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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry




Chrysler To Roll Out New Grand Cherokee In July

On: Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 9:58AM | By: John Welch


Chrysler To Roll Out New Grand Cherokee In July test 1-1


The Italians are not blind to the situation they have bought into at Chrysler. Things, in their romantic eye, at least, are starting to improve. To quote Sergio Marchionne, "I feel a lot more comfortable today than I did 12 months ago -- by far."

Arguably the most successful, and well received late model Chrysler vehicle, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will lead the march toward profitability for Chrysler (good thing I typed that last bit of hog-wash -- I could never say the words "Profitable Chrysler" with a straight face . . .). The new Grand Cherokee will go into production in May, and will land in showrooms towards the beginning of July.

How does this SUV stack up against the competition? If that were still a relevant question, I would answer it. SUVs are dead, folks, you can no longer enhance your manhood with tall tires and too much lane-choking width. Chicks don't dig it as much as they used to. Sorry.

Since the Grand Cherokee occupies a weird niche of its own, let's just explore its merits solely as a viable product, one that may or may not help Chrysler succeed long enough to re-badge Lancias and then fail all over again . ..


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 3

On: Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 10:04AM | By: John Welch


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 3 test 1-1

Ahhh, the third and final installment of the AutoShopper Blog's Sebring coverage. My ass and legs are still a little sore, and my ears are still ringing, but I am happy as a clam to be bringing you another gallery and a another movie of the action. I am, of course, so thrilled, because now that I'm done gushing over Sebring, I get back to updating internet ads. Yaa-Hoo.

This post rounds out our coverage of Sebring; there are several videos and images to pore over. GT car-centric as I am I feel like we've been ignoring them. Notes and observations, inside yon post . . .


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 2

On: Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:25AM | By: John Welch


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 2 test 1-1


Over-exertion can be a bad thing, but it can also be a very good thing. It's Tuesday morning, and my heels still hurt like crazy. From last Saturday. I did a lot of walking, a lot of standing . . . a lot of getting in other people's way . . . typical "suburban-dick" stuff.

This here post will fill you in on the hard numbers: who made it to the podium of the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring. It also contains several videos, some from our intrepid 'pit' (shyeah, right) reporter, and some from media outlets who have slightly higher production values. It's an ALMS-Media-Overloadblitz-a-thon!! Enjoy!


Cities And States Consider Measures To Squeeze Money Out Of Motorists.

On: Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Clay Ritchings


Cameras On Buses test 2

Adding insult to injury, cash-strapped California is seeing some of the most aggressive efforts to squeeze money out of motorists by considering plans to send accident cleanup bills to drivers involved in a crash, according to the Association of California Insurance Companies. Many insurance companies do not cover cleanup fees. Drivers are already being double-tapped by a budget deal that increased the vehicle license fee owners pay to register their cars every year. A significant portion of the revenue goes to the state's general fund, and the rest to local crime prevention programs.


 

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was

On: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 4:37PM | By: John Welch


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was test 1-1

OOOhhhh, man, how much do I love living in Florida? Not much; however, there are perks. For instance: Endurance Sports Car Racing!! Lots of it!! The 'Shopper was there for the Rolex 24, and we were also able to attend the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring, the second most famous endurance race on the planet.

Held on the grounds of a WWII B-17 aerodrome, the Sebring race draws huge crowds to Highlands County every year. So, who was racing? Who won? How many sets of tah-tahs did I see? Uhm, go to Speedtv.com for all of that crap; what you will find here is a detailed description of all things visceral . . . engine sounds, tire squeals, smoke, dust, fire. The stats and figures you can find anywhere . . . actually feeling like you were there? That is what the 'Shopper does best. . . .


Think Twice Before Buying Green

On: Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 11:08AM | By: Clay Ritchings


Smart Car Crash test 2

Thinking of going green by purchasing a Smart Car? Well, you may want to rethink that. I have on occasion blogged about many topics in the past dealing with alternative-fueled vehicles and it is no secret that I am a big proponent of “Green” technologies. I must now do a flip-flop on my position just a little.


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring; Le Mans Protoype Hawtness

On: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 3:17PM | By: John Welch


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring; Le Mans Protoype Hawtness test 1-1

The Sports Car season is about to get into full-swing, the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Orange Juice or Hair Cream or Cell Phones or something . . . is this Saturday! Eff!

The 'Shopper will be there and we will have freaking bells on! Getting the tickets we wanted didn't turn out to be such a snap, but the plans are lain and the Subie is gassed up. Now, to pound enough Unisom to make me just effing sleep until Saturday morning, March 19th. My liver has got to hate my guts . . .

The cars are more varied and exciting than ever, especially in the GT2 class. The number and variety of factory-backed full-bore GT2 cars is just astounding: Porsche, Corvette, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Ferrari, Panoz, the list goes on.

Also thoroughly exciting, the prototype classes are going through some major changes this season. In order to emulate the fantastic LMP1 vs. LMP2 battles that took place between Audi, Penske (Porsche RS Spyders), and Highcroft-Acura. During the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, the LMP2 cars were working so well (and the then-new Audi R-10 was driving like a panel-van) that the significantly underpowered Acuras and Porsches were able to steal several over-all victories from the mightier (re: more powerful) LMP1 juggernauts.

For 2010, the ALMS has combined the LMP1 and 2 classes, and added a third, 'spec' class- LMPC. By taking weight off of the LMP1 cars, and taking the restrictors off (well, sort of; made the openings larger) the engines of the LMP2 cars, the playing field has been leveled between the two classes- essentially creating one mega-classification. The LMP2s are faster, but now the LMP1s can keep up with them in the corners . . . it's going to be very interesting . . .


Hacker Disables More Than 100 Cars Remotely

On: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 12:14PM | By: Geoff Ciesla


Hacker Disables More Than 100 Cars Remotely test 1-1

A disgruntled employee created a mess for customers after he hacked into a web-based vehicle immobilization system and remotely disabled vehicles.

Kevin Poulsen writes:

More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns honking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.


Police with Austin’s High Tech Crime Unit on Wednesday arrested 20-year-old Omar Ramos-Lopez, a former Texas Auto Center employee who was laid off last month, and allegedly sought revenge by bricking the cars sold from the dealership’s four Austin-area lots.


“We initially dismissed it as mechanical failure,” says Texas Auto Center manager Martin Garcia. “We started having a rash of up to a hundred customers at one time complaining. Some customers complained of the horns going off in the middle of the night. The only option they had was to remove the battery.”


Vettel Let Down By Renault Engine, Americans Not Surprised

On: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:46PM | By: John Welch


Vettel Let Down By Renault Engine, Americans Not Surprised test 1-1

Fernando Alonso is a hell of a driver. Everbody knows that. Sebastian Vettel is also a hell of a driver. Together, it appears they will out-right dominate the 2010 F1 Championship. Just my opinion, but I doubt I'm the only one who thinks so.

Now then, that being said, which car is better, the Red Bull RB6 or the Ferrari F10? Difficult to tell. In case you missed it (which I can't understand; what could possibly be better than F1 at 7:30 Sunday morning?! What, sleep??! Sleep when you're dead, Loser!) Sebastian Vettel absolutely dominated the opening stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, first race of the 2010 Championship. Dominated. Then, as the laps wound down (49 laps this year, compared to last year's 56; more on that later) Vettel's Renault-powered land-missile began to lose time to the pursuing Alonso. Huge, fatty chunks of time. Alonso gained a full five seconds on one lap. Not good for Vettel or Red Bull. Eventually Alonso executed the finisher, drafting up to and then slicing around Vettel as if he were standing still. This lead to the first 1-2 finish for Ferrari in the opening race of season since 2004. Fillipe Massa made short work of Vettel, who also fell to Lewis Hamilton's McLaren before ending the race an embarrassing fourth position. So, "Whaa Happund?!"

Other topics discussed inside: Shui's return, the new teams, and my unholy disappointment in USF1 . . .


SNL Bashes Toyota; Actually Offensive AND Funny!

On: Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:45AM | By: John Welch


SNL Bashes Toyota; Actually Offensive AND Funny! test 1-1

Yep, yep, this video has some cussin, folks - ear-muffs for the little tykes.

Here we have Saturday Night Live attacking Toyota in a manner that wouldn't really surprise me if it were real. Which, if that convoluted sentence is to be believed, means the whole world is completely effed. Have a nice day!

Smarmy, NSFW video inside the post . . .


The Economic Collapse Claims Another Victim: Bye Bye, Ralliart

On: Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 1:38PM | By: John Welch


The Economic Collapse Claims Another Victim: Bye Bye, Ralliart  test 1-1

Though relatively unknown until Gran Turismo changed all of our misconceptions of foreign car markets, Ralliart has been providing parts to Mitsubishi for over 25 years. The company has also lent its name to several Rally-inspired Mitsus, the most recognizable (for us 'Murrhikens, anyhow) being the Lancer Ralliart.

Mitsubishi doesn't seem all that worried, as now they don't have to pay royalties on a name that is already synonymous with their vehicles. The demise of Ralliart may just be the first in a wave of Jap-o-Tuner deaths, as the Japanese tuning industry has nose-dived in the last two years. The world woke up and realized that nobody wants a 400 horsepower Scion xB. Or Hummers with stoopid rims and three tons worth of stereo equipment. Oh, wait, that last abortion is a uniquely American disaster, sorry, Japan. Didn't mean to reflect my self-loathing on you guys . . . make a race car out of that CR-Z, fellahs, don't mind me . . .