Category: People

By on November 25, 2016

Audi logo badge emblem

Audi was in the market for a new technical development chief after losing the last two to Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal. This time around it wisely decided to shop outside of the company store, poaching top Volvo R&D chief Peter Mertens.

The automaker has high hopes for its growing crop of Swedish-sourced talent.

Read More >

By on November 25, 2016

repo man pays off car Belleville News Democrat

Repossessing cars is what Jim Ford does for a living. Getting shot at while hooking up tow chains and being threatened with tire irons might have hardened another man, but Ford, 41, who owns Illini Recovery in Belleville, Illinois, isn’t that other man. He understands what the people whose cars he takes are going through and tries to make it a little easier. Instead of sneaking away with their ride, he knocks on doors, tells the debtors what’s going on and gives them a chance to retrieve personal items.

As Ford told the Belleville News-Democrat, “I may be getting soft in my old age but you get more done with kindness.”

Ford ended up doing a lot more than just letting Stanford and Patty Kipping, of Red Bud, get their personal items from their car. Kipping is 82 and his wife is 70 and recent increases in the cost of their prescriptions and other bills put a dent in their fixed income, causing them to skip several $95 monthly payments on their used 1998 Buick. After speaking with them, Ford contacted their bank and tried to work out a revised payment schedule on their $2,501 debt for them, but the financial institution said no, so on the hook the car went.

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By on November 21, 2016

Bowler Defender

Drew Bowler, the founding father of monstrous rally-ready Land Rovers, passed away unexpectedly on November 14th. For over 30 years, Bowler Motorsports has produced a succession of iconic vehicles for winning trials, hill rallies, comp safaris, and raids.

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By on November 18, 2016

2011 Ford Mustang GT

Being topographically challenged (for the most part), Oklahoma’s highways serve as a great staging ground to find out exactly what your tricked-out Mustang can do. A young man and his police escorts recently discovered this, and even the cops walked away impressed.

Angry, but impressed.

That, and it’s the horniest time of the year for our many venison-laden friends of the forest, which means impressive roadway acrobatics and unplanned feasts…after the break. Read More >

By on November 12, 2016

Clarence Ditlow, Image: Luis Alvarez/Associated Press

Passionate automotive safety advocate and longtime Center for Auto Safety executive director Clarence Ditlow has died at age 72.

From his early work with Ralph Nader to his 40 years at CAS, Ditlow was by all accounts a shy, hard-working man who turned into an attack dog when he felt an automaker’s neglect put drivers’ safety at risk. Read More >

By on November 10, 2016

Ford Chihuahua Plant in Mexico

Not knowing what to expect from President-elect Donald Trump once he moves into the White House, automakers spend yesterday issuing nice-sounding congratulatory messages that masked an industry-wide concern over what happens next.

Formal pleasantries aside, one automaker feels that Trump’s policies could stand to benefit its bottom line. Read More >

By on November 9, 2016

Ford F150 assembly line

That sound you hear — besides that of pollsters hastily preparing new career paths — is the American automobile industry collectively holding its breath.

Donald Trump’s move from presidential candidate to president-elect, largely the result of disaffected voters in traditional manufacturing hot spots (though a nationwide movement to shake up D.C. can’t be ignored), could spell a tumultuous near future for automakers.

“May you live in interesting times,” the saying goes. How interesting remains to be seen. Read More >

By on November 8, 2016

2015-Ford-Focus-15

The problematic dual-clutch transmission that owners love to hate has made enemies around the globe, and yet another country is ready to send its PowerShift anger Ford’s way.

Canadian Ford owners are poised to join the U.S. and Australia in leveling a class-action lawsuit against the automaker over the balky automated manual transmission, which many claim is unsafe. Meanwhile, the Great White North’s transportation regulator has the Blue Oval in its sights, and a future recall isn’t off the table.

While known for their politeness, nothing gets a Canuck peeved like multiple tranny swaps.  Read More >

By on November 4, 2016

russia

There lived a certain man

In Russia not long ago…

Seemingly ordinary Russian men are prone to incredible — even Herculean — feats of strength and endurance, but the world didn’t know this until cheap dash cams became available in the Motherland. Watch as one truck (or SUV, we can’t tell) challenges its owner to a race.

That, an impromptu pants change leads to disaster in Vermont, and what to do if you spot a police officer driving your stolen Nissan, all after the break. Read More >

By on November 4, 2016

volkswagen 1938

The sudden termination of historian Manfred Grieger’s contract with Volkswagen is generating controversy in Germany, with some accusing the automaker of trying to put a lid on its dark past.

Grieger spent 18 years on the VW payroll, and was hired specifically to air the automaker’s dirty laundry. During his time with the company, Grieger penned detailed accounts of Volkswagen’s wartime use of forced labor from concentration camps while opening up the company’s archives to journalists and historians.

The New York Times reports that his contract came to an end this week. Some suspect that Grieger’s criticism of a report on Audi’s past led to his departure, and they worry VW could be trying to downplay revelations about its history with the Nazis and Brazil’s military dictatorship. Read More >

By on November 4, 2016

sema-show-2016-show-floor-2

Federal authorities busted numerous nefarious organizations for selling illicit auto parts at the SEMA show this week.

That, the automotive industry loses Martin Leach, endangering lives has led Takata to mull bankruptcy, and VW’s diesel emissions scandal continues as the company races for the finish line… after the break!

Read More >

By on November 1, 2016

Fisker EMotion

Auto executive and hypeman extraordinaire Henrik Fisker has trickled out details and images of his upcoming electric supercar, the EMotion, but the details simply raise more questions about the vehicle and its technological feasibility.

Eye-rolling name and marketing buzzwords aside, the CEO of the newly formed Fisker Inc. has laid bare the basic abilities of the vehicle, which is expected to debut next year. Boasting a predicted range of 400 miles, the EMotion’s long legs and claimed top speed of 161 miles per hour all depend on a cutting edge technology that some experts say is flawed — at least for use in electric cars.

Fisker, always the optimist, claims this isn’t a problem. Read More >

By on October 31, 2016

Comma One Rear

George Hotz announced he was cancelling the Comma One project last week in response to an information request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At first glance, this might appear to be a bit of government overreach. However, once you start digging into the letter, it’s apparent the questions are reasonable and easy to answer.

The main goal of the questionnaire is to assess the safety of the Comma One device. NHTSA set a deadline of November 10th to receive the response or Hotz would risk a $21,000 a day fine. Hotz claims that the letter was threatening.

Lets look at the questions in detail and see how they break down.

Read More >

By on October 26, 2016

2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 EcoDiesel

Ram’s September sales surge grew its share of the full-size pickup segment, but only after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles threw incentives at buyers that easily topped those of its Detroit Three rivals.

Expect that to continue, says FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. While some automakers, namely Ford, have slowed production to keep pace with lower demand, FCA sees an opportunity to spend more to sell more. Read More >

By on October 24, 2016

CarMax in Raleigh, Image: Ildar Sagdejev [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0]/Wikimedia Commons

When is a completed inspection report not a completed inspection report? When it’s issued by CarMax, a California appeals court has ruled.

The court found the country’s largest used vehicle retailer in violation of a state law requiring detailed inspection checklists for certified used vehicles, Automotive News reports. The ruling, which stems from a lawsuit filed by a customer who claimed CarMax sold him a “certified” lemon, shines light on the retailer’s dodgy vehicle inspection practices. Read More >

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