Login to your account
Not a member? Register now.
AutoShopperBlog

Subscribe To The Blog:




Follow Us




Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews




Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster Snapped In The Wild

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 9:31AM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster Snapped In The Wild test 1-1

The famously gullwinged Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG launched last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Featuring a 563-hp 6.3-liter V8, 3.7-second 0 to 60 mph time and 197 mph top speed, the SLS has given Mercedes a place in the high-end sports car market. And that place will get a little bigger sometime in the future when Mercedes launches the roadster version of the SLS at next year's Frankfurt Motor Show or possibly Geneva show. That model was recently spotted out testing.


Auto Trader To Buy Kelley Blue Book

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 3:30PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Auto Trader To Buy Kelley Blue Book test 1-1

Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com recently announced that the company plans to purchase Kelley Blue Book, along with its two sister companies, CDMdata and CDM Dealer Services. According to Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com: "This will be a good thing for Kelley Blue Book." Anwyl stated, "AutoTrader.com started out as a listings service and is still very strong that way, while Kelley Blue Book is strong in used-car pricing." He noted that Kelley has been for sale, on and off, for the last 10 years.

The press release announcing the sale said that Auto Trader would continue to maintain Kelley Blue Book's independent position in the marketplace, with plans to keep its CEO, staff, and headquarters. Kelley Blue Book did not provide executives available for comment. Kelley Blue Book, long known as the “go-to source of automobile valuations,” will operate as a subsidiary of Auto Trader, which will keep its headquarters in Irvine, California.


Recall Notice: Fuel Pump Fiasco For BMW

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:34AM | By: John Welch


Recall Notice: Fuel Pump Fiasco For BMW test 1-1

Direct Injection isn't that "new" in terms of physical age, but then neither are dual clutch transmissions, traction control, underbody aerodynamics, or fully electric cars. These things have been in use for decades, but have made it to the civilian market only in the last decade. Direct Injection is especially new and untested, as BMW's latest voluntary recall can attest.

Direct Injection requires some pretty stout ancillaries to properly administer fuel in the combustion chamber. Along with injectors that could take your fingers off, an ultra high-pressure fuel pump is required to get the right amount of fuel in the right spot at the right time. This complicated technology is bound to have a few teething problems, and BMW is one of the first automakers to experience sore gums.

The high-pressure fuel pump installed in cars that feature the N54 twin-turbocharged inline-6 engine is apparently prone to failure. A long, agonizingly grinding engine start could be followed by a "Service Engine Soon" dash marker, and reduced engine performance. BMW plans to access each affected car, and then replace the fuel pump or reflash the ECU, depending on the severity of the issue.

There are low-pressure fuel pump issues with some BMW models as well, though these have nothing to do with Direct Injection. On some 2008 X3 and X5 models, equipped with N52 naturally aspirated inline-6s, may experience engine stalling due to their fuel pumps. Worn fuel pump internals are the culprit; BMW plans to alert owners by mail over the course of the next month. Press releases for both issues can be found inside this post . . .


2010 Sebring Historic Fall Classic: German Mega Gallery

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 10:36AM | By: John Welch


2010 Sebring Historic Fall Classic: German Mega Gallery test 1-1

Sebring International Raceway is open for business all year long. This is Florida, and despite what news media sensationalism would lead you to believe, hurricanes do not disrupt our fun that often. You can book the Sebring course for practice, testing, weddings, company picnics, and of course, Historic Racing.

That term "Historic Racing" is sort of arbitrary; there is no specific factor that makes a race or race car "historic". If it has turned a wheel in sanctioned competiton, it probably carries some historic value for sombody. Personally, I think all race cars are historic in one way or another. As it turns out, Historic SportsCar Racing Limited agrees with me. They put together three days of hard-nosed, surprisingly close racing comprising of 6 classes, two night races, three enduros and, the big draw, two race-winning Audi R8 prototypes. I certainly didn't think I would ever get a chance to photograph these cars at speed. What a thrill!

The races were exciting to the end, the Audis dominating the multi-class racing, while several GT1 Porsche 911 RSRs were the "class" of the GT field. The No. 28, owned by Klaus Graff (driver of the CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder that won two races during the 2010 ALMS season) was especially soul stirring. Listening to this car downshift from sixth to second entering turn 15 was a nearly religious experience. It's the little things that make you wonder why America isn't a little more enamoured with auto racing. The echo from a sequential transmission barking off downshifts is so bizarre and spine tingling it seems to me that one hasn't lived until having witnessed such a mechanical epiphany.

Thankfully, I live in Florida, I work for the AutoShopper, and I get to experience this magic six times a year. I lie awake at night dreaming of Sebring, and I can't wait for you to open this gallery, or watch the attached video, and consider a trip down here yourself, come March 2011. Check back all weekend for more SHFC images; it is simply impossible to fit them all into one post . . .


 

Citroen Metropolis Concept To Spin Off Into Whole Line For China

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 9:56AM | By: Chris Weiss


Citroen Metropolis Concept To Spin Off Into Whole Line For China test 1-1

Peugeot Citroen in partnership with Changan Automobile Group of China plans to launch a new line of luxury cars positioned at German premiums in the Chinese market. While a French company, with no cars in the U.S. starting a line of automobiles in China isn't the type of thing that usually raises our eyebrows, this announcement is interesting because Citroen reps confirmed that the line will be based on the Metropolis concept and will remain quite true to the design of that concept.


The New Lincoln MKX Crossover Will Be Marketed for Women

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 9:15AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The New Lincoln MKX Crossover Will Be Marketed for Women test 1-1

A new advertising campaign has been launched to promote the 2011 Ford Luxury MKX crossover, a move designed to expand the brand's efforts to differentiate new Lincoln product in the luxury auto market. The "Touch Me All Over" campaign was designed to show consumers that the Lincoln of today is "sexy and smart."

The new marketing effort will reach out to would-be buyers through television, radio, and print campaign with the main goal of attracting women’s attention, particularly upwardly mobile women in the urban market. TV spots will appear on such outlets as BET, TV-One, The Gospel Music Channel, and CNN.


Rally Fighter: Mud-Spewing, Street Legal Grit at SEMA

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 9:12AM | By: Chris Weiss


Rally Fighter: Mud-Spewing, Street Legal Grit at SEMA test 1-1

If you were to hear a phrase something to the effect of "an All-American car that can tear through dirt, mud and gravel like a Jeep Wrangler," you probably wouldn't expect that it came from any of the stodgy, bottom-line-obsessed headquarters located in Detroit. And you'd be right: only the warped minds of the greater American public could come up with something that awesomely niche.

And that's exactly how the Rally Fighter came to be. Using the "open sourced" mentality of the software industry, the Massuchesetts-based Local Motors worked with a forum full of designers and creative minds to come up with the inspiration behind this bad-ass mo' fo'. Who would have predicted that something like this could come from the land of Harvard and Martha's Vineyard?  Those warped public minds that didn't get to offer input on the design will be able to see the production-ready Rally Fighter at SEMA next week.


Nissan Recalls 2.14 Million Vehicles in Japan and the U.S.

On: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 5:13PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Nissan Recalls 2.14 Million Vehicles in Japan and the U.S. test 1-1

Nissan Motor Co. announced that the Japanese automaker plans to recall 2.14 million cars and light trucks, including the Pathfinder SUV and Titan pickup. This is the 3rd biggest recall for Nissan in the company’s history. The problem is with a faulty ignition relay that could potentially cause problems in the engine.

There are 835,000 units being recalled in Japan and 762,000 in the U.S. and Canada, according to Nissan spokesperson, Mitsuru Yonekawa. The models that were affected include 227,000 Titans, 143,000 Pathfinders, 123,000 Frontier units, 106,000 Armada vehicles, 101,000 Xterra units, and 36, 0000 Infiniti QX56 units. Japanese models included in the recall are the Cube and Micra passenger cars.


12 Minutes Of V8 Super Cars That Reaffirms Our Lust For Racing

On: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 11:42AM | By: John Welch


12 Minutes Of V8 Super Cars That Reaffirms Our Lust For Racing test 1-1

We don't cover the Austrailian V8 SuperCar Series that often in the AutoShopperBlog. Like NASCAR and Formula One, this series is well-covered across the interwebs, and doesn't hit close to home like the ALMS or Rolex Grand Am Series. Just like NASCAR and F1, sometimes we just can't ignore the Aussie V8s.

In case you are totally uninitiated, V8 SuperCars are very close to their production brethren, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. Though we have not had anything similar to the (completely badass) Ford Falcon on these shores, you may recognize the Commodore as the late, great Pontiac G8. Don't cry for me, Catalina, though we no longer get the G8, it's chassis lives on as several Holdens, and a Vauxhall or two; don't forget Chevrolet-badged versions sold in Saudi Arabia and China. Hilarious how our own government likes to screw us over in the name of "good relations" with these countries, while at the same time General Motors sells the most ‘American’ of vehicles not to Americans, but to our financial "frienemies". Sooo funny. The world just isn't fair.

Political rant stifled, I must now turn your attention to the video inside this post. It comes from last weekend's Gold Coast 600 (600 Kilometers, not miles) and it features a veteran Holden driver, Jamie Whincup, holding off an upstart Ford rookie, Shane Van Ginsbergern. The two drivers are bumper-to-bumper for a long time, the racing action too good to ignore. Sit back in your office chair, watch out for Eye-Hustlers, and let this video rip; it is sure to be the best ten minutes of your stuffed-shirt, cubicle-dwelling day!


The Future of EVs: Wireless Battery Charging

On: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 10:57AM | By: Chris Weiss


The Future of EVs: Wireless Battery Charging  test 1-1

The electric automobile industry faces a large hurdle in developing the infrastructure and technology needed to make charging vehicles both practical and easy. One of the main negatives of electric vehicles is that they require special equipment, time and effort for charging. Another big negative is that unlike gasoline vehicles, which can be filled up by the gas stations that line nearly every route in the country, there simply isn't a sufficient charging infrastructure in place, leading consumers to have justifiable concerns with range anxiety.

One technology that is in development by a new team-up of companies could address these major concerns all at once. Imagine being able to pull up into a parking spot and get a charge without having to connect a single wire. That's the future of wireless EV charging.


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 10:56AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Haunted Highways:  A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly) test 1-1

Although many will point to the 1960’s as the Golden Age of automobiles, when it’s all said and done, the 1990’s may be right up there with the best of automotive times this country has ever seen.  Dozens of exciting mobile masterpieces were available in all shapes and sizes, prices, and power ratings.  The car we have chosen today is one of the more visually impressive models to cruise own any road in America:  The Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4

We are going to focus specifically on the 1994-1999 models, because although the VR-4 was around from 1991, the real fun began with the updated 1994 model.  This techno-beast packed everything but the kitchen sink.  All wheel drive, all wheel steering, electronically tunable mufflers, and “Active Aero” bodywork including a tunable exhaust system and adjustable front and rear spoilers all made the Mitsubishi salesmen’s life very easy.  With 320 horsepower spinning the engine at 6000 rpm (and 315 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm) from it’s twin turbo DOHC 3.0 liter motor, this car could move out in a hurry.