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Mini will go missing from this year's New York auto show. (BLOOMBERG)
 

Mini pulls the pranks and N.Y. stand -- for now

Posted 10:45 am U.S. ET, March 31
Mini has been a fixture at the New York auto show since the brand was relaunched in the United States in 2002.
But don’t look for the British marque this year. Mini USA, saying its money is better spent on experiential marketing, is skipping the 2015 New York auto show.
One possible reason: The brand has no products to unveil in the nation’s biggest media market.
“Mini is different so they are allowed to try different things and to reach out to customers and prospects with new programs,” a spokesman for parent company BMW of North America says.
After a down year in 2014, Mini’s U.S. sales are recove ...
     Continue reading "Mini pulls the pranks and N.Y. stand -- for now" » Mar 31, 2015 10:45 am U.S. ET
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How Ford is stealing the show again -- this time with Continental

Posted 10:30 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs

NEW YORK -- Ford Motor Co. seems to have its formula for creating auto show buzz down pat these days.
Let a major competitor talk about an upcoming important new vehicle for months, even years, then swoop in with a surprise just as that competitor is finally unveiling that vehicle.
Ford stole Acura’s thunder at the Detroit auto show in January, rolling out its own supercar, the GT, hours ahead of the long-awaited NSX.
It took some wind out of the Chevrolet Silverado’s sails two years ago with the Atlas concept for its aluminum-bodied F-150.
Continue reading "How Ford is stealing the show again -- this time with Continental" » Mar 31, 2015 10:30 am U.S. ET
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Why Jeep should have its own performance division

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs
The most requested vehicle that Jeep won't build is a small pickup based on the Wrangler. Could that change?
Jaguar Land Rover last summer set up a division called Special Vehicle Operations. Its mission: Create high-performance production models, vehicle personalization products and low-volume, high-value limited-edition vehicles for both brands.
The first product will be a special version of the F-Type sports car, the Project 7. It will sell for about $165,000 -- a $66,000 premium over the standard F-Type R. Only 50 Project 7s will be available next year in the United States, Jaguar spokesman Stuart Schorr says.
This has me wondering: Is there an American brand that could set up a division for high-performance ...
     Continue reading "Why Jeep should have its own performance division" » Mar 31, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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2016 Chevy Camaro slims down

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, March 31
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The 2016 Chevy Camaro will weigh in at 200 pounds lighter than the fifth-generation model, which will put curb weight for the SS versions at about 3,700 pounds and LS and LT models at about 3,500 pounds.
The Camaro team was challenged to improve handling, acceleration and fuel economy for the redesigned 2016 car. That’s a tall order, unless you consider the easiest solution (at least theoretically): reducing mass.
“We kept the cornering confidence and control that make the Gen 5 Camaro 1LE so fun to drive, and added a greater sense of agility,” said Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer for the ...
     Continue reading "2016 Chevy Camaro slims down" » Mar 31, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Can these cars fuel brand comebacks?

Posted 10:15 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs
A spy photo of the iA, Scion's first sedan.
Every vehicle that rolls out this week at the New York auto show represents a high-stakes bet. Hundreds of millions of dollars, years of work.
But some vehicles have even more riding on them.
These are linchpin vehicles from several of the industry’s comebacks in progress, offerings from automakers who need to make a statement. They may be striving to revive a sagging brand, or to atone for what was -- let’s be diplomatic -- a less-than-stellar vehicle in today’s lineup.
That’s why these vehicles merit an especially close look:
Continue reading "Can these cars fuel brand comebacks? " » Mar 31, 2015 10:15 am U.S. ET
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The latest tech is great -- until you have to replace it

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 24
blogs
It costs $380 to replace the menacing taillight on the 2015 Dodge Durango SUV.
At night, the thin band of bright red LEDs on the rear of the 2015 Dodge Durango stares back at the drivers behind like an evil-looking menace in a space helmet.
It’s one of the most unique lighting signatures on the road today.
Just don’t hit it.
There is a downside to rapidly advancing automotive technology: Break something, and you’ll pay an eye-popping amount to get it fixed.
We all know about showroom sticker shock. Average transaction prices for light vehicles in the United States hit Continue reading "The latest tech is great -- until you have to replace it" » Mar 24, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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That vroom-vroom … is it real or digital?

Posted 11:03 am U.S. ET, March 20
COLUMBUS, Ind. -- Andrew Pontius, Faurecia’s chief exhaust engineer, sat in the front seat of a BMW 328i sedan. With his finger on an iPad touchscreen and one foot on the accelerator pedal, he showed me how exhaust sounds will be generated in the future. 
Pontius revved the Beemer’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. With a touch of the iPad screen, the engine emitted the sensual moan of a V-6 Maserati. 
With another touch, I heard the throaty roar of a BMW M3 V-8. Next, the V-8 muscle car growl of a 2014 Ford Mustang 5.0-liter V ...
     Continue reading "That vroom-vroom … is it real or digital?" » Mar 20, 2015 11:03 am U.S. ET
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Small utility vehicles' big payoff

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, March 17
blogs
Jeep's Renegade. (BLOOMBERG)
Tiny crossovers and SUVs could be immune to America’s long-standing love-hate relationship with small cars. We love ’em when gasoline is expensive and shun ’em when it’s cheap.
But gasoline is cheap right now, and the new crop of tiny SUVs and CUVs such as the Nissan Juke and Buick Encore is off to a fast start. U.S. consumers are gladly paying thousands of dollars more for rugged-looking small vehicles that offer the ability to haul gear and a slightly higher ride height and seating position.
And the cherry on top for automakers is the low investment required to create a small uti ...
     Continue reading "Small utility vehicles' big payoff" » Mar 17, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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2016 Mazda MX-5 curb weight: 2,332 pounds

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, March 17
blogs
The redesigned Mazda Miata MX-5 is nearly as light as the original, yet with a power-to-weight ratio exceeding that of its predecessor.
As fans of lightweight roadsters know, it’s hard for manufacturers to continually lighten and shrink cars, especially with changing safety and efficiency regulations.
But Mazda’s still fighting the good fight -- and winning. The 2016 Miata MX-5 roadster will tip the scales at just 2,332 pounds.
Mazda said the new MX-5's curb weight would be close to the first generation’s flab, which turns out to be almost true. The original Miata for North America came in at about 2,210 pounds, just 122 pounds less than the new one. With 26 years of regulations in between, that’s a pretty good res ...
     Continue reading "2016 Mazda MX-5 curb weight: 2,332 pounds" » Mar 17, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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A test drive converts a Cadillac skeptic

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, March 10
blogs
The Cadillac ATS with a turbo 4 cylinder engine: A surprise to drive for one skeptic. (BILL TRUETT)
There’s one last item to address before we close the book on my recent column about General Motors’ latest efforts to reposition Cadillac.
Thanks to central Florida Cadillac dealer Alan Starling, we tested my theory that a good way to obliterate Cadillac’s lingering dinosaur brand image is simply to let people drive the cars.
In a previous column, I mentioned that my brother’s mental image of what Cadillac is tod ...
     Continue reading "A test drive converts a Cadillac skeptic" » Mar 10, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Product news
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Chevy Malibu sheds weight, gains room with sculpted 2016 makeover
12:01 am U.S. ET, April 1
The next-generation Chevrolet Malibu will be larger, lighter, packed with new safety gear and wrapped in sheet metal that signals Chevy's ambition to... ...
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Cadillac touts big CT6 as driver's car, answer to Germans
Cadillac continued its comeback quest by introducing the CT6, a rear-wheel-drive sedan riv ...
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Did Lincoln Continental rip off Bentley? Design chiefs clash online
A row between Bentley and Lincoln's design chiefs erupted late Monday after Ford showed th ...
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Scion packs new iM, iA with advanced electronics, safety gear
Toyota is banking on new technology to give momentum to its struggling Scion brand. ...
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Jaguar XF redesign boasts more aluminum, interior room
Jaguar is stepping up its game with the redesigned 2016 XF sedan, which features aluminum- ...
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Cadillac mulls lower-priced, entry-level vehicle, de Nysschen says
Cadillac is considering a lower priced, entry-level luxury vehicle, one of several holes i ...
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Ford grappling with premature demands for $400k GT supercar
Ford has a problem, though not necessarily the worst kind: Too many people want to pay abo ...
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Honda, like Mercedes, to test self-driving cars at Calif. military base
Honda said today it plans to join Mercedes-Benz in testing its self-driving cars at the Co ...
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GMC Terrain undergoes facelift for 2016
GMC, riding a hot streak in sales of utility vehicles, introduced a face-lifted version of ...
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The 26-year-old design prodigy behind Honda's new S660
Honda will soon learn whether giving a designer with no engineering experience five years ...
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Hyundai plans to have autonomous tech on road by 2020
Hyundai said today it aims to commercialize autonomous driving capabilities in some of its ...
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Lincoln to bring back Continental name
Lincoln is resurrecting the Continental name and phasing out the brand's signature split-w ...
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Base 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata to start at $25,735
The new Mazda MX-5 Miata will start at $25,735. That's a price bump of $1,125 over the out ...
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Tesla’s Model X hits the streets
Tesla’s Model X crossover, which goes on sale this summer, was spotted testing near ...
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Chevy, supplier tweak Volt battery pack for more range
To boost the 2016 Chevrolet Volt's electric-only driving range to 50 miles from 38 on the ...
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