The Problem With IIHS Headlight Testing

Starting in 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began testing headlights and incorporating their performance into the coveted Top Safety Pick ratings. Headlight performance coined Good or Acceptable was required to even be a contender for Top Safety Pick+, the highest rating IIHS awards. Numerous cars lost out on the top rating due to headlight performance alone. While Good or Acceptable headlights used to be enough for the top slot, only cars with Good headlights are eligible in 2018 models. This, plus the addition of a passenger-side small offset frontal crash test, dwindled the Top Safety Pick+ list to just 15.

We can all agree that good headlights are a plus, but there’s a big loophole in IIHS’s headlight testing methodology. You can read all the precise details of how IIHS tests headlights on its website. These tests

... read more at:

Alabama picked to host huge auto plant

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda on Wednesday announced plans to build a huge, $1.6 billion joint-venture plant in Alabama that will eventually employ about 4,000 people.

Several states had competed for the coveted project, which will be able to turn out 300,000 vehicles per year and will produce the Toyota Corolla compact car for North America and a new, small SUV from Mazda. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and company executives held a joint news conference to announce that the facility is coming to the Huntsville area not far from the Tennessee line. Production is expected to begin by 2021.

“This is indeed a great day in Alabama,” Ivey said. “Thank you for believing in the potential of our people in the great state of Alabama. … Toyota and Mazda, thank you so much. Welcome to sweet home Alabama.”

To lure the plant, the state offered an incentive package of $370

... read more at:

Hot housing market could cool in 2018


Using real estate to secure your financial future isn’t for the faint of heart, but if done right, it has a lot to offer.

For several years, home sellers have had the upper hand as they haggled with buyers over price. In 2018, it might at least be more of a fair fight.

The nation’s hot housing market could cool off next year as rising costs and tax-law changes discourage some buyers even as more homeowners put their homes up for sale.

The shift in bargaining power won’t be dramatic. Many sizzling housing markets on the West and East Coasts will continue to see solidly rising prices, economists say. Yet the pace of the run-up will likely slow as a

... read more at:

The Best Auto Insurance Companies For 2018


Independent car insurance site Clearsurance recently ranked the best car insurance companies. The list is based on factors such as affordability, customer service, the scope of coverage and users’ likelihood to recommend their insurance to others or renew with the company.

Surprisingly, only two national insurance companies made the cut. The others were smaller and mid-size companies.

Clearsurance sifted through more than 39,000 customer reviews that policyholders submitted on the website. Here’s their list of the top 10 insurers:

1. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. (NJM)

Overall score: 4.7 out of 5


Overall score: 4.69

3. Amica Mutual Insurance Company

Overall score: 4.51

4. Shelter Mutual Insurance Company

Overall score: 4.49

5. Erie Insurance Group

Overall score: 4.48

6. Auto-Owners Insurance Group

Overall score: 4.45

7. AAA

Overall score: 4.34

8. The Hartford

Overall score: 4.33

9. Geico

Overall score: 4.28

10. American Family Insurance

Overall score: 4.27

... read more at:

GM Plans To Review Panoramic Sunroof Safety Amid Shatter Concerns

General Motors said it will look into the safety of its panoramic sunroofs following a report published by Consumer Reports last October that detailed how prevalent shattering sunroofs are.

The automaker is one of many CR named in a report that looked at shattering sunroofs across multiple brands. The report shed light on an issue perhaps unfamiliar to most. Research showed 900 incidents spanning 208 models and 35 brands. Most of the shattering panoramic sunroof incidents have occurred in the last six years.

Although GM’s shattering rate is a fraction of others—Kia and Hyundai top the list with 119 reported incidents since 1995—the automaker was the first to respond to CR’s report.

“GM has initiated an internal review of our panoramic sunroofs. We expect to have additional information as we go through that process.”

The 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX became a target for an NHTSA investigation years ago over its sunroof, but the government

... read more at:

‘It was a devastating thing to go through’: SCRS video features former shop owner’s lawsuit story

A former regional MSO owner at SEMA shared an account of his experience being sued over repair work, and fellow auto body professionals who missed the show have another chance to hear the powerful story with a video just released by SCRS.

“It was a terrible situation,” Assured Performance technical compliance Vice President Aaron Clark told the audience while participating on a liability panel at the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit.

SCRS this week posted a free video of the session, and Clark’s story can be seen around the 46:06 mark.

Prior to his leadership role at Assured Performance, Clark owned the seven-shop Collision Solutions for more than a decade before selling it to ABRA in 2012. He said today’s technology means repairers need discipline “a magnitude above what it was when I was in the industry.”

Clark said the lawsuit all started when his shop fixed a “very

... read more at:

Self-driving cars need humans less and less, California data shows

The state on Wednesday released reports showing how many miles the companies testing self-driving cars in California logged last year, and how often their engineers had to take control of the vehicles.

For some companies, such “disengagements” have become increasingly rare.

That’s particularly true of Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet. Waymo racked up 352,545 miles of autonomous driving last year on California’s public roads — far more than any of its competitors — and recorded only 63 disengagements, or one every 5,596 miles.

In 2016, Waymo’s vehicles went 5,128 miles, on average, between disengagements.

Cruise, the San Francisco startup purchased by General Motors in 2016, showed even more improvement.

The company’s self-driving Chevy Bolts drove 131,676 miles on the city’s crowded streets last year and recorded 105 disengagements, or one every 1,254

... read more at: