General Motors buys back preferred shares from federal government.
GM bought the 84 million shares for $25.50 apiece, 2 percent more than their liquidation value. The company said it would book a $700 million charge related to the buyback early next year.Of the $49.5 billion government investment, $23.1 billion has now been paid back -- including the $13.5 billion from last month's initial public stock offering for the company.
You can read a more detailed account of the financial goings-on at Dealbook.
New mobile app lets drivers issue virtual 'tickets' to those misbehaving on the road.
The voice-activated app, created by Philip Inghelbrecht, who co-founded the music discovery engine Shazam, allows you to "flag" motorists by speaking their license plate number into a smart phone; the driver then receives a virtual "ticket," while that same information -- which includes date, time and location -- is transmitted to the appropriate Department of Motor Vehicles and insurance companies. Of course, you don't have to be driving yourself to flag someone: A bicyclist who gets forced off the road, for example, can follow the very same procedure.
Inghelbrecht foresees a massive -- and potentially lucrative -- database of driver information, which could be used by insurance companies and DMVs to adjust premiums and monitor bad behavior. Of course, the legality and feasibility of the government or an insurance company using a third-party app in such a way -- especially given the lack of safeguards against malicious use -- remain in question.
By Dale Jewett
In the race for North American Truck of the Year, the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango--which share a common platform and come from the same assembly plant--will face off against the redesigned Ford Explorer.
Kelley Blue Book ranks automaker as top-shopped.
John Lennon's 1972 Chrysler station wagon is for sale.
According to the vehicle listing on its website, Lennon and Yoko Ono kept the Chrysler for personal use, especially for the drive between their New York City apartment and their Long Island estate -- a smart choice, considering that the vehicle's nondescript nature likely allowed them to travel incognito.
Check out the vehicle page for some interesting excerpts from Frederic Seaman's 1991 book, "The Last Days of John Lennon -- A Personal Memoir," that refer to the car.
Effects from fumes emitted from interior materials blamed in hit-and-run case.
"[The team contends] that Mr. Erzinger suffered from sleep apnea and dozed off at the wheel before driving off the road and striking the cyclist.
'Harmful and noxious gases emitted from the upholstery can infiltrate the driver’s compartment and potentially alter the driver,' the investigator wrote.
At least one study has found that fumes from new car interiors can pose a health hazard, particularly on a hot day when the windows are closed."
Well then: That takes care of the "hit" part. No report on what caused the "run." Perhaps heated seats cause restless leg syndrome?
By Mark Rechtin, Automotive News
Lexus Division said today it will price its entry-luxury CT 200h hybrid hatchback at $29,995, including destination charges, when it goes on sale in March.
The CT 200h uses a version of the powertrain used in the Toyota Prius, and rides on the same platform as the more expensive Lexus HS 250h sedan. Lexus claims the vehicle will get 42 mpg in the combined driving cycle. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about 10 seconds, about the same as the Prius.
Apple lists the most popular navigation applications for iPhone.
Apple has ranked its apps according to three categories: highest-grossing, best-selling and most popular free apps. As mentioned, TomTom took the top spot for highest grossing, followed by Navigon's MobileNavigator North America, ($59.99) both of which reportedly function very much like what you'd find on a dedicated GPS device.
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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