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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

Volkswagen Plans to Overtake Toyota as World's Largest Automaker

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Martin Winterkorn test 2

CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn stated that the company plans to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018. This is a lofty goal for Volkswagen; the German automaker tied at 5th place this year (under Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and Hyundai) on Consumer Report’s  list of top automakers. While it’s true that VW has had some award-winning vehicles, such as the Volkswagen GTi, selling more cars than Toyota will be quite an undertaking for the German automaker.

Winterkorn reports that he feels so strongly about leading the company into first place, as the world’s largest automaker, that he wants to remain the CEO long enough to see that continuity is established and the company's goals are met. "We know how ambitious our goals are," Winterkorn said in an interview to be published Monday in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

In a Push to Improve Buyers Perception of Lincoln, 200 Dealerships Will be Closed

On: Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 9:32AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

In a Push to Improve Buyers Perception of Lincoln, 200 Dealerships Will be Closed test 1-1

Ford Motor Company has recently announced that it will eliminate at least 200 Lincoln franchise dealerships (which is 40% of its Lincoln dealers in major metropolitan regions) in an attempt to magnify the exclusivity of its last remaining luxury brand. Of the remaining Lincoln dealerships, many upgrades will be required in order to "raise Lincoln's game in terms of customer experience to the level of such luxury brands as Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW," according to Automotive News.com.

The marketing ploy is being created in order to keep up with Ford’s competitors in the luxury car market and those who are saying that Lincoln does not stack up to its competitors.

Many sources report that Ford will announce its new marketing plan for Lincoln in an upcoming 2-day Lincoln dealer seminar that will begin on October 4th and takes place in the car capitol of the U.S., Dearborn Michigan.

According to Ford executives, the discontinuation of the Mercury brand was the impetus for the new plan to give Lincoln a makeover. But in the bigger metro areas where the market is much larger, some stand-alone Lincoln dealerships would still be allowed to stay opened, while in the smaller rural markets the Lincoln products would be sold only at Ford dealerships. Ford Motor Company at one time owned the following luxury brands: Jaguar, Aston Martin, Land Rover, and even Volvo. Ford has sold them off, one by one, over the past several years. Now that Ford has only one remaining luxury brand left, the Detroit automaker plans to design a “premium showroom experience for its final premium brand."

North American Car of the Year Contestant List Shortened

On: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 3:33PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 North American Car of the Year Contestant List Shortened  test 1-1

The North American Car and Truck of the Year award ceremony is impending for 2011 model year awards. Ford Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., and General Motors Co. are the auto makers at the top of the list most likely to take this year's Truck and Car of the Year honors.

North American automotive journalists writing for magazines, newspapers, websites, television, and radio, from Canada and the United States will judge the awards.

Originally 27 new cars were eligible for the 2011 Car of the Year award, but recently, that number was narrowed to only 14 vehicles that judges deemed worthy of consideration.

There are also 14 trucks on the list to be considered for the 2011 Truck of the Year award.

All in all, there are 4 European models, 4 domestic models (including GM which has 3 cars on the list), 4 Japanese Models, and 2 Korean models on the list for the final honors.

On December 16th of this year, the final winners will be announced in Detroit. In January a press conference will take place just before next year's Detroit auto show, to announce the winner of the North American Car and Truck of the year for 2011 models.

Ford Says Fiesta Buyers Seek High End Options

On: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 9:23AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Says Fiesta Buyers Seek High End Options test 1-1

Initial sales numbers are in for this year’s Ford Fiesta, and surprisingly the data shows that a high percentage of consumers are purchasing higher-end features for the small economy car. The Fiesta has helped to boost sales for Ford Motor Company this year in an otherwise flat market, according to officials at Ford.

In fact, according to a recent Automotive News article, only approximately 7% of all Fiestas sold in the United States this year were ordered with standard features since the 2011 Fiesta was launched in June 2010. As many as 93% of the Fiestas sold included models with high end features such as satellite radio, ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, keyless acces and starting, chrome exterior trim, alarm, cruise control, aerodynamic aids, alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, or illuminated door sills.


Lamborghini Puts Its Name on Garden Tools

On: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 3:50PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Puts Its Name on Garden Tools  test 1-1

Don't have $200,000 to invest in a Lamborghini Gallardo? Get the Lamborghini you've always wanted in a smaller, more affordable package: chainsaws, hedge clippers, and grass trimmers. These new accessories may not deliver the performance and "look-at-me" factor of a four-wheeled Lambo, but they'll certainly require a lot less money and work in both the long and short term. Thanks to a new licensing deal, you can now own your very own shed-full of Lambo.

The new licensing deal allows IKRA Mogatec, a German company that specializes in high-end gardening tools, to badge a line of tools with the Raging Bull. So far, the all-electric line consists of a chainsaw, hedge trimmers, cordless grass and shrub shear, grass trimmers and cordless grass trimmers.

When I first read about the tools, I naturally assumed that they'd be toys for the ultra-rich, bearing prices in the thousands thanks mostly to the Lamborghini name. However, the tools incorporate more every-man pricing. The chainsaw costs around $200 and the hedge trimmers come in at around $150. Cutting down lumber with your sexy new Lambo? Now that's priceless.

The Lamborghini deal extends only to the badging, so don't expect to find V12-powered chainsaw mayhem when you're shopping the line. In addition to the bull, the tools feature rather attractive black, silver, and red/orange styling.

Redesigned Elantra To Hail From Alabama

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 11:18AM | By: John Welch

Redesigned Elantra To Hail From Alabama test 1-1

Bemoan the SUV, my friends, small cars are taking over. Hyundai is jumping into the new or mostly new small car fray by redesinging the Elantra, consolidating the flowing design language first seen on the new Sonata. To be built this fall, in Alabama, the Elantra will go on sale in early 2011. The high-end Elantra Touring model will still be imported from South Korea, leaving room at the Alabama facility for the hot-selling Sonata, of which Hyundai cannot seem to make enough. “Because we have the flexibility to take additional production from outside the plant, it shouldn’t have any impact on Sonata production at all,” Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford said. “We will have the ability to build Sonata to demand at the Alabama plant.”

We like the goofy carpish body panels, and with the edition of a 274 bhp turbo-four, we should be satisfied by the Sonata's power.

Back to the Elantra. No word on what sort of power plants we can expect from the mid-small-whatever size Elantra, but no reason the Sonata's base 200 bhp four couldn't be included. That would make for one snappy compact!

Senate Passes Bill to Guarantee $5 Million SBA Loans

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:07AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Senate Passes Bill to Guarantee $5 Million SBA Loans test 1-1

In automotive news, the Obama Administration has agreed to guarantee loans for small auto dealerships of up to $5 million with a bill that passed the Senate last Thursday. The federally guaranteed loan amount was only $2 million in the past and the bill raised the limit to $5 million.

The stipulation resulted from a new jobs bill for small businesses. It was intended to increase lending. Federal tax cuts of $12 billion were also offered to small businesses in hopes that the result will be an increase in hiring for many companies that have been in dire financial distress. The legislation plans to assist small businesses in being approved for loans by increasing the maximum federal guaranteed loan amount that small dealerships will qualify for, which will in turn cause credit requirements to be lowered by the Small Business Association (SBA). This new bill will improve last year’s “floorplan” financing program offered by SBA, which was not very effective in gaining participation by lending institutions.

Toyota Launches Eco Sensitive Smart Village

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:03AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Launches Eco Sensitive Smart Village test 1-1

Last Thursday, Toyota took a lead in demonstrating how green vehicles and renewable energy can work together to cut environmental impact. The company launched a tiny 'smart' village in Rokkasho, Japan to test and demonstrate how consumers can use renewable energy and green vehicles toward cutting their carbon footprint.

One of the biggest knocks against hybrids and electric vehicles is that electricity still runs largely on fossil fuels. While the end user feels better about pumping electricity and not gas into his car, that electricity is still polluting the environment. In other words, EVs and hybrids are simply masking the problem not solving it. That argument seems to get a whole lot of use by status-quo lovers that want to look more forward-thinking and informed than they really are. As if the notion never occurred to anyone else.

Love On Wheels

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:53PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Love On Wheels test 1-1

Love almost never makes sense. By rights, one of its defining characteristics is doing the illogical, or following the seemingly poor choice despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary ... And enjoying every minute of it. It is strange why we choose to love the things we do. Around Autoshopper.com, it's no surprise cars seem to be an undeniable source of pain, pleasure, love, and lust. But why do we love something that literally does not have the power to love us in return? If you love cars the way I or the other talented writers do, then you've undoubtedly come across a few of those OTHER kind of people. The ones that don't understand. The ones that don't love cars, and then question your choice to love something that to them, is just a means of conveyance. You've probably experienced the awkwardness of trying to explain why you love all things automotive. Sometimes, you might have almost even given in to the pressure and just thought they were right. That cars are just metal, plastic, wiring, and fabric of varying sorts all thrown together in a shape for the expressed purpose of transporting one or more people from one location to the next faster than a horse or on foot. Maybe they are right.


Or are they?  


Maybe it's because we like going fast. Maybe it's because we like raw mechanical power. Maybe it's because we like moving, functional art. Whatever your own personal reason is, the fact is people love cars. I was wandering around the Lead East Auto Show this past weekend (The biggest 50s party in the NY, NJ, and PA area) with my family and couldn't help but be in awe of the history and passion that some of these men, women, and children all shared with me. It was a love that has been around for 50 or more years for some old timers, and their hearts were just as devoted as the first day they laid eyes on whatever car first raised their heart rate. It was amazing. You would never know there was a problem with the economy, or that gas prices were up about 1000% from the day some of these cars rolled off the line. Parents, grandparents, kids, and grandkids were all around enjoying the music, the shops, the shows, and, of course, the cars. Girlfriends asking boyfriends, and sons asking fathers about cars they had never seen before, or couldn't recognize with the absence of badging (This particular author/son was no exception.)

AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 9:48AM | By: John Welch

AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!  test 1-1

We know you love reading the AutoShopperBlog on a daily basis, not because you have to, because you want to. With that in mind we have developed a way for Mozilla Firefox users to stare at their favorite AutoShopper photography instead of finishing those dreaded TPS Reports. These "Personas" work only with Firefox , are free, and feature as much racing hooliganism as we can fit into a 3000x200 rectangle. A very kewl way to spice up your browser that doesn't involve unicorns or Japanese animation or blinged-out Escalades that are so off-center you can see only half of one massive chromed wheel.

The next three Personas bring our total to six, and feature content that again spans the AutoShopperBlog's exploits during 2009 and 2010. We have some Sebring, some Lake Mirror Classic, and some RedLine Time Attack, all prominently featured on this blog over the course of the last year. Venture inside the post for AutoShopper Mozilla branding worthy of the finest desktops . . .

2010 Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show Pt.1

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:27PM | By: John Welch

2010 Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show Pt.1 test 1-1

Drew Christy seems to have forgotten the meaning of the Labor Day weekend. You are supposed to honor America, America's workforce, America's freedom, your right to be an American, and your right to spend Labor Day celebrating, not working. Drew didn't get the memo.

Instead of wasting away in a kiddie pool all day (ahem,) Drew strapped on his camera and ventured down Lakeland Highlands Road to the Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show. Though small by central Floridian standards, this show had several rare beauties filling its entry list.

Inside this post you will find an assortment of Drew's images, the first of a two part series. Look out later this week for the coupe de gras, the Gentry Morrison Meteor/Buick hearse. This car personifies "rolling art".

Today though, notice the exotic American machinery we have here, a late fifties Chrysler Imperial for instance. A car that proves the idea of a flat-bottomed steering wheel is nothing new. Several classic Mopars dot the gallery, as well as our usual obsession with hood ornaments. Enjoy!