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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

GM Attempts to Keep Up with Ford's Technology

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:39PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Attempts to Keep Up with Ford's Technology test 1-1

It seems as though General Motors may be following Ford Motor Co.’s philosophy that in order to get something, you have to give away something. In this case it's the free service that Ford offers its customer for the “Ford Sync” product. GM is planning to offer some free music and information in its OnStar communications system in order to keep up with its number one competitor.

Currently OnStar is a free service for the first year and then a yearly membership of between $199 to $299 is due. Marketing gurus at GM thought they had an ingenious plan for setting up a system to raise revenues for the company in the form of residual income, but unfortunately Ford Motor Company one upped GM offering Ford customers a FREE subscription to its information service, Ford Sync.

Although OnStar offered the first service providing accident alert communication, directions, and vehicle diagnostics, the OnStar was set up to be a paid subscription service. This month GM will introduce a new system that is free, offering technology that provides links to the social media site, Facebook, as the system translates voice messages into text. This is a brand new system that has not yet gone public, according to anonymous sources.

Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes State-Issued Speeding Pass

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes State-Issued Speeding Pass test 1-1

Think about Nevada (not Las Vegas, but the state of Nevada) and you'll likely think of a large desert featuring scattered population centers and tons of remote, open space in between. While this might be a simplification, Nevada has a greater percentage of public land than any other state in the country outside of Alaska. Such a flat, open canvas is all but begging for some painting by high-performance tires powered by bulky, grunting engines. And under a new plan proposed by independent gubernatorial candidate Eugene DiSimone, Nevadans would be able to push their tires on up to 90 mph by applying for a state-issued permit being called the Go Fast Pass.

DiSimone calls his idea the Free Limit Plan, and it is designed to raise money for the state while opening higher speeds up to drivers. Drivers wishing to take advantage of the speeding privilege would need to pay a fee of $25 per day and get an annual vehicle inspection. They would then get an electronic beacon that would automatically convey their pass status to highway patrol officers. Under DiSimone's proposal, out-of-state drivers (say those looking to make the trip from LA to Vegas in a hurry) would be able to pull over at a state line inspection station, get inspected and purchase a pass.

U.S. Auto Market Looks Bleak As China Sales Decline

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:51PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

U.S. Auto Market Looks Bleak As China Sales Decline test 1-1

In August U.S. auto sales posted their lowest profits in 28 years domestically while in China, passenger car sales declined to the lowest numbers since March of 2009. According to a recent Bloomberg news report auto sales are wavering because ”governments withdrew stimulus measures that propped up sales in the U.S., China, Europe and Japan.”

Bloomberg also reports: “The bleaker prognosis for sales may also hurt profitability for automakers including Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG.”  Automakers have had their backs against the wall and have had to offer more incentives in order to boost sales.

“The U.S. economy is looking downward, with high unemployment, mounting bankruptcies and other indicators that don’t paint a pretty picture,” said Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive officer of Fukoku Capital Management Inc. in Tokyo. “In China, the government is putting on the brakes so that the overall economy won’t overheat.”

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Korean Chevy On British TV Edition

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:49PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Korean Chevy On British TV Edition test 1-1

Chevrolet is on a roll, of sorts, lately. Ok, ok, it's "rolling out" several new models . . . sorely needed new models, as the Camaro fount is sure to dry up anytime now . . . The Chevy Cruze hits the ground, ahem, rolling with a snazzy ad campaign and a sweetheart of a turbo engine. The car is sleek and the interior well-appointed, but compared with the soon to be released Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra, the Cruze still looks dated. Notice I didn't mention the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, both cars who received updates around the same time the Cruze was introduced to foreign markets. The little Chevy might just be a better car than its Japanese competition.

How about an even smaller Chevy? Also a Korean Chevy, but still . . . the production-spec Aveo has broken cover, and the exterior has retained as much of the flair promised by the "Aveo RS" concept as is possible. Quad headlamps set into black surrounds, interesting if not completely wild rear dimensions. Hidden door pulls for the rear doors. The only question is, will it be saddled with a total dog of a motor? Also, what does any of this have to do with British television? The second of three "Reasonably Priced Cars'" used on the BBC's Top Gear program was a Chevrolet Lacetti . . . familiar to us as a Suzuki Verona, and made by Deawoo—you guessed it, a Korean Chevy. A white-clad fellah named "The Stig" did at one time test this car and many others for Top Gear. Now he is a pariah of the highest order, shunned by the BBC and his fellow Top Gear presenters (I don't know if we really can call The Stig a 'presenter'), all in the name of making a few bucks he felt the Beeb owed him. We all have families to feed; which side are you on?


BMW Teases Sports Coupe, Half Hearted Request For No Blogging Ignored

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 3:54PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Teases Sports Coupe, Half Hearted Request For No Blogging Ignored test 1-1

Car companies are sure getting creative about how they tease upcoming cars and concepts. In a bit of a reverse psychological campaign, BMW has set up the website "dontblogaboutthis.com" to tease a new prototype based on a 6 Series coupe. The website features two video clips and several photographs of the model.

The new prototype is expected to be launched under BMW's EfficientDynamics umbrella in 2012. While BMW falls short of providing any details of the powertrain or specs of the prototype, reports indicate that it will be guided by the show-stopping EfficientDynamics concept debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Hybrid Market Projected to Decline Over the Next 6 Months

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 2:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Hybrid Market Projected to Decline Over the Next 6 Months  test 1-1

It has been predicted by experts in the automotive industry that the hybrid market may decline as gas prices level off in the next 6 months. JIm Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service said: “You can't sell a hybrid in today's market,” although Ford still plans to launch the 2011 luxury Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan this fall.

Farley’s prediction of the hybrid market stems from his belief that fuel prices will go down over the next 6 months which would be detrimental to the hybrid industry.
The impact on the hybrid market has already began to take effect when one looks at the Honda market, for example. Sales of the Insight have gone down by over 50% compared to last year, and Toyota Prius has seen demand down 38% last month to only 11,799 units. 

A year ago the hybrid market was up due to the Cash for Clunkers program, so low sales records are actually falsely inflated, meaning that the hybrid market is even worse than it appears to be.

The overall light vehicle market is up 8% this year, as compared to Prius and Insight sales, which are comparatively much slower so far in 2010.

Farley stated that although the launch of the MKZ hybrid is just around the corner, that Ford does not expect to sell even 10,000 units, even though prices for the Lincoln MKZ hybrid are not projected to be at a premium. Ford designed the vehicle because according to Farley, “it's the smart thing to do and it rounds out the product lineup.”

Ford is serous when they say they want to establish “a green image,” and that the plan is not to simply chase the market.

McLaren MP4-12C Winning Over Porsche Owners

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Weiss

McLaren MP4-12C Winning Over Porsche Owners test 1-1

When McLaren introduced its MP4-12C last year, it was clear that the car wasn't the top-end beast that the McLaren F1 was during its run in the 90s. While still plenty virile, the MP4-12C boasts a top speed of around 200 mph, well below the once world-record-breaking F1. Perhaps in part because of this more modest appeal, McLaren has been aiming the new model at Porsche owners, rather than owners of more exotic sports cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

McLaren has tried to explain this away by claiming that Ferrari concerns itself more with visuals while Porsche and McLaren prefer a mantra of “substance over style." While that probably sounds good on paper, the McLaren MP4-12C isn't exactly lacking in the style department and seems more congruous with Porsche in terms of performance. Once they bang out another 10 cars that look exactly like MP4-12Cs with various levels of trim and performance, then they can start talking a Porsche-like adherence to substance over style.

The MP4-12C pairs a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine to a seven-speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch transmission. The engine peaks at 600 hp, and the MP4-12C dashes to 62 mph in under three seconds. The car keeps weight under 2,900 lbs. thanks in part to a 175-lb. carbon fiber monocell chassis.

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign test 1-1

Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to completely revise its marketing philosophy to focus on safety “in a big way,” according to top company executives. With its image still damaged and sales declining by 34% in August (down 1% for the year), Toyota is the only automaker posting overall declining sales numbers this year.

Executives at Toyota report that they believe the number one problem that consumers are having is focused on safety issues, so the company plans to overcome that negative perception with a new advertising campaign.

Toyota was considered number one when it came to safety and reliability, as well as value, but many loyal Toyota buyers and others are now skeptical as to whether or not the Toyota brand is really deserving of the label of “safety first.”

Lamborghini Teases New Car For Paris

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 3:16PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Teases New Car For Paris  test 1-1

Lamborghini has issued a teaser photo of a car that it plans to show at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The image shows a crimson taillight flanked by glossy carbon fiber. While Lamborghini didn't specify the car behind the image, speculation indicates that it is Lambo's next halo: the Murcielago-replacing Jota. Lamborghini has five more teaser images planned before the Paris Motor Show gets underway on September 30.

So far, Lamborghini has kept a highly mysterious aura around its Paris-bound car offering only this little nugget along with the photo: "Discover the way to the future of supersports cars." As broad as that is, it could certainly be construed to indicate the launch of the Jota.

Another fact that supports the idea that this is the Jota is that Lamborghini actually teased the Jota back in June with a very disappointing photo of the logo on a shadowy black front-end. If you think this week's teaser doesn't show a whole lot, you'd be highly disappointed by that one. That photo came with the line "Coming Soon..." and reports at the time detailed the Jota's Paris debut.

The Jota is expected to carry 700 horsepower worth of direct-injected 7.0-liter V12 might. Rumored performance numbers include a three-second 0 to 62 mph and a 230 mph top speed.

Ford Settles Explorer Suit Involving Mets Baseball Player

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:42PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Settles Explorer Suit Involving Mets Baseball Player test 1-1

In automotive headlines recently, Ford Motor Co. settled a lawsuit regarding a roll-over accident involving a Ford Explorer that caused the death of New York Mets minor league baseball player, Brian Cole. Ford was ordered to pay $132 million to Cole’s estate.

Brian Cole went to Meridian High School and was a  baseball player in 1998 at Navarro Junior College in Texas. He was selected by the Mets in 1998 amateur draft and turned down a football scholarship to Florida State. Cole was single, the youngest in the family of 5 siblings, he was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida.

Cole was 27 when he was ejected from a Ford Explorer as a result of a March, 2001 accident while he was driving home from spring training with the Mets. Tab Turner, attorney for the family of Brian Cole, stated that Jasper County, Missouri “awarded the verdict today and the case was settled on confidential terms before punitive damages could be considered.”

Bentley Continental GT, V8 To Debut For 2012

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:08AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Bentley Continental GT, V8 To Debut For 2012 test 1-1

The 2012 Bentley Continental GT 4.0 liter V8 model will be unveiled at this year’s Paris motor show later this month. “The V8 is our hedge against fuel-price spikes, carbon-dioxide-related legislation and uncertainty in the global supercar market,” Uli Eichhorn, Bentley's technical director, said in a statement to the press about the sportier-looking GT model.

The engine, according to Eichhorn is an all new redesigned V8 being built in collaboration with Audi, and although the production model has not yet been launched, Bentley says the new V8 will be assembled in Great Britain, just like the W12. The exact specs on the vehicle’s engine are yet to be announced, but according to a recent automotive news article, speculation is that “given Bentley's enthusiasm for turbocharging, the likely output figures to rate between 350 hp and 400 hp, extending the GT's appeal into market segments where the W12 can't compete,” according to Automotive News.