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Mercedes Gets Artsy: Design Concet Sculpture To Be Unveiled Later This Month

On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 9:08AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mercedes Gets Artsy: Design Concet Sculpture To Be Unveiled Later This Month test 1-1

Ordinarily the stretch of cold, bleak winter between the Detroit Auto Show in January and the Geneva Motor Show in March is a long, dull one in terms of full-on automobile debuts and concepts. But thanks to automakers' penchant to wish themselves happy birthday in the most lavish of ways, this year will be a little different. Autocar reports that Mercedes-Benz has an event planned for January 29 in honor of its 125th anniversary—which is also the 125th anniversary of the automobile itself. The company will unveil a new concept car, but the car will be built in an untraditional medium.

Instead of an actual car, Mercedes will pull cloth off of a sculpture of a new concept car. The move is similar to what it did last year at the North American International Auto Show when it used a "Rising Car" sculpture to preview its sporty F800 concept (pictured).

Crash-Test Data Linked To Death Rate According To U.S. Insurance Group Says

On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 9:03AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Crash-Test Data Linked To Death Rate According To U.S. Insurance Group Says test 1-1

As long as there have been cars on the road, there have been analysts busy compiling statistics about everything that has to do with the automobile. Obviously, the most important set of statistics to examine are those involving accidents, crashes and motorists fatalities. The goal with any of these studies is to find ways to minimize  accidents and increase the safety factor in automobiles. You can thank these very same statistics for all the safety features in your automobile, including basic safety equipment such as, seatbelts and airbag deployment systems.

Next Dodge Viper To Draw Inspiration From Naked Women

On: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 8:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Dodge Viper To Draw Inspiration From Naked Women test 1-1

Dodge dealers have already seen it, and according to Dodge chief Ralph Gilles, what they were seeing was inspired by an NSFW scene. Gilles commented last week that the next-gen Dodge Viper, which will launch next summer, drew aesthetic inspiration from a "naked woman on the beach." The Viper was always a curvy, attractive beast, so pulling inspiration from the few curves more attractive than it seems to be a natural direction to take in redesigning the icon.

Officially Weird: Ferrari FF Shooting Brake

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 11:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

Officially Weird: Ferrari FF Shooting Brake test 1-1

The Ferrari codenamed F151 will soon replace the 612 Scaglietti. It's expected to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and has been identified as a shooting brake update to the 612. Some recent spy shots give us an idea of the shape of the car's exterior and what it will look like inside. And artist Jon Sibal took it one step further in providing a rendering of what the hot, red 612 with pushed-back cabin will look like on the Geneva showroom floor. Not surprisingly, it'll look pretty damn good.


No Surprise: 2010 Recalls Highest In Years

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:29AM | By: Chris Weiss

No Surprise: 2010 Recalls Highest In Years  test 1-1

In a year of major headlines, Congressional hearings, and media outrage, anyone who watches the news once in a while could have guessed: U.S. automobile recalls for 2010 reached their highest numbers since 2004. In fact, the only thing surprising there is that they weren't at an all-time high, because I'll certainly remember 2010 (and late-2009) as the year of the recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that the infamous (and not all that infamous) recalls of 2010 affected more than 20 million vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz Working On Smart Charging

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:24AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mercedes-Benz Working On Smart Charging  test 1-1

Much of the auto-show drama and theatrics of the past several years has been centered on the advanced technologies and promising efficiency of plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids. But there's been a side plot that is equally compelling, if not quite as flashy: charging technology.

With the growth of the plug-in market comes the need for a better charging infrastructure. Companies and team-ups between automakers and electric start-ups and mainstays have been working hard to make charging as fast, intuitive, efficient, and inexpensive as possible. Technologies like wireless charging and smart homes have been undergoing testing and promise to make a better future for plug-in vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz is spearheading one large effort toward creating a smarter charging system. The system would allow cars to communicate with the greater electrical grid toward providing less expensive charging.

BMW, Audi And Mercedes Will Build U.S. Factories

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:11AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 BMW, Audi And Mercedes Will Build U.S. Factories  test 1-1

The official word from the automotive world is clear: “the world’s three largest luxury automakers will expand factories this year to ease capacity constraints.” Translation: BMW, Daimler, and Audi are building bigger factories which means new jobs all around! Why can’t they just say that?

Actually, the race is on between those three big European automakers to see who is going to come out on top. However, they’re not only thinking about sales this year, but they they’re already talking about who is going to be the industry leader for 2015. That’s confidence.

The Greatest All-Around Sports Car On The Planet.

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:09AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Greatest All-Around Sports Car On The Planet.   test 1-1

Let’s be clear about something:  I don’t want to like the new Porsche 911 Turbo S. Sure it’s the first “S” model we’ve seen in five years, and on some level, as a car enthusiast, I should be happy about that. But the truth is, down deep, I’m not. See, I’m just not a Porsche guy at all. Growing up, I’ve always had a deep-seated love for Italian sports cars. To me, they were the always the most visceral, they were (and are) the embodiment of passion and extroverted dramatic flair. I always loved to watch even people who I knew for a fact had almost zero interest in automobiles as anything more than people-movers suddenly explode with excitement when a screaming yellow Lamborghini or blood red Ferrari would roll up next to them at a traffic light, or passed their field of view in a parking lot. Even they realized that those Italian masterpieces were something special. And just as I saw those stunning Ferraris and Lamborghinis as the heroes, I couldn’t help but paint their challengers, like Porsche, as the villains always trying to dethrone the mighty Italians and claim the crown as king of all supercars. If that happened, somehow I thought the world would be plunged into the lifeless, emotionless, gunmetal grey I always seemed to see Porsches depicted in. 

But as I grew up, slowly my somewhat unfounded biases and characterizations towards the upper echelon of high performance automobiles began to erode, and a new found respect emerged for the sheer skill and genius I realized it took to create a piece of metal, add a few hundred horsepower, four wheels, make it look great, and rocket to 60 mph in only a few seconds. Much like sports analysts will tell you; once they become professionals, they begin rooting less for teams and more for a good game or a good story they can analyze more easily. I found myself slowly becoming less interested in rooting for sheer dominance of any one car, even my beloved Prancing Horse or Raging Bull, and more for a good match-up in a comparison test.  It has since become much easier to spot and asses a quality car, even if it is made by my childhood arch rival.  

Porsche Working On A New Flat Four

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 6:00PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Working On A New Flat Four  test 1-1

Porsche executives confirmed at the Detroit Auto Show that Stuttgart is working on a new, small powerplant that will be applied to future versions of the Boxster, Cayman, and possibly the 911. The new flat four-cylinder is still under development.

Outgoing head of development at Porsche Wolfgang Durheimer said of the engine: "We have a four-cylinder boxer engine under development," adding that it could be applied to the Cayman and Boxster. According to reports, the engine will have a displacement of 2.5 liters and will put out around 360-hp in turbocharged form.

Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:31AM | By: Chris Weiss

Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year test 1-1

Tesla is looking at a much more competitive future. Not only is Mercedes plowing full steam ahead with its SLS AMG E-Cell, but a new competitor just made things official. North Carolina-based Li-Ion Motors—a company that previously seemed to be hedging precariously on the edge of vaporware—announced at the Detroit Auto Show that production is go for its Inizio and Wave II models. And the company is looking at a quick turnaround, claiming that it will deliver the first models to customers this year.

Daewoo Is Dead; Will Anyone Mourn/Notice?

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:15AM | By: John Welch

Daewoo Is Dead; Will Anyone Mourn/Notice? test 1-1

We remember the Daewoo brand fondly, don't we? The awe inspiring Nubria, the effervescent Lanos, the stunning Lacetti, the imaginative Matiz . . . wait, we never got the Matiz. Dang it. Our loss. All sarcasm aside, Daewoo has been responsible for more then its share of commuter boxes over the course of the last twelve years. Most Suzukis are actually Daewoos, most small Chevrolets, the Cobalt being the lone exception, are in fact Daewoo-designed vehicles. The Euro-market Chevrolet Lacetti, Spark, Captiva (can anyone say "Saturn Vue"?), and Orlando are all, in fact, Daewoo products. Which begs the question, "why aren't they Daewoos?"

Following the lead of Ford's "One Ford" global platform plan, GM has systematically phased out all semblance of Daewoo badging world-wide, placing bowties where a weird, tri-pointed waterfall once sat. Americans will hardly notice, we haven't had a Daewoo branded product since 2004. The question is, will Korea notice? Also, will Korea be willing to buy enough Chevrolets to give GM a coveted extra percentage point in the Korean market? GM thinks it can expand from 9% of South Korea's new car sales to 10%. They're sending over their best and brightest, begining with the Chevy Camaro. In return GM Daewoo is giving us the new Sonic small car, as well as the Spark/Matiz, possibly by the end of the calendar year. Possibly. Venture inside the post for GM's side of the story . . .