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    Aston Martin Lagonda super sedan officially teased
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    GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars
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Dealership refunds student for broken Saab with bags of pennies

Posted Jul 25th 2014 3:01PM

Woman refunded by dealer with bag of pennies

Every so often, we come across the story of someone trying to "stick it to the man" by paying a parking fine or speeding ticket in pennies or dimes. Never, though, have we heard of a business stooping to such clichéd lengths. Enter Florida.

Irena Mujakovic bought a 2003 Saab way back in January from Holiday Motors, in Jacksonville, FL. Shortly after the purchase, the transmission started acting up. She returned to the dealer and paid for the repair, and purchased a warranty for future issues. Total cost: $300. But then the trans crapped out not long after the initial repair, and Mujakovic was back at Holiday Motors. This is where things start going south.

This second trip cost Mujakovic $400, with her warranty in hand. That's because the man that runs the dealer, Ed Di Miranda, neglected to mention that the warranty didn't cover labor costs.

"The warranty did not cover labor and I failed to write that in and that was her loophole," Di Miranda told First Coast News.

The young college student filed a complaint with the Florida DMV, who sided with her and ordered Holiday Motors to refund the money. Di Miranda and the dealership did just that, but when Mujakovic came to collect her refund, it was to a bag of pennies, with a few dollar bills sprinkled in for good measure.

Di Miranda, doesn't seem to think he's done anything wrong, claiming that only about $85 was in change, while the rest was paper money. "I am doing what DMV asked me to do," Di Miranda said. "It is legal tender."

Mujakovic has not collected her refund. Have a look below for the video news report.

McLaren previews P1 GTR concept ahead of Pebble Beach debut

Posted Jul 25th 2014 2:13PM

McLaren P1 GTR Design Concept

McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche have all come out with their hybrid-powered hypercars, vehicles that boast the bleeding edge of what is possible with today's road-car technology. The next step, at least in the case of McLaren and Ferrari, is to push that bleeding edge just a hair further, with even faster, more focused versions of the P1 and LaFerrari. At the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, McLaren will be the first to give us a glimpse of that boundary-pushing machine.

The British automaker has announced that the P1 GTR Design Concept will make its global debut smack dab in the middle of Monterey's legendary car week, with the veil lifting on Friday, August 15 at 6:00 PM EST.

McLaren doesn't go into many specifics here, simply calling the P1 GTR a track-focused variant of the P1, which we kind of already knew. Based on what we can see from the lone teaser sketch, the new model will have a much more dramatic aerodynamic presence than the street model, with a massive rear wing and a huge rear diffuser. Sandwiched between those two items are a pair of exhaust tips that wouldn't look out of place on the deck of your average battleship. Carbon fiber should feature prominently, with a few exposed sections of the stuff visible in the teaser image.

Production is slated to begin promptly after the final P1 street car rolls off the Woking production line, sometime in June 2015. Of course, we'll have much, much more on the P1 GTR when it makes its debut at Pebble Beach. Keep an eye on this space come August 15. Until then, scroll down for the official press release from McLaren.

News Source: McLaren

FBI investigating recently fired Ford engineer for espionage [UPDATE]

Posted Jul 25th 2014 1:44PM

US FORD JOB CUTS

UPDATE: We have received a statement from Ford Global Corporate Communications Manager, Susan Krusel, which contradicts some statements in the original story by the Detroit News. Krusel writes:

"Ford initiated an investigation of a now former employee and requested the assistance of the FBI. Ford's offices were not searched by the agency; Ford voluntarily provided the information and items requested in the search warrant. We continue to work in cooperation with the FBI on this joint investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to provide additional details."


Agents of the FBI are investigating a potential case of industrial espionage involving a recently fired Ford employee. The Dearborn, MI-based manufacturer had its world headquarters searched by FBI agents on July 11, and according to The Detroit News, had warrants to seize recording devices handed over to Ford by Sharon Leach, a now-former Ford engineer.

Leach, who had spent 17 years with the Blue Oval, was fired last month, after Ford Security relieved her of eight Sansa listening devices. The FBI got involved shortly after her dismissal, searching her home on June 20 and seizing some two dozen items, including computers, jump drives and financial records, according to warrants obtained by The News.

Ford has remained quiet on the matter, with spokeswoman Susan Krusel confirming that the automaker was working with the FBI as part of a "joint investigation," while declining to provide any additional details.

"It didn't involve anything of a spying nature." – Marshall Tauber

Legal experts are watching the case closely, as the move to search and seize items rather than issuing of a subpoena would indicate that the Feds are concerned that evidence could be destroyed.

"If it's an economic espionage case or trade secrets case, that rarely involves one individual," Peter Henning, a law professor at Detroit's Wayne State University, told The News. "So the concern is if you send a subpoena and ask for recording devices, those things can be erased."

Leach declined to comment to The News. Her attorney, meanwhile, is denying any wrongdoing and claiming the recording devices were used without malice.

"It didn't involve anything of a spying nature," Marshall Tauber, Leach's lawyer, told The News. "She wanted to record conversations of meetings she attended but didn't know how to do it. She was insecure about her note-taking."

Be that as it may, the fact that the listening devices were installed before Leach's meetings and were left in conference rooms after that, is suspicious enough that it led Ford Security to get involved.

Leach later admitted to using the devices, and claimed that she only used them to record her own meetings. According to Tauber, she said she erased them as soon as she listened to them and revised her notes.

"I think you're dealing with a person who was seeing how sharp the new kids are and maybe feeling a need to keep up with them," Tauber told The News. "And maybe she realized that she's not as attentive as she once was and needs a little assistance. Maybe her memory was failing her on the technology end but she didn't want to admit it."

The case is now in the hands of the US Attorney's Office and the FBI.

News Source: The Detroit News

Image Credit: Paul Sancya / AP

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the works

Posted Jul 25th 2014 12:56PM

2015 Dodge Charger

In Autoblog's recent First Drive of the 2015 Challenger SRT with the 707-horsepower Hellcat V8 we found its engine to be as brutally powerful as the numbers would suggest, even if it wasn't the best handler. However, the muscle-car-styling just isn't right for some buyers that need four doors and proper rear seats to haul around the family. It appears that Dodge has their backs, though, because the Hellcat is very likely on its way into the Charger in the near future. Imagine the looks on your passengers' faces when you stomp down on the throttle.

According to Road and Track, when Dodge submitted the Hellcat for engine power certification to the Society of Automotive Engineers, the company included the Charger on the paperwork. That showed that the automaker wanted the engine checked out for the sedan, too. R&T reckons the 707-hp Charger would hit the road about a year from now, clearing the Challenger for a year of exclusivity with the powerplant.

When the Charger SRT Hellcat does hit the road, it may carry a very special accolade. Assuming nothing beats it in the meantime, it might be the world's highest horsepower production sedan. Think on that for a second. Even a Mercedes S65 AMG only has 621 horsepower, though a good bit more torque at 738 pound-feet to the Dodge's 650 lb-ft. So while the beastly engine is getting put into other models, where else would you like to see it? The Ram? Grand Cherokee? Let us know in Comments.

News Source: Road and Track

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips , Seyth Miersma / AOL

This vintage racer is a Peerless competitor

Posted Jul 25th 2014 12:15PM

Peerless from Petrolicious

Sometimes important decisions come down to a split second where you just have to go with your gut. While leaving is son Paul's soccer game in the early 1990s, Ron Cressey spotted a 1959 Peerless GT on a car transporter. It turned out the owner was moving and shipping the car with him. Not wanting to let the opportunity pass, Ron started negotiating and bought the car on the spot. It took him another five years to restore it for vintage racing.

Cressey certainly has an eye for rarity because Peerless is among the lesser known British sports car builders. The company went out of business in 1960 and only sold cars for a few years. For the GT, Peerless took the engine, transmission and front suspension from a Triumph TR3, plus a Jaguar rear differential, and crafted a coupe body over it all.

As usual, Petrolicious contributes cinematography that is among the best anywhere on the web, and its sound mix allows the Peerless' four-cylinder engine to really sing. Scroll down to learn more about this vintage racer and the father/son connection that keeps it at the track.

News Source: Petrolicious via YouTube

Mercedes details 4.0L twin-turbo V8 for AMG GT

Posted Jul 25th 2014 11:31AM

Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8

We can lament the passing of the Mercedes-Benz M156 6.2-liter V8 until the end of time (and we probably will), but none of our moaning is going to stop Mercedes or the madmen of AMG from coming up with more modern, forced-induction mills like the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, or this, the company's new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. The freshly unveiled mill will make its production debut in the Mercedes-AMG GT, and based on the stats, it should prove a real honey.

Code-named M178, the new, turbocharged mill comes to party with 510 horsepower, but its big trick is the 479 pound-feet of torque it deploys between 1,750 and 4,750 rpm. Engine, thy name is usable power. The new 4.0 can rev to the same 7,200 rpm redline as the 6.2-liter V8 in the SLS AMG, meaning it should be a jolly good engine to wring out. The two turbochargers, meanwhile, can run to a maximum pressure of 17.4 psi and can spin to 186,000 rpm.

The measure of an engine isn't limited to just its power output. In today's world, it needs to be light. According to AMG, the new 4.0 is just that, boasting a dry weight of just 461 pounds, thanks to an aluminum crankcase. AMG even cast an eye on the way the engine's fat is distributed, fitting the turbochargers not outside the cylinder banks, like on a typical engine, but in what it calls the "hot inside V" configuration. That allows a lower, more compact engine package whose weight is better distributed.

Sound is arguably one of the AMG engine's most important aspects, and in that important arena, the 4.0 shouldn't disappoint. Slated to debut in the Mercedes-AMG GT, the 4.0 will be paired up with an exhaust that includes variable flaps that open and close depending on things like the transmission mode and throttle inputs. That should allow the GT's new engine to balance the AMG sound we know and love with a more relaxed, mellow and quieter character in everyday driving.

We'll have much more on both this engine and the car it will debut in, the Mercedes-AMG GT, in the coming months. Until then, there's a wealth of nitty gritty information available in the attached press release, from Mercedes-Benz. Scroll down for a look.
Related GalleryMercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8
Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8Mercedes-Benz AMG M178 V8

News Source: Mercedes-Benz

Mazda recalling 18k Mazda6 and RX-8 models over airbag inflators

Posted Jul 25th 2014 10:45AM

Mazda RX-8 badge

Faulty Takata airbag inflators keep taking their toll on automakers. Mazda is the latest to be affected in the US by announcing a recall covering 18,050 Mazda6 and RX-8 models to replace the front, passenger-side airbags. Specifically, the campaign covers 18,000 Mazda6 units from the 2003 and 2004 model years built between May 29, 2002, and March 4, 2004, and 50 RX-8 vehicles from the 2004 model year made between June 25, 2003, and June 30, 2003.

As with the rest of the vehicles with these faulty inflators, it's possible for the part to rupture when deploying the airbag and potentially spray shrapnel at the occupant. Mazda's defect notice goes into a bit more detail than most about the problem saying: "some propellant wafers have been produced with an inadequate compaction force, or may have been exposed to uncontrolled moisture conditions (those wafers could have absorbed moisture beyond the allowable limits)."

This isn't Mazda's first difficulty with Takata-supplied airbags this year. The company was among the seven automakers that recalled vehicles in hot-weather states over the inflators. It also had to recently fix 42,000 Mazda6 vehicles in China over the issue.

Repairs of the Mazda6 and RX-8 are scheduled to start in August, and obviously there's no charge to owners. Scroll down to read the recall announcement, or read the complete defect notice as a PDF, here.

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1], [2]

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Nissan commits to adding 'iconic' design after Cube killed off

Posted Jul 25th 2014 10:02AM

Nissan Cube

The Nissan Cube is on its way out here in the US and Canada. In a way, that's too bad, simply because the Cube's styling was nothing if not distinctive – much like the company's own Juke. However, the flame for uniquely styled models is indeed still burning over at Nissan.

We might never see an exact replacement for the Cube in the brand's lineup, but product planning boss Andy Palmer says that its retirement leaves a spot open in the Nissan lineup for something else. "To be clear, we will morph this space in our portfolio into something iconic," said Palmer to Automotive News. Unfortunately, he wouldn't hint at what that could mean.

However, his lack of suggestions makes it fun to speculate about what oddity could replace the Cube, especially since two of Nissan's more recent quirky concepts might have problems hitting the road. The Bladeglider is mired in Nissan and Deltawing Technologies' ongoing patent lawsuit. Alternatively, the retro-inspired IDx might be too expensive to build profitably. Still, this is the company that created both the (nearly dead) Murano CrossCabriolet and the very successful Juke; it can probably come up with something else delightfully weird.
Related Gallery2014 Nissan Cube
2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube

Subaru teasing new WRX S4 model ahead of Japanese debut

Posted Jul 25th 2014 9:15AM

Subaru WRX S4 teaser

The Subaru WRX range is growing just a little bit larger, at least in Japan, with the automaker's teasing announcement of a new version called the S4. Unfortunately, the company is keeping details about its latest all-wheel drive sport sedan a closely guarded secret for the moment.

From what we can glean, it appears that the S4 might be a more luxurious take on the WRX. According to the release, the name stands for the four qualities that Subaru wants the sedan to have: "'Sports performance', 'Safety performance', 'Smart driving' and 'Sophisticated feel.'" As part of this focus, the car comes with the company's EyeSight camera system. Thankfully, we don't have too long to wait to find out what all of the buzz words actually mean because Subaru is unveiling the S4 on August 25 in Japan.

The automaker also launched a teaser website for the S4 that you can cheek out, here, but at the moment it doesn't provide any more details about the new sport sedan. The site just has countdown until the August reveal. There's also no indication yet whether this potentially more premium WRX could make it US shores. Scroll down to read the Subaru's rather concise teaser for the upcoming S4.

News Source: Subaru [1], [2]

Kia negotiating to build $1.5B auto plant in Mexico

Posted Jul 25th 2014 8:27AM

Kia Cadenza

After a string of recent announcements from automakers, Kia may be the next business to break ground on a factory south of the border. The Korean company is reportedly nearly finished with negotiations to build a $1.5-billion plant near the city of Monterrey in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The state's secretary of economic development confirmed the news to Reuters and anticipated talks to be completed in the first two weeks of August. Unnamed insiders also said that the location was aiming for an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles.

Rumors from a month ago first suggested the possibility of the new factory. It would reportedly build two models of small cars, and assembly could potentially begin as soon as 21 months after breaking ground. Currently, Kia only has one North American plant, in Georgia, that builds the Sorento and Optima.

In the last few years, Mexico has become of hotbed of North American automobile production. Mazda, Honda and Volkswagen all recently opened new or expanded factories to build cars there. There are even more on the way with a joint venture plant from Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti and BMW's announcement of its own $1 billion undertaking in Mexico.

Autoblog reached out to Kia for official confirmation of the Mexican factory, and the company emailed the following prepared statement to us:

"As one of the world's fastest growing automakers in recent years, Kia Motors Corporation is currently evaluating various options for the establishment of a new overseas manufacturing plant in order to secure future growth for the brand. As a part of these efforts, and to better cope with the ongoing supply shortage situation in the Americas region, Mexico is being considered as a possible location of our next overseas production facility."

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Aston Martin Lagonda super sedan officially teased

"Strictly Limited Series Production" To Begin In Early 2015

Posted Jul 25th 2014 12:22AM

Lagonda sedan

Ask anyone who's anyone about Aston Martin and they'll tell you about exclusive and highly desirable two-door luxury GTs – the kind James Bond would drive – but it would be all too easy to forget about the other side of the equation. The company's full name is, after all, Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., but while the latter name is seldom used, it's about to make a rare comeback.

The British automaker has just confirmed "strictly limited series production" of a new Lagonda saloon, previewed by the two teaser images you see here. The super sedan will be built in the same facility that previously produced the One-77 supercar at the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon and will be available in strictly limited quantities by invitation to select customers exclusively in the Middle East.

Lagona sedanAston Martin has revealed precious few technical details of the new project, but the design clearly pays tribute to the iconically wedge-shaped 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda sedan designed by William Towns, with elements from the recent Zagato-designed Centennial editions evident as well. It will be based on Aston's ubiquitous VH platform that underpins just about everything it currently makes, and given the proliferation of the company's long-serving 6.0-liter V12 engine, we figure it's safe to say that'll provide the motivation as well, with at least the same 565-horsepower output as the Vanquish and the new V12 Vantage S Roadster, if not more.

The announcement, of course, hardly comes as a surprise. Just a few months ago we spotted a disguised prototype for this very vehicle undergoing testing, and Aston has been toying with the idea of a Lagonda revival since the debut of the rather controversial Lagonda crossover concept at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show to mixed reviews. There was since talk of partnering with Mercedes-Benz to revive the Lagonda line along with Maybach, but that ultimately fell through – although the two are still collaborating in other areas, including the provision of a new line of engines and other technologies.

Lagonda was originally founded independently in 1906, was acquired by legendary Aston chief David Brown in 1947 and has popped on and off the radar screen ever since. It remains unclear whether the new sedan will revive the Lagonda handle as a nameplate or as a separate brand, but you can delve into the press release below to read what Aston has confirmed thus far.

News Source: Aston Martin

Porsche's 959 is still poster-worthy after all these years

Posted Jul 24th 2014 8:04PM

Xcar: Porsche 959

Today, we have the Porsche 918 Spyder. Before that, there was the Carrera GT. While both of those cars are dramatic departures from the traditional, rear-engine Porsche formula, they owe their very existence to another wild child of the iconic German brand – the 959.

Like so many of the great performance cars of yesteryear, the 959 was a homologation special, built just so Porsche could go racing in the clinically insane Group B rally series. Fewer than 400 959s hit the streets, but those that did were some of the most advanced cars of the 1980s. A rear-mounted, twin-turbocharged flat-six sent its power through a still-rare all-wheel-drive system, creating a race-inspired rocket that was, for a short time, the fastest production car on the planet.

Xcar has the story of the 959, from its inception to its conquest of the Paris-Dakar rally, which is interspersed with a drive of the legendary coupe. Scroll down for the full video.

News Source: XCARFilms via YouTube

What you missed on 7.24.14

Posted Jul 24th 2014 7:32PM

Daily U-Turn

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon40+ gas guzzlers that aren't

The Gas Guzzler Tax affects many high-performance vehicles, but there are plenty of cars that straddle the line simply because their fuel economy ratings are slightly above the cut-off. Here, Seyth Miersma explains the tax in detail, and lists over 40 gas-guzzlers that manage to avoid this charge.





Audi SQ5Review: 2014 Audi SQ5

Audi offers a delicious S4 Avant in other markets, for folks who want a fast, luxurious, people-and-cargo-hauler. But as associate editor Brandon Turkus explains, we Americans aren't totally left out in the cold with the absence of this S4 in our market. Audi's own SQ5 might be exactly what these customers are looking for.





Acura NSXAcura NSX burns at the 'Ring

Remember that Acura NSX prototype we saw running 'round the 'Ring the other day? Well, there's been a tragic turn of events. It appears the car we spotted earlier has gone up in flames, coming to a charred end while doing some further Nürburgring testing. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and we've got a full gallery of the flame-broiled NSX, here.



Top Stories

Audi to abandon CVTs?

Posted Jul 24th 2014 6:57PM

Audi CVT

The continuously variable transmission is one of those technologies that seems to make a lot of sense on paper, but in reality, almost always numbs the driving experience. That's one reason why Audi, according to reports, is planning to phase them out.

One of the first automakers to implement use of the CVT, Audi mates CVTs to larger engines than many other manufacturers, which typically install them on scooters, hybrids and small-displacement hatchbacks. But the time of the Audi CVT (which it calls Multimatic) may be near its end as a report from Australia indicates that Ingolstadt is moving toward a two-gearbox lineup that does not include the rubber-band transmission.

Instead, Audi is said to be focusing its attention on the S-tronic dual-clutch transmission and on conventional torque-converter automatics – although the development of beefier DCTs could spell the end of the Audi slushbox, as well. We've reached out to Audi for comment, so watch this space for confirmation.

News Source: The Motor Report

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