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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry




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.


Hybrid Market Projected to Decline Over the Next 6 Months

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 2:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Hybrid Market Projected to Decline Over the Next 6 Months  test 1-1

It has been predicted by experts in the automotive industry that the hybrid market may decline as gas prices level off in the next 6 months. JIm Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service said: “You can't sell a hybrid in today's market,” although Ford still plans to launch the 2011 luxury Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan this fall.

Farley’s prediction of the hybrid market stems from his belief that fuel prices will go down over the next 6 months which would be detrimental to the hybrid industry.
The impact on the hybrid market has already began to take effect when one looks at the Honda market, for example. Sales of the Insight have gone down by over 50% compared to last year, and Toyota Prius has seen demand down 38% last month to only 11,799 units. 

A year ago the hybrid market was up due to the Cash for Clunkers program, so low sales records are actually falsely inflated, meaning that the hybrid market is even worse than it appears to be.

The overall light vehicle market is up 8% this year, as compared to Prius and Insight sales, which are comparatively much slower so far in 2010.

Farley stated that although the launch of the MKZ hybrid is just around the corner, that Ford does not expect to sell even 10,000 units, even though prices for the Lincoln MKZ hybrid are not projected to be at a premium. Ford designed the vehicle because according to Farley, “it's the smart thing to do and it rounds out the product lineup.”

Ford is serous when they say they want to establish “a green image,” and that the plan is not to simply chase the market.


McLaren MP4-12C Winning Over Porsche Owners

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


McLaren MP4-12C Winning Over Porsche Owners test 1-1

When McLaren introduced its MP4-12C last year, it was clear that the car wasn't the top-end beast that the McLaren F1 was during its run in the 90s. While still plenty virile, the MP4-12C boasts a top speed of around 200 mph, well below the once world-record-breaking F1. Perhaps in part because of this more modest appeal, McLaren has been aiming the new model at Porsche owners, rather than owners of more exotic sports cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

McLaren has tried to explain this away by claiming that Ferrari concerns itself more with visuals while Porsche and McLaren prefer a mantra of “substance over style." While that probably sounds good on paper, the McLaren MP4-12C isn't exactly lacking in the style department and seems more congruous with Porsche in terms of performance. Once they bang out another 10 cars that look exactly like MP4-12Cs with various levels of trim and performance, then they can start talking a Porsche-like adherence to substance over style.

The MP4-12C pairs a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine to a seven-speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch transmission. The engine peaks at 600 hp, and the MP4-12C dashes to 62 mph in under three seconds. The car keeps weight under 2,900 lbs. thanks in part to a 175-lb. carbon fiber monocell chassis.


 

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign test 1-1

Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to completely revise its marketing philosophy to focus on safety “in a big way,” according to top company executives. With its image still damaged and sales declining by 34% in August (down 1% for the year), Toyota is the only automaker posting overall declining sales numbers this year.

Executives at Toyota report that they believe the number one problem that consumers are having is focused on safety issues, so the company plans to overcome that negative perception with a new advertising campaign.

Toyota was considered number one when it came to safety and reliability, as well as value, but many loyal Toyota buyers and others are now skeptical as to whether or not the Toyota brand is really deserving of the label of “safety first.”


AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 9:48AM | By: John Welch


AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!  test 1-1

We know you love reading the AutoShopperBlog on a daily basis, not because you have to, because you want to. With that in mind we have developed a way for Mozilla Firefox users to stare at their favorite AutoShopper photography instead of finishing those dreaded TPS Reports. These "Personas" work only with Firefox , are free, and feature as much racing hooliganism as we can fit into a 3000x200 rectangle. A very kewl way to spice up your browser that doesn't involve unicorns or Japanese animation or blinged-out Escalades that are so off-center you can see only half of one massive chromed wheel.

The next three Personas bring our total to six, and feature content that again spans the AutoShopperBlog's exploits during 2009 and 2010. We have some Sebring, some Lake Mirror Classic, and some RedLine Time Attack, all prominently featured on this blog over the course of the last year. Venture inside the post for AutoShopper Mozilla branding worthy of the finest desktops . . .


Lamborghini Teases New Car For Paris

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 3:16PM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Teases New Car For Paris  test 1-1

Lamborghini has issued a teaser photo of a car that it plans to show at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The image shows a crimson taillight flanked by glossy carbon fiber. While Lamborghini didn't specify the car behind the image, speculation indicates that it is Lambo's next halo: the Murcielago-replacing Jota. Lamborghini has five more teaser images planned before the Paris Motor Show gets underway on September 30.

So far, Lamborghini has kept a highly mysterious aura around its Paris-bound car offering only this little nugget along with the photo: "Discover the way to the future of supersports cars." As broad as that is, it could certainly be construed to indicate the launch of the Jota.

Another fact that supports the idea that this is the Jota is that Lamborghini actually teased the Jota back in June with a very disappointing photo of the logo on a shadowy black front-end. If you think this week's teaser doesn't show a whole lot, you'd be highly disappointed by that one. That photo came with the line "Coming Soon..." and reports at the time detailed the Jota's Paris debut.

The Jota is expected to carry 700 horsepower worth of direct-injected 7.0-liter V12 might. Rumored performance numbers include a three-second 0 to 62 mph and a 230 mph top speed.


Ford Settles Explorer Suit Involving Mets Baseball Player

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:42PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Settles Explorer Suit Involving Mets Baseball Player test 1-1

In automotive headlines recently, Ford Motor Co. settled a lawsuit regarding a roll-over accident involving a Ford Explorer that caused the death of New York Mets minor league baseball player, Brian Cole. Ford was ordered to pay $132 million to Cole’s estate.

Brian Cole went to Meridian High School and was a  baseball player in 1998 at Navarro Junior College in Texas. He was selected by the Mets in 1998 amateur draft and turned down a football scholarship to Florida State. Cole was single, the youngest in the family of 5 siblings, he was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida.

Cole was 27 when he was ejected from a Ford Explorer as a result of a March, 2001 accident while he was driving home from spring training with the Mets. Tab Turner, attorney for the family of Brian Cole, stated that Jasper County, Missouri “awarded the verdict today and the case was settled on confidential terms before punitive damages could be considered.”


2010 Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show Pt.1

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:27PM | By: John Welch


2010 Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show Pt.1 test 1-1

Drew Christy seems to have forgotten the meaning of the Labor Day weekend. You are supposed to honor America, America's workforce, America's freedom, your right to be an American, and your right to spend Labor Day celebrating, not working. Drew didn't get the memo.

Instead of wasting away in a kiddie pool all day (ahem,) Drew strapped on his camera and ventured down Lakeland Highlands Road to the Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show. Though small by central Floridian standards, this show had several rare beauties filling its entry list.

Inside this post you will find an assortment of Drew's images, the first of a two part series. Look out later this week for the coupe de gras, the Gentry Morrison Meteor/Buick hearse. This car personifies "rolling art".

Today though, notice the exotic American machinery we have here, a late fifties Chrysler Imperial for instance. A car that proves the idea of a flat-bottomed steering wheel is nothing new. Several classic Mopars dot the gallery, as well as our usual obsession with hood ornaments. Enjoy!


Men Spend Thousand of Dollars Refusing to Ask For Directions

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Weiss


Men Spend Thousand of Dollars Refusing to Ask For Directions  test 1-1

Most every man is quite familiar with the situation. You're driving down an unfamiliar highway. Chances are good that it's dusk and you're half an hour or more late for wherever it is that you're going. You've seen the same underpass three or more times in the past 20 minutes, or maybe you're driving in a single direction on the hunch that the next exit is the one. It isn't. But that's not stopping you.

You drive past 7-11s, gas stations and grocery stores with reckless abandon. You can literally feel the burning stare from your lady's eyes searing your skin. But still, nothing's stopping you. There's something greater compelling you forward, something deep within your very being. Like an erection at Sunday morning mass, it's completely inconvenient and you know it's wrong. But you can't really help it.  For better or worse, it's a part of the very fabric that makes you man.

You're lost. Hopelessly, in fact. And the longer you drive, the more determined you are not to ask for directions. It's like admitting defeat. Because if you succumb, you're basically admitting that you've been lost for the past 45 minutes and really should have asked for directions 42 minutes ago. And then she's right. No, my friend, you're not going to be wrong today, but you are going to waste a lot of unnecessary time and effort. And you probably shouldn't expect any sexual favors from the unwitting hostage in the passenger seat. Oh, and it turns out, you'd be better off just pulling over and throwing your wallet into the sewer because your stubborn defiance is costing you thousands of dollars.


Bentley Continental GT, V8 To Debut For 2012

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:08AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 Bentley Continental GT, V8 To Debut For 2012 test 1-1

The 2012 Bentley Continental GT 4.0 liter V8 model will be unveiled at this year’s Paris motor show later this month. “The V8 is our hedge against fuel-price spikes, carbon-dioxide-related legislation and uncertainty in the global supercar market,” Uli Eichhorn, Bentley's technical director, said in a statement to the press about the sportier-looking GT model.

The engine, according to Eichhorn is an all new redesigned V8 being built in collaboration with Audi, and although the production model has not yet been launched, Bentley says the new V8 will be assembled in Great Britain, just like the W12. The exact specs on the vehicle’s engine are yet to be announced, but according to a recent automotive news article, speculation is that “given Bentley's enthusiasm for turbocharging, the likely output figures to rate between 350 hp and 400 hp, extending the GT's appeal into market segments where the W12 can't compete,” according to Automotive News.