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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Ford's German Offices Raided As a Result Of Bribe Allegations

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:10AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford's German Offices Raided As a Result Of Bribe Allegations test 1-1

“We have a warrant to search the premises.” That is a statement no one wants to ever hear. On Monday, that phrase was uttered at the offices of the Ford Motor Company’s assembly plant in Cologne, Germany. Police carried out a raid ordered by the Cologne prosecutor, Christina Pohlen. This latest action stems from an investigation launched in September concerning an alleged bribery scheme that is purported to involve several Ford staff members and suppliers.


Top Gear Competitor On The Horizon

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:51PM | By: John Welch


Top Gear Competitor On The Horizon test 1-1

Adam Carolla wanted to be on Top Gear, really he did. Contractural obligations prevented him from following the show from NBC to History Channel, but he hasn't given up. The buzz around the innerwebs is that Corolla, along with Dan Neil (Wall Street Journal's slightly sheltered auto scribe,) John Salley (TV host and ex-Pistons shot blocker), and Matt Farah, some guy who does some web thing some where, will all descend on our living rooms via SPEEDtv in the near future.

Top Gear USA won't be hard to . . . uhm, "top", but that is the fault of its script/production/wooden hosts, whatever. Corolla's show is on SPEED, and no amount of Rutledge Wood or Tanner Foust could be worse than that. We will have to wait and see; the important news here is that TGUSA has spawned a competitior already, and competition is what we want. If Corolla can keep the show from becoming a Castrol/Mequires/GM circle-jay then this show should do just fine. We'll keep our ears open and update you on any further developments. Let's hope this turns into an all-out media war ala Katie Couric v.s. Bryant Gumbell. Or even better, DonandMike v.s. Opie and Anthony. That's the stuff mediawar-dreams are made of!


Nissan Has Moms Blogging About the New Quest

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:33PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Nissan Has Moms Blogging About the New Quest test 1-1

Nissan is joining Ford Motor Company in its cyber-marketing efforts by creating a new opportunity for Mommy Bloggers to test drive the new 2011 Nissan Quest minivan, in hopes that they will spread the word to soccer Moms who may be potential Quest buyers.

The Japanese automaker has asked “website parenting columnists” to assist Nissan in spreading the word about the company’s comeback into the minivan market, a segment that Nissan has been uninvolved in for over a year while redesigning this year’s Quest model.


Ferrari Expands Its Empire With Pit Stop

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari Expands Its Empire With Pit Stop test 1-1

Ferrari is like the new Disney. Pretty soon there will be a Ferrari store in every suburban shopping mall in your state. Until then, you'll have to settle for the new Ferrari Pit Stop, based in Nola, Italy. Officially, Ferrari calls this "a new concept embracing the challenges and triumphs of over 60 years, inflaming the passion and the legend of Ferrari, representing a point of reference for the fans." Without all that marketing talk, though, it's basically just a store. A really big store.


 

BMW 1Series M Coupe Will Be Launched In North America, Expect Limited Supply

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 1:05PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 BMW 1Series M Coupe Will Be Launched In North America, Expect Limited Supply  test 1-1

Just when you thought BMW couldn’t get any more performance out of its automobiles, brace yourself for the new BMW 1M Coupe. It’s the most powerful and intense 1-series BMW yet, and it’s not going to be around for long. After its debut at next year's Detroit Auto Show, BMW is going to make a limited supply of the M coupe available in North America. After that, this BMW will join the ranks of the exclusive BMW cars that have become a collector’s dream.


Ford and Honda on Top of J.D. Powers Survey

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 10:30AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2011 Honda CR-Z test 2

The next time you’re at the mall, count all the Fords and Hondas. It’s a safe bet that there might be more of those brands than any other automobile. The reason, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates poll: Ford and Honda top the lists for the highest customer retention rate. Guess who they left in the dust? Mercedes-Benz!

In the automotive industry, the retention rate refers to customer loyalty. There is retention rate for soap, pizza, and just about any other product on the supermarket shelves. The retention rate of car buyers is extremely important to the automakers. It’s how auto manufacturers plan to develop new designs and launch new marketing strategies. For example, one study found that the desire for a fun driving experience is actually more important than resale value. That’s going to have an impact on everything from TV commercials to cup holders.


VW Golf R Coming Stateside

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


VW Golf R Coming Stateside  test 1-1

The United States misses out on a lot of lively cars and special editions from Europe-based companies like Volkswagen and Audi. But there's one that the U.S. won't be missing out on: the VW Golf R, a souped-up version of the Golf hatch. VW execs have indicated that the German automaker will be exporting the Golf R across the Atlantic.


Returning Investment: The Bentley Continental GT

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 4:11PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Returning Investment: The Bentley Continental GT test 1-1

Just before the fall of the financial world, it seemed as if Bentley was just handing out Continental GTs. Whether it was another dot com millionaire, the newest New York Knick (anyone remember Stephon Marbury?), or just another Lehman Brother who needed a car to match the house he couldn't actually afford, the Continental GT sales grew almost exponentially since its release in 2003, peaking at upwards of 10,000 GTs being produced annually.  

 

Thankfully, not all of Bentley's customers were created as artificially as the mortgage-backed loans that got the country into that whole mess, and some could still afford a car payment and gas in the same month. That being said, even those with money don't like to see a bad return on investment. There's nothing quite as disheartening as seeing the prized automobile you just spent 200k on become instantly outdated with the advent of the new model year.  

 

With their customer's feelings in mind, the 2012 Bentley Continental GT is less of second generation debut, and more of an advancement of the previous generation. There are upgrades, but they are subtle to say the least. Track has been increased 1.6 inches up front and 1.9 inches out back, while the car itself drops 143 pounds from last year bringing the Bentley's heft down to a less-than-svelte 5,115 pounds. Torque split is shifted from 50/50 front/rear to 40/60 front/rear this year to help drivers feel more sport in their drive. Bentley continues the sport-feel by reducing the shift speeds in their Quickshift ZF automatic transmission by 50 percent, and offering double downshifts to help give an extra boost when the go-pedal is mashed to the floor.  


Audi R18 To Be Unveiled This Evening

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 3:14PM | By: John Welch


Audi R 15 Plus test 2

The title for this post is slightly misleading. Currently, it is 6:39 p.m. in Ingolstadt, Germany, so you can apply the word 'evening' to whomever or whatever you would like. The important bit is this: Audi has completed work on its new Le Mans contender, the R18, and it is a radical departure from the last three Audi prototypes. The R10 was a success, but according to Audi driver Frank Beila, "(the R10) handles like a truck."

The R15 was so bad (again, 'bad' is a relative term, it was bad only when compared with the equally stunning Peugeot 908; the R15 squished all other LMP1 machines underneath its toothy fascia) that it 'required' an update after only one season . . . a seaon made up of only three races. The R15 Plus was an improvement, shifting away from the crazy aero-backfires that plagued the original R15, but still was not on par with the 908. This doesn't sit well with AudiSport, a team that is very used to winning everything. They want to crush the French badly, and believe that they have found the most effective solution within the ACO's new set of Le Mans protocols.

UPDATE: Official Audi Press Release inside the post . . .


2010 Tampa International Auto Show: Everything Else

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:35AM | By: John Welch


Chevrolet Stingray Concept test 2

Rounding out our week of Auto Show coverage, we have provided you with cars we missed in previous posts, as well as cars that needed more room. The Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus simply can't be properly reported on without a test drive. With only visual inspection of these cars we can safely say that they are as good or better than their Japanese, German, and Korean rivals. I would honestly choose either car over a new Jetta. Especially the 1.4 liter Cruze or Focus ST. Neither was on hand at this particular show, but we have already lamented the auto industry's blase attitude toward the Central Florida market. Too many Rednecks and Mexicans who will only consider gently used pick-ups, I suppose.

Enjoy this gallery, and stay tuned next week for one more "Everything Else" post; we just cannot fit everything into 30 images.


Porsche Beats Out Audi For VW Sports Car Design

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


Porsche Beats Out Audi For VW Sports Car Design  test 1-1

The Volkswagen family sure has a lot of siblings. And like any big family that tends to mean a little sibling rivalry. Both Audi and Porsche desired to take a lead role within the VW group in designing future platforms for sports cars and large luxury sedans, but only one will take that role: Porsche. That's good news for the future sportiness of VW brands.