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Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

Not another Toyota recall!

Toyota has announced a recall action on 7.4 million cars worldwide - over a sticky power window switch. This is starting to verge on the ridiculous.
According to Toyota, the recall is for a fix of the power window master switch on the driver’s arm-rest, which may not operate smoothly or become inoperative.
Apparently, the usual fix is some lubricant squirted into the switch, but if that doesn’t fix it, a replacement switch may be required.
The recall affects certain models built between 2006 and 2010, including the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and Aurion sedans, Highlander, Tundra and RAV4 and Kluger SUVs. A total of round about 350,000 cars are affected in Asia.
The American arm of Toyota will have 2.5 million anxious drivers in the showroom, plus 1.4 million in China and another 1.4 million in Europe.
Toyota says that no injuries have been reported as a result of the switch problem, but there have been six reports of the sticky window switch found in Australia. That should strike terror into the hearts of the Toyota drivers, and I must advise my wife to be careful when driving the family Fortuner (;-))
Toyota Australia manager of public relations, Mike Breen, says the recall is “a precautionary measure” and that “there is no risk of any injury” as a result of the fault. He says the main concern is that owners may use the incorrect lubricant in the power window switch, which may cause it to overheat and possibly melt.
Toyota says it expects only a small number of vehicles will require the power window electrical circuit board to be replaced. If it does need to be changed, Toyota says the repair will take about an hour to complete, and the job will be carried out at no charge to the owner.
While Toyota does enjoy the economies of scale, when one common part plays up, the recall will cost Toyota several millions to smooth over.
Since 2009, Toyota has recalled about 15 million cars for potential faults including the so-called sticking accelerator pedals, floor mats that perhaps could trap the accelerator, braking problems, stalling engines, steering defects, fuel leakages, airbag non-deployment and malfunctioning seatbelt buckles.
And with the current spat over sovereignty of some islands being jointly and hotly contested by China and Japan, this has led to a 50 percent fall in Toyota sales in China last month. The sticking window switch might be the last straw?


What did we learn from the Korean GP?

Well, we learned that if Korea imagines that having a world-wide telecast of their Grand Prix is a tourism draw card - they should think again! By half way through the race I thought the cars might have to come into the pits to have fog lights fitted. You could have cut yourself a cubic foot of air and walked out with it under your arm! Unbelievable air pollution.
So The Finger (Vettel, Red Bull) did it again. Outdragged his team mate Webber off the line and was never headed after that. Now leads the championship with the strongest car and is a certainty to win his third World Drivers Championship (WDC) on the trot. If you can find anybody who will give you some odds on this, then take it. The only way the Vettel train can be stopped is by Romain Grosjean.
Once again, as usual, every time, repetitively, when will he ever learn, Mark Webber fails to make a good clean start, and ends up second. He should consult Alonso (Ferrari) or team mate Vettel and find out what he is doing wrong, as doing wrong he certainly must be. Or perhaps he wants to join the Indycar series which has rolling starts.
Ferrari team orders got Alonso into third to keep a faint glimmer of hope in his championship hopes, but it isn’t going to be enough. Towards the end, with his team mate Massa catching him hand over fist, the Ferrari pit wall told Massa to stay behind Alonso. A sort of reverse of the famous “Fernando is faster than you” coded message of a couple of years ago. With Alonso third and Massa a stage-managed fourth, it was as good as the Prancing Horse was going to get. Massa’s resurgence in form will seal his future for 2013 at least. No changes for the Scuderia.
McLaren needs more than catchy two minute cartoons with Button and Hamilton (who will be written out of the series shortly to be replaced by a Mexican hat) if they are to salvage anything from the 2012 championship. Button’s race was ended on the first lap by Sauber’s Kamikaze Kobayashi with a banzai “passing” manoeuver, which was never going to work. Both McLaren drivers have admitted their chances of another WDC are zero.
The imitation Lotus (Renault) have been in the top half all year, but even the dour Raikkonen has been unable to get much above fifth place. Of course one problem may be that Kimi cannot communicate with his engineers other than saying “I don’t care” and Grosjean can only say, “I’m sorry. I did it again.”
Star of the GP was Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India. A strong race and he finally seems to have come to grips with F1. Gossip has Hulkenberg going to Sauber next year, which might be a good plan as his current boss (VJ Mallya) has warrants out for his arrest following payments for airport dues with a few alleged rubber checks. The Hulk to Sauber is then quite a possibility, but which side of the garage? We know Perez is going to McLaren, but Kobayashi has made too many mistakes to be seriously considered to retain his seat. And, even more importantly, Japanese big business has not got behind him and he brings no sack of gold, nor even saki nor suki. Goodbye Kobe-san.
Of course one can not discuss Korea without mentioning the gangnam dwarf with the funny glasses and the pearly king lapel jacket doing his horse dance. He did a wonderful job of waving the checkered flag with his knees bent and his bum waving. Fortunately Thailand has Tata Young.
Next GP is India October 28. VJ Mallya has promised everyone a new suit, silk shirt and tie. Watch this space…


Will we get the Focus ST?

2013 Ford Focus ST.

The new (global) Ford Focus, which is to be manufactured at the new Ford plant at Rayong (amongst other global sites) has received good reviews everywhere; however, it is the performance version, the Focus ST that has been receiving the rave reviews.
Body styling is the common or garden Focus but with a bigger grill and gaping air intakes, big wheels and lowered, but it is the engine that has captured the imagination of the motoring world. This is the Ford EcoBoost engine - a turbo four-cylinder sending 184 kW and 360 Nm to the front wheels of what is Ford’s most powerful ST yet and its first global performance car. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual at this stage.
With Ford looking very much at the ‘drivability’ of this small performance car they have used a new electric variable steering that’s less sensitive in the straight-ahead position but requires less turning, for example, through a hairpin. This is supplemented by a Torque Steer Compensation system that, along with the steering, uses software to counteract torque steer, which is always a problem with a potent FWD chassis.

Focus ST interior.

The ST is also fitted with an improved Dynamic Cornering Control system for a quicker and lighter turn-in and it can re-arrange the torque distribution between the front wheels electronically.
Those who have driven the ST in Europe state that the ST is utterly composed, cornering fast and flat while a prod of the throttle serves to pull the tail back into line while the (standard) Recaro sport seats do a good job of restraining the driver and passenger.
The opinion is also that the ST is comfortable as a daily driver, too. The Focus ST’s ride was incredibly comfortable on the motorway and rural sections of the route through the south of France and the dramatically revised chassis did a good job of soaking up the rough patches and dips. Suspension enhancements for this ST include uprated shocks and springs and a revised rear suspension with new knuckles and an all-new anti-roll bar.
Specifications
Engine
Type: Ford EcoBoost 2.0 L I4
Displacement: 2000cc
Fuel supply system: direct injection
Max power 184 kW @ 5500 rpm
Max torque: 360 Nm from 1750 - 4000 rpm
Compression ratio: 9.3:1
Bore x stroke: 87.5/83.1mm
Fuel type: Petrol
Transmission
Type: six-speed manual
Performance
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 6.5sec
Maximum speed: 248 km/h
Fuel consumption: 7.2 litres/100 km (combined)
Overall length x width x height (mm): 4362 x 2010 x 1484
Wheelbase: 2648 mm
Brakes
Front: 320x25 mm discs, 57 mm wheel cylinder diameter
Rear: 271x11 mm discs, 37 mm wheel cylinder diameter
Anti-lock: Yes
Suspension
Front: Macpherson strut suspension with isolated sub-frame and electric variable ratio power steering. Shocks, springs, anti-roll bars and spring aids adapted to ST requirements
Rear: Control blade rear suspension derived from Focus RS. Shocks, springs, anti-roll bars and spring aids adapted to ST requirements
Wheels: 8.5x18in
Tyres: 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle AS2


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Not another Toyota recall!

What did we learn from the Korean GP?

Will we get the Focus ST?