Category Archive:

2010 Lexus IS Convertible: Top Down Cruising

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IS  C Exterior.jpgIn the battle for attention from car lovers, Lexus always seems to get beat up in the discussion of performance. Regardless of the numbers, Lexus’ do not feel like BMWs. And they shouldn’t. Certainly, Lexus’ newest addition to the IS line will not get any better treatment from “true enthusiasts”, but the folks at Lexus has thought this through. The new IS convertible delivers what the segment demands, and beats the competition on key metrics. Aren’t those core Lexus Values?


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2008 LA Auto Show – Porsche Boxster/Cayman World Premiere

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The engineers at Porsche believe in precision instruments, the idea that design should follow function, and the belief in ‘staying the course’. These neurosurgeons of the sports car segment have again reflected on the past to outline the future. As expected and true to Porsche form, they have moved their mid-engine lineup forward with an evolutionary design change to the new Boxster and Cayman. Nothing revolutionary, but a redesigned front and rear along with some performance upgrades.

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2008 LA Auto Show: 2010 Mazda3 – Next Time, Start a Revolution!

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Once fuel had reach $4.05 a gallon nationally, we watched as truck sales plummeted and small/compact car sales got a little boost. People in the industry began to say that compact cars were going to appeal to more Americans and make up a larger percentage of vehicles sold here in the United States. The trick is said to be selling these small/compact cars for a profit. Up until recently the major domestic automakers had been able to make up to $12,600 profit on Large Luxury SUVs, but selling a small/compact car only raked in about $2,400 bucks. Once you subtract anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for fixed costs you could actually end up with a negative number. Which means that a solid business case to produce small/compact cars here in the U.S. is not always an easy case to make; other than to help offset CAFE. Although, Mazda seems to be able to make a business case for them, and they sell tons of them!

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Of course now there is talk of ‘premium small cars’ becoming popular with Generation Y and possibly becoming a more lucrative business venture. With fuel prices dropping again to around $2 a gallon only time will tell what the future of the small/compact car will be here in the United States. Still, injecting premium content into a small car may go a long way in appealing to an increasing number of people who don’t think small size should equal skimpy content.


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[insert "bright future" joke here]

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This is fun, right? We’re having fun!

Well, here we are in the World of Tomorrow. The food pills and flying cars are some ways off, but our brave boys in the trenches of science have figured out how to harness those spastic blinky necklaces (pictured) issued by law to every obnoxious child at every fireworks display and use their power for good. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the LED headlamp.
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The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Platinum blinds you with science


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2008 Bullitt Mustang – Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal

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There are only a few actors that I really remember from my childhood. W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, and of course, ‘Mr. Cool’, Steve McQueen. I remember watching Steve in the first film ever produced with a truly spectacular car chase scene (aside from the Charger loosing something like 9 hub caps). I would crouch back in my seat as Lalo Schiffrin’s soundtrack built up the pre-chase tension, and adrenaline pumped through my veins as the driver of the Charger buckled up for safety (not that it would do him any good in the end – ed.) and then punches it through the intersection. From then on it was flat out, white knuckles, and gritting teeth. It was the first time during a movie I thought I could actually smell the oil, and rubber, and hear the unrestricted exhaust.

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There have only been a few movies since then that have even come close. The French Connection (not quite), Ronin (almost), and The Transporter (lacked realism). Nothing has surpassed the cool factor of Lieutenant Frank Bullitt in his 1968 Mustang GT 390 as he punches it through the streets of San Francisco double clutching each shift and chasing down that black ’68 Dodge Charger.


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2008 Cadillac CTS – So Who Shot the ‘Bean Counter’?

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We often get asked, “So why don’t the domestic brands build better vehicles?” and the answer usually comes down to simple economics. It’s not that the domestics don’t know how to engineer and produce amazing, well-built vehicles. It is a matter of fixed costs, variable expenditures, unions, dealers and what we like to call ‘bean counters’. Bean counters are those guy’s who help cost reduce a vehicle within an inch of its life in an effort to compete in the automotive marketplace. The imports typically have a leg up on the domestics due to their younger work force (read: health care costs and retirement costs), their efficiency and the American publics perceptions about their quality.

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Well, either someone gave the bean counter working on the all-new 2008 Cadillac CTS an extended vacation or he was taken out back and shot. The ’08 CTS is a nice car and it’s produced by a domestic auto manufacturer. I know… at first I didn’t believe it either. Most of us had to keep looking down at the Cadillac badge on the steering wheel every few minutes just to confirm the fact that we really were driving a Cadillac. For a minute it didn’t compute. It was a surreal experience.


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New York Auto Show 2008 – MINI JCW Brings History Up to Date

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The next time someone calls my Cooper S “cute” I think I’ll commit a felony. While I understand the sentiment, it misses most of what a MINI is.
At the New York Auto Show Jim McDowell, Vice President – Marketing, MINI USA introduced the John Cooper Works MINI to North America with a reminder that MINI has racing in it’s blood, including Monte Carlo Rally wins in 1964, 1965, 1967. John Cooper has been synonymous with the high-performance MINIs for forty years. Earlier this year, MINI acquired John Cooper Works JCW as a sub brand of MINI.


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New York Auto Show 2008: BMW’s Ultimate Tanning Machine is about to get more interesting.

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In a town where most tans are purchased and delivered indoors, BMW offered the US release of the outdoor Ultimate Tanning Machine, the M3 Convertible.
Strolling Miami and LA beaches for years, the 3 series convertible has become iconic for the look-at-me yuppie set. Many have been delivered to brand-enthusiasts with little care for the vehicle’s performance potential. In recent years, however, BMW has offered up M versions of the coupe and convertible to those drawn to open top tanning and motoring. The coupe M3 launched in 1986 and two years later the first BMW M3 Convertible hit the streets.


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New York Auto Show 2008 – Mitsubishi “i”

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One of the coolest things about working on the VehicleVoice team is the differing taste the team has. Trucks, SUVs, muscle cars, small cars. Lunch can be interesting, to say the least. While I appreciate anything with wheels, I’m slowly becoming more and more interested in minicars. Maybe it’s Europe-envy, or an increased sense of green, but I‘ve always been attracted to minimalism. From architecture to coffee without the fancy names.


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New York Auto Show 2008 – Suzuki Concept Kizashi 3

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Respect. Suzuki gets less than it deserves. Consider some facts. Suzuki Motor Corporation took 35 years to sell 1 million vehicles per year worldwide. 15 more years to reach 2 million vehicles in 2005. Nearly 2.4 million vehicles last year. And in fiscal year 2009, expects to produce 3 million vehicles.


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