Why Going Into An Eco-Friendly Car Is Not Easy

It’s a well-known fact that cars are responsible for a good deal of the world’s air pollution. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) State Transportation Statistics 2011, there are 130.9 million registered automobiles in the U.S. alone. In their National Household Travel Survey, the DOT shows that daily travel in the U.S. averages 11 billion miles, close to 40 miles per person every day. And with each mile, more and more greenhouse gases are released into the environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that transportation is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., responsible for 27% of the country’s emissions. More than half of this comes from passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks, despite increasingly strict regulations being placed on vehicle emissions.

In an effort to “go green” and reduce these harmful exhaust emissions, many people are trading in their gasoline-powered vehicles for electric ones. Electric vehicles (EVs) are equipped with a battery-powered electric motor, rather than an internal combustion engine found in conventional vehicles. The result is a car that produces zero exhaust emissions. But are they always really better for the environment?

EVs must be plugged into an electrical source to charge, which in turn increases the amount of electricity needing to be generated and distributed. The problem is, more than 70% of the country’s electricity comes from burning coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels, making electricity production responsible for 34% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, the largest contributor in the U.S. So, while driving an EV produces zero exhaust emissions, charging it will.

Whether or not driving an EV is better for the environment really depends on the primary source of electricity in your area. In addition to coal and natural gas, electricity is also generated through nuclear sources and renewable resources, such as hydroelectricity, wind, biomass, and solar, which produce little or no emissions. If coal or natural gas is the main source of your electricity, you may be producing just as much or more emissions by charging your EV as you would if you were driving a petroleum-powered vehicle. On the other hand, the amount of emissions you are responsible for will be significantly less if the primary source of your electricity is a renewable resource.

America’s Power, sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, provides a list showing the sources of electricity for each state. Some of the worst states, when it comes to emissions resulting from electricity production, are Oklahoma (90% coal and natural gas), West Virginia (96% coal), and Rhode Island (98% natural gas). Charging your EV in these states may result in an increase of emissions.

The best states for driving an EV are going to be those relying heavily on renewable resources for electricity production. States like Oregon (80% renewables), Washington (87% renewables), and Idaho (92% renewables) will produce the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions while charging your EV, allowing you to truly go green.

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Transitioning From East Coast to West: Some Hot Tips

So you just moved to La from the East Coast. You and about a million others, am I right? It’s a well known destination for those looking to escape the horrors of New England winters. The endless sun and opportunities entice even the coldest darkest hearts of North Easterners. But driving across the nation with your worldly possessions within your Subaru is actually all well and good, but when you get here, you’ll wish to fit in without delay. You’ll desire to be one with all the lifestyle that is certainly SoCal lifestyle. Mostly dissimilarities, although there are a few similarities. Here’s the basics of what you should know about your new life.

Your Wheels

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First, of all, your Subaru was cool back home, having its AWD and ability to handle even the most inclement of weather. But friend, there’s no inclement weather here. When it rains, it’s a period of time for rejoicing because of the epic drought we’re having actually. So, when investing in to LA, you must trade that gramma car in for something more LA. You can find a lot of great used cars in Los Angeles, you don’t need to get something brand-new or anything. You can trade that Subbie in at Downtown Nissan for a nice sleek Xterra or Maxima, something with power, sleek lines, and the ability to show those close to you that you are within LA for any reason, you are on a mission, and nobody is going to stop you.

Goodbye Super Market

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You’re probably used to going to the super market and getting all of the supplies you need to make various meals, in the semi-routine type fashion. That sounds nice. Well, forget it. When you’re in LA, there is so much cheap and delicious food options probably right around your very home, that there’s almost no need at all to go shopping. Just get someone else to make you lunch and dinner every day. You won’t really be spending more money than you otherwise would be and you’ll save time, get away from home, and be an authentic Angelino quickly. May I recommend the taco trucks and pretty much every other truck that you could come across.

Windows Open All Through The Year

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The best thing about LA is that you may keep your windows in your car and your home open all through the year. A lot of people still need air conditioning and fine, if you’re in the Valley, I get it. But if you’re in Hollywood or about the east side, you can really get by with having those windows open year round. It’s amazing to have that natural air waft through on the lazy January afternoon when you’re accustomed to shivering even under a cover inside. Also, you can have screens, but you really don’t have to, because there are no bugs there, either. No mosquitoes! Can you imagine? Well you don’t have to, you may live this dream life here in Los Angeles, of natural warmth and airwarmth and bliss all year long.

Levelling It Up With Advanse Defensive Driving

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According to the National Safety Council, a preventable accident “is one in which the driver failed to do everything that reasonably could have been done to avoid the crash.” Experts agree that driving defensively is your best bet at making sure a crash, collision, or accident doesn’t happen to you. We’ve already discussed the basic concepts behind defensive driving, which include scanning and visualizing everything, having an escape route, and not becoming distracted. Now let’s consider some more advanced, preventive measures a responsible driver can take to avoid a potentially life-threatening crash.

Maintain Your Car

Regular maintenance on your car significantly helps its road performance, especially in potentially hazardous driving situations. You can’t drive a car defensively if its tires are in need of air, windows, rearview mirror, and signal lights are dirty, and brake pads are worn to shreds. Here are a few steps you should take to keep your car running safely and efficiently:

Check Your Tires Make sure your tire pressure is where it should be. The recommended pressure for your car’s tires will be in your owner’s manual or in the driver’s side door jamb. When it comes to purchasing new tires, take into account the weather in your part of the country. Four snow tires total is the safest way to go if you anticipate driving in snow and ice.

Align Your Tires If while driving your car seems to drift to one side or the steering wheel vibrates, you may need to have the tires aligned. Alignment actually refers to a car’s suspension, which can move out of alignment over time due to normal driving, a minor accident, or bumping against a curb. Check your owner’s manual to see how often your car’s manufacturer recommends aligning your car’s tires. Alignment helps to insure better handling, which is crucial for good defensive driving, as well as better gas mileage.

Clean Your Car A dirty windshield or rearview mirror will prevent you from scanning and visualizing the road for potential dangers. And grimy signal lights or head lights will prevent other drivers from seeing you in bad weather or at night, which pretty much negates any effort you make to be a good defensive driver.

Change Your Brake Pads If when braking, you hear squeaking or grinding, your brake pads may be worn out and in need of replacement. Knowing how and when to brake, especially in inclement weather, is a crucial skill for defensive driving. If you have an antilock brake system and need to stop in on an icy road, stomp on the pedal and when you feel the system’s pulses or hear it working, ease up a bit on the pedal until it’s only pulsing about once a second. If you don’t have ABS, you should push the brake hard and when the wheels stop turning, lift your foot so the wheels turn and rapidly press the brake again.

Other Advanced Defensive Driving Tips

Yield, Move, Get Out Of The Way Driving defensively for the most part involves avoiding overly aggressive drivers. It may be frustrating to just step aside in order to give a bad driver room to do whatever they want, but it is the safest thing to do, not only for yourself but for everyone else on the road. When you encounter a speeding driver pressuring you to go faster, move into another lane, even if it means going slower. As a defensive driver, accept the fact that you may have to sacrifice your right of way in order to avoid a speeding ticket or collision.

Plan a Route To avoid a time-consuming and potentially dangerous drive, plan out your route out in advance based on current weather, traffic, and road conditions. Local websites, radio, and even iPhone apps can provide you with the information you need before you hit the road and find yourself navigating road construction or an end-of-the-week traffic jam.

Take a Course There’s nothing wrong with taking a driving course to brush up your skills, even if you’ve been driving for years. The AARP even offers a very inexpensive driver safety course in both classroom and online environments. Check with your agent to see if completing a driving course will give you discount on your car insurance or on roadside assistance plans.

Getting More Business With Your Existing Business

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Are you interested in:

• Attracting new customers;

• Reinforcing loyalty of current ­customers;

• Increasing your business’ visibility in the community;

• Adopting a proven marketing program to increase business;

• Engaging your technicians in a rewarding and fun event; and

• Getting a leg up on your competition?

Assuming this is a no-brainer, read on to learn how the Car Care Council can help you easily and affordably achieve these objectives.

There is a perfect storm brewing out there that offers independent repair shops a great opportunity to grow their business:

• Gas prices are rising;

• The average vehicle is older than ever before;

• Car owners are hanging onto their vehicles longer; and

• Car owners are deferring maintenance for ­economic reasons.

As a result of these factors, consumers are ­desperately looking for ways to keep their vehicles safer, dependable and fuel efficient longer.

This is why National Car Care Month in April is the ideal time for repair shops to help consumers see the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance. Central to National Car Care Month are community car care events that feature free vehicle check-ups or inspections.

While consumers don’t like mandatory state safety and emissions inspections, they love these free check-ups. Research from focus groups, ­surveys, Facebook comments and interviews at events continually reinforce the popularity of the events.

The events are not intended to be selling events, but rather free, non-threatening opportunities for consumers and technicians, shop and store owners and managers to interact. They are educational and promote goodwill in the community. However, the bottom line is that in almost every situation, the businesses that host an event see an immediate spike in traffic, sales and service. After all, if a consumer could talk to a doctor for 15 minutes free of charge, who is that consumer likely to call when they need to make an appointment?

Repair shops can greatly benefit by getting involved in National Car Care Month. It’s when the Car Care Council focuses the tremendous attention of the media and consumers on the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance and repair.

Getting involved is easy and inexpensive. Shops can participate in many ways, and at whatever level they are comfortable with. A shop could hang a banner over a bay and invite current and prospective customers to stop by for a free inspection and pick up a free Car Care Guide. Shops can partner with other shops or parts stores or with their WD or jobber to host an event with the free vehicle check-up. A video from the Council can walk you through the event process, showcasing various events from around the country with testimonials from shop owners, distributors and consumers. You can view the video at www.carcareindustry.com. The Council will provide the information for planning and organization, as well as the marketing and promotional materials.

Many shops go all out involving a local radio station to broadcast from the event. Others arrange for race team show cars or vintage cars to be on display. Local or state police are eager to host demonstrations on the proper installation of child safety seats. While car owners are waiting for or finished with their vehicle check-ups performed by technicians, they enjoy visiting the tables with samples of dirty oil and fluids, worn wiper blades, hoses and belts, worn tires, dirty filters and other items.

Moon bounces, car washes, refreshments from local restaurants and much more can make a community car care event a real success for businesses that host them. I will be happy to send you the names and contact information of dozens of shop owners who host events every year. Contact me at rich.white@aftermarket.org.

For more information on how to get involved in National Car Care Month and how to host a community car care event, visit www.carcareindustry.com.

There is no better time to reach out to consumers to take better care of their vehicles. Maintenance neglect has been on the rise. In fact, $62 billion in service and parts went unperformed last year. That’s a heck of a lot of business left on the table.

Results of community car care event vehicle inspections last April and October revealed that 82% of the vehicles that went through the inspection lanes failed because they needed a new part(s) or service performed.

National Car Care Month is the time to remind everyone that the automotive aftermarket is the industry that keeps America on the road. It’s the time to remind everyone about our industry’s huge contribution to the economy, vehicle performance and safety, energy use, the environment and society overall.

So get on board the National Car Care Month bandwagon and help your business at the same time.

Car Shopping Today

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Sometimes, you just fall in love quickly and you simply know that it’s right. Other times, you have to reach really get to know a car before realizing it’s the choice for you. But don’t know yet precisely what you’re searching for, don’t give up hope that you can have a car you will really enjoy, if you’re starting the procedure of looking for a new car. Often it just takes a little time.

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The best thing that you can do when you aren’t sure which car you really want, is always to visit a dealerships’ website. Check out the different models they carry. Think about what your needs will be in a vehicle. Is that this a work car or perhaps a personal car? Are you going to be hauling your children to soccer games? Do your grandparents need so that you can easily get in and out of the car? Do you drive long distances for work and worry about fuel useage? There are lots of questions you can contemplate to help you define the choices, which may sometimes seem limitless. Once you’ve started to narrow the scope, you can visit a local dealership, like San Bernardino Ford or Fairview Ford. There, a salesperson can help you take a look at specific vehicles, letting you sit in them, test drive them, and groing through specifications of each one that will help you decide the things you do and do not like. For most of us, this will help them to slowly pick a car they love. You could possibly test drive one and realize that you just can’t see out of it well. You might sit in another and see that it doesn’t have the auxiliary input you need and soon you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

Going Through Advisory Board Torch

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Many of you reading this have probably bumped elbows with Al Duebber at one time or another.

In fact, in the automotive service and repair industry, it would almost be hard not to.

Duebber, as you may know, is the founder of Duebber’s Automotive, a nine-bay automotive repair shop that includes a full-service gas station and convenient store in Cincinnati, OH.

In the past 40 years, Duebber has been active in industry organizations. He’s served as vice chairman for the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and has served on the board of trustees for National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).

He’s been ASE-certified as a service consultant (level C1) and an Accredited Automotive Manager through the Automotive Management Institute. And his shop, which won the 2004 CARQUEST Excellence Award, was one of the first service centers in the country to be recognized by ASE as a Blue Seal of Excellence facility.

Besides his service in various automotive repair organizations, Duebber also has served as an advisory board member for Underhood Service since the magazine was founded back in 1995.

Many of you know Duebber retired late last year, and handed the reins over to his son Marc. We’re proud to have Marc continue the Duebber ­tradition of serving on our advisory board that is used for advice on article ideas and trends in the industry, as well as assistance in completing ­surveys or questionnaires about the industry for our research needs.

And, look for profiles of our other helpful advisory board members in upcoming issues of this magazine. We take this opportunity to thank them for their service in providing content ideas that helps us generate a beneficial magazine to you, our readers.

Hennessey Escalade, What You Need To KNOW

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The Cadillac Escalade will not be an understated auto. Actually, the Cadillac Escalade can be as far removed from ‘understated’ as David Moyes is today taken from ‘gainful employment’.

But it seems that will still be people who find the huge, stainless-toothed Escalade a little too… demure for luxurious preferences, as the good people at Hennessey Functionality – yep, them associated with the 270mph Venom – have considering the substantial SUV a bit more.

About 32 % much more, to be precise. Through incorporating a buckle-powered supercharger, new intercooler and software, the 6.2-litre V8 in Hennessey’s Escalade now constitutes a instead scary 557bhp and 542lb feet of torque, up from your regular V8 Escalade’s pitiful 420bhp and 460lb ft.

It’s safe to say acceleration should be lightly harrowing, even with the Escalade’s 2.5-tonnekerbweight against you, although no official -60mph time.

On the visual side, Hennessey has added a set of 20-inch forged alloys, though surprisingly has steered clear of treating the Escalade to a bodykit. Not a car, this is possibly because adding any more cladding to an Escalade would require it to be legally classified as a dwelling.

“The Escalade is the perfect system to get a Hennessey infusion of horsepower,” states HPE boss John Hennessey. “I consider making this our up coming family hauler for the five teens and four Labrador Retrievers…”

Here is hoping someone’s well informed the Labradors of the prepare. Now, will it be just us, or perhaps is there anything somewhat fantastic in the Hennessey Escalade’s dedication to overkill?

Making Your Dollars Go Further

People need to figure out ways to stretch out our cash a little more proper? Here are some some, wonderful and weird instead fairly intense types of saving cash; but when it comes to saving money it is wise to understand that “every very little helps”.

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If you manage to conserve a $ a day you’ll have saved 365 bucks after the season – how can that audio? Think about multiplying that by 5, ten and even 20?

• Stop washing your hair – well, not completely, but don’t wash it quite so often. Most hairstylists will actually agree (individuals who don’t get great commission payment on promoting pricey brand name hair shampoos) that rather than cleaning your hair every single day you can switch and wash it merely once weekly. Your own hair may experience oily at first nevertheless it magically oversees on its own to generate less oil so quite quickly your hair will really feel shiny and fresh. You will save cash on shampoo, money on boiling water and lots of valuable time.

• Do not clip coupon codes – so now you consider I’ve went bonkers but hear me out. Coupons can motivate anyone to purchase points on impulse you don’t really need, will not actually use and would never have bought with no $ away from promotion. Yep, they could really encourage anyone to spend more money dollars as an alternative to much less. As an alternative to employing a voucher over a known as manufacturer item just go for the universal companies which can be less costly in the first place and quite often every bit as good.

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• Don’t flush really so often – there are actually policies concerning this one even so. If it’s yellow it’s okay to leave it mellow but if it happens to be brown then it needs flushing immediately down. You obtain my drift?

• Bath (or bathe) using a buddy – it is a fun and extremely efficient way of conserving drinking water which results in saving cash. Select your close friend cautiously.

• Save the condiment packets – if you do happen to save enough money to eat out occasionally don’t forget to save the condiment packs – ketchup, mayo, mustard – save them all. Drive them house, pop them from the family fridge and you’ll never have to get an additional package as long as you reside which, in our residence is a reasonably conserving. Are you aware exactly how much ketchup is laundered aside together with the dishes each day? Precisely.

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If you mix with likeminded people, • Keep away from the big spenders – that doesn’t mean ditch your successful or rich friends, it just means it is easier to be thrifty and save money. If you hang around with big spenders you will spend more yourself, it stands to reason. If you have an extremely thrifty good friend it may inspire anyone to do also – you could potentially even help it become into some kind of competition.

If you don’t even have to turn the stove on to cook them you’ll be saving money on your utilities too, • Eat a raw food diet – obviously this doesn’t mean meat but it is true that vegetables are a much cheaper option, and. Okay, so the concept of transforming veggie may well not appeal to you but how regarding the newest tendency which happens to be making the rounds – meats free of charge Mondays. Eating 1 meats free of charge meal weekly could save you dollars.

Now that you’ve trained yourself to be frugal and save up your dollars in these weird and wonderful ways it won’t be long before you’ve saved up a pot of cash to treat yourself to a nice new motor. At Nissan Moreno Valley they have got a bit of excellent deals available. I am joking of course – no I am not – have a look at Metro Nissan Redlands.

Get To Know The New Mercedes-Benz SL 40

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Stuttgart – The SL Roadster household from Mercedes-Benz is raring to choose a brand new generator. The SL 400 is now endowed by using a six-cylinder biturbo generate process. Even with half a litre much less displacement the productivity has increased by 20 kW (27 hp). Additionally you will find 110 newton metres far more torque at its convenience. The buying price of the SL 400 starts from 97,282.50 euros (for that German market incl. 19Percent VAT).

As being an automotive icon the Mercedes-Benz SL combines accomplished motoring in the top level with superb style. Constructed almost totally from aluminium, the roadster also sets the standards inside the class of high-class roadsters using its many practical improvements. Not failing to remember the SL is completely suited to every day use thanks to its retractable vario-roof structure. It is then the all-rounder among sports activities autos.

Contrary to its predecessor, the SL 400 is not really installed by using a normally aspirated generator. As an alternative it features a half a dozen-tube system with two turbochargers. Even though its displacement is lowered to three litres, the biturbo drive process builds up a higher whole-fill production potential using a charge stress of 1.8 nightclub, and facilitates an extremely higher torque of 480 newton metres at very low generator rates. It achieves 20 kW over the SL 350.

Its torque increases by 110 newton metres and is available in the generator velocity selection of 1600 to 4000 rpm. In addition to the effective six-tube matches the EU6 pollutants normal.

Like several BlueDIRECT petroleum motors the biturbo engine in the new SL 400 also works with a primary injections system with mist-well guided combustion, which Mercedes-Benz was the very first auto maker to supply in series generation. The system pressure is up to 200 bar, the pressure being variably optimised according to the engine’s mapping. Piezo injectors enable optimum mix formation with up to 5 shots every potential cerebrovascular event. The third-era primary injections is compounded by rapid multi-ignite ignition, MSI. How it operates: Pursuing the first kindle release and a brief combustion time, the coil is recharged really rapidly plus a further more kindle is dismissed. The MSI program permits as much as several sparks to be discharged in succession in 1 millisecond, making a plasma having a greater spatial development than typical ignition.

The speedy multiple-spark ignition may be managed to vary both timing of your sets off as well as the combustion time period to suit the relevant functioning point. This supplies extent for optimising the center of combustion and increased recurring fuel compatibility. The effect of this is outstanding utilisation of your gasoline with bare minimum pollutants.

The SL 400 now offers two remarkable enhancements as normal: the special Frontbass system designed by Mercedes-Benz transforms the posh sports vehicle in to a show hallway, if the top is all around, and the highly successful MAGIC VISION Handle clean/clean program requires normal water in the wiper blade to the windscreen as essential and irrespective of the course of wash.

Image: Mercedes-Benz

(Apr 07, 2014)

The Ups and Downs Of The 2014 Beijing Auto Show

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BEIJING – More than twenty million people live in China’s capital, and about one-tenth of them somehow managed to score press credentials for media day Sunday. A couple of Lincoln Motor Company execs referred to this as the world’s biggest auto show. The Easter Day press day offered no contradictions. (Disclosure: I was one of a group of auto journalists Lincoln brought over for the show). It was tough to get through the maddening crowd, but it’s a reminder that contrary to so many predictions about the end of the automobile, there remains more than sufficient interest here in the Land of Pent-Up Demand. This is what I saw.

HIT – Volkswagen NMC Concept

About an inch shorter than the production Volkswagen Jetta, the NMC has good proportions and works better than the VW (Passat) CC or the Mercedes-Benz CLA-class. With a less-rakish roofline compared with the very popular Benz, the NMC looks like it has a fairly useful back seat, and if you’re going to compromise that back seat anyway, it makes sense to do it with the compact version of the MBQ platform rather than the slightly larger, European Passat platform. The interior quality and materials are better than in the Mercedes CLA, and I’ll predict VW will have a starting price of several thousand less, in the mid-$20s. On its Beijing stand, the NMC looked ready to go, probably within a year. If Volkswagen offers it with its 2.0-liter turbo four and a stick, it could put the new Audi A3 on the trailer.

QUALIFIED HIT – Volkswagen Golf R400

Who can argue with a 395-horsepower version of VW’s all-wheel-drive hot hatch? Not me, though I thought the yellow trim, subtle on the side, was a bit much extending through the front fascia, and the elaborate carbon-fiber-trimmed rear diffuser with the big dual chrome exhaust tips was too boy racer. VW, unpimp our ride.

MISS – 2015 Volkswagen Touareg

I walked right past this facelifted SUV when going from the NMC to the R400 and had to search carefully to find it again. The front clip appears new, and there are interior changes, but it’s not enough for this aging model. A big, expensive, capable off-roader with two rows of seats, the niche model confuses VW’s latest image in the U.S.

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MISS – Lexus NX

Sorry, this one is far too easy. We skewered the LF-NX concept Lexus on which this is based at Frankfurt last year. Why should we be surprised that the production version of this over-designed piece of steel origami isn’t any better? This is what you get when you overreact to years of criticism for bland, copycat design. Lexus styling, its grilles especially, is giving the Acura brand’s platypus nose a run for its money.

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REVELATION – The Chinese brands are blending into the background.

My last and only other Chinese auto show was Shanghai 2007, where it was easy to find naive local designs that looked like they were assembled in toy factories. At Beijing this year, most of the locals, many of which are struggling and even losing sales as the Chinese market continues to boom, look blandly competent with their copies of quotidian Japanese and Korean cars. Compact SUVs tend to resemble Hyundai Tucsons, and their compact sedans are reminiscent of previous-generation Toyota Corollas (which is to say, sort of like the new Corolla). The Zotye Auto Z500 looked so much like an amorphously multi-generation Honda Civic that it would make a Civic fanboy yearn for the old days.

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MISS – Exceptions to the new local rule.

The massive JAC SC-9 concept features 2+2+2 seating, and, like the BMW Vision of Future Luxury concept, it has self-branded laser headlights, in this case called the JAC Laserlight. The Changan Grand Raeton and the Changan XT prove that a local company could build both a big front-wheel-drive stretch limo and a cute, pink compact hatchback, but neither one very well.

MISS – Honda Concept B and Spirior concept
(See Zoyte Auto Z500.) The Concept B, a hybrid compact, manages to combine the Acura platypus schnoz with the Honda Crosstour’s proboscis to create something even more hideous. The Spirior concept is just slightly better. Now I’m wondering whether the local Chinese brands worked to lull Honda and Toyota into thinking that this is what Chinese buyers like. What a crafty move.

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HIT – Geely Cross PHEV concept

A clean, unified four-door hatchback that shows homegrown Chinese companies can break out of their design molds. “Copy may be an honor on the Eastern side, but it’s criminal on my side,” says Peter Horbury, Geely Group’s senior design vice president. We can expect more from this company in the future.

MISS – Nissan Lannia concept

Everything the VW NMC concept is not, and then some, the Lannia is a sporty compact sedan with the new prominent Nissan front fender flares and the “floating” C-pillar from the new Murano and Sport Sedan (Maxima) concept. Which means it’s a bit of a mess. Get used to it.

HIT – Lincoln MKX concept

It is a handsome design, with its long hood, short front overhang, and expressive, though not overdone, side surfacing. With that long hood and the cabin placement, the MKX will remind you far more of an Audi Q5 or BMW X3 than a Lexus RX. It is much more impressive in person than photos released ahead of its debut indicate. Details include polished chrome outer window trim with brushed chrome inner trim, a mid-century-style horizontal nameplate chrome panel along the lower part of the doors, an unusually shaped moonroof with a built-in antenna, and a rear air scoop with built-in CHMSL. The production version of this concept (just add door handles and real sideview mirrors) shows that Lincoln, which is about to make its debut in China with the MKZ and the MKC, has diligently studied the local market these past few years. Turns out that Chinese customers like premium and luxury compact and mid-size crossovers as much as we do. The new MKX goes on sale in the United States and China next year.

MISS – BMW Vision of Future Luxury

It’s brutally handsome, in a Shanghai-by-night sort of way. And, had I been able to get close to the car, which seemed to have 1 percent of Beijing’s population crowded around it at all times, I might have appreciated the feng shui of the carbon fiber, limewood, and leather; the wraparound cluster of the three dash displays; and the “two large, deeply contoured rear seats” that sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson described. But this alterna-Rolls seems another Bimmer too far. OK, BMW can go upmarket and downmarket. We get it. BMW is not the 2002/3-series company of yore, and China might just go for a 9-series for rich young people who want to drive their own Rolls-Royce Phantoms. But to me, the Vision of Future Luxury plays Buick Electra 225 Limited to the Roller’s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.

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REVELATION – Has Buick squandered its brand equity in China?

Helen Xing, executive editor of The Robb Report China, spoke about the vagaries of the country’s luxury market at a seminar Lincoln presented, and I asked her whether Buick was still considered a “premium” brand. “No,” she replied. “It’s a commodity brand.” Has Buick, still wildly successful in China, squandered its brand equity with too many cars like the subcompact Sail (later badged as a Chevy here)? As General Motors sells more Chevrolets in China, can Buick gain any of it back?

Chevrolet Cruze Chinese Market Rear Three Quarter

HIT & MISS – Chevrolet Cruze facelift
It’s One Ford, not One Chevy, and so the Chinese market gets a different facelift for its Cruze than what we get in the U.S., on the way to an all-new model in a couple of years. It would look better with the tail of the Chinese car and the nose of the North American car.

Ford Escort Front Three Quarter

REVELATION – Can you overstudy the Chinese market?

Marin Barela, president of Changan Ford Automobile Corporation, failed to give a straight answer when I asked whether the (Chinese-only) new Ford Escort would be positioned above or below the local bestselling Focus. The Escort is a businessperson’s car, or a car with a bigger back seat and trunk than the Focus, for families in the smaller Tier II or III cities (4- to 5-million population), he said. So it’s positioned below the Focus.

MISS – Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe

Further proof that Stuttgart, Munich, and Ingolstadt can’t avoid copying each other on everything. The BMW X6 is a crossover with SUV dynamics and coupelike interior space. What a combo. Soon, Mercedes will have one, but with a bigger, more manly grille.

Dongfeng Suv Front Three Quarter

REVELATION – Dongfeng is Chinese for “Hummer.”

Remember when the Chinese government, attempting to pare down its own domestic car industry, blocked GM from selling Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company?

REVELATION – A new market for conversion vans.

There are at least four stands displaying rolling living rooms based on the big Ford and GMC vans and the Mercedes Sprinter.