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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics To Cost $230K When It Debuts In 2013

On: Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 11:49AM | By: Chris Weiss


BMW Vision EfficientDynamics To Cost $230K When It Debuts In 2013 test 1-1

In the market for a high-performance German-built hybrid supercar? Of course, we all are. Well, it's looking like your most affordable option at the moment will be the Vision EfficientDynamics from BMW. New reports indicate that the car will be priced from £150,000 ($234K) when it hits the market in 2013. Not exactly cheap, but lower than the expected $250,000 price tag of the Mercedes SLS E-Cell and way cheaper than the rumored $600,000 price of the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid.


Lotus May Build Its Own V8 Engine For The Esprit

On: Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 10:57AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lotus May Build Its Own V8 Engine For The Esprit test 1-1

When the all-new Lotus Esprit concept debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, it carried a Toyota/Lexus engine. Sure, it did use some pressure charging to up the output on the 5.0-liter V8 from the Lexus IS-F, giving it a supercar-esque 620 horses, making a clear designation from anything in Lexus' line. But to diehards that wasn't enough. After the Esprit's lengthy absence, they want a Lotus-engineered mill for the next-generation Esprit. And Lotus is considering obliging them with an in-house V8 engine.


First Chevy Volt Sale Nets $225K For Charity

On: Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 10:43AM | By: Chris Weiss


First Chevy Volt Sale Nets $225K For Charity  test 1-1

Well, it looks like the Chevy Volt has one-upped the Nissan Leaf yet again. The Nissan Leaf was having a pretty good week, what with beating the Volt to the market and completing its first official sale last weekend. It was a big news story earlier this week that the Nissan Leaf was officially on the market. Meanwhile, Chevy barely managed to get Volts on the road to dealerships days later.

But Chevy has turned it around. What Nissan's story lacked was a feel good charity angle. Sure, it beat the Volt to the market, but its car just went to Joe Family Man, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who wanted an electric car with room for two children. Actually, public perception might even be that a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is more of an elite, as opposed to an average Joe. A front-line, tech-savvy guy buying the world's first mass-produced electric car, yes, but not necessarily the guy that most Americans can relate to.

What the public can always relate to: kids, good deeds and charity. And that's the image that Chevy created for its first Volt sale.


The AutoShopper Rustang Pt.2: Getting Ready For Five Speeds Of Fury

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 5:39PM | By: John Welch


The Borg Warner 5 Speed  test 2

The AutoShopper Rustang has seen its fair share of modifications in its illustrious life. None of them could be considered complete, especially not the drivetrain. Currently housing 2.73 gears, the pumpkin needs to have it's guts replaced. The bushings hiding inside of the suspension pieces are as brittle as a sun baked Chrysler dash board. They need to go. The tires are dry rotted and flat spotted. The rims are nicked. The top, surprisingly, is perfect. The motor is in, it may see some changes over the coming months but it is in the car. The transmission, though working just fine, is an automatic. The gawd awful slushbox has to go before any other work is completed.

Thankfully, Fox Body Mustangs are about as complicated as the most complicated set of Duplos. Building up the nuts to dissect the ailing Rustang right there in Steve's driveway only required a small amount of alcohol. That was four years ago. Now we are presented with a slightly used (less then 20,000 miles,) Borg Warner T-5, and it seems like it really wants to become a part of the Rustang. It calls to us from the kitchen floor, in a soft, ghostly voice . .. "heel, toe . . . heeel, tooo000oooe . .. "

We ran into a few snags in our attempts to pull the automatic. Those issues and their fixes are clearly explained, inside the post . . .


 

GM, Ford, and Chrysler Pay Over $300 Million for Retirees

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


GM, Ford, and Chrysler Pay Over $300 Million for Retirees  test 1-1

General Motor has spent over $200 million this week paying out inflation bonuses to the company’s more than 250,000 retirees. The United Auto Workers (UAW) retirees will get up to $700 each; an additional 72,000 surviving spouses can receive up to $455.


The AutoShopper Rustang: Our First Whack At A True CarBlog Money Pit

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 12:43PM | By: John Welch


As you can see, this is a Mustang Friendly household . . . test 2

Ahhh yes, the glory of a project car. Something about resurrecting a forgotten Street Fighter from the ashes of neglect makes my blood boil. And boy, this car appears to have been neglected. First, let's review the hunk of crap we affectionately refer to as "The Rustang."

What we have here is a 1988 Mustang LX Convertible, originally equipped with a Ford 5.0 liter V8, making a stout (for 1988) 225 bhp and 300 lb.Ft. of torque. The Rustang came with a white vinyl interior and C-4 automatic transmission. The car was driven for eleven years without a proper tune up. When we tore down the engine, we found the original spark plugs. They were pristine. Inside the block, the cylinder walls were free of scoring, and were still shiny. Though never getting a tune up, the car had its Castrol oil changed religiously, and it shows.

In the fall of 1999 the original owner of the Rustang was caught in a pile up, resulting in enough front end damage to have the car totaled. Steve Speizer, the owner's son, would have none of it. He acquired the stricken Rustang, and went about replacing every part from the bumper cover to the firewall. The first day Steve owned it, the Rustang received a new k-member, new steering pump, new steering rack, new front bushings, a new (ahem, refurbished) crossmember, a salvaged radiator, all new hoses, and a new distributor complete with new plug wires and plugs. Every piece of front end sheetmetal was replaced the next day, after a morning of junk yard tomfoolery. Basically, we pulled the necessary parts and then spent two hours yanking the badges off of burned out VWs and Bimmers.


Fisker Partners With Distribution Company For China Presence

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 10:44AM | By: Chris Weiss


Fisker Partners With Distribution Company For China Presence test 1-1

China may not be the first place that you think of when it comes to clean air and green vehicles, but it will be one of the first global markets to have access to the American-developed Fisker Karma. According to news reports, Fisker has reached a deal with China Grand Automotive Group (CGA) toward selling, marketing and servicing its plug-in hybrid Karma sedans throughout China.


Pricing The Kia Optima: Starts At $18K, Could Climb To $30K, Worth It?

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 1:20PM | By: John Welch


2011 Kia Optima test 2

We have found ourselves in a sort of puppy love with the Kia Optima. The Hyundai Sonata is great, but we prefer the Kia's slightly more angular, imposing appearance. We have reported, breathlessly, on both cars, and have enjoyed every second we have spent with them. The Kia gets the final nod because of its driver-centric interior, sportier suspension, and overall aggression.

Having said that, let's option out an Optima and see if it is as value-conscious as it is stylish. After popping over to Kia's website, we find ourselves confronted with several different models. The LX is the cheapest, and only model available with the manual transmission, and the SX is most expensive. I can tell you right now, unless it were a second car, I would not buy this car until a manual is offered with the turbo engine. Shifting is that important to me.

We will start with the LX, try and find an acceptable Optima for as little as possible, then move on to pricier models in search of the perfect Kia Optima.


Jaguar To Join The Crossover Fad

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:08PM | By: Chris Weiss


Jaguar To Join The Crossover Fad test 1-1

It looks like one more premium Euro company will join the likes of competitors such as Porsche in pushing to expand their line-up with a small SUV. A high-ranking Jaguar official told the press last week that Jaguar is considering building a crossover model. Also in the pipeline is an XF wagon.


GM Offers Buyout To Skilled Trade Workers

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


GM Offers Buyout To Skilled Trade Workers test 1-1

The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) and General Motors officials announced on December 13th  that the company will be offering a onetime $60,000 payment to entice skilled trade workers into retirement, or to encourage workers to leave the company. The offer is being made to workers presently employed at one of the 13 plants where GM plans to trim its workforce.

The buyout will be on the table until it expires on March 1st, 2011. This announcement comes just days after GM CEO Dan Akerson made it clear that he wants to boost certain key executive salaries to keep them from taking better paying positions with competitors.


Hyundai Has A Great November, Audi Celebrates The Entire Year

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 11:57AM | By: John Welch


Hyundai Has A Great November, Audi Celebrates The Entire Year test 1-1

. . . The financial reports keep flowing in. In a time when companies aren't hiring, money isn't being passed around, the rich are getting richer while the poor are becoming more poor (sic), how in the hell have we managed to buy 93,507 freaking Audis this year? Eclipsing the old Audi of North America sales record of 93,506, 2010 has been an excellent year for the brand from Ingolstadt. Seriously, Audis are not cheap; how did America manage to purchase so many of them in this, the year of corporate excuse making? Please, upper-crust America, try not to tell me that you can't afford to rehire laid-off workers from your iPhone at the em-effing Audi dealership. I might not have your booze-soaked University of Phoenix business degree, but I'm not stupid. There isn't anything wrong with your two-year-old A6, it isn't our fault you were too ignorant to get the S6 when you had the chance.

A more sensible collection of Americans (the lucky few who got to keep their jobs, albeit with a significant cut in salary and benefits) have made November the best month ever for Hyundai's North American arm. 40,723 transactions, up 45% over Nov. 2009, show that the Koreans are major players in the US market. They should not be taken lightly. With the introduction of the new Elantra and Equus, Hyundai will probably stay strong through the historically weak months of December and January. Who knows, maybe if I were to see more executives driving the Equus I might shelve my daily penchant to drag one of these greedy Birkenstock wearing thieves out of their car and forcefully point their beady eyes at the turn arrow they are ignoring in favor of their phone. You might not have to be anywhere on time, Pig Dog, but I'm late for work. The AutoShopper is way more important than your mobile phone-based bank robbery . . . maybe I should just find a new route in the morning . . .