Auto News for March 11

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Back from an all too quick commune with cactus. Why? Don’t miss Saturday’s Road Test feature for the full details. I will tease with a picture of my favorite Cactaceae.

Now let’s get caught up.

Jeremy Clarkson has done it again! He has been suspended for an unknown period by the BBC from his hosting duties on Top Gear after a fracas with a producer. Followers of the show will recall this is not the first time that Clarkson has been suspended and his future on the broadcast could be in doubt. This weekend’s show has been cancelled in Great Britain and the London Times said three other shows will not be completed.

VW bus

The first VW commercial van rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg 65 years ago. It went on to win the approval of tradesmen and those with long hair all around the globe. Production began on March 8, 1950 and ten vehicles were manufactured per day. A camper version appeared in ’51 and four years into production the 100,000th van rolled off the line. The rest is history.

VW announced that a three row version of the Tiguan will be produced at its plant in Puebla, Mexico with a launch date of 2017. Volks will invest $1 billion in the plant to bring that about.


Mazda has started production in Hiroshima of the new MX-5 (Miata) with the first models destined solely for the Japanese market. The sure to be popular two-seater will be progressively rolled out to overseas markets. Did you know that it holds the Guinness World Record as the top selling two seat sports car?

GM will buy back $5 billion worth of company shares over time and that has pleased an activist investor who had called for an $8 billion dollar buyback. After talks with GM management, Harry J. Wilson also agreed to withdraw his request to become a member of the board.

Chevy will debut a new Spark subcompact at the New York Auto Show on April 2. It is said to have a sleeker, more aerodynamic profile and a “more sophisticated aesthetic.” More to come.

BMW saw global sales increase 5.2 percent in February and that outpaced rivals Audi and Mercedes. It said demand was strong for the X5 SUV and the X4 crossover. But for the year, Audi is still the top selling luxury car maker worldwide. How popular is the X5? It is the most stolen car in the UK for the sixth year in a row.

The Honda Odyssey has been named the Best Minivan for Families, by U.S. News & World Report. And yes, they made note of the vacuum system. GM captured the most awards with its Chevy and Cadillac brands winning two each. Here is the full list:


Compact Cars 2015 Volkswagen Golf
Upscale Small Cars 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Hatchbacks 2015 Kia Soul
Midsize Cars 2015 Hyundai Sonata
Upscale Midsize Cars 2015 Cadillac CTS
Large Cars 2015 Chevrolet Impala
Luxury Large Cars 2015 Kia K900
Hybrid Cars 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Wagons 2015 Subaru Outback
Compact SUVs 2015 Honda CR-V
Luxury Compact SUVs 2015 Volvo XC60
2-Row Midsize SUVs 2015 Nissan Murano
3-Row Midsize SUVs 2015 Toyota Highlander
Luxury 2-Row Midsize SUVs 2015 Lexus RX 350
Luxury 3-Row Midsize SUVs 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Large SUVs 2015 Chevrolet Suburban
Luxury Large SUVs 2015 Cadillac Escalade
Hybrid SUVs 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Minivans 2015 Honda Odyssey


Auto writers have named the Chrysler 300 as the Car of Texas and the Bentley Continental GT V8 convertible as the Super Car of Texas.

A total of 21 judges from around the world voted the S-Class Mercedes at the Women’s World Car of the Year and the Luxury Car of the Year. They voted on 10 different criteria including the “wow” factor.

In the UK, there is a proposed law that would ban smoking in cars when children are present. An online survey said the measure captured the support of nearly 93 percent of respondents. A fine and five points on a license would be the penalty.








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