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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Miscellaneous

Ford Heightens Media Blitz With Automated Driving

On: Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 11:44AM | By: Chris Salamone


Traffic Jam Assist test 2

We’ve seen a lot of fireworks shooting from the Ford media engine lately – which seems appropriate with the Fourth of July looming – especially with regards to new vehicle technologies. But apparently the movers and shakers at Ford have been up to more than just EcoTech engines, KeyFree, and improvements to the company’s lagging MyFord Touch.

Ford is in the midst of developing two next-generation systems that could improve or eliminate some of the most despised driving obstacles: traffic jams and reverse perpendicular parking.


VIN #1 SRT Viper Brings $300K At Barrett-Jackson

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 3:43PM | By: Chris Salamone


2013 SRT Viper test 2

At about 3:00PM on Saturday, a special car rolled onto the auction block at Barrett-Jackson’s Orange County event. Back in April, media junkies first caught wind of a possible SRT Viper sale, and, despite months of anticipation, Saturday’s auction did not disappoint.

Teaming up with the Austin Hatcher Foundation, Chrysler offered vin numero uno of the much-adored incoming 2013 SRT Viper. And while the sale’s proceeds were to be donated to a noteworthy and significant cause, enthusiasts worldwide also took notice for another reason.

This vehicle will be the first of its kind – the scion of a new house in the automotive realm.


Marchionne Earns Title 'Michiganian Of The Year'

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:17AM | By: Chris Salamone


Sergio Marchionne test 2

Companies use buzzwords like ‘dynamic’ and ‘magnanimous’ to define popular CEOs. But the tide of corporate and consumer perception can swiftly turn on these elevated citizens, for CEOs are – in many cases – public figures. One mistake and a seasoned CEO can go from hero to zero in a matter of minutes.

After Chrysler’s incredible bounce back in 2011 and staggering first quarter results in 2012, we can safely say that Sergio Marchionne has earned his keep as well as a long list of positive descriptors. And financial results aside, Marchionne has contributed to the reputation and enlivened spirit of Detroit in a big way.

So much so that The Detroit News has named the Chrysler Group LLC Chairman and CEO ‘Michiganian of the Year’ for 2012.


Smart USA Topples Challenger In Twitter Tussle

On: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 4:36PM | By: Chris Salamone


Smart USA Topples Challenger In Twitter Tussle test 2

Just yesterday, the hawk-eyed folks at Jalopnik spotted a Twitter slugmatch which validated everything we’ve learned from Jay-Z, Kanye West and 50 Cent over the years – when someone makes a polite, but witty critique about you…the best option is to respond with a less polite, but more witty comment.

The tussle began when Clayton Hove, a Twitter user and pseudo-ad critic, felt compelled to poke fun at the Smart Car. To his delight, and surprise, Smart USA responded with a complicated mathematical analysis and handy infographic. Hove, as it would turn out, merely brought a tweet to a Calculus BC fight.


 

Ford KeyFree Lightens Password Log-on Load

On: Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 5:11PM | By: Chris Salamone


Ford KeyFree test 2

The rumor mill is turning once more, spinning a sci-fi thriller which might affect the very fabric of our everyday lives. Ford’s KeyFree technology, commonly known for automatic door locking/unlocking and – everyone’s favorite gimmick – push-to-start ignitions, has popped up on a French Vimeo site with an altogether new software update.

So far, all we know is that a new version of Ford’s KeyFree system is coming soon. And this time, multiple password storage and automatic log-on will be the name of the game.

Users of the Ford KeyFree app will be able to save usernames and passwords for social media, email, internet shopping, and the like. Upon entering a device’s Bluetooth range, connected computers will automatically log on to each individual account.


Classic Car Cultist: Buick Grand National GNX

On: Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 3:13PM | By: Chris Salamone


Buick Grand National GNX test 2

From 1978 to 1987, Buick produced a series of rear-wheel drive ‘luxury’ coupes and sedans, fondly remembered as the Regal and later Grand National models. In conjunction with a series of NASCAR victories in the Manufacturers Cups of 1981 and 1982, Buick decided to bump the company’s performance aspirations to the next level. The Grand National was born.

But not until the Grand National’s last year of production, 1987, did Buick manifest the vehicle’s full potential – in a performance-oriented GNX. For twice the cost of admission relative to a standard Grand National, the GNX entranced a mere 547 buyers for the then-staggering sum of $29,900.

Today, the GNX’s reputation has grown. What was once seen as the flagship of the bygone muscle car era is now viewed as the last bastion of American automotive glory. The 1987 Buick Grand National GNX is the car which stood on the precipice of change and laughed in the face of environmental consciousness, practicality, and – of course – vehicular impotence.


NHTSA Expands Probe, Chrysler Holds Breath

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Salamone


Jeep Grand Cherokee Explodes test 2

Late last year a Lake Mary, Florida accident rose to the attention of national media. A 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee was involved in a rear-end collision, and then proceeded to explode and roast a 24-year-old male caught in a series of tragic, and unexpected, events. And, while heart-wrenching, the incident reached critical media mass not because of the vehicle, driver, or ensuing disaster. Instead, it seemed that the accident verified AND fueled an investigation already underway by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – which started a full year before, in August 2010.

Even so, up until recently, the NHTSA was set on evaluating only 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Apparently though, after a half year, the NHTSA has finally decided to broaden the scope of the agency’s investigation to include the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty and…you guessed it…the 1993-2001 Jeep Cherokee. That brings the total to a whopping 5.1 million Chrysler vehicles.

The heart of the debate is the location of Chrysler’s fuel tanks. In older models, mostly made before 2005, the company placed plastic fuel tanks behind the rear axle and slightly below the rear bumper. The Center for Auto Safety alleges that such a location makes the tank more prone to leak or rupture during an impact.


Fiat 500 Abarth -- We Don't Quite Get It

On: Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:19AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Fiat 500 Abarth test 2

By now you're probably seen them. One of the commercials for the new Fiat 500 Abarth -- either the scorching hot supermodel posing as a Fiat or the other commercial with the same girl being flaunted about by the notorious Charlie Sheen. Fiat has arguably gone overboard trying to convince us that we should undoubtedly desire the 500 Abarth above just about anything else on the road. And while we appreciate the effort, when it comes right down to where the rubber meets the road -- we don't see it. There have been so many cars marketed by manufacturers over the years that although we have not become completely desensitized to the whip-around-a-corner, go-fast-in-a-straighaway-with-nothing-else-around-it-to-give-us-perspective marketing gimmicks, we have become substantially more skeptical about taking advertisers at their word.

Putting aside the question of why anyone would think that Charlie Sheen would help sell a car, let's just take the car itself and gain a little perspective shall we? So aside from the cool black paint and snazzy scorpion logo, the Fiat looks like the exact antithesis of its tall, rail-thin supermodel spokesperson -- the Abarth looks short, stout, and arguably portly. Fiat has given the 500 Abarth all of the little sporty amenities it could squeeze into the little car -- red stitched seats, a fun dashboard, even a shift light, but really, for all its sporty features, when it comes right down to it, it seems like the Abarth is a-bark, not a-bite.


Ford Rivals P.T. Barnum's Marketing Prowess, Via F-150 SSV Package

On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 5:14PM | By: Chris Salamone


Ford F-150 Fire Rescue test 2

References to mid-19th Century circus advocates aside, Ford is a company known for relentless self-promotion. Perhaps surprisingly then, in many cases Ford’s colorful advertising is backed by products which command the respect and credibility so boldly called for. But, on the flip side, the company’s crackshot public relations team occasionally over fires the marketing cannon. Ford’s recent F-150 Special Services Vehicle Package press release falls into category two.

Pictured in the press release are two images of Ford F-150s, presumably equipped with the Special Service Vehicle Package, themed appropriately for Fire Rescue and Police. And a quick scan of the release’s headlines suggests that the optional package will come at “no-charge” to fleet customers.

Of course that doesn’t mean fleet customers will get Fire Rescue or Police equipped vehicles at no charge. That would make far too much sense. In this instance, what you see…is not what you get.


NPR's 'Car Talk' To Fade Away

On: Sat, Jun 9, 2012 at 10:21AM | By: Chris Salamone


Ray and Tom Magliozzi test 2

NPR’s communications department just unleashed a media blitz with an announcement which car enthusiasts have long dreaded, the day when public radio would have two fewer comedian mechanics. For the past 35 years Tom and Ray Magliozzi have recorded Car Talk at WBUR in Boston. But, as of this fall, listeners will have rely on re-produced reruns from Car Talk archives which stretch back through 25 years – while the show operated through NPR.

All is not lost, however. The brothers Magliozzi will continue to write their bi-weekly column called Dear Tom and Ray, remain active on the web and Facebook, and plan to contribute occasional updates to NPR’s October season of Car Talk.


Texans May Regret An 85 MPH Highway?!

On: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 4:49PM | By: Chris Salamone


Texans May Regret An 85 MPH Highway?! test 2

Days ago, local Texas radio station 1200 News Radio WOAI announced that an 85 mile per hour speed limit sign had been spotted on a brand new toll road called State Highway 130, running from east San Antonio to just north of Austin. Since the discovery, auto enthusiast websites all over the internet have lauded State Highway 130’s gloriously high speed limit. Of course we all want to see roads with increased speed limits, but at what cost? Much like all too-good-to-be-true deals, there’s a catch.

Back in September the Economic Policy Journal first brought the potential problem to our attention and, unsurprisingly, State Highway 130’s success or failure hinges on the wallets of drivers or taxpayers – regardless if those taxpayers currently drive.

But wait, the plot thickens. Rick Perry is entangled in the State Highway 130 project through a multi-billion dollar business deal.