- A one-off Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser that generates 800 reindeerpower is a highlight of the holiday merriment coming out of auto companies and suppliers this season.
- OnStar has collaborated with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for subscribers to keep tabs on Santa's Christmas journey through a "Santa Update" request from 7 a.m. on December 24 until 5 a.m. on December 25.
- Automotive marketing firm Maritz Research polled 1.2 billion children worldwide asking which reindeer is worthy of leading Santa's sleigh — and the results may surprise you.
DETROIT — The car community has a soft spot for Santa and his reindeer this season, debuting everything from a Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser to a new poll that bumps Rudolph off his perch as lead reindeer.
The surprising amount of holiday cheer generated by automakers and suppliers underscores a positive mood on the threshold of the New Year and the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Usually staid Toyota issued a playful press release in advance of the holiday, saying its "elves and engineers" were hard at work on the Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser. The special vehicle has a green side with an EV mode "to allow Santa to stealthily land on every rooftop," the automaker said.
GM's OnStar announced that it has collaborated with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to keep tabs on Santa's journey on Christmas Eve.
OnStar's "Track Santa" program lets those with an active subscription follow Santa's journey by pressing the blue OnStar button in his or her vehicle to request a "Santa Update."
Using sophisticated systems like the North Warning Radar System and geo-synchronous satellites with infrared sensors, NORAD monitors Santa's location. The OnStar feature is available from 7 a.m. on December 24 until 5 a.m. on December 25.
Those without an OnStar subscription can visit NORAD Tracks Santa or dial 877-Hi-NORAD (877-446-6723) for Santa's location.
The fun folks at Maritz Research caught some Christmas spirit and put together a video report detailing the results of their Reindeer Customer Satisfaction and Santa Support Study. The study asked 1.2 billion children worldwide which reindeer is really worthy of leading Santa's sleigh.
Left out of the running were Rudolph, who was created in 1939 for a Montgomery Ward catalog, and Chet, one of the quirky reindeer stars of the 2002 Tim Allen film Santa Clause 2.
Comet won 37 percent for reliability and dependability and 67.5 percent for the "fun to drive" category. Blitzen captured the "exterior comfort" designation with 67.5 percent and prevailed in the "fit and finish" category with 37 percent.
An independent panel was called in to break the tie. The animated cast of Rankin/Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer did the honors, choosing Blitzen as the hands-down winner.
Edmunds says: The car community's sense of fun makes a holiday even merrier and brighter.