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Ford to Unveil B-Max Minivan Concept Vehicle In Europe

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 2:46PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Ford S-Max test 2

A new concept vehicle was introduced to the public back in March at the Geneva auto show. The vehicle itself is a minivan which is likely to be named B-Max. This vehicle is a five-seater minivan complete with rear sliding doors. Ford plans to integrate the B-Max subcompact minivan into its line-up of European minivan offerings, the medium-sized C-Max and the larger S-Max and Galaxy.

European sales of the B-Max minivan are scheduled to commence in early 2012 at the Ford facility located in Craiova, Romania. The plans are in place to produce around 150,000 of these small-statured minivans per year, most of which will be exported to various countries in Europe. There are currently no plans in place to sell B-Max in the United States.

Toyota Will Recall 94,000 Siennas for Defective Switch Brackets

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 2:09PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Will Recall 94,000 Siennas for Defective Switch Brackets test 1-1

Toyota Motor Corp. added yet another recall to its growing list. The automaker is voluntarily recalling about 94,000 Toyota Sienna minivans produced before early November. The Siennas were recalled for defective stop lamp switch brackets, placed near the parking brake, that are necessary to engage the brake lights.

Ram Trucks Suffer Recall Syndrome, Likelihood Of 'Crash' Questionable

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:51AM | By: John Welch

2010 Ram PowerWagon test 2

This might sound like a bit of a stretch, but it is an official NHTSA recall none the less. Newly minted Ram Trucks, built between March 2009 and October 2010, that are equipped with a Cummins and the HydroBoost brake system, may show their brake lights too long, causing traffic accidents. Frustration maybe, but accidents? The HydroBoost system, effective at stopping two and a half tons of truck, has little to do with the issue. The real problem is with the power steering resevoir, or more specifically, the resevoir's cap. The cap could be rated for excessive vent pressures, which in turn slows the return motion of the brake pedal. According to the NHTSA, this will lead to lingering brake lights, the slow fading beams somehow causing crashes.

Ahem, sorry, "Increase the risk of crash" . . . Contact your local Dodge or Ram Trucks dealer if you think you may have a truck affected by the recall. Ram will also alert drivers by mail, making sure your truck is up to code one way or another. Full recall inside the post.

GM Struggling To Make The Cruze Relevant

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Struggling To Make The Cruze Relevant  test 1-1

Considering buying a Chevy Cruze this holiday shopping season? How about next year? Yeah, neither is anyone else. Chevy is struggling to spark interest in its new compact and, according to the Detroit Free Press, the car is on the list of no more than 5 percent of current compact car shoppers. With competitors stomping the Cruze, and more competition on the way in the first half of next year, GM is redoubling efforts to make its struggling compact a market player.


GM Asks For Increased Salaries For Executives

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:21AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Asks For Increased Salaries For Executives test 1-1

Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors, is asking for a bit of leeway regarding restrictions that the government has imposed on the company's executive pay scale. According to Akerson, “We have to be competitive and retain talent. We’re starting to lose them now” Akerson stated that some executives have already accepted other more lucrative employment offers.  When GM accepted government funds, the company automatically relinquished control over many of its corporate decisions, including salary rates.

Novelty Prize: Audi To Develop VW's Large SUVs, Including Cayenne

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

2011 Audi Q7 test 2

Reading about the recent platform power struggle within VW, I have a picture of angry Germans throwing insults and expletives with all kinds of umlauts hanging over top. Early last week, reports indicated that Porsche had beaten Audi for the official VW blessing for developing the group's sport car and large sedan platforms. Those platforms will be used not only for Porsche models like the 911 and the Panamera, but for other models from Bentley, Audi, and Lamborghini. Well, that wasn't without a novelty prize for Audi: according to Automotive News, Audi will take over development of large SUV platforms from Porsche.

Ford's German Offices Raided As a Result Of Bribe Allegations

On: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:10AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford's German Offices Raided As a Result Of Bribe Allegations test 1-1

“We have a warrant to search the premises.” That is a statement no one wants to ever hear. On Monday, that phrase was uttered at the offices of the Ford Motor Company’s assembly plant in Cologne, Germany. Police carried out a raid ordered by the Cologne prosecutor, Christina Pohlen. This latest action stems from an investigation launched in September concerning an alleged bribery scheme that is purported to involve several Ford staff members and suppliers.

Top Gear Competitor On The Horizon

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:51PM | By: John Welch

Top Gear Competitor On The Horizon test 1-1

Adam Carolla wanted to be on Top Gear, really he did. Contractural obligations prevented him from following the show from NBC to History Channel, but he hasn't given up. The buzz around the innerwebs is that Corolla, along with Dan Neil (Wall Street Journal's slightly sheltered auto scribe,) John Salley (TV host and ex-Pistons shot blocker), and Matt Farah, some guy who does some web thing some where, will all descend on our living rooms via SPEEDtv in the near future.

Top Gear USA won't be hard to . . . uhm, "top", but that is the fault of its script/production/wooden hosts, whatever. Corolla's show is on SPEED, and no amount of Rutledge Wood or Tanner Foust could be worse than that. We will have to wait and see; the important news here is that TGUSA has spawned a competitior already, and competition is what we want. If Corolla can keep the show from becoming a Castrol/Mequires/GM circle-jay then this show should do just fine. We'll keep our ears open and update you on any further developments. Let's hope this turns into an all-out media war ala Katie Couric v.s. Bryant Gumbell. Or even better, DonandMike v.s. Opie and Anthony. That's the stuff mediawar-dreams are made of!

Nissan Has Moms Blogging About the New Quest

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:33PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Nissan Has Moms Blogging About the New Quest test 1-1

Nissan is joining Ford Motor Company in its cyber-marketing efforts by creating a new opportunity for Mommy Bloggers to test drive the new 2011 Nissan Quest minivan, in hopes that they will spread the word to soccer Moms who may be potential Quest buyers.

The Japanese automaker has asked “website parenting columnists” to assist Nissan in spreading the word about the company’s comeback into the minivan market, a segment that Nissan has been uninvolved in for over a year while redesigning this year’s Quest model.

Ferrari Expands Its Empire With Pit Stop

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Expands Its Empire With Pit Stop test 1-1

Ferrari is like the new Disney. Pretty soon there will be a Ferrari store in every suburban shopping mall in your state. Until then, you'll have to settle for the new Ferrari Pit Stop, based in Nola, Italy. Officially, Ferrari calls this "a new concept embracing the challenges and triumphs of over 60 years, inflaming the passion and the legend of Ferrari, representing a point of reference for the fans." Without all that marketing talk, though, it's basically just a store. A really big store.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Off-Season Road Race News

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:59PM | By: John Welch

GRRRRRRrrrugly test 2

The advancement of electronic locomotion knows no bounds apparently, as several sports car teams and companies pledge to include some form of energy recovery system on their 2011 racing machines. This includes all of Formula 1, which will see the return of KERS after a one-year hiatus. Two new GT2 cars coming in 2011, the Ferrari 458 GT2 and the reinvention of the Porsche 911 RSR. Though similar to its 2010 sibling, the RSR is fresh as a daisy under the skin.

Finally, what do you consider ugly? Does pure function override decidedly homely appearance for you? Would you prefer your LEDs with or without pontoon fenders? Audi has released images and important data regarding their new R18; we just aren't sure we wanted them to.