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Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars

  • Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars
  • 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk [w/video]
  • 2017 Jaguar XE
  • Ford reveals new F-150 Raptor packs 450 horsepower

Jonathon Ramsey

Jaguar XE to be built in China

Posted Feb 1st 2015 6:00PM

After a six-year absence, the Jaguar XE will return that most English of automotive companies to the compact premium segment, the brand's first whole-hearted launch into that market. For certain Western markets it begins production at the Land Rover plant in Solihull early next year, but it will also continue the brand's venture in to China having been chosen as the first Jaguar to be built there, according to a report in Automotive News.

Jaguar-Land Rover owns a plant in Changshu, a joint venture with Chery Automobile, that started building the Range Rover Evoque this year and will add the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Previously, The Leaping Cat was selling cars built from kits at its factory in Pune, India. The brand figures to sell 20,000 cars in China next year, which would be less than a fifth of in-country sales for the JLR group, but the XE is the "spearhead vehicle" that "could make significant inroads" there, according to Jaguar. For comparison, Audi moved 120,450 A4s alone and BMW sold more than 100,000 3 Series models in China in 2013.

Globally, Jaguar is predicted to sell 80,000 units this year. By 2017, after the release of the XE, new XF and coming crossover, plus factory expansions in China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, it hopes to get that number up to 200,000 units; Forbes has a piece detailing why they think it's possible. The JLR group is shooting for a target of 850,000 units worldwide by 2020.

Related Gallery2016 Jaguar XE
2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE

News Source: Automotive News Europe - sub. req. via Paul Tan

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Toyota holds onto crown of World's Largest Automaker

Posted Feb 1st 2015 10:01AM

Although there were hints and allegations that the Volkswagen Group might have taken the global sales crown for 2014, the final tally puts Toyota at the top with 10.23 million sales in 2014. We should really say it keeps Toyota at the top, since that makes three years in a row the Japanese company has been No. 1. Volkswagen Group came in second with 10.14 million units sold, General Motors in third with 9.92 million units sold.

This the first time for both Toyota and Volkswagen to pass 10 million sales in a single year. Toyota, including its Hino and Daihatsu divisions, did it with a three-percent increase in company-wide sales on the back of strong demand in Japan and North America. Its strength in developed markets might be the reason it loses the title this year, though; Toyota forecasts a two-per cent gain in sales outside of Japan, but a nine-per cent drop in its home market because of a new consumption tax that encouraged buyers to purchase before the end of last year. On top of that, turmoil in Southeast Asian economies like Thailand and Indonesia were down in 2014 and facing more headwinds. The company envisions 10.15 million sales in 2015.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, "has a jet engine strapped to its back called 'China,'" where Toyota is out-of-sorts. Volkswagen Group sales fell 2.9 per cent in the US last year, while Toyota gained 6.2 per cent here in North America. But Volkswagen roped in 3.7 million sales in China, a 12-per cent increase. Toyota enjoyed a huge bump of 12.5 per cent in China, but that only got it to 1.03 million units, missing its yearly target and leading to trouble with its Chinese dealers over unsold inventory.

With Toyota on the Chinese sidelines while Volkswagen guns for No. 1 status and pledges more production capacity in China – sales there are expected to top 25 million units this year – it looks like this could be the year the VW Group takes over the lead. That would be three years ahead of its original target of 2018. An analyst in Japan said Toyota is more focused on "keeping profitability than chasing numbers" – profitability is an issue for VW right now – so Toyota might not be back at the top "for [the] coming years."

Xcar shows how to drive the Ford Model T

Posted Jan 29th 2015 8:00PM

A few weeks ago Xcar posted a teaser review of the Ford Model T, a look at what the British duo would have been doing if they'd been doing their thing for 100 years. Now we have their complete, 12-minute take on the what might be, as they say, "arguably the most important car of the 20th century."

Thankfully, instead of just a review, Xcar spends about half the time giving us a tour of history, from Ford's early days working for the Edison Illuminating Company to his racing days and founding of several car companies that either died or became other car companies after he left, like Cadillac. They also line up the pieces and the sales realities that led to Ford implementing – not creating, mind you – assembly-line production of the Tin Lizzie.

And then they get into how crazy it is to drive, like how a driver needs two of the three pedals, the handbrake lever and a steering column stalk to get into high gear. Enjoy the video above on a 100-year-old car that is "unbelievably comfortable," "mildly terrifying" and ready to do just about anything.

News Source: Xcar via AOL ON

Why Edmunds took a sledgehammer to its 2015 Ford F-150

Posted Jan 28th 2015 4:00PM

The discussion around repair bills for the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 pickup continued from the beginning of last year to the end, and haven't abated; as an aside, some Tesla Model S owners have been shocked at disquieting repair estimates for minor damage to their aluminum wunder-sedans. Edmunds decided to inject some fact into the fray: it bought a US$52,000 long-term 2015 F-150 and clouted it with an eight-pound sledgehammer. Twice.

The rear of the bedside took the impacts since it couldn't be replaced, it would have to be repaired. To the pickup's credit, the only reason associate editor Travis Langness hit it twice was that the first sledgehammer blow didn't do as much damage as Edmunds wanted. After the second, the visible damage included the two direct impacts, a few creases, and a cracked taillight, so they drove the pickup to Santa Monica Ford to get an estimate, complete with a fictitious story about how the damage occurred and the mercy plea that Langness was paying for the repair out-of-pocket.

In Part 2 Langness hits on some of the details with getting the truck fixed, such as the massively expensive taillight and the list of tools Ford recommends dealers have to work on aluminum. But he was promised he'd have his truck back in seven days, and Santa Monica Ford got it back to him in seven days.

In Part 3 we get the bill. It's not small, but it's quite a bit less than it could have been if the service manager had charged Edmunds the official labor rate for aluminum. We're not going to spoil it here, so check out the videos below for the beginning and the end, and head over to Edmunds for the complete story about how it all happened and some riffing on the repair numbers.

News Source: Edmunds [1], [2], [3]

Nissan's front-engined Le Mans car caught testing at COTA

Posted Jan 27th 2015 8:00AM

As far as we can tell, not only is it true, it's wilder than we could have expected: not only does the Nissan LMP1 entry for Le Mans have its engine in the front, it apparently uses that combustion engine to power the front wheels while its KERS unit powers the rear wheels. Those rear wheels could be of smaller diameter than the front wheels, and total system horsepower for the racer "is a conservative 2,000 [hp]." And check out how far back that pilot is sitting... READ MORE

News Source: Jalopnik, Mulsanne Corner [1], [2]

Image Credit: Jalopnik

One man's love of vintage Honda motorcycles spawns new museum

Posted Jan 26th 2015 7:00PM

In 1977, David Silver got a Honda SS50 moped - it was the last year of unrestricted mopeds for riders just 16 years of age in the UK. That two-wheeler made him a fan, and starting his Honda parts business in 1986 made him a part of the Honda family.

He started collecting, with the idea that he'd eventually open a museum. During a visit to another amateur collector's trove in Pennsylvania, the Brit got the chance to purchase the 125 bikes the American collector had gathered, and his museum aspirations hit the fast-forward button.

He's in the process of building a proper home for the bikes in Suffolk, it should open later this year. There will be everything from the first Cub F engine that people could attach to bicycles in 1952, to two examples of the CB92 Benly Super Sport that showed how fast and how good a 125cc bike could be, to the first Fireblade that dropped in 1992 - our CBR 900RR, to the original Honda Dream. Honda says it could be one of the finest collections outside the company's museum in Japan.

You can watch Silver tell his story in the video below, and there's more on what's he'll have in an article in Honda's Dream magazine.

Related GalleryPetersen Automotive Museum Vault
Petersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum VaultPetersen Automotive Museum Vault

Honda Heritage Center: Quick Look

News Source: Honda Video, Dream magazine via YouTube

Reporter fails to understand how car ice scraper works

Posted Jan 26th 2015 1:00PM

We know exactly why this newscaster does not speak the language of ice scrapers – why the implement is so alien to her, in fact, that she doesn't even know where to use it. It's because she grew up in San Francisco and Sacramento, CA, where mention of an ice scraper is liable to make someone say, "I love fancy cocktails." This is just a theory, but it's possible she's never even seen an ice scraper in the wild, much less needed to demonstrate one.

This reporter moved from a reporting job in Los Angeles to KREM 2 News in Spokane, WA just last summer, making these months right now her first real winter. And that is how she got an on-air lesson in the esoteric mysteries the plastic stick with a brush at one end and a... thing... at the other. Check out the video below for another example of what happens when Californians discover weather.

News Source: Tripping Over Funny via YouTube

New Honda smart cruise control predicts other motorists' future idiocy

Posted Jan 24th 2015 6:00PM

It's not quite "Open the pod bay doors, Hal," but we're getting there: Honda is offering a predictive cruise control system on the Exectuve Grade Honda CR-V in Europe starting this year. Advancing the capabilities of the present adaptive cruise control, the Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) will be able to foresee and automatically react to other vehicles cutting in ahead of you up to five seconds ahead of it happening.

A research team developed the system after studying European driving patterns for years. The i-ACC keeps track of surrounding cars with a camera and radar, "evaluating relations between multiple vehicles" and running the data through an algorithm to figure out who's going to do what. If it detects another car about to move into your lane, the CR-V brakes softly and a dash light illuminates to let the driver know what's about to happen, then it brakes a little more firmly to keep the proper distance after the other car moves in.

Honda says it works in the UK and on The Continent because it knows which side of the road you're driving on. That means it could work here, but our guess is that it will take a while for that happen, our driving patterns being a little more erratic - and that's putting it kindly - than those of our Euro brethren. There's a press release below with more information.

News Source: Honda

EBR 1190 SX price and specs revealed

Posted Jan 24th 2015 8:00AM

Erik Buell Racing EBR 1190 SX motorcycle, front three-quarter view.

Erik Buell Racing has put a price to the 1190 SX "superfighter" it showed off recently at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: MSRP is US$16,995 (CAD$18,077). That's a US$2,000 discount compared to the 1190 RX superbike on which it's based. It also saves five pounds compared to the RX, that curtailed faring bringing the SX in at 414 pounds (188 kilograms). Horsepower and torque stay the same, at 184 hp and 101.6 pound-feet, while lean angle goes from from 55 degrees on the RX to a slightly more upright 48 degrees on the SX.

Buyers can choose one of three colours, Frost Bite White, Racing Red or Galactic Black that will go along with the charcoal contrasting and gunsmoke engine. You'll find a press release below with more information on the V-twin that EBR expects to redefine the category.

Related GalleryErik Buell Racing 1190RS
Erik Buell Racing 1190RSErik Buell Racing 1190RSErik Buell Racing 1190RSErik Buell Racing 1190RSErik Buell Racing 1190RSErik Buell Racing 1190RS

News Source: Erik Buell Racing