Meals on...Exotic Wheels: Gotham Dream Cars Helps Feed the Elderly, so you Best Give a Damn

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In charity-oriented news, Gotham Dream Cars recently assisted Pascack Valley, New Jersey's Meals on Wheels program in delivering food to some of the area's age- and hunger-impaired citizens. Edibles were brought door-side via cars like a Viper SRT-10, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Maserati Quattroporte, among others. The best part? Well, that depends.

Most people would say it's feeding those in need. Normal, right? Unfortunately, the press seems to think the story is the cars. That's right; instead of people who require help, the exotic transportation became the story. It's insane.

U.S. Car Sales Continue the Uphill Trend in December

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While the U.S. car market is still underachieving compared to the best results of the last decade, December sales are expected to significantly contribute to the annual forecast of about 12 million sold vehicles, as 2010 is clearly ending with an uphill trend, according to industry analysts.

“That's a long way from the 16 million and 17 million sales rates that we experienced for the better part of this decade. But we're coming out of 2010 on an upswing and I think this bodes well for 2011”, said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Patent Drawings

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While looking for the designs of the Smart Roadster model we showed you in our previous post, we stumbled upon these drawings of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK used for trademark filings. Being that an official video of the 2012 SLK has already been leaked online (you can watch it after the jump if you missed out), these pictures simply offer some additional -and unobstructed- views of the roadster model with the retractable hardtop.

VIDEO: Honda Civic Burnout Ends in Fiery Fail

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As far as hooning goes, one would think that a simple burnout should get you in the least amount of trouble. However, the owner of this
Honda Civic almost lost his car while dazzling the crowd [...], as after about 40 seconds the tires suddenly burst into flames.

So, what have we learned today? Well, first of all, avoid overdoing the burnout if your car is tied to a block of concrete. Also, always keep a fire extinguisher at hand, because it turns out that putting out flames with some refreshments isn’t very effective. Who would of thought it? Watch the video after the jump.

Noblesse Wings Up Honda CR-Z Hybrid Sport Hatch

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Japanese tuner Noblesse has been steadily releasing numerous aftermarket bits and pieces for the new CR-Z ever since Honda launched its hybrid sport hatch . Among other parts, the company has developed a ground aero-kit with front and rear bumper aprons, side skirts, a rear diffuser and a large roof wing. These can be complemented by a lightweight carbon fiber hood, underbody aero parts, larger alloy wheels and a sport exhaust system. You can check out photos of Noblesse's Honda CR-Z offerings along with a video of a test car doing a circuit round right after the jump.

2011 Chrysler 200: Conflicting MPG Figures Hit the Maker’s Official Website

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Even though the 2011 Chrysler 200 is set to debut in the U.S. at the end of January, many facts on the mid-size sedan remain unclear. The company hasn’t officially (…) released interior pictures yet, only a video, and mpg figures were also unknown. However, as some isolated reports about EPA ratings hit the internet today, we decided to investigate. We found out that Chrysler’s sedan won’t establish any records in the segment and that, ironically, the automaker can’t decide which is the correct EPA estimated mpg.

According to one page on Chrysler.com, the 200 sedan equipped with the 173 hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine returns 21/30 mpg city/highway, with both the 4-speed and 6-speed automatic transmissions. This is kind of strange to begin with, as you’d expect the more modern gearbox to have better numbers for the sake of marketing, if nothing else.

Mercedes-Benz Patents Designs of Smart Roadster Model

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Back in 2001 at the Geneva Motor Show, Smart introduced a quirky roadster concept with no doors, no roof and no windscreen called the Crossblade. The Fortwo Cabrio-based concept eventually went into a limited series production the following year with Smart offering a total of 2,000 cars.

Fast-forward to today, and Smart appears to be readying a spiritual successor to the Crossblade as the firm's parent company Mercedes-Benz has trademarked these designs drawings of a two-seater roadster model.

Unlike the original Crossblade, which came without doors featuring instead steel safety bars at passenger shoulder height that swing upwards with the help of a gas-operated struts, the roadster model seen in these pictures gets a conventional set of doors. It also features a larger wind deflector surrounding the driver and passenger as well as Smart's trademark Tridion Safety Cell - albeit redesigned to look like separate safety bars.

Poll: Should Fiat Cut Loose Alfa Romeo and/or Sell it to Volkswagen?

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Like Saab and countless other brands before, Alfa Romeo is at a tipping point. The famed Italian automaker, which once stunned the world with its gorgeous styling and motorsport victories, is now losing an estimate €200 million (US$265 million) per annum. It’s hard to believe that the company that brought us cars like the GTA, the Spider and the 158/159 Alfetta could be reduced to such a sad state of affairs.

Sergio Marchionne, the unwavering CEO of Fiat and its subsidiaries, is determined to turn the ailing automaker around. Meanwhile, Volkswagen is sniffing around for more brands and smells a potential winner in the Milanese company.

James Robbins’ Corvette Design Study: Close But No Cigar

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Here at Carscoop, we love us some Corvette design studies. Heck, if we wanted to we could probably serve up a new one every day of the week.

Today’s CAD mock up comes from transportation design student James Robbins. Think of it as a C6.5, a stopgap measure between the current gen Corvette and a future C7 model. The design brief required Mr. Robbins to use the basic proportions of the C6, which limited what could be done with the design.

Meet the 388HP V8-Powered and RWD Mercedes-Benz B55 [with Video]

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The regular Mercedes-Benz B-Class wasn’t exactly created with the motoring enthusiast’s needs in mind, but this one-off B55 special is another story. Trainees of Mercedes-Benzs Rastatt plant in Germany turned a B200 CDI diesel model into a full-blown sports car by planting in a 388 hp 5.5-liter V8 and transferring the drive from the front axle to the rear.

The idea of the project came from plant manager, Peter Wesp, while the execution fell on the shoulders of foremen Andreas Würz and Matt Rieger and a team of twelve second and third-year trainees specializing in production mechanics and automotive mechatronics.

The team aimed to fulfill several goals, drawn up in a book of specifications. According to the plan, the spatial concept as well as the body of the B-Class were to remain unchanged. The interior, however, was to be upgraded to reflect the newly acquired qualities and the overall goal was to create a vehicle suitable for everyday driving.

2011MY Jeep Compass Facelift Priced from $19,295*, or Nearly $4,000 More than the 2010MY

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The Grand Cherokee-like nose job and the upgraded standard equipment have had a negative impact on the 2011 Jeep Compass' sticker price as the refreshed crossover model will reach showrooms next month with a starting price of $19,295, not including a (*) $700 destination fee. That's close to $4,000 more than the pre-facelift 2010MY Compass, which retailed for $15,365.

Useless Stat of the Day: Over 50% of British Drivers Have Made Love in a Car [Plus Top 10 Cars for Hanky Panky Time]

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According to a research done by Autoquake, 54% of Britain’s drivers have made out in a car and for 22% of those, it was a fantastic experience. Nevertheless, fooling around in a car presents some, let’s say, technical issues, like being cramped and the possibility of getting caught, so 32 percent think that the experience is overrated.

Ford Recalling F-Series Trucks, Edge and Lincoln MKX Over Fire Hazard

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Nearly 15,000 Ford trucks and crossovers are being recalled in the States because of problems with electrical systems that can short and create a fire. The recall concerns certain 2011MY Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550 and Edge, and Lincoln MKX vehicles.

VIDEO: Pagani C9 Teaser Shows Scale Model with Engine Key

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One would expect an action-filled teaser for a supercar like the upcoming Pagani C9, which will replace the aging Zonda, but the Italian maker approached the task in a more laid-back manner, choosing to show us a man enjoying some coffee and the written news. And then, at the end of the clip, he picks up something that resembles a scale model of the new supercar incorporating what appears to be the engine key. Now, is this the best way to start your day or what? Video after the jump.

Triple Recall for Dodge Affects Over 144,000 Journey and Ram Vehicles

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The Chrysler Group is recalling certain Dodge Journey crossovers and Ram trucks in three separate actions to repair defective steering wheels, airbags and noisy rear axles.

The largest of Chrysler's recalls involves 65,180 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured from November 1, 2007, through September 7, 2008. According to a posting on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], the wires within the front door wire harnesses may fatigue and break. If this happens, the side-impact sensors may not work resulting in inoperative side airbags. Chrysler said it will replace the left and right door wiring harnesses free of charge.

VIDEO: BMW Owner Leaves Car in Gear to Push, House Pays the Price

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So here's how this 'fail' story goes: A female driver gets stuck on a patch of ice / snow in her automatic BMW 1-Series. After a few unsuccessful attempts of trying to free the Bavarian hatch from behind the steering wheel, she decides to leave it in gear and give it a push herself. While the BMW driver eventually managed to clear out of the slippery part of the road, she ended up in another mess [...]. See what happens next in the video after the break.

Russia's Topcar Continues Porsche Cayenne Tune with Vantage 2

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It's only been a few weeks since Topcar presented its most recent Porsche Cayenne package called the Vantage GTR2, yet the Russian firm has launched another tuning proposal for the second generation of the German automaker's luxury SUV. The new package is named Vantage 2 and it comes with a wide body kit and a choice of performance upgrades.

Rising Gas Prices Might Affect Large SUV Sales and Trade-In Values

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As crude oil reached $91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange last week, U.S. gasoline prices started going up reaching an average value of $3.05 per gallon. That’s about half a dollar more than what Americans had to pay a year ago and the highest level since October 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Diesel prices have also increased to an average of $3.29 a gallon.

If the trend continues, we might see owners of large SUVs going for more fuel-efficient crossover models and trade-in values could plummet as well.

Report: 20 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2010, Toyota Led the Way with 7.1 Million Recalls

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Some 20 million vehicles were recalled in 2010, according to a study of preliminary federal data conducted by the Associated Press. It was the highest recall level in the U.S. since 2004, when a record number of 30.8 million vehicles were recalled.

Nissan's Leaf has Game-like Infotainment Screen so you can Beat your Friends at Saving the Environment

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Nissan wants drivers of its new Leaf - which didn't seem to take as much time or PR mumbo-jumbo to reach the pavement as Chevy's Volt - to know everything there is to know about their cars and the trips being made in them.

In Nissan's case, trip transparency is provided by a handy-dandy system called CARWING. The program gives drivers a bucket o'information ranging from travel time to electricity consumption and "average energy economy" on daily, weekly, monthly or annual scales.

You can also compete with other owners for best efficiency levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) thanks to some in-car "gaming". Thanks to MyNissanLeaf member gudy, we've got some screen shots of what the program looks like and some of the info available.

China's BAIC Working with Pininfarina on Saab-based Model, Confirms Interest in the Italian Design House

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Photo: BAW C71 from 2010 Beijing Show

Yesterday, we brought you photos and details about a new and very Mercedes-Benz B-Class-like model from BAIC or Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. Today, we have more news on the Chinese automaker as a media report citing an unnamed executive from the company claims that BAIC is working with Italian engineering and design specialist Pininfarina on a new vehicle based on the underpinning of a previous generation Saab model.

New Honda CR-Z JCOTY Memorial Award Edition Shows off with Special Paint...and that's About it

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To commemorate its "Japanese Car of the Year" award, Honda will release a limited edition of its CR-Z sport-hybrid hatch in Japan. Billed as a "Memorial Award Edition", the car will be coated in a hue called Pearl Deep Sapphire Blue and will roll on unique Dark Pewter Gray 16-inch rims.

James Glickenhaus’ Ferrari P4/5 Competizione Starts Taking Shape

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In 2006, American car collector James Glickenhaus took the world by surprise with his Enzo-based one-off Ferrari P4/5, built by Pininfarina. In the meantime, Mr. Glickenhaus decided to build a race version, too, dubbed P4/5 Competizione, which, initially, was scheduled to make its racing debut at this year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Unfortunately, that never happened.

However, we're happy to report that the build is still underway. And there’s more: thanks to an update on a dedicated Facebook page, we can show you pictures depicting key moments of the assembly, available after the jump.

Flashback: Steve McQueen Drives the 2005 Ford Mustang... 25 Years after His Death

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In 1980, the world lost a cultural icon. Steve McQueen, the star of such films as Bullitt and Le Mans, had died. Metastatic cancer had claimed the life of the King of Cool.

Still, the legacy lives on. The actor’s love of cars and motorcycles was well known. McQueen competed in many motor races including the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Baja 1000. He also owned several semi-unique vehicles including a Jaguar XKSS, a Porsche 356 Speedster and a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. Here was a man who loved his cars almost as much as we loved his movies.

$5 a Gallon by 2012? Worrisome, but Survivable...for Some

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For drivers of gasoline-powered vehicles who were hoping to hear good news about the future state of fuel prices, here's something to rain on your parade. Former Shell President John Hofmeister recently indicated that he foresees gas prices hitting a very European $5 a gallon by 2012.

The question everyone wants answered is this: will vehicle manufacturers be ready? Hopefully they learned their lesson last time, but there's really no telling; after all, cars like the absurd Chrysler Aspen came out at a time when all signs said "Don't do this".

2011 Kia Pro_cee'd Facelift Leaked Ahead of Geneva Salon Debut

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Photos of the mildly refreshed Kia Pro_cee'd are making the internet rounds before the car's scheduled world premiere at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in early March. The most obvious visual changes concern the restyled front end that brings the three-door version of the European market Cee'd more in line with Kia's latest offerings.

Along with the new H-shaped front grille finished in black, the 2011 Pro_cee'd also gains restyled headlamps and a reworked bumper. It is also possible that Kia may have upgraded the three-door model's interior as well as its engine line-up, but we won't know for sure until we get the official press release in our hands. Until then, follow the break to check out the rest of the pictures.

VIDEO: Sanitation Workers Wreak Havoc on a Parked Ford Explorer

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Even if you know your winter driving ABCs and have properly equipped your car, sometimes there’s no way to avoid getting snowed in. Should that happen in a thriving metropolis, chances are that the sanitation “cavalry” will have your back covered. However, this wasn’t the case in New York, as a Sanitation Department loader got stuck and, in what can only be described as a very poor effort of trying to free it, the on-the-scene personnel seriously damaged a city owned - ah, the irony - Ford Explorer parked nearby.

Check out the video after the jump to see dumb and dumber at work.

Merdad's Porsche Cayenne 902 Coupe in the Flesh

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Back in September, we reported on the custom-built Porsche Cayenne 902 Coupe that lost two-doors, courtesy of Merdad. Now, the UK-based tuning firm brought to our attention some real life shots of the SUV, which had its world premiere at last month's MPH The Prestige & Performance Motor Show in London.

2012 Ford Focus Gains Torque Vectoring Control for Improved Handling

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The 2012 Focus will be available with a new vehicle stability control system, which uses torque vectoring to improve the car’s handling. According to Ford, the system was inspired from downhill skiing and snowboarding techniques.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Facelift Photos Leaked?

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Mercedes-Benz may have wanted to keep the C63 AMG under covers for now, but photos of the high-performance model of the recently revealed 2012 C-Class facelift have already hit the web.

The pictures, which appear to be legit, show that the C63 AMG gains a restyled fascia with new headlamps, a single-bar grille and a new bumper design. There's also a single shot of the interior, which features the same basic upgrades as the rest of the C-Class range including the newly designed center console.

Mercedes' Chinese Partner BAIC Blatantly Copies B-Class with New BC301Z

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Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp., commonly known by the acronym BAIC, is one of Mercedes-Benz's partners in China. However, that didn't stop the Chinese automaker, which has acquired the intellectual rights for Saab's older 9-5 and certain 9-3 models, to rip off the design of Mercedes' B-Class for its new BC301Z five-door hatchback and to a lesser extent, the BC302Z sedan.

eBay Find: 1981 E23 BMW 735i Touring Prototype [with Video]

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Yep, that’s not a typo: BMW did actually build an E23 735i Touring and it showed it at the 1980 Frankfurt Auto Show to gauge the public’s reaction. Unfortunately (or not), the car didn’t make it into production and was slowly forgotten, up until ten years ago. That’s when this example, one of only two custom built prototypes, first surfaced on eBay with 8,179 miles (13,163 km) on the odometer. Now, it has been posted on the auction site once again, for an opening bid of US $7,000.

The collector who originally imported it to the U.S. sold it three years later and the current owner bought it last November. At that point the car had clocked up 9,002 miles (14,487 km) but wasn’t running.

However, this ultra-rare 7-Series, boasting an interesting green paintjob, tan cloth interior, manual sunroof, roof rack, alloy wheels and automatic transmission, wasn’t in a disastrous condition. A quick service brought it back to life and onto the road and, according to the seller, it has a Massachusetts December 2011 inspection sticker and was driven for only 40 extra miles (64 km).

Beijing to Restrict Car Usage, Chinese Automakers Anticipate Market Downturn

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Beijing is a city in crisis. It is, more or less, a microcosm of the world at large: smog and traffic congestion are choking China’s capital. This year, 4.7 million cars were sold in Beijing alone; nearly twice the number sold just five years ago. Despite a new subway system, the roads remain gridlocked, and the Beijing municipal government has had enough. From 2011, radical changes will be introduced to the city’s traffic and vehicle registration laws to make it the city that bit more livable.

This year, roughly 720,000 new vehicle registrations were issued for microvans and cars. In 2011, this number will be slashed to a third. Only registered Beijing residents will be able to purchase a license, and only Beijing registered vehicles will be allowed in the city during rush hour. Parking fees are also set to increase.

VIDEO: Dangerously Foolish Hooning-Hour on Mulholland Drive

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While a twisty road and a good sports car are a match made in heaven, public hooning is never a good idea, especially if you don’t possess adequate driving skills. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about the consequences and repeatedly act out in high traffic areas, such as California’s Mulholland Drive (or at least that's the road listed on Youtube).

Seeing these amateurs almost bite the dust might be temporarily amusing, but on second thought, imagine being involved in an accident caused by this kind of reckless driving. Yeah, it’s not funny anymore. Video after the jump.

First Maybach 57S Cruisero Coupe by Xenatec Listed for Sale in Saudi Arabia

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The very first example of the Xenatec Maybach 57S Coupe has been put up for sale by Saudi-Arabian-based luxury car dealer, AutoKingdom, which is one of two companies outside of Germany listed as an official dealer of the limited production model, the other being the ArmorTech Group from Russia.

The Maybach-endorsed coupe, which carries the 'Cruiserio' nametag, is priced by AutoKingdom at €715,000, or about US$943,000 at the current exchange rates, according to Jameslist. Previously, Xenatec had announced that the über-luxurious coupe will be offered at an ex-works price of €675,000 (US$890,000) excluding local taxes.

High Demand for German Luxury Cars in the U.S. and China

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Germany’s car market has definitely seen better days, as sales in the first 11 months of 2010 are down 25.2% compared to the same period last year. However, strong demand for luxury cars in the U.S. and China is keeping premium automakers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz busy during the holiday season and, most importantly, profitable.

“2010 was expected to be a tough year all round” John Lawson, a London-based analyst at Citi Investment Research, wrote in a report. “But rich China sales have leapt (and) foreign exchange has been very supportive”.

Vilner's Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG Shadow Line gets some Interior Love [with Video]

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From the makers of the redone Hennessey Jeep SRT600 Grand Cherokee and Chevrolet Camaro V6, comes our next tune. Vilner, a relatively new company in the aftermarket industry based in Bulgaria, has prepared a styling proposal for the interior of the Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG.

The package is called "Shadow Line" and it treats the hardtop roadster's cabin with handmade leather goods starting from the seats and door panels and finishing up with the steering wheel, which is also upgraded with a thicker rim featuring a more flattened bottom area. The colors of choice for the leather seats and door panels are red and black with contrasting silver stitching completing the look.

While Vilner did not release pricing for the customized interior, the Bulgarian company did publish a neat video showing us the work that goes into the creation of the tailor-trimmed steering wheel. You can watch it right after the break.

Gran Turismo 5 Competition Offers European Gamers the Chance to win a Real-Life Mercedes SLS AMG

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On Monday, December 27, the Signature Edition Challenge for Playstation 3 went live, offering European gamers the chance to win a brand-new, real-life Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG worth €180,000. In order to participate, owners of the Signature Edition game pack will need to redeem their voucher code via the Playstation Store and register their details on gran-turismo.com.

The challenge takes place in the game’s B-spec mode, where players take the role of a team director with AI drivers doing the racing over a series of five, five-lap races held on different circuits. On January 31, 2011, at 23:59 GMT, 15 regional winners from 22 countries will advance to the next stage, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Event, based on the fastest total times recorded for each region.

Japan’s Economic Future in Doubt: A National Introspective

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It’s not been a good year for Japan. China has recently overtaken the Land of the Rising Sun as the world’s second biggest economic power and a recall of over ten million vehicles by one of the nation’s biggest and most respectable companies, Toyota, kicked off a global PR debacle that some analysts predict will take years to recover from.

Add to that Japan’s aging population, its growing national debt and heavy reliance on manufacturing, all of which are effectively killing what was once thought destined to be the world’s leading economic superpower. The departure of its fourth Prime Minister in three years and a nasty diplomatic row with China over the detention of a trawler captain by the Japanese Coast Guard is also hurting.

VIDEO: "Buying a Volkswagen from an Old Lady" Dutch Ad is Epic

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In what could very well be one of the most amusing automotive-related ads we've seen this year, this Volkswagen commercial from The Netherlands puts a surprisingly wild twist on the belief that old ladies take good care of their cars. The 50 second-long clip finishes with the tagline "Not every old lady is reliable as a Golf". Watch the video after the break.

Automakers Developing Significantly Lighter Trucks to Meet New Fuel Economy Standards

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Reuters is reporting that major automakers are tirelessly working on reducing the weight of future generation pickup trucks, in order to meet stricter fuel economy standards without sacrificing key abilities, such as power, payload capacity or towing capability.

Until 2016, when the new mandates take effect, manufacturers must reach an average fleet economy of 35.5 mpg (6.63 lt/100 km), while light trucks will have to return around 30 mpg or 7.84 lt/100 km. Given that around 50 per cent of vehicles sold in the U.S. in the first 11 months of the year were light trucks, it’s clear that the likes of Ford and GM have to act fast.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: Production Version's Shape Trademarked

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At the 2010 Paris Motor Show in early September, General Motors unveiled a near-production version of the Chevrolet Cruze five-door hatchback. Now, the Detroit automaker has registered trademark filings with the European patent office revealing the shape and details of the actual production model which is set to reach dealerships in Europe as a Chevrolet and in Australia as a Holden, in mid 2011.

Kia to Start Assembly of New Model at its Slovakian Plant in 2012

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Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. are certainly on a roll after overtaking Toyota as the biggest Asian carmaker in Europe and have no plans of stopping any time soon. According to a report citing Slovak news agency TASR, Kia wants to begin production of a new model at its European plant in 2012.

“We launched two new models this year and we want to launch a new model in 2012”, In-Kyu Bae, head of Kia Motors Slovakia told reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Iveta Radicova.

Fiat Sports Up its Strada Pickup Truck in Brazil

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Passenger car-based pickup trucks represent a significant proportion of sales in Brazil taking up some 7 per cent of the total market, so it comes to no surprise that major players in the segment like Fiat are always on the lookout to expand their offerings. This time, Fiat has revealed a more athletic version of its Strada compact pickup truck called Sporting.