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Wen Jiabao Visits Volkswagen Factory

This is unquestionably the year of the recall in the United States with an estimated 544 campaigns so far (and counting) that cover around 52 million cars. The repairs are almost starting to seem normal at this point, but apparently the same can't be said for China. That country's buyers are protesting Volkswagen for its handling of one recent safety action.

The issue concerns VW's 1.1-million-vehicle recall in China and North America to fix the rear suspensions on some models of the Beetle, Jetta and the Sagitar. If the rear suspension is damaged in an accident, some parts could subsequently shatter while driving. To rectify the problem, the company is adding a part that makes a sound signaling if an inspection is required. Chinese buyers also get a 10-year warranty on rear-suspension repairs related to the campaign, according to Bloomberg.

The recall affects around 581,000 vehicles in China, which seems moderate by current US standards, but consumers are very displeased with how the campaign is going. They believe that VW is downplaying the severity of the problem. According to Bloomberg, there were recently protests at dealers in Shanghai and Shenzhen with people holding up banners and handing out leaflets against the brand.

The protesters have urged even more demonstrations around the country in the coming weeks, and some have requested that VW either replace the entire rear suspension or refund buyers. According to Bloomberg, at least 340 Sagitar owners have employed a Beijing law firm to sue the automaker. They claim that some vehicles have had rear suspension problems without being involved in an accident and that the company's handling of the campaign has been unsatisfactory.

Chinese protesting VW recall fix nationwide originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST

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Superstorm Sandy

While the roads might be getting just a little safer for motorcycle riders, their two-wheeled compatriots on bicycles appear not to be so lucky. A recent study sponsored by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that annual cycle deaths in the US were up 16 percent from 621 in 2010 to 722 in 2012. In the same period, fatalities for motorists increased only one percent.

While the numbers are on the rise in those years, they represent an improvement over decades ago. According to the study, the highest bicycle death toll since data has been recorded came in 1975 with 1,003 fatalities. The '80s registered an average of 889 annual victims, 792 in the '90s and 696 from 2000 to 2012.

The data also sheds some light on who is at risk riding a bike these days and where. Adults older than 20 represent 84 percent of fatalities in 2012, compared to 21 percent in 1975. Unsurprisingly, urban cyclists who have to deal with lots of traffic and other distractions are the ones who are most in danger. According to the study, 69 percent of fatalities happen in these busy areas, versus 50 percent in 1975.

With deaths on an upswing in recent years, the GHSA is advocating for wider acceptance of safety equipment, and it wants to reduce riding while drunk. The study indicates that only 17 percent of those killed on bikes were wearing a helmet, despite such headgear being proven to lower fatalities. Also, 28 percent of cyclists who die are legally intoxicated.

In addition to those changes for bicyclists, the GHSA suggests that cities with high death tolls need to consider giving riders their own lanes and possibly even separate traffic lights to make cycling safer. Scroll down for the announcement of the study's results.

Continue reading Bicyclist deaths spike on US roads

Bicyclist deaths spike on US roads originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:00:00 EST

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Rod Emory was the founder of Emory Motorsports in Burbank, CA, and the scion to a family tradition of building "outlaw" Porsches that are almost as cool as the cars themselves. The lovingly modified Porsche 356s are lovely artifacts, and their story, along with the story of their builders, is pitch-perfect for the Petrolicious oeuvre of beloved classics.

Tune in for the history lesson, and then stick around for the car candy.

Continue reading This Porsche 356 family keeps it outlaw

This Porsche 356 family keeps it outlaw originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:00:00 EST

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uturn

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

What's black, white and red all over? Not sure? Okay, what's black, white and red all over, boasts a stonkin' 707-horsepower supercharged V8 underhood, four doors with plenty of room for a party of five and a trunk big enough for all their stuff? That's right: It's the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and we just drove the one you see to your right. Read all about it and let us know what you think.





Here's how Mercedes CLA wagon will lookMercedes CLA wagon rendering

Our spy shooters caught the boffins at Mercedes-Benz out and about while testing the automaker's upcoming CLA Shooting Brake on the German Authbahn. We're pleased as pie with the way it looks, though we're not sure that those of us living in the States will ever see it on US roads. In any case, expect powertrain options to mimic those of the CLA sedan, up to and including the AMG-spec 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 355 horsepower and all-wheel drive.





Ferrari to be spun off from Fiat Chrysler Ferrari / Fiat / Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

Fiat Chrysler has just announced that it will effectively spin off the Ferrari brand as a separate entity. While still technically under the Fiat family umbrella, the Italian automaker will then be free to list itself on various stock markets around the world, including the United States. How much is 10 percent of Ferrari worth? Probably a whole heck of a lot, and that money will help FCA as it continues to push for more growth.




Top Stories

What you missed on 10.29.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST

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2016 BMW X5 M

2016 BMW X6 MThe second-generation BMW X5 M and X6 M have officially made their arrival for the speed-obsessed, crossover-loving masses that aren't willing to turn to Mercedes-AMG or Land Rover Special Operations.

While the new models retain their 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8s, power has increased from 555 horsepower to 567 ponies. Torque is up more significantly, climbing from 500 pound-feet to 553 pound-feet. The extra twist is slightly less accessible, with peak grunt arriving between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm, rather than the earlier model's 1,500 to 5,650. Still, we'll take the ten percent increase in torque as a net win.

The big powertrain switch sees the old X5/6 M's six-speed automatic replaced with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission from BMW M. This new gearbox feeds power to an xDrive all-wheel-drive system that can variably shuffle up to 100 percent of power to either axle. In conjunction with the force-induced thumper under the hood, this powertrain arrangement allows both M models to hit 60 miles per hour in just four seconds. That's a mightily impressive stat in a 5,000-plus-pound vehicle.

Yet, the new gearbox and amped up engine make for an even more impressive vehicle at the pumps (not that consumers of 560-horsepower, $100,000, 5,000-pound crossovers care about such things). Carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption are down 20 percent on the European cycle.

Prices for the X5 M start at $99,650, while the X6 M rings up at $103,050. Both figures include a $950 destination charge.

Keeping all this technology shiny side up is the job of a double-wishbone front suspension and a standard self-leveling rear air suspension, three-mode dynamic dampers and huge, staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport UHP tires, with 325/30/21s in back and 285/35/21s in front. For the record, those tires dwarf the rubber on proper supercars like the Ferrari 458 Speciale.

Of course, there's more than just oily stuff to distinguish BMW's M cars. The performance division has given both the X5 and X6 significant aesthetic updates to fit their high-performance role. Flared wheel arches, standard 21-inch M wheels, massive intakes in the front fascia and arguably the coolest wing mirrors we've seen on a production car grant the new M models with seriously eye-catching looks. Typical M features, like quad exhausts and side gills are also present

In the cabin, M's new over-large steering wheel has been fitted, complete with aluminum paddle shifters, while more aggressive sport seats with fixed headrests and an M-spec shifter round out the most visible interior changes.

While BMW is mum on when the new hot shots will arrive in dealers, it has released US pricing, with the X5 M sneaking in just under the century mark, at $99,650. The X6 M, meanwhile, will retail at $103,050. Both figures include a $950 destination charge.

Scroll down for much more in the expansive press release from BMW, and then check out galleries of both the 2016 X5 M and X6 M.

Continue reading BMW unveils 2016 X5 M and X6 M super CUVs

BMW unveils 2016 X5 M and X6 M super CUVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:00:00 EST

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VW Street Up!

When Volkswagen unveiled the production Up! hatchback at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, it showcased a series of concept versions alongside it. At the Geneva Motor Show the following year, it returned with another quartet of whimsical Up! concepts. There were more before and there will be more after. But few of them ever reached production. We have the three- and five-door models, the electric e-Up! and soft-roading Cross Up!, as well as Skoda and Seat versions, but aside from the cool convertible concepts, the one we really wanted was the GT Up!, and that never made the cut. But Wolfsburg seems to be out to at least partially right that wrong with the release of the new Street Up!

This sportier take on the German city car features a sport suspension, 16-inch alloys, racing stripes running up the hood and roof and along the doors and side panels and an interior decked out with contrast stitching, black headliner, unique shift knob and steering wheel. It even comes bundled with premium stereo and climate control. Unfortunately the same engine choices apply, so the most punch available is 75 horsepower. But appearance aside, the sport suspension ought to improve the vehicle's nimble handling around city streets. A mini GTI it may not be, but a sportier hatchback is never a bad thing.

Continue reading Volkswagen rolls out sporty Street Up!

Volkswagen rolls out sporty Street Up! originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:31:00 EST

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2016 Ford Explorer Teaser

Twenty-five years since its debut in 1990, Ford will celebrate a quarter century of Explorer models next year with the debut of a refreshed 2016 model at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19. The Blue Oval is keeping mum on hard details about the updated SUV for now, but the brand promises, "a new look, added capability and additional driver-assist technology," in its announcement.

Company marketing boss Jim Farley elaborated a little more on what to expect. "The new Explorer is still the SUV America fell in love with - a vehicle built for the perfect family adventure," he said in the release that you're welcome to read down below.

An updated Explorer is a pretty big deal for Ford's bottom line. Worldwide, SUVs and crossovers account for about 23 percent of Ford's sales, and the segment is projected to grow to around 29 percent by 2020. Ford further says that SUVs and CUVs are the world's quickest growing segment with demand up 88 percent since 2008.

Continue reading 2016 Ford Explorer embarks at the LA Auto Show

2016 Ford Explorer embarks at the LA Auto Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:44:00 EST

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Toyota Esquire

A few months back we reported on a dealership owner in Japan who was petitioning Toyota to make a luxury van. The problem, he reasoned, was that he couldn't take as many friends, colleagues and clients around with him in his Lexus LS, and his Toyota Alphard van wasn't luxurious enough. Well, it seems like he wasn't alone, and Toyota has listened.

The Japanese auto giant has just revealed the Esquire, a new luxury van designed with just such customers in mind. It's significantly smaller than the Sienna we get in America, smaller than the aforementioned Alphard and about the same size as (this writer's favorite) the JDM Noah van (on which we gather it's based). But what sets the Esquire apart is its upscale appearance.

The boxy van is distinguished by its dominant T-shaped chrome grille with a unique emblem that encompasses a shield, sword, "the collar of a gentleman's suit" and the letters Esq. The flank is characterized by a strong beltline with chrome lower window frame and an expansive greenhouse with tinted rear glass. Inside the flexible cabin you'll find accommodation for seven or eight passengers (depending on specification), synthetic leather upholstery and wood and metallic trim. There are even wheelchair-enabled models on offer as well.

Power comes from either a 2.0-liter four driving 150 horsepower and 142 pound-feet of torque through a CVT to the front wheels or all four, or from a hybrid powertrain that pairs a 1.8-liter four (97 hp / 105 lb-ft) to an electric motor (81 hp / 153 lb-ft) for a combined 134 hp. Toyota expects to sell 4,000 units annually through two dealer networks, with prices ranging from 2.6 million yen ($24k) to 3.2 million yen ($30k).

Push comes to hybrid shove, we're not sure this model would have a place in Toyota or Lexus showrooms on this side of the Pacific, but it could be just what Japanese businessmen have called for for a night out in Tokyo. Scope it out in the video below.

Continue reading Toyota pimps out Esquire van for Japanese businessmen [w/video]

Toyota pimps out Esquire van for Japanese businessmen [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:57:00 EST