Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page

LeBron’s infamous HUMMER gets makeover on SPEED

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As many of you know, I hail from Cleveland, OH where only two things I know to be certain: the Browns will forever suck and LeBron James will forever be king of the smallest big city in the U.S. We weren’t always sure he would become our king, however. James’ mom presented him with a HUMMER H2 on his 18th birthday, which caused the Ohio High School Athletic Association to investigate the matter to ensure the SUV wasn’t an inappropriately accepted gift. The turmoil surrounding the SUV almost prevented our dribbling deity from entering the NBA.

LeBron still drives that HUMMER, although it has received a makeover by Unique Autosports of Long Island for the season premier of Unique Whips on SPEED. The HUMMER got a new paint job, new grille, new wheels and a custom interior with enough gadgets and technology to make a West Coast Customs guy cry. James already received the redone H2 at his home somewhere in the “Heart of it All” Ohio, but you can watch the transformation of this infamous ride in the premiere of Unique Whips on Feb. 21st at 10PM EST on SPEED (check your local listingsv – isn’t that what they always say at this part?).

Check out the full press release after the jump.

[Source: Unique Autosports]

Continue reading LeBron’s infamous HUMMER gets makeover on SPEED

 

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GM’s entire certified used vehicle inventory to be sold on Cars.com

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Starting Wednesday, February 21st, the entirety of GM’s certified used vehicle inventory will be promoted for sale on Cars.com, which is one of those online classified sites for selling cars. In all, there’s about 60,000 GM certified used vehicles in the U.S. To be one, a GM vehicle has to be 6 model years old or newer, have less than 60,000 miles and go through a reconditioning process. Cadillac, HUMMER and Saab have their own programs for certified used vehicles, so this will only affect Chevy, Buick, Oldsmobile, GMC and Pontiacs.

Cars.com hosts about 2 million vehicles for sale at any one time from both private parties and dealers, so the site will be making separate pages for dealers who subscribe to Cars.com that set their inventory apart from the crowd, while those dealers that don’t subscribe to the site will still get a GM Certified Logo on their listings. This isn’t the first time Cars.com has buddied up with an OEM to sell certified vehicles, as it has similar partnerships with Toyota, Honda and Chrysler, among others.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

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Another Reason To Diet: Car Accidents

Remember the post last year discussing how a larger waistline may be leading to today’s larger cars? (And, no, we’re not talking about SUVs.) Well, there may be another side-effect to being larger: increased car accidents and fatalities.

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Toyota workers in Kentucky plant made more than UAW members last year

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Last year was the first time that non-unionized workers at a foreign-owned assembly plant made more than members of the United Auto Workers union make on average in a year. The Detroit Free Press reveals in a very interesting article that Toyota paid out bonuses of $6,000 to $8,000 last year at its largest U.S. plant in Georgetown, KY. Combined with the base pay made by a non-union worker at the plant, that equates to $30/hour or $60,000/year based on a 2,000-hour work year. That is more than the $27/hour or $54,000 a UAW member made on average last year. Union workers, or course, hardly received any profit sharing bonuses last year due to the poor overall performance of the domestic automakers.

This isn’t actually surprising, as a matter of fact it was bound to happen. In many instances, Toyota and other large foreign automakers operating assembly plants in the U.S. pay their workers near-UAW wages in an effort to dissuade them from unionizing. In a year when Toyota’s sales have grown to record levels and the domestics are losing market share fast, it was inevitable that Toyota’s big bonuses would put the pay of its assembly workers in the U.S. ahead of the UAW, which saw no bonuses last year and likely won’t for a few. The lack of overtime hours was another hit to the UAW that dropped the pay for many of its members. In time, as the domestics (if the domestics?) recover and the big bonus checks are in the mail again, we expect the UAW’s pay to again top that of any non-union assembly workers in the U.S.

We recommend reading the whole article written by Jason Roberson from the Free Press, as there’s a lot of layers to dig through with this story.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 

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Commence holding breath: X-Hawk flying car could be here by 2010

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The flying car is the equivalent of transportation’s carrot on a stick. It’s a concept that always seems to be 3-5 years down the road. According to an Isreali inventor named Rafi Yoeli, the flying car will actually be here by 2010 in the form of his X-Hawk. The X-Hawk uses a ducted fan design that allows it to have the same manueverability of a helicopter without exposed blades that prevent choppers from hovering near buildings and the like. Yoeli’s own company, Urban Aeronautics, is developing the X-Hawk first as a workhorse vehicle that could be used by firefighters, rescue teams, and the military to aid in the recovery of people stranded in hard to reach places.

Like a helicopter, the X-Hawk can take off and land vertically, it will be able to fly up to 155 mph, reach an altitude of 12,000 ft and remain in the air for two hours. The size of the X-Hawks rotors, which are powere by four internal combustion engines, will be much smaller than a helicopters, which will make the vehicle quieter but also guzzle 50% more fuel. The X-Hawk only exists as a full-scale mockup right now, but Yoeli expects an unmanned Mule version to fly in 2009. A larger version capable of carrying ten people is also planned. The estimated price for an X-Hawk will make a Veyron owner blush: between $1.5 and $3.5 million, and Yoeli admits those estimates might be low.

At this point, we’re prepared to pony up whatever cash is necessary to make the most famous example of automotive vaporware a reality. Check out more details on the X-Hawk after the jump.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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The best sellers of 2006

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We love this list. It comes around once a year (check out the numbers from 2005 for comparison’s sake) and offers the raw numbers that simply show what sold well in the U.S. that year. It’s a list that seems to change little from year to year, but at the same time always surprises. Take last year’s list, for example, which has been compiled by Forbes, the king of Top Ten lists on the web. As usual, the top two spots are occupied by the Ford F-Series (796,039) and Chevy Silverado (636,069). Those two powerhouse platforms, however, were far off the numbers they put up in 2005, and this year the race will be extremely tight with a brand new Silverado facing off against a seasoned F-150. The Toyota Camry is once again the best-selling car in the U.S. and managed to sell about 15,000 more units in 2006 than year prior, which gives a bit of credibility to the claim that cars are back. As usual, the Honda Accord (354,441) and Civic (316,638) occupy the middle ground, while the Nissan Altima (232,457) falls from 7th to 9th. It will likely hold there in 2007 or gain back lost ground if the new Altima finds favor with the public. Though Chevy always seems to have at least a couple models in the top ten, it still amazes us the brand moved that many Impalas (289,868) and Cobalts (211,449) in 2006. We expect to see the Malibu back on this list come 2008 after the new model has had its first full year of sales.

1. Ford F-Series 796,039
2. Chevrolet Silverado 636,069
3. Toyota Camry 448,445
4. Dodge Ram 364,177
5. Honda Accord 354,441
6. Honda Civic 316,638
7. Chevrolet Impala 289,868
8. Toyota Corolla 272,327
9. Nissan Altima 232,457
10. Chevrolet Cobalt 211,449

[Source: Forbes via KickingTires]

 

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VIDEO: How not to make friends in Iraq while driving a HUMVEE

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This video is pretty shocking to watch, as it’s difficult to imagine anyone being able to get away with driving like that in the U.S., even the military. But then again, Baghdad isn’t Boston and slowing down a HUMVEE for a traffic jam creates a target that’s much easier to attack. Nevertheless, it’s not difficult to understand why some Iraqis have a distaste for the U.S. military’s presence in their country after watching this video, especially if they’re car nuts. As we said earlier, though, we wouldn’t want to see a video of what might have happened if the HUMVEE had stopped.

If you have a comment, please keep it respectful of the members of the U.S. miltary and the citizens of Iraq.

[Source: CarScoop]

 

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DAMD Again! More American emulation with DAMD Daihatsu Move Custom

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The Nippon obsessed at Winding Road have unearthed another gem from DAMD that was present at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. This time the base vehicle is a Daihatsu Move and Move Custom, which was redesigned just last October. This time, instead of injecting Cadillac into the little kei car, DAMD chose to instead graft the grille of a Chrysler 300 onto the nose of the Move and Move Custom. Rather than use the standard grille slats, DAMD went with a chrome mesh similar to the kind used for aftermarket grille inserts in the U.S. Like the DAMD mini Escalade we showed you yesterday, the DAMD Concept B Mono, as this car is called, also features a few other minor exterior add-ons along with new leather trimming on the interior.

[Source: DAMD via Winding Road]

Gallery: DAMD Concept B Mono

 

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Autoblog Podcast #56

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We start of episode #56 of the Autoblog Podcast discussing the Pontiac G8, of which Rick Wagoner had just pulled the cover off in a clip of ABC World News Tonight. While the thought of a rear-wheel drive Pontiac sedan is the hotness any way you cut it, not all of us were down with the face transplant the Holden Commodore received to become the G8. Next we took Toyota to task for its decision to price the Tundra above its domestic competitors, a bold move that could easily backfire. Speculation by Peter DeLorenzo that the next generation C7 Corvette may include a limited run of a mid-engine Corvette exotic-killa also got some air time. Finally, we just had to take AutoCar to task for its claim that Subaru is going to axe the WRX model from the Impreza lineup. Dropping the model that started the street-ready rally car craze in which Subaru’s competiting with Mitsubishi seems like pure folly to us. Hope you enjoy the ‘cast!

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Lexus building only 1,000 IS-F for U.S. market

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For those of you looking to get your hands on one of the unholy organic IS-F sedans, you’d better act soon, as Lexus has decided to limit production of its 400-hp sports saloon to a paltry 1,000 units, or so says AutoWeek.

Autoweek reported the news in two issues back, although production numbers weren’t mentioned in the Lexus press release when the IS-F debuted in Detroit.

As a reminder, the Lexus IS-F sedan is powered by a 5.0-liter V8, matched to an eight-speed, paddle-shifted transmission, good for sprints to 60 in a tic under five seconds. We’ve already discussed the aesthetic, um, challenges that the IS-F presents, but if BMW doesn’t decide to offer a four-door version of its new M3, enthusiasts will at least have another option.

[Source: egmcartech.com]

 

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