2008 Cadillac CTS leads charge of redesigned '08 models

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Our friends over at the Kicking Tires blog decided to take a gander at how well a few of the new 2008 models did their first month on the market, and it turns out really, really well. Though automakers don't break down what percentage of a particular car's monthly sales were of the 2007 or 2008 model, Kicking Tires compared the September sales numbers to the prior month when the redesigned '08s weren't available. The 2008 Cadillac CTS, for instance, sold 3,887 units in August and a whopping 6,416 units in September. That's a 65% increase in units sold month over month and a 73.5% increase in the average number of units sold per day versus the prior year. Clearly the car's positive reviews are reaching the eyes and ears of prospective buyers, which is a good thing for Cadillac overall. Besides the Escalade, which sells in smaller numbers, the CTS was the only Cadillac that increased its sales last month.

Kicking Tires also took a look at the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and 2008 Honda Accord, both of which debuted redesigned models in the marketplace last month. The same thing happened. The Merc's sales shot up 42.8% compared to last September and the Accord, which has also enjoyed positive reviews, was up 37.3% versus last year. Curiously, however, the Honda Accord sold even better two months ago when only 2007 models were available. In August of 2007, the average number of only 2007 Honda Accords sold per day was up 37.3% versus just 31.2% in September 2007 when the 2008 models were added. Either way, sales were still up compared to last year, so Honda should be pleased. Not every automaker can say that about its bread-and-butter midsize sedan.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 

[via] Autoblog

Oh, Yeah: Ferrari trying to trademark 'GT California'

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Ferris Bueller fans will have something to twist and shout about this January as Ferrari's F430-based GT California is expected to debut at the Detroit Auto Show. An astute World Car Fans reader found further evidence to support the suspicion at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's website. There it was discovered that Ferrari had applied for a trademark patent on the words "Ferrari GT California" back in December of 2006. It was then noticed by the site Motor Authority that the application had been denied on a preliminary basis. Ruh-roh. While no reason for the refusal was cited, MA speculates that it may have something to do with the similarly named Ford Mustang GT California Special model. While it's clear (at least to us) that these two names are using the words "GT California" in different ways, the USPTO may be looking for some more evidence that Ford doesn't already have a lock on "GT California". Hopefully the matter has been cleared up or will be by New Year's, as we've become impatient for a new Ferrari to hopelessly want but never own.

[Source: World Car Fans, Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Volkswagen shortens slogan, aims to be the Coke of cars?

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In amongst all the concept vehicles and new models on Volkswagen's stands at last month's Frankfurt Auto Show was the carmaker's new ad campaign, which can be surmised by just two words - "Das Auto" (German for "The Car"). The hope is that the ads, which have only be launched in Germany thus far, will brainwash you into thinking 'VW' when you think of a car.

Before you brush this aside as just some marketing nonsense, consider what Coca-Cola is to cola soft drinks, Hoover is to vacuums and Kleenex is to tissues. "You don't ask for brown lemonade, you ask for Coke," explained one VW spokesman. Yeah, that doesn't sound refreshing at all.

The other benefit of the new slogan is that it's so simple, it will work with roughly the same effect in most other languages. VW's previous tagline was "Aus Liebe zum Automobil," ("For the love of the automobile") but the same message was not being conveyed when translated into other languages, especially Chinese. "Auto works around the world," the spokesman boasted, "so the question is whether it will be just 'Auto' or whether we say 'the Auto.' "

Whatever it turns out to be, expect to see the ads beaming across TVs and billboards around the globe wherever VWs are sold in the near future.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Europeans get new Nemo and Bipper compact commercial vans

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And you thought U.S. automakers were guilty of the world's worst badge engineerings jobs! It's bad enough that both Citroen and Peugeot took the Mitsubishi Outlander and made the C-Crosser and 4007 clones, but here we have two new compact commercial vans from these companies that are virtually identical. Just pick which logo you'd like on the misshapen schnoz and you're good to go. The Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Blipper (seriously?) are actually pretty interesting to look at. These purpose built mini vans will do the work of a Chevy HHR Panel in Europe and get much better gas mileage to boot. Either vehicle can be ordered with a 75 HP 1.4L gas or 70 HP 1.4L HDi diesel engine, so they certainly can't go as fast or haul as much as what we Yanks are used to, but European commercial customers will likely find them more than adequate. And they can haul thanks to a 1,345 lb. payload rating and useable cargo space that amounts to 66 cubic feet. The front passenger seat can also be stored beneath the floor to increase the cargo room to 107 cubic feet. Just don't come to us asking which one you should buy.

[Source: Citroen and Peugeot]

Gallery: Citroen Nemo


Gallery: Peugeot Bipper

Continue reading Europeans get new Nemo and Bipper compact commercial vans

 

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Gemballa Mirage GT gets glitter paint job

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click above image for more high-res pics of the Gemballa Mirage GT glitter car

Those with oodles of disposable income may be shopping Gemballa's website for a Mirage GT, the German tuner's customization package for the already rarified Porsche Carrera GT. The company recently released pics of this particular Mirage GT to show off how every single one of the 25 scheduled to be converted are completely unique. This one is credited to an unnamed soccer player, who probably won't remain nameless too long after he takes this sparkly sports car out in public (even the wheels have glitter!).

The Gemballa Mirage GT boasts 652 HP, 40 more than the standard Porsche Carrera GT, as well as an aero package that completely transforms the car's appearance. For the amount owners are asked to fork over for just the conversion itself, their Carrera GT had better be an almost all-new car. The Gemballa Mirage GT conversion costs €229,800 or $324,385 USD, and that's not including the cost of the doner Porsche Carrera GT. There are a good number of supercars you could buy with that kind of money, but we doubt Ferrari would ever deliver a 599 that sparkled in the sun.

[Source: Gemballa via Motor Authority]

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Tokyo's stillborn supercar battle

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Winding Road
's Japan correspondent, Peter Nunn, has dashed any hopes of the Tokyo Motor Show bubbling over with Nipponese supercars. Sure, we'll get to see the rebirth of Godzilla in the form of the R35 GT-R, plus the unveilings of the new Evo X and STI certainly aren't going to suck. But the knockdown, drag-out brawl between Japan's Big Three (Honda, Nissan and Toyota) is going to be distinctly one-sided.

Initial speculation was that Lexus might be showing off a production version of its LF-A supercar, but the lull in spy shots, partnered with no form of official notification from Toyota leads Nunn to believe that unless there's a last minute surprise on press day, the LF-A will be kept under wraps until sometime next year.

As for Acura, the lukewarm (okay, downright frigid) reception the Advanced Sports Car Concept got in Detroit lead many to speculate that after the prototype was sent back to the LA studio's drawing board, it might make a triumphant return in Tokyo. As it turns out, the combination of internal design haggling and the delay of Acura's launch in Japan means that there's no podium for the new AWD, V10-powered rocket to reside.

Despite all that, we're perfectly content with the GT-R stealing the show. After this long of a wait, it'll deserve every bit of attention it gets.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker: Faster and more furious in fourth installment

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Great news everyone! Your favorite dynamic duo since George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell are back to make some more movie magic. That's right, Paul "Super-Fast-and-Super-Fly (for a white-guy)" Walker and his good buddy Vin "So-Furious-It-Hurts" Diesel will be making their first appearance on-screen together since the first installment of the cinematic masterpiece The Fast and the Furious. We're sure you'll agree that the second film was ultimately let down by the fact that Sir "2-Fast-4-U" Walker reprised his role while Mr. "Not-Quite-So-Furious-Anymore" Diesel did not. Although we were able to catch Diesel's drift in the movie number tré, the absence of the drift-less Walker left this particular moviegoer wanting. Now that we know the two are back together at last, the only question left unanswered is this: how could the fourth film be any Faster or more Furiouser than the first three? Perhaps you'll join us at the theater and we can find out together.

[Source: E!]

 

[via] Autoblog

2008 Ford Fusion gets Sport Package

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click above image to view more photos of the 2008 Ford Fusion with Sport Package

Most here at Autoblog who have driven the Ford Fusion are a fan, though our one complaint that remains ignored is the car's lack of power. The 3.0L Duratic V6 with 221 HP just doesn't cut it for us. Instead of fixing the problem for 2008, Ford has instead decided to offer Fusion customers an optional Sport Appearance Package so your car will look faster than it really it is.

Available on both SE and SEL models, the Sport Package adds 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, a rear lip spoiler and body-color surrounds for the front fog lamps. I can feel the skin peeling back away from my face already. Inside Fusions with the option Sport Package will be charcoal black interior trim, contrasting red stitching and a brushed aluminum face plate for the center console. Also available are "red-splashed" cloth seat inserts or red leather inlays. These Fusions with the Sport Package will only be available in Black, Redfire Metallic, Vapor Silver and Silver Birch Metallic.

But wait, the Sport Package actually does add some go-fast hardware to the Fusion, including a more sporty tuned suspension with a larger rear stabilizer bar, stiffer springs and adjusted springs and dampers. Kudos for the components, but not even a freer breathing air filter or exhaust system for a half dozen more horsepower? Ah well, it'll only cost you $895, anyway.

Check out Ford's official press release after the jump and our high-res gallery of the 2008 Ford Fusion with Sport Package below.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading 2008 Ford Fusion gets Sport Package

 

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Ford Mustang Convertible aces NHTSA crash tests

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When it comes to vehicle crash safety, the general consensus is that having a roof over your head leads to a better outcome. Ford has just proven that this isn't always the case with its 2008 Ford Mustang convertible, which has become the first and only convertible of any type to be given a five-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In its latest New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) round of testing, the Mustang drop-top took top honors in a field of tests that included both crash testing and rollover resistance evaluations. These included frontal crash evaluations for both driver and front-seat passenger, side impact evaluations for both driver and the rear-seat passenger on the driver's side, and even a rollover test.

[Source: Ford]

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AutoblogGreen for 10.04.07

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The issue of too-quiet hybrids (and electric cars) posing a danger to the vision impaired is back, thanks to a new push by the U.S. National Federation of the Blind. Speaking of publicity push, GM and Johnson Controls say the government has gotta made good with some cash to get sweet new hybrid/electric car batteries into the real world.

 

[via] Autoblog

Daimler versus Benz comes to a (mast)head

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Before the DaimlerChrysler union ended, shareholders and executives were fighting over the rightful name of the Stuttgart-based company. Management and the supervisory board want Daimler AG, but the "Benz faction" feels one of the company founder's names have been slighted in the process. Thankfully, all the bickering should come to an end today, as the Daimler AG name comes to a shareholder vote. If the measure passes, the German automaker will spend millions to update signage all over the world, and very few people will ever notice. It's not like Carl Friedrich Benz was slighted in any way; his name gets to be on the cars, and the only way we'll see the Daimler name is on a Jaguar.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Volkswagen Touareg R50 takes on Porsche's Cayenne

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Volkswagen is taking its R-series of hopped-up rides to the next extreme with the release of the Touareg R50 next week at the Australian International Motor Show. V-Dub claims that the R50 will be one of the most powerful SUVs on the market, producing a "generous" increase in power over the 313 HP and 553 lb.-ft. of torque from its retuned V10 TDI. The R-treatment also includes upgraded wheels wrapped in high performance rubber, a revised suspension, some VW Individual aero bits and a restyled interior.

VW's scant press release is posted after the jump, and expect more to follow once the AIMS gets underway next week.

Continue reading Volkswagen Touareg R50 takes on Porsche's Cayenne

 

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KTM X-Bow UK pricing revealed

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Click the image above for a HUGE gallery of X-Bow pics.

KTM has already taken 1,500 preorders for its X-Bow track tool, and 250 of them are headed to buyers in the UK. The price for the orange and carbon fiber apex assassin: £37,012. It's a bit on the high side when compared to some of the other wares available, but we doubt the price will register many complaints - especially since it'll come packing 240 HP when deliveries begin towards the end of spring next year.

[Source: EVO]

Gallery: KTM X-Bow

 

[via] Autoblog

Hyundai sports car concept coming to LA Auto Show, along with 14 world debuts

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When the dust settles at the Los Angeles auto show next month, at least 14 world debuts will have taken place, along with 30 North America unveilings. Amidst the premiers, expect to see a concept version of Hyundai's new RWD sports car (also to be shown in London), along with Nissan's restyled Murano CUV.

Those of you that can pry yourselves away from the Turkey table and shrug off your tryptophanic haze will be able to check out the Jaguar XF, BMW 1-series coupe, the new Mitsubishi Evolution X, Subaru WRX STI, Lamborghini Reventon, Porsche GT2 and Ferrari's F430 Scuderia the week after the press festivities end.

[Source: Just-Auto - Sub. Req.]

 

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Lexus IS-F sales begin 12/25 with 417 HP underhood

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click above image to view more high-res photos of the Lexus IS-F

Merry Christmas, says Lexus, which announced today that its hopped up entry-level luxury sedan will go on sale Christmas Day in Japan. Also unknown until now is the exact horsepower rating of the car's 5.0L V8, which has been revealed as 311kW, or 417 horsepower when converted from kilowatts, at 6,600 RPM. Meanwhile, torque is pegged at 372 ft-lb at 5,200 RPM. The 4.968L engine features variable valve timing on the intake side of things, as well as both direct and port fuel injection systems, which is interesting and a little confusing. We'll leave it to an engineer to explain that one. As we already knew, however, the engine's power will be divided up into tiny pieces by an 8-speed automatic sourced from the Lexus LS 460. Pricing starts at ¥7,600,000 or $65,170.00 USD when converted. Perhaps if you've been good this year, Santa will drive an IS-F all the way from Japan and park it under your tree. If not, you'll have to wait for its impending U.S. arrival like the rest of us.

Check out Toyota's full press release after the jump.

[Source: Lexus via MT forums]

Gallery: Lexus IS-F

Continue reading Lexus IS-F sales begin 12/25 with 417 HP underhood

 

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Honda introduces the all-new 2008 CBR1000RR

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Click above image to view gallery of the new CBR1000RR.

If you're a fan of sportbikes, you're faced with more quality choices now than ever before. While that means that no matter what you choose you're not likely to be disappointed, it also means that researching your decision is also harder than ever before. Yesterday, we took a look at the new BMW HP2-Sport, which faces tough competition for your hard earned dollars from the Big Four Japanese manufacturers. Starting with Honda, which is the largest of the Japanese motorcycle companies, we have a brand new CBR100RR. Known as the Fireblade in Europe, Honda launched the bike last week at the Paris Motorcycle Show. Take a look at our gallery, and you are likely to have some strong opinions on the styling. The front end looks eerily similar to the new Ducati 1098, but much of the rest of the bike is a departure from the sportbike norm.

While many companies are featuring very edgy design themes, Honda seems to be smoothing out the lines of their newest liter-bike. The most controversial item is likely to be the new exhaust system. Following in the footsteps of the innovative Buell brand, most sportbikes are relocating their heavy exhaust cans to the underside of their bikes, which centralizes that mass. It also keeps the heat away from your posterior, which has been an ongoing problem with the underseat muffler designs. Honda has chosen to integrate the exhaust into the bodywork, likely making it difficult for the aftermarket to offer systems which improve on the performance of the factory system without degrading the finish. So, if you hate the exhaust... perhaps you should look elsewhere or you'll be stuck with it.

[Source: Honda, Motorcycle-USA]

Continue reading Honda introduces the all-new 2008 CBR1000RR

 

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First GM plant ratifies UAW contract

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The first batch of UAW workers have ratified the newly negotiated contract with GM, a possible sign that other union members will be following suit. Hourly employees at GM's Lansing Grand River plant voted in the new contracts in what's believed to be a landslide decision. Lansing's UAW rep Chris "Tiny" Sherwood wasn't willing to give exact numbers because of fears it could influence votes at the other GM factories but revealed workers "approved the agreement by a wide margin."

The new deal negotiated between GM and the UAW following the controversial strikes last week will see the establishment of a new health care trust that will hand over close to $50 billion worth of GM retiree health care liabilities to the unions. The contract also guarantees future vehicle assembly at most of GM's plants as well as the introduction of a two-tier wage system differentiating new staff and veterans.

The UAW has set an October 10th deadline for the rest of the members to hold their votes.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

GT LIVE crew puts together Subaru Tsukuba Challenge

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The one and only time U.S. shores were blessed with Japan's premier motorsports event, Super GT, the folks over at Paramax were behind the scenes. Since then they've organized a number of events under the GT LIVE banner, as well as creating the XDL U.S. Stunt Riding Championship. Now, they've partnered with Subaru of America to bring more attention to one of the most entertaining and intense forms of motorsport around: Time Attack.

The Subaru Tsukuba Challenge will determine the quickest unlimited AWD-class Subaru team here in the States, and after running two qualifying events in the U.S. (Miller Motorsports Park and Virginia International Raceway), three teams will be picked to duke it out at Laguna Seca on November 10th. The fastest team will be sent to Japan to be the U.S. representative in a race at the famed Tsukuba circuit. Even cooler: Eiji "Tarzan" Yamada has been hired as a hot shoe for the teams.

Speed's got the skinny (more here too), and although the first event has already taken place and the second is coming up this weekend, you can still make it to the finals next month in Monterey.

[Source: Speed via Straightline]

 

[via] Autoblog

GM follows last month's gains with new incentives on trucks and SUVs

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GM has bucked the domestic trend of consistently giving up market share to Japanese automakers for the past couple months, and with a new round of incentives, the General is hoping to keep the trend going. The Silverado and GMC Envoy are among the vehicles receiving an additional $1,000 in rebates during the entire month of October. GM is using targeted incentives on trucks and SUVs, but the incentives don't apply universally throughout the lineup.

Although GM's sales improved year over year in September, incentives were actually down $240 vs. August, to an average of $3,089 per vehicle. That's still $800 more than the industry average, but better than GM's incentive spending in years past. With GM's market share stabilizing, incentives closer to industry average, a competitive labor contract, and some interesting products in the pipeline, GM may have turned the barge faster than we expected.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 

[via] Autoblog

Hello Kitty rims reserved for special circle of Hell

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Hello Kitty wheel We imagine that axe murderers and other unsavory types have a special circle of Hell waiting for them when their tickets ultimately get punched. In all likelihood, these are dark and miserable people. For them, Hell might be a place where the Hello Kitty theme plays on endless loop, incessantly friendly cartoon animals try to befriend them, said cartoon animals cannot be killed, and they're all driving Mitsubishi i minicars fitted with the rims you see at right. Because you know, cute overload isn't cute overload until you have Hello Kitty wheels (that cost $900). Avoid a life of violent crime (or the use of hallucinogenics), and this eternal fate can be avoided. Unless you go to Japan, of course. Then all bets are off, and you're on your own.

Thanks for the tip, hkh!

[Source: Hello Kitty Hell]

 

[via] Autoblog