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Hardly Transformative, But More Than Meets The Eye

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Attention Chicagoans and other Midwesterners: If you've been wondering when the Local Motors Rally Fighter might be coming to a show in your neck of the woods, the answer is Sept. 10-15. And no, the Chicago Auto Show has not been rescheduled, it will still be held next February. Rather, the Rally Fighter will be on display at something called the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which is where those few who get excited about metal cutting and forming, tooling, CAD/CAM, and other vari

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The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second-oldest motorsports event in the United States, having been contested since 1916. It's an outlier in the sanitized, corporate-sponsored world of professional racing, remaining true to its unique and local roots. The race has a long history of encouraging ingenuity and experimentation, so its not surprising that proponents of alternative fuels have long mixed it up amidst the more conventionally deployed big blocks and turbos.

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Here's a question to ponder: If it can outrun a C5 Chevrolet Corvette off the line, can we even call it a skateboard anymore?

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The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second-oldest motorsports event in the United States, having been contested since 1916. It's an outlier in the sanitized, corporate-sponsored world of professional racing, remaining true to its unique and local roots. The race has a long history of encouraging ingenuity and experimentation, so its not surprising that proponents of alternative fuels have long mixed it up amidst the more conventionally deployed big blocks and turbos.

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Nevermind the fact that Bentley hasn't built anything resembling a real production sports car since W.O. was running things – and back then sports cars were inspired by locomotives rather than jets. Still, the Volkswagen-owned luxury marque intends to bring just such a concept to the Paris show next month, according to Car and Driver.

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The Canadian Auto Workers Union may soon be a thing of the past, but it still has to negotiate one more contract with the Big Three before its planned merger with the Canadian Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. The current deal expires on Sept. 17, so CAW representatives are meeting with the automakers this week in Toronto – and they're coming armed with a strike authorization, according to The Detroit News.

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Car salesmen have long ranked among the most universally reviled members of society, just south of real estate agents and lawyers. But the past decade has seen the plaid sports jacket and gold chain crowd doing much to bolster their image, with many auto dealers building impressive online reputations by cultivating positive customer feedback.

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File this one under "not surprising in the least." Fired Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is reportedly suing his former employers for some $10.6 million, claiming that the automaker and its Malaysian owner, DRB, broke the law when they dismissed him. According to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, DRB and Lotus will defend themselves in court rather than settling, including filing a countersuit against the former top executive.

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If you haven't seen enough of the Norelco-inspired Lexus concept from this year's Detroit show, just wait until October. The Australian International Motor Show has formally announced that Lexus will be bringing a hybrid coupe concept to the Sydney show floor, reportedly another version of the LF-LC that graced Cobo nine months earlier.

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MyFord Touch is an enigma – not just because the infotainment system itself is difficult to understand and use, but because Ford just can't seem to figure out what to do about it. Ford's marketing chief Jim Farley tells Automotive News that despite ongoing criticism of MyFord Touch, even after a 2013 model year update, it "won't change our commitment to being a leader in infotainment. We want to be the best at it even if it means we have to improve the usability forever."

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The Chevrolet Cruze is, hands-down, the greatest success in recent history for General Motors. Now entering its third model year, the Cruze has been one of the company's top sellers in the United States, and GM has now committed to keeping production here through a second generation. According to MSN Money, the new 2015 Chevrolet Cruze will launch in the fall of 2014.

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Oh, how we love "rebranding." From the stumblebums at The Gap to the desperate deckhands on the Microsoft Titanic, needlessly changing your logo is all the rage these days, so we shouldn't be surprised to see the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission join in on the fun by eliminating the word "taxi" from the city's cabs. That's right, while they'll still be yellow and hailing one will still prove challenging for out-of-towners, New York's taxis will now be identified by a yellow capital "T

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How would you respond to the headline "No More Auto Workers Union"? Our northern neighbors will likely be bidding goodbye to their Canadian Auto Workers Union, as the membership has agreed to merge with the country's Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

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David Champion, the public face of Consumer Reports automotive testing, is returning to Nissan. The carmaker has hired CR's former auto test center senior director and given him a newly created job: Executive Advisor, Competitive Assessment and Quality. Champion worked for Nissan from 1994-1997 as a quality assurance engineer, before moving into the world of publishing.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the 2012 Nissan Versa for a possible defective airbag cable assembly. Some 100,000 Versa sedans may have cables that are pinched in the steering column, which could lead to the airbag not deploying, according to Automotive News.

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BMW was one of the biggest corporate supporters of the 2012 London Olympics, earning the right to be its official car sponsor. But it wasn't just ponying up a few dozen 7 Series for the IOC that got it this plum gig. BMW made a commitment to meet specific CO2 emissions targets for the vehicles it provided.

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A consulting firm has boosted its auto sales estimate for 2012 to 14.3 million vehicles, but the big news is that, in aggregate, dealers are again making money selling cars.

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Dan Akerson will be taking a final parade lap at this weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise. No, much to the chagrin of the punditry, he's not stepping down as CEO of General Motors, just driving his 1958 Chevrolet Corvette for the last time before sending it off to auction for charity.

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Is there anything that gets better with age more than wine? Why yes, motorsports fans, that would be racing footage. BMW has gone down to the cellar to create this four-and-a-half minute video chronicling the history of its Motorsport division as part of BMW M's 40th anniversary celebration.

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The National Hot Rod Association is racing this weekend in Brainerd, Minnesota, but history was made two weeks ago at the Northwest Nationals in Seattle. We overlooked it at the time, but when Erica Enders won in Pro Stock and Courtney Force won in Funny Car, it was the first time two women have won in pro classes on the same day.

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