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Posts Tagged ‘car news’

BMW Speeds Up the Roll-out of its New Plug-In Line-up

Getting a first drive of the new 2-Series Active Tourer eDrive.

by on Jul.01, 2015

This PHEV version of the new 2-Series Active Tourer will be one of four BMW plug-ins coming to market in the months ahead.

For BMW, 2016 is going to be the year of the PHEV. Forget low fuel prices the Bavarians are convinced plug-ins are here to stay, and they’re rolling out and assortment of new models that pick up on the technology first introduced with the exotic BMW i8.

In a matter of months, we’ll see four plug-based models, including versions of the X5, 2 Series Active Tourer, 3 Series and 7 Series.

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Why now? There are all sorts of reasons. For one thing, few expect today’s low fuel prices to last, even in the United States. And tough new emissions and mileage standards will be phasing in over the next decade, making it difficult for luxury manufacturers to remain on the market without adopting cleaner and more efficient powertrain technologies.

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Toyota, Nissan and Honda Team up to Create “Hydrogen Society”

Makers pool funds to set up hydrogen fueling stations.

by on Jul.01, 2015

One of the first Japanese hydrogen stations.

In an unusual move, Japan’s three largest automakers have agreed to work tougher to help create what they’re calling a “hydrogen society.”

Toyota Motor Corp. has just launched its new Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, with Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. working up similar products. While proponents point out that these vehicles produce no harmful emissions, skeptics note that there are few places for potential buyers to fill their tanks with the lightweight fuel, so the three companies are promising to invest as much as 6 billion yen, or $50 million, to build and support a network of hydrogen filling stations in Japan.

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They have also been supporting plans to create a similar infrastructure in the United States where the only ready supply of hydrogen currently is located in Southern California.

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Potentially Faulty Truck Hitch Could Be Cause of Deadly Crash

Did federal safety investigators miss defect?

by on Jul.01, 2015

One of two pickup trucks struck by a runaway trailer in Batavia, OH, in January 2014.

Already under fire for failing to catch a series of deadly defects – including the flawed General Motors ignition switch blamed for over 100 deaths – federal regulators may have missed yet another fatal flaw.

This one involves a potentially defective hitch used on as many as 6,000 semi-trucks plying U.S. highways. Produced by an Alabama supplier, the part has been linked to a case involving a runaway trailer that killed two people on a snowy highway in Batavia, Ohio early last year.

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Though the manufacturer had issued several service bulletins, and users had filed several complaints – at least one involving a crash – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declined to open a formal investigation until last month.

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Toyota PR Chief Resigns Following Drug Arrest

Julie Hamp, Toyota’s top female exec, still in jail.

by on Jul.01, 2015

Julie Hamp was named head of global communications at Toyota in April.

Two weeks after being arrested for allegedly importing prescription drugs into Japan, Toyota Motor Co.’s global public relations director – and its top female executive – has resigned.

Julie Hamp remains in jail, according to reports from Japan where the law allows police to detain a suspect for up to 23 days without bringing charges.

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In a statement, the world’s largest automaker said that it has “accepted her resignation after considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders.”

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Return of the Lexus SC?

Based on LF-LC concept, new supercar could nudge above 600-hp.

by on Jun.30, 2015

The Lexus LF-LC concept shown in Australia.

The Lexus SC nameplate has gone through a number of major iterations over the years, from the original sporty coupe to a quirky hardtop convertible and, if new reports prove accurate, it’s about to change again, this time becoming the production version of the LF-LC supercar concept.

Expected to reach showrooms sometime late next year, the next-generation Lexus SC would also serve as a long-awaited replacement for the brand’s first, limited-volume halo car, the Lexus LFA. Some sources suggest the new model will be offered in several different versions, including one that would push somewhere north of 600 horsepower.

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The revival of the SC as a new, high-performance flagship would fit in with the mandate of Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda, who has commanded that there be more “passion” in the luxury brand. How much you’d have to pay is a question generating plenty of debate, with some guesstimating it will nudge into $150,000 territory.

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To Hell and Back in the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

The most powerful factory muscle car ever also shows a practical side.

by on Jun.30, 2015

To Hell and back - Hell, Michigan, that is.

I’ve been to Hell and back. And with 707 horsepower under the hood it didn’t take me long to get there.

Hell, Michigan seemed like the appropriate place to take a spin in the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – not just because of the kindred name but because the little town is gateway to some of the best driving roads within a couple 100 miles of Detroit. While there are plenty of flat, wide roads in the Motor City to test the Hellcat’s 0 to 60 prowess, we wanted to see how it handled something a lot more demanding.

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For those who’ve somehow missed the headlines, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – and its sibling, the Challenger SRT Hellcat – are the most powerful factory-built muscle cars ever to roll out of a Big Three assembly plant. They share a massive, 6.2-liter supercharged version of the familiar Hemi V-8 that makes a jaw-dropping 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.

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July 4 Holiday Likely to be a Deadly One

National Safety Council predicts highest highway fatality rate in 7 years.

by on Jun.29, 2015

Highway deaths are expected to surge over the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

With highway fatalities already on the rise after years of steady decline, the upcoming Independence Day holiday could be a particularly deadly one.

As many as 409 Americans will be killed on the road during the long weekend, with another 49,500 injured, forecasts the National Safety Council. That would be the highest number for an Independence Day holiday since 2008 if the numbers prove accurate.

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“Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the ER.”

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Audi Reveals New A4 Ahead of Formal Frankfurt Debut

Evolutionary exterior hides more revolutionary changes.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The exterior of the 2016 Audi A4 doesn't change much - but there's more here than meets the eye.

You might need to take a second glance if you see the 2016 Audi A4 glide by. But while the German maker has opted for a relatively subtle and evolutionary exterior update, this all-new model delivers a number of more revolutionary changes.

Despite growing longer and wider, the 2016 Audi A4 is as much as 265 pounds lighter than the outgoing sedan. And it offers a variety of new technologies, including an updated infotainment interface that will recognize your handwriting as well as your voice.

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With a variety of new four- and six-cylinder gas and diesel engine options, the fifth-generation Audi A4 will make its official debut a few months from now at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Nine in Ten Millennials Say it’s “Important” to Own a Car

Rental cars provide alternate way to test drive vehicles.

by on Jun.29, 2015

Millennials may be more interested in buying cars than the auto industry has realized.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Millennials are more interested in cellphones than cars, that they’d rather walk or bike, or at least stick to mass transit, rather than planting a vehicle in their driveways.

If a new study by Enterprise Holdings is any indication, conventional wisdom – as is often the case – needs to be stood on its head. The study finds 91% of Millennials calling it extremely or very important to own a vehicle, whether to commute, run errands or simply enjoy their lifestyle.

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Perhaps not surprising, considering the source, the study indicates that Millennials are turning to rental cars as an alternative way to go for a test drive.

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Nissan Packs 600 HP Under Hood of Juke 2.0

Supercar Crossover makes its debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The Juke-R 2.0 picks up the 600-hp Nissan GT-R NISMO powertrain.

To some, it’s one of the coolest cars on the market; to others the goofiest. What’s hard to debate is that the latest update of the Nissan Juke is also the most powerful vehicle in the small crossover market.

The maker took the wraps off what it has dubbed the Juke-R 2.0 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend, and this cross between a crossover and a sports car gets a big bump in performance.  First shown at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the original Nissan Juke-R made a mere 545-hp. For those who want more, the Juke-R 2.0 will churn out an even more crazy 600-hp.

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“The JUKE-R 2.0 is a perfect ‘crossover’ of the best bits of Nissan – real innovation showcasing our crossover prowess fused with the excitement of the GT-R supercar engine,” said Gareth Dunsmore, Marketing Communications general manager for Nissan Europe.

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