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Driver in Iceland taught valuable lesson by parking garage

Posted Oct 25th 2014 7:07PM

Iceland parking garage fail

Instead of trying to come up with a witty way to explain why you should watch the video above, we'll just give you a rundown of what happened back in July of 2011 when the footage, which just hit the web recently, was captured. Here goes:
  • Man and woman in Iceland pull up to a parking garage with a closed gate
  • Woman gets out of car to pee
  • Man drives into parking garage while the gate is still closed; Woman still out of car
  • Woman begins freaking out; Man attempts to back out of closed gate
  • Gate, with a hook to prevent this sort of thing, stops car from leaving
  • Second try; Gate, again, stops car from leaving
  • Woman hit by gate as it again stops car from leaving
  • Man gets out of car to check on woman
  • Apparently convinced woman is still alive, man gets back in car
  • Man decides to take another shot at the hooked gate; Achieves ramming speed
  • Gate again works as designed, this time flipping car onto its roof
  • Woman commences freaking out a second time
That pretty much sums it up. If you want a more detailed explanation, we suggest you watch the video above to see if you can glean any more tidbits. The old internet trope of adding a Benny Hill soundtrack to a ridiculous video is way overplayed, but, if there's any video that seems appropriate for such antics, this would be the one.

News Source: VideoNews247 via YouTube, The Concourse

Detroit auctioning off hundreds of surplus vehicles, including vintage trolleys

Posted Oct 25th 2014 5:15PM

Trolley Auction

The financial difficulties facing Detroit, MI, are well known with examples including not having the funds to replace batteries in its parking meters and at least considering selling off its art collection. To make some extra money, the city is holding a public auction on November 5 where it's getting rid of what it is calling surplus vehicles. Usually, Autoblog wouldn't cover a municipal auction, but a few of the lots are so interestingly bizarre that they need to be seen.

Looking through the items, you find pretty much all of the machinery a city needs to function with a huge number of vans, pickups, medium-duty trucks, even a transit bus. But then lots 224, 225 (pictured above) and 226 jump out at you because they consist of three trolley cars that appear much older than everything else listed.

Remarkably, all three appear to be in impressive condition and vary in length from 22 to 32 feet. Lot 224 is in a shade of sea foam green and eggshell white that you just don't see anymore. All three are covered in dust, but the wooden interiors of 224 and 225 still seem to be in great shape. Lot 226 seems to be in the worst shape of the bunch from the photos, but it still isn't too bad. There's also a listing for lot 1050 that just says "3 trolley cars" with no further description or images, as of this writing.

There's no indication what these old streetcars were used for or how long the city has had them. It's possible that they could be among the nine, historic trolleys that ran along Detroit's Washington Boulevard from 1976 through 2003. Check out the auction listings for more photos of them.

News Source: Hilco Industrial, Detroit Department of Transportation

Image Credit: The City of Detroit

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Posted Oct 25th 2014 3:05PM

Kia K900 SEMA Concept

Kia is getting all set for this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and among its vehicles is something that seems pretty mean.

The Korean company is keeping details quiet about what's under the hood of what it calls the High-Performance K900, but from listening to this video it certainly sounds fantastic with quite a meaty growl. There might be some form of forced induction going on, though we can't say for sure. Elsewhere on the car, Kia isn't being so tight-lipped. The High Performance wears a custom shade of gray paint with a one-off body kit, featuring carbon fiber inserts. It also sports 21-inch gloss black wheels and black chrome trim.

Honestly, we were left scratching our head a little when LeBron James signed on to be the "luxury brand ambassador" for the K900. However, if he were driving this around Cleveland, the endorsement might make a little more sense. Check out the video above to glimpse the concept for SEMA, and read the little that Kia is saying about it in the release below.

News Source: Kia Motors America via YouTube

Ford decides C-Max shoppers not interested in fuel economy

Posted Oct 25th 2014 3:00PM

Ford C-Max Hybrid

If you say a car – the Ford C-Max Hybrid, for example – is "fun to drive," can anyone really come up with some empirical evidence against your claim? What about calling it "versatile"? We wonder if Ford has been thinking along these lines when it talks about the green little hatch.

Ford is refocusing its sales strategy for the C-Max Hybrid after the model took a sales hit on both sides of the Atlantic recently, Automotive News reports. That sales dropoff may stem from the fact that Ford has had to revise its fuel-economy figures downward for the C-Max twice since last year, most recently in June. That made the company's once-proud fuel-economy comparisons with the Toyota Prius kind of pointless.

Ford is going a different route, calling the model versatile (which, to be fair it was also doing a year ago), technologically advanced and fun to drive. Since the C-Max has about 50 more horsepower than the Prius, that last part may be true. Ford representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from AutoblogGreen about the mpg-mention-free advertising direction, but we will update this post if we hear back.

Sales of the C-Max Hybrid have suffered in the US. Through September, Ford sold 15,245 C-Max Hybrids, down 36 percent from last year. We shall see if a new focus away from the car's lowered mpg numbers helps. At least Ford can be pleased with sales of the C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid, which are up 51 percent compared to 2013.

Chevy City Express headed for dealers

Posted Oct 25th 2014 1:01PM

2015 Chevrolet City Express

With competition coming from the Ford Transit Connect, it's high time Chevrolet got in on the compact hauling action and took the fight to its cross-town rival... and it's doing so with a little help from Nissan. The Chevy City Express, a badge-engineered Nissan NV200, is now arriving at dealers, giving Bowtie fans a counter to Dearborn's compact van.

"Our existing customers will love getting behind the wheel of the City Express when it's at their Chevrolet dealership," Ed Peper, GM's vice president of fleet and commercial vehicles said in a statement. "But we're most looking forward to giving potential new customers the opportunity to experience one of many Chevrolet commercial vehicles that best fit their needs."

Prices for the 2015 City Express start at $22,950. Scroll down for the official announcement from Chevrolet.

News Source: Chevrolet

Weekly Recap: Tesla's sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire

Plus: More Tesla, Airbags Explode Into Controversy, And Chevy Testers Rock Out With An '80s Camaro

Posted Oct 25th 2014 11:01AM

2013 Tesla Model S

"Tesla's quest to own its stores has brought to light issues that have long faced the industry." – Adam Jonas

Tesla's fight to challenge dealer franchise laws moved to the home state of the American auto industry this week, as the governor of Michigan signed a controversial bill that excludes Tesla from selling its electric cars directly to consumers.

Experts agree it was probably already illegal for Tesla to sell cars in Michigan, as the state's franchise laws require that cars be sold through dealerships. But, the legislation closed a gap in the law that Tesla might have been able to exploit.

Ironically, the bill sailed through both houses of the state legislature with little fanfare this year, as voters and officials have been preoccupied with midterm elections. It's not even a new law: just an amendment to an existing rule that touches on a number of issues, including transaction fees charged by dealers to consumers during the sale process.

The controversy seemingly exploded overnight, as a last-minute change in the language of the bill – which appeared aimed at Tesla – strengthened Michigan's franchise laws. It wasn't until the bill was already on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder that most of the public was even aware of it, or of the implications of the 11th hour changes.

Not surprisingly, Tesla was peeved.
Related GalleryTesla
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Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, KGP Photography

UberTaxi now operating in Seoul using licensed cab drivers

Posted Oct 25th 2014 8:58AM

South Korea Taxi Driver Protest

In countries across the globe, ride-hiring app Uber has faced criticism from taxi drivers, who claim the service is unfair, citing the way its (unregistered) drivers can be hired, eliminating the need to stand on a corner hailing. In the South Korean capital of Seoul, though, Uber and the taxi drivers are living harmoniously, thanks to a new service.

Called UberTaxi, the app has signed up a number of official, registered cab drivers who can be hired from a smartphone. Drivers won't be paid a commission, according to The Wall Street Journal, although they'll receive a $1.90 subsidy for each fare they handle that's been ordered by the app.

While the new pairing is a positive sign for Uber, the app's core service, the low-cost UberX, remains illegal in South Korea. WSJ also reports that the country is taking aim at the premium UberBlack livery service, and is even going so far as to develop an app that would give taxi drivers the same capabilities without using the ride-hiring service.

News Source: Wall Street Journal

Image Credit: Ahn Young-joon / AP

Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives

Posted Oct 24th 2014 7:59PM

Nissan GT-R Epic Drive

Years after its original debut, the Nissan GT-R remains a much-feared, well-regarded entry in the sports car landscape. Sure, many of its original competitors are onto new generations these days, but Nissan has continually improved the GT-R, giving it meaningful tweaks almost every year since it came to the US market for 2009. Reviewers also just seem to keep finding things to praise about the all-wheel drive, turbocharged coupe. In this episode of Epic Drives, the GT-R proves that in addition to being a quite pleasant road trip companion around the province of Alberta, Canada, in a pinch it can go off-road to herd some horses, too.

At its heart, Epic Drives amounts to half travelogue and half driving review. So in between snaking the GT-R through some picturesque roads, host Arthur St. Antoine takes a tour of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. If you're in the mood to take a drive in the Nissan through a landscape that blends the looks of a prairie, the Alps and fjords, then have a seat and check this video out.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2014 Chris Paukert / AOL

What you missed on 10.24.14

Posted Oct 24th 2014 7:32PM

uturn

Dodge Challenger2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

The goodness of the 2015 Dodge Challenger isn't just limited to that 707-horsepower Hellcat model. As associate editor Brandon Turkus explains, there's plenty to love about the Challenger R/T with its Scat Pack kit, complete with a 6.4-liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and more poise than ever before. Read all about it in today's Quick Spin.




Dodge Viper SEMA ConceptFiat-Chrysler SEMA lineup revealed

The annual aftermarket-fest that is SEMA is right around the corner, and today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles showed us its entire hand. The custom cars, created by the Mopar division, touch on everything from the smallest Fiat 500 and Dodge Dart to super-powerful machines like the Challenger and Viper. Have a look here, to see what's in store for SEMA.




Jason VinesDid Ford bug its former PR chief's car and phone?

The Ford Explorer Firestone tire recall of 2001 was huge news. And in a new report from The Detroit News, Ford's then-head of communications, Jason Vines, is accusing the Blue Oval of bugging his car and company phone during that time. The News received an advanced copy of Vines' upcoming book, which sheds some light on this allegation, and you can read a preview of this whole situation, here.




Top Stories

Berkeley findings says motorcycle lane-splitting safer than ever [w/video, poll]

Posted Oct 24th 2014 6:59PM

Motorcycle Commuter Safety

The latest study seems to indicate that riders are better off splitting lanes than ever before.

In some parts of the US, the concept of a motorcycle buzzing between lanes of slower traffic is a foreign concept, but it's an accepted practice in others. Each year since 2012, The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley, conducts a study to check acceptance and safety of lane-splitting in the state, where the act is legal. The latest study seems to indicate that riders are better off splitting lanes than ever before.

Among California motorcyclists, lane-splitting is becoming increasingly accepted. In the study, 80.6 percent of riders report doing it on freeways, about the same as before. However, of them, 37.3 percent of them say it happens "Always" compared to 30.9 percent in 2012.

On non-freeways, 71.4 of riders split lanes, up 10.3 percent from 2013. Of them 32.9 percent say it happens "Always," up 7.6 percent from a year ago. Furthermore, 62.1 percent of people split on both types of roads, up 7.5 percent form 2013.

With more people splitting lanes, the question of its impact on safety arises, and the study indicates that the act is getting less dangerous, too. The UC Berkeley study shows 4.7 percent of riders on freeways were hit by a vehicle while lane-splitting in 2014, down from 8.6 percent in 2013 and 11.8 percent in 2012. Non-freeways have seen a similar decline to just 2.0 percent in 2014 compared to 7.4 percent last year and 8.3 percent in 2012. Motorcyclists saying they nearly hit a car or had one try to block them are both lower this year, as well. Drivers are seemingly also finding the practice more acceptable, too.

This year's study includes info from 1,660 respondents, including 951 drivers and 709 motorcycle riders, and it paints a fairly positive picture about the safety of lane-splitting. The entire 51-page study can be read here in PDF format, and scroll down for a report about the study from CBS News.

What do you think of lane-splitting? Vote in our poll below, then have your say in Comments.

Do you think motorcycle lane-splitting is safe?

News Source: California Office of Traffic Safety, CBS This Morning via YouTube

Image Credit: Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee / MCT / Getty Images

Artist Peter Max's Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video]

Posted Oct 24th 2014 6:29PM

Peter Max - A Retrospective - 1960-2014

Sometimes, the stories that lead to cars turning up at auction are as interesting as the vehicles themselves. That's absolutely the case with the Peter Max (pictured above) collection of vintage Chevrolet Corvette models that are scheduled to cross the block in the spring of 2016.

Max is perhaps best known as a '60s pop artist who mixed vibrant colors with iconic imagery. However, classic car fans around New York City might know him better for storing a collection of 36 vintage 'Vettes in public parking garages for decades. The assortment is pretty special because it consists of one example of every model year from the original 1953 up until 1989, according to The New York Times.

Unfortunately, New York parking garages aren't really known for their cleanliness, and photos show the artist's Chevrolet collection neglected, caked in dirt and dust. After moving the collection around between several locations in the past few years, Max finally brokered a deal to sell them all off for an undisclosed price earlier this summer.

The collection's new owners are rehabbing the cars in preparation for selling them off. They're hoping to keep them all together as a set, but they're also apparently ready to let them go individually if that doesn't work, a move that will likely build buzz around these cars as they move toward the auction block.

The most bizarre part about these Corvettes is how Max acquired them. Without spoiling too much, it involves a 1989 contest from the cable music channel VH1. Scroll below to watch a video about this fascinating collection, then go read the whole story over at The New York Times.

News Source: The New York Times

Image Credit: Barry Brecheisen / Invision / AP

Porsche working on turbo V12 for Putin limo project?

Posted Oct 24th 2014 5:44PM

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ex

Porsche is best known for building very well-regarded sports cars and better-selling utility vehicles. Come to the company with a big enough bag of cash, though, and the Porsche Engineering division can create just about anything. The group's past projects include working with Harley-Davidson, Mercedes-Benz and corporate cousin Audi, but if rumors prove true, then its latest partner might be the last one you'd expect.

Russian website Wroom reports that Porsche Engineering is building the engine for the Project Cortege government limousine project for Russian president Vladimir Putin. The mill is supposedly a turbocharged V12 displacing between 6.0- and 6.6-liters and making around 800 horsepower. When complete, it will reportedly be built by ZMZ with Russian-sourced parts.

The limo is expected to debut in 2017, according to Wroom, but it's just the beginning of Putin's grandiose plans, which also goes by the name of the Motorcade Project. The same platform is also meant to underpin several vehicles for use by the government, including an SUV, a small bus and a sedan. All of them would reportedly have a longitudinally mounted engine and all-wheel drive.

The Porsche link to Project Cortege isn't entirely new. Russian media snapped a picture of a model of one design a few months back, and that vehicle reportedly had some engineering input from the German company. The work on the limo was estimated to have cost the government between $150 million and $400 million, even at that stage.

However, it might be safe to take the apparent success of this whole scheme with a grain of sale. Putin's project has been in the works for several years. Initially, ZiL created the ZiL-4112P as a new government limousine, but the Russian premier reportedly was unhappy with it. Since then, it's been back to the drawing board.

News Source: Wroom via WorldCarFans

Image Credit: Viktor Drachev / AFP / Getty Images

Yamaha R3 entry-level sportbike gets endorsement from Colin Edwards

Posted Oct 24th 2014 5:00PM

Colin Edwards advertises the Yamaha R3

Yamaha is already known for making some very well-liked sportbikes with models like the R6 and R1. For 2015, it has one more to add with the YZF-R3, and this cycle is the smallest in the family yet. To build some hype for this little motorcycle, Yamaha grabbed former MotoGP and Superbike racer Colin Edwards to make a somewhat humorous, if cheesy, video.

The YZF-R3 is supposed to take the DNA of its bigger brothers and shrink it down to a more petite size. Power is provided by a water-cooled, inline, two-cylinder engine with 320cc of displacement. It does have features like dual overhead cams and fuel injection, though.

With those specs, the R3 is basically meant for beginner riders, but it should be pretty nimble, too. And with prices starting at $4,990 in the US, it's a fairly inexpensive way to get into the hobby. Yamaha thinks it can sell around 6,000 of them in North America for the 2015 model year.

The R3 is supposed to his the US market in March. Check out Edwards' video above, and if you just want to see the motorcycle action, skip about 1:40 into the clip. Scroll down to read both announcements.

News Source: Yamaha, Yamaha Motor USA via YouTube

Ford Q3 pretax profits drop to $1.18B

Posted Oct 24th 2014 4:28PM

Ford Investigation

Following positive third quarter financial results recently from General Motors, rival Ford took a tumble in Q3. The automaker posted pre-tax profits of $1.18 billion, compared to about $2.59 billion in Q3 2013, a drop of around 54 percent. Net income also suffered with $835 million made in the quarter, versus $1.272 billion last year, a decline of about 34 percent. The Blue Oval blamed the gloomy figures on three reasons in its release: "lower volume, higher warranty costs and adverse balance sheet exchange effects."

There were problems of one kind or another in practically every region. North America experienced higher warranty costs than expected, partially due to recalls. The sales volume for the quarter was 665,000 units, versus 725,000 in Q3 2013, and pre-tax results amounted to $1.41 billion versus $2.296 billion last year.

South America and Europe both posted worse pre-tax results than last year. On the bright side, European volume was up slightly to 321,000 vehicles, from 303,000 in Q3 2013. The Middle East and Africa also lost $15 million, but that was an improvement compared to the $25 million loss previously experienced in this region.

The Asia Pacific region was also a mixed bag. Volume increased to 346,000 units, but pre-tax financials were $44 million, compared $116 million last year. According to Ford's release, the reason for the change is that the company is opening five factories there in the next nine months and launching Lincoln in China.

Ford was optimistic about future growth, though. It said that one of the reasons for falling volume was changing dealer stock in preparation of new models. In 2015, those updates should start being reflected on he balance sheet with "all five Automotive regions improving on 2014 results," according to the Blue Oval's release. Ford's results can be viewed in total as a PDF, here.

News Source: Ford

Image Credit: Bill Sikes / AP Photo

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