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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.
20. BMW 7-Series
In the market and shopping for a used car? Consumer Reports has released a list of 20 used vehicles to stay away from as they have a reputation for causing trouble. Listed is a top 20 list of used cars from 2003 to 2012 model year to avoid in alphabetical order. These vehicles had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey.
SEE ALSO: Used Car Reviews
The BMW 7-Series may be the German automaker’s luxury flagship, but used models aren’t without their issues. From 2001-2008, the 7-Series featured the good ‘ol “Bangle Butt” and sported some highly controversial styling. Early production of that generation was overwhelmed with issues even causing BMW to purchase back some of the vehicles back in 2002-2003. BMW of North America even extended its warranty on all 2002-2003 model year 7-Series vehicles to six years/100,000 miles from the original four years/50,000 miles.
According to Consumer Reports, the BMW 7-Series ranked “worse” in the categories of Engine Major, Engine Minor, Transmission Major, Transmission Minor, Body Hardware, and Audio System.
A man in East St. Louis, Illinois, went on a shooting rampage, armed only with an AK-47, a Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible and his birthday suit. The PT Cruiser ended up rolled over after the thief crashed it and used it as cover while he fired at police officers attempting to arrest him.
While harming civillians and law enforcement officials is totally reprehensible, this might be the most badass action ever committed with a PT Cruiser. The PT Cruiser’s distant relative, the Chrysler Lebaron convertible, also had a bit of urban noteriety when Eazy-E commandeered one in the “Straight Outta Compton” video.
Video after the jump.
In the past, if you haven’t been picky about the rental car you’re driving, perhaps you should be. You may be surprised to learn that your rental has been recalled – so why is it still on the road?
This information comes to use via ABC News, which reports these findings after a recent lawsuit against Enterprise. The case in question involved the death of two California women who were killed after their rental Chrysler PT Cruiser caught fire and struck an oncoming semi. Unexpectedly, Enterprise came out and admitted that the company routinely rents out vehicles that are under recall and haven’t been repaired. The PT Cruiser was recalled in September of 2004, because there was a chance that the power steering unit could leak, causing an engine fire.
Even though they received the recall notice a month before, Enterprise rented the vehicle to Raechel Houck, 24, and her sister, Jacquie, 20, who were on their way to visit their parents. In this case, a jury awarded the Houcks a $15 million settlement.
In further testimony, it was revealed that Enterprise often rents out vehicles under recall, and that the company has no standing policy against doing so. ABC News also indicates that other major companies like Hertz and Avis also carry out the same practice.
“When demand called, we rented out recalled vehicles, it happened, I won’t lie,” said Mark Matias, a former Enterprise area manager in San Francisco. “If all you have are recalled vehicles on the lot, you rent them out. It was a given. The whole company did it. Enterprise’s corporate offices look the other way regarding this fact.”
Other Enterprise executives testified that there was no company-wide policy requiring cars under recall to be held back from rental.
Watch the ABC News video report after the jump.
There’s no real story here – just some awful looking Chrysler PT Cruisers. While cruising the web one day, this came across an Autoguide staffer’s browser. Some of these vehicles are so awful that they must truly be seen to believed. We feel especially sorry for #6, whose owner must bear the ignominy of having his face plastered all across the web while driving the most wretched variant of an awful car.
For such a poorly built and engineered car, the Chrysler PT Cruiser was well regarded by many. Consumers loved its retro styling (well, for a little bit at least), Car and Driver named it to its 10 Best List and it won North American Car of the Year.
Consumers were able to ignore its flaws, and the PT Cruiser sold 1.3 million units in 11 years. Now the PT Cruiser is finally being laid to rest, and the last car is set to roll off the Toluca, Mexico, assembly line.
The PT Cruiser has been granted a couple stays of execution previously (namely because the car was a money maker for Chrysler, with the tooling and platforms paid off long ago). But the PT has been growing long in the tooth, and is being euthanasia to make way for another retro compact car, the Fiat 500.
We have little doubt that the 500 will be better in every single respect, but nonetheless, Autoguide salutes the PT Cruiser for 11 solid years as cheap transportation and a more interesting alternative when it comes time to select a rental car.
Consumer watchdog, Consumer Reports has released its list of 2010 cars, which includes the Hyundai Accent and the Chevrolet Aveo, that do not come with the electronic stability control (ESC) safety feature.
A computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle’s stability by detecting and minimizing skids in a turn, electronic stability control will become a standard feature in all light-passenger vehicles come 2012. This category includes cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. According to Consumer Reports, the majority of manufacturers have already equipped their vehicles ahead of the mandate.
The list was a short one – only nine other cars managed to make the cut. Others on the list include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Viper, Kia Rio, Lotus Elise, Tesla Roadster and Scion tC.
But don’t worry if you’re in the market for a Hyundai Accent – it will have electronic stability control upgrade shortly. According to Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore, “The Accent is our only non-ESC vehicle. It is also the oldest in our lineup. We continue to roll out new technologies as vehicles are freshened and replaced.” At this time, the Accent is the only current vehicle made by Hyundai that does not come with ESC.
[Source: Inside Line]
Last week Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set out a long-winded plan for the future of the American automaker and how its future will be closely tied to its new Italian parent company. There was a lot to digest at the seven hour press conference and so we thought a model by model breakdown would be helpful and would shed some light on what appears to be the general plan to eliminate old Chrysler products and replace them with new Chrysler Group-branded Fiat models. So let’s start with Dodge…
From the smallest to the largest vehicles, Dodge will see the introduction of a subcompact car in 2013 based on the Alfa Romeo MiTo. Currently Dodge does not offer a sub-compact with its smallest offering being the compact Caliber, which receives a mild update this year but will be eliminated in 2012 and then replaced the same year by a Fiat Group-based vehicle. Presumably it will be another Alfa Romeo platform, however, the car will be built in the U.S.
Moving to the mid-size segment, the Avenger will also be updated for 2010 and then replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
The future for the Journey, Grand Caravan and Charger is more positive, with the Journey and Grand Caravan getting updates for 2010 with a new Grand Caravan due in 2014. The Charger will be all-new for 2011 with a new interior and exterior, after originally launching in 2006. A new rear suspension will also be part of the package. As for its Challenger sibling, it will be updated for the 2012 model year.
Two vehicles that will be eliminated are the Nitro and Viper, with the Nitro slated to be scraped in 2011 (with a possible successor), while the Viper will cease production mid next year with a potential sports car replacing it in 2012.
One new model will be added to the Dodge lineup; a seven-seater crossover based on the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above).
The new Ram brand still won’t have a lot going on, although Fiat is looking to expand its offerings. The Dakota is scheduled to cease production late in 2011 with a possible unibody pickup to replace it. As for the Ram 1500, it will get a mid-cycle refresh in 2012, as will the heavy duty Ram trucks. A chassis cab version of the Ram will also arrive in 2010.
Two additions to the lineup include a front-drive small work van and full-sized van in 2012. The small van will be similar in purpose to Ford’s Transit Connect and will be based on the next-generation Fiat Doblo. It will be imported from either Turkey or Brasil. As for Ram’s new full-sized van offering, it will be one of two vehicles: either the body-on frame Iveco Daily or the unibody Fiat Ducato. Unlike the small van, this full-sized unit will be assembled in the U.S.
Starting in the small scale, the Chrysler Brand will also get a subcompact, although (surprisingly) it will not be based on the same Alfa Romeo vehicle as the Dodge sub-compact. Instead, it will be underpinned by the next-generation Lancia Ypsilon five-door hatch and will go on sale in 2013.
A new compact sedan (based on a Fiat Group platform) will be launched in 2012. It is not clear if the Fiat Group platform is the same one that will underpin the Dodge compact sedan. The same can be said for the Sebring, which, like its current Dodge counterpart (the Avenger) will get styling updates next year and be replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
As for the PT Cruiser, it will be eliminated late next year – although we’ve heard that one before.
The Chrysler 300, like the Dodge Charger, will be all-new for 2011 with the new model arriving some time next year. Styling is expected to be evolutionary, so don’t expect much change – which is probably a good thing.
And as for Chrysler’s final product, the Town & Country minivan, it will get updates next year with a new model in 2014. Fiat hopes to differentiate the Chrysler minivan from its Dodge counterpart by taking it more up-market. (Have we learned nothing from the R-Class?)
Finally, there’s the Jeep brand, where we’ve already learned the Patriot, Compass and Commander will be eliminated over the next few years. The first to meet the scrap heap is the Commander, with production ending late next year, while the Patriot and Compass will be get mild updates for 2010 before being retired in 2012. Interestingly, Fiat may build and sell the Commander overseas after 2010.
At the low end of the spectrum, a new subcompact SUV will arrive in 2013 based on the next generation Fiat Panda Cross, while a new compact crossover will arrive the same year based on an unnamed Fiat Group platform. A new Liberty will also arrive that year, again based on a Fiat.
As for Jeep’s core vehicles, the Wrangler will get a new interior next year, with a new engine offered in 2011. The Grand Cherokee will continue on as planned with the new model debuting next year as a 2011 model.
[Source: Automotive News]
A week ahead of a planned Fiat/Chrysler press conference in which Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both automakers, was to outline the future of Chrysler, much of the information has been revealed in an in-depth report in the Wall Street Journal. But before we get to the new products that the Italian-owned automaker is planning to bring into the North American marketplace, it’s time to learn the fate of the vehicles being axed. And judging from the list, it appears as though Fiat is intent on moving its products in and Chrysler’s products out.
The vehicles to be cut include the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Sebring. On the Dodge side, four models will be eliminated, including the Caliber, Nitro, Avenger and Grand Caravan. Three Jeeps will also meet their maker: the Commander, Compass and Patriot.
In place of these vehicles Fiat is ready to announce the introduction of the 500 in 2011, along with three Alfa Romeo vehicles: the MiTo (shown above), Milano (which will replace the 147) and another yet unnamed mid-sized sedan.
The rest of the plan will see the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger redesigned in 2011, with the Grand Cherokee due out soon. And with only two Chrysler products left, the rumored decision to axe that brand’s name may just happen.
The Wall Street Journal made no mention of past reports that the Fiat Panda would see its way to the U.S. as a Jeep. There is also no word on if the Fiat 500 will be offered in just it’s standard hatchback form, or if a convertible and sporty Abarth version will also join the product lineup.
GALLERY: Alfa Romeo MiTo
[Source: WallStreetJournal via KickingTires]