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Arizona suing GM for $3 billion over recalls

Posted Nov 20th 2014 3:20PM

General Motors-Recall

General Motors is facing even more legal trouble after recalling roughly 26.6 million vehicles in the US this year. The latest case comes from the Arizona Attorney General and alleges that GM executives knew about the problems with its models but avoided disclosing them to the public. At its maximum, the suit could force the automaker to pay $3 billion.

"It is difficult to find a brand whose reputation has taken as great a beating as has the New GM brand starting in February 2014 when the first ignition-switch recall occurred," the suit said, according to The New York Times.

The case makes Arizona the first state to file a lawsuit against GM for the recalls, but others are working together to build a case. "We're proceeding with our own suit because it's the best way to protect the citizens of Arizona," said attorney general Thomas C. Horne to The New York Times.

The suit's valuation is based on the state's consumer penalty laws, which put a company on the hook for up to $10,000 per violation. Spread over the estimated 300,000 recalled GM vehicles in the state, and the total could be $3 billion, according to the NYT.

"We have reviewed the complaint filed by the State of Arizona. It mischaracterizes the facts, the performance of our vehicles and our work to ensure the safety of our customers. We intend to vigorously defend the case," GM spokesperson Alan Adler said to Autoblog via email.

GM is could potentially pay billions of dollars in other lawsuits related to the recalls. A case in New York could cost the company $10 billion for alleged lost resale value on vehicles. If the business' bankruptcy protection fails then it could be hit with another $2 billion, as well. Also, the automaker's compensation fund has paid out for 33 deaths and 39 injuries, and the deadline for claims was recently extended to January 31. Despite all of this controversy, business hasn't suffered. Unit sales were the best 1980 in the second quarter, and GM beat quarterly estimates with a strong showing even in the US.

News Source: The New York Times

Image Credit: David Goldman / AP Photo

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo could only work in a video game [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 3:00PM

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo

There's something wondrous about the Vision Gran Turismo series of concepts that has let companies go wild with completely imaginary concepts for Gran Turismo. For Chevrolet's crack at the idea, it has taken a page out of its performance past with the Chaparral Can-Am racers of the '60s and '70s, with its designers having reinterpreted that period look for the future of motorsports as the Chaparral 2X.

In real life, the 2X looks even better than in earlier photos. The design takes inspiration from someone in a flying suit with head down and arms outstretched, an influence you can really see that in the vehicle's shape. The driver lies facedown inside with the instruments projected onto a visor.

Unfortunately, the powertrain here is a complete flight of fancy and works purely in the video game world. It imagines a laser propelled by lithium-ion batteries and an air-powered generation to make 900 horsepower. The 2X has a theoretical top speed of 240 miles per hour and hits 60 mph in a lightning-quick 1.5 seconds.

Scroll down to see the concept on video with Chevrolet designers describing their inspiration and read the company's full announcement. It's also downloadable in Gran Turismo 6.

News Source: Chevrolet via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS proves performance is relative

Posted Nov 20th 2014 2:41PM

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS

The Turbo may be the most powerful model in the Cayenne range, but the GTS is arguably the enthusiast's choice. (In so far as a 4,500-pound crossover can be considered an "enthusiast's choice," anyway.) And now, after refreshing the rest of the Cayenne lineup, Porsche has revealed the new Cayenne GTS, alongside its new 911 GTS stablemate, here at the LA Auto Show.

Like the new Cayenne S, the new GTS drops the previous version's atmospheric V8 for a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6, but ups the output to 440 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque to propel Zuffenhausen's portliest to 62 in a scant 5.2 seconds. Alongside the power upgrade, the GTS gets a lowered air suspension and sportier exhaust, the beefier brakes from the Cayenne Turbo and an upgraded aero kit to help with the whole barn-door-profile thing.

Just don't expect all that extra kit and the prestige of a Porsche badge on your crossover to come cheap, with prices starting at $95,500 (plus $995 destination).

Volkswagen Golf R Variant ready to haul ass, stuff

Posted Nov 20th 2014 2:20PM

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Variant

Volkswagen seems to be playing a cruel trick on the American automotive public at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It's displaying its sexy Golf R Variant with no clear intention of actually selling the model here. The hot wagon launches in Europe in the spring, but the automaker makes absolutely no mention of the model's prospects in the US. Hopefully, its appearance in LA at least indicates VW is considering bringing it stateside.

The great thing about this wagon is that it has everything that the regular Golf R offers, but there's even more room to carry stuff. The same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 296 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive. Performance is very close, too, with the Variant R taking 5.1 seconds to get to 62 miles per hour versus the 4.9 seconds the standard R needs to read 60 mph. The two of them also have the same tech goodies like ESC Sport stability control and multiple damping modes. The real advantage to opting for the estate is its ability to carry up to 57.2 cubic feet of cargo in the back.

This hot rod wagon would seem to be perfect for the family that needs to haul some extra junk in the trunk, but doesn't want to sacrifice performance. Whether the Variant R makes it to the US remains a mystery, though. Scroll down to read the specs and feel a twinge of jealousy.

News Source: Volkswagen

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Chrysler 300 swaggers into LA Auto Show [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 1:59PM

2015 Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300 has always exuded a certain brashness, but the chip-on-its-shoulder styling seemed to mellow a bit after its 2011 redesign. Now, the bad boy of the premium sedan segment is getting some of its angry attitude back for 2015, and the refreshed model debuted here at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The grille is larger, the fascia is updated and the lights are redesigned. That doesn't seem like much, but when taken collectively, they give the car a more menacing glare. The inside is freshened with a new seven-inch in-cluster display, better-quality materials and an updated suite of available Uconnect features, and there's a bevy of new active safety features available, too.

The engine line continues with the 3.6-liter V6 and the 5.7-liter V8, though they are now both paired with Chrysler's eight-speed automatic. The sedan also received a Sport mode button, which changes the tuning for the steering, engine and transmission, while providing a rear bias for all-wheel drive models. Pricing starts at $31,395, just as it did for the 2014 model.

The lineup also gets a new Platinum model with special wood, chrome and leather finishings, though the company also has said it will discontinue the 300's high-performance SRT variant for in the United States.

News Source: Chrysler via YouTube

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 PHEV offers the best of both worlds it's ready to conquer

Posted Nov 20th 2014 1:41PM

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 PHEV

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class just keeps growing – both in terms of dimensions and in terms of variants. Nevermind the S-Class Coupe for a moment and focus only on the sedan: in North America alone, you can get the big Benz in S550, S600, S63 and S65 spec, and at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, Daimler has rolled out the new Maybach version as well. But if it's a more environmentally friendly way to woosh around town in serene luxury that you're after, you'll want to look at the new S550 Plug-In Hybrid.

Joining Daimler's growing range of battery-powered models alongside the E400 Hybrid, B-Class Electric Drive and Smart ED (the latter soon to be replaced by an all-new version), the S550 PHEV is the German automaker's first plug-in hybrid. It was first announced over a year ago and made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, but now the US-spec car is making its North American debut in LA.

Promising "the performance of a V8 and the fuel consumption of a compact model," the S550 PHEV pairs a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 to an 80-kW electric motor, the S550 PHEV packs a combined 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque to reach 62 in just 5.2 seconds, top out at 130 miles per hour or drive up to 20 miles on electric mode alone. On the European combined cycle, it'll return an impressive 84 miles per gallon, all the while never skimping on the luxury.

Scope it out in our gallery of photos from the show floor in LA and delve into the details in the press release below.

Scion iM Concept bows, production version confirmed for US

Posted Nov 20th 2014 1:20PM

Scion iM Concept

Scion has officially pulled the covers off its iM Concept, which is, in reality, a slightly modified version of the Toyota Auris that is already sold outside the United States. It's also a model that is going into production for North America, says Scion, minus, we'd guess, a good bit of the overly aggressive ground effects bits, slammed suspension and oversize wheels.

A production iM has been confirmed for the upcoming New York Auto Show, where Scion is also promising a second new production debut, as well. After a substantial lull in its new product cadence (barring the FR-S), it looks like Scion is once again intent on cementing its position as the entry point into the Toyota brand, promising three new models in the next three years.

Scion tells us that iM's name is derived from the first letters of the words 'individuality' and 'modern.' More important details like price, powertrain and on-sale date should come later in 2015, but Scion has at least say it "anticipates that a price under $20,000 could make this car enticing to youthful customers," all of which makes it sound like the second coming of the Toyota Matrix to us.

Feel free to read more in the press release below and gaze upon the concept in all its Incrediblue glory above.
Related GalleryScion iM Concept: LA 2014
Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014Scion iM Concept: LA 2014

Chinese manufacturer disavows tires after poor Consumer Reports test [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 12:59PM

Consumer Reports Pegasus Tire Test

To most consumers, tires all tend to look alike and be fairly easy to ignore. You slap them on your vehicle, check the pressures (somewhat) regularly and drive for thousands of miles. They're arguably the most important part of your car, however, and they deserve more attention and thought. They're also a lot more complex than you might think, and in unexpected ways.

Take Consumer Reports, which recently inadvertently fell into the complicated world of Chinese counterfeits after testing a Pegasus Advanta SUV tire that retailed for just $95. It came up dead last in a test, but American Pacific Industries, the brand's owner in the US, has disavowed CR's results, claiming that the examples the institute evaluated were fakes. From there, the story took a convoluted series of turns.

After checking the date codes, API claimed that the factory where CR's tires were produced hadn't been authorized to do so since 2011, yet these examples were from 2012. There may have been some problems when the company changed plants. "Many of our molds went missing at that time. We have no idea who may have made these tires nor what they put in them," said API Chief Operating Officer Barry Littrell in a letter to Consumer Reports.

The next step was to figure out what recourse a customer with these tires may have, and that question proved even more complicated. The online retailer where CR bought the products didn't have the power to recall them, and since API maintained they were counterfeit tires, it also held that its warranty didn't apply. Until there was safety issue, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration couldn't do anything, either.

From CR's detective work, it's possible 400-500 of the potentially faulty Pegasus Advanta SUV tires made it to the US. Also, API no longer sells under the Pegasus brand, it now trades under the name Advanta. For consumers, the lesson here might be that it's worth spending the extra money to buy from a more established brand in hopes of avoiding counterfiets. Check out the video below for the whole story on Consumer Reports getting to the bottom of the problem.

News Source: Consumer Reports via YouTube

2016 Acura ILX, for better or worse [UPDATE]

Restyled Compact Goes 2.4L-Only, Loses 6-Speed Manual, Adds 8-Speed DCT

Posted Nov 20th 2014 12:40PM

2016 Acura ILX

Unfortunately, the slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the 2.4-liter engine in the 2016 ILX is the same unit found in the Honda Civic Si. The ILX's new engine is the same direct-injected four-cylinder found in the new TLX. The text has been edited to reflect this.

"It's just a badge-engineered Honda Civic." This (uninformed) criticism has been leveled at the Acura ILX since the premium compact arrived on the scene to duke it out with the Buick Verano and, more recently, the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-class. For model year 2016, Acura will attempt to address the car's critics, issuing a major reshuffle of the sedan's lineup along with the typical sheen of a mid-cycle refresh.

Following up on the discontinuation of the ILX Hybrid for 2015, Acura is dispatching the antiquated pairing of the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder and five-speed automatic for 2016, and simply slotting in the standard powertrain of the TLX. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, with peak output arriving at 3,600 rpm. The ILX also benefits from the same eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission found in the TLX. Unfortunately, the slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission we've always enjoyed has been discontinued. Sad trombone, indeed.

Powertrain tweaks aside, Acura has issued a pretty handsome freshening for 2016. The ILX was always a handsome offering, but the new front and rear clips are improvements. Acura's love-it-or-hate-it JewelEye headlights have been grafted onto the ILX, while the grille, a traditional weak point for the brand, is perhaps one of the best we've seen out of the company in several years. The rear taillights also received some attention, although it was the back bumper that saw the biggest update, with the lower section getting a sportier look.

Acura will also add a new A-Spec package for 2016, which replaces the standard 17-inch wheels with 18s, adds "Euro-style" stitching to the steering wheel and adds black Lux Suede inserts to the seats, along with a flurry of smaller aesthetic tweaks. The A-Spec can be added alongside the existing Premium and Technology Packs.

Acura hasn't released any interior images as of this writing, although we'll be sure to snap a few following today's debut conference at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Until then, scroll down for the official press release from Acura.
Related Gallery2016 Acura ILX: LA 2014
2016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 20142016 Acura ILX: LA 2014

News Source: Acura

BMW i3 wins 2015 Green Car of the Year award

Posted Nov 20th 2014 12:25PM

BMW i3 wins green car of the year

The popular little BMW i3 (popular in the US, at least) was named the 2015 Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show today. The award doesn't just take into account a car's green credentials but also its "availability to the mass market." While the i3 is a bit expensive, starting at $41,350, it is becoming available at BMW dealers across the country, which cannot be said about a lot of other new plug-in vehicles released these past few years.

The other finalists this year were the CNG-powered Chevy Impala Bi-Fuel, the Audi A3 TDI, the Honda Fit and the VW Golf. The BMW i3 with range extender gets a fuel economy rating of 117 MPGe and 39 miles per gallon (in gas mode) with a 72-mile EV range. The EV-only version gets 124 MPGe combined (137 in the city and 111 on the highway) and has an EV range of 81 miles.

Green Car Journal has handed out the award every year for ten years now, naming the Honda Accord Hybrid/Plug-In Hybrid the winner last year, the Ford Fusion models (plug-in hybrid and hybrid) in 2013, the Honda Civic Natural Gas in 2012 and the Chevrolet Volt in 2011.

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country rides in tall and rugged

Posted Nov 20th 2014 11:59AM

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country

Long before Volvo got into the crossover-utility game with the XC90 and XC60, it was making ruggedized all-wheel-drive wagons. In fact it's been doing so longer than Audi has, and almost as long as Subaru. And now it's returned to that tradition with the debut of its new V60 Cross Country on the floor of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The latest Cross Country is based on the well-liked V60 wagon, with changes including a higher ride height, reinforced fender flares and skid plates all around. Its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five drives its 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels and even comes standard with Hill Descent Control, just like a real sport-ute, only without the extra weight and bodywork. Or to put it another way, think of the V60 CC as the newer, leaner version of the XC70 - a model that, with a new V90 (and subsequent Cross Country version of that) in the pipeline, Volvo might finally be able to put out to pasture.

2015 Toyota Sienna goes overboard to promote a SpongeBob movie

Posted Nov 20th 2014 11:41AM

SpongeBob Movie-themed 2015 Toyota Sienna

Good marketing is a huge portion of making a film successful, and Toyota and Nickelodeon are going overboard to promote the upcoming SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water with this custom 2015 Sienna inspired by the cartoon character at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The exterior is decorated to look just like SpongeBob, but his maniacally smiling face on the hood and windshield might be pure, uncut nightmare fuel for a segment of the child population. The ring on the roof actually blows bubbles too, and the look gets finished off with matching blue and yellow wheels.

If you get past SpongeBob's crazed expression and take a peek inside, you find even more cartoon cues. Each of the seats is upholstered to evoke the shows stars, and all of the trim has nautical inspiration as filtered through the series' animation style. The floor is a sandy beige, blue wood trim runs over the dashboard and sides and the roof has airbrushed clouds. Of course, it's hard not to miss a ship's wheel that replaces the usual steering wheel.

While it's certainly bizarre, kids might dig the bright colors, while their parents check out the Sienna. The van's also going on a cross-country promotional tour to advertise the movie ahead of its February 6 release. Scroll down for all of the info about this cartoon car.

News Source: Toyota

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Hyundai Azera is refreshed, may still be on life support

Posted Nov 20th 2014 11:20AM

2015 Hyundai Azera

What you see above is the 2015 Hyundai Azera. It's slightly refreshed for the new model year, with a new grille, lighting elements and fascia joining some newly standard technology bits inside the cabin. Other than those few updates, this is the same Azera we've known and loved since its most recent redesign for the 2012 model year.

Thing is, we're not sure if the Azera will actually live past 2015 here in the United States. Hyundai has said that it still sees some space above the Sonata midsize sedan and its larger and more luxurious Genesis Sedan for a vehicle sized and priced like the Azera, but just hasn't been able to find many buyers who agree.

Put simply, if you like what you see in the 2015 Azera, now would be a good time to mosey on over to your nearest Hyundai dealer to see if this fullsize sedan suits your specific needs better than competitors like the Chevy Impala, Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse.

Chevy teases next-gen Volt at fan event in LA

Posted Nov 20th 2014 11:01AM

2016 Chevrolet Volt Teaser

Barely two months before its planned debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Chevrolet has released yet another batch of teaser images of its second-generation Volt. Unlike the first image, though, which just showed the car's rear badge, there's a lot more to this quartet of shots.

The first three images show off the nose of the next-gen model and come from a fan event in Los Angeles. What we can see is a sleeker front end, with an evolution of the silver grille inserts previously seen on the original Volt and Spark EV. Gone is the current car's split upper grille, in favor of a more conventional arrangement. The sharper, more angular headlights are also an evolution of the lamps seen on the current Volt.

Chevrolet also took the opportunity to announce a new location-based charging system that uses GPS to adjust the vehicle's charge settings, including the charge level, while also announcing that the next-gen car will feature more intuitive charge indicators that will be better able to inform owners of their car's charging level. The tech will mean that the Volt 'knows' when it is parked at home, and can thus automatically optimize charging for off-peak times, and so on.

Take a look at the teaser images at the top of the page, and then head below for Chevy's press release announcing the new features.

News Source: Chevrolet

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