December 2015

The hedge car

The weeds have growen so high around this 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL that they appear to be an untrimmed hedge. The 450SEL designates a 4.5 cubic inch 8-cylinder engine, which made 180 horsepower mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. This series of S Class, manufactured from 1972 through 1980, was judged one of the safest cars on the road in that decade. (Photo by Jim Meachen)

Record number of inventions drives innovation at Ford

(December 22, 2015) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford employees delivered so many new inventions this year that the company has achieved a record number of new patents as Ford Smart Mobility and other initiatives continue to accelerate the pace of innovation.

Innovators at Ford submitted nearly 6,000 new inventions in 2015, with many related to autonomous and connected vehicles, wearable devices, eBikes, navigation, ride-sharing platforms and other technologies — an increase of 36 percent from 2014.

Lexus NX rides on wheels made from solid ice — check out the video

(December 22, 2015) BRUSSELS, Belgium — True to its mission of “creating amazing” and inspired by the craftsmanship that goes into every vehicle it makes, Lexus commissioned a team of ice sculpture specialists to explore how ice could be used in place of conventional alloy metal and rubber.

After three months’ research, design and testing, the finished wheels were fitted to a Lexus NX for the ultimate ice drive. The car itself was deep-frozen, stored for five days at -30°C (it started first time) before being driven off down a London road.

Nissan and BMW partner to deploy fast chargers across U.S.

(December 22, 2015) Nissan and BMW are joining forces to offer public fast charging at 120 locations across 19 states in an effort to support Nissan LEAF and BMW i3 customers and to promote increased adoption of electric vehicles nationwide.

With this partnership between two of the top EV manufacturers, Nissan and BMW address the growing demand for additional public fast-charging options in markets spanning the country, giving drivers the ability to easily extend the length of their electric travels.

Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia celebrates two milestones

(December 21, 2015) — Two major milestones recently occurred at Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia — the Salem, Va., facility celebrated its 25th anniversary and produced its 80 millionth tire. 

“These are two very significant achievements for Yokohama, particularly in the U.S.,” said Tetsuro (Tex) Murakami, YTMV president.

Buick sets third consecutive global sales record

(December 21, 2015) DETROIT — Buick will set a global sales record for the third consecutive year in 2015. In mid-December, annual sales surpassed last year’s record 1,170,115 vehicles driven by record sales in China and record crossover deliveries in the United States. Yearend sales for Buick are expected to surpass 1.2 million vehicles.

“Buick’s momentum is undeniable as new customers worldwide discover Buick’s lineup of beautiful, approachable premium vehicles,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick.

FCA adds 20 colleges to network of service training sites

(December 21, 2015) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles  program designed to develop a critical stream of highly trained technicians to work in its U.S. dealerships has added 20 colleges to its growing network of certified technical training sites.
FCA US established the program — known as Mopar CAP (Career Automotive Program) LOCAL — in partnership with the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) to train approximately 1,000 students annually.

Casting a critical eye at three Toyota products

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 21, 2015) It’s hard to understand how Toyota will get even more out of its TNGA architecture than it has gotten from the “New MC” platform. That structure is found under a wide variety of vehicles, from the Toyota RAV4/Lexus NX to the Toyota Corolla, last generation Prius, Scion xB, tC and iM, Toyota Avensis, Toyota Sai/Lexus HS, and more.

Find New Roads: A car guy's dream odyssey in a 2016 Chevy Camaro

By Russ Heaps
Clanging Bell

(December 20, 2015) I'm not the kind of guy who turns his nose up at the opportunity for a two-day drive simply because I've made the same trip a few times in the past. That the trip in question wound up in Albuquerque, where I find myself at least twice a year visiting family, doesn't mean I shouldn't go, should it? I mean, it's not the destination; it's the journey, right? Right.

Honda to show all-new Ridgeline pickup at Detroit auto show

(December 19, 2015) TORRANCE, Calif — Honda will challenge conventional thinking in the midsize pickup segment with the return of the Honda Ridgeline truck, set to make its world debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday, Jan. 11. 

Designed, developed and manufactured in America, the all-new Ridgeline is the fourth new or significantly refreshed light truck model introduced by Honda in the past 18 months and will hit roads nationwide in the first h
alf of next year.