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Handicapping the finalists for North American Car, Truck of Year

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 16
You never see the people who most appreciate the yearly awards handed out to automakers for best car, best truck, best engine, best this and best that.
Automakers love winning these awards. Most would dispatch an executive to Nome, Alaska, in February to pick up some shiny hardware for the company’s trophy case. One reason automakers covet these awards, of course, is so they can tout them in ads.
Another reason awards are important is because they acknowledge the work of engineers hunched over computers from dawn to dusk, designers shaping clay models on quiet weekends, writers slinging computer code to make the hardware work, and countless others who toil away in the machine shops and dyno labs f ...
     Continue reading "Handicapping the finalists for North American Car, Truck of Year" » Dec 16, 2014 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Why the Chinese auto shows will refocus on the car models

Posted 12:41 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 15
TOKYO -- One hallmark of Chinese auto shows is their politically incorrect zeal for, ahem, “alluring” floor models.
In one stunt at the 2012 Beijing show, a mystery model clad in only a mirror-visored crash helmet and white string bikini strolled the halls pitching an automotive magazine. (For the record, it wasn’t Automotive News.) Packs of paunchy shutterbugs buzzed around her like a cloud of gnats, blocking the aisles.
Now, show organizers are starting to have second thoughts about the old maxim “sex sells” and the damage done to their image.
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     Continue reading "Why the Chinese auto shows will refocus on the car models" » Dec 15, 2014 12:41 pm U.S. ET
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BMW refreshes 6 series

Posted 3:38 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 12
blogs

BMW has freshened all three of its 6-series variants that will debut next month at the Detroit auto show and go on sale in the second quarter of 2015.
The two-door coupe and convertible and the four-door Gran Coupe with coupelike styling are niche vehicles for BMW.
But the head-turning designs have made them halos for the German brand.
The engine lineup remains unchanged: 640i models get a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that makes 315 hp, and 650i models get a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that generates 445 hp.
The M6 high-p ...
     Continue reading "BMW refreshes 6 series" » Dec 12, 2014 3:38 pm U.S. ET
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You can call it a crossover, but I know a hatchback when I see one

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs
VW's Golf.
Holding up a picture of the Honda HR-V in the newsroom the other day, I asked a couple of editors what makes it and similar vehicles crossovers and not hatchbacks?
“The marketing department,” Phil Nussel, Automotive News’ online editor, blurted out, half-joking. We laughed. But then I thought about it. He’s right.
Small utility vehicles -- or maybe small vehicles with a lot of utility -- are starting to look like The Next Big Thing. And so automakers are tattooing what are basically hatchbacks with the crossover label.
Will buyers be f ...
     Continue reading "You can call it a crossover, but I know a hatchback when I see one" » Dec 9, 2014 11:00 am U.S. ET
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What the big fuss over small crossovers is all about

Posted 10:45 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs
Buyers can add all wheel drive on the Trax for $1,500, even on the base model.
SAN DIEGO -- It looks like the over-under bet on U.S. sales of Chevrolet’s new Trax small crossover next year is about 50,000.
I’m taking the over.
That’s not so much a wager on the Trax itself, though I found it a nimble, comfortable little ride during a media test drive here. It’s more that I’m buying into the buzz about small crossovers being the next big thing.
What the soon-to-launch Trax ...
     Continue reading "What the big fuss over small crossovers is all about" » Dec 9, 2014 10:45 am U.S. ET
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With all the buzz over quality, what does it even mean?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 2
blogs
An error message flashed on the instrument screen of a recently tested Tesla Model S. (RICHARD TRUETT)
Vehicle quality has been in the news quite a bit lately. Chrysler’s quality watchdog left his job in October right after Consumer Reports placed all of the company’s brands near the bottom of its latest list of most reliable and recommended vehicles.
And General Motors just moved several executives into new jobs in part to help improve the company’s quality. GM, like Ford, now has one of its top engineers in charge of purchasing.
And I recently experienced two episodes of poor reliability. Both required the appearance of a flatbed tow truck. I was driving my vintage Triumph spor ...
     Continue reading "With all the buzz over quality, what does it even mean?" » Dec 2, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford’s payoff from aluminum bet still years away

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, Nov. 25
blogs
Ford has spent billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied F-150, and at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants. (REUTERS)
Investors might be a little concerned at how Ford is spending its money.
Ford dropped billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150. Then it spent at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants.
Ford has said, and continues to say, that fuel economy is the No. 1 unmet need of its truck buyers.
Despite the hefty investments to transform the 2015 F-150, the pickup’s fuel economy barely budged, Continue reading "Ford’s payoff from aluminum bet still years away" » Nov 25, 2014 11:15 am U.S. ET
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5 cool flourishes on new Lexus RC

Posted 10:50 am U.S. ET, Nov. 25
blogs

TOKYO -- Is it too much to say that the new Lexus RC is the best-looking Lexus ever? Even better than the LFA?
I finally got behind the wheel an RC 350 F Sport last weekend, and I never got tired looking at the car, from any angle. Design is always subjective, but if this is a sign of future cars from Lexus, brand boss Tokuo Fukuichi is working magic, in my book.
Here are some cool flourishes that enhance the RC experience:
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     Continue reading "5 cool flourishes on new Lexus RC " » Nov 25, 2014 10:50 am U.S. ET
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Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag

Posted 3:26 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
blogs
The 2015 F-150 is only the first of three big changes that may eventually give Ford fuel economy leadership in the segment -- assuming everyone else stands still or makes incremental gains.
In September, we crunched the numbers in an attempt to predict the fuel economy ratings for the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. Turns out, we were pretty darn close.
Today, Ford finally released those long-awaited official EPA numbers for its lightweight aluminum truck.
Some of the gains are i ...
     Continue reading "Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag" » Nov 21, 2014 3:26 pm U.S. ET
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Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee

Posted 2:41 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
LOS ANGELES -- Luxury automobiles typically offer customers a combination of high performance, advanced technology and plush comfort. But a new crop of upscale cars may offer wealthy car buyers something else: a clearer conscience.
That trend was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where Volvo Cars showed the plug-in hybrid version of its forthcoming XC90. It’s a full-size crossover that seats up to seven and delivers about 400 hp. But thanks to its large battery pack and electric motor, the vehicle can achieve the equivalent of up to 90 mpg, according to Volvo.
That blend of high performance a ...
     Continue reading "Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee" » Nov 21, 2014 2:41 pm U.S. ET
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Product news
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2016 Cadillac CTS-V packs more power, fresh look
12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 22
Cadillac's 2016 CTS-V -- the third generation of the track-ready midsize sedan -- will shoot from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds and hit a top... ...
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Miami auto show seeks to ride Latin identity into the big leagues
Organizers of the Miami International Auto Show hope to capitalize on the arrival of well- ...
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Nissan Titan goes big rig
An all-new version of Nissan’s Titan full-size pickup will be shown at the Detroit a ...
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BMW to show off freshened 6-series variants
BMW will show three freshened 6-series variants at the Detroit auto show next month. ...
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Aston Martin seeks money to build new models, report says
Aston Martin is preparing to raise funds to expand its range of models into new areas incl ...
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How the next-gen Audi Q7 lost all that weight
While many SUVs are adding pounds and inches, Audi is subtracting them in the next-generat ...
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China show organizers: Spotlight cars, not models
China's show organizers are starting to have second thoughts about the old maxim "sex sell ...
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New Volt to get ELR's battery regeneration system
The second-generation Chevrolet Volt will have the driver-controlled battery regeneration ...
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Cadillac says CT6 rearview mirror will have high-res video
Cadillac plans to introduce a rearview mirror embedded with high-resolution streaming vide ...
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Acura to unwrap NSX at Detroit auto show
Acura will reveal a production version of the NSX supercar -- the luxury brand's long-awai ...
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Autoweek names Volkswagen Golf GTI and GMC Canyon as 2015 Best of the Best
Autoweek, the auto enthusiast sister publication of Automotive News, today n ...
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Nissan Titan goes big rig
Despite lackluster sales, Nissan is giving the Titan another shot. ...
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Jaguar Land Rover's virtual windshield makes blind spots vanish
Jaguar Land Rover is testing a new 360-degree virtual urban windshield which g ...
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Cadillac styling won't take sharp turn with flagship CT6
Cadillac's forthcoming CT6 sedan is supposed to be trailblazing for the brand. But don't e ...
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Volvo plans 3-cylinder engines for 60-series cars
Volvo is developing new three-cylinder engines that will appear in its 60-seri ...
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