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Fuel Economy

AUTOS
August 15, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Bowing to criticism that its C-Max hybrid didn't get the fuel economy claimed on its window sticker, Ford Motor Co. has restated the compact car's mileage ratings and said it will issue special payments to people who own the vehicle. Ford said it would make a special one-time, "goodwill" payment of $550 to people who purchased the C-Max and $325 to those who leased the vehicle. Everyone will get the same payment regardless of when they purchased the car or how many miles they have put on their vehicle, said Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president for global product development.
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BUSINESS
August 15, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Bowing to criticism that its C-Max hybrid didn't get the fuel economy claimed on its window sticker, Ford Motor Co. has restated the compact car's mileage ratings and said it will issue special payments to people who own the vehicle. Ford said it would make a "goodwill" payment of $550 to people who purchased the C-Max and $325 to those who leased the vehicle. Everyone will get the same payment regardless of when they purchased the car or how many miles they have put on their vehicle, said Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president for global product development.
AUTOS
July 16, 2013 | By Catherine Green
Riding the success of sales across its hybrid lineup, Ford Motor Co. plans to offer drivers a substantial upgrade in vehicle performance to improve fuel economy. The changes should help address some of the complaints lobbed by Ford hybrid owners that the cars fall short of Environmental Protection Agency estimates for fuel economy. “Just as individual mileage can vary based on driving styles and environmental conditions, we expect fuel economy improvements will differ from customer to customer depending on individual driving habits,” Raj Nair, Ford's vice president of global product development, said Tuesday.
AUTOS
June 6, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
In a bid to fight the inroads rivals have made in the compact car business, Toyota Motor Corp. on Thursday revealed a new sleeker and more aggressively styled 2014 Corolla compact sedan at a news conference in Santa Monica. The car, which competes with the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze, has the same 132-horsepower engine of the current model, but has other improvements. Besides making the typically boring car more stylish, Toyota has made it larger, with a longer wheelbase and more interior space.
AUTOS
May 18, 2013 | By David Undercoffler, Los Angeles Times
It looks like a truck, drives like a truck and hauls like a truck. So the 2013 Ram 1500 is, you guessed it, very much a truck. This is despite the fact that beneath the handsome sheet metal are two key elements that, until recently, would have disqualified it from many full-size-truck buyers' lists: an eight-speed transmission and a V-6 engine. Both are new additions for the current Ram truck, which received a thorough mid-life makeover for the 2013 model year. The new drivetrain and thoughtful upgrades mean this truck is well positioned to take on the longtime sales champ - the Ford F-150 - as well as all-new full-size pickups from Chevrolet and Toyota due out later this year.
AUTOS
May 17, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Automakers are spending billions of dollars to squeeze efficiency from a car part most people never think twice about - the transmission. Over the next five years, many new vehicles will have transmissions with up to 10 speeds, replacing the mostly six-speed transmissions in cars now. Though designed for refinement and performance, the transmissions aim mostly to help meet stricter federal fuel economy and pollution standards. "We are trying to extract efficiency out of every subsystem of the vehicle," said Mircea Gradu, vice president of transmission and driveline engineering at Chrysler Group.
AUTOS
April 26, 2013 | By David Undercoffler, Los Angeles Times
If Mazda can't figure out a way to sell its excellent all-new sedan - the 2014 Mazda6 - the automaker should just give up selling cars altogether. Mazda has no problem building great vehicles. It just can't seem to sell them. The company has long failed to capitalize on critical acclaim and a track record for reliability with its mid-size sedan - a crucial segment for any automaker. Part of the problem is of Mazda's own making, with its "Zoom-Zoom" marketing. The automaker has cast itself as the fun-to-drive brand in a family sedan segment in which buyers don't care much about fun. Mazda has acknowledged as much and will seek to appeal to a wider array of car buyers with a more aggressive national advertising campaign for the new 6. PHOTOS: 2014 Mazda6 looks and drives the part The product should make the sales job easy.
OPINION
April 24, 2013
Re "A tax everyone can love," Opinion, April 21 If folks are leery of paying taxes to cover the actual costs of burning oil, there are two things they can do to mitigate the effects of the carbon tax that Doyle McManus discusses in his column. To start, our national fleet of vehicles is grossly inefficient. In 2012, the average fuel economy for new cars sold in the U.S. was about 24 miles per gallon. This problem is compounded by inefficient driving - hard accelerations, speeding and accelerating toward a stop rather than coasting.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2013 | By Charles Fleming
Gas prices are high at the pump and rising higher, and prospective motorcycle buyers -- especially first-time buyers -- often cite fuel efficiency as their No. 1 reason for wanting to swap four wheels for two. It's always a good swap, as far as mileage goes. Even the thirstiest gas-guzzling motorcycles get more miles per gallon than the most economical cars. Honda's road racing CBR1000RR gets a reported 41 mpg, for example, while a big beast like BMW's R1200GS gets close to 50 mpg. A powerful road bike like KTM's 1190 RC8 gets close to 40 mpg, as does a mid-range cruiser like the Moto Guzzi V7. But some motorcycles are really fuel efficient.
AUTOS
April 14, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Two of the biggest rivals in American industry - General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. - are again joining together to develop transmissions for their next generation of cars. The automakers said Sunday they will team to create nine-speed and 10-speed transmissions that will be smoother and more fuel efficient than the gearboxes currently in their cars and trucks. "Americans want smooth-shifting transmissions," said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for AutoPacific Inc., an industry consulting firm.
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