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Driving It Home

The latest auto industry news and trends brought to you by the car experts on our Globe Drive team

Millennials and boomers drive luxury car sales - not the "one per centers"

JEREMY CATO

For all the attention the “one per centers” receive, they’re not buying the cars you’d think the ultra-rich would buy.

Sales of high-end luxury cars actually declined in 2013, notes DesRosiers Automotive Consultant – to 12,708. That’s half the peak for super-expensive cars, which came in 2000, when the the money-bags crowd bought 25,015 of the priciest rides.

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The greenest car on the road (and the meanest ones too)

JEREMY CATO

The all-electric Smart fortwo Electric Drive (ED) isn’t the least expensive car you can find ($26,990), but it’s the greenest.

The fortwo ED tops the happy planet rides from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy or ACEEE (Greenercars.org). No surprise. The fortwo ED is a pure city car, with a range of 138 km and a top speed of 125 km/hour.

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Why Eugenie Bouchard has so many fans at Kia Canada

JEREMY CATO

If you watched emerging Canadian tennis sensation Eugenie Bouchard in her Wednesday night semifinal at the Australian Open, you’ll know why they were cheering so loudly at Kia Canada headquarters in Mississauga, Ont.

No, they are not tennis nuts at Kia Canada. And they certainly were not pleased to see the 19-year-old prodigy get schooled in straight sets by veteran Li Na.

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Cato: Toyota's redesign formula is both bold and careful

JEREMY CATO

Toyota’s two most important models are due for a major remake. Will Toyota be bold or careful?

Both. How do I know? Consider Toyota’s track record with three recently revamped models, the Tundra pickup, Corolla compact and Highlander SUV.

In each case, Toyota pushed hard to update the styling and improve the ride and handling. That was bold. Toyota, however, was careful not to spend much improving the engines and transmissions in any of these three.

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Is General Motors fixed? Not yet

JEREMY CATO

Is Mary Barra going to save General Motors?

No. According to one former GM executive who is now in a senior role at a rival auto maker, GM already thinks it’s fixed. The U.S. Government has been paid off, last week GM announced a $.30 (U.S.) per share dividend and Barra has moved into the CEO’s job in a seamless transition from former CEO Dan Akerson.

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Mazda3 named top car by the Canadian Automotive Jury

JEREMY CATO

The jury is in and the Mazda3 has been convicted…uh, named winner of the 2014 Best of the Best award.

The jury is the Canadian Automotive Jury, a not-for-profit organization funded by its auto journalist members. I am one of 11 members.

There is one winner per year; the cars aren’t divided into categories. The previous winner is always included in the voting. Why? Sometimes the best from last year is better than anything from the current year. If a car wants to be champ, it needs to knock out the reigning winner. The CAJ merely votes and announces the results.

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Cato: Ford trucks switch to aluminum, drop 700 pounds

JEREMY CATO

The 2015 Ford F-Series will be slimmer by up to 700 pounds. If you don’t think that’s huge, you haven’t talked to Joe Hinrichs, the former Ford of Canada boss who now runs all of Ford’s business in North America.

But I did this morning. Stripping out 700 pounds by replacing steel with aluminum presents a long, long list of problems – or challenges, as they say in the car business, he said. It’s not that car companies don’t know how to make vehicles out of aluminum. The challenge for Ford is to make 700,000 or 800,000 pickups out of aluminum.

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Cato: Cue the clichés: Detroit is back - again!

JEREMY CATO

For the last quarter century I have spent several days in January chronicling essentially the same story – Detroit’s back!

You know the clichés: Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are now “firing on all cylinders” and the Detroit Three have “turned the corner.” Detroit’s car companies are “racing ahead” with exciting new models and “inspired” leadership. The former Big Three have their “plants humming” and their “mojo” back.

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Cato: If you want a truck for towing, this is the one you want

JEREMY CATO

At long last, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is on the way to dealers.

Chrysler had hoped to have this Ram diesel in showrooms in the third quarter of 2013. In fact, I test drove the Ram diesel in the fall of 2013 and was hugely impressed with its smooth power.

Now Chrysler isn’t commenting on the delay. Chrysler Canada spokesman Daniel Labre referred to it as a representative of “minor adjustments” to the production schedule.

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Cato: Kia and Hyundai still working on Canadian fuel economy settlement

JEREMY CATO

If you own a Kia or Hyundai vehicle sold between 2010 and 2012, heads up: the fuel economy flap involving both Hyundai and Kia continues in Canada, though not the United States.

Both Korean brands have announced a settlement in response to consumer lawsuits related to incorrect fuel economy ratings. Various sources say Hyundai and Kia in the U.S. will pay up to $395-million to settle consumer lawsuits. The average Hyundai payment comes to $353, while at Kia the estimated average payment will come to $667 (all figures in U.S. dollars), notes Edmunds.com.

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Jeremy Cato

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year.