A good idea that just vanished.

This was the handiest thing for a lot of pick up loading and unloading. It made packages and appliance moving a breeze. But the idea just vanished as pickups became more a status symbol and less and less an utility vehicle.

Did Toyota try to cover up the acceleration problems?

The following article is from TTAC and it brings up some interesting speculation.

Bloomberg reports that a lawsuit accuses Toyota of a widespread coverup of unintended acceleration in its vehicles. The suit alleges that

“Toyota technicians” confirmed that vehicles were unexpectedly accelerating and the company bought back the vehicles, had customers sign confidentiality agreements and didn’t disclose the problems to regulators… In testimony about acceleration defects before Congress, Toyota Motor Corp. didn’t disclose that the technicians had replicated instances of sudden unintended acceleration not caused by pedals or mats… The company also didn’t report the customer agreements to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration… Toyota ordered employees to remove names of executives from acceleration related e-mails and to stop using specific acceleration terms in e-mails to prevent damage to the company in litigation

Toyota’s response:

Steven Curtis, a spokesman for Toyota’s U.S. sales arm in Torrance, California, said today in an e-mail that no technicians for the company or field specialists confirmed unintended acceleration in vehicles. He said the plaintiffs’ lawyers are referring to service technicians employed by dealerships, which are independent businesses… the claims are based on anecdotes and fail to identify any specific defects in the vehicles.

Plaintiffs claim that dealer techs are “agents of the company” and that vehicle repurchases and confidentiality agreements are proof positive of a coverup. Toyota admits that it investigated and repurchased two vehicles after dealer techs found “acceleration events,” but says its factory technicians were unable to replicate any problems. If this sounds like a complicated mess of he-said-she-said, consider that this suit is just one of 300 currently pending against the world’s largest automaker. The lawyers will probably be busy with this one for decades.

Will Saab survive?

Saab is one sick puppy. Third quarter results are out for the Dutch-Swedish automaker, and they’re not good: the firm has lost $70m on an operating basis last quarter, and has burnt through $160m in the the first nine months of 2010. Wholesale and retail sales in the first three quarters were down by 10 percent and 45 percent respectively compared to the first nine months of 2009, and Saab has cut its 2010 sales projections from 45,000 units to 30,000 units, or half of the 60k projection Saab started 2010 with. Improbably, the company still believes it will sell 80,000 Saabs next year, and 120,000 in 2012. And though Saab-Spyker has a negative equity of about $234m, the company says it does not need to recapitalize.

Is it a curse? Or just the results of a socialist governments meddling in the companies operations. They need an 96 or another standout car to break back into the auto world.

Can Stryker continue to throw money into the historically failure prone Saab? Or will they take what they can of the underlying designs and sell it off?

Construction company to break ground on facility in Sycamore

SYCAMORE – Krusinski Construction Company will break ground Oct. 1 on a new facility in the Sycamore Prairie Business Park that will house SK Hand Tools, according to a news release from the construction company.

Ideal Industries purchased SK Hand Tools in August and announced then that it planned to build a 130,000-square-foot building at its corporate headquarters in the Sycamore Prairie Business Park to accommodate its purchase.

Ideal was founded in 1916 and manufactures tools and supplies for the construction, maintenance, data communications and original equipment manufacturing industries.

SK Hand Tools is a Chicago-based tool company that makes sockets, ratchets, hammers and wrenches.

SK Hand Tools, founded in 1921, had filed for bankruptcy protection June 29, according to a news release from Ideal.

The new 130,000-square-foot manufacturing building will serve as corporate headquarters for SK Hand Tools, according to a news release from the construction company.

The manufacturing area is scheduled to be done in 12 weeks and the entire building by January.

Kwasek Architects is providing the architectural and structural design and Missman Stanley &
Associates is providing civil design and engineering, according to the news release.


Ideal SK Bankruptcy court PDF.


Acquired Assets: Ideal seeks to purchase certain of the Debtor’s assets listed on
Schedule 1.1 to the APA, which schedule remains in process but will consist of machinery and
equipment, inventory, intellectual property, certain executory contracts, supplies, motor vehicles,
computer hardware and software, licenses and permits and other personal property (collectively,
“Acquired Assets”).

In April 2005, the
Debtor’s new management team created a new company, MCC Business, Inc., which purchased
the Debtor’s parent company, Strafor Facon, Inc. n/k/a Triat Industries, Inc., and its subsidiary,
i.e., the Debtor.
3. The Debtor has experienced a significant decline in earnings caused by several
economic conditions, for example, loss of certain top customers (including government
contracts); increasing labor costs; the impact of the recession on industries upon which the
Debtor depends for sales, e.g., automotives; and the cost of an under-utilized, leased distribution
facility in McCook, Illinois.

Oh and just a a point of interest. If you look on page four, Wright tools was one of the companies on the SK HAND TOOL CORPORATION SERVICE LIST.

This 64 Aguzzoli Condor II was a mid engined racer with body lines and layout that would be made famous by other Marques in the 70’s.

“Built on an Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ chassis and is powered by the Giuletta SZ’s engine. The car was commissioned by Giovanni and Sergio Aguzzoli, wealthy father and son salami traders of which the car bears it’s name.

Finally, Sergio Aguzzoli, Alfa Romeo dealer firms in Parma, forces his own workshop built a prototype car called the Giulietta Condor Aguzzoli. Manually model, purely functional body, moved from glass to plexi, lack of bumpers – all evidence of the desire to reduce the weight and destination of the racetrack. A distinctive feature of Condor was a centrally placed engine, in front of the rear axle – a solution that (such as sports cars, not racing) first appeared here very early in relation to the period of its dissemination.”

Fiat 2-cylinder TwinAir.

Fiat Twin Air

As promised earlier this year, Fiat has officially adorned their beloved 500 with a brand new engine option: the 2-cylinder TwinAir.

The 85 HP, turbocharged 0.9 liter engine reportedly has the performance characteristics of a much larger 1.4 liter, 16-valve engine, but it consumes about 30% less fuel—resulting in a fuel economy of 57 mpg as rated on the combined Euro cycle. If it were sold in the U.S. and rated on the EPA cycle, that number would likely drop to around 50 mpg.

Unfortunately for now, there are no plans to sell the 85 HP TwinAir engine as an option on any of the Fiat 500’s that are rumored to be reaching U.S. shores by the end of this year.

Chrysler K-310

Ghia got in touch with Chrysler in 1950, although they bodied a Chrysler 75 back in 1929.
So there was Luigi Segre whose first Plymouth bodied cars ..er wasn’t ranked among the era’s greatest.
Chrysler president Kaufmann T. Keller had been impressed by the Ghia craftsmanship and modest cost of the above mentioned car so he permitted stylist Virgil M. Exner, who had been bought in by Keller to revive Chrysler’s design image, to proceed with the commissioning of other Chrysler-based concept cars from the Torinese carrozzeria.

The explanation of the name: K: Kaufman T. Keller, then-chairman of Chrysler 310: the hopeful power output (in fact it only developed some 180 bhp). The car was based on the new hemi-head V8 Saratoga chassis, and cost $20.000 to build at Ghia.
Chrysler ordered 40 Ghia-Chrysler but the commission was cut back because of the Korean War.


Ford posts a 40 percent March gain in U.S. sales

For the month of March, US sales for Ford Motor Co. rose by 40% and for April, it intends to extend its sales momentum by launching a full marketing campaign. Starting April 6, Ford will aim to step up its marketing for its new set of products that will be arriving.

At a conference call, Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of US sales and marketing, said that Ford will launch a campaign that’s focused on its products and product strength. Czubay said that what Ford seeks to emphasize are its products, and not on clearance and discounts.

Ford said that more details will be available next week about this campaign that will focus on Ford’s four product pillars — safety, quality, technology and fuel economy.

Ford also announced that consumers should expect the restyled and re-engineered 2011 Super Duty pickup and the 2011 Mustang coupe with a new V-6 engine to arrive in dealerships next month. By this summer, the Fiesta compact car is also expected to be launched.

The 40% gain in March is actually the sixth straight month that Ford had been able to record a sales gain. This figure follows Ford’s first annual increase in US market share since 1995. Ford also intends to keep its incentive spending stable.

Edmunds said that Ford’s average incentive was $3,304 per vehicle in March, down from $3,673 a year earlier. However, heavy incentives have been the norm across the industry. In comparison, Toyota’s average incentive was $2,256 per vehicle in March, a marked increase from $1,565 a year earlier.

[via autonews – sub. required]