September 2014

Ram increases diesel mix to 20 percent of pickup production

(October 1, 2014) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The 2015 Ram 1500 is America’s most fuel-efficient pickup truck with its exclusive 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel that packs 240 horsepower, 420 lb.-ft. of torque and 28 miles per gallon. Fuel economy and the exclusivity of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is being credited for Ram’s decision to increase the diesel powertrain mix to 20 percent of the total Ram 1500 production volume — double the initial expectation.

Honda refreshes CR-V crossover for 2015 model year

(September 30, 2014) TORRANCE, Calif. — Launching at Honda dealerships nationwide on Oct.1, the new 2015 Honda CR-V receives the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in its history, with a new direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC engine and continuously variable transmission, a new suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver assistive features, exterior and interior styling updates, a long list of new standard and available features and a new premium Touring trim.

Extra performance, luxury pumped into Hyundai Genesis

(September 30, 2014) FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — ARK Performance Inc. has released details for its Genesis AR550 sedan for the 2014 SEMA auto show, taking the 2015 Genesis V8’s already stellar performance to a whole new level.

For the tuner’s sixth Hyundai vehicle built for SEMA, ARK injected the Genesis with performance characteristics on par with German super-sedan rivals like Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW M. The vehicle will be revealed at Hyundai’s SEMA press conference on Nov. 4.

Toyota recalling 690,000 Tacoma pickups over rear suspension issue

(September 30, 2014) Toyota said it will recall about 690,00 Tacoma 4X4 and Tacoma pre-runner pickup trucks in the U.S. to fix issues with the vehicles' rear suspension system. Toyota said it was not aware of any injuries due to the potential defect. The vehicles belong to model years 2005-2011, the company said.

"The involved vehicles' rear suspension system contains leaf springs that are constructed of either three or four leaves. There is a possibility that a leaf could fracture due to stress and corrosion," Toyota said in a statement on Monday.

Special 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat sells for $825,000 for charity

(September 30, 2014) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Dodge auctioned the first production 707-horsepower 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat VIN0001, the most powerful and fastest muscle car ever, for $825,000 at the Sept. 27 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2014 auction benefitting Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit organization that serves people with significant intellectual disabilities in the Las Vegas area.

Ford's game-changing 2015 F-150 revealed to world

(September 30, 2015) Ford's much discussed and ballyhooed F-150 truck was revealed to the world this week. Ford calls the 2015 F-150 "the reinvention of America’s favorite pickup" and the Blue Oval company is betting big time that the world's best selling vehicle will remain at the top of the heap with the new pickup, which uses an unprecedented amount of aluminum for a vehicle with nearly three-quarter million sales a year.

Camouflaging new Chevrolet Volt is a balancing act

(September 29, 2014) DETROIT — The styling of the next-generation Chevrolet Volt is one of the automotive world’s best-kept secrets. Keeping customers and media eager to see the successor to the groundbreaking original at bay until the new Volt debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January is tricky business.

First, it is engineers, not designers, who are charged with creating camouflage that balances styling secrecy with the need to validate the Volt and its systems in public.

Volkswagen showing new European Passat plug-in hybrid at Paris show

(September 29, 2014) PARIS — The new European edition of the Volkswagen Passat will be unveiled at the Paris auto show in the form of a new plug-in hybrid, which in this case means the combination of a turbocharged direct injection gas engine with an electric motor.

The eighth generation Passat is currently being launched in Europe.

Creating a car company from scratch — the story of Zenos Cars

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 29, 2014) “I’m a mechanical engineer by first degree,” says, Zenos Cars CEO Ansar Ali “and a pretty bad one at that. So, like any engineer who realizes he’s not going to be a good one, I went and got an MBA." What happened next set him on his present course.

Under the skin of the Zenos E10

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 29, 2014) Unfortunately, the U.S. government doesn’t allow small automakers to certify their vehicles to a less restrictive set of regulations. In our ridiculously litigious nanny state, Big Brother feels that he cannot allow buyers to purchase a vehicle that doesn’t have the latest airbag technology, bumpers that can deflect small planets without damage, and that rely on driver-centered active safety instead of electronic babysitters.