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The swoopy, titanium-body, bubble-top 1956 Firebird II was GM's vision of what driving could be like 20 years in the future. (Dave Versical)
 

The connected car -- circa 1956

Posted 1:30 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 9
DETROIT -- It turns out that the dream of self-driving connected cars is an old one.
Back in the 1950s, GM futurists envisioned a highway system that included a “Safety Autoway” that contained metallic strips embedded in the road. Those strips would be read by cameras and sensors on the road and be used to help control a car’s speed and direction.
Drivers would use a radio to contact a control tower to get real-time traffic information. When they were ready to switch into automated driving mode on the Safety Autoway, an “electronic brain” would take over control of the car, which featured a pair of screens on the dash, one for navigation and one for infotainment.
Continue reading "The connected car -- circa 1956" » Sep 9, 2014 1:30 pm U.S. ET
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Mustang and Coors -- scarcity made fans want them more

Posted 4:33 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 29
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The 2015 Mustang began rolling down an assembly line at a plant in Flat Rock, Mich., this week. (BLOOMBERG)
As I was coming of age in Indiana, Coors enjoyed elite status as an exotic beer you couldn’t buy anywhere east of the Mississippi River.
Coors was brewed without preservatives and would spoil quickly if it was transported long distances and allowed to get warm, or so the myth went. Because of its perceived purity and because it was not readily available, Coors became liquid gold to beer lovers, a hard-to-get delicacy that presaged the growth of the modern craft beer movement.
Hauling a case of Coors east became a rite of passage for college students in the 1970s. The 1977 action comedy film Smokey a ...
     Continue reading "Mustang and Coors -- scarcity made fans want them more" » Aug 29, 2014 4:33 pm U.S. ET
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See the wild Lexus NX spot too retro for outside Japan

Posted 10:35 am U.S. ET, Aug. 27
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The glitzy gala in Tokyo played host to a crowd of under-30 Tokyo trendsetters. (Hans Greimel)
TOKYO -- Drifting cars, techno music, string bikinis and foam parties. At first glance, Lexus’ new “Shampoo” TV spot seems tailor-made for the trendy young crowd the luxury brand craves.
But the brilliant, visually enticing commercial for the new NX compact crossover won’t air stateside. It’s a Japan-only pitch that Lexus execs deemed too retro for beyond these shores.
Blame it on the foam party, that turn-of-t ...
     Continue reading "See the wild Lexus NX spot too retro for outside Japan" » Aug 27, 2014 10:35 am U.S. ET
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Is Ford rolling the dice with changes to 2015 Mustang?

Posted 2:26 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 21
DETROIT -- Bigger. Heavier. Thirstier. More expensive.
It’s a recipe for killing a sports car.
The Toyota Supra, the original version of the Datsun/Nissan Z car, the Mitsubishi Eclipse and dozens of other sports and high-performance cars burned out and then faded away when they became bloated and less fuel efficient or moved up the price ladder.
Perhaps one reason Ford has been slow to dribble out all of the technical details surrounding the redesigned 2015 Mustang is to soften the blow of some major changes.
The new Mustang ...
     Continue reading "Is Ford rolling the dice with changes to 2015 Mustang?" » Aug 21, 2014 2:26 pm U.S. ET
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Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars

Posted 8:52 am U.S. ET, Aug. 16
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Automobili Lamborghini unveiled the Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo racecar to journalists and guests Friday at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fiat aside, Italian cars live in a rarefied world of the very rich and the very few.
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Pagani, Zagato -- those luminary brands barely add up to a percent of a percentage point worth of sales in America.
But oh, the mystique.
Oh, the power of the Italian design -- the curves of the Italian body and the seductiveness of their bold ways, even among Americans who in many cases have never owned one or even driven one.
This weekend, some 8,000 people will pay $155 each to cra ...
     Continue reading "Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars" » Aug 16, 2014 8:52 am U.S. ET
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Toyota redresses FT-1 concept

Posted 3:29 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
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It’s the second coming of the Toyota FT-1.
Toyota pulled the cover off of a second concept version of the FT-1 super sports car in Monterey, Calif., on Wednesday.
Both versions of the FT-1 were shown, squeezed between classic supercars and big business jets. Showing off both the first and second FT-1s in California is a good way to gauge popular reaction to the car among people who might buy it -- and to use that popular reaction to present a case to Tokyo to build the car.
Will it be built? No one is saying yet, but consider this: in the 41 years that Toyota's ...
     Continue reading "Toyota redresses FT-1 concept" » Aug 13, 2014 3:29 pm U.S. ET
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Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?

Posted 1:32 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
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The MX-5 Miata is expected to go on sale in the U.S. market next summer. (Instagram)
Ahead of its media reveal next month, an Instagram user in Japan may have snagged an early glimpse of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster.
A Miata fan snapped a photo of a roadster wrapped in line-blurring camouflage, but the car’s proportions make it seem like a plausible sighting of Mazda’s fourth-generation roadster.
Our colleagues at Autoweek say the giveaway is the rims used on the current-gen car. All will ...
     Continue reading "Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?" » Aug 13, 2014 1:32 pm U.S. ET
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Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury

Posted 3:09 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs
The shape of the XC90's headlight, dubbed Thor’s Hammer by Volvo designers, follows designs seen on recent Volvo concepts, including the Concept Estate.
Volvo again is pulling some of the wraps off the redesigned XC90 crossover before its formal reveal on Aug. 25 in Stockholm.
The latest teaser is a photo of the front corner with an all-new T-shaped running light accompanied by an explanation of the new “scalable product architecture” that the XC90 will ride on.
The headlights and grille evoke the Swedish brand’s future and its past.
The photo shows a modern LED element in the headlight borrowed from concept vehicles, and a grille with vertical bars that pay homage to Volvos from the 1980s and 1990s. ...
     Continue reading "Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury" » Aug 13, 2014 3:09 pm U.S. ET
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Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A year after opening an office in Ann Arbor, Mich., computer processor maker Nvidia Corp. continues its quest to bring modern computer power to the automobile.
For good reason. The connected car market is estimated to be worth $132 billion by 2019, according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research.
Nvidia is positioned to benefit as the lines blur between mobile devices, which now include the automobile. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is a $4.3 billion-a-year supplier of computing processors to the gaming industry, design software makers and consumer electroni ...
     Continue reading "Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars" » Aug 7, 2014 9:27 am U.S. ET
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Eurofication of Buick lineup continues with … an imported Regal?

Posted 1:51 pm U.S. ET, July 31
blogs
The Regal is due for a redesign in mid-2017.
The Buick Regal already is the most Euro-looking vehicle in Buick's lineup.
In a few years, it might literally be European.
All signs point to General Motors importing the Regal from Germany beginning in 2017, when the sporty sedan is due for its first redesign since the nameplate returned to the Buick lineup in early 2010, after a six-year hiatus.
Let me explain.
The Regal is assembled on the “flex” line at GM's Oshawa, Ontario, plant, along with the Chevy Camaro, Cadillac XTS and the new Chevy Impala. The plant's fut ...
     Continue reading "Eurofication of Buick lineup continues with … an imported Regal?" » Jul 31, 2014 1:51 pm U.S. ET
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