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Posts Tagged ‘paul a. eisenstein’

Audi Heading Offroad With TT

Maker performs triage on trio of concepts.

by on Jan.27, 2015

Audi's TT Offroad concept appears to be moving from idea to product in time for the 2017 model line-up.

While it might seem like an automotive oxymoron, Audi has apparently decided it wants to go off-roading with its little TT model.

According to reports out of the maker’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, Audi has performed triage on a trio of TT-based concept cars it introduced over the past year as part of a plan to get consumer feedback on how to expand the TT “family.”

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The effort began at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show when Audi unveiled a three-door wagon-like model dubbed the Allroad Shooting Brake concept. The various models included a bold red five-door take on the TT, dubbed the Sportbrake, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last autumn. (more…)

GM Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 50

Victim fund application deadline approaching.

by on Jan.27, 2015

Kenneth Feinberg, administrator fo GM's victims compensation fund, approved another round of benefits for victims.

Even as a special victims’ compensation fund approaches its deadline, the number of deaths now linked to faulty General Motors ignition switches has jumped to 50, nearly four times more than the automaker had originally estimated.

The death toll still could rise as the fund’s administrators examine evidence. So far, more than 3,000 claims have been submitted to the fund set up by GM last year to provide compensation for those killed or injured due to a safety defect the automaker has admitted ignoring for a decade.

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While it could take months to complete its review, compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg and his team plan to stop accepting new claims at the end of this week. But the death toll very well could continue to rise. (more…)

Low- and Moderate-Income Drivers Penalized by Unfairly High Insurance Rates

New study claims most insurers discriminate based on income, education levels.

by on Jan.26, 2015

The Honda Civic may cost more, unfairly so, to insure if you live in the inner city, according to the CFA.

This story has been updated to include a response to the CFA study by an insurance industry trade group.

Millions of low- and moderate-income American motorists, especially those with lower education levels and living in inner cities, are being unfairly penalized with high insurance rates, even if they have steady jobs and clean driving records, contends the Consumer Federation of America.

In a survey of 15 cities and surrounding suburbs, these motorists routinely were required to pay at least $900 for collision and comprehensive coverage, with 50% being hit with bills of more $1,500, according to a new CFA study that checked rates for a 30-year-old female bank teller with 10 years driving experience and no collisions or tickets on her record, owning a 2004 Honda Civic.

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“The price can easily double or triple” for a person of moderate means and lower education, said J. Robert Hunter, the consumer group’s Director of Insurance and a former Texas Insurance Commissioner. (more…)

Toyota Could Lose Sales Lead to VW This Year

Japanese giant plagued by problems in China.

by on Jan.26, 2015

A Toyota dealership in China was burned in 2012. Weak demand there could let VW pass the Japanese giant.

Toyota’s worldwide sales surged 3% last year, once again positioning the Japanese giant as the world’s top-selling automotive manufacturer. But with Toyota officials glumly anticipating a modest decline in 2015, the Japanese maker could cede leadership to its ambitious German rival Volkswagen AG.

Assign credit – or blame, if you prefer – to China. VW continues to dominate the world’s largest automotive market even while Toyota struggles to gain traction there. Japanese makers, in general, have had serious problems making headway in China, especially after tempers flared due a dispute between the two Asian nations over ownership of a chain of strategically placed islands.

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At one point, rioters burned a Toyota dealership and damaged 100s of Japanese vehicles. Sales have only slowly begun to recover, but Toyota’s sales in China are still barely a third of those of the market’s top two manufacturers, Volkswagen and General Motors.

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Millennials Wants Wheels After All

MTV study finds Gen-Y would give up texting before their cars.

by on Jan.26, 2015

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

It’s become conventional wisdom that Millennials would rather text their friends than drive over to visit, but a new study by youth-oriented MTV suggests that, as is often the case, conventional wisdom has things upside down.

A survey of 3,600 Millennials reveals that three out of four would give up their social media for a day, and texting for a week, rather than hand over the keys to their cars. One reason more teens aren’t rushing out to drive, the study suggests, is that new licensing rules make it harder for them to get behind the wheel.

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“Millennials, like other generations, see car ownership as a way to establish independence,” Berj Kazanjian, Senior Vice President of MTV’s Ad Sales Research, said at a presentation of the new finding during the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco. “Millennials,” he added, “also see car ownership as a way to craft their unique adult identity.”

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VW, BMW Team Up to Create “Express Charging Corridors”

Project should improve mobility along East, West Coasts.

by on Jan.23, 2015

VW and BMW are teaming with ChargePoint to install 100 fast-charging stations on the East and West coasts.

Barring some explosion in demand – unlikely at a time when gasoline prices are plunging – sales of plug-based vehicles are expected to fall far short of the 1 million target set by President Barack Obama by the end of this year.

Industry analysts blame a variety of factors for the shortfall, including both the limited range of current battery-based vehicles and a shortage of quick charging systems. In an unusual alliance between erstwhile rivals, Volkswagen and BMW have teamed up with ChargePoint to install 100 fast-charging stations along both the East and West Coasts this year.

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“A robust network of conveniently located DC Fast charging stations will go a long way toward increasing electric vehicle adoption and making electric vehicle ownership even more enjoyable,” said Robert Healey, Head of EV Infrastructure at BMW of North America. (more…)

Scion Aims to Regain Youthful Allure

Flood of new products promised.

by on Jan.23, 2015

The Scion tC Release Series 9.

Scion is turning to an old idea in its bid for young drivers, giving its tC Coupe a two-tone paint job based on a popular custom car show concept.

Originally aimed at youthful “influencers” who would draw buyers into showrooms for parent Toyota’s products, Scion has lost a lot of its early momentum in recent years, recent models like the micro-sized iQ and second-generation xB falling flat in the marketplace. Despite speculation Toyota might give up on the Scion brand-within-a-brand, the Japanese maker has no intention of pulling the plug and is, instead, promising to roll out an assortment of edgy new models that it hopes will recapture Scion’s original energy.

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“We’re committed to Scion,” declared Bob Carter, head of Toyota’s U.S. auto operations, during a speech at an industry confab in San Francisco this week. The sub-brand remains “a test bed for Millennials,” and a significant part of Toyota’s broader strategy.

It sees Scion as a critical bridge to help it gain new buyers for the Toyota brand which has long been dependent on now-aging Baby Boomers.

(more…)

Ford Opens Silicon Valley Research Center

The lines blur between tech and auto worlds.

by on Jan.23, 2015

Ford expects to employ 125 at its new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto.

As modern cars become increasingly dependent on digital technology, whether for safety, emissions or infotainment systems, the lines have been blurring between the rust belt and Silicon Valley. The latest example is a dun-colored office building in Palo Alto not far from such high-tech giants as Apple and Google. But this one will soon be staffed by 125 employees reporting to Ford Motor Co.

Ford was an early pioneer in the world of telematics with its Sync infotainment system. But as the maker – like its competitors – has come to learn, the pace of development in the electronics world operates far faster than in the auto industry. So, Ford’s new Research and Innovation Center will act as an outpost, tapping into the talent and technologies that have made Silicon Valley one of the world’s most important high-tech centers.

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“The valley here is a marketplace of ideas,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields, who was on hand for this week’s dedication of the Research and Innovation Center. “It’s about being in the right neighborhood because of all the collection of companies. Our folks going to the coffee shops will run into folks from other companies and strike up conversation.”

(more…)

Ford Teases New Focus RS Before February Debut

Flagship performance compact will be offered in the U.S. for first time.

by on Jan.22, 2015

Ford officials said a performance edition of the Focus, the RS, would be coming soon. Now we get a glimpse.

At an end-of-the-year briefing at company headquarters in Michigan, Ford officials confirmed that the maker would be launching an all-new version of the high-performance Focus RS. They just didn’t bother to say when or where.

With the release of the first teaser video of the new RS, Ford has at least confirmed that the new model will make its world debut on Feb. 3. And while it still isn’t revealing what’s under the hood, it appears the new RS will live up to expectations for some serious muscle – some estimates running as high as 400 horsepower bursting from a 2.3-liter turbocharged four.

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The video shows an undisguised Mk3 Focus RS blasting around Ford’s Lommel Proving Grounds in Belgium, performing some aggressive drifts that have raised questions about whether the compact model will maintain its front-drive layout or, for the first time, switch to an all-wheel-drive configuration. (more…)

BMW Will Add AWD to M

Needed to handle increasing power, says M brand chief.

by on Jan.22, 2015

The BMW M5 is going to get all-wheel drive and a form of torque vectoring to handle all that power.

BMW will be taking the lead from its two German rivals, adding all-wheel-drive to some of its high-performance M models.

Audi has long relied on all-wheel-drive to put power to the pavement with its S and RS lines, and Mercedes-Benz recently announced that it will go AWD on all but a handful of its AMG performance products. BMW was the holdout – with the exception of its performance Sports-Activity Vehicles.

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Going forward, however, that will change – slightly – said Frank van Meel, the head of BMW M. Speaking to Britain’s AutoCar, he said the “philosophy will remain rear-wheel drive, (but) as we increase the power and torque, then the M5 and M6 will have large outputs, so we’ll look at those (AWD) solutions.” (more…)