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Ford Changes Plans to Build Small SUVs in Louisville

On: Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 4:31PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Changes Plans to Build Small SUVs in Louisville test 1-1

According to anonymous sources, Ford Motor Company has decided against its initial decision to build a small Ford Escape-like SUV, called the “Kuga,” in Louisville, Kentucky for export.

Ford Mustang Over Chevy Camaro, Says Consumer Reports

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 5:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Mustang Over Chevy Camaro, Says Consumer Reports test 1-1

Since its reintroduction to the muscle car market last year, the Chevy Camaro has been putting up a strong fight against the Ford Mustang, beating the latter in sales for many of the months it's been on the market. In fact, as of August, the Camaro leads in 2010 sales 60,000 to the Mustang's 53,000. Despite its popularity with consumers, the leading consumer testing authority--Consumer Reports--is more impressed by the new Mustang V6. In a head-to-head showdown between the models, CR chose the Mustang hands down.

Consumer Reports took a 305-hp 2011 Mustang Premium with 3.7-liter V6 engine and a 304-hp 2011 Camaro 2LT with 3.6-liter V6 to the asphalt for some thorough testing. As equipped, the 'Stang carries a price of $28,600 and the Camaro ducks in at $28,195. And despite how closely those two American muscle-mobiles stack up on paper, the end result wasn't even close.

CR drivers preferred the Mustang's more agile drive over the Camaro's clunkier, less responsive drive. Test driver and senior engineer Jake Fisher summed it up in no uncertain terms: "The Mustang was better than the Camaro at nearly every level. It was quicker, more fuel efficient, and when you're in the Camaro, it's like you're in a cave."

SSC Ultimate Aero II Pictures Slip Forth

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:46PM | By: Chris Weiss

SSC Ultimate Aero II Pictures Slip Forth test 1-1

Due to some security issues, Shelby Supercars did not reveal the next-generation Ultimate Aero at a scheduled event at the Museum of Flight in Seattle last month. Instead, the company has indicated an official reveal for this month. Though no hard date has been given, SSC created a teaser site last month that showed a little bit of a carbon-fiber nose with the simple words: "The next generation is coming soon..." The site also stated "September 2010."

Now that it's actually September, we're getting more than a little anxious to see what the new Aero is all about. Luckily for us, some industrious industry folks have gotten their hands on a couple of pre-release pictures and aren't shy about sharing them. Over the holiday weekend, Jalopnik published the first photos of the car, which showed it head on and from the side. Top Gear, the source from which the photos had originated, followed up with a shot of the rear end. What the pictures show is a dramatically new car that capitalizes on the prowess of lead designer Jason Castriota.

GM Attempts to Keep Up with Ford's Technology

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:39PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Attempts to Keep Up with Ford's Technology test 1-1

It seems as though General Motors may be following Ford Motor Co.’s philosophy that in order to get something, you have to give away something. In this case it's the free service that Ford offers its customer for the “Ford Sync” product. GM is planning to offer some free music and information in its OnStar communications system in order to keep up with its number one competitor.

Currently OnStar is a free service for the first year and then a yearly membership of between $199 to $299 is due. Marketing gurus at GM thought they had an ingenious plan for setting up a system to raise revenues for the company in the form of residual income, but unfortunately Ford Motor Company one upped GM offering Ford customers a FREE subscription to its information service, Ford Sync.

Although OnStar offered the first service providing accident alert communication, directions, and vehicle diagnostics, the OnStar was set up to be a paid subscription service. This month GM will introduce a new system that is free, offering technology that provides links to the social media site, Facebook, as the system translates voice messages into text. This is a brand new system that has not yet gone public, according to anonymous sources.


Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes State-Issued Speeding Pass

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nevada Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes State-Issued Speeding Pass test 1-1

Think about Nevada (not Las Vegas, but the state of Nevada) and you'll likely think of a large desert featuring scattered population centers and tons of remote, open space in between. While this might be a simplification, Nevada has a greater percentage of public land than any other state in the country outside of Alaska. Such a flat, open canvas is all but begging for some painting by high-performance tires powered by bulky, grunting engines. And under a new plan proposed by independent gubernatorial candidate Eugene DiSimone, Nevadans would be able to push their tires on up to 90 mph by applying for a state-issued permit being called the Go Fast Pass.

DiSimone calls his idea the Free Limit Plan, and it is designed to raise money for the state while opening higher speeds up to drivers. Drivers wishing to take advantage of the speeding privilege would need to pay a fee of $25 per day and get an annual vehicle inspection. They would then get an electronic beacon that would automatically convey their pass status to highway patrol officers. Under DiSimone's proposal, out-of-state drivers (say those looking to make the trip from LA to Vegas in a hurry) would be able to pull over at a state line inspection station, get inspected and purchase a pass.

Love On Wheels

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:53PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Love On Wheels test 1-1

Love almost never makes sense. By rights, one of its defining characteristics is doing the illogical, or following the seemingly poor choice despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary ... And enjoying every minute of it. It is strange why we choose to love the things we do. Around Autoshopper.com, it's no surprise cars seem to be an undeniable source of pain, pleasure, love, and lust. But why do we love something that literally does not have the power to love us in return? If you love cars the way I or the other talented writers do, then you've undoubtedly come across a few of those OTHER kind of people. The ones that don't understand. The ones that don't love cars, and then question your choice to love something that to them, is just a means of conveyance. You've probably experienced the awkwardness of trying to explain why you love all things automotive. Sometimes, you might have almost even given in to the pressure and just thought they were right. That cars are just metal, plastic, wiring, and fabric of varying sorts all thrown together in a shape for the expressed purpose of transporting one or more people from one location to the next faster than a horse or on foot. Maybe they are right.


Or are they?  


Maybe it's because we like going fast. Maybe it's because we like raw mechanical power. Maybe it's because we like moving, functional art. Whatever your own personal reason is, the fact is people love cars. I was wandering around the Lead East Auto Show this past weekend (The biggest 50s party in the NY, NJ, and PA area) with my family and couldn't help but be in awe of the history and passion that some of these men, women, and children all shared with me. It was a love that has been around for 50 or more years for some old timers, and their hearts were just as devoted as the first day they laid eyes on whatever car first raised their heart rate. It was amazing. You would never know there was a problem with the economy, or that gas prices were up about 1000% from the day some of these cars rolled off the line. Parents, grandparents, kids, and grandkids were all around enjoying the music, the shops, the shows, and, of course, the cars. Girlfriends asking boyfriends, and sons asking fathers about cars they had never seen before, or couldn't recognize with the absence of badging (This particular author/son was no exception.)

U.S. Auto Market Looks Bleak As China Sales Decline

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:51PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

U.S. Auto Market Looks Bleak As China Sales Decline test 1-1

In August U.S. auto sales posted their lowest profits in 28 years domestically while in China, passenger car sales declined to the lowest numbers since March of 2009. According to a recent Bloomberg news report auto sales are wavering because ”governments withdrew stimulus measures that propped up sales in the U.S., China, Europe and Japan.”

Bloomberg also reports: “The bleaker prognosis for sales may also hurt profitability for automakers including Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG.”  Automakers have had their backs against the wall and have had to offer more incentives in order to boost sales.

“The U.S. economy is looking downward, with high unemployment, mounting bankruptcies and other indicators that don’t paint a pretty picture,” said Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive officer of Fukoku Capital Management Inc. in Tokyo. “In China, the government is putting on the brakes so that the overall economy won’t overheat.”

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Korean Chevy On British TV Edition

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:49PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Korean Chevy On British TV Edition test 1-1

Chevrolet is on a roll, of sorts, lately. Ok, ok, it's "rolling out" several new models . . . sorely needed new models, as the Camaro fount is sure to dry up anytime now . . . The Chevy Cruze hits the ground, ahem, rolling with a snazzy ad campaign and a sweetheart of a turbo engine. The car is sleek and the interior well-appointed, but compared with the soon to be released Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra, the Cruze still looks dated. Notice I didn't mention the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, both cars who received updates around the same time the Cruze was introduced to foreign markets. The little Chevy might just be a better car than its Japanese competition.

How about an even smaller Chevy? Also a Korean Chevy, but still . . . the production-spec Aveo has broken cover, and the exterior has retained as much of the flair promised by the "Aveo RS" concept as is possible. Quad headlamps set into black surrounds, interesting if not completely wild rear dimensions. Hidden door pulls for the rear doors. The only question is, will it be saddled with a total dog of a motor? Also, what does any of this have to do with British television? The second of three "Reasonably Priced Cars'" used on the BBC's Top Gear program was a Chevrolet Lacetti . . . familiar to us as a Suzuki Verona, and made by Deawoo—you guessed it, a Korean Chevy. A white-clad fellah named "The Stig" did at one time test this car and many others for Top Gear. Now he is a pariah of the highest order, shunned by the BBC and his fellow Top Gear presenters (I don't know if we really can call The Stig a 'presenter'), all in the name of making a few bucks he felt the Beeb owed him. We all have families to feed; which side are you on?

Hints At a McLaren Hybrid

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 3:46AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hints At a McLaren Hybrid test 1-1

One of my favorite types of auto or tech leaks is the unavoidable job posting leak. The company in question clearly needs some new blood to help it step into a new direction and it can't help but advertise. And while company execs are busy trying to bulk up their team toward future production, the media world is scouring the ads and making educated guesses as to what the company is up to.

Electric Scooter Concepts Earn Some Floor Space In Paris

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 4:06PM | By: Chris Weiss

Electric Scooter Concepts Earn Some Floor Space In Paris test 1-1

For the most part, all of our attention on the upcoming Paris Motor Show has focused on supercar releases from the likes of Lamborghini and Lotus, as well as some dynamic concepts and hybrid vehicles. However, there promises to be something for those that feel all cars--no matter how green--are dangerous to the environment. Smart and Mini have detailed plans for electric scooter concept debuts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Smart's scooter concept is said to be concept only for now, but could foreshadow a possible production model. Given its basic, traditional looks, it definitely appears to be more of a serious concept than a wild, conceptual fantasy. While Smart has yet to provide the official details, rumors indicate that the scooter will be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and will be capable of distances up to 60 miles--which should be more than enough for the average scooter driver. The concept is a plug-in electric and is said to feature a purpose-built air bag as a added protection to the driver.

The concept comes at a time when Mercedes-Benz is looking to expand Smart beyond a one-trick pony offering only the polarizing ForTwo commuter to a manufacturer that offers a more diverse lines of small, eco-friendly vehicles. We expect that a production model based on this concept will be in Smart's near future.

BMW Teases Sports Coupe, Half Hearted Request For No Blogging Ignored

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 3:54PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Teases Sports Coupe, Half Hearted Request For No Blogging Ignored test 1-1

Car companies are sure getting creative about how they tease upcoming cars and concepts. In a bit of a reverse psychological campaign, BMW has set up the website "dontblogaboutthis.com" to tease a new prototype based on a 6 Series coupe. The website features two video clips and several photographs of the model.

The new prototype is expected to be launched under BMW's EfficientDynamics umbrella in 2012. While BMW falls short of providing any details of the powertrain or specs of the prototype, reports indicate that it will be guided by the show-stopping EfficientDynamics concept debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.