How Long Can Germany Fend Off The Japanese Luxury Brands This Time?

Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today, we have reports from Car and Driver, Gizmag and Motoramic.

25 Years After the Japanese Onslaught, Germany Is WinningCar and Driver

Not sure if heritage is as important as Aaron Robinson thinks it is in his column, but 25 years ago probably felt a lot different if you were selling one of the German brands. You also had fewer letters and numbers to contend with back then.

The cymbal crash accompanying the transformation of Detroit's little January dealer show into the North American International Auto Show in 1989 was the debut of the Lexus and Infiniti luxury divisions of Toyota and Nissan, then doing a good job of plowing Detroit under. Along with Acura, Honda's upscale division that launched in 1986, this trio of hot rookie brands intended to turn the lights off in Germany next. That was 25 years ago, in case you need another reason to feel old. And it didn't quite work out as planned, as the sales figures for calendar-year 2013 prove.

"Going up" at 45 mph: Hitachi to deliver world's fastest elevatorGizmag

But it appears barf bags are an optional extra.

To regulate the speed of the elevator there's a governor, and the braking system uses high-temperature resistant materials for emergency stops. In addition, there are guide rails designed to reduce vibration, and a pressure equalization system to avoid the annoyance of ear popping.

Why you can't buy America's greenest carMotoramic

Green means a lot of things in this country. Maybe that's why some companies started making blue the new green.

It's not easy knowing what's green in the auto industry. Last year's "Green Car of the Year" as chosen by the Green Car Journal — the Honda Accord hybrid and plug-in — doesn't even appear on the "Greenest Cars of 2014" list as chosen by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; only three of ACEEE's picks carry over to Kelly Blue Book's own eco-friendly list. Much of that's due to automakers trying to optimize their vehicles to solve different pollution problems; high-efficiency diesels may score badly on smog ratings, while flex-fuel vehicles that reduce oil dependence by burning ethanol or natural gas get lower MPGs.

Photo: Infiniti