Any parent who has gone on a long road trip with a group of kids knows that things can get loud very quickly. That often means you end up screaming at kids to stop what they are doing while cruising down the road. While that can be annoying in a car, in a larger vehicle like a minivan being heard over a ruckus by people all the way in the back seat can be difficult.
Toyota is addressing that issue with the addition of a microphone to its 2015 Sienna minivan. The mic feature is called Driver Easy Speak and it allows the driver to be heard by all the passengers in the car without having to yell.
There are no microphones in the back to allow those passengers to speak to the driver. Considering it can be hard to hear what young kids are trying to say when they are in the back of a large vehicle, a 2-way intercom would have been nice. The new Sienna will hit dealerships this fall.
Many people get around by train all around the world, but Japan has some of the coolest trains in the world. The Japanese bullet trains can streak down the rails at very high speeds cutting transit times significantly. A Japanese rail service called Japan Rail East has had a Ferrari designer create a very cool luxury train.
The designer creating the sleek train is Ken Okuyama and the design is called the Cruise Titan and is set to go into service in the spring of 2017. The train will hold 34 passengers and is to feature ten carriages with five suites inside. One of the suites will be a deluxe unit and the train will feature two glass walled observation cars, a dining car, and a lounge.
The train will have an observation car in the front to allow the passengers to see down the tracks in front of the train. All of the suites will have a shower and toilet with space for four people to sleep. Cruise Titan will be able to operate on electric and non-electric rails.
Automakers have been hit hard with huge recalls all around the world, perhaps the hardest hit is GM with tens of thousands of vehicles being recalled so far. Ford has now confirmed that a huge number of its vehicles are being investigated by the NHTSA for steering issues.
The exact number of Ford vehicles under investigation is about 500,000 and models covered in the investigation include the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Marauder from 2004 to 2007. The NHTSA says that the heat shield on these cars can rust and dislodge causing the steering to jam.
Reports of five accidents related to the issue have been reported with one causing an injury. Ford is cooperating with the investigation.
Tesla is one of the most successful electric carmakers in the world and the company wants to expand into China. Back in January, Tesla had announced that it had settled a trademark infringement case between it and a Chinese businessman named Zhan Baosheng who had registered the Tesla trademark in China before the automaker entered the market.
Zhan has now sued Tesla in a Chinese court again over trademark infringement. He is demanding that Tesla stop all sales and marketing activities in the country, and shut the doors on its showrooms and charging facilities.
Zhan is also demanding a payment of 23.9 million Yuan, which is about $3.85 million in the US. The case is set to be heard by a Chinese court on August 5. Tesla believes that China will be its biggest market for cars.
Automakers like GM and Ford have been recalling thousands and thousands of vehicles around the world for issues that pose a safety hazard to drivers. Motorcycle maker Harley Davidson has now issued a recall on certain motorcycles in the 2014 model year.
The recall covers 66,421 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles that have anti-lock brakes. Harley is warning riders of these bikes that the front wheel can lock up without warning. The issue has caused five known accidents with two minor injuries reported.
The front wheel lockup happens when the brake line is pinched between the fuel tank and frame. That pinch increases the pressure of fluid in the lines and locks up the front wheel. The fix Harley will offer is to replace brake lines and add straps to hold the lines in place.
The automotive industry in the US and other parts of the world has been besieged with recalls over the last year. GM has been hit with the brunt of the recalls going so far as to tell dealers in the US that they can no longer sell the Cruze, the company's second bestselling vehicle. Ford has now issued a massive recall in North America that includes 100,610 vehicles.
The massive recall includes six different actions with about 92,000 of the vehicles having a potential issue with the front axles that may not have been installed properly. That improper installation could cause the axle to move outward and eventually disengage.
Cars covered in that axle recall include 2013-2014 Taurus, Flex, and Interceptor models along with Lincoln MKS and MKT. Also included in the axle recall are 2012-2014 Edge and 2014 Lincoln MKX models. Ford also recalled 5264 2011-2014 F59 Commercial Stripped Chassis vehicles with faulty electrical systems that could lead to a fire. 2014 Ford Escape vehicles with the panorama roof were recalled due to glass panels not glued properly during installation.
GM has been in some very hot water in the last several months with massive numbers of recalls on some of its most popular vehicles. One of the bestselling vehicles in the US is the Chevrolet Silverado truck and GM has now announced a massive recall on the vehicle.
GM has issued a recall on 475,000 2014 to 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. The reason for the recall on the trucks is a fault in the control module software that controls the four-wheel drive system on 4x4 vehicles. The fault in the software could cause the four-wheel drive system to switch into neutral automatically.
The result is that the trucks could simply roll away if the driver hasn't set the parking brake. Many drivers of vehicles with automatic transmissions don't use the parking brake. GM also announced recalls having to do with Caprice police cars and Chevrolet SS sedans due to an issue with windshield wipers.
The National Corvette Museum made headlines earlier this year when a massive sinkhole opened up under the floor of the museum and swallowed a handful of rare and expensive Corvette models. The museum had three options for dealing with the sinkhole after the cars were removed from the hole.
One of the options was to completely repair the sinkhole and replace the floor making it as if the incident never happened. The second option was to leave the sinkhole as it is. The third option, and the one that the museum chose, was to repair portions of the sinkhole and keep the remainder of the sinkhole open as a tourist attraction.
With this plan, the museum will keep a portion of the sinkhole open measuring 25-feet x 45-feet and 30-feet deep. Before the plan is official, the museum board wants information on if cars on display in the museum might be affected adversely by leaving the sinkhole open.
GM has been besieged with issues and recalls on its cars this year with many of the big recalls having to do with faulty ignition switches. GM is now facing a big issue with the airbags it uses to protect people inside some of its cars.
The automaker has reportedly told dealers in the US to stop selling the 2013 and 2014 Chevy Cruze due to a potential defect in the airbag. Airbags in these vehicles could have been assembled with a problematic airbag inflation module that may use an incorrect part in the assembly.
GM doesn't build the airbags used in these cars; they were sourced from a third party. GM and the third party are working together to identify the cars facing the issue and then the Cruze cars can go back on sale after problem cars are fixed. The Cruze is Chevy's second bestselling car right behind the Silverado truck.
The NHTSA has been more prone to launch investigations and examinations of vehicles that are on the roads around the US since the GM ignition switch issue became such a point of controversy. Recently the NHTSA has started what it calls an examination of the 2011-2014 Ford Explorer SUV.
This is specifically called an examination, not an investigation. The NHTSA has received complaints from owners of 2011-2014 Ford Explorer SUVs that claim fumes or strange odors are making their way into the vehicle. These fumes and odors are believed to be coming from the exhaust system of the vehicle.