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.
It turns out that OnStar isn’t just used for helping yourself or your vehicle. Today OnStar is reporting that many use the system to help others in need.
According to OnStar’s statistics, there are quite a few “Good Samaritan calls” in which an OnStar user calls to report another drivers situation that needs assistance. This includes things like helping drivers who have been in an accident or have a flat tire. Some even use OnStar to respond to Amber Alerts.
In honor of the good deeds of OnStar users, there will be a program launched later this year to recognize those who have shown good Samaritan efforts. Additional details will be coming at a later date.
Here is the list and numbers of America’s Top 10 Cities making Good Samaritan calls. It’s very interesting to note that these are among some of the most congested cities in America as well. Maybe some of these calls occur right in gridlock.
Earlier this year we spotted spy photos of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLC, and now we have a good reason to believe that it’ll make its worldwide unveiling in Los Angeles.
Last year, the German automaker started the Avant/Garde Diaries, a global online interview magazine that creates a platform for topics ranging from art to fashion to music that shape today’s society. The festival itself brought in international artists and trendsetters to present their perspective on the world of today and tomorrow.
“The aim of Avant/Garde Diaries is to offer a platform for creativity. Curiosity and the joy of breaking through existing barriers are drivers for innovation and progress, and not just at Mercedes-Benz,” said Anders Sundt Jensen, Vice President Brand Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars.
This year, the Avant/Garde Diaries will host “Transmission LA: AV CLUB curated by Mike D” from April 20th to May 6th at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles, California. This festival aims to bring together the Los Angeles art and music community and will be the sequel to last year’s festival that took place in Berlin.
It is at this festival that Mercedes-Benz will have “the artistic staging of the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe,” according to a press release from the German automaker. Our guess would be that it’s the upcoming CLC model – which is essentially a four-door coupe.
The timing is peculiar, however, considering the Transmission LA: AV CLUB event occurs after the New York Auto Show, which kicks off April 4th. If the baby CLS model is indeed having its world unveiling in Los Angeles, what is the German automaker bringing to New York?
GALLERY: 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLC Spy Photos
Insurance.com has published a report on DUI citations in the nation’s largest US cities with California playing home to three of the top five. San Diego and Los Angeles topped the list at first and second respectively, while Indianapolis, Jacksonville (Florida) and San Francisco rounded off the top five.
It’s worth mentioning though that these cities with a high-percentage of DUI citations doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more drinking and driving occurring. It could also mean that there’s less public transportation or a police force that’s good at doing their job – or really the more densely populated a city is, the more people there are to do stupid things.
Nationwide in 2010, there were 1.4 million DUI arrests according to the FBI. This is also the second year in a row that San Diego has topped the list in the study.
Despite the study supposedly listing the top 20 cities, the website only publishes 19 – see it after the break.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles slapped Chrysler this month to the tune of $955,000 in fines.
“We hope other manufacturers will see what happened in this case and think twice about doing something similar,” said Brian Moss, director of government affairs for the California New Car Dealers Association, in an interview with Automotive News.
The DMV enforced penalties against Chrysler after they opened Motor Village, a downtown Los Angeles showroom. Local dealers complained, saying it was unfair for a manufacturer-owned store to be located less than 10 miles from new car showrooms selling the same vehicles. The California New Car Dealers Association filed the complaint with the DMV in March and after the better part of a year, the issue is settled.
Motor Village, which was a multi-million dollar effort by Chrysler to improve its market share in California, was sold to New Century Automotive Group of Los Angeles at the end of last month.
It isn’t entirely clear what the future of the dealership will be, but Peter Grady, Chrysler vice president of network development and fleet, said in a statement that they ”were looking for a dealer who would carry on our vision of Motor Village as a showcase for our brands and a dealer committed to experimenting with new retail techniques and heightened levels of customer care.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Aston Martin will be teaming up with Galpin Aston Martin of California to show off the final pre-production engineering development One-77 at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. This special One-77 has covered 14,000-miles including endurance testing at Nardo in Italy and the infamous Nurburgring in Germany.
Spectators to this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show will be able to check out the 7.3L V12-powered exotic in person, but unfortunately won’t get to experience the 750-hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. But we’ll all be able to admire the handcrafted aluminum body and full carbon fiber monocoque chassis.
Keep in mind that the One-77 that will be on display isn’t a final production model, and the car that will be for sale may be slightly different.
GALLERY: Aston Martin One-77
CODA Automotive has opened its first consumer store in the Westfield Century City Shopping Center in Los Angeles, California, hoping to bring an innovative sales experience to their consumers. CODA Automotive is part of CODA Holdings, a California-based developer of advanced Lithium-ion power battery systems that are used to power their CODA sedan. The four-door, five-passenger, CODA EV features 134-hp and 221 lb-ft of torque with a range of around 150-miles.
The new CODA Experience Center stays consistent with the rest of CODA’s green mantra, building its 900 square feet store with eco-friendly materials that’s located near to a multiplex theatre, dining terrace and valet parking. The innovative store features an Electric Vehicle Bar where consumers can be educated on the benefits of electric cars; a Technology Display featuring a full-size replica and explanation of CODA’s battery and propulsion systems; and a Test Drive Check-in Counter that’s a one-stop shop for consumers to sign up for a test-drive.
CODA’s Experience Center isn’t just staffed with those knowledgeable about their EVs, but also how to setup your home for an electric vehicle and CODA also plans to host several events educating all nearby residents on the benefits of electric vehicles.
In this crazy video, a Los Angeles firefighter is only inches away from a burning car that explodes in his face. Perhaps more impressive is that he doesn’t even flinch – showing some serious cojones.
“As they were attacking the fire, it appears from the video, that an airbag went off, sending sparks,” LAFD Capt. Jaime Moore told NBC news. “They had their personal protective equipment on, so he was not injured.” ”As you can see in the video, he didn’t event flinch,” said Moore. “He took a step back and continued fighting the fire.”
Check out the video after the jump! It’s pretty spectacular.
Cimarron Bell is facing the death penalty after using a modded Chevrolet Monte Carlo as the bait in four killings, as part of an elaborate check-cashing scheme that saw him robbing three strangers and shooting his girlfriend.
Bell listed the Monte Carlo for $8,000 to lure prospective buyers. When three men became interested, Bell told them he felt more comfortable completing the transaction at his own house—where he had wrapped the garage in plastic sheets. When the three men arrived, Bell and another suspect killed them, wrapped them in plastic, and placed the bodies in the three men’s Mercedes. The car was later found in a strip mall in Los Angeles, with $1,500 in the glove box that Bell hadn’t noticed.
A few weeks prior, Bell had shot and killed his girlfriend when another greed-driven scheme had gone wrong. The four murders had gone unsolved until another girlfriend of Bell’s was arrested for credit card fraud, and she told investigators that Bell had confided in her the murders.
Bell is now sentenced to death. The Monte Carlo was exonerated of all charges.
This may be your chance to get your big break in Hollywood! Pennzoil is looking for someone interested in staring in a TV commercial who owns a late model Chrysler such as the Viper or Challenger and lives in the California area.
Interviews are being held today (Wednesday) and Saturday this week in Los Angeles. Anyone interested should call 323 395 7559 or email email@example.com
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to remove its controversial red light cameras, citing difficulties in enforcing them.
According to the photo-enforcement law, paying its tickets was merely “voluntary,” which is an excuse that might not work for your next school-zone speeding ticket. Only 60% of tickets issued were actually paid. Naturally, accusations of revenue generation rather than safety were raised, for reasons that weren’t entirely unfounded.
The cameras were allegedly installed at intersections more suited to raising money rather than improving safety. The council issued a boycott of Arizona businesses in 2010 as a protest against that state’s immigration laws, but allowed Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions to continue operating cameras in LA. The cameras came under fire only when city accountants found that the cameras were generating far less than they should for the city—and in fact cost over $1 million to keep the program running.
The final nail in the red-light coffin was when the LA Superior Court found issue with giving out citations, as they were mailed to the vehicle’s owner rather than the one actually driving the vehicle at the time.
Currently, there are 32 red-light cameras in the whole of Los Angeles. The future of these is uncertain, but for drivers in Los Angeles County, there’s one less excuse for a traffic ticket.
[Source: New York Times]
Hyundai’s upscale 2012 Azera sedan will debut at the Los Angeles auto show this November. The redesigned Azera will feature the brand’s “fluidic sculpture” design, a vast improvement over the tame current design.
“We’re in the final stages of ride/handling tuning for the 2012 Azera, and it’s dialing in nicely. Look out for it at the LA Auto Show,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
Both powertrain specifics and pricing details for the 2012 Azera have not been announced, but a new 3.3-liter direct injection V6 engine is expected to be implemented. Power is likely to be around 300-hp mated to a front-wheel drive system. Hyundai is hoping the FWD setup will appeal to buyers in cold-weather states where the Genesis’ rear-wheel drive system can be a deal breaker. Pricing will likely be around $26,270, above the Sonata ($20, 455) and below the Genesis ($35,050).
Hyundai is excited about the Azera redesign, and expects the vehicle to sell very well. The Korean automaker has said the potential exists to sell 18,000 to 20,000 units annually after the redesign.
[Source: Automotive News]
As part of the Porsche Parade organized by the Porsche Club of America, the club will raffle off a fully restored 1973 US version 911 T Coupe amoung PCA members. The car can be viewed at the festival in Savannah, Georgia from July 31 to August 7. The 911 T has been restored to its former glory by experts at Porsche Classic in Stuttgart. The PCA decided it would be more fun to offer an attractive classic Porsche instead of a new vehicle in the traditional PCA raffle.
The Porsche was found near Los Angeles and then was shipped back to Suttgart. The 911 features an air-cooled 2.4-liter flat six engine. Power is around 140-hp at 5,600 rpm and has a top speed of 127 mph (205 km/h). The 911 will be finished in the classic color combination of silver metallic on the exterior and black on the interior.
In total, the restoration of the 911 took just under a year. Every last screw was pulled out and checked by experts at Porsche Classic. For the extensive body work, the mechanics used either original or reproduced parts on the basis of the original documentation. At the end, the Porsche was also subjected to thorough function and performance tests, and now the 911 T shines again in its former glory and exudes the sporty charm of the 70s.
Check out the videos after the jump!
From the “Only In Los Angeles” files comes this story of community outreach: Los Angeles police are asking celebrities with Twitter accounts to warn their legions of followers to avoid the 405 on July 16th and 17th, during the scheduled demolition of the Mulholland Bridge.
With almost 300,000 cars on the 405 every day, the traffic jams that would ensue would be horrific to almost Lynchian proportions. The police are counting on people to stay home and do what they always do—obsessively check celebrities’ Twitter feeds—and hope that the 6 or 7 million people following them will choose another day to Escape From LA. So far they’ve contacted Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Kim Kardashian, and hopefully Wil Wheaton, but not Levar Burton. No celebrities have tweeted about the planned closures yet, but officials are hoping they will closer to the date.
And while you’re at it, you can also follow Autoguide on Twitter while you’re waiting for the announcement.
Dr. Dre be the name, still running the game. Chrysler‘s “Imported From Detroit” campaign has propelled beyond Detroit, stopping by in Portland, Oregon (with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh) and New York City (with menswear designer John Varvatos). Now Chrysler comes straight outta Compton Los Angeles with Dr. Dre and the new 300S with Dre’s signature Beats Audio system, to make sure you don’t act like you forget about Dre.
The ad itself is called “Good Things,” and shows Dre cruising around LA, showing off the Beats Audio package inside the trunk, and generally insinuating hometown attitude. Chrysler 300S elevates the regular 300 sedan to baller status, by adding 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, piano black interior bits, and a 10-speaker Beats by. Dr. Dre system. If you’re expecting Eminem to make an appearance, however, you’ll just have to wait for Detox to drop.
A gas station in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, was the center of attention today, after a glitch set prices of fuel to $1.10 a gallon. Almost immediately, vehicles lined up around the block to pump cheap gas.
Police arrived on the scene shortly, to direct traffic around the overcrowded station. The problem took hours to fix and when the pumps were finally shut down, over 8,000 gallons of fuel had been dispensed, costing the station owner, Kenny Nguyen $21,000. Nguyen hopes motorists who got lucky will come back and pay full price.
[Source: The Globe and Mail]
Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are looking to jump-start the American electric car industry, to use the hackneyed pun. With Department of Energy research funding going towards battery development, Chu believes that their goal of a car that can make LA to Las Vegas on one charge, and sell for $25,000 without a government subsidy, will be attainable in 6 years.
Chu said that the DOE is currently funding research to lower the cost of electric-vehicle batteries by half within the next three or four years, and increase their energy density trifold within six years. Currently, America only builds 1% of advanced batteries in the world, but the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will invest in more battery research and create more manufacturing plants, securing more jobs.
Eventually, Chu hopes that the $25,000 price will come without federal subsidies for owners. But right now, with the cost of highly-efficient batteries still sky-high, he is working to turn the current $7,500 tax credit into an instant rebate so EV owners won’t have to wait until April.
Los Angeles is in on the program too: the city currently has 90 electric charging stations, but Villaraigosa is planning 400 more in and around the city.
[Source: LA Times]
The concept of paying it forward has really caught in Los Angeles. According to a study done by OnStar, the city ranked number one when it came to drivers helping each other when they were in need.
OnStar used anonymous subscriber interaction data to gather information on the 10 largest U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas. They found that in 2010, Los Angeles had the most Good Samaritan calls in 2010. So what is a Good Samaritan call? It’s when an OnStar subscriber uses their 365/24/7 live advisor access to report another motorist’s problem on the road. This includes car crashes, flat tires, or any other vehicle assistance issue.
“Los Angeles residents deserve a huge pat on the back for their part in reporting actionable situations to our advisors, and ultimately helping to ensure many drivers’ safety,” said Terry Inch, director of Subscriber Services. “We’re all familiar with the adage of helping one’s neighbor, but L.A. has really taken that phrase to mean ‘helping your fellow motorist.’”
Coming in first, Los Angeles made 2,449 Good Samaritan calls. That’s almost 900 more calls than the second place contender, Chicago. After the jump, see how other cities fared in the list.
Platinum Motorsports is known for bold luxury and exotic builds, and to really put the spotlight on what they’ve done over the recent years, they’ve put together a video of epic proportions. Taking some of their finest projects and hitting several Los Angeles landmarks while armed with a video camera, Platinum Motorsports has released this video that will make any luxury and exotic lover drool.
The video mainly highlights a Lamborghini LP640 with a matte Reventon Grey paint job, along with a Mercedes-Benz SL550 with a Black Series widebody treatment sporting the same shade. In addition, their Premier 4509 widebody Bentley GT Mulliner also steals the spotlight in matte white and we see glimpses of several Range Rovers.
Obviously the point of the video is to spotlight what Platinum Motorsports specializes in, but we can’t help but wonder how awesome Transformers would be if they had these cars in the movie; or what would happen if Fast and the Furious met Gone in 60 Seconds and had a bastard child.
Check out the video after the jump:
The California New Car Dealers Association is accusing Chrysler of operating a factory store illegally in the Los Angeles area. The showroom, dubbed Motor Village L.A., was designed to boost Chrysler’s profile and show off their revised product lineup, as well as the new Fiat brand.
The dealer group filed a petition with the California New Motor Vehicle Board, asking for an investigation and disciplinary action against Chrysler, including a possible revocation of their business license. The dealer group alleges that proprietor Howard Drake lacks any financial stake in the business, making it illegitimate. Motor Village also is within a 10 mile radius of other independently owned Chrysler stores, which violates California law.
In a statement, Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel said “looks forward to discussing the matter with the Department of Motor Vehicles.”
[Source: Automotive News]
BYD, China’s 4th largest automaker, has finally established a location in Southern California, although the digs are modest to say the least. BYD’s new home in America is an office within a used car dealership in Glendale, a Los Angeles suburb.
According to reports, the dealership is being used to train BYD technicians, and BYD will roll out 10 of its own sales outlets starting in late 2011.
BYD has leased a fleet of 10 electric vehicles to a local municipal government agency, and its electric car, the E-6, will be on sale later in the year with a range of 200 miles and a starting price of $32,000. But BYD Vice-President Michael Austin admits that their entry into the U.S. market will be challenging. “The paradigm of driving a Chinese car in the U.S. is going to be hard to break,”he said to the Glendale News-Press.
[Source: Glendale News-Press]
While it didn’t quite make it on to the radar of mainstream movie-goers, Sofia Coppola’s new film Somewhere featured a Ferrari 360 Modena as one of the film’s main props. The lack of dialogue and music coupled with the very long shots and dearth of quick cuts meant that the 360 is seen in frequent takes, cruising around Los Angeles, blasting up Mulholland drive and Route 101 with its engine sounds faithfully captured with the kind of fidelty unseen in most Hollywood productions.
Since the car used in the film doesn’t have quite the same provenance as, say, the Ford Mustang used in Bullit, the car was repainted and sold through Ferrari of Beverly Hills. Interestingly, the Ferrari was considered to be more than a mere prop, as Roman Coppola, producer of the film, noted that “He has this incredible car, he has wealth and fame and opportunity, but he’s stifled in some way. The fact that you would have a car that goes 200 mph that you can only drive at 35 mph seems to relate to that character trait.”
The indie/art-house nature of Somewhere might be off-putting to some, but even if you’re not a film buff, seeing the car on screen, and hearing the Italian V8 roaring through a proper movie theatre’s sound system is absolutely worth the $10 admission. The first three minutes could easily be classified as “car porn”, and honestly, the movie’s pretty good too.
Having traditionally lived in the shadow of Detroit’s International Auto Show, the lineup for this years event appears to be expanding, even though only two of the 20 debuts have been announced. Porsche is expected to debut a Cayman ClubSport at Los Angeles, but little else is known beyond that. In addition to the world debuts, another 20 vehicles are expected to bow in some form or another in L.A., pushing the total up to 40 debuts. The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are expected to appear in final production form as well, with the Volt hitting dealerships right around that time as well.
With even the 2010 Detroit Show coming off as a more subdued affair due to the economic downturn, Los Angeles is hopefully a harbinger of things to come, with a ton of product hitting dealerships and consumer confidence restored.
[Source: Los Angeles Auto Show]
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Chinese electric car maker BYD announced plans to establish a headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles, in a joint statement released with the Mayor of Los Angeles, and the Governor of California.
“By the end of next year, the plan is to offer several models,” BYD Senior Vice President Stella Li told reporters in Los Angeles. Li also announced that BYD was discussing plans with Penske Motor Group, a large dealer chain, to sell BYD cars in California.
BYD is hoping to capitalize on the growing demand for alternative-fuel vehicles, and a consumer desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The new office as well as a battery and solar panel development center is expected to add 150 initial jobs as well as 1000 jobs in sales and product support.
[Source: Automotive News]