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Feinberg Ups GM Ignition Death Toll to 21

Administrator approves two more claims for death benefits.

by on Sep.22, 2014

Kenneth Feinberg approved two more claims for death benefits from the GM victims compensation fund.

For the second time in less than a month, the number of deaths connected to faulty ignition switches in General Motors’ small cars has been revised upward. It now stands at 21.

Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator of the victims compensation fund established by the automaker, approved two more claims for death benefits moving the number from 19. Less than two weeks ago, he approved six claims to change the number from 13 to 19.

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Additionally, he substantiated four claims for serious injuries, which under the definitions established includes amputations, burns, spinal cord or brain damage. Twelve of 467 claims for hospitalization with 48 hours of an accident were also deemed eligible for compensation. (more…)

Fuel Prices Plunge in US

Americans enjoying prices not seen since 2010

by on Sep.22, 2014

Despite unrest in the Middle East, gas prices are dropping to their lowest levels in four years.

Retail U.S. gas prices have taken another big tumble this month, and could drop sharply before year-end, according to various fuel industry analysts.

American motorists could wind up saving as much as $2.5 billion if the trend holds, according to tracking service GasBuddy.com, money that it expects will help fuel the country’s ongoing economic recovery.

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A survey by analyst Trilby Lundberg found that a gallon of regular gasoline has dipped by 9 cents during the last two weeks, while the numbers are down 34 cents since the beginning of summer. GasBuddy, meanwhile, is predicting the downward trend will continue. (more…)

Honda Reveals New 2015 CR-V

New cute-ute hits showrooms in October.

by on Sep.22, 2014

Honda will have more to say -- and show -- about the new CR-V next week.

Honda is giving us a first look at its 2015 CR-V – but not much more – hinting it will have plenty of details to reveal later this month.

But some significant details have already leaked out about this mid-cycle update of one of the U.S. market’s best-selling products, the 2015 Honda CR-V set to go on sale at the beginning of October. Beyond the cosmetic changes, the new CUV is expected to get a new 2.4-liter engine that, when paired with a new automatic gearbox, should deliver a solid bump in fuel economy.

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Honda clearly needs to keep the little crossover on the top of its game considering the hefty competition in the compact CUV segment, with buyers offered alternatives as diverse as the Toyota RAV-4, the Nissan Rogue, the Mazda CX-5, and other options from the U.S. and South Korea.

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Recall Parade Marches On with GM, Chrysler

Makers announce actions on more than 425K vehicles.

by on Sep.22, 2014

The Cadillac XTS is part of a larger recall including Chevrolet Impalas for a parking brake problem.

General Motors and Chrysler recalled more than 425,000 vehicles for brake and fuel pump issues. The latest round pushes the number of recalled vehicles in the U.S. well past the 40-million mark.

GM called back 221,558 Chevy Impalas and Cadillac XTS cars from the 2013-2015 model years for a defect in the parking brake that could cause a fire. The vast majority – 205,309 – were recalled in the U.S. with the remainder in Canada and other countries.

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The brake’s indicator light sometimes fails to illuminate while the brake is not fully retracted. (more…)

Lincoln Sticks with Old Name for (Almost) New Truck

Major update in the works – but not for now.

by on Sep.22, 2014

The most visually obvious change to the 2015 Navigator is the use of the new Lincoln grille.

Already confirming plans for four new vehicles by 2016, Ford Motor Co. has a number of additional new products in the pipeline for the years that follow, including a sporty coupe that will share the same platform as its new-for-2015 Ford Mustang.

There’s also a new version of its long-in-the-tooth Lincoln Navigator in the works – though, for now, buyers who want the full-size luxury SUV will have to settle for a largely warmed-over version of the big truck.

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At least they won’t have to try to figure out a new nomenclature. While everything else in the Lincoln line-up has adopted a name starting with MK, the Navigator will remain the Navigator going forward.

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Citroen Show Car to Deliver 141 MPG

Nothing prickly about the Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L.

by on Sep.19, 2014

The Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L is as large as a Ford Focus but lighter than a Mazda Miata.

It’s as big as a Ford Focus, lighter than a Mazda Miata, and can cut through the air nearly as efficiently as a jet. But what’s likely to stand out most about the new Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow concept is its fuel economy, an estimated 141 miles per gallon.

While that’s not quite up there with the 261 mpg Volkswagen XL1, or even the new 235 mpg Renault Eolab prototype, the new Citroen appears to be perhaps the most practical of the three models – though it remains to be seen if the French maker can actually bring the Cactus Airflow to production.

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Set to debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, the full name of the new concept vehicle is the Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L – the little fillip at the end is arguably the most significant detail, as it positions the latest Cactus concept as a so-called two-liter car. In other words, it burns that much fuel to go 100 kilometers. For metrically challenged Americans, think of going more than 70 miles on barely a half gallon of gas.

To get there isn’t easy, of course – at least not for Citroen designers and engineers.

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Cadillac to Launch New Flagship in Late 2015

by on Sep.19, 2014

The new flagship is expected to show the strong influence of the Cadillac Elmiraj concept coupe.

Cadillac will fill a long-open gap in its line-up when it launches production of an all-new flagship sedan late next year, the as-yet unnamed “high-technology” car set to be produced at General Motors’ “Poletown” plant in Detroit.

The new model, expected to go up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Audi A8, is expected to introduce the new Super Drive system GM CEO Mary Barra announced earlier this month which will allow autonomous driving on highways. The broader goal is to reposition Cadillac as a serious contender in the premium luxury market it once dominated, especially as the brand expands its global roll-out.

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“The objective for this upcoming model is to lift the Cadillac range by entering the elite class of top-level luxury cars,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “Currently in development, this new rear wheel drive-oriented sedan uses completely new, custom-designed materials on a unique vehicle architecture.

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First Drive: 2015 Ford Mustang

Re-imagining an icon.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Mustang GT maintains its basic design cues without looking retro.

“When you’re redoing an icon,” says Ford’s new CEO Mark Fields, you find yourself gripped by “a combination of a great honor and a great fear.” Just ask Dave Pericak, who was given the daunting job of redesigning one of those icons as the chief engineer for the 2015 Ford Mustang program.

It wasn’t just a new version of the classic pony car Pericak had to shepherd into production, but the creation of a vehicle worthy of being the 50th anniversary Mustang.  It had to be, as he is fond of saying, “the best Mustang ever.” No idle boast, but, after spending a few days watching a procession of automotive journalists get their first rides in the pony car, Pericak looked more than a bit relieved. As well he should.

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There are a few nits to pick, but they’re largely cosmetic, a few places Ford might have stretched a little further. But there’s little doubt that the coupe and convertible muscle cars Ford will be shipping to dealers around the world in the months ahead can far and away lay claim to being the best Mustang ever.

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Tomorrow’s Mustang Will Likely Adopt Radical New Powertrain Options

Downsized engines, e-turbos, hybrids and other options all under study.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang now gets an EcoBoost engine option that balances performance and mileage.

When Ford Motor Co. unveiled its 50th anniversary Mustang late last year, it delivered a shock to the market by adding a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to its powertrain line-up alongside the pony car’s classic V-8 and V-6 packages.

The EcoBoost engine is expected to have significant appeal to fuel economy-minded buyers, especially those overseas, where Ford will aggressively market the Mustang for the first time. The inline-four also will help Ford prepare to meet increasingly stringent mileage and emissions standards in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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But it is likely to be just a first step in what could become a radical transformation in the powertrain options Mustang buyers will be offered in the not-too-distant future. Various Ford officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com that the range of alternatives that could be required to keep the pony car in the fleet range from even higher-tech turbo and supercharged engines to gas-electric hybrids that can deliver both improved mileage and serious performance simultaneously.

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Renault Eolab Concept Delivers 235 mpg in Style

Prototype opts for lightweight materials, advanced aero and new hybrid technologies.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The Renault Eolab sips barely 1 liter of fuel every 100 km, and gets 37 miles per charge.

When Volkswagen announced plans to go into production with its 261 mile per gallon XL1 it seemed unlikely any manufacturer would be able to top it. Perhaps, but Renault is ready to come close with the new three-door Eolab concept vehicle it plans to unveil at the Paris Motor Show next month.

The French hatchback will only be able to manage a mere 235 mpg, according to Renault – but it also should deliver nearly twice the power of the anemic German mileage champ.

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For now, the real difference is that Volkswagen is rolling out 250 copies of the XL1 where Renault plans to use the Eolab as a test bed for technologies it says it might bring to market in the near future.

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