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And Car Reviews

GM Will Hire 1000 Electricians to Work on EVs

On: Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 11:55AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Will Hire 1000 Electricians to Work on EVs test 1-1

The struggle to create greener ways of living doesn’t stop short in the car industry. In fact, most recently, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, along with some of the company’s top engineers, have made a decision to hire as many as 1,000 new engineers, but not just your average everyday engineers. In fact, they were hired to help GM become a more green and clean company, and to work with Akerson and others to research and improve various technologies that are necessary to provide a safe, effective, and customer-friendly electric vehicle.

Automakers Post Big Gains For November

On: Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 11:04AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Automakers Post Big Gains For November test 1-1

The news for the automotive industry just keeps getting better!  GM, Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen, and Subaru have all posted double digit sales increases for November.  Just as analysts have predicted, the auto industry would reach a rate of over 12 million for its annual adjusted selling rate. Octobers’ rate was 12.2 indicating that slowing of sales was minimal in the seasonally slower November/December period, a sign that the automotive industry is recovering from last years’ record low.


On: Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 10:38AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

(Aston)ished test 1-1

There are few cars that actually elicit a physical reaction from people when they start up, but the Aston Martin N420 will make a believer out of anyone, gearhead or otherwise. Not like an Aston Martin needed anymore fanfare. Being the go-to car for most James Bond films over the years has all but inducted it into the Hollywood Garage of Fame. However, this new Bond car is one that the bad guys could hear coming a mile away.  


Now in its sixth year, the Vantage has been a very successful model for Aston, and has gone through a few iterations bearing the same name in those half a dozen years.  The N420 is actually an improved version of the N400, which was released as a commemoration (and metaphorical company-wide high-five) of their successful N24 hot rod racer entry to the Nurburgring. The original N400 celebrated with a 4.3 liter 400 horsepower V8, but the N420 uses a 4.7 liter V8 that puts out a very predictable, you guessed it, 420 horsepower. The N420 is differentiated from a "regular" Vantage by 19-inch, ten-spoke aluminum wheels with a gloss black and diamond turned finish, rear diffuser, fender vents, a carbon-fiber splitter, and wider sills. 

Confirmed: 2013 Dodge Viper

On: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 5:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Confirmed: 2013 Dodge Viper test 1-1

I don't know what was more sad: that the Dodge Viper ended production this past summer or that the celebratory last model was covered in a sickly, yellowish-brown paint that just left irremovable scars on my brain. Actually, I do know, it was the latter. Luckily, Dodge chief Ralph Gilles has confirmed that the next generation Viper will be coming in 2013. And from what we've heard so far, it should handily erase all memories of that other Viper.


Cracker Barrel Restaurants To Contribute To Electric Charging Infrastructure

On: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 5:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cracker Barrel Restaurants To Contribute To Electric Charging Infrastructure test 1-1

The problem is well-defined: in order to move toward a cleaner automotive market with EVs and plug-in hybrids leading the way, we need a better charging infrastructure. A car just isn't much good if it runs out of power in less than 100 miles and there's nowhere to charge it.

Governments and corporations have been teaming up to help provide this infrastructure in the markets that are going to be launch pads for the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and others. The latest player is a bit of a curveball: Cracker Barrel restaurants. The chain announced today that it will install electric charging stations at 24 of its locations across Tennessee.

Pricing The VW Jetta: Is 16 Grand Realistic?

On: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 3:33PM | By: John Welch

Pricing The VW Jetta: Is 16 Grand Realistic? test 1-1

Yesterday we reported on Volkswagen's November fortunes. To sum up, things are good. VW's concerted effort to dominate the world's auto industry is working rather well, helped, of course, by the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta. It's no secret that the Jetta has been engineered to a price point. Interior materials are poor compared with the previous Jetta, the rear suspension is twist-beam only, and, at the moment, 170 charging horses are all you can expect to find under the hood of a Bora . . . eherrmm, Jetta. Though sold in Europe, this car is clearly designed to meet North American needs; the 'new' Jetta has a bigger trunk, more foot and knee room, and a slightly wider stance. The most alarming development to come from all of this rearranging? The Jetta is now nearly as cheap as a Scion xD. I assure you, the worst Jetta is still better than the best xD.

But is it worthy of the 40% bump in sales it is allegedly responsible for? The public has spoken, and the public doesn't notice the cheesy dash plastic or the ancient base engine. So there must be something to this new Jetta, right? To see if I could find a sub-$20,000 Jetta that pushes enough of my buttons to be a serious consideration, I clicked over to VW's website and optioned out a new Jetta of my very own. How did things pan out? Ye shall see, inside the post . . .

Analysts Predict High Automotive Sales In November

On: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 10:47AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Ford Explorer test 2

It looks as though November may bring great news for the automotive industry, as well as the economy, as auto sales seem to be shaping up for a strong monthly sales report.

With recent months increased demand for trucks and SUVs, U.S. light vehicle sales are projected to rise to a level that may equal the fastest pace in 2010.  This week, automakers will release November sales numbers, which analysts are estimating to reach an adjusted annual rate equal of 12.2 million units, according to a recent Bloomberg News report. That figure is a close second to October’s gross adjusted annual rate of 12.3 million units.

Mercedes Developing Eco-Supercar To Compete With 918 and Vision EfficientDynamics

On: Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 10:30AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mercedes Developing Eco-Supercar To Compete With 918 and Vision EfficientDynamics test 1-1

It appears there was a good reason the Mercedes Biome concept was a little more flirty with the media than its competitors in the LA Design Challenge: Mercedes is actually working on a production car that will be loosely based on the Biome design. The Biome-inspired car will be Mercedes' answer to eco-supercars offered by German competitors, including the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid and BMW Vision EfficientDynamics.

Nissan Leaf Wins European Car of the Year

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Wins European Car of the Year  test 1-1

The Nissan Leaf may have lost to its #1 rival (Chevy Volt, for those that haven't been watching) in Car of the Year awards from Motor Trend and the Green Car Journal, but across the Atlantic, Nissan is officially king. The Leaf took home "European Car of the Year," an award decided upon by a who's who of Europe's automotive journalists, 58 journalists from 23 countries, if you want to get technical. The Leaf has finally one-upped the Volt, but unfortunately, it's in a market far from any of the planned launch markets in the U.S. And since the Volt isn't scheduled for European launch (not as the "Volt" anyway), and wasn't in the running in the competition, it wasn't quite a head-to-head victory.

Porsche Adds Some Water: Cajun SUV Confirmed

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Adds Some Water: Cajun SUV Confirmed test 1-1

Porsche has long been known to be developing a baby Cayenne, thought to be named the Cajun. Reports last month indicated that the CUV might be on the chopping block. While we crossed our fingers and hoped those reports came true, Porsche has done us all wrong, instead giving the Cajun the go. The road will soon have one more oversized, fugly 911.

Volkswagen Sales Way Up In November

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:00PM | By: John Welch

2011 Volkswagen Jetta test 2

Volkswagen just rounded out its best November ever in North America, boasting a 24.2% sales increase over previous years. The new, Americanized Jetta has helped, but sales are up across the board. Here are some interesting numbers: Volkswagen sold 4,304 TDi-equipped vehicles in November, and the Chrysler Town&Country rehash known as the Routan saw sales rise by a whooping 98.5%. This statistic only translates to 1,072 units, but it's a wonder they're able to move the flabby, overpriced Routan at all.

The Jetta, historically VW's strongest seller in our market, sold nearly nine thousand units. Though it is a lower quality car when compared with its predecessor, the New Jetta is larger, more butch than the MkV Jetta, and is a stellar deal at five dollars short of 16 grand. Jetta sales were up 40% compared with last year. Toureg sales have literally doubled, VW moving 837 examples of their near-luxury SUV. This has been the best month for the Toureg since 2007. Heck, they even sold 61 Passat Wagons, though I doubt any found a home in the Southeast.