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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

On: Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 3:39PM | By: John Welch

Chevrolet Cruze test 2

The "small-car" landscape keeps getting bigger and brighter for American buyers;

Hyundai is cleaning up everywhere except Japan;

Chrysler kills the program responsible for their bail-out; this makes my teeth hurt . .

More Lukewarm News Out Of GM And Toyota

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 12:26PM | By: John Welch

Opel Corsa OPC test 2

The Saab deal has crumbled, surprise surprise. Koenigsegg, unable to secure the loans necessary to acquire Saab's assets, pulled out of negotiations yesterday. The Swedish government has ruled out any chance of a state bail-out for the beleaguered automaker.

Slightly better news comes out of Germany. GM will be cutting capacity at all of its Opel manufacturing plants, however, none of the plants will be shut-down, as previously feared.

Which brings us to Toyota. In an effort to trim expenses throughout its North American operations, Toyota is planning on moving jobs from California to Michigan or Kentucky . . .

Toyota, Dana Must Report On Crusty Truck Frames

On: Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 4:53PM | By: John Welch

Toyota, Dana Must Report On Crusty Truck Frames test 1-1

Nah, Nah - Toyota finally screwed something up. Not that I'm wishing Toyota any bad luck, but MAN, am I sick of their "holierthanthou" reputation in the US market. Finally, after years of hearing all about Toyota's amazing reliability, and their astronomical resale value and their magical fuel economy blahblahblah, they've finally gone and really screwed the pooch. Hard. The pooch has a broken hip.

"Wasn't that 'floor mats' thing a pretty big deal?" you ask. Well, no, not really. Zip-ties solved that problem. Here we have a real serious failure. Here we have an afront to humankind that just cannot be overlooked: The thingee that holds the spare tire in place gets a little rusty . . .. What?!? What a let down!! Is that all??! No, this rust can cause your Tundra's brakes to fail in extreme cases . . . sigh, I was hoping for some sort of grisly catastrophe that involved the Tundra completely imploding on itself, crushing the driver and the driver's dog in a cocoon of twisted metal and shattered glass . . . Toyota, you always let me down . . .

CTS-V Sport Wagon Is A Go!

On: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 11:24AM | By: John Welch

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon test 2

It has an interior constructed of balsa wood, formica fiber board, and goat hides. It's oddly porportioned, has a wretched driver's-left blindspot, and almost fills a two-car garage. Normally these issues would cause me to absolutely hate and mistrust a car, verbally tearing it to shreds at every opportunity. Normally. Fortunately for the Cadillac CTS, the intangibles greatly out-weight the direct by-products of GM bureaucracy. It is a fantastic car.

How could GM possibly make me overlook all the obvious quality issues that I've noticed in their vehicles since my first ride in an '88 Celebrity? For starters, build an angular BMW that actually handles like a BMW, and shoehorn a blown smallblock under its eager bonnet. Ok, we've got the near-600 horsepower, tire euthanizer - now we need to make the car cooler . . . . WAGON TIME!


Nissan/Renault To Enter The Micro Death-Trap Race

On: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 6:06PM | By: John Welch

Nissan Micra test 2

They have the Micra. They have the Twingo. Though larger than those two cars, the Verse could even be included. Yet Nissan and Renault is dead set on building an even smaller, even cheaper auto by 2012. Not extremely relevant to us, assuming you overlook the decline in new car markets among the developed world.

India currently moves 2 million cars a year. By 2019, that number could be over six million. These are inexpensive cars, so the profit margin is low; why care so much about cars you can't make very much money on? Well, if you aren't spending all that much to produce them, you are making money, hand over fist . . .

New Chrysler: Abandoned By German Overlords, Welcoming Italian Rule

On: Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 6:05PM | By: John Welch

New Chrysler: Abandoned By German Overlords, Welcoming Italian Rule test 1-1

Oh America, how the mighty have fallen. Sure sure, yesterday it was reported (not on this blog, as stated earlier, I refuse!) that GM won't be selling off Opel or Vauxhall—big deal. Ya still killed Pontiac and Saturn, ya goofs, and you're still making underachieving interiors. Get back to me with some real news Fritzy, like matching Ford's profit margin, ya dink. And Chrysler, the vitriol I could spew about Chrysler would fill thirty bed pans. Chrysler is so underachieving I don't even remember the names of any of their top execs anymore; except of course for SERGIO MARCHIONNE, Fiat's CEO . . . aaahHARRGHRhrHhRRGZzxxxxzzzZZZxxxx . .. .

Ahem, sorry. My therapist is adjusting my meds, bear with me . . . Chrysler announced its plans for the next several years at a marathon press conference yesterday. All the gory details inside yon post . . .

Tampa International Auto Show Pt.3; In Which We Learn That Bankruptcy Is Not A PreReQ For Building A Rubbish Interior

On: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 11:11AM | By: John Welch

Tampa International Auto Show Pt.3; In Which We Learn That Bankruptcy Is Not A PreReQ For Building A Rubbish Interior test 1-1

So far we have gushed over Lamborghinis and Camaros, completely panned pathetic Buicks and Chryslers, and have had some kind words for Kia and Subaru.

After the Chrysler booth I was desperately low on blood sugar, a feeling that may have been exacerbated by my utter disgust at what I saw in the Chrysler booth. Moving on to Ford, I was hoping that a financially solid American company was going to turn my frown upside down. It did, sort of.

Welcome Back, Kotter, Err, Lotus

On: Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 11:48AM | By: John Welch

Welcome Back, Kotter, Err, Lotus test 1-1

The F1 title fight is coming down to the wire for 2009. At the Japanese Grand Prix, Brawn GP had the opportunity to clinch the manufacturer's title, and though they were not successful will have the chance again in Brazil. Brawn GP is the phoenix rising from the ashes of the Honda F1 team. After winning six of the first seven races, Brawn is finally seeing serious competition from more established teams like Red Bull and Mclaren, but most likely the title fight will go to Brawn.

Next season there will be several new teams entering F1, emboldened by Brawn GP's unlikely success. Manor Racing, Campos Racing, our home-nation favorite, USF1/GPE, and finally the return of Lotus, albeit under Malaysian ownership and based in Sepang. Unlike Brawn, these teams are all starting from scratch, using a brand new Cosworth engine (unfortunately, this is the same powerplant used by Williams in 2006; it should be competitive if the FIA allows minor updates; that's a BIG 'if') and placing that engine in freshly designed chassis.

How far along are these teams? A brief overview of each organization to follow . ..

15 Cars to Watch In 2010

On: Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 3:47PM | By: John Welch

15 Cars to Watch In 2010 test 1-1

Detroit Free Press columnist Mark Phelan has compiled a list of 'hot cars' to watch for 2010. He lives in Detroit, he writes for a Detroit-based newspaper, Mark Phelan should know what we should be interested in next year, right? Meh, it's hit or miss. My thoughts on his thoughts and the cars he thinks about to follow . . . also, what should be omitted from this less than authoratative list . ..

Is It The End Of The Road For Saturn?

On: Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 6:43PM | By: Drew Christy

GM shuts down Saturn test 2

Penske Automotive Group announced on Wednesday that it has cancelled plans to acquire General Motors' Saturn unit. As a result, GM said it will “wind down” the brand and dealer network.

According to a press report released by Penske (available after the jump), the deal's demise was caused by difficulty in securing a supply of product beyond the end of 2010. As part of the deal, GM would have continued supplying Penske with the Outlook, Aura, and Vue models until the end of next year.

Since Penske is an auto distributor and not a manufacturer, a new supplier agreement needed to be secured. The company had negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement with an unnamed *cough* Renault-Samsung Motors *cough* manufacturer; however, that agreement was rejected by that manufacturer's board of directors.

"Without that agreement, the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction," the company said in a statement.

As a result of Penske’s decision, GM announced that it would wind down Saturn and close all roughly 350 dealerships. Penske's deal with GM, which was expected to be completed in October, would have saved more than 13,000 jobs at Saturn's dealerships. After Saturn dealerships close, Saturn owners will be able to get service from other GM dealers.

"Today's disappointing news comes at a time when we'd hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter," said GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson. "We will be working closely with our dealers to ensure Saturn customers are cared for as we transition them to other GM dealers in the months ahead."

For those sending emails… The guy in the photo is Jim Smith from the “Saturn Total Confidence” commercials.

Toyota Issues its largest recall ever in the U.S. over floor mats, 3.8M vehicles affected.

On: Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 11:37PM | By: Drew Christy

Toyota Issues its largest recall ever in the U.S. over floor mats, 3.8M vehicles affected. test 1-1

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a safety alert to the owners of particular Toyota and Lexus models from 2004-2010. This recall affects 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States. The alert reports of accelerator pedal clearance issues which provide the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position. A stuck accelerator may result in very high vehicle speeds and a crash, which could cause serious injury or death.

The following models are affected:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350

Toyota has announced that it will soon launch a safety recall to address the problem with the vehicles listed above. The NHTSA is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver’s floormat immediately and NOT replace it with any other floormat until Toyota develops a solution (see photo above?).

Owners with questions or concerns, are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1-800-331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (1-800-255-3987), or consult the information posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.

We have posted the press releases from both the NHTSA and Toyota after the jump. Toyota's press release includes instructions on what to do if your gas pedal gets stuck due to floormat interference.