Category Archive:

2009 NAIAS: Chrysler Gets UConnected


Along with looking at new-century powertrain options, Chrysler LLC showed off ideas for connecting drivers to their cars and houses in the future. This trick interior was found inside the stunning 200C concept.
Though the primary purpose of vehicles remains getting us from point A to point B, we live in an increasingly connected world. The technology is available to have your smartphone replace these new-fangled smartkeys, find your car remotely, find out if your friends are in the areas, and even see traffic real-time by connecting to city intersection cameras.
All manufacturers are working with partners to see how quickly and how well we remain seamlessly connected to our jobs, families, fun, and obligations as we move from home to car to work or school to car to destinations and everywhere between. Follow the jump to get an idea of the solutions Chrysler is looking for.

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Could this be the future of the gauge cluster?

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CES Collides With the Auto Industry


This weekend, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will come to a close. The economy has affected the show, with reports saying attendance was down 25%. Yet, exhibitor space fell only 3% – 2,700 companies had their wares on display this year. And, much of that space was a showcase for new technology, in televisions, radios, in fact anything that could be considered an electronic gadget. This year, more than ever before, many of those gadgets go in your car.


I remember when, as an auto enthusiast in my early twenties, I would scoff when I sat down in a car that didn’t have a tachometer or gauges to measure oil pressure or water temperature. The culture of idiot lights was something I endeavored to stay away from. It wasn’t cool – and it wasn’t what I thought people who cared about cars wanted either.
Today, vehicle interiors almost always have a tach and an assortment of gauges. They have a lot more than that, too. During the past year, I’ve driven vehicles that had more than 50 buttons on the center stack or the dash, all of them related to some form of technology designed to make the driving experience more enjoyable. At the rate things are going, some states may enact laws that require vehicles to be piloted by a driver AND a co-driver.

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Top Safety Picks by Insurance Institute of Highway Safety


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced the winners of its 2009 Top Safety Picks. There are 72 winners in 2009; more than double in 2008 and more than 3 times as many as in 2007. Some key factors leading to winning results are better structure to protect from side impacts and increased application of electronic stability control which helps maintain control and minimize rollovers. Additionally, improved headrests are doing a better job protecting against whiplash.


IIHS works for auto insurers and publishes the results of its Top Safety Picks to help consumers select the safest cars and light trucks when they are in the market. AutoPacific’s research shows that safety features and feeling safe while driving are very important when a person selects their vehicle.
Ford Wins 16 Top Safety Picks – almost 25% of Those Awarded
A major result of the 2009 Top Picks was that Ford Motor Company (including Volvo) had 16 of the 72 Top Picks. Several years ago, after Ford acquired Volvo, Ford began adopting Volvo safety strategies in its designs. Several Ford vehicles are derived from the Volvo S80 platform – Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus X, Mercury Sable, Ford Flex, Volvo S80. Using Volvo’s vaunted SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), Ford has been able to make its larger vehicles able to withstand significant blows from the side.
The Ford Fusion with ESC and Mercury Milan with ESC, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo C70, Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, Volvo XC90, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Ford F-150 also won IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2009.
Honda Comes In Second – Close Behind Ford
Coming in close behind Ford Motor Company products was another company that set an objective to become a safety leader several years ago. American Honda has Top Safety Picks for Acura RL, Acura TL, Acura TSX, Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Honda Accord 4-doors, Honda Civic 4-doors with ESC, Honda Fit, Honda Odyssey, Honda Pilot, Honda CRV, Honda Element and Honda Ridgeline. The Honda Fit is the first Economy (Mini) Car to achieve an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
• • • • •

The IIHS Press Release Is shown below the fold.

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2008 LA Auto Show: 2010 Ford Mustang


Before the 2010 Mustang galloped into view droves of Mustangs and a massive, passionate owner body converged on the tarmac to pay homage to the original pony car. VehicleVoice contributors were there outside Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica airport (the day before the LA auto show) to take in this Mustang-only car show… and we must admit the turnout was spectacular.


1964.5 and later


1995 – Present Day

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2008 LA Auto Show: Saab Catches Some Air


Saab Shows off Future of Convertibles with 9-X Air Concept
We noticed that many of the introductions at the 2008 Los Angeles show could be categorized as efficient or fun, with some falling into both categories. Saab 9-X Air is one of those.


If the 9-X Air looks a bit familiar in the nose, it is because you’ve seen it before. The Geneva/New York concept, 9-X BioHybrid, introduced this face, itself an evolution of Saab’s prior concepts. Saab first showed this concept at the 2008 Paris motor show, with U.S. buyers getting their first look in Los Angeles.

Instead of the three-door wagon look of the 9-X BioHybrid, the Air brings us Air, in the form of a flat-folding roof. Called the Canopy Air system, Saab takes their twenty-five years of experience with convertibles and goes for a new approach to open-top motoring.

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Vintage Volkswagen and the New Beetle: Peace and Love – Have a Hippie Holliday


The longest running and most-produced automobile of a single design on the planet was, and remains to this day, the original Volkswagen Beetle.

A record even Henry Ford and his Model T would be jealous of. The Volkswagen Beetle, co-developed by Ferdinand Porsche and Zündapp back in 1931, has become a timeless classic and an industry icon.

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Ford's MyKey: Who Says Parents Can't Control Your Speed?


And turn that radio down!
Today’s teens have grown up in a world of fluid and ever-expanding technology, with their parents using everything from V-chips to internet blockers to teddy-bear babysitting cams to GPS trackers to keep better track of them. For many, it is simply part of their world. Parents and kids have the same trust issues to sort through, just the same as when I was a kid and didn’t think my mom had any right to go through MY dresser, but parents have more direct tools at their disposal now.
Add one more to the arsenal. Ford is introducing the latest electronic nanny next year (2010MY) across several model lines, including the Focus. The system will be a no-cost option or standard equipment, depending on model. It turns out to be an inexpensive way to help teens stay focused in early driving years, when they are the least experienced, and for parents to feel better about teens driving.

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Chrysler enters the electric race


Chrysler today announced plans to jumping into the electric car market with both feet by offering up three high-voltage prototypes to reporters and a promise to put about 100 electric vehicles on the road in 2009. We’ve been waiting to get a sense of what the company’s ENVI group is up to, and now we know.
One of the three concept vehicles, the all-electric Dodge EV, is sure to generate some buzz (Is it a Tesla for the common people?) for its fierce looks and eco-friendly, refuel-it-from-the-wall-socket appeal.
With that in mind, it could be easy to miss the hybrid-on-steroids potential of the Jeep and Chrysler EVs — a Jeep Wrangler and a Chrysler Town & Country fitted with battery and range-extending engine setup (similar in concept to GM’s Volt) that Chrysler claims will allow them run for 40 miles without touching a drop of gas.
Read the full report from Chrysler after the jump.


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Sunday at the Races


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Ah, Labor Day weekend. Forget your family barbecues, your trips to the lake, your hazy last days of summer – I’ll take a $5 hot dog, the Detroit River and the smell of ethanol exhaust (Better than the old methanol fumes!) any day.

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2008 Woodward Dream Cruise, Part II


Another Perfect August Day
A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon at the Meadow Brook Concours d’ Elegance. While the West Coast had Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this weekend we had the 14th annual Woodward Dream Cruise, turning the area Woodward from Pleasant Ridge to Pontiac into an automotive playground. Below the jump, are just some of the vehicles that caught my eye.


Tell me, where else will you see these two vehicles kept pristine and rollin’ along the same boulevard?


Or a toy motoring along next to the delivery van?

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