Jun 062012
 

Walter Chrysler and Chrysler Corporation

The car maker Chrysler history began in the early 1920s, when Walter Chrysler left Willys to overhaul the Maxwell Car Company. 1924 saw the launch of the Chrysler Automobile, a well-received car that included attributes which, at the time, were restricted to far more costly automobiles. Amongst these were an air filter on the carburetor and an oil filter. In 1925, the Maxwell Car Company was reorganized in to the Chrysler Corporation.

Chrysler innovations

In its early years, Chrysler introduced revolutionary new attributes that would later be used by nearly every automobile manufacturer including ridged rims which kept a flat tire from coming off the wheel and rubber engine mounts to lower engine vibration traveling through the rest of the car.

Chrysler History

The Chrysler Corporation went through quite a few alterations over the decades. In 1928, a deal brought about the purchase of the Dodge nameplate from the Dodge Brothers. 1928 also saw the introduction of the Plymouth nameplate which was an integral element of Chrysler’s line-up till 2001 when the nameplate was dropped. In 1987, Chrysler gained a controlling share in Jeep-Eagle and started manufacturing the long-running Jeep line of vehicles. In 1998, Chrysler merged with German auto manufacturer Daimler AG to become DaimlerChrysler AG (see also Mercedes Benz car history). In 2007, Ceberus Capital Management acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler and finished its purchase of the remaining stock in 2009.

The 1960s and early 1970s had been a high point for Chrysler due, in large component, to the NASCAR racing success of the Dodge nameplate. Richard Petty’s blue #43 Roadrunner Superbird car has grow to be one of the most recognized automobiles in the planet and was even represented as the King (Strip Weathers) in the Disney/Pixar animated film “Cars”. The 1969 Dodge Charger was a also highlighted prominently in the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979-1985.

By far the most Successful Chrysler Models

Chrysler has had a number of thriving models such as the 300, the Dodge Charger, as well as the Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Barracuda. More lately, Chrysler has surprised the automotive planet with retro-styled automobiles which have been well-received such as the Dodge Prowler plus the new Dodge Challenger. In 2006, the re-introduced the Dodge Charger model as well, although this did not feature the retro-styling of the Prowler or the Challenger. In 1992, Chrysler entered the world of world-class sports automobiles with the Dodge Viper, a V-10 powered sports vehicle created to compete with cars like the Chevrolet Corvette (read GMC history) as well as the Porsche 911 (read Porsche history).

Like its rival, Ford (read Ford history), Chrysler very carefully managed its nameplates according to design. Plymouth was the economy line, Dodge became the mid-grade and performance name, and Chrysler was reserved for their high-end luxury line of vehicles. The purchase of the Jeep nameplate gave them instant recognition in the Sport/Utility vehicle market.

During its eight decade Chrysler history, the corporation has been an innovator and has had a strong influence in the auto manufacturing business all through the globe. It has also observed its troubles as the #3 American auto manufacturer, but has managed to endure and survive through all its trials and tribulations.

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Apr 222012
 

Suzuki’s consumer satisfaction data from J.D. Power and Associates is no longer forthcoming, which specialists believe is a bad sign for the automaker’s future in the U.S. market. Sales throughout the industry have been up 13 percent in the first quarter, yet Suzuki has dropped by 2 percent over that period. This has led Suzuki to cut its marketing on social networking and television, and to close several U.S. dealerships.

Avoiding marketing

It seems like Suzuki has disappeared. Promoting executive Steve Younan left in January from Suzuki, and a replacement may never come along. The company has not aired a national commercial since 2009 and has decided to pull out of all social networking activity in the last couple of months. The car maker has even skipped both the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows this year. The business is certainly marketing very differently than its competition.

Another sign of trouble for Suzuki came in January, when the car maker stopped receiving consumer satisfaction reports from J.D. Power and Associates. Automakers use the data compiled by J.D. Power to track dealer performance. A memorandum from Suzuki indicated that the automaker will seek a different vendor to provide this data, notes Automotive News. The position has reportedly not been filled yet.

Rating Suzuki dealerships

In 2011, American Suzuki dropped 32 dealership franchises from its roster, approximately 12 percent of its United States total. The number of Suzuki dealers has continued to drop each year since 2005, note several sources.

While American Suzuki will continue to slash programs, Suzuki dealers feel the financial pain.

May be good

Kay, who currently owns Ford, Chevrolet, Buick-GMC, Honda and Nissan Motors car dealerships west of Chicago, blamed Suzuki’s sales troubles on poor consumer awareness.

James Morrell, owner of Advantage Suzuki in Albany, N.Y., and chairman of the Suzuki Dealer Advisory Board, points out that from a large corporate standpoint, reducing the number of U.S. dealerships really had a silver lining.

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Apr 212012
 

The forthcoming Marvel hero team-up film, “The Avengers,” will even be a treat for car followers. The film teams Iron Man, Green Arrow, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow in a fight to save the world. Tony Stark — Iron Man to the planet (Robert Downey, Jr.) — having lost his Audi R8 in his last film, now drives a never-before seen convertible Acura NSX. Burt the vehicle has a secret identity, too.

Observe Acura in Hollywood

On April 11, the premiere of “The Avengers” was a massive hit. Robert Downey Jr. drove in a convertible on the red carpet at the premier. The premiere also shuttled actors back and forth with other Acura models that were made just for the movie. Some Acura TL models were in the film along with the tricked-out Acura MD. The premiere was held at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood.

A partnership

It makes perfect sense that Acura would co-sponsor the premiere.

The Acura was also the official car of last year’s “Captain America” and “Thor” movies. S.H.I.E.L.D. is an acronym for the fictitious Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

Picture and test drive

The “Acura convertible sports car” picture was released by the car maker last week showing what Torque News believed was going to be the 2015 NSX sports car. Inside Line was able to drive the car used in the movie though, and they found out a few insider secrets about the car.

When the car was initially seen by Inside Line’s John Pearley Huffman in the Mojave Desert in California, he said it was “Gorgeous. Stop and stare, devastatingly, truly gorgeous.” He tested the car at the Honda test track, and Tony Stark’s Acura was delivered in a white semi-trailer.

However, as Huffman and his fellow workers neared the car, they noticed a familiar inside. It was the un-retouched inside trim of a 1991 Acura NSX. The interior of the car is never seen in “The Avengers” film, so no redo was necessary.

The color of the car was painted red to match Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, and it was a brand new body built to go over a 1991 Acura NSX. The car was built in Oxnard, California at the Trans FX shop.

Another iconic car

The car Tony Stark drives is in great condition still in spite of the belief that typically stunt vehicles are essential for movies to perform all the stunts. Huffman explained that when he saw the car, he realized it was “one of the most extraordinary movie vehicles ever built. It is right up there with the Batmobile.”

“The Avengers” comes out on May 4 for everyone to see.

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Apr 192012
 

In a rare regionally-targeted recall campaign, General Motors Company is asking the owners of some of its crossover SUVs from numerous divisions to usher in their vehicles and have the windshield wipers looked at. Only those owners who live in the northern states will be affected.

Recall only for those in chilly

The issue stems from a nut that holds the windshield wiper arm in place. The recall affects only those owners in colder areas because cold and ice can potentially can loosen the nut and affect the operation of the wiper arm.

Different parts of the business

There are three different divisions of GM focused on by the recall. The crossover SUVs being recalled consists of 2011 and 2012 GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave vehicles. There are 50,000 automobiles being recalled. Owners can expect notification starting on April 16 if they are in one of the areas being targeted by the recall.

Not all states included

The states integrated in the recall campaign are Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West VA, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In excess of factory specs

The defect has not caused any accidents, as far as GM knows, and the business promises to tighten the arms for free for affected owners. Owners just need to go to an authorized dealership to have it done.

The world’s largest-selling automaker also claims that, if requested by an owner, it will also tighten the windshield wiper arm nuts on impacted automobiles not in the focused on areas, free of charge.

Learn the way to contact

If you need for more information about the recalls, you can call the individual divisions of GMC, such as Buick at 800-521-7300, Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or GMC at 800-462-8782. You can call the NHTSA instead if you want too. Use campaign #12V151000 whenever you call 888-327-4236, and you will get all the right info.

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Apr 172012
 

According to former GM head of R&D Larry Burns, self-driving cars are coming. By 2020, fleets will be standard; by 2015, most customer cars will have the benefits as options.

Get distracted while driving

The emissions in urban cities will decrease quite a bit with driverless vehicles because there will be fewer automobiles on the road. People will not get distracted, which will mean fewer crashes on the road. Distracted driving will become obsolete; people will be able to do whatever they want in the car, such as taking care of business and phone calls.

Test drives at Google

Thousands of miles have been put into driverless test automobiles on California roads. The Toyota Prius and Audi TT designs were used in the experiment done by Google. Google has gotten a lot of attention for these models. The cars do a very good job of watching for dangers, looking at stop lights and staying on the road. They appear to be very effective with radar and video cameras.

Only one accident has reportedly occurred when the driverless system was active, and that appears to have been the fault of a separate, human driver. It is notable that control could be assumed by a human driver at any point during the operation of the self-driving system.

Attempt for project in past

In 2007, General Motors entered a driverless Chevrolet Tahoe in a 55-mile race sponsored by the U.S. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The race occurred in Victorville, Calif., and the driverless system in the Tahoe (nicknamed “Boss”) used familiar systems, from cameras and radar to global positioning satellites. Boss won the race, reports Automotive News.

Trying the system out

On the self-driving cars, there will be adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance and lane-keeping technology. Although Burns believes the self-driving car will not come out until 2020, he does believe that these attributes will be seen on most customer automobiles by 2015.

Insurance on automobiles

It will be harder to figure out who is at fault in crashes with the new technology. That means an enormous stumbling block for the driverless automobiles will be insurance businesses.

Google’s driverless car information

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Apr 142012
 

A Ford Focus recall has been announced, for a faulty wiring harness on the windshield wiper motor. The recall includes over 140,000 automobiles, all from the 2012 model year.

Ford out to wipe defect from the Focus

About 140,310 2012 Ford Focus automobiles will be affected by the recall from Ford motor Company, according to Inside Line. Ford an-nounced the recall because of a defect in the windshield wiper motor; Ford informed the National Highway Traffic Security Administration of the recall, according to the New York Times.

The affected units were manufactured between Aug. 1, 2010, and Oct. 18, 2011. All recalled Focuses were made at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Ford dealers have been notified that a hold has been placed on delivery of the Focus until the problem is resolved.

Where is the issue?

The chances of a chance are increased when the wiper motor does not work or works erratically. This is the issue with the Ford Focus passenger side windshield wiper. It does this due to faulty wiring that causes different fluids to leak into the harness connecter.

The defect, according to the New York Times, was discovered at the factory, where all United States Ford Focus models are assembled. The recall being limited to automobiles made on or before Oct. 18, 2011 means Ford might have received a bad batch of parts from the manufacturer, though automakers are usually loathes disclosing if they received a bad shipment or from which manufacturer they received them from.

The recall will start by May 21. Ford will contact owners and direct them to take their cars to their local Ford dealership and service center, where the wiper wiring harness will be cleaned, inspected and sealed or swapped out as necessary, free of charge.

Finished investigation into blower motor

In other news, the National Highway Traffic Security Administration has wrapped a probe into faulty blower motor switches in the E-350 and E-450 series of large passenger vans, according to The Detroit News. The agency had received 1,036 complaints of failed switches, two of which resulted in a fire. No injuries were reported.

The NHTSA began an investigation in December of 2009 into the possibility of fire in almost 1.1 million 1997 to 2008 E-350 and E-450 vans. The investigation was upgraded to an engineering analysis in April 2010, often the last step before a recall.

All dealers have received a bulletin to replace the switch and electrical connecter with different switches that will not cause fires, although the NHTSA has not required a recall from Ford.

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Apr 102012
 

The Dodge Viper has been sorely missed by some performance car lovers. The new one has been carefully secured, but the date of its public debut has eventually showed up. The 2013 SRT Viper has just been introduced at the New York Auto Show.

Snake in the grass

The horsepower in the Dodge Viper was extremely high, making it an extremely powerful American supercar. It was also something everybody liked depending on its looks.

The Chicago Tribune explained that the last Viper generation stopped being produced last year. This is why many fans have been waiting for a new one to come. The New York Auto Show released a brand new one though.

A monster has come in the new model, as it is being manufactured by Street and Racing Technology, Chrysler’s in-house tuning division (SRT), instead of by Dodge.

Natural aspiration

The 2013 SRT Viper’s most significant feature will be the natural aspirated 8.4-liter V-10 motor with 640 horsepower and a top speed of 205 miles per hour, according to Motor Trend. It is a beast of an engine that everyone would love.

Tremec, the company that made the Corvette ZR1 transmission, produced the six-speed short-throw manual transmission, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is very unlikely to get a paddle-operated automatic.

New standards

However, according to AutoBlog, the new Viper does come with traction and stability control also as cruise control, a standard choice for the first time. Three different styles of wheels are available. Buyers can choose between gloss and matte black with five or six spokes. A special lightweight set are available as part of the SRT Track package.

Sabelt is the company that does Ferrari’s leather seats. This is also the company doing the Viper’s leather seats. The automobile will also come with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with the Uconnect Media Center by Chrysler. A Harmon Kardon sound system will also be in the car.

Motor Trend explained that the two trims, the SRT trim and GTS trim are available for the Viper. A coupe will be released first, but you can expect to see a convertible edition soon.

Spending a lot of cash

In the fall, the Viper will go on sale for, as estimated by Motor Trend, around $95,000.

There are only two vehicles that are competition to the Viper. One of them is the ZR1, with about the same power as the Viper at 638 horsepower. It costs about $111,600 though, which is more money. The Nissan Motors GT-R is another competitor. It gets 545 horsepower in a twin-turbo V-6, which means it will not have nearly the same power, but it does have all-wheel-drive and better traction. The cost is closer to the Viper at $96,820.

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Apr 082012
 

Rachel Veitch, one of the country’s eldest motorists, has been driving the same car since 1964. But time changes all things, and a week ago, Veitch told the media that she has driven her last.

Enough miles to get to the moon

The 48 year old Mercury Comet Caliente has been driven by 93 year old Florida resident Veitch for quite a while. It has over 576,000 miles on it, which is enough to get to the moon and back. She is calling it quits with driving now though since she has lost some vision and ran a red light earlier in the month.

On the ‘Tonight’ show

A couple of years ago, Veitch was in the media for having the Chariot at 559,000 miles. The vehicle lasted through three sets of shocks, eight mufflers, 18 batters and three husbands. She loved the vehicle. She appeared on the Tonight show with Jay Leno at that time.

Veitch did not get hurt in the one and only accident her Chariot went through. It was a rear-end collision that happened in 1980.

Kept vehicle well

The reason why the Chariot has been able to outlive so many other vehicles is because she took such good care of it since she purchased the automobile in the winter of 1964 for $3,289. It has been kept in great condition with complete records of all the maintenance.

Chariot future

The future of the Chariot is now unclear, but Veitch has a healthy attitude about putting her old friend aside:

Veitch is going to let the car be in a vehicle show in July and then will ask for an offer from Leno.

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Apr 062012
 

Fewer teens are jumping at the chance for a driver’s license, notes a University of Michigan study. They’re interested in connecting with friends on the internet. What does this say about the course of present day society?

License rate decreases

According to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, a higher number of U.S. teenagers than ever are waiting longer to get a driver’s license. The trend toward fewer licenses among the teenage demographic has been seen in other countries as well, from Canada and Good Britain to Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, South Korea and more.

Baby Boomers are starting to reach their elder years though, which means license rates are really increasing among older drivers.

Physical presence becoming more uncommon

The study findings were observed by the head of the human factors group in the Transportation Research Institute at the university, Michael Sivak, who made a statement about the findings. He explained that this trend makes sense considering the huge changes in interpersonal communication with the Internet, on the internet social networking and smartphones.

Driver stats

About 30 years back, 94 percent of drivers in their 20s had driver’s licenses. That number has decreased to 84 percent in 2008. Of all the people with drivers’ licenses in 1983, a 3rd of them were under the age of 30. That number has decreased to 22 percent as well, according to the Michigan study.

Much consistent with Sivak’s statement, senior analyst Rebecca Lindland of research business IHS Automotive in Detroit notes that society is evolving.

Bad economy

While automotive advertising executives will no doubt continue attacking the issue head-on today, there’s a distinct possibility that the need for automobiles will not return in earnest until the job market for young people rebounds. Many university graduates are returning to live with their parents because they are unemployed or underemployed. Once Generation Y – which accounts for nearly 27 percent of the total U.S. population, according to The New Republic – beats back joblessness, the demand for vehicles will change.

More city-living

Fewer automobiles are going to be needed as time goes on, according to Chris Leinberger of the Brookings Institute. He said that 88 percent of growth through 2040 for households will be childless couples and singles. These people have no desire for a yard or a vehicle. They are perfectly happy living in a condo in the middle of town with nowhere to even put a car. These people will be commuting much more with public transportation while rents will increase drastically in these areas.

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Apr 042012
 

The Ford Explorer is in many different ways the poster child of the SUV boom of the past two decades. Millions of them have been sold, either in their old guise or the new cross-over based version. However, Ford has had it with the car being unbelievably family-oriented and is releasing a performance model, the Explorer Sport.

Everyone remembers owning one

The Ford Explorer became extremely popular in the 1990s as people started to select up on the SUV trend rather than the minivan trend. Gas did not cost a lot back then, so it did not matter if your car used to be a gas guzzler or not. The Explorer began to be something family-friendly homes always had, just like everybody seemed to have a golden retriever.

People started to stop using fuel guzzling automobiles pretty fast when fuel costs went up. They decided to go for a family-friendly crossover SUV that would not take as much gas to power. Now, the Explorer Sport is Ford’s brand new car. It hopes to take the family part right out of the vehicle.

Beast of an engine

The Explorer Sport will run on a twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. The current Explorer has an available EcoBoost engine, a 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder engine producing 240 horsepower. The Explorer already has an available V-6, a 290-horsepower 3.6-liter, but the engine slated for the Explorer sport, which according to Inside Line is a 3.5-liter V-6, should generate roughly 350 horsepower.

The Explorer Sport will get 16 miles per gallon city and 22 mpg highway. It has a four-wheel drive choice if you would like it and a Terrain Management System with traction control for different weather conditions. It has a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Is the cost too much?

However, the Sport is also slated to be the top of the Explorer range and therefore will likely cost in excess of $40,000. However, the more luxuriously equipped Explorers, according to USA Today, sell the best. More than 40 percent of all Explorer buyers choose the Limited trim, which starts at $39,505 after destination charge.

With regards to comparable SUVs, none of them will get fuel mileage as good as the Ford Sport since they all have V-8 engines. They do have more power and cost less money though. For example, the Dodge Durango R/T has the 4.7-liter Hemi V-8, and only costs $35,795. The vehicle does get less fuel mileage though. That same motor is in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it gets better gas mileage and costs less than $40,000, depending on the style you choose. You will get less than 20 mpg highway with some SUVs of the same size, including the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.

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