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Ford has spent billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied F-150, and at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants. (REUTERS)
 

Ford’s payoff from aluminum bet still years away

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, Nov. 25
Investors might be a little concerned at how Ford is spending its money.
Ford dropped billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150. Then it spent at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants.
Ford has said, and continues to say, that fuel economy is the No. 1 unmet need of its truck buyers.
Despite the hefty investments to transform the 2015 F-150, the pickup’s fuel economy barely budged, we learned last week, even though the new truc ...
     Continue reading "Ford’s payoff from aluminum bet still years away" » Nov 25, 2014 11:15 am U.S. ET
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5 cool flourishes on new Lexus RC

Posted 10:50 am U.S. ET, Nov. 25
blogs

TOKYO -- Is it too much to say that the new Lexus RC is the best-looking Lexus ever? Even better than the LFA?
I finally got behind the wheel an RC 350 F Sport last weekend, and I never got tired looking at the car, from any angle. Design is always subjective, but if this is a sign of future cars from Lexus, brand boss Tokuo Fukuichi is working magic, in my book.
Here are some cool flourishes that enhance the RC experience:
...
     Continue reading "5 cool flourishes on new Lexus RC " » Nov 25, 2014 10:50 am U.S. ET
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Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag

Posted 3:26 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
blogs
The 2015 F-150 is only the first of three big changes that may eventually give Ford fuel economy leadership in the segment -- assuming everyone else stands still or makes incremental gains.
In September, we crunched the numbers in an attempt to predict the fuel economy ratings for the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. Turns out, we were pretty darn close.
Today, Ford finally released those long-awaited official EPA numbers for its lightweight aluminum truck.
Some of the gains are i ...
     Continue reading "Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag" » Nov 21, 2014 3:26 pm U.S. ET
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Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee

Posted 2:41 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
LOS ANGELES -- Luxury automobiles typically offer customers a combination of high performance, advanced technology and plush comfort. But a new crop of upscale cars may offer wealthy car buyers something else: a clearer conscience.
That trend was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where Volvo Cars showed the plug-in hybrid version of its forthcoming XC90. It’s a full-size crossover that seats up to seven and delivers about 400 hp. But thanks to its large battery pack and electric motor, the vehicle can achieve the equivalent of up to 90 mpg, according to Volvo.
That blend of high performance a ...
     Continue reading "Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee" » Nov 21, 2014 2:41 pm U.S. ET
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Fisker flexes muscle with coachbuilt 725-hp Mustang

Posted 2:55 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
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Henrik Fisker, right, and Beau Boeckmann, left, of Galpin Auto Sports present the Galpin-Fisker Rocket at its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. (REUTERS)
LOS ANGELES -- Henrik Fisker, the Danish designer behind the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8 and the ill-fated Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, apparently can design an American muscle car, too.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the Southern California tuner Galpin Auto Sports, Fisker unveiled the Galpin-Fisker Rocket, a 725-hp, carbon-fiber-bodied Mustang that goes on sale next year.
Priced above $100,000 and sharing no sheet metal with a stock Mustang besides the doors and roof, the Rocket was envisioned as a modern -- not retro -- take on the Mustangs of the 1960s.
“I ...
     Continue reading "Fisker flexes muscle with coachbuilt 725-hp Mustang" » Nov 20, 2014 2:55 pm U.S. ET
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Apple's CarPlay goes missing in L.A. and in the showroom

Posted 11:09 am U.S. ET, Nov. 20
blogs
Honda plans to launch its HR-V small crossover in the spring and neither CarPlay nor Android Auto will be on board. (BLOOMBERG)
Tech giants Apple and Google have generated a lot of hype over the past 12 months over their plans to tightly integrate their smartphones and app technology with in-car infotainment systems.
Apple has made a show of publicly demonstrating its CarPlay software, which will enable drivers to use their dashboard screens and steering wheel buttons and knobs to control iPhone apps for navigating, streaming music and other tasks.
Google has touted the consortium of automakers, including General Motors and Audi, that are working to tailor infotainment systems around the company’s Android Auto technology. ...
     Continue reading "Apple's CarPlay goes missing in L.A. and in the showroom" » Nov 20, 2014 11:09 am U.S. ET
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Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept pays homage to past, future

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
blogs
The 2X, created by GM's North Hollywood Advanced Design Center, is more of a suit than a race car.
It’s ironic that the most futuristic Vision Gran Turismo virtual racer to date also has the deepest historical ties to motorsports.
Chevrolet revealed a real-life mock-up of its imaginative Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept during the Los Angeles Auto Show, simultaneously challenging the boundaries of vehicle design while paying homage to a legendary racing brand known for innovation.
The 2X will be available for download on “Gran Turismo 6” for the PlayStation 3 this holiday season, joining a slew of other concepts for the Vision Gran Turismo initiative that invites automakers to ...
     Continue reading "Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept pays homage to past, future" » Nov 20, 2014 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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Mercedes gives Maybach interior the silent treatment

Posted 11:09 am U.S. ET, Nov. 20
blogs
Mercedes has engineered the seals around the Maybach's doors with a tube-like shape that traps road and wind noise before it reaches the interior compartment. (BLOOMBERG)
One of the highlights of the new Mercedes-Maybach S600 superluxury sedan is something you’re not supposed to notice: noise, or more precisely, the lack of it.
Mercedes-Benz is touting the $200,000 car as the quietest on the road, and went to significant lengths to ensure the car’s occupants are sealed off from outside distractions.
The noise-deadening measures start with an extremely stiff underbody, which reduces vibration, said Hermann Storp, director of global S-class development. The body-in-white is made up of steel and aluminum treated with special coating that further inhibits noise. Th ...
     Continue reading "Mercedes gives Maybach interior the silent treatment" » Nov 20, 2014 11:09 am U.S. ET
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Honda opens Calif. garage to get Android rolling

Posted 1:00 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
blogs
Honda's hope is that by making it easier for programmers to work with Android Auto, it will spawn some killer apps for the car.
LOS ANGELES -- To help Google Inc.’s new Android Auto system gain favor, Honda Motor Co. is doing something rare in the auto industry: subsidizing its rivals.
Today, at a connected-car conference ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Google released the first software developer kit for Android Auto, which puts the navigation and other features from an Android smartphone onto a vehicle’s display screen.
But a developer kit needs developers.
Enter Honda, which today announced the opening of a garage in Silicon Valley for coders who want to write apps for Andro ...
     Continue reading "Honda opens Calif. garage to get Android rolling" » Nov 18, 2014 1:00 pm U.S. ET
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Just how bad is that traffic jam ahead? New tech lets drivers see it

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
Traffic apps that alert users about upcoming delays aren’t new.
Mobile app Waze, for instance, has turned the navigation experience into a community event thanks to a crowd-sourcing approach where drivers notify one another of upcoming road closures, police traps and traffic conditions -- dotting maps with an array of colorful notification icons.
It’s a useful tool.
But what if drivers could actually see what’s happening at a particular location on their vehicle screens when they’re 5 miles -- or even a couple states -- away?
Continue reading "Just how bad is that traffic jam ahead? New tech lets drivers see it" » Nov 18, 2014 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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