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Due to a family situation, the news column will be suspended until Dec. 5

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Auto News for Nov. 26

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The last Lamborghini Gallardo has rolled off the assembly line at the company’s plant in Sant’Agata Bolgonese, Italy. In various forms, the Gallardo was Lambo’s best-selling car with about 14,000 produced over its ten year production cycle. The final car was sold to a private collector.

I had the chance to drive one in the Arizona desert and found it to be exhilarating to say the very least with powerful acceleration, superb handling, and a design that turned heads everywhere.

Car and Driver said the Gallardo replacement will likely be displayed next year at the Geneva auto show. It will sell for a Powerball like $200K or so.

November new car sales are expected to increase 3.6 percent year over year according to Kelley Blue Book. Sales were particularly robust a year ago as consumers sought replacements for vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy. KBB predicts sales will be up 12 percent this time around at GM, up 6 percent at Ford, and up 6.9 percent at Chrysler.

A couple of good tips from Edmunds.com for Black Friday shoppers. Keep merchandise out of sight in the trunk of your car, or use a cargo cover if you are driving a hatchback or SUV. Also drop off any big ticket items at home before resuming your shopping day. “A few minutes of your time could save you lots of holiday disappointment,” Edmunds said.

A 1930 Packard 734 Speedster and Speedster Phaeton are among the classics to be offered by Dragone Auctions on December 7th. Also included will be a 1921 Brewster originally owned and used by First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s grandmother, Mrs. H.D. Auchincloss. It has been stored at her residence in Rhode Island and is said to have only 27,000 miles on it.

 

Auto News for Nov. 25

Given the brand’s recent headaches, here is the headline of the morning: “Tesla’s Muck sees feds clearing Model S in fires.” Musk, of course.

Various reports say there will be no IPO in Chrysler Group this year. Fiat said “no assurance can be given as to whether or when an offering will be launched.” There is still no agreement between Fiat and a union trust on the company’s value.

2014 Toyota Camry

Look for some fresh touches to the Toyota Camry next year, according to the Detroit News. It cites Bill Fay, group vice president of Toyota. The Camry currently is the best- selling car in this country and Fay told the paper the Camry will get significant attention next year in an effort to hold on to its sales lead in a hotly contested part of the market.

Holiday gift suggestions from Harley Davidson include a Gas Pump Beverage Dispenser and Oil Can Party Lights. We would be remiss if we failed to mention the “Women’s H-D Rebel Waffle Knit Sleep Tee.”

Auto News for Nov. 22

When Consumer Reports asked owners if they would buy their current car again, the much talked about Tesla came out on top. Almost 100 percent of owners said they would buy another. The magazine said it is the highest owner-satisfaction score it has seen in years. Drivers also like their Porsche Boxster, Audi A6, Mazda6, and Subaru Forester models.

The Green Car of the Year is the Honda Accord. The award was bestowed at the L.A. auto show by the Green Car Journal because it offers good gas mileage, and two hybrid models.

Uncle Sam will be out of General Motors by the end of the year, according to the Treasury Department. The news sent GM shares higher on Wall Street Thursday, yet in the end, the government may end up $10-million shy of what it paid for its stake in GM.

VW has made no secret of its desire to be the world’s largest automaker. To that end, it will invest $114-billion in its plants and for new models over the next four plus years.

Every once in a while something catches my attention that I must share with you even if it’s not exactly auto related. Well, unless you drove there in your Volvo or old Saab. As you may be aware in the north of Sweden every year operators make a hotel out of ice – Nothing but ice. But this year the rooms will come with a twist. The Ice Hotel will get fire alarms! No joke! A government agency said the blankets and bed linens might catch fire, soooo …

 

Auto News for Nov. 22

When Consumer Reports asked owners if they would buy their current car again, the much talked about Tesla came out on top. Almost 100 percent of owners said they would buy another. The magazine said it is the highest owner-satisfaction score it has seen in years. Drivers also like their Porsche Boxster, Audi A6, Mazda6, and Subaru Forester models.

The Green Car of the Year is the Honda Accord. The award was bestowed at the L.A. auto show by the Green Car Journal because it offers good gas mileage, and two hybrid models.

Uncle Sam will be out of General Motors by the end of the year, according to the Treasury Department. The news sent GM shares higher on Wall Street Thursday, yet in the end, the government may end up $10-million shy of what it paid for its stake in GM.

VW has made no secret of its desire to be the world’s largest automaker. To that end, it will invest $114-billion in its plants and for new models over the next four plus years.

Every once in a while something catches my attention that I must share with you even if it’s not exactly auto related. Well, unless you drove there in your Volvo or old Saab. As you may be aware in the north of Sweden every year operators make a hotel out of ice – Nothing but ice. But this year the rooms will come with a twist. The Ice Hotel will get fire alarms! No joke! A government agency said the blankets and bed linens might catch fire, soooo …

 

Auto News for Nov. 21

 

Fuel Cell fever at the auto shows in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Toyota displayed a hydrogen fuel-cell concept at the Tokyo show and said it would hit the market around 2015.

toyota FCV fuel cell vehicle

Not to be left in the hydrogen dust, as it were, Hyundai said it will offer a Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle in the spring of 2014 in Southern California. The deal will include unlimited free hydrogen refueling and valet maintenance for $499 per month.

Hyundai Fuel cell offering

Honda took the wraps off its fuel cell vehicle, the FCEV, saying it “expresses a potential styling direction for Honda’s next generation fuel cell vehicle anticipated to launch in the U.S. in 2015.” Honda predicts a driving range of 300 miles.

_Honda fuell cell FCEV

Elsewhere, Jaguar revealed the F-Type coupe that will be available in four models and used a movie studio in SOCAL to display its new offering. It certainly is one of the sexier models in L.A. and will carry a base price of $65,895.

Jag F-Type coupe

Purely a concept car, but worth a mention is the very futuristic Mercedes Vision Gran Turismo that was displayed in L.A. You can sort of take the wheel of this concept, since it is part of the “Gran Turismo 6” offering on Sony’s PlayStation 3.

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At the Subaru stand was the 2015 WRX sporting a new 268 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo Boxer engine, the model’s first six-speed manual tranny and an optional CVT that Subaru said offers 6 or 8 speed manual shifting modes using paddles, or eight pre-selected ratios for automatic shifting.

Subaru WRX

Volkswagen should have enthusiast attention with its 503 horsepower, 186 mph “Design Vision GTI” concept. Zero to 62 in just 3.9 seconds the maker said thanks to a 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V6 with maximum torque said to be 423-lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. The rear seats are gone and the car can communicate with other vehicles on the track and calculate what’s going on in the race in real time. Cameras in the A-pillar can be aimed at the track or the interior. “Vettel, we keep telling you there are NO cup holders!”

503 hp GTI concept

Back on Earth, Kia displayed its first rear drive sedan the 2015 K900, based on the Hyundai Genesis. It will be offered with either a 311 hp V6 or a 420 hp V8 and a 900-watt Lexicon audio system. The top of the line will offer reclining outboard rear seats that are also cooled with power lumbar support.

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Car and Driver has announced its ten best cars that will be featured in the January 2014 edition. They are the Audi A6/S6/A7, BMW 3 & 4 series, Cadillac CTS, Corvette Sting Ray, Ford Fiesta ST, Honda Accord, Mazda 3, Mazda 6, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, and the Volks Golf/GTI.

Following up on an earlier story, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration denied that Tesla sought an investigation into battery fires on its Model S. According to the Detroit News, the agency said such a request may not be proper. CEO Elon Musk, in a blog post, said the company had requested “a full investigation.”

Auto News for Nov. 20

Ford will reveal the 2015 Mustang on Dec. 5. Ford executive Jim Farley said the company will team with Facebook and Instagram to build momentum for the launch of what is expected to be a redesigned Pony Car as it enters its sixth generation.

Ford Edge Concept Hero Shot

At the Los Angeles auto show, Ford displayed an Edge concept that is actually expected to be the 2015 model. It includes a push button and remote operated parking feature customers could use from either inside or outside the vehicle.

2015-Chevrolet-ColoradoZ71-020-medium

Not to be left out of the limelight, GM unveiled the second generation Colorado mid-size pickup. It will go on sale in the fall of next year as a 2015 model. A GMC model will also appear in 2014. The Chevy will be offered with a 2.5-liter, 193 horsepower four or a 3.6-liter, 302 horsepower V6 with a diesel added in 2016. GM halted production of the old Colorado back in mid-2012.

PORSCHE HOLDING SE MACAN

Porsche has revealed its Macan, the brand’s first move into the compact SUV segment. The name comes from the Indonesian word for tiger. Three models will be offered with the top of the line featuring all-wheel drive and a 3.6-liter, 400 horsepower biturbo V6 that is rather fast – 0-60 in 4.8 seconds.

AAA predicts that 43.4 million of us will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, 90 percent by automobile. That is a decline of 1.6 percent from last year. The auto club said “the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers …”