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Auto Blog

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:57:00 EST

Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants "immediate action," and its press release says, "this action intensifies Toyota's efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles."
According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem.
This is Toyota's third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas, and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue.

Refreshed Chrysler 300 SRT won't be sold in NA

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST

It looks like it might be time to bid farewell to the V8 rumble from the Chrysler 300 SRT - at least if you live in North America. The reported change comes as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reshuffles its ranks with the Dodge brand, re-absorbing SRT and building its muscular reputation with the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Meanwhile, Chrysler is taking a more mainstream approach, and that likely means the end of overt high-performance models from the division for now.
According to Automotive News, the 300 SRT will be discontinued in the US for 2015, but it won't be totally dead. Some right-hand drive markets will still get the brawny V8 sedan next year, a distinction that goes a long way toward explaining some spy shots we've seen recently.
The 300 SRT's North American demise probably shouldn't come as a total shock. In FCA's five-year plan, it says that the 300 is destined for a refresh to be unveiled later this year, presumably at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. There's no mention of the SRT model in the document, though, which seems to signal its end.

Father does donuts with son in '68 Camaro, ends up in handcuffs

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:30:00 EST

Think pulling a couple of donuts in an empty lot is harmless? That's what one Joe Graham of Ontario, New York, thought... right up until he was arrested.
Graham was driving by a parking lot in the Wayne County town with his son in his red 1968 Chevy Camaro SS on Columbus Day when he entered the empty lot and did a couple of donuts. The whole episode was said to have lasted only about 15 seconds, but Graham seemed to have chosen the wrong location: that lot was next to the town hall and a local sheriff's office. And when the commotion started, a deputy came out and proceeded to place Graham in handcuffs - right in front of his teenage son - and impound his muscle car.
"We were just pulling out of the lot and the cops rushed over to the car and proceeded to arrest me," Graham said to the local ABC affiliate, 13 WHAM. The culprit said he offered to pay to have the freshly painted yellow lines on the lot redone, but officials reportedly claim that he put his son's safety in jeopardy.

Has Dodge stepped in it again with Scat Pack lawsuit?

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:28:00 EST

Lawsuits are an unfortunate part of doing business in just about any industry, so the latest complaint filed by a California-based aftermarket firm against Chrysler would seem to be nothing more than business as usual. But this isn't the first time the two companies have sparred over this particular issue.
According to a report from Automotive News, the dispute revolves around the Scat Pack name that Chrysler first offered on the Charger, Coronet, Dart and Super Bee starting in 1968. Scat Enterprises, a manufacturer of crankshafts and other components for Dodges and other vehicles, sued Chrysler for using its name. A few years later the Scat Pack disappeared from the Dodge catalog.
Fast forward to August 2013 when Chrysler applied to register the Scat Pack name anew. The US Patent and Trademark Office turned down Chrysler's application, but the automaker proceeded anyway, unveiling new Scat Packs for the Challenger, Charger and Dart at last year's SEMA show.

Porsche slathers Martini livery on 911, Panamera, Macan and Cayenne

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:00:00 EST

This is how we imagine the conversation went in Porsche's Stuttgart headquarters: "Martini livery. Martini livery all the things." Okay, so maybe not, but that hasn't stopped Porsche from showing off images of its entire lineup bearing the iconic racing livery.
While we aren't sure about the questionably yellow 911 and lime green Macan, the navy blue Cayenne and the white Panamera both look pretty spectacular as they lap about the streets of Sochi, Russia.
As for why the liveried sports cars and crossovers were at the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, we aren't totally sure. Porsche's Facebook page, where the images first popped up, was really light on details. Whatever the reason, we fully support Porsche doing more with Martini livery. Take a look at the full gallery to see what we mean.

This exploding Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is angering, mesmerizing

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 19:31:00 EST

Between Las Vegas and the emirates of the Persian Gulf, we're sure there are Rolls-Royces to be found in the desert all the time. And we don't doubt that, given those locations, one gets torched every so often. There'd probably even be someone in a tuxedo or evening gown running for cover when it happens, too. The thing is that we're seldom if ever there to watch it go down, much less capture it in stunning high-definition, frame-by-frame video when it does.
That's where this four-minute clip by Tyler Shields comes in. The American photographer and filmmaker staged and captured this Silver Shadow being doused in gasoline (or at least what we're supposed to believe is gasoline) and set afire in the Mojave Desert, along with actor Cru Ennis and actress Ana Mulvoy-Ten.
It's heartbreaking but mesmerizing, and you'll want to watch the video for yourself to see which side you fall on. If it's the former, take solace at least in the fact that the Silver Shadow is far from a rare beast. In fact, it remains by far the most prolific Rolls-Royce ever, with over 30,000 made between 1965 and 1980... so we doubt this one will be missed terribly.

Chevy bringing party of five to SEMA

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:07:00 EST

Chevrolet has a seriously packed booth ready for this year's SEMA show. Not only does the company already have the Camaro SS Special Edition, Silverado Toughnology and Colorado Sport, but it is now announcing five more concepts to be on display.
Among this quintet of concepts is the Chevy SS Sport that wears some Australian inspiration. Sure, it has the grille kit, fog light bezels and rear spoiler out of the Chevrolet Accessories catalog, but the 20-inch wheels, floor mats and cargo tray all sport the logo for Holden, General Motor's division Down Under. Power is left alone for this Aussie-inspired muscle sedan with the stock 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque 6.2-liter V8.
The Impala Blackout gets a monochromatic look to fit its name with a black grille surround, rear spoiler and mirror caps. It uses the sedan's standard 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque.

Ford readying 2015 F-150 drift truck for SEMA

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:02:00 EST

Between the Mustangs you'd find in Formula D and the Fiestas in the Global and World rallycross championships, there's no shortage of Ford drift cars on the scene. But at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Blue Oval automaker intends to show off a different kind of drift machine.
Created in collaboration with driftmeister Vaughn Gittin, Jr., this custom F-150 has been designed for "on- and off-road capabilities, as well as drifting and jumping." It's got a suspension with components from Kibbetech King and Air Lift Performance to give it 12 inches of travel and comes packed with 5 Recaro seats. Other details remain limited, but if the rendering above is anything to go by, it ought to be pretty awesome.
Alongside the Gittin truck, Ford will also be showcasing another F-150 designed together with freestyle motorcross rider Brian Deegan, packing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and a long list of enhancements. Between these two trucks, Ford hopes to extend its winning streak for the Hottest Truck award that it's taken four years running now. Feel free to read more in the press release below.

Polestar looking to tune Volvo CUVs

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST

Volvo is getting serious about emerging from the fringes and into the mainstream of the luxury automobile market. But if it's going to challenge the Germans, it's going to need a performance line. And that's just what it's developing with Polestar.
Building on the motorsport partnership that has seen Polestar represent Volvo in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, World Touring Car Championship and V8 Supercars series, Polestar has been charged with developing road-going performance Volvos as well. It currently offers comprehensively tuned versions of the S60 and V60, as well as engine upgrades for other models, but the latest word has it that Polestar will turn its attention next to tuning Volvo crossovers like the XC60 and the new XC90, pictured above in top-spec R-Design trim.
Details on how Volvo would modify those models remain to be determined, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine the XC60 outfitted with similar enhancements to those offered on its sedan and wagon stablemates to mount a challenge to the Audi SQ5. As for the larger XC90, it seems Volvo is already squeezing as much out of its new 2.0-liter triple-charged inline-four as it can, but more aggressive handling, aero and brakes could stand to transform the flagship crossover in pursuit of performance utes like the Mercedes ML63 AMG and BMW X5 M, even if it couldn't quite match their impressive horsepower outputs.

2015 Ford Mustang already under recall, but just 53 units

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:03:00 EST

Ford has issued a small - but significant - recall for one of its spotlight cars: the 2015 Mustang.
The recall affects just 53 cars, with 50 in the United States and three in Canada. Ford said the passenger side safety belt buckle tension sensor may not have been calibrated properly by the supplier. This could lead to "misclassification" of the passenger seat occupant, and could cause the airbag to deploy improperly.
A Ford spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries, and dealers will replace the buckle assembly at no cost to customers. The cars affected were built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan from Aug. 18 to Oct. 2.