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Subaru WRX Drivers Get the Most Speeding Tickets

One in three get nabbed for lead-footed ways.

by on Sep.30, 2014

The Subaru WRX driver is more likely than any other to get a speeding ticket.

Want to avoid speeding tickets? Don’t make the Subaru WRX your daily driver and you should cut the odds of being radar trap fodder significantly.

The Japanese-made pocket rocket is the most ticketed car in the U.S. with 33.6% of owners getting a traffic ticket recently, according to a survey by Insurance.com. The Pontiac GTO, which ceased production six years ago, finished second with 32.7% of owners receiving tickets.

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It seems that Japanese models have been topping many recently lists about vehicles lately, and this one is no exception. The rest of the top five include the Scion FR-S (32.6%), Toyota Supra (30.8%) and the Subaru Tribeca (29.7%). (more…)

Kia Attempts to Take over Paris Motor Show

Maker debuts several vehicles, puts 23 cars on display.

by on Sep.30, 2014

The 2015 Kia Rio debuts at the Paris Motor Show. The maker will have 23 vehicles on display at the show.

A few years ago, it was Lotus that tried to make a big splash at the Paris Motor Show and now Kia seems to be grabbing the spotlight for this year’s event, which starts later this week.

The South Korean automaker will have 23 vehicles on its stand in the City of Light this year, including an Optima T-Hybrid and a new Rio, which hasn’t been updated since 2011, as well as new versions of its Sorento SUV.

The Optima features diesel-electric hybrid powertrain with a 1.7-liter diesel boasting a turbocharger and a supercharger. The new diesel uses less fuel than a comparably sized gas engine, but develops more low-end torque, which is an advantage in city driving.

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“No plans have been confirmed yet for mass production of the Kia Optima T-Hybrid show car,” the maker said in a statement. “The T-Hybrid powertrain remains under consideration for new Kia models in the future.” (more…)

VW Plugs-in with New Battery Passat GTE Model

Plug-in hybrid will get about 31 miles on electric power alone.

by on Sep.30, 2014

Volkswagen continues the rapid expansion of its electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid vehicle line-up with the Passat GTE.

Slow to jump on the hybrid bandwagon, Volkswagen lately has plugged in with a procession of more advanced battery-based vehicles, such as the fully electrified version of its Up! Microcar and the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.

Now, it’s bringing out another plug-based model, the Passat GTE, which will make its formal debut at the Paris Motor Show later this week.

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The bigger model gets a bigger battery and more electric-only range, the VW Passat GTE delivering about 50 kilometers, or 31 miles, using just its lithium-ion pack. It will be able to reach 80 mph in battery-only mode, as well. (more…)

Ford’s Heavy-Duty Trucks Also Going Aluminum

Maker charging ahead with lightweight metal for F-Series.

by on Sep.30, 2014

Ford plans to expand its use of aluminum in its trucks to include its Super Duty line-up.

With its new full-size F-Series pickups set to migrate to an “aluminum-intensive” design for 2015, Ford Motor Co. officials have confirmed that the maker’s heavy-duty models also will switch to the lightweight metal when they are redesigned several years from now.

The standard-duty full-size trucks will drop as much as 750 pounds in mass, Ford previously revealed, a move that should yield a significant boost in fuel economy. In turn, “Lightweighting offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to conquest” buyers away from competitors such as General Motors and Chrysler, said Jim Farley, global sales and marketing director, during a presentation to industry analysts on Monday.

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Ford is just preparing to roll out the new F-150, a move observers believe could be one of the most important it will make for years to come. That’s because the entire F-Series line-up – including standard and heavy-duty models – makes up the single best-selling product range in the U.S. auto industry. (more…)

Chrysler Doubling Output of Diesel-Powered Rams

Demand for gas-sipping engine drove production increase.

by on Sep.30, 2014

Chrysler Group is doubling the output of EcoDiesel-powered Ram 1500 pickups to keep up with demand.

In a striking success for diesel power, one of every five Ram full-size pickup trucks rolling off Chrysler Group truck assembly lines in Warren, Michigan, and Saltillo, Mexico, will be powered by a diesel engine built by Fiat by the end of November.

Robert Hegbloom, the head of the Ram Brand, said the demand for 3.0-liter EcoDiesel version of the Ram 1500 pickup has been double what Chrysler expected. Fuel economy and the exclusivity of the EcoDiesel led to the decision to increase the diesel powertrain mix to 20%, he added.

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“Innovation sometimes comes with risk, but being first to market with a diesel engine for the half-ton segment has shown to be a great decision for the Ram Brand,” added Hegbloom. “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is a game-changer in the industry, and has proved to be a key to conquest sales over our competitors.” (more…)

Toyota Recalls Tacomas While NHTSA Probes Chrysler

Feds looking at problems with 4.9 million Chrysler vehicles.

by on Sep.29, 2014

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Toyota is recalling 690,000 Tacoma trucks due to a problem with leaf springs that could cause a fire.

Toyota is recalling 690,000 Tacoma midsize pickup trucks due to a suspension problem so severe it could cause the truck to catch fire.

The Japanese maker is recalling 2005-2011 model year Tacoma 4×4 and Tacoma Pre-Runner trucks due to the problem. According to the company, the truck’s rear leaf springs could become corroded, which may lead to a fracture. If the leaf spring fractures, a plate could move out of position puncturing the gas tank. The fuel leaking from the tank could catch fire.

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The company is unaware of any injuries or fatalities due to the problem. (more…)

Lexus Takes Top Three Spots for Worry-Free Ownership

Cars.com’s ranking puts Japanese cars in top seven spots.

by on Sep.29, 2014

The 2014 Lexus RX 450h was rated as the most worry-free car by Cars.com.

With new vehicle sales still moving along at a robust rate this year, shoppers may want to stick to Japanese luxury cars if they’re looking for a worry-free ownership experience, according to Cars.com.

The automotive website today released its list of the most worry-free 2014 cars to buy and own and the top five vehicles were from Japanese makers with the first four being luxury cars.

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The Lexus RX 450h, Lexus ES 350, Lexus RX 350, Acura TL and Toyota Camry Hybrid captured the top five spots. (more…)

Chevy’s New Corvette is Breakin’ the Law

Recording feature of valet mode might be violation.

by on Sep.29, 2014

Valets across America can breathe easier that now that their voices can't be recorded while parking the new 2015 Corvette.

Owners of the 2015 Chevy Corvette and former U.S. President Richard Nixon have something in common: they can record conversations. However, in some states, the Vette recordings could be a violation of the law.

When the car is in “Valet Mode,” which is part of the vehicle’s Performance Data Recorder, owners can secretly record conversations in their cars and performance data when they’re not along for the ride, such as when the car is being parked by a valet.

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While that sounds like a great way to ensure you can prove some crazy valet may have caused the small ding in the Corvette’s fender, it’s also a great way to get in legal hot water: it’s illegal in many states to record conversations without telling the person being taped. (more…)

Korean Unions Protest Hyundai’s $10B Headquarters

Plans to build new home in Gangnam district raises ire.

by on Sep.29, 2014

Hyundai Motor Chairman Mong-Koo Chung is feeling the heat after paying $10 billion to put the maker's new headquarters in Seoul's ritzy Gangnam district.

Not everyone is pleased about Hyundai Motor Co. going “Gangnam Style.” The South Korean automaker faces more labor unrest following the group’s decision to spend $10 billion for a plot of land in Seoul’s most fashionable Gangnam district.

The unions staged a partial strike at Hyundai Motor factories last week and announced plans to continue to walkouts again this week to show their displeasure with the recent decision to spend money on a record-breaking bid for what is described as an expensive trophy property while demanding wage restraint from the workers in its automotive factories.

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The Hyundai-led group – which includes sister firms Kia Motors Co and Hyundai Mobis Co – made the record bid for the land earlier this month. Hyundai’s bid for the property was more than triple the property’s appraised amount as it outbid Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant. (more…)

Mercedes Hopes GLA Will Tap into Booming Compact Crossover Market

German maker with find plenty of competition in segment.

by on Sep.29, 2014

Mercedes expects the new GLA to duplicate the success of its CLA sedan, which is a hot seller.

Barely a year after launching its new CLA coupe-like sedan, Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 30,000 to U.S. buyers and, the maker claims, probably would be doing twice that volume if it could get more from its new factory in Hungary.

No wonder the maker’s senior executives are positively jumping for joy as the even newer Mercedes-Benz GLA heads for U.S. showrooms. “The segment is potentially three times as large,” suggested communications chief Rob Moran, during a media drive of the new crossover-utility vehicle in Vermont.

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Crossovers are already beginning to outsell conventional sedans in the U.S. market, and most analysts anticipate the same thing is about to happen in the compact luxury segment. That’s spurring a flood of new offerings, the GLA just one of the latest to join such alternatives as the BMW X1. (more…)