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Make Room for More Suburbans

August 17th, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Suburban

There could be 60,000 extra General Motors SUVs on American roads next year.

I want to say more, but first you should sit and let that marinate for a few seconds.

Sixty thousand additional Suburbans, Tahoes, Escalades, and more will choke our highways and suck down mad amounts of fuel, easily negating any environmental gains created by alternative-fuel cars.

This isn’t a tirade against fuel-thirsty SUVs—I happen to own one of the least efficient vehicles built in the last decade (a 2008 Audi Q7), which I need for family purposes. I’m just saying that 60,000 Suburbans is about 50 percent of the 119,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. in 2014. And those are just the *extra* SUVs GM plans to build.

Why is the American carmaker increasing production so much, and what does it mean?

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Once You Go Electric…

August 13th, 2015

zero_miles_to_empty

We’ve all heard the horror stories of electric-car owners getting stranded after venturing too far from home.

Sometimes they simply misjudge how much power they have, and sometimes the gauge on the car provides inaccurate information.

Whatever the reason, many new owners of electric cars have found themselves on the side of the road with a car that’s as useful to drive as a cantaloupe.

The car club AAA even got into mobile charging to help stranded motorists and provide some peace of mind for EV owners.

Our post on that topic said,

AAA’s new mobile charging trucks will be able to provide 15 minutes of charge, which should give EVs 3 to 15 miles of range, which, in all honesty, will probably just leave motorists stranded 3 to 15 miles farther down the road.

Now that electric cars have been on the market for a few years, has anything changed?

According to 9 out of 10 drivers, the answer is “Yes.”

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Electric Vehicles, General Chat , , ,

Lexus Wants to Change the Rules of the Game

August 11th, 2015

Lexus NX

Some people buy cars with reckless abandon. They need a car, they go to their favorite dealer, they pick a car, they agree to buy it, they write a check, and they drive away.

These people don’t worry about the cost of the car, because they’ve decided the MSRP is reasonable, since the car will serve its intended purpose for the next couple of years or so.

I’ve known plenty of people who purchase cars this way. They buy vehicles with names like Denali, Benz, Porsche, Lexus, and more.

I am not one of those people. I’m a negotiator, and when I think I’m at the rock-bottom price, I try to go lower.

Then again, I don’t buy new luxury cars. The people who do would rather have a good experience at the dealership than spend hours trying to save a few bucks.

Lexus hopes to take advantage of that and could offer a no-haggle pricing policy. Could Lexus become the Saturn of the 21st century?

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Should Gas Engines Be Banned?

August 10th, 2015
Smoggy L.A.

Would electric vehicles solve LA’s smog problem?

A few years ago we discussed the idea that V8 engines should be outlawed. Of course that never happened, and the idea itself is just a symbol of the direction the auto industry could go.

However, that 2009 article foreshadowed the rise of turbocharged engines and the declining need for a V8. Why get a fuel-thirsty 8-cylinder when a boosted V6 can provide better fuel economy and similar hauling capability?

The idea of outright banning V8 motors is ridiculous. It is possible that the market will slowly erode demand for the V8, but certain groups of buyers will always keep at least a small demand going.

Even the most fuel-efficient gas motors cause pollution, though, and at least one decision-maker in an influential state wants to push things even further.

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Third Age Suit Points to Greater Safety Technology Needs

August 6th, 2015

Glaucoma glasses Ford photoNormally driving a 2015 Lexus RC 350 is an exercise in automotive enjoyment. On one hot day recently, I found it extremely difficult. I had trouble seeing. My movements were largely restricted, and my hand was shaking. I was less confident in my ability to safely drive.

While it sounds like I was drunk, I wasn’t. I was encased in Ford’s Third Age Suit. It is designed to significantly reduce mobility when worn. It helps designers and engineers create future vehicles with the needs and limitations of the elderly in mind. It also does a great job of highlighting how crucial current safety technology will become as you age.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping , ,

You Can’t Park a Voucher in the Garage

August 6th, 2015

Shelby Super Snake Ford Mustang GT 2015

About 900 customers who ordered a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat or Charger Hellcat and never received their 707-hp muscle car will have to get back in line.

Late last month, Dodge cancelled unfilled orders, because dealers accepted more orders than the factory could fill. One dealer alone took deposits on about 200 Hellcat orders, knowing full well it would never receive so many of the limited-run cars.

All is not lost for the customers who had their orders cancelled, though. They will receive a voucher that allows them to buy the more-expensive 2016 version at the 2015 price. That won’t satisfy the people who were hoping to get a first-run 2015 car, which could increase in value as it becomes a collectible.

For customers who aren’t stuck on the Hellcat brand, there’s a deal on a certain 850-horsepower Super Snake that is available now.

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FCA: Another Recall and the Coolest Dyno on Earth

August 4th, 2015

CTC cold test dyno

You’d think, at some point, we’d grow immune to recall news and just start ignoring the mass of notices that fill the headlines of news outlets everywhere.

For now, though, the recalls that dominate headlines seem to feed our hunger for negative news and cultivate a fear of our own vehicles.

Don’t get me wrong—recalls are serious, and some of them must be addressed as soon as possible to avoid danger. Others are, in my humble opinion, the result of over-anxious government agencies trying to justify their existence.

The latest recall from FCA could potentially be a must-fix, so let’s address that and then look at something seriously cool that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is doing to constantly improve its vehicles.

First, the recall:

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The Biggest Change in Automobiles Since 1999?

July 31st, 2015

Porsche 911 Turbo

Get ready for the biggest change in automobiles since 1999.

I could end that sentence by adding, “if you’re a Porsche fan,” but honestly, this change signifies something that’s happening industrywide.

Only Porsche purists will feel its immediate impact. These are the same people who chastised the Cayenne as blasphemy, pooh-poohed the Panamera for diluting the brand, and fought outright outrage when Porsche moved to liquid-cooled engines back in 1999.

Things change in the auto world, much to the chagrin of people who like them to stay the same. What’s this newest change that’s sure to rile up the crowds?

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How To Handle a Used Car for Sale with a Recall

July 30th, 2015

2008 Dodge DakotaRecalls are all over the news, especially this past week. What does that mean for you when it comes to buying used cars? Should you buy a used car with a recall notice?

It may be tough not to. FCA has been hit with a record fine from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for its mishandling of recalls. It will be recalling more than a half-million used vehicles, in some cases buying them back outright. As reported on the CarGurus blog recently, “Models included in the buyback offer are certain models of the 2009-2012 Ram 1500, the 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, and the 2008-2012 Ram 2500 4×4. Also included are the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and 2009-2011 Dodge Durango and Dodge Dakota.”

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

Finally! The Midsize Diesel Truck Has Arrived

July 29th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax TurboDiesel 058

Today is the day we found the Holy Grail of the U.S. auto industry.

For years, decades, even, American consumers have clamored for and pined after a truck. Not just any truck, though. The market is flooded with trucks. There are, and have been, big trucks, small trucks, efficient trucks, thirsty trucks, foreign trucks, domestic trucks, capable trucks, wimpy trucks, and so many more.

Simply put, there has been no shortage of trucks in America.

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