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Archive for the ‘Domestic Cars’ Category

Underdog Chrysler 200 Goes for the Win

March 27th, 2014

2015 Chrysler 200C and 2015 Chrysler 200S

We root for the underdog.

We want the Cinderella team at the NCAA tournament to advance to the Elite Eight. We want to see the #15 seed defeat the #2 seed, and we get excited when a 35-point football underdog pulls out an overtime victory.

In the automotive world, there is no greater underdog than the Chrysler 200. It has to overcome the stigma of being based on the Sebring, the constant deriding by reviewers across the land and the low-quality association of being a rental-car stalwart.

With the 2015 model, Chrysler and new owner FIAT know things have to change. In order to be a viable and profitable company, Chrysler simply must field a competitor to the top-selling cars in its class: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and even the Nissan Altima.

This is an underdog story like no other.

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Tesla Challenging Dealer Franchise Laws, and Winning

March 24th, 2014

2012-Tesla-Model-S

The American dealer franchise system might be on its last tank of fuel.

Since the advent of the mass production of cars, their sales have been filtered through a system of dealerships not affiliated with the carmakers. By acting as the middleman between the factory and the consumer, the dealer is free to negotiate and attempt to maximize profits. The downside for consumers, of course, is that uneducated people can be taken advantage of and charged more than necessary. The upside is that car buyers have local sales people and reliable service.

Tesla wants to change things up by selling directly to consumers in a retail model that could, and probably will, revolutionize how we buy cars.

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GM Crisis Escalates, More Cars Recalled

March 19th, 2014

Saturn ION

What started as a simple and routine recall has exploded for General Motors into a worst-case scenario of negative public opinion.

This is bad.

Take the Audi PR nightmare of unintended acceleration in 1986, combined with Toyota’s recent battle with allegations of the same problem and then multiply it by a million. This is so much worse because there are documented deaths as a result of the problem, along with proof that GM has known about the fault for over a decade.

This is really bad.

It all started in 2001 with a single faulty ignition switch.

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

New Fisker Owner Alienates Existing Owners

March 14th, 2014

Fisker Karma

Let’s say you bought a Chevrolet. Not just any Chevrolet, but a really nice expensive one. In fact, let’s say you went crazy and checked all the boxes on a 2014 Corvette Stingray 3LT with the ZL5 performance package, carbon fiber roof, racing stripes—the whole shebang.

The purchase set you back about $75,000, but you love the car.

Now fast-forward two years. Let’s say General Motors had some serious trouble, went bankrupt (again), but this time was purchased by a foreign company. That company vowed to put products, like your Corvette, back into production but stop supporting, warranting or servicing models produced before bankruptcy.

How would you react?

For the answer, please speak with your nearest Fisker Karma owner.

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Chrysler Wants Original Vipers Destroyed

March 10th, 2014
1992 Dodge Viper Coupe prototype

Heading to the crusher

I checked my phone after the familiar buzz in my pocket. With the swipe of my thumb, the sexy rear end of an SRT Viper popped up in my text messages.

My lovely girlfriend, on her way home from work, sent the text along with a brief message asking about the car. That quick text led to a lengthy conversation about the Viper, why it’s no longer called a Dodge, and the history of the devastatingly powerful car.

Being a Porsche purist, she was only mildly impressed, but left our talk with a healthy dose of respect for the brute. Enough respect, anyway, to shed a tiny tear when we read last night that Chrysler has ordered the destruction of up to 93 vintage Vipers.

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

Renegade? That’s Not a Renegade

March 5th, 2014

Renegade? That's not a Renegade...

Oh, how the Renegade has fallen.

Picture a Jeep Wrangler Renegade in your mind, and you’ll likely see an American-made, brutish, square-shaped, dirt-covered, rock-hopping jacked-up SUV on oversize tires.

That’s the Renegade of the past, which was actually an option package offered for the Wrangler from 1991 to ’94.

The Renegade of the future is a FIAT with a 7-slot grille.

There’s not anything wrong with that, per se, it’s just not what one would expect from the Renegade name. I totally get it—there’s an economic demand to create vehicles with low price tags and high miles per gallon. Why is it necessary, though, to mess with history to make it happen?

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Cadillac Ad Spotlights American Materialism

February 28th, 2014

Cadillac ELR ad, poolside

After what I saw yesterday, I kind of wish I was from France.

In France, and many other countries, people don’t live to work, they work to live. It’s not uncommon to take exceptionally long lunch breaks, work 4 days a week and even take the entire month of August off. New mothers often take far more time off in other countries than they do here in the States.

Why is that?

People in other countries value family time and personal growth over materialistic success.

Here in the U.S., that hasn’t traditionally been the case. We’ve been quite the opposite, working our tails off to accumulate stuff and all the debt that goes with it. We’re making slow progress in the other direction, much to the chagrin of marketers everywhere.

None, perhaps, more than Cadillac.

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

Tesla’s “Gigafactory” Could Change the Future

February 27th, 2014

Tesla Gigafactory

Today we will discuss an important theme: the future.

In the film Back to the Future 2, Marty McFly travels from 1985 to 2015 and encounters a future he didn’t expect, only to return to a present he never knew.

That’s on my mind today, because I’m watching the antics of crazy old scientist Doc Brown with my family while reading about a young brilliant entrepreneur and his plans for the future. Doc Brown needed 1.21 gigawatts to power his DeLorean, while this modern-day man plans a “Gigafactory” that could change the auto industry as we know it.

What is a Gigafactory? Read on, with no worry that you’ll learn too much about the future and cause a chain reaction that could unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe! This time, the future seems set.

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GM Recall Poses a Serious Safety Issue

February 26th, 2014

2008 Saturn Sky

Sometimes topics in the auto world get pretty serious.

We like to have some fun and make light of certain situations, but there are times when humor is off the table. The fact is, building cars is a dangerous business. A lot can go wrong when putting together the pieces of these metal capsules that hurl us down traffic-filled roads at upwards of 70 miles per hour.

Usually, things go according to plan, and our vehicles safely transport our families and us for many years. When things go wrong, though, lives can be lost. Even worse is when an automaker knows about a problem, but fails to act in time to save lives.

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Chevrolet Wants to Be More Like Ford

February 20th, 2014
2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150

Talk about being ahead of its time.

There’s nothing better for a company than introducing a new product so revolutionary that your closest competitor can’t touch it for about 4 years.

Even better is when the competition’s product chief wants to get his hands on your product and examine how it was done so it can be copied. That’s called hitting a home run.

That is what Ford has done to GM. It’s not a knockout punch by any means, but the blow has effectively left the General staggering and grasping for ways to catch up. Round 1 goes to Ford.

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