And we don't mean Kia
Those qualities help explain some of the cars seen on the road in the nation's capital, Pyongyang -- and there aren't too many of them, considering that private citizens cannot officially own automobiles, though some manage to do just that thanks to government connections. First off, there are the Volvo 144s, now mostly used as taxis, 1,000 of which the North Koreans ordered from Sweden but reportedly never paid for. There are also various types of Mercedes from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the Kaengsaeng 88, which is a North Korean-built knockoff of the Mercedes-Benz 190E. Apparently, back when North Korea still had some Russian cash coming in, then-leader Kim Il-Sung demanded the Kaengsaeng to be built in order to show the world they could compete with capitalist South Korea, which had just then started building its own automobiles. By all reports, the car is a pinnacle of bad engineering.
By Greg Migliore
Fans of the iconic Dodge Charger muscle sedan have been eagerly awaiting details on the upgrades for the 2011 model year. And today, this latest hunk of Mopar muscle is being revealed in its most buttoned-down form--the police package.
Just one fairly vague picture has been revealed, but as expected, the Charger will get Chrysler's Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine. Ratings haven't been released, but the engine makes 290 hp in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We also get our first official glimpse of the Charger's slightly more sinister front end, which is similar to what we've seen in spy shots. Most significantly, the nose and headlights appear sharper and more pointed, though the Charger retains the basic look of the current car.
German carmaker considering a just-for-U.S. 4-door A3.
The move could give the A3 an edge in this segment. Its main competitor is the BMW 1-Series, which is available only as a coupe. Adding a 4-door to the Audi lineup would probably broaden the car’s appeal significantly, but from where we’re standing, the A3 has a larger hurdle to overcome -- namely, its sibling the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen.
Upcoming Regal GS will get a manual transmission.
New ad takes aim at Toyota -- though not by name -- over unintended acceleration.
Way to kick them when they're down, Nissan.
Check it out after the jump.
Ford minicar gets a 'top safety pick' nod from the IIHS
By Wes Raynal
The Chevrolet Suburban, the longest-running nameplate in the auto industry, turned 75 this year, and Chevy held a little birthday party on Detroit's Belle Isle on Tuesday. The General Motors division brought some classics for us to ogle and drive, from a 1935 to the 2010 Diamond Edition.
Through the early 1930s, automakers were offering car-based wagons. So the idea for the Suburban began when GM saw a need in the marketplace for a heavier-duty, truck-based wagon.
Chrysler filling slots for Fiat franchises.
We've learned to roll our eyes when Fiat or Alfa Romeo pledge to return to American showrooms. Both brands have floated grand plans before, leaving us scanning the shores for some sexy Italian cars -- then leaving us jilted at the dock. But with Fiat now intimately intertwined with Chrysler, the plans to use Fiat and Alfa Romeo to shore up Chrysler’s weakling car lineup appear to be a done deal.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group, visited the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, this week, with Vice President Joe Biden in tow. Automotive News quoted Marchionne as saying that roughly 200 Chrysler dealers will be awarded Fiat franchises later this year; he added that Fiat dealers would likely be the showroom source for the Alfa Romeo brand -- a move that makes far more sense than forcing the Alfa Romeo brand into an uncomfortable spot within Fiat’s Ferrari and Maserati dealerships. Chrysler’s independently owned dealers could certainly use any boost available to them: The company had 3,181 dealers before it filed for bankruptcy, and has slashed those ranks to 2,311 even as some dealers sue Chrysler over the loss of their franchises.
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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