Car Dealer Goes After Customer for More Money

Townsend and her Pacifica, photo by Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Car salespeople can be a shifty bunch.

How many times have car dealers outright scammed car buyers, using every sales trick ever invented to maximize their profits on each sale?

I’ve known salesmen who brag about how badly they’ve screwed costumers on car deals, just to fatten up their commission checks. So on the rare occasion when I hear about a dealership getting screwed, it’s hard to muster much compassion.

Check out this story:

Continue reading >>>

Audi’s Latest R8 Spyder Video

Audi R8 Spyder

This car, the R8 Spyder V10 5.2 FSR Quattro (to give it the full unwieldy handle), is undeniably one of the most exciting road cars ever built. Beautiful, powerful, with handling and performance that are state-of-the-art. Okay, Audi, how do you properly convey all that, not just to the miniscule group that can afford the R8, but to the real audience, the larger public that ogles cars like this?

Well, one tested way is to show ‘em a video. Let’s look at Audi’s latest (they have already created several not-so-hot others for the Spyder) after the break.

Continue reading >>>

We Like the MINI Countryman. Some Don’t.

MINI’s new crossover will come to life at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Until then, you can see pix and commentary all over the Web. We will sample some of that and give you our (mostly positive) thoughts on this new car.

The name Countryman hearkens back to the 1960s and the Morris Minor (if anyone but me remembers that machine). This hatchback has four doors, upright seating, and clever use of space. Outside, it’s the traditional MINI look as newly interpreted by BMW. Inside, you’ve got a Center Rail extending front to rear with lots of storage boxes, cupholders, and containers for all the “kit” people tend to carry these days.

Continue reading >>>

GM Targets Women in Product Placement Blitz

GMC Acadia

I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of fans of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Ghost Whisperer reading this blog.

I have to admit that I’m a big fan, though, and not just because of some of the low-cut dresses Ms. Hewitt sometimes wears.

On a recent episode, Hewitt’s character was surprised by her husband with a new GMC Acadia, which she gushed over. The car has since been worked seamlessly into many scenes, consistently showing the bold GMC logo.

And so goes the subtle nature of product placement advertising. According to the Detroit News, this is the kind of advertising we can expect from GM, rather than flashy and expensive Super Bowl ads.

The reason?

Continue reading >>>

Green Update–>News from BYD, Ford, GMC, Honda, Nissan, and Vision

BYD e6

The Chinese are taking over the car world, or so they would have us believe. BYD showed its E6, a five-passenger plug-in electric crossover, in Detroit and got some pretty good world press. It’s going to come to the U.S. sometime before the end of the year with a “limited dealer network.” So said Henry Li, BYD’s export head, though David Cole—longtime auto industry observer—pointed out the difficulties in breaking into the U.S. market. Still, BYD aims to sell 800,000 vehicles this year and be the “top global automaker by 2025.” Warren Buffet is one of its investors.

The car is supposed to have a full-charge range of 330km; using 220-volt current it can quick-charge to 50 percent capacity in 10 minutes, to 80 percent in 15. Cost is predicted to be around $40,000. It’s comparable in size to the MAZDA5.

Continue reading >>>

Jeep’s in Serious Trouble

Alfa Romeo Milano concept

For those who believe the Jeep twins Patriot and Compass were as lowly as a vehicle wearing the seven-slot grille could get, get ready for this:

The blokes over at Autocar say Fiat is preparing to use the same platform used on the Alfa Romeo Milano (concept version pictured above) in an upcoming Jeep model. Does that sound to you a little like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model crashing the party at a redneck wedding? Yeah, me, too.

Continue reading >>>

Toyota MR2 Breathes Again—Maybe

This time it’s a hybrid, all-wheel drive, 400-hp concept that has been revealed in Japan. This, according to Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s partner that brought you another concept we reported on last Friday, the FT-86 G. Say what you will, the Big T is stepping out with performance concepts, and they look to be terrific.

The MR2 Concept has been testing for some time, we think, but some details were just released: A 3.3-liter V6 drives the rear wheels through a paddle-shifted CVT, with an electric motor powering the front wheels. Combined ouput of both systems is supposed to be 400 hp. With the car weighing in at around 2,866 lbs, you can expect some extraordinary performance. Leftlane estimates 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds.

Continue reading >>>