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Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews

More Lukewarm News Out Of GM And Toyota

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 12:26PM | By: John Welch

Opel Corsa OPC test 2

The Saab deal has crumbled, surprise surprise. Koenigsegg, unable to secure the loans necessary to acquire Saab's assets, pulled out of negotiations yesterday. The Swedish government has ruled out any chance of a state bail-out for the beleaguered automaker.

Slightly better news comes out of Germany. GM will be cutting capacity at all of its Opel manufacturing plants, however, none of the plants will be shut-down, as previously feared.

Which brings us to Toyota. In an effort to trim expenses throughout its North American operations, Toyota is planning on moving jobs from California to Michigan or Kentucky . . .

Toyota To Reshape And Replace 3.8 Million Gas Pedals.

On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 10:23AM | By: Drew Christy

Toyota To Reshape And Replace 3.8 Million Gas Pedals. test 1-1


Toyota has announced they will replace the gas pedals on 3.8 million vehicles. This announcement is part of the largest recall in Toyota's history and affects both Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States. The company said it will reconfigure the shape of accelerator pedals to cut down on the risk that they may be jammed in the floor mat. In addition, it will replace original equipment floor mats with redesigned mats.

The following models are affected:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350


Toyota will start notifying owners of the involved vehicles via first-class mail by the end of this year.  Owners of the involved vehicles are asked to take out any removable driver’s floor mat and not replace it with any other floor mat until the pedal is replaced or modified.

Initially (beginning of 2010) dealers will reshape the current accelerator pedal until a replacement pedal is manufactured. As replacement pedals become available (around April 2010)  customers will have the opportunity to receive a new pedal if they desire.

Owners with questions or concerns, are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1-800-331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (1-800-255-3987), or consult the information posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.

We have posted the press release from Toyota after the jump.

Mark Reuss To Save the SS . . . es . . .

On: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:50AM | By: John Welch

Mark Reuss test 2

Any company suffering from economic malaise will want to streamline its product offerings in order to maximize gain from expenditure. In the past GM has done this by axing low-volume performance models, eliminating the cost of expensive go-fast bits. It's a new day in Detroit, and the new GM vice president of global engineering, Mark Reuss, is not going to stand for euthanizing Chevrolet's high-profile "SS" cars . . .

Toyota, Dana Must Report On Crusty Truck Frames

On: Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 4:53PM | By: John Welch

Toyota, Dana Must Report On Crusty Truck Frames test 1-1

Nah, Nah - Toyota finally screwed something up. Not that I'm wishing Toyota any bad luck, but MAN, am I sick of their "holierthanthou" reputation in the US market. Finally, after years of hearing all about Toyota's amazing reliability, and their astronomical resale value and their magical fuel economy blahblahblah, they've finally gone and really screwed the pooch. Hard. The pooch has a broken hip.

"Wasn't that 'floor mats' thing a pretty big deal?" you ask. Well, no, not really. Zip-ties solved that problem. Here we have a real serious failure. Here we have an afront to humankind that just cannot be overlooked: The thingee that holds the spare tire in place gets a little rusty . . .. What?!? What a let down!! Is that all??! No, this rust can cause your Tundra's brakes to fail in extreme cases . . . sigh, I was hoping for some sort of grisly catastrophe that involved the Tundra completely imploding on itself, crushing the driver and the driver's dog in a cocoon of twisted metal and shattered glass . . . Toyota, you always let me down . . .


Twelve Drivers Linked To USF1

On: Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 11:22AM | By: John Welch

Jonathan Summerton test 2

America needs a pick-me-up. A cattle-prod to the collective face. We need to go out and trounce the rest of the world at their own, uhm . . . some game of theirs. We got our Basketball "Cojones" back, now how about our Engineering-Prowess "Cojones." USF1 plans to do just that, albeit with a British co-owner and some sort of European driver.

Which is fine. Lately I don't trust us enough to assume we could dominate the most technically advanced sport in the world without any experienced help. I mean, seriously, Taco Bell invents asinine, Newspeak, adver-words and we don't out-and-out boycott them over it?! ("Melty"?! How stupid are we, really?) Eff, I had Taco Bell yesterday!

Even if I and most of the rest of us are hopeless trainwrecks, Ken Anderson most definitely is not. He's put together a world-class F1 program in North Carolina, and now he's ready to employ some drivers. The first year might not be pretty, but 2011 could be the year America wins its pride back . . .

Captain Slow Tells It Like It Is

On: Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 6:05PM | By: John Welch

James May test 2

We have provided links to Jeremy Clarkson's articles in the Times Online before, but he isn't the only Top Gear presenter who writes a semi-weekly column for a British newspaper.

Good 'ole Captain Slow (a.k.a. James May) scribes his own articles, for the Telegraph. James has a slightly different style, a little more subtle, a little less "car testing" oriented. He explores some interesting subjects, some interesting cars, and does some wildly interesting things.

Your "James May Primer" inside the post . . .

Hexatech C3TR, Worth Every Stinking Penny!

On: Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 1:55PM | By: John Welch

Cruden Hexatech C3TR test 2

If anyone is paying attention, this is my Christmas List:

1.) Six dozen cases of Widmer Hefeweizen.

2.) 35 cartons of Marlboro Reds.

3.) 300 some-odd gallons of Dutch Brothers Espresso,

and 4.) the Hexatech C3TR six-post Racing Simulator.

 . . . then I would humbly request that I be left in solitude until July . . .

Button Leaves Brawn-Mercedes, Heads To McLaren- Mercedes

On: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 4:21PM | By: John Welch

Jenson to Mclaren test 2

Jenson Button does it all. He wins championships, has a different cast of models on his arm (arms, plural) at every race, and he has also authored a book on the 2009 World Championship - seemingly spewing out a novel in the span of two weeks. What a fancy Lad this Button is!

How do you follow all of this up? Why you simply leave your championship-winning outfit (that you have been a part of for the better part of ten years) to drive for a rival. Not because of money, not because of fanfare that comes with McLaren, but because you "want to be a member of an all-British GP team."

Balls, my friends, sheer Balls . . .

CTS-V Sport Wagon Is A Go!

On: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 11:24AM | By: John Welch

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon test 2

It has an interior constructed of balsa wood, formica fiber board, and goat hides. It's oddly porportioned, has a wretched driver's-left blindspot, and almost fills a two-car garage. Normally these issues would cause me to absolutely hate and mistrust a car, verbally tearing it to shreds at every opportunity. Normally. Fortunately for the Cadillac CTS, the intangibles greatly out-weight the direct by-products of GM bureaucracy. It is a fantastic car.

How could GM possibly make me overlook all the obvious quality issues that I've noticed in their vehicles since my first ride in an '88 Celebrity? For starters, build an angular BMW that actually handles like a BMW, and shoehorn a blown smallblock under its eager bonnet. Ok, we've got the near-600 horsepower, tire euthanizer - now we need to make the car cooler . . . . WAGON TIME!

Roar N Soar: Slalom Gallery 3

On: Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 1:48PM | By: John Welch

1996 Chevy Corvette test 2

The final gallery of Roar-N-Soar madness fills up the gaps in slalom competitiors. We have got a dastardly Black Corvette, a lithe Lotus Elise, and one of the quickest cars of the day - a full race-prepped MG Sprite! Many sideways, tire-crushing images inside the post . . .

Roar N Soar: Slalom Gallery Number Two

On: Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 5:46PM | By: John Welch

Caprice Classic PPV test 2

The slalom portion of Roar-N-Soar was definitely not limited to Jaguar-badged participants. There were many interesting vehicles that graced the autocross last week; in gallery number two we explore some of the eclectic autos not wearing a pouncing cat on their bonnets . . .