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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Lotus Previews V-8 Engine, Will Offer Esprit Hybrid Options

On: Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 10:06AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lotus Previews V-8 Engine, Will Offer Esprit Hybrid Options test 2

The hybrid supercar: It's a concept that we're going to see more and more of in the future, both in the form of hybrid power-boosting systems and full-blown hybrid systems designed to increase fuel economy while keeping power and performance up. Perhaps the most iconic upcoming hybrid supercar on the horizon is the 2013 Lotus Esprit.

According to an Autocar conversation with Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, Lotus will offer a hybrid powertrain on the 2013 Esprit. This comes as a bit of a surprise since Lotus is known to be developing an in-house V-8 engine for the Esprit. And why build a hybrid powertrain around a big, dirty V-8 engine?


Mopar Delivering Jeep JK-8 Pickup Kit Early

On: Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:38AM | By: Chris Weiss


Mopar Delivering Jeep JK-8 Pickup Kit Early test 2

The minute I saw the Jeep Nukizer 715 staring at me under the crimson cliffs of Moab was the minute I knew: If I ever own a Jeep Wrangler, I really hope it can be a pickup. Besides the fact that the little bed in back delivers some utility space for hauling gear, there are few pieces of metal and rubber on earth that look tougher than a jeep with a pickup bed.

So far, Chrysler isn't granting my wish. The company has no public plans to build a new Jeep pickup, though speculation has indicated that it is considering it. What the Chrysler group has done, though, is offer an aftermarket kit that lets Wrangler owners convert their Jeep into a pickup. It's the JK-8 and it's coming early.

Jeep began delivering the JK-8 kit to dealers this week, pushing it out a little early. That's good, because if you're a hardcore Jeep enthusiast, a JK-8 kit could certainly be the ultimate Christmas gift.


The End Is Nigh: Google Patents Autonomous Driving

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 5:11PM | By: Chris Salamone


Google Autonomous Car Team test 2

Motoring fans everywhere have witnessed a slow degradation of the driving experience for years. 6-speed manual transmissions have shifted to something entirely less exciting, the CVT, and the road-feel of yesterday’s vehicles has become a mere afterthought on the pillow-top suspensions of today. And yet, the savvy tycoons at Google have claimed yet another aspect of the automotive industry – this time chipping away at the very essence of what makes driving fun.

Originally filed May 11 of this year, the USPTO just recently awarded Google patent #8,078,349 which specifically claims ownership of certain events where a mixed-mode car can transition from a human driver to an autonomous mode.


Luxury Leg Race: Audi Set To Pass Mercedes For First Time

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:33PM | By: Chris Weiss


Luxury Leg Race: Audi Set To Pass Mercedes For First Time test 2

Growing up, I recall the major European luxury race always appeared to be between BMW and Mercedes. You'd see plenty of these cars around and each brand had clearly won its fair share of loyal customers in the US.

Audi, on the other hand, always seemed like a distant brand. To be honest, I thought it was a Swedish brand for the longest time because it was about as obscure as Saab. The only reason I knew it was a luxury car is because the only person that I knew that drove one was my friend's father who happened to be a doctor. Other than that, it just seemed like a somewhat boring European car.

Granted that's just one person's impression, but Audi has long been the third German luxury automaker, lagging behind BMW and Mercedes in terms of global sales. But not for long.


 

NTSB Calls For Nationwide Ban On Cell Phone Use Of Any Kind Behind The Wheel

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 2:14PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


NTSB Calls For Nationwide Ban On Cell Phone Use Of Any Kind Behind The Whee test 2

In a meeting Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that they are going to advocate a national ban on all non-emergency cell phone use. In their press release, the NTSB shared the results of an investigation in which they cited several examples of instances where cell phone distraction caused fatal accidents. In those examples, there is little anyone can do to argue the frightening nature of the carelessness displayed in those examples.

Given the nature of the current economy, it isn't hard to imagine that local government support of this ban should be extremely high (as will be their willingness to dole out a few more tickets for violations of said ban). But besides the obviously money-making potential, the NTSB does have a strong case.

Consider this -- just over 10,000 people lost their lives due to alcohol related accidents in 2010, while the number of distraction-related fatalities was just over 3,000. Using DUI related deaths as a benchmark, cell phones do indeed represent a significant threat to motorists everywhere. If there is still any doubt, read on for the full press release from the NTSB ...


2013 Ford Fusion Super Tease Via 'Augmented Reality'

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 12:27PM | By: Chris Salamone


2013 Ford Fusion App test 2

Up until now, fans would have had to actually download Ford’s latest Fusion app to glimpse into the vehicle’s future. But for those of us without an Android or iOS device or the motivation to download a teaser app, ahem, this might have been a challenging task. Ford has thought through the dilemma and produced a promotional video for the Fusion’s promotional launch – or a teaser video for a teaser app. Regardless of how you might feel, Ford’s new Fusion reveal app allows excited fans to slowly worship the upcoming 2013 Fusion day-by-day up until the car’s official unveiling in January and Ford’s video does a great job of making something, which sounds entirely hokey, actually exciting.

Interestingly, Ford has opted to label the experience ‘augmented reality’ – as if apps were anything else. Snide commentary aside, the Fusion app launches by the grit and determination of the app’s consumer. Players must find and capture a Ford logo with their respective device’s camera. Then, the logo initiates a Pokémon-reminiscent startup featuring virtual images, music choices, and a series of unlocking worlds which reveal various stages of the Fusion itself. Gotta catch ‘em all.


2013 Viper Won't Be A Dodge

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 11:13AM | By: Chris Weiss


2013 Viper Won't Be A Dodge test 2

It's been a tumultuous couple of years at Chrysler. The company was in some deep trouble about two years ago, pulled out of the depths with the help of US government and Fiat investment, and has been on a mission to get things right in its second life. One of the major moves that Chrysler has done under Fiat rule is better delineate and define its individual brands. Now that strategy takes a drastic turn.

If you really think about it, Chrysler has been the most poorly defined auto group in the US, possibly the world.


Ford Employees To Begin Beta Testing MyFord Touch Updates

On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 1:37PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford Employees To Begin Beta Testing MyFord Touch Updates test 2

Ford is taking complaints about its MyFord Touch system pretty seriously. We don't blame them since the advanced infotainment system was a great headline when it first debuted, but has proven less attractive in actual everyday use. 

Ford announced last month that it will soon release MyFord Touch updates that it believes addresses the main consumer complaints and makes the system more user friendly. Before releasing those updates to consumers, Ford is sending a group of 1,000 employees out to test them.


MINI Reveals Countryman JCW, The Uber-CUV

On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 9:56AM | By: Chris Salamone


2012 MINI Countryman JCW test 2

While reviews of MINI’s most controversial model have rated the Countryman from great to confusing, the company has seen fit to bring their performance-oriented badge to the Countryman’s offbeat exterior. And so, a back roads-friendly John Cooper Works was born.

MINI has just released the first official teaser images associated with the Countryman JCW, to be sold as a 2012 model. Perhaps channeling the pseudo-utility of Ford’s F-150 Raptor, the Countryman JCW should comfortably dominate modest soft road terrains with all the quick handling and pizzazz you’d expect from a proper MINI JCW.


Nissan Juke Nismo Could Hit Market in 2013

On: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 4:57PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Juke Nismo Could Hit Market in 2013 test 1-1

It's pretty clear that Nissan really wants to build a hot hatch version of the Juke crossover. First, it stimulated wild dreams with the radical but for-show-only Juke R concept in Frankfurt. Then it showed the more realistic Juke Nismo Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and announced that Nismo will have a greater role in building performance road models.

So, we'd have to assume that unless the reaction to the Juke Nismo was horrible or a business case proves elusive, Nissan will be building some type of high-performance, Nismo-engineered Juke. According to reports, the model hasn't been given the go-ahead yet, but should get a green or red light within a few months.


Hertz Offers Supercar Rentals... In UK

On: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 3:25PM | By: Chris Weiss


Hertz Offers Supercar Rentals... In UK test 2

Forget Times Square this New Year's Eve; London is the place to ring in the new year. We can think of few better ways to get 2012 off to the right start than by getting behind the wheel of an exotic supercar that you ogle pictures of all year round. A staple in the car rental industry is delivering just that opportunity, but unfortunately for US citizens and other foreigners, it's only happening in the UK at the moment.

Hertz has launched Hertz Supercars, a division that rents such cars as the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari 458 and McLaren MP4-12C. It partnered with Premiere Collection, a boutique supercar rental company, to gain access to a very impressive collection of premium rentals. So you can now rent out a slew of legitimate supercars and premium luxury cars from one of the biggest names in car rental.