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Chrysler Recalling 800,000 Vehicles for Ignition Switch Problem

by on Jul.22, 2014

Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 2005-2007 are part of a larger recall of Chrysler vehicles with ignition problems.

Chrysler is expanding an earlier recall, targeting nearly 800,000 older Jeep models because of an ignition switch problem that could cause the vehicles to stall and disable their airbags and other safety systems.

The move comes as federal safety regulators investigate reports that drivers inadvertently can bump the keys on as many as 1.2 million Chrysler products, causing them to turn from the On to Off or Accessory position. The problem is similar to one that has led to the recall of millions of General Motors products in recent months. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the possibility the problem could occur on products built by other manufacturers, as well.

Keeping You Safe!

While Chrysler and its dealers prepare to notify customers and schedule repairs, the maker is advising owners to remove everything but the ignition key from their key rings to reduce the risk of an unintended stall-out. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford’s Fields Makes Mark with New Appointments

CEO replaces Farley as head of Lincoln.

by on Jul.22, 2014

Kumar Galhotra is succeeding Jim Farley as President of Lincoln. Farley remains in charge of Ford's global marketing efforts.

Less than a month after taking over as Ford Motor Co.’s CEO, Mark Fields is making his first tweak to the company’s leadership team by replacing Jim Farley as the head of Lincoln with Kumar Galhotra, who had been vice president of engineering. The pair will report to Fields and the change is effective Sept. 1.

Farley, who came to Ford from Toyota with a reputation as a brilliant marketer and will remain in charge of global marketing, was charged with creating a new approach to customers for the company’s struggling luxury unit.

We're a Luxury You Can Afford!

However, as Lincoln rebuilds and expands it’s only natural that the brand has a dedicated leader, Ford officials said. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2015 Dodge Challenger

Redefining the muscle car.

by on Jul.22, 2014

At 707-hp, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat claims to be the most powerful muscle car ever to roll out of a Big 3 plant.

If you thought the golden age of muscle cars was gone and forgotten, Dodge has a big surprise coming for you next year — actually, a whole bunch of them.

After bringing back its retro-styled Challenger coupe in 2009, the Chrysler performance brand has made steady gains on the stalwarts of the modern muscle car era, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. And for 2015, Challenger is getting not only a major design update, but a host of new variants including the new SRT Hellcat which, at a smoking 707 horsepower, is being billed as the most powerful factory- assembled muscle car ever.

We Give You the Muscle!

While modern muscle cars aren’t for everyone, models like the Challenger are gaining traction not only with the Baby Boomers who grew up listening to the squeal of rubber, but also younger buyers looking for something out of the ordinary.

Read the rest of this entry »

Opel Takes Over GM Europe Operations

New change brings focus on entry-level small cars.

by on Jul.22, 2014

GM folded its European operations in the newly branded Opel Group as part of its plans to return to profitability.

General Motors plans to make its European operations profitable are taking shape as the automaker has rebranded its European unit as the Opel Group and a renewed its focus on small, profitable cars.

The re-branding took effect July 1. The new organization is based in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and will also oversee Chevrolet’s operations in Russia and Cadillac in Europe.

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“Today, we are more than just Opel/Vauxhall,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of the management board of Opel Group, said in a statement. “With the Opel Group, we align our organizational and legal entity structure in Europe with the business operations. Read the rest of this entry »

Convertible Owners are More Educated, Affluent, Finds New Study

Over half have bachelor’s degree.

by on Jul.22, 2014

The Beetle Convertible was last year's most popular ragtop - but only #48 on the U.S. sales chart.

Don’t let it go to your head, but if you drive a convertible, chances are you’re both more educated and more affluent than the typical American motorist, or so shows a new study from Experian Automotive.

You’re also  lot more likely to live in one of the sunshine states, especially California, Texas or Florida – though ragtops also have plenty of fans in more northern climes, including coastal communities in New York, as well as that heartland state, Illinois.

A Breath of Fresh Air!

While convertible sales have been shrinking in recent decades, most manufacturers offer at least a couple ragtops, and though luxury makers typically have more models in their line-ups, some of the most popular models are mainstream offerings, such as the Ford Mustang convertible and Mazda Miata roadster, noted Experian.

Read the rest of this entry »

Team Sets Cross-Country EV Driving Record

California to NY in just over 67 hours.

by on Jul.22, 2014

The Edmunds team takes a break from their cross-country excursion in that Model S sedan.

A team of drivers has gone a long way – 3,331.9 miles, in fact – to disprove negative perceptions about electric vehicles, setting an all-time record along the way.

Driving a Tesla Model S from Redondo Beach, California to New York City in just 67 hours 21 minutes, they showed that battery cars aren’t necessarily slow, nor limited in range, and they demonstrated the potential for new quick charging technology, as well.

Stay Plugged In!

Dan Edmunds, the director of vehicle testing for website Edmunds.com, led expedition, paired up with the auto tracking service’s photo editor Kurt Niebuhr. Significantly, they made the trip on their own, without the sort of backup often used in record runs – including an earlier trip sponsored by Tesla itself meant to prove that a Model S really could drive coast-to-coast in reasonable time.

Read the rest of this entry »

The 14 Worst Cars of the Decade

Vehicles that make us scratch our heads and ask: Why?

by on Jul.22, 2014

About to sink without a trace: the Coda battery sedan didn't last much longer than the media test drive.

There’s a lot to like when it comes to the latest cars, trucks and crossovers. Today’s vehicles are, to the large degree, better than ever.  Intense competition translates into more striking and creative designs, improved fuel economy, better performance and far more features.

That said, a few stinkers still slip through, models that have you wondering who was on vacation when they came up for approval. We have our own list of lemons. And by that we don’t necessarily mean they had reliability issues, but that they were plagued by bad designs, poor performance, minimal utility, unjustifiable price tags or, yes, quality problems.

Fuel for Thought!

We raised the question with a number of our colleagues to see what products landed on their list and found that a few, like the Pontiac Aztek and Acura ZDX, came up time and time again. Others were surprising. Indeed, some of our favorite products were listed at losers by media colleagues – and vice versa. So, we expect some of our readers will also question our judgment, perhaps our sanity. But here’s our list of the 14 worst cars of the past decade. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Puts Stop to Production Line for Upgrades

EV maker invests $100 million to tool up for new model.

by on Jul.21, 2014

Tesla shut down its assembly line today to begin $100 million in tooling and other upgrades to improve plant efficiency and get it ready for the Model X.

The sounds of robots and humans making new Teslas at the company’s plant in Fremont, California, has been silenced, and been replaced by the sounds of humans installing in $100 million in tooling and making other upgrades at the facility.

The EV maker has shut its line down to improve the efficiency of the current set up for the Model S as well as readying it to manufacture the all-new Model X crossover. The line will be back up at full production on Aug. 4, according to reports.

News You Can Trust!

The improvements are expected to raise production levels by 25%. The company reports it will make 35,000 cars in 2014, which is up from just over 20,000 last year. The new Model X, a smaller, less-expensive vehicle than the Model S, hits showrooms sometime next year. The two models will be built on the same line. Read the rest of this entry »

Feds Push for New Laws to Speed Recalls, Raise Fines

by on Jul.21, 2014

GM's failure to recall a faulty ignition switch sooner is generating a wave of effort to change the rules about automotive safety.

A record-setting year for recalls and high-profile problems with General Motors and Toyota are mixing together to create a cauldron of proposed laws aimed at making automakers be accountable or pay up in a significant way.

In fact, some members of Congress and the Obama administration are pushing for changes that would force automakers to move more quickly to report potential problems and dramatically stiffen the penalties for attempting to skirt those rules.

Your Auto Safety News Source!

When General Motors admitted to wrongdoing in the handling of its faulty ignition switch, it received a record fine of $35 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The previous high was $17.5 million paid by Toyota related to its unintended acceleration problems. That figure was doubled to the current level in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

US Motorists Expected to Use Less Fuel in Coming Years

Transportation energy needs declining overall, but automobiles show sharpest fall-off.

by on Jul.21, 2014

Americans are now expected to trim their energy consumption notably over the next quarter century.

A combination of changing demographics, greater fuel efficiency and wider use of alternative energy sources is expected to reduce the amount of energy Americans consume for transportation over the next quarter century.

A new survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates the long-term fuel needs for cars, trucks, airplanes, boats, and rail will steadily decline through 2040.

Be Empowered!

Transportation energy, including energy demand from light-duty vehicles, heavy-duty vehicles, aircraft, marine vessels, rail and other sources, reached 13.8 million barrels per day in 2012 or 28% of all energy consumption in the United States. But that was down from a peak of 14.6 million barrels per day in 2007.

Read the rest of this entry »