December 2014

More proof you can call anything a coupe

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(January 1, 2015) Now that BMW has the X4 and X6 in its SUV coupe lineup, Mercedes comes along with a crossover coupe of its own, the GLE Coupe. Set to debut at the 2015 Detroit show, the GLE line will be headed by the GLE Coupe AMG 4Matic, which features a twin-turbo V6 producing 362 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque, and sends power to the wheels through a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. To improve vehicle dynamics, the torque split is almost the exact opposite of the weight distribution at 40:60.

Born in Great Britain, dying in the U.S.

This Leyland tractor appears in the early stages of abandonment. Leyland Tractors was created after the merger of British Motor Corp. and Leyland Motors to form British Leyland in 1968. Leyland built tractors through 1982 in Bathgate, Scotland, before the company was sold to Marshall, Sons & Co. Marshall continued to build tractors until 1992 when production was stopped. We have no idea as to the year of this used-up Leyland. (Photo by Ralph Gable)

Volkswagen recalling 38,000 late-model cars for potential fuel leak

(December 31, 2014) The Volkswagen Group of America is recalling about 38,000 cars because a fuel leak in the engine may cause a fire. The automaker said no injuries or accidents have been reported. The recall covers 2014 to 2015 model years of the Volkswagen Beetle, Jetta, Passat and 2015 models of the Golf and GTI.

Hyundai to build two new manufacturing plants in China

(December 31, 2014) SEOUL — Hyundai announced on Tuesday that it would build two factories in China, its first new manufacturing plants since 2012 as the South Korean automaker bets on growth in the world's biggest car market even as the economy slows.

Hyundai said the factories, which will start production in 2016 and 2017, would help it better compete with rivals including Volkswagen and General Motors. Affiliate Kia Motors Corp. also said it would expand capacity at one of its three Jiangsu province factories to up to 450,000 vehicles by 2016 from 300,000 now.

Corvette dominates in value retention for 2014 at 84.7 percent

(December 31, 2014) MCLEAN, Va. —  In their final vehicle retention value report for the year, NADA Used Car Guide analysts detailed the one-year performance of all-new, or heavily redesigned mainstream car and truck models.

"We saw some real big winners and losers this past year when it comes to used vehicle value retention," said Jonathan Banks, executive analyst at the NADA Used Car Guide. "The 2014 Corvette dominated other models by retaining 84.7 percent of its typically-equipped manufacturer suggested retail price, while the more practical Mitsubishi Mirage performed the worst, holding only 54.5 percent of its original MSRP."

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to celebrate Shelby GT350

(December 30, 2014) MONTEREY, Calif. — The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most recognizable road racing cars of the ‘60s — the Shelby GT350 Mustang — as the 2015 featured marque Aug. 13-16, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Fiat Chrysler recalling nearly 67,000 pickups for ignition problem

(December 30, 2014) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Fiat Chrysler is launching a voluntary global recall of an estimated 66,819 older-model pickup trucks equipped with manual transmissions. The company will replace their clutch ignition interlock switches at no charge to customers.

Subaru of America reaches 500,000 sales milestone in 2014

(December 30, 3014) CHERRY HILL, N.J. — Subaru of America has reached a significant milestone in its history, by retailing 500,000 vehicles in a single calendar year.  The milestone caps a remarkable seven-year growth period for the brand in the U.S. in which the company has grown from 187,699 vehicle sales in 2008 to what will total over 500,000 sales in 2014, once the sales year closes on Jan. 2.

The growth in Subaru sales can be attributed to a combination of improved vehicle offerings, targeted and award-winning marketing and an improved retailer body, according to Subaru.

McConaughey back for more Lincoln TV spots starting Jan. 1

(December 30, 2014) DEARBORN, Mich. — In the bright spotlight of New Year’s Day college football bowl games, The Lincoln Motor Company will launch its newest ad campaign promoting the 2015 Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and featuring Matthew McConaughey.

Filmed in a style and tone consistent with last summer’s much-talked-about “Live in Your Moment” ads for the first-ever Lincoln MKC, the new campaign brings the attention back to the premium midsize sedan that has been Lincoln’s best-selling vehicle since arriving in showrooms two years ago.

Ford starts most comprehensive truck marketing campaign in history

(December 30, 2014) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford this week kicks off its most comprehensive truck marketing campaign ever to promote the all-new 2015 F-150. Available across the widest variety of communications platforms yet, from football to professional bull riding to country music to smartphones, Ford promises its new multichannel marketing campaign will reach truck customers where they work and play.