Q. What’s happened with Toyota? Its cars have sold well here despite ho-hum styling? — F.K. (via Internet) 

A. Toyota has decided to make a whole range of sexy cars. It’s finally given its designers permission to make such autos. Just look at the sexy new Camry sedan. Toyota chief Akio Toyoda is a car buff who says he wants “no more boring cars.” Helping shake things up is star American designer Ian Cartabiano, who works with his colleagues at Toyota’s Calty design center in Newport Beach, California. Note that Toyota has New Global Architecture, which is a series of redone vehicle underpinnings that lets Toyota’s cars be lower, wider, leaner and “meaner.” 

Q. What’s more hip? A Rolls-Royce or a Bentley? — A.M. (via Internet)

A. A Bentley. While the Rolls is fabulous in many ways, it’s just not very sexy. Just look at what car the women in the television show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” drive. A Bentley, of course. Traditionally, a Bentley has been more exciting than a Rolls.

Q. Which high-volume automaker makes the most money per car? — P.S. (via internet)

A. Don’t know for sure, but Porsche made an amazing $17,250 per car in 2016, according to Bloomberg. Of course, although its cars are expensive to begin with, Porsche’s costly options prompt many buyers of its vehicles to push up the per unit price. 

Q.   Have you ever driven the Wienermobile vehicle, which is shaped like a hot dog on a bun and driven to various cities to promote Oscar Mayer products? — J.S. (via Internet)

A. Matter of fact, I drove a Wienermoble throughout downtown Chicago years ago when I was the auto columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.  It was surprisingly easy to drive and drew lots of attention. Its young crew was fun, and it made for an interesting, offbeat auto column. 

Q.  Do you think that Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett, who spent a few decades running a Michigan office-furniture producer, will help the automaker’s fortunes? — E.R. (via Internet)

A. Time will tell. But Hackett is no “car guy.” Henry Ford II didn’t know much about cars when running the Ford empire, but at least he had car savvy executives such as Lee Iacocca prompting him to introduce autos such as the Ford Mustang. Come to think of it, old Henry Ford I didn’t care much for cars—just providing transportation for the masses. But his son, Edsel, was a top Ford executive who came up with exciting Ford, Mercury and Lincoln models.

Q. Have electric cars made much of an impact on the diesel car market, which has been huge in Europe? — K.G. (via Internet)

A. Automotive News editor-in-chief Keith Crain made a good point when he wrote in the publication’s September 18 issue that “The (Volkswagen) diesel disaster, made public two years ago today, has done more to move electric cars front and center than anything I can image.” 

Q. What would you do if you owned a battery-powered Tesla and were trying to drive your way out of a hurricane or other disaster when there is no more electricity, your battery power is low and there is no battery chargers at shelters? — E.R. (via Internet)
A. I guess one answer would be to also have a gasoline-powered vehicle ready to go.

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