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The number of ruined cars climbs as the National Insurance Crime Bureau releases its revised figures based on insurance claims.

By Claire_Martin Nov 27, 2012 7:07AM
Damaged cars in NYC photo by Patrick McFallSuperstorm Sandy pummeled cars with rain, submerged them in seawater, smashed them with trees and debris -- and even managed to set a few on fire. All told, damage was inflicted on 230,000 vehicles, according to a new estimate by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a nonprofit anti-fraud group.

New Yorkers were hit hardest, with 130,000 cars incurring insurance claims, while New Jerseyites saw 60,000 vehicles get slammed. The remaining 40,000 cars were damaged in the District of Columbia and 13 other states, stretching from North Carolina to Maine.

While the NICB has tallied these figures, it hasn't yet assessed the financial fallout. "There is no determination as to the extent of damage to these vehicles," a recent NICB press release read. "They could have sustained minor paint scratches from flying debris, or have been under water for days and rendered total losses." 

Screen uses smartphone-like swiping and other finger-based gesture controls.

By Douglas Newcomb 12 hours ago

If you’2015 Subaru Legacy multi-touch display.ve used a smartphone or tablet, you’ve probably also used multi-touch gesture controls to, say, decrease the scale of a navigation map by pinching the screen or moving the map by swiping it with a finger. It’s a quick, easy and intuitive interface, and one that’s increasingly coming to cars.

Cadillac was the first car brand to use multi-touch control with its CUE system in the XTS, and Tesla also included it as part of the huge in-dash display in the Model S. Now Subaru has added it to the all-new 2015 Legacy and Outback with the navigation option on its seven-inch display.

I tested the multi-touch interface in a 2015 Outback 2.5i Limited equipped with the "Moonroof Package + Keyless Access & Push-Button Start + Navigation System + EyeSight" (the actual name of the option) that costs $2,990. The package also includes a six-speaker audio system, the Starlink smartphone-based infotainment system, SiriusXM satellite radio, USB port/iPod control, and Bluetooth for phone and audio. Plus, it brings the full suite of EyeSight driver assistance systems: adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane-departure warning.

I also consider the multi-touchscreen a driver assist of sorts.


Study finds Washington, D.C., has lowest fatality rate, northern Plains states and the South the highest.

By Douglas Newcomb Mon 1:54 PM
Photo by Flikr user Rian Castillo.
Whether you’ll die in a traffic accident largely depends where you live, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

While roadway fatalities in the U.S. have dropped 22.7 percent since 2005, UMTRI research professor Michael Sivak found a wide disparity in traffic fatality rates for individual states and the District of Columbia.

Sivak used two sets of data in his analysis: the number of road deaths by distance driven and the number relative to state population. Using these two factors, he looked at statistics for 2005 (the most recent peak) and 2012 (the most recent year for which data was available).

He then cross-referenced these statistics and concluded that if you drive in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., you have the lowest chance of dying in a traffic accident than any other state, while motorists in North Dakota, South Carolina and West Virginia have the highest chance of becoming a road fatality statistic. 

Hellcat VIN0001's sale to benefit Las Vegas charity.

By AutoWeek Mon 11:22 AM

To the surprise of exactly no one, the numero uno production Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat built will head straight to the auction block at Barrett-Jackson -- a precedent set by the first C7 Chevrolet Corvette, the first Camaro Z/28 and the first 2015 Ford Mustang in the vehicular equivalent of camping out for three days for a "Star Wars" movie and then running through the movie theater yelling "first!"

Already, Barrett-Jackson is calling the Hellcat "iconic." Hellcat VIN0001 has an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic with black Laguna leather seats. It features a special shade of red, carried over from the Dodge Viper -- the first of which, come to think of it, also went to Barrett-Jackson.

And like the first Viper, the House That Craig Built is selling the Hellcat to benefit charity: This time, 100 percent of the price will go to Opportunity Village, which helps people in the Las Vegas area who have intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1954, the charity operates three centers and a thrift shop around the Vegas area.


Federal prosecutors are after a former Ford engineer for planting voice recorders in meeting rooms.

By Clifford Atiyeh Fri 1:41 PM
FBI agents swarmed Ford Motor Co.'s headquarters this month -- and not to place bulk orders for new Police Interceptors.

The Detroit News said it received search warrants showing a surprise FBI search of the company's Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters July 11. Agents were there to find eight electronic voice recorders that a former Ford engineer was caught allegedly hiding under conference room tables.

Sharon Leach, 43, was fired in June after Ford company security found the recorders and deemed her activities suspicious and potentially threatening to its trade secrets, according to the News. While federal investigators haven't filed charges against Leach, they did search her home in June and took her computers, tax records and other documents.  

Base model starts at $15,670.

By AutoWeek Fri 12:30 PM

Toyota redesigned its Yaris subcompact for 2015. The new nose looks to be directly borrowed from the 2014 Corolla. It returns in both three- and five-door trim, with a fresh interior to match the new sheetmetal.


The new Yaris comes in three trims: L, LE and SE. Standard features include air conditioning, power windows, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, daytime running lights and 15-inch wheels. The upgraded LE trim adds cruise control, power mirrors, steering wheel audio controls and keyless entry. The top SE trim continues to pile on the options with projector headlights, fog lights, a rear spoiler and 16-inch alloy wheels. SE is also the sportiest trim, so it gets a solid stabilizer bar, “sport-tuned” suspension and bigger brakes in front.

Inside, the high-spec model comes with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, its own unique sport fabric and gloss black accents. All models get a 6.1-inch touchscreen, USB port, Bluetooth and voice recognition. Navigation is also a dealer-installed option for the first time.


Motorized tank on wheels uses camera, software to analyze where a fish may want to go.

By Douglas Newcomb Fri 11:46 AM

Fish on Wheels. Photo by Studio Diip.Self-driving technology is developing fast. So fast that now even a goldfish can "drive" its tank just by swimming in a certain direction, thanks to a project by the Dutch design firm Studio Diip.

“We wanted to make something that showcases computer vision technology, but not in such an industrial way,” Diip co-founder Thomas de Wolf told Popular Science.

While the project is a gimmick to get attention for Studio Diip, the firm said on its website that it “wanted to show that computer vision technology is not just limited to the usual automation projects or information gathering. It can also create interactions that are so simple that they can empower animals. Fish on Wheels shows this by allowing fish to move their own fish tank, if they are smart enough to understand this.”

But they're probably not, since these commonplace aquatic pets supposedly have a memory of just three seconds.


Ferrari's first mid-engine V12 production car, a rare and unusual masterpiece, heads to auction.

By James_Tate Fri 9:16 AM

Of all the rare, exquisite vehicles up for auction next month at the Pebble Beach Concours, one stands out for its unique nature and provenance: the 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale, also known as "Tre Posti." Tre Posti earns its nickname for its unusual layout of three front seats.

This remarkable Ferrari was built for Luigi Chinetti Sr., a legendary figure in Ferrari history who was the first, and for many years the only, Ferrari factory dealer in the United States. Chinetti was instrumental in making Ferrari the iconic brand it is today, not only as a dealer but also as a racing driver, winning Ferrari’s first and last LeMans races (in 1945 and 1965) along with two victories at the Spa 24 Hours.

In keeping with Chinetti’s racing history, Enzo Ferrari and legendary designer Sergio Pininfarina built the Tre Posti as a prototype derived from the 365 P2 race car of the era, one that Chinetti's North American Racing Team had been racing successfully.


Tensions between countries lead to request about Grand Prix.

By AutoWeek Fri 7:40 AM

With political tensions running high between Britain and Russia, at least two British politicians have put on pressure on Formula One to cancel the Russian Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place in Sochi on Oct. 12.

The F1 event was thrust into conversations after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine, killing 298 people.

According to the Telegraph, David Davis and Sir Menzies Campbell are both calling for the race to be cancelled.

“If Russia continues as they have been doing, then the Grand Prix is one of many things that they should be denied,” said parliament member Davis, who is a former minister in the Foreign Office. “F1 already had a problem in the past with Bahrain. While I’m not particularly in favor of cancelling sports events at the drop of a hat, I think that Formula One should reflect the global outrage. It would be an important and appropriate response to cancel the race.”



  • 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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