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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Brumos Wins At Homestead, Gainsco Takes The Grand Am Championship

On: Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 12:01PM | By: John Welch


Brumos Wins At Homestead, Gainsco Takes The Grand Am Championship test 1-1

Sunday could have gone a little better. A Bucs receiver not named Kellen Winslow could have caught, oh, I don't know, ONE friggin' pass. Jeff Gordon could have avoided letting Jimmy Johnson win. I could have been on my way to claim my $500 million worth of "lot-rie winnins" . . . naturally, none of these things happened. The Bucs choked away another promising start, Jeff forgot how to drive on the second to last lap, and I couldn't even afford the dollar required to be eligible for "lot-rie winnins" in the first place. To top it all off, both versions of American sports car championships wrapped up their seasons this weekend. By bedtime Sunday night, I was in a less than agreeable mood, needless to say.

The day before, The Rolex Grand Am Series ran an unforgettable event at the Homestead Miami Speedway. Both classes, Daytona Prototype and GT, were still up for grabs, three teams vying for the DP title . . .


Drooling Over a Fiat

On: Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 4:32PM | By: John Welch


Drooling Over a Fiat test 1-1

If Car and Driver test drives a car once, said car may end up being sold in our country. If they test a foreign market vehicle twice, the chances of it being sold in the US are considerably better.

The car in question is the 2010 Fiat 500 Abarth. This car has been on sale for several years in the rest of the world, and now that the Chrysler take-over is all but said and done, Fiat can focus on a return to the US market. This is great news for those Gen-Y Americans who were too young to experience Fiat ownership. Though they may have a reputation for poor reliablity in this country, Fiats are as modern and well put together as Volkswagens and Hondas; they're also monumentally more exciting . . .


15 Cars to Watch In 2010

On: Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 3:47PM | By: John Welch


15 Cars to Watch In 2010 test 1-1

Detroit Free Press columnist Mark Phelan has compiled a list of 'hot cars' to watch for 2010. He lives in Detroit, he writes for a Detroit-based newspaper, Mark Phelan should know what we should be interested in next year, right? Meh, it's hit or miss. My thoughts on his thoughts and the cars he thinks about to follow . . . also, what should be omitted from this less than authoratative list . ..


Camaros Koni GS Debut Less Than Stellar

On: Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 1:50PM | By: John Welch


Camaros Koni GS Debut Less Than Stellar test 1-1

The Chevrolet Camaro has been a hit, as much as any new car from an American manufacturer could hope for. The Camaro enjoys a long waiting list, has out sold the Mustang for four months running, and is generally regarded as the best use of GM's Zeta platform to date. Naturally, it's time to take the Camaro racing . . .

 


 

Rolling Office: Smarmy Executives Nonchalant Regarding Irresponsible Driving

On: Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 4:00PM | By: John Welch


Rolling Office: Smarmy Executives Nonchalant Regarding Irresponsible Driving test 1-1

Listen, I appreciate how strapped every one of us is for time. We are busy, and we have to drive everywhere, constantly. Germans visit our country and demand to know where the village is. "There is no village; we do everything in our cars, work, eat, sleep, . ." It's a wonder Europe has a better selection of interesting automobiles than we do. Ahh, but that is a different gripe all together.

Today's gripe involves the laissez-faire attitude some members of our driving community take towards working while driving. Take Sean Ryan, an analyst for a market research firm, IDC. Regarding cheking his email while behind the wheel, Mr. Ryan says, "I might as well get a quick e-mail taken care of, or at least, delete spam.”

“When I get to the office, I’ve saved 15 to 20 minutes of work."


Is It The End Of The Road For Saturn?

On: Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 6:43PM | By: Drew Christy


GM shuts down Saturn test 2

Penske Automotive Group announced on Wednesday that it has cancelled plans to acquire General Motors' Saturn unit. As a result, GM said it will “wind down” the brand and dealer network.

According to a press report released by Penske (available after the jump), the deal's demise was caused by difficulty in securing a supply of product beyond the end of 2010. As part of the deal, GM would have continued supplying Penske with the Outlook, Aura, and Vue models until the end of next year.

Since Penske is an auto distributor and not a manufacturer, a new supplier agreement needed to be secured. The company had negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement with an unnamed *cough* Renault-Samsung Motors *cough* manufacturer; however, that agreement was rejected by that manufacturer's board of directors.

"Without that agreement, the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction," the company said in a statement.

As a result of Penske’s decision, GM announced that it would wind down Saturn and close all roughly 350 dealerships. Penske's deal with GM, which was expected to be completed in October, would have saved more than 13,000 jobs at Saturn's dealerships. After Saturn dealerships close, Saturn owners will be able to get service from other GM dealers.

"Today's disappointing news comes at a time when we'd hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter," said GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson. "We will be working closely with our dealers to ensure Saturn customers are cared for as we transition them to other GM dealers in the months ahead."

UPDATE:
For those sending emails… The guy in the photo is Jim Smith from the “Saturn Total Confidence” commercials.


Fernando Alonso Displaces Raikkonen At Ferrari

On: Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 12:18PM | By: John Welch


Fernando Alonso Displaces Raikkonen At Ferrari test 1-1

We knew this was coming. 'We' being myself and the other five F1-dorks currently living in the United States of America. Fernando Alonso, undisputed king of the F1 V10 era (he captured the 2005 and 2006 championships, piloting what are widely considered the baddest of all F1 Formulas — the high downforce, 1000bhp V10-powered cars of 2000 to 2007), has found himself at the center of the Ferrari rumor mill for the better part of four years. Finally, the storied Italian team has signed Alonso to a 3-year deal, replacing Kimi Raikkonen for the 2010 season.


Toyota Issues its largest recall ever in the U.S. over floor mats, 3.8M vehicles affected.

On: Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 11:37PM | By: Drew Christy


Toyota Issues its largest recall ever in the U.S. over floor mats, 3.8M vehicles affected. test 1-1

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a safety alert to the owners of particular Toyota and Lexus models from 2004-2010. This recall affects 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States. The alert reports of accelerator pedal clearance issues which provide the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position. A stuck accelerator may result in very high vehicle speeds and a crash, which could cause serious injury or death.

The following models are affected:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350

Toyota has announced that it will soon launch a safety recall to address the problem with the vehicles listed above. The NHTSA is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver’s floormat immediately and NOT replace it with any other floormat until Toyota develops a solution (see photo above?).

Owners with questions or concerns, are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1-800-331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (1-800-255-3987), or consult the information posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.

We have posted the press releases from both the NHTSA and Toyota after the jump. Toyota's press release includes instructions on what to do if your gas pedal gets stuck due to floormat interference.


Peugeot 1-2 At Rain Shortened Petit Le Mans

On: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:32AM | By: John Welch


Peugeot 1-2 At Rain Shortened Petit Le Mans test 1-1

When I was growing up, my taste in Christmas presents was usually fairly predictable. My parents would begin asking what I wanted around Thanksgiving, even though the answer was the same for a solid ten years. Go Cart! All I wanted in the world was the freedom to tear around our neighborhood in my own go cart, and every year the response to my answer would be "we'll see". And every year I'd wake up at dawn, run to where ever 'Santa' had positioned his offerings. And every year I'd get a bunk bed. (They didn't actually buy a new bunk bed every year, but that’s the present that made me stop asking for a go cart.)

Looking over this young blog, it seems I may have been a tad excited about the Petit Le Mans. That’s putting it mildly. I've lost sleep over it. I planned my entire weekend around it. I got my hopes up. Every single time I ever get my hopes up about anything, be it a go cart or 10 hours of Diesel-Prototype carnage; something goes wrong, and I am left broken hearted and disenfranchised.


Petit Le Mans Preview Pt.4, Murray Takes Pole!

On: Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 2:45PM | By: John Welch


Petit Le Mans Preview Pt.4, Murray Takes Pole! test 1-1

As I opened this window to begin the final Petit Le Mans preview, I was looking into qualifiying, which is broadcast online. GT2 was the class on track and there were seven minutes left in the session. Olivier Beretta, piloting a new C6.R, was at the top of the time sheet; not completely unexpected.

Out of nowhere, privateer Covette team LG Motorsports ran a blistering lap, taking the pole away from the veteran Beretta. The LG Motorsports team has suffered several setbacks this year, the worst coming at Long Beach. With Boris Said behind the wheel, the LG Corvette burst into flames, apparently a fuel-related fire. LGM thought they had the pole with 2:00 minutes left in the session. It didn't take thirty seconds for that time to be surpassed.

Still on track was David Murry in the Robertson Racing Ford GT.R. Perennial back markers, it seemed impossible that they might challenge for pole. They not only challenged for it, they stole it — the very first pole for a Ford GT.

Now on to Prototype qualifiying . . .


Petit Le Mans Preview Pt.3

On: Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 4:18PM | By: John Welch


Petit Le Mans Preview Pt.3 test 1-1

Three days from the premiere American road racing event, The Petit Le Mans Powered by MAZDA 6, and my excitement is palatable. There is another new GT2 team, and the time charts for several days of practice are giving us some interesting insight as to how the actual race may shape up.

We have reviewed Audi's heroics at last year's race, and given you a brief history of the first two Petit Le Mans. Now we are moving on to this year’s race. While we mere mortals sleepily went about our daily, piss-ant lives over the last week, the teams in Braselton have been playing high-stakes chicken with each other.