January 2015

2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch — Making an aging vehicle relevant

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 1, 2015) After they dropped off the Expedition King Ranch at the palatial TVD offices (between Starbucks and Big Lots, but close to the park) my mindset was this: Unless you are concentrating solely on the area forward of the A-pillars, this isn’t a new vehicle. It’s a make-do until the new one arrives, which puts it at a distinct disadvantage when compared to GM’s new full-size, body-on-frame SUVs.

Scion bringing Speedhunters Tuner Challenge-winning FR-S to Chicago

(January 31, 2015) CHICAGO — The winning vehicle of Scion’s 10th annual Tuner Challenge is coming to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Speedhunters-designed “Maximum Attack” Scion FR-S makes its first public appearance since November when it was crowned winner of the Scion Tuner Challenge at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

Toyota tests technology to make hybrids even more efficient

(January 31, 2015) Toyota is testing new technology that could make hybrids and other vehicles with electric powertrains even more efficient. The year-long trial in Japan will evaluate the performance of new power semi-conductors that use a silicon carbide (SiC) material, fitted to a Camry hybrid sedan prototype and a hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus.

Toyota to recall 52,000 Avalon sedans for audio system wire problem

(January 30, 2015) Toyota said it plans to recall about 52,000 Avalon sedans from the 2011-12 model years for wiring that could cause a fire.

Cargo could contact a wire from the audio system’s subwoofer inside the trunk. The cargo could push a wire out of its normal position, and if the wire touches the subwoofer’s metal frame, a short circuit could occur, potentially overheating the subwoofer and increasing the risk of a fire.

Kia to reveal rugged electric all-wheel drive concept in Chicago

(January 30, 2015) Kia announced on Thursday that it will unveil a rugged concept car with electric all-wheel drive at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 12.

“Intended to enable a wide array of outdoor activities from skiing and snowboarding to camping, hiking and mountain biking, this rugged runabout captures the essence of adventuring at higher elevations with the promise of sure-footedness in the wild,” Kia said in a statement on the concept.

Hyundai tees off with David Feherty in new ad campaign

(January 30, 2015) FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — Hyundai has teamed up with the host of the Feherty show, current CBS golf analyst and former PGA Tour player David Feherty as the company's first golf ambassador. In this role, Feherty will be the voice and face of Hyundai Golf, lending to golf initiatives, making appearances at Hyundai sponsored golf events and starring in the company's latest commercials that will premiere on his show Feherty on the Golf Channel this week.

Performance testing at Milford Proving Ground reveals best of vehicles

(January 30, 2015) DETROIT — To develop performance cars, automakers depend on fundamental analysis, but it’s the test tracks and road courses that bring out the best in a vehicle. The collection of roadways assembled at the 90-year-old Milford Proving Ground has more than 140 miles covering parts of two Michigan counties.

Ford reports fifth straight year of profitability, but earnings off in 2014

(January 29, 2015) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford today reported a 2014 full-year pre-tax profit of $6.3 billion, the company’s fifth consecutive year of both profitability and positive automotive operating-related cash flow. Company results, which were consistent with September guidance, were driven by profitability in North America, record results in Asia Pacific, and the highest Ford Credit profit since 2011.

But Ford posted a drop in fourth-quarter profit and said earnings fell 56 percent in 2014 as it introduced 24 vehicles worldwide while U.S. market share declined.

Ford issues two safety recalls involving about 221,000 vehicles

(January 29, 2015) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford is issuing two safety recalls, one concerning a spring that controls the interior door handles, and the other for a safety belt issue in Ford Transit Connect vehicles. No accidents or injuries are attributed to either of these conditions. The recalls involve about 221,000 vehicles.

Mecum Auctions makes history with nearly $70 million in sales

(January 29, 2015) WALWORTH, Wis. — At the epicenter of central Florida in the land where dreams come true and lifelong memories are made, Mecum Auctions made history with its first collector car auction of 2015. Total sales for the 10-day event approach the $70-million mark, currently standing at $68,801,987.

Of the 2,404 vehicles that crossed the auction block, 1,772 hammered sold for a commanding sell-through rate of 74 percent.