Skip to main content

We obsessively cover the auto industry…

13 New Articles in the last 24 hours Hide

Quick Spin
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray [UPDATE]

  • Quick Spin
    2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray [UPDATE]
  • U-Turn
    Weekly Recap: Alfa Romeo's US plans take shape
  • Quick Spin
    2014 Land Rover Range Rover HSE
  • Official
    2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 priced at $78,995
Tip Us

Recalls have almost no effect on used car prices

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 2:46PM

Used Cars

This has been a bad year for recalls. The US auto industry broke the record for repair campaigns months ago, and with about 25.8 million vehicles needing fixed, General Motors has gotten close to 2013's total full-year figure of 27.96-million recalled cars all on its own. You might think that used car buyers would run screaming for the hills from all these faulty models, but a recent study finds the exact opposite to be true. In fact, one of The General's vehicles actually gained value slightly, despite all of the negative publicity.

The report from Black Book Lender Solutions examined residual values for several vehicles from major recalls. They included the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt that was among the most prominent affected models earlier this year. The study found that the campaigns had almost no effect on a vehicle's depreciated cost, even those with major press coverage, according to Automotive News. Amazingly, in the case of the Cobalt, the price of 2005 and 2006 examples actually increased by about one percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year, according to the investigation.

The results weren't limited to just GM, either. The 2008-2009 Toyota Camry from the unintended acceleration recall had a lower depreciation rate amid the campaign in February 2010 than its competitors of the same year, according to Automotive News.

These outcomes echo similar data from other sources. In terms of new cars, Autoblog's By the Numbers info shows GM sales have grown on five of the seven months with data in 2014. The month with the biggest loss was January, before the ignition switch recall was even announced. In June, another investigation found that the company's used car prices were still staying strong, and one company showed the recalled 2012 Chevy Impala also appreciating slightly. It certainly appears that the campaigns don't weigh on many consumers' minds when buying a vehicle.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: (aka Brent)/Flickr

Weekly Recap: Alfa Romeo's US plans take shape

Plus: Matthew McConaughey Hawks Lincolns, 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Gets 29 MPG, NHTSA Steps Up

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 12:29PM

Alfa Romeo 4C

In a strong signal of support, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles moved to reinforce Alfa with a new head of North American operations, Reid Bigland.

Alfa Romeo was in the news this week, and for once, it didn't involve another rumor the brand was going to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Quite the opposite. In a strong signal of support, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles moved to reinforce Alfa with a new head of North American operations, Reid Bigland, who had been in charge of the Ram division. Harald Wester remains global CEO of Alfa and Maserati.

It's a significant move, as Bigland has been considered a rising star within the Fiat-Chrysler conglomerate, and pulling him away from the important Ram business was not a decision made lightly. At first blush, it even seems questionable, as Alfa has only one car, the 4C, that's about to go on sale in America.

But that will change – or at least FCA says it will – in short order.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL | Ford | General Motors

Europe's BMW 1 Series hatch caught looking fresh faced

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 11:01AM

BMW 1 Series spy shots

Hey, remember the BMW 1 Series? Yes, German brand's successors to the US-market coupe and convertible have one-upped the old car to wear the 2 Series designation now, but in other markets, our No. 1 crush still lives on, and as evidenced in these spy shots, the entry-level hatch appears to be undergoing a modest facelift.

We've spotted prototypes of the refreshed 1 Series before, with the majority of the car's changes focused around the front fascia. This time around, we're seeing the three-door variant, with wheels seemingly fitting of a Sport or even M Sport trim.

Of course, this One's not for US, as the small BMW isn't slated to come to our market anytime soon. Click through the gallery above to see what we're missing.

Image Credit: CarPix

John Deere announces second big round of layoffs

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 8:59AM

Farm and heavy equipment manufacturer Deere – of John Deere tractor fame – has announced that it will indefinitely layoff some 460 workers at its Waterloo, IA facility, effective as of October 20.

This latest round of layoffs comes just about a week after Deere revealed it would be doing the same at facilities in Ankeny, IA, Moline and East Moline, IL and Coffeyville, KS. All this, following and August 13 earnings announcement that showed sales falling by some 15 percent in the third quarter of this year.

In a statement, the company said that it "must match the size of its manufacturing workforce with market demand," to keep its edge in an increasingly global marketplace.

The layoffs fall in contrast to a relative boom in employment in recent years, when Deere says it took on "several hundred manufacturing employees" in the Midwest, to keep up with demand.

News Source: Deere

'67 Chevy Corvair convertible vs. '86 Pontiac Fiero in cult classic showdown

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 8:02PM

Chevrolet Corvair versus Pontiac Fiero

Every few a decades, the folks running General Motors lose their minds briefly try to market a car that public doesn't see coming and often aren't ready for. In the '60s there was the rear-engine, air-cooled Chevrolet Corvair, then the mid-engine Pontiac Fiero in the '80s and the completely bizarre Chevy SSR in the 2000s. What all of these had in common was that they bucked the trend for American models of their era, for better or worse. The latest episode of Generation Gap tasked the hosts with finding two cult classic vehicles to choose between; they came come up with two of these quirky products from The General.

On the classic side, there's a 1967 Chevy Corvair Monza convertible. Being from later in the production run, it wears slightly more aerodynamic styling than the earlier, boxier examples. Hanging out back is an air-cooled, 2.7-liter flat-six pumping out a robust 95 horsepower. In the other corner is the somewhat more modern 1986 Pontiac Fiero SE with a mid-mounted, 2.5-liter "Iron Duke" four-cylinder, an engine nearly ubiquitous in GM cars of the '80s.

Judging by when they were new, the Corvair was far more successful than the Fiero with over 1.8 million sold. Of course, Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed kind of poisoned the well, even if the poor safety reputation wasn't entirely deserved. The Fiero on the other hand only lasted for a few model years before shuffling off, but it eventually got its own performance boost with the V6 version and rather attractive GT models. Check them both out in the video and tell us in Comments which you want in your garage.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

What you missed on 8.22.2014

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 7:30PM

Daily U-Turn

2015 Corvette Z06 wins on power and price

We started off this happy Friday by learning that the 2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 would come to dealers with a starting price of $78,000. That's not an insignificant fund, but when you start to cross-shop other cars with comparable performance, you quickly find (and we do mean quickly) that the Z06 is actually kind of an incredible bargain. Find out which of its pricy competitors comes closest to the new über 'Vette, here.

Quick Spin: 2014 Range Rover HSE

No company in the world does a quick, off-road-capable, posh luxury SUV (in sparkling brown paint, no less) quite like Land Rover's epic Range Rover. Having done full tests on the Rangie already, this time around we tackle the HSE model fitted with the supercharged 3.0-liiter V6 engine, to see if it suffers without a V8. Spoiler Alert: aluminum is a wonderful thing.

Ram to stay steely through 2020

...Then again, steel is nice, too. Pickup truck rival Ford may still be grabbing headlines for its intensive use of weight-saving aluminum in its new F-150, but Ram believes that it can stay competitive with the more conventional material. Despite a Ram 1500 refresh due out in 2015, company insiders are saying it'll be another five years before it'll start using the stuff in its pickup line.

Top Stories

Australia's Joss supercars not dead yet, needs Kickstarter help [w/video]

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 6:58PM

Joss JP1

Australia's Joss Developments made it further than some boutique supercar makers having actually produced a test car. However, the auto industry has always been a hard place for start-ups, just look at the failures of even high-profile ventures like Fisker, and Joss eventually succumbed. Or so it seemed. The Aussies are back, and this time they hope to raise the necessary funds to sell their JP1 track car via a Kickstarter campaign. It's certainly an ambitious goal, especially since they are hoping to raise $480,000 Australian dollars ($447,150).

According to the campaign, the point of the Kickstarter "is helping take a company that has built a car, run it as a prototype, learnt from these lessons and now taken the design and engineering one enormous step forward." If successful, the team hopes to build a running version of the JP1 with a mid-mounted, aluminum 5.0-liter V8 pumping out 563 horsepower (420 kilowatts) and 413 lb-ft (560 Newton-meters) to the rear wheels and wrapped in a carbon composite body. Joss promises acceleration to 60 miles per hour in about three seconds and a top speed of 211 mph.

From there, it wants to sell five of them before further developing the JP1 as a small-volume production car for Europe and eventually the world, if it all goes to plan. Because so much of the work is already done thanks to the earlier prototype, Joss thinks it could have the first JP1 ready within about 17 months of the end of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Production versions would cost about 600,000 Australian dollars ($560,000).

So far, though, it's quite slow going. The funding is only at $12,751 with 93 backers and ending on September 30 for those in the US. That's a really long way left to go to get the car built. Scroll down to check out the team's Kickstarter promo video.

News Source: Kickstarter

NEVS Saab EV prototype on display, with top speed of just 75 mph

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 6:29PM

 National Electric Vehicle Sweden Saab EV

National Electric Vehicle Sweden Saab EVNational Electric Vehicle Sweden, the Saab-owning Swedish holding company that is in turn owned by Chinese investors, has some problems (i.e., no cash). But that isn't stopping NEVS from showing off a prototype Saab 9-3 Electric Vehicle this week.

But wait, you might be saying, didn't NEVS already start production of a 9-3 EV? Yes, indeed, and the vehicle displayed this week was indeed built at the Saab plant in Trollhättan in May as one of those early pilot builds. A modified Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan, the EV has had the lithium-ion battery pack jammed under the floor, so all of the cargo and passenger space of the gas-powered 9-3 remains available. "The starting point for our development of the Electric Vehicle project was to maintain all the good attributes and characteristics," said NEVS' vice president of engineering and product development, Stig Nodin in a statement. You can find the press release below.

The li-ion pack comes from Beijing National Battery Technology (which is owned by the same company that owns NEVS) and can offer a range of about 120 miles, NEVS says. The prototype also has a 100-kW electric motor that offers 140 horsepower that provides a 0-60 miles per hour time of 10 seconds and a top speed of just 75 miles per hour. That's unlikely to be fast enough to outrun Saab's creditors, but NEVS says that the prototype is here "to serve as a reference for specification of coming production model(s)," so let's hope the speed number can be increased while the range at least stays the same.

News Source: National Electric Vehicle Sweden

Cadillac to move select offices from Detroit to Manhattan?

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 5:45PM

Auto Show

Under Johan de Nysschen, Infiniti moved its headquarters from Yokohama, Japan, to Hong Kong. Now at Cadillac, it appears the company's new president could be planning a relocation of at least some of the brand's operations from Detroit to Manhattan, according to a new report from Reuters.

In the case of Infiniti, de Nysschen pushed for the move because moving away from the brand's Nissan overlords would allow it a bit more freedom. It's evidently a similar case for Cadillac, with Reuters speculating that such a move would help distance the brand from the corporate culture in Detroit. A Big Apple move could also attract new talent that may have considered a job with the brand but were put off by the idea of living in Detroit.

It's important to note that if such a move takes place, it likely won't affect the folks actually responsible for developing the brand's vehicles. Instead, administrative functions, including marketing, could be the focus of the relocation.

For its part, Cadillac has politely declined to comment much.

"As Cadillac grows, it's possible we could look to add to our team or expand," Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told Reuters. "But as of now, no changes."

What are your thoughts? Would such a move help Cadillac's reputation or make any sense for the brand? Or, considering Cadillac's issues, would the company be better off focusing on other things? Speak out in Comments.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Paul Sancya / AP

Camaro Z/28 and Mitsubishi Starion meet in this nostalgic vision of '87 Japan

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 4:57PM

Orange Orchid music video

The '80s is just far enough away now that it no longer seems like an era defined by Reagonomics and neon clothing. Filmmaker Matt Clark has embraced the look of the music videos of the decade in his new short film titled Orange Orchid, set in 1987 in Chiba and Yokohama, Japan. The video features some great sports coupes of the time and is set to the song I Know There's Something Going On from Abba-alum Frida (along with drumming and backup vocals from Phil Collins).

Clark really embraces the pop-culture look of the era's videos with big hair, a healthy dash of neon, inexplicable smoky rooms and big, over-wrought movements. However, the real stars for us are the pair of '80s sports coupes that also kind of personify the main characters. Nijo in her denim jacket has a modded Camaro Z/28 with huge, dished wheels sticking way out past the fenders. Naturally, the Chevy also features some great butterscotch paint and a car phone inside. Alex, the guy pursuing her, forgoes any obvious upgrades in favor a clean, all-white Mitsubishi Starion to go along with his tailored suit and giant cell phone.

We wish this video featured the cars a bit more prominently, but that drumbeat from Collins on this forgotten 80s gem is pretty fantastic, too. Give it a listen in the video.

News Source: Matt Clark via Vimeo

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 price and power compared against rivals

Ranking Z06 With Porsche, Ferrari, GT-R, Hellcat, Etc.

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 4:30PM

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the most powerful production car ever from General Motors, and it's a technological landmark in the long lineage of Corvettes. It's also more affordable than you might think.

The 2015 Z06 starts at $78,995* – not chump change, but well below the price ranges of key competitors.

As was announced earlier today, the 2015 Z06 has a starting price of $78,995 for the coupe and $83,995 for the convertible, *including $995 in destination charges. That's not chump change, but it's well below the price ranges of several of its key competitors.

The Corvette has long been compared with the Porsche 911, but the Z06's 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque easily eclipses the most powerful 911, the Turbo S (560 hp, 516 lb-ft). The Z06 also costs less than half as much, as the Turbo S has a starting MSRP of $182,700, and then tacks on a $995-shipping charge.

Image Credit: General Motors / AOL

Ram pickups to keep it steel through 2020

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 3:44PM

Ram 1500

One of the hottest topics in the industry these days is automakers' expanding use of aluminum, especially for vehicle bodies and platforms. While the lightweight metal has historically been the preserve of premium brands and sports cars, Ford shocked the industry when it announced that its 2015 F-150 would go aluminum-intensive for its new generation. As it turns out, the material change doesn't even mean a big jump in the prices for most of its trims. Possibly in reaction to the big change, General Motors is said to be using the lightweight metal in its next-gen trucks, too. That only leaves Ram as an open question among the domestics, and at least for now, the company is apparently in no hurry to push tin.

According to Reuters speaking with two, unnamed insiders, the Ram 1500 isn't getting an aluminum infusion until sometime after 2020. That's not to say the truck is going to be stagnant for the next half-decade or more, of course. According to Ram's five-year plan, there's a refresh for the 1500 coming in 2015 and much bigger changes on the way in 2017. Those same sources tell Reuters that further revisions aren't expected until at least 2021, which is when the aluminum could be added.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn't minced words about his thoughts on using the lightweight metal in pickups. "I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck," he said in May. Having said that, Marchionne was clear that if the material turns out to be revolutionary in the segment, the company would be willing to follow.

Depending on how successfully Ford and GM make the transition to aluminum, Ram could possibly gain a short-term advantage. There are rumors of a shortage of the metal in the early years as automakers begin using it more and producers ramp up supply. If that actually happens, the brand could find itself in a good position by sticking with steel.
Related Gallery2014 Ram 1500 Diesel
2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel2014 Ram 1500 Diesel

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Here's the Youabian Puma in motion

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 2:57PM

Youabian Puma

Want to know the low point of my trip to Monterey for last week's Car Week festivities? It wasn't the four-hour layover in Phoenix or getting stuck in the horrible traffic surrounding the event. No, it happened at the Concorso Italiano, when after strolling through the fields of gorgeous Alfa Romeo Montreals, Maserati Meraks, shockingly rust-free Lancia classics and the largest and most varied collection of Ferrari and Lamborghini gorgeousness that I've ever laid eyes on, I stumbled across this – the Youabian Puma.

Why it was at the Concorso, I've no idea. But there it was, in all its big – and I mean big – blue fury, standing in stark contrast to the beautiful sheetmetal that populated the lawn at Monterey's Black Horse Golf Course.

This is, so far as we recall, the first time we've seen the Puma in motion and playing in traffic. In case you somehow missed its memorable debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, we're now offering you the chance to see this curvy, $1.1M leviathan for yourselves. It's worth watching, if only to better appreciate the scale of the Puma out on public roads. It's quite... something.

Are you VW's New Midsize Coupe?

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 2:15PM

VW New Midsize Coupe

Back in April, Volkswagen showed its New Midsize Coupe concept at the Beijing Motor Show, previewing a new, sub-Passat model for the Chinese market. Now, Auto 163 has stumbled upon what appear to be the first shots of the production model, and while it doesn't stray too far from the original concept, as expected, some of the flashier styling cues have been toned down.

Of course, because we live in a world where the term "coupe" is apparently applicable to a range of bodystyles, Volkswagen's NMC is actually very much a sedan. At the concept's debut, VW said it "envisions a sport sedan positioned below the Passat" – the car is "appreciably wider" than the Passat, but shorter than a Jetta. It rides on the company's MQB modular architecture that currently underpins the Golf here in the United States.

No word yet on what its production name will be, but VW's New Midsize Coupe is expected to debut in production form at the Guangzhou Motor Show this December, in advance of its Chinese-market on-sale date in early 2015, priced from about 180,000 yuan (about $29,000 based on current exchange rates). Power is expected to come from either a 1.4- or 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. We'll know more when the car officially bows later this year.

News Source: Auto 163 via World Car Fans


Autoblog iPhone App
Shop for a vehicle