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Auto Industry Satisfaction Down Since Last Year

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Auto Industry Satisfaction Down Since Last Year test 1-1

American satisfaction with the domestic automobile industry is measured on a scale of 0-100 using the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey (ACSI). In 2009 the industry rating reached an all time high of 84 according to Automotive News.com. Now that number has dipped to 82. 

According to the ACSI (designed to measure the quality of American products and services), "the domestic automotive satisfaction level has stabilized, and in a few cases climbed, despite an overall decline for the industry over the past 18 months."

The ACSI survey is performed over the phone; scores result from conducting 250 interviews with participants from age 18 to 84. This year’s results concluded that out of the top 19 auto brands, 14 dropped in customer satisfaction since 2009. Kia and Mazda scored below average for the industry, and at the bottom of the list were Dodge and Jeep. Buick and Ford's Lincoln-Mercury brand showed up at the top of the list for the first time since the inception of the survey.   Nissan had a 4 point increase to 84, and GMC realized a 2 point improvement, also ending up at 84. According to Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI: “It was not long ago when Detroit’s products were clustered at the bottom of the industry.”


Business Risks of GM's IPO Filing, SEC, sec, U.S. Treasury, u.s. treasury,

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:02AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Business Risks of GM's IPO Filing, SEC, sec, U.S. Treasury, u.s. treasury,  test 1-1

GM recently filed the paperwork for its upcoming initial public offering, and included in the filing was the S-1 documentation reporting risk factors for potential investors. Those considering the purchase of stock from the company should be most interested in the contents of the S-1 filing, listing the material risks to the future financial stability of the company.

The report is mandated by the SEC, and most companies actually overemphasize potential material risks in order to avoid any legality with the SEC that may result from under reporting. 

Risk factors commonly reported are economic fluctuations, commodity price, etc.  GM’s first couple of reporting factors would certainly fit into the more commonly listed, but when the nitty-gritty of the documents is examined, GM’s newly released S-1 filing is interesting reading to say the least.


RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Time Trials And Tribulations

On: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 4:45PM | By: John Welch


RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Time Trials And Tribulations test 1-1

Racing is as much a game of managing attrition as it is who travels the furthest, in the fastest time. The RedLine Time Attack Series displays this edict with force; featured in this article are two cars that should not have been running on Sunday morning, August 15th. Both cars were on track and one of them came away with several trophies. Mind you, the autos in question started life as production cars, designed to haul humans around in relative comfort at less than insane speeds. Neither has stuck to their intended nature, rather both vehicles are now fire-breathing, asphalt-shredding Time Attack warriors. Wow, too much? Perhaps, but I do love my toothy, pompous adjectives.

Neither of these beast is a purpose-built race car. Neither features any sort of modular design, no quick release hard points on either chassis. Both are very badass, and both took a hell of a beating before Sunday's full-on Time Attack. First up we shine the spot-light on Jay Stoops and his stoopifying (uhg, kill me) Nissan 370 Z. Prepared by Forged Performance, this is the first truly built 370 I've had the pleasure of laying eyes on. A well thought out race car, this Nissan has several interesting bits hidden under its bonnet. It is also serviced by an incredibly resilient crew, as evidenced by the tale of woe and suspension obliterating hardship you will soon read.

The other vehicle in this write-up suffered from arguably worse mechanical malfeasance. The Turn-In Concepts Subaru WRX Sti, driven by Tony Weisenhahn, had no business operating under its own power Sunday morning. The black carbon scar blanketing the Subies' hood vents told me everything I needed to know: catastrophic engine failure of one kind or another. Just how catastrophic, I was soon to find out.
 


BMW M Division Dealership Opens in Singapore

On: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


BMW M Division Dealership Opens in Singapore test 1-1

 

In recent automotive news, BMW is adding a new showroom for selling only high performance BMW M division cars in Singapore; it is located at Teban Gardens Crescent.  Cars to be offered in the showroom include M3, M6, X5M, and all of the X6M models. The next-generation M5, to be released next year, will join the line up in Singapore, as well as a new M version of the BMW 1-Series.


 

Turner Motorsports To Utilize BMW M3 in 2011

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:50PM | By: John Welch


Turner Motorsports To Utilize BMW M3 in 2011 test 1-1

It’s no secret that I dig on BMWs, or that I happen to have a soft spot for the Turner MotorSports M6 that runs in the Rolex Grand Am Series. The visceral appeal of this car is immense, from its darkish yellow color to its kitten-eating engine note.

Next season Turner will upgrade its car with M3 bodywork, all but putting an end to the racing career of the BMW M6. In celebration of this slightly homely design The AutoShopper is giving the M6 an early send-off with its own image gallery.

Taken from the 2010 Rolex 24 and Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona, these images were not used in the original AutoShopper coverage of these events. 9 pictures to commemorate a faithful beast, the Turner BMW M6 . . . enjoy!


SSC To Debut the 2nd-Generation Ultimate Aero TT Next Month

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:32PM | By: Chris Weiss


SSC To Debut the 2nd-Generation Ultimate Aero TT Next Month test 1-1

Shelby Supercars has been gnashing its teeth ever since Bugatti broke the world speed record last month. The American manufacturer is nearly ready to unveil its next-generation Ultimate Aero TT--a car that it's hinted could top the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's 268-mph world record. After some planned private showings, the company put up a teaser website this week, indicating that the official debut will happen next month. Unfortunately, no specific date or time are given, but at least we know there are just a few weeks left.

SSC's site includes only a background teaser photo of the Ultimate Aero--a picture depicting a more rounded nose. The information offered is also kept to the barest of minimums. Here's the full breadth of the site: "The Next Generation is Coming Soon...", "September 2010" and "Because Life Begins at 250." Then there's some contact info for media and general inquiries. And my email got bounced back when I attempted to contact the media email. It's not much to work with, but at least we know when we'll be seeing more--in a general sense of the term "when."

The latest SSC saga began just days after the Veyron Super Sport rolled its way into the record books. The company released a statement congratulating Bugatti and turning attention over to its upcoming Aero.


Chrysler Teases New Dodge Durango

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


Chrysler Teases New Dodge Durango  test 1-1

The new Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee have already launched this year, but 2010 still has some big changes in store for another prominent SUV: the Dodge Durango. The 2011 Dodge Durango will be the second complete overhaul in the Durango's history. Chrysler has launched a teaser site for the new Durango complete with pictures and video. From what we've seen so far, both from Chrysler's teaser site and from spy shots, the new Durango will be less boxy and awkward than the 2nd-generation Durango introduced during the 2004 model year, and will be a more styled, classy ride.

The third-generation Durango will share underpinnings with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It will get the same Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine and Hemi 5.7-liter V8 engine options of the Grand Cherokee and will be built together with the Jeep at Chrysler's Jefferson-North plant in Detroit. It's expected to offer a five-speed automatic transmission and come in 2WD and 4WD flavors. We'll see if and how the Durango answers the Ford Explorer's Intelligent 4WD system when it debuts.

In moving onto the Grand Cherokee platform, the Durango will lose the Dakota body-on-frame construction that it has traditionally sported in favor of the Cherokee's unibody. The car will also shrink down from its large midsize SUV mold to a regular midsize with room for seven.

Chrysler's teasers show a more sculpted Durango from front to back. The traditional Dodge grille remains, but appears to be longer and thinner than the last-generation Durango. The headlights have also been reshaped, providing a more sleek, styled look. Gone are the hideously bulbous taillights of the last Durango, replaced with a more sensible set. From the little that we see of the car's profile, it loses the straight, angular lines of the last Durango and offers a few more flows and curves.


Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Debuts in Monterey

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:52PM | By: Chris Weiss


Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Debuts in Monterey test 1-1

A little over a month ago, on July Fourth weekend, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport broke the world record for fastest production car with a speed over 267 mph. This weekend at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Califonia, Bugatti officially debuted its victorious warrior in front of a crowd of media and car aficionados.

For its debut, the Bugatti shed the black and flourescent orange look that it had worn for the track and showed up in a stunning, glimmering blue carbon fiber paint job. Under that eye-capturing paint, Bugatti has upgraded the "standard" Veyron 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine by boosting the size of the four turbochargers and intercoolers.  These tunes have added 200 horsepower to the world-record-holding variant. The engine is mated to a twin-clutch seven-speed gearbox. Final specs come in at 1,200 horsepower and 1,106 lb-ft of torque.

In order to handle those extra horses and the 15 extra mph they deliver, Bugatti strengthened the chassis of the car. Modifications include new shock absorbers and stronger stabilizers. Bugatti also added some slight aerodynamic enhancements to the body. The engine pulls its air in from two NACA ducts in the roof, rather than traditional hood scoops.


What'll She Do ... At The Pump?

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:46PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


What'll She Do ... At The Pump? test 1-1

I will admit, when I bought my 2001 Trans Am Ws6 on October 30th of 2000, I bought it with the intention of getting people’s attention.  Don’t get me wrong, there were other reasons I chose the car, but if we’re being serious, that was a big one.  Granted, it was blazingly fast with 320 horsepower from the factory Ls1 V8, and could outrun just about any other American car aside from a Corvette or a Viper.  It had four seats so friends could join in the fun, T-Tops to enjoy the sun, and six forward gears to choose from that I regularly rowed through.  Over the years, I’ve taken it road racing, and to the track where I ran a best of 13.2 @ 107.94 on street tires and very little experience.  My car has seen trips from Maine to Tampa Bay and from New Jersey to Texas, to San Francisco, and back across 80 East from start to finish.  

I have made quick friendships with car guys (and girls) in just about every state in the Union.  Some talk about their kindred ride, some want to race first and then discuss the outcome, and some just want to hear the exhaust note of  (what was then, and still is to some extent) a modern day muscle car.  The conversations usually go in similar patterns, which have become as familiar as catching up with extended family at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  But after ten years and 140,000 miles across 40 states, I finally was posed a question that I have never heard before.  


Kia Reviews Soul Manufacturing Processes Relating To Steering Failure

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:41PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 Kia Reviews Soul Manufacturing Processes Relating To Steering Failure test 1-1

Kia Motors in America is reviewing their manufacturing processes in an attempt to discover the cause of the loss of all steering capability in a two-month-old 2010 Kia Soul.

According to Auto News: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary investigation into the issue after it received one complaint from an owner of an almost-new Kia Soul who said the steering shaft decoupled from the steering wheel and then fell onto the driver's side floor in a way that interfered with the brake pedal.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the investigation could possibly affect over 50,000 Kia Souls.

Kia’s VP, John Crowe, stated: “Kia Motors America has been actively cooperating with NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation since being advised by the Acting Director late last week that an investigation was being opened regarding the 2010 Kia Soul. Although the investigation is based on a single incident that did not result in an accident or injury, the entire Kia Motors organization—including our supplier base—is reviewing manufacturing processes with the goal of quickly determining if there is a manufacturing cause and preventing the issue from reoccurring,” Crowe also said.


GM Recalls Over 200,000 Crossovers

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:35PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


GM Recalls Over 200,000 Crossovers test 1-1

 The latest company to hop on the automotive recall band wagon is General Motors.  The company announced today that it is recalling 243,000 crossovers including the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Arcadia, and Saturn Outlook, for a problem that interferes with the latch mechanism of the safety belts in the rear seats.

The recall involves 2009 and 2010 model years and most of the vehicles were sold in the United States.  Several thousand exported vehicles were recalled in Canada, Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

According to a recent statement by a GM spokesperson, the seat belts will be checked “for damage that in rare cases could make an occupant think the belt is properly latched when it isn’t.”  The seatbelts that are affected are in the 2nd row of vehicles designed with three rows of seats, occurring when the seats are returned to an upright position after being folded down.

Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of safety commented; “Because of the potential for a false-latch condition, we want customers to return their vehicles to have the recall repair performed as soon as possible.”