Friday Fun: DeLoreans return, crashes in the smartphone era and a look at odd driving laws from Europe

Mazda's 2017 CX-5 will add ultra-high-strength steel to the A- and B-pillars and side sills.

By Jeff Sanford

Toronto, Ontario — December 1, 2016 — The DeLorean is poised for a comeback, Mazda plans to add more ultra-high-strength steel to the 2017 CX-5, Alex Sun of Mitchell discusses the coming world of peer-to-peer insurance and much, much more!

– Mazda announced this week its “next generation” 2017 CX-5 will add ultra-high-strength steel to the A- and B-pillars and side sills as the shift to exotic metals continues. For shops working on the new CX-5 there will be more “sectioning-in” and less pulling to repair damaged parts.

– The annual Black Friday shopping event seems to be leading to more car accidents, even outside of the US. reported that data from Co-Op Insurance indicates that “… motor incidents were up by 8.5 percent on Black Friday last year.” The increase in accidents was expected to occur again this year.

– Last weekend was also busy for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Though the season of Christmas Parties has not really begun yet, “Ontario provincial police charged dozens of drivers with impaired driving on the weekend … The OPP said that since Friday afternoon, officers handed out 104 impaired driving charges across the province,” according to a report by CityNews. The charges were laid on the first weekend of the OPP’s annual holiday RIDE program, launched last week according to a report. There were also, “… several collisions on highways 400, 401, and 404 involving impaired drivers.”

– If you’ve ever considered getting into the vinyl car wrap game, check out this gif that demonstrates just how much work goes into getting them applied right.

– Alex Sun, CEO of Mitchell, posted an interesting blog on the Mitchell corporate website last week in which he talked about the technology trends having an impact on the industry. He made an interesting comparison between Uber and new insurance models that are now beginning to pop up.

“If you’ve ever taken Uber or stayed in an Airbnb, then you’ve participated in the peer-to-peer economy. Interestingly, Uber, which was founded in 2009, currently has a valuation of $62 billion. The company is on track to deliver 3 billion rides by the end of 2016—and the word ‘Uber’—as in ‘No need to pick me up. I’ll Uber,’—has gone from company name to generic verb for using any ridesharing service. Airbnb has experienced similar growth. The company started in 2008 when its founders, looking for a way to make rent, rented out three air mattresses on their loft floor. Today it’s valued at $25.5 billion … With peer-to-peer transactions becoming so commonplace, it stands to reason that we’d start to see this model in the insurance industry. In peer-to-peer insurance, people join a peer or affinity group—a church, club or other special interest—and pool their premiums. If the totality of the premiums collected is insufficient to pay the group’s claims, the insurance company steps in to meet the need with its share of retained premiums and reinsurance.”

– The word “crisis” is now being used to describe the remarkable and unexpected uptick in traffic fatalities that has occurred in the era of smartphones. People are texting too much for their own good. According to a release by the US-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “The proposed, voluntary guidelines are designed to encourage portable and aftermarket electronic device developers to design products that, when used while driving, reduce the potential for driver distraction. The guidelines encourage manufacturers to implement features such as pairing, where a portable device is linked to a vehicle’s infotainment system, as well as Driver Mode, which is a simplified user interface. Both pairing and Driver Mode will reduce the potential for unsafe driver distraction by limiting the time a driver’s eyes are off the road, while at the same time preserving the full functionality of these devices when they are used at other times.”

– Remember the gull-wing DeLorean? It appears it might make a comeback. A story from CNBC describes how a mechanic in the US is about to begin manufacturing copies of the exotic classic. According to the story, “Pre-order interest has been so overwhelming, DeLorean CEO Stephen Wynne tells CNBC, that the site’s submission … has been capping out the company’s inbox. Over 3,500 enthusiasts are looking to secure the first 12 DeLoreans planned for 2017.”

The story of the DeLorean is one of the classic tales of the auto industry. “In 1975, when he founded the company, John DeLorean had hopes of one day rivaling the major automakers by impressing car aficionados with the sleek design of his two-door DMC-12.

Unfortunately for DeLorean … [by the time the car went to market] The US target market was in a full-fledged recession, oil prices had skyrocketed, and interest rates were the highest they had ever been. An unfavorable exchange rate [DeLoreans were manufactured in Ireland] coupled with cost overruns doubled the DeLorean price tag … Worst of all, customers compared the DeLoreans to other cars on the market and remained underwhelmed,” according to the story.

Desperate for cash to keep the company going, “DeLorean got himself caught up in a plot to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine into the country.” The plan fell apart. The DMC-12 would be relegated to history, save for its appearance in the Back to the Future movies. The new DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) is situated in, “… a 2.5 acre warehouse and restoration center in the Houston suburb of Humble, Texas.” The new Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act passed by the US Congress in 2015 makes it possible for upstarts like Wynne to produce replica models of cars, “… provided that all intellectual property is owned by the manufacturer and the cars meet today’s emission requirements.” The new DeLorean will have a more powerful V6 engine with around 300 horsepower, which, “… will nearly double the capacity of the original DeLorean.”

Stephen Wynne, CEO of the new DeLorean Motor Company, shown here in photo from 1984, has been a fan of the car since the beginning.  
Stephen Wynne, CEO of the new DeLorean Motor Company, shown here in a photo from{source}<br/>{/source} 1984, has been a fan of the car since the beginning.  


– A media report out of the UK listed some of the odder driving regulations in the EU. In Finland, “… headlights must be used at all times, regardless of season or time of day, and winter tyres are also compulsory between the 1st December and the end of February.” As well, drivers who hit a reindeer or an elk have to report that hit to the police. It is illegal not to do so.

In Denmark there is, “… a law in place to stop you running people over who are already under the car … If a motorist doesn’t check whether someone’s beneath the car before starting it, they’re breaking the law.”

In Spain, “Drivers who usually wear glasses or contact lenses to drive should always have a spare pair when driving in Spain … If you’re stopped by the police and are found to not have a second set, you could face a fine for your troubles.

– An editorial in the Vancouver Sun calls for bringing back photo-radar and installing more red light cameras at intersections in a bid to contain spiralling auto insurance costs.

– Nissan is taking a big step into connected cars. One of the first features will be one that tells the driver when the car needs to go to the shop for a tune-up. “The Japanese automaker will be offering an option on new vehicles that provides notifications to drivers when they need to take the car in for maintenance or service … The option will be available in select models, and with roll-out starting in Japan and India beginning in 2017, with planned deployment in additional markets continuing through and including 2020.”
These new services are expected to provide big new revenues for OEMs. “Connected services are not just table stakes or value-add for Nissan customers; the automaker is hoping to drive considerable revenue from the new segment, with Nissan Corporate VP Kent O’Hara telling reporters that the idea is to have connectivity and other tech-related services drive up to 25 percent of Nissan’s post-sales revenue by around 2022,” according to a report on Tech Crunch.

– An article in the Globe and Mail this week notes that car insurance rates in Toronto vary wildly from neigborhood to neighborhood, up to $1,000 per month in some cases. According to the story, “… insurance rates may be decreasing on the whole in Ontario, but they are rising for Toronto residents and continue to vary wildly between neighbourhoods in the city.” A study from finds that, “Thirteen neighbourhoods – including Palmerston-Little Italy, Yonge-Eglinton and Mount Pleasant West – had the cheapest annual premiums in the city at $1,640 … The best available rate for the same driver in the most expensive area of Malvern was $2,595 … As for why rates vary by almost $1,000 within the city … it has to do with the number of crashes and how much people have to drive,” according to the report.


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