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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Coda's 2011 Electric Sedan Is Looking Pretty Good

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Coda 2011 Electric Sedan test 2

This startup, fledgling automaker based in Los Angeles, California is getting some pretty decent attention in the news as of late. I have been seeing articles and reports from all over about this new electric car line that promises one of the most advanced electric batteries to ever be used in any electric car. This is because the car uses a Chinese-made Lithium-ion (LiFePO4) battery that is configured with 728 cells (104s7p), and that, according to the specs on their website (http://www.codaautomotive.com/tech_specs.html), gets around, “6 hours from 220V (30AMP)” driving time. The battery can easily be charged overnight, in about 5-7 hours.

The car is an impressive and roomy four-door sedan that is both sugary-looking and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. And it’s pretty safe too. According to the safety specs on the car, which can be easily found at their website in the ‘Tech Specs’ section, the car is equipped with, “Intelligent 6 air bag system (two advanced frontal, two seat-mounted side, and 2 side curtain airbags), Occupant Detection.”  But they also offer the always desirable Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), and Electronic Stability Control, as well as three point seatbelts. The overall federal safety rating, according to their website, will be an, “Anticipated 5-Star NCAP (New Car Assessment Program).”

When It Comes To Personalized License Plates, Choose Your Words Wisely

On: Tue, May 25, 2010 at 9:55AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

When It Comes To Personalized License Plates, Choose Your Words Wisely test 1-1

You have probably heard the phrase “be careful what you ask for.” Well, when it comes to ordering personalized license plates “be careful what you write.”  A federal judge in South Carolina said the state violated the constitution when lawmakers voted to authorize license plates inscribed with the words “I believe,” as well as images of little crosses and stained glass windows. 

The statute the judge was referencing pertains to our constitutional rights for separation of church and state.  Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who initiated the legislation allowing the license plates to be printed, condemned the ruling, stating, "For those who say proclaiming 'I believe' violates the constitution by giving preference to Christianity, I think this lawsuit clearly discriminates against persons of faith."

Advocate for separation of church and state, Rev. Barry Lynn said in a news paper interview; "Government must never be allowed to express favored treatment for one faith over others."

More recently a New Jersey woman in Manville received a letter from the State Motor Vehicle Commission asking her to send in her license plates as a result of a complaint filed about the plates being offensive. The plates donned the letters “BIOCH”, supposedly insinuating 'biotch', slang word for 'bitch'. Evidently the motorist had been legally driving around in her Chrysler convertible, license plates personalized with the letters “BIOCH” for four years before the state realized what the slang stood for.

Tesla, Toyota's Fremont Revival of the NUMMI Auto Plant Has Residents Estatic

On: Mon, May 24, 2010 at 11:43AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

New United Motor Manufacturing Inc test 2

The city of Fremont, California is buzzing with giddiness. This is for a very good reason. After taking a huge economic blow during the housing market collapse (which greatly affected the state), as well as the combined decline and near fallout of the auto market, the city is starting to rebound. This is because Toyota—who co-owned with GM the NUMMI auto plant in Fremont, which employed around 5,000 autoworkers, but was closed down early in 2010 by both entities due to declining auto sales—has announced that they plan to reopen the plant in the near future to start producing a new line of electric cars to be branded by Tesla.

This could not come at a better time for the residents, the businesses, and the entire town of Fremont. Bringing back thousands of high-paying jobs to the area could really revive this once prosperous but now struggling town. And the Mayor of Fremont could not be any happier about this prospect.

In an interview with Mercury News, Bob Wasserman, the mayor of Freemont, expresses his gratitude and explains why he is thrilled about the NUMMI plant being reopened. “In a great big hurry, our fortunes have changed. We're thrilled to see something good happening with that property. It'll employ a lot of the folks who just lost their jobs, but it'll also be a catalyst to bring.”

Sweet New McLaren on the Way: MP4-12C

On: Mon, May 24, 2010 at 11:29AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

McLaren MP4-12C test 2

If you love Formula 1 racing cars, there is a good chance you know about Ron Dennis. This is the man who essentially became the head of operations for the McLaren Formula 1 racing staff nearly three decades ago. Now, he is setting up his own operations to manufacture what he calls the “Expensive Swiss watch of luxury cars". Indeed, one look (skip to photos) at this fancy, sleek & sporty car will make you say Awesome. However, this does make one ponder such questions like, how much does it cost? What are the features and specs? Where is it being made? And when will it be on the market for sale in the US?

As to why he (Dennis) has plans for making a street version of these very popular racing cars, in an interview with BBC News he answered that question, where he states, “We are exposing our brand through going motor racing.”

He further adds in the BBC interview, “It shows off our technology. We make no secret of the fact that we want to take technology that we've developed in F1 and bring that into our production cars.”

The creation of the estimated £40m (around sixty some-odd million dollars US) manufacturing plant will create at least three hundred jobs in the small and homey town where Dennis grew up, Surrey (UK). Aside from this model, which the company plans on launching sometime in 2011, they also have plans to make a vast array of other related sports cars over the next decade. So one would have a good mind to think that there are some cool innovations yet to come from Dennis’ line of luxury cars.


RSR Jaguar XKR GT Completes Its First Enduro

On: Mon, May 24, 2010 at 11:21AM | By: John Welch

RSR Jaguar XKR GT Completes Its First Enduro test 1-1

May 29th. That is the day we will get to view the Monterey Grand Prix. Which took place this last weekend. Blame insufferable television schedules for the delay in coverage. Instead of the race, CBS treated me too an informative (sic) infomercial involving a rotisserie and geriatric joint cream. By some cruel twist of physics Ronco has figured out how to provide the modern senior with an entire Lemon Pepper chicken (white meat only, of course) and pre-warmed Chondriotin-infusing skin cream . . . all on the same plate!! After an hour I was "oohh"ing and "awww"ing right along with the compensated studio audience. Apparently the joint medication doubles as a fine horseradish sauce! Ain't science grand?!

While this shameless advertisement was filling my head with notions of fully-cooked birds in under five minutes, there was a little race going on in Monterey. Maybe you couldn't care less what the results were. Maybe endurance racing isn't your thing. Maybe if I told you the results it wouldn't effect your day one way or the other. And that's fine.

There are some people who will avoid SPEED and ESPN all week because they would like to see the race before they know the results OF the race. I respect those people. Long ago, I was one of them. A tape-delayed race meant complete media shutdown for me, until the day network television got around to broadcasting the affair. I can no longer avoid the results of a race through total computer/television blackout. However, I still respect those who do. I won't ruin the race for you, Comrades, some other website can have the guilt.

I will report on a car that had little to do with the points battle, but whose presence in the ALMS is greatly appreciated. The RSR Jaguar was featured in the 'Shopper blog last year, and we have been anxiously following its development since. Unfortunately, that development has been slow and painful. Completing only a handful of laps in 2009, the Jag was all but absent fro this year's Sebring race. Out in the first quarter of Long Beach, it appeared that the eighth manufacturer in the ALMS GT class was going to be a memory by the middle of the season. These factors conspire to make a 13th (in class) finish seem like a serious victory. A victory for Rocket Sports Racing, for Jaguar, for the AMS, and for us fans.

2011 Chevy Volt Could be Big Jolt for GM

On: Mon, May 24, 2010 at 10:28AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

2011 Chevy Volt test 2

The latest innovation from GM, as they try to break into the growing world of electric cars, is their newest vehicle: the 2011 Chevy Volt electric car. When it becomes available in November, this vehicle will actually have much to offer to the world of eco-friendly and earth-conscious car drivers the world afar, and for many good reasons too. For one, the car uses a different, newer and very intuitive type of design in the way that their engine actually runs. The electric battery that is housed in the car offers up to 40 miles on a single charge, and according to Chevy (on their website),— it can be easily recharged overnight. If you are running around town and you find that your electrical charge is about to expire, Chevy has that base covered as well.

According to their website, “Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas.” The Volt's expected total range on one tank of gas is more than 300 miles, according to GM.

Toyota Buys Into Tesla Motors

On: Sun, May 23, 2010 at 10:10AM | By: John Welch

Toyota Buys Into Tesla Motors test 1-1

Akio Toyoda is determined to erase Toyota's staid, Big Brotherish reputation. First mandating more passion be injected into Toyota's marginally boring line-up, now he is doing his best to instill a entrepreneurial spirit into Toyota's corporate philosophy. By dropping $50 million into Tesla Motors, Toyoda has found a use for the dormant NUMMI plant, as well as provided his company with some much needed positive motivation.

“I’ve felt an infinite possibility about Tesla’s technology,” said Toyoda, chief executive officer of Toyota, founded by his grandfather. “By partnering with Tesla, my hope is that all Toyota employees will recall that ‘venture business’ spirit.”

For Tesla, this is the second $50 million investment received in as many years. Diamler bought into Tesla in 2009, though they have reduced their stake since. The Toyota-Tesla partnership doesn’t impede Daimler’s cooperation with the California automaker, said Brigitte Bertram, a Daimler spokeswoman. Tesla is supplying Diamler with battery packs for a test fleet of electric Smart minicars.

The most important news here is the revival of the NUMMI plant in California, a joint venture between Toyota and GM for nearly 25 years. NUMMI produced the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe twins most recently, but fell on hard times after 2008. The death of Pontiac and Toyota's moving Matrix production to Japan left NUMMI with little to do. First GM, then Toyota pulled out of the plant, leaving all of its 4,700 employees looking for work.

Though not rehiring that much man power right away, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has a comprehensive plan for providing as many jobs as possible. Tesla has hired back about 90 former NUMMI workers and expects to add about 50 a month, Musk said. The plant’s restart “is welcome news for the state’s economy and workers after the closing of this highly productive plant,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement.

Toyota plans to use Tesla's technology to produce short-range plug-in Hybrids, similar to the Chevrolet Volt. The first plug-in Prius should turn a wheel in the fall of 2012.

Chrysler Pays $1.9 billion on Federal Debt

On: Fri, May 21, 2010 at 2:08PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Pays $1.9 billion on Federal Debt test 1-1

In 2009, the Chrysler Corporation got in line for federal funding that would serve to bail the company out financially after the recession hit the auto industry, which resulted in tremendous losses to automakers. A loan was offered to Chrysler for $4 billion, but the company went into default shortly before filing bankruptcy.

Recently Chrysler paid back another $1.9 billion to the United States Department of Treasury toward the debt that was incurred to support Chrysler’s financial services arm of the corporation. The United States Treasury reports that of the $14.3 billion in loans to Chrysler, it has received $3.9 billion in re-payment.

Toyota Bomb Hoax: Was It Real?

On: Fri, May 21, 2010 at 9:19AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota's facility located in Princeton Indiana test 2

If you have been reading recent automotive news, you may be confused about exactly what Toyota's new "crisis" is. Rumors about bomb threats and closing down Toyota plants across the country are all over the internet, but what really happened? Did Toyota get threatened by a mentally unbalanced consumer who couldn't take the thought of having to getting another Toyota model serviced for recalls? Well, apparently not…

The perceived “crisis” for Toyota was discovered recently when, according to the Associated Press, Toyota "received four fake bombs through the mail since Friday. The first suspicious package arrived at Toyota America’s headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky on Friday, followed by similar packages delivered to the company’s West Virginia and Texas production facilities on Monday. The latest package was addressed to Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant, but was discovered before it left the local post office. The post office was evacuated, but a bomb expert later found the package to be a fake.”

The New Car-Based Ford Explorer

On: Thu, May 20, 2010 at 4:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The New Car-Based Ford Explorer test 1-1

The new re-designed Ford Explorer crossover (concept version pictured) is scheduled to arrive at dealerships later this year. Many advocates of the Explorer want to know if the SUV-turned-crossover will have the same level of ruggedness and towing capacity when it gets built on a car chassis instead of a truck.

Ford plans to continue marketing the Explorer as an SUV even after the redesign project. Aaron Bragman, automotive analyst responded: "They can call it whatever they like. It's built on a Taurus platform, so it is actually a crossover."

Analysts believe that the new Explorer (which hasn't even been seen by the public yet) will probably not meet the expectations of Ford's SUV customers.  Some believe that the new Explorer may be competition for other Ford Crossovers such as the Ford Flex, which has not been a great hit for Ford so far.

The present model Explorer has seen a sales increase of 41% and, so far this year, has outsold the Flex (the Flex saw a sales increase of only 16% this year).

Ford is hoping that the new Explorer will be a hit with a different type of consumer, possibly a car buyer with a large family. The new Explorer will be a seven passenger vehicle with three rows of seats, just like the Flex. Ford reports that 70% of current Explorer buyers already select the extra row of seats which indicates to the company that they may be interested in the three row crossover conversion of the Explorer.

"When you see it, you know it's a Ford, you will know it is an SUV, and you will know it's a very modern interpretation of our Explorer," according to Jim Holland, Ford’s engineer in charge of the redesign project.

Nissan Offers Relief to Victims of Flood Zone

On: Thu, May 20, 2010 at 4:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Nissan Offers Relief to Victims of Flood Zone test 1-1

On May 4th, 2010, Nissan Motors stepped up to the plate to offer charitable donations after a record-breaking flash flood swooped across the state lines of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky before it reportedly took the lives of at least 30 people and destroyed many communities located in all three states.

The rapidly rising flood waters resulted from severe storms, tornadoes, and torrential rain fall across the affected states this month. Many residential homes, apartment complexes, and other structures, such as nursing homes, were destroyed statewide in all three regions of the country. The flooding was so severe that residents had to be evacuated by rescue boats and helicopters. Hundreds of people lost their homes, cars, and literally all of their possessions, and were left stranded without the basic necessities such as food and a place to sleep, all a direct result of the flash flooding.