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Archive for the ‘Domestic Cars’ Category

GM Gears Up for Plant Upgrade to Build New C8 Corvette

June 27th, 2016

c8 vette

The hype leading up to the new C7 Corvette was unlike anything in the history of Corvette. Early rumors swirled of a possible rear mid-engine setup, followed by “news” that the C7 would have the same split rear window as the famous 1963 Sting Ray.

Obviously neither of those came to fruition. The Corvette has always been a front mid-engined car, with the motor pushed back to be centered over the front axle. Even without a rear mid-engine (RMR) layout, the C7 has become one of the most lauded ‘Vettes ever produced and is turning heads on the streets and drawing comparisons to Ferrari for its design.

Yes, the C7 Corvette is one hot car.

Could the C8, due for the 2019 model year, be even hotter?

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Here Are 2016’s “Most American” Vehicles

June 23rd, 2016

2016-Honda-Accord

The new Buick Envision is made in China and some Hondas are made in America.

The landscape of today’s automotive manufacturing world is far different than it was two decades ago. In fact, there’s not a single mass-produced vehicle that was designed and built in America with all American-made parts.

Automakers based in the U.S. routinely build vehicles in Mexico and acquire parts from Latin America and China. The global sourcing of parts and assembly helps cut costs and keeps prices of new cars affordable.

Consumers who want to know just how “American” a car is can check out the fourth annual Kogod Made in America Auto Index, which was released earlier this week. In this new global automotive economy, though, does it really matter?

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Tragedy’s Reminder: Check for Recalls Often

June 22nd, 2016

2015_jeep_grand_cherokee-pic-1229195411287290381-640x480

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that rolled down a driveway and killed actor Anton Yelchin this weekend had been recalled earlier this spring after federal regulators found that its gear shifting could confuse drivers and possibly cause vehicles to roll away.

It’s a horrific accident that illustrates the danger of automobiles and the importance of quickly addressing recall notices.

We don’t know the specifics of Yelchin’s case. Maybe he never received the notice or maybe he recently purchased the car and didn’t know about the recall. It’s also possible that the notice got thrown out with the junk mail.

The consequences were undeniably tragic and sad.

Automotive recalls are issued regularly and have become an expected part of car ownership, but vehicle owners need to remain as vigilant in checking for them as automakers are in issuing them.

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Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, General Chat , , ,

A New Pacifica and the Future of Chrysler

June 21st, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Once a mainstay on American highways, Chrysler is now driving toward an uncertain future. Its partnership with Daimler-Benz has been replaced by one with Fiat, and while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has kept its head above water (thanks to America’s obsession with pickup trucks and the unyielding power of Jeep brand loyalty), the rest of the business raises more than a few questions. What is Fiat’s true future in the U.S. market? Will Alfa Romeo and its Giulia succeed today after a reputation for unreliability sunk them in 1995? And with only a midsize sedan with a questionable future, a full-size stalwart in a shrinking segment, and the 2017 Pacifica in a crossover-crazy era, can Chrysler stay afloat?

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Forget Kit Cars, Here Come the Repli-Mods

June 17th, 2016

limited-edition-50th-anniversary-shelby-427-cobra-14

If you could flip through the annals of automotive history and bring back a modern version of any car within their pages, which car would you choose?

That’s a question that may receive an answer in the coming years as a new kit-car law could spawn an entire automotive sub-industry.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 allows manufacturers to apply for an exemption from NHTSA safety and crash-test standards for up to 325 “replica motor vehicles” each year. These modified replicas, or repli-mods, would still have to meet current-year emissions standards, which will require modern EPA-certified production engines and emissions controls.

The reality of buying a modernized classic could be just around the corner. Here are some we’d love to see.

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Looking for Deals on Used Cars Coming Off Lease

June 15th, 2016

2013 Honda Pilot off lease

A burgeoning number of leasers will return their cars over the next six months, and their number is bound to grow even further as leasing continues to be a popular alternative to buying a new car.

Experian Automotive, citing AutoRemarketing.com, says 1.8 million cars will be coming off lease between the end of April and December.

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Everyone’s Dropping Stones: Who Makes the Toughest Truck Bed?

June 15th, 2016

chevy_ford_truck_bed

Some are calling it a cheap shot, while others are surely convinced that aluminum is best for soda cans and not trucks.

A new ad for Chevrolet, which has probably been seen by every truck enthusiast in the United States by now, compares the steel bed of a new Silverado against the aluminum bed of a new Ford F-150.

After a front-loader full of landscaping stones dropped its load into the bed of each truck, the Chevy held up noticeably better than the Ford. Even a simple drop of a toolbox punctured the Ford’s bed.

On the surface it seems like a fair test, if not representative of the type of real-world abuse a truck might receive. We do wonder why Chevy would go to the trouble, though, when it plans on using lightweight aluminum in its next generation of trucks.

An even newer video from Honda, which shows a similar test on a 2017 Ridgeline, should make us wonder if Ford and Chevy both have it all wrong.

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America’s Newest Supercar: The VLF Destino

June 8th, 2016

vlf_destino

We don’t hear the name Bob Lutz much anymore these days.

Back in the late 2000s Lutz’s name was slathered across car blogs and news sites as General Motors navigated toward, and then through, bankruptcy. Lutz, who served various executive roles at GM between 2001 and 2010, is known as a hardcore gearhead and is a huge supporter of muscle cars and big engines.

After retiring from GM, Lutz surprised no one by starting another company, VLF Automotive, that he announced would build a supercar from the ashes of the Fisker Karma.

This week, he delivered on that promise.

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The Carroll Shelby Cars You Forgot Exist

June 6th, 2016

1999_Shelby_Series_1

Carroll Shelby died just over four years ago, but he left a legacy that continues to this day.

Best known for his work on the Shelby Cobra and an association with Ford that resulted in high-performance Shelby Mustangs in the late 1960s and 2000s, Shelby forged a path for himself that also included some lesser known automobiles.

Some of the other projects that bore his name happened in the 1980s and were questionable at best.

We can’t deny, however, that Carroll Shelby changed the face of the automotive landscape and set the bar for high-powered muscle cars to this day.

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Jeep: America’s New Favorite Brand?

June 3rd, 2016

2016-jeep-renegade

Sales of new vehicles, from nearly all brands, fell a combined 6 percent last month, but one brand defied the trend and set a new sales record.

Jeep managed to move more than 90,000 vehicles in May, a new record and an increase of nearly 14 percent over the same month last year. Even more remarkable is that May 2016 was two days shorter than May 2015.

Ford sales were down 6.6 percent, GMC went down 14.3 percent, and Chevrolet fell 18.6 percent. FCA’s other brands didn’t fare as well as Jeep, with Chrysler falling 18.5 percent and Fiat down 18.9 percent. Ram sales were flat.

All these percentages can be translated into one very interesting fact: Americans have fallen in love with Jeep.

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