ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮೇ 31, 2011

Nissan Mocks GM's Volt

Nissan throws down this funny smack-down of the Chevrolet Volt.

The Most Popular Hairdresser’s Car - Audi TT

Audi TT

The UK insurance firm came to a conclusion after over 18,000 hairdressers in Britain. The company said the MINI One is three and a half times more likely to be driven by someone working as a hairdresser than everyone else. The Audi TT ain’t the most popular car among hairdressers – or at least not in Britain. According to a new study made by UK women's car insurance specialist, that title goes to the one and only, MINI One hatchback.

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮೇ 26, 2011

2012 Hyundai Veloster

2012 Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai has not let anyone drive the Veloster but they are willing to show us around the car, from top to bottom, and take us for an extensive drive around the block. The Veloster is Hyundai's latest addition to its lineup that now encompasses everything from the modest $12,000 Accent to the Lexus-fighting $58,000 Equus.

The new hatchback - uniquely configured with one driver door and two passenger doors. It's promoted as a compact coupe offering fun-to-drive chassis dynamics, a long list of standard innovative technology and hybrid-beating fuel economy in one cool-looking package.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಮೇ 25, 2011

The New EPA Label

The new EPA fuel economy label, thankfully, won't have the highly subjective letter grades.

What is interesting, is that it will clearly show the decrease in vehicle range (and fuel economy) caused by running on E85, in the example given of a flex-fuel F150.

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮೇ 24, 2011

Edmunds $1,000,000 Contest: No Winner

As I expected, no winner in the Edmunds $1,000,000 Unintended Acceleration contest.

Les Jackson re-stated Edmund's conclusion that most cases of UA were caused by driver error.

Sean Kane and Joan Claybrook didn't like the conclusion, and in the Q&A period attempted to dismiss Edmunds. This is not surprising, as Kane and Claybrook are solidly on the side of the trial lawyers, and have an interest in showing that driver error is not the root cause.  Kane mentioned tin whiskers as a possible explanation, despite the fact that NASA's analysis did not find tin whiskers as a failure mode that would cause un-detected unintended acceleration.  Joan Claybrook stated that she finds it impossible that all those people, with their detailed letters to NHTSA, didn't press the right pedal.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮೇ 23, 2011

China - Bentley's No.2 Market

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Motors have sold 396 cars in Mainland China excluding Hong Kong and Macau and that too in the first four months of 2011. This is an all-time record in the Asian market. After this record, Bentley broke its previous record set just last year, by an amazing 66 percent increase in sales.

Hyundai to become the Sixth Big Automaker in U.S

Hyundai Equus

Achieving 8% is a magic number in U.S. automotive sales. When an automaker hits 8%, they become one of the big guns in auto market. Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Dodge and Nissan have already achieved, and Hyundai is expected to achieve in 2011.

Hyundai and its partner-brand Kia have steadily evolving as world-class carmakers. They’re keenly priced, and has a comprehensive quality which majority of new car buyers want in this day and age.

Edmunds $1,000,000 Challenge Prediction: No Winner

Tomorrow, Edmunds will announce the results of its $1,000,000 Unintended Acceleration challenge, the contest they set up to see if anyone could demonstrate a hardware or software error state that could cause unintended acceleration in a Toyota with electronic throttle control.

My prediction: no millionaires.  No winner.  

Because the problem was explained by floor mats and some sticky pedal assemblies, compounded by user error.  

ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಮೇ 22, 2011

Lexus Outpaced by Two of its German Rivals

2011 Lexus

It took eleven years for Lexus to become the top dog of the U.S luxury car market, and roughly the same amount of time to lose the title. Its because of Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall saga and the fifty percent drop in production capacity caused by the earthquake and the old guard automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz have left the Japanese upstart gasping for air in third place.

Sprinter With Vortex Generators

Spotted this Sprinter van on Southfield road. The owner has stuck on
Y-shaped vortex generators (Airtabs?) in hopes of improving fuel
economy. The theory is that these break up the air flow behind the
vehicle, reducing the drag from the low pressure area behind the

Dunkin Aston

Saw this Aston Martin at a lowly Dunkin Donuts the other day.

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮೇ 19, 2011

Lincoln, Chrysler - Top brands in 2011 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Do you get the type of satisfaction that makes you proud to own a car. AutoPacific has researched and found which automakers are doing their best job of keeping customers happy. The results released for the 2011 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA), and you may be surprised to know that Lincoln and Chrysler have taken top honors.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಮೇ 18, 2011

Hyundai launches Genesis Prada in South Korea

Hyundai Genesis Prada Sedan

A few decades ago, mentioning brands like Hyundai and Prada in the same sentence would have seemed laughable but today Hyundai has a different image and no car could compete such a transformation more than the Genesis.

The Korean automaker announced a partnership two years ago with the Italian fashion house for a concept car but it has now launched the Genesis Prada. This luxury sedan is distinguished with a shark-fin antenna on the roof, offset by dark chrome trim, special 19-inch alloys and a special paint either Brown Moro, Blue Baltico or Black Nero Paints .

2012 Audi A6 Avant to Release Soon

2012 Audi A6 Avant

Audi has just released info about its new 2012 Audi A6 Avant. Its body is comprised of bits of aluminum and the A6 benefits has a composite construction that keeps the passengers safe. This lightweight approach has helped the 2012 A6 Avant drop 66 pounds versus the previous model and its as much as 154 pounds lighter than the one it replaces. The base A6 2.0 TDI Avant weighs just 3,616 pounds.

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮೇ 12, 2011

Neat Old Truck

I spotted this old truck on Woodward the other day. It is an old
Dodge pickup, which was a rail inspection truck -- you can see the
rail wheels folded up under the rear bumper. The truck had the phrase
"Born in Detroit, Raised in Montana" painted on the bed box.

Sorry for the crummy cell phone pic it's the best I could do.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಮೇ 11, 2011

Lamborghini to produce 20 Sesto Elemento at €2M each

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

When Lamborghini unveiled the Sesto Elemento Concept Car, everyone thought it would get past the show stand due to its lightweight construction but as for producing the Sesto as is seemed rather outside of the realm of possibility.

We began receiving reports that Lamborghini was preparing to put it into production, albeit severely limited. Then the successive reports suggested that the car could be strictly limited to avoid costly homologation procedures.

Is Saab Smoking Something?

According to Automotive News, Saab is considering the possibility of selling cheap Chinese SUVs through their dealer network as part of a Chinese partnership.

If they do, they're dead.

Saab's cachet, if it has much left, is that they are an offbeat, "sensible luxury" brand.  Saab is not cheap.  

Selling junky Chinese trucks alongside Saab's aerospace influenced Scandinavian cars will muddy their brand and alienate buyers.  It's like going to Saks and finding they have a WalMart mini-store inside.

Old Chevy, Royal Oak

This is a neat photo from a friend of mine. You can check out her photoblog here.

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Price Starts at $26,500*

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid will be available at $26,500 for sale excluding $750 for destination and handling. The $26,500 represents an increase of $705 versus the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Like its Sonata kin, the Optima Hybrid uses the automaker's 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine, mated to an electric motor and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮೇ 10, 2011

Ferrari Customers temporarily buy available models


Ferrari waiting lists are long in Australia and indeed in the world. The average wait time for a Ferrari 575M Maranello was three years at one point. This demand rapidly stripped out the brand’s small production capacity. What else a cashed up Ferrarista can do is just buying whatever’s available and drive until your hot pink Ferrari 458 arrives with the diamante-encrusted wheel arches and baby seal leather interior.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮೇ 9, 2011

Porsche Cayman S Black Edition gets 330 Horse power


Porsche once again makes use of its “Black Edition” nameplate for its new model, the Cayman S. This model benefits from a power boost and an additional standard equipment limited to 500 units worldwide. The Cayman S Black Edition features an upgraded version of the 3.4-liter six-cylinder boxer engine, with output increased by 10 horsepower to 330HP at 7,400 rpm. Maximum torque remains unchanged, however, at 370 Nm at 4,750 rpm.

Hyundai to launch i40 Sedan for Europe


Just a few months after debuting the i40 at the Geneva Salon, Hyundai is preparing to launch the the sedan version of its mid-size model. It will be launched at the upcoming 2011 Barcelona Motor Show on May 12th.

ಶನಿವಾರ, ಮೇ 7, 2011

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ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಮೇ 6, 2011

Obama Considering Mileage Based Taxes

According to this Detroit News article, the Obama administration is considering funding roads through a tax on miles driven, as opposed to gasoline taxes as they are now.

This is a reasonable approach, and it should be studied.  

As gasoline consumption decreases due to more efficient vehicles, and different forms of propulsion, the amount of tax revenue from gasoline taxes will decline.  A sensible approach would be to tax the common denominator--miles driven--rather than the fuel type.  Electric cars should not free-load on highway taxes.

The devil is in the details, of course.  Americans will not put up with an intrusive enforcement system, such as mandatory monthly mileage checks.  In states which have annual emissions tests, they are roundly hated, and removed whenever the voters have a chance.  A less frequent annual or quarterly mileage check would result in higher tax bills, as opposed to the gradual leeching we get from gasoline taxes or toll roads.  I would support an electronic system which allows cars to report mileage wirelessly to road-side sensor, or RFID based toll gathering sensors, however privacy hawks will howl that Big Brother is going to know where we drive.

Another detail is the amount of tax--people who pay a mileage tax should not have to also pay an equivalent gasoline tax.  It should be one or the other.

Taxing miles has another side effect, which is to put direct pressure on the number of miles driven.  As fuel economy increases, each mile driven will become less expensive.  By keeping miles expensive, the government is encouraging less driving, which will lead to less wear on the roads and less damage to the environment.  

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮೇ 5, 2011

2012 BMW M5 Concept will get All-Wheel-Drive Option

2012 BMW M5 Concept

Apart from having the turbocharges M5, the BMW M5 will also have an optional all-wheel drive system. The company officials declared that the all-wheel drive model will be built around the upcoming V8-powered M5 sedan, but they reveal further details on the technical specs.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಮೇ 4, 2011

Alfa Romeo 8C Spider gets 600-horsepower


Alfa Romeo’s 8C Spider may not be the best sports car but it's certainly one of the most beautiful out there. Novitec Rosso, the German tuner is focusing its attention on improving the Alfa’s mechanical hardware.

The highlight would be the adoption of a modified version of the supercharger system used on the firm’s Maserati GT tune. The package includes a water-to-air inter-cooler, dedicated radiator, custom injectors, stainless-steel high-performance exhaust system and an ECU optimization round off the changes to the 4.7-liter V8 engine.

GM to invest $131 million for Corvette


There are plenty who would like the Chevrolet Corvette to live long and General Motors is aiding that sentiment with a $131 million investment. The investment begins this summer and continues as it gears up to build the next-generation Corvette said to bow in 2013.

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮೇ 3, 2011

Own the BMW Nazca M12 Concept for $1.1 million


One of the most memorable concept models from the decade is Italdesign’s series of BMW Nazca supercar. The Nazca M12 model was designed by the great Giorgetto Giugiaro and it debuted in 1991 and was followed in by a more hardcore version called the Nazca C2 in 1992 and an open-top Spider C2 model in 1993.

One of the Nazca concepts has been available for sale by a dealer located in the Czech Republic. This car is based on the body of the 1991 Nazca M12 but features an Alpina-prepped 5.7-liter V12 engine producing 379HP.

Best selling cars for April 2011


NYC Picks Nissan Minivan Taxi

New York City has chosen, somewhat surprisingly, Nissan as the supplier for the "Taxi Of Tomorrow".  I had expected them to choose the Ford Transit, because it is the only vehicle that actually is in production, and has some quality history behind it.  The Karsan taxi was a complete unknown, while the Nissan NV200 is for sale in Japan, has not been modified to meet U.S. regulations, and is not currently street legal in the U.S.

Interestingly, the "American" Ford would be imported from Turkey, while the Turkish Karsan was promised to be assembled in New York.  Nissan's NV200 will be built in Mexico.  

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮೇ 2, 2011

BMW Concept C scooter to launch in America


You would have known the Concept C which was introduced last year. It was the BMW Motorrad's vision of what a large motor scooter could look like, and now it's moved into production.

It was reported that a production version of the Concept C will be unveiled at major motorbike shows after the summer and once it's in production, it'll likely get a different name, but after that it's headed for the United States.

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