• FTC asked to investigate CarMax for selling unfixed recalled cars

    June 26, 2014
    Safety advocates have taken aim at CarMax, calling for tighter federal regulations to prevent used cars from leaving dealerships with defects unfixed.

    Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and 11 auto safety groups sent a petition to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate wether CarMax’s inspection claims — which do not include a recall check — violate false-advertising regulations.

    New car dealers are already barred from selling a vehicle that has been included in a recall campaign, until the repairs have been made, however used car dealers are not bound to the same laws.

    Car dealers shouldn’t sell used cars that have a safety recall to consumers, period,” said Schumer in a statement. “Far too many times we have seen the tragic and often fatal consequences when deficient cars are allowed on the road, and it’s time for the FTC to do everything it can to put a stop to it.”

    CarMax has voiced support for legislation that requires used car dealers to fix recalls, as long as the provisions require automakers to provide parts and diagnostic tools to used dealers to fix the vehicles independently. The proposal would require more flexibility than current law allows, as automakers via franchise dealers are currently solely responsible for repairs.

    The FTC has not yet publicly responded to the petition.

  • Threepeat: Ford 1.0L EcoBoost again named International Engine of the Year

    June 26, 2014

    Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder has been named the International Engine of the Year, marking the third time the pint-sized mill has claimed the award.

    The EcoBoost beat out impressive motors like Ferrari’s 4.5-liter V8, AMG’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and Tesla’s electric powertrain for top honors, and also scored a win in the sub-1.0-liter category (it technically displaces 999cc).

    A panel of 82 automotive journalists from 35 countries is responsible for determining the awards.

    Despite its diminutive displacement and modest cylinder count, the EcoBoost is able to produce 123 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque through the use of direct injection and a turbocharger. Originally launched in Europe in 2011, the engine made its U.S. debut last year in the Fiesta – where it’s rated at 43 mpg highway – and will soon migrate to the 2015 Focus.

    A complete list of the 2014 awards can be found below.

    Sub 1-Liter: Ford 999cc three-cylinder turbo

    1.0-Liter to 1.4-Liter: Volkswagen 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger

    1.4-Liter to 1.8-Liter: BMW / PSA Peugeot Citroen 1.6-liter turbo gasoline

    1.8-Liter to 2.0-Liter: Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter turbo

    2.0-Liter to 2.5-Liter: Audi 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo

    2.5-Liter to 3.0-Liter: BMW 3.0-liter Twin-Power turbo six-cylinder gasoline

    3.0-Liter to 4.0-Liter: McLaren 3.8-liter V8

    Above 4.0-Liter: Ferrari 4.5-liter V8

    New Engine: Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter turbo

    Green Engine: Tesla full-electric powertrain

    Performance Engine: Ferrari 4.5-liter V8

    International Engine of the Year: Ford 999cc three-cylinder turbo

  • Leaked: Facelifted 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan

    June 26, 2014

    The updated 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan has leaked out ahead of its official unveiling, confirming that the four-door will adopt much of its coupe sibling’s front-end treatment.

    Revealed in a video that provides a brief “behind the scenes” look at the filming of an ATS commercial, the 2015 model gains a fresh two-bar grille and the new wreathless Cadillac badge, first seen on the ATS coupe, that will eventually spread throughout the luxury brand’s range.

    The other styling tweak of note is a revised lower front fascia. It sports a single elongated air intake capped by a thin chrome strip, along with new detailing at the bottom of the bumper.

    Major powertrain changes aren’t expected to be a part of the update, meaning the existing range of 2.5-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3.6-liter V6 engines will return.

    A few technology updates such as the addition of Siri Eyes Free compatibility are likely, and minor interior detail refinements could also be in the cards.

    The 2015 ATS sedan is expected to make its official debut later this summer – when it does, we’ll have the complete story.

  • Ford developing long-wheelbase Edge for China?

    June 26, 2014
    Ford is reportedly developing a stretched version of its 2015 Edge SUV for the Chinese market.

    The long-wheelbase edition is said to be mostly unchanged from the standard global model, aside from extra legroom and longer rear doors, unnamed sources told Autos.ca.

    Unveiled earlier this week at a dedicated event in Dearborn, the 2015 Edge is already longer, wider and taller than its predecessor. The redesign brings a more aggressive, sculpted appearance with a hexagonal grille and angular foglight surrounds.

    Most major automakers have placed the Chinese market at or near the top of their global priority list. Long-wheelbase models are particularly popular among businessmen and other wealthy individuals.

    Ford is aiming its Lincoln brand at the high-end segment in the country. The company is working on a replacement for the MKS sedan, with a long-wheelbase variant expected as a China exclusive.

    The company has not yet publicly confirmed a long-wheelbase Edge, though it may be revealed after the standard model arrives next year.

  • GM ready for additional recalls, CEO sees no value in firing more staff

    June 26, 2014
    General Motors has continued its crisis management campaign, sending CEO Mary Barra for a “Today Show” interview with Matt Lauer.

    The executive continues to dodge direct questions regarding the company’s count of 13 deaths related to the ignition-switch defect that surfaced in February. She argues that “people have misunderstood,” and that the number only represents the initial findings “when we first looked into this issue.”

    The company revised its count at least once in the months following the recall announcement, adding just one fatality to the list. Critics, including families of crash victims that were not included in the tally, suggest the real number of fatalities is likely much higher.

    Our compensation program that we’re doing, we want every single person who either lost or had a serious physical injury to be a part of that program because we want to do the right thing,” Barra said.

    Despite the promises, the company’s attorneys are still attempting to invoke the bankruptcy liability shield in lawsuits that have been filed by estates of accident victims. The practice has been defended as “procedural,” however a court ruling absolving the ‘new GM’ of liability could have a significant impact on the settlement offers from the company’s victims-compensation fund.

    Lauer also asked Barra if she was considering firing more workers in addition to the 15 already ousted. She suggests the company’s internal investigation was “exhaustive,” identifying individuals that she did not think should be part of the company, and all of those workers “aren’t here anymore.”

    The interview followed on the heels of reports pointing to yet another recall, with defective airbag parts leading to a stop-sale order for new Chevrolet Cruze sedans. Barra avoided specific questions regarding expectations of additional recalls, admitting that “it’s possible.”