18th December 2014

2015 Ford F-150 3.5L EcoBoost 4×4 Tested: The Aluminum Gamble Has Paid Off

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum 3.5L EcoBoost

Examples of real courage in the auto industry are rare, as the astronomical stakes involved with any new vehicle program tend to produce conservative, play-it-safe thinking. Ford, which has a long history of building cars and trucks to the penny, has consistently proved the rule with few exceptions, the most notable of which is the original Taurus. READ MORE ››

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18th December 2014

Abandoned Peter Max Corvette Stars in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”

Comedians in Cars Getting CoffeeThis week’s episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee features some great stars: A 1956 Corvette recently rescued from the abandoned Peter Max collection, a 1994 Land Rover Defender 90, and a 13-foot Boston Whaler boat. Oh, and a couple of guys named Fallon and Seinfeld.

The automotive star of this installment is that Vette, a Cascade Green ’56 that spent the past 26 years in a parking garage with 35 other Vettes as part of a failed Peter Max art project. Hemmings reports that the Vette underwent a hasty revamp to roadworthiness in preparation for the shoot, including swapping in a replacement small-block V-8 when a crack was discovered in the original engine block.

After some truly last-minute repairs, the Vette was made reliable enough to endeavor filming. Well, almost reliable enough—you’ll see what I mean. The two-part episode is great, and not just for the cars. Go ahead and watch the whole thing here.

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18th December 2014

2015 Toyota Prius C Photos and Info: The Littlest Prius Gets Updated

2015 Toyota Prius C
Toyota likes to call the Prius iconic. We suppose it probably is iconic to a certain segment of the car-buying public. So what could be better than a lighter, less expensive, and smaller version? One that can then spread the Hybrid Synergy Drive gospel to first-time car buyers, who can then move up into the mainline model for their next purchase? In fact, Toyota has offered just such a car, the Prius C, for a couple of years. READ MORE ››

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18th December 2014

Embracing Its Safe, Cozy Image, Volvo Considers Axing Motorsport Involvement Entirely

Volvo might pull out of motorsports altogether
Bad news coming out of Sweden: Alain Visser, Volvo’s director of marketing, tells Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri that the automaker will pull out of Swedish Touring Car competition as soon as contractually possible.

Visser told Dagens Industri that motorsport “does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety.” Polestar Racing, which runs Volvo’s STCC and Australian V8 Supercars racing teams, characterized its partnership with Volvo as “currently being evolved.”

“We are going to continue racing in the 2015 STCC and V8 Supercars,” a Polestar spokesperson told TouringCarTimes, noting the STCC and V8 Supercars contracts run out in 2015 and 2016 respectively. “We are going to evaluate our participation after that, as we [. . .] have done a number of times in the past,” the spokesperson said.

Volvo has been shaking up the way it does business lately, including this week’s decision to sit out nearly all of 2015’s auto shows. The Chinese-owned carmaker will only appear at the major auto shows in Detroit, Geneva, and Beijing next year, choosing instead to focus its efforts (and money) on developing its online presence.

There may be a glimmer of hope in the fact that Polestar’s decision doesn’t seem to be final, and given that it acts as a partner of Volvo’s rather than an arm of the automaker itself, it’s possible that the racing group could still participate in motorsports past 2016.

What would a world without Volvo racing efforts look like? We hoped we’d never find out.

This story originally appeared on roadandtrack.com via WorldCarFans.

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18th December 2014

Cadillac CT6 will get high-res streaming video rearview mirror

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Cadillac CT6 Streaming Camera Mirror

Cadillac is preparing a big upgrade to the humble rearview mirror, adding a streaming video function that it claims will improve a driver's field of vision by 300 percent. The new system will debut on the 2016 CT6 flagship.

The streaming system, which eliminates the visual obstructions caused by passengers, headrests and the rear pillars, relies on a 1280-by-240-pixel TFT display and a high-definition camera to reduce glare and improve visibility in low-light conditions. That camera even addresses one of the big annoyances of today's camera systems, by adding a hydrophobic coating to keep the camera lens clear. The system can easily be switched off at the press of a button, at which point the driver has a simple electrochromatic mirror at his disposal.

"The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down," Travis Hester, the CT6's executive chief engineer said in a statement. "The streaming video is a significant enhancement for the luxury customer interested in purposeful technology." Scroll down for the press release from Cadillac.

Continue reading Cadillac CT6 will get high-res streaming video rearview mirror

Cadillac CT6 will get high-res streaming video rearview mirror originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18th December 2014

Carmakers Halt Russian Sales Amid Plummeting Ruble

RussiaThe Russian ruble is in a collapse, having lost more than 40 percent of its value since June. In response, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, and Audi have all decided to temporarily halt sales in Russia to wait for more stable times, Automotive News reports.

As of Tuesday, GM has suspended sales to its dealerships in Russia to “manage its business risk.” Once any outstanding Chevrolet, Opel, or Cadillac purchases have been delivered, GM will freeze sales until an undetermined date. Jaguar Land Rover has frozen transactions until December 19.

Audi halted Russian sales on December 16 and will temporarily shutter its factory in Kaluga 90 miles outside of Moscow for the annual winter holiday. The automaker will resume sales once a revised pricing structure has been established for the Russian market. Toyota will increase vehicle prices in Russia to counteract the market changes, though the company currently has no plans to halt Russian sales.

In the past few weeks, some Russian customers have gone on automotive buying sprees, converting cash holdings into tangible, drivable goods, Automotive News reports. The sales boom temporarily bolstered automakers, but the dropping value of the ruble soon cut into manufacturers’ profit margins.

If the ruble continues to slide, this could be a very cold winter for car dealers and buyers alike.

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18th December 2014

Ford Joins Honda, Mazda in Expanding Takata Airbag Recall to All 50 States

2004 Ford GT model shown

Ford is expanding its regional recall of faulty Takata driver’s-side airbag inflators to all 50 states. It is the third automaker, along with Honda and Mazda, to comply with a request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that all driver’s-side airbags with specific Takata inflators be replaced regardless of regional location.

Ford is adding 447,310 U.S. vehicles to its spate of driver- and passenger-side airbag recalls, which now total 538,977. This latest recall—again, for the driver’s side only—involves all 2005–2008 Mustangs built at the Flat Rock plant from August 18, 2004 to June 25, 2007, plus all 2005–2006 GT supercars built from February 11, 2005 to January 30, 2006. The 2004–2005 Ranger pickup is included in two separate regional recalls since its Takata inflators, Ford said, were different than those in the GT and the Mustang.

Last month, NHTSA sent a letter to Takata requesting a nationwide recall of driver’s-side inflators after a driver of a 2007 Ford Mustang outside of the regional recall was injured by a two-inch metal shard. In the U.S., four people have died from the defective Takata inflators—all of them in Honda vehicles—and at least 139 injuries have been reported across all automakers. In full-page newspaper ads across the country today, Takata CEO Shigehisa Takata wrote that “we are building on existing efforts, led by our most senior engineers, to address any and all safety issues—but we recognize more must be done, now.”

2005 Ford Mustang GT

While Takata stopped short of addressing a nationwide recall for driver’s-side inflators, he named Samuel K. Skinner, former transportation secretary under President Bush from 1989 to 1991, to lead the company’s new quality panel. He also reaffirmed a plan to allow competitive suppliers to produce replacement Takata parts and said he was “tripling” its testing capacity of returned inflators. During a House hearing early this month, Takata senior vice president Hiroshi Shimizu said the company was testing about 100 inflators per day and was currently on track to ship 350,000 replacements per month, with 450,000 by January.

At that time, Shimizu testified the company had tested roughly 4000 inflators recovered from cars in “high humidity” regions of the South and the Gulf Coast and said that all of the approximately 400 driver’s-side inflators had performed as designed. But of the remaining 3600 passenger-side inflators, Shimizu said that “less than 60” had ruptured—a considerably high failure rate in manufacturing. According to Reuters, Takata has new plans to audit all of its more than 100 suppliers and is now “extremely strict” on quality control. The company still has not found a root cause for the defects, but everything from botched chemicals, improper storage, high humidity, and even chewing gum have been cited.

Last week, Mazda expanded its driver’s-side-inflators recall nationwide to include 330,000 2004–2008 RX-8 coupes and 6 sedans, and the company joined Honda and Toyota in supporting an industry-led group that would speed up the testing of affected parts. Chrysler also added 139,115 cars to a regional passenger-side-inflators recall last week but thus far has not recalled any vehicles for the driver’s-side inflators.

According to Bloomberg, Takata—and many of the automakers—also faces more than 55 class-action lawsuits in the U.S. for owners alleging economic losses to their vehicles, although the cases have yet to be consolidated before a panel of federal judges. That may not happen until late January at the earliest.

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18th December 2014

2015 Infiniti Q70L Full Test: Queuing Up with More Room

2015 Infiniti Q70L AWD
At the beginning, when the Infiniti brand was just a gleam in the eye of Nissan product planners desirous of the margins and prestige enjoyed by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, and Jaguar XJ, the money-shot locus of the Japanese automaker’s best technology and boldest ideas was the V-8-powered Q45 flagship. The car was loved by the press, less so by buyers. READ MORE ››

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18th December 2014

2015 Lexus GS F Spy Photos: Big V-8 Performance, Big F Division Styling

2015 Lexus GS F (spy photo)
What It Is: Lexus’s next high-performance F model. It’s based on the current GS mid-size luxury sedan and is captured here wearing almost no camouflage. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the GS F, which will join the RC F in the sporty corner of Lexus showrooms next year—we spotted the car nearly uncovered more than a year ago, and a Japanese magazine also furnished convincing images and info around the same time. READ MORE ››

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18th December 2014

Glickenhaus Starts His Engine: Hear the SCG 003 Race/Road Car Fire Up for the First Time

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 003

This isn’t the first time that Jim Glickenhaus has overseen the creation of a new car—his Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina and the follow-up race car, P4/5 Competizione, continue to capture the imagination of enthusiasts—but the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 003 project is a different thing entirely.

RELATED GALLERY: PHOTOS: The Glickenhaus Garage

Earlier this week, Jim shared a teaser image of the new car, its beak peeking from beneath a black sheet:

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 003

That rendering is one thing, but for months, there’s been an ongoing flurry of activity as Jim’s team has worked to complete chassis #1, which will make its world debut in Geneva in March and then be put to the test in competition at the Nurburgring 24 in May.

RELATED GALLERY: PHOTOS: Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003

The car’s modular construction allows for straightforward road-to-race conversion, and one of Jim’s ultimate goals is to drive the car in road spec to a track, transform it to race mode there, compete, and then restore all the road-spec bits to drive it home.

We’ve gotten a look at the naked chassis and glimpses of the bodywork as it starts to come together, and last week, 003 #001 hit an important milestone when the team started its Honda-based race-spec engine by Autotecnica Motori for the first time:

I asked Jim what this process feels like. After all, this project is far more ambitious than any of his earlier efforts—when all is said and done, Jim will be a full-blown constructor and boutique sports car manufacturer.

“This is pretty emotional,” he said.

There’s much more to come.

This story originally appeared on roadandtrack.com.

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