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The Honda CRZ – A New Car With a Very Unique Design

The Honda CRZ is an impressive car in the line-up of Honda, and the abbreviation CRZ, refers to Compact Renaissance Zero. It is a hybrid gasoline electric automobile, which was planned and developed for production by the Japanese automaker Honda. The body style of the car is hatchback. Initially CRZ was released as a concept car by CEO of Honda Takeo Fukui on 23rd of October, 2007 at the Tokyo Auto Show held in 2007. Later on, Fukui announced that a production model is under progress and the car is meant to be incredibly efficient, cheap and sporty. Honda CRZ was first produced in America at the Detroit North American International Auto Show held in 2008. It uses the Integrated Motor Assist System of Honda.

Two hybrid concept cars were introduced after the production of CRZ. One is Honda Remix, which was released at the Los Angeles Motor Show held in 2006. The other one was the Honda Small Hybrid Sports, which was released at the Geneva Motor Show held in 2007. The CRZ with four seats is considered as the spiritual heir to the second generation of Honda CRX in both design and name.

According to the reports of Automotive News Europe, Honda plans to flatten the production of CRZ in the year 2009 or 2010, initially in Europe, before elaborating the distribution and production to other nations of the world. The approximate cost of the Honda CRZ is 25,000 Euros and primarily pitched to the markets of Europe. The cost of the car will be 28,000 Euros along with higher trim models. Due to the importance of Honda CRZ on the continent of Europe, Mark Turner of Honda UK says that there will be a lot of influence by Europe on the final stage of design of the car.

Many reports made by Edmunds inside-line suggest that the arrival of Honda CRZ in North America will be after the launch of Honda Insight in the early times of 2009, which is a hybrid vehicle with five doors. Confirmation about the production of Honda CRZ was granted at the 2008 end of the year speech, which was given by Takeo Fukui. From the speech the production of CRZ will be started by the end of the year 2010. After the production of the car, it will become a model which provides a new value of the joy of driving, which can be provided only by a hybrid vehicle.

James Bond’s Famous Car From “The Spy Who Loved Me” – The Lotus Espirit

For Lotus and especially the Lotus Espirit that the very spirit and decision that Lotus make more use of their own cars and factory production facilities from 1974 onwards, it was decided to replace the mid-engined Lotus “Europa” with a brand new model and workup of mid engine automobile utilizing the same 16 valve 2 liter engine, installed at 45 degrees to the chassis. However the new car, which was designated and named “Espirit” retained the backbone, pressed steel frame layout of the old Europa, it was entirely and fully a new vehicle in detail.

Also new was the wedge-style glassfibre body shape, carried out for Lotus by the famous Italian automotive stylist.Giugiaro, and the use of a modified Citroen SM gearbox and final drive assembly – the difference being that SM’s transaxle had originally been front mounted for a front wheel drive installation. Although it also had been adapted for use in the mid -engine Maserati Merak as well.

The all-independent suspension was engineered fro series-production use, but the geometry akin on that found to racing sports cars, and the entire vehicle showed signs of Lotus’s racing roots and heritage. Like other contemporary Lotuses. Too it had flip-up headlamps plus a much more luxurious interior and fascia than any previous road car from this Lotus factory. One of the clever tricks used by Lotus and Lotus management to keep their costs and investment costs to a bare minimum was that they picked components from other car that is if they could not afford to develop on their own. Half a loaf of bread – or in this a fine automobile on the road or race track, was better than none at all. Thus the first Espirits had Opel Ascona front suspension components and modified Lancia Beta high performance disk brakes.

Production did not begin until 1976, when the first Espirits were found to be rather disappointingly slower than the claims that had been made for them on announcement. To their great credit however, Lotus management and engineers went back to the “drawing boards’ and took the time, detail to attention and energy to more than rectify this. All in all, in hindsight this could be due to the variable performance of the Lotus built engines. These corrections had to be made before the cars’ full 135 / 140 miles per hour performance could be guaranteed 100 percent.

In the next few years however, much more intensive and elaborate development work was carried out, without disturbing the general style or concepts of the automobile. Series 2 models from mid 1978, had new styling details, while by 1980 not only had the engine been enlarged to 2,174 cc, but a very powerful ( 210 bhp) instead of the original 156bhp turbocharged engine had been developed.

Yet in the end it was “show biz’ that brought the Lotus Espirit to great attention and not even the vehicle as much. A white Lotus Espirit S1 was featured as James Bonds’ car in the 1971 Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me’. This had such a great impact on the popularity and even notoriety of the auto that it was followed up by a performance of the brand new Turbo Espirit as a star feature all by itself in the 1981 James Bond spy movie “For Your Eyes Only”.

Autos Online – Safely

You can ask just about any person on the street, and he or she will tell you that this title is an oxymoron.

Well, it is not an unwarranted assumption, for there are many who in good faith have paid for online autos and who have then been defrauded one way or another; and they will not only agree, but also underscore, that indeed, yes, it is an oxymoron.

Online Auto Purchase – Nightmare Scenario No. 1

The 1968 Ford Mustang that a private seller in Michigan had offered to sell for a little more than Sanderson had planned to spend was the precise car he was looking for. Precisely: color, options, wheels, the lot.

So, his planned spending rose the 20% needed to meet the seller’s price, and he answered, yes, yes, I want to buy this car.

The Michigan seller emailed back, nice to know you, and delighted to do business. Just to make sure you know this is on the up and up, we will snail mail you a Certificate of Inspection, as well as our routing number and bank account; into which you should deposit 50% (plus $1,200 delivery charge) before we’ll ship the car. We trust you to pay us the remaining 50% upon acceptance of the vehicle.

Sanderson was convinced this was all on the level-the seller even had his photograph on the site that sold the car; and once he received the Certificate of Inspection, he wired the 50% plus shipping.

And that was the last he saw of his money, or the car, or the seller. The Certificate of Inspection turned out to be a forgery. The bank account he had wired the money to, by the time the police inquired, had been closed. There was no address for the seller, and Sanderson out a considerable amount of money.

Online Auto Purchase – Nightmare Scenario No. 2

Wilson, in his fifties and a prudent man by all accounts, and a lot more business savvy than Sanderson found the very thing he was looking for in Florida: a 1976 Jensen Interceptor series III saloon, hand-built in England. Wilson had been looking for one for years.

It was not the color he liked, but he could always have it repainted. And it was not cheap–well, he didn’t expect it to be. Eight emails later, and they had agreed upon a price.

And the seller, bless his heart, a man as cautious as Wilson himself, suggested they use an online escrow service to make sure the deal would go through smoothly, to everyone’s satisfaction. He even recommended a great looking company called reliable-escrow.com to handle the transaction. Wilson visited the site, and was impressed by the professional approach to the deal it presented. He felt reassured.

Everything was in place. As agreed, he deposited 50% of the purchase price (a small fortune) in the escrow account-the balance to be paid upon acceptance. Then he waited, and waited, and waited.

By the time investigators got around to it, reliable-escrow.com no longer existed (it had been registered in Russia), and Wilson had lost his small fortune.

Online Auto Purchase – Nightmare Scenario No. 3

Money exchanges hands. Shipping arrangements are made. The car arrives. Yes, it is the same year, model and color as stated in the ad, but some of the other statements stretched the truth a little. New tires, for one-these had hardly any thread left. The left headlight did not work, neither did the air conditioning, nor the rear seatbelts. This list did go on.

When challenged the seller referred to the contract which did-darn it, there it was-have an as is clause, and the agreement, not the ad, was the legally binding document here.

The buyer ended up spending an additional $2,350 on a $4,000 car to make it drivable, with no recourse to collect.

Good Intentions

Good intentions-admirable things that all too often fall short of proper follow-through-even when present in spades at the outset of an online auto deal are no guarantee that it will go through in the same spirit. Something is usually overlooked, and when the proverbial push comes to shove, the seller just does not want to eat the extra $500, sorry.

And at the other end of the spectrum-when the intention all along is to defraud you-take another look at the first two scenarios (the third may or may not have started out in good faith).

Internet Fraud

Now, if these first two scenarios were rare, isolated occurrences, this article would have no business being written.

However, Non-delivery of items purchased online constitute an impressive 24.9% of all fraud complaints filed last year with IC3-The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3)-second only to Internet Auction Fraud, which was the most reported at 35.7%.

Vigilance

Therefore, when it comes to buying anything online from a private party-especially something as costly as an automobile-keep the following in mind:
o Be aware that if a problem does occur, it will be more difficult to resolve if the seller is located outside the United States-laws can differ widely country to country;
o Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address;
o Before you make a payment for any purchase, you should verify the seller’s identity and contact details in case there is a problem with the delivery of the item;
o Ask the seller when delivery can be expected and whether the merchandise is covered by warranty if you need to exchange it;
o Use registered or certified mail to enable tracing; this will eliminate claims that the parcel was sent but must have been “lost in the mail;”
o Check that the seller information matches email, phone number and any bank account and location information;

And here is the most important advice of all:

o If you have any doubts about the identity and integrity the of seller-and when it comes to high-ticket items such as automobiles, even if you have no doubts whatsoever, and if all intentions appear angel-like: use an escrow agent.

An escrow agent or company is an independent third party that holds payment in trust until the buyer receives and accepts the item from the seller. While this service does incur a fee, it protects the buyer because the third party will hold the money until the goods have been received in good condition, inspected, and accepted; and only then releases the funds to the seller.

Internet Escrow

The principle and process of Internet escrow is the same as with buying and selling real estate-where, of course, the escrow company is deemed indispensable due to the amounts involved.
o The buyer or seller opens an account with the online escrow company;
o The prospective buyer of an item sends payment by wire transfer, check or credit card to the escrow company;
o The escrow company verifies that the funds indeed do exist, or that the buyer is who he represents himself to be and is in possession of the credit card, if used;
o Once this checks out, the escrow company asks the seller to ship the merchandise;
o Merchandise is shipped, and seller submits tracking information;
o Once the shipping site shows the merchandise as delivered the escrow company double checks to ensure the buyer has the goods in hand;
o The buyer now has an agreed-upon amount of time to either accept the goods or return it to the seller;
o Once accepted by the buyer, the escrow company releases the funds to the seller, less any processing fees and commissions.

This is all straightforward enough, if, that is, you are dealing with a legitimate online escrow company.

Fighting the Fighter

But the world, as we know, likes to throw us curves; and in this instance, the curve comes in the guise of escrow fraud.

Handling, as it does, substantial amounts of money, the bona fide escrow company is often itself a target of fraud-where look-alike phishing sites try to con you into providing them your confidential financial information; and where the escrow company concept itself is flagrantly abused by criminals who set up fraudulent escrow sites where money will only travel one-way: you guessed it, away from you.

In fact, the problem of fake on-line escrow sites is now so severe that some reputable and legitimate escrow sites have simply thrown in the towel.

Buyer Guardian, for example, recently shut its doors due to Internet fraud stealing their business, and posted the following note on their site: “We are sad to report that after careful and lengthy consideration we have made the decision to cease operations. This is a very difficult decision, and one that is made primarily due to the rapid growth of online escrow fraud.”

Many of these apparently bona fide escrow companies, established for the sole purpose of enriching the criminal, are set up off-shore-predominantly in Russia or China-where lax cyber crime laws (and sometimes questionable cooperation with U.S. authorities) makes it more difficult to shut the sites down and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Therefore, be sure to use only a bona fide online escrow company, preferably one that comes recommended by auction sites like eBay.

The Famous Bottom Line

If you want to ensure that you are not defrauded by an online transaction, do what house-buyers have done now for pretty much ever, use an online escrow company.

Here’s to peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.

And to successful online auto transactions.

By Ulf Wolf