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100k Mazda6 sedans recalled over tire-monitoring systems

Posted on November 26, 2014 by Noah Joseph

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2014 Mazda6

A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is, as you might have guessed, designed to monitor the air pressure in the tires, and alert the driver if pressure drops. But a problem found in the Mazda6 could keep the system from doing its job.

According to the recall notice issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the TPMS in the Mazda6 might not recognize a loss in tire pressure if all the tires slowly deflate at the same time. Under-inflated tires, it goes without saying, could increase the risk of a crash.

As a result, Mazda is recalling 99,711 examples of the 2014-2015 Mazda6 to have the system's software updated.

Continue reading 100k Mazda6 sedans recalled over tire-monitoring systems

100k Mazda6 sedans recalled over tire-monitoring systems originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM Futurliner No. 10 gains National Historic Vehicle Register status, finds home

Posted on by Noah Joseph

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GM Futurliner

We couldn't even begin to count all the concept cars that General Motors has made over the years, but what we do know is that few have carried the kind of legend that the Futurliners have. Of the dozen such buses GM made, No. 10 (similar to the one pictured here) has arguably had the most colored history, but now it's finally getting the recognition it so richly deserves.

The tenth Futurliner toured the country as part of GM's Parade of Progress in 1940 before being "retired," but the 12-ton, 33-foot behemoth lived a rich life after its initial tour of duty. It had its engine and some of its bodywork replaced, and in the 1950s went back on tour across 35 states and three Canadian provinces. It subsequently changed hands time and time again, bouncing from the Michigan State Police to a musician, a brewery, a restaurant and a handful of museums, but now it's found what could be its final resting place.

Following an eight-year restoration, it's going on display at the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States in Auburn, Indiana, and has earned its place in the National Historic Vehicle Register, with its documentation and photography to be cataloged with the Library of Congress. Read the full story of the most storied of the Futurliners over at Hemmings Daily.

GM Futurliner No. 10 gains National Historic Vehicle Register status, finds home originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 07:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saleen says it’s out of money, owes millions

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Chris Bruce

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Saleen Four Sixteen

Saleen Automotive is best known for building hot numbers including countless tuned Ford Mustang muscle cars, and more recently, for offering a custom version of the Tesla Model S. Unfortunately, the company needs a huge infusion of cash even faster than its cars if it wants to stay on the road beyond the end of the year. In a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Saleen admits that its financial situation is dire, and it has just $7,261 in cash sitting in the bank as of September 30.

That lack of liquidity is just the very tip of the iceberg. According to Jalopnik, poring over the SEC documents reveals that Saleen Automotive owes $5,634,841, which includes about $500,000 in payroll taxes. Over $1 million of those bills are at least 90 days overdue, and the business expects to default on $398,176 owed to the bank unless an extension is granted. The money just isn't coming in to pay for all of this, either. Revenue is down by half, and Saleen is posting quarterly losses in the millions.

With just $668,629 in assets, the numbers don't balance out. Saleen is hoping to find a buyer to inject the millions needed to save it from going under but admits in the SEC filing: "These factors raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Steve Saleen re-acquired the rights to the Saleen name in 2012 after a high-profile court battle. Publicly, the company appeared to be doing at least somewhat well, continuing to introduce the muscle cars for which it is known, as well as expanding its offerings into the world of electric cars with an eye toward the future. Clearly, based on this SEC filing, however, things are looking dire for the well-known outfit.

Saleen says it's out of money, owes millions originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chaos ensues in pileup at Macau tin-top race

Posted on by Noah Joseph

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Pileup during Chinese Racing Cup race in Macau

Touring car grids around the world have been growing at suitably rapid pace. The British Touring Car Championship has been fielding record numbers of entries, DTM and V8 Supercars both have more manufacturers participating than they have had in years, the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship has brought several national series together on one grid.... we could go on, but you get the point. And nothing illustrates that point quite like this pileup at this year's Macau Grand Prix.

The premier event in Formula 3 racing is held on the streets of China's version of Monte Carlo or Las Vegas and includes numerous support races. Among those are the World Touring Car Championship, a motorcycle race and the Chinese Racing Cup. It's during that tin-top race - campaigned by a field of 26 identical BAIC Senova D70s - that this massive pileup ensued.

We won't spoil it by giving you a play-by-play, but if you fast-forward to about the 45-second mark you can watch the nobody-got-hurt hilarity unfold before your very eyes. Be sure to add some mental Benny Hill Theme music for the full effect.

Continue reading Chaos ensues in pileup at Macau tin-top race

Chaos ensues in pileup at Macau tin-top race originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes surprised Hamilton with this steering wheel message

Posted on by Noah Joseph

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Congratulations, Lewis!

Lewis Hamilton had much to celebrate at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this past weekend. Not only did he win the race in commanding form (the 33rd in his career to make him the fifth most successful in Formula One history), but he also scored enough points (double on the season finale this year) to outpace his teammate and chief rival to win the world championship. Having already been crowned champion in 2008, that makes him one of only sixteen drivers to have won multiple world titles.

It's a point his team at Mercedes didn't want him to miss, so on the cool-down lap at the end of the race, his pit crew radioed him the message "default 44" - an instruction that triggered this image to appear on the display in the middle of his steering wheel. Apparently Lewis, with plenty else on his mind (like getting his car back to the parc fermé in one piece and with enough fuel), didn't notice what was flashing in front of him.

Superimposed, as you can see, over an image of Hamilton as a young lad still in karts is Lewis' name alongside those of the other two-time world champs: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, Alberto Ascari, Fernando Alonso and Mika Hakkinen. (Never mind those who've scored more than two titles.) Intriguingly, Hakkinen is the only other one among them to have won either of his titles under Mercedes power like Lewis did, though Fangio won two of his five titles motivated by Benz engines.

Mercedes surprised Hamilton with this steering wheel message originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes surprised Hamilton with this steering wheel message

Posted on by Noah Joseph

Filed under: ,

Congratulations, Lewis!

Lewis Hamilton had much to celebrate at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this past weekend. Not only did he win the race in commanding form (the 33rd in his career to make him the fifth most successful in Formula One history), but he also scored enough points (double on the season finale this year) to outpace his teammate and chief rival to win the world championship. Having already been crowned champion in 2008, that makes him one of only sixteen drivers to have won multiple world titles.

It's a point his team at Mercedes didn't want him to miss, so on the cool-down lap at the end of the race, his pit crew radioed him the message "default 44" - an instruction that triggered this image to appear on the display in the middle of his steering wheel. Apparently Lewis, with plenty else on his mind (like getting his car back to the parc fermé in one piece and with enough fuel), didn't notice what was flashing in front of him.

Superimposed, as you can see, over an image of Hamilton as a young lad still in karts is Lewis' name alongside those of the other two-time world champs: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, Alberto Ascari, Fernando Alonso and Mika Hakkinen. (Never mind those who've scored more than two titles.) Intriguingly, Hakkinen is the only other one among them to have won either of his titles under Mercedes power like Lewis did, though Fangio won two of his five titles motivated by Benz engines.

Mercedes surprised Hamilton with this steering wheel message originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next BMW 7 Series interior spotted

Posted on November 24, 2014 by Brandon Turkus

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BMW 7 Series

The next BMW 7 Series looks to be leading a rather dramatic change of the company's interior styling, judging by this new series of spy photos.

In the trio of shots, we can see that the next 7 Series will replace the high-quality plastic buttons of the brand's iDrive, HVAC and secondary audio controls with some very, very pretty aluminum pieces. We can also see what looks like haptic touch controls for some of the HVAC systems. While the 7 Series interior has never been bad, it's lagged notably behind the Audi A8 and new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This brightwork should be taken as a good sign, then, that BMW is preparing to take the fight to its countrymen. Aside from the handsome new switchgear, the large, wide nav screen looks like a pop-up unit, while it appears to be running a new version of the company's infotainment system.

These spy photos also give us our most detailed look at the 7 Series' new laser headlights. According to our spies, these will be an optional extra, while LED headlights will be standard. The high-output lights will flank a wider pair of kidney grilles that our spies claim will give the 7 a sportier look. Changes in back are still camouflaged, although our shooters claim the new lamps will be more angular than the current car's.

Expect the next 7 Series to make its debut in the second half of 2015, which could indicate a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Next BMW 7 Series interior spotted originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Parts shortage could mean airbag inflator replacement takes two years

Posted on by Chris Bruce

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US-TRANSPORTATION-TAKATA

Drivers in the US might be stuck with quite a wait to get their vehicles repaired under the Takata airbag inflator recall. As things stand now, the Japanese supplier could need as long as two years to produce enough replacement parts to service every affected model in America. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is successful in making the campaign nationwide, then that timeline could grow even longer.

Mounting government pressure, including a recent Senate hearing (pictured above), is attempting to push a solution. Takata is currently building about 300,000 replacement inflators a month at its Monclova, Mexico, factory, and the company plans to boost that to around 450,000 by January, according to Automotive News. The business is also moving some production to Freiburg, Germany.

Because Takata isn't the only player in the world producing airbags, it might seem that the affected automakers could simply switch companies. However, that likely isn't going to work either. "We have been advised by suppliers that the development and production of a replacement inflator for a particular model by a supplier other than Takata could take a minimum of one year, and could take longer," said Dino Triantafyllos, Toyota chief quality officer in North America to Automotive News.

Actually getting people to bring their vehicle to dealers for the recall is an issue, as well. It only takes about an hour to switch out inflators. However, despite national publicity, documents submitted to NHTSA from eight of the affected automakers indicate only 437,936 vehicles are fixed out of a pool of about 7.5 million, according to Automotive News. With models going back as far as 2000 potentially needing the new parts, tracking down the current owner can be difficult. Just look at the similar problems Jeep is facing over its campaign to protect fuel tanks on older SUVs.

Parts shortage could mean airbag inflator replacement takes two years originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Race Recap: Abu Dhabi GP is reversals, luck, leanness and last dances

Posted on by Jonathon Ramsey

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Graphic for the 2014 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix.

We weren't sure if Alter Ego Nico Rosberg, the one who flew into Brazil and showed Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Lewis Hamilton that he knew also knew how to grab an entire race weekend by the scruff of the neck, arrived in Abu Dhabi. In both Friday practice sessions Hamilton showed Rosberg the way.

Then on Saturday, Alter Ego Rosberg took over, taking the last Free Practice session and then pole position by a whopping four-tenths of a second over Hamilton. Thanks to the gimmicky and soon-to-be-obliterated spectre of double points, if Rosberg won the race and Hamilton finished lower than second, the World Championship would remain in German hands.

Behind Hamilton came the Williams duo, again, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Felipe Massa. Daniil Kvyat did swell to put his Toro Rosso in fifth, Jenson Button was just as swell getting his McLaren into sixth. Kimi Räikkönen outqualified his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso for the third time this year, the pair taking seventh and eighth on the grid. Kevin Magnussen lined the second McLaren up in ninth, Jean-Eric Vergne making the top ten for Toro Rosso in his last race for the team. To be clear, that was the final grid for race: Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel had both qualified in the top ten but were sent to the back of the grid when their Infiniti Red Bull Racing front wings were deemed illegal. They'd start from the pit lane, which was still ahead of Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, who took so many penalties for new engine components that he started the race in Turkey.

At lights-out on Sunday, well, it was pretty much lights out.

Continue reading Race Recap: Abu Dhabi GP is reversals, luck, leanness and last dances

Race Recap: Abu Dhabi GP is reversals, luck, leanness and last dances originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf R [w/video]

Posted on by Seyth Miersma

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2015 Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen hired a photographer to come shoot the handful of journalists that it brought to drive the 2015 Golf R at Buttonwillow Raceway north of Los Angeles. This fact, though unremarkable in and of itself, was something I hadn't noticed until I was well into my track time - probably ten laps deep on a day that would see me run twice that number. In any event, I noticed the intrepid shooter as he was sprinting from one side of the track to the other somewhere before Turn 2, while I was barreling down the main straightaway, still looking through Turn 1.

In the roughly two-mile configuration of the track that I drove, Buttonwillow is a big, wide-open circuit, largely flat and with excellent overall visibility. On that layout, and just hours into my Golf R experience, I'd already become confident in endeavoring to push the limits of VW's latest blistering hatch. In fact, the easy nature of driving the thing quickly had me overestimating my pace. So when I saw the photog sprint across the tarmac I instinctively slowed way too much, way too early for Turn 1.

Looking back at the incident after I'd pitted for the session, I laughed at myself, knowing I'd have had to be driving almost double my actual speed to put the camera guy in any real danger of being hit. But the experience crystallized what my full test of the R bore out: this is a car that makes you feel much faster than you otherwise would, at least in a competition setting.

The 2015 Golf R is an über hatch that will flatter those hyper-enthusiasts passionate enough to splash out on its steep price tag, but without threatening sales of core models like the GTI and its ilk. That's a good thing for the VW fanboys, to be sure, and, I'd argue, a great thing for the strength of the German brand overall.

Continue reading 2015 Volkswagen Golf R [w/video]

2015 Volkswagen Golf R [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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