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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

Scarce Tire Supplies Costing Automakers

On: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 3:52PM | By: Tim Healey

Scarce Tire Supplies Costing Automakers test 1-1

Thanks to plant closings and a surging demand for specialty tires, North American automakers are finding the costs for tires rising quickly.

With some tire plants now being shuttered, and low-volume specialty tires now in higher demand, tire makers have now gained leverage in terms of pricing, which is costing automakers more. Price increases from last year have hit the double-digit percentage range.

Tire makers say they can't keep up with demand, but the shortage doesn't appear to be affecting automaker's production plans. Still, automakers are trying hard to make sure they have enough supply on hand.

One automaker official estimates it will take a year or so for the shortage to clear up.

ZR1 Runs A Ring Around The Competition!

On: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 2:43PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

ZR1 Runs A Ring Around the Competition!  test 2

It should come as no surprise that when a company builds a fast car, they would very much like it to be the fastest car out there. But, for there to be a unanimous agreement that anyone one car is faster than another, an understanding must first be met about how these cars will be tested. That agreement, my friends, is called the Nurburgring. No, I didn't just pass out and fall face first onto the keyboard. The Nurburgring is basically a track built around the German town of Nurburg (now it makes a little more sense already, I bet). The 'Ring as it's been also called, is not just any track, but is nothing short of being one of if not the meanest, most unbelievably difficult tracks on the face of the Earth. The 'Ring is a 12.8 mile track that can twist, turn, shake, rattle, and roll even the most courageous driver into nothing more than a mess of embarrassment and driving gloves, surrounded by broken glass and crumpled sheet metal. 

Ford Customer Satisfaction Sinks Due To Sync

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 4:50PM | By: Tim Healey

Ford Customer Satisfaction Sinks test 2

Ford has slipped in customer satisfaction in a major J.D. Power survey, due mainly to consumer complaints about its technology features, such as Sync, MyFordTouch, and MyLincolnTouch.

Meanwhile, Toyota has recovered from past problems to climb back into the top ten, while Dodge finished last.

The infotainment systems, which use voice recognition and MP3 player-like interfaces, have received mixed reviews from the automotive press since launching, and their relative complexity has confused customers who are unfamiliar with the technology. Combined with new automatic-transmission programming that has caused consumers to think the transmissions are hesitating, this has caused Ford to slip from fifth to 23rd in J.D. Power's Initial Quality Survey, which tracks complaints in the first 90 days of ownership.

They're At It Again: Forbes Misses Mark In Naming

On: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 5:40PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

Forbes—a publication you’d think would have better things to do—has come out with another automotive character-assassination list, this time directed at “Used Cars to Avoid.”

Their list—based on information they say they’ve gathered from a variety of sources, including “TrueCar.com” and “J.D. Power & Associates”—basically names 2008-model-year vehicles they say you should stay away from, including: Chevrolet Aveo & Colorado [and sister pickup GMC Canyon]; Dodge Avenger, Charger & Magnum; Jeep Liberty & Wrangler; Land Rover Range Rover Sport; Mitsubishi Eclipse & Lancer; and Suzuki XL7.

Now I’m going to tell you why they got it wrong.


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:05AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

GMC Syclone Pickup test 2

Some cars and trucks are just ahead of their time. Sometimes, the world is just not ready yet for an idea; it's either too soon, too much, or just too unusual for the world to deal with and, as such, that idea usually either dies or goes into hibernation until the world catches up. Such was the life of one of the quickest and fastest trucks ever produced. The GMC Syclone was not a high-selling success, but this tricked-out pickup truck brought new meaning to the word "Hauling."

This pint-sized pickup started off life as a garden variety GMC Sonoma, but went on to be the first hot rod truck ever produced by a dealer. Starting with a very spartan 3500-pound truck, GMC sent their mild-mannered pickup to Production Automotive Services, Inc. (the same company that produced the 1989 Turbo Trans Am that went on to become one of the quickest Firebirds Pontiac ever released) and got back a 4.3-liter turbo-charged, liquid-cooled V6 nightmare.

1990 Honda Accord Nears Million Mile Mark

On: Sat, Jun 18, 2011 at 10:45AM | By: Chris Salamone

1990 Honda Accord Nears Million Mile Mark  test 2

A man from Norway, Maine (yes, such a place-name exists and the pictures demonstrate why) is taking his 1990 Honda Accord above and beyond any insignificant six digit limit speculatively put on the odometer. Joe LoCicero intends to break the 1-million mark by September 2011. Seeing Joe’s initiative, Honda has taken this opportunity to put out a press release showcasing the reliability of Honda automobiles. As we say in the schoolyard, or the occasional jailhouse, the proof is in the pudding.

Since he purchased the vehicle in 1996, Joe has racked up an average of 62,500 miles a year. Yes, that’s nearly 5 times greater than most people. Around the 300,000 mile mark on his odometer, Joe began taking detailed records of his maintenance and vehicle achievements—including 661 photos of his odometer. Yikes.

Yay or Nay? Laws To Deny Licenses To Dropouts

On: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 5:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Laws To Deny Licenses to Dropouts  test 2

Apparently there's a new driving legislation initiative underfoot in states around the country. Lawmakers in some states are considering legislation that would bar high school dropouts from getting driving licenses. The legislation aims to dissuade high schoolers from dropping out by using one of the most important things to a teenager—a car.

It's an interesting idea that could potentially impact high school drop-out rates, but is it the right move? Personally, I'd argue against it. First off, you'd think that high school dropout rates were at an all time high, and this initiative was created to stem a growing problem. However, according to data from the National Center For Education Statistics, dropout rates steadily declined over the near-two-decade period between 1980 and 2008. In fact, they were nearly cut in half during that time—from 14 percent to 8 percent. So why the push all of a sudden?

Young UK Driver's Get Incentive-Based Auto Insurance

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 3:52PM | By: Chris Salamone

ncentive-Based Auto Insurance  test 2

Ah, to be young again. To arrive two hours early at the DMV on your birthday, only to discover that an ‘appointment’ really means waiting in an identically-long line with people who just walked in. Or perhaps, to pay your first car insurance bill only to discover that you’re paying far more than Grandpa McGregor who can’t see past his nose hair. These are just some of the trials and tribulations associated with new drivers in the United States. Yet, in the United Kingdom, the Co-Operative Insurance Company has debuted a revolutionary incentive-based program which hopes to award young drivers for good behavior: Smartbox.

World's Largest Gathering Of Smart Fans: Another Reason To Avoid Italy This August

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 11:29AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

I kid. It’s not like smart (damn lowercase) did something horrible to me or mine at some point, it’s just that I find it hard to resist putting into words what the design of their ridiculous-looking pseudo-cars screams out in pictures.

But here is where it ends. Well, if I am kidnapped and flown to “the seaside resort of Riccione on the Adriatic coast” (Italy) between August 4th and 7th then (and only then) will I feel like perhaps starting the beginning of the ending procedure.

Why? Because “More than 4000 smart enthusiasts from 22 countries, some with individually designed vehicles, are expected in Riccione where they will celebrate their passion for smart cars together and connect with designers, tuners, and industry experts.”

God help them.

Did Chrysler Spin Off SRT To Screw With Us? First Move: The Viper Camper

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 10:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Viper Camper test 2

As you may or may not have heard, Chrysler spun-off their Street and Racing Technology division into its own standalone brand earlier this week, naming Dodge chief Ralph Gilles its CEO and president. The company didn't waste much time getting down to business, but chose an odd move as one of its first public maneuvers. It "teased" the 2013 Dodge Viper (or at least some form of Viper) in response to social media inquiries about the upcoming muscle car.

Bugatti FAIL: Driver Donuts Into A Divider

On: Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 10:15AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bugatti FAIL: Driver Donuts Into a Divider  test 2

You'd think Bugatti owners would be a little smarter as a group. First, there aren't that many of them. Second, a price tag of more than $1 million usually has a way of weeding out the riff raff—you have to be at least kind of smart to earn yourself that much money just to spend on a car.

Yet, by all indications, Bugatti owners are some of the dumbest car owners on the planet. Within less than two years, the small pool has had Darwin Award candidates like this guy and this kid. Dumb, dumb, dumb. And now there's a new Bugatti jackass to add to the list. In an attempt to show off his supercar's donuting prowess, this guy careens right off the track, over the grass, and into a divider.