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Nissan debuts first barrage of Altima ads

Posted Jun 20th 2012 1:35PM

Nissan has plenty to be proud of with its all-new 2013 Altima. The sedan promises to average 6.2L/100km (38 miles per gallon) on the highway, which is best-in-class for a non-hybrid. The new Altima also boasts a lighter and stronger frame, increased power and quicker acceleration among its many improvements.

As you'll see below, crafting an ad campaign is that much easier when you have so much to be proud of. Click here to watch the first four commercials that Nissan has lined up to introduce its new Altima to America.

In the first two, Nissan plays it straight with a raft of back-patting and a couple of jabs at the competition from Honda and Toyota. The second two spots aim for the funny bone while also pointing out new technology and hammering away at those all-important fuel economy numbers.

We're especially fond of the last commercial, which cleverly points out that the horn will honk when the tires have been filled to the optimum level. Funny stuff.

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Nissan expects Leaf sales to double when new plant comes online

Posted Jun 19th 2012 10:15AM

Nissan Leaf - blue - front three-quarter view

The Nissan Leaf isn't exactly flying off dealer shelves these days, but the slow-selling EV could receive a sales boost when some production is moved to Tennessee. Bloomberg reports that Nissan is ambitiously expecting to double Leaf sales once the plant comes online in December. The sales boost would then give Nissan a chance at hitting 20,000 sales for the fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2013.

It isn't out of the question that the Leaf could gain momentum with the help of local manufacturing, but first Nissan will need to get EV buyers in the showroom. Leaf sales have ebbed the past two months, falling behind the Chevrolet Volt in sales by more than a three-to-one margin. And speaking of margins, moving production to Tennessee from Japan should help Nissan's quest to make money on the Leaf thanks to lower labor and parts costs.

The Tennessee plant will be ramped up for Leaf production by December. The facility will be able to build up to 200,000 Leaf models and 150,000 battery packs per year.

Top Gear completes amazing double loop stunt [w/video]

Posted Jun 18th 2012 1:01PM

Top Gear double-loop attempt

The Top Gear team has made a bit of history at the Top Gear Festival in Durban, South Africa, as a stunt driver pulled off a double loop in front of a crowd of over 15,000. The event involved a 26-foot tall double loop track that looks to have come right out of a Hot Wheels box, except that it weighs over eight tons. The stunt vehicle of choice was a custom-made buggy with a throttle lock that could travel at a constant 40-45 km/h speed that the math geeks said was necessary for a successful "Deadly 720."

Click here to watch a nearly two-minute video that starts with cheering crowds and the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond and ends with the buggy stunt. We're thinking the best part of the video was the in-buggy view of the double loop.

News Source: Top Gear

Judge gives car thief break, thief gives judge's car a break-in

Posted Jun 14th 2012 8:30AM

Broken auto glass from break-in

Stealing cars is (obviously) against the law, and getting caught usually translates into a significant prison term. We're guessing the crime is just a bit stiffer if you're caught attempting to swipe the ride of a judge, especially if you just left her court room.

SF Gate reports that Judge Lillian Sing had just finished giving convicted felon Phillip Bernard a break after he missed some probation requirements when the gentleman walked out of the court room and used a weighted sock to smash a car window in the court parking lot. Of course, it happened to be the judge's vehicle, and Bernard timed his malfeasance so that two police officers just happened to be walking by when the incident occurred. We're guessing the move was either a string of complete stupidity or the 32-year-old homeless man actually wanted to go back to jail.

It should come as no surprise that Bernard is back behind bars and we're guessing the good judge probably won't be so lenient the next time she sees him.

News Source: SF Gate

Image Credit: RaleighWoman via Flickr CC 2.0

2013 Ford Flex

Posted Jun 6th 2012 11:45AM

More Of The Same Is Just Fine With Us

2013 Ford Flex

The Ford Flex hasn't seen much sales success since it first hit North American streets back in 2008, and its boxy flanks have been decidedly hit or miss with the buying public. Still, when we first got a chance to drive the Flex, the big crossover was a revelation. It was smooth yet brash, comfy and luxurious all at once. In hindsight, one could argue that this big boat stands as a harbinger of Ford's revival. After the Flex arrived, a re-imagined Fusion, a much-improved Edge, the Explorer crossover and the new Focus all bowed.

The Flex was a big step forward for the Blue Oval in terms of refinement and bold design, but three-row crossover buyers are clearly looking for something more. Fortunately for Ford, the 2013 model year brings with it a refresh of its worst-selling Blue Oval-badged crossover, with more power, additional technology and a new face. Has Dearborn fiddled with the Flex formula enough to finally turn its most unique-looking crossover into a sales success? Only the market will determine that, but we spent a week with the vehicle to determine if it might have a shot.
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Dodge Durango will be discontinued, but SRT model for Journey planned

Posted Jun 5th 2012 11:00AM

Chrysler has gotten on pretty well in the post-bankruptcy world, with a big assist from its newest master. But while Chrysler has seen dramatic improvement thanks to refreshes and a few new models, the next couple years could be very exciting.

Automobile Magazine recently got the chance to talk cars with CEO Sergio Marchionne, and the charismatic leader apparently had plenty to say. Among the top headlines are the reported upcoming death of the Dodge Avenger in 2014 and Dodge Durango in 2016. We're thinking nobody will miss the Avenger, but the Durango sounds like a bit of a bummer.

That's until we see that the Durango will be replaced by a Jeep Wagoneer; a rehash of an old name based on the same platform and engine choices of the Dodge three-row utility. The Durango platform will also spawn the Maserati Kubang (which will likely be named something else), a move that should go a long way toward helping Maserati hit 50,000 units per year.

The Wagoneer is just the tipping point for new Jeeps on the way. Among the other models expected are an all-new Liberty in 2013 followed by a new Patriot in 2014 and a Fiat 500-based subcompact crossover tentatively named Jeepster.

The Chrysler brand should also look a bit more interesting as the 200 gets re-imagined for 2013 and the Town & Country morphs into a crossover in 2015. The Chrysler brand will reportedly also get a Dodge Dart-based 100 compact, but not until 2016 or later, which seems like a long way off.

Among the other interesting vehicles expected to bow are as many as six Alfa Romeo models including the 4C Coupe, the next MiTo, the Giulietta and an unnamed crossover. And then there will be a smattering of new Fiat 500 models including the 500L and the XL, which will reportedly feature seating for up to seven.

The SRT lineup will also be getting a sheetmetal injection with the addition of the Dart SRT4 and the Journey SRT6. Now if Sergio Marchionne can make the Journey exciting, he'll be up for auto executive of the decade!

News Source: Automobile Magazine

2012 Buick Regal eAssist [w/video]

Posted Jun 4th 2012 11:57AM

Jump-Starting An Already Solid Sedan

2012 Buick Regal eAssist

There is a huge push by most automakers to incorporate green hybrid technology into future products. The reasons for this are many, and they include improved public perception, better Corporate Average Fuel Economy numbers and a push to continually improve the technology. The craze really caught on with the Toyota Prius, though it was started in North America by Honda and Ford got in the game with the Escape Hybrid.

General Motors has taken a different approach to hybrid tech with a combination of technologies that includes the Voltec system used in the Chevrolet Volt and the Two-Mode Hybrid system that has been relegated to GM light-duty trucks and large SUVs. The third and most affordable option is eAssist, which utilizes a small, 65-pound 115V lithium-ion battery and a 15-horsepower electric motor to improve fuel economy by up to 25 per cent.

We spent a week in a well-heeled 2012 Buick Regal with eAssist to gain a better understanding of the technology and to see how well GM's Gen II mild hybrid tech works in the real world.
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Truck crashing through bar definitely spills a few drinks

Posted Jun 3rd 2012 2:01PM

truck crashes bar

Patrons at Gordie's Place in Little Canada, Minnesota are lucky to be alive after a driver crashed her pickup into the bar. Six adults were taken to the hospital, including the driver, who apparently suffered a medical condition while behind the wheel.

Two patrons were seriously injured, and after looking at the video, which is posted below, it's incredible that anyone survived the violent impact at all. The truck also ran down a telephone pole before hitting the bar, but as you can see in the video, it did little to slow the pickup.

Toyota IQ minicar goes where Google Street View can't [w/video]

Posted May 31st 2012 1:00PM

iq google street view

Google Street View vehicles have logged block after block in an effort to display video of every street imaginable, but unfortunately the G-Mobile is too big for a few European roads. But instead of leaving the thin and narrow out of Street View, Team Google has employed the diminutive Toyota iQ onto the smallest streets in Belgium to to go where Google Street View previously could not travel.

Click Here to watch the little iQ do its thing. Some of the roads only look big enough for a Schwinn, but the smallest Toyota does the trick just fine.