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Buick Hires Supermodel Marisa Miller For Ad Campaign (Video)

On: Sat, May 12, 2012 at 11:02AM | By: Chris Weiss

Buick Hires Supermodel Marisa Miller For Ad Campaign test 2

It looks like Buick is determined to rectify its ambiguous branding in one strong move. It has hired on supermodel Marisa Miller to star in a new ad campaign around its Enclave. Though Kate Upton may be getting all the buzz these days, Miller is still the type of blonde bombshell that delivers instant electricity to anything she appears in.

One of the problems that Buick faces in today's market is that it's a wishy-washy brand without a firm definition. It's a sort of middle-road, semi-luxury brand between Chevy and GM. But even that definition isn't really a definition at all. And in reality, Buick is known more as a brand for the older generation, especially since Oldsmobile (which brought the “old” right in the brand name) was discontinued.

Ferrari Takes Heat Over Smoking Donuts On Great Wall Of China

On: Fri, May 11, 2012 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Takes Heat Over Smoking Donuts On Great Wall Of China test 2

In what must be one of the biggest publicity and advertising misfires in the modern world, Ferrari - more specifically one of its dealerships - is in some hot water with the Chinese government. The problem? Someone from a Nanjing-based Ferrari dealership decided it prudent to do tire-smoking donuts atop the Great Wall of China.

The incident occurred when the dealership rented out a piece of the Great Wall of China in doing publicity for the new special edition 458 Italia. Apparently just getting some footage of the 458 Italia on and around the Great Wall wasn't enough for at least one member of this braintrust, because he got behind the wheel and proceeded to do donuts, burning tire marks into one of the greatest architectural achievements in the history of man. Good job, bro.

Toyota Supra Successor To Get 400-HP Hybrid Powertrain

On: Fri, May 11, 2012 at 1:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Supra Successor To Get 400-HP Hybrid Powertrain test 2

The rumored Toyota Supra successor may be taking a move upmarket. Instead of battling mid-level sports cars like the Nissan 370Z, it may be battling flagships like the Honda NSX. A new report is the second we've read that gifts the Supra revival a 400-hp hybrid powertrain that could help it to be Toyota's halo.

We first read about a possible 400-hp hybrid drive unit late last year in Motor Trend. The latest issue of the magazine gives a few more details on the model, which isn't expected to bring back the Supra name.

TechShop Fuels Ford IP Folio

On: Fri, May 11, 2012 at 11:42AM | By: Chris Salamone

TechShop Detroit test 2

Sometimes US automakers get it right. TechShop Detroit, a recent addition to Ford’s Dearborn product development campus, is the perfect example. Although originally from California, TechShop is a DIY workshop business which offers a wide array of cutting edge (pun intended) tools to paying members. And the best part: Ford is working closely with TechShop to incentivize employee inventions to bolster the automaker’s patent portfolio.

Ford already has about 17,000 pending and issued patents, but expect that number to skyrocket in the coming years. Ford Global Technologies now offers a free three-month membership to TechShop Detroit for potentially patentable ideas. The company projects that 2,000 incentive memberships will be awarded this year…and more to come in the future.


Ford Recalls 10,500 New Cars!

On: Fri, May 11, 2012 at 9:47AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Ford Mustang test 2

This week Ford issued a recall of 10,500 select 2012-2013 Mustangs, 2012 Expeditions and Navigators, and 2011-2012 F-150s due to what they claim is a transmission range sensor that was calibrated incorrectly. Basically, this means that when the driver shifts into what he or she thinks is reverse, the car may not actually be in reverse. Or another scenario may be that when the transmission actually is shifted into reverse, the "R" on the dashboard may not light up to let the driver know the car is in gear. The last issue that may be caused by this defective sensor is that even though the car is in reverse, the reverse lights on the rear of the car may not actually light up, which could cause a whole host of issues for any adults or children that happen to be walking behind one of these cars at just the wrong moment.  

Ford is planning to notify owners beginning at the end of June, but owners may contact Ford before then at 1-866-436-7332 to schedule an appointment for a free inspect and replacement of the sensor if necessary. Read on for the full report from Safercar.gov.

Convertible Scion FR-S May Show Up Next Year

On: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 4:57PM | By: Chris Weiss

Convertible Scion FR-S May Show Up Next Year test 2

After years of development, the pieces are all in place for the Toyota GT 86 (Scion FR-S) and Subaru BRZ. The models went on sale a few weeks ago and should start showing up on roadways soon. Next step? An open-topped FR-S/GT 86.

If Toyota is serious about bringing back its past reputation for sporty, fun-to-drive cars, it won't be able to ignore the sports convertible segment. An entry level sports coupe might be a fun ride, but it doesn't offer quite the same experience as a summer jaunt down a coastal highway with the top down. Toyota needs a convertible to return some excitement to driving.

Will The Car Of The Future Hover?

On: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 3:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Will The Car Of The Future Hover? test 2

Though its definition may be disguised to those that don't speak German, the Volkswagen is, quite literally, the 'people's car'. Last year, the German automaker put a whole new emphasis on this definition by launching the People's Car Project in China, a Web-based collaborative platform for new product and technology ideas. At the Beijing Motor Show this month, Volkswagen showed the first three concepts to come out of the project.

Volkswagen is quite happy with the success that the People's Car Project (we feel bad calling it "PCP") has had over its first 11 months. The website has attracted 33 million visitors and inspired about 119,000 unique ideas. It's been so successful, in fact, Volkswagen is extending its run indefinitely (it was originally planned for a single year).

OUCH! Toyota RAV4 EV Starts Over $50K

On: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 12:30PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota RAV4 EV test 2

As promised, Toyota debuted its RAV4 EV at the 2012 Electric Vehicles Symposium this week. If you were awaiting the RAV4 EV with high hopes that it would give you an intriguing electric option with more space and utility than the tiny city cars that currently carry electric powertrains, you had better have a decent bank account. The RAV4 EV will start at $50,610 (including delivery) when it goes on sale this summer.

Given the high premium demanded by electric vehicles, we're not entirely surprised at the high price of the RAV4 EV. Still, that price looks much more Lexus than Toyota and is more than double the price of the gas-powered RAV4. Toyota doesn't even mention an all-wheel-drive option, so while the RAV4 EV may be the "only all-electric SUV on the market," it won't really be a proper SUV and won't have the same utility or all-conditions driving capability. It's basically another "twice the price for half the car" EV.

Google-Equipped Toyota Prius Is First Car With Driver's License

On: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 10:44AM | By: Chris Weiss

Google-Equipped Toyota Prius Is First Car With Driver's License test 2

After passing a law opening the door for self-driven cars, the state of Nevada is following with the bureaucratic actions necessary to put those cars on the road. The state's Department of Motor Vehicles has approved the very first autonomous vehicle license. And the Google Toyota Prius in question is not happy with how its picture turned out.

In last year's bill, the Nevada legislature authorized the Department of Transportation to devise rules and regulations for autonomous vehicles. Google was one of the strongest supporters of the bills, as it sought to use Nevada roadways to test its fleet of self-driving Toyota Prii.

Fuel Economy Drops For New Cars In April

On: Wed, May 9, 2012 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Fuel Economy Drops For New Cars In April test 2

Last month, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reported that the average fuel economy for new cars had broken 24 MPG for the first time. The 24 MPG figure didn't last long, though, as April's average dropped right back down to the same level as it was in February.

Despite the fact that some key hybrids increased twofold from April 2010, overall fuel economy still dipped to 23.9 MPG from 24.1 MPG in March. UMTRI cites a reprieve in gas-price increases in late April as a possible explanation. Prior to April, fuel economy had been on the rise all year - from 23.6 MPG in January to 23.9 MPG in February to 24.1 MPG in March.

Volkswagen Considering An Up! Crossover

On: Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:47PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Considering An Up! Crossover test 2

Based upon the strong reaction that its up! production models and concepts have inspired, Volkswagen appears ready to expand its green city car line. It's currently considering an up! crossover based upon the cross up! concept it showed in Frankfurt.

It's no surprise that Volkswagen is considering expanding the up! line. It has been showing up! concepts at nearly every major auto show of late - including a quartet at this year's Geneva Motor Show. Meanwhile, the up! production car, which launched in Europe recently, has won some major accolades, including World Car of the Year.