Company offers safeguards for wired rides.
Storing personal information on technology devices -- whether your phone or the console above the cupholders -- can lead to compromised security, hacked accounts and even identity theft (as I discovered recently -- and a big thanks to whoever spent more than $700 of mine at a gas station in Williamsburg, Pa). For example, the 2011 version of the MyFordTouch infotainment system connects with users' mobile phones, via Bluetooth, and accesses "clouded" online information via its Traffic, Directions and Information app, while also acting as a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot; theoretically, hackers could access a user's address book, home address and other information, as well.
By Rick Kranz, Automotive News
For the first time, General Motors studios across the world have submitted design studies for the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette.
Late last year, Ed Welburn, GM's vice president of global design, invited GM's 10 styling studios to submit design proposals.
Some "were absolutely phenomenal," Welburn said. "There is a lot to pick from. The direction that we take is very important, and the decision has not been made."
Global input on the Corvette's design is one of several steps GM is taking to attract buyers in Europe, where the car has little appeal, and young U.S. buyers who favor imports.
"We have challenges in the States with the Corvette," Welburn said in an interview at the Geneva auto show. "The average age of the customer is really rising."
Fuel prices high, about to go higher.
Higher prices at retail pumps are the result of higher wholesale gas prices, which in turn have been bumped up by an 18 percent spike in crude oil prices.
By Jason Stein, Automotive News
"There's clearly room for another product and another concept between the A3 and A1," Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.
Michael Dick, Audi's board member for technology, said in an interview that the company's push to add electric variants will play a role with the next-generation A2 "in the near future."
The German media have reported that the A2 is expected by 2014. A decision on a U.S. model has not been made.
The British saloon builder nails the big sedan formula. So what's next? Possibly a MINI killer?
I'm just now back from Versailles, France, after two days driving the redesigned Jaguar XJ -- a full-sized luxury sedan that exceeded every expectation I had for this flagship vehicle. (A quick note: Jaguar might consider taking a cue from Henry Ford and offering the XJ only in black. When we stepped out of Pershing Hall, the swanky Paris hotel and lounge, the gleaming, ebony XJ waiting at the curb drew nonstop stares and flattery from picky, style-conscious Parisians; one needs nothing more than that arresting hue.)
The biggest surprise about the XJ wasn’t how modern and elegant it looked on the street, though it is easily more eye-catching than a Mercedes S-Class and more handsome than any BMW 7-Series. After all, designer Ian Callum, the former design chief for Aston Martin, had already put Jaguar on a roll with the lovely XK sports car (and for good reason: It's nearly a dead ringer for his Aston DB9) and the midsize XF sedan.
The XJ, on the other hand, has drawn some skepticism, as to be expected with any break-the-mold design. When my editor Josh Condon saw it during its North American reveal at Pebble Beach, he thought it looked suspiciously like a stretched version of the XF -- a notion with which I tended to agree before my drive. But while it’s become a cliché, you don’t really "get" the XJ until you see it on the street. In the flesh, gripping the pavement, it looks madly appealing, with a larger, more imposing grille than the XF and a decidedly more posh profile.
John Lennon hawking Citroen?
European carmaker Citroen has turned to that most anti-consumerist of pitchmen, John Lennon, to hawk its DS-3. In the commercial, which you can see after the jump, the Beatles legend says: "Looking backwards for inspiration, copying the past — how is that rock 'n’ roll? Do something of your own. Start something new."
Sort of an ironic sentiment for Citroen's commercial, considering the company is looking to capitalize on a long-dead front man for a legendary band that's been dismantled for decades, huh?
While many Beatles fans are outraged, Sean Ono Lennon, the singer's son, has rushed to the commercial's defense, insisting it was not financial consideration but rather a desire to keep his father's image alive that led to John Lennon's appearance in the ad.
Watch the video, below, draw your own conclusions and let us know what you think in the comments section.
Lawmakers want knowledgeable Toyota employees to testify about electronics testing methodology
The call is coming most loudly from Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the committee’s oversight panel. They say the record is missing documentation that Toyota rigorously and systematically tested the electronics systems as a point of failure. They want Toyota to produce employees with direct knowledge of the company's testing of the problem, in order that they can give testimony in front of the committee.
By Natalie Neff
The needle creeps closer to 90 mph, and with a quick glance around for signs of the authorities, I punch it and send the speedo zipping toward triple digits. The Tesla Roadster Sport's tiny cabin fills with a cacophony of wind noise, the cloth top flapping away a few inches above, the chatter of carbon-fiber body parts joining in as the frigid air screams past. I give up trying to hear Peter Sagal's voice, shut off the radio and settle for a soundtrack of salt spraying the wheel wells and the hammer drill of winter wind.
There's no engine noise or exhaust note. The faintest bubbling emerges from underhood whether the car is on or off, the aural signature of coolant coursing through the battery pack and the only noise generated by the vehicle itself. For a car that produces almost no sound of its own, it sure makes for a boisterous ride. The Tesla blows away the notion that electric cars are silent.
The thing is, the Tesla is first and foremost a sports car, and sports cars are supposed to be loud--whether there's combustion propelling them or not. Isolating its occupants from the environment isn't part of the equation. Neither is capacity, for people or for cargo.
That is very much the point of Chevrolet's Volt, however, which can't touch the Tesla for outright roadholding or straight-line performance. It doesn't even try. Instead, the Volt focuses on making the actual driving experience as indistinguishable as possible from any other run-of-the-mill ride. As much as the Tesla strives for brio, the Volt aims for boredom.
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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