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Panoz Unveils Abruzzi; So Wild It's Nearly Pornographic

On: Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: John Welch


Panoz Unveils Abruzzi; So Wild It's Nearly Pornographic test 1-1

The Internet has a funny way of taking rumors and running with them. Like scissors. The Panoz Abruzzi is the source of a few rumors, and the Internet has sensationalized every aspect of the new Panoz supercar in any way it could.

"2,300 brake horse pressures!"

"Carbon-Kevlar dead-pedal and a licorice dispenser on the ceiling!"

"The nose doubles as a sweet three-blade razor! Lifts and cuts!"

On top of these ridiculous claims, the Internet has provided us with several concept drawings that were far from accurate. What I find hilarious about this is that the actual car is more outrageous than any of these fake Panoz drawings depict. I mean, geezus, this car is front-engined?! Where, exactly, does the engine go?! Not being manufactured by some elves in an Alpine cave somewhere, the Panoz Abruzzi has a lineage that helps us ease past the slightly Sci-Fi aerodynamic treatment. This is a real car, screwed together well, and the badge on its hood has the racing credentials to give it more cachet than, say, a Gumpert Apollo . . . which is built by some elves in some Alpine cave somewhere . . .


Official Reproduction Parts Available For Restoring Your Old Ford

On: Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 10:46AM | By: Clay Ritchings


Official Reproduction Parts Available For Restoring Your Old Ford test 1-1

The days of driving around hunting for car parts to restore your old Ford are a thing of the past. No more trudging through muddy junk yards on the hunt for the illusive Mustang—all the while doing your best to avoid the canine landmines. If you are lucky enough to scrounge the part you need, it is unlikely that you can just bolt it to your classic and call it a day. Thanks to Ford and the “Interwebs” it is much easier to restore your classic Ford with factory-correct parts. Parts that are manufactured on original Ford tooling and have the fit and finish you are looking for are just a mouse click away.

Rejoice, Ford fanatics, your beloved manufacturer now offers up over 9,000 officially licensed parts. Ford is offering Parts for cars and trucks going back to Model Ts, and the catalog includes complete shells for 1967, 68, 69, and 70 Mustang coupes, as well as all manner of other parts to fix up old Mercurys and Lincolns. 


The Best-Selling Cars And Trucks In The US

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 7:11PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


2010 Ford F-Series Pickup Truck test 2

A recent report was published by ABC News about the best-selling cars & trucks available in the US, with some surprising numbers. Leading the pack (drum roll, please) are the best-selling trucks in the US for three decades and counting: Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks. Sitting comfortably at number two and three is Toyota with the Corolla and the Camry. The BMW 3-Series is also near the top, which is surprising because luxury autos don’t tend to top the lists of best-selling cars because fewer people have the pockets deep enough to buy them, and more people tend to buy economical cars.

The ABC News report, which cited national statistics from Autodata, stated “Ford's F-Series trucks (ranging in price from $21,820 to $43,355) have been the most popular trucks in America for 33 years running. Toyota's Camry (starting at $19,595) and Corolla (starting at $15,450) are perennial bestsellers, although Honda's Accord and Civic are serious contenders for the top spots. Other standbys are BMW's 3-Series sedan, which has sold 26,730 units year-to-date and is up 21% over 2009, and Ford's Escape, up 36.7% over last year and the eighth-best-selling of any vehicle in 2009.”


Lexus "Dark Ride" An Interesting New Avenue In Car Marketing

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 6:24PM | By: John Welch


Lexus "Dark Ride" An Interesting New Avenue In Car Marketing test 1-1

Lexus has come to the conclusion that auto advertising does not involve you, the customer, quite enough. In fact, Lexus would like to extend to you the opportunity to control their commercials yourself. Such is the case with the innovative 13-minute featurette: "Dark Ride."

The movie puts you in the passenger seat as Norman Reedus, of "Boondock Saints" fame, does his best to pilot the Lexus CT 200h prototype to a Lexus "safe house" before dawn. Making you the navigator, Norman is screwed if you don't tell him where to go. That's right, you become a part of the commercial, guiding the Norman and the CT 200h through side streets and away from mysterious road-going "bad guys".

“With ‘Dark Ride’ we are creating a unique virtual test drive opportunity so consumers can experience this hybrid, that is like no other, months before it is available at dealerships in early 2011,” said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing. “In it, consumers play a co-starring role as the fun-to-drive Lexus CT 200h is put through its paces. By guiding the driver and the CT through a series of adventures, customers will be exposed to ‘The Darker Side of Green,’ which is completely different than the way hybrids are usually portrayed.”


 

Chrysler Sales Peaked Over 100k in May

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 5:26PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Chrysler  test 2

I am always scouring the World Wide Web looking for positive news on the auto making industry. For one, I am a very happy person and I always look for inspiration online when reading about different industries that are now rebounding after overcoming many obstacles and hurdles. And for a second reason: there are always so many bad things that you read about in the news that it is nice to find something that is more enticing and uplifting, as opposed to only reading about things that are depressing. Speaking of depressing, the recent auto recession was really climaxing—or so it seemed—over the past several years, where the future of the Big Three automakers was at stake and filled with an air of uncertainty.

However, the full moon of sales is rising. By that pun I mean that the tides and waves of auto sales are rising, and that really is a great thing, folks! I was searching the web today, looking for some good news, and, indeed, I found it in a report from Auto News showing the once struggling and nearly bust automaker, Chrysler, had sold more overall units (in the month of May) than they had in fourteen months. Now, if you are looking for some good news in the auto industry, as it relates to new cars being sold, it does not get much cushier or spicier than this. Saucy, indeed, is my sentiment. As the report revealed to me, sales for Chrysler are vastly up for the month of May, 2010—to the tune of an overall increase of 33%.


Four Important Factors to Consider When Buying a New or Used Car

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:56PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Car Shopping test 2

There are so many things that may pop in and out of your mind when you are considering purchasing a brand new car or a used car, or even pondering leasing one. Some things that really leap out at first thought here are price, warranty, cost of car insurance, gas mileage, annual fees from the motor vehicle department, reliability, comfort, and of course, the dreamy ride you crave to own and to drive. Thankfully, there are so many resources that are out there these days that are—quite literally—right at your fingertips. Thanks to the advent of the World Wide Web, online car shopping, price comparison, and all related aspects has been made as easy as sitting down in front of your home computer and doing some digging and poking around. To better aid you along the way, here are some things to take into consideration while you are doing your car shopping.

Your Budget & How You Figure it Out
First off, it is of good mind to know what new car or used car that you can afford to buy. An excellent method of knowing what your monthly payment might be, or what you could expect to pay per month, is by using an auto loan calculator. Lucky for you, there are some great websites that offer free auto loan calculators, such as Bank Rate (Click Here to See Their Free Auto Loan Calculator). This way you can have a really solid idea of what your payment will be, and most importantly, what you can afford to spend and expect to pay.

To Purchase a New Car or Used Auto or to Lease One
You have options, as well. You can shop for used cars online or locally; just make sure you use online resources like CarFax.com or AutoCheck.com so that you can do a vehicle history search on the car. This way if you do buy a used car, you know you are getting a great car. You can also opt to just buy that spanking new ride outright, or lease it. Keep in mind there are many underlying terms to auto lease contracts, and they all vary; so if you do plan on leasing a car make certain to read the terms before signing on the dotted line.


Daimler Looking to Score Points at World Cup

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:11PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


2010 Fifa World Cup test 2

The CEO of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, has his eyes set on a massive marketing campaign for the FIFA World Cup this year. When the German soccer team takes to the field their attire is typically plastered with all sorts of Daimler ads, and this year should look to be no different. Except that Zetsche has emphasized the fact that he is not only trying to bring more consumer awareness to the thriving Mercedes brand, but he is also wagering his stakes on the German soccer team winning the event—something that they have not done since 1990.

Daimler’s campaign will include the traditional fanfare of advertising that is commonly prevalent at soccer tournaments and major sport events. According to a report by Auto News, Daimler's spokesperson, David Biebricher, concludes that, “Daimler's 2010 campaign involves traditional advertisements as well as online, print, and television media cooperation agreements.”

Damiler feels the need after the recent flop at the Formula One races. Damiler sponsors a car, and driver Michael Schumacher—who the company signed to help boost consumer awareness—is not doing well enough to provide the expected (or, at least, hoped for) jump in sales. He is in ninth place after completing seven Formula One races this year. So the car company is casting its eyes towards the World Cup this year as a method of rebounding their sales, and perhaps building more awareness of their brand to other countries, like South Africa—where the major soccer tourney is being hosted this year.

The company plans to offer some pretty sweet incentives to get drivers into a new Mercedes, as well, according to the report by Auto News. “A special leasing offer pays Mercedes' customers as much as 319 euros if Germany wins the World Cup title at the July 11 final in Johannesburg. The country's odds of winning are 14-1, according to betting company William Hill Plc. Spain and Brazil, both with 4-1 odds, are the co-favorites. Mercedes is also offering zero-percent financing under the “dream selection” program, which includes the compact A- and B- class models, as well as the GLK SUV. The SLK discounts are for a package of options including larger wheels and black leather seats with red stitching.”

Many Germans see the pairing of the carmaker and their World Cup advertising as an emotional relationship and a bond that exists between Daimler and the German football team. In an interview with Auto News, Thomas Rosier, a managing director of dealer Autohaus Rosier GmbH, stated, “The promotion is very sympathetic and the partnership between Mercedes and the Germany's premium football team fits together very well.”


Chrysler Adds Minivans To The List Of Recalled Vehicles

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:07PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Chrysler Adds Minivans To The List Of Recalled Vehicles test 1-1

Chrysler has now hopped on the recall bandwagon as it is recalling close to 600,000 Jeep Wranglers and minivans in the U.S. and another 100,000 vehicles recalled from Canada, Mexico, and other international markets. The reason for the recall, according to Chrysler spokesperson and federal regulators, is a problem with wiring and brakes that could potentially cause a safety issue.

In the most recent Chrysler recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the leak resulting from the front inner fender liner rubbing against the brake fluid tubes which may cause brake fluid to leak, potentially leading to partial brake loss.  The minivans that were recalled have improperly placed wires that could come into contact with hinges on the sliding doors which could cut through the insulation, resulting in a fire hazard. Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa was quoted as saying that only “in rare instances” could the defect lead to a fire inside the van doors.


Will Elon Musk's Financial Problems Prevent Tesla from Going Public?

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 2:45PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Will Elon Musk's Financial Problems Prevent Tesla from Going Public? test 1-1

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, is reportedly broke. According to a recent court filing in connection with his divorce case, Musk ran out of cash last year and has been living off of personal loans borrowed from friends since October of last year—even though he is spending $200,000 per month and bringing in $8,255 in monthly personal income. The question is: will the divorce between Elon and his estranged wife interfere with Tesla's plans to go public in the near future?

"About four months ago, I ran out of cash," Musk wrote in a court filing with the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Feb. 23, released by VentureBeat.com on Friday. "I had to obtain emergency loans from personal friends. These loans are the exclusive source of cash I have. If I did not take these loans, I would have no liquid assets left."

In addition Musk had this to say about a $1 million loan he made to Tesla; "I did not and could not actually receive this money from Tesla," he wrote. "It was converted to equity. This will cause me to pay taxes even though I didn't receive actual cash income, further straining my cash resources."

The Tesla Motor Company is not in much better financial shape than its founder; the company has been operating on a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy and it shows a $30 million loss for the first quarter.

 In a recent filing with U.S. securities regulators, the new California start-up company attempted to separate itself from the much publicized divorce between Elon and his wife. In the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the company was quoted as saying; “We do not believe that Mr. Musk’s personal financial situation has any impact on us,” seeing that the company does not plan to have to rely on Musk’s finances again in the foreseeable future.

The concern is that if Musk’s estranged wife is awarded too much of the company’s stock (she is seeking 10%) in the divorce it could impact Tesla’s capability to retaining the U.S. DoE funds (totaling $465 million).

The solution is obviously for the company to go public, but that doesn’t happen instantly and in the meantime Tesla has committed to paying $42 million to purchase the NUMMI plant in Freemont so they can partner up with Toyota to build electric cars. Toyota has agreed to pay Tesla $50 million but notuntil it completes an initial public offering.


Ganassi/BMW Dominates Sahlens 6 Hours

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 1:09PM | By: John Welch


Ganassi/BMW Dominates Sahlens 6 Hours test 1-1

Though we are in the midst of six straight weeks of televised Grand Am, this past weekend's Sahlens 6 Hours of the Glen puts a cap on the busiest week of the season. On Monday the teams practiced, qualified, and then raced at Lime Rock, Connecticut. Four days later they did the same at Watkins Glen New York, only this race was six hours long. Brutal.

The Telmex/Ganassi team ran afoul of the Gainsco Chevrolet on the first lap at Lime Rock. Front bodywork smashed to pieces, they were forced to park the car and watch the Lime Rock race from the pits. That incident lit the proverbial fire under the Tlmex team's collective asses, and they returned this weekend ready to conquer all comers at the Sahlens 6 Hours.

Conquer they did; Scott Pruett turned a blistering lap in qualifying, giving the Ganassi BMW the pole by a full second over the Gainsco car. The race played out in about the same fashion; the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley scoring its third consecutive victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. The Ganassi team's biggest rival throughout the race was the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley of Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney, and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. The two teams combined to lead 179 laps. Gurney was gaining on the Bimmer from third position, but spun out his Chevrolet with 15 minutes remaining, resulting in a sixth-place finish. "This was probably the best the GAINSCO Auto Insurance car ever has been at Watkins Glen," said Fogarty, who drove the opening three hours, seven minutes of the race before turning the car over to Johnson. The reigning NASCAR champion ran second behind Rojas for his entire hour behind the wheel.


Chrysler Wrestles With Wrangler Recall Fever

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 10:41AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Wrangler Brake Recall test 2

The Chrysler Group has issued a recall notice for all 2006-2010 Jeep Wranglers due to problems with the braking system. According to the report, there may be contact between the right and left front inner fender linersand the right front and left rear brake tubes. The contact could cause brakes tubes to leak resulting in brake loss and a possible crash. So far there have not been any reports of related or serious accidents.

If you happen to own one of these vehicles you can easily get it repaired at any Chrysler or Jeep full service dealership free of charge. All you have to do is call your local dealership and set up a time to bring your car in, they will repair the parts without any cost to you. While there have not been any incidents related to this recently announced recall, the carmaker is urging any owners of these vehicles to get them serviced as soon as possible. Read the full recall notice after the jump.