Not just products but profits ramping up in Dearborn.
I'm hardly the first to point this out, but in light of recent news it bears repeating: Ford alone among Detroit automakers didn’t take any bailout money. Thankfully, Ford has found an old-fashioned way to pry money out of Americans -- by building cars and trucks that people want to buy. Envious gazes from GM and Chrysler turned a deeper shade of green today as Ford announced a third-quarter profit of $1.7 billion. That's up a staggering 68 percent from the same quarter in 2009, an admittedly dismal year for the industry overall.
While Ford isn’t fully out of the woods, this was the sixth straight profitable quarter for the Dearborn, Mich., automaker. Market share likewise rose, by two percentage points, bringing it up to 15 percent. But here’s the stat I liked best: Ford buyers paid an average of about $30,600 for every Ford and Lincoln in September, with buyers spending generously on options such as Ford’s Sync-enabled audio and navigation systems. Loading up on options is a sure sign that people like what they’re seeing at dealerships; these are cars that don’t sell on bargain-basement discounts, but on their merits. You only slap leather and a nav system on a car you’re proud to own, not one you’re settling for.
New pilot program lets Germans rent BMWs by the hour.
At this stage it's simply a pilot program and only in Munich, Germany, though plans call for an expansion to other locales after the 12-month program runs its course.
Still, the entire fleet is on tap for online, telephone or in-person booking. Yes, you can sprint away in an M5. Yes, you can roll up to your potential in-laws' house in a 7-Series. Either one of those marquee vehicles will run you about $44.60 per hour, including insurance, cleaning and servicing. Prices varying by vehicle, a 1-Series would run you only about half that cost.
We know that headline makes no sense, but it's true
And yet Lambo and golf-gear manufacturer Callaway have made a literal connection between links and track laps, having collaborated since 2008 on a new carbon-fiber material known as Forged Composite, which boasts nanoscale construction and the strength and light weight that that implies.
By Brad Constant
Among its aftermarket products, Audi will introduce its new iPod Satellite Adapter, which allows the vehicle's satellite radio to be displayed through an iPod. Audi will also release its iPhone Car Monitor app that allows Audi owners to monitor, track and analyze the performance of their vehicles. Custom illuminated floor mats and a wireless iPod and iPhone charger will also be part of Audi's stand at SEMA.
Nissan's CEO nails the number of EV sales that would result in a competitive price, even without government subsidies.
Finally, someone put a figure to the whole electric-vehicle thing.
Sadly, talk surrounding electric vehicles tends to be vague and full of qualifiers -- small surprise when you consider it's still an emerging technology with an as-yet undefined, unquantifiable customer base. So it's refreshing to see that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has done some number-crunching in terms of cold, hard sales, rather than a vehicle's impact on, say, brand perception or technology leadership.
High-volume sales are the key to reducing cost for any product; EVs are no exception. Right now, the Nissan Leaf EV sells for $32,780 -- quite a high sticker, considering the Leaf is the size of the Versa subcompact, which starts at less than 10 grand and tops out at less than $17,000. But of course, research and development -- not to mention lithium-ion batteries -- are expensive, and manufacturers look to high initial prices for early adopters as well as to government subsidies -- in this case a federal payback of $7,500, which knocks the Leaf's price down to a more manageable $25,280 -- to move cars while staying profitable. By Ghosn's numbers, he could sell the full electric at the lower price figuring annual sales of -- wait for it -- 1 million Leafs.
By Dale Jewett
WITH VIDEO -- Underground Racing, the Charlotte, N.C., tuning shop that broke the 250-mph mark with a twin-turbo Lamborghini Gallardo in Texas last spring, saw that car crash on Oct. 23 after making another run at the Texas Mile high-speed challenge.
Video of the run, posted on YouTube, shows the orange Gallardo passing the 1-mile marker on the closed runway, deploying a parachute and veering to the right and off the runway. The car becomes airborne and flips twice before landing.
Internet reports say the driver survived with no major injuries, and that there was a strong crosswind at the time of the crash.
Smart gives the fortwo the Hello Kitty treatment -- REALLY?
New ad slogan is vague, confusing
According to the ad firm that came up with the tag, it's supposed to be a reference to Chevy's deep roots in American culture. OK, sure -- but if you need to explain it, it's not effective. The phrase is exceptionally bad, considering Chevy's rich history of iconic advertising.
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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