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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

Google Looking For Automaker Partner On Autonomous Cars

On: Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 3:04PM | By: Chris Weiss

Google Looking For Automaker Partner On Autonomous Cars test 2

Before we heard a peep about Cadillac Super Cruise , we heard about Google's autonomous car. One of the original driving forces behind autonomous vehicles, Google has been working on its driverless car program for several years and even got the law changed to help it along. Now the company is looking for a rather important missing puzzle piece: an automotive partner.

Google may be one of the world's brightest go tos when it comes to Internet and mapping, but it doesn't have much experience wrenching around under the hood of a car. Sure, it could probably come up with the seeding money to develop its own car manufacturing without much difficulty, but why rebuild the wheel when someone that knows what they're doing can build it for you?

Study: Number Of Young Drivers On Big Decline

On: Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 3:24PM | By: Chris Weiss

Study: Number Of Young Drivers On Big Decline test 2

Many recent studies have demonstrated an ambivalence to driving among teens and young adults - something that was almost unheard of 10 or 20 years ago. The latest study from the University of Michigan shows that the number of young drivers has been on decline over the past 25 years.

According to the study's findings, the percentage of 16 to 39 year olds with driver's licenses dropped markedly between 1983 and 2008. The sharpest drop-off was observed in the youngest part of that demographic. For instance, the percentage of 17 year-olds with licenses was about 50 percent in 2008, compared to 69 percent in 1983. Among 20 to 24 year-olds, 82 percent had licenses in 2008, 92 percent in 1983. There was even a 3.2 percent drop in licenses among 35 to 39 year-olds.

Who'd A Thunk? Study Shows Americans Buying More Fuel Efficient Cars

On: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 9:37AM | By: Chris Weiss

Americans Buying More Fuel Efficient Cars test 2

Americans may not yet be keen on buying multiple hybrids, but they are making a sure move toward more fuel efficient cars. With gas prices bubbling toward record highs, we probably didn't need a study to tell us what intuition is already whispering in our ears. But a study confirms it.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, which has been following these things for about four years, said this month that average fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in March topped 24 mpg for the first time ever. Average fuel economy took a small but notable step from 23.9 mpg in February to 24.1 mpg in March. That's a rise of 4 mpg/20 percent from October 2007, the first month that the Institute conducted the study.

Honda Takes Home Award For Best Value Retention

On: Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 1:51PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Takes Home Award For Best Value Retention test 2

In its second annual Best Retained Value Awards, Edmunds.com finds that Honda has the best value retention among car brands. Runner up? Acura, Honda's luxury brand.

In a pretty strong performance, Honda scores 47.9 percent and Acura scores 44.6, giving Honda Motor Co. the non-luxury and luxury awards. The awards recognize the brands whose cars have the highest projected residual value after five years. The score is based upon the projected five-year value of 2012 models that launched before the end of 2011.


Closed Refineries May Jack Eastern Gas Prices

On: Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 10:34AM | By: Chris Weiss

Closed Refineries May Jack Eastern Gas Prices test 2

Given the record-high-scraping cost of gas, you might be under the impression that the entire oil industry is floating on 100-dollar-bill rafts in the middle of large infiniti pools of refined oil. But that impression would be false. Oil companies are actually shutting down refineries, and it may cause regional gas prices to soar even higher than they are likely to anyway.

According to a report on CNN, older refineries in the northeast are being shut down because they can't effectively process the cheaper, heavier types of oil currently being imported from the Middle East, Venezuela and other regions. The refineries are only capable of efficiently processing light, sweet oil, which costs an extra $20 per barrel.

Sunoco, which says that it has been losing a million dollars a day for three years on its refining business, has closed one refinery near Philadelphia and is trying to sell another in the area. ConocoPhillips also closed a Philadelphia-area refinery last fall.

Barf! Government Vehicles Found Sitting Pretty

On: Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 12:18PM | By: Chris Salamone

Miami-Dade County cars test 2

What do twelve Ford F-250s, at least fifteen minivans, five Toyota Prii, and a hodgepodge of barely used government-purchased vehicles have in common? They make up a portion of the 100 or so Miami-Dade County cars which sit idly at the Earlington Heights Metrorail garage, totaling about $965,000.00 in dormant assets.

Since 2006 and 2007, Miami-Dade County has left the vehicles parked, out of service, and lying in wait. And, as we all know, unused cars don’t exactly remain maintenance or cost free – tires, batteries, fluids…and let’s not forget insurance. So why, in the name of all things holy, does Miami-Dade have 100+ cars collecting dust?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is anything but satisfying. The County decided to purchase these vehicles just before the Great Recession unfolded. Shortly after buying, the economy tanked and Miami-Dade had to trim their workforce and – you guessed it – number of cars on the road.

Toyota Reveals 2013 Avalon

On: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 3:25PM | By: Chris Weiss

2013 Toyota Avalon test 2

The Toyota Avalon isn't exactly the type of car that people get excited about, but the newest version is a marked enough departure to cause a small stir. The Toyota sedan gets a much updated look that practically begs for a new model name.

As we saw from the teaser picture, Toyota wasn't just looking for a slight evolution, it was looking to change the Avalon's image. The 2012 Avalon is a sedan that could get lost - even in Toyota's line of quality but forgettable sedan designs. But the 2013 Avalon is enough to have people asking: 'What's that car'.

Next Nissan Leaf To Get More Range, New Looks

On: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:31AM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Nissan Leaf To Get More Range, New Looks test 2

If there's one complaint about the Nissan Leaf, it's that it offers less than 75 miles of driving per charge. Given the courtesy of two complaints, we might have to point out the Nissan's unimpressive, pug-nosed looks. Let's face it: You drive the Leaf if you want to save money on gas and be a little greener, not if you want to look good driving. Nissan might just fix both those problems in the next generation Leaf.

Then again it might not. A new Automotive News Europe report says that Nissan plans to redesign the next Leaf, giving it a more European look. We're not sure exactly what that means, but we do know Europe has its fair share of tiny, unattractive hatchbacks, which makes us wonder if the next generation Leaf will look all that much better. Then again, Europe is also home to some of the world's most beautiful cars and most renowned luxury and exotic car makers, so let's hope that's the European influence Nissan is thinking about.

Next-Gen Mustang May Ditch Retro Look

On: Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 10:41AM | By: Chris Salamone

Ford Evos Concept test 2

Just yesterday Michael Ramsey of The Wall Street Journal posted an interesting article regarding the future of Ford’s ultimate pony car. Instead of continuing the retro trend, Ramsey speculated that Ford would dramatically shift the direction of the Mustang brand. Citing “people familiar with Ford’s plans,” the article fervently declared that the next-generation Ford Mustang will likely retain a few currently recognizable features – shark-nosed grille and roundish headlights – but will ultimately look more like the current Ford Fusion over our beloved, but aging Mustang.

The change in focus has everything to do with Generation Y buyers – born 1980 to 1990. Gen Y is just entering the car buying arena and Ford wants Mustang to remain relevant. Apparently cars channeling the bygone era of sex, drugs, and rock & roll are considered less sellable to the emerging youth-buyer market.

Chevy Avalanche Put To Pasture

On: Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:40AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Chevrolet Avalanche test 2

Last Friday, General Motors announced plans to cease production on the company’s most bizarre vehicle. Since 2002, the Chevy Avalanche has offered truck buyers a unique mix of interior space, fancy features, girthy dimensions, and a premium price tag – which, at least early on, seemed to be a winning combination for pickup consumers. Unfortunately, the year 2008 came and buyer perspective changed with a trimmed down world economy.

93,482 Chevy Avalanches rolled into new driveways in 2003 but, in comparison, only about 20,000 sold in 2011. And that means GM isn’t willing to update a new Chevy Avalanche in an upcoming truck renovation cycle. 2013 Chevy Avalanches will be the last of their kind, the final generation.

Nissan May Launch GT-86 Competitor

On: Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 5:30PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan May Launch GT-86 Competitor test 2

The Japanese sports car industry is in the midst of a renaissance that's showing no signs of slowing down. Japanese sports car options may soon be as plentiful as they were in the 1990s. Toyota and Subaru are very close to getting their jointly developed coupe to market, and word is that Toyota might be working on something a little more upscale. Honda is in the process of building a revived NSX, and now it appears Nissan is looking to do something at the other end of the market.

The first thought that comes to mind when talking about an entry-level Nissan sports coupe is a 240SX revival. Nissan built the 240SX back in the 1980s and 90s as a cheaper complement to the 300Z. The car's rear-wheel drive configuration set it apart from front-wheel competitors at the time.