Get ready to spend the next year wishing Maserati a happy birthday--as the Italian automaker enters its hundredth year in business this December. The company was officially founded on December 1, 1914, starting operations on December 14, 1914. That makes December 2013 the start of its hundredth year, and for the next twelve months, the historic marque will host celebrations all around the world.
There's plenty to celebrate: Maserati's history is long and illustrious, even when compared to fellow domestic marques like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Lamborghini. The firm produced its first car, the Tipo 26, in 1926. It took its first victory that year in the Targa Florio, the first of many for the marque in virtually every major racing event. Maserati has taken two Indy 500 victories, 9 wins in Formula 1, and the 1957 F1 World Championship at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio. It produced its first passenger car in 1947, and since then Maserati has also been known for beautiful luxury sports cars and sedans--something that continues to this day. ( Continue… )
With one month left, November deliveries of cars with plugs look like they'll hold steady with last month's.
The Chevrolet Volt sold 1,920 units last month, against 2,022 in October, bringing its sales for the year to date to 20,702.
The last few years have seen dozens of new crossovers join the market, and latest into the fray is the Audi Q1, set to appear in 2016.
The appeal of crossover vehicles is clear--they offer the looks and some of the ability of SUVs, but their car-based origins means better on-road handling, better performance and usually, better fuel economy.
Audi already sells a whole range of crossovers and SUVs, from the A6-based Allroad through the Q5, to the huge Q7. In Europe and some other markets, Audi also sells the A3-based Q3--not unsurprisingly, sitting below the Q5 in the automaker's range.
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The Q1 would find a further niche below these models. Size-wise, it'll compete with vehicles like the MINI Countryman and Nissan Juke. Pricing too is expected to rival the Countryman, according to Autocar. ( Continue… )
Americans spent more money on new cars last month than in any November in history, driving new-car sales to more post-recession highs.
Nearly all the major automakers that sell vehicles in the U.S. posted big sales gains year-over-year in November, with just a brand or two striking a sour note.
GM says its sales rose 14 percent, while Ford was up 7 percent and Chrysler, up 16 percent; Nissan sales grew 10.7 percent, while Toyota posted a 5.9-percent gain.
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Among other brands, Jaguar Land Rover sales rose 37 percent, and Audi was up 13 percent--while Volkswagen watched sales drop 16.3 percent. ( Continue… )
That sounds like lots of traffic headaches in the making -- and in fairness, it probably is. But it's worth noting that AAA's 2013 travel projections are down slightly from last year, when 44 million Americans packed their bags.
The biggest drop will be seen in airline travel. AAA expects that 3.14 million Americans will fly the friendly skies this week -- a dip of 3.7 percent from the 3.26 million who flew last year.
Auto travel will be off, too. According to AAA projections, 38.9 million motorists will hit the road this holiday, 1.6 percent fewer than last year.
However, while fewer people may be traveling this week, those who do will be going farther. In 2012, Thanksgiving travelers journeyed an average of 588 miles round-trip. In 2013, that number is expected to jump to 601.
The nice news for motorists isn't just that they'll have more elbow room on the highway:gas prices will be lower, too. The current cost for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.28, but AAA notes that in many parts of the country, the price has slipped below $3.00.Thanksgiving gas prices haven't been that low since the fall of 2010.
The news isn't quite as good for those hoping to rent a car for the drive: rental rates are up six percent over Thanksgiving of 2013.
AAA attributes the decline in travel -- both on the roads and in the skies -- to the sluggish U.S. economic recovery, which has made consumers nervous about shelling out for getaways. Then again, it might also have something to do with Americans' tendency to drive less nowadays.
Americans: are you heading out this holiday week? If not, what's keeping you close to home? The cost? Work? Aunt Paula's unpalatable cranberry compote? If you've changed your traditional plans, we'd love to know why -- tell us all about it in the comments below.
Over the summer, Tesla tried to create a new safety ratings system for its Model S sedan. In case you missed it, the automaker issued a press release that said:
NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars.
Now in fairness, the Model S did perform very well -- in fact, it broke some of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's equipment during the testing process.
But NHTSA wasn't down with Tesla's creative math -- not by a long shot. In fact, it did everything but send CEO Elon Musk a cease-and-desist letter taped to a horse's head. In a statement, the agency said that it has plenty of guidelines for advertisers who want to tout their safety scores, and for Tesla to create a completely fictitious "5.4" rating was a direct violation of those rules. ( Continue… )
There must be days where Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk feels his multiple burdens more acutely than others.
Today may be one, because yesterday was not a good day for Tesla.
Then you may recall that the NHTSA rebuked Tesla for a Tesla press release that said, NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars arecaptured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars. ( Continue… )
Polaris has finally put airless tires on sale. The Polaris Sportsman WV850 H.O. ATV is the first vehicle to offer them and, considering that it's inspired by the MV850 military ATV, that seems appropriate. They pretty much make it the ultimate post-apocalyptic four-wheeler.
According to Polaris, the TerrainArmor tires, can take a direct hit from a .50-caliber round and still drive 350 miles; they can also last 1,000 miles after running over a railroad spike. How do they do it?
The tires' inner structure is a mesh design that supports the weight of the vehicle, while still being flexible enough to soak up bumps. There's still a rubber outer tread so, like conventional tires, different tread patterns can be developed for different applications.
In addition to not never needing a trip to the gas station's air pump, the TerrainArmor tires are reportedly less wasteful, because only the outer tread section needs to be replaced. They also offer a more comfortable ride and reduce noise, according to Polaris. The airless tire was actually developed by Resilient Technologies, a Wisconsin startup Polaris acquired last year, presumably for this tire tech.
The Polaris Sportsman WV850 H.O. goes on sale next month with a starting price of $14,999, but only in "very limited quantities." Other features include a steel exoskeleton chassis, and a 1,500-pound towing capacity.
Drivers looking to put airless tires on their cars might have to wait a little longer, though. Michelin introduced the concept of the airless tire with the "Tweel" in 2005, and both Bridgestone and Hankook have subsequently unveiled their own version of the concept. However, none of these automotive airless tires have been put on sale yet.
The third generation of the modern MINI Cooper has finally been revealed, with the launch coinciding with the 107th anniversary of the birth of Sir Alec Issigonis, the designer of the original Mini. The car has been completely redesigned and debuts a new platform dubbed “UKL” which will eventually underpin a handful of new models from MINI as well as some from parent company BMW.
The new MINI Cooper goes on sale in March 2014 but only this three-door ‘Hardtop’ variant will be new for the 2014 model year. Replacements for the current Cooper Convertible, Cooper Clubman and Countryman are all planned but will be released in upcoming model years. (ALSO SEE: Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept Revealed)
The latest evolution of the iconic design signals the more mature character of the new model, reflected by the car’s bulkier size, new safety features and improved quality. A new generation of engines is also offered, along with some upmarket features such as the MINI Connected infotainment system, new LED headlamps and head-up display.
Overall length is 151.1 inches while the width is 68 inches and the height is 55.7 inches. This makes it 4.5 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider and 0.3 inches higher than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been extended by 1.1 inches to 98.2 inches, while the track width has been enlarged at the front by 1.7 inches and at the rear by 1.3 inches to a total of 59.1 inches in each case. This has allowed designers to increase space; storage is now 8.7 cubic feet, 3 cubic feet more than before. There are also numerous cubby spots and a 60:40 split function for the rear seat. ( Continue… )
It's official: The U.S. now produces more oil than it imports from foreign countries.
It isn't the first time that's ever happened, but it's the first time in two decades--and according to the White House, it's going hand-in-hand with lower CO2 emissions and growing GDP.
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For those advocating greater energy independence, it's undoubtedly a good sign.
For too long, the U.S. has been at the behest of countries with dubious political processes. Importing oil from some regions--particularly those in the Middle East--has led to shortages, fluctuating prices and even war. Reducing those imports can only be a good thing. ( Continue… )