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By Car_and_Driver Dec 3, 2012 8:36AM






According to Tony Posawatz, chief executive officer of Fisker Automotive, production of the Karma plug-in hybrid has been put on hold for about a month due to the bankruptcy of battery supplier of A123 Systems and the resultant low inventory of battery packs.


(Other sources tell us that the production freeze has been in place since August, and was initially or at least partially caused by either low demand or running model changes.)


Widely reported by Bloomberg, Reuters, and others as having enough batteries on hand for owner replacements, the California-based auto manufacturer confirmed to Car and Driver on Friday that they have enough spare battery assemblies in reserve to “get us into the first quarter of 2013.”

 

Recall expands on earlier minivan and crossover recall; 2005-2007 models are affected

By Exhaust Notes 13 hours ago
Chrysler is recalling up to 792,300 Jeeps for faulty ignition switches that can be inadvertently knocked out of the "on" position, shutting off the engine and disabling the airbags.

The 2005-2007 Grand Cherokee and 2006-2007 Commander have been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since June. Earlier this month, Chrysler recalled 696,000 minivans and crossovers -- also previously under investigation -- for the same faulty switch. The exact number hasn't been determined, but up to 649,900 vehicles may be affected in the U.S.

Chrysler recommends owners to take everything off their keychains, including the ring, until dealers start the fix in mid-September.  

A rash of problems affects many 2011-2015 General Motors models.

By Exhaust Notes 17 hours ago

General Motors is recalling 717,949 cars in the U.S. for loose bolts, bad welds, steering failures and more problems, the automaker said Wednesday.

The six separate recalls now bring the automaker's yearly total to 60 recalls and 26.4 million cars, some of which may be duplicated under multiple recalls. No filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were yet available.

On 414,333 cars with power height-adjustable driver and passenger seats, a bolt securing the height adjuster to the seat can loosen and fall out, which can then cause the seat to "move up and down freely." GM said it knew of one crash and three injuries related to the problem. Affected models include the 2011-2012 Chevrolet Camaro, Buick Regal and Buick LaCrosse; and the 2010-2012 Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX.

 

325-hp turbo V6 provides better power-to-weight than 5.0-liter V8.

By AutoWeek 18 hours ago




Ford’s new 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine will make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque when it debuts in the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150. A new naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and the 5.0-liter V8 will also be available in the pickup.


The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine has a new design, according to Ford, and improves the power-to-weight ratio of the F-150 by 15 percent over the 2014 model with the 5.0-liter V8. In 4x2 trim, the new EcoBoost-equipped truck has a 2,250-pound payload rating and a tow rating of 8,500 pounds.


Ford firsts for the new engine include stop/start technology and a compacted graphite iron cylinder block, with knowledge borrowed from the company’s Power Stroke diesel. The new naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 makes 283 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, replacing the 302-hp, 278-lb-ft 3.7-liter V6 from 2014. The engine allows a payload of 1,910 pounds and is good for towing 7,600 pounds.

 

Kentucky city opens municipal fuel station to public, raising cries of ‘socialism’ from private stations.

By James_Tate 20 hours ago

The little city of Somerset, Kentucky, is a hotspot for vacationers headed to Lake Cumberland. To combat the city's higher gas prices during the summer vacation season compared to surrounding areas, Mayor Eddie Girdler enacted a bold solution for his 11,000 residents: a city-run gas station with below-average prices.


Predictably, the move has set off a firestorm of controversy in Somerset, with some praising the effort to bring overall area gas prices down and others decrying the move as “socialism.”


Last Saturday, the Somerset Fuel Center opened to the public, selling regular unleaded gasoline only at $3.36 per gallon. The effect of the Fuel Center on area pricing was immediate. The Associated Press reported that four nearby stations dropped their regular unleaded prices to $3.39 per gallon that first day from an average in the mid-$3.40s during the week.

 

New driver assist systems add extra layer of protection for occupants of upcoming all-new crossover.

By Douglas Newcomb Tue 2:52 PM

Volvo run-off road protection. Image by Volvo.Driver assist systems ranging from active cruise control to lane-keep assist are making driving easier and safer, and are also becoming more common on a variety of vehicles. That means that Volvo, an automotive brand synonymous with safety for decades, has to go even further to stand out from an increasingly competitive and safer crowd of cars.


For the launch of its upcoming 2016 XC90 crossover, Volvo is debuting two new driver assistance systems: run-off road protection and auto brake at intersections.


“These two world-firsts are further examples of how new technologies target substantial real-life traffic problems,” Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist for safety at Volvo Cars Safety Center, said in a statement.

 

What's at stake in reports and rumors on a possible Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler deal.

By James_Tate Tue 10:45 AM

The German business magazine Manager set off a firestorm of speculation last week by reporting that not only was Volkswagen Automotive Group (VAG) head Ferdinand Piech interested in acquiring Fiat Chrysler (FCA), but that he had discussed the possibility with the Agnelli and Elkann families, who currently hold a 30 percent ownership stake in FCA.


For their part, all parties have denied any talk of a merger, but that isn’t stopping industry analysts from speculating on the whys and wherefores of such a deal as rumors of Piech’s motivations continue to spark intrigue.


What is commonly known is this: Piech’s grand vision for Volkswagen Automotive Group is no less than becoming the biggest auto builder in the world. Piech has publicly coveted Fiat Chrysler's sub-brand Alfa Romeo, most famously in statements at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, annoying FCA Chairman Sergio Marchionne enough to challenge Piech to a "showdown at dawn." Through a source within Piech’s inner circle, Automotive News claims his endgame is a resurrection of the Auto Union name for his theoretical behemoth. The source also says that Piech wants to put his plan into motion sooner rather than later -- whatever that means.

 

Surround view and side view cameras can help drivers into and out of tight spots.

By Douglas Newcomb Tue 9:37 AM

Backup cameras are not new and they will soon be mandatory on all passenger vehicles. Using multiple cameras so the driver can get a view of different areas around a vehicle is also becoming more common.


For example, Nissan pioneered the overhead “bird’s-eye” perspective with its Around View camera system that was originally available only on its premium Infiniti brand vehicles. But now it’s offered even on the entry-level Versa Note.


The 2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe I recently tested has about the same number of cameras and views as the Nissan Note, even though it’s a much more expensive vehicle. (And, of course, it’s much more luxurious and has much better performance.) While I’ve previously used all of the camera features found on the 428i in other vehicles, while testing the car I found myself in a situation that gave me new appreciation for the technology.


And during a tropical storm to boot.

 

Safety tech for new fortwo highlighted in offset test.

By AutoWeek Tue 6:08 AM




The newest versions of the smart fortwo and the smart forfour are just around the corner, and Daimler is set to reassure potential buyers that the diminutive hatches can take a serious hit and still allow its driver and passenger to emerge unscathed.


To this end Mercedes-Benz has pitted the upcoming ForTwo hatch against one of the largest cars in the Stuttgart-based manufacturer's lineup; the new S-Class.


Mercedes-Benz set up the crash test with 50 percent overlap between the S-Class and the 9-foot-long smart fortwo, with a combined impact speed of 31 mph. In creating the new fortwo, Mercedes-Benz's parent company Daimler says that it has undergone the same development program as the vehicle it's going up against, which in this case has more than double the curb weight of the still-small ForTwo (5,088 pounds versus 2,478 pounds).

 

Contributors

  • Cliff Atiyeh

    Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
    In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)

  • Doug Newcomb

    Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
    In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V

  • James Tate

    James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
    In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5

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