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Bernie Ecclestone's Christmas card pokes fun at his legal issues

Posted Dec 18th 2014 6:29PM


Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is now poking fun at the settlement he made with the state of Bavaria following his bribery trial earlier this year. His chosen avenue for this jest? A Christmas card.

The card features a masked rider sticking up a cartoonish Ecclestone, who's holding a bag labeled "$100 Million," referencing the settlement amount from the 84-year-old's bribery trial. In a word bubble, the rider says, "This is not a robbery. I am collecting for the Bavarian state." Ecclestone's settlement saw $99 million go to Bavaria and $1 million to a children's charity.

According to Reuters, the inside of the card reads, "Maybe now we can have a Formula One race in the really nice city of Munich, Germany."

We do wonder if this was the revenge Ecclestone was talking about following the settlement. Take a look at the card's cover in the tweet up top.

News Source: Reuters, Alan Baldwin via Twitter

Jaguar recalls 1,500 XJ sedans over brake issues

Posted Dec 18th 2014 5:45PM

2014 Jaguar XJ L

A problem with the hydraulic brakes on the flagship XJ sedan has prompted Jaguar to issue a recall. The issue, as publicized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the notice you can read below, revolves around the brake line junctions underneath the affected vehicles, which may leak fluid, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the braking system.

The problem only affects an estimated 1,571 units from the 2014 and 2015 model years, manufactured between February 6 and July 23, 2014. Owners of those affected units are being notified to bring their vehicles in to their local Jaguar dealers to have the brake line junctions inspected and tightened.

This issue appears to be unrelated to Jaguar's recent recall of several model lines, the XJ included, over a problem with the power steering system.

News Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Texas plumber shocked his old Ford F-250 is now in terrorists' hands [w/video]

Posted Dec 18th 2014 4:57PM

Plumber's truck used in Syrian Civil War

Do you ever wonder what the a owner is doing with your vehicle after you trade it in? Mark Oberholtzer of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, TX, has no need to imagine, but it's probably his worst nightmare. That's because an image of his old Ford F-250 is now on Twitter as a gun platform in the Syrian Civil War.

While the image only appeared recently, Oberholtzer traded the truck in last November. Somehow since then the F-250 made its way from Texas to Syria. According to a report from television station WHOU, the dealer that took the trade said the pickup immediately went to auction. Unfortunately, along the whole route no one ever took Mark-1 Plumbing's name and phone number off the door. So when the image went up on Twitter, everyone knew whom the Ford previously belonged to.

The plumbing company makes it abundantly clear that this whole bizarre situation is simply a coincidence, and it has absolutely no ties to the conflict in Syria. However, that isn't preventing people from phoning the business with angry calls and threats. Things are so bad that Oberholtzer keeps the phones unplugged for relief. Scroll down to watch a video of the guy's flabbergasted reaction to finding out what his F-250 is doing now.

News Source: WHOU via Boldride

Swedish car mag says Ford Mondeo is dangerously, illegally overweight [w/video]

Posted Dec 18th 2014 4:30PM

Ford Mondeo Estate test

Sweden's Teknikens Värld has a reputation for being very persnickety when it comes to auto safety testing, and its latest catch is the Mondeo Titanium Estate 2.0 TDCi 150 bhp S6 MPS (basically a station wagon variant of the Fusion). In addition to the model's mile-long name, it has another problem according to the Swedes, because its weight on the scales does not equal the official numbers for the vehicle.

Teknikens Värld claims the wagon is dangerously overweight because it weighs in 4,145 pounds, while Ford officially lists its weight at 3,530 pounds. That 615-pound disparity means that if a family loads it to what they think is the model's gross vehicle weight, it will actually be too heavy, and therefore illegal to drive in Sweden. According to the magazine, when it tried doing this, the rear wheels scraped against the wells, and the estate failed the mag's legendary moose test. However, at 220 pounds over the limit, it passed the test.

When reached for comment by Autoblog, Jay Ward, Senior Manager at Ford of Europe Product Communications, explained the reason for the deviation between the official numbers and the magazine's test:

"We are aware of this, but this is not an issue that relates specifically to the safety of the Mondeo, but is in fact related to the way in which the cars are tested by the authorities. We provided an Ambiente model for the testing but the car that featured in the magazine test was a Titanium model which has a different weight. We are in discussion with the Swedish Transport Agency to change the framework so the real weight of the Titanium model is reported instead of the Ambiente model which will resolve the issue."

Teknikens Värld is well-known for calling out automakers for perceived transgressions. Most recently it leveled criticisms against the all-wheel drive system in the Honda CR-V, and both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Porsche Macan failed its moose test. Scroll down for the magazine's video of weighing the Mondeo Estate and the model's test results.

News Source: Teknikens Värld via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright Ford

Cadillac CT6 will get high-res streaming video rearview mirror

Posted Dec 18th 2014 3:59PM

Cadillac CT6 Streaming Camera Mirror

Cadillac is preparing a big upgrade to the humble rearview mirror, adding a streaming video function that it claims will improve a driver's field of vision by 300 percent. The new system will debut on the 2016 CT6 flagship.

The streaming system, which eliminates the visual obstructions caused by passengers, headrests and the rear pillars, relies on a 1280-by-240-pixel TFT display and a high-definition camera to reduce glare and improve visibility in low-light conditions. That camera even addresses one of the big annoyances of today's camera systems, by adding a hydrophobic coating to keep the camera lens clear. The system can easily be switched off at the press of a button, at which point the driver has a simple electrochromatic mirror at his disposal.

"The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down," Travis Hester, the CT6's executive chief engineer said in a statement. "The streaming video is a significant enhancement for the luxury customer interested in purposeful technology." Scroll down for the press release from Cadillac.

News Source: Cadillac

Ford GT successor to debut in Detroit and go racing

Posted Dec 18th 2014 3:31PM

Ford GT supercar - red

Anticipation for all of the exciting reveals at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show just a few weeks away is building to a fever pitch, and rumors are mounting that Ford has a big surprise in store in the shape of a future performance halo model.

Insider sources speaking to Autoweek claim the next Ford supercar is definitely going to be revealed at the Detroit show in early January. However, the model is not necessarily the next-generation Ford GT in terms of its name or design aesthetic. Instead, one of these people indicates that the new halo model might drop retro styling altogether.

If the latest reports are to be believed, Ford's high-performance project goes beyond something to just grab headlines and rocket down the street. According to Autoweek, the automaker is also reportedly employing Chip Ganassi Racing to run a two-car racing effort in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in 2016. That would allegedly include a trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans to race on the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT40's win in 1966. The speculation goes that at least the racing version might use a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 for power. However, the motorsports part of the program may not be announced during the auto show reveal.

Rumors about the new halo car from the Blue Oval and its racing intentions have been percolating for months. The company might have considered an LMP2 entry, but speculation popped up later about the production supercar. A more recent report suggested that Ford might show a new Shelby GT350R Mustang, a successor to the F-150 Raptor and next Ford GT in Detroit.
Related GalleryFord GT
Ford GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GT

News Source: Autoweek

Watch Emily Blunt and John Krasinski prank Jimmy Kimmel's SUV

Posted Dec 18th 2014 3:00PM

John Krasinski on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Jimmy Kimmel has a bit of a rivalry going with Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. Not like the "I'm on television, you're on the radio" one he has with his former Man Show co-host Adam Carolla (who of course has more to do with cars than the last name he almost shares with a Toyota economy sedan). With Blunt and Krasinski, it's more of a prank rivalry.

The Hollywood couple, you see, live across the street from Kimmel, and they're all good friends. But during the holiday season, things get a little competitive. One year they broke into Jimmy's house and left an illuminated snowman and some sort of santa bear in his foyer. Jimmy retaliated, the Krasinskis escalated, and up and up things went until Jimmy had their entire house wrapped like a gift.

John and Emily weren't going to leave it at that, though, and took things in a decidedly more automotive direction. They gift-wrapped the host's BMW X5 and filled it with balls. But they didn't stop there. You'll want to watch the footage above to see how things ended, just take note of the roll cage visible as Krasinski-Clause stumbles out of the car in that last scene and remember that, while we couldn't say no vehicles were actually harmed in the making of this segment, at least it doesn't appear to have actually been Kimmel's.

News Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live via YouTube

Army's first surplus Humvee auction brings in $744,000

Posted Dec 18th 2014 2:29PM

HMMWV high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle humvee training off road mud ford fording water driving 416 416th Theater Engineer Command TEC Soldiers

The first public auction of surplus US Army Humvees has came and went, and to call it a rousing success would be a major understatement. Auctioneers IronPlanet Inc., unloaded 25 trucks on behalf of the Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency.

Bidding started at a meager $10,000 for the privilege of driving home in America's most iconic military vehicle. With $744,000 changing hands, the average Humvee crossed the block for just under $30,000, while the highest winning bid was $41,000, for a 1994 vintage, and the lowest winning price was $21,500, Military.com reports.

If those prices seem a smidge low, it's because they are. A quick check of AutoTrader revealed that, nationwide, the cheapest Hummer H1 was up for grabs for $31,300, while the most expensive, a 2006 H1 Alpha, was going for $149,995.

Of course, there's a good reason you might want to consider the civilian model, as Military.com explains it. AM General, the Humvee's manufacturer, is pretty unequivocal on its website, saying, "The Humvee was designed for a military mission and was not designed to meet civilian safety standards." It gets worse, though.

"AM General does not endorse nor support the sale of these military vehicles to the general public or private entities. AM General further opposes any use of these military vehicles by individuals or entities outside of the military context for which the vehicles are designed. AM General does not sell the military vehicle or service parts for the military vehicle to the general public."

Somehow, though, we doubt that will stop those that are truly interested in the brutish military vehicle. The 25 Humvees sold in this first auction had simply been gathering dust at Utah's Hill Air Force Base, according to Military.com. Considering this auction's success, and the fact that there are apparently 4,000 more surplus Humvees sitting about, we doubt this will be the last time the military turns to auction houses to unload inventory.

News Source: Military.com

Image Credit: SFC Michel Sauret / US Army

Analyst slashes Tesla sales forecast by 40% due to fuel prices

Posted Dec 18th 2014 2:00PM

Tesla

While falling gas prices are cause for celebration among Americans, many of whom are seeing their budget for Christmas presents burgeon on account of the cheap fuel, it's decidedly bad news for Tesla Motors.

The electric car manufacturer's fortunes are being seriously impacted by the low cost of petrol, with one of the firm's biggest fans on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas, now slashing his expectations for the Palo Alto, CA-based company. Jonas has a long record of being bullish on the brand, but that hasn't stopped him from lowering his forecast for the company by a whopping 40 percent. In other words, Jonas thinks Tesla will only be able to sell 300,000 vehicles by the end of the decade rather than the half a million that was originally forecast.

"While nobody buying a Model S today is doing so to save on their monthly expenses, the longer-term story is far more dependent on the volume success of the Model 3," Jonas wrote, according to CNN Money. "Oil price is a factor for Model 3."

Gas prices might not be the only factor that could hurt the Model 3, though. Jonas seems to think that Tesla won't be able to sell its more affordable model for anything less than $60,000, which is a far cry from the $35,000 price that the company has targeted.

Jonas doesn't elaborate on why Tesla might miss its target so drastically, but it does help to explain his bearish attitude – if gas prices remain low, there's not really any incentive for customers to join the Tesla family. That's doubly true when the cost of joining said family is twice as much as expected.

News Source: CNN Money

Image Credit: Paul Sakuma / AP

GM ignition switch recall fund reaches 100 approved claims for deaths, injuries

Posted Dec 18th 2014 1:29PM

General Motors Investigation

The General Motors ignition-switch compensation fund has the macabre task of determining whether to pay settlements to those who claim to be hurt by the automaker's faulty parts. The group, led by star attorney Kenneth Feinberg, has been accepting claims since August 1, and the latest statistics have brought to light quite a grisly figure. It has now offered 100 people remuneration for injuries or deaths due to the bad switches.

From a total of 2,236 claims so far, the fund has approved 42 deaths and 58 injuries, according to The Washington Post. Of these, 57 people have received their settlement offers, and 22 have been paid. As of yet, no one has rejected payment for an accepted case.

The numbers of people affected have risen steadily since the fund's creation. Feinberg even extended the deadline to submit claims until January 31, 2015. When he made that announcement, the group had received 2,105 cases that included 33 deaths and a total of 39 injuries.

With over a month to go before the deadline, it's likely that even more affected people could be offered settlements. Especially because, according to The Washington Post, Feinberg still has 445 claims under review. Before the fund was created, GM's investigation acknowledged 13 deaths and 54 crashes related to the faulty switches.

News Source: The Washington Post

Image Credit: Molly Riley / AP Photo

A car writer's year in new vehicles [w/video]

Just Your Typical $73,000, 328-Horsepower, Stick-Shift Automobile

Posted Dec 18th 2014 12:45PM



I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I'd never done before.

Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I'm not the only one taking stock of the year that's we're almost shut of.

Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I've driven over the preceding 12 months.

Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I've done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I've been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.

Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I'd never done before. The results are, well, they're a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they'll affect how I approach this gig in 2015.
Related GalleryMy Year In Cars: 2014
My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014My Year In Cars: 2014

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

2016 Kia Sorento

A Little Turbo Spice, A Lot More Nice

Posted Dec 18th 2014 11:57AM

2016 Kia Sorento

Teenagers are awkward, predictably provocative and generally horrible to be around – at least unless you, yourself are one. There's just something about those angst-ridden years spent trying on identities, none fitting quite right. Luckily for Kia, the automaker has just celebrated its 20th birthday in America, and fresh out of the driver's seat of its 2016 Sorento – dare we say it – we sense a touch of self-assured maturity. Don't worry; we expect the automaker's antics – including super-freak athletes jumping over an Optima at the NBA All-Star game and the employment of urban hamsters – to continue. Thankfully, offering unremarkable vehicles in pretty competitive segments seems officially a thing of Kia's history e-book.

To be fair, we've seen a pleasing Korean Renaissance for a few years now, and we're not just talking hot pots and bulgogi – 2015 Hyundai Genesis, anyone? Kia Optima SX? Soul? So where exactly does this third-gen 2016 Sorento fit in? Actually, we're not sure Kia knows that either; its product planners tell us that this miraculous crossover competes with variously sized vehicles including the compact Jeep Cherokee, markedly larger Grand Cherokee, and even the family-hauling three-row Toyota Highlander. But Kia is also not completely off its rocker, because the Sorento suffers (benefits?) from severe bipolar disorder in terms of pricing. While you can get a base L model for $25,795 after delivery – there are five trim levels including L, LX, EX, SX, and top-of-the-line SXL – the fancy SXL 2.0T with all-wheel drive we tested was priced at $45,305. That's a difference of almost $20k, with the latter model reaches a completely different, almost premium demographic.

And there's more. Sometimes the Sorento seats five, other times it can party hard with seven. There are three very different engine flavors to choose from: a carryover 2.4-liter four-cylinder will greet entry-level buyers with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. A meatier V6 – good for 290 hp and 252 lb-ft – will come on three-row models only, while the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four option, good for 240 horses and 260 lb-ft comes on two-row models exclusively.

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L I4
Power:
240 HP / 260 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Warranty:
10 Years / 100,000 Miles
Base Price:
$25,795
As-Tested Price:
$45,305

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Matthew Askari / AOL

Spyker officially declares bankruptcy

Posted Dec 18th 2014 11:31AM

Spyker C8 Aileron exhaust

Earlier this month, Spyker confirmed that it had entered bankruptcy protection proceedings in the hope of restructuring its finances and getting back on its feet. But now it seems those efforts have failed and those hopes have been dashed as the Dutch automaker has officially been declared bankrupt.

Founded back in 1880 and operating until 1926, Spyker was revived in 1999 to build the C8 sports car – a task which it focused on, in various iterations, until 2006 when it tried to break in to Formula One. Spyker sold the team the following year, and embarked upon the still more ambitious task of rescuing Saab after General Motors gave up on it in 2010. But the Dutch company ultimately failed at that as well, and despite plans to put the B6 Venator concept into production, it has struggled to get back on its feet ever since.

In the statement below, Spyker revealed that the funding it was banking on "did unfortunately not reach the company in time" for it to recover from the bankruptcy proceedings. The company's founder and chief executive Victor R. Muller added, however, that he will "relentlessly endeavour to resurrect Spyker as soon as practically possible" with the goal of merging with an aircraft concern to develop an electric sports car. We'll have to wait and see if he ever succeeds at making that prospect a reality, but for the time being at least, it looks like Spyker and all its ambitious plans are down for the count.
Related GallerySpyker C8 Aileron
Spyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 AileronSpyker C8 Aileron

News Source: Spyker

Ford blows up Takata airbag recall by over 447k vehicles

Posted Dec 18th 2014 10:58AM

Ford GT

Ford is the latest automaker to announce an expansion to its Takata driver-side airbag inflator recall, and the latest increase adds an additional 447,310 vehicles to the nationwide total. The company says that this expansion comes at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The expanded recall campaign covers:
  • The 2005-2008 Ford Mustang built between August 18, 2004, and June 25, 2007, at the at Flat Rock Assembly Plant
  • The 2005-2006 Ford GT built between February 11, 2005, and January 30, 2006, at the at the Wixom Assembly Plant
As of December 18, Ford knows of a total of 502,489 vehicles in need of replacement driver side inflators. Of those, 462,911 are in the US, 27,516 in Canada, 7,578 in Mexico and 4,484 outside of North America. The automaker is aware of one injury that may be related to these exploding parts.

Earlier in December, the automaker issued an expanded recall covering passenger side Takata airbag inflators for the Ranger pickup and Ford GT. When taking this into account, the grand total of Ford products with inflators that need replacement for the driver or passenger side is 538,977 vehicles.

Scroll down to read the company's full announcement of this enlarged safety campaign.
Related GalleryFord GT
Ford GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GTFord GT

News Source: Ford

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