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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Lexus Teases First Super Bowl Commercial Ever

On: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 4:42PM | By: Chris Weiss


Lexus Teases First Super Bowl Commercial Ever test 2

Losing your 11-year title sure has a way of firing you up. After slipping from its stronghold as the number 1 luxury retailer in the US--all the way down to number 3--Lexus is more determined than ever to have a big year. The automaker is planning on growing its US sales by at least 20 percent. It is also kicking off early 2012 with its first-ever Super Bowl commercial.

New products really aren't much good if no one knows they exist. And why not reach out to the country's largest television audience and let them know what's going on at your brand. That appears to be what Lexus will do when it launches its first Super Bowl commercial during Super Bowl XLVI on February 5.


Kia Recalls 145,000 Cars

On: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 11:01AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Kia Optima test 2

This week, Kia has issued a recall on 2006-2008 Optima models as well as 2007-2008 Rondo models totaling a whopping 145,755 when they were all said and done. All of these cars share the same potential defect -- a clock spring contact assembly used for the driver's air bag that may ultimately cause the air bag not to deploy in the event of a crash.  

Kia has since figured out how to fix the problem and has stated that they will, of course, fix the cars in question free of charge. Kia has also said that they will begin contacting customers in March, but owners may reach out to them beforehand with any questions.  

Read on for the full report from Safercar.gov ...


AMG To Get Its Own Sports Car

On: Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 4:35PM | By: Chris Weiss


AMG To Get Its Own Sports Car test 2

As the high-performance, in-house tuner for Mercedes-Benz, AMG is already known for its high-end sports cars flagshipped by the SLS AMG. Apparently, Mercedes feels that AMG has done pretty well for itself in branding--well enough to leave the coop and fly on its own. Rumors point to the introduction of an AMG-branded sports car within the next few years.

Motor Trend reports that a sports car currently being called the SLV will debut at an auto show later this year. Unlike on the SLS AMG and other existing AMG-tuned vehicles, the AMG badge will make a move to the left, replacing the "Mercedes-Benz" in the "make" column.


L.L. Bean Bootmobile, Where Rubber Meets Road

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


L.L. Bean Bootmobile test 2

As L.L. Bean’s Bootmobile rolled out of the company’s Brunswick factory Tuesday, CEO Chris McCormick asked a jubilant audience of employees, “Isn’t it cool?” To which they responded, "It’s wicked cool.” But the enthusiasm didn’t stop there. Maine Hunting Shoes could be heard from the pitter pattering of feet on almost everyone in attendance.  

From a big picture perspective the Bean Bootmobile is particularly awesome when compared to Oscar Mayer’s aging and vaguely inappropriate Wienermobile. While the Wienermobile conjures images of anything BUT hotdog consumption, the Bootmobile stands as a testament to L.L. Bean’s build quality and iconic heritage. Nothing says ‘buy this boot’ like a 13-foot tall, 21-foot long Maine Hunting Shoe strapped onto the remains of another enduring symbol of quality, the Ford F-250 Super Duty.

Something tells us a Subaru Forester Bootmobile wouldn’t receive the same street cred. Well, at least outside of Maine.


 

Lexus Plans New Models To Fend Off Surging Europeans And Retake U.S. Sales Crown

On: Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lexus Plans New Models To Fend Off Surging Europeans And Retake U.S. Sales  test 2

After more than a decade of being the US luxury leader, Lexus fell from its throne and watched both BMW and Mercedes Benz surpass it in 2011 sales. Lexus's year was complicated by production issues that arose in the wake of the natural disasters that hit Japan last March.

Lexus has no intentions of ceding its throne for long. It's also not about to sit back, make excuses about the natural disasters and expect a natural rebound. It plans to actively revitalize its US presence with the launch of a variety of new models.

Overall, Lexus has nine new or updated models to introduce this year and is also mulling moving into some new segments. The company hopes that the new models will help it to produce a 21 percent sales bounce, putting it back in the running for the US luxury market's top spot.


Mini Recalls 88,000 Cars

On: Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 12:00PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Mini Recalls 88,000 Cars test 2

Mini parent company BMW is bringing back 88,911 Mini Coopers from 2007 through 2011 in various trims and forms, all for the same reason -- a faulty circuit board on the auxiliary water pump used for cooling the turbocharger. Apparently this faulty piece may malfunction, overheat, and possibly catch fire -- ruining any chance of having a nice Sunday drive. 

The recall is expected to begin next month, but getting your Cooper in ahead of the crowd is certainly not against the rules. BMW will replace the circuit board free of charge.

Read on for the full report on exactly which model/years are included in this recall.


GM Looks Through 'Windows Of Opportunity'

On: Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:22AM | By: Chris Salamone


WOO App test 2

What are automakers supposed to do as children become so entrenched in media exposure that they appear literally incapable of sitting quietly in the backseat? Surely today’s rear-seat DVD players and quasi-interactive gaming consoles won’t be enough to entertain kids of the future – when road trips will become something of an exercise in punishment. In a stroke of visionary boldness, GM has already pioneered a strategy to combat these rare moments of childhood un-productivity.

General Motors Research and Development issued a challenge to the students of FUTURE LAB (seriously) at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel to conceptualize new ways of helping rear seat passengers enjoy a richer riding experience. Their response: smart glass interface technology.


Malaysian Automaker Proton Sold; Is Lotus Next?

On: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 3:47PM | By: Chris Weiss


Malaysian Automaker Proton Sold; Is Lotus Next? test 2

In a move that's been rumored for several months, Malaysia's state-owned Khazanah Nasional Bhd sold its 43 percent stake in Malaysian automaker Proton. While Proton may not be a relevant or familiar name to the US auto market, one of its holdings--Lotus--is. Lotus' future remains in question with Proton's sale.

According to Bloomberg, DRB-Hicom Bhd paid the equivalent of $410 million for the 43-percent stake, which comprises 234.7 shares. DRB is an automotive assembly and distribution company that works with prominent global brands like Mercedes and Volkswagen. The company is owned by Syed Mokhtar, one of Southeast Asia's youngest billionaires.

The sale brings a new emphasis on questions surrounding Lotus' future. Lotus has been under Proton ownership since 1996, during which time it has not turned a profit. A Bloomberg report earlier this month said that many investors were getting antsy, believing that Proton should sell Lotus.


Nissan Introduces Nismo Micra Concept

On: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 12:26PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Introduces Nismo Micra Concept test 2

Look quickly at the car above and you might think you're looking at the Juke Nismo concept from last month's Tokyo Motor Show. However, it's January not December; it's the Tokyo Auto Salon not the Tokyo Motor Show; and it's a new Nismo Micra concept not the Nismo Juke.

Nissan appears to be quite serious about putting that new headquarters to work and letting Nismo build more models. Within a little over a month, we've seen a Juke Nismo, Leaf Nismo and now a Micra Nismo. Soon, we'll stop asking which Nissan models will get Nismo versions and start asking which Nissan models won't be wrung through Nismo's Yokohama plant.


Hyundai Experiences Success In Transforming Its Image

On: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 10:15AM | By: Chris Weiss


Hyundai Experiences Success In Transforming Its Image test 2

The past few years have been huge for Hyundai. Not two full decades ago, Hyundai was an automaker synonymous with "value" (read: cheap, low-end cars). It was an option if all you needed/could afford was an entry level vehicle, but wasn't a company you considered if you had the money for something--anything--more reliable and better equipped.

Over the course of last decade or so, Hyundai slowly started to shed its value-only image and became recognized for reliable, innovative products. The company that once occupied the bargain basement next to the epic failure known as Yugo even released a solid luxury vehicle in the Equus. In the past four years, Hyundai has twice won the North American Car of the Year Award, including a win for the Elantra at this year's awards. According to executives, the company has also experienced some tangible examples of perception change among consumers.


2013 Viper Will Go On Sale To Viper Owners First

On: Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 2:03PM | By: Chris Weiss


2013 Viper Will Go On Sale To Viper Owners First test 2

We're still not all that excited about the Viper nameplate being moved from Dodge to SRT, but we are very excited for the dawn of a new snake. Rumors have been running wild on the 2013 Viper for years, and in a few months, we'll finally get to see it. "See" is the operative word there because only preexisting Viper owners will be invited to buy the model upon launch.

MSNBC reports that only Viper owners will have the chance to buy one of the first models to launch. If you don't already have a Viper, you'll have to wait until the loyalists get first pickings. The report doesn't have any details in terms of launch time frames, so we'll have to wait and see exactly what Dodge..er SRT has in mind.