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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

High Gas Prices Are Great For The Auto Industry

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 3:17PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

High Gas Prices Are Great For The Auto Industry test 1-1

When gasoline prices blew past $3 a gallon recently, the highest level in 26 months, it was tough news for consumers, but a marketing boost for automakers trying to sell pricey new technology needed to meet tougher fuel economy rules that took effect January .

The new era will raise fleet fuel economy standards, in annual steps, to 35.5 mpg for 2016 models, a 30 percent rise from the 27.3 mpg of the 2011 model year.

The first step is a total fleet average of 30.1 mpg for 2012 models, which officially can go on sale this week. Automakers already are accelerating their use of costly lightweight materials and advanced powertrains on the way to 2016.

Hyundai Gives Ford MyTouch Some Competition With Blue Link

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 3:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Gives Ford MyTouch Some Competition With Blue Link test 1-1

January is a busy month in the car industry and it's only gotten busier since cars and trucks started becoming rolling computer systems. Some people barely shed their New Year's hangover when the North American International Auto Show rolls around, but now that tech and auto are so closely related, they have to shake it off even sooner. Big automakers have been using the Consumer Electronics Show to show off new interior hardware—and even new vehicles. This year, players like Ford, GM, and Hyundai all used the show to introduce new wares.

When Hyundai teased the Veloster several weeks ago, it mentioned that the car would have Blue Link Connectivity. Only problem was, we didn't really know what Blue Connectivity was. Hyundai relieved our curiosity at CES earlier this month.

The Sebring Weekend: Porsche And BMW In The SIR Paddock

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 1:40PM | By: John Welch

The Sebring Weekend: Porsche And BMW In The SIR Paddock test 1-1

Some people spend their weekends camping, playing video games, going to the beach, seeing a movie, etcetera, etcetera. I spend my weekends schleping around Sebring International Raceway annoying racers with my camera and my ceaseless questions. I'm serious; Sebring is a track that tends to chew up race cars and spit them out, leaving little time for anything other than suspension repairs for earnest participants.

So they weren't real chatty. No problem, their cars can do all the talking for them. Here we have a gallery of some of the nicest/fastest street and race cars in Florida. True to my shameless predjudices, these cars are all Porsche and BMW models, in various states of tune. I have a whole mess of Viper and Corvette images; look for that post tomorrow. For now, enjoy the best of Bavaria, Sunshine State-style . . .

Lincoln Is Ready For Max Wolff, Luxury Brand's New Design Chief

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 11:15AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Lincoln Is Ready For Max Wolff, Luxury Brand's New Design Chief  test 1-1

Imagine that your brand new job is to come up with the designs for 7 new models of Lincoln cars within the next four years. That’s the task for new design chief, Max Wolff, as he moves over from the Cadillac division to the Lincoln brand. First step: hit the ground running.

“We have cars to design and a cycle plan, so we are going to have to get off our duffs and get it going,” said J Mays, Ford Motor Co.’s global design chief.


Kia Will Unveil New Rio In March

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 11:12AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Kia Will Unveil New Rio In March test 1-1

The Kia Rio has sold well since its introduction in 2003. Through two model cycles it has captured the dollars, if not the hearts, of many North American buyers. It's time for a revamp, and if the Korean-market Picanto is any indication, the new Rio should be a sweet little subcompact. Changes will take place before it makes it to our shores, but the basic styling will remain the same.

Nissan Strives To Retain Profits While The Japanese Yen Rises

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 5:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Nissan Strives To Retain Profits While The Japanese Yen Rises test 1-1

For financial analysts, spending their days surrounded by facts, figures, and spreadsheets is an everyday occurance. These are the financial gurus who tell us what is right and wrong with the economies of the world. Their pronouncements always have a ripple effect across the globe. Recent analysis has shown that the strong performing Japanese yen has forced Japanese automakers, such as Nissan, to rethink their American export business. Instead of shipping their cars from Japan, it is more economical to build them here. First on the agenda is 100,000 Rogues which are scheduled to be built at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant.

Cadillac Back On Track: The CTS-V Coupe SCCA

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 12:37PM | By: John Welch

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA test 2

Cadillac has been here before. In 2000 General Motor's luxury arm commissioned Riley Technologies to build a chassis for Le Mans. Utilizing the then-popular World Sports Car prototype platform, Riley (named 'Riley and Scott' at the time) produced the Cadillac Northstar LMP. Modified by Nigel Stroud in 2001 and completely replaced by the purpose-built Cadillac LMP02 in 2002, the Northstar featured a very Audiesque 4.0 liter V8, complete with twin turbos and 90 liters of race gas.

None of these cars did very well in competition, failing to win anything, ever. Cadillac cut its losses at the end of 2002 and sat on their blemished laurels until 2004 when they decided to give GT racing a shot. Having just released the CTS-V, Cadillac saw an opportunity to use racing success as a marketing tool. What a novel idea.

No two ways about it, the CTS-V has always been a Badass. The street car was a breath of fresh air from Detroit. It had everything recent American cars were lacking: rear drive, third pedal, four doors, and slick styling. Love it or hate it, the styling turned heads. There were still plenty of old-Detroit issues such as flimsy-built quality, cheesy buttons, weird seating position, and that curve-free styling, but it was the coolest thing to come out of Michigan since Tim Allen. Who isn't all that cool.

Again employing Riley Technologies, Cadillac had a 73% stock-derived GT chassis built, slammed its 5.7 liter small block right against the firewall, and went racing. In 2005 they took the SCCA World Challenge title with ease; driver Andy Pilgrim never finishing lower than 10th in any race. He also didn't win any races, but that's neither here nor there; the CTS-V won two in 2004 and continued to win until the last customer cars was re-bodied in 2008.

Long story short: Cadillac has the thirst again. If their racing ventures get more serious with each attempt, and the last go at it was pretty serious, then this new CTS-V Coupe must be dead serious. Just look at it; the sheetmetal draped over the chassis and visually melting into the tarmac, the elegant endplates on the rear wing, the impossibly low front clip. This thing means business; pop inside the post to uncover its sporting credentials . . .

The Next 300

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 10:54AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Next 300 test 1-1

If you didn't notice something a little special about the first Chrysler 300 back in 2004, it's possible you came upon this article by accident, and you really aren't much a car buff at all. It may have been hard to describe, but for most of us, there was something about the 300 that just said, "Yea, I dig it!" Maybe it was the fact that it was one of the first true rear-wheel drive American sedans we've seen outside of a Cadillac. In fact, it was the first RWD sedan from Chrysler in 15 years. Or maybe it was that it harked back to fond memories of big sedans of the 50s and 60s that displayed a visible heft and didn't try to be anything but a solid luxury car for the masses. 

If you didn't notice any of the 300's styling, then you probably weren't one of the several hundred thousand to purchase one since its inception. To put it in perspective, 300 sales eclipsed the 300,000 mark in its first 25 months. But, have no fear because instead of running out to your nearest Chrysler dealer and picking one of the last remaining 2010 models out there, you will have a chance to be on the forefront of a new generation of Chrysler's popular flagship. The new-for-2011 Chrysler 300 promises to be better than its predecessor in almost every way ... Almost.

NAIAS 2011: Automakers Need Leaner Mid-Sized Pickups

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 10:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

NAIAS 2011: Automakers Need Leaner Mid-Sized Pickups test 1-1

There is the pre-Detroit auto show buzz, the ongoing Detroit auto show buzz, and the post-Detroit auto show buzz. That’s a lot of buzz to sort through. Entering into the pre-show discussions is Jamie Hresko, VP of GM’s global powertrain engineering, who predicts that the days of the full-sized pickup being the GM’s No. 1 selling vehicle might be waning. He also says the same about Ford’s mighty F-Series line of pickups. The reality is that by 2025, automakers need to comply with new fuel economy standards. That puts a bull’s-eye squarely on gas guzzling heavy duty trucks.

Audi Discusses New 3D Heads-Up Displays At CES

On: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 3:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi Discusses New 3D Heads-Up Displays At CES test 1-1

When I first eyed a headline about Audi incorporating 3D displays, I was completely taken aback. Just imagine putting on your 3D glasses just so you could see roads and directions on your navigation system in 3D—sounded like yet another technological recipe for disaster. Plus, 3D technology still seems as though it could fail at any minute, so I was perplexed as to why an automaker would choose to incorporate it so early.

Luckily, Audi's system is more level-headed than I feared and may prove to be useful, if executed correctly. The 3D heads-up display that Ingolstadt detailed at the Consumer Electronics Show last week could provide some intriguing benefits.

Audi Building A9 Sports Coupe, May Share Platform With Lamborghini Estoque

On: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 2:03PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi Building A9 Sports Coupe, May Share Platform With Lamborghini Estoque test 1-1

A report out of Autocar last week points to the possibility of a new, range-topping, sporty Audi four-door coupe: the A9. The car would serve as a high-end, sports alternative to the A8 and would be positioned against competitors like the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz CL. While the potential of an A9 is good news of and in itself, it also brings some exciting implications for another VW brand: Lamborghini.

According to the report, Audi hasn't decided on the car and executives are still working up a business case for the model. One of the elements of that business case is the potential to share much of the platform—namely the aluminium spaceframe and parts of the of the modular longitudinal architecture—with Lamborghini for a sedan based on the Estoque concept.