Canadian Auto Makers Show Support for Movember

Posted by jg on November 10th, 2014 in Category Charity News, News from Canada (no responses)

Movember madness is in full effect and Canadian car makers are facing off to fight prostate cancer.

Inside the Chrysler assembly plant, a wall is lined with 134 plaques bearing the name of an employee who passed away before retirement.

“We also have a wall for our retirees,” said Wayne North, union lead at the plant, “but not everybody makes that wall.”

The issue of men’s health hits home for North in a number of ways. Aside from the “scares” his brother-in-law has had with prostate cancer, North spends his days working in a factory of 3,000 people, average age 47. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in 38 men are diagnosed with the disease between the ages of 40 and 59 , and North says it’s not uncommon to encounter co-workers going through scares of their own.

North himself was “stubborn” about getting tested before he got involved with the Movember campaign five years ago. Now he spends the month encouraging his co-workers to get a checkup as part of captaining the Chrysler Brampton Assembly Plant’s Movember team. As with many men around the world, he’ll be growing a mustache in November as part of the campaign to promote men’s health issues.

Last year, he and his co-workers raised $7,500, finishing third in the Great Canadian Auto Challenge, a network of 2,292 participants spanning every brand, dealership, manufacturing plant and service centre in Canada’s automotive industry.

Canada has been a major contributor to the international Movember fundraising campaign since its launch here in 2007, finishing top among all countries the past three years (excluding funds matched by other governments). Movember Canada raised a combined total of $33.9-million in the 2013 campaign..

“The Great Canadian Auto Challenge officially started last year, and it was a result of seeing so many companies reaching out to us, so much enthusiasm within that industry, and a few leaders … wanting to showcase the greater industry’s effort through a challenge,” said Jeff Lohnes, business engagement manager of Movember Canada.

In its first year competing, the auto sector finished third behind the oil and gas industry and the financial services community by raising $401,022.

“It’s just a hyper-competitive environment, and I think Movember likes to see the hyper-competitiveness put toward a good cause such as prostate cancer awareness,” said Steve Kisic, an after-sales operations co-ordinator for Mercedes Benz Canada, and captain of the “Mo’cedes Benz Canada” team. Kisic led his dealership to victory last year by raising $15,000, which was matched by Mercedes Benz Canada. Honda workers at dealerships and plants raised close to $14,000.

“Movember made a trophy for the automotive competition, which we have right now in our trophy case, and we really want to keep it this year,” Kisic said. “There are a few members of our team who have been affected one way or another – maybe their father or brother or husband – and they really spearheaded the competition.”

The Brampton Assembly Plant has set an optimistic goal of $10,000 this year.

Read the full story here.

New Car Seat Finder Tool Helps Parents Select Right Car Seats for their Children

Posted by jg on September 24th, 2014 in Category Car News, News from the USA (no responses)

A new federal push to reduce childhood injuries and deaths on the roads came from the stark and unfortunate facts that every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash and more than a third of children killed in crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. As part of the initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched safety tools and a registration campaign to increase car seat safety.

The launch of these tools corresponded with Child Passenger Safety Week (September 14 – 20).

The new Car Seat Finder Tool not only helps parents and caregivers  select the right car seat or booster seat, based on age and size of child, but the ability to easily look up recalls. The “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today” campaign, the agency said, encourages parents and caregivers to register their child’s car seat so manufacturers know how to notify them of a recall and how to receive the free fix.

“Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense by ensuring they are selecting the right car seat, registering it, and using it correctly for every trip,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

The agency noted that in 2014 it pushed manufacturers to recall seats with defective buckles and to ensure that owners received a replacement buckle at no cost. The agency’s efforts, it said, led to the recall of more than 7.4 million car seats, but on average only 40 percent of people get their car seat fixed.

“That’s in comparison to an average of 75 percent for light vehicles, for which registration is required by law,” NHTSA said.

“Regardless of age or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt that is installed correctly and free from safety defects,” David Friedman, the agency’s deputy administrator said in a statement. “The first step for a parent is finding the right seat and our new Car Seat Finder Tool helps sort through the numerous options in car seats to ensure they’re making the best choices for their child passengers.”

Read the full story here.

The Next Generation of Volt is Here

Posted by jg on August 7th, 2014 in Category Car News, Go Green (no responses)

GM’s Volt was a smash success on the auto market, so much so that they decided to make the next generation.  General Motors will show the next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in at the Detroit auto show in January, Chevy’s top marketer said today.

Tim Mahoney, Chevy’s global chief marketing officer, disclosed the plans at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. He also revealed a teaser photo that showed the redesigned 2016 Volt’s rear badge and a more sculpted decklid.

The next-gen Volt is expected to arrive in showrooms sometime in late 2015. GM will add a third seat in the rear and downsize to a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, from the current 1.4-liter four-cylinder, sources have told Automotive News.

GM has sold more than 65,000 Volts since it went on sale in December 2010, making it the top selling U.S. plug-in car, GM said in a statement today.

Still, sales volumes have fallen short of the company’s initial expectations. Former CEO Dan Akerson had initially projected production of 60,000 Volts in 2012 alone.

This year through July, GM sold 10,635 Volts, down 9 percent from a year earlier. Sales dipped 2 percent last year, to 23,094.

GM said nearly 70 percent of buyers who trade in another vehicle for a Volt are coming out of non-GM brands, which is a high conquest rate. The majority of those trade-ins are Toyota Prius hybrids, GM said.

The Volt is powered by energy from its 435-pound battery pack for an estimated range of 38 miles. Once the charge is depleted, the gasoline-powered engine kicks on to power the electric drivetrain.  The Volt was one of the top cars in its market last year and will continue to stay on top with this new generation.

Read full article here 

McLaren Announces P1 GTR To be Displayed in August

Posted by jg on July 28th, 2014 in Category Car News, Uncategorized (no responses)

If you have ever played any racing game, you know how incredible the McLaren is.  McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche have all come out with their hybrid-powered hypercars, vehicles that boast the bleeding edge of what is possible with today’s road-car technology. The next step, at least in the case of McLaren and Ferrari, is to push that bleeding edge just a hair further, with even faster, more focused versions of the P1 and LaFerrari. At the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, McLaren will be the first to give us a glimpse of that boundary-pushing machine.

The British automaker has announced that the P1 GTR Design Concept will make its global debut smack dab in the middle of Monterey’s legendary car week, with the veil lifting on Friday, August 15 at 6:00 PM EST.

McLaren doesn’t go into many specifics here, simply calling the P1 GTR a track-focused variant of the P1, which we kind of already knew. Based on what we can see from the lone teaser sketch, the new model will have a much more dramatic aerodynamic presence than the street model, with a massive rear wing and a huge rear diffuser. Sandwiched between those two items are a pair of exhaust tips that wouldn’t look out of place on the deck of your average battleship. Carbon fiber should feature prominently, with a few exposed sections of the stuff visible in the teaser image.  This beautiful concept car won’t be out for a few years, but just the thought gets everyone who loves fast cars excited.

Read full article here

Aging Population of America’s Cars

Posted by jg on June 10th, 2014 in Category Car News (no responses)

Cars in America aren’t getting any younger. The average age has remained over 10 years old.

The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the U.S. was 11.4 years as of Jan. 1, same as the year before, says IHS Automotive and its Polk subsidiary. That’s still at the highest levels since Polk started tracking it

For another year, that’s a record level — and now trucks have hit the same level as cars.

“In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road,” says Mark Seng, director of aftermarket solutions at IHS Automotive, in a statement. “This year, we’re seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years.”

The nation’s cars and trucks are collectively aging even as auto sales have blossomed to levels that haven’t been seen in almost a decade.

Read the full article here.

Fuel Economy Slowly Improving

Posted by jg on May 8th, 2014 in Category Car News (no responses)

Good news for SUV drivers, their vehicles are getting better fuel economy than ever before, according to a study released at the end of April.

Over half of the vehicles sold this year deliver over 23 mpg, with one in nine topping 30 mpg, the study showed.

Even some traditional gas guzzlers are now yielding mileage once considered a stretch for small cars, industry and government data reveals, though automakers still face a stretch achieving the 54.5 mpg target facing them in 2025, observers warn.

“This has been remarkable,” said Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America, which has been tracking fuel economy trends for over a decade. After years of relatively stagnant mileage, the increased federal fuel economy rules passed in 2005 have been paying off, he said, calling it a “great example” of how industry can respond to mandates backed by public support.

Observers expect to see increased use of alternative fuels and propulsion systems, including battery power, hydrogen fuel-cells and diesels, as well as advanced gas engines, more efficient transmissions, improved aerodynamics and vehicle “lightweighting” and downsizing.

Read the full article here.

Humans Replace Robots at Toyota

Posted by jg on April 15th, 2014 in Category Car News (no responses)

For decades, Toyota has been a leader in implementing new technology on the plant floor
But now the automotive company has decided to take a step back from robotics.

It’s happening at Toyota’s plants across Japan, reports Bloomberg News, and the idea behind it is as innovative as the move 30 years ago to replace humans with robots:

The only way to improve processes and promote more thinking about efficiency is to put people back in charge of making things. The goal is to create a more efficient car production line.

“We need to become more solid and get back to basics, to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them,” Mitsuru Kawai, a decades-long Toyota employee tapped to promote craftsmanship tells Bloomberg. “When I was a novice, experienced masters used to be called gods, and they could make anything.”

The notion of putting people back in charge of making things is counterintuitive because robots have become so effective at doing repetitive tasks with absolute precision. Most auto assembly plants, like many manufacturing facilities in general these days, are dominated by them. But while they are great at doing things, they can’t think. They can’t suggest or find ways of improvement. Without a human hand to guide them, machines simply aren’t capable of keeping up.

Read the whole article here.

Charity Bike Ride Halted by Theft

Posted by jg on August 1st, 2013 in Category Charity News, News from Canada (no responses)

News like this is really sad and frustrating! A man riding his bicycle across Canada for a charity has received a surly welcome in Winnipeg. His bicycle was stolen on Wednesday night in the 800 block of Leila Avenue.

Winnipeg police said the bike is a dark blue touring bike with silver accents and the word ‘Napoli’ written on the frame. There were two black/grey saddle bags on the rear of the bike and one on the front.

Bike owner Anas Cheema was travelling through Winnipeg on his fundraising ride for SOS Children’s Villages charity, an international charity helping orphaned and abandoned children. Cheema said he has served as a volunteer with the organization in Pakistan. His trip started in Victoria, B.C., on June 14 and was expected to conclude in St. John’s, Nfld.

Read the full story here.

Band Focuses on Charity and Music

Posted by jg on July 11th, 2013 in Category Charity News (no responses)

We love seeing local bands support charity and this is the perfect mix. The band Rhino Halo has organized a diabetes fund raiser to support two of its members who are affected by diabetes. The evening will include a series of musical sets, a bit of comedy between each one, and a silent auction — all to support the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Read the full story here.

Local NHL Stars Supporting Charity

Posted by jg on June 17th, 2013 in Category Charity News (no responses)

Hockey fans who just can’t get enough hockey in June might want to make the trip to the CIH (Canadian International Hockey) Arena in Rockland Sunday afternoon to see, and mingle with, many of the top area pros in the second annual Kevin Lalande Foundation Hockey Classic.

Lalande, the former Belleville Bulls netminder and Calgary Flames draft (fifth round, 2005), has played the last three seasons in the KHL in Russia, the last two with Minsk Dynamo.