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Cadillac expects major growth in China

Posted Sep 25th 2014 9:44AM

China Auto Show

The US sales issues facing Cadillac are not being paralleled in the People's Republic of China, as a new report from Automotive News indicates the US luxury maker should see its sales increase by as much as 40 percent.

The report cites Cadillac's own forecasts, which put its 2014 sales in the PRC at 70,000 units after cresting 45,000 vehicles at the end of August. Provided the sales pace holds true through 2015, the brand would hit its new 100,000-unit sales goal, AN reports.

"We're very optimistic about the luxury market, we believe that the luxury market by 2016 here will become the largest luxury market in the world, surpassing even the size of luxury in Europe," GM China President Matthew Tsien told AN. "With [Cadillac president] Johan [de Nysschen], we have somebody that really is an executive that understands luxury, but he also is very, very keen on understanding what do we need here in China for Cadillac to be successful."

Here's hoping de Nysschen, who pushed for Cadillac's move to New York City, is able to figure out what the brand needs to be successful not just in China, but here in the United States, as well.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Kin Cheung / AP

2015 Subaru Impreza gets visual tweaks, added refinement

Posted Sep 25th 2014 9:00AM

2015 Subaru Impreza

While our love for the Subaru Impreza is mostly reserved for its turbocharged WRX and STI models, there's still a fully competent, well-rounded package in the base model, now in its fourth generation. In order to keep it competitive, Subaru has given the Impreza a light refresh for the 2015 model year, and while the car hasn't changed much mechanically, there are a number of thoughtful updates in store for the revised model.

Most noticeably, the front end has been touched up, with a revised lower fascia that's a bit more aggressive than before, nicely incorporating foglamps on higher-end models. Around back, not much has changed, though there's a new lip spoiler on sedan models to improve aerodynamics. Inside, a new infotainment system is available, with a seven-inch color touchscreen, and Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance package can now be had on the Limited models. There's also an updated instrument cluster with an LCD color display, new door and shifter trim, a standard rearview camera, and a few tuning enhancements that allow for a quieter ride, according to Subaru's release.

Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine as before, with 148 horsepower on tap, mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Subaru notes that there's a quicker ratio for the electronic power-assisted steering (that's a good thing), and reminds us that the Impreza is still pretty fuel-efficient considering its standard all-wheel drive, able to achieve 28 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.

Have a look at the updated Impreza four- and five-door models in the gallery above, and scan the press blast below for even more details.
Related Gallery2015 Subaru Impreza
2015 Subaru Impreza2015 Subaru Impreza2015 Subaru Impreza2015 Subaru Impreza2015 Subaru Impreza2015 Subaru Impreza2015 Subaru Impreza

News Source: Subaru

US Marshal's classic muscle car auction officially in the books

Posted Sep 25th 2014 8:13AM

Blood Muscle Auction

The US Marshal's so-called Blood Muscle Auction was completed earlier this month, with the prestigious nine-car field (two cars were added following Autoblog's initial story, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 and a rare, mid-restoration 1971 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda) finding new and hopefully law-abiding owners.

While we'd normally recap the stars of the show, in this particular auction, every car's sale was newsworthy. The full list of sale prices doesn't seem to be published, but according to The New York Times, the auction brought in a total of $2.5 million, or an average of about $277,000 per car.

The king of the contest seems to be a 1970 Plymouth Superbird (above, right), complete with a 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8, which brought home $575,000. The trio of Yenko Chevys, meanwhile, all easily cleared the six-figure mark, with the Yenko Camaro (above, far right) clearing $315,000, the Chevelle crossing the block for $237,500 and the supremely rare – one of just 37 – Yenko Nova (shown above, left) selling for an even $400,000.

The New York Times has a great write-up of the auction, including the somewhat bizarre setting relative to other high-stakes auctions where six-figure cars are the norm. Head over and take a look.

News Source: The New York Times

Image Credit: AJ Willner Auctions

Forza Horizon 2 [w/video]

Slicker, Prettier And More Addictive Than Ever

Posted Sep 25th 2014 3:01AM

Boxshot Wizard file used for creating global boxshotsOne of my early triumphs while playing the sparkling new Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One came after what I could conservatively call a "non-traditional" motorsports experience. In a point-to-point street race across a lovingly rendered, sun-dappled corner of Europe, I transitioned from a winding two-lane road to a narrow dirt , with one extended foray – at well over 120 miles per hour – through a vineyard. I did all of this in a Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge Stradale.

Oh, and most impressive? I won that race.

Let's all agree to be perfectly honest about what Horizon 2 – next-gen-console follow-up to Turn 10 Studios' Forza Horizon game for Xbox 360 in 2012 – is and is not. This is not a racing simulation. And, despite millimeter-perfect car renderings and a completely lush, believable and truly open world to drive around in, a significant suspension of disbelief is required before one can sink into this gamescape.

Do all of that, and you'll find that Horizon 2 is not only a stealthy and entertaining hybrid of simulation-console-racer and arcade-style, super-speedy-smash-'em-up, but also one of the best driving titles we've seen for the newest generation of gaming hardware.
Related GalleryForza Horizon 2: Review
Forza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: ReviewForza Horizon 2: Review

Image Credit: Turn 10 Studios

Volvo pranks newest valet on the Italian Riviera

Posted Sep 24th 2014 8:00PM

Volvo Prank Ad

Being a valet on the Italian Riviera seems like a pretty sweet gig for a young guy. Not only do you get to watch beautiful people coming and going all day and night, but there's the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a plethora of exotic sports cars. Of course, being responsible for those expensive vehicles has to be pretty nerve wracking to get used to on the first day.

In a new commercial, Volvo pranks a new valet at the San Remo Casino to see how he would handle a surprise showing up on the red carpet. If the look on his face in the screenshot above doesn't show it, he's pretty shocked by what he sees. We don't want to spoil the reveal, so just watch the ad to find out. Afterward, if you're interested in the details behind how Volvo made it happen, you can check out a short, making-of documentary, here.

News Source: Volvo Trucks via YouTube, [2]

What you missed on 9.24.14

Posted Sep 24th 2014 7:32PM


Chevy ColoradoTruck Test 1: 2015 Chevy Colorado

General Motors' midsize truck twins are finally here, and senior editor Seyth Miersma had the chance to put both to the test at home on GM's Milford Proving Grounds, as well as the sun-drenched roads of San Diego, CA. First up is the Chevy Colorado, tested here in relatively base, four-cylinder spec. How's it drive? Read this review to find out.

GMC CanyonTruck Test 2: 2015 GMC Canyon

Here's the other half of our truck test duo: the 2015 GMC Canyon. Of course, this is the more gussied-up version of GM's new midsize truck, and Seyth Miersma tests a relatively loaded, V6 spec of the (arguably) prettier of the two pickups. How is GMC differentiating its Canyon from the more pedestrian Colorado? All that and more is answered, here.

Ford Mustang2015 Ford Mustang GT, now on video

In other exciting new American car news, the hot new Ford Mustang is here, and in our first drive, we absolutely loved it. Following that first stint, Jonathon Ramsey had a chance to take a Mustang GT out for a followup spin on some of his favorite roads, and offers more impressions of the 'Stang from behind the wheel. We captured it all on video – check it out, here.

Top Stories

Will.I.Am stars in new Lexus NX commercial, designs a version for Paris

Posted Sep 24th 2014 7:01PM

Lexus NX Will.I.Am Ad

Whether you love or hate its chiseled, angular lines and spindle grille, the Lexus NX is a big step for the brand as it jumps into the sea of luxury compact crossovers. We've already checked out the new CUV, and to promote its European launch, along with a different nose, Lexus has teamed up with producer and musician Will.I.Am for a commercial titled Striking Angles.

As the name suggests, the ad imagines a futuristic world where practically everything shares the NX's sharp-angled design aesthetic, including the wildlife. Over a thumping remix of his Dreamin' About the Future, the luxury CUV rolls through the misty city streets for Will.I.Am to check out.

That's not the end of Lexus' promotional efforts for its newest addition, though. The brand is also displaying a one-off NX styled by Will.I.Am during Paris Fashion Week. Read the automaker's entire release about its marketing plan for the CUV, below.

News Source: Lexus UK via YouTube


Ford Transit gets outfitted for prison duty

Posted Sep 24th 2014 6:31PM

2015 Ford Transit PTV

Between the Taurus-based Police Interceptor, the Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility and the F-150 and Expedition special service vehicles, Ford has no lack of offerings for law enforcement. And now it has one more in the form of the new Transit PTV.

Based on the fullsize Transit van, the Prisoner Transport Vehicle can move as many as 12 prisoners in three separate compartments between detention facilities. Created in collaboration with Pennsylvania-based Havis Prisoner Transport Solutions and with input from Ford's Police Advisory Board, the Transit PTV takes advantage of the Transit's considerable configuration options that include three roof heights, two wheelbases, three lengths and four body-styles – not to mention engine options that include the flex-fuel 3.7-liter V6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 3.2-liter Power Stroke diesel.

"Transit PTV is the latest example of Ford's deep commitment to helping provide law enforcement agencies with capable vehicles. This concept proves Transit is upfit-ready and designed to Built Ford Tough standards," said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford police marketing manager. "Many Police Advisory Board members have had the chance to drive this vehicle and they are excited about it. This new vehicle is tough, smart and efficient – ideal for the needs of law enforcement agencies."
Related Gallery2015 Ford Transit PTV
2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV2015 Ford Transit PTV

News Source: Ford

Is today's Honda Accord cheaper than it was back in 1989?

Posted Sep 24th 2014 5:59PM

Honda Accord Sport

Whether you're shopping at the grocery story or on a car lot, everything seems to be getting more expensive these days. However, when all the factors are considered, that might be more an issue of perception than of fact. The American Public Media radio show Marketplace recently tackled the question whether modern vehicles were actually more expensive once you factored in important variables like inflation and cost of ownership. The result was pretty surprising.

For its example, Marketplace chose the Honda Accord, because in August, it was one of the bestselling vehicles in the US, with 51,075 of them sold. Winding back the clock 25 years to 1989, Honda's cheapest Accord cost $11,770, and that money bought you a stripped-out car with 98 horsepower, a manual gearbox, no air conditioning and hand-crank windows.

Fast-forward to present day, and a basic Accord starts at around $22,000 and gives buyers significantly more features, including a 185-hp engine, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control, more space, refinement and much better safety. By Marketplace's math, when just figuring for inflation, that modern Honda would cost about $11,500 a quarter century ago, despite all of that extra equipment. But that's just one factor. Scroll down to listen to the full report for an explanation of how cost of ownership figures into the mix, and whether it throws all of the calculations off.

News Source: Marketplace

Image Credit: Honda

China 'flooding' US with high-quality fake US driver's licenses [w/video]

Posted Sep 24th 2014 5:30PM

Chinese Fake Driver's License Ring

Remember seeing your buddy's flimsy fake ID in college that said he was 35 and several inches shorter than he really was? Well, Chinese criminals have apparently come up with a potentially terrifying alternative by crafting nearly perfect false driver's licenses and shipping to the US by the hundreds. To the naked eye, they're indistinguishable from the real thing.

According to a report from CBS 2 in Chicago, many of the fakes are coming into O'Hare International Airport hidden in boxes of Chinese tea sets and jewelry, and they can reportedly be purchased online for about $150 each. According to the report, at least one box was destined for a group of 20 college students.

"Instead of a generic hologram, they are imitating our actual holograms. These are some of the best I've seen," said Tyler DuMontelle, one of the investigators into how the fake licenses are made. Thankfully, the IDs aren't entirely perfect. Their holograms aren't good enough to pass the laser and ultra-violet tests, which means that they couldn't be used to easily board a plane.

Obviously, there are security implications here far beyond underage drinkers tipping back some beers a few years early, and the Illinois Secretary of State is looking deeper into the problem. Also, for any curious college students, in many places, trying to pass a fake ID is a crime. Scroll down to watch a video of the whole report.

News Source: WBBM CBS 2 Chicago via Jalopnik

Cadillac CT6 ushers in new naming convention

Posted Sep 24th 2014 4:49PM

Auto Show

Johan de Nysschen has been at his new post as president of Cadillac for not even three months , but he's already seen two of his most notable accomplishments from his two-year tenure as president of Infiniti matched by Cadillac. The brand has announced that it is relocating its headquarters, and is now officially changing its nomenclature.

The brand's new flagship model will abandon the familiar three-letter designation enjoyed by every other model in the range (aside from the Escalade), and adopt an alpha-numeric title. So, rather than the expected title of LTS, Cadillac's top-end car will be called the CT6.

Of course, this won't be limited to just one model. According to Cadillac's press release, "familiar lettering like 'CT' would be used for car models, with the number indicating the relative size and position of the cars in the hierarchy of Cadillac models." And yes, that means what you think it means – Cadillac will use the exact same naming formula, albeit with different letters, as Infiniti.

"As we expand the portfolio, we can assist consumers in placing the cars within a structure, as they compare cars both within our showroom and across the market generally," explained Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac's chief marketing officer.

There will be one big difference between the name changes at the New York City-based automaker and the ones conducted under de Nysschen's leadership at Infiniti, though.

"However, this will be an evolutionary process – we will only change a product's name when the product itself is redesigned or an all-new model is created, as in this instance," Ellinghaus said. Much of the trouble with de Nysschen's name shuffle at Infiniti was that it was done in the middle of the life cycle for a number of vehicles, making for a confusing mess of names. We're glad things are being handled more gradually at Cadillac.

What are your thoughts here? Was there anything wrong with Cadillac's naming structure in the first place? Do you agree with the system of a fixed letter denoting a body style and a number denoting size? Have your say in Comments and then head down and check out the official press release.

News Source: Cadillac

Image Credit: Paul Sancya / AP, Related gallery: Copyright 2014 Chris Doane Automotive / AOL

Jeep Renegade's development a template for new Fiat Chrysler Auto

Posted Sep 24th 2014 4:29PM

2015 Jeep Renegade

"We figured we'd take the best of both worlds." – Ralph Gilles.

The international makeup of the 2015 Jeep Renegade will serve as a template for cooperation within the newly formed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Senior Vice President of Product Design Ralph Gilles said.

The Renegade is Jeep's first small crossover and the brand's attempt to lure new and younger buyers. It was designed in the United States, but is built in Italy on a Fiat platform shared with the 500L. Unlike the Fiat, though, it has two available four-wheel-drive systems, a familiar seven-slot grille and a pair of available open-air roof features, all characteristics that designers argue make it a legitimate Jeep.

Gilles said the Renegade's development was a test case – that succeeded – in Fiat and Chrysler product teams working together. "We figured we'd take the best of both worlds," he said at MICHauto, a day-long industry summit in Detroit on Tuesday.

The new Jeep's development spurred different ideas about the brand, Gilles said. While Chrysler's American designers and engineers had a traditional, rough-and-tough view for the Renegade, Europeans saw it as an edgier city vehicle. "It's kind of this urban jungle-fighter machine," he recalled.

It also raised some challenges, like packing the many interior conveniences and features Americans demand into the tight layout of a European platform. We had to rethink how we do cars," Gilles said. "We've never had a space problem before."

Fitting for Jeep's international DNA, the Renegade will be sold in more than 100 countries, a wide swath for the brand which is growing handsomely overseas. That mirrors the ambitions of FCA itself – the automaker will have a far-flung footprint, with production, engineering and design largely staying in their traditional locations in Europe and America, while the new headquarters will be in London and the company will be registered in the Netherlands.

Perhaps even more important than its multicultural roots, the Renegade will also serve as the new gateway for Jeep, which wants to capture buyers from the Millennial Generation. Many of the designers who worked on the new ute where in their 20s and 30s, and see the automobile as a "device," Gilles said.

"We put a Millennial crew on it," he said. "They designed it for themselves in a certain way."

Image Credit: Jeep

Ford Mustang EcoBoost has fake engine soundtrack

Posted Sep 24th 2014 3:58PM

Ford Mustang Ecoboost

The 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost represents a huge change for the Blue Oval as the first pony car in decades to be available with a four-cylinder engine. But a recent tweet (below) from Road & Track raised our curiosity about the new vehicle. Editor Jason Cammisa pulled a fuse while driving the latest 'Stang with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, and he found that both the stereo and engine went quiet in the cabin. That indicated the coupe might have some form of artificial engine sound being piped in – a feature not previously heavily reported for the model. Autoblog spoke with Ford engineer Shawn Carney who confirmed that only the turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang comes with this system, called Active Noise Control.
In fact, Carney is partially responsible for tuning and shaping the EcoBoost's note in the Mustang, and he said the setup serves two distinct functions. First, it cancels out some of the coarse noise as part of the 'Stang's refinement strategy. It also allows Ford to enhance things by "layering in certain sound characteristics on top of what's already there," he said. To determine the right mix, the engine processor monitors torque output and changes things accordingly. "The intent is to be a natural experience," said Carney.

According to Carney, Mustang fans actually helped to shape the enhancement mix. Ford held clinics with clubs dedicated to the model and played different "sound concepts" for them. With that input, the company eventually narrowed it down to a final one.

Some drivers might find some potential downsides to Active Noise Control, though. For buyers that hate the idea of artificial sound in the cabin, the system can't be turned off (except pulling the fuse and killing the radio). If you like the way your 2015 Mustang sounds with ANC on, we hope you like the sound of the original stereo, too. The tech is integrated into the head unit, so if you upgrade your audio system, your car's powertrain isn't going to sound the same.

News Source: Twitter

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL, Ford

2015 GMC Canyon

An Urbane Uptick On The Midsize Milieu

Posted Sep 24th 2014 3:28PM

As discussed earlier today, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is a new standout in terms of midsize trucks. But the Colorado wasn't the only pickup the General Motors team brought to San Diego for us to sample. Also along for the ride was a pack of GMC Canyons, the slightly more expensive and polished platform-mate to the Chevy.

There's no question that the Canyon and the Colorado are a lot alike under the skin – almost entirely, in fact – so GMC has worked to first create some daylight between the two trucks by way of sheetmetal. This is most obvious from the front view, where the blocky and blingy GMC grille replaces the more subdued tone and shape seen on the Chevy's nose. Projector headlights with LED running lights come as standard, and, again, with the squared-off look that is typical of the brand. 16-inch aluminum wheels come stock on the GMC, too, with the 17-inchers seen on my photo truck offered as standard equipment on the top-trim SLT.

GMC considers the Canyon to be the only premium truck in the segment (which is clearly true), and the team has spent a ton of time and effort to get the interior correct to prove out that point. "Any trim that looks like metal, is metal," I was told at the product briefing, a certain indication that the company is serious about bringing a new class of buyer to a truck segment that it hopes to redefine.

But it's not all chrome and heated leather seats. GMC has delivered a truck that's pretty swell to spend time in, from soup to nuts.

Driving Notes
  • The 2.5-liter four-cylinder that was the focus of my First Drive of the Colorado is the standard engine for the Canyon as well, but the truck I drove was equipped with the far punchier (and thirstier at 17 miles per gallon city, 24 highway) 3.6-liter V6. Not only does the six make a healthy 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, but the throttle modulation and automatic transmission programming both work to let you take advantage of the power in short order.
  • For the sake of reference, though GMC doesn't offer up any performance specs like 0-60 times, I can say that the Crew Cab, four-wheel-drive Canyon I drove weighs in at roughly 4,420 pounds, which would give it a power-to-weight ratio that's just slightly better than a Honda Civic Si. Tell this pickup to giddy-up, and she'll go.
  • Perhaps more pertinently, she'll also tow. GMC asks a reasonable $250 for the trailering package, which adds a two-inch receiver hitch and four- and seven-pin connectors. So equipped, the midsize Canyon can pull a legit 7,000 pounds, or, as I like to call it "more boat than I can afford."
  • Unladen, handling offered by the GMC truck is part and parcel to its Chevy contemporary. Steering is stable at speed but not quick nor full of feedback, and pushing the Canyon over, well, canyon roads, doesn't yield particularly stirring results. The ride control is excellent however, when it comes to ironing out uneven surfaces. A cruiser, not a carver.
  • As I alluded to above, the interior of this all-boxes-ticked GMC is a pretty excellent place to drive in. Leather and soft-touch surfaces abound here, with nice stitching on the instrument panel, and hide wrappers found on both the steering wheel and the shift lever. Not as cowboyed up as Ram's Longhorn Laramie package, I'll grant you, but slightly more sophisticated than that, too.
  • Noise, vibration and harshness levels are all very low for a pickup truck – they're even pretty low when compared with sedans, frankly. I caught a bit of wind rush off of those big, chromed mirrors at highway speeds, but otherwise this is a nice space to cruise and kick the Bose stereo.
  • Which brings us to equipment offered. The un-optioned Canyon starts with things like a backup camera, automatic transmission, LED lighting and a chromed rear bumper, but for my money it starts to separate itself meaningfully from the Chevy at the mid-level SLE trim. Stickering for $30,980 you get 17-inch wheels, power side mirrors, foglamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the far-nicer eight-inch infotainment display and the ability to turn use your truck as a 4G LTE hotspot via OnStar.
  • GMC made a big deal about the driveability offered with a midsize footprint, and I can agree that something Canyon-sized feels more graceful around town than does a fullsizer. Still, there'll be a learning curve for any drivers transitioning out of a compact crossover – like a Honda CR-V or Ford Escape – especially with the longer (six-feet, two-inches) bed size. Having that rear camera and good forward visibility should help in parking lots though.
With a premium look and feel, and the ability to option in to a very large number of bells and whistles, GMC really is breaking new ground for a truck segment that has mostly existed for value shoppers, thus far. The nearly-$40k-as-tested price of the truck you see here proves that Canyon can get expensive in a hurry. But if lessons about luxury-added-specifications can be gleaned from the fullsize truck market though – and GMC most certainly thinks they can ­– than there could be a lot of money to be found in this new niche.

Profitable or not though, I can at least report that the Canyon's mixture of good looks, great power, and smooth manners makes for a welcome driving companion. With its brother a Chevy offering a more blue-collar version of the same basic goodness, GM has a one-two midsize punch that could knock the market for a loop.

Vital Stats

3.6L V6
305 HP / 269 LB-FT
6-Speed Auto
3 Year / 36,000 Miles
Base Price:
As-Tested Price:

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL


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