• Subaru WRX tops list of most-ticketed vehicles in US

    October 1, 2014
    The Subaru WRX may be the most-ticketed vehicle in the US, with one in three owners receiving some form of traffic violation within the past three years, according to a study published by Insurance.com.

    The Pontiac GTO ranked second on the list, followed by the Scion FR-S and the Toyota Supra. Notably, the Subaru Tribeca, Volkswagen Rabbit and Mercury Topaz — discontinued for two decades — can also be found in the top 10, while the Toyota Prius C sits at the bottom of the top 20.

    The biggest surprises can arguably be found at the bottom of the list, where sports cars such as the Dodge Viper, Porsche Cayman and Honda S2000 sit alongside the Buick Encore, Toyota Tercel and Ford Econoline.

    It’s not about horsepower,” said Insurance.com managing editor Des Toups. “The Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper and Nissan GT-R rank well below average for tickets even though they can easily double the highest speed limits. But those cars are also costly, so their buyers tend to be older and take fewer risks.”

    The insurance service company analyzed more than a half million customer submissions during the first seven months of the year, ranking any vehicle for which more than 50 quotes were sought.

  • Mercedes-Benz working on smaller G-Class?

    October 1, 2014
    Mercedes-Benz is reportedly developing a smaller version of its G-Class SUV, potentially carrying the name ‘GLB.’

    The new 4X4 utility model is said to maintain the same boxy form as the current G-Wagen, in stark contrast to the flowing curves of the GLA-Class crossover, unnamed sources have told Car Magazine.

    Designers are allegedly working to blend the aesthetics of the G-Class with the driving dynamics of the GLA-Class, in a package that is sized closer to the B-Class. A front-wheel-drive package geared is expected to be offered for pavement, while a 4Matic edition is said to be built for off-road use and with a unique body kit.

    Despite its smaller size, the model is expected to integrate three-row seating for seven passengers.

    Engineers are allegedly developing the model on the next-generation MFA2 architecture, with power provided by three- or four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. A range-topping GLB45 AMG package is expected to get a twin-turbo mill with 380 horsepower.

    The GLB-Class models are expected to begin production within five years, though destination markets remain unclear.

  • German labor groups team with UAW in latest VW unionization push

    October 1, 2014
    The UAW and two German labor organizations have reportedly joined forces in the latest push to unionize Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, facility.

    The groups include VW’s own global works council and IG Metall (Industrial Union of Metalworkers), the largest independent metalworkers union in Germany. Both represent blue- and white-collar workers.

    In a four-page letter of intent signed by officials from all three organizations, the partnership seeks to “obtain exclusive majority status and recognition of this by Volkswagen,” according to excerpts published by Reuters.

    The strategy has been interpreted as a possible response to a move by anti-union groups, which recently announced plans to form their own union to prevent the UAW from gaining a majority at the plant.

    UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel claims his organization already has received signed support from a majority of the plant’s 1,500-strong workforce, however he declined to disclose an exact number.

    The UAW has faced difficulty organizing the plant, amid sustained pressure from anti-union lobbyists. VW has voiced support for a German-style works council, but US law prohibits the company from establishing such a model without an independent union.

  • Cadillac’s new boss fires back at critics of HQ relocation, CT6 name

    October 1, 2014
    Cadillac’s new boss has already fired back at critics of his decision to change the brand’s name scheme and move its headquarters to New York City.

    Responding to allegations that he would simply prefer to live in SoHo rather than Detroit, Johan de Nysschen — drawing from his experience at Audi under Volkswagen ownership — argues that the move is necessary to give Cadillac a true sense of independence as it attempts to transform itself into a true competitor in the luxury market.

    “No distractions. No side shows. No cross-brand corporate considerations. No homogenized lowest common denominator approach,” he wrote on his Facebook page, as quoted by Daily Kanban and spotted by Autoblog. “Just pure, unadulterated, CLASS.”

    The executive further argues that physical relocation forces the necessary “change to processes.” General Motors is said to be “getting its act together like you won’t believe,” but he nonetheless believes Cadillac must move to truly establish its own culture and policies.

    “So, Detroit fans, I love your city, the success of Cadillac will be your success, the majority of our jobs remain in Detroit, and as we grow, these will increase too,” he adds. “But other than that – don’t mess with me.”

    Regarding the choice to name Cadillac’s new flagship the CT6, de Nysschen dismisses the “armchair marketing experts” that have sounded off with their own opinions.

    “Fortunately, I do not determine strategy based on the unfiltered observations of people who do not have a 360 degree understanding of the problem,” he quips.

    Dismissing calls to lower prices that are currently on par with German rivals, the incoming brand chief recently cautioned that it could take 10 to 15 years before Cadillac can restore itself to one of the pre-eminent global premium brands — targeting an entirely different type of customer than the current buyer profile.

  • Hyundai reveals 550-hp Genesis Sedan for SEMA

    October 1, 2014
    Hyundai has revealed its second SEMA show car, a Genesis ‘AR550′ Sedan heavily modified by ARK Performance.

    The tuner has added a Rotrex supercharger to the existing 5.0-liter V8 engine, bringing output up to 550 horsepower. The powertrain also gets a wide range of ARK upgrades, including a performance intake system, high-flow catted test pipe, race-spec driveshaft and new exhaust.

    The AR550 is easily distinguished by its AR Aero package by Infinite Auto Design, widening the front and rear bumpers and fenders. Carbon fiber side skirts and bumper components help complete the custom look, along with new headlights and gold-colored forged wheels.

    The chassis has also been upgraded with an Airrex air suspension system, a front strut reinforcement bar and front/rear stiffened sway bars, while Brembo brakes help shave off speed.

    The AR550 will be fully revealed at Hyundai’s SEMA press conference on November 4, alongside a Hellcat-killer 708-horsepower Sonata.