Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bridgestone Announces Action-Packed Motorsports Program for 2006

Source:Bridgestone Press Release

Bridgestone Announces Action-Packed Motorsports Program for 2006

Tokyo (January 30, 2006)― Formula One (F1) and MotoGP racing head a full slate of motorsports competition for the Bridgestone Group in 2006. In addition to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and MF1 Racing, Bridgestone will supply tires to three new teams for the 2006 F1 season: the Panasonic Toyota Racing team, the distinguished WilliamsF1 team from England and the Super Aguri Formula One team, making a total of five teams and ten cars. The 2006 F1 season kicks off in Bahrain on March 12 and wraps up in Brazil. There will be 19 races in all.

As for the GP2 series, established in 2005, all of the competitors will race on Bridgestone tires, akin to last year. The series is a training ground for prospective F1 drivers. Regulation changes this year will see a shift from grooved dry-weather tires to slicks. The level of competition is expected to get even tougher as the primary aim of the drivers is to be a future world champion. The GP2 series comprises 23 races on 12 circuits.

Bridgestone will also continue to supply―under its Firestone brand―all the tires to the Indy Racing League (IRL). This year marks the fourth consecutive year that Bridgestone will sponsor the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 mile. This third race of the 2006 IRL calendar, will take place on Saturday, April 22, at Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture. This year’s 14-race IRL season will include races on street courses as well as on road courses. It gets under way on March 26 in Miami.

Bridgestone will supply Bridgestone-brand tires to the Champ Car World Series exclusively. Fifteen races are scheduled for the 2006 season.

Bridgestone will also supply Bridgestone-brand tires to the Japanese Championship Formula Nippon, Japan’s top formula category. Satoshi Motoyama won three of the eight races in 2005, taking the championship title prior to the last race. With the introduction of a new chassis and the supply of engines from Toyota and Honda, Formula Nippon is expected to heat up even more in 2006. This year’s Formula Nippon calendar, like last year’s, consists of nine races.

In the midst of heavy rain, the Toyota Supra team of Yuji Tachikawa and Toranosuke Takagi led from start to finish in the final round of the Super GT series of 2005 to clinch the championship. Multiple manufacturers supplied tires to Super GT Series teams last year, but Bridgestone-equipped machines won seven of the eight races in the GT500 category and monopolized the top of the rankings. In 2006, the Suzuka 1000 will be added to the calendar for a total of nine races - eight in Japan and one in Malaysia. The competition is expected to be hot again this year.

Bridgestone will also continue to supply tires to various categories in motorcycle racing this year, including MotoGP, which is the pinnacle of the sport. Last year, riders using Bridgestone tires captured pole position three times and posted podium finishes eight times. This included two number one finishes with a victory for Loris Capirossi in the Japanese GP. In the 2006 season, the fifth year in this class, Bridgestone will supply tires to three teams - the Ducati Marlboro Team, the Kawasaki Racing Team and Team Suzuki MotoGP - and therefore six machines.

In the All Japan Road Race Championship, Bridgestone tires were used by the champion in each race class last year. The company will supply tires to all classes again this year, from JSB1000 to ST600, GP250, GP125 and the newly established class, GP-MONO.

In the AMA Supercross/Motocross Series, Bridgestone supplied tires to the champion of both series last year. In Motocross, Bridgestone tires were used by the champion for the second consecutive year. In the 2006 season, Bridgestone will supply tires to the racing teams of Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and also to several other top ranking teams.

Bridgestone will also supply its tires to other motorsport categories including the All Japan Gymkhana Championship, the All Japan Dirt Trial Championship, the All Japan Rally Championship, and the All Japan Kart Championship, and also to other categories in motorcycle racing such as the All Japan Motocross Championship.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift

Verena Mei and Rhys Millen. Rhys is behind the wheels of many of the stunt cars in Tokyo Drift.

Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift: No matter how much they will rape the true roots of drifting, this movie will make an impact on this market. Now, every kid on the block will par lais vouz drifting. The last core movement of the import world will finally be on the map. Drifting is a rare example of an Engrish (Originally English word localized in Japan) word exported back to the US. A Japanese magazine editor first used the word drifting about 20 years ago after seeing a young kid from Nagano demolish his tires on the tracks. Every one thought he was a fool for wasting a good set of tires in a matter of minutes. The crazy kid was young Keiichi Tsuchiya. Watch for now the old man, Keiichi "Drift King" Tsuchiya in a cameo appearance in FF3 Tokyo Drift. Let's hope with the blessing from the real Drift King, you can't go that wrong. Even in Hollywood.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Scraps Stats

Here is an interesting statistic for you.
The Japanese farm ministry announced that left over(food remaining on lunch plate) in Japan is 3.2%. Average quantity is 599 grams and left overs account for 3.2%, 19.2 grams.
The survey was conducted during Sept-Oct in 100 restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka weighing and recording 4766 meals. Vegetables were the most left over at 4.3%, fish 3.7%, eggs 3.5% and meat 3.3%. Japanese food was the most left over at 4.6%. Yakiniku, curry and Eastern food was at 3.3%. Least left over was Western food at 2.7% and Chinese at 2.8%.

I find 3.2% to be surprisingly low. Basically the Japanese are eating most of what is served. Appetite and the meal served are just about balanced. I wonder what the average quantity and left over percentage is in the US? It has got to be monstrous.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Honda Unveils New F1 Challenger

Source: Honda Press Release
Honda unveils new F1 challenger
The Honda Racing F1 Team unveiled its challenger for the 2006 Formula One season in Spain this morning with the new driver line-up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

This marked an important milestone for Honda as it is the first Formula One car launched by a Honda works team since 1968.As an indication of Honda’s commitment to the new challenge and the strength of its manufacturing operation, the team delivered not one, but two identical RA106 race cars to the launch to enable Rubens and Jenson to start testing at exactly the same time. The new cars and their RA806E engines are the product of a single, unified team which combines the resources of the Honda Racing F1 Team Operations Centre in Brackley, England, Honda Racing Development’s engine base in Bracknell, England, and Honda R&D in Tochigi, Japan.The RA106 sported its new base canvas of Honda Racing White, a colour which has been synonymous with the Honda motorsport identity since the company’s F1 debut in 1964. The rest of the livery has the more familiar feel of the Lucky Strike brand, which remains as title sponsor for the 2006 season.

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer“Our target in 2006 is to challenge for race wins and we will do our utmost to achieve that objective.”“During 2005 we put in place some important building blocks that will help us meet our targets in 2006 and beyond. We secured two of the best racing drivers in the world, we proved our ability to develop a car through the season, resulting in points for Jenson in each of the last ten races, and we gained a better understanding of the strengths of the 2004 car and the issues with our 2005 race car. Lastly, and most importantly, we have “works” team status with access to the technical resources of Honda R&D. I’m particularly proud that we have been able to deliver a new car each for Jenson and Rubens today which demonstrates the depth of our manufacturing ability and skill and determination of our people. With our new wind tunnel also coming on-stream later this year, we are ready to step up to the challenge.

”Yasuhiro WadaPresident of Honda Racing Development and Management Board Member of the Honda Racing F1 Team“The 2006 F1 season means a great deal to all of us at Honda as it marks the beginning of a new adventure and confirms an even greater commitment to F1. The launch today of the first F1 chassis since 1968 to carry the Honda name is a particularly significant moment.“It is up to all the engineers involved in the programme, at the F1 Operations Centre in Brackley, HRD in Bracknell and Honda R&D in Japan to rise to the challenge of F1 and show the world what Honda can do as a fully integrated force. The development of a new challenging spirit and a desire to work together to challenge for wins is at the core of Honda’s philosophy. Honda has always exposed its engineers to the highest competition in racing as it uniquely prepares them for the challenges that lie ahead. We are all excited about the season to come and up for the fight!

”Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director“The new RA106 is the product of four years of steady evolution. During this time, the team has developed a high level of technical capability which now sees it designing, manufacturing and operating at the highest level on the grid. The emphasis now is on integration and combining our design concepts and expertise to achieve a car capable of challenging for race wins.“One of our key areas of focus has been aerodynamics, the design considerations for which were two-fold – the aero problem that we faced in 2005 and achieving a significant improvement in aerodynamic efficiency to meet the requirements of the new, smaller V8 engine and its implications on chassis design. We are pleased with the progress we have made in the wind tunnel over the winter and our data shows that we have made a good step forward. Mechanically, in keeping with the evolutionary theme we have refined our various concepts including our third generation carbon composite gearbox.“Honda has produced a new engine to meet the challenge of Formula One’s switch from V10 to V8 power. The new RA806E is the result of a very intensive year’s work with many concepts designed and tested since the prototype first ran in May 2005. Since the latest specification started running in November 2005, the team has been encouraged by its reliability and performance.

”Car No. 11, Rubens Barrichello“This is a very exciting day for me as it’s my first launch with a new team for six years! Honda has a fantastic heritage in motorsport and it’s great to be a part of that now. I can’t wait to drive the new car and the discussions I’ve had with our technical team indicate that we have good reason to be excited about the season ahead. I’m sure that will be confirmed when I test the car for the first time today.

”Car No. 12, Jenson Button“I’m incredibly proud and excited to be part of the Honda Racing F1 Team and 2006 is going to be a very important year for all of us. We’ve achieved a lot in winter testing with our Concept car and I have seen first hand the huge effort in Brackley and Tochigi over the past few months. I’m confident that all the determination will be rewarded this year and I’ve done my part by working even harder on my fitness to ensure that I’m in the best possible shape for the season ahead. I can’t wait for the first race in Bahrain.

Taro's Comments:
I wonder how the Aguri Suzuki and ARTA's situation is? If they can compete this year in F1, most likely Takuma Sato will drive for the new team. Nothing has been officially announced yet...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Toyota to compete in Nascar Nextel Cup Series

Toyota and National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced Monday the manufacturer's plans to expand its NASCAR program by competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series starting in 2007, fielding the Toyota Camry model.
The expansion will follow three years of Toyota competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and will result in all three of NASCAR's national series having four manufacturers competing, as Toyota will join Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford.
Source: Toyota Press Release

Toyota is already in F1, now why on earth would they want to do such a thing? Because of one thing only. To sell more cars. Nascar is the biggest sport in N-American in terms of attendance. The mid East-South is all Nascar country and Toyota plans to sell more cars in those areas. They stuck in there for three years in the Craftsman Truck Series and now they are ready to play ball with the big boys. In other words there is no more sacred ground for the Big Bad Three. The Asian kid that can hit harder and move faster wants to play too. The land slide for the US makers will see no stopping unless they think of something fast.

Here is an interesting article I found about why Toyota is so much ahead of the game today. http://www.industryweek.com/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=11322

Tokyo Snow

A rare snow storm in Japan caused about 10,000 people stranded at the airport and 50 flights cancelled. This is a photo around our neighborhood early in the day. It snowed about 3 and a half inches the most it has snowed in 8 years. Here is our dog "Payton" enjoying the snow.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Joy Ride Motor Art

I met Alex Diener at last year's Sema show. He's a design professional that makes pretty awesome stuff. You will see more of him in the future. Check out his website: www.joyridemotorart.com

Legacy B4 2.0GT spec B

Photo:Kyosyu Mizohata

Pulling out onto the streets of Shinjuku in the JDM Legacy B4 2.0GT spec B from Subaru the first thing that surprised me was the awesome acceleration it displayed. The power unit is a single twin-scroll turbocharged and intercooled 2 liter flat 4 DOHC 16 valve with dual AVCS. The new B4 carries the same EJ20 engine but 80% of it was redesigned along with the full model change in May 2003. The singe turbo uses top grade titanium turbines. Displacement is 1994cc with a max output of 280ps(206kW)/6400rpm. All Legacy models are AWD.
The development concept was to make a car that combines both looks and performance.
The GT Spec B receives a sportier aerodynamic front look than the normal Legacy. The interior is fitted with a MOMO airbag-equipped three-spoke steering wheel very similar to the WRX STi. The spec B models also come with aluminum pedals for aggressive driving.
As for performance, the great throttle response of the turbo system makes intercity driving easy and the 280 horses show their presence when taken out on winding roads outside of Tokyo. This mighty 4 cylinder engine and transmission mounts shows great torque and power between 3500rpm to 6500rpm.
Along with added engine power, the B4 also went through a pretty strict weight loss regime that’ll put any low carb diet to shame. The curb weight of the spec B is 1430kg, making it 60-90kgs lighter than the previous model.
The steering shows some under steer set up for conservative driving but even during tight corning at high speeds, the tires demonstrate significant grip and enough power to man handle the tires and drift through corners. The spec B grade wears 215/45R18 89W Bridgestone Potenzas. The sporty wheels and tires don’t do much for luxury driving but its obvious that’s the Subaru engineers did not set out to make a limo. This car screams GT sports sedan.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Nothing but Net

When I first started Zigzag Asia in 2000 as a portal to Japan from the outside world, the net bubble had immediately crashed. Yeah, great timing. We quickly found ourselves looking for other ways to make money. We decided to focus on one of the most popular segments within our website. Which was "cars". So we went old school and started making VHS videos of English versions of Best Motoring in 2001. In 2002, we were making DVDs even before the original J versions were in DVD. That's 4 years ago.
Now the net is on a rampage again. Google is the dominant engine, Yahoo is strong as ever and investments in internet media is hotter than Jalapeno. Last year, Murdoch and News Corp spent 1.5 billion on My Space, IGN and other acquistions. News paid 650 MILLION on just IGN.com alone.


IGN is a popular youth site targeting gamers. It also has articles on cars and girls. How can you miss with that kind of content?! I also love this site because they never fail to review our DVDs.
Best Motoring review on IGN

So what I am getting at is it's time for Zigzag Asia to enter the internet ring again with an assault of video content we've accumulated in the past 5 years. We've been churning out video after video (28 DVD titles to be exact) waiting for the internet to finally develop enough so we can start sending this stuff over the net. We have more than 2500 minutes of car content fans drool over. This is the time we've been waiting for. Zigzag Asia was never a car company we are a company with a mission to become the gateway to Japan. We all love cars but that's not the reason why we started this. Cars are something Japanese are very proud of. It is a culture we have successfully exported abroad. They say manga is Japanese content that covers the world but Toyota, Honda and Nissan are way up there too. Who doesn't know Toyota these days? They may not know Yugioh but everyone knows Toyota and Honda. That's why we decided to concentrate on efforts on Japanese car culture 5 years ago.
We were just waiting for the internet technology to catch up to us. We have the brand, we have the content, now we are currently setting up a beta site to stream video and distribute over the net. The time has finally come. Now only if we can sell the site for $650M...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Building the brand Best Motoring

It takes lots of time and hard work to build a brand. In our case we have dedicated 5 years to build the Best Motoring brand in North America. And a little over a year since we spun off Hot Version as a independent brand too. Best Motoring is probably one of the most repected automotive media brands in the US now. It represents the Japanese domestic market more than any other video or magazine product out there. Our competitors, Option videos is more drifting focused and tuning car entertainment video. Best Motoring takes production cars to the limits to see their true potential by bringing them out to the tracks. No other product exists where you can see top level racing car drivers racing stock production cars on the tracks. Only then you can truly see what the car manufacturers have made. I think we have been able to transfer the essence of the Japanese Best Motoring to our international Best Motoring series. Now when people hear Best Motoring, they know it is real cars, with real drivers on real tracks. No show it is. That's why it has been a trusted source for car information for the past 20 years in Japan and 5 years in the US. Most Japanese car enthusiasts know Best Motoring as the real deal.
As for Hot Version, we have done the same but with tuning cars. Not what only looks cool but what kind of tuning can really make your car perform better. Don't get me wrong, looks are a vital part of tuning and important factor but in Hot Version, we always look for balance. Balance is important when tuning a car. Most production cars are already well balanced when they come of the line. You take that base car and try to add something special to it. But many times, just adding a bolt on turbo kit can mess up your car. You need to know what needs to be done to it to make it a well balanced car. There is no simple answer to it, that is why car tuning is so fun and popular. It never ends. If your car is now faster than it was before, now you have to make sure it stops just as well. Then you need new brakes. Then you want the car to handle better, then you might want to get a new suspension kit. All of these new parts can make your car heavier, then it may be time to start looking for ways to shed parts you don't need. Tuning is not always adding parts. It sometimes, loosing parts. So this journey to making your perfect car never stops. In Hot Version we are always looking for the well balanced tuning cars. And we only showcase the best. I think we can say that although the Hot Version brand is not as well known as Best Motoring, it is considered to be one of the most respected media brands in the tuning industry. It is easy to fill pages of a nice looking tuning car for a magazine, but in a video, you can't hide the negative factors. It obviously shows if a car is handling bad, slow or not stopping when it's supposed to. That's why as the same as Best Motoring, Hot Version also means real performance when it comes to tuning cars. I think we were able to get the message out for both Best Motoring and Hot Version brands. They both mean serious car business.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Me and Pete ボクとピート

Yes that is him, the legendary Pete Rose. And no he wasn't at the Tokyo Auto Salon if you're wondering.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Tokyo Auto Salon 2006(3)

Mazda Speed RX-8
Hasemi G'zox Z
Blitz Lexus IS
RE Amemiya RX-8
Blitz Skyline Drift car
RE Amemiya RX-8
Autobacs S2000 Driftcar
Hartge BMW M5
Nissan R380-II

Tokyo Auto Salon 2006(2)

Nobuteru "NOB" Taniguchi
D1 Car
HKS D1 Altezza
Toyo Tires Booth
Subaru Impreza STI S204
Power House Amuse GT1
Nissan Z33 RS Concept
New Toyota bB
Manabu"Max" Orido

Tokyo Auto Salon 2006

Zero Sports Impreza
Carlson Girls
Mitsubishi Concept
Mugen Honda Fit
Suzuki Swift Rally Car
Honda Modulo Civic

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tokyo Auto Salon starts tomorrow! いよいよ明日オートサロン!

Tokyo Auto Salon starts tomorrow. I'll be updating my blog with a bunch of photos so yoroshiku!


Honda Fit:Not Just a Grocery Getter

The Fit will be released in the US later this year. I did an interview for Honda Tuning magazine about 2 years ago on one guy that has known the sports potential of the Fit.


I also wrote an article on the Fit Dynamite for Honda Tuning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mugen Releases Fit Spec D for 2006 Tokyo Auto Salon

Mugen releases new Honda Fit Spec D for 2006 Tokyo Auto Salon. The TAS will start from 1/13(Friday) until 1/15(Sun) at Makuhari Messe in Chiba near Tokyo.

Click to Mugen page:『無限』プロトタイプ“Fit Spec.Dを発表

2007 Honda Fit Looks Small on the Outside, Delivers Big on the Inside

2007 Honda Fit Looks Small on the Outside, Delivers Big on the Inside
The new subcompact 5-door hatchback will enter the U.S. subcompact market with class-leading content and segment-defining standard safety equipment.
Text only
07HondaFitRelease.doc 38k

Detroit 01/08/2006 -- The all-new 2007 Honda Fit, a subcompact 5-door hatchback set to go on-sale in the U.S. in April, will make its U.S. debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. Already one of Honda's hottest selling models in Asia and Europe, the Fit is designed to enter the U.S. market as leader in the subcompact segment with top-of-class feature content, refinement, interior functionality, sporty driving demeanor and high levels of standard safety equipment.

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Built on Honda's legendary foundation for dependability, quality and reliability, the Fit is a premium entry-level vehicle that emphasizes style, technology and value. The Fit features a 109 horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder VTEC engine, a 5-speed manual transmission or an available, first in segment, 5-speed automatic transmission, and over 90 cubic feet of passenger volume with multiple seating and cargo configurations. A Fit Sport model offers wheel-mounted paddle shifters (with automatic transmission) and a 160-watt, six-speaker audio system. Fit will be supported by a wide variety of Honda Genuine Accessories, including segment exclusive Honda Apple(R) iPod(R) Music Link(R), allowing owners to personalize their Fits inside and out.
"The 2007 Fit provides a new entry point into Honda for consumers considering an attractive and efficient small car," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda. "The large interior adapts to people or cargo like no other car in its class. It comes standard-equipped with advanced safety technology, and follows in the tradition of Honda's fun-to-drive performance."
Unprecedented Subcompact Seating and Cargo Flexibility
Dimensionally compact on the outside, the interior provides a surprisingly large passenger and cargo space for both maximum comfort and utility. At the foundation is the Fit's Magic Seat(TM), an innovative 60/40 split rear seat that allows the seatbacks to fold down or the seat bottoms to flip up, providing four distinct seating and cargo carrying configurations (refresh mode, tall object mode, long object mode and utility mode) in addition to the standard five passenger mode. With all seats in the upright position, passenger volume measures 90.1 cubic feet (slightly less than an Accord's passenger volume) with 21.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second row (slightly less than an Element's cargo volume behind the second row). In order to help maximize Fit's useable interior space, Honda located the fuel tank in a central location towards the middle of the vehicle. This allows the cargo floor in the rear of Fit to be relatively low, thus increasing the interior volume.
Fun to Drive...Past the Pump
The 1.5-liter, SOHC, 16-valve, 4-cylinder VTEC engine generates 109 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 105 foot-pounds of torque @ 4800 rpm. The compact and efficient powerplant features Honda's innovative Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC(TM)).The VTEC system's ability to provide highly efficient operation at low engine speeds and extended performance at high engine speeds benefits fuel economy, power and low emissions.
Refinement is further enhanced with electronic Drive-by-Wire throttle control, which provides quick throttle response, smooth automatic transmission shifts (on automatic transmission models) and precise fuel delivery to the engine. Friction reducing technologies include roller bearing tipped rocker arms, a low friction timing chain tensioner, molydebenum coated piston skirts and an offset crankshaft/connecting rod design.
The suspension set up for the Fit is a combination of a front MacPherson strut/rear torsion beam with trailing arm.
The compact front suspension and rear torsion beam were both designed to allow for a large passenger cabin with a low floor to maximize the cargo carrying capacity.
Fit employs a compact, efficient and highly responsive Electric Power Steering (EPS) system that also contributes to higher fuel economy since engine power is not needed to operate a hydraulic system. The wheel size measures 14-inches with P175/65R14 tires, and 16-inch wheels with P205/45R16 are available as a dealer-installed option.
Estimated city/highway fuel economy ratings of 33/38 miles per gallon is expected to be among the highest ratings in the subcompact 5-door hatchback class. Emissions levels are rated as Low Emissions Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Tier 2 / Bin 5 by the Federal government.
Top-of-Class Standard Safety Equipment
Already a leader in vehicle safety as demonstrated by Honda's "Safety for Everyone" initiative, Honda continues to implement leading airbag technology in all vehicles regardless of size or price. The Fit has the most standard safety features in its class with no other subcompact offering as much standard advanced safety technology. Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, dual front side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment on all Fit models. All seating positions have three-point seat belts, while front occupants are further protected by pre-tensioning seat belts. An enhanced knee bolster provides additional protection for passengers.
Standard active safety equipment includes anti-lock braking system (ABS) with ventilated discs in the front and drums in the back, and electronic brake distribution (EBD).
Paddle Shifters, Audio Options Define High Content Sport Model
The Fit Sport model is the only subcompact to offer steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter controls (with automatic transmission). The Sport package includes underbody kit, rear roofline spoiler, fog lights, security system with keyless remote entry, cruise control, and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with P195/55R15 tires.
The Fit Sport also features a premium 160-watt, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers, MP3/WMA playback capability, a five-mode equalizer, and an auxiliary audio jack for input from a portable music player.
Most Standard Subcompact Features, Segment Exclusive Accessories
Fit comes with standard amenities such as air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, and a two-tone interior.
The 2007 Fit promises to be one of the most customizable vehicles from Honda with approximately 30 accessories available at the dealer. Fit will offer the Honda Apple(R) iPod(R) Music Link(R) as a dealer-installed accessory. The Honda iPod Music Link allows the user's iPod (sold separately) to fully interact with the audio system. A segment exclusive, Music Link will control all the iPod's features via the audio head unit with album/song information shown on the vehicle's audio unit LCD display. It will also charge the iPOD's battery.
Other interior accessories include an ambient lighting, trim panel accents (silver, red and blue), steering wheel covers and shift knobs. Outside, the Fit can be customized with Honda Factory Performance equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels, Sport package underbody kit, sport exhaust, chrome exhaust tip finisher, rear bumper accents and a sport mesh grille.
A consumer preview Web site for the Fit is available at fit.honda.com. Official pricing for the 2007 Honda Fit has not yet been determined.
# # #
Additional media information and high-resolution photography is available at www.hondanews.com. Consumer information is available at fit.honda.com.
2007 Honda Fit Looks Small on the Outside, Delivers Big on the Inside">email this page

Source:Honda Press Release

Mitsubishi Motors Lineup at 2006 North American International Auto Show

Source:Mitsubishi Motors Press Release

Mitsubishi Motors Lineup at 2006 North American International Auto Show
Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV
Eclipse Spyder
Tokyo, January 10, 2006 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and its manufacturing and sales unit in the United States, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA, based in Cypress California) will give the Mitsubishi Concept-CT[1] MIEV[2] 4WD sport compact concept and the new Eclipse Spyder convertible their world premieres at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (Detroit Motor Show). Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV uses outer rotor type in-wheel motors and a lithium-ion battery system to drive all four wheels, together with a gasoline engine in a hybrid configuration. The 2006 NAIAS runs from January 8 to 22 at the Cobo Center in Detroit and is open to the general public from January 14.
MMNA president and CEO Hiroshi Harunari, who took up his new post on January 1, made the following remarks at a press conference held at the show on January 9. "The size and potential of the American market makes it one of our most important markets. In Mitsubishi Motors' drive toward success on a global scale it is vital that we continue to rebuild and improve the sales and profitability of our operations in this market. To put the U.S. operations back on a healthy foundation, last year we called upon the leadership of Rich Gilligan and his fine team to promote the rebuildingof the Mitsubishi brand and the enhancement of our sales performance. Sales operations are being normalized and profitability improved through a process of introducing new models, curtailing fleet sales, and reducing inventory levels. Offering appealing sales finance products to customers is anotherprofitability improving policy this is being implemented. It is clear that these steps are starting to pay dividends.
However, the impact of high oil prices has led to increasing uncertainty in the U.S. market, especially for the automotive industry. For this reason, the relationship between MMC and MMNA has been strengthened to allow for more flexibility in responding to market changes. The company will continue to take steps to normalize sales operations, raise operating efficiencies and increase profit opportunities by actively promoting exports from MMNA's Illinois factory to other markets. Management of both companies are committed to working together to improve operations in North America and to accelerate implementation of existing policies and introduction of more detailed measures."
MMC and MMNA are displaying a total of 11 models including Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV and Eclipse Spyder, most of which are produced in the United States.
1. Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV walkaround
A concept for a new kind of sports compact that captures the essence of the Mitsubishi Motors brand as it combines driving pleasure with low fuel consumption.
(1) Exterior highlights
Using the same rear-midship layout as the new i minicar to be launched in Japan this month, the wheels on Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV have been moved to the corners of the vehicle yielding a stable and forceful looking stance within a compact 3800 mm length.
The overall design theme was inspired by the large scooters popular today.Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV's geometric lines impart an architectural look in creating a shape that promises to wrap its occupants in safety and comfort.
With no center pillars, double opening doors (with rear door hinges located in the rear portion of the body) allow enhanced entry and exit.
(2) Interior highlights
The instrument panel incorporates a new system wide-format screen stretching from driver's seat to passenger's seat that can display speedometer and fuel readings, on-board navigation and climate control information, entertainment functions and rear/side view mirror images all at the same time.
The center console houses a computer touch pad-like interface in a simple configurationto give the driver easy,ergonomic access to climate and audio controls.
The seats use a simple, ultra-slim design to emphasize their light weight. The front passenger seatback and rear seatbacks fold flat and together with the double opening doors and split-tailgate significantly enhance Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV's load carrying ability.
(3) Hybrid powertrain system
Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV is the first vehicle to apply a hybrid drive system to the Mitsubishi Motors' MIEV next-generation electric vehicle concept that utilizes in-wheel motors and high energy-density lithium-ion batteries as core technologies. Features include:
A series-parallel hybrid drive system that delivers higher power and an extended cruising range.
A new 1.0-liter 3-cylinder MIVEC[3] engine (generator) that produces a maximum of 50 kW (68 ps).
A lithium-ion battery system with a 50 kW maximum output housed under the rear seats and under the front hood.
Outer rotor type in-wheel motors, developed first for Lancer Evolution MIEV, are fitted to all four wheels, producing a maximum power of 20kW each. The system allows drive power and braking to be independently regulated with high precision at each wheel and thereby capitalize on Mitsubishi Motors' hallmark all-wheel control technology and know-how to a maximum advantage. The result is a high-performance hybrid vehicle that delivers not only highlevels of environmental performance, but also power and driving performance superior to that in conventional gasoline vehicles.
2. Eclipse Spyder walkaround
Eclipse Spyder is the open-top model for the new fourth generation Eclipse coupe, which was introduced in 2005 andis acclaimed for its sporty, dynamic styling. Eclipse Spyder is the third generation open-top model. Eclipse Spyder is offered in two trim levels: the GT and the GS powered by 3.8-liter V6 and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder MIVEC engines respectively.
(1) Design highlights
Eclipse Spyder uses sleek, taut and muscular lines to create a shape that is cool and aggressive whether the cloth top is up or down.
Large-sized headlamps crafted to flow into the bodylines, and chrome-look LED tail lamps distinguish the exterior and generate a sporty appearance with a strong sophisticated flavor.
Using aninstrument panel that houses distinctive motorcycle-inspired gauges and ice-blue night illumination for better legibility, the interior styling projects the cool image and creates the feel-good space that convertible owners look for.
(2) Engine, transmission, and brakes
The Eclipse Spyder GT mates a 3.8-liter V6 MIVEC engine to either a six-speed manual transmission or a sport-mode equipped five-speed automatic. Pumping out a maximum of 195 kW (260 ps) and 35.7 kg-m (350 N-m) of torque, the Spyder GT accelerates from zero to 60 mph (zero to 96 km/h) in about seven seconds.
The Eclipse Spyder GS mates a 2.4-liter in-line 4-cylinder MIVEC engine to either a five-speed manual transmission or a sport-mode equipped four-speed automatic. Producing a maximum power of 119kW (162ps), the Spyder GS returns excellent fuel efficiency, rated to achieve 30 mpg (12.7 km/liter) in highway driving by EPA testing standards.
The GT employs 4-wheel disc brakes, while the GS uses a drum-in-disc system for the rear brakes.
(3) Trim & equipment
In a premium-level design that enhances its appearance and convenience, the third-generation Eclipse Spyder features an automatic soft top which smoothly folds completely out of sight under a flush-fitting hydraulicpowered tonneau panelin about 19 seconds.
Both GT and GS trim levels come standard with 17-inch alloy road wheels, air conditioning, an advanced dual-stage driver and passenger seat SRS air bag system,head protecting seat-mounted side air bags, an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD[4]), cruise control, engine immobilizer and keyless entry.
Featured in Eclipse launched last year and in Outlander sold in Japan, a highly acclaimed audio system was co-developed with Rockford Fosgate® a leading American car audio system manufacturer. This premium audio system features a 650 Watt power amp with a six-disc, in-dash CD changer that can also play MP3 files.For the Eclipse Spyder, this system features a subwoofer center-mounted underthe rear seat. It provides unique automatic sound adjustment and equalization for the different sound conditions under top-up or top-down driving.
Leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and heated exterior mirrors together with outside temperature and compass displays standard on the GT are available as options on the GS.
GT is available with a premium package that features 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 R18 tires, a six-way power driver's seat, aluminum pedals and an automatic climate control system.
3. Specifications
Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV
Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:
Seating capacity:
1.0liter 3-cylinder MIVEC
Drive system:
Series-parallel hybrid
Electric motor power:
80 kW (20 kW x 4)
Generator power:
40 kW
Engine power:
50 kW (1.0-liter 3-cyl.)
Battery power:
50 kW
Battery weight:
33 kg
Eclipse Spyder
Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:[equipped with 18-inch wheels]
1,381mm [1,389mm]
Track (F/R)
1,570mm / 1,570mm
Seating capacity:
Tires: [18-inch wheels]
225/50R17 [235/45R18]
Wheels: [18-inch wheels]
17x7.5JJ [18x8.0JJ]
3.8-liter V6 MIVEC / 4G69 2.4-liter L4 MIVEC
5-speed automatic with sport mode or6-speed manual
4-speed automatic with sport mode or5-speed manual
Drive mode:
Front-engine, front-drive
4. Mitsubishi Motors lineup at 2006 Detroit Motor Show
Mitsubishi Concept-CT MIEV
Show car
World premiere
Eclipse Spyder
New model
World premiere
Street Raider concept
Show car
As exhibited at SEMA
Production model

Lancer Evolution MR
Production model
(Lancer Evolution IX in Japan)
Lancer (Ralliart)
Production model

Production model
Production model
(Airtrek Sport Gear in Japan)
Production model

Production model
Production model
(Pajero in Japan)
[1] Compact Technology[2] Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle[3] Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system[4] Electronic Brake-force Distribution

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lexus Unveils Fourth-generation LS 460 Flagship Sedan

Source:Toyota Press Release
January 10, 2006

Lexus Unveils Fourth-generation LS 460 Flagship Sedan at DetroitMotor Show2007 LS 460 to Offer Standard- and Long-wheelbase ModelsTOKYO, January 10, 2006 — Lexus unveiled yesterday (January 8 in the United States) the all-new 2007 LS 460 and the company's first-ever, long-wheelbase model, the LS 460L, during a press conference at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which takes place in Detroit from January 8 to 22*."The Lexus LS 460 was designed to expand the definition of the full-size prestige luxury sedan," said Jim Press, president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales. "The new LS is the product of an advanced production process developed specifically for this vehicle with remarkable new levels of accuracy, refinement, precision and craftsmanship. Considering our record for quality over the last 17 years, that's quite a statement," he added.Seventeen years after its initial launch in Detroit, the redesigned LS now combines new levels of performance, sophistication, contemporary styling and luxury refinements. "During the next few months, we'll provide more details about the all-new Lexus LS 460 as we prepare to launch this highly anticipated sedan," said Press. "If you like the way the LS looks, you'll be even more impressed when you hear about its advanced safety and innovative technology," he added. The 2007 Lexus LS 460 is targeted for sale beginning in the fall of 2006. *Press days: 8-10; Invitation-only days: 11-12; Charity Preview day: 13; public admission: 14-22 Vehicle OutlineHigh-output V8, World's First Eight-Speed TransmissionThe LS will be powered by an all-new, highly advanced 4.6-liter V8 engine that will produce approximately 380 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. Combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission—a world first—the LS 460 will travel from zero to sixty miles-per-hour in less than 5.5 seconds. With that level of performance, the new LS will achieve an impressive combined city/highway fuel efficiency that is estimated to be in the mid-20s. Lexus also anticipates receiving an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV II) rating. Excellent Driving PerformanceThe new LS is built on a sophisticated platform that maintains a delicate balance between ride comfort and responsive handling. The completely redesigned multi-link suspension system includes an all-new, variable-gear-ratio, electronic power-steering system and a next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. VDIM is an all-new system that integrates and manages a new Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB), Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), Electric Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), ABS, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle.Monitoring a variety of sensors, the system is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and then help correct the situation with a combination of braking, throttle and steering control in a way that’s essentially transparent to the driver. Data is gathered from more sources and processed earlier and faster than previous designs, helping to make VDIM less obtrusive yet highly effective. First Long-wheelbase SedanAt nearly 203 inches, the long-wheelbased LS 460L provides an even higher level of comfort and convenience features along with some of the most advanced technology ever offered in a production automobile. The four-passenger compartment of the LS 460L transports its rear-seat passengers in an environment whose luxury accoutrements closely resemble to that of a private jet.Luxury: Redefined by LexusIntelligent technology and emotionally provacative design is clearly evident throughout the beautifully appointed cabin. The extra touches of luxury and comfort include a heated steering wheel and seats swathed in one of four tones of semi-aniline leathers that match one of three coordinating wood-grain trims.Rear occupants can relax and enjoy power reclining seats equipped with power leg rests and even a massage feature. The new LS even offers body-heat sensors that help maintain the perfect temperature for all occupants. A fold-away table matched to the interior wood grain provides ample work space for rear passengers. The LS also features a nine-inch, headliner-mounted, rear-screen monitor along with an all-new 19-speaker Mark Levinson® audio system that provides a true theater-level entertainment experience. Additional luxury convenience features include a power rear-door closer and a powered trunk lid. New Lexus Design DirectionOver the last two years, Lexus has developed a new styling philosophy that it calls "L-finesse". This new design language rests upon the inherent contrast between simplicity and elegance—and the beauty of achieving a balance between the two. Simplicity, in form and function, reflects styling that is uncluttered and void of extraneous elements. Lexus elegance, inside and out, avoids exaggeration by prioritizing understated luxury that is intriguing, subtle, seamless and slightly surprising. Lexus imbued this new styling direction in the development of the 2006 GS and IS series sport sedans. The new LS takes the L-finesse visual philosophy to an even higher level, revealing a family resemblance in the new Lexus sedans, and one that conveys elegance, refinement and a strong emotional appeal.2007 Lexus LS 460 Specifications

LS 460(Standard Wheelbase)
LS 460L(Long Wheelbase)
Difference: 120mm
Overall Length
Difference: 20mm
Overall Width
Overall Height
1,475mm (with coil suspension)
4.6-liter V8
Horsepower (estimated)
Approximately 380 hp
Torque (estimated)
Approximately 370 lb.-ft.
Rear-wheel drive
Front & Rear Multi-Link Suspension (five links)
0-60 miles per hour acceleration (mfr. results)
Under 5.5 sec.
Fuel Economy (city/highway [mpg*1])*2
Mid-20-mpg range
Emissions Rating*3
ULEV II*1 Miles per gallon (1 mile=1.61 kilometers, 1 gallon=3.79 liters) *2 Manufacturer's estimate of EPA fuel economy ratings *3 Manufacturer's estimate of emissions ratings

Friday, January 06, 2006

Honda Asimo Robot

Honda started showing a commercial on TV with the new and improved Asimo Robot that can run at a speed of 6km/hour. That may seem pretty slow but the previous version only walked at 3km/hour. Now it can travel twice the speed.

Here is the link to the commercial: http://www.honda.co.jp/HDTV/ASIMO/cm-circle/

Here you can see it running around:http://www.honda.co.jp/ASIMO/newmodel/05/index.html

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year Karaoke Cop

We went to the Meiji jingu Shrine on new years day to wish for a good new year. It was actually my first time to go on January 1st. Mobs of people arrive just before 12:00 to throw coins and wish for a prosperous new year. You pass inch by inch through the walk way while gravel getting in your shoes, until you finally reach the main shrine. Lucky if you can throw a coin far enough to reach the collecting area. It's a traditional way to start off the year. It's just like the Western way, you do the count down in a crowded club, feet hurting from dancing and throwing money away on drinks. We went just after 3:00am and missed the peak traffic. Here we saw this police officer standing in front of a microphone. He looked like he was about to blast into a Saburo Kitajima number under the huge Japanese "ema" with the dog. 2006 is the year of the dog. The other photo is of Mount Fuji from Makuhari across the Tokyo Bay. (See Bosozoku entry) Happy new year to all.