March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
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November 25, 2014 in Uncategorized
Posted by semashow
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November 25, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Quick: What’s the best BMW a true driving enthusiast can buy right now? I know what your immediate answers are, but if you think deeply about them for a second, you might realize you’re wrong.
Plan on repairing or modifying a car in the garage this weekend? You might want to first consult a copyright lawyer.
“It gives manufacturers the power to control secondary markets by leveraging the copyright law, if it doesn’t include enough of a safety valve.” – Kit Walsh.
In a development that illustrates just how much cars have become mobile computers on wheels, a privacy group is warning mechanics and car enthusiasts that tinkering with the computers that run dozens of vehicle components, without a manufacturer’s approval, may constitute a copyright violation.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit watchdog, says the Digital Millennium Copyright Act may prohibit modifying the code that runs these small computers, known as electronic control units (ECU). The organization is asking the US Copyright Office to exempt hobbyists and home mechanics from the law. In the petition, the EFF asks the office to eliminate the legal risks posed to vehicle owners who are “engaged in a decades-old tradition of mechanical curiosity and self-reliance.”
Once every three years, the Copyright Office holds hearings to consider whether certain activities should be exempt from the DMCA’s Section 1201, which restricts people from circumventing technological measures that control access to “protected works.” No dates have yet been set, but a ruling is expected by mid-2015.
“The general principle at stake is that people who own a device are the ones in control of what it does, rather than be constrained to use it only in the way a manufacturer wants,” says EFF staff attorney Kit Walsh. “The idea of ownership, in a way, is under threat when the law prevents you from altering a product in any way.”
It seems a test drive just isn’t enough to sell customers on a new car these days. So to help promote the new Chrysler 200, the automaker partnered with Wieden+Kennedy Portland, Stopp, and MPC Creative to produce an Oculus Rift virtual reality experience that gives buyers not only a tour of the car, but the process of how it was designed and built.
The Mitsubishi Mirage easily takes the cake as the worst new car I’ve driven in the last year. Actually, make that the worst new car I’ve driven in several years (Side Note: when was the last time I drove a Smart Fortwo?). But regardless of what I, or my colleagues, think about the Mirage, it’s selling decently – Mitsubishi has moved over 14,000 of them so far this year, which is actually higher than the company initially expected. And now, we’ve got official confirmation that the sedan version is headed our way.
This isn’t really shocking, considering earlier reports, but Motor Trend received further confirmation of the Mirage sedan’s arrival during last week’s Los Angeles Auto Show. There’s no official timing as to when the sedan will arrive, and when I reached out for comment, a Mitsubishi spokesperson said of this report, “Yep. Confirmed.”
So, yeah, the Mirage sedan is headed our way. It’ll probably come in somewhere around the low, low $12,995 price of the hatchback, and hopefully, it’ll be better to drive than its more versatile hatchback sibling. And hey, if it can help Mitsubishi build sales momentum here in the US, then that’s a win, right?
TaxTheRich’s Ferrari F50 wakeboarding video was pretty sick, wasn’t it, brah? One group of folks in England definitely didn’t think so: the cops. They’re looking into whether any laws were broken during the filming. Lame!
Today on Amazon, buy a mount to hold your smartphone, and you’ll get the charger you need to plug it in for free.
The latest installment of the Jurassic Park franchise has dropped a few days before it was promised, and aside from some 6×6 Mercedes G-Wagens and odd bubble-shaped transportation pods, we get to see Jurassic World‘s star riding alongside Raptors in a Triumph Scrambler.
Saleen Automotive is best known for building hot numbers including countless tuned Ford Mustang muscle cars, and more recently, for offering a custom version of the Tesla Model S. Unfortunately, the company needs a huge infusion of cash even faster than its cars if it wants to stay on the road beyond the end of the year. In a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Saleen admits that its financial situation is dire, and it has just $7,261 in cash sitting in the bank as of September 30.
That lack of liquidity is just the very tip of the iceberg. According to Jalopnik, poring over the SEC documents reveals that Saleen Automotive owes $5,634,841, which includes about $500,000 in payroll taxes. Over $1 million of those bills are at least 90 days overdue, and the business expects to default on $398,176 owed to the bank unless an extension is granted. The money just isn’t coming in to pay for all of this, either. Revenue is down by half, and Saleen is posting quarterly losses in the millions.
With just $668,629 in assets, the numbers don’t balance out. Saleen is hoping to find a buyer to inject the millions needed to save it from going under but admits in the SEC filing: “These factors raise substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
Steve Saleen re-acquired the rights to the Saleen name in 2012 after a high-profile court battle. Publicly, the company appeared to be doing at least somewhat well, continuing to introduce the muscle cars for which it is known, as well as expanding its offerings into the world of electric cars with an eye toward the future. Clearly, based on this SEC filing, however, things are looking dire for the well-known outfit.
Delivery drivers, meet your new anti-hero.
Ok, so something truck-ey with a high center of gravity like a Jeep Cherokee will not drift. What about something that’s even truck-ier with an even higher center of gravity?
Here’s the driver’s dream: A vehicle that sends us where we want to go, plays the music we want to hear, and allows us to communicate (within reason) with the outside world, all with minimal distraction. It’s the vision of the connected car, and it’s a promise many automakers hope to deliver for 2015.
It’s Thanksgiving week — one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. And like many other years, there’s a massive storm on the doorstep of the nation’s northeast major hub airports that could send everyone’s plans right to hell. But to help you be prepared, here are some of your options to get back on track.
Touring car grids around the world have been growing at suitably rapid pace. The British Touring Car Championship has been fielding record numbers of entries, DTM and V8 Supercars both have more manufacturers participating than they have had in years, the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship has brought several national series together on one grid…. we could go on, but you get the point. And nothing illustrates that point quite like this pileup at this year’s Macau Grand Prix.
The premier event in Formula 3 racing is held on the streets of China’s version of Monte Carlo or Las Vegas and includes numerous support races. Among those are the World Touring Car Championship, a motorcycle race and the Chinese Racing Cup. It’s during that tin-top race – campaigned by a field of 26 identical BAIC Senova D70s – that this massive pileup ensued.
We won’t spoil it by giving you a play-by-play, but if you fast-forward to about the 45-second mark you can watch the nobody-got-hurt hilarity unfold before your very eyes. Be sure to add some mental Benny Hill Theme music for the full effect.
Daniel Simon, the guy behind the vehicles in Tron: Legacy and the Lotus C-01 , is teaming up with the air-cooled obsessives at Singer. Only good things will come of this.
The Dodge Viper T/A is an absolute animal: 640 HP, 600 lb/ft, 3,300 lbs, and 355-section rear tires with an old-fashioned 6-speed manual gearbox. And now that it has a new, lower base price, it’s analog speed worth revisiting. Let’s do a quick first-light Snake Run to find out.
It has the suspension from a Formula One car, the optional tires from the McLaren P1, and supercar-level next generation carbon ceramic brakes. But this isn’t a million dollar supercar. This is a $75,000 Chevrolet. And it is one of the most amazing, odds-defying cars of the year.
It’s so close to Thanksgiving right now that the number of people thinking about gravy right now is off the scale on my Gravycognitivometer. But it’s not all gravy, of course — there’s also those buckle-hatted pilgrims to consider. And that makes us consider asking what car would you make a pilgrimage to see?
Yes, insanely dominant World Rally Championship driver Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena are back in a rally car for Rallye Monte Carlo. No, they won’t pwn all the n00bs in WRC, at least not for the entire season. It’s a one-off drive. Here’s why we love it anyway.
The Fortwo always has been – and always will be – the prototypical Smart car. While it has been far and away the brand’s best seller, it’s not the only model to to wear the moniker. A decade ago, Smart rolled out the larger Forfour, but like the brand’s other models that have come and gone, it wasn’t much of a success. Now, Smart is back and taking another stab at it with the introduction of this all-new Forfour. And this time, we think it’s in a much better position to succeed.
Where the previous model shared its underpinnings, production line and front-engined layout with the Mitsubishi Colt, the new Forfour was co-developed with – and will be produced alongside – the new Renault Twingo we drove recently. Like its predecessor (and its contemporary French cousin), the new Forfour is not presently earmarked to be offered in America. But curiosity got the better of us when we were offered the chance to drive it back to back with the Fortwo upon their launch in Barcelona.
The question we’re left with after driving any overseas model is whether or not it should be offered in the States. And with the Smart Forfour, we’re just not sure one way or the other. On the one hand, the added usability could stand to attract some new buyers who might be enticed by the idea of frugal, no-more-than-what-you-need transportation – especially if offered as part of the Car2Go car-sharing program – but turned off by the notion of having little more than two seats and a glovebox at their disposal. On the other, the Forfour’s pedestrian pace and questionable styling may turn others away and could potentially stretch out what the Smart brand has come to stand for in the minds of American consumers.
Ultimately, we’re sure Daimler will carefully evaluate the Forfour’s prospects for the North American market. But at the end of the day, the Forfour still stands a much better chance of making its way to Smart dealers in the US than the Renault, whose American prospects essentially depend on Carlos Ghosn packing his suitcase full of Twingos and physically bringing them to Nissan showrooms.
Ford’s 2015 Ford F-150 is a technological tour-de-force, what with its aluminum-intensive construction and its powerful and efficient new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine option. But now that it’s hit the market, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and find out how just the latest F-150 actually stands up to its rivals in the hyper-competitive fullsize segment.
Motor Trend is among the first to round up the Ford (in Lariat 2.7-liter 4X4 guise here) and put it up against the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman EcoDiesel 4×4 and 5.3-liter-equipped Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 to find out how Dearborn’s new-think truck measures up.
The test put the trio through over 1,000 miles of tough driving in California and Arizona in a variety of conditions from just cruising around unladen to hauling a trailer. MT found all three trucks to be competent, but the most praise got heaped on the Ram and the Ford, with the Chevrolet falling a step behind its competitors in many tests.
Among the Ford’s most-liked features was its 2.7-liter, twin-turbo V6 that helped make the F-150 easily the quickest of the group, with some editors saying the engine felt about the same whether driving around with cargo in the bed or not. There was some minor turbo lag during acceleration while trailering, but that issue affected the Ram, too.
The Ram’s powertrain was lauded, as well. The EcoDiesel was torquey around town, and the 1500’s combination of an eight-speed automatic and air suspension was judged to be the best of the lot. It was the most difficult to get into the bed, though.
The Ram also won the fuel economy award by netting 20-miles-per-gallon city and 28-mpg highway in the test to beat its Environmental Protection Agency ratings of 19/27. The Ford’s EcoBoost managed 17/22, one mpg off each from the EPA numbers, and using a lot of throttle really depleted its efficiency. As MT notes, however, it would take time for the diesel’s mileage savings to pay off at the pump for these two trucks.
In the end, the Ram just barely eked out the win, with the title partially earned because of “the Ford’s unknown maintenance and aluminum repair costs,” according to MT. Go check out the full comparison to read all of the details, then let us know what you think in Comments.
If you’re encountering your own nightmarish travel situation this Thanksgiving, take solace in the fact that you’re probably not as bad off as these people were.
Ever since Toyota and Subaru released the sports car alternatively known as the GT86, 86, BRZ and Scion FR-S a couple of years ago, rumors have circulated that even more exciting variants could be in store. But at least as far as Scion is concerned, those rumors are apparently nothing more than wishful thinking.
Speaking with WardsAuto at the LA Auto Show last week, Scion chief Doug Murtha said that the prospect of an FR-S roadster has been taken off the table entirely. Apparently Scion lobbied parent company Toyota to produce just such a model, but after failing to find other markets interested enough in the model to put it into production, corporate HQ said no.
“I think we were pretty aggressive on our (submitted plan), but we looked at what we would have conceivably lost on the product and said, ‘We’re not going to even push it further,'” Murtha said, going on to note, “Nobody was more disappointed than we were.”
Murtha further shot down the idea of a turbo version of the FR-S, dismissing it as a prospect the blogosphere (that’s us) wanted to happen but “that’s not something that’s coming.”
Either variant might have helped Scion and Toyota boost sales of the model (which are predictably dropping after their first two years on the market), but the investment also might not have paid off their development, tooling and marketing costs. Of course, Murtha can only speak for Toyota, but we’d be surprised to see Subaru go it alone on either model, as costs would be that much more prohibitive without a partner.
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Among these underreported cases were eight Takata airbag inflator ruptures not submitted.
Following an independent audit of its safety reporting procedures, Honda has found massive holes in its methodology and practices that resulted in 1,729 claims of injuries or deaths going unreported to federal authorities dating back to July 2003. The cases should have been submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of its quarterly Early Warning Reports (EWRs) under the TREAD Act, but they fell through the cracks for a variety of reasons.
Honda blames the underreporting on three factors: data entry errors, computer coding problems and “an overly narrow interpretation of what constituted a ‘written notice’ under the TREAD Act.” The first two issues were related to the computer program that collected the claims. If employees didn’t enter a date in the “written claim received” field, then they were omitted from the EWRs. Also, the company’s internal component codes didn’t always match those used by NHTSA, and only the ones that were the same were disclosed. Finally, third-party documents, including police reports, were not considered.
Honda says the computer error is now corrected, and the company is updating its data entry training. In the future, written and oral claims will be included in EWRs, as well.
Among these underreported cases were eight Takata airbag inflator ruptures not submitted in Honda’s EWRs, including one death and seven injuries. However, the automaker claims NHTSA was already aware of all of these incidents either from the agency’s own records or from the company’s notification outside of the EWR process.
Unfortunately, this problem could have been stopped much sooner. The issue was first brought to light in 2011 but didn’t result in a followup. NHTSA advised the automaker of discrepancies in January 2012, and it still did nothing. This third-party audit wasn’t commissioned until September 2014. “Honda acknowledges that it lacked the urgency needed to correct its problems on a timely basis,” it says in the announcement.
Separately, the Japanese government is starting an investigation, as well. According to Reuters, the Japanese Transport Minister has created a task force to look into the Takata recalls and find out whether Honda under-reported incidents there. Scroll down to read the company’s entire statement on the third-party investigation.
This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that’s actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn’t your time more important?
Many of you deduced that the Ferrari F50 used in that canal wakeboarding video belonged to our favorite band of monied insane people, Tax The Rich . You were right! Now here’s their full version of that video, in all its epic glory.