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And Car Reviews

Tornadoes Affect Auto Production In The South

On: Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 4:31PM | By: Tim Healey

Tornadoes Affect Auto Production  test 2

Severe storms that swept through the South spawning tornadoes have done plenty of damage this week. Not only does the death toll stand around 250 as this is written, but the damage is expected to affect automotive production as well.

Production at plants managed by Toyota and Mercedes-Benz in Alabama has been halted due to the storms.

Mercedes-Benz has a plant located just north of Tuscaloosa, which is among the hardest-hit areas. A mile-wide tornado struck the area on Wednesday, causing damage to the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International assembly plant. The GL, M, and R-Class models are produced there.

Cadillac Moving Up Market Into Rolls Royce Territory

On: Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 4:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cadillac Moving Up Market Into Rolls Royce Territory  test 2

If you want an American-made luxury car of the utmost quality and prestige, chances are you'll be looking at your local Cadillac dealership. But if you want a car of the utmost luxury and prestige, and you're not limiting yourself to American cars, well then, it's a Rolls Royce or Bentley… Maybe a Maybach… But probably not.

Well, if a new rumor proves true, you may one day have the option of a Rolls/Bentley-level Cadillac. Car and Driver reports that Caddy is considering a possible ultra-premium sedan that's of the same caliber.

The magazine's report is based on conversations with insiders and points to the possibility of Cadillac building an RR Phantom-rivaling sedan on top of its rear-wheel Omega platform. The decision is far from made at GM and Car and Driver expresses considerable skepticism that it will ever happen. But it's hard to not be excited by the prospect.

Chevy Volt/Nissan Leaf Win Top Safety Honors From IIHS

On: Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

hevy Volt/Nissan Leaf Win Top Safety Honors From IIHS  test 2

Proving that the respective awards of World Car of the Year and World Green Car of the Year weren't just feel-good flukes, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt both scored at the top of the class in another important dynamic: safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finished up what it referred to as the first U.S. plug-in electric tests, and awarded both of the alternatively powered superstars top ratings.

1/4 Strip Tease: GT-R, Z06, And GT500

On: Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Salamone

GT-R, Z06, and GT500  test 2

A lot of people are excited about the new Lexus LFA supercar, and with good reason. Back in 2010 the Lexus LFA defeated the Nissan GT-R in an all-guns-blazing drag race. Despite that victory and loads of media attention since, critics suggest the LFA is overpriced compared to the almost equally athletic, yet $300,000 cheaper, GT-R. Those critics will have even more ammunition to fire against the LFA for 2012 when they see this video which demonstrates how less expensive supercars are equally glorious.

In the April, 2011 issue of Motor Trend three epic supercars were set against each other in a five-figure full speed brawl. What sets these cars apart from other supercars? Simple, they don’t require a major league baseball deal or draining a lifetime savings account to purchase.


McLaren To Introduce New Car Every Year

On: Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 2:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

McLaren To Introduce New Car Every Year test 1-1

McLaren has made it clear that it plans to offer a robust family of cars. Those cars are expected to include an F1-succeeding flagship and a roadster. According to a conversation between McLaren managing director Antony Sheriff and The Detroit Bureau, McLaren is going to hit the ground running, introducing a new car every year.

While there's no indication of how many cars McLaren plans to add to its line, or what those cars will be, Sheriff told the Bureau: "Between the various models, we’ll have something new about once a year."

Who'd Ferrari Pay Off? 458 Italia Wins 'Performance Car of the Year'

On: Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Who'd Ferrari Pay Off? 458 Italia Wins 'Performance Car of the Year' test 1-1

You know when the Ferrari 458 was named Automobile's 'Performance Car of the Year' I thought: "The editor of Automobile must have a classic Ferrari sitting in a hidden garage somewhere." Paying off a single magazine, while unethical, really wouldn't be that hard. But paying off a panel of journalists from around the world? Now that seems a little more complicated. How'd Maranello get that done?

It's not that the Ferrari 458 Italia is a bad car—it's a beautiful, hard-charging car. It's just that with months' worth of headlines on the car's tendency to—you know, catch fire—you'd have thunk that the auto journalists that wrote those headlines might have chosen a worthy competitor that didn't have a history of bursting into a ball of fiery destruction.

Sub-$10,000 Car Is A Thing Of The Past

On: Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 9:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

Sub-$10,000 Car Is a Thing of the Past test 2

Last week, Hyundai introduced the U.S.-spec 2012 Accent at the 2011 New York Auto Show. The new car brings a lot of extras to the table: extra miles-per-gallon (40 mpg), extra doors, and, of course, extra price. What's interesting about that is that the rather dramatic leap in base price—$12,445 up from $10,705—eliminates the car's designation as the cheapest in the U.S. The country's second cheapest car—the Nissan Versa—has done the same. With the rising prices, the era of the sub-$10,000 car is officially gone.

Honda Confirms NSX Successor

On: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 4:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Confirms NSX Successor  test 2

A Honda NSX successor has been the subject of rumors for years. These rumors have started to heat up again lately, with reports indicating that Honda is refocusing on a top-end sports car now that the economy is starting to turn around.

Well, those rumors are correct. Honda president Takanobu Ito said so himself from the Shanghai Auto Show. Ito didn't get into too many details, but did indicate that the NSX successor will reflect the efficient needs of modern times rather than the pure power ambitions of years past.

Small Car Sales To Grow By 30 Percent

On: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 3:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Small Car Sales To Grow By 30 Percent  test 2

For years, the major trend in the industry was "go big." Even tiny, petite drivers with no passengers were adopting massive, boxy SUVs at an alarming rate. It was quite fashionable to be able to fit surfboards, bikes, boats, and other equipment inside your cabin, even if you didn't have the slightest intention of doing so.

Then something happened: reality. Gas prices went on a never-ending, uphill journey and people slowly realized that they really didn't need to drive massive refrigerators-on-wheels. Truth be told, they could get by with much smaller cars, particularly when it meant saving significant money on the horrifying cost of gas.

With gas costs moving toward record levels, a surge is expected to hit the small car segment during the rest of the year and perhaps beyond. Mini USA chief Jim McDowell made a prediction from the floor of the New York Auto Show that I'm sure he hopes is self-fulfilling: Small car sales will increase by some 30 percent in the United States.

Ford Can Credit Profit To Product Mix

On: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 1:24PM | By: Tim Healey

Ford Can Credit Profit To Product Mix  test 2

Ford had a strong profit for the first quarter of 2011, and a strong product portfolio is a big reason why.  It's not just new models, but that's one of the biggest factors in Ford's turnaround. Those new models led to higher sales, rising transaction prices, and a stronger performance in Europe.

As we noted yesterday, Ford's product mix is a big reason why the company has done so well in the first quarter, despite high gas prices and other challenges.

Nissan Leaf Takes Home World Car of the Year

On: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 12:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Takes Home World Car of the Year  test 2

Electric vehicles and hybrids have really been one of the biggest stories in the automotive industry for the past year or two. And they've been dominating award shows to prove it.

While the Chevy Volt captured the "World Green Car of the Year," the Nissan Leaf one-upped it with the more general "2011 World Car of the Year" award. Of course, that victory wasn't quite as sweet as it could have been for Nissan because the Chevy Volt wasn't eligible (it will be in the running next year though, after launching overseas later this year).