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Auto News for Feb. 16 – Subaru at 50!

 Subaru celebrated its 50th anniversary in this country with a ceremony for its 500 plus employees at headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

 They counted down to 50 on a digital clock that has been marking down the days for the past year.

 To kick off the year of celebrations, Subaru donated 50 new 2018 Subaru Outback vehicles to select Meals on Wheels programs throughout the country.

 Subaru also announced pricing for the biggest vehicle it has yet to make, the Ascent. Pricing will begin at $31,995 and it arrives at retailers this summer.

 I have had a chance to look one over from stem to stern and it was impressive with a very spacious interior, and flexible seating arrangements for hauling people and stuff.

 It will be powered by a new 2.4 liter Boxer engine, with a CVT, and, of course, All-Wheel-Drive.

 Alfa Romeo announced its 2018 Stelvio Quadrifoglio will carry an MSRP of $79,995. With its best in class 505 horsepower V6 the SUV will race to 60 in an estimated 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 176 mph

 The rising cost of parts has caught the attention of car thieves, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. They are stealing cars and trucks to strip them and sell the parts on the black market. Many of the vehicles that are recovered are missing wheels and rims or other key parts, while ones that are never recovered end up in chop shops where they are quickly dismantled and sold piece by piece.

 One frequently heisted car had 15 commonly replaced components valued at nearly $11,000 and that is just one car.

 

 

 

 

  

 

Auto News for Feb. 15 – How Do You Feel About High Tech?

 A new survey shows that most drivers recognize that using technology like phones and GPS is distracting behind the wheel but they are willing to do it anyway. Ninety-one percent of surveyed drivers believe that texting while driving is distracting, while more than half of them admit to do it anyway, according to the poll conducted by Ensurance.

 Nearly half (46 percent) of drivers with in-car tech features say it helps their driving, while 10 percent believe the opposite. Furthermore one out of four drivers who sought out tech in their new vehicles have since deactivated at least one feature.

 And if self-driving cars were available now only 17 percent of surveyed drivers would sacrifice driving control to multi-task on the road.

 Just over 1,000 drivers were surveyed nationwide.

 Subaru will take the wraps off its “Viziv Tourer Concept” car at the Geneva auto show on March 6. VIZIV is a coined word originating from the phrase, “Vision for Innovation.” That’s all we know for now, except for the teaser picture.

 Some consumers would rather visit their dentist, doctor, or visit in-laws than go through the process of buying a new car. That according to a new poll in the UK. A total of 89 percent do not fully understand the small print in a lease deal, yet 60 percent sign up without knowing what the consequences may be if they exceed mileage restrictions. Sixty-six percent feel dissatisfied after completing a car purchase. Think those numbers hold true here? I do.

 Lincoln has signed Serena Williams to appear in social media ads promoting its new Navigator. Years ago she purchased her first vehicle, a Navigator she nicknamed “Ginger.”

 In the matter of worldwide sales, BMW has never recorded a better January. A total of 169,538 customers took delivery of a BMW, MINI or Rolls-Royce an increase of nearly four percent from one year earlier. Sales rose in all major regions.

 

 

 

Auto News for Feb. 14 or Amour in an Audi

 Here is a study that comes just in time for Valentine’s Day!

 Romance no longer blooms in-car the way it once did, according to a survey conducted by BayaCar of the United Kingdom.

 A quiz of 1,300 younger operators shows they are significantly less likely to remember their early in car love lives than people over age 55.

 This despite the benefit of today’s roomier, more comfortable cars. Nearly 60 percent of people aged 55 and above remember their first romantic moment in a car, while the figure falls to just 43 percent for people under the age of 34.

 And the cars they recall these encounters taking place are in much more often wheels like the old VW Beetle.

 “Today it seems that not even climate control and much nicer upholstery than those old vinyl seats can help to arrest the decline of the car as a place to enjoy romantic moments,” said the survey’s authors. Of course those were bench seats back when.

 “Of course, it could be less to do with the cars and more to do with older people being generally more romantic. But when Meatloaf signs about “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” you can bet he will never be referring to a head-up display,” said the authors.

 Elsewhere:

 An all-new Nissan Altima will make its debut at the New York auto show on March 28th.  Apropos since the northeast is the most popular market for the car.

 Rolls-Royce has confirmed that its upcoming SUV, or as they prefer, high-bodied car, will be called Cullinan. “Just like the Cullinan Diamond, the largest flawless diamond ever found, it emerges when it is perfect and exists above all others,” said Rolls. See the camo picture.

 The Cullinan Diamond was extracted from a mine deep in South Africa’s Magaliesberg Mountains in 1905, and at 3,106 carats, remains the largest diamond ever discovered.

 Lexus tops J.D. Power’s 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study based on the number of problems reported in three year old vehicles. Porsche finished second and Buick came in third. Infiniti, Kia, Chevrolet, Hyundai, BMW, and Toyota followed with Lincoln and Nissan rounding out the top ten. Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat and Jeep had the most problems, Power said.

 With the increase in electric car development new research by Mazda has revealed that 55 per cent of UK drivers, and almost 60 per cent of European drivers, see a positive future for petrol and diesel engines. The Mazda Driver Project research polled 11,008 people across key European markets and an average of 58 per cent believe there is “a lot of innovation and improvement still to come with petrol and diesel engines”.

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Feb. 13 Gas Prices Going Down For A Change

 The good news this morning is that gas prices are finally coming down. AAA said the national average price is now $2.58 a gallon, a three cent decline from a week ago.

 This is the first time we have seen a week-over-week decrease this year.

 “Gas price averages are less expensive for 78 percent of states compared to last Monday. Motorists filling up in the Midwest, South and East Coast are most likely to see the positive change at the pump,” said AAA’s Jeanette Casselano. “Unfortunately, it’s too early to know if this one-week decline is the start of a cheaper gas price trend.”

 Toyota will reveal the next Supra at the Geneva Motor Show on March 6th. Toyota said it would be a “modern racing concept” that signals its “commitment to bring back to the market its most iconic sports car.” Of course, there is a teaser photo with a rather large rear air deflector.

 This is the car that Toyota has been developing in cahoots with BMW where it is known as the Z4.

 Don’t look for Mercedes at the 2019 Detroit auto show. It is pulling out of the mid-winter extravaganza joining other makers who would rather stage their own events to show off new products. This allows the automaker to own the spotlight rather than share with rivals. Auto show officials confirmed Merc’s departure.

 Ford is advising owners of certain additional North America 2006 Ford Ranger vehicles with Takata airbag inflators to stop driving their vehicles and contact their dealers immediately for repairs. The 33,428 vehicles, which were previously under a separate Takata airbag inflator recall, have been transferred due to an elevated risk to safety posed by airbag inflators that may have a higher risk of rupturing in the event of a crash.

 Does this cover your pick up? There is a VIN look-up tool at Ford.com that customers can use to determine if their vehicle is one of those involved.

General Motors will close its Gunsan plant in South Korea by the end of May saying it has been operating at only about 20 percent of capacity.

 “This announcement occurs after a careful review of the company’s operations, which have sustained significant losses for the past several years,” GM said.

 The announcement came as GM is considering a restructuring of its operations in South Korea where auto sales have slowed. CEO Mary Barra said GM needs better cost performance from its operations there and has submitted a plan to labor unions and stakeholders regarding future investments, according to the Detroit News.

 

   

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Feb. 12 – Ford Ramps Up SUV Production

 

 When consumers are telling you in clear terms what they are looking for, you produce more of them. So Ford announced this morning it is increasing production of the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition.

 It is boosting production targets by approximately 25 percent since last fall when the two SUV’s hit the market.  

 A $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at its Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed.

 Navigator sales more than doubled last month with Expedition retail sales up nearly 57 percent in January. Most of the SUV’s are off dealer lots within seven days from arrival.

 “No longer available” – for collectors of rare classic cars, the unavailability of spare parts can quickly lead to problems. In the worst case scenario, the car may even be forced out of action. Porsche Classic, the division of Porsche dedicated to classic vehicles, has come up with a solution to this problem.

 It is producing extremely rare parts that are only needed in small quantities using 3D printers. It is currently manufacturing nine parts using the printers and all are subject to quality requirements, Porsche said.

 Specialty Vehicle Engineering is pleased to announce the availability of its all-new, outrageously fast, 2018 YENKO/SC Stage II Camaro, powered by a custom built 1000HP 6.8L supercharged LT-1-based engine. Only 25 of these cars will be built. Based on the Camaro SS1LE the cars will be available at select Chevrolet dealers. No word on price.

  

 

 

 

Saturday Road Test: The Outlander

           2018 Mitsubishi Outlander     

                 

           2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

                     Easy On The Eyes

 By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – This is a sharp looking exterior design from a maker who thus far has not been a major player in the U.S. market.

 However, recently they are gaining some ground.

 Mitsubishi says sales rose 7.7 percent last year and claimed the title of the “fastest growing non-luxury brand in the United States in 2017” citing Wards Light Vehicle Industry Sales Report.

 That includes 35,310 Outlanders for a gain of nearly 33 per cent.

 This weekend’s test vehicle was an Outlander SEL with the 2.4-liter 4, standard in all models except the GT. It cranks out 166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm with 162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm.

 It frankly needs more power to move a 3,505 pound curb weight and a better CVT that now cranks up the revs but yields slow forward momentum.

 Merging on to interstates takes some calculation and passing on rural roads requires planning.

 Look for a 0-60 in the 9 second range.

 I would recommend moving up to the V6 with 224 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque that can trim a couple of seconds off that 0-60. 

 Fuel economy with the four was not bad at 24 city, 29 highway and 26 combined by the EPA. I got 24 mpg with what the company calls S-AWC. 

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

 That is an all-wheel-drive system, Super All Wheel Control, with four different modes (Eco, Normal, Snow, and Lock) with Lock being the high-traction mode for off-road driving. Front wheel drive is also available.

 The indoors was highlighted by a new for 2018 7” infotainment screen that accepts both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The nine speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system put out some good sounds.

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

 Front seats were comfy and easily adjustable with lots of leg and head room despite the sunroof. There was ample room for those in the second row, but unless you really need it, the third row is best kept folded down due its lack of people room.

 Welcome features on the SEL were rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and the power liftgate. Loading and unloading goodies was easy without a huge lift over height.

 Outlander received a five star safety rating from the NHTSA for the AWD model and four stars for FWD version.

 The ride was on the stiff side and handling was okay, neither of which is likely to be a major issue with many buyers.

 While acceleration demands generated a lot of engine noise, the four did settle down once up to speed, but there was some wind noise in the generally quiet cabin.

 Owners can relax with a basic warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles and a limited powertrain protection of 10 years or 100,000 miles.

 The test model was so new it didn’t carry a price tag.

 Pricing one out on the company’s web site brought a guesstimate selling price of about $32,275 but it may have been higher.

 Where the Outlander shines value wise is in the more basic models when it to pricing and standard equipment.

 The base ES starts at $23,445.

 In all there are four models: SE, LE, SEL and GT with that one starting at $32.245.

 Price conscious buyers, and isn’t that almost everyone, should check out the Outlander. There just might be some deals to be had here.

 Factoid:

 The Outlander is now offered as a plug-in hybrid with DC Fast Charging capability. A charge to 80 percent capacity can be had in as little as 25 minutes at a commercial charging facility.