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Toyota Looks To Mimic Nissan For Success

On: Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Salamone


Toyota Half-Annual Results test 2

Dire circumstances call for special measures. Usually big corporations avoid positive competition name dropping, especially with the ever-present specter of shareholder power. However, at Toyota’s basement midterm financial meeting the company made a few intended references to a chief competitor: Nissan. While Toyota has suffered an operating loss of 32.6 billion yen (or $417 million dollars) to date, Nissan has recorded an operating profit of $309.7 billion yen ($3.88 billion dollars) despite similar obstacles in the form of massive earthquakes and Thai flooding.


Toyota Recalls 420,000 Cars!

On: Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 9:09AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Toyota Recalls 420,000 Cars! test 2

Toyota voluntarily announced today one of the biggest recalls in automotive history, hauling back 420,200 vehicles for a faulty crankshaft pulley on one of its company V6 engines.  Models included in this are the 2004 Avalon, 2004-2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna, and Solara, 2006 Highlander HV, as well as 2004-2005 Lexus ES330, 2004-2005 RX330, and 2006 RX400h models.

Thankfully no accidents have been reported, but Toyota isn't taking any chances. If you own one of these models and hear any strange noises coming from the engine bay, you can call the company to make an appointment ASAP. In terms of the technical side of things, Toyota says the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley might not be aligned correctly with the inner ring, which could ultimately result in power steering pump belt coming detached from the crank pulley and creating a sudden change in steering.  

Read on for the full report from the Toyota pressroom ...


Volkswagen T2 Returns To Europe, Judgment Day?

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 5:24PM | By: Chris Salamone


Volkswagen T2 test 2

Despite all kinds of inflammatory claims that Volkswagen will soon be the largest automaker in the world, the company clearly has their marketing act together. It’s no secret that hordes of adoring fans support the newly redesigned VW Bulli concept and VW seems to be toying with our emotions further by reoffering old school VW T2 camper vans in the Netherlands. For European citizens, the opportunity to own an original VW van must be tempting, but true die-hard fans can still purchase them in Brazil. So what does it all mean?! Could the T2’s reintroduction be a sign of the second coming of VW’s landmark vehicle? A sort of quasi-judgment day?

Thus far, VW is keeping their focus strictly on T2s in the Netherlands and has not offered any real evidence that T2s would be anything other than a nifty collector item. We can only hope that these T2s actually represent a convenient tester vehicle for the European camper van market.


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts Of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 4:06PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Toyota Supra test 2

It could be argued that the Toyota Supra is in fact, the king of all performance imports. Not the entire line of them, mind you, but the Mark IV rendition available in the United States from 1993-1998. These cars were the perfect combination of sleek, stylish good looks, strong factory performance, and almost unlimited mod potential. The from-the-factory version was a stout sports car in its own right. Opting for the turbo model (and what self-respecting man wouldn't?), owners were privy to a very impressive list of performance pieces including a 2JZ-GTE twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that put down a lofty (and possibly underrated) 320-horsepower and 315-lb.-ft. of torque. The turbos on the Mark IV mimicked those on its rival RX-7, operating sequentially as opposed to simultaneously. Exhaust would first spin only one turbo in order to get the engine up and off its feet quickly so as to avoid the notorious "turbo lag" that so many imports were stigmatized with possessing. The first turbo would not only help produce low-end torque (below 2,000 rpm) that was comparable, if not better, than most rival American V8 engines, it would then feed the second turbo and help increase high RPM boost (above 4,000 rpm), making the Supra a force to be reckoned with at any speed, especially on the top end.


 

Consumers Digest Names Seven Chrysler Vehicles A Best Buy

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 3:03PM | By: Peter C Sessler


Chrysler 300 test 2

Consumers Digest announced its annual automotive “Best Buys” which included seven Chrysler vehicles (eight—if you count the Fiat 500). That's more than double the number of “Best Buys” Chrysler received during the 2010 and 2011 model years. In the past year and a half, Chrysler has introduced 16 all-new or significantly refreshed models, and many awards have been rolling in ever since.

The Consumers Digest automotive “Best Buys” issue is an annual publication in which editors judge vehicles on many build quality and performance attributes such as ergonomics, fit and finish, utility, acceleration, fuel economy and many more. They also look at cost of ownership variables such as resale value, warranty, maintenance costs and annual operating expenses. The top vehicles in 12 separate categories are then chosen as “Best Buys” by the publication.

Here are the Chrysler Group vehicles that received Consumers Digest's “Best Buys” for the 2012 model year: Chrysler 300 and Town & Country; Jeep Grand Cherokee; and Dodge Durango, Grand Caravan, Challenger and Ram 1500.


BMW Reaches New Heights With 139,276 Vehicles Sold In October

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 1:04PM | By: Peter C Sessler


BMW Reaches New Heights With 139,276 Vehicles Sold In October test 2

At this rate, BMW is on track for hitting a new record in 2011; sales were up 8.3% in October 2011.

BMW Group sales recorded solid growth once again in October. With 139,276 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand automobiles delivered worldwide (+8.3% / previous year 128,598), the BMW Group achieved its best-ever October sales result. A total of 1,371,863 (previous year 1,190,796) vehicles have been delivered to customers since the start of the year—an increase of 15.2% compared with the first ten months of the previous year.


Zenvo ST1 50S Lands In America This Week

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 12:02PM | By: Chris Weiss


Zenvo ST1 50S Lands In America This Week test 2

I've been getting pretty fed up with random supercar startups lately. It seems like any disorganized team of motorheads with a computer and half-decent design program can spit out a sports car, throw an outsourced V-8 engine and carbon body panels into it and call it the next great supercar—nevermind the fact that they don't have the capital or wherewithal to actually build it and test its ridiculous performance claims.

The Zenvo ST1 50S reminds me that just because a supercar brand comes from an unlikely place (Denmark) and is new to the market doesn't mean that it's producing formulaic vaporware. The company's ST1 actually breaks away from the derivative masses and offers a mean, powerful and, most importantly, original look. And it boasts some of the hottest performance numbers in the world to boot.

The US will officially welcome this new, near-$2 million supercar on Wednesday.


Bonhams To Offer A Four-Pack Of "Kustomizer" Rick Dore's Finest At Petersen Sale

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 10:57AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by Author test 2

Though he may not have as famous a name as Foose, Coddington or Barris, Rick Dore nonetheless has turned out some of the finest customized vehicles extant, all of which can stand up to comparison with just about anything those “big name” designers have done.

Says Terry Cook, a former editor at Hot Rod magazine: "Rick Dore creations are unquestionably the very best in the world. He has the ability to build cars and trucks that, on one hand, represent the epitome of traditionally flavored custom cars, but at the same time he reaches out and goes where nobody has gone before."

Bonhams has brought four of Dore’s “Kreations” to its “Classic California: Collectors’ Motorcycles, Motorcars and Related Memorabilia” sale, each from the same mysterious “prominent Texas collector" as the Minority Report  “Lexus 2054” and many other vehicles at their Nov. 12th sale at the Petersen Museum in L.A.

His (or her) loss can be your gain, however, as even the tippy-top of each auction estimate figure is a fraction of what that vehicle cost to build. So if you’re looking for a Kwartet of Kustom Kars—OK, three Kars and one Chopper—register to bid RIGHT NOW….


Rolls Royce Recall: 2010 Ghost Models Prone To Fire

On: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 9:04AM | By: Chris Weiss


Rolls Royce Recall: 2010 Ghost Models Prone To Fire test 2

In a move related to the BMW recall of more than 30,000 vehicles announced last week, Rolls Royce is recalling close to 600 Ghost models. Rolls Royce is part of BMW AG, and the Ghost is experiencing the same issue with its electric auxiliary water pump that affected the BMW models.

The last thing that you really want when purchasing an ultra-premium sedan is to watch it burn to the ground, but that's apparently what could happen if the problem goes unchecked. The circuit board for the auxiliary water pump is prone to overheating, an issue that could cause a car fire. The problem could also cause the pump or other engine components to burn.


Classic Car Cultist: Subaru BRAT

On: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 3:13PM | By: Chris Salamone


Subaru Brat test 2

Remember that insanely popular kid from high school? The one with the mullet and cigarette pack carefully rolled into his sleeve? What made him popular was not that outlandish haircut, and certainly not any strange ability to communicate better than the rest of us, nor was it the product of a highly confused and misguided generation. Instead, his claim to fame can only be attributed to the one universally recognized symbol of a ‘top of the food chain’ status. Say hello to the Subaru BRAT.

The BRAT, a clever acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter, was a car which defied categorization. Part car, part utility truck, Subaru essentially chopped the rear top off of the company’s four-wheel drive station wagon and released the BRAT as a competitor for the then heavily popular Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero market.


Volvo Unveils Pricey Polestar Tuning Option

On: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 1:45PM | By: Chris Salamone


Polestar Volvo C30 test 2

Volvo Cars of North America announced yesterday that factory-approved tuning software would be available for purchase next week. The software can be mated to any new or slightly used Volvos mated with T5 engines sold from model year 2008 and up. Volvo enthusiasts will have something to smile about because official Polestar performance upgrades do not affect that almighty factory warranty, so we can all avoid any sad buyer’s remorse commonly associated with performance purchases and voided warranties.

There is some bad news mixed with the good, however. Volvo’s Polestar tuning option runs a jaw-dropping $1,295 installed, yet adds a mere 23 horsepower and 29 lb.-ft. of torque to upgraded vehicles.