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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Subaru Recall Blues

On: Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:03PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Subaru Recall Blues test 1-1

Auto manufacturers have been issuing more and more recalls over the past few years. The regularity of recall notices may be a sign that a specific vehicle may have some issues with safety or reliablilty. Subaru has certainly had more recalls for the 2010 year model than in the past.

The latest in recalls for Subaru is the Outback and Legacy models, being recalled due to faulty wiring behind the steering wheel; the wires were found to be at risk of cracking and breaking, which could interfere with the normal functioning of the steering wheel. If this happens, some vehicle functions with controls on the steering wheel—such as the horn, cruise and radio controls, paddle shifters, and even the driver's airbag, including problems with deployment of the air bag—could fail.

Approximately 74,000 Outback and Legacy models are thought to be affected by the faulty steering wheel wiring issue, models that were assembled between February 16, 2009 and April 12, 2010. Consumers who own one of the affected vehicles are asked to contact their local Subaru dealer; they will then be checked to see if they have the faulty steering roll connector; all Subaru Legacy and Outback models found to have the problem will be fixed at no cost. For more details on this latest recall contact NHTSA on 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or visit Safecar.gov

Chevrolet Caprice PPV Detective Package; We Want A Cop Car

On: Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 12:28PM | By: John Welch

Chevrolet Caprice PPV Detective Package; We Want A Cop Car test 1-1

Chevrolet keeps giving us reasons to believe that, maybe, one day, they will bring back V8-powered Austrailian sedans like the now deceased Pontiac G8. Based on the Holden Commadore, the G8 offered near-BMW levels of dynamic satisfaction while packing a small block and an American badge. It wasn't around long enough and we miss it dearly.

The obvious thing to do, it would seem, would be to slap a bow tie on the G8's nose, call it a Caprice, and continue selling it. The problem here is that the G8 didn't sell in large enough numbers to justify the tooling needed to make the Pontiac-Chevy switch. A nice excuse, if they weren't building these things for the police. Which means they have the tooling. Which means there is no reason why I can't go order up a Matte Black SWB Caprice with a 6.0 liter something or other and a manual tranny. None, completely ridiculous.

Though I can't explain GM's weird, masochistic need to keep its best products to itself, I can tell you everything about the Caprice Police Package. Though we have reported on the PPV before, we now have the enitre GM Fleet Sales order sheet. Details inside the post . . .

Chrysler Recalls 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro

On: Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Recalls 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro test 1-1

Chrysler is the most recent player in the game of automotive recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Chrysler will be recalling some models of the 2010 Jeep Liberty, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Nitro, and 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup.

Chrysler announced the numbers are 22,300 trucks and SUVs that have a potential braking problem.

According to the official NHTSA bulletin, those vehicles were built with a defective part that could cause a loss of braking ability that could result in potential accidents.

The fault lies in the end flare that sits between the master cylinder and the hydraulic control unit brake tube assembly. In certain affected models, the improperly formed part could allow brake fluid to drain out of the system, which could lead to a loss of braking capacity, putting the affected automobile at risk for a potential collision. 

The NHTSA bulletin does not indicate the number of vehicles affected, nor does it list production dates, so anyone who has a 2010 model should assume that their vehicle may be included in the recall.

Roads Laced with a Titanium Dioxide Could Reduce Pollution

On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 4:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Roads Laced with a Titanium Dioxide Could Reduce Pollution test 1-1

New research being done at the Eindhoven University of Technology (EUT), located in the Netherlands, may find a way to decrease air pollution, creating cleaner air for us to breathe, and for the environment.

It seems that researchers at EUT have discovered a method to efficiently remove up to 45% of the nitrogen oxides from car exhaust that end up in the atmosphere. The process of removal of the nitrogen oxides involves mixing titanium dioxide with concrete before pouring it onto the roadways. The titanium dioxide is a catalytic substance (which means that it helps to breakdown other elements), and it seizes the nitrogen oxides in the air, transforming them into nitrates which can be easily washed away by rain water.

Exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxides is known to cause damage the respiratory airways. Contact with the skin or eyes can actually cause burns. 

Nitrogen oxides are broken down rapidly in the atmosphere by reacting with other substances commonly found in the air. The reaction of nitrogen dioxide with chemicals produced by sunlight leads to the formation of nitric acid, which is a major constituent of acid rain. Nitrogen dioxide reacts with sunlight, which leads to the formation of ozone and smog conditions in the air we breathe.


Mercedes Benz Financial Joins Group 1 Automotive

On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 10:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Mercedes Benz Financial Joins Group 1 Automotive test 1-1

Group 1 Automotive Company has announced this week that Mercedes Benz Financial has agreed to a partnership that would allow Mercedes to be part of a financial institution involving $1.35 billion dollars in revolving credit.

The Houston, Texas-based company Group 1 is a fortune 500 retail company, a leader in the industry. The company held its public offering in 1997 and has since become one of the top five groups of dealerships in the United States. Group 1 states that the company’s success has much to do with a “strategy that emphasizes geographic and brand diversity, interrelated revenue streams, operational efficiencies and the prudent deployment of capital.”

The lenders in Group 1’s syndicated lending facility now include Mercedes Benz Financial, Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., and BMW Financial Services NA LLC, along with 16 commercial banks, including Chase Bank, Bank of America, Citizens Bank, Deutsche Bank in New York, and more.

According to the group 1 VP and CEO, John Rickel, "We are delighted with Mercedes-Benz Financial's decision to join our floor plan and acquisition facility; the addition of a partner of this caliber is a plus for our credit syndicate and further expands our strategically important financial partnerships. We look forward to working with Mercedes-Benz Financial and our other financial partners going forward."

The Nissan Juke

On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 10:12AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Nissan Juke test 1-1

Plans for the U.S. launch of the Nissan Juke mini-crossover later this year are accompanied by some skepticism as to whether or not the little car with the “cartoonish looks” will fare well in the American market.  The Juke has been described as bizarre, zany, and even compared to the looks of a puffer fish at its unveiling at this year’s New York Auto Show.

In Japan, the unusual appearance and small size of the Juke SUV has NOT been a deterrent to consumers at all. Nissan has had over 10,000 orders for the Juke so far this year (with 1,300 sales in the first week), due to the fact that the Japanese automaker had already rung up 5,296 orders in the first week the Juke went on sale.

So far, red is the most prevalent exterior color ordered. Red interior has been very popular, as well, comprising 59% of total orders. The largest demographic for the Juke, thus far, is the 50-year-old and older group making up 44% of all sales, and 15% of the market has been the 20 to 24-year-old age group, with more male buyers than female.

Toyota Announces Plans to Work on EV Prototype with Tesla

On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 9:51AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Tesla Model S test 2

Tesla, a relatively new company without much of a track record, and the number one green car auto manufacturer in the world, and Toyota have formed a partnership that has been somewhat baffling to many.

Tesla Motors recently held their IPO and Toyota Motors purchased $50 million in stock as the two automakers plan to partner in the making of electric vehicles at the Nummi Plant that was recently closed in Freemont, California.

Since initial trading on June 29th, Tesla shares have dropped and are trading slightly below their initial public offering price of $17.

During a recent interview the president of Toyota Corporation; Akio Toyoda, announced that his company has begun the process of building the first prototype electric vehicle that has a Tesla battery pack.

This year, Tesla launched an all-electric Model S Sedan that travels 300 miles on a single charge, sells for $57,000, and reportedly has enough power to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Ford Van Pooling Commuters

On: Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 10:18AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Van Pooling Commuters test 1-1

Van Pool Services Inc. (VPSI) is a private company originally started by Chrysler to serve the transportation needs of individuals who wanted to save on fuel expense as far back as the 70s. The company was started in my stomping grounds—Minneapolis, Minnesota—and the fleet of vans providing a cheap alternative to the daily commute was so successful that the company expanded to serve cities around the nation, and is still around today.

The California Department of Transportation selected VPSI to operate the very first statewide vanpool program, only instead of using Chryslers, the fleet is comprised mostly (70% of the 5000 vehicle nationwide fleet) of Ford E-Series vans, which can achieve a whopping 150 passenger-miles per gallon each day as commuter vehicles.

According to Ford Media.com, annually, the fleet "eliminates more than 14 million commuter trips, saves more than $73 million in fuel, and reduces CO2 emissions by 259,000 tons."

Ford reports that the E-Series has been the country’s number one full-sized van for over 30 years. These top selling vehicles now transport over 40,000 commuters in the U.S. each day, with an average savings of $5,000 per year per commuter, compared with the cost of driving to work alone.

“We believe we have the most ecological Ford vehicles on the road,” said Steve Pederson, VP of Fleet Management at VPSI. Pederson was responsible for estimating the 150 passenger miles per gallon figure by "multiplying the 15 mpg achieved by Ford E-Series vans by 10 passengers. Some VPSI Ford commuter vanpools seat as many as fifteen passengers, which would result in even more impressive results," stated Pederson.

McLaren Announces First Six U.S. Dealers for the MP4-12C

On: Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 9:39AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

McLaren Announces First Six U.S. Dealers for the MP4-12C test 1-1

 The MP4-12C is “pure McLaren”, from its innovative technologies to customization—every detail of its design is purposeful. The 2012 two-seater, mid-engine 12C has a capacity to travel from 0-60 in under 3 seconds (in case you weren’t paying attention, -that was 3SECONDS!)

That's faster than the 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo which hits 60 in 3.2 seconds, the Corvette ZR1, or the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. This vehicle is said to revise the fabric of sports car design with innovative engineering comprised of a revolutionary carbon fiber “MonoCell” chassis, and a complete spotlight on total performance and high quality.

The 12C has a V8, twin-turbo engine with 592 horsepower and 443 ft-lb of torque with a 7-speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch transmission. Its advanced aerodynamics is accompanied by its Airbrake which gives the 12C excellent stability under braking. The 12C sets new standards for its lush interior and technology in its class.

Customers that are interested in purchasing a 12C will be happy to hear that six new dealers have been selected across the country to offer the MP4 12-C to the public. The names of the dealerships and cities in North America are: The Auto Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA; Park Place in Dallas, TX; Miller Motorcars in Greenwich, CT; Price Family Dealerships in San Francisco, CA; and Dew Luxury Motor Cars in Tampa, FL. In the coming months, McLaren also plans to assign dealers in Miami, Orange County, Philadelphia, and Toronto.

Toyota Will Recall Lexus in Japan

On: Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 9:32AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Crown Hybrid Concept test 2

Toyota Motor Corp. recently announced that it would recall 270,000 Lexus and Crown vehicles worldwide in order to repair valve springs, an important engine part that when not working properly could cause an engine to stall during motion (or just grenade itself completely-JD).  Toyota will start its recall in Tokyo, then extend the recall to the U.S., Canada, and other countries.

Toyota stated that there have been no injuries or accidents that have resulted from the problem.

The quality problem affecting Toyota’s top-of-the-line Lexus, comes as Toyota struggles to move on from massive global recalls that started in October. The recall is one of a string of recalls involving faulty mechanics in Toyota cars in the past 18 months—everything from stability control problems to faulty gas pedals, and more; it seems the list is never ending.

Just last week, 17,000 Lexus hybrid models were recalled for fuel that could potentially spill during a rear end crash.

Texas and New York Included in Early Launch For the Volt

On: Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Texas and New York Included in Early Launch For the Volt test 1-1

The Chevy Volt will soon be upon us.  Chevrolet plans to launch the new electric car in select markets across the county, but there are a few select markets that will have access to Volt much earlier than the fall 2010 scheduled date.

GM has made the decision to include extra markets for the Volt due to the extensive interest that has been shown in the electric hybrid.  “We can add markets as diverse as Texas and New York because the Chevrolet Volt can handle both urban commuting and longer trips, in Austin summers and Manhattan winters,” Whitacre said. “The Volt can be your primary vehicle, giving you the freedom to drive gas-free without the stress of planning every trip around the battery’s charge level.”