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The New Tesla Roadster? PG Elektrus Elise-Based Sports EV

On: Sat, Jan 28, 2012 at 9:09AM | By: Chris Weiss

PG Elektrus test 2

The Tesla Roadster was discontinued in the US last year and there's at least a few years before we see a replacement. One German manufacturer is stepping into the void and offering a Roadster-esque EV also built atop a Lotus chassis. The PG Elektrus promises even more all-electric performance than the Roadster...and a whole lot more price.

The Elektrus may look more Fisker Karma with that toothy grille and vehicle-mounted solar panel, but it bears more in common with the Roadster. Like the Roadster, it owes its underpinnings to Lotus. While Lotus stopped production of North American Elise and Exige models due to the loss of an airbag exemption, it continues to offer them in other markets.

Chevy Giving Away 20 Vehicles During Super Bowl

On: Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 4:58PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Giving Away 20 Vehicles During Super Bowl test 2

Chevy is really banking on this year's Super Bowl. Not only did it run the Route 66 contest to determine its Super Bowl commercial, now it has a new contest for viewers. Similar to the TweetDrive game that Lexus ran during the playoffs, Chevy's GameTime is a Twitter-based trivia game. Not so similar to the Lexus game, Chevy will give away 20 vehicles to lucky winners.

The GameTime app is available for free download from the App store, Android App Market and over the Web at Chevy.com/gametime. The minute that you download the app, you have the chance to win instantly. You'll also be assigned a license plate number, and if it shows up during Chevy's Super Bowl ad, you'll win one of the 20 vehicles.

Consumer Reports Finds Shrinking Perception Gap

On: Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 3:22PM | By: Chris Salamone

Consumer Reports Survey test 2

Hot off the presses, Consumer Reports has discovered that the gap of automaker brand perception is shrinking. The 2012 Car-Brand Perception Survey, conducted at the Consumer Reports National Research Center, randomly polled 2,045 adults across the country and uncovered some shocking results: specifically that brand leaders no longer stand out like they used to.

And while the nation’s top 10 favorites include an ever-decreasing margin of favor, some folks might also be a bit surprised to see their beloved Jeep as the 8th worst perceived automaker polled.

“Dramatic events in the automotive industry seem to be affecting how consumers view auto brands,” said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports’ deputy editor for autos online. “It is harder for a single brand to stand out among the competitive field. Many brands are starting to get strong in the qualities we are asking about.”

Charger SRT8 Super Bee - Serious!

On: Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 1:42PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Charger SRT8 Super Bee test 2

Dodge, this is beneath you. We really thought all of this nonsense was over and done with. And with the economy in the state it’s in, you really should realize that people are starting to understand what true value really is all about. However, you have chosen to bring about the ... ahem ... mighty ... 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee. Oh, great! A legendary name plate that one would equate with a better model than your garden-variety SRT8 Charger, right? Well, muscle car fans, don't get your hopes up.

The Dodge Super Bee seems like it is a bit of a bust, at least to one humble writer. Granted, it is difficult to call a RWD car that puts down 470-hp and 470-lb.-ft. of torque through an overhead valve 6.4-liter thumping V8 a bust, but that's just the thing -- it's the same motor as the 'regular' SRT8. No difference. The transmission is the same 5-speed automatic as the non-Super Bee. Wheelbase? Same. How about the base price? Yup, right about the same 42 grand as the normal SRT8.


Chevy Dealers Say 'NO!' To The Volt

On: Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 9:59AM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Dealers Say 'NO!' To The Volt test 2

The Chevy Volt may not have been the biggest product flop of 2011, but it wasn't exactly a runaway success either. GM fell about 2,400 units short of its original 10,000 goal, and the Volt was the subject of some seriously bad publicity in the form of a battery fire and NHTSA investigation. As Chevy moves on to year 2 of the Volt, it has a new problem on its hands: Its own network of dealers don't want to stock it.

According to Automotive News, GM is having trouble distributing Volts to dealers around the country. A GM spokesperson blamed the down orders on the ongoing NHTSA investigation, but some of the admissions from dealers indicate a deeper problem.

Volkswagen Releases 'Bark Side' Super Bowl Teaser

On: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 3:15PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Releases 'Bark Side' Super Bowl Teaser test 2

Super Bowl advertising might just be getting out of hand when we start seeing ads for ads. Commercials are, after all, nothing more than thinly veiled vehicles for picking our pockets by way of manipulating our minds. Should we really be getting this excited about them?

In Volkswagen's case, the excitement is somewhat warranted. Last year's "The Force" commercial was largely hailed as one of the best ads of the big game. So everyone's either rooting for or against VW in its attempt to follow that commercial up this year. So far, VW isn't disappointing, unveiling a creative teaser for this year's Super Bowl ad.

2013 Nissan GT-R Packs More Power, More Price

On: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 1:52PM | By: Chris Weiss

2013 Nissan GT-R Packs More Power, More Price test 2

The Nissan GT-R has long been a world leader in performance-price ratio. While it remains so in its latest form, the price is slipping ever closer to six figures. Godzilla's appetite for power and performance grows, and consumers pay the price.

The redesigned 2012 GT-R received its first major power increase since the model launched. Power spiked to 530 hp from around 485 hp. Just a year later, Nissan found fit to boost the power once again, this time to 545 hp. Torque also receives a lift from 448 to 463 lb.-ft.

That power boost helps provide some notable improvements to the GT-R's performance. The 2013 model breaks the 3.0-second to 60 mph mark, boasting a 2.7-second time. The 2012 model took 3.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. The 2013 GT-R is also expected to lap the 'Ring a little faster - around 7:20.

Chevy Selects A Winner For Its Super Bowl Ad

On: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 10:24AM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Selects A Winner For Its Super Bowl Ad test 2

If you happened to watch the NFC championship game between the Giants and 49ers on Sunday, you may have noticed that it watched a little like the Super Bowl. And we're not just talking all-out on-the-field action ending in a game-winning field goal in overtime, but also the new, elaborate commercials that had the feel of Super Bowl ads. One of those ads - "Chevy Happy Grad" - is the winner of GM's Super Bowl ad contest.

The commercial was submitted by Zach Borst, a 26-year-old aspiring filmmaker from Long Island. It took home the top spot in the Route 66 contest.

The commercial depicts a young guy on graduation day who comes outside to see his graduation present. He totally misses the mini-fridge with a bow on it that his father is standing next to, believing that the neighbor's bright-yellow Chevy Camaro Convertible is his gift.

Rumor Mill: Dodge Challenger To Become Barracuda

On: Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 5:03PM | By: Chris Salamone

1968 Plymouth Barracuda test 2

If we learned anything from Detroit this year, it’s that American automakers are ripe with engineering innovation, bold design plans, and business strategy. And, to top it all off, rumors are popping up all over the internet of one particularly enticing possibility. A few credible sources mentioned by Motor Trend speculate that Dodge intends to replace the current Challenger with another blast from the past, the former Plymouth Barracuda.

But don’t expect a revival of the Plymouth nameplate, this Cuda might surface as soon as 2014 – just in time for the model’s 50 year anniversary.

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder To Debut Next Year

On: Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 11:44AM | By: Chris Weiss

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder To Debut Next Year test 2

After bursting onto the scene at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show followed by ensuing rumors and reports about production and price, the Porsche 918 Spyder has been on an extended headline hiatus. Until now. A new report about the car's launch and production design has updated what we know about Porsche's hybrid supercar.

Unlike all the speculation and rumors that go on when it comes to a high-profile supercar in the vein of the 918, this one comes directly from Porsche by way of its in-house Christophorus Magazine. We can therefore take it as a "yes" rather than a "maybe."

Bentley Looking To Lure Maybach's Customers

On: Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 1:53PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley  Looking To Lure Maybach's Customers test 2

Last year, a year in which Daimler said that it would be discontinuing the Maybach brand, the ultra-premium brand barely broke 200 sales. Lest you think that economic conditions had something to do with it, Rolls Royce set a yearly sales record with 3,538 models, a 31 percent increase over 2010 sales. Bentley had an equally successful year, experiencing a 37 percent sales increase to 7,003 sales overall. Though Maybach may not have many customers to offer, Rolls Royce and Bentley are hopeful that former Maybach customers will move over to their respective offerings.

In November of last year, Mercedes announced that it would wind Maybach down by 2013. Not surprisingly, that has motivated one of Maybach's main competitors to hit the mailbox and telephones in order to drum up business.

Though Maybach's paltry customer totals don't make for a huge business opportunity, they definitely give Rolls and Bentley an opportunity to advance their footprints. Bentley has been particularly proactive in reaching out to Maybach's customer list. According to Reuters, the Crewe crew has begun contacting Maybach owners to set up VIP tours of Bentley's headquarters.