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Reporting on the automotive industry, including recalls and other news, motorsports and blog posts

Ontario hikes vehicle sticker renewal cost … again

Jordan Chittley

While the big news for Ontario drivers on Tuesday was the drastic increase in set fines for distracted driving or dooring a cyclist, the province raised another fee that will affect everyone who owns a car in the southern part of the province, not just a select few offenders.

The government raised the fee for renewing validation stickers from $98 to $108. While the $10 jump is not much, there has been a 46 per cent increase in the fee since the middle of 2012.

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Large number of car seats don’t fit into vehicles properly: study

Jordan Chittley

Almost half of car seats (42 per cent) don’t fit properly into vehicles, according to a soon-to-be-released study from The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Parents roll up towels, blankets or pool noodles under the car seats to level out the seats, the report says.

“The problem is the base of several rear-facing car seats are designed for different seat pan angles than most vehicles provide,” Julia Bing, lead research engineer on the study, said in a statement. “I want to emphasize that all car seats are safe and have passed federal regulations. But, to really optimize the safety of a child’s car seat and provide the best protection for the child, one must make sure it fits properly in the vehicle.”

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‘Mad Max’ Warboys drive for Uber on Seattle streets

Staff

 

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Ontario drivers to face higher set fines for distracted offences, dooring cyclists

Jordan Chittley

Ontario drivers found guilty of dooring a cyclist or distracted driving will face higher set fines and demerit points as of Sept. 1, when new legislation comes into effect.

The “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act”, or Bill 31, was unanimously approved in June with the goal of protecting cyclists.

Distracted driving: Under the new laws there will be a set fine of $490, three demerit points and a minimum 30-day suspension for novice drivers for distracted driving. The current minimum is $60. Fines could reach $1,000 and drivers with G1 or G2s could have their licenses suspended on the spot.

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Canadian auto shops fail to meet customers' expectations: study

Jordan Chittley

Canadian auto shops can do a much better job serving customers, according to a study released Wednesday.

The J.D. Power 2015 Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term Study found the majority (67 per cent) rated their experience as an 8 out of 10 or below. Only 40 per cent of those customers said they ‘definitely will' return to the shop for service in the future.

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Google files patent to help drivers avoid potholes

Jordan Chittley

Hitting a pothole can send a shock from your hands clenching the steering wheel right down to your toes as you hear the sound of a sickening thud.

And this is not to mention the damage it can do to your car.

If only there were a way to avoid them other than swerving at the last second. Google may have a solution. The tech giant filed a patent last week that will basically turn cars into pothole patrollers.

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Audi to take on Tesla Model X with all-electric SUV

Staff

German auto maker Audi says it will unveil an all-electric SUV concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

In a statement, which also included early-stage images, the company said the vehicle’s range will be more than 500 kilometres. The range of the Tesla base Model S is about 420 kilometres and the Model X is expected to be about 360 kilometres.

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Hacker creates $30 device that can unlock most cars

JORDAN CHITTLEY

A well-known hacker and car buff has made a device for $32 that can unlock most cars that have a remote keyless entry.

Samy Kamkar recently showed how he unlocked and started GM cars by breaching the OnStar system. He has also shown off a 3D printed device that can crack any Master combination lock in less than 30 seconds.

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BMW drivers can now know exactly when light will change

JORDAN CHITTLEY

Does it seem like that red light is never going to change? Do you ever catch yourself hitting the gas to try to make it through a green light only to slam on the brakes when it turns yellow?

Frustrated drivers will appreciate this then: An iPhone app called EnLighten predicts when the light will change. And now, BMW has announced the app, by Connected Signals, can be integrated with its displays.

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Tesla's creepy snakebot autocharger slithers into charging socket

Jordan Chittley

 

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Lexus introduces a real hoverboard

JORDAN CHITTLEY

Auto makers are developing many new technologies as they evolve into mobility companies with cars transitioning into rolling computers. But none of the technology may be as cool as the new Lexus hoverboard.

More than a month after teasing it, the premium brand posted a video of professional skateboarder Ross McGouran cruising around a skate park in Spain.

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Jeep hack attack heightens awareness of vehicle vulnerability

DARREN McGEE

Last month’s cyber-attack into a Jeep Cherokee, in which two hackers remotely took control of the vehicle – messing with the fan, radio and brakes before killing its transmission – certainly made a lot of people take notice.

A survey by Kelley Blue Book says that 72 per cent of respondents are aware of the controlled hack documented by wired.com. The stunt forced Fiat Chrysler Automobile to recall more than 1.4 million cars and trucks in the United States to fix a software glitch.

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First electric traffic signal installed 101 years ago

JORDAN CHITTLEY

One hundred and one years ago today, drivers in Cleveland stopped at the world’s first red light created by an electric traffic signal system.

Engineers installed a pair of green and red lights facing each other in a four-way intersection as an experiment – and the milestone is being marked Wednesday with the Google Doodle. In the doodle, as it was with the inaugural street lights, there are only red and green lights – no yellow. Amber didn’t come along until 1920, when the system was modified by a police officer in Detroit.

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Newly released video - from 1971 - shows self-driving car

JORDAN CHITTLEY

The idea of driverless cars has been around longer than you might believe. Proof of that can be found in newly published archive footage showing a driverless car from 1971.

Associated Press, along with British Movietone, have released a million minutes of historic footage on two YouTube channels, and AP says the channels will act as an on-demand visual encyclopedia offering “a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history.”

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B.C. town lowering speed limit to 30 km/h

Jordan Chittley

While B.C. has raised the speed limit on some highways to 120 km/h, one town is going the other way.

Rossland , a small mountain town (population: 3,556) tucked into the south-central part of the province near Red Mountain Resort, has lowered the speed limit to 30 km/h from 40 km/h. The speed limits in school zones are being lowered to 15 km/h, and the streets in two neighbourhoods are getting permanent 20 km/h zones.

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Sweden's capital banning cars for one day

JORDAN CHITTLEY

Toronto drivers were less than enthused, to put it mildly, when the special HOV lanes for the Pan Am Games were implemented. So it seems highly unlikely that residents of Canada’s largest city would ever buy into what Sweden’s capital is about to do.

Stockholm will block the use of motorized vehicles for one day in September as it joins more than 200 cities participating in European Mobility Week.

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Survey shows what most often triggers road rage for Canadians

DARREN McGEE

Canadians are known for being polite to a fault, apologizing even when it’s not necessary – that’s the stereotypical image, anyway.

The truth, however, looks to be much different – at least when they are driving – as 33 per cent of Canadians say they are subjected to road rage at least once per month, according to a national State Farm survey of Canadian driving habits released Tuesday.

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Netherlands firm to test 'maintenance-free' roads made from recycled plastic

JORDAN CHITTLEY

 

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The happiest buyers drive Kia’s K900: survey

DARREN McGEE

Not happy with that new car purchase? Maybe you should have bought a 2015 Kia K900.

That’s because Kia’s luxury car achieved the highest marks in a survey of owners for U.S.-based AutoPacific’s 19th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs).

And while the K900 scored the top satisfaction marks, General Motors won the most categories with five. Kia was second, with four, and Nissan topped three segments. Honda, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobile, Volkswagen and Ford each claimed two categories while Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai each won one.

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Ghostbusters director teases new Ecto-1 wagon

Staff

 

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