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Detroit News Columnist Blasts GM For Saab Collapse

On: Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 12:05PM | By: Chris Salamone


Saab Factory Workers Departing After Being Informed Of Bankruptcy test 2

Issued today, Daniel Howes delivered a gut-wrenching opinion column in The Detroit News which effectively decried Saab as the ‘neglected stepchild’ of GM’s scheme for worldwide automotive colonization. Considering Saab CEO Victor Muller filed for bankruptcy on December 19, after years of questionable GM leadership and a final rejection of the proposed Chinese restructuring, Howes’ article would appear to be accurate.

However, in the spirit of fairness, let us not forget that a theoretical opportunity still remains during the bankruptcy process for a buyer to step in – a fact that GM and Saab execs are certainly aware of. Further, GM’s initial Saab makeover was anything but neglected. The company gave Saab the full American treatment, intended to take Saab from the quirky nether realm of Swedish aircraft devotees to a mainstream public.

The problem: GM failed to capitalize on the makings of Saab’s trademark oddball practicality.


New Automotive YouTube Channel 'Drive' Launched

On: Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 10:03AM | By: Chris Weiss


New Automotive YouTube Channel 'Drive' Launched test 2

With the success of shows like Top Gear, the automotive category has exploded in terms of television and video content. Discovery is making a dedicated auto channel, more and more auto shows seem to show up on the networks, and auto video content is booming over on YouTube. In fact, there will soon be a new, all-auto YouTube channel. Drive will start delivering your daily speed fix this January.

"Drive celebrates the culture of cars. On the road, to the races, to the factories, to the studios -- to the places you can't go"-- that sounds like a winner for any channel, but especially one you can get for free and watch nearly anywhere over the Web.


Four-Door, Convertible Supercar? Savage Rivale Roadyacht

On: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 3:33PM | By: Chris Weiss


Savage Rivale Roadyacht test 2

Just when I thought I'd seen everything there was to see in terms of supercars from random countries, here's a new one: a four-door super-roadster from the Netherlands. It's the Savage Rivale Roadyacht GTS.

The Roadyacht seems nothing if not unlikely. Supercars normally earn their "super" by keeping weight as low as possible. That means a small, two-seat, two-door configuration. So the idea of a four-door supercar is already a little strange. Then you throw on a removable top, which only adds weight, and it's even stranger (figure they'd make a hard-top version first).

Also, the "Roadyacht" name sounds like the perfect name for a limousine or large, executive ultra-premium sedan. A name that conjures images of huge, slow ships just isn't right for a supercar, GTS or no.


Autoblog Catches V40 During Snowy Sojourn

On: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 1:12PM | By: Chris Salamone


Volvo V40 test 2

Just last week we received a teaser image of Volvo’s upcoming V40 model, set to fill the recently vacant pants of a deceased V50. While we initially thought Volvo’s model lineup gap filler would be labeled the V30, as the vehicle is basically a five-door C30, Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby confirmed otherwise.

Say hello to the V40, caught by Autoblog’s savvy spy photos at CarPix during a reenactment of the Great Blizzard of 1978.

Well, not really. But, whatever the context we can draw at least one conclusion from Volvo’s winter conditions testing. Up until this point we’ve only been able to assume the V40 would be equipped with front-wheel-drive and mated to a model-topping 240 horsepower turbo four-cylinder. Although Volvo has not explicitly mentioned an AWD variant, these winter testing photos might suggest that Volvo is – at least – considering the matter.


 

Nissan Seat Technology Keeps You Awake And Alert

On: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Seat Technology Keeps You Awake And Alert test 2

Anyone that's ever taken a road trip knows that staying awake on a long drive gets difficult after a while. There's a lot of boring, monotonous country out there and driving through it for hours on end is bound to make you yawn and blink a little more frequently than usual. Of course, falling asleep at the wheel isn't an option and sometimes you have to just chug caffeine, blast freezing outside air onto your face, slap yourself and otherwise power through. Nissan believes that it has yet another solution: fatigue-reducing seats.


Ward's Picks 10 Best Engines, Direct Injection Dominates

On: Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 4:57PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ward's Picks 10 Best Engines, Direct Injection Dominates test 2

There are all kinds of factors that go into a car-buying decision, but perhaps none so elemental as the car's engine. What good is a car if its engine is unreliable, clunky, inefficient, prone to breakdown, etc.? Ward's recognizes the key importance of a vehicle's engine and annually releases a list of its 10 Best picks. On the surface, consumers would probably be more interested in a list of best cars, but given the importance of the engine, it's quite informative to identify what the experts consider the elite of the elite.

This year's list represents the 18th annual best-engine list from Ward's. The list awards engines that are affordable for most consumers (vehicle priced below $55,000), integrate well into their respective vehicles, boost horsepower and torque, and offer a good sound.


Rob Dyrdek Slays Sonic Kick Flip [Video]

On: Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 1:32PM | By: Chris Salamone


Rob Dyrdek Completes Sonic Kick Flip test 2

As of Saturday, Chevrolet has demonstrated advertising supremacy in the subcompact field. Forget about strange animals being arranged into a Honda Fit or fancy endorsements from Leno’s Garage, no amount of marketing genius can possibly top Rob Dyrdek’s Chevy Sonic kick flip stunt. Although classically reserved for skateboards, a kick flip requires a full 360 degree lateral rotation in mid-flight, and Dyrdek unabashedly achieved this feat whilst strapped to the helm of a stunt-modified Chevy Sonic.

What started with Sonics being launched from high altitude has transformed into an ad campaign challenging consumers to a veritable match of one-upsmanship (aka the ‘Game of Firsts’) on letsdothis.com – where consumers can attempt wacky public challenges like Sidewalk Limbo or Urban Camouflage and earn points in the hopes of winning a brand new Chevy Sonic.

Since you’re all wondering: no, a 360 degree flying Sonic rotation is not listed as a recommended ‘First’.


North American Car Of The Year Finalists Announced

On: Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 11:59AM | By: Chris Weiss


North American Car Of The Year Finalists Announced test 2

The panel of 50 journalists that has a say in such things has released its finalists for the North American Car of the Year. The Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat are all vying for the award on the car side. Over in the truck department, the BMW X3, the Honda CR-V and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque are the three finalists.

The finalists represent all of the major auto manufacturing regions: Asia, Europe and North America. Past winners have represented this global affiliation, with 10 having come from North America, four from Europe, three from Japan and one from Korea. On the truck side, North American vehicles have won 12 awards, Japanese vehicles four and Europeans two.


Land Rover To Add Longer Evoque

On: Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 10:02AM | By: Chris Weiss


Land Rover To Add Longer Evoque test 2

When I first saw a headline about a bigger Evoque, I thought "Isn't that the Range Rover Sport? Wasn't the entire point of the Evoque to be a smaller, less expensive alternative to Range Rover's other SUVs?" But, inspired by the success of its smallest model to date, Land Rover is considering adding a larger Evoque model, which would occupy the space between the current three- and five-door Evoque models and the Range Rover Sport.

Autocar reports that the idea of a larger Evoque was conceptualized as a combination of the Evoque's success--which includes a recent Motor Trend designation as "SUV of the Year", Land Rover's greater success and the growing sales of competitor lines like the BMW X and Audi Q.


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?


Lamborghini Aventador Roadster Coming To Geneva

On: Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:54AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Aventador Roadster Coming To Geneva test 2

With the Tokyo Motor Show complete, the major auto shows are officially over this year. That means that attention has turned to the auto shows of 2012, particularly the big winter shows like Detroit and Geneva. One of the latest 2012 auto-show rumors is that Lamborghini will unveil a convertible version of the new Aventador LP700-4 at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

A post on the Teamspeed forums indicates that the Aventador LP700-4 Roadster is officially ready and will make its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, which opens to the press on March 6. According to the poster, the actual car looks even better than any of the renderings that have been floating around the Web.