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Trolley Auction

The financial difficulties facing Detroit, MI, are well known with examples including not having the funds to replace batteries in its parking meters and at least considering selling off its art collection. To make some extra money, the city is holding a public auction on November 5 where it's getting rid of what it is calling surplus vehicles. Usually, Autoblog wouldn't cover a municipal auction, but a few of the lots are so interestingly bizarre that they need to be seen.

Looking through the items, you find pretty much all of the machinery a city needs to function with a huge number of vans, pickups, medium-duty trucks, even a transit bus. But then lots 224, 225 (pictured above) and 226 jump out at you because they consist of three trolley cars that appear much older than everything else listed.

Remarkably, all three appear to be in impressive condition and vary in length from 22 to 32 feet. Lot 224 is in a shade of sea foam green and eggshell white that you just don't see anymore. All three are covered in dust, but the wooden interiors of 224 and 225 still seem to be in great shape. Lot 226 seems to be in the worst shape of the bunch from the photos, but it still isn't too bad. There's also a listing for lot 1050 that just says "3 trolley cars" with no further description or images, as of this writing.

There's no indication what these old streetcars were used for or how long the city has had them. It's possible that they could be among the nine, historic trolleys that ran along Detroit's Washington Boulevard from 1976 through 2003. Check out the auction listings for more photos of them.

Detroit auctioning off hundreds of surplus vehicles, including vintage trolleys originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 17:15:00 EST

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Kia K900 SEMA Concept

Kia is getting all set for this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and among its vehicles is something that seems pretty mean.

The Korean company is keeping details quiet about what's under the hood of what it calls the High-Performance K900, but from listening to this video it certainly sounds fantastic with quite a meaty growl. There might be some form of forced induction going on, though we can't say for sure. Elsewhere on the car, Kia isn't being so tight-lipped. The High Performance wears a custom shade of gray paint with a one-off body kit, featuring carbon fiber inserts. It also sports 21-inch gloss black wheels and black chrome trim.

Honestly, we were left scratching our head a little when LeBron James signed on to be the "luxury brand ambassador" for the K900. However, if he were driving this around Cleveland, the endorsement might make a little more sense. Check out the video above to glimpse the concept for SEMA, and read the little that Kia is saying about it in the release below.

Continue reading Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview

Kia K900 looks, sounds snarly with forced induction in SEMA preview originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:05:00 EST

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Ford C-Max Hybrid

If you say a car - the Ford C-Max Hybrid, for example - is "fun to drive," can anyone really come up with some empirical evidence against your claim? What about calling it "versatile"? We wonder if Ford has been thinking along these lines when it talks about the green little hatch.

Ford is refocusing its sales strategy for the C-Max Hybrid after the model took a sales hit on both sides of the Atlantic recently, Automotive News reports. That sales dropoff may stem from the fact that Ford has had to revise its fuel-economy figures downward for the C-Max twice since last year, most recently in June. That made the company's once-proud fuel-economy comparisons with the Toyota Prius kind of pointless.

Ford is going a different route, calling the model versatile (which, to be fair it was also doing a year ago), technologically advanced and fun to drive. Since the C-Max has about 50 more horsepower than the Prius, that last part may be true. Ford representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from AutoblogGreen about the mpg-mention-free advertising direction, but we will update this post if we hear back.

Sales of the C-Max Hybrid have suffered in the US. Through September, Ford sold 15,245 C-Max Hybrids, down 36 percent from last year. We shall see if a new focus away from the car's lowered mpg numbers helps. At least Ford can be pleased with sales of the C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid, which are up 51 percent compared to 2013.

Ford decides C-Max shoppers not interested in fuel economy originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:00:00 EST

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2015 Chevrolet City Express

With competition coming from the Ford Transit Connect, it's high time Chevrolet got in on the compact hauling action and took the fight to its cross-town rival... and it's doing so with a little help from Nissan. The Chevy City Express, a badge-engineered Nissan NV200, is now arriving at dealers, giving Bowtie fans a counter to Dearborn's compact van.

"Our existing customers will love getting behind the wheel of the City Express when it's at their Chevrolet dealership," Ed Peper, GM's vice president of fleet and commercial vehicles said in a statement. "But we're most looking forward to giving potential new customers the opportunity to experience one of many Chevrolet commercial vehicles that best fit their needs."

Prices for the 2015 City Express start at $22,950. Scroll down for the official announcement from Chevrolet.

Continue reading Chevy City Express headed for dealers

Chevy City Express headed for dealers originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:01:00 EST

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2013 Tesla Model S

"Tesla's quest to own its stores has brought to light issues that have long faced the industry." - Adam Jonas

Tesla's fight to challenge dealer franchise laws moved to the home state of the American auto industry this week, as the governor of Michigan signed a controversial bill that excludes Tesla from selling its electric cars directly to consumers.

Experts agree it was probably already illegal for Tesla to sell cars in Michigan, as the state's franchise laws require that cars be sold through dealerships. But, the legislation closed a gap in the law that Tesla might have been able to exploit.

Ironically, the bill sailed through both houses of the state legislature with little fanfare this year, as voters and officials have been preoccupied with midterm elections. It's not even a new law: just an amendment to an existing rule that touches on a number of issues, including transaction fees charged by dealers to consumers during the sale process.

The controversy seemingly exploded overnight, as a last-minute change in the language of the bill - which appeared aimed at Tesla - strengthened Michigan's franchise laws. It wasn't until the bill was already on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder that most of the public was even aware of it, or of the implications of the 11th hour changes.

Not surprisingly, Tesla was peeved.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Tesla's sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire

Weekly Recap: Tesla's sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST

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South Korea Taxi Driver Protest

In countries across the globe, ride-hiring app Uber has faced criticism from taxi drivers, who claim the service is unfair, citing the way its (unregistered) drivers can be hired, eliminating the need to stand on a corner hailing. In the South Korean capital of Seoul, though, Uber and the taxi drivers are living harmoniously, thanks to a new service.

Called UberTaxi, the app has signed up a number of official, registered cab drivers who can be hired from a smartphone. Drivers won't be paid a commission, according to The Wall Street Journal, although they'll receive a $1.90 subsidy for each fare they handle that's been ordered by the app.

While the new pairing is a positive sign for Uber, the app's core service, the low-cost UberX, remains illegal in South Korea. WSJ also reports that the country is taking aim at the premium UberBlack livery service, and is even going so far as to develop an app that would give taxi drivers the same capabilities without using the ride-hiring service.

UberTaxi now operating in Seoul using licensed cab drivers originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:58:00 EST

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Nissan GT-R Epic Drive

Years after its original debut, the Nissan GT-R remains a much-feared, well-regarded entry in the sports car landscape. Sure, many of its original competitors are onto new generations these days, but Nissan has continually improved the GT-R, giving it meaningful tweaks almost every year since it came to the US market for 2009. Reviewers also just seem to keep finding things to praise about the all-wheel drive, turbocharged coupe. In this episode of Epic Drives, the GT-R proves that in addition to being a quite pleasant road trip companion around the province of Alberta, Canada, in a pinch it can go off-road to herd some horses, too.

At its heart, Epic Drives amounts to half travelogue and half driving review. So in between snaking the GT-R through some picturesque roads, host Arthur St. Antoine takes a tour of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. If you're in the mood to take a drive in the Nissan through a landscape that blends the looks of a prairie, the Alps and fjords, then have a seat and check this video out.

Continue reading Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives

Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:59:00 EST

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uturn

Dodge Challenger2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

The goodness of the 2015 Dodge Challenger isn't just limited to that 707-horsepower Hellcat model. As associate editor Brandon Turkus explains, there's plenty to love about the Challenger R/T with its Scat Pack kit, complete with a 6.4-liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and more poise than ever before. Read all about it in today's Quick Spin.




Dodge Viper SEMA ConceptFiat-Chrysler SEMA lineup revealed

The annual aftermarket-fest that is SEMA is right around the corner, and today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles showed us its entire hand. The custom cars, created by the Mopar division, touch on everything from the smallest Fiat 500 and Dodge Dart to super-powerful machines like the Challenger and Viper. Have a look here, to see what's in store for SEMA.




Jason VinesDid Ford bug its former PR chief's car and phone?

The Ford Explorer Firestone tire recall of 2001 was huge news. And in a new report from The Detroit News, Ford's then-head of communications, Jason Vines, is accusing the Blue Oval of bugging his car and company phone during that time. The News received an advanced copy of Vines' upcoming book, which sheds some light on this allegation, and you can read a preview of this whole situation, here.




Top Stories

What you missed on 10.24.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST