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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

Top Gear US: Here They Come!

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 4:46PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Top Gear US: Here They Come! test 1-1

I have been a fan of Top Gear for some time now; as a matter of fact, it is one of my favorite shows. Beside the upscale production values, probably the best part of the show is the “challenges” and the interaction between the hosts while trying to accomplish them. Since the announcement “Top Gear is coming to the U.S. with its very own American cast” I have been doing a lot of reading through the related blogs. While I enjoy the light-hearted ribbing that the hosts poke at America, I was really surprised at the reactions on the blogs from the users.

Typical user comments like: “American roads are straight”—“American cars are rubbish”—“Reviewing American Cars would be dull”—“What happens when we have to make a right turn”—“who wants to see big, fat, ugly, gas-guzzling, sloppy fit, American cars & trucks”. These comments litter the forums and blogs that talk about their beloved show jumping the pond. What cracks me up is that the people posting these comments act as if they drive the cars featured on the Top Gear, when in reality; they are most likely driving a FORD. Think about it, Ford has been a top seller in Europe for many years, so it is likely that they are not driving to work in a Ferrari, Lambo or Lotus—more like a Fiesta or Focus. OK, maybe you’re driving a Jaguar…get under the car or hood and look around, you will see FoMoCo emblazoned everywhere.

Ford Has Done it All, Including A Car That Can Blog

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Has Done it All, Including A Car That Can Blog test 1-1

Ford has done it again—another first for the Detroit automaker!—the first ever automobile to use social media to communicate while on the road.  Ford’s “American Journey 2.0 research project” has been successfully completed using a Fiesta that traveled from Ann Arbor, Michigan to San Mateo, California.

In partnership with the University of Michigan, Ford has developed a new computer application called “Auto”matic Blog.  The Fiesta’s is known as @AJtheFiesta and it uses the login name to tweet progress of the trip based on “vehicle telemetrics.” 

Two Ford Fiestas traveled from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on May 13; they were linked to each other and to the global community through “Auto”matic Blog. The week-long road trip ended at Silicon Valley's annual ideas festival—the Maker Faire.

Upon the arrival of the two Fiestas, Ford announced the idea of the automobile as "a brand new technological platform for social media." "The car is the ultimate mobile device," claims Venkatesh Prasad, technical leader of the Infotronics team in Ford Research & Advanced Engineering.  "Ford has led the convergence of the auto and consumer electronics industries, and now we're researching how to responsibly and safely harness the Internet to enhance drivers' time behind the wheel."

When It Comes To Personalized License Plates, Choose Your Words Wisely

On: Tue, May 25, 2010 at 9:55AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

When It Comes To Personalized License Plates, Choose Your Words Wisely test 1-1

You have probably heard the phrase “be careful what you ask for.” Well, when it comes to ordering personalized license plates “be careful what you write.”  A federal judge in South Carolina said the state violated the constitution when lawmakers voted to authorize license plates inscribed with the words “I believe,” as well as images of little crosses and stained glass windows. 

The statute the judge was referencing pertains to our constitutional rights for separation of church and state.  Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who initiated the legislation allowing the license plates to be printed, condemned the ruling, stating, "For those who say proclaiming 'I believe' violates the constitution by giving preference to Christianity, I think this lawsuit clearly discriminates against persons of faith."

Advocate for separation of church and state, Rev. Barry Lynn said in a news paper interview; "Government must never be allowed to express favored treatment for one faith over others."

More recently a New Jersey woman in Manville received a letter from the State Motor Vehicle Commission asking her to send in her license plates as a result of a complaint filed about the plates being offensive. The plates donned the letters “BIOCH”, supposedly insinuating 'biotch', slang word for 'bitch'. Evidently the motorist had been legally driving around in her Chrysler convertible, license plates personalized with the letters “BIOCH” for four years before the state realized what the slang stood for.

Chrysler Pays $1.9 billion on Federal Debt

On: Fri, May 21, 2010 at 2:08PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Pays $1.9 billion on Federal Debt test 1-1

In 2009, the Chrysler Corporation got in line for federal funding that would serve to bail the company out financially after the recession hit the auto industry, which resulted in tremendous losses to automakers. A loan was offered to Chrysler for $4 billion, but the company went into default shortly before filing bankruptcy.

Recently Chrysler paid back another $1.9 billion to the United States Department of Treasury toward the debt that was incurred to support Chrysler’s financial services arm of the corporation. The United States Treasury reports that of the $14.3 billion in loans to Chrysler, it has received $3.9 billion in re-payment.


Toyota Bomb Hoax: Was It Real?

On: Fri, May 21, 2010 at 9:19AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota's facility located in Princeton Indiana test 2

If you have been reading recent automotive news, you may be confused about exactly what Toyota's new "crisis" is. Rumors about bomb threats and closing down Toyota plants across the country are all over the internet, but what really happened? Did Toyota get threatened by a mentally unbalanced consumer who couldn't take the thought of having to getting another Toyota model serviced for recalls? Well, apparently not…

The perceived “crisis” for Toyota was discovered recently when, according to the Associated Press, Toyota "received four fake bombs through the mail since Friday. The first suspicious package arrived at Toyota America’s headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky on Friday, followed by similar packages delivered to the company’s West Virginia and Texas production facilities on Monday. The latest package was addressed to Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant, but was discovered before it left the local post office. The post office was evacuated, but a bomb expert later found the package to be a fake.”

Nissan Offers Relief to Victims of Flood Zone

On: Thu, May 20, 2010 at 4:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Nissan Offers Relief to Victims of Flood Zone test 1-1

On May 4th, 2010, Nissan Motors stepped up to the plate to offer charitable donations after a record-breaking flash flood swooped across the state lines of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky before it reportedly took the lives of at least 30 people and destroyed many communities located in all three states.

The rapidly rising flood waters resulted from severe storms, tornadoes, and torrential rain fall across the affected states this month. Many residential homes, apartment complexes, and other structures, such as nursing homes, were destroyed statewide in all three regions of the country. The flooding was so severe that residents had to be evacuated by rescue boats and helicopters. Hundreds of people lost their homes, cars, and literally all of their possessions, and were left stranded without the basic necessities such as food and a place to sleep, all a direct result of the flash flooding.

Automakers Agree with Minimum Standards for Electric Vehicle Noise

On: Thu, May 20, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Automakers Agree with Minimum Standards for Electric Vehicle Noise test 1-1

In recent car news, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers met with the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council for the Blind which resulted in an agreement that electric vehicles should be mandated to a minimum noise standard for safety of pedestrians with visual impairment.

New vehicle sales is projected to be just over 11 million this year, and, although a recent McKinsey report predicts that electric vehicles will capture only a small percentage of total vehicle sales in the future (as little as 3–8%), the all-electric motors are virtually silent. Safety issues concerning the risk of blind pedestrians getting hit by electric vehicles has been a topic of concern within advocate groups for the blind for many years. A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009 concluded that electric vehicles are prone to be at higher risk for accidents involving pedestrians than vehicles with regular engine noise, such as combustion engine automobiles.

Americans Impress At Nurburing 24

On: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 1:51PM | By: John Welch

Farnbacher Ferrari F430 test 2

Too bad we don't have any serious endurance races here in America. Shyeah, Sebring is a rough track, and the race is 12 hours. Right, Petit Le Mans is a thousand kilometers and takes place near crummy 'ole Atlanta, but that really isn't that bad either. There are plenty of amateur 24-hour events, but the Daytona 24 is the only true 'round the clock race . . . even it is contained inside the cushy confines of Daytona International Speedway. Which translates to: almost zero elevation change . . .

No, by "serious endurance race" I mean 24 hours, hundreds of feet of elevation change, 220 participants and thousands of ess-faced Germans trying to scrawl dirty limericks on the actual racing surface with sidewalk chalk . . . while people are racing! And did I mention that this racing surface is nearly 16 miles in length? The Nordschilfe makes Sebring, at a little more then 4 and a half miles, almost seem small! That is the reputation that comes with being the mightiest race track in the world; The Nurburing Nordschilfe.

The annual ADAC Nurburing 24 was held last weekend, and the over-all victory went to a factory BMW very similar to the Rahal/Letterman M3 GT2s campaigned in the American Le Mans Series. More interesting to us, as Americans, are the Grand-Am regulars who scored class victories at the storied event. Leh Keen, driver of the No. 41 Team Seattle/Global Diving/Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT in the Grand-Am Series was able to capture first in the SP7 class. His No. 43 Hankook Ferrari F430 GT was the only car able to mount a challenge against the race-winning BMW towards the close end of the event. Shane Lewis, a common sight at Grand-Am races, was able to bring his No. 70 Gotz Motorsport Audi RS4 to the flag, first in the SP 8T class for big-bore touring cars.

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon - Three Easy Tips!

On: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 10:49AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Avoid Buying A Lemon! test 2

There are many common used auto pitfalls that many consumers can easily overlook when they are in the process of seeking to purchase a used car. It does not really matter whether you are seeking to get your hands on used cars from a used car dealership, or you have your eyes set on private purchase: lemon cars do exist and there are some easy ways that you can go about assuring that you never purchase one.

First and foremost, what is the definition of a car that is deemed be a lemon?

According to Carlemon.com, “A vehicle that continues to have a defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety. Generally, if the car has been repaired 4 or more times for the same Defect within the Warranty Period and the Defect has not been fixed, the car qualifies as a Lemon. All States differ so you should consult the Lemon Law Summary and the State Statutes for your particular State. Note that the warranty period may or may not coincide with the Manufacturer's Warranty.”

GM Seeks Subprime Auto Buyers

On: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 9:39AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Mark Reuss, President of GM North America test 2

Recent Car news from Detroit indicates that General Motors is trying to secure a stake in the subprime auto lending market that comprises as much as 16% of today’s car buyers. GM executive Mark Reuss, under pressure to sell more cars and boost GM's value, stated that a shortage of subprime lending is holding back sales in the U.S.

Being highly motivated to increase sales in order to improve GM’s appeal to the stock buyers may not be enough to put GM back in the driver’s seat so to say, when it comes to auto lending decisions. GM sold its financial arm before filing for bankruptcy, to a company named Ally Financial (formally the notorious GMAC lending institution).  Although the subprime car buying market would be a very lucrative endeavor for GM, Ally has made it clear that they have little interest in lending to high risk borrowers.  Ally is owned in part and financially backed by the federal government.

South Korean Automaker to Build Cars in Hawaii

On: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 9:22AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

South Korean Automaker to Build Cars in Hawaii test 1-1

Hawaii has been a hot topic in car news recently as CT & T, a South Korean automaker, begins to develop plans to build a new manufacturing plant on the island of Oahu in order to build up to 10,000 twin-seat electric vehicles per year. Hawaii has very good reason to exhibit an interest in electric vehicles as all of the gas the state consumes has to be imported which really drives the prices up, subsequently Hawaii’s gas prices are the highest in the U.S.