● October 11th marked the 80th birthday of the Mack Trucks iconic bulldog symbol. During WW I, British soldiers nicknamed the company’s products “Bulldog Macks” for their ability to stand up to almost anything. The name stuck, and the patented symbol first appeared as a hood ornament on vehicles in 1933.
● If you live in a metropolitan area, Tom Tom’s 2nd Quarter 2012 Congestion Index may prove interesting. The company makes navigation and GPS systems and collects travel time information worldwide. They compare “free flowing” travel time to peak hours or rush hour times and determine the most congested cities for both North America and Europe.
They cite Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto as the top five most congested cities in N. America (Washingon, D.C was sixth, and New York eighth). In Europe it’s Istanbul, Warsaw, Marseille, Palermo and Rome at the top of the list.
● Honda recently announced sales of the one millionth hybrid worldwide. The company’s first generation Insight appeared 1999. The sales pace is picking up, too: Honda reached 100,000 hybrids sold in ’05, but shifted another 100,000 by 2007. Recent introductions of several new models (not all in the U.S.) allowed a continued increase in sales.
For comparison, Toyota now sells more than one million hybrids per year worldwide and is well over four million sold for the last ten years.
● The inventor of the nickel-hydride (NiMH) battery, Stanford Ovshinsky died last week at age 89.
He never attended college but held many patents in his own name; interviewers often termed him a modern day Thomas Edison. At various points in his career, he was involved with development of re-writable CDs, efficient solar panels, and today’s flat-panel screens and monitors.
● The Toyota Prius – in all its variants – has emerged as the best selling nameplate in California over the first three business quarters of 2012. Volume-wise, its in 7th place nationally, and has been the best selling car in Japan for almost four years.