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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Hyundai Looks to Lead the Way in Efficiency

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 11:43AM | By: Chris Weiss

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid test 2

Hyundai announced intentions of averaging 50 mpg across its entire line by 2025, pushing to continue its leading role in fuel efficiency. Hyundai's plan, which was announced earlier this week, pushes ahead of U.S. government requirements that dictate an average of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Prior to the NHTSA requirements of 35.5 mpg by 2016, Hyundai had announced intentions of reaching 35 mpg by 2015. Hyundai is clearly embracing the future of efficient technology and looking to maintain an industry lead that it's enjoyed since 2008.

Tesla Posts Second Quarter Loss

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 11:32AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 test 2

In its first earnings report since its initial public offering in June, Tesla Motors Inc. reported a second quarter loss of $38.5 million, or $5.04 a share, up from about $10.8 million or $1.56 per share in the same quarter last year.

According to Musk the number one goal for Tesla this year is to build a prototype of the S Model Sedan that is very close (80-90%) to the final production model.The initial public offering was in fact, one of the few lucrative IPO’s in 2010.  Tesla actually raised approximately $226 million when it offered 13.3 shares for sale to the public.  Historically, this was the very first United States automobile companies to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Palo Alto-based Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA.O) reports second quarter revenue of $28.4 million, up from $26.9 million in the same quarter last year.

OnStar To Deliver Mobile App Functionality Across GM Brands

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 10:14AM | By: Chris Weiss

OnStar To Deliver Mobile App Functionality Across GM Brands  test 1-1

Early this year, at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, GM introduced an app for the Chevy Volt that brought basic vehicle controls like locking and unlocking doors to smartphones. With the growth of hybrid and electric vehicle technology, the lines between the automotive and consumer electronics markets are blurring, and the move appeared to be made to highlight the advanced technological aspects of the Volt plug-in. Today, GM announced that it won't be limiting app functionality to the 2011 Volt, or to plug-in vehicles; it will be offering apps for nearly all of its models beginning next year.

Geely Comes Out Gunning: Volvo to Offer 7 Series, S-Class Rival

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 9:48AM | By: Chris Weiss

Geely Comes Out Gunning: Volvo to Offer 7 Series, S-Class Rival  test 1-1

The ink has barely dried on the deal that sent Volvo from Ford to Chinese automaker Geely, but the latter is wasting no time in laying out big plans for its new brand. A top-ranking Geely official stated intentions of producing a Volvo-branded high-end luxury sedan to compete with top European offerings such as the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

In a press conference in London, Geely chief Li Shufu told the audience that he believes that Volvo has the technology and research capabilities needed to offer cars that can compete with (and fetch the prices of) other full-size premium models. Citing the aforementioned examples specifically, Shufu said: “At the moment we are competing with BMW, Audi and Mercedes, but we don’t have a product to compete with the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-class. We need to fill that gap."


Ford Starts Production of 2012 Focus at Michigan Plant

On: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 12:18PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2012 Ford Focuses . .. Foci? idk . . . test 2

Ford has started the production of the 2012 Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant, located in Wayne, Michigan. Early production of the Ford Focus will involve pre-production vehicles, built to allow Ford to test the final design and perfect the assembly process. The plant will start formal production later in the year.

The Michigan Assembly Plant was originally built to produce the F-150, Expedition, and Navigator. It has been completely redesigned in order to switch gears and produce smaller cars, such as the Ford Focus. Ford tooled the plant so that several variations of the new Focus could be produced there; one such model is the electric-powered version which will be launched in 2012.

The equipment within the plant is flexible enough to be able to switch production without retooling, which is normally very time consuming and expensive, but necessary when changes to the production model are made. For example: if the market suddenly changes and more electric models are being sold, Ford will be able to swiftly modify the productivity without as much overhead cost and produce those models that the market currently demands.

Early production of the Ford Focus at the Michigan plant will involve pre-production vehicles that are built in order for Ford to test the final design and perfect the assembly process. The plant will start formal production later in the year.Ford Starts Production of Focus at New Plant
Early production of the Ford Focus at the Michigan plant will involve pre-production vehicles that are built in order for Ford to test the final design and perfect the assembly process. The plant will start formal production later in the year.

The Great Mini-Van Wars Of Aught Ten: Japanese Nissan Quest Revealed

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 3:42PM | By: John Welch

The Great Mini-Van Wars Of Aught Ten: Japanese Nissan Quest Revealed test 1-1

We have seen the redesigned Toyota Sienna, the brand new Honda Odyssey, but where is the third wheel in our Axis of Asian Mini-Vans? Nissan is getting around to it, just be patient.

I say things like that as if anyone cares about a bunch of MommieWagens whose popularity waned towards the end of the twentieth century, giving way to the rise of the fullsize SUV. Considering their tainted, dorkish reputation, these vehicles have a lot of work to do if they want to capture our collective, highly ego-driven American taste.

As far as the Sienna and Odyssey are concerned, these issues have been addressed. Decidedly butch, both bread boxes exude a much tougher persona, and in some ways overcook the, uhm, "rawness". The Toyota delivers an easily understood people-mover with a slightly edgy side. The Honda is a little less easy to comprehend; from a styling standpoint, anyway. Some of those angles . . . yikes. Otherwise, the Honda is as desirable as the Toyota, and, to me, both are far more desirable than any number of SUVs.

This rodeo is missing one bucking bronc, the Nissan Quest. As is custom with foreign automakers, the Japanese version of the Quest, entitled "Elgrand," has been released to the saki-fueled, car crazy Japanese public shortly before the North American release of the Quest.

Pagani Unveils Zonda HH

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 2:01PM | By: Chris Weiss

Pagani Unveils Zonda HH test 1-1

Known for its extremely rare, exotic supercars, Pagani has introduced a privately commissioned model known as the Zonda HH. The one-off convertible leaked last week and was officially revealed today. Mixing aspects of the Zonda Cinque and Zonda Roadster F, the shimmering, blue car has a beautiful look all its own.

The new Zonda HH was built for one lucky American customer who worked closely with Pagani to stay within budget and develop the ultimate customized dream car. While the customer remains anonymous, an Internet trail indicates that he's a car fanatic that also has a taste for Lamborghini. As nice as Lamborghinis are, they must pale in comparison to a one-off Zonda.

The Zonda HH is powered by the 7.2-liter Mercedes AMG V12 behind the Zonda Cinque. Instead of the paddle-controlled sequential six-speed found on the Cinque, the Zonda HH gets a six-speed manual transmission, as per the customer's preferences.

New Lawsuits Brought Against Toyota

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 1:40PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2007 Toyota Camry SE test 2

In its most recent court proceedings, Toyota Motor Corp. faces two lawsuits, filed in federal court in Santa Ana, California by Toyota and Lexus owners, regarding sudden acceleration of certain Toyota models. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by Toyota owners, all claiming that their vehicles exhibited unintended acceleration, but in April U. S. District Court Judge James Selna took on the suits, which had been consolidated into 2 federal cases. Attorneys in the class action case said that as many as 40 million Toyota owners could be involved in the case. One lawsuit pertains to the plaintiff's perceived loss of value for her/his Toyota vehicle due to alleged defects. The other claim is a plea for damages from an accident and death attributed to sudden acceleration.

"Toyota has identified two specific mechanical causes of potential unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles and has moved decisively to address these issues with effective and durable solutions," the statement said. "Toyota rejects claims that plaintiffs suffered economic damages because of the recent recalls."


On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 11:37AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

PartnerShift test 1-1

By now, most gear heads, or at least auto show goers are familiar with and drooling over the Toyota FT-86.  The Future Toyota-86 will mark Toyota's first re-entry into the small sports car segment since the MR2 Spyder bowed out three years ago.  The new car promises to be fast, fun, and affordable, not to mention quite the looker.  But what people seem to be forgetting is the reason why the new Toyota will be fast and affordable:  It was designed in partnership with rally-car obsessed Subaru.  This partnership is the first for the two companies and could pay off in a big way for both companies who bring very different aspects to the table.  In this situation, Toyota appears to be the big money Trump-like investor who promises a solid name to attach to the car using their best marketing and (once) marquee quality control, while Subaru appears as the start-up guy with all the ideas and the design plans.  But however they dice up the partnership, both companies could be the beneficiaries of some very high revenue if this car hits the market with as much value as promised.  

Consumer Reports Designates Best Cars For Teenagers and Senior Citizens

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 11:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Consumer Reports Designates Best Cars For Teenagers and Senior Citizens test 1-1

With an eye toward teenagers and young adults going back to college and high school, Consumer Reports has released its short list of the best vehicles for these young drivers. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the organization has also released a list of suggested vehicles for senior citizens. The cars on the lists include advanced safety, handling and design features that make them particularly beneficial to the individual groups. The lists cover segments including midsize sedan, minivan, small sedan and small SUV.

CR recommends that parents looking to outfit their children with new or used vehicles in time for college look carefully at safety features like electronic stability control and crash test results. The organization also warned of blindly selecting a large SUV, car or truck, thinking that it will automatically be safer than smaller cars.

David Champion, the senior director of CR's Automotive Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut explained: "Often parents think that putting their child in the biggest car is the safest thing they can do, but that's not so. Teens are the most inexperienced drivers on the road, so you want to make sure they're driving something that handles well, is agile and has as many safety features as possible--especially electronic stability control."

Ford's Credit Rating Has Gone Up

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 10:52AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford's Credit Rating Has Gone Up test 1-1

Ford Motor Company has received notice that the company’s credit rating increased by 2 levels by Standard and Poor (S&P), a division of McGraw-Hill that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds.

Ford is seen as being more profitable with a stronger customer base than it has in the past. S&P has raised Ford’s rating to a B+ from a B- due to the company’s financial picture showing “substantial” cash balances. Ford has “substantial” cash balances and likely will continue to generate free operating cash flow, the ratings firm said. The retail market has an “improved perception” of Ford's vehicles and its efforts to introduce more fuel-efficient models in the next few years, S&P said.

"The upgrade reflects our reassessment of Ford's business risk profile to weak from vulnerable, and its financial risk profile to aggressive from highly leveraged," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robert Schulz. “

“It's a step in the right direction,” said Kirk Ludtke, senior vice president of CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. “It was largely anticipated. It will be a while before they get back to investment grade.”

Ford said it will have a positive automotive net cash position by the end of 2011, and although the company has substantial debt (partially incurred in order to allow the company to avoid bankruptcy), future cash flow looks promising. On June 30th the company had $21.9 billion in cash, and in the beginning of the second quarter, reported total cash assets at $34.3 billion.