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Week In Review: Figures, Fears, Funds Drive Car Industry

By Joel Arellano | July 07, 2012
There's a saying that figures—or more specifically, numbers—rule the world. Think dollar signs here, or miles per gallon, not breast, waist, and hip sizes. Numbers figured prominently (see where we went there?) in this week's news, with automakers fearing Americans are abandoning the automobile altogether, to Ford's all-new C-Max crossover beating the Toyota Prius V in fuel economy. Monday, July 2 Paragraphimage When people don't have money, they tend not to buy things. And there's been a lot of reasons to be tight-fisted the past few years: economic slump, job loss, and student loans. Automakers are understandably concerned as consumers focus the few greenbacks they have on things like food and clothing instead of the latest profitable crossover or, better yet, SUV. But what really has them near panic is that Americans getting around just fine in their beat-up old vehicles, and maybe, just maybe, they don't need another car for the household. The horror! Tuesday, July 3 Paragraphimage Car enthusiasts hate car safety tech. Such nerdy stuff slows down their favorite pocket rockets like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the all-new Scion FR-S, and anything tagged the "Ultimate Driving Machine." But the average Jane, Joe, and their 2.5 offspring like such tech, and automakers bend over backwards, forwards, and even sideways to sell such geeky equipment lane departure detectors and adaptive headlights. Now a recent report by the NHTSA's Highway Loss Data Institute shows that almost all such tech actually works in keeping car occupants safe. That means automakers have even more incentive to make safer cars instead of wringing out more horsepower from the engine. Ugh. Wednesday, July 4 Paragraphimage Automotive.com celebrated America's birthday in covering the 2012 Trans American Muscle Bandit Freedom, a custom Chevrolet Camaro built by Trans American Bandit. TAM teamed up with the MobilityWorks Foundation, a non-profit organization that aids the disabled, and the California chapter of Disabled American Veterans, to build, promote, and ultimate benefit as the TAM Bandit Freedom sold on the Barret-Jackson auction block for $150,000. Automotive.com's own veteran Jason Davis wrote this moving piece. Thursday, July 5 Paragraphimage Toyota's pure hybrid lineup—Prius, Prius C, Prius V, and the plug-in Prius—just got its first serious competitor since the arrival of the all-new Honda Insight hybrid in 2010. Unlike Honda's offering, though, which the auto press ridiculed and the buying public passed on, the all-new Ford C-Max may give Toyota's hybrid juggernaut a pause: the C-Max beats the Prius V in fuel economy (47 mpg city/44 mpg hwy versus the V's 44 mpg city/40 mpg hwy); less expensive; more horsepower; and more room. You don't even have to touch C-Max's liftgate to open it! Open Sesame! Friday, July 6 Paragraphimage Our highlight of this week's Automotive.com blog posts ends with Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, a new series by Seinfield star Jerry Seinfield (remember him? Heck, remember the show?). Before you head over to the boobtube, the show's strictly online, which means hooking up that xBox -- or other game/DVD/Blu-ray/cable combo -- to that 50-inch hi-def television. Or learning to love your laptop or netbook (remember those?). Before you do, here's the premise of the series: Seinfield. Talking about comedy. With other comedians. In his car. As they get. Coffee. Still interested?
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