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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Miscellaneous

Element Era Ends: Ode To The Box

On: Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:13AM | By: Chris Salamone


Element Era Ends: Ode To The Box test 2

For years we heard rumors that the much-adored Honda Element would be axed due to slumping sales numbers. But, year after year, the Element reappeared in Honda’s lineup with some fresh new makeup meant to reignite a formerly strong market contender. Fans remained content – few could question the Element’s versatility, CUV efficiency, or boxy good looks. Nevertheless, as of last December, Honda announced plans to officially end the Element’s production after the 2011 model year.

The Element will be forever missed, but is survived by the all-new CR-V and Crosstour – for better or worse. Honda’s Element execution marks a significant loss in the percentage of completely box-shaped vehicles remaining in the market, and an even larger loss when the Element’s class-leading cabin space, 4WD, and fun-factor are taken into account. In light of these facts, we thought an ending to the Element era deserved a special tribute, an ode to the box.


An Open Letter To Lexus

On: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:07AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


An Open Letter To Lexus test 2

In regards to its “December to Remember” sales event marketing campaign, Lexus needs to just stop. Seriously. These commercials are extremely destructive to the fabric of the true holiday season, and beyond that, extremely destructive to relationships everywhere. Don't believe me? Think it over. First and foremost, when wives and girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends see men and women surprising each other with a new ES or GS sedan, there is literally nothing any of us who have gotten "normal" gifts can do to compare. Aside from giving our significant others a new house or maybe a puppy, anything else will just look paltry compared to the jackass on TV who heard the December to Remember theme on his new phone (which by the way is a pretty good gift in and of itself), and then went outside to see a red bow on top of his brand new Lexus. So the first problem is just the enormity of the gift embarrasses the rest of us.


Hertz For Heroes Program Offers $3M In Free Weekend Rentals To Returning U.S. Service People

On: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 4:54PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Illustration by author test 2

In a campaign they say is designed to “honor…U.S. troops returning home” and “thank them for their bravery, sacrifice, and dedication,” the folks at Hertz Corp. will be giving said service people 40,000 vouchers that entitle each of them to a free weekend (Friday to Monday) rental of a “midsize”—more on that later—car anywhere in North America.

If you do your part.

[It’s easy. Honest.]


Maybach Is Dead. Again. Drinks All Around.

On: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 9:20AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by author test 2

Everything has been all sunshine and rainbows over at Rolls-Royce recently—as I’ve mentioned in various articles in this space that you can search for if you’re so inclined—but despite my thorough coverage of the various goings-on I failed to ask (at least) one simple question: If Rolls is the super-luxury-car sales windshield, who’s the bug?

Well, now I—or more correctly we—now know: Maybach.

See, unlike their owners’—R-R’s is BMW and Maybach’s is Mercedes-Benz—lifelong struggle for supremacy, it seems that in the case of these “ultra-premium” brands the boys at M-B just didn’t want to draw things out beyond 2013, so they aren't. According to Autoweek it seems that instead of keeping things going in the usual “waiting for better times” manner—and continuing to shovel container-ships’-worth of Euros into the fire—they are effectively ceding the ultra-luxury-car sales high-ground to their Bavarian nemesis after just over a decade of trying to come out on top.

But are they?...


 

Wheeler Dealers To [Finally] Fix American Muscle

On: Sat, Nov 19, 2011 at 8:59AM | By: Chris Salamone


Co-Hosts Mike Brewer and Edd China test 2

Like any good Discovery TV fan, the announcement of a Wheeler Dealers series focusing on the good ole’ USA was an exciting prospect back in September. However, since the season started in early October not a single Wheeler Dealers episode has featured a US vehicle, nor taken place off the British mainland. But that’s all about to change.

On Tuesday at 9pm, the Wheeler Dealers will take on a vehicle so potent, so grotesquely American, and so firmly routed to US cultural identity that spectators may just feel like the previous five episodes where nothing more than an accidental blip in an otherwise red, white, and blue season. What vehicle could have such a mind changing reaction, you ask? Nothing less than a desert-preserved classic 1969 Dodge Charger.


New Holistic Racer Training Site SAFE Is Fast Is Serious, Star-Packed And FREE!

On: Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 10:11AM | By: Andrew W Davis


SAFE Is Fast test 2

Now I was a high-performance-driving natural, earning seven straight Big Wheel Racing Championships in my neighborhood (and/or mind) before I turned pro at 11. Since then I’ve moved up the ranks to professional “production car test driver that sometimes does so on race tracks,” which—though short on trophies—is big on, well… seat-time, I suppose.

It took a long time—and many expensive driver training courses I mostly didn’t have to pay for—to get to my level of awesomeness. But let’s say you don’t have the “connections” it takes to bill someone else for your driver training, let alone the scratch it takes to pay your way into them the way you’re supposed to.

If only someone could package the combined knowledge of nearly every professional in auto racing—including drivers, team owners, car builders, receptionists, and anyone else nearby—regarding nearly every aspect of racing, into video clips that could be found at one slick website….


Top 5 Roads To Wander

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 3:20PM | By: Chris Salamone


Atlantic Road test 2

The 'road' is something of a paradox. We use roads to run our errands, conduct business, and to take the occasional trip. But, not all who travel by road seek any specific destination. For some the simple act of driving is, in itself, the only destination they need. Therein lies the rub—are roads meant for arriving or are they meant for driving? Like all semantic challenges, the answer will invariably be a mix of all available options. In the spirit of all-inclusiveness, hopefully these Top 5 roads to wander meet both criteria: usefulness and venerable adventuring.


Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever (Video)

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 1:21PM | By: Chris Weiss


Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever test 2

After several years of covering the technology industry, one of the trends that I found was that the entire field of robotics seemed to have been created just so that we had robot-servants to get us beer out of the fridge while we while the days away watching television or tanning on a lounge chair. Forget production automation, space exploration or other potentially life-changing objectives, robot after robot was created to keep man lubricated and jovial with Heineken upon Heineken.

While I ran into numerous beer-popping robots in the technology world, this Honda ASIMO is the first I've come across in the automotive world. It's also one of the most human-like and awesome robots I've seen.


Toyota Looks To Mimic Nissan For Success

On: Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Salamone


Toyota Half-Annual Results test 2

Dire circumstances call for special measures. Usually big corporations avoid positive competition name dropping, especially with the ever-present specter of shareholder power. However, at Toyota’s basement midterm financial meeting the company made a few intended references to a chief competitor: Nissan. While Toyota has suffered an operating loss of 32.6 billion yen (or $417 million dollars) to date, Nissan has recorded an operating profit of $309.7 billion yen ($3.88 billion dollars) despite similar obstacles in the form of massive earthquakes and Thai flooding.


Volkswagen T2 Returns To Europe, Judgment Day?

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 5:24PM | By: Chris Salamone


Volkswagen T2 test 2

Despite all kinds of inflammatory claims that Volkswagen will soon be the largest automaker in the world, the company clearly has their marketing act together. It’s no secret that hordes of adoring fans support the newly redesigned VW Bulli concept and VW seems to be toying with our emotions further by reoffering old school VW T2 camper vans in the Netherlands. For European citizens, the opportunity to own an original VW van must be tempting, but true die-hard fans can still purchase them in Brazil. So what does it all mean?! Could the T2’s reintroduction be a sign of the second coming of VW’s landmark vehicle? A sort of quasi-judgment day?

Thus far, VW is keeping their focus strictly on T2s in the Netherlands and has not offered any real evidence that T2s would be anything other than a nifty collector item. We can only hope that these T2s actually represent a convenient tester vehicle for the European camper van market.


Classic Car Cultist: Subaru BRAT

On: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 3:13PM | By: Chris Salamone


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Remember that insanely popular kid from high school? The one with the mullet and cigarette pack carefully rolled into his sleeve? What made him popular was not that outlandish haircut, and certainly not any strange ability to communicate better than the rest of us, nor was it the product of a highly confused and misguided generation. Instead, his claim to fame can only be attributed to the one universally recognized symbol of a ‘top of the food chain’ status. Say hello to the Subaru BRAT.

The BRAT, a clever acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter, was a car which defied categorization. Part car, part utility truck, Subaru essentially chopped the rear top off of the company’s four-wheel drive station wagon and released the BRAT as a competitor for the then heavily popular Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero market.