- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2008

Auto show in D.C. a few more days

The 66th presentation of the Washington Auto Show continues through the weekend — with more than 700 new cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs from at least 42 domestic and import automakers on display at the Washington Convention Center.

The 2008 show, called “Engineered for the Future,” is open today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, call WANADA at 1-866-WASH-AUTO or visit the Washington Auto Show Web site at www.washingtonautoshow.com.

Dance-for-car event concludes tomorrow

The Washington Auto Show, for the first time, has been hosting a “Dancing for Toyotas Contest” that gives participants the chance to perform in a live show.

Contestants, using Arthur Murray dance instructors as partners, are competing for three new Toyotas. The contest, which began Wednesday, will conclude tomorrow with special performances and the announcement of winners by a celebrity judge. The dancing starts at 2 p.m.

Ford says Sync helps sell vehicles

Sync, Ford’s industry-exclusive technology that provides customers in-vehicle voice command compatibility with portable digital media players and most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, is helping boost vehicles sales in the U.S.

Sync-equipped Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles were moving more than twice as fast off dealer lots late last year than those same vehicles without Sync. According to a Ford survey of Sync customers, nearly 80 percent of respondents “definitely would” recommend it to a friend.

GM to look abroad for car, truck sales

General Motors looks to develop 75 percent of its car and truck sales from outside the U.S. within a decade, Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner told Bloomberg News.

“GM has very aggressive growth plans in 2008, particularly if you look at markets like China, India, Brazil and Russia,” he pointed out.

Preliminary results indicate GM set 2007 sales records in Europe, Asia and other non-North American markets, Mr. Wagoner said, while U.S. volume fell for the eighth straight year.

Perception is reality for Volvo fanciers

With a score of 77 percent in the Consumers Union safety category, Volvo ranks first in consumers’ minds. No other category is so unilaterally dominated by one brand.

In another example of perception-versus-reality among consumers, Subaru scored well in the safety category, yet many lower-trim models of the brand don’t include electronic stability control, a highly recommended safety feature.

Conversely, automakers consistently on the cutting edge of safety technology — such as BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz — don’t make it into the top five, Consumers Union has found.

Snowy weather calls for common sense

With the necessity to dig out cars here again, there are some common-sense tips to remember for avoiding injury.

“Clear the tailpipe of any snow before you even start your car engine,” advises Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance, a national car insurer. “And, if the snow is above the bottom of your car, dig a hole through the snow to the mid-section of your car’s underbody to allow any leaks from your exhaust system to vent as well.”

Without proper ventilation, deadly gases can quickly build up in a vehicle’s passenger compartment.

Mr. Palermo also suggests:

• Most important, if you are not physically up to the snow-clearing task, ask a friend for help or hire a local towing company. People have been known to have heart attacks from the strain.

• Clearing the ice and snow from your windshield and rear window is a good start, but don’t stop there. The headlights, taillights and side-view mirrors are essential for visibility. Also, do not forget to clear away snow from the hood and roof. Otherwise, it will blow onto your windows again and onto the cars behind you.

• If digging and spreading of sand near the wheels does not get you out, use your car’s weight to your advantage. Flooring the accelerator pedal rarely helps and can result in an unexpected and potentially uncontrollably dangerous acceleration. By rocking the car with quick forward and reverse movements, you can often use the weight and force of the car to push out of snow.

• If while on the road you go into a skid, turn in the direction of the skid. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but turning into the skid is your best chance to regain some traction. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure. If you do not have anti-lock brakes, mimic that effect by pumping the brakes.

• When heading up an icy or snow-covered hill, approach it slowly and maintain a steady speed. Avoid sudden stops, quick accelerations and jerky motions. When heading down, shift into a lower gear and maintain a slow, steady speed rather than relying on your brakes.

Additional information is online at www.response.com.

Mail items of interest to Auto Notes, care of Bill O’Brien, The Washington Times Copy Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, or send information via e-mail to bobrien@washingtontimes.com.

The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday before the date of publication.

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