Login to your account
Not a member? Register now.
AutoShopperBlog

Subscribe To The Blog:




Follow Us



The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Videos

Range Rover Celebrates 40 With New Compact SUV

On: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: John Welch


Range Rover Celebrates 40 With New Compact SUV test 1-1

Land and Range Rovers receive altered styling so in frequently that you could time said updates by Margret Thatcher's "cycle". That is to say, almost never.

For their 40th anniversary however, Range Rover is introducing a new compact SUV (I think I might get shot if I call a Rover a "CrossOver" . . .) that represents a serious departure from the typical military-grade kiddie carrying boxes we are used to seeing from Rover.

Rumored to be based on the LRX concept seen at larger auto-shows the last two years, the new SUV will be unvieled during an event in London at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Rover isn't telling us everything about the new vehicle, saving some of the juiciest morsels for the Paris Motor Show this fall.


Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Cars

On: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:31AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Cars test 1-1

It’s that time of year again when the tragic statistics start to appear nationwide regarding unfortunate children who die of heat stroke from either being left in cars or accidently getting trapped in automobiles in the heat. Every year the numbers seem to be very predictable, but this year some research indicates that that number is on the rise.

Eight kids across the nation in the toddler/infant age group have reportedly died since June 13th this year, the largest number in over 10 years.

Susan West, a registered nurse in Oklahoma who was interviewed by News Ok.com, reports that children have many special physical challenges when their bodies cope with rising temperatures.  Kids have less overall body fluid so they dehydrate much more rapidly than adults. Overall children’s bodies heat up five times faster than a person who is full gown, and on top of that, an infant does not develop mature sweat glands to help cool the body until around 6 months of age. "They're just defenseless, they can't help themselves," said Susan West, Safe Kids Tulsa. "They're just victims." West also said;"They're heating up faster, they're dehydrating faster,"

  


Nationwide Gets New Cars, Dodge Challenger Is Gorgeous

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 1:46PM | By: John Welch


Nationwide Gets New Cars, Dodge Challenger Is Gorgeous test 1-1

NASCAR is unveiling (that’s right, I didn't say "NASCAR is reveals . . .") new bodywork for the second-tier Nationwide Series. This is bad because these new silhouettes are much closer representations of their respective models then what are used in the Sprint Cup Series, and they are also much more desirable models. Ford and Dodge have pulled out all the stops, serving up bodies that are not aero-perfect but that follow the spirit of racing much more closely than in years past. Win on Sunday sell on Monday works much better if the winning car represents at least some of the content provided by the customer car. Seriously, who buys a Fusion because it is fast? Fusions aren't fast, so nobody. The Mustang on the other hand . . . just sayin' . . .


Tickets Still Available For 100th DP Race, NASCAR Thrown In As A Bonus

On: Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:14AM | By: John Welch


Tickets Still Available For 100th DP Race, NASCAR Thrown In As A Bonus test 1-1

Well, okay, technically it's probably the other way around. The Brumos Porsche 250 will be held at noon on Saturday, July 3rd. After the Rolex Series sprint race, the Daytona International Speedway crews will set about blocking off the road course and readiying the track for the Coke Zero 400. Formerly the Pepsi 400 . . . formerly the FireCracker 400. Sigh. I can't help it, I miss cigarette sponsorships and races named after a certain region or holiday. How are Jack Daniels and Coke Zero any better than Winston and The Southern 500? They aren't, but I digress . . .

So, anyway, you buy a NASCAR ticket and you get a historic Grand Am race as well. Genius marketing on the one hand, but really unavoidable on the other. Think about the logistics of clearing the entire Daytona facility out in between races, cleaning everything, setting up the track and then opeing the ticket counters again . . . instead of a green flag at seven p.m. we wouldn't see stock cars until midnight!

For anyone wanting to experience live racing but who have no idea what sort of racing they would like to see, this is the best of both worlds. In the morning you are treated to a hard-fought, prototype-filled road race, and in the balmy July evening you get brash, brutally exciting stock cars crammed into every input receptor on your face. The AutoShopper will be there, and you still have time to join us:

Brumos Porsche 250 (and some NASCAR something or other,) Tickets

Look inside the post for videos and other Grand Am goodies . . .


 

Stock 2011 V6 Mustang Travels Over 533 Miles On One Tank!

On: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 3:16PM | By: John Welch


Stock 2011 V6 Mustang Travels Over 533 Miles On One Tank! test 1-1

Plenty of companies have come up with plenty of hairbrained hypermiler cars in the past. Oddities mostly. Not all that useful or relevant. High strung diesel engines bolted into single-seat, bob-sled sized cars don't really appeal to the average US consumer. A base-engined Ford Mustang, on the other hand, that is a little more palatable. Being proud of their new six-pot steed, Ford engineers decided to see just how many laps of Bristol Motor Speedway their baby could finish on one tank of gas. The goal was 1,000 rotations around the Bristol, TN,. bull ring, and they met that mark with flying colors.

“This is beyond our wildest dreams,” said Tom Barnes, the lead engineer for the Ford Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge. “There have been a lot of people who have done a lot of things in preparing this 2011 Mustang V-6 to run the Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge and have the success we have had today. It was great when we went past the 1,000 lap mark with David, but nobody could ever imagine that we still had five hours ahead of us. This is a fantastic feeling and it shows again what a great car the 2011 Mustang V-6 is.”


Donde Esta La Fiesta?

On: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 2:30PM | By: John Welch


Donde Esta La Fiesta? test 1-1

"Summer Release" is rather arbitrary phrasing. Here in Florida, the word "Summer" could refer to July; it could also mean March or September. Ford unleashed a doozie of a marketing campaign on Americans last year, doing anything it could to get publicity for the upcoming "Summer 2010" release of the US-ified Fiesta. Ford tried everything from grinding a Fiesta into dust to straight up giving them to hoity-toity post-grad movers and shakers. It worked. We all know what the Fiesta is and plenty of us want one. Now where in the eff are they?

According to Ford, they are right on schedule. Ford began shipping the cars this week from an assembly plant in Mexico. On Ford's Fiesta Facebook page, some customers awaiting their pre-ordered car vented about it being at least two weeks late. One complained of Ford's lack of communication about the holdup. Ford insists both accusations are inaccurate.

“We've been very transparent with our customers who've made pre-orders,” said Angie Kozleski, a Ford spokeswoman. “We have a reservations call center and a reservations hotline. In the case of this vehicle, there's been a lot of communication with them.”

Ford has approximately 2,000 early orders for the car. Ford's Kozleski said those are orders from customers who put cold, hard cash down to buy the Fiesta.


Mid-Ohio, The 99th Daytona-Prototype Race

On: Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:07PM | By: John Welch


Mid-Ohio, The 99th Daytona-Prototype Race test 1-1

This weekend marks the 99th race for the ubiquitous Daytona Prototype. A chassis and rule system raced only within the confines of NASCAR-owned Grand-Am (this is not completely true; see update below,), this chassis has little in common with the serious, high-dollar prototypes being raced in the ALMS and the European Le Mans Series. Those teams are encouraged to experiment: Open cockpit, closed cockpit? Gas or Diesel? DOHC V8 or Turbo-Four? Staggered front wheels or all the same size? Even though there are constraints in Le Mans racing, air-restrictors, weight penalties, and the like, the rules regarding a Le Mans Prototype are wide open compared to a Daytona Prototype.

It isn't like there is some sort of cost-savings for a DP team when compared with LM-style cars. True, the average Daytona Prototype comes in around $500 grand fully dressed, which is significantly cheaper than the average Le Mans prototype, but not cheaper than all of them. You could get a Lola LMP2 coupe on track in an ALMS race for less, if you have proper sponsorship and crew. Plus, Grand-Am suffers from the same "Spec-Series" woes that plague the IZOD Indy Racing League. The well-heeled teams (Target/Telmex/Ganassi, I'm mean-muggin' you!) put their "spec" cars into wind tunnels and figure out new bits and pieces for their cars that end up leaving the smaller teams in the dust. Take a look at the smooth, production-quality roll of the Ganassi Riley’s rear fenders, then look over at a Riley from a a smaller team. Same "chassis," but the Ganassi fender is aero-tuned, where a smaller team's Riley (Mike Shank Racing, for instance) has the same blocky rear fenders that came with the original DP/Riley bodywork . . . in 2002! Whereas the Ganassi Riley can almost be considered its own chassis, the Mike Shank car is still, basically a World Sports Car from the late nineties, with an added roof. Don't even get me started on engines.

So, why even bother then? How did this happen and who cares about Grand-Am besides die-hard road-race crazies such as myself? Despite all of Grand-Am's competition issues, the racing is still fantastic. Absolutely, fender-to-fender, high-adrenalin fantastic. As far as the actual on-track product is concerned, Grand-Am is one of the closest, hard fought Championships in the world. There are some amazing drivers in the series, and though the cars aren't exactly "lookers," or technologically mind-numbing, they're still thoroughbred speed demons with appetites for asphalt and the tears of their fallen adversaries. Also, unlike most other televised racing series, the little guy still has a chance. I refer you to this year’s Rolex 24, where a new Porsche team, utilizing an unpopular and under-developed engine, smoked the Ganassi boys for the over-all victory. This sort of scenario hasn't played out at Le Mans since the nineties, when Mazda and, later, McLaren were able to take over-all wins with supposedly inferior machinery. In 2010, the only place you will find that sort of excitement is the Rolex Grand-Am Series, and the brief history of which can be found inside yonder post . . .


UPDATE: The Daytona Prototype is raced outside of the Rolex Series, though it is highly modified and designed for a different rulebook. Behold the MoonCraft Shi-Den MC/RT-16. The "RT" stands for "Riley Technologies", appropriate because this is essentially the same rolling chassis as the Ganassi Rileys. What is different? The bodywork is substantially altered, created by Japanese tuning firm MoonCraft (duh!). The Shin-Den's fenders feature more aero holes and slats, the coupe's roofline slightly sleeker and more aero-efficient.

The MC/RT-16 is powerd by a 4.5 liter Toyota V8, and competes in the Super GT (formnally JGTC,) GT300 Championship. Rated at 430 bhp, it is more powerful then most of it;s competition, but it is also slightly heavier. See the image gallery for pictures of what the DP's should look like, and there is a video of the car in motion inside the post . . .


The New Sixth-Generation Volkswagen Jetta

On: Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The New Sixth-Generation Volkswagen Jetta test 1-1

Volkswagen is preparing the launch of the new sixth-generation, 2011 Jetta, which is promised to be a more conservative redesign. Rumors have it that Volkswagen may also be considering a Jetta R model, which could appear as a sedan or a new coupe body style (seemingly the NCC incarnate transformed to the sixth-generation Jetta), which would be longer, leaner, and less expensive than its  predecessor and, for the first time, does NOT resemble the Golf.


Denso Becomes Number One Light-Duty Auto Supplier Worldwide

On: Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 11:26AM | By: John Welch


Denso Becomes Number One Light-Duty Auto Supplier Worldwide test 1-1

Most Americans recognize Denso as a spark-plug manufacturer. Spark plugs that are expensive, but throw solid spark for millenia. Bosch, on the other hand, Americans are a little more familiar with. While also manufacturing spark plugs, we have seen their wiper blades and wastegates and electronic compnents for years. Denso Corp. does everything Bosch GmbH does and, if sales numbers count for anything,  they do these things better then Bosch. In 2009, Bosch's global sales to automakers fell 24 percent to $25.62 billion. Denso's fiscal-year sales rose 3 percent to $28.73 billion. Boo-yah, game, set, match.

Not so fast! What about the wacky Japanese April-March fiscal year? Huh? Under this thoroughly convienient fiscal time table, sales figures exclude the depressed first three months of 2009 and include the early 2010 rebound. Bosch contends that if it were operating on the same namby-pamby fiscal year it would have posted sales of $28.80 billion, beating Denso's $28.73 billion.

This situation gets even murkier. Toyota owns 23 percent of Denso, but arch-rival Bosch owns 5 percent! They manufacter similar products, as well. To go with spark-plugs, Denso makes fuel systems, radiators, air conditioners, and electronics. Bosch also produces electronics, brakes, chassis systems, motors, navigation systems, and other parts. Denso has been number two in sales behind Bosch for the last four years.

Denso Corp. isn't confused about its standing in the supplier market. "There are still some very, very strong competitors out there, and they're going to come back," says Terry Helgesen, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Denso International America Inc. "We've been fortunate to have a broad customer base and a broad product portfolio."

Suppliers provided most of the data for the ranking. Some companies' sales were estimated. The numbers do not include non-automotive, aftermarket, or heavy-duty truck sales. Sales are in dollars, translated when necessary from other currencies.


Lexus "Dark Ride" An Interesting New Avenue In Car Marketing

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 6:24PM | By: John Welch


Lexus "Dark Ride" An Interesting New Avenue In Car Marketing test 1-1

Lexus has come to the conclusion that auto advertising does not involve you, the customer, quite enough. In fact, Lexus would like to extend to you the opportunity to control their commercials yourself. Such is the case with the innovative 13-minute featurette: "Dark Ride."

The movie puts you in the passenger seat as Norman Reedus, of "Boondock Saints" fame, does his best to pilot the Lexus CT 200h prototype to a Lexus "safe house" before dawn. Making you the navigator, Norman is screwed if you don't tell him where to go. That's right, you become a part of the commercial, guiding the Norman and the CT 200h through side streets and away from mysterious road-going "bad guys".

“With ‘Dark Ride’ we are creating a unique virtual test drive opportunity so consumers can experience this hybrid, that is like no other, months before it is available at dealerships in early 2011,” said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing. “In it, consumers play a co-starring role as the fun-to-drive Lexus CT 200h is put through its paces. By guiding the driver and the CT through a series of adventures, customers will be exposed to ‘The Darker Side of Green,’ which is completely different than the way hybrids are usually portrayed.”


Ganassi/BMW Dominates Sahlens 6 Hours

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 1:09PM | By: John Welch


Ganassi/BMW Dominates Sahlens 6 Hours test 1-1

Though we are in the midst of six straight weeks of televised Grand Am, this past weekend's Sahlens 6 Hours of the Glen puts a cap on the busiest week of the season. On Monday the teams practiced, qualified, and then raced at Lime Rock, Connecticut. Four days later they did the same at Watkins Glen New York, only this race was six hours long. Brutal.

The Telmex/Ganassi team ran afoul of the Gainsco Chevrolet on the first lap at Lime Rock. Front bodywork smashed to pieces, they were forced to park the car and watch the Lime Rock race from the pits. That incident lit the proverbial fire under the Tlmex team's collective asses, and they returned this weekend ready to conquer all comers at the Sahlens 6 Hours.

Conquer they did; Scott Pruett turned a blistering lap in qualifying, giving the Ganassi BMW the pole by a full second over the Gainsco car. The race played out in about the same fashion; the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley scoring its third consecutive victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. The Ganassi team's biggest rival throughout the race was the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley of Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney, and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. The two teams combined to lead 179 laps. Gurney was gaining on the Bimmer from third position, but spun out his Chevrolet with 15 minutes remaining, resulting in a sixth-place finish. "This was probably the best the GAINSCO Auto Insurance car ever has been at Watkins Glen," said Fogarty, who drove the opening three hours, seven minutes of the race before turning the car over to Johnson. The reigning NASCAR champion ran second behind Rojas for his entire hour behind the wheel.