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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012 test 1-1

Back in early July, a rather sickly looking yellowish-brown mess of a Dodge Viper rolled off production lines. That was the last Dodge Viper that we'll see from this generation, and it left a rather bitter taste in the mouth. The official idea was to make it an earth-toned Viper--for what reason we don't know--but the thing came off looking like some large animal had taken a squatter directly over it. It was that bad.

Luckily, that Viper will be long forgotten when the next-generation model makes its debut. Reports of the new Viper have been heating up, and according to Autocar, Dodge has already shown the new supercar to a group of dealers at Chrysler's dealer conference in Orlando earlier this week.

Sports Cars Like The GT-R Are Integral to Nissan's Future

On: Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 11:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Sports Cars Like The GT-R Are Integral to Nissan's Future test 1-1

As long as I can remember, Nissan has been an automaker that is congruous with sexy sports cars, moreso than any other of the Japanese big 3. All the way back to the Datsun 240Z, on through the 240 SX and 300ZX models of my youth and up to the highly impressive GT-R, Nissan has always had a  few head-turning sports coupes on the road at any given time.

According to sources within the company, it has no plans of changing that. While some have questioned whether Nissan is committed to sports models like the GT-R, a new report in Autocar citing a conversation with COO Toshiyuki Shiga indicates that Nissan is as serious about sports cars as it ever has been. Good news for the auto world, bad news for European competitors left in the GT-R's wake.

Ford Mustang Over Chevy Camaro, Says Consumer Reports

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 5:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Mustang Over Chevy Camaro, Says Consumer Reports test 1-1

Since its reintroduction to the muscle car market last year, the Chevy Camaro has been putting up a strong fight against the Ford Mustang, beating the latter in sales for many of the months it's been on the market. In fact, as of August, the Camaro leads in 2010 sales 60,000 to the Mustang's 53,000. Despite its popularity with consumers, the leading consumer testing authority--Consumer Reports--is more impressed by the new Mustang V6. In a head-to-head showdown between the models, CR chose the Mustang hands down.

Consumer Reports took a 305-hp 2011 Mustang Premium with 3.7-liter V6 engine and a 304-hp 2011 Camaro 2LT with 3.6-liter V6 to the asphalt for some thorough testing. As equipped, the 'Stang carries a price of $28,600 and the Camaro ducks in at $28,195. And despite how closely those two American muscle-mobiles stack up on paper, the end result wasn't even close.

CR drivers preferred the Mustang's more agile drive over the Camaro's clunkier, less responsive drive. Test driver and senior engineer Jake Fisher summed it up in no uncertain terms: "The Mustang was better than the Camaro at nearly every level. It was quicker, more fuel efficient, and when you're in the Camaro, it's like you're in a cave."

Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes State-Issued Speeding Pass

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes State-Issued Speeding Pass test 1-1

Think about Nevada (not Las Vegas, but the state of Nevada) and you'll likely think of a large desert featuring scattered population centers and tons of remote, open space in between. While this might be a simplification, Nevada has a greater percentage of public land than any other state in the country outside of Alaska. Such a flat, open canvas is all but begging for some painting by high-performance tires powered by bulky, grunting engines. And under a new plan proposed by independent gubernatorial candidate Eugene DiSimone, Nevadans would be able to push their tires on up to 90 mph by applying for a state-issued permit being called the Go Fast Pass.

DiSimone calls his idea the Free Limit Plan, and it is designed to raise money for the state while opening higher speeds up to drivers. Drivers wishing to take advantage of the speeding privilege would need to pay a fee of $25 per day and get an annual vehicle inspection. They would then get an electronic beacon that would automatically convey their pass status to highway patrol officers. Under DiSimone's proposal, out-of-state drivers (say those looking to make the trip from LA to Vegas in a hurry) would be able to pull over at a state line inspection station, get inspected and purchase a pass.


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Korean Chevy On British TV Edition

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:49PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Korean Chevy On British TV Edition test 1-1

Chevrolet is on a roll, of sorts, lately. Ok, ok, it's "rolling out" several new models . . . sorely needed new models, as the Camaro fount is sure to dry up anytime now . . . The Chevy Cruze hits the ground, ahem, rolling with a snazzy ad campaign and a sweetheart of a turbo engine. The car is sleek and the interior well-appointed, but compared with the soon to be released Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra, the Cruze still looks dated. Notice I didn't mention the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, both cars who received updates around the same time the Cruze was introduced to foreign markets. The little Chevy might just be a better car than its Japanese competition.

How about an even smaller Chevy? Also a Korean Chevy, but still . . . the production-spec Aveo has broken cover, and the exterior has retained as much of the flair promised by the "Aveo RS" concept as is possible. Quad headlamps set into black surrounds, interesting if not completely wild rear dimensions. Hidden door pulls for the rear doors. The only question is, will it be saddled with a total dog of a motor? Also, what does any of this have to do with British television? The second of three "Reasonably Priced Cars'" used on the BBC's Top Gear program was a Chevrolet Lacetti . . . familiar to us as a Suzuki Verona, and made by Deawoo—you guessed it, a Korean Chevy. A white-clad fellah named "The Stig" did at one time test this car and many others for Top Gear. Now he is a pariah of the highest order, shunned by the BBC and his fellow Top Gear presenters (I don't know if we really can call The Stig a 'presenter'), all in the name of making a few bucks he felt the Beeb owed him. We all have families to feed; which side are you on?

Hybrid Market Projected to Decline Over the Next 6 Months

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 2:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Hybrid Market Projected to Decline Over the Next 6 Months  test 1-1

It has been predicted by experts in the automotive industry that the hybrid market may decline as gas prices level off in the next 6 months. JIm Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service said: “You can't sell a hybrid in today's market,” although Ford still plans to launch the 2011 luxury Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan this fall.

Farley’s prediction of the hybrid market stems from his belief that fuel prices will go down over the next 6 months which would be detrimental to the hybrid industry.
The impact on the hybrid market has already began to take effect when one looks at the Honda market, for example. Sales of the Insight have gone down by over 50% compared to last year, and Toyota Prius has seen demand down 38% last month to only 11,799 units. 

A year ago the hybrid market was up due to the Cash for Clunkers program, so low sales records are actually falsely inflated, meaning that the hybrid market is even worse than it appears to be.

The overall light vehicle market is up 8% this year, as compared to Prius and Insight sales, which are comparatively much slower so far in 2010.

Farley stated that although the launch of the MKZ hybrid is just around the corner, that Ford does not expect to sell even 10,000 units, even though prices for the Lincoln MKZ hybrid are not projected to be at a premium. Ford designed the vehicle because according to Farley, “it's the smart thing to do and it rounds out the product lineup.”

Ford is serous when they say they want to establish “a green image,” and that the plan is not to simply chase the market.

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign test 1-1

Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to completely revise its marketing philosophy to focus on safety “in a big way,” according to top company executives. With its image still damaged and sales declining by 34% in August (down 1% for the year), Toyota is the only automaker posting overall declining sales numbers this year.

Executives at Toyota report that they believe the number one problem that consumers are having is focused on safety issues, so the company plans to overcome that negative perception with a new advertising campaign.

Toyota was considered number one when it came to safety and reliability, as well as value, but many loyal Toyota buyers and others are now skeptical as to whether or not the Toyota brand is really deserving of the label of “safety first.”

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 . . .

Men Spend Thousand of Dollars Refusing to Ask For Directions

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

Men Spend Thousand of Dollars Refusing to Ask For Directions  test 1-1

Most every man is quite familiar with the situation. You're driving down an unfamiliar highway. Chances are good that it's dusk and you're half an hour or more late for wherever it is that you're going. You've seen the same underpass three or more times in the past 20 minutes, or maybe you're driving in a single direction on the hunch that the next exit is the one. It isn't. But that's not stopping you.

You drive past 7-11s, gas stations and grocery stores with reckless abandon. You can literally feel the burning stare from your lady's eyes searing your skin. But still, nothing's stopping you. There's something greater compelling you forward, something deep within your very being. Like an erection at Sunday morning mass, it's completely inconvenient and you know it's wrong. But you can't really help it.  For better or worse, it's a part of the very fabric that makes you man.

You're lost. Hopelessly, in fact. And the longer you drive, the more determined you are not to ask for directions. It's like admitting defeat. Because if you succumb, you're basically admitting that you've been lost for the past 45 minutes and really should have asked for directions 42 minutes ago. And then she's right. No, my friend, you're not going to be wrong today, but you are going to waste a lot of unnecessary time and effort. And you probably shouldn't expect any sexual favors from the unwitting hostage in the passenger seat. Oh, and it turns out, you'd be better off just pulling over and throwing your wallet into the sewer because your stubborn defiance is costing you thousands of dollars.

The 2010 Lake Mirror Classic; Classing Up October

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 10:52AM | By: John Welch

The 2010 Lake Mirror Classic; Classing Up October test 1-1

Every October Lakeland, Florida is treated to a visual and aural spectacle named The Lake Mirror Classic. Held, oddly enough, on the shores of Lake Mirror and in the streets of historic downtown Lakeland, The Lake Mirror Classic literally has something for everybody. No kidding!

Like Mustangs? There is a Mustang specific show. Like Amphicars? Several examples will be prominently featured. Classic motorcycles? Covered. Slick restorations and untouched rolling sculpture? You will not see more LeSalles and Delahayes in one place. Priceless race cars? How about a pair of 1920s vintage Miller Indy cars? Priceless race drivers? Lyn St. James is the Honorary Chairperson.

Though not totally booked yet, Event Chairman Ford Heacock has seen a 25% increase in registration for 2010. Heacock believes that the current pace of registration will put the show at 600 vehicles, completely occupying every available inch of show space in downtown. Good thing the Classic goes on for three days!

Taking place October 15th through the 17th, most of the activities are free to the public. Inside the post we have the entire event schedule, for all three days. Our gallery features images taken by the AutoShopperBlog at the 2009 Lake Mirror Classic . . .

Coulomb Technologies Opens First of 4,600 Car Charging Stations

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 9:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Coulomb Technologies Opens First of 4,600 Car Charging Stations test 1-1

Everyone loves to talk green vehicles nowadays. However, not everyone loves to drive green vehicles. And no one really loves the idea of getting stranded out on US-50 in eastern Nevada due to a drained pack of lithium-ion.

Range anxiety is a formidable opponent of the electric vehicle industry, and until the country begins to address this issue with action, EVs aren't likely to fly out of dealerships. At least not at the rate they could be flying out of dealerships with the right charging infrastructure.

Well, if you happen to live in Michigan, that process is under way. The proverbial ribbon-cutting ceremony on the nation's first free electric charging station under the ChargePoint America program took place last Thursday. The new charging station stands in front of the NextEnergy in downtown Detroit. The electric juice stand is one of 4,600 that will be installed across the United States under the ChargePoint America program.

Michigan, which is set to be one of the first launch markets for the Chevy Volt, will get several hundred of the free charging stations in areas like Flint, Dearborn and Detroit. Charging stations will go to  businesses, communities and homes. The equipment will come free of charge under the federally funded program, but owners will have to pay the installation fees.

Coulomb Technologies of Campbell, California is spearheading the $37 million nationwide installation program, which includes about $15 million of federal stimulus funding. On their own, each station would otherwise cost between $1,700 and $5,000, so the new program should help defray some of the costs for starting up a charging infrastructure. Installation can cost anywhere from $250 to $4,000.

Coulomb CEO Richard Lowenthal summed up the importance of getting an infrastructure in place: "With cars like this, you’ll never go to the gas station. But you need a place to charge them. If you can’t fuel your vehicle, you won’t buy one."