What factors most entice drivers to switch brands?
American car owners are quite loyal -- 73 percent of respondents to a Consumer Reports survey (consisting of 1,700 interviews among adults whose household owns at least one vehicle) say that they are somewhat or very likely to purchase the same brand they currently drive. And, interestingly, females and older drivers are more likely to be brand-loyal than their male and younger driver counterparts; income, it seems, does not influence loyalty.
But if they were to switch, what would sway them? The answer isn't flash or power, but instead the very real-world considerations of quality and fuel economy. Those are the top two (lower price came in a close third) of thirteen factors, including safety record, reputation and styling, that influence buyers to switch brands. Check out the entire list after the jump.
Recall of 2010 SRXs targets possible engine failure.
Yet possible engine failure is exactly why GM is recalling a small number (fewer than 600) of 2010 Cadillac SRX crossovers with the turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 engine. When filled with low-octane (i.e., regular) fuel and driven hard, preignition may be induced in the engines of these vehicles. Preignition produces a knocking or pinging sound from the engine.
It gets worse, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
By Wes Raynal
McLaren Automotive celebrated the 20th anniversary of the start of the F1 program by inviting F1 owners past and present to a celebration dinner at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. The owners were treated to a display of 21 McLaren F1 road and race cars, the largest number of F1 cars ever assembled in one place.
It all started in 1988, when McLaren made the decision to expand from Formula One and design and build what it called "the finest sports car the world had ever seen." In March 1990, the team created to build that car came together for the first time.
Just two years later, the McLaren F1 road car was launched on May 28, 1992, in Monaco, with the first production car delivered to its owner in December 1993.
Infiniti safety systems go overboard.
Hello, I’m here to talk to you about (BEEP!). Ah, could you excuse me, I just need to
switch off (BLURP!). Damn it, how do you shut off this crazy (BEEP!).
This infuriating test of emergency warning systems has been brought to you by the new Infiniti M37, an otherwise terrific midsize sport sedan that really wants to keep you safe behind the wheel -- and won’t take “no” for an answer.
In the Infiniti’s defense, the 6-cylinder M37 -- along with its beefier sibling, the V8 powered M56 -- isn’t the only luxury car to adopt the latest electronic do-gooders. And by these I mean lane-departure warnings, blind-spot monitors and a forward collision warning system, among others. Mercedes, Volvo, BMW and Acura are on that list, with some models actually braking themselves when their radar or laser beams calculate that a driver can’t stop in time to avoid a crash. But the Infiniti, like a maiden aunt that you can’t ditch, turns its digital chaperones on whenever you start up the car – forcing you to manually shut them down, each and every time.
Is this a race-version of the Ferrari 458 Italia?
What looks right for a track version: The suspension is clearly lowered and the tires are race-friendly single lug units (not to mention the massive carbon brakes). Also, we've got some flared side skirts and, clear as day, hood pins. Another hint, via Autoblog:
By Lindsay Chappell, Automotive News
Nissan has filed for trademark protection for the names “IPL” and “Infiniti Performance Line,” according to documents on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
According to the applications, the IPL trademark would cover the brand's use of “high-performance motor vehicle parts,” including turbochargers and superchargers for engines, cat-back exhaust and muffler systems, shifter knobs, suspension parts, brakes, sports seats and off-road headlights.
More idiot drivers caught on camera
Remember way back to Friday, when I pointed out that having your automotive crime recorded on camera is a pretty stupid idea? Well, even if you're not filming it yourself (or having yourself filmed by a friend) if you do something as stupid as pulling smoking donuts and propping your SUV up onto two wheels on Dubai's busiest highway, Sheikh Zayed Road, chances are someone's going to get it on video. Most people's cell phones are mini digital recorders, anyway.
Well, if attention was what these two insanely stupid drivers wanted, it's what they got -- from the police, no less, who used the YouTube video to arrest four individuals and seize two vehicles. Two of the detainees are facing charges of endangering people's lives, which could net them up to three years in jail. Check out the video after the jump, and you'll see why.
Insurance group names three Toyota vehicles as Top Safety Picks.
The awards are given to vehicles that receive the institute's highest rating ("good") for front, side, rollover and rear crash protection. This new round of awards takes place after new rollover test results have come to light. (Electronic stability control -- standard on all three of these models -- is also a requirement for a Top Safety Pick award.)
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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