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What you missed on 8.20.14

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Daily U-Turn

2015 Chevy Corvette Stingray automaticWe test the Chevy Corvette's new automatic

We tend to prefer our cars with honest-to-goodness manual transmissions. You know, the ones that require a third pedal down by the gas and brake pedals. A clutch, ya know? Turns out most Americans disagree with us, even the ones who are buying Corvettes. We know, shocking. Still, after sampling the latest eight-speed automatic from General Motors in the Corvette Stingray, we're happy to report that those who don't want to shift gears are in better shape than ever before.



Dodge Viper SRT engine emblemWill the Viper get a supercharged V10 engine?

Know what's interesting about the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models? Besides the fact that they have 707 horsepower, that is? It's that the duo are considerably more powerful than the Viper, that snake-skinned halo car sitting atop the Chrysler portfolio as its top performance machine. But how can it be the top performer with an engine putting out less ponies? Good question. Perhaps a supercharger is the answer.


Hyundai hybrid Prius-fighter spy shotHyundai spotted testing a Prius-fighting hybrid

There can be no doubt of Toyota's hybrid supremacy. When it comes to eke the greatest fuel efficiency out of a gasoline engine/electric motor combo, the boffins at Toyota do it better than any other, with the Prius sitting atop the sales heap standing as proof. But what's this? Is Hyundai testing a standalone hybrid machine to put some pressure on Toyota's hybrid dominance?



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What you missed on 8.20.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thieves still love older Hondas and pickups most, says NICB [w/video]

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1996 Honda Accord

No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That's the lowest figure since 1967. That's also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. "The drop in thefts is good news for all of us," says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year."

Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year's theft study. Toyota and Dodge can't really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year's list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups.

The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were:
  1. Honda Accord - 53,995
  2. Honda Civic - 45,001
  3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) - 27,809
  4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) - 26,494
  5. Toyota Camry - 14,420
  6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) - 11,347
  7. Dodge Caravan - 10,911
  8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee - 9,272
  9. Toyota Corolla - 9,010
  10. Nissan Altima - 8,892
Those numbers don't exactly tell the whole story, though. First, the full-size pickup figures incorporate half-ton and larger models. Also, most of the cars stolen aren't exactly the newest vehicles on the road. For example, with the Accord, the most popular one among thieves was the 1996 model year (pictured above) with 8,166 taken, versus 276 from the 2013 model year.

If you want to dig a little deeper or see which 2013 model year cars were pilfered most in 2013, scroll down to check out the NICB's release about the study, along with a video telling more about the data.

Continue reading Thieves still love older Hondas and pickups most, says NICB [w/video]

Thieves still love older Hondas and pickups most, says NICB [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine

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The ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice into price fixing in the automotive industry has nabbed one more company breaking the law. Japanese parts giant NGK Spark Plug Company agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of pricing fixing and bid rigging in the in the US District Court in Detroit. Its punishment is a $52.1 million criminal fine and to continue to cooperate with the DOJ's sleuthing into the problem.

According to the DOJ, NGK conspired to fix prices on spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors on vehicles from major automakers in the US, including the former DaimlerChrysler, Honda and Toyota, in a scheme that ran from at least January 2000 to July 2011. The charge claimed that the company and its co-conspirators held meetings where they agreed on bids and price quotes that were submitted to the automakers.

With the latest plea, the DOJ has caught 28 companies and 26 executives for price-fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, and they have collected $2.4 billion in criminal fines. In 2013, the feds brought nine Japanese suppliers down at once, to collect $740 million. Scroll down to read the DOJ's complete announcement of the case.

Continue reading Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine

Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #393

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Episode #393 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Michael Harley talk about Monterey Car Week, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Dodge Charger Hellcat, and the latest round of mid-engine Corvette rumors. Dan also had the chance to speak with Jeffrey Rothfeder, author of Driving Honda, a new book that takes a look inside the automaker. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #393:



Topics: In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Michael Harley
Runtime: 02:10:41

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Monterey Car Week - 37:08
  • Jeffrey Rothfeder - 52:17
  • Woodward 2014 - 01:28:11
  • Mid-Engine Corvette - 01:44:30
  • Q&A - 01:56:53

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[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

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Continue reading Autoblog Podcast #393

Autoblog Podcast #393 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dodge Viper to out-Hell the Hellcat with supercharged V10?

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2013 SRT Viper

The Viper wouldn't be the Viper if it wasn't the most powerful model under the Chrysler umbrella. But with the arrival of the Hellcat engine in the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper has fallen behind in the bragging rights department: where the new supercharged V8 produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the naturally aspirated V10 offers "only" 640 hp and 600 lb-ft - gargantuan output figures by almost any other standard, but crucially behind on the SRT power scale. Conner Avenue is going to have to do something about that.

Although the Hellcat's engine reportedly won't fit under the Viper's hood, SRT is now rumored to have another trick up its sleeve: supercharge the existing V10. According to the Pentastar performance enthusiasts at allpar.com, Chrysler has already taken delivery of the first such prototype engines so that it can begin the process of fitting it into an upgraded Viper.

The spooled ten-pot is tipped to produce around 800 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. More than that and the Viper's drivetrain, chassis and bodywork would have to be substantially reworked. Though beefier transmissions are available, fitting them would reportedly set off a domino-game of changes required to handle the added torque. Which may be something Chrysler would be prepared to do for the next-generation model, but in the meantime, 800 hp could prove enough to put the Viper back atop the Mopar performance ladder where it belongs, and give it an edge against the new Corvette Z06 to rekindle sales.

Dodge Viper to out-Hell the Hellcat with supercharged V10? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 8.19.14

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ALS Ice Bucket challengeAutoblog takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Yeah, it's a fad. Yeah, lots of people are doing it. But it's a fad that was created to benefit a worthwhile charity, and the more people do it, the more money gets donated. Of course, you could also click and watch just to see the editors of Autoblog dump ice cold water on their heads. Either way, the video awaits.


Audi R8 V8We review the 2014 Audi R8 V8

The Audi R8 has been with us for so long that sometimes we forget just how great it is. Which is to say it's rather great indeed. Our man Jonathon Ramsey takes the keys to the bright white example you see to the right, and proceeds to drive it all over Germany and into France. Want to know what he thought? Click the link above to read all about it.





2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat on Woodward AveWhat's it like to show up to the Woodward Dream Cruise in the hottest new muscle car?

If there's one common denominator at the Woodward Dream Cruise, it's a love of horsepower. It doesn't matter if those ponies are smoking the tires of an foreign car or domestic - well, hailing from Detroit might make a difference - whether it has two doors or four. Dream Cruisers love horsepower, and the 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat is happy to oblige.



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What you missed on 8.19.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #393 LIVE!

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We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #393 this evening. Check out the topics below or drop us your questions and comments via the Q&A module. And don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics For Autoblog Podcast Episode #393
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Continue reading Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #393 LIVE!

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #393 LIVE! originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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We cruised Woodward in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/video]

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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

We were definitely rock stars at the 20th edition of the Dream Cruise.

The yell came from somewhere in the crowd: "Hey Hellcat, push it!" We obliged with a jab of the throttle, and the 707 horses of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat roared to life. It went on like this. All weekend. It's one thing to attend the Woodward Dream Cruise, it's quite another to star in it.

We were definitely rock stars at the 20th edition of the Dream Cruise, metro Detroit's annual summer car show that rolls up and down the area's iconic strip, Woodward Avenue. Chrysler tossed us the keys to its latest muscle coupe a few days before the cruise with the suggestion: "Have fun." Hmm, okay, think we can handle that. And with a vague game plan of burning as much fuel as possible, we hit the road.

Thursday night was a bit of a dry run - or so we thought. The idea was to get used to the Hellcat's heavy clutch in traffic, gun the engine a few times and head home. But the Dodge commanded immediate attention from the moment we pulled onto Woodward.

Continue reading We cruised Woodward in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/video]

We cruised Woodward in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler appoints new heads of Alfa Romeo and Ram

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Reid Bigland and Robert Hegbloom

Chrysler has announced to two key appointments to its senior leadership, both of them taking immediate effect. First up is Reid Bigland, who has been named head of the Alfa Romeo brand for North America. Bigland has served until now as head of the Ram Truck brand, a portfolio he now hands over to Robert Hegbloom, who had served until now as its director.

As a result of the appointments, both Bigland and Hegbloom will take up seats on Chrysler's NAFTA Leadership Team, and Bigland will also join the Fiat Chrysler Group Executive Council - the highest decision-making body in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire.

As per Sergio Marchionne's leadership style, Bigland will continue to serve in two major capacities, maintaining his role as president and CEO of Chrysler Canada. Other senior executives who hold multiple key portfolios include Harald Wester (who serves as the group's Chief Technology Officer and also overseas Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth), Olivier Francois (group Chief Marketing Officer and head of the Fiat brand) and Michael Manley (head of the Asia-Pacific region and the Jeep brand).

Continue reading Chrysler appoints new heads of Alfa Romeo and Ram

Chrysler appoints new heads of Alfa Romeo and Ram originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Weekly Recap: Things you might not know about the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

If you're an enthusiast, and you don't know that Dodge spawned another Hellcat this week, you really must have been living in cave. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is probably the biggest news for enthusiasts since the reveal of, well the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

But, there are some things you might not know or might have missed about the new Charger and Challenger Hellcats. For starters, reports that the Hellcat production would be limited to a low volume are not true.

"We have not capped the Hellcat on either the Challenger or the Charger," Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Things you might not know about the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats

Weekly Recap: Things you might not know about the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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