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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

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.

Porsche 911 Engineer: Manual Transmissions Are Walking Dead

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 1:56PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche 911 Engineer: Manual Transmissions Are Walking Dead test 2

Despite the fact that about half of all 911s sold in the United States are equipped with a manual transmission, a prominent Porsche engineer feels Stuttgart will phase out manuals by the end of the decade. Automated manual transmissions like Porsche's seven-speed dual-clutch PDK have just come too far in combining the driving advantages of traditional manuals with the ease of use of automatics.

Porsche 911 project manager Michael Schätzle - whose name most certainly rhymes with my favorite German side dish - told Automobile magazine that he foresees the manual hitting extinction within the next generation or two of the 911. Schätzle said that about 78 percent of 911 buyers globally are already opting for the seven-speed PDK, and he sees the increased speed and efficiency as too attractive to let the manual survive much longer.

Bugatti's 1,200 HP Convertible

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 11:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bugatti's 1,200 HP Convertible test 2

Bugatti has finally revealed the 1,200-hp Veyron Grand Sport that we've been hearing about for months. Instead of going the obvious direction - Veyron Grand Super Sport - Bugatti named its super-potent convertible the Grand Sport Vitesse. In case you think that the name has any relation to the horrifying tune known as the Mansory Bentley Vitesse Rose, Vitesse actually means "speed" in French, so it's a fitting name for a 1,200-hp convertible.

The Vitesse is essentially a Veyron Super Sport with an open top. The model features the build of the standard Grand Sport, albeit with a little extra bulk to handle the increased power and speed. It gets the Super Sport's upgraded 1,200-horsepower W-16 engine.

New Ferrari Enzo Will Pack More Than 900 Horses

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Ferrari Enzo Will Pack More Than 900 Horses test 2

The upcoming Ferrari F620 may be the "most powerful Ferrari ever," but it won't stay that way for long. The other Ferrari due for debut this year - the heir to the F40/F50/Enzo throne - will most certainly surpass the F620's power figures. The question is by how much. The latest answer is that it will be by around 200 hp.

When it retired in 2004, the Ferrari Enzo used a 660-hp V-12 engine. The Enzo's output was about 150 horses greater than the other V-12 car in Ferrari's line at the time (575M Maranello). Bearing that in mind while hearing official confirmation of the upcoming F620's ~ 700 horses, we were starting to wonder: Will the Enzo successor really only have the rumored 800-hp engine, a mere 90 or so more than the F620?


Italdesign Giugiaro Teases Geneva Concept

On: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 9:34AM | By: Chris Weiss

Italdesign Giugiaro Teases Geneva Concept test 2

It looks like there will be no stone left unturned when it comes to Italian design houses and Geneva concepts. Italdesign Giugiaro joined pretty much every other major Italian design house in teasing its latest concept earlier in the week. The concept will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and via Italdesign's Twitter feed.

Italdesign Giugiaro took to social media in releasing the first two teasers of its yet unnamed concept car via Twitter. About as revealing as the latest SRT Viper teaser, Italdesign's first photo shows nothing more than a carbon fiber-trimmed air intake. Based on what we can see (bright red paint and carbon fibered aerodynamics), the concept appears to be a sports car, but it really could be anything.

Fiat Details 500L

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 11:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fiat Details 500L test 2

Like its company Ferrari, Fiat seems to have an affinity for slowly and steadily tipping its hand prior to a major auto show. It revealed the first photos and information about the 500 Large earlier this month, and now it's updated with a few more details behind the elongated 500. While the 500L isn't quite as an exciting story as the Ferrari F620, it's always good to get the scoop a little early.

Mini detailed its big, bad Geneva debut - the Clubvan - earlier in the week, so Fiat took the opportunity to hop up and down to redirect the spotlight back toward it. Small car, small engines: The stretched out 500 will come with several small, efficient engine options. Those include a .9-liter Twin Air engine; a 1.4-liter four-cylinder petrol engine; and a 1.3-liter MultiJet diesel engine. As if that suite of engines isn't enough to save a 500L owner on gas, the model will include an eco:Drive function that provides advice on ways of boosting efficiency.

Honda Recalls 45,000 Odysseys

On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 9:43AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Honda Recalls 45,000 Odysseys test 2

Honda has issued a recall of 45,747 Odyssey models produced in 2008-2009. It seems that the gas-filled struts that were used to support the rear lift gate in models equipped with the power lift gate have been found to have a flaw from the manufacturer. This flaw may cause the gas to leak from the strut and ultimate failure in the strut.  

Now, on a personal note coming from someone who has had struts fail on a hatchback type of vehicle (mine were because of old age, not any type of flaw but the result was the same), I learned two things:  1) Hatches are a lot heavier than may initially appear, and 2) Although they are heavy, you don't know when they are falling until it is too late. As an adult, it hurt badly enough to have a hundred pound or so hatch come down on the back of this writer's head, so considering those owning an Odyssey are likely to have children it's no wonder this recall is going into effect.

Honda will begin notifying owners in about three weeks, but owners may contact Honda earlier to schedule a free fix.  

Read on for the full report ...

Ferrari Posts Sales Record In 2011

On: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 1:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Posts Sales Record In 2011 test 2

It's a good time to be rich. While the rest of the country struggles with a down, unstable economy and bulging unemployment rates, the rich appear to be doing quite well. At least if auto sales are any indication. Ferrari joins other premium automakers like Bentley and Rolls Royce in reaching (respectively) huge sales levels in 2011.

Ferrari sold 7,195 models in 2011- actually quite close to Bentley's 7003 sales. That number represents a 9.5 percent increase from 2010 levels and a new sales record. Ferrari's revenues of 2.251 billion euros ($2.95 billion) also set a record, spiking 17 percent. Ferrari says that it saw significant growth in the Chinese, US, German and British markets.

SRT Releases Second Viper Teaser

On: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:41AM | By: Chris Weiss

SRT Releases Second Viper Teaser test 2

If we were making the rules, successive teaser photos would be required to reveal more of the car in question. What good is a teaser if it reveals less than you already know? Since we don't make the rules, we get things like the latest SRT Viper teaser.

SRT (the Viper is SRT's baby now, if you hadn't heard) released the first Viper teaser a couple of weeks ago. While the Viper was enshrouded by darkness, the teaser at least revealed a little of the new model's shape.

Tesla Planning A Cheaper Sedan Next

On: Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Planning A Cheaper Sedan Next test 2

While the short driving range of other electric vehicles makes for a questionable purchase, the 300 miles of the Tesla Model S is the surest bet in the EV market. If they could somehow figure out a way to cut that $77,000 price tag by a few ten thousands, the electric vehicle might actually become quite popular. Of course, they did figure out a way to cut the price tag by $20,000, but that way includes cutting the range nearly in half, which gives the base Model S the same problem as other EVs: not enough driving range.

While it very well could still be too expensive to be the mainstream EV solution the world needs, Tesla does plan to launch a less expensive vehicle in the future.

International Recalls 18,000 Trucks

On: Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 5:08PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

International Recalls 18,000 Trucks test 2

Unfortunately for truck drivers, passengers, children, parents, and everyone else that happens to be on the road with one of the 18,959 International trucks that were made with a faulty Bendix ATR-6 traction relay valve - potentially unfortunate anyway. In extreme cold, valves can leak which can result in constant brake application. If the brakes are constantly applied, they may overheat and cause a fire, or cause a loss of control to the vehicle. The continued application of the brakes may also not cause the tail lamps to light up, potentially cause an accident due to other driver's inability to realize the trucks may be slowing down. A total of eleven International models have been affected by this recall (this same valve also caused a recall of 15,000 Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks recently).

Read on for the full list of models ...