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Get Your Car Fixed, Get a Free Starbucks!

November 6th, 2014
Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

General Motors’ ignition-switch recall debacle just won’t go away.

With over a million recalled but unfixed vehicles still on the road and pressure on GM to fix the cars as quickly as possible, the company has come up with an interesting proposition.

Since the risk of death hasn’t convinced those million-plus car owners to visit their dealership, GM hopes $25 worth of coffee will.

The recall, which was announced in February, included 2.6 million cars and involves a faulty ignition switch that could shift into the accessory position while driving, shutting down important functions like brakes, steering and airbags while the car is running.

At least 30 people have been killed because of this defect, but that risk apparently isn’t enough for owners to take action and have the free repair made.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat , , , , ,

Who Recommends the Cars You Buy?

November 4th, 2014

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Who would buy a car that doesn’t come recommended?

Most car buyers get their recommendation from family or friends. Advertising inspires some, and others need no recommendation beyond their own research and experience.

Plenty of car shoppers use a combination of all the recommendations they can get, but few are more influential than the “recommended” status as given by Consumer Reports.

The stalwart of consumer protection and advice has a coveted list of cars it recommends to subscribers. Automakers love being on the list, because it gives their vehicles more credibility. Falling off that list, though, can mean trouble.

Just ask the 2012 Honda Civic, which failed to receive the publication’s recommendation for being underpowered and having too much road noise and a cheap-feeling interior. That led to a redesign for 2013 and a much better car for consumers.

This year, some surprising vehicles have lost their recommended status.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , ,

Exploding Airbags: Who Has the Right Fix?

November 3rd, 2014

airbag-explosion

Ten automakers have recalled a total of 8 million cars because the airbags in them can explode.

While it’s true that airbags are, by design, supposed to explode out of the car in case of an accident, these airbags explode with so much force that they actually send shrapnel into the air. An airbag with shrapnel is worse than no airbag at all. Right?

All the defective airbags were manufactured by a company called Takata, which doesn’t have enough product on hand to repair all 8 million vehicles. Automakers are taking very different routes to address this issue, with at least one recommending that the affected airbag be turned off completely.

Toyota has recalled almost 900,000 cars, but doesn’t have enough airbags to fix all of them. While it waits for Takata to deliver more, the company said that it plans to disable defective airbags once it runs out of replacements.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , ,

You Can’t Own a Ferrari Sergio, But You Could Own Ferrari

October 30th, 2014

Ferrari Sergio

It’s probably the strangest Ferrari ever built.

The Ferrari Sergio looks like it’s facing the wrong direction—it has the rear haunches of a Veyron and the front dimensions of a poorly designed Hot Wheels model.

The irony behind the Sergio’s odd design is that it was built to honor Sergio Pininfarina, the legendary designer who created many of the trademark Ferrari shapes.

Even crazier, Ferrari will build only 6 copies of the Sergio, each of which is already spoken for, at a price that probably exceeds $2.5 million each.

Needless to say you can’t buy one. But soon you’ll be able to buy a part of Ferrari itself, as the company will be sold out from Fiat’s ownership. Sort of.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , , ,

Lexus NX: Just a RAV4 With a Spit Shine?

October 28th, 2014

2015 Lexus NX 200t F-Sport

The problem:

Lexus didn’t have a vehicle to compete against the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The opportunity:

Lexus has a solid and successful SUV in the RX series, which has dominated the luxury SUV market for more than 15 years. It could use that leverage to field a new, smaller vehicle and compete in a new category.

The solution:

Take the Toyota RAV4, put in a new engine, use a sexy new Lexus body, add some luxurious and hi-tech amenities, and BAM! We have the new Lexus NX, due in dealerships next month.

With pricing and specs now released, we ask: Is the NX a worthy competitor in this market, or will looking used be a better buy?

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , ,

Say Bye-Bye to British-Built Jaguars

October 27th, 2014

2014 Jaguar XF

If a British car is built in China under direction from its corporate headquarters in India, is it still British?

That’s the question facing Jaguar Land Rover, as the company will officially start building vehicles outside its Coventry headquarters next month.

Would a “Made in China” sticker affect your decision to buy a Jaguar? How about a Land Rover built in the United States?

Both are possible now that JLR is expanding its production overseas.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , , ,

10 Cars Fit for a King (James, That Is)

October 24th, 2014

2015 Kia K900

LeBron James recently made some big news by promoting the Kia K900, not because he was being paid, but because he’s a big fan of the car. He has since partnered with Kia to promote its luxury brand. LeBron is not a small man, but the K900 seems to be a good fit for him. But that got us thinking: Is the K900 really the best fit for LeBron? We looked at our data to determine which vehicles can best fit someone of LeBron’s stature. These cars are truly fit for a “King,” or at least a very big and/or tall individual.

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Car Industry News, Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat , , , ,

Comparing Sound: Mustang Against Hellcat

October 21st, 2014

2015-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat

Active Noise Control sounds like a feature you would want on your next car. The name implies that the car actively controls the noise you hear, or don’t hear, while driving.

That’s accurate, but Ford this week is catching all kinds of negative attention for the feature, which comes standard on all 2015 Mustangs equipped with the 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

You see, Active Noise Control doesn’t limit the sound coming into the cabin, it creates it. Since a 4-cylinder doesn’t sound like a muscle car, Ford pipes in some satisfying engine notes to make things feel like they match the 300+ horsepower the little engine delivers.

The Challenger Hellcat doesn’t require such technology.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat , , ,

Porsche vs. Corvette: It Always Ends the Same

October 20th, 2014

 

porsche_vs_corvette

Showdowns between Porsche and Corvette always end in Porsche’s favor.

The word “always” is a dangerous one to use, but in this case it fits. There hasn’t been a time that I can recall when a Chevy Corvette has beat out a Porsche 911 or even a Cayman.

I suppose a Corvette vs. Cayenne showdown might end in Chevy’s favor, but that’s not a track competition anyone’s been too interested to complete.

European handling and balance of power simply destroys the American Corvette’s horsepower advantage. Every time.

Well, until now.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , ,

Our 10 Favorite EVs

October 17th, 2014

2011 Chevrolet Volt

There’s been quite a bit of debate as to where electric cars will fit into the consumer car market in the next few years. Tesla’s recent announcement of their P85D shows that electric cars are starting to infiltrate even the ranks of performance vehicles. Although there have been a number of additions to the EV category in recent years, a lot of people still question the practicality of transitioning to a purely electric vehicle. Battery charge times and driving range on a single charge certainly leave a lot to be desired. These are legitimate concerns, but automakers are making strides in addressing them. With the addition of home charging stations, charge time drops drastically, and more public charging stations will certainly help extend the EV’s range. And of course Tesla is making waves with its 30-second-swappable batteries.

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Car Industry News, Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Electric Vehicles, General Chat, Hybrid Cars , ,