In a shocking development Toyota faces a lawsuit filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks to ban the import of all hybrids to the American market. Toyota is being sued by Paice LLC for patent infringement on its hybrid system.
You've undoubtedly read the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's report and seen the videos it released when the organization pitted sub-compacts against mid-size sedans (if not, one is posted below the fold). They really went after the safety of small cars, trying to scare consumers away from buying them.
Rick Wagoner is no longer CEO of General Motors for two reasons. First, he failed to come up with a plan that satisfied the government that GM would be viable going forward. Two, President Obama needed political cover before he poured more money into the auto industry, a move which is strongly opposed by a majority of Americans.
When Toyota's Prius first hit Japanese showrooms in 1997, I was highly skeptical that hybrids would catch on. Not only was the technology really expensive, I thought the nickel-metal hydride batteries would prove to be the Achilles Heel in the system. Sooner or later you'd be facing an expensive replacement bill, right?
When I was growing up as a kid, cars didn't have a whiff of safety equipment. No seatbelts. No headrests. No collapsible steering columns. No nothing. On long trips my dad would even let me or one of my brothers lie on the package shelf behind the back seat. And we weren't the only ones. That was a pretty common practice back then.
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