In a land where supercars like the Ferrari Enzo are often abandoned at the roadside or in police impound lots and the police cruise around in supercars of their own, it might be hard to imagine that there are actually folks who have more normal levels of income. But Dubai's director general, Hussain Lootah, wants to keep these average folks off the road--to clear away the traffic that's frustrating the obscenely wealthy.
In a particularly out-of-touch statement, Lootah told The National, "Everybody has their luxury life, but the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws." ( Continue… )
In the grand scheme of things, relatively few Americans own Tesla Motors cars. But more and more of them have nice things to say about them.
The electric car company's quest to become a respected household name is going quite well, according to an annual survey released today by Consumer Reports that ranks what consumers view as the best car brands. This year, Tesla Motors was the fifth-best perceived car brand among American car owners, surging from 11th place last year. The automakers that ranked higher are well-established, traditional makes: Toyota ranked first among best car brands, followed by Ford, Honda, and General Motors' Chevrolet, respectively.
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"The brand to watch is Tesla Motors, which jumped from 47 points last year, to fifth position and 88 points this year," Consumer Reports said in its write-up of the survey. "Tesla had a strong, very public year, with soaring stock prices, magazine awards, sterling crash-test performance, and even claiming the spot as the top-rated car by Consumer Reports. Innovation, performance, and sleek styling is clearly gaining attention and making a positive impression. By accumulating points in several categories, Tesla was able to raise its overall score. This highlights the value of being good at multiple things, rather than relying on a single facet." ( Continue… )
In 2010, Toyota was on the tip of everyone's tongue -- not because of some stellar new products or sky-high safety ratings, but because of massive Toyota and Lexus recalls affecting millions of vehicles across the country.
Those recalls stemmed from numerous complaints of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. While many of those complaints were later found to be the result of "driver error" -- and at least one was an out-and-out hoax -- the hype surrounding the recall dealt Toyota a big, boldface black eye. As a result, many Toyota and Lexus owners were left with vehicles that were perfectly safe, but significantly diminished in value.
Ultimately, that led to a $1.1 billion settlement, much of which was used to compensate Toyota and Lexus owners for the loss in resale value of their vehicles. The company also shelled out to the feds, including a whopping $17.35 million fine for taking far too long to recall 2010 Lexus RX models. And of course, Toyota carried out countless recalls, which cost millions upon millions more. ( Continue… )
Three different commercials will be broadcast during NBC's coverage of the games, focusing on different aspects of the BMW-i lineup.
One spot, 'Hello Future', will cover the BMW-i brand itself. Another, 'SHHH', focuses on the i3, the automaker's recently-launched electric and range-extended city cars. The third spot carries the name 'Sightings' and advertises the eagerly-awaited i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
'Hello Future' is a light-hearted look at Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, apparently proving that with BMW's i-cars, the world is as good today as he predicted.
'SHHH' covers a boy sneaking out in his dad's BMW i3 to impress his dream girl. While the technique works, his dad is still alerted that something is amiss, as the BMW i Remote App alerts him when the car is plugged back in to charge. ( Continue… )
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Toyota decided to get in on the action with a line of off-road models launched at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The TRD Pro Series vehicles are versions of the Tacoma and Tundra pickups and 4Runner SUV with a little extra attitude. ( Continue… )
A straightforward way to reduce emissions is to get rid of your car--and that's exactly what some Americans appear to be doing.
It was only a matter of time. Produce an electric car with enough range, and the journeys it can realistically achieve become almost limitless.
There have been a flurry of coast-to-coast trips recently as Tesla opens up its countrywide Supercharger network, but perhaps the most impressive trip undertaken is that of Randy Denmon and Dean Lewis--who've driven a Model S from Texas to the Panama Canal.
There's certainly no handy Supercharger network down that neck of the woods, and as EV World reports, preparation amounted to little more than collecting a bunch of different plug adapters and bringing along a spare tire.
Rather than the relatively smooth freeways spanning the U.S, Denmon and Lewis have had to contend with some of Mexico's less than perfectly surfaced back roads and the challenge of finding suitable places to plug in.
The pair have had to deal with other near-inevitabilities of such a trip, including shakedowns by suspicious border guards. Which makes it all the more impressive that Denmon effectively chose to do the trip on a whim.
Apparently, he's been planning such a trip for the last five years, but after buying the 85 kWh Model S, no time seemed better than the present. ( Continue… )
The BMW Group is the latest automaker to announce a plan to consolidate platforms used across different models and brands. The move, says BMW, will help operations remain profitable during volatile periods and improve the chances of reaching a previously stated goal of two million unit sales by 2016. Last year the group, which also includes the MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, sold 1.96 million units.
The information was revealed by BMW development boss Herbert Diess, who spoke recently with Automotive News (subscription required). The plan, Diess revealed, is part of a wide-ranging strategy at BMW referred to as Strategy Number One. ( Continue… )
The Global RallyCross Championship is back for another year and one of the teamsto watch in 2014 is newcomer Volkswagen, which has partnered with Andretti Autosport and will be fielding a new GRC racer based on its Beetle compact. The team has also managed to snag 2011 and 2012 GRC champion Tanner Foust as well as former Formula One man Scott Speed as drivers.
VW used today’s 2014 Chicago Auto Show to announce its entry into the sport, but the team’s Beetle GRC racer isn’t ready yet. While development is completed, the team will initially compete using modified Polo rally cars, built on the chassis that won the 2013 World Rally Championship.
VW is hoping the Beetle GRC will be ready by June. Like rival cars based on the likes of the Dodge Dart, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Veloster, the Beetle GRC will develop upwards of 600 horsepower from a turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive will be standard, too.
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GRC is one of the fastest growing motorsport categories in the U.S., and has managed to attract huge crowds at events held all over the world. For those unfamiliar with the sport of rally cross, it sees cars pitted against each other and the clock in a series of heats on a closed course that’s usually a mixture of dirt and pavement, with a 70-foot jump.
The 2014 GRC season gets underway in May, with the first leg taking place in Barbados.
Electric cars may be suffering from the January blues, but if one analyst is correct that lull in sales won't last very long.
Ben Scott, an analyst for IHS Automotive, predicts that global production of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles will rise by 67 percent this year. ( Continue… )