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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

Gas Price Hikes And Used Car Blues

On: Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 12:03PM | By: Chris Salamone

Gas Blues test 2

A particularly savvy reader recently submitted an interested query: “I would love to see a blog about the rapid moving stats of trade in SUVs and compact car purchases. The gas hike is early this year, how is it impacting the pre-owned market.” As you might expect, nailing down market trends relative to gas price influence is a difficult task – especially so early in the year. But we’re always up for a challenge.

Fortunately or not, depending on your perspective, the premature gas price increases we’ve experienced have generated more than just oodles of critical media attention. Fuel efficient new car sales have also soared.

Henrik Fisker Steps Aside

On: Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 1:01PM | By: Chris Weiss

Henrik Fisker Steps Aside test 2

Henrik Fisker is one of the best car designers of modern times, a fact exemplified by designs like the BMW Z8, the Artega GT and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. We've developed a growing suspicion that while his pencil skills are near-unmatched, his nuts and bolts management skills leave a lot to be desired. Under his watch, Fisker Automotive has experienced nothing but road bumps and obstacles, most recently losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. Alas, Fisker has stepped aside to make room for someone with a better history of company operations.

BMW To Integrate Carbon Fiber

On: Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW To Integrate Carbon Fiber test 2

Carbon fiber has long been an expensive, high-tech material most at home in expensive, high-tech devices like space shuttles, F1 race cars and $10,000 bikes. It's certainly no stranger to the automotive world, but it usually socializes in the highest echelons only.

The tides are slowly turning for carbon fiber, though. Last year, GM announced a partnership aimed at integrating carbon fiber into mainstream vehicle production. Across the Atlantic, BMW is planning a similar move, though, of course, its vehicles are a step above mainstream.

Nissan Talks Efficiency And Common Module Family

On: Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:22PM | By: Chris Salamone

Nissan Common Module Family test 2

Nissan recently announced the introduction of a next-gen efficient engineering project, aptly named the Common Module Family (CMF). For decades automakers have struggled with keeping production costs low, often by sharing the infrastructure or gadgetry from other makes or models. While platform and part sharing sounds great on its face, consumers often demand distinctive vehicle characteristics, constantly improved fuel economy, and cutting edge safety or technology features – which makes engineering efficiency a huge obstacle for any automaker.

But not anymore. Nissan intends to implement a four module system which allows for a wide spectrum of vehicle design concepts. From compact to large-scale SUVs, the CMF program will mix and match standard modules from the engine compartment, cockpit, front underbody, and rear underbody.


79,000 M, QX, And Juke Models Recalled

On: Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 9:24AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

79,000 M, QX, And Juke Models Recalled test 2

If you happen to be one of the 79,275 people that just bought a new Infiniti M sedan, QX sport-ute, or spunky little Nissan Juke, you may just want to turn those cars right back around and head for the dealership you just came from. 

It seems that the fuel pressure sensor on nearly 80,000 cars may not have been tightened enough. Due to heat and vibration the sensor may, and will likely endure, there is a pretty decent chance it may come loose, causing a fuel leak. Needless to say, no one really wants fuel leaking into their brand new car's engine compartment. Nissan has said they will replace the sensors for free, and will begin contacting owners March 19th, but owners can (and really should) contact Nissan as soon as possible at 615-725-1000 to schedule an appointment to make their M, QX, or Juke a little more fireproof.

2012 Ram Power Wagon, Just Short Of Perfection

On: Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 11:36AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Ram Power Wagon test 2

 For the first time ever, we’ve got three Power Wagon models to choose from. And to make matters more exciting, one particular model actually starts at a lower MSRP relative to previous years. The base model, Power Wagon ST, comes in at $41,855 and offers bargain hunting off-road enthusiasts a stripped down post-apocalypse friendly truck with absolutely no regard for weakness…or fuel economy. Depending on the depth of your pocket book and desire for amenities, Ram also offers Power Wagons in the standard issue and Laramie variety.

But even considering the vehicle’s long list of brutish attributes, some virile enough to be banned in our puritanical society, the Power Wagon does have a pretty major flaw.

LaHood Lies Down In Laying Down Electronics Guidelines

On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 3:01PM | By: Chris Weiss

LaHood Lies Down In Laying Down Electronics Guidelines test 2

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood hasn't hidden the fact that he doesn't like in-vehicle distractions. Unfortunately, you'd never know LaHood doesn't like in-vehicle distractions based upon the toothless guidelines the Department of Transportation issued earlier this month.

The new guidelines, which were released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are voluntary standards for automakers. The guidelines lay out some types of in-vehicle electronics that the Department says should be disabled while the vehicle is in motion. Those things include visual text messaging, visual manual Internet browsing, visual manual social networking and displays of more than 30 characters of text unrelated to driving. The department says those features should only be active when the car is in park or for the passenger only with no driver visibility.

Chevy Restarts Production On The Volt

On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 12:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Restarts Production On The Volt test 2

Apparently Chevy had stopped production of the Volt plug-in hybrid back around the holidays. You probably didn't notice since you weren't shopping for a Volt. Neither were many of your fellow Americans. And we're guessing those Chevy dealers that actually wanted to stock Volts had plenty on hand. Production was stopped for over a month and resumed earlier in February.

The Detroit News reports that GM resumed production of the Volt on February 6. Chevy stopped production for the holiday break.

Porsche Recalls 20,000 Cayennes

On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:14AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Porsche Recalls 20,000 Cayennes test 2

The last thing anyone who just purchased a 60, 70, 80, or even $100,000 on a brand new SUV wants to hear is, "Oh, by the way, something may just fall off your car at any point while you're driving." Unfortunately for 20,278 Porsche Cayenne owners, that's exactly what they are about to find out.

Porsche announced a recall of Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S Hybrid, and Cayenne Turbo models made in 2011-2012 due to a flaw in the manufacturing of the car that could lead to the headlights literally falling out of the car. Obviously a headlamp that comes free on a major highway (or even a side street) can cause some serious problems for other drivers on the road. Porsche will begin to notify owners this week, but they may also call Porsche at 1-800-767-7243.

Read on for the full report ...

In Nevada, Red License Plates = Empty Driver's Seat

On: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 10:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

In Nevada, Red License Plates = Empty Driver's Seat test 2

Nevada is set to become the testing bed for self-driven vehicles. Last summer, the state's legislature officially legalized certain self-driven vehicles after some heavy lobbying by Google. The legislation called upon Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles to develop rules and regulations governing the real-world use of such vehicles. Among the first rules is one that requires self-driven vehicles to be tagged with red license plates, a designation that will easily convey their autonomous status to other drivers.

If you look at the state of Nevada, it's the perfect test bed for unproven vehicle technology. You've got Vegas; you've got Tahoe; you've got some smaller gambling towns lined up around the state's borders; and you've got a whole lot of empty desert, mountains and open space in between. It's not one of the top 5 least-populated states, but considering its large size and population concentration around the borders, it has plenty of open space and uncrowded roads. Those uncrowded roadways connecting spotty towns are located next door to California, where tech companies like Google are headquarted.

J.D. Power Says Vehicle Dependability Is Much Improved

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 4:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

J.D. Power Says Vehicle Dependability Is Much Improved test 2

Despite all of the focus on battery fires, sudden acceleration, supercar self-combustion and other vehicular meltdowns over the past few years, it turns out that vehicles are more reliable than ever. The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is out, and it says that vehicles built in 2009 were rock solid.

The 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study looks at problems experienced by three-year-old cars during the past 12 months. That's model year 2009 in this case. It's based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership, and was fielded between October and December 2011. It compounds the numbers into a simple metric: problems per 100 vehicles - the lower the score, the better the car performed.

The industry average this year is 132 per 100 vehicles, a 13 percent improvement over last year's 151 PP100 and the best score since the study began in 1990. The findings are similar to what JD Power found when it conducted its Initial Quality Study of 2009 models. The 2009 model year reached record highs in that study, too.