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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

Amidst Growing Concerns, GM Offers Volt Refunds

On: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 2:26PM | By: Chris Salamone

Chevrolet Volts on Woodward Ave. test 2

This last month has not been kind to GM’s latest EV innovation, the Chevy Volt. From fire risks, to government probes, to competitor advancements, and an unexpected sales slump – a mere 60% of the company’s sales target for 2011 – GM will have to face some difficult hurdles in order to raise the Volt to the vehicle’s full market potential. But have no fear, the good General is always ready for decisive action. On Thursday the automaker said it would buy back any Chevrolet Volts from customers nervous about fire risks.

This is exactly the type of product ownership that consumers need to see. People must believe that Chevy will stand by the Volt, through thick and thin, stalwartly accepting responsibility. But, the true beauty of GM’s buy-back plan is that the company expects few, if any, of the 6,000 current Volt owners to ask for a refund.

Everyone Else Is Doin' It: Jaguar Wants A Mini Car

On: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 10:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

Everyone Else Is Doin' It: Jaguar Wants A Mini Car test 2

BMW has Mini. Mercedes-Benz has Smart. Lotus has an upcoming city car. Aston Martin has the Cygnet. Jaguar? Well it's owned by Tata, maker of the world's cheapest tiny car, so it probably should have a tiny luxury car, but right now it doesn't have anything. That all appears likely to change as a top Jaguar exec expressed interest in designing one.

Jaguar design chief Ian Cullum--mastermind behind such greats as the C-X75--told What Car? recently: 'It's a personal view, but there's room for a premium small car. It would be a high-end small car for city use."

French Newbie Genty To Build Its Own 1,000-HP V-8 Engine

On: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 9:19AM | By: Chris Weiss

French Newbie Genty To Build Its Own 1,000-HP V-8 Engine test 2

When you think supercar startup, you can't help but think: outsourced engine. Many supercars from the up-in-comers and wannabes simply take an existing V-8 engine, often a Corvette plant, up the output to some filthy number via forced induction and/or tuning, and call it day. Then they slide that big boy into a dubiously styled hunk of aluminum and carbon and call it the next great supercar. Once in a while it is, but more often, it's not.

Genty, a French start-up that has a goal of building a supercar with the highest power-to-rate ratio in the world, has a different recipe. It will build its own bespoke V-8 engine to power its Akylone supercar.

Dodge Viper To Get Some Refinements

On: Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 5:27PM | By: Chris Weiss

Dodge Viper To Get Some Refinements test 2

Before it exited the market in 2010, the Dodge Viper was one of the last true bastions of pure, hard, unforgiving power. Unlike more refined supercar contemporaries with their forced induction and dual-clutch automated gearboxes, the Viper used an unapologetic 8.4-liter V-10 engine--one of the biggest displacement engines known to man--and a six speed manual transmission. Though it looked as exotic and sexy as most any supercar, it demanded some of the fortitude and sensibilities of a race car driver to reach its potential.

In a world of fancy sprout-and-cucumber finger sandwiches with balsamic-herb dressing, the Viper was the big, sloppy five-dollar sub sandwich with all the fixins'.

When it debuts in 2013, the next Viper promises to tone things down a little. Dodge will attempt to reach a broader range of car enthusiasts with the 2013 Viper.


Mysterious 2014 Corvette Gets Rendered

On: Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 3:48PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mysterious 2014 Corvette Gets Rendered test 2

Few cars have been more buzzed about than the C7 Corvette. Rumors and statements from GM execs have long indicated that the C7 could be the Corvette that changes the face of Corvettes as we know them. Everything from a mid-engined layout to small turbo engines have run through the rumor mill at one point or another. With all this hype, we just want to see the damn car and separate fact from fiction.

The official debut remains more than a year off, and the spy photographers are all crickets, but one blog has put together what it firmly believes is the spitting image of the next-generation Corvette.

Volkswagen Gaming Test Results With Stacked Models?

On: Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 10:00AM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Gaming Test Results With Stacked Models? test 1-1

After some recent testing on the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, Consumer Reports suggests that the test cars VW supplies to the media are fine-tuned over the cars actually being sold to the public. Is it a small issue or an industry-wide epidemic?

You know when you watch a commercial for Burger King that the picture-perfect burger that you see on TV will never actually make it into your mouth. Heck, that burger probably isn't a burger at all. It's just designed to look like the most perfect burger-of-the-heavens so that it makes you hungry and you go out and buy some BK. What you'll actually get is going to be sloppy, greasy, misproportioned and, possibly, downright nasty.

While you know the drill with ads, reviews by objective, third parties should be the straight dirt without any fancy coating. That's kind of the whole point of having organizations like Consumer Reports.

World's Cheapest Car Gets Some (Limited) Upgrades

On: Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 3:26PM | By: Chris Weiss

World's Cheapest Car Gets Some (Limited) Upgrades test 2

Several years ago, India's Tata Motors introduced the Nano, which at around $2,000 was the world's cheapest car. Fast forward to today, and Tata has sold 130,000 models, well below what it had initially anticipated. It turns out, even in developing countries like India, the world's cheapest car is...well, the world's cheapest car. Tata announced this month that it is launching a revamped Nano. While the car will keep its cheap price tag, it will benefit from a few upgrades.

The new Nano gets a higher quality interior, more power, better fuel efficiency and more exterior color options. Tata, which currently owns Jaguar and Land Rover, says that it made the changes based directly on customer input.

Navigon Offers Driving Maps A La Carte

On: Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Navigon Offers Driving Maps A La Carte test 2

Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, Navigon has updated its iPhone/iPad navigation app with a feature that should prove quite popular: a la carte US maps. The update eliminates the need to download a bunch of maps that you don't need and lets you focus only on those that you'll actually put to use.

Navigon's iOS-based app used to entail downloading a full set of US maps that took 1.7 GB of memory captive. Unless you happened to be a trucker or a frequent road-tripper that meant eating up memory with a pile of maps that you'd never use. How often do you travel through all 50 states?

Element Era Ends: Ode To The Box

On: Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:13AM | By: Chris Salamone

Element Era Ends: Ode To The Box test 2

For years we heard rumors that the much-adored Honda Element would be axed due to slumping sales numbers. But, year after year, the Element reappeared in Honda’s lineup with some fresh new makeup meant to reignite a formerly strong market contender. Fans remained content – few could question the Element’s versatility, CUV efficiency, or boxy good looks. Nevertheless, as of last December, Honda announced plans to officially end the Element’s production after the 2011 model year.

The Element will be forever missed, but is survived by the all-new CR-V and Crosstour – for better or worse. Honda’s Element execution marks a significant loss in the percentage of completely box-shaped vehicles remaining in the market, and an even larger loss when the Element’s class-leading cabin space, 4WD, and fun-factor are taken into account. In light of these facts, we thought an ending to the Element era deserved a special tribute, an ode to the box.

Hertz For Heroes Program Offers $3M In Free Weekend Rentals To Returning U.S. Service People

On: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 4:54PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Illustration by author test 2

In a campaign they say is designed to “honor…U.S. troops returning home” and “thank them for their bravery, sacrifice, and dedication,” the folks at Hertz Corp. will be giving said service people 40,000 vouchers that entitle each of them to a free weekend (Friday to Monday) rental of a “midsize”—more on that later—car anywhere in North America.

If you do your part.

[It’s easy. Honest.]

Ferrari Owners To Get Dibs On Special Editions

On: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 3:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Owners To Get Dibs On Special Editions test 2

When you build cars as desired and exotic as the 599 GTO, sometimes even the most loyal among your customer base can't get their hands on one. Ferrari is currently considering a move that would ensure that its best customers get the first look at its latest models.

Ferrari is planning to start an owners club for its biggest customers. Members of the club will automatically get first right of refusal when it comes to special edition models, ensuring that Ferrari's most prized collectors are first in line for the latest models.

"I do not want our faithful collectors to miss the opportunity to buy one of our special series," Ferrari CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo explained when talking to Automotive News Europe.