Skip to main content

We obsessively cover the auto industry…

26 New Articles in the last 24 hours Hide

Review
2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

  • Review
    2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo
  • Spy Shots
    Mercedes-Benz MLC prepares to take on BMW X6
  • Quick Spin
    2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
  • Beijing
    Audi TT Offroad concept packs 408 hybrid horsepower, yet returns 123 mpg
Tip Us

Hyundai missing Q1 earnings targets blamed on slow US sales

Posted Apr 24th 2014 3:45PM

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Slow US growth is hampering profits at Hyundai. In its first quarter financial statement, the Korean automaker reported a profit of 1.93 trillion won ($1.86 billion). According to Reuters, this is less than analysts' expectations and nearly the same as last year.

According to the report, US sales fell by 3 percent in Q1 2014. To make matters worse, the high value of the South Korean currency caused lower profits on models exported from there. On the bright side, Hyundai's Chinese sales rose by 9 percent, according to Reuters. It's also working on building a fourth factory there.

The company has had a rough time in the US throughout the quarter. John Krafcik, the CEO of Hyundai of America, stepped down on January 1, and the company was already predicting slow growth in sales for 2014. Falling quality scores for the Sonata and Elantra aren't helping matters either. However, there may be hope on the way. The second-generation Genesis Sedan was introduced to the US in Detroit, and the redesigned Sonata was recently shown in New York. Successful launches of these important models could prove crucial.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Zak / AOL

Watch the BMW i8 get wrung out on the Ring

Posted Apr 24th 2014 2:58PM

BMW i8

Been wondering where the heck the reviews of the all-new, plug-in-hybrid BMW i8 have been? After all, the car isn't exactly new, having debuted in concept form way back in September of 2009. In August of last year, we even tested a prototype of the new supercar. Despite that, though, we still haven't gotten a crack at the actual vehicle that will be sold to the public.

Well, we're happy to tell you that we're currently testing the i8 and will have a proper review for you soon. If, however, you're just aching for some coverage of the low-slung plug-in, we have a short video of it in action around Germany's famed Nürburgring.

Despite it's three-cylinder, turbocharged gas engine, the i8 sounds pretty angry as it laps the Ring. That is, until it has a little bit of a breakdown. According to the guys that caught the car on video, it appeared the i8 had a minor brake issue, and was parked on the side of the track for a good 15 minutes, with the driver pumping the brakes. We should probably just take this as proof, then, that manufacturers are actually using the Ring for testing, and not just messing about.

Take a look below for the video, and stay tuned for our full review of the 2015 BMW i8.

News Source: TouriClips via YouTube

2015 Chevy Camaro Z/28 already sold out?

Posted Apr 24th 2014 2:29PM

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Chevrolet may have struck gold with the Camaro Z/28. Not only is it a great car to drive, it's also proving to be a hot seller. A rumor has emerged that the brand has already fulfilled all the orders for the planned 500-car production run.

Don't worry, though. If you want a Z/28 in your garage, Chevy plans to start building a second production order of 2,500 or more cars for the 2015 model year, according to Autoguide. However, it'll be a few months before those will start arriving at dealers. In the meantime, you still might be able to get your hands on the $75,000 track-biased Camaro. While all 500 cars were spoken for, some were ordered by dealers to just show off the sports coupe on their showroom floors, according to Road and Track. You might be able to wheel and deal to get one of them.

We've contacted Chevy for confirmation of the rumor and will update this story with more information when we hear back.

News Source: Autoguide, Road and Track

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Woz pranks the Internet with 'his' Tesla Model X

Posted Apr 24th 2014 1:57PM


People pay attention to Steve Wozniak. People pay attention to Tesla Motors. Put the two together, with the bonus of a not-yet-available Model X, and you've got the makings of Twitter gold. This was proven yesterday, when Woz Tweeted a picture of himself with what he said was "our new Tesla!" Excited admirers offered their congratulations and wanted to see the cool Falcon doors in action.

But it was all a dream too sweet. The Model X, after all, isn't due until the end of the year and even an Apple co-founder can't bend time that much. Tech editor at The Street Chris Ciaccia popped the bubble with this Tweeted explanation: "Despite @stevewoz tweeting a pic of him w/the Model X, not his new car. Just a photo op with the display model at that charging station." So, really, "Woz's" Model X could belong to anyone who wants to go to wherever the display model is located and snap a picture.

We would not be surprised, though, if Woz is one of the 12,000 (guesstimated) pre-orders for the Model X. The all-wheel drive, all-electric CUV can hit 60 miles per hour in under five seconds thanks to a powertrain similar to the one in the Model S. Like the popular S, the X will come with either a 60- or 85-kWh battery. You can see the Falcon doors move up and down, digitally, here.

News Source: Twitter

GM spent $1.3B on recall expenses in Q1, net income falls

Posted Apr 24th 2014 1:30PM

US-DETROIT-AUTO-SHOW

General Motors' recall woes in the first quarter of 2014 has had a major effect on the company's bottom line. In its Q1 financial report, the business announced that it spent $1.3 billion on "recall-related repairs" in the first three months of the year.

Total revenue at GM actually ticked up for the quarter by about 1 percent to $37.41 billion. However, the huge outlay on recalls and another roughly $400 million loss due to special items were partially responsible for net income dropping to $125 million, an 86-percent decrease from Q1 2013, according to Automotive News Europe. GM's North American operations also saw pre-tax earnings fall to $600 million, compared to $1.4 billion in this period last year.

"Our focus remains on creating the world's best vehicles with the highest levels of safety, quality and customer service, while aggressively addressing our business opportunities and challenges globally," said GM CEO Mary Barra in the report.

GM has been wracked by faulty vehicles in the past three months. The well-publicized ignition switch recall was rolled out in three waves as the company found more and more potentially affected cars, and it eventually covered roughly 2.6 million cars. While this grabbed many headlines, GM also had to repair about 1.3 million autos for faulty power steering systems and around 2.19 million for bad ignition cylinders that could let the key come out. There were also several smaller fixes affecting even more of its products. Automotive News Europe predicts that the business had seven million cars that needed replacement parts in this quarter. In response, the company created a new position for a safety watchdog.

GM didn't make any forecasts for the next quarter in the report. However, it will be interesting to see how company fares in Q2. Scroll down to read the release.

News Source: General Motors, Automotive News Europe - sub. req.

Image Credit: Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images

Kawei K1 pickup blatantly copies Ford F-150

Posted Apr 24th 2014 1:02PM

Kawei K1

The Chinese auto industry used to be looked at as a joke full of products blatantly copied from foreign vehicles. However, companies like Qoros and others show that the country's automakers have taken big steps in terms of original design. It doesn't look like every automaker there is ready to put down the tracing paper yet, though. Case in point: The Kawei K1 pickup pictured above, which is an obvious rip-off of the Ford F-150. In fact, the company isn't even hiding it.

Kawei deserves a little credit for its openness. In describing the new model, it says: "No matter the black net grille and the outline of the headlamp, even if the styles of fog lamp and engine cover, it looks the same as Ford Raptor." It also admits that spelling out the model name on the hood is inspired by Land Rover. It's available with either a 2.4-liter, gasoline-fueled four-cylinder producing 141 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque (elsewhere it also lists it as having 162 lb-ft) or a 3.2-liter six-cylinder diesel with 106 hp and 181 lb-ft. Regardless of engine, power is sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. The trucks cost around 100,000 Yuan ($16,033). So at least the K1 is a reasonably priced knockoff.

According to Car News China, the K1 is actually selling in small numbers. The company made 10,000 of them last year and even exported some to Africa and the Middle East. Kawei's factory is doubling in capacity this year to build even more. You can read more about the truck on the company's website in some very mangled English.
Related GalleryKawei K1 Pickup
Kawei K1 PickupKawei K1 PickupKawei K1 PickupKawei K1 PickupKawei K1 PickupKawei K1 PickupKawei K1 PickupKawei K1 Pickup

News Source: Kawei via Car News China

Image Credit: Kawei

'Pothole Killer' faster than a four-man road crew

Posted Apr 24th 2014 12:32PM

Pothole Killer

Residents of Florida, the American Southwest and everywhere else where snowfall is greeted with the sort of panic normally reserved for extraterrestrial invasions or the discontinuation of Twinkies, look away. This doesn't concern you.

If you live in a land that's been gripped by the Polar Vortex, has experienced immense, record-breaking amounts of snowfall and has the roads to prove it, though, look on this wonderful machine with joy. It's called the Pothole Killer, and it's here to put the traditional patching crew out of business.

It can repair a pothole in two minutes. That's 120 seconds. It gets better, though, because only one person is needed for the job. Compare that with the amount of time it takes a four-man crew to make a typically dodgy repair job, and the Pothole Killer is a big improvement. It's not perfect, though, as shown in a report from Detroit's ABC affiliate.

The mixture used to patch the holes is 35 percent water, which limits the machine's use in cold weather. And as shown in the news report, even though it's plenty quick to make repairs, a few brutal winters are all that are needed to destroy roads all over again. That said, the speed of repairs and the reduction in man power do have their advantages.

What about the cost, though? Well, the machine itself is $335,800, according to Gizmodo. Municipalities can rent it for three months for $130,000, or about $43,300 per month, which, believe it or not, is more affordable than running a four-man crew, which includes labor costs, fuel for the trucks and asphalt (not to mention the slower, less reliable repairs). Monroe County, MI, where this video was shot, has already spent over $100,000 this spring, when repair season generally runs well into the summer. It's not the best solution to the pothole problem, but it seems better than what's been done in the past.

Take a look below to see it in action.

News Source: WXYZ-TV 7 via Gizmodo

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

Grand Stature Yes, Ultimate Driving Machine No

Posted Apr 24th 2014 11:57AM

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

"The Ultimate Driving Machine" has been BMW's tagline for nearly 40 years. Launched in the 1970s, the marketing campaign was a stroke of genius by ad firm Ammirati & Puris, as the phrase helped differentiate the imported Bavarian cars from their fellow European rivals by subtly pointing out that Mercedes-Benz and Audi were offering luxury models, while BMW was selling sporty and youthful driving dynamics. The campaign worked – some would argue that stands among the most effective ad campaigns ever – and countless Baby Boomers embraced the brand's fun-to-drive image by taking delivery of the company's new models.

BMW still boasts that its vehicles are "The Ultimate Driving Machine" four decades later, but the brand is very different today. It offered just a few model lines in the mid-1970s, and only a handful of vehicles within. In 2014, the automaker offers an exhaustive range comprised of nearly a dozen lines with almost 50 different models. To survive and thrive, BMW has decided it must massively broaden its appeal.

One of the latest arrivals to BMW's ever-growing stable is the 2014 3 Series Gran Turismo. The five-door hatchback is best thought of as a smaller version of the company's 5 Series Gran Turismo built on stretched 3 Series platform that, in the case of this test car, shares the running gear of the 328i xDrive sedan. On paper, the five-passenger vehicle checks all the proper boxes with regards to performance, utility and economy. But does this family-focused 3 Series still deliver driving dynamics that qualify it for the title of Ultimate Driving Machine?

Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L I4
Power:
240 HP / 255 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$41,450
As-Tested Price:
$54,570

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Top Gear producer expresses regret over 'light-hearted' racist joke

Posted Apr 24th 2014 11:32AM

The Military Awards London

Generally, when you're globally known like the team at Top Gear and are getting sued for $1.66 million over claims of racism, it's in your best interest to apologize early, often and profusely. You should not, however, apologize a month after the fact, when the furor had already died down. Someone, apparently, didn't teach this lesson to TG Executive Producer Andy Wilman, who has ruffled feathers with an oddly worded apology for the incident, nearly a month after it happened.

"We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive," Wilman said. Claiming ignorance strikes us as a reasonable defense – most of the Autoblog team and many of the readers that commented on our original story had never heard that particular slur. He then eviscerates his defense by saying this:

"When we used the word 'slope' in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it."


Claiming ignorance that a term is racist and then admitting that you were using said term to refer to someone of a different race kind of indicates that you knew what you were up to.

Wilman then bewilderingly goes on to claim that the phrase isn't well known in the United Kingdom, and that the furor seems to be coming from the United States and Australia. This ignores the fact that a Indian-born British actress and a British law firm are the ones suing Top Gear.

All told, this seems like a pretty bad play on the part of Wilman and the TG team.

News Source: Radio Times

Image Credit: Joel Ryan / Invision / AP

Mini interns turn Paceman into Adventure pickup

Posted Apr 24th 2014 11:01AM

Mini Paceman Adventure

With coupes and convertibles, hatchbacks and crossovers, Mini has done just about every bodystyle we could think of, and then a few more as concepts. But it hasn't done a pickup. At least it hadn't until now.

What we have here is a Mini Paceman (that, of course, being the coupe version of the Countryman) which has been transformed into a pickup by a group of BMW interns. It's called the Mini Paceman Adventure, and it's currently on display at the Mini dealership in Munich. According to BimmerToday.de, the project involved not only chopping the roof and installing a makeshift pickup bed, but also reinforcing the body, reforming the underbody and B-pillar, fitting off-road tires (including a spare fitted to a roof rack) and a handful of other minor modifications.

The photos are a little sketchy (although the dealership tells us a better set will be available soon), but from what we can see, it looks like a pretty solid project – one that makes us wonder if the apprentices' bosses might be paying attention. Because next to the Mini Coupe with its oddball backwards-hat roof treatment, this one-off looks as sensible as you'd expect from a group of German interns.
Related GalleryMini Paceman Adventure
Mini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman AdventureMini Paceman Adventure

News Source: BimmerToday.de

Image Credit: Mini Müchen

Nissan recalls 3,065 Pathfinders for transmission fluid leak

Posted Apr 24th 2014 10:32AM

2013 Nissan Pathfinder, front three-quarter view

Nissan is recalling 3,065 units of the 2013 Pathfinder equipped with the CVT, due to a potential transmission fluid leak. On crossovers built from April 18, 2012 to October 3,2012 "inadequate clamping force" on the hose connected to the internal oil cooler can cause the hose to come loose and let fluid escape. A severe loss of fluid can cause the transmission to stop working properly.

The recall is the result of a safety investigation begun last September, when it was thought a recall could involve 110,000 units of the Pathfinder and Infiniti JX35. Asked for comment about how such a large number of vehicles potentially involved could end up with just 3,065 being recalled, Nissan rep Steve Yaeger told Autoblog that Nissan initiated a service campaign for the issue last year - a service campaign notifies owners to take their vehicles to the dealer for repair of "what is generally not a safety issue" - and that there was a "production improvement" that addressed the clamping issue. The service campaign included the vehicles being recalled, but the recall is limited to just those vehicles that were built before the production-line fix.

Nissan will begin informing affected owners next month, at which time owners can take their vehicles to dealers to have the hose clamp repaired. The press release below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more information.

News Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Range Rover Hybrid brings advanced powertrain to Chinese market

Posted Apr 24th 2014 10:01AM

Land Rover Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid

The Land Rover hybrid models are growing both in terms of offerings and in size. At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, the brand unveiled the Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid to join the standard version and Range Rover Sport Hybrid.

The long-wheelbase Range Rover's powertrain is identical to what is offered in the standard Range Rover Hybrid. It combines the brand's SDV6 3.0-liter turbodiesel with an electric motor producing 47 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. It grants a total system output of 335 hp and 516 lb-ft, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF routes power to all four wheels. The company claims the hybrid adds 265 pounds of weight to the SUV. However, it gives a 26-percent improvement in emissions and is rated at about 37 miles per gallon in the EU combined cycle. It can even run purely on electric power for a mile at speeds up to 30 mph, and regenerative braking keeps the system topped up.

The styling remains nearly identical to the standard LWB Range Rover. There are a few Hybrid badges, and that's about it. However, rear seat passengers get to take advantage of the cavernous backseat that adds 7.3 inches of room over the regular Rangie.

Orders for the SUV begin in May, and Chinese deliveries begin around the end of the year. However, like the rest of the hybrid Range Rovers, it likely won't be coming to North America anytime soon. Last year, Land Rover's US boss said the diesel hybrid would come here eventually, but he didn't give a timeframe. We have contacted the company for an update. Scroll down to read the full release about Land Rover's massive new Range Rover Long Wheelbase Hybrid.

News Source: Land Rover

Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance

Posted Apr 24th 2014 9:31AM

2015 Toyota GT86, front three-quarter view

While we were busy ogling the Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0 with its Yuzu yellow paint and a workover by Toyota Racing Development, and the Japanese Toyota 86 buyers were trying out their Playstation-compatible Sports Drive Logger telemetry system, the European 2015 Toyota GT86 got fitted with some new parts of its own. New on next year's model are stiffer mounts for the front suspension and rear shock absorbers, and new shocks in the back for better damping and less friction. Toyota says the result is sharper steering and less body roll.

Inside, the instrument panel and center console get decorated with a "carbon-fiber motif." There are new shades of pearl white and silver to dress up the outside, and the roof gets a shark-fin antenna for sharper looks and aero. It goes on sale this summer, and you can read everything we just told you in the press release below. We've reached out to Scion to see if we'll get the same upgrades on the FR-S this summer, too, company PR rep Nancy Hubbell telling us, "The European changes are among those being considered for the US model FR-S and we'll have final confirmation soon."
Related Gallery2015 Toyota GT86
2015 Toyota GT862015 Toyota GT862015 Toyota GT86

News Source: Toyota

Jaguar Land Rover calls in handful of vehicles over suspension bolts

Posted Apr 24th 2014 8:44AM

Jaguar XJ, XF and XK

With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.

Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning – you guessed it – Land Rovers.

First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models – a whopping 297 of them – which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.

Just as simple is the second recall affecting the 2014 Range Rover Evoque. JLR is calling in a grand total of (wait for it) two units to have problematic bolts in the right-hand rear suspension replaced before they separate from the vehicle. Scope out the full details of both recalls in the notices below.
Related Gallery2012 Jaguar XF
2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF2012 Jaguar XF
Loading

Loading
Autoblog iPhone App
Shop for a vehicle