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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.

Toyota Will Repair Prius Heat Risk Problems

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Will Repair Prius Heat Risk Problems test 1-1

Toyota has announced that it will pay to repair approximately 650,000 Priuses for problems with overheating and losing power. A notice to Toyota dealers explains in detail how to repair the defective Prius models from the 2004 to 2007 model years. Most of the Prius models with defective coolant pumps are in the United States—370,000 vehicles.

Next Generation Pagani Hypercar Spied Again

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 12:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Generation Pagani Hypercar Spied Again test 1-1

The new Pagani supercar, codenamed the C9, hasn't exactly been a stranger to the camera lens during its testing over the past year or so. It's been spotted in various locations around Europe and Africa. Some recent spy photos of the C9 show some of the best looks at Pagani's next V12-powered flagship that we've seen yet. What we see is a curvaceous, powerful sports car that is sure to thrill.

L.A.P.D. Tests All New Ford Police Interceptor

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 10:49AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Stealth Police Interceptor Concept test 2

Ford has long been known as the maker of the most popular police vehicle in America—the famous Crown Victoria. Ford’s new police car is a 3.5 V6 EcoBoost-powered sedan that actually outperforms the old V8 Crown Victoria with 20% better fuel economy. 

Ford’s Police Interceptor AWD sedan has a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine which delivers an impressive 0-60 mph test of 5.8 seconds, as well as a faster lap time than the Dodge and Chevy V8 engines. Ford’s EcoBoost V6 is a twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engine that will deliver at least 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.


Video: V12-Powered Lamborghinis of the Past Parade in Italy

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 10:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

Video: V12-Powered Lamborghinis of the Past Parade in Italy test 1-1

Not a full week ago, we were enjoying a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade awaiting a delicious meal like no other. Now, it's early in the work week, the post-holiday paperwork is piled high and we'll be lucky to shovel down some microwaved leftovers between meetings. In other words, life has plumetted drastically in less than a week. Oh yeah, and it's holiday shopping season. Joy.

Bringing a little bit of the festive fun back to this end-of-November morning, we have some video of an even cooler parade. Early this month, Lamborghini held a retirement party for the outgoing Murcielago at its headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy. Part of the celebration was a grand parade of V12-powered Lambos from generations gone by. There's a Miura, a 350 GT, a Countach and Diablo, in addition to a few Murcielagos. All driving around looking pretty. It's basically a moving Lambo museum.

We didn't have a clip at the time, but there's now one floating around on YouTube. If this doesn't bring back a little of that lighthearted holiday cheer, I think you're a lost cause.

EPA Rates Chevy Volt at 60 MPG

On: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:18PM | By: Chris Weiss

EPA Rates Chevy Volt at 60 MPG test 1-1

Well, it's official. Bloated 230 mpg ratings are a thing of the past, and the Chevy Volt gets a much more down-to-earth 60 miles to the gallon. The EPA gave the car a 93 mpg-e rating, which is a measure of its "electric-only" capabilities, and a 37 mpg gasoline rating. Together, these ratings made for the 60 mpg "combined composite" rating.

U.S. Automakers Plan To Increase Production In China and India Next Year

On: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

U.S. Automakers Plan To Increase Production In China and India Next Year test 1-1

Ford Motor Company plans to open 66 new dealerships in China by the end of 2010, raising the total number of new overseas dealerships this year to 100 and total outlets to 340. The newer dealerships are located primarily in the fast growing cities located in western and northern China, including Liyang, Shijiazhung, Harbin, Wanzhou, and Anyang.

Maserati Coming After Porsche Cayenne

On: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 10:39AM | By: Chris Weiss

Maserati Coming After Porsche Cayenne test 1-1

Porsche lovers all remember the day. It was a JFK-like event: you don't want to remember it, yet you know exactly where you were when you found out. Porsche had built an SUV. And it was the Cayenne--a classic Porsche face with a big, awkward body. Whatever particular day you realized it, it was a nightmarish affair that branded its way into your long-term mermory. And the Porsche shield was never quite the same because of it.

Well, misery loves company and it looks like those Porsche lovers (and general car fanatics) that hated the Cayenne may have some company. Because Maserati is planning a little Porsche Cayenne of its own, which means that hardcore Maserati fanatics may be in for a nightmare similar to that that Porsche fans suffered years ago. Unless, of course, Maserati manages to make an SUV that is both aesthetic and technologically superior enough to not dilute the brand.

U.S. Government Supports Hybrid Sales As Consumer Demand Declines

On: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

U.S. Government Supports Hybrid Sales As Consumer Demand Declines test 1-1

In recent automotive news, consumer hybrid sales are declining for the third consecutive year, which has prompted the U.S. government to step up to the plate. The U.S. General Services Administration, which runs the government fleet, purchased over 14,000 fleet hybrids over the past two years. That number translates to around 10% of the total 145,000 hybrid vehicles sold in 2 years.

President Barack Obama's administration hopes that purchasing close to a quarter of the hybrid vehicles sold by GM and Ford will help to balance out the lack of consumer demand. GSA purchased 64% of Chevy Malibu hybrid models and 29% of Ford Fusion hybrids in 2009. GSA also bought about 14% of Ford Escape hybrids. The range of prices paid by the government for the hybrids was from $23,072 to $47,079.

Bentley And Porsche To Work Together/Share Platforms

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 4:38PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley And Porsche To Work Together/Share Platforms test 1-1

It looks like all is harmonious in the Volkswagen family. Last month, reports indicated that Audi and Bentley are sharing a V8 powertrain that will appear in the Continental GT and future Audi models. New reports indicate that VW's newest member, Porsche, is also planning on sharing a little know-how and hardware with its British cousin. The two companies are likely to share platforms and strategy.

Top Gear USA: Has Potential, Needs Some Work

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 4:34PM | By: John Welch

Top Gear USA: Has Potential, Needs Some Work test 1-1

First of all, let me point out that Top Gear UK was around for 20 years before it was morphed into the program we all know and love today. Jeremy Clarkson has been cracking-wise about cars for a long time; he has a deep, thundering voice, and is very good at belching out sound bite-sized quips while maintaining control of whatever car he may be piloting at the time. Rutledge Wood has been a NASCAR circus clown for the last six years, Adam Ferrara is a stand-up comedian, and Tanner Foust is a race-driver turned SPEEDtv Host-Monkey, and as such has layer upon layer of hokey, Canadian-style television training to shed before he is anything other than wooden in front of a camera. Lower your expectations a might bit, and Top Gear USA can be seen for what it is: a start.

James May and Richard Hammond were both polished writers and public personalities before they began hosting Top Gear. Top Gear UK's producers have a larger budget, more experience and the joys of a British tv schedule working for them—no commercial interruptions equals a 58-minute "hour" instead of a 43-minute "hour". Top Gear USA is haphazard at best, and that isn't the fault of the hosts, producers or the History Channel. Trying to follow in the footsteps of the single greatest television show of all time isn't something one just does . . . it will take many seasons for TGUSA to shine as brightly as TGUK, if it even can. The first episode was not a home run folks, not even close . . . but the second episode displayed significant improvement. Still not "good", but better with the potential to become great.