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Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews

2010 Tampa International Auto Show: Everything Else

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:35AM | By: John Welch

Chevrolet Stingray Concept test 2

Rounding out our week of Auto Show coverage, we have provided you with cars we missed in previous posts, as well as cars that needed more room. The Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus simply can't be properly reported on without a test drive. With only visual inspection of these cars we can safely say that they are as good or better than their Japanese, German, and Korean rivals. I would honestly choose either car over a new Jetta. Especially the 1.4 liter Cruze or Focus ST. Neither was on hand at this particular show, but we have already lamented the auto industry's blase attitude toward the Central Florida market. Too many Rednecks and Mexicans who will only consider gently used pick-ups, I suppose.

Enjoy this gallery, and stay tuned next week for one more "Everything Else" post; we just cannot fit everything into 30 images.

Porsche Beats Out Audi For VW Sports Car Design

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Beats Out Audi For VW Sports Car Design  test 1-1

The Volkswagen family sure has a lot of siblings. And like any big family that tends to mean a little sibling rivalry. Both Audi and Porsche desired to take a lead role within the VW group in designing future platforms for sports cars and large luxury sedans, but only one will take that role: Porsche. That's good news for the future sportiness of VW brands.

Toyota Ordered to Face California Court Cases

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 10:08AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Ordered to Face California Court Cases test 1-1

A tentative ruling by a California federal judge has ordered that the plaintiffs suing the Toyota Motor Corporation may proceed in their case. The lawsuits were brought against the Japanese-owned automaker as a result of reported injuries and deaths sustained by drivers who experienced sudden acceleration. This is the first in a series of legal hurdles needed to be overcome by the plaintiffs.  

According to a recent automotive news article: “U.S. District Judge James V. Selna wrote in his ruling that there was sufficient evidence provided in the preliminary hearings to proceed.”

Safe Supercar: Lexus LFA To Sport Inflatable Seat Belts

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 5:44PM | By: Chris Weiss

Safe Supercar: Lexus LFA To Sport Inflatable Seat Belts test 1-1

Usually we look to supercars for huge engines, unbelievable top speeds, and sheer, tire-scorching performance. Not safety innovations or interior options. But buyers of the $375,000 Lexus LFA will find those latter qualities with their purchase. The Japanese luxury arm of Toyota will offer inflatable seat belts in its supercar beginning with the 2012 model year.


Pagani's Latest One-Off Traveling To Hong Kong

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 5:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Pagani's Latest One-Off Traveling To Hong Kong test 1-1

Ever since Pagani stopped building regular Zonda models and started offering the car to private customers only, it seems like it's building more Zondas than ever. In the past few months we've seen the blue Zonda HH, the purple Zonda 750 and the bright yellow Zonda RAK. And now we have yet another Zonda private commission: the Zonda Absolute.

Auto Workers May Get Profit Sharing Deal Says UAW

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 4:25PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Auto Workers May Get Profit Sharing Deal Says UAW test 1-1

Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler Group are anticipating next year’s impending labor contract negotiation process, and Detroit's Big Three Automakers are all contemplating increasing profit sharing for their employees. To some this may be a bit surprising, since profits haven’t returned to pre-recession levels. 

The issue of profit sharing is a significant component in the early stages of the labor negotiation process, and while formal negotiations have not yet started, union leaders and executives have broached profit-sharing increases in early negotiations, according to two unidentifiable sources familiar with the efforts.

According to Automotive News: "All of the companies have been hinting at profit- sharing changes."  General Holiefield of the United Autoworkers Union said yesterday in an interview;  "it was not just within Chrysler but the Big Three.” Holiefield also said, “Bob King has got to get his arms around it.”

Before GM and Chrysler filed bankruptcy last year, the union made concessions in the middle of the contract period. One such concession was to discontinue pay for workers who had been laid off. The UAW’s current 4-year labor agreements expire Sept. 14, 2011. 

McLaren Unveils Limited Edition SLR McLaren Edition

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 4:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

McLaren Unveils Limited Edition SLR McLaren Edition test 1-1

About this time last year, Mercedes/McLaren announced that it was working on the last of the the SLR Stirling Moss models. Introduced in January of last year, the Stirling Moss edition was a 75-example, sans-windshield roadster with a supercharged V8 engine worth 650 horses. As hot of a car as it was, the Stirling Moss was bittersweet: it marked the split of one of the most intriguing team-ups of the decade. Mercedes-Benz was working on its own SLS AMG gullwing and McLaren was reviving its badge with the MP4-12C (and some yet unseen family members). After five years and numerous terrible tunes, the ultra-premium supercar created by the two companies was to be no more.

Until this month. Last week, McLaren brought the SLR screaming back into the spotlight with a special edition that it calls the McLaren SLR Edition. The new tuned SLR will be produced in a limited batch of 25. McLaren showed it off at the Essen Motor Show.

Video: Jay Leno Gets His Hands On The 1,200-HP Hennessey Venom GT

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 3:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Video: Jay Leno Gets His Hands On The 1,200-HP Hennessey Venom GT test 1-1

I love days like today. Not only did I get to write about the incredible, if not entirely convincing, TranStar Dagger GT, I got to watch video of another incredible supercar: the Hennessey Venom GT. And I get paid all the while.

Jay Leno recently welcomed Hennessey's new power-monger to his garage. As Jay is accustomed to, he gives us a closer look at the car and hops inside to get a feel for that 1,200-hp grumble. If Jay Leno keeps giving us these great looks at exotic concepts and supercars (and I'm sure he will), I may grow to like that gravy-boat-chinned mug yet.

Vaporware or VeyronCrusher: New Renderings of the 2000-HP TranStar Dagger GT

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 11:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Vaporware or VeyronCrusher: New Renderings of the 2000-HP TranStar Dagger GT test 1-1

Call me a cynic, but I'm not quite sold on the idea of a 2,000-hp supercar from a small company that I've never heard of. Especially seeing as how it exists only in renderings at the moment. But the TranStar Dagger GT is an American-developed supercar that could one day capture the world speed record. We'll believe that when [if] we see it, but at the moment, the company has offered up some new renderings of what a 2,000-hp American roadster will look like. And so far, the company's claiming that it will be available next year.

Fiat May Sell Methane Powered Cars To U.S. Market

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 10:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Fiat May Sell Methane Powered Cars To U.S. Market test 1-1

The topic of fully electric automobiles is becoming more and more popular today, as various manufacturing companies have started marketing new electric vehicle products. While hybrids and EVs are becoming more prevalent in the marketplace, the use of natural gas to propel vehicles is relatively unheard of. This is something Fiat is determined to change.

2010 Tampa International Auto Show: The Best from Japan And Europe

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: John Welch

2011 Toyota Sienna test 2

Thursday morning brings us more images from the 2010 Tampa International Auto Show. Today we feature various Toyotas', Hondas', Acuras', Subarus', BMWs', Volvos' and Mercedes-Benzeses. The shape and lay out of the Tampa Convention Center compromises picture taking, but we have done our best for you. Check out the fantastic corral of Infiniti's, possibly our most pleasant surprise. Not much to report from Honda. The updated Accord Coupe is more interesting then its CR-Z stablemate, even though the CR-Z is brand new, and all gee-whiz hybridized. This is a car that needs an immediate reboot- it does not live up to the hype.

Mercedes, BMW and MINI were all crammed into floor space that was woefully inadequate, limiting our ability to get good shots. Not much was missed here, as none of these brands presented anything especially new or exciting. Same with Subaru. We raved about the then-new Legacy last year, but it has not aged well. The cartoony styling is bulbous in all the wrong places; the Leggy's attractive interior might not be enough to overcome its unfortunate outer skin. Good thing it packs a turbo flat-four, a manual option, and All Wheel Drive. Who honestly cares what it looks like from behind the wheel? I for one, it's embarrassingly unattractive.

Venture inside the post to see just what I'm on about (sic)  . . .