Articles Posted in Car Manufacturers

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Amid a decline in car production and sales in the United States, Ford recently made the announcement and is currently working on building its third car plant in China. As in any car plant, the production of vehicles that may be lemon cars subject to the Texas Lemon Law is inevitable.

The real question is whether the number of defective lemon cars produced at this new car plant will be disproportionately higher than Ford cars made in other plants or countries. It is a matter of quality control and I hope that this new China plant will be better than most products I have experienced with that comes from China. Lead and toxic chemicals in children toys come to mind…

This new third Ford car plant has the capacity to build approximately 145,000 to 150,000 cars each years. As speculation, a percentage of those cars may eventually enter into Texas’ stream of commerce.

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In September, I wrote about the comparison between the Chevrolet Aveo and Tata’s sub $3,000 car. Today, Tata unveiled what is to be currently known as the world’s cheapest car at the Auto Expo in New Deli, India.

The car is priced at $2,500 — the equivalent cost of a modern day laptop, computer desktop, scooter, a moped, or arguably a car that has been designated a Texas lemon car. Of course, for such a low price, one would have to sacrifice convenience features such as air conditioning, power steering, anti-lock brakes, and electric windows. For those who are concerned with the car’s gas efficiency…fret not, the car is estimated to achieve fifty to sixty (50-60) miles per gallon.

As to the answer to the million dollar question of this title? At this time, there would not be a Texas Lemon Law issue or any state lemon law issue in the United States. The reason is because the sub $3000 Tata vehicle is currently not available for sale in North America. Rumors have it that it will most likely not meet or pass US auto safety standards.

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Toyota has been a consistent reliable brand to drive, with diversified top selling models such as the Camry sedan, the subcompact Corolla, and the semi-environmentally conscious gas/electric hybrid Prius. Growing up, my family were loyal Toyota fans.

However, recently, I’ve noticed a sharp perceived decrease in the quality of Toyota vehicles. More recalls, more potential client calls under the Texas lemon law, more arbitrations with NCDS, and more complaints about car problems from acquaintances with preowned/used Toyota cars.

On Christmas day (Tuesday, December 25, 2007), Toyota announces that it plans to sell 9.85 million cars worldwide in 2008. According to most analysts, this figure is quite ambiguous due to concerns of a cooling U.S. auto market and a possible recession in the upcoming year.

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Almost less than four weeks before Thanksgiving, the Department of Defense (DOD) sponsored a robot car race. The winning robot car was an overly-accessorized Chevrolet Tahoe sports utility vehicle (SUV) with a brain of its own and the ability to drive itself on various roads and terrains.

Suffice to say, this robot SUV, unlike most of the other SUV cases I have handled, is clearly not a lemon. …At least not yet.

The vehicle was able to drive on its own without human intervention for approximately six hours for sixty miles. I must say, I am thoroughly impressed, because my recent road trip from Dallas to Houston, Texas was only 4 hours and it was quite a long and stressful drive. Having an affordable consumer friendly robot car that takes you to your desired destinations might be such a far-fetched notion any longer.

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Although not directly related to Texas Lemon Law, it indirectly will affect the way that GM negotiates future lemon law claims for settlement. This morning, GM posted its largest quarterly net loss primarily due to a $39 billion charge related to unclaimed tax credits.

In a nutshell, General Motors reported a net loss of $1.6 billion ($2.80 per share). Other reasons that attributed to the loss includes losses in GM’s other financially related companies such as GMAC and ResCap.

GM is currently considered the largest automaker in the United States. In this quarter, GM’s auto revenue reached $43.1 billion and it sold $2.39 million dollars worth of cars and trucks. For more information, go here.

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Recently, the new CEO of Chrysler, LLC, Bob Nardelli, has hinted that he intends to reduce five of Chrysler’s vehicle lineup. There are numerous speculation as to which models will meet its doom. However, suspicion is placed on the Pacifica, Dakota, Commander, and Compass.

As a lemon law attorney who handles defective car cases on a daily basis throughout the state of Texas, I personally would like to see the Chrysler 300 meet its fate on the guillotine. Don’t get me wrong, the car looks great, but there has been so many known issues with it.

Asked why Chrysler is eliminating some of its models, the company answers that several models overlap each other and has arguably self-competed/cannabilized against each other.

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How long does it take to drive across North America? If you are Alex Roy and Dave Maher, the answer is 31:04 . Last year, that was all it took for them to drive their 2000 BMW M5 from New York City’s Classic Car Club to Santa Monica pier in California.

Their M5 had relatively few mechanical alterations. The speed limiter, was removed and the exhaust, shocks and clutch and brakes were replaced. An addition 16 gallon fuel tank added. There were, however, numerous electronic additions including a Valentine 1 radar and laser detector, Blinder laser jammer system, a Garmin 2730, a Garmin 2650 (used as a speedometer and backup system), Uniden 7960 scanner, Uniden BCT8 analog scanner, Uniden BC396 digital handheld scanner (their primary scanner), Uniden Pro520XL CB radio, L3 night vision system (thermal camera mounted in the car’s grill with an Alpine display in the cabin), Whalen siren and sound package with red, white, green, and blue strobes (front and back). In addition to all this in car equipment, they also had a spotter plane overhead watching for police activity and speed traps.

This was not some impulse trip. Alex Roy spent two years mapping out his route on Google Earth and marking detours, construction areas and speed traps. They took Vitamin Water, energy drinks and bars and nutritional supplements with them. Since stopping for bathroom breaks would have wasted precious time, they included a box of TravelJohns. Trip cost was about $150,000 (not including man hours).

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Last week, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released the results of tests to evaluate how well midsize SUVs (sports utility vehicles) protect their contents from front and side impacts. Here in Dallas, it seems that almost everyone drives an SUV of some size — so, this testing was quite welcome.

Frontal safety was determined from examining injury (as modeled by a Hybrid III test dummy) and the amount of intrusion into the vehicle’s occupant compartment during a 40 mph offset front crash. In the case of side safety, a side impact was simulated by a mobile barrier impacting the vehicles with an object at 31 mph.

The models evaluated were the: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Xterra, Toyota 4Runner, and Ford Explorer. All these models received a rating of “good” for frontal crash protection with the exception of the TrailBlazer which was rated “acceptable”.
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Continuing on with the theme of cars that perform beyond the call of duty, today we look at a particular Toyota Hilux. Top Gear, a BBC automotive show, recently set out to test the commonly held belief that Toyota trucks are extremely durable. Top Gear is known for its creative and entertaining tests and this case was no exception.

The staff purchased a Toyota Hilux Diesel with 190,000 miles on it for approximately $2000. The vehicle had some body rust and was battered, but functioned well. They subjected this truck to numerous abuses.

First they drove it around Brsitol, sideswiped a stone wall and drove it into a tree. After prying the fender back, they kept on driving and tethered the truck onto the beach at low tide. The tide came in, the truck broke loose and was completely submerged. It was completely water logged and covered in silt. A mechanic working with only basic tools was able to get the truck drivable again in an hour (they did replace the windshield for safety).

Following the attempt to drown it, Top Gear ran the truck through a shed and dropped a caravan trailer on top of it and hit it with a wrecking ball. The truck sustained further body damage but was still functioning. Finally, they set the truck on fire. Even after this, once the fire burnt itself out, they were able to drive the truck into their set.

 

 

This has not been the show’s only encounter with the Hilux. In 2007, two presenters from the show became the first people to drive an automobile to the Magnetic north Pole (as determined by the 1996 measurement).
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When you buy a new car, how long should you expect it to last? If you purchased a new car and it is a defective lemon and you are negotiating with the manufacturer for a settlement, the issue of how much value you have received from the car will arise. Simply put, for this purpose under the Texas lemon law, a car’s lifetime is presumed to be 120,000 miles.

In other words, if you used a car for 12,000 miles, then you have “used up” 1/10 the value of the car. In reality, there are more details that factor in, such as the first time you had a problem with the car. Ignoring this, we can broadly figure that the manufacturer expects the car to last 120,000 miles.

In the past, it might have been expected for a car to only last that long, but many modern cars can easily make it further. Currently, the US Department of Transportation reports that the lifespan of a car is 12 years and/or 128,000 miles. John Ibbotson, a supervisor with Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, says that this figure is so low because of failure of some owners to properly maintain their vehicles. With proper maintenance, you new car might easily make it to 200,000 miles.
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