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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering  test 1-1

According to Reuters, Mazda is planning the recall of more than 500,000 vehicles worldwide over safety issues with the power steering system. The recall includes 215,000 Mazda3 and Mazda5 models in the United States. Model years affected are 2007 to 2009.

The problem relates to a potential loss in power-assisted steering arising from rust off the high-pressure pipe falling off into the power steering pump and interfering with the power assist system. If this happens, it could present drivers with problems steering that could lead to a crash. According to the Reuters report, three accidents have been reported as a result of the problem, but none have resulted in injuries. While Mazda informed the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration that it would conduct the recall, it indicated that it did not believe the steering issue presents a significant safety hazard to drivers.

The Grandest Cherokee

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:35PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Grandest Cherokee test 1-1

At one point in the not too distant past, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 was the fastest production SUV on the planet. With an old school pushrod six liter Hemi engine producing 420 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, it was the sport in sports utility vehicle. With performance numbers like 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, 0-100 in 11.8 seconds and the ¼ mile in 13.2@104, it could put almost all but the most muscular of muscle cars from the 1960s to shame.

But as it’s been noted several times over, “Racing improves the breed.”  Since its introduction, the Cherokee SRT8 has been eclipsed by its German competitors in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and the BMW X5 M that produce almost god-like performance numbers. The Germans outperform the SRT8 in almost every category except price. The once unbeatable Cherokee loses out on horsepower, torque, acceleration, handling, towing capacity, transmission gears, and braking to its foes. 

But fear not, Cherokee faithful; it seems that Chrysler has relocated the entire staff of the now deceased Viper to the SUV department. If the rumors are true, the next Grand Cherokee SRT8 will be, quite simply, the most powerful, meanest, and mind-bendingly fast vehicle to ever bear the Jeep nameplate.  

Cars Run on Glenkinchie Scotch Whiskey

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:27PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cars Run on Glenkinchie Scotch Whiskey  test 1-1

Researchers at the Edinburg Napier University are determined to offer a new green fuel option: booze. Or more specifically: booze byproducts. From one of the only places in the world that has a liquor named after it comes a new form of butanol that is significantly more efficient than ethanol and could become the next great alternative fuel.

The University's Biofuel Research Center is in the process of pushing the new product called biobutanol. The fuel was created from the byproducts of whiskey distillation including pot ale and draff, which were supplied by Diageo's Glenkinchie Distillery. The two-year research project culminated in the production of a biofuel that claims to offer 30 percent more output power than ethanol, while using nothing more than a waste product. This extra output means that cars could be fueled directly with biobutanol rather than requiring mixing with petrol gas the way that ethanol does.

Ethanol, a fuel that is found at pumps in the United States, is a clean-burning grain alcohol produced from crops such as corn. As such, it helps to reduce dependency on foreign oil and provide a cleaner form of fuel for the environment. However, ethanol is not used as a dedicated fuel, and must be blended with petroleum-based gasoline for use. According to the American Coalition for Ethanol, about 70 percent of the gasoline used in the United States contains some ethanol, but the majority of that only uses a 10-percent blend known as E10. Blends that include more ethanol such as E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent unleaded gasoline) are only used in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).

Porsche Upgrades Panamera Turbo With After-Market Turbo Kit

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:15AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Upgrades Panamera Turbo With After-Market Turbo Kit test 1-1

The Porsche Panamera has been splitting its time winning praise and fending off derision since its introduction last year. For owners that want to avoid the latter and welcome more of the former, Porsche has new options that will add power, performance and looks to the four-door. Panamera Turbo owners who want to massage even more horses out of their four-door will soon have a new option. Porsche announced the Powerkit that will boost the output of the Panamera Turbo by 40 hp. The kit will be available this fall. Also available this fall, Porsche will offer several new exterior options.

Porsche's new Powerkit will equip the Panamera Turbo models with new turbochargers that house titanium-alloy turbine wheels. The kit will also include tunes to the engine management system to make the Panamera Turbo's V8 more responsive. The kit pulls an extra 40 ponies out of the 4.8-liter V8 for a total of 540, and also boosts torque to 553 lb-ft (up from 516).


Auto Industry Satisfaction Down Since Last Year

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Auto Industry Satisfaction Down Since Last Year test 1-1

American satisfaction with the domestic automobile industry is measured on a scale of 0-100 using the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey (ACSI). In 2009 the industry rating reached an all time high of 84 according to Automotive News.com. Now that number has dipped to 82. 

According to the ACSI (designed to measure the quality of American products and services), "the domestic automotive satisfaction level has stabilized, and in a few cases climbed, despite an overall decline for the industry over the past 18 months."

The ACSI survey is performed over the phone; scores result from conducting 250 interviews with participants from age 18 to 84. This year’s results concluded that out of the top 19 auto brands, 14 dropped in customer satisfaction since 2009. Kia and Mazda scored below average for the industry, and at the bottom of the list were Dodge and Jeep. Buick and Ford's Lincoln-Mercury brand showed up at the top of the list for the first time since the inception of the survey.   Nissan had a 4 point increase to 84, and GMC realized a 2 point improvement, also ending up at 84. According to Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI: “It was not long ago when Detroit’s products were clustered at the bottom of the industry.”

Business Risks of GM's IPO Filing, SEC, sec, U.S. Treasury, u.s. treasury,

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:02AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Business Risks of GM's IPO Filing, SEC, sec, U.S. Treasury, u.s. treasury,  test 1-1

GM recently filed the paperwork for its upcoming initial public offering, and included in the filing was the S-1 documentation reporting risk factors for potential investors. Those considering the purchase of stock from the company should be most interested in the contents of the S-1 filing, listing the material risks to the future financial stability of the company.

The report is mandated by the SEC, and most companies actually overemphasize potential material risks in order to avoid any legality with the SEC that may result from under reporting. 

Risk factors commonly reported are economic fluctuations, commodity price, etc.  GM’s first couple of reporting factors would certainly fit into the more commonly listed, but when the nitty-gritty of the documents is examined, GM’s newly released S-1 filing is interesting reading to say the least.

BMW M Division Dealership Opens in Singapore

On: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW M Division Dealership Opens in Singapore test 1-1


In recent automotive news, BMW is adding a new showroom for selling only high performance BMW M division cars in Singapore; it is located at Teban Gardens Crescent.  Cars to be offered in the showroom include M3, M6, X5M, and all of the X6M models. The next-generation M5, to be released next year, will join the line up in Singapore, as well as a new M version of the BMW 1-Series.

SSC To Debut the 2nd-Generation Ultimate Aero TT Next Month

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:32PM | By: Chris Weiss

SSC To Debut the 2nd-Generation Ultimate Aero TT Next Month test 1-1

Shelby Supercars has been gnashing its teeth ever since Bugatti broke the world speed record last month. The American manufacturer is nearly ready to unveil its next-generation Ultimate Aero TT--a car that it's hinted could top the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's 268-mph world record. After some planned private showings, the company put up a teaser website this week, indicating that the official debut will happen next month. Unfortunately, no specific date or time are given, but at least we know there are just a few weeks left.

SSC's site includes only a background teaser photo of the Ultimate Aero--a picture depicting a more rounded nose. The information offered is also kept to the barest of minimums. Here's the full breadth of the site: "The Next Generation is Coming Soon...", "September 2010" and "Because Life Begins at 250." Then there's some contact info for media and general inquiries. And my email got bounced back when I attempted to contact the media email. It's not much to work with, but at least we know when we'll be seeing more--in a general sense of the term "when."

The latest SSC saga began just days after the Veyron Super Sport rolled its way into the record books. The company released a statement congratulating Bugatti and turning attention over to its upcoming Aero.

Chrysler Teases New Dodge Durango

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:00PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chrysler Teases New Dodge Durango  test 1-1

The new Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee have already launched this year, but 2010 still has some big changes in store for another prominent SUV: the Dodge Durango. The 2011 Dodge Durango will be the second complete overhaul in the Durango's history. Chrysler has launched a teaser site for the new Durango complete with pictures and video. From what we've seen so far, both from Chrysler's teaser site and from spy shots, the new Durango will be less boxy and awkward than the 2nd-generation Durango introduced during the 2004 model year, and will be a more styled, classy ride.

The third-generation Durango will share underpinnings with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It will get the same Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine and Hemi 5.7-liter V8 engine options of the Grand Cherokee and will be built together with the Jeep at Chrysler's Jefferson-North plant in Detroit. It's expected to offer a five-speed automatic transmission and come in 2WD and 4WD flavors. We'll see if and how the Durango answers the Ford Explorer's Intelligent 4WD system when it debuts.

In moving onto the Grand Cherokee platform, the Durango will lose the Dakota body-on-frame construction that it has traditionally sported in favor of the Cherokee's unibody. The car will also shrink down from its large midsize SUV mold to a regular midsize with room for seven.

Chrysler's teasers show a more sculpted Durango from front to back. The traditional Dodge grille remains, but appears to be longer and thinner than the last-generation Durango. The headlights have also been reshaped, providing a more sleek, styled look. Gone are the hideously bulbous taillights of the last Durango, replaced with a more sensible set. From the little that we see of the car's profile, it loses the straight, angular lines of the last Durango and offers a few more flows and curves.

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Debuts in Monterey

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:52PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Debuts in Monterey test 1-1

A little over a month ago, on July Fourth weekend, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport broke the world record for fastest production car with a speed over 267 mph. This weekend at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Califonia, Bugatti officially debuted its victorious warrior in front of a crowd of media and car aficionados.

For its debut, the Bugatti shed the black and flourescent orange look that it had worn for the track and showed up in a stunning, glimmering blue carbon fiber paint job. Under that eye-capturing paint, Bugatti has upgraded the "standard" Veyron 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine by boosting the size of the four turbochargers and intercoolers.  These tunes have added 200 horsepower to the world-record-holding variant. The engine is mated to a twin-clutch seven-speed gearbox. Final specs come in at 1,200 horsepower and 1,106 lb-ft of torque.

In order to handle those extra horses and the 15 extra mph they deliver, Bugatti strengthened the chassis of the car. Modifications include new shock absorbers and stronger stabilizers. Bugatti also added some slight aerodynamic enhancements to the body. The engine pulls its air in from two NACA ducts in the roof, rather than traditional hood scoops.

Kia Reviews Soul Manufacturing Processes Relating To Steering Failure

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:41PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Kia Reviews Soul Manufacturing Processes Relating To Steering Failure test 1-1

Kia Motors in America is reviewing their manufacturing processes in an attempt to discover the cause of the loss of all steering capability in a two-month-old 2010 Kia Soul.

According to Auto News: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary investigation into the issue after it received one complaint from an owner of an almost-new Kia Soul who said the steering shaft decoupled from the steering wheel and then fell onto the driver's side floor in a way that interfered with the brake pedal.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the investigation could possibly affect over 50,000 Kia Souls.

Kia’s VP, John Crowe, stated: “Kia Motors America has been actively cooperating with NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation since being advised by the Acting Director late last week that an investigation was being opened regarding the 2010 Kia Soul. Although the investigation is based on a single incident that did not result in an accident or injury, the entire Kia Motors organization—including our supplier base—is reviewing manufacturing processes with the goal of quickly determining if there is a manufacturing cause and preventing the issue from reoccurring,” Crowe also said.