Buy a Volvo, drive the Nurburgring

Filed under: ,



So your spouse wants a station wagon, but you want to keep your dignity? Well, there could be an agreeable compromise. For only $3,500 over the cost of a new V70, the two of you could be flying to Sweden to pick up the new estate from the factory at a VIP delivery complete with Swedish meatballs. "So," you ask, "How are meatballs, no matter how tasty, supposed to keep my sports car driving dignity intact?"

Imagine that fragile ego of yours driving the family's brand new kid-carrier down the Autobahn at a speed greater than what you'll ever reach picking Junior up at school. Still not impressed? Tough crowd. Ok, what if your blast down the Autobahn was on your way to Nurburgring, where you'll lunch in the Fahrsicherheitszentrum before driving classes? Once you've had your way with the famous track, you're free to either have your Volvo shipped back to the States and continue your vacation, or keep the car to travel Germany in style. Five nights in "premium hotels" in Germany are included in the $3,500 price.

Luxury hotels? High speeds on international roads and raceways? Meatballs? If you're the least bit interested, you should hurry down to your local Volvo dealer. There are only 20 spots open and there's a good chance you're already too late.

[Source: Volvo]

 

[via] Autoblog

Oil sludging atonement: Toyota settles class-action suit

Filed under: , , , , , , , ,

If you're the owner of certain Toyota products built with the 2.2L I4 or 3.0L V6 between 1997 and 2002, you may soon be receiving notification from the automaker concerning its recent settlement in a class-action lawsuit. Filed as the result of damage caused by sludged oil (which ultimately can destroy an engine by clogging lubrication passages), the suit claimed that affected customers suffered from failures despite following Toyota's maintenance recommendations. As a result, Toyota will be extending the warranty of up to 7.5 million vehicles to 8 years and 120 days from the original purchase date (without regard for mileage), and will pay for damage incurred as a result of oil sludge - also referred to as oil gel.

In 2002, Toyota offered an extended warranty to some owners who were affected by the sludging problem, but many customers claim to have been accused of improper maintenance and were forced to pay for their own repairs.

Sludging is the result of several factors, some of which included longer drain intervals, tighter engine tolerances, and the typically higher operating temperatures of new engines. Several other manufacturers have also faced allegations of oil sludging problems and have responded in a variety of ways.

As a consumer, the best defensive measure is, of course, a regular oil change (following the "severe service" schedule if required) with a name-brand oil that meets the manufacturer's recommendations for viscosity and API service rating. Some manufacturers recommend different viscosities for operation in extremely hot or cold climates; as always, the owner's manual is an outstanding sourc e of information on matters like these.

[Source: Consumer Affairs; a hat tip to AB readers Drew and Ryan]

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 01.17.07

Filed under: ,



Hey, hey, what is this? Lotus is quietly going about designing cars for Zap!, the neighborhood electric vehicle company. What might this partnership bring? Another Tesla Roadster? Also, those E-Class Mercedes diesels that recently made the Paris-Beijing trek are a hot commodity. And sometimes, an idea to solve all the problems that electric cars running solely on batteries have needs to spend a little more time in the oven (see URECA story).

 

[via] Autoblog

EVO-powered X-Works Automotive sports car unveiled

Filed under: ,

X-Works Automotive X1

British Midlands based X-Works Automotive is following in the footsteps of so many British cottage industry car-makers and building a car based on an existing production engine, in this case from a Mitsubishi Evo. They've spent the last 2 1/2 years developing the carbon chassis X-1. The 2,600 lb all wheel drive coupe comes equipped with a 350 hp two liter four cylinder, which can be upgraded to 500 hp.

Designers, Andrew Borrowman and Sean Prendergast, previously worked at Rover, Panther Cars and Grand Prix Engineering Services, and they seem to have done an admirable job with their new ride. The first X-1 was shown last weekend at the AutoSports International Show in Birmingham. If you are in the vicinity of Dudley, England this weekend you can see the car at Extreme Automobiles, who have been appointed as the first dealer. The projected price of the new car will be £45,000 if they actually get them into production.

[Source: PistonHeads]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler lays off 250 workers at Detroit engine plant

Filed under:


The slow sales of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep trucks and SUVs in second half of 2006 are about to be felt at the Mack Avenue engine plant in Detroit. The plant builds the 4.7L V-8 engines used in Durangos, Dakotas, Rams, Grand Cherokees and others. At this time last year the plant was turning out 1,350 engines a day which had already been reduced to 850 units by the end of the year. Now Chrysler will be laying off 250 of 780 employees at the plant beginning next week. Chrysler truck sales were down 8.4 percent in 2006, but the union local is putting at least part of the blame for the reduction on Chrysler's promotion of the Hemi V-8s that are built in Mexico.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Re-Volting: Ford considerig plug-in hybrid

Filed under: , ,



Last week Ford unveiled the Airstream concept at the Detroit Auto Show, which marked its first public attempt at a plug-in hybrid. Like the Chevy Volt, it's primarily battery-powered with an auxiliary power unit to charge the battery on the go. The Airstream, howver, differs from the Volt in that it's equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell instead of an internal combustion engine.

This week at the Automotive News World Congress, Ford's hybrid vehicle manager Nancy Gioia deli vered an address where she indicated that Ford is seriously considering a production plug-in hybrid vehicle. The battery, of course, is the main hold up. Because of the added complexity of a PHEV, a strong, affordable, reliable battery is critical to getting enough battery range to make such a vehicle worthwhile. Gioia indicated that additional tax credits may be necessary for buyers to find such a vehicle economically viable.

Ford was no doubt spurred to make this statement concerning the future viability of a plug-in hybrid based on the warm reception of the Chevy Volt Concept at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Ford was the first domestic automaker on the scene with a hybrid when it introduced the Ford Escape Hybrid a few years ago. Eager to maintain its image as the greenest automaker based in the U.S., announcing the potential for a plug-in hybrid puts it somewhat back on par with General Motors, though the General has actually produced the V olt Concept, which is much more production feasible with its E-Flex chassis than Ford's Airstream Concept.

[Source: Automotive News - Subscription required]

 

[via] Autoblog

Another racing legend shuffled off this mortal coil: Benny Parsons dead at 65

Filed under:

Former NASCAR champion and current commentator Benny Parsons succumbed to the ravages of lung cancer this week at the age of 65. Like so many other stock car stars of his era, he was born and raised in North Carolina, but instead of learning how to drive while running moonshine, he instead polished his skills by driving a taxi cab on the mean streets of Detroit before turning pro. Parsons went on to win ARCA championships in 1968 and 1969, and took home NASCAR's crown in 1973. Parsons' encounters with surly crew chief Henry Hyde are said to have inspired a few of the intentionally humorous moments in Days of Thunder. After retiring from driving, he spent over twenty years in broadcasting, with his calm informative style earning him the ni ckname "The Professor".

Parsons is the second NASCAR driver to die of cancer in the past two weeks; AB reader Patrick pointed out that stock car and truck racer Bobby Hamilton passed away on January 7th.

[Source: SI.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Mopar going off-road with Jeep

Filed under: , , , ,

One may only associate The Chrysler Group's performance parts brand with rear-wheel drive muscle cars and honking V8s, but that will likely soon change as Mopar plans to branch out and begin providing performance parts for the Jeep brand. One can tell by the comments made by Christine Cortez, the senior VP of global service and parts for DCX, at the Automotive News World Congress in Dearborn yesterday, that Mopar is in new territory when it comes to vehicles that like to leave the glassy smooth blacktop of terra firma, but nevertheless the brand plans to expand and begin offering parts for these neglected off-road enthusiasts. Though Cortez doesn't elaborate and tell us what type of parts and for which vehicles they'll be offered, one can assume the venerable Wrangler will be a top priority. Should we expect Mopar branded lift kits, off -road lighting and winches? Who knows, but the Mopar brand has proven to be elastic before. How else do you explain its involvement and success in the D1 Grand Prix professional drifting series.

[Source: Automotive News]

Related posts:
Detroit Auto Show: Dodge Viper SRT-10 Mopar concept
Mopar Challenger "Super Stock" Wows 'em at SEMA
Off-Road Commander Concept - now that's a Jeep...
Dodge's drifting Charger debuts

 

[via] Autoblog

Toyota down with Ford alliance - if Ford asks first

Filed under: ,

Recently Ford CEO Alan Mulally and US Boss Mark Fields flew to Tokyo to meet with some top people from Toyota. The industry rumor mill immediately spun with speculation about a possible tie-up between the two companies. Ford, however, said the meeting was just so that Mulally could get to know his new peers and learn more about Toyota's manufacturing and development processes. Toyota reported that no alliance was discussed during the December meeting between Mulally, Fields and chairman Fujio Cho.

Today Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe has told the Nikkei business daily that the Japanese company is open to some kind of tie-u p with Ford if the Dearborn based company was up for it. According to Watanabe the most likely path would be some sort of technology sharing deal although nothing has even been proposed yet. Toyota executives regularly meet with representatives from other companies, and will consider partnerships but there are no guarantees.

[Source: Reuters]

 

[via] Autoblog

Evo IX bids farewell to UK with the MR FQ-360

Filed under: , ,

Mitsubushi Lancer Evolution IX MR FQ-360
Click image for 4 more photos in our gallery

Over the summer, we reported on the UK-market's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX FQ-360, a car whose verbose nomenclature communicated the presence of a force-fed 366-horsepower 2.0-liter four under its bonnet. With its MR-style vortex generator on the roof, gigunda rear wing, carbon-fiber lip spoiler and rally-look five-spoke wheels, the FQ-360 looked every bit the tarmac carver that it was engineered to be.

Fast forward to January '07. Mitsu bishi is laying the groundwork for the arrival of the next Evo, which was previewed with the appearance of the Prototype X at Detroit last week. Before we get too caught up in Evo X hysteria, we need to remember that the Evo IX still roams the streets, and that even when faced with imminent replacement, it's no shrinking violet. As such, Mitsubishi's UK division is bidding farewell to the machine with one final model: the Lancer Evolution IX MR FQ-360.

Its 2.0L engine is prepared by Ralliart and HKS, and while its output matches the 366 horses of the last HQ-360, this car's mill is said to be even more responsive. The FQ-360's 0-60 sprint is now an astonishing 3.9 seconds (vs. 4.1 for the last one). Top speed is 157 mph -- and that's an electronically governed number. In terms of appearance, the final edition MR FQ-360 looks l ike the car it replaces with some subtle changes. The five-spoke Speedlines are out, replaced by 11-spoke units from the same manufacturer. This time around, there's enough badging on the trunklid to let everyone know that this is the alpha dog Evo IX, and it's going out in style.



Full details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Mitsubishi UK]

Continue reading Evo IX bids farewell to UK with the MR FQ-360

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

Dental assistants have something to smile about: Boss gives HHRs as Xmas gifts

Filed under: , , ,



Dr. Copenhaver and Dr. Trout, dentists in Richmond Hill, GA, feel blessed to have such a wonderful staff and look forward to doing something special for them each year during the holiday season. This year they gave their employees something more that just a teeth whitening to brighten their smile.

After what seemed to be just another great luncheon at the Ford Plantation in celebration of the holiday season, the nine employees of their dental practice got a little more that they expected after dessert. The employees were always anxious at the party, as the dentists try to "do something big" for them each year; but this is about as big as it gets. Instead of the usual array of cakes and pie, they were served with a tray of keys.

Each set started one of the 9 new Chevy HHR's, adorned with the dental office logo, in the parking lot. They were escorted outside and presented with their new cars for Christmas. Not a bad deal for everyone involved. The employees get a fantastic gift for Christmas and the dentists get to take the write-off for advertising. Everyone comes out a winner.

[Source: WTOC tv via GM Inside News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Audi releases glut of info on R8 (69 new images!)

Filed under: , , ,


click on above image to view 69 pics in our high-resolution gallery

We though we knew everything there is to know about the new Audi R8. Boy were we wrong. Today Audi released its full press materials on the new R8, which we've assembled for you in their entirety. After the jump you'll find a nine-part press release detailing everything about the R8 from its 4.2-liter V8 to its all-LED headlights (a production first). You can also check out the 69 new images Audi released of the R8 in our high-resolution gallery. All images are sized large so they can be used as desktop wallpaper on a variety of screen sizes.

Enjoy poring over the press release, we're still looking at the pics.



[Source: Audi via Fourtitude]

Continue reading Audi releases glut of info on R8 (69 new images!)

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

Kumho obviates need for scented tree air fresheners with new tires

Filed under: ,

Kumho Ecsta DX lavenderIn a story that seems to resurface every so often, Kumho is apparently ready to introduce the scented tires we first reported on back in 2005. The new Kumho Ecsta DX series is available in three different sizes and is engineered to smell like lavender instead of rubber. Later on, orange and jasmine scents will be introduced as well.

The fancy rubber is being targeted at female drivers of vehicles like the Camry, Accord, and other staid family carriers. Presumably, these women would rather shell out up to $138 a tire to get something a $1.29 Little Tree will provide. I n fact, we see a new marketing opportunity for Kumho here. Never mind girly-scented tires for midsize boringmobiles. Instead, how about a cross-branded Kumho/Little Tree performance tire? Then, all drivers would need to do is shut off their nannyware traction control systems, get those wheels spinning and fill the air with the delicious, unmistakable scent of Vanillaroma! That, we could get behind.

Snark-free details in Kumho's official press release after the jump.

[Source: Kumho via Engadget]

Continue reading Kumho obviates need for scented tree air fresheners with new tires

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog