Login to your account
Not a member? Register now.

Subscribe To The Blog:

Follow Us

The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

Jeep To Get Complete Facelift Over Coming Years

On: Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 10:00AM | By: Chris Weiss

Jeep To Get Complete Facelift Over Coming Years  test 1-1

Beginning with the recent 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep's entire line will be getting new and updated models over the next three years. The new models will leverage platforms from Fiat and may include both crossover and Jeep pick-up models.

In terms of new offerings, Jeep will develop a small crossover model for a 2013 debut. That model will be built on a Fiat subcompact platform. Rumors have indicated that Jeep is considering a pick-up version of the Wrangler, but the company is still undecided as to the fate of that project. At the Easter Jeep Safari this past spring, Jeep and Mopar made some waves when they showed off the rugged Jeep NuKizer 715, a military-styled pick-up that sparked murmurs of a possible pick-up production model.

The next Jeep model up for a refresh is the Jeep Patriot. It is expected to get some minor exterior revisions in October, including a new grille. The model will be replaced by a Fiat-based model in 2013.

Obama to Announce Early Success of Auto Bailouts

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 5:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Obama to Announce Early Success of Auto Bailouts test 1-1

President Barrack Obama traveled to visit Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Company this week to attempt to sway the taxpayers into believing that the bailouts have had a positive outcome and will result in bringing a financial return. Recent polls have shown that voters are not impressed about the bailouts in general and they are currently unconvinced that the $84.8 billion rescue will result in a financial return. In fact, as many as 48% of the public polled are less in favor of the bailouts while only 17% are more supportive. 

Obama’s speeches will take place in the Detroit area GM and Chrysler plants in what he is calling “an industry revival that has saved millions of jobs," according to the Bloomberg News. In a preview of the President’s speech on ABC earlier this week President Obama stated: “We are going to get all the money back that we invested in those car companies.” The automakers’ recovery “tells a good story” about the U.S. economic recovery, he said.

According to the former head of the automotive task force (initiated by President Obama): “It appears that those of us behind it haven't succeeded in convincing people that it's worked.” According to Ronald Bloom, a recent appraisal of General Motors reveals that the company is worth about $60 billion, the same amount that it took from the taxpayers last year as a bailout.

Bloom also made comment about the number of jobs that have risen in the automotive industry since the bailout, stating, “If we hadn't have stepped in when we did, most observers believe at least a million jobs would have been lost.” All of the Detroit Three have reportedly posted a profit in the first quarter of 2010, and Ford Motor Company realized a net profit that was the highest in two years for the second quarter, a sure sign that the automotive industry is recovering. General Motors has already repaid $6.7 billion in loans and the U.S. hopes to recoup tens of billions of dollars more when the company conducts an IPO scheduled for later this year.

President Barrack Obama traveled to visit Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Company this week in order to attempt to sway the taxpayers into believing that the bailouts have had a positive outcome and will result in bringing a financial return. 

NHTSA Introduces More Rigorous Crash Testing

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 4:01PM | By: Chris Weiss

NHTSA Introduces More Rigorous Crash Testing  test 1-1

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has announced that it will begin more rigorous crash testing on 2011 vehicles. The agency plans to test 55 2011 cars and trucks under a tougher five-star rating system. The new system will include new tests and will present consumers with a single overall safety score for each vehicle for the first time. Information about vehicle safety features, like collision warning systems, will also be included as part of the new rating system.

In a press release, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said of the changes: “For over 30 years, NHTSA’s 5-star crash testing program has been the gold standard for consumers looking to buy the safest cars on the market for their families. Now, this great program has gotten even better by making it easier to compare the safety performance of vehicles not only in terms of crash survivability, but in terms of avoiding crashes in the first place.”

Nissan Designs an Automobile That Provides Health Benefits?

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 3:18PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The updated Nissan Rogue test 2

Nissan has recently issued a press release about a brand new concept in automotive interior features—a car that can promote comfort, as well as health and wellness for drivers and passengers.


Recall Woes: Toyota Steering Issue

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 10:34AM | By: John Welch

2003 Toyota Avalon test 2

The new Toyota Avalon is sort of cool. Considering its front-drive, luxo-barge nature, I'm surprised to hear myself say such a thing. Or 'type' of thing as the case may be. The Avalon is equipped with a stout V6, LED lighting, and the most engaging "MadMen60'sPopCulturePanAmStewardessDrivingIsAsEasyAsFlying" ad campaign. I'm becoming afraid that I may like the Avalon solely because of the 60s air-travel themed marketing. Seriously, these commercials are very well done.

Too bad the older Avalon models have quality concerns, specifically a steering issue involving much more then crappy electronic power steering programming. Toyota will add 373,000 Avalon sedans, model years 2000 through 2004 to its growing list of recalled vehicles. According to a statement released by Toyota, the steering lock bar in these vehicles could break under certain conditions. How hard are blue-hairs driving these cars exactly? Of all the things that fall apart on cars; I don't think I have ever heard of a steering lock bar malfunctioning. Which is to say, NO ONE has reported any sort of injury because of this issue. After how poorly we Americans handled the issue of unintended acceleration (to be clear: 80% of those cases boiled down to some yokel mashing the gas pedal instead of the brake. Toyota can't make you pay attention while driving, Dummies, and shouldn't be blamed for injuries or deaths it did NOT cause . . .) Toyota is learning from its mistakes and nipping this issue in the bud . . .  instead of covering it up for six years (lookin' at you, Inaba!)

You didn't think I would crack on the American public without jabbing Toyota a little bit, did you? As of 10:28 a.m. EST there is no offcial NHTSA release regarding this issue; The 'Shopper will post it and recalls involving Volvo, Subaru, BMW, and Nissan when the actual Avalon report is released . . .

Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Hybrid

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 10:07AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Hybrid test 1-1

After months of indications that it would produce the 918 Spyder Hybrid, Porsche confirmed the hybrid coupe for limited series production. The Geneva Motor Show concept will be built in Porsche's Zuffenhausen plant and will supplant the Carrera GT as Porsche's flagship sports car, showing the world that hybrid powertrains can do more than just cut emissions.

Porsche arguably upstaged the entire 2010 Geneva Motor Show when it unveiled the 918 Spyder Hybrid the evening preceding the official start of the show. Easily one of the most fascinating concepts at the show, everything about the hybrid supercar was intriguing. Performance figures were impressive: 3.2 seconds to 62 mph, 198 mph top speed, and the fastest Porsche around Nurburgring with a lap time under 7:30. Porsche's fuel economy claims were equally lofty: 78 mpg in the European cycle and 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. By all indicators, the 918 Spyder rang the opening bell on a new generation of supercars capable of producing heavyweight power and performance figures while drastically cutting pollution.

In its concept form, the 918 combines the RS Spyder's 500-hp 3.4-liter V8 engine with electric motors mounted on the front and rear axles. Battery power for the motors comes from a mid-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. All told, the coupe pulls 718 horses out of its powertrain, with a seven-speed PDK transmission handling shifting duties.

Arbitration Cases Settled For Chrysler Dealership

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 10:04AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Arbitration Cases Settled For Chrysler Dealership  test 1-1

The verdict is in for Chrysler arbitration cases; final count: 73 wins and 32 losses for Chrysler Corporation resulting from law suits that were filed against the company when it closed 789 dealerships after bankruptcy in 2009. The arbitration hearings, which were mandated by Congress, began in April this year and continued through the middle of July, with the final decisions being announced this week.

The arbitrators that ruled in favor of Chrysler made reference to the company’s post bankruptcy strategy to merge Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep together into single dealerships. 

For the dealerships that won their cases, the main factors that supported the decisions were how fast Chrysler closed the dealerships, as well as how many total dealerships were closed; in fact, the Inspector General for the U.S. Troubled Relief Program had investigated those issues as well.

Lawyers who represented the dealers stated that more of them would have won provided the audit by Neil Barofsky had been released, giving arbitrators access to the information gathered from the audit before making their final decisions.

Enterprise to Rent Out Nissan Leafs in Eight Cities

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 9:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

Enterprise to Rent Out Nissan Leafs in Eight Cities  test 1-1

Want to get some on-road testing time behind the wheel of an electric vehicle without committing to buying one? Nissan and Enterprise announced this week that you'll get just that opportunity beginning this January. The Japanese automaker is selling a fleet of 500 Leaf electric vehicles to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The rental company will distribute the EVs to eight separate locations, allowing car renters the opportunity to give the new electric car an extended test run.

Enterprise, which owns Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental brands, will introduce the Nissan Leaf models to the Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Nashville, and Knoxville markets this winter. It's not yet clear if there will be a premium for Leaf rentals, but Enterprise does offer hybrid vehicles at an increased rental price over gas-powered models so electric vehicles are expected to be priced similarly.

The move by Enterprise seems like a positive one all around: consumers in the cities included will have the opportunity to try Nissan's electric vehicle, Nissan will familiarize the market with EV technology, and Enterprise will make a visible move toward embracing clean technology.

MINI To Take The Countryman Rally Racing

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:45AM | By: John Welch

MINI To Take The Countryman Rally Racing test 1-1

The WRC (The FIA World Rally Championship, if you prefer)  has seen its number of factory-sponsored competitors dwindle in the last few years. Hyundai, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, and even the mighty Subaru have all left the sport since 2007, leaving only Ford and Citroen to duke it out in the hills of Acropolis, the snows of Finland, the rains and gravel of Great Britain.

Like every struggling motorsport organization, the WRC decided to change its rules and attempt to attract more manufacturers through lower costs. Naturally aspirated engines are now strongly advised, and turbocharged engines cannot measure more than 1.6 liters. It will be difficult to push this size engine to the 300 or more reliable horsepower the old 2.0 units were making, but in a few years we should see the return of air restrictors as engineers find ever increasing gobs of power.

One of the manufacturers willing to take on the small bore turbo challenge is MINI, and they aren't taking their rally campaign lightly. Teaming up with Prodrive, the company is responsible for building many successful race cars, Subaru's championship winning WRC team included. Utilizing the nearly-new Coutryman model, MINI and parent company BMW plan to live up to the brand's already prestigious racing history. Their last international rally win coming at the 1967 Rally Monte Carlo; the team is anxious to get a car built and testing underway.

MINI will run a limited schedule in 2011, and look for a full campaign from 2012 on. Their deal with the FIA is for 3 to 4 years, and if successful they will commit to the WRC further.

BMW to Sponsor U.S. Olympics

On: Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 11:00AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW to Sponsor U.S. Olympics test 1-1

At a recent news conference in New York, BMW and the U.S. Olympic Committee came to an agreement that BMW will be the very first imported car manufacturer to sponsor the Olympics and a 6-year contract has been signed between the two entities. The 24 million dollar deal will replace the 2008 agreement that General Motors had when it  sponsored the Beijing Summer Games.

"Part of our company's ethos is to really become part of the culture of countries where it sells cars," said Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing for BMW of North America. BMW engineers plan to assist USOC to upgrade the technology for athletes, a new helmet design that is more aerodynamic is just one example of how BMW will assist in supporting the Olympic games. BMW will also help the USOC with fundraising.

BMW will be the “official mobility partner," which is a term that was created to encompass a wide range of forms of transportation that BMW will provide for the games.

BMW will sponsor the bobsled and skeleton, speed skating, swimming, and track and field. This not the first time that the German automaker has supported American athletes; in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics BMW also stepped up to the plate.


Audi To Launch RS5 Sports Coupe In North America in Early 2012

On: Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi To Launch RS5 Sports Coupe In North America in Early 2012  test 1-1

When Audi first introduced the 450-hp RS5 coupe at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, it wasn't clear whether or not it would be offered in the North American market. Audi clarified this in April, when word from its high-end Quattro GmbH division confirmed that the RS5 would make it across the Atlantic. At the time, deliveries were speculated for early-2011 or even as early as the third quarter of this year. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until sometime in early 2012, as Audi North America chief Johan de Nysschen told the NY Times today.

When the RS5 hits, it will mark the return of Audi's high-end performance RS models to the U.S. The coupe will settle in above the S5 and A5. It features a 450-hp V8 engine, a slightly tuned version of the 4.2-liter V8 used in the Audi R8. The engine is mated to a dual-clutch seven-speed S-tronic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The V8 and gearbox team up to deliver 317 lb-ft of torque, a 0-to-62-mph run of 4.6 seconds and an electronically-limited 155 mph top speed. The latter can be increased to 173 mph upon request. Despite its speed and performance, the RS5 provides an Audi-sourced fuel economy of nearly 22 mpg.

Other aspects of the RS5 include the Quattro all-wheel-drive system with a crown-gear differential, designed to allow shifting in torque between the two axles—up to 70 percent can be delivered to the front and up to 85 percent to the back. In standard setting, the all-wheel configuration is set at 40:60, with the majority going to the rear wheels to enable sporty handling. Torque vectoring technology works with the all-wheel drive to improve traction and cornering, and three drive modes—auto, comfort, and dynamic—alter the settings of the steering, transmission, differential and engine to meet the driver's demands.