AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
General Motors’ new CEO, Daniel Akerson told employees over his first webcast since taking over on September 1st that GM’s newest vehicles have to be better than cars produced by European competitors such as BMW. We’ve heard this before.
Akerson, 61, has just taken over for former CEO Ed Whitacre at the recovering automaker, and says that GM needs to be in “attack mode” rather than simply responding to what other automakers do. GM has been playing catch-up with the Europeans for the last three decades, and, unfortunately, in most cases, losing. We certainly admire Akerson’s position, after all, it’s going to take “attack mode” and much more if GM truly wants to build cars better than Europeans.
They also have to re-define the term “better.” The Cadillac CTS-V is a perfect example. It’s faster around a race track than the BMW M5 and costs $20,000 less. It also gets better fuel economy, and our money says its more reliable, too. But if you asked 100 people which is the better car, we’d bet at least 80 would choose the BMW for two reasons: tactile feel and brand image. GM needs to take the lead when it comes to interior build quality, which they have never, ever done. Sure, the new CTS is a step in the right direction, but the quality of leather is lacking compared to top-tier European cars.
Akerson even commented that for Cadillac it needs to build cars that are better than the BMW 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series. To do this, however, they’ll have to get the product lineup sorted out. If you want to “beat” BMW, build a $90,000 flagship car with better features, build quality, driving dynamics, and materials than a 7-series. And make it something that rappers, actors, and kids want to buy, but can’t afford. People buy a 3-series because they can’t afford a 7-series. No one buys a CTS because they can’t afford a DTS.
So far this year, sales of Cadillac models trails BMW significantly with the GM luxury brand managing to move just 47,000 cars compared to 139,236 BMWs.
[Source: Associated Press]
We’ll admit it: We like when cops get a taste of their own medicine. 90% of the time, Cops are there to protect us, whether it’s on the highway or in a local area, but we all know that sometimes power can get to their heads, and they think they are above the law.
One Louisiana State Trooper learned he’s not above the law the hard way, by picking up not one, but two boots on his Dodge Durango after parking in a Fire Zone. For the record, cops can only park their squad cars illegally when responding to an emergency. If not, they have to feed the meter just like the rest of us.
Hale, UK Police seized this yellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII after its driver was stopped for “driving erratically” and arrested for DUI. Normal police procedure, in the UK requires the officers wait for a transporter to tow a seized car to impound, but not this time. The two officers decided to drive the car themselves, and, well, the photos show what happened next.
The officer behind the wheel lost control at what appears to be very high speed, and ended up rolling the car on a local man’s lawn. One of the officers suffered minor injuries, and clearly their superiors will be launching an investigation into their behavior. Evo carnage gallery after the jump:
[Photo Credit: LancerRegister]
Porsche enthusiasts are some of the most die-hard brand loyalists out there; many Porsche owners we know wouldn’t even consider owning a sports car built anywhere outside of Stuttgart. And whether you own a fleet of Porsche racing cars, a Boxster, 924, Cayenne, or even just a few posters and a die-cast model or two, you’ve got passion for Porsche as well. After all, no one buys a 911 just because they needed something with four wheels to get to work. Now, Porsche is giving back to its most enthusiastic fans by offering up three free trips to the Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
Before you go get fitted for a new racing suit, there is, of course, a catch. As part of its 60th anniversary, Porsche wants to hear from enthusiasts about their “Porsche Passion.” And no matter what cars you’ve owned (or just wish you owned), Porsche wants your story. They are seeking entrants’ tales which “exemplify their unique passion for a specific Porsche car, an experience, or the brand as a whole.”
Entries will be accepted through November 1st, 2010, and then the best 20 stories will be published online, so fans can vote on the 3 winners. You can submit your story here.
Our friend Mike Spinelli of 0-60 Magazine was able to catch this shot of a Nissan GT-R being towed by the NYPD. Normally, a NYPD tow truck is a regular sight in the streets of New York, as hundreds of cars get towed every day. But the GT-R has a very advanced all wheel drive system, and should, under no circumstances, be towed with two wheels on the ground.
An image from the GTR’s owners manual shows us just that: Not that the NYPD cares about damaging a car that’s parked illegally in the first place, but the owner may have some sort of claim against the city if the transmission is damaged as a result of the tow. The kicker to all this? A Fraternal Order of Police shield on the GTR’s window.
See the “how not to tow a GT-R” page of the Nissan GT-R manual after the jump:
Claus Ettensberger, founder of CEC Wheels, was fortunate enough to have some of the Lexus PR types bring a Lexus LFA around so he could take a little test drive. What these Lexus people didn’t know was that Claus doesn’t just sell wheels, he’s CLAUS, which means he must drive completely crazy all the time.
Claus is a 4-year veteran of the Bullrun Rally, and also participates in the Gumball3000, generally in some type of tuned German exotic. Well, now Claus has a new record to add to his rally trophies: the first person to be caught speeding in the Lexus supercar.
Hit the jump to watch the short video and see just how fast Claus was going. Ouch.
Back in 2006, Provo, UT resident Richard Lossee crashed his Ferrari Enzo at over 100 mph during a sanctioned road rally. Rather than let the car go to waste, he opted to re-build it. But with its prospective resale value shot, what could really be done with it? Richard, a.k.a. “Our Idol” decided to build a twin-turbo monster with the express purpose of assaulting the Bonneville Salt Flats. Skinny tires? Check. Parachute? Check. Lexan windows? Check. Aerodynamic nose-cone? Check.
At 11-12 lbs of boost, the Enzo is putting down 850 wheel horsepower, but the expected boost pressure will be raised to 18-19 lbs for the Bonneville Run, which should put it well into triple digits. Odds are, the original, 226 mph top speed will be absolutely decimated.
The kicker? The replacement body for Lossee’s Enzo was supplied by none other than Tifosi Extraordinaire Jim Glickenhaus. That’s right, this body was the original, unused Enzo body for the P 4/5. How cool is that?
[Source: Daily Derbi]
We’ve seen quite a few Middle Easterners cruising around London in funny-colored exotics recently, two of which were famously booted a couple of weeks back. Now, London police have impounded a matte-pink Lamborghini Murcielago LP670 SV for revving loudly…. with a cop directly behind him. According to an eyewitness:
“Al-Thani Koenigsegg CCXR and Murcielago LP670-4 SV were just leaving Sloane street to go for a drive, as he pulls away in the SV he started to rev loudly. A few cars behind was the Matt pink LP670-4 SV which also started to rev. Unfortunatly he hadn’t noticed the police car behind! They pulled him over for revving, then asked to see various documents, a couple of which he did not have on him. They then said they would impound the car until the documents were produced, and reg plate changed to a UK spec one as the Qatar plates are illegal!”
Some are arguing that the engine revving is actually a motorcycle that’s right in front of the Lambo, but we know the sound of an unleashed V12 when we hear one, watch the video of the whole incident after the jump, including the officer trying to start up and drive away the SV without much success. Continue Reading…
Seriously, how can we live in a country where this can happen? Last Saturday, Jonathan Schoenakase of Quincy, Illinois was arrested for operating the pictured vehicle, a courtesy shuttle home from local bars to keep drunk drivers off the road. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, local taxi companies lobbied to make it illegal.
Jonathan’s friend was killed by a drunk driver in 2009, and as a way to keep drunks off the road, he started offering rides home. The rides were free, although he would accept tips. The business soon grew, adding a second car, and then the bus. Taxi companies, thinking Jonathan was taking their money, lobbied that he was operating a Taxi service without a license, and won. The Quincy Government removed the words “for hire” from its definitions of the words “Taxi Service,” thus eliminating the loophole under which Schoenakase was operating.
Schoenakase has applied for a license, but the local cops say he needs to clear up some “legal issues” before he is approved. He has continued to offer the service during this time, and has been arrested a total of three times for his efforts.
We understand the law is the law, but how can one guy, with one bus, driving drunks home as a tribute to his friend and saving countless lives in the process, get arrested repeatedly? How can a politician, or series of politicians, be corrupted so badly by local businesses that charity becomes illegal?
The worst part? A taxi license in Quincy, Illinois costs $10. No, really.
Ah, Ford‘s new 5.0L engine. The savior of the Mustang, and the provider of the thrust behind the cheapest 400+ horsepower car you can buy. It’s got variable valve timing, real headers, a beautifully sculpted intake manifold, and 412 advertised horsepower. Until now, it’s only had one problem: The only way to get one is under the hood of a $30,000 2011 Mustang GT.
That all changes now.
Starting August 15th, Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) will be offering the 5.0L as a crate engine, and you can just go ahead and stuff that bad boy into whatever you’ve got laying around. All it takes is $6,999 plus an alternator, a few accessories, a transmission, and the appropriate RWD architecture.
If you ask us, grab yourself an ’89 Mustang Notchback, LX or 4-banger, drop this bad boy in along with the Tremec 6-speed from the Mustang GT, a set of coilovers, a cage, and some 18″ American Racing wheels, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a hot rod for under $15,000.
Hit the jump for all the vital details about the new crate engine, part number M-6007-M50, directly from Ford:
Fifteen years old is a rough age for a car. Most cars are just about bottomed out in terms of value around this age, even such “normal” supercars as the Ferrari F50, First-gen Zonda, and Lamborghini Diablo, all of which can be had for around half of their original asking prices. But what about the McLaren F1? The former record-holder for the fastest production car in the world doesn’t go down in value without a fight. In fact, it doesn’t go down in value at all. This particular example, #62, was purchased new in California by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, for the paltry sum of $1.4 million. Fifteen years later, when Gooding and Co. puts the F1 on the auction block at Pebble Beach (that’s 2 weeks, people), this F1 is expected to draw between $2.5 and $3.5 Million.
This doesn’t surprise us at all, since the F1 is pretty much right at the top of every car guy’s list of dream cars. But with only 74 roadgoing examples ever produced, the odds of seeing one in person, let along driving or owning one, are hovering between “snowball’s chance in hell” and “peace in the middle east.” Demand will forever outweigh supply for a car like this, and they change hands so rarely, it almost always makes news when an F1 finds a new home. Hit the jump to check out the official press release and some high-resolution images of Larry Ellison’s McLaren F1.
This morning, we got an automated Email from Overstock.com advertising their “Lowest Price Guarantee” car-buying service. Does this mean they are keeping huge fleets of cars somewhere? Not exactly. Overstock is a widely-known service that helps retail outlets and manufacturers of consumer goods liquidate excess inventory by offering it online, and they have just extended this model to cars as well. Is there a catch? Of course there is.
Using Overstock.com’s search tool, you can look for new cars and used cars in your area with a few mouse clicks. These cars come from local dealerships, not Overstock itself, and certain dealerships have been certified to offer the “Lowest Price Guarantee,” which is basically $300-500 over invoice. Overstock sends these dealerships business, and in turn the dealerships offer their “lowest price.” Now, we all know that in many cases, like an excess of inventory, a good negotiator can get a car below invoice, especially leftover models such as the 2010 Mustang GT, or recently discontinued cars like the Pontiac G8, which saw base models sitting on dealer lots for months, eventually being sold at a big loss (and a big gain for the customer). The bottom line is, none of this really adds up to excess inventory, just a general agreement to offer a good price with no haggling.
There’s also the “Clearance Lot” section, which is exactly what it sounds like. Cars are marked down to $100 over invoice, but it’s only the “deal of the month” that gets any real-world savings. So, one specific model, in one specific trim, for the whole month. Ironically, today’s “deal of the month” is the RWD Toyota Sequoia. In the last few days, Toyota’s largest SUV has been surrounded by rumors of extinction, so it’s not surprising Overstock has it in the Clearance section.
We did say there is a catch, and there is: after shopping around through Overstock’s site, you still have to contact a dealership yourself, and deal with salesmen and managers when you get there. They will still try to sell you all the dealer add-ons that make them the most profit. And you still have to work out financing through the dealership (or independently).
The bottom line is, this service is really only for people that don’t have the first clue how to negotiate for a car. But I can get the Enzo Angiolini “Beehive” Stilletos for just $34.99. So that’s something.
Most of the time, we hate when supercar owners block multiple parking spots, or park illegally just because they drive a car that’s worth more than most houses. We know a door ding can be a $10,000 repair on these cars, but people should still park them legally like everyone else.
Here, a visiting middle-eastern man, vacationing in London for the summer, learned that the hard way, when his matching, turquoise Lamborghini Murcielago SV and Koenigsegg CCXR got the boot – the parking boot that is.. A sad sight indeed, but we’ll make up for it with a little video of the Turquoise Koenigsegg in action! Video after the jump.
To build hype for the upcoming Rally Finland, reigning WRC Champions Citroen have released ten of their best “big-air” photos from this year’s rallies in Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden. Having attended a few rallies ourselves, we know a thing or two about getting big air in a car, and we like it. The photos show Citroen’s star driver, Sebastian Loeb, and others catching big air as they push their C4 Rally cars to the absolute limit.
Loeb said, of his massive, 85-meter jump in Turkey, “It was an incredible sensation as we were up in the air for several seconds. Not for a moment did we imagine that we would jump so far.”
Hit the jump (no pun intended) for all ten big-air shots.
[Source: World Car Fans]
After buying his son a Maybach 57S for his 16th birthday, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has handed over the set of keys to another ridiculously expensive car to teen heartthrob Justin Bieber. After being seen rolling around Miami in a murdered-out Ferrari F430 on HRE’s last weekend (photo above), Bieber is now rocking another $200k plus whip: Diddy’s personal Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.
Diddy, who justified buying his kid a Maybach on Nightline by saying, “I think it’s appropriate to give my kids whatever I want.” Has a valid point. All these kids are going to be screwed up drug addicts by the time they are 25, so they may as well enjoy driving around before they figure out what blow is.
We don’t know if Diddy gave JB the car, or if he’s just borrowing it, but we do know this: sources inside MTV tell us that approximately 1/3 of the cars on “My Super Sweet 16″ were just props for the show, and not actual gifts to the kids, including an S-Class Benz, a Lamborghini, and a Maserati.
Let’s just hope Diddy has some extra cash to drop on some car-control courses, so the ‘Biebs doesn’t end up wrapped around a telephone pole.
Gurcharn Sahota details cars. Although the term “detail” is used loosely in this case. What’s the most you’ve ever paid someone for a detail? $200? $300? Maybe $1,000, if you’ve got an Aston Martin DB4GT that you’re entering in a Concours event? Well, if you take advantage of Sahota’s services, be prepared to spend up to $10,000 for one of his trademark “supercar baths.”
Far more than a standard detail, Sahota’s services include a pre-wash with precisely measured, pH balanced water, a micrometer to measure paint thickness for just the right amount of buffing and/or wet-sanding, and Brazilian wax that costs more per tin than many compact cars. But if your vehicle of choice is a Zonda, Enzo or a Bugatti SuperSport, one of Sahota’s Baths can be worth far more than the asking price.
“If one of my customers wants to respray a million pound car it could cost them up to £100,000. Give it to me for a couple of weeks, I’ll charge a fraction of the price and it will look even better.”
Sahota adds that his services aren’t just for cars exhibiting wear-and-tear from being used:
“If you give me a new car I can make it look better.”
Hit the jump for a video of the master at work.
Famed BMW tuner Will Turner (of Turner Motorsports) has just been the first to waste money take delivery of the first Frozen Gray M3 coupe in the U.S. The $77,600 sports car, hardly different from a standard M3 except for the color, wheels, and mild suspension tune, is one of just 30 production Frozen Gray M3′s planned for production. In the Photo Gallery, you can see several other special touches that come with the FG package, including a body-colored license plate frame, special ID tag, and the paint care warning sticker. Either Will is going to keep this one for life or flip it in a week, so lets keep our eyes on Ebay.
For the record, you could buy a used M3 coupe, put these wheels on it, and paint it this color for significantly less.
For those unfamiliar with the “Donk, Box, and Bubble” trend, here’s a quick tutorial. Donk: A late 1970′s coupe or convertible, generally a GM product, such as a Monte Carlo or Cutlass Coupe, lifted, on hilariously oversized wheels. Box: A mid-1980′s Chevrolet Caprice, lifted, on hilariously oversized wheels. Bubble: A 1990′s Chevrolet Caprice, lifted, on hilariously oversized wheels.
The first time we saw one of these rolling down the street (in South Beach, of course), we thought it must have been someone’s idea of a joke. Car guys can have a sense of humor, right? Wrong. These guys are serious, and although their cars look like roller skates, they clearly have money to throw into their rides. Case and point: the following video, where in a matter of 30 seconds a Box owner completely destroys a set of rear tires. A quick check on Tire Rack reveals that these tires cost nearly $1,200 each. Is YouTube immortality worth $2,400? Hit the jump to find out.
Nobody likes a man who cries. Well, unless you’re Chris Brown, and crying at the BET Awards “saves your career.” There’s no crying in Baseball, and certainly no crying in Congressional hearings, well, unless you’re just plain guilty of everything they say you did…. Toyota‘s shareholders have noticed that.
During a June 24th meeting, company CEO Akio Toyoda apologized to shareholders again for the worst quality crisis in the company’s half-century history, with over 10 million recalls in progress, mostly resulting from cases of unintended acceleration. But what do the shareholders really want? To quote one directly:
“Mr. Toyoda, you’ve been all over the media this year and you’ve gone teary-eyed on several occasions,” the shareholder said. “For a man of your position, this is unacceptable. Please keep your chin up and try not to weep!” he pleaded.
It would be very difficult for any of us “little people” to know what it’s like to be in Toyoda’s shoes, with the entire world taking every opportunity to tear his family business to shreds, but this guy’s got a point. If you’re the CEO of a multi-national company, you don’t cry on TV.
Well, unless you’re on Oprah.
[Photo Source: Telegraph]
File this under the, “we could have called that” category. A Lamborghini Murcielago burned to the ground in Brooklyn last week. Not surprising, right? Those damn Italian mid-engined cars burn all the time, right? Well, yes, but look at the evidence in the photo above:
1) Cheap, ugly wheels. Anyone who puts cheapie wheels on a $300,000 ($200,000 used) car is bound to fill the car up with other cheapie aftermarket parts too.
2) The fire started in the front of the car, not in the back, where an engine fire would start.
What could have caused it? The answer is obvious: cheap wiring for some kind of A/V system in the trunk. A Jalopnik reader posted the following nugget of information:
The owner of the Lamborghini (btw, he only bought it for $200K from what I heard) took the car to the city and had a DVD player installed in it and he was taking the car home. He was getting off the bridge and at a red light started seeing smoke coming out of the hood and the dash. Basically, it was an electrical fire from the DVD player and by the time the fire department got there it was too late.
Obviously the ugly wheels had drastically hurt the poor Murcielago’s self esteem, and when it learned that the owner planned to try to pick up strippers and use it as a personal movie theater, it just gave up and committed suicide.
Glass’s Guide, car valuation experts from the UK have studied the long-term ownership costs of EVs, such as the forthcoming Nissan Leaf (shown, above.) The news isn’t looking good. Glass’s reports that after 5 years of ownership, EVs will retain only about 10 percent of their value, as opposed to the 25 percent residual value of a comparable gasoline or diesel powered car.
The primary source of this massive depreciation comes from the expected shelf life of 8 years for the battery packs, which can cost up to $15,000 to replace.
Nissan, and European counterpart Renault, have both expressed the possibility of leasing options for EVs, solving the problem of residual value (on the customer’s end, at least.) Renault leases battery packs to owners for about $150 per month, and if you remove the huge battery pack replacement number from the equation, EVs could be the best performing cars on the road in terms of residual value.
Everyone knows about the “California Roll,” right? Whatever they call it in your neck of the woods, it’s when you roll slowly through a stop sign instead of coming to a complete stop. This author was recently unfairly ticketed by a Redondo Beach, CA Police Officer, who witnessed yours truly perform this very move, on a 50cc Vespa, at about 3 mph.
According to Gary Lauder, Stop and Yield signs are outdated and inefficient, wasting both time and energy. In the video above, taken at this year’s TED conference, Lauder makes his case, and has us totally convinced. Check it out and share your thoughts….
An 18-wheel Semi-truck, carrying a fuel trailer, and a 1995 Honda Accord were stopped by Slidel, LA police for drag racing on rural backroads. The drivers, Craig Smith (semi) and Brandon Tanks (Honda), were cited for the rural drag race, which, according to police, exceeded 80 mph. Smith said the two had discussed how fast their vehicles were, and decided to settle it with a drag race. Smith’s fuel trailer was empty, so the two raced down Old Spanish Trail.
Louisiana Highway Patrol officer Capt. Kevin Folz reported that at the time of the stop, the Semi was in the lead.
We’re guessing VTEC hadn’t kicked in yet.
[Source: The Advocate]
A Gaithersburg, MD man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for drunkenly crashing his car into an elderly couple. The driver of the other car was none other than Edwin Collier, a retired judge. The same judge, in fact, who had let the drunk driver, Rene Fernandez, off with probation after his first DUI conviction in 1998.
Fernandez, who claims the day of the accident was the first drink he’s had since 2005, swerved into the oncoming lane and hit Collier and his wife head-on, causing life-altering injuries for the retired couple. They have since been forced to sell their two homes and move, after injuries to their legs prevent them from walking up stairs.
Lawyers for the Colliers are using this incident as a call-to-action for DUI reform, claiming that high-priced defense lawyers are simply too much for inexperienced prosecutors to handle, and subsequently too many people are getting off with not enough punishment.
What do you think? If judge Collier had thrown the book at Rene Fernandez the first time around, could this incident have been avoided?