There is a certain level of decorum expected of automotive journalists at press events. Manufacturers love seeing passion and emotion when related to their new products, but they get a little frightened when enthusiastic fans turn into overzealous fanatics. There aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules on behavior. If there were, right at the top of the list would be “don’t threaten a car company executive.” This story begins a few months ago in a San Diego, California, restaurant overlooking the ocean on a sunny Friday afternoon. We were all gathered for the CLS63 launch. The new four-door coupe is better than the previous model in every conceivable way, and gave me no reason to doubt AMG. After long conversations about compression ratios and fuel stratification over fish tacos, an AMG engineer mentioned that the C63 was getting a subtle refresh and he hoped to see me at that event. This offhand comment flipped a switch in my head that triggered an emotional … [Read more...] about Fish Tacos, Big V-8s, and Restraining Orders: New C63 AMG is All About Me
We all love shiny paint and a killer engine bay, but when you think about it, the interior is far more important. Why? Because that’s where you spend the majority of your time. Given this little tidbit of truth we think a nice interior should be way up the “must do” list of any Chevy lover. The bad news is that a custom interior can set you back a sizable stack of cash. We’re talking five-digit, spouse gives you a funny look, cash. The good news is that TMI is now churning out affordable interior parts that help you look like you dropped big coin at a custom shop. These soft goods, when combined with aftermarket interior parts from companies like Ground Up, can turn a worn-out or just boring interior into a show winner. And it can be done on something approaching a sane budget. Rather than just making exact replicas of the parts that originally came in our Chevys, TMI focuses on making parts that fit the OEM seat frames but have a more updated vibe. According to … [Read more...] about TMI’s New Interior Kits Offer Custom Looks at a Wallet Friendly Price
At one time finding missing parts for ’50s pickups meant a trip to the local wrecking yard to examine row after row of trucks, some so complete one had to wonder why they were there. Eventually most of these junkyard gems were picked over to the point they were little more than scrap so what was left became crusher bound. With junkyards less of an option, swap meets became the next best place to go shopping for used classic truck parts. And while there are often diamonds in the rough to be found, good trim parts can be near impossible to find. Fortunately the popularity of vintage trucks has created another option and arguably the best one yet, reproduction parts from LMC. When Jason Scudellari started building a basket case 1956 Chevy truck it was obvious searching for parts and pieces would be one of the challenges. As it often happens, some things were missing while others were too far gone to save. When dealing with 1955-1957 Chevy trucks it’s common to see the … [Read more...] about Bring On The Bling: New Chrome And Glass For Our 1956 Chevy
Tata Motors' defence business has got a few shots in its arm from India’s defence forces. Its Safari Storme SUV and the Xenon pickup have been chosen by the Army and the BSF respectively, as their new vehicles of choice. The company made the official announcements today. Both the Xenon and the Safari Storme will replace the Maruti Gypsy SUV, which has been in use by the defence forces for a long time now. The combined order size, in terms of revenue, stands at Rs 400 crore, or 40 percent of the current annual revenue of Tata Motors' defence business. Tata Motors says that the initial order for the Safari Storme involves 3,192 units. "Potentially, the order can grow 10-fold," Vernon Noronha, vice-president, Defence & Government Business, Tata Motors, told Autocar Professional. The contract for the order is expected to be signed soon. It is learnt that the Army will replace its parc of 35,000 vehicles and the practice is to invite tenders from makers of 'in-service' … [Read more...] about Tata Safari, Xenon part of Rs 460 crore order from Indian defence forces
► New VW Golf Estate vs used BMW 330d Touring► FWD and four cylinders vs RWD and six cylinders► Which of these estates is worth your money? Find outIt’s a cast-iron answer to that ‘one-car-to-do-it-all’ pub question: Golf GTD. Hot-hatch handling without a harsh ride, oodles of torque without the tax bill, and bombproof residuals when the time comes to sell. And it’s now available as an estate. Job done.But… for the same £28k GTD wagon starting price – or a fair bit less, in fact – there’s another ‘only car you’d ever need’. BMW’s F31 3-series Touring is as good to drive as it looks, and in 330d guise packs a lusty six-cylinder 3.0 diesel, juggling a sub-6sec 0-62 time with real-life 40mpg fuel economy. Not for nothing has CAR previously described the 330d Touring as the best car in the real world. Question is, which one’s worth spending real money on?The Golf GTD gets many of the … [Read more...] about Icon buyer: new VW Golf GTD Estate or used BMW 330d Touring?
At the moment, Chrysler reimburses a dealer for the cost of topping-up the gas tank on a car the dealer sells to a customer. No mas. That little tidbit was buried deep in the Detroit News story about Chrysler’s incipient “traveling roadshow”– a corporate effort to “convince” dealers to order more cars despite the fact that no one’s buying them and it costs money for the dealers to have vehicles sitting on their lots. We also learn that Chrysler has frozen the labor rate for warranty work, scheduled to rise in ’09. “‘I think they understand the place we are in and understand the need for all parties to put some skin in the game,’ said [former Toyota Prez and current Chrysler Co-Prez Jim] Press, who received a standing ovation during the meeting with about 400 dealers.” Somehow I don’t think it was that particular statement that earned Mr. Press the standing O. Perhaps it was his pledge to work for $1 until … [Read more...] about Chrysler Won’t Pay Dealers for New Car Fill-Ups
It’s the kind of story dealership employees love to tell during slow afternoons: the decade-old car with an MSO (manufacturer’s statement of origin, which is what cars have before they have titles) in the glovebox, no air in the tires, and 3 miles on the clock, tucked in back with the service loaners or parked behind the body shop.As with most car dealer fairy tales, there’s plenty of real-world inspiration for the (usually fabricated) story of the moment. In the days when dealerships tended to own their inventory rather than have it “floorplanned” with a bank, and before the manufacturers came up with the idea of revving up secret incentives to sell leftover cars from the previous model year, it wasn’t all that uncommon for a dealer to have an 18-month-old car somewhere on the lot. It wasn’t just the “megadealers” — truth be told, those were the guys who usually had a better handle on a computerized inventory system. … [Read more...] about Ask Jack: I Need NOS (New Old Stock), and I Need It by Tonight!
Amsterdam’s port facility is more crowded than a Walmart on Black Friday and it’s all China’s fault.That, BMW wonders how it all went wrong, Millennials bare their souls to a salesman, Toyota walks down memory lane, and a safety regulator has some explaining to do … after the break! Barges for Buicks leads to bedlamChina’s burgeoning middle class has a powerful thirst for cars — American cars, especially — but the growing demand for gasoline to power that private fleet is putting pressure in an unlikely location, reports Bloomberg Business.The port of Amsterdam is jammed butt-to-gut with barges carrying an additive China needs in order to create the higher-quality gasoline and diesel fuel mandated by its government. Those barges ferry the product to tankers anchored offshore, and the long delay between shore and ship — up to two weeks in some cases — is causing serious gridlock.Amsterdam remains the export port of … [Read more...] about TTAC News Round-up: China Binds Up Holland, BMW Needs New Friends, Young People Dream On
Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up.MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative: Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats, we are temporarily restricting orders while we validate current orders that are in the system. As of now, over 9,000 orders have been placed for the Hellcats; over 2,200 have been delivered thus far. … [Read more...] about Dodge Restricting New Hellcat Orders Until Older Orders Are Fulfilled
If I’ve seen it once in the comments on this site, I’ve seen it a hundred times.Never once in the history of the Internet has anyone, anywhere admitted that they paid more than invoice for a new car.Everybody gets the best deal possible. We all “stick it to the man.” However, despite the well-known and understood tendencies of most people to lie on forums, in comments, or even when writing about their own business practices on the Internet, this might be one of the few times when the braggadocio matches reality.The truth is that virtually everyone gets a “good deal” on a new car.The invoice price now seems to be the starting place of negotiations on commonplace cars. And yet, franchise owners all across these great United States (and Canada, I presume) are raking the money in, hand over fist.Many of the questions you’ve all been so kind to send into the Ask Bark mailbox lately have been regarding crazy leases, manufacturer … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: How Do New Car Dealers Make Money?