By David Barkholz, Automotive News
Chevrolet is asking its 3,000 dealers to prepare for the late September launch of the Chevrolet Cruze compact by purchasing competitors' vehicles for test-drive comparisons.
Chevrolet is encouraging dealers to have a Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic on site so prospective 2011 Cruze buyers can immediately measure the car against its segment competitors, said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet small-car marketing director.
Industry association opposes letter-grade labels.
According to Automotive News, NADA spokesman Bailey Wood is quoted as saying the letter-grade labels will "confuse the buying public, make vehicle purchasing decisions more difficult or treat automakers or fuel types unfairly."
Under the proposed labeling system only zero-emissions vehicles would receive a grade of A+, though even the worst vehicle in terms of fuel economy would be spared a failing grade as the range bottoms out with a D.
There's also the idea that the letter grades will lead to, er, hurt feelings. From the source article: "Dave McCurdy, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Toyota, GM, Ford and eight other manufacturers, said Monday the rating system 'falls short because it is imbued with schoolyard memories of passing and failing.'"
By Dan Prescott
Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s high-speed lifestyle of flying through the desert, leaving a rooster tail of dust, is taking a turn down a calmer, gentler road.
Stewart, 64, is ready to slow things down and create more time for himself and his family. “I’m not retiring,” he insists, “just changing directions.”
Last weekend he sold his off-road racing truck business and everything that goes along with it. He had more than 35 years of one-of-a-kind racing artifacts, memorabilia and assorted off-road racing equipment--enough stuff to fill a leased warehouse in El Cajon, Calif. Eschewing sentimentality for practicality, he sold it all in an auction.
One of the biggest names in off-road racing, Stewart achieved a remarkable 82 wins behind the wheel of race buggies, Mickey Thompson stadium trucks and Baja trucks. His trophies include three Baja 1000 wins and a record 17 Baja 500 wins. Off-road video games bear his name, and longtime sponsor Toyota even produced a limited number of Ivan Stewart “Ironman”-edition trucks.
Mercedes puts a modern spin on the classic Gullwing with its all-new 2011 SLS AMG -- and we got to drive it.
“Icon” is one of the most egregiously overused words in the English language -- especially by overzealous media types like me, trying to turn mundane stories into front-page headlines by lionizing someone or something that doesn’t deserve it. Not everyone and everything can be an icon, or “iconic,” otherwise the meaning of the label gets diluted, and that's a crime against those people or creations deserving of it.
The original Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, for instance, is one such creation worthy of being called an icon. And I'm confident my assertion that the all-new 2011 SLS AMG, the Gullwing's spiritual successor, is set to follow in the 300SL's footsteps is no simple hyperbole.
Courts find that police can track your vehicle without oversight.
New fuel-efficiency grading stickers planned for 2012.
The proposed stickers are mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and require the EPA and NHTSA to give ratings to vehicles based on fuel economy and the emission of greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants. One of the proposed stickers (below) would give each car a letter grade, report-card-style, based on fuel efficiency -- an idea quickly denounced by automakers. The range would run from A+, for zero-emission vehicles only, down to a D, meaning even the worst offenders would be spared a "failing" grade.
By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News
Mercedes-Benz is set to launch a wave of small luxury vehicles in the United States. An all-new C-class coupe will debut next year, followed by three derivatives of the front-wheel-drive B class in 2012 and 2013.
"Everyone wants to be Mercedes-Benz," said Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. Now, Lieb said, Mercedes will enter segments where competitors are strong.
Here is a rundown of Mercedes' product plans.
Shinari concept vehicle shows what Mazda can do on the higher end of the spectrum
The Shinari is the result of collaboration among Mazda design studios in Japan, Germany and the United States. According to a report in Autonews, the concept shows what the Japanese automaker is capable of in terms of upgrading its image. The director of design for Mazda North America is quoted as saying: "We want to play in the same group as BMW and Audi. On fit and finish, we want the same level of quality."
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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 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 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