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Presidential Endorsement: Obama Will Buy A Chevy Volt

On: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:54PM | By: Chris Weiss

Presidential Endorsement: Obama Will Buy A Chevy Volt test 2

The Chevy Volt may have struggled to convince 7,671 buyers to take it home last year, but at least one prominent buyer is sizing the car up for the future. Most certainly a mix of politics and business more so than earnestness, President Obama recently told the United Auto Workers that he plans to buy a Volt himself when he's out of office.  

President Obama was addressing the UAW conference in Washington in regards to the state of the automobile industry, when he made the comment last week. In a briefing with the press, White House press secretary Jay Carney told skeptical media that the speech wasn't a campaign speech, but given the prominent role that auto bailout is playing in the upcoming election, politics was certainly at play.

During the speech, President Obama told the union workers about the Volt: "I liked sitting in it. It was nice. I’ll bet it drives real good. And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself.”

VW Cross Coupe Blossoms As TDI Plug-In

On: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 1:56PM | By: Chris Salamone

VW Cross Coupe TDI Plug-in Hybrid test 2

Incredibly mouthy verbiage aside, Volkswagen’s Cross Coupe TDI Plug-in Hybrid Concept has some pretty impressive specs. Last December we got a sneak peak during the Tokyo Auto Show, but this second version of the Cross Coupe, set to debut in Geneva, looks even better. And no, we’re not just referring to the vehicle’s snazzy two-tone red paint scheme.

Volkswagen’s latest concept can also boast 302 horsepower, 512 ft.-lb. of torque, and a purported 130 MPGe.

Ford Shows Hands-Free Tailgate On New Kuga Concept

On: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 1:45PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Shows Hands-Free Tailgate On New Kuga Concept test 2

So often it seems that automakers use technology to create complicated, ambiguous features like advanced infotainment systems with social networking and touchscreen-based controls. Those features are valuable to some, annoying to others, and downright unnecessary many. Either way, it seems like there are more universally beneficial features that automakers could be using their technological know-how to build. Ford conquers one common problem using technology.

Most drivers have been in this situation at least once: You stroll up to the car with a bag full of groceries, box full of liquor, big awkward piece of furniture, etc. You don't have a free muscle to reach for your keys, and you can't open the car. The ground is wet, dirty or muddy and you'd rather not set your goods down on it. After a few minutes, you manage to balance your package delicately on the hood while manually opening the trunk. Problem solved (so long as your package doesn't slide off the hood and smash to bits).

Ford's new kick-activated tailgate system eliminates that hassle. Ford Kuga owners can lightly kick below the rear bumper to open the tailgate. They don't need their hands and can pop the trunk and slide their bags in without the usual effort.

Subaru Clear-Cuts Entire Electronic Forests For Its 2012 "Dynamic Brochures"

On: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 11:30AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Sorry, Subaru, but you were asking for it.

I'm a die-hard paper man—in most senses of the term—and as such I would rather get covered in toxic inks and be buried beneath tons of dried tree pulp than stare into this soulless flickering picture-box and “Face” or “Twit.”

So imagine my surprise when I discovered—admittedly via an online press release—that you are happy as all get-out with yourselves and your spiffy new “Dynamic Brochures” despite the fact that all you still have no way to even approximate the paper brochure “experience” electronically!


Mitsubishi i-Miev Racecar To Hit Pikes Peak

On: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 10:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mitsubishi i-Miev Racecar To Hit Pikes Peak test 2

The Mitsubishi i-Miev is a lot of things. It's inexpensive (compared to other electric vehicles). It's super efficient (the EPA's fuel economy leader). And, combining those two factors, it's an economical choice for both long and short term.

Two things the i-Miev is not: fast and powerful. The i-Miev puts out 66 hp and has a top speed around 80 mph, but that isn't stopping the company from entering the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a race version of the electric car.

Surprise, Surprise: Volt Production Halts

On: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 2:34PM | By: Chris Salamone

Chevy Volts in transit test 2

Last week General Motors announced a five week production cease and desist order on the Chevy Volt, informing 1,300 workers that production would resume April 23rd. Back in January the Volt managed a meager 603 sales which was possibly linked to rough media attention and the vehicle’s federal safety investigation. But the five month sales slump was quickly forgotten in February as Chevy managed to sell 1,023 units.

Even with redoubled efforts and recent sales pseudo-success, the good General still has 6,300 Volts sitting in inventory – a fact which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last year company executives forecasted the sale of 10,000 Volts in 2011 and 60,000 in 2012 – numbers which have been recently dropped from consideration. Now we’re stuck with at least 154 days of inventory.

That is, assuming Volt sales can climb or remain at the February level. But, in an incredible twist of fate, the Volt has yet another major sales hurdle: California.

Volkswagen Presents Swiss, Snowboard And Other Up! Concepts

On: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 1:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Presents Swiss, Snowboard And Other Up! Concepts test 2

Another auto show, another Volkswagen up! concept (from here on out we capitalize and lose the annoying exclamation point). Four of them, actually. Volkswagen has taken the wraps off four new Up concepts for the Geneva Motor Show. The concepts are all about the same in exterior design, but each features an individual theme.

VW kicks off with an Up designed to show a little respect to the host of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The Swiss Up is brushed in the red and white of the Swiss flag. Inside, it gets an Alcantara and leather interior with an interesting feature: pockets designed specifically for one of Switzerland's most iconic products - the Swiss Army Knife (VW says Victorinox, but we'd imagine Wengers would fit, too). You'd better not go reaching anywhere near those if you get pulled over for speeding, though.

A Concept With Bravado: Italdesign Giugiaro Brivido

On: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 11:00AM | By: Chris Weiss

Italdesign Giugiaro Brivido test 2

For weeks, we've been seeing teasers of the works of the great Italian design houses. The most mysterious one has been from Italdesign Giugiaro. The firm has released a few different teaser photos of it, none of which have given much of an indication what it is. In fact, even the name has been a mystery for the two weeks or so we've known about it.

Italdesign finally put a little meat on the bone. It released a new teaser of its concept car that reveals both the name and silhouette.

Toyota Blasts CNN's Revisiting Of "Unintended Acceleration" Issue As "Irresponsible" And "Grossly Innaccurate"

On: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 9:53AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Toyota Blasts CNN's Revisiting Of

Here’s how Toyota put it in its March 1 press release:

“In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, CNN has irresponsibly aired a grossly inaccurate segment on Anderson Cooper 360 that attempts to resurrect the discredited, scientifically unproven allegation that there is a hidden defect in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system that can cause unintended acceleration.”

And it gets uglier from there....

Durheimer Provides A Few More Details On Bentley SUV

On: Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 5:24PM | By: Chris Weiss

Durheimer Provides A Few More Details On Bentley SUV test 2

It's no secret that Bentley is building an SUV. While production plans are not 100 percent yet, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer has been doing some talking about the model's potential future.

Durheimer told Automotive News Europe that Bentley and parent company Volkswagen should make a decision on the SUV by the end of the year, with production to start within three years. If it gets the green light, he projects between 3,500 and 5,000 annual sales, a sizeable boost when you consider that Bentley sold about 7,000 Mulsanne and Continental models last year. Durheimer qualified the estimate as conservative.

McLaren P12 Coming This Spring

On: Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 4:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

McLaren P12 Coming This Spring test 2

We've been hearing things - good things - about the McLaren P12 for a long time now. The P12 is the spiritual successor to the F1 - one of the greatest supercars of modern times, so suffice it to say, anticipation is high. That anticipation won't last too much longer if new rumors about a spring debut prove true.

GTSpirit reports this week that the P12 will be revealed at the Monaco Grand Prix event in May. While a May debut sounds enticing, don't get your hopes up. It's not clear if the Monaco unveiling (if it even happens) will be a public unveiling or one of those quiet, shadowy showings for ultra-wealthy clients. So we may have to scour the Internet for leaked information and photos rather than official details. Hopefully, we'll get something in May, though.