $1.6 billion from Canada in June 2009 however the company racked up $1.8 billion in interest.
[Source: Automotive News]
Toyota Canada has cut its sales projections by a third and warned dealers that the supply of new vehicles is starting to be choked off as the company feels the effects of the March 11th earthquake that rocked northern Japan.
While Toyota sent two memos to dealers regarding the revised sales forecast, the company refused to comment on the matter. “We have the availability to meet customer needs during our busiest retail period,” Toyota spokesperson Sandy DiFelice told The Globe and Mail. “We put out targets all the time. The dealers use those as a guide and work to exceed them.”
Summer is a busy season for the Canadian auto industry, with May and June typically the busiest months for auto sales. Toyota products are especially popular in Canada, where gas prices are higher than the United States, and the company’s extensive lineup of hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles are well received.
Toyota is also said to be offering dealers financial help to assist them through the anticipated lean periods, allowing them to get funding for vehicle incentives, marketing campagins and lease extensions for existing customers. Toyota will also allow dealers to suspend payments if they hold mortgages with the company’s financial arm, and will offer favorable interest rates to finance the purchase of new and used vehicles for the dealership.
[Source: The Globe and Mail]
For all the fuss about Hyundai‘s success in the United States, the Korean automaker is making even bigger waves in Canada, where the brand reigned supreme for Q1 of this year.
While truck sales far outpace car sales in Canada (just like in America – and both markets are topped by the Ford F-Series), Hyundai managed to beat out everyone else in passenger car sales, besting Toyota (including Scion and Lexus) by 219 units and GM by 1,654 units, for total sales of 18,704 cars.
But the race is hardly over, and without a proper truck, Hyundai still lags behind Ford, GM and Chrysler, were which buoyed by their lineup of pickups and other truck-based products. It’s interesting to note that Canada’s light-truck sales are still strong even in the face of higher gas prices (the $4/gallon threshold was passed long ago). On the other hand, passenger cars sold in Canada tend to be small compacts, and Hyundai chose to reveal their 2012 Accent at Canadian auto shows before they made their American debut. With the Accent, Elantra and Veloster all capable of 40 MPG, the brand looks well positioned to do very well in the Canadian marketplace, even if it is a relatively small one.
[Source: Sympatico Autos]
After a brief announcement on March 23rd stating that the natural disasters in Japan may affect North American production, Toyota has announced that it is still “too early to predict” whether plants in Canada and the United States, which build both Toyota and Lexus cars, will face shutdowns due to a shortage of parts from Japanese factories.
Toyota claims that most of their factories on this side of the Pacific use North American sourced parts, and that stocks of Japanese parts are still plentiful. However, the depletion of these stockpiles and the failure to restart production at Japanese part plants could mean shutdowns occurring here. While most of the news surrounding the condition of the Japanese auto industry is speculation, the hypothetical consequences of such a shutdown could be catastrophic.
Economic effects, like a lack of work for plant employees, a dearth of cars for dealers to sell and the associated economic effects of a crippled auto industry could occur at a time when an economic recovery is in a fragile infancy, and a blow of this nature could be very hazardous to our economic health.
[Source: Left Lane News]
According to a report by Canada’s Minister of Transport, Chuck Strahl, under the NAFTA agreement, used vehicles from Mexico that can be modified to meet Canadian safety and emission requirements, would be allowed to be brought in.
That means, you could possibly bring in a used Fiat or Renault from Mexico into Canada, vehicles that weren’t previously available to our northern neighbor. So if the department for Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) are on your side, you could be driving around in a Fiat Barchetta or a Renault Avantime. That is a sweet thought.
Plus, Canada also has a law that allows its citizens to import any car into the country that is 15 years old, or older. So if you are visiting Canada, don’t be too surprised to see a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R driving around, with a fully legal title. Might be worth the move for that reason alone.