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The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 21:57

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Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan's automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model's arrival.

It's a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we've assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that Infiniti is discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the Q50. While that's technically true, as we reported earlier this year, the G37 as we know it will continue to live on, and has been renamed Q40 for the 2015 model year.

Continue reading The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Anti-cellphone laws do not reduce accident rates, study finds

Leftlane - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 21:44
Researchers find no evidence of accident reduction following California cellphone ban.






V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 21:26

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How times have changed. Even five years ago, who would have thought the mighty V8 would be just another engine choice for buyers of the 2015 Ford F-150?

Ford is projecting about 28 percent of the next-generation trucks will have the 5.0-liter V8. That's nothing to sneeze at, but consider this: Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines - the new 2.7-liter V6 and the existing 3.5-liter V6 - will also each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales (56 percent total). That leaves only 15 percent of the pie for the 3.5-liter (non-EcoBoost) V6. The new F-150 goes on sale late this year.

Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines will each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales.

"In the truck business, it's historically been about the most horsepower, the most towing power and the most torque," Ford trucks marketing manager Doug Scott said.

Obviously those still matter, but Ford has significantly diversified the F-150's engine lineup in a bid to attract new customers and hedge against spikes in fuel prices. The move away from V8s began in earnest in the 2011 F-150, which received the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost with 365 hp and 420-lb-ft of torque to complement the traditional V8 model.

Adding the turbocharged EcoBoost three years ago was fraught with risks, as truck buyers are among the most loyal and resistant to change in the market. But it's paid off for Ford, and the EcoBoost model now makes up about 45 percent of the current F-150's sales.

With that in mind, Ford is adding another EcoBoost V6, the 2.7-liter engine, which will push out 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, numbers that sound more akin to a traditional V8. With this engine, the truck can tow up to 8,500 pounds and will have a payload of 2,250 pounds. Ford envisions this model will be attractive to buyers who don't haul regularly, but still require some of the practical capabilities of a pickup.

"This is an engine that's really designed for that core customer," Scott said.

Ford's expansion of the F-150's lineup comes amid renewed competition from its traditional Detroit truck rivals. This year, Ram added an EcoDiesel model with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft, while General Motors will round out its 2015 truck portfolio with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, which are slightly smaller than their fullsize, Silverado and Sierra brethren. The moves come as federal fuel economy rules are set to tighten, and consumers continue to be wary of gas-guzzling vehicles.

Ford's new engine lineup will be enhanced by the use of aluminum for the F-150's body, which will reduce weight and improve fuel economy. Depending on the engine and cab size, the F-150 will be anywhere from 625 pounds to more than 732 pounds lighter, compared with 2014 models.

V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 21:26

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How times have changed. Even five years ago, who would have thought the mighty V8 would be just another engine choice for buyers of the 2015 Ford F-150?

Ford is projecting about 28 percent of the next-generation trucks will have the 5.0-liter V8. That's nothing to sneeze at, but consider this: Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines - the new 2.7-liter V6 and the existing 3.5-liter V6 - will also each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales (56 percent total). That leaves only 15 percent of the pie for the 3.5-liter (non-EcoBoost) V6. The new F-150 goes on sale late this year.

Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines will each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales.

"In the truck business, it's historically been about the most horsepower, the most towing power and the most torque," Ford trucks marketing manager Doug Scott said.

Obviously those still matter, but Ford has significantly diversified the F-150's engine lineup in a bid to attract new customers and hedge against spikes in fuel prices. The move away from V8s began in earnest in the 2011 F-150, which received the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost with 365 hp and 420-lb-ft of torque to complement the traditional V8 model.

Adding the turbocharged EcoBoost three years ago was fraught with risks, as truck buyers are among the most loyal and resistant to change in the market. But it's paid off for Ford, and the EcoBoost model now makes up about 45 percent of the current F-150's sales.

With that in mind, Ford is adding another EcoBoost V6, the 2.7-liter engine, which will push out 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, numbers that sound more akin to a traditional V8. With this engine, the truck can tow up to 8,500 pounds and will have a payload of 2,250 pounds. Ford envisions this model will be attractive to buyers who don't haul regularly, but still require some of the practical capabilities of a pickup.

"This is an engine that's really designed for that core customer," Scott said.

Ford's expansion of the F-150's lineup comes amid renewed competition from its traditional Detroit truck rivals. This year, Ram added an EcoDiesel model with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft, while General Motors will round out its 2015 truck portfolio with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, which are slightly smaller than their fullsize, Silverado and Sierra brethren. The moves come as federal fuel economy rules are set to tighten, and consumers continue to be wary of gas-guzzling vehicles.

Ford's new engine lineup will be enhanced by the use of aluminum for the F-150's body, which will reduce weight and improve fuel economy. Depending on the engine and cab size, the F-150 will be anywhere from 625 pounds to more than 732 pounds lighter, compared with 2014 models.

V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Opel CEO talks new EV, will likely be fresh face for Chevy, too

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 20:58

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The rumored demise of the Opel Ampera has been confirmed, but there's good news, too. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has been busy Tweeting information about the brand's next plug-in vehicle, admitting that the Ampera is on the way out but that plug-in vehicles are here to stay. His Tweets, in full, read:

After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we'll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment. Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive - with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame. We see eMobility as important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs & deliver affordability.

As we learned earlier this week, the Ampera will not be refreshed when the current Chevy Volt is updated, most likely because of slow sales. Opel sold just 332 Amperas in the first five months of 2014. For now, General Motors is still building Amperas in Michigan for export to Europe.

So, what might this new EV mean for the General Motors plug-in fleet? Official spokespeople are being quiet, but we think it's safe to say the new EV Neumann is talking about is not simply a rebadged Chevy Spark EV. This is the first official word about an entirely new EV, and we expect it will come to both the Chevrolet and Opel brands.

Opel CEO talks new EV, will likely be fresh face for Chevy, too originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cellphone bans don't reduce accidents, research finds

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 20:29

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"It was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents" - Daniel Kaffine

Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.

The results are somewhat surprising and have left researchers and regulators scratching their heads, especially given that 13 states, the District of Columbia and several US territories have hand-held cellphone bans. Additionally, 44 states specifically outlaw texting while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The most recent study, published this summer in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, analyzed California's cellphone ban for drivers in 2008. Researchers found the number of accidents only dropped from 66.7 per day to 65.2 per day statewide, a statistically minor decline. The results were mirrored in many of the state's major cities, including San Francisco, though Los Angeles did experience a slight decrease in accidents. Researchers looked at the six-month periods before and after the ban went into place on July 1, 2008.

"We went in there expecting to see something," Daniel Kaffine, one of the study's authors, told Autoblog. "[But] it was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents."

Though offsetting for safety advocates, Kaffine's research is in line with other findings. The Highway Loss Data Institute, the research arm of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, studied insurance claims rates in 2009 and 2010 studies, and found no link that bans helped decrease crashes.

Continue reading Cellphone bans don't reduce accidents, research finds

Cellphone bans don't reduce accidents, research finds originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cellphone bans don't reduce accidents, research finds

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 20:29

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"It was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents" - Daniel Kaffine

Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.

The results are somewhat surprising and have left researchers and regulators scratching their heads, especially given that 13 states, the District of Columbia and several US territories have hand-held cellphone bans. Additionally, 44 states specifically outlaw texting while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The most recent study, published this summer in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, analyzed California's cellphone ban for drivers in 2008. Researchers found the number of accidents only dropped from 66.7 per day to 65.2 per day statewide, a statistically minor decline. The results were mirrored in many of the state's major cities, including San Francisco, though Los Angeles did experience a slight decrease in accidents. Researchers looked at the six-month periods before and after the ban went into place on July 1, 2008.

"We went in there expecting to see something," Daniel Kaffine, one of the study's authors, told Autoblog. "[But] it was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents."

Though offsetting for safety advocates, Kaffine's research is in line with other findings. The Highway Loss Data Institute, the research arm of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, studied insurance claims rates in 2009 and 2010 studies, and found no link that bans helped decrease crashes.

Continue reading Cellphone bans don't reduce accidents, research finds

Cellphone bans don't reduce accidents, research finds originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:58

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A good comedian can rifle off a one-liner when put in the right situation. A great comedian, though, can fire off zingers in any situation. That much is obvious from the start of the latest episode of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

The quips begin essentially from the start, with Seinfeld introducing today's featured car as a competitor to the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega, a pair of cars he calls "horrible." The competitor, though, "was even more horrible." Yes, we're talking about the AMC Gremlin.

Why the Gremlin, though? A car that is accepted as one of the single biggest four-wheeled abominations in the long, sad history of four-wheeled abominations? Well, it just happened to be the first car of guest Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show fame. With Stewart in tow, the one-liners really get going. Calling the Gremlin "contraception" for New Jersey's young men in the 1970s and a car for the "broke ignorant", the pair's tour around Manhattan in the dreadful hatchback is cut short by something a bit more suited to the tastes of CICGC fans.

Scroll down for the full video, and enjoy the latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Continue reading Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart

Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:58

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A good comedian can rifle off a one-liner when put in the right situation. A great comedian, though, can fire off zingers in any situation. That much is obvious from the start of the latest episode of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

The quips begin essentially from the start, with Seinfeld introducing today's featured car as a competitor to the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega, a pair of cars he calls "horrible." The competitor, though, "was even more horrible." Yes, we're talking about the AMC Gremlin.

Why the Gremlin, though? A car that is accepted as one of the single biggest four-wheeled abominations in the long, sad history of four-wheeled abominations? Well, it just happened to be the first car of guest Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show fame. With Stewart in tow, the one-liners really get going. Calling the Gremlin "contraception" for New Jersey's young men in the 1970s and a car for the "broke ignorant", the pair's tour around Manhattan in the dreadful hatchback is cut short by something a bit more suited to the tastes of CICGC fans.

Scroll down for the full video, and enjoy the latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Continue reading Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart

Seinfeld laments AMC Gremlin with hilarious Jon Stewart originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mopar introduces Shaker Hood Kit for Dodge Challenger

Leftlane - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:39
A factory-backed Shaker Hood Kit is now available for your Dodge Challenger.






Japan promises $20K subsidies for fuel-cell buyers

Leftlane - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:37
Rebate program aims to promote expensive tech embraced by Toyota, Honda.






GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:30

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General Motors has announced yet another sprawling recall campaign, with six separate elements covering 717,950 vehicles on US roads. At this point in 2014, it's starting to seem like there are more days with a GM recall than without. Perhaps most troubling about this latest volley, though, is that every vehicle is from the past few years, indicating that GM's quality woes may not be limited to pre-bankruptcy vehicles.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, and includes the 2011 to 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, 2010 to 2012 Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX and the 2011 to 2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse. Only vehicles with powered, height-adjustable seats are covered. In these particular cars and crossovers, the bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may loosen of its own accord and in some cases fall out completely. If this happens, the seats will be able to move both up and down. GM claims the vehicles are safe to drive, provided drivers don't vertically adjust their seats. This particular issue has caused one crash and three injuries.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, GMC Terrain, Cadillac SRX and the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.

Next up, the 2014 Chevrolet Caprice and SS, 2013 to 2014 Cadillac ATS, 2014 CTS and ELR, 2013 to 2014 Buick Encore and 2014 to 2015 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models) are being recalled due to an "incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly." 124,008 vehicles are affected by this problem, which is being blamed on a sudden loss of power to a laser welder at factories. Dealers will inspect the weld and replace the seat track if necessary. However, GM claims that less than one percent of welds will require track replacement. There have been no reported accidents or injuries for this issue.

The Buick Regal is getting pinged with a second recall, covering 2011 to 2013 models. It's joined by the 2013 Chevy Malibu, in an action that covers 120,426 vehicles. This is the least severe of the latest round of issues, though, as it has to do with the turn signal bulbs. These vehicles use a pair of bulbs in the signal array. Should both bulbs burn out, the driver is notified in the typical fashion (a rapidly flashing signal in the instrument cluster). If only one bulb burns out, though, there is no way of warning the driver. Unsurprisingly, this issue hasn't lead to any crashes, while the fix requires a simple reprogramming.

The 2014 Chevy Impala is also the subject of an action that's particular to models with belt-driven electric power steering. A bad electric ground to the power steering control module can lead to sudden loss or reduction in steering assistance. The car won't become uncontrollable, although owners will be forced to live with manual steering until a trip to the dealer can be arranged. GM is blaming paint that may have gotten behind a nut on a "power steering control module ground stud" for this problem. There are no crashes being blamed on this issue.

Korean-built Chevy Spark minicars from model years 2014 and 2015 are being recalled, in an action that covers some 1,900 units. In this particular case, GM is claiming the lower control arm bolt was not fastened to specs, which, in a worst-case scenario, could lead to a separation of the control arm from the steering knuckle. Dealers will take a look at both control arms to assure they've been tightened to specs.

Finally, 22 units from the new-for-2015 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali SUV range are being recalled due to poorly connected interior roof rails. An incorrect retaining nut is being blamed for the problem, which could puncture or tear the roof-mounted airbags, should they deploy. Of the 22 units in this action, eight are currently in dealer inventories.

GM has summarized this latest recall in the press release below. Scroll down for a look.

Continue reading GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars

GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:30

Filed under: , , , , , ,



General Motors has announced yet another sprawling recall campaign, with six separate elements covering 717,950 vehicles on US roads. At this point in 2014, it's starting to seem like there are more days with a GM recall than without. Perhaps most troubling about this latest volley, though, is that every vehicle is from the past few years, indicating that GM's quality woes may not be limited to pre-bankruptcy vehicles.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, and includes the 2011 to 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, 2010 to 2012 Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX and the 2011 to 2012 Buick Regal and LaCrosse. Only vehicles with powered, height-adjustable seats are covered. In these particular cars and crossovers, the bolt that secures the height adjuster actuator may loosen of its own accord and in some cases fall out completely. If this happens, the seats will be able to move both up and down. GM claims the vehicles are safe to drive, provided drivers don't vertically adjust their seats. This particular issue has caused one crash and three injuries.

The largest element of this latest campaign covers 414,333 units, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, GMC Terrain, Cadillac SRX and the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.

Next up, the 2014 Chevrolet Caprice and SS, 2013 to 2014 Cadillac ATS, 2014 CTS and ELR, 2013 to 2014 Buick Encore and 2014 to 2015 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models) are being recalled due to an "incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly." 124,008 vehicles are affected by this problem, which is being blamed on a sudden loss of power to a laser welder at factories. Dealers will inspect the weld and replace the seat track if necessary. However, GM claims that less than one percent of welds will require track replacement. There have been no reported accidents or injuries for this issue.

The Buick Regal is getting pinged with a second recall, covering 2011 to 2013 models. It's joined by the 2013 Chevy Malibu, in an action that covers 120,426 vehicles. This is the least severe of the latest round of issues, though, as it has to do with the turn signal bulbs. These vehicles use a pair of bulbs in the signal array. Should both bulbs burn out, the driver is notified in the typical fashion (a rapidly flashing signal in the instrument cluster). If only one bulb burns out, though, there is no way of warning the driver. Unsurprisingly, this issue hasn't lead to any crashes, while the fix requires a simple reprogramming.

The 2014 Chevy Impala is also the subject of an action that's particular to models with belt-driven electric power steering. A bad electric ground to the power steering control module can lead to sudden loss or reduction in steering assistance. The car won't become uncontrollable, although owners will be forced to live with manual steering until a trip to the dealer can be arranged. GM is blaming paint that may have gotten behind a nut on a "power steering control module ground stud" for this problem. There are no crashes being blamed on this issue.

Korean-built Chevy Spark minicars from model years 2014 and 2015 are being recalled, in an action that covers some 1,900 units. In this particular case, GM is claiming the lower control arm bolt was not fastened to specs, which, in a worst-case scenario, could lead to a separation of the control arm from the steering knuckle. Dealers will take a look at both control arms to assure they've been tightened to specs.

Finally, 22 units from the new-for-2015 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali SUV range are being recalled due to poorly connected interior roof rails. An incorrect retaining nut is being blamed for the problem, which could puncture or tear the roof-mounted airbags, should they deploy. Of the 22 units in this action, eight are currently in dealer inventories.

GM has summarized this latest recall in the press release below. Scroll down for a look.

Continue reading GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars

GM announces 6 recalls covering nearly 720k cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes updated M-Class spotted stripping camo

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:00

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Following a spate of images in early April, Mercedes has removed some of the camouflage on the facelifted M-Class SUV in preparation for its eventual debut, probably at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

Gone is the swirly, psychedelic camo that featured so heavily on our last round of photos. In its place sits simple, unpatterned vinyl, which is limited to the front and rear of the mid-level luxury SUV. The vinyl looks to be hiding new headlights, which appear to borrow inspiration from the new S-Class and C-Class. Unlike the previous example we spotted, this new model has its taillights concealed, indicating there could be minor changes in store. The rear bumper is also slightly different, with more visible exhaust outlets, indicating that this could be the ML550 that we're seeing.

There remains a fair amount of camouflage over the front grille and lower intakes, through which we can spot a tweaked grille, which should, again, borrow inspiration from the brand's newer sedans.

We'll keep our eyes open for additional info and images of the facelifted Mercedes M-Class as its debut date continues to approach.

Mercedes updated M-Class spotted stripping camo originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes updated M-Class spotted stripping camo

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 19:00

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Following a spate of images in early April, Mercedes has removed some of the camouflage on the facelifted M-Class SUV in preparation for its eventual debut, probably at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

Gone is the swirly, psychedelic camo that featured so heavily on our last round of photos. In its place sits simple, unpatterned vinyl, which is limited to the front and rear of the mid-level luxury SUV. The vinyl looks to be hiding new headlights, which appear to borrow inspiration from the new S-Class and C-Class. Unlike the previous example we spotted, this new model has its taillights concealed, indicating there could be minor changes in store. The rear bumper is also slightly different, with more visible exhaust outlets, indicating that this could be the ML550 that we're seeing.

There remains a fair amount of camouflage over the front grille and lower intakes, through which we can spot a tweaked grille, which should, again, borrow inspiration from the brand's newer sedans.

We'll keep our eyes open for additional info and images of the facelifted Mercedes M-Class as its debut date continues to approach.

Mercedes updated M-Class spotted stripping camo originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM issues six more recalls for newer models

Leftlane - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:52
Issues include loose seats, botched welds, faulty turn signals, poor grounds, suspension failure and airbag punctures.






Volkswagen says goodbye to Eos, Routan in 2015 updates

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:29

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Usually automakers announce changes to their lineup individually on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, but sometimes it all comes at once - especially when the changes are ones we either expected or might not otherwise notice. That's the path Volkswagen has gone with changes to its US lineup for 2015.

The biggest change is what we already knew: that the new Golf arrives for the 2015 model year, bringing with it the new GTI, Golf R, e-Golf and Golf SportWagen (to replace the previous Jetta wagon). But there are some new details as well.

For starters, Volkswagen has finally confirmed that both the Eos and the Routan - both long rumored to be on their way out - will be exiting this year. The Eos hardtop convertible, pictured above, will linger for one last year, its Sport trim replaced by a new Final Edition with 18-inch wheels, two-tone leather interior and enhanced equipment.

Meanwhile the Routan, which hasn't actually been built in over a year, is finally dead, as VW confirms it has dropped the Chrysler-built minivan from its lineup for 2015 altogether. The German automaker has also confirmed that the Touareg is getting a facelift early in the new year, which we expect will closely follow the revisions revealed a few months ago ahead of the Beijing Motor Show.

Finally VW has announced an upgrade to its 2.0-liter TDI. Fitted to the Golf, Jetta, Passat and Beetle, the updated diesel gets 10 more horsepower with output now up to 150 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. Scope out the full list of announcements in the press release below.

Continue reading Volkswagen says goodbye to Eos, Routan in 2015 updates

Volkswagen says goodbye to Eos, Routan in 2015 updates originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volkswagen says goodbye to Eos, Routan in 2015 updates

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:29

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Usually automakers announce changes to their lineup individually on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, but sometimes it all comes at once - especially when the changes are ones we either expected or might not otherwise notice. That's the path Volkswagen has gone with changes to its US lineup for 2015.

The biggest change is what we already knew: that the new Golf arrives for the 2015 model year, bringing with it the new GTI, Golf R, e-Golf and Golf SportWagen (to replace the previous Jetta wagon). But there are some new details as well.

For starters, Volkswagen has finally confirmed that both the Eos and the Routan - both long rumored to be on their way out - will be exiting this year. The Eos hardtop convertible, pictured above, will linger for one last year, its Sport trim replaced by a new Final Edition with 18-inch wheels, two-tone leather interior and enhanced equipment.

Meanwhile the Routan, which hasn't actually been built in over a year, is finally dead, as VW confirms it has dropped the Chrysler-built minivan from its lineup for 2015 altogether. The German automaker has also confirmed that the Touareg is getting a facelift early in the new year, which we expect will closely follow the revisions revealed a few months ago ahead of the Beijing Motor Show.

Finally VW has announced an upgrade to its 2.0-liter TDI. Fitted to the Golf, Jetta, Passat and Beetle, the updated diesel gets 10 more horsepower with output now up to 150 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. Scope out the full list of announcements in the press release below.

Continue reading Volkswagen says goodbye to Eos, Routan in 2015 updates

Volkswagen says goodbye to Eos, Routan in 2015 updates originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago red-light cameras under fire for unexplained ticket spikes [w/videos]

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:01

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Chicago may once have been known as the home of the mob in US with Al Capone running things, but for several years in the 2000s it looks like a completely legal racket may have made the city millions. A recent Chicago Tribune investigation has turned up some disturbing data about how the Windy City's network of red-light cameras used to be operated that may have given out thousands of bogus tickets.

Until 2013, Chicago had a contract with a company called Redflex Traffic Systems to operate its red-light cameras. If they caught someone running the light, the video was supposed to be reviewed twice, and if accurate, the driver received a $100 fine. Redflex and the city each took a portion of the money. However, their arrangement came to an abrupt end when it was eventually discovered that the company was bribing a city official. According to the Chicago Tribune, since 2003, the government netted around $500 million in revenue from the cams.

The new investigation found that drivers might have been getting the worst end of that deal. The Chicago Tribune examined four million red-light tickets going back to 2007. It found massive spikes in the numbers of infractions at several intersections that would last for short periods of time. In one extreme case, a camera that usually ticketed one person per day shot up to 56 per day.

To make matters more confusing, the cameras would occasionally stop giving out tickets for a brief period before and after these spikes. According to the report, that could have indicated maintenance being done, but the city didn't have any record of it. In some cases, the yellow-light times would also decrease during the spikes by as much as a second, as well.

Chicagoans affected by the bad tickets may not be completely out of luck, though. As a result of the Tribune story, a group of city aldermen opened their own investigation. "We want to find out what went wrong, and we want to see refunds where the ticket was wrongly issued," said alderman Scott Waguespack to the paper.

Separately, at about the same time the report was published, a Chicago man filed a federal lawsuit against Redflex and its parent company that asks for $100 million in refunds to drivers, according to CBS News. The case has nothing to do with the ticket spikes; instead, the man claims that the company's alleged bribery makes its contract with the city fraudulent.

Scroll down to watch three videos from the Chicago Tribune explaining what happened and speaking to traffic experts.

Continue reading Chicago red-light cameras under fire for unexplained ticket spikes [w/videos]

Chicago red-light cameras under fire for unexplained ticket spikes [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago red-light cameras under fire for unexplained ticket spikes [w/videos]

Autoblog - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:01

Filed under: ,



Chicago may once have been known as the home of the mob in US with Al Capone running things, but for several years in the 2000s it looks like a completely legal racket may have made the city millions. A recent Chicago Tribune investigation has turned up some disturbing data about how the Windy City's network of red-light cameras used to be operated that may have given out thousands of bogus tickets.

Until 2013, Chicago had a contract with a company called Redflex Traffic Systems to operate its red-light cameras. If they caught someone running the light, the video was supposed to be reviewed twice, and if accurate, the driver received a $100 fine. Redflex and the city each took a portion of the money. However, their arrangement came to an abrupt end when it was eventually discovered that the company was bribing a city official. According to the Chicago Tribune, since 2003, the government netted around $500 million in revenue from the cams.

The new investigation found that drivers might have been getting the worst end of that deal. The Chicago Tribune examined four million red-light tickets going back to 2007. It found massive spikes in the numbers of infractions at several intersections that would last for short periods of time. In one extreme case, a camera that usually ticketed one person per day shot up to 56 per day.

To make matters more confusing, the cameras would occasionally stop giving out tickets for a brief period before and after these spikes. According to the report, that could have indicated maintenance being done, but the city didn't have any record of it. In some cases, the yellow-light times would also decrease during the spikes by as much as a second, as well.

Chicagoans affected by the bad tickets may not be completely out of luck, though. As a result of the Tribune story, a group of city aldermen opened their own investigation. "We want to find out what went wrong, and we want to see refunds where the ticket was wrongly issued," said alderman Scott Waguespack to the paper.

Separately, at about the same time the report was published, a Chicago man filed a federal lawsuit against Redflex and its parent company that asks for $100 million in refunds to drivers, according to CBS News. The case has nothing to do with the ticket spikes; instead, the man claims that the company's alleged bribery makes its contract with the city fraudulent.

Scroll down to watch three videos from the Chicago Tribune explaining what happened and speaking to traffic experts.

Continue reading Chicago red-light cameras under fire for unexplained ticket spikes [w/videos]

Chicago red-light cameras under fire for unexplained ticket spikes [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments