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Auto News

The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) has issued it’s “Hot Spots” report listing the top 10 cities in the U.S. for auto thefts relative to their population size in 2014. It looks as though the Golden State is golden for auto thieves with California claiming seven out of the top 10 spots on the list.

Here are the cities that made the list with the number of vehicles stolen during 2014 noted in parenthesis.

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (29,093)
  2. Bakersfield, Calif. (5,211)
  3. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4,245)
  4. Odessa, Texas (886)
  5. Modesto, Calif. (3,047)
  6. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (3,032)
  7. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (2,414)
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (20,268)
  9. Fresno, Calif. (5,260)
  10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (10,531)

On the plus side, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says car thefts of all kinds are steadily on the decline after seeing a slight increase in 2012. The FBI says there’s been a 5.7 percent reduction in motor vehicle thefts during 2013 and 2014, and they’re down by a whopping 42.8 percent since 2003.

Read more here.

Will the technology enhancements in vehicles ever end? Car manufacturers seem to chomping at the bit to out modernize the other with whose vehicle is more modern. Have you ever tried to change a clock on a car? The older ones it seems easier, you have two buttons. That’s it, however now that just doesn’t seem good enough.

An example of this is cars with a GPS. Some vehicles require the system to be re-programmed to set the time. The navigation system comes with a CD that contains details of the geographic area and territory as set by the selling dealer. The vehicle then links up with the appropriate satellite that provides the GPS guidance.

This disc must be initialized into your navigation system to set the correct time zone and recognized landmarks. Once the time zone is set, you must activate daylight savings to get the correct time displayed for your location.

Another example is scrolling through your radio tuner one frequency at a time. I’d much rather choose the station myself, not arrive at what the radio thinks is the next best frequency.

 

To read more, click here.

Cadillac was once  at the top of the charts for sales, however over the last few quarters they are fallen rapidly.  General Motors global product chief Mark Reuss said that a large luxury sedan being developed for Cadillac will “define its brand” and is a prerequisite to competing against rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.

“If we’re a serious luxury carmaker, it’s really important to us,” Reuss said at an event here Tuesday.

“This is a car that Cadillac needs, that will define its brand in terms of innovation and excellence,” Reuss told reporters. “That’s the mission.”

Cadillac’s chief engineer, Dave Leone, told Bloomberg last week that the rear-wheel drive sedan would arrive sometime in late 2015. It was the first time a GM official has publicly given a timeframe for the long-rumored sedan, codenamed LTS for now.

Reuss declined to discuss specifics but said Cadillac’s entry in the large luxury sedan segment “has got to be a symbol of excellence.”

Engineering mules of the sedan have been spotted recently being put through the paces at GM’s proving ground in Milford, Mich. It’s expected to ride on a new rwd platform and compete against the Mercedes-Benz S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8.

Reuss downplayed Cadillac’s sluggish U.S. sales, which have fallen 2 percent this year through July, vs. 6 percent for the luxury market and 5 percent for all light vehicle.  Will this Sedan be enough to bring Cadillac back to where it once was?

 

Read full article here 

A federal judge told lawyers on Monday he’ll encourage settlements in lawsuits brought on behalf of nearly 1,000 plaintiffs against General Motors for defective ignition switches.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman told dozens of lawyers at a hearing that he’ll be careful not to interfere with the work of a bankruptcy judge who is deciding if the Detroit-based automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy protects it from economic damages claims.

Furman said he wanted to be “sensitive about stepping on the toes” of the bankruptcy judge but planned to advance the litigation as much as possible nonetheless.

He made introductory remarks at an initial hearing after he was chosen to preside over more than 100 lawsuits that were consolidated in New York because of their common attributes. He said he planned “to encourage settlement as much as possible” once any potential payouts were better defined after rulings by the bankruptcy court.

Lawsuits were filed after General Motors Co. in February began recalling 2.6 million of the cars, mainly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions. GM has acknowledged knowing that the switches in its small cars had problems since at least 2001. Federal law requires automakers to report safety defects to the government within five days of discovering them.

The ignition switches, when jostled, can shut off the engine, cutting power steering and brakes and potentially causing drivers to lose control. The problem also can disable air bags.

GM says at least 13 people have died in 54 crashes linked to the problem, while lawyers suing the company say the death toll is more than 60.

In May, federal safety regulators ordered General Motors to pay a record $35 million fine for failing to disclose the ignition switch defect in millions of cars for more than a decade.

GM attorney Richard C. Godfrey told Furman that 983 plaintiffs had filed 109 lawsuits, with about a dozen of the lawsuits making personal-injury claims while the rest were solely for economic losses.

Owners of the 2.6 million small cars that were recalled are eligible for compensation from a fund being administered by compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg on GM’s behalf. Feinberg, who handled claims for the BP Gulf Oil Spill and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has said GM has placed no limit on the amount of money he can spend to compensate anyone who was injured or killed.  How will this affect other companies and how they handle recalls ?

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Mercedes has been busy the last few months, developing their new C-class.  Mercedes-Benz is vying for the luxury compact crown with the redesigned 2015 C-class sedan, equipped with new technology and features trickled down from the S-class flagship.

BMW is the market leader in the segment, with the 3- and 4-series compacts. But Mercedes-Benz executives say the C class may finally give them the edge.

The C class looks like a smaller version of the S-class sedan, and it has the optional $2,800 Intelligent Drive package of integrated safety features. They include adaptive cruise control, rear-end collision protection, Pre-Safe braking and steering, and cross-traffic and lane-keeping assist.

“Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating that we are not just going to set the standard with the S class, our goal is to set the standard in every segment — even one that might be traditionally associated with the 3 series and BMW,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “We have spent the last few generations closing that gap.”

With the new-generation C class that goes on sale Aug. 25, “we are going to set a standard for style, for interior fit and finish and standard features,” Cannon said. “We have been more of an S- and E-class company.”

To further separate the C class from the CLA sedan — the entry to the brand that went on sale last year — Mercedes made the C-class sedan about 4 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the previous model.

With the frame and body structure made of aluminum, it will be more agile and handle better than today’s model, said Bart Herring, general manager of product management for Mercedes-Benz USA. The redesigned C class is up to 200 pounds lighter than today’s model.

The C class will have Collision Prevention Assist Plus as a standard feature. The system senses if a collision is imminent, and if the driver doesn’t respond, it autonomously brakes the car at speeds up to 124 mph. It also can brake to avoid a stationary vehicle ahead and to prevent rear collisions.

Competing brands don’t offer this feature in this segment — or on many of their high-end vehicles, Cannon said.

Collision Prevention Assist Plus “is us throwing down the gauntlet — no one has it in the segment,” he said. “Our competitors do not have it on their highest cars. It demonstrates where we are going.”

The Intelligent Drive package is another edge, said Herring. “We have networked it to almost give the car senses to set you up to make better decisions or assist to keep you out of danger. That is cool on a $100,000 S class.  This is just one amazing feature offered with this new C-class.

Read full article here 

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the new and improved Aston Martin.

You have to hand it to Aston Martin. Its entry-level V8 Vantage may be nearly a decade old, but the British automaker never tires of rolling out ever more powerful versions. Where the original packed a 4.3-litre V8 derived from a Jaguar design and producing 380 horsepower, this latest version packs 565 hp to become the company’s quickest and fastest roadster to date, not to mention its most powerful.

Following the debut of the V12 Vantage S coupe, the new V12 Vantage S Roadster packs the most powerful iteration of Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-litre V12 engine to date. Equipped with CNC-machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts, unburdened of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of excess weight and mated to Gaydon’s latest Graziano-developed Sportshift III seven-speed sequential gearbox, that engine is capable of propelling the open-top rocket to 60 (0-96km/h) in 3.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 201 miles per hour (324 kilometres per hour). That’s considerably quicker than the flagship Vanquish Volante, which runs to 60 (96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds and tops out at 183 mph (295 km/h), painting the V12 Vantage S Roadster as Aston’s most performance-focused droptop to date.

It’s also got a flatter and fatter torque curve than the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, three-stage adaptive damping, three-stage stability control and two-stage ABS, carbon-ceramic disc brakes and a lightweight exhaust derived from the pipes on the One-77. Like what you see? There are more details to digest in the press release below, including a full range of customization options from the Q by Aston Martin catalog.  This beautiful vehicle should do wonders in the higher end market.

 

Read full article here 

What the cloud system has done for computers may be implemented within vehicles in the near future.  Trips to your local mechanic might become less frequent as new technology develops that could make it possible for cars to essentially fix minor glitches themselves.  Whether it’s realigning the sensors that prevent you from backing into a pole, or updating the guts of the dashboard software, new technology from a subsidiary of smartphone maker BlackBerry (TSX:BB) will give car manufacturers the tools to communicate directly with vehicles linked to their system.

QNX Software Systems executive Derek Kuhn said automakers will work as technical assistants from afar.  “Instead of going into the dealer to get something fixed or adjusted, that could be done remotely,” the sales and marketing vice-president said in an interview.  “They can update and keep the car fresh.”

While the technology isn’t yet built into vehicles, Kuhn said it will soon be available to consumers.  The development is part of Project Ion, a move by BlackBerry to become a leader in the technology that connects everyday things, such as home appliances and smart watches, to wireless networks.

Kuhn spoke from CE Week, a consumer electronics show in New York City, where QNX is showcasing its latest vehicle acoustics and noise-reduction technology. The event also brings experts from the industry together to discuss what’s on the horizon.  BlackBerry’s QNX, which is based in Ottawa, already develops technology for cars and trucks, including dashboard systems that connect directly with a driver’s mobile phone and outside networks.

Audi uses QNX’s technology to give drivers instant access to the cheapest gas prices and parking lots near their destination. Drivers can also link their smartphones to the dashboard computer system to read out and transcribe text messages.

Dashboard technology has become the next frontier for interactivity, with Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC.A) president Michael Medline telling a retail conference earlier this month that he believes consumers will soon have the option to shop from their car.

The in-car retail technology is already in the works, said Kuhn. He believes the fast food industry will likely be early adopters — giving drivers the ability to select a restaurant, a location, and a menu.  “You can actually place your order so, by the time you get to the window, (the food) is already done and ready for you,” he said. This new technology makes driving  easier, and safer.  It will certainly be a game changer.

This iconic brand has always been about being loud and proud, having its bikes roar like a lion screeching down the interstate, but the bike world has changed and thus this brand has decided to offer their new clients a new, different type of bike.

The public will get its first look at handmade demonstration models at an invitation-only event Monday in New York. The company will then take the models on the road for riders to try and provide feedback. Harley will use the information to refine the bike, which might not hit the market for several more years.

Harleys have long been the bad-boy bike of choice with an image associated with motorcycle gangs, even though most riders are middle-aged and middle-class. The new venture is a departure from Harley’s mainstay touring bikes and presents an added risk because currently almost no market for full-size electric motorcycles. The millions of two-wheeled electric vehicles sold each year are almost exclusively scooters and low-powered bikes that appeal to Chinese commuters.

But those focused on electric vehicle development say Harley has the marketing power to create demand, and its efforts to lower costs, build charging stations and improve technology will help everyone involved.

“It does validate what we’ve been doing; it adds additional credibility to it. It is certainly going to draw more people’s attention to electric motorcycles. The marketing horsepower of Harley-Davidson is going to be able to do things for us that we can’t do on our own,” said Scot Harden, vice-president of global marketing at Zero Motorcycles, the top seller of full-size, high-powered electric bikes.

Zero expects to sell 2,400 electric motorcycles this year, a drop in the bucket compared with the more than 260,000 conventional motorcycles sold last year by Harley.

The new LiveWire won’t make the distinctive “potato-potato-potato” chug that Harley once tried to patent. Its engine is silent, and the turbine-like hum comes from the meshing of gears. But electric motors do provide better handling and rapid acceleration — with the electric Harley able to go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. LiveWire’s design places the engine at the bottom of the bike.

“When you ride a motorcycle, it’s the movement of the top of the bike side-to-side that gives you agility in regard to making turns. So, if I put weight low in a motorcycle, I can turn faster. I can drop the bike down and make quicker moves,” said Gary Gauthier, of NextEnergy, a Detroit-based non-profit with expertise in electric vehicles.  Electric vehicles are the new wave of vehicles for the average person who doesn’t want to pay for such expensive gas.  It makes sense that a brand like Harley Davidson would take advantage of this market and create a incredible efficient bike like this one.

 

Read the full article here 

 

 

GM announced today that they are recalling more then 500,000 cars sold in the United States.  This includes the iconic Camaro.

The Camaro recall was prompted by an ignition switch problem similar to the one that bedeviled models such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, but GM said the switch meets all engineering specifications and is unrelated to the ignition system used in the cars included in the previous recall of 2.6 million vehicles.

The Camaro recall affects 464,712 vehicles sold in the United States from the 2010-14 model years, and another 46,816 sold in foreign markets such as Canada and Mexico.

GM said that a driver’s knee can bump the key fob and knock the ignition switch out of the “run” position, cutting power to the engine. The company said it knows of three crashes, resulting in four minor injuries, that may have been caused by this condition.

GM said it discovered the key’s potential to be knocked out of position during internal testing this year after the Cobalt controversy began.

The automaker will make the key and fob independent from each other. The current design conceals the key within the fob; the key is released from the fob with the press of a button.

“Discovering and acting on this issue quickly is an example of the new norm for product safety at GM,” Jeff Boyer, the company’s newly appointed vice president of global safety, said in a statement.

The latest round of recalls brings GM’s total for the year to 38 actions affecting 16.5 million vehicles, including 14.4 million vehicles sold in the United States.  Reports confirm that many consumers are losing trust in this automotive powerhouse, they will need to regain that trust my next quarter in order to increase their market share.

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Today was the day that the annual Gumball 3000 begun.  This event is mostly about raising money for charity, where the people first off the line are the ones who raised the most for the charity.  what a great event with many celebrities coming out to support and show off their beautiful cars.

As driver’s race from Miami to Ibiza after officially kicking things off on the starting grid in South Beach. If you are unfamiliar with the Gumball 3000, it is an annual international road rally full of mayhem, exotic cars and car enthusiasts racing/partying for 3,000-miles (4,800 kms) along public roads with a different driving route around the world each year.

Kicking off in the sunny streets of Miami, this year’s Gumball 3000 participants have a long road ahead (see official 2014 Gumball 3000 map) as they’ll even have to pack their cars up into cargo containers in NYC and ship them over to Europe, as they race towards the finish line in Ibiza, Spain.  Most of the cars entered into the Gumball 3000 are rare and exotic like this McClaren P1 or Ferrari F40, but then you also get a few strange but cool oddities like the Batmobile Tumbler and Toronto’s own Deadmau5 behind the wheel of his “cat-powered” Purrari 458 Italia.

When it comes to picking pole position on the grid, it’s uniquely decided by the teams who’ve received the most charitable donations. The race so far has raised around US$167,000 for charity! Not a big surprise considering some of the the drivers include world famous celebrities and high rolling millionaires. On top of that the drivers in this race come from as far as Dubai to compete in it, although we did spot a couple New York, California and even Ontario, Canada tags as well!

Although some still think this an underground race where driver’s dog fight the whole length of the race, the answer is no, no it isn’t. This race is about good times, with great people and winning the race takes the back seat to having fun and raising money for charity!

 

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