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Archive for the ‘industry news’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Fisker’s New Battery Patent Promises 500-Mile Range; One-Minute Charging

Fisker, the company that has worked diligently to bring about a dead-to-rights Tesla Model S fighter, has just announced a new battery patent that promises a new technology capable of ranges exceeding 500 miles and one-minute recharging. Let me say that again: One-minute recharging.

Details are still rather thin at this point, but we have learned that Fisker’s new power storage technology will allow the company to build solid-state batteries with lots of surface area in comparison to the current thin-film solid-state electrodes currently in development and use. This ultimately means better conductivity below the shell which, in turn, makes for a battery that works better in cold weather and charges faster. Keep in mind; this is why lithium-ion batteries are the go-to right now for EVs – the current capabilities of solid-state batteries are insufficient and low conductivity levels is a primary cause of this. So, if what Fisker is saying is true, the company could have just solved a very big problem and could, very well, usher in the next generation of battery technology.

Of course, Fisker isn’t the only company gunning for solid-state batteries, and Toyota has even promised its battery would be put to use in electric cars by 2022, just two years sooner than what Fisker claims it can do. Then again, Toyota hasn’t proved its technology, so it still has the same burden that has now be thrust onto Fisker’s shoulders as well. It’s obviously an arms race in which the winner will reign supreme in the EV world. In the end, Fisker if lofting out claims for density 2.5 times that of current lithium-ion batters, which means these babies could charge in minutes and offer up ranges of 500 miles. Just think, you can pull into a “gas station” and by the time you make up your hot dogs, buy a beverage, and take a leak, you’re EV is good for another 500 miles. Range Anxiety? Not in this future. The question now is: Who’s going to deliver on these lofty promises first?

Toyota still has a few years, and the man behind Fisker isn’t exactly working with a full deck of successful resumes either. He hasn’t exactly been the most successful cat on the street, and he promises an advanced battery in the Emotion just to retract his claims. But, for EVs to be truly successful, this is the kind of technology we need, and if we’re really this close – Toyota claims 2022 and Fisker 2024 – we’ll certainly be seeing it happen in most of our lifetimes. And, once that technology is there, there isn’t really a need for the ICE anymore either now is there?

Have something on your mind? Let us know in the comments section below. We’re curious as to what you think about these hefty claims.

References

Fisker Emotion


2017 Fisker EMotion - image 693722

Read our full review on the 2018 Fisker Emotion.



Read more Fisker news.

PostHeaderIcon Insider Knowledge – You can Save BIG Money on the Jaguar F-Type Right Now

So, here’s the deal – Jaguar isn’t advertising it, but it’s dealers are getting a major discount for each Jaguar F-Type sold. How Much? As much as $30,000 Gertrude; that’s how much. The nitty-gritty: Dealers are getting $30,000 cash incentives on the F-Type SVR, $20,000 on the F-Type R, and $10,000 on the F-Type V-6. So, if you’re planning to buy an F-Type, walk into your dealer with this knowledge, otherwise, they might try to get one over on you. Either way, this is a pretty big deal, and even if some dealers try to play stupid, others out there are already applying a full discount. And, they should.

See, the whole point of this huge dealer cash incentive is to help them move 2017 inventories, not for them to make $30,000 on some poor guy who doesn’t know what’s going on. The dealers can mark them down as much as they want, to the maximum amount and will still get their full incentive, but, there’s a catch. See, the dealers only get the cash incentive if the sale isn’t combined with promotional financing. That means you’re either paying case or walking into the door with a check pre-written by the loan agent at your bank or credit union – you know, outside financing.

With that in mind, you could – in theory – get yourself a V-6 F-Type for as little as $50,000 if your dealer has one in stock and will give you the full $10,000 cash incentive. OF course, most dealers have already sold out of the base model, as usual, so you’ll probably have to go for an R or SVT, both of which will drain the bank a bit more. But, with when you take into account that just a week ago the F-Type SVR had a sticker of $130,000, and you can now find them listed for just over $100,000, you’re still getting a damn good deal for a car that’s still new. Oh and, by the way, there’ are absolutely no dals on the table for buying or leasing a 2018 model with all current offers expiring after the new-years blowout on January 1, 2018. So, I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting to get a better deal on a 2018 model and, for what it’s worth, the 2018 model will probably be the exact same anyway so do yourself a favor and take advantage of this deal while you still can.

References

Jaguar F-Type


Insider Knowledge – You can Save BIG Money on the Jaguar F-Type Right Now - image 666146

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR.


2017 Jaguar F-Type - image 655250

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar F-Type.


2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe AWD - Driven - image 648333

Read our full driven review on the 2016 Jaguar F-Type R.



Read more Jaguar news.

PostHeaderIcon Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World

Ford F-150

Determining the value of a car brand can be a tricky exercise. There are so many variables to consider that ultimately, the results may differ from one study or another. What we do know is that, at the very least, the cream always rises to the top. The standings may be different depending on who the author of the study is, but it’s pretty much the same automakers making up a majority of the list.

In this exercise, we’re taking a look at the ten most valuable car brands, at least through the eyes of Interbrand, an independent agency that specializes in determining the world’s most valuable brands. Obviously, such a task involves creating a specific set of formulas and calculations using a variety of available information, including a company’s financial forecast and then using it with its own in-house-developed “role of brand” and “brand strength” calculations. If it sounds complicated, it’s because it is, especially in the current automotive climate where buzz words like “electrification,” “ride-sharing,” and “autonomous driving technology” have staked bigger pieces of influence among automakers of all shapes and sizes.

Even then, there are also certain requirements that each automaker has to meet to be eligible to be included in the list. These requirements include having a sales presence on at least three continents and having a third of a company’s revenue coming from its home market. Ultimately, it all boils down to a lot of tech jargon that’s a little above my head. What I can tell you, though, is that the final list that Interbrand came up with is both expected and revealing. A few notable names made it in predictable spots while a few surprise inclusions definitely raised our eyebrows.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

10. Porsche


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 644852

Brand value: $10.13 billion

Top-selling model: Porsche 911

It seems crazy to think that at one point in the last 20 years, Porsche was a struggling automaker that somehow couldn’t get out of its own way. Things have definitely changed since then, and a big part of that is tied into the German automaker’s decision to enter a market that it previously shied away from. Taking a risk, Porsche ultimately decided to build the Cayenne SUV, and the rest is history. Today, Porsche cracks the top 10 list of “most valuable auto brands in the world” for good reason. It’s arguably one of the most beloved automakers in the world, and it’s rounded its model lineup to include a performance saloon known as the Panamera to go with a steady diet of sports cars led by the Porsche 911 Turbo.

9. Volkswagen


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 569578

Brand value: $11.52 billion

Top-selling model: Volkswagen Beetle

If you’re surprised that Volkswagen is so far down on this list, don’t be. This is Volkswagen the automaker, not the auto conglomerate that owns three brands on this list. On the bright side, VW actually posted improvements in terms of its brand value compared to last year. It’s incremental growth of just one percent, but it’s growth compared to 2016 when it actually posted a drop of one percent in value. Still, it could’ve been a lot better for Volkswagen had it not gotten itself mixed into the Dieselgate scandal. Look for a better year ahead for the German automaker when the calendar flips to 2018.

8. Nissan


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 656181

Brand value: $11.54 billion

Top-selling model: Nissan Sentra

If there was an automaker that earned its place in this ranking, it has to be Nissan. That’s not an indictment on the automaker’s past, but a celebration of what it has achieved in recent years. Between launching models that have been positively received and maintaining a level-headed approach in an industry that’s continues to evolve like this one, Nissan has turned in one growth year after another, culminating in a four-percent growth for this year that was good enough to land it in the top 10 list of most valuable car brands in the world.

7. Audi


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 635406

Brand value: $12.02 billion

Top-selling model: Audi A4

The Nissan of Europe, or is Nissan the Audi of Japan? Either way, the comparison fits because Audi always seems to be third fiddle in Europe to BMW and Mercedes-Benz, just like Nissan plays the same role in Japan to Toyota and Honda. That’s not a slight towards either Audi or Nissan because both companies have thrived doing their own thing. In Audi’s case, it has managed to build up a brand that’s worth $12.02 billion, becoming the most valuable auto brand under the Volkswagen Group. This year, Audi even posted a two-percent growth that probably should be bigger had it not been weighed down by Dieselgate. Still, look for Audi to remain competitive to BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as it always has been in recent years.

6. Hyundai


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 533707

Brand Value: $13.2 billion

Top-selling model: Hyundai Elantra

It says a lot about Hyundai’s growth as an automaker that it finds itself on this list with some of the most established brands in the auto industry. This wasn’t always the case though, as the Korean automaker’s surge up to mainstream popularity didn’t happen until the last decade. But, thanks to an aggressive push towards relevancy and the introduction of popular models like the Elantra, Tucson, and Santa Fe, Hyundai’s ascension up the ranks is looking less fluky and more of a result of hard work and dedication. Don’t even be surprised if, by next year, Hyundai finds itself in going up the ladder into a more prominent spot on this list. That’s the kind of outlook we’re now expecting from a company that already increased its value year-on-year by at least five percent.

5. Ford


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 700456

Brand value: $13.64 billion

Top-selling model: Ford F-Series Trucks

Ford is the only American automaker on this list. It is a little bit embarrassing to see what’s become of General Motors and Chrysler, but at least Ford is representing the US here to a certain extent. The good news for the Blue Oval is that it posted a five-percent increase in its own value and getting it up to $13.64 billion. The bad news is that a lot of the automakers its ahead of have as good a chance as any to move up the rankings for next year’s list at the expense of Ford. I personally don’t think that’s going to happen because of the company’s strong foothold in one of the world’s biggest markets, but then again, stranger things have happened so it’s not a certainty that the automaker will retain its spot in the rankings. It is worth pointing out though that of the ten auto brands that made it on this list, only Ford can boast of having a pickup truck as its top-selling model. That counts for a win, right?

4. Honda


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 651046

Brand value: $22.70 billion

Top-selling model: Honda Civic

Barring the unlikely event of seeing something catastrophic come out of Honda, it looks like a certainty that Honda’s going to retain its status as the fourth most valuable auto brand in the world for the next few years. That’s because it’s brand value of $22.70 billion is on an island by itself. Ford needs to almost double its value to be able to even sniff Honda’s, and conversely, the Japanese automaker needs to double its own value in order to come close to competing against the company that sits third on this list. Still, a value of $22.7 billion is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it comes as a result of a three-percent growth compared to its value from the previous year. The timeless popularity of the Honda Civic has a lot to do with Honda being where it is, but so does the continuing presence of its robust crossover and SUV lineup that’s led by the CR-V. Look for Honda to remain one of the most valuable auto brands in the world for all the reasons I just mentioned.

3. BMW


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 629375

Brand value: $41.62 billion

Top-selling model: BMW 3 Series

Well, that was a huge leap, wasn’t it? From Honda’s $22.7 billion in brand value, we move up to BMW’s, which has a brand value of $41.62 billion. This is the power of what BMW has to offer and the niche it has carved for itself – sportier than an Audi, less uptight than a Mercedes – tells you exactly how the German automaker has built up its own brand to become a force to be reckoned with it in the industry. It still has a few miles to go before it can catch up to its biggest rival, but rest assured, the blueprint towards long-term success and sustainability is being put to good use. For one, a plethora of new models with more advanced tech features are scheduled to be released soon to complement some of Bimmer’s most popular model lines. Imagine what kind of cache it can gain with the release of the BMW 8 Series? For all of its success, it is quite ironic that BMW finds itself in this enviable position despite minimal movement on its brand value.

2. Mercedes-Benz


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 536045

Brand value: $47.83 billion

Top-selling model: Mercedes C-Class

The king of German automakers finds itself in the second spot, trailing only the king of Japanese automakers. It should be said that Mercedes’ ascension up the ranks didn’t happen by luck or sheer happenstance. It comes as a result of record-breaking sales that helped pave the way for the company to enjoy its highest profits and revenue in its entire history. Add that to its ever-increasing global popularity and the introduction of affordable models like the CLA-Class, and it becomes clearer and clearer as to why Mercedes-Benz actually increased its brand value by a whopping 10% year-on-year. At the very least, it created a big separation with BMW’s own brand value, something I’m sure the fine folks over at Mercedes are more than happy to point out.

1. Toyota


Money Talks: The 10 Most Valuable Car Brands In The World - image 509693

Brand value: $50.30

Best-selling model: Toyota Corolla

Sitting pretty at the number one spot is Toyota, a position it has held for a few years now on the back of being the biggest automaker in the world. Toyota’s dominance as a carmaker can be best seen in the fact that it still holds a pretty good lead over Mercedes-Benz despite seeing its value take a dip by six percent. That tells you that there’s room for Toyota to have a down year and still reign supreme as the most valuable auto brand in the world. I don’t see the company’s status get challenged for at least a few more years, but that loss in value could become more worrisome if it starts becoming a trend. For now, the auto world still kneels at the feet of Toyota, as do companies like Netflix, Facebook, McDonalds and Disney for that matter.

PostHeaderIcon Faraday Future Is Living The Difficulties Of Being An Auto Start-Up

By now, most of you have probably heard of Faraday Future, the Chinese-backed ambitious start-up electric car maker that has fallen into hard times in recent months after a string of debacles that piled up on after another. Now, two divergent developments have cast the company’s future back into question. Is Faraday Future back in business or is its existence still hanging on by a thread? The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle because it really is anybody’s guess what the status of the company is right now.

First, let’s start with the bad news. Apparently, working in Faraday Future has become so tenuous that five – yep, five! – senior executives have decided to ply their craft elsewhere. In no particular order, the company has lost its director of interior design and brand Pontus Fontaeus; head of supply chain management, Tom Wessner; former Ford Fusion program leader Bill Strickland; chief financial officer Stefan Krause; and chief technical officer Ulrich Kranz. I can’t speak for the level of involvement these five individuals have had since working for the company, but their departures are indicative of the climate within the company at the moment.

Fortunately, there is some good news to report from the company. According to Chinese news outlet Gasgoo, the embattled automaker received $900 million from Tata Motors in exchange for a 10 percent stake in the company. Neither Faraday nor Tata have commented on the reported deal, but if it does come to fruition, it would be a much-needed break for the electric car company. Where it goes from here is still anybody’s guess so, at this point, it’s probably best to expect this long, drawn-out soap opera to continue into the new year, perhaps even longer than that.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

How did it come to this for Faraday Future?


2018 Faraday Future FF 91 - image 700041
“The embattled automaker received $900 million from Tata Motors in exchange for a 10 percent stake in the company”

If I had a crystal ball and could peek into the future of Faraday Future, I probably still wouldn’t have any clue as to what’s in store for this automaker. I could tell you that it probably didn’t have to come to this for the company. It had such a promising start that trying to rehash everything that’s happened since it burst onto the scene in 2016 will inevitably turn into a complicated exercise.

What I can tell you is that the company is a long way from where it probably hoped it’d be at this point. All things equal, Faraday would, at this point, be in the middle of building that massive production facility in Nevada. It would also be doing a lot of testing of its first vehicular offering, the FF91. Maybe it’s doing some press tours too, to get its name in the headlines. A lot of things that should have happened hasn’t because the company, first and foremost, bit off more than it could chew.

It promised the world, but ultimately didn’t have enough resources to live up to those promises. It made bold claims of electric car legitimacy by bringing the fight to Tesla for supremacy in the burgeoning market. Heck, it called its own shots on so many things that it might as well have had a flourishing career in the NBA. But alas, none of those promises came to fruition because Faraday didn’t have as potent a bite as its bark suggested.

It’s financer, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, mismanaged the handling of the company’s finances so bad that he became the subject of a Chinese government investigation. His refusal to release Faraday from his grasp also prevented other firms from stepping in and infusing the cash-deprived company of some serious moolah. All of this bungling would’ve made the Three Stooges proud, except that none of it was funny to begin with.

Eventually, Faraday had to pull back on what it had already built or was supposed to build, as was the case of the production facility in Nevada. That ambitious project crumbled to the ground when Faraday decided to relinquish its status in the state as a “qualified project,” essentially freeing up Nevada to back out from its previous agreement of shelling out tax funds to help finance the construction of the facility. That aspect of the company’s grandiose plans bit the dust when it probably shouldn’t have had Faraday scaled down its ambition from the very beginning.

What does the future hold now for the company?


2018 Faraday Future FF 91 - image 700026
“Is that it probably still won’t be enough to get the company back on track”

It’d be so easy to look at Tata’s infusion of $900 million into Faraday Future and call it a much-needed lifeline. But the truth is that it probably still won’t be enough to get the company back on track. Losing all those executives in short succession isn’t going to help the company either. What Faraday needs to do at this point is to evaluate itself clearly, maybe even do it with a sprinkle of humility just in case it gets too far ahead of itself again.

I’m not going to pretend to know this for sure, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’m still hopeful for the future of this company. Clearly, there’s still some potential there that can be mined out of all this barren misery. Maybe Tata stepping into the picture is the jolt in the arm it needs to finally get its act together. The Indian conglomerate does have the resources and the technology to provide Faraday with whatever it might need towards its road to rehabilitation. That said, that’s still a lot of “maybe’s” for a future that’s about as uncertain as anybody else’s in the auto industry at this point.

So yes, while I am hopeful for Faraday that it can still get its act together, you better believe that I’m not betting any money on it. Maybe I’ll throw in a good luck card, but that’s the best I’ll do until I see some concrete progress coming out of the company. Maybe it can still happen, maybe it can’t. All we can do is see what steps Faraday Future takes from here.

References


2018 Faraday Future FF 91 - image 700035

Read our full review on the 2018 Faraday Future FF 91.

PostHeaderIcon Color Rush: The Color Of Your Car Affects Its Depreciation Value

When you’re picking a color for your next car purchase, how much attention do you put into the color of the car? Whatever your answer is, it turns out that a car’s color goes a long way in affecting its depreciation value. This revealing information was presented by iSeeCars after the used car website analyzed over 2.1 million used car sales and discovered that certain car colors retained more of their value compared to others. Yellow, for example, was the big winner after the study revealed that cars wearing this color depreciated by just 27.0 percent in the first three years of ownership. On the other end of the spectrum? Gold, which depreciates by a staggering 37.1 percent in the same period.

The appeal of the color yellow in the auto industry appears to be tied to its availability, or lack thereof, according to eskers CEO Phong Ly. “Yellow cars are relatively less common, which could drive up demand and help maintain their value,” he said, before adding that the color also holds strong appeal among SUVs and pickup brands. Apparently,
SUVs and pickup trucks depreciate 30.9 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively, overall, while yellow SUVs and pickups depreciate only 25.8 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively. Orange- and green-colored cars also revealed themselves to be more resistant to depreciation, depreciating by just 30.6 and 30.9 percent, respectively. The site also revealed that on average, cars depreciate in value by 33.1 percent in the first three years of ownership.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Pay attention to the color of the car you choose next time you’re buying a brand-new ride


2016 Honda Civic - image 651176

I’ll be the first to admit that I was actually surprised by the results of this study. All this time, I thought cars with monochromatic colors – white, black, and grey – held their values the most after three years. Color me surprised then to learn that flashy colors like yellow, orange, and green were the top three colors on that list. According to Ly, the large number of cars wearing these colors make them common enough that “buyers can shop around more easily if they’re interested in these colors, reducing the amount of pricing power for dealers.”

To be fair, the color white does sit in fourth place, though pretty far from the top three at 32.6 percent whereas red at 32.7 percent is the only other color that placed below the 33.1 percent average. Three colors – blue, brown, and grey – barely got above the average at 33.5 percent. They’re followed closely by black at 33.6 percent and from there, the last four colors to make up the list include silver (34 percent), beige (36.6 percent), purple (36.7 percent), and gold in the bottom at 37.1 percent.

It’s not a surprise that gold-colored cars have the worst depreciation rates in the auto industry. For one, the color isn’t for everyone, owing largely how attention-grabbing they can be. That attribute alone makes it a turn-off for a lot of car owners, especially those who are more subdued in their color preferences. According to Ly, the strong depreciation of gold-colored cars is also evident among SUVs (35.7 percent) and sedans (39.3 percent), where they have the worst and second worst-depreciation within their respective segments.

Average Three-Year Depreciation by Color

Car Color Average Depreciation Over 3 Years  % Difference Compared to the Average Car
Yellow 27.0% -18.5%
Orange 30.6% -7.8%
Green 30.9% -6.9%
White 32.6% -1.6%
Red 32.7% -1.4%
Average Car 33.1%
Blue 33.5% 1.0%
Brown 33.5% 1.1%
Gray 33.5% 1.2%
Black 33.6% 1.6%
Silver 34.0% 2.6%
Beige 36.6% 10.3%
Purple 36.7% 10.7%
Gold 37.1% 12.1%

How long does a three-year-old car with a specific color stay on the market?


2015 Toyota Camry - Driven - image 572995

iSeeCars dug a little deeper to determine how long specific-colored, three-year old cars stay on the market and determined that car color and their respective retained values do not affect the time it takes to sell the car. Take yellow, for example. Despite being the color that has the smallest depreciation in the market, it actually takes an average of 41.5 days in the market before it sells. That’s second worst only to beige, which takes 46.6 days.

The fastest to sell among these cars is purple, which takes only 33.2 days on the market to sell. It’s followed closely by grey and gold at 34.2 days and 34.3 days, respectively, well below the average timetable of 36.5 days.

Average Days on Market for Three-Year-Old Cars by Color

Color Average Days on Market  % Difference Compared to Average
Yellow 41.5 13.8%
Orange 38.1 4.3%
Green 36.2 -0.7%
White 35.0 -4.0%
Red 40.9 12.2%
Blue 36.8 1.0%
Brown 35.3 -3.2%
Gray 34.2 -6.2%
Black 36.0 -1.4%
Silver 38.8 6.4%
Beige 46.6 27.6%
Purple 33.2 -8.9%
Gold 34.3 -6.1%
Average Car 36.5

What does this study tell us?


2008 Ford Taurus - image 145401

The iSeeCars study reveals a few important items to consider if you have a car that’s about to hit the second-hand market or if you’re actually looking to make a new car purchase. If you want to get the most out of your money, the colors to choose are yellow, orange, green, but if you want a car that’s going to sell quickly regardless of their depreciation value, purple and beige colors are the way to go.

It’s not exactly an exact science though because a lot of other factors need to be considered, including the the make and model of the car and its condition. But the study does reveal how understatedly important the color of a car is, especially if it’s one that’s about to hit the second-hand market.

PostHeaderIcon Archaeologists Just Unearthed A Sobering Reminder Of The Timeless History Of Cars

Here’s something you don’t get to see or hear every day. A report from International Business Times points to a group of archaeologists who discovered stunning ancient items that hit close to home for us in the auto industry. No, they didn’t discover a medieval combustion engine. They also didn’t discover ancient texts pertaining to the study of flying cars. Let’s leave all of that to the sci-fi stuff. What they did discover, however, is something far more innocent and, at least in my case, emotionally disarming. They discovered a toy, or to be specific about it, a small toy chariot.

According to the report, the startling discovery was made during a dig in the ancient city of Sogmatar, located in the south east of Turkey. It’s also believed to be the place where Moses went after fleeing from Egypt back when he was still up and about. As far as ancient cities are concerned, Sogmatar is historic in that regard. The report adds that archaeologists also found a small rattle alongside the toy chariot, adding weight to the hypothesis that this toy was buried with a child who died during those times. All that makes this discovery even more incredible considering that something like this could exist 5,000 years ago. The whole thought of children getting buried with their toys is creepy and sobering at the same time, but it was a common practice back then, especially for those who belonged in the upper crust of the elite. Egyptian pharaohs were often buried with items from their lives, so it wouldn’t be surprising if kids were afforded the same respect when they passed on.

I’m not one to wax sentimental on other things, but this discovery got to me. Just imagine a child from those days actually playing with this small chariot. Those children are long gone now, but something like this remains. It’s been said that there are certain items that act as windows to a world gone by. Well, consider this toy chariot as one of them. It may be old, brittle, and God-knows-what exactly, but the connection between the child who played with this chariot before his death and all of us who just saw it get unearthed after 5,000 years is quite literally timeless.

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PostHeaderIcon Nissan Removed the Fender Badge From 2018 Titan And Nobody Noticed

It looks like Nissan snuck a cosmetic change onto the 2018 Titan half-ton pickup without anybody noticing – even two months after the automaker released photos of the 2018 Titan Midnight Edition. Gone is the large fender badge that denoted the V-8 engine was under the hood. The badge was styled like a heat vent designed to keep engine bay temperatures down but offered no such functionality.

So, how did the change get noticed?

Well, it was a commenter who noticed the missing badge on Nissan’s new No Lazy Horses commercial – at least that’s the first mention I had seen. Digging deeper shows Nissan made zero mention of the missing badge in its press release on the 2018 Titan Midnight Edition back in August, nor has Nissan released info on changes for the standard 2018 Titan. Reading the commercial’s on-screen fine print does confirm the truck is a 2018 half-ton model. How about that?

The heavier-duty Titan XD will keep the fender badge, however, since it has two engine options – the 5.6-liter V-8 and the 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbodiesel. Originally, the half-ton Titan was slated to get a V-6 as standard equipment soon after it launched, making the fender badge necessary for distinguishing between the engine choices. That begs the question: does the missing fender badge mean the Titan isn’t getting a V-6 option?

On the other hand, you’ll notice the door badge now reads “Titan V8” on the No Lazy Horses truck. That’s new. The 2017 Titan doors didn’t have the V8 designation and only said “Titan.” Maybe this is Nissan’s way of better separating the Titan from the Titan XD? I’ve reached out to Nissan and will update this story if I hear back.

What do you think? Does this mean Nissan killed the V-6 development? Did you notice the badge was missing before I did? Let me know in the comments below.

References

Nissan Titan


2017 Nissan Titan - image 665129

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan.


2016 Nissan Titan XD - image 610121

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan XD.


2016 Nissan Titan XD - Driven - image 659452

Read our driven review on the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.

PostHeaderIcon Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Kim Kardashian!

When it comes to creating firestorms of attention, Kim Kardashian seems to have a gift. Catapulted into the limelight thanks to a sex tape and gawdawful reality TV show, Kim is best known for being famous. But in addition to her accomplished career as a professional celebrity, Kim has a very expensive collection of high-end automobiles. Spotted bopping around Los Angeles, the most famous of the Kardashian children has a huge variety of vehicles at her disposal. Chief among them is a Bentley Continental GTC, a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Ferrari F430 Coupe, a variety of Land Rover Range Rovers, a Lamborghini Aventador (bought for Kanye, apparently), a Maserati GranTurismo Convertible, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, a Rolls-Royce Ghost, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom, among others.

Many of the rides get glamor bits from Southern California-based tuning shop Platinum Motorsports, including new grilles and plus-sized wheels. With a collection like that, it makes us wonder – what’s Kanye gonna get her for her birthday?

Happy Birthday, Kim!

References


Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Kimi Raikkonen! - image 738928

Read more celebrity news.

PostHeaderIcon Make it or Break It: Mitsubishi Positions Itself for a Comeback

“Drive for Growth.” It’s Mitsubishi latest plan to effectively turn the company around following its fuel economy scandal of yesteryear. The basic concept is to increase sales by 30 percent while at the same time increasing profit margin by six percent and research and development spending by ¥600 billion. This would, according to Mitsubishi push annual sales up to 1.3 mill units and revenue as high as ¥2.5 trillion. And, it plans to do so by strategic market expansion and by improving overall operating efficiency. For starters, Mitsubishi will work on improving U.S. dealerships while increasing the number of dealers in China by 110,000 to 220,000 total.

The big news here is that Mitsubishi is announcing that it will launch 11 new models over the next three years, with six of them being completely new models. The remaining five will be major updates to current vehicles on the market. By the end of 2020, Mitsubishi expects 70 of its sales volume to come from its SUVs, 4WD vehicles, and plug-in hybrid vehicles. There’s also word that there will be electrified solutions across the “core model range” which includes an EV kei car in the year 2020. So, in other words, Mitsubishi is going to spend a ton of money on R&D, even more money building and optimizing dealerships, and somehow manage to grow its bottom line. It sounds really good on paper, but will it actually work? Well, I have a few thoughts on that, so keep reading to find out.

This Could be the Beginning of the End


Make it or Break It: Mitsubishi Positions Itself for a Comeback - image 739752
“The basic concept is to increase sales by 30 percent while at the same time increasing profit margin by six percent and research and development spending by ¥600 billion”

Mitsubishi has had a pretty tough time lately. The whole fuel economy scandal turned out to be a company-wide failure with fault going to more people that you can count on four hands. Low-level management had it wrong, corporate management had it wrong, employees were discouraged from expressing concern or challenging authority even if it was right to do so, and different divisions had no unity. The worst part of it all, however, was everyone’s inability to accept fuel economy shortfalls, and without a way to make it better, numbers got padded. In short, the entire situation was a massive disaster just waiting to come down on someone’s head, and come down it did.

Now, we’re looking at a brand that was so busy cheating its way into government approval that it let a car like the Lancer die an undeserving and unwarranted death after being seriously neglected more than a decade. The EVO program is also dead along, which pretty much brought an end to anything cool that came out of Mitsubishi’s stable. And, to top things off, the brand is slandering the Eclipse name by using it for a freaking crossover/SUV instead of a sports coupe like it should. To make matters even worse, there are rumors that the EVO program could come back as a program limited to SUVs.

Oh… poor, poor, Mitsubishi. What are you thinking? This brand needs some serious management changes, and some young blood injected into its core. Jumping onto the SUV bandwagon, Mitsubishi’s new primary focus, is too little, too late, and now the brand is going to pour all this money into developing what I only assume will by 6 new SUVs because lord knows that trend is never going to die off – NOT!. So what’s going to happen? Well, I have a feeling that the brand is going to bring a bunch of new SUVs and Crossovers to the market and by the time its new push for a comeback is over, so will be the SUV craze.


Make it or Break It: Mitsubishi Positions Itself for a Comeback - image 739753
“This brand needs some serious management changes, and some young blood injected into its core”

I’ve been predicting the end to the SUV craze for a while now and, while I could be wrong, I have a feeling that Electric cars are going to be the next big thing. Sure, we’ll get all-electric SUVs, but their sheer weight will be a bit of a problem for a while until we can really improve our battery technology – or at least bring solar charging onboard in a big way. So, even if Mitsubishi does end up with a lineup full of SUVs that it can’t sell, with any luck the EVO SUV models could provide some leverage as long as they are done right (sporty and plenty of power) and if it continues its push for PHEV and ventures into true EV vehicles.

Unfortunately, one just has to be skeptical at this point, because it really seems like the shot callers over at Mitsubishi aren’t sure about what they are doing. And, while all of their “Drive for Growth” strategy sounds good on paper, I’m afraid it’s not going to be anywhere near as easy as it sounds. But, we shall see. What do you guys think? Is Mitsubishi finally on the right path? Does it need some younger blood? Hit us up with your thoughts in the comments section below.

References


Mitsubishi Launches One Last Special Edition as the Lancer Heads to the Guillotine - image 715287

Read more Mitsubishi news.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Doubles Down to Keep up with the Jones’

It’s 18 months in the works, but Lamborghini has finally completed the expansion to its production facility in Sant’ Agata Bolognese, Italy. In short, the facility has, quite literally, doubled in size from more than 861,000 square feet to more than 1.7 million square feet (80,000 square meters to 160,000 square meters). Its primary purpose was to provide a home for the assembly line that will move the Urus through its various stages of production, from start to finish. It also includes a new office building (with LEED Platinum certification) that is said to carry the highest standards for energy, building design, and production. There’s also a new warehouse, second trigeneration power plant, and a new energy hub. As equally important as the new production line, however, is the completed installation of a new test track that has 13 different surfaces. It was built specifically for testing SUVs (or so the execs can go out and get in some off-road play, right?)

All told, the completion of this massive expansion will allow Lamborghini to up its production capacity by 100 percent, to 7,000 units annually. Sure, that’s next to nothing compared to companies like GM, Ford, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mazda, Toyota and Honda, but this is Lamborghini we’re talking about, and it pushes them to a whole new level of production heaven – or hell, depending on what happens. According to Lamborghini, a total of 600 different enterprises helped to complete the expansion, and as many as 3,600 workers from outside companies took part in the massive project. Cue the back patting. All told, it’s a pretty big deal because it not only brings the Urus closer to customer hands but opens the door for new and exciting models in the future. If you’re into cars, my friend, this really is a really good time to be alive.

Keep reading for a little more information

There is Strength in Numbers…Low Numbers


Lamborghini Doubles Down to Keep up with the Jones' - image 739204
“The facility has, quite literally, doubled in size from more than 861,000 square feet to more than 1.7 million square feet (80,000 square meters to 160,000 square meters)”

Lamborghini is a very limited company. Not in the sense that it can’t do much or has limited funds or revenue, but in the sense that it maintains a very low production rate to maintain a certain status amongst its customers. None of its current models, like the Huracan and the Aventador, would be anywhere near as valuable or special if everyone and their brothers had one, and there’s a reason you don’t see them filling the parking lots of every majorly successful law firm: Exclusivity. Not everybody can drive a Lambo, and maintaining low production numbers is a sheer guarantee because we all know, there’s plenty of folks out there with deep pockets.

On the other hand, if Lambo wants to expand its lineup, this is the start of a very good thing. Imagine a future where the company can produce 12,000 models per year, with some 5 or 6 model names, and 50+ model variations in its stable. Not only will profits go through the roof, but the company will be gracing the world with healthy doses of beautiful cars. Meanwhile, by keeping things for each model to such a limited production rate, everything will maintain its exclusivity. Ala – the purists can maintain their deep-pocketed happiness for another few years. Well, until Lambo decides to build a daily driver for the masses hahaha

References

Lamborghini Urus


2018 Lamborghini Urus - image 716725

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Lamborghini Urus.


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733341

Read more Lamborghini news.

PostHeaderIcon Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Kimi Raikkonen!

Today is October 17th, which means its Finnish racing driver Kimi Raikkonen’s 38th birthday! Raikkonen is best known as a top competitor and former world champion in Formula 1 and currently races alongside teammate Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen secured his title win in 2007 shortly after signing up with Ferrari, and he continues to race under the banner of the Prancing Horse today.

Raikkonen first entered the cutthroat world of F1 in 2001, racing for Sauber after a successful career in karting and various national formula car championship series. In 2002, Raikonnen grabbed a seat with McLaren, earning his first F1 race win in 2003 at the Malaysian Grand Prix. After a series of up and downs, Raikkonen handed Ferrari its last world championship to date. Interestingly, the Finn also had a brief stint getting sideways in the World Rally Championship. Between 2009 and 2011, Raikkonnen took part in 21 events racing for the Citroen Junior Team and the iterative ICE 1 Racing team. He also raced a truck in NASCAR for Kyle Busch.

Known for being straight to the point during interviews (although, at times, slightly incoherent), as well as his propensity for napping prior to races and partying hard afterward, the world of racing is a whole lot more interesting when Raikkonen is around.

Happy Birthday, Kimi!

References


Revisiting All The Relationships Of The Fast and Furious Universe - image 714878

Read more celebrity news.

PostHeaderIcon You Need a Lot of Money To Even Sniff A One-Off Aston Martin

Like most premium automakers that have deep-pocketed customers at their disposal, Aston Martin knows the value of diversifying its lineup to keep its clients on their toes. As rivals like Ferrari, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce have shown, one way to do that is to offer one-off models that no other person will get to own. Aston Martin has actually done this exercise in the past courtesy of its Prototype Operation division, having created the CC100 Speedster in 2013 to celebrate the marque’s 100th anniversary. Now it looks like the one-off offers are back on the table, provided that customers fork up at least £2 million for each car. By the way, that converts to $2.6 million in today’s exchange rates. Gulp.

Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, made the proclamation in a conversation with Road & Track, raising a lot of eyebrows in the process. There is one other catch though to getting Aston Martin to build a one-off. Palmer said that on top of paying the steep price to even get considered for one, interested customers would also have to wait in line for their turn because Aston is only building two of them per year. And, just in case that condition still suits someone with deep pockets and a longing for one-off creations, the official wait, at this point, is around two years since the next four slots are already accounted for. Still, if patience is a virtue, two years isn’t a long time to wait for a car that literally nobody else in this world is going to own. Just make sure to keep that £2 million locked away somewhere.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

It’s a steep price to pay, but Aston has a good history with one-offs


2014 Aston Martin CC100 - image 506917

I’ll be honest. I actually laughed when I first heard about Andy Palmer’s comments. I don’t know if it was the $2.6 million figure or the fact that it’s Aston Martin, but my initial thought was not a lot of people will be enticed by this. Then I sat back and looked at the CC100 Speedster from 2013 and thought to myself, “dear God, it still looks amazing four years later.”

Now, I’m still a little wary of the price tag, but not so much about Aston Martin’s ability to build one-off models. The automaker has done an incredible job in the past in this regard, and there’s no reason to think that it’s not capable of replicating those feats. Heck, the potential to actually exceed them is there for the taking, as we saw with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the automaker’s $3.2-million crown jewel hypercar.

“The automaker has done an incredible job in the past in this regard, and there’s no reason to think that it’s not capable of replicating those feats.”

A one-off Aston Martin is going to be the definition of exclusivity, though there is that trade-off that comes with such a high-asking “base” price. See how the cost of the Valkyrie is “only” $600,000 more than what Aston Martin is asking for a one-off? I doubt that any of these exclusive creations will be as powerful and as technologically advanced as the Valkyrie, so it is weird to think how high the company’s asking price is for these models. The reason though is simple, and it’s owed to the fact that as a literal one-off – maybe two-off in some cases – no one else is getting the car. It’s a formula that Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini have done in recent years with their own super exclusive models. None of this guarantees that any of the future one-offs to come out of Aston Martin’s Prototype Operations division will be fastest or most powerful of their kind, but the fact that there will only be one or two of them kind of makes it a moot point, doesn’t it?

Here’s to simply hoping that we get to see these cars in some capacity at some point because Palmer also hinted that these one-off creations aren’t going to be shown in public once they’re built. Kind of makes you wonder how many are already out there in the wild.

References

Aston Martin CC100


2014 Aston Martin CC100 - image 506888

Read our full review on the 2014 Aston Martin CC100.

Aston Martin Valkyrie


2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 722966

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie.

PostHeaderIcon You Need a Lot of Money To Even Sniff A One-Off Aston Martin

Like most premium automakers that have deep-pocketed customers at their disposal, Aston Martin knows the value of diversifying its lineup to keep its clients on their toes. As rivals like Ferrari, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce have shown, one way to do that is to offer one-off models that no other person will get to own. Aston Martin has actually done this exercise in the past courtesy of its Prototype Operation division, having created the CC100 Speedster in 2013 to celebrate the marque’s 100th anniversary. Now it looks like the one-off offers are back on the table, provided that customers fork up at least £2 million for each car. By the way, that converts to $2.6 million in today’s exchange rates. Gulp.

Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, made the proclamation in a conversation with Road & Track, raising a lot of eyebrows in the process. There is one other catch though to getting Aston Martin to build a one-off. Palmer said that on top of paying the steep price to even get considered for one, interested customers would also have to wait in line for their turn because Aston is only building two of them per year. And, just in case that condition still suits someone with deep pockets and a longing for one-off creations, the official wait, at this point, is around two years since the next four slots are already accounted for. Still, if patience is a virtue, two years isn’t a long time to wait for a car that literally nobody else in this world is going to own. Just make sure to keep that £2 million locked away somewhere.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

It’s a steep price to pay, but Aston has a good history with one-offs


2014 Aston Martin CC100 - image 506917

I’ll be honest. I actually laughed when I first heard about Andy Palmer’s comments. I don’t know if it was the $2.6 million figure or the fact that it’s Aston Martin, but my initial thought was not a lot of people will be enticed by this. Then I sat back and looked at the CC100 Speedster from 2013 and thought to myself, “dear God, it still looks amazing four years later.”

Now, I’m still a little wary of the price tag, but not so much about Aston Martin’s ability to build one-off models. The automaker has done an incredible job in the past in this regard, and there’s no reason to think that it’s not capable of replicating those feats. Heck, the potential to actually exceed them is there for the taking, as we saw with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the automaker’s $3.2-million crown jewel hypercar.

“The automaker has done an incredible job in the past in this regard, and there’s no reason to think that it’s not capable of replicating those feats.”

A one-off Aston Martin is going to be the definition of exclusivity, though there is that trade-off that comes with such a high-asking “base” price. See how the cost of the Valkyrie is “only” $600,000 more than what Aston Martin is asking for a one-off? I doubt that any of these exclusive creations will be as powerful and as technologically advanced as the Valkyrie, so it is weird to think how high the company’s asking price is for these models. The reason though is simple, and it’s owed to the fact that as a literal one-off – maybe two-off in some cases – no one else is getting the car. It’s a formula that Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini have done in recent years with their own super exclusive models. None of this guarantees that any of the future one-offs to come out of Aston Martin’s Prototype Operations division will be fastest or most powerful of their kind, but the fact that there will only be one or two of them kind of makes it a moot point, doesn’t it?

Here’s to simply hoping that we get to see these cars in some capacity at some point because Palmer also hinted that these one-off creations aren’t going to be shown in public once they’re built. Kind of makes you wonder how many are already out there in the wild.

References

Aston Martin CC100


2014 Aston Martin CC100 - image 506888

Read our full review on the 2014 Aston Martin CC100.

Aston Martin Valkyrie


2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 722966

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie.

PostHeaderIcon You Need a Lot of Money To Even Sniff A One-Off Aston Martin

Like most premium automakers that have deep-pocketed customers at their disposal, Aston Martin knows the value of diversifying its lineup to keep its clients on their toes. As rivals like Ferrari, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce have shown, one way to do that is to offer one-off models that no other person will get to own. Aston Martin has actually done this exercise in the past courtesy of its Prototype Operation division, having created the CC100 Speedster in 2013 to celebrate the marque’s 100th anniversary. Now it looks like the one-off offers are back on the table, provided that customers fork up at least £2 million for each car. By the way, that converts to $2.6 million in today’s exchange rates. Gulp.

Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, made the proclamation in a conversation with Road & Track, raising a lot of eyebrows in the process. There is one other catch though to getting Aston Martin to build a one-off. Palmer said that on top of paying the steep price to even get considered for one, interested customers would also have to wait in line for their turn because Aston is only building two of them per year. And, just in case that condition still suits someone with deep pockets and a longing for one-off creations, the official wait, at this point, is around two years since the next four slots are already accounted for. Still, if patience is a virtue, two years isn’t a long time to wait for a car that literally nobody else in this world is going to own. Just make sure to keep that £2 million locked away somewhere.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

It’s a steep price to pay, but Aston has a good history with one-offs


2014 Aston Martin CC100 - image 506917

I’ll be honest. I actually laughed when I first heard about Andy Palmer’s comments. I don’t know if it was the $2.6 million figure or the fact that it’s Aston Martin, but my initial thought was not a lot of people will be enticed by this. Then I sat back and looked at the CC100 Speedster from 2013 and thought to myself, “dear God, it still looks amazing four years later.”

Now, I’m still a little wary of the price tag, but not so much about Aston Martin’s ability to build one-off models. The automaker has done an incredible job in the past in this regard, and there’s no reason to think that it’s not capable of replicating those feats. Heck, the potential to actually exceed them is there for the taking, as we saw with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the automaker’s $3.2-million crown jewel hypercar.

“The automaker has done an incredible job in the past in this regard, and there’s no reason to think that it’s not capable of replicating those feats.”

A one-off Aston Martin is going to be the definition of exclusivity, though there is that trade-off that comes with such a high-asking “base” price. See how the cost of the Valkyrie is “only” $600,000 more than what Aston Martin is asking for a one-off? I doubt that any of these exclusive creations will be as powerful and as technologically advanced as the Valkyrie, so it is weird to think how high the company’s asking price is for these models. The reason though is simple, and it’s owed to the fact that as a literal one-off – maybe two-off in some cases – no one else is getting the car. It’s a formula that Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini have done in recent years with their own super exclusive models. None of this guarantees that any of the future one-offs to come out of Aston Martin’s Prototype Operations division will be fastest or most powerful of their kind, but the fact that there will only be one or two of them kind of makes it a moot point, doesn’t it?

Here’s to simply hoping that we get to see these cars in some capacity at some point because Palmer also hinted that these one-off creations aren’t going to be shown in public once they’re built. Kind of makes you wonder how many are already out there in the wild.

References

Aston Martin CC100


2014 Aston Martin CC100 - image 506888

Read our full review on the 2014 Aston Martin CC100.

Aston Martin Valkyrie


2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 722966

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie.

PostHeaderIcon Two Hyundai Models Get Green Light For N Treatment

The introduction of the Hyundai i30 N spells the start of the Korean automaker’s venture into the world of performance vehicles. Now that the hot hatch is in the fold, the process of building up the whole division begins, and two Hyundai models have been green-lit to help fill up the ranks: the Tucson and the Kona. The real development here is the inclusion of the Kona N since we’ve already heard from no less than N performance division boss Albert Biermann about the fate of the Tucson N.

Now, Hyundai Australia Senior Manager of Product Planning Andrew Tuitahi confirmed to Motoring that the Kona N is a “go” as well. The bad news is that both models aren’t expected to arrive anytime soon since Hyundai’s priority for the N division seems to focus on building its foundation with performance hatchbacks, coupes, and sedans. Crossovers and SUVs will come later, and the expectation is that these models will be integral parts of the whole N experience. Once the division itself is up-and-running, the attention will inevitably turn on bringing both the Tucson N and the Kona N to life. How long that’s going to take is anybody’s guess at this point, but Tuatahi may have put it best when he referred to time timetable as a “slow burn.” The good news is that the status of both the Tucson N and the Kona N is a matter of “when” and not “if.” We’ll just have to wait for word on “when” is when going to be.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Is this an exciting development


2018 Hyundai i30 N - image 723151
“The key here is to understand what it is that Hyundai wants to showcase when it does decide to build a Tucson N and a Kona N”

I suppose it depends on who you’re going to ask. If you ask me, I’m fully onboard with seeing a Tucson N and a Kona N come to life. For one, it’s not out of the ordinary for crossovers and SUVs to get performance versions. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have all done it and have had remarkable success because of it.

The key here is to understand what it is that Hyundai wants to showcase when it does decide to build a Tucson N and a Kona N. Does it want both models to compete against the established Europeans or does it want to introduce both models slowly before ratcheting up their performance levels in the coming years? Then there are questions on whether Hyundai can differentiate both performance models enough that they don’t step on each other’s toes. There’s a certain way to do it that the likes of Mercedes and BMW have been successful with, so it’s not like Hyundai is venturing into unchartered territory here.


2018 Hyundai i30 N - image 723130
“Then there’s the issue of giving the N division an identity of its own that’s separate from Hyundai.”

Then there’s the issue of giving the N division an identity of its own that’s separate from Hyundai. The i30 N was successful in that regard, but it would be foolish of Hyundai to think that the N division already has its own unique identity after just one model. Something like this is going to take some time to nurture, which is exactly what Hyundai Australia chief J.W. Lee talked about in his discussion with the Motoring. “We are hoping the N branding will bring something new to our models,” Lee said. “We want to change customer perception, but we can’t do this overnight. Whenever we do research, customer perception is always that we have affordable or cheaper cars. Good cars, but budget cars. I hope the N badge is going to create a halo effect for our brand.”

On that end, it’s easy to see why Hyundai decided to confirm N versions of the Tucson and Kona. Now, all it has to do is make sure that when the time comes, and both models are revealed, they imbibe more of the N division’s premium and performance identities more than they do Hyundai’s.

References

Hyundai i30 N


2018 Hyundai i30 N - image 723127

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai i30 N.

Hyundai Tucson


2016 - 2017 Hyundai Tucson - image 625085

Read our full review on the 2017 Hyundai Tucson.

Hyundai Kona


2018 Hyundai Kona - image 720573

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona.

PostHeaderIcon Pour One Out For This Dearly-Departed Volkswagen Model

It probably lasted longer than it should’ve, but in the end, its time had finally come. The Volkswagen Scirocco is no more, ladies and gentlemen. It’s current form had a good nine-year run, but that run has come to an end after Car and Driver discovered that the German automaker had stopped taking orders for the sport compact coupe. There is, however, an unspecified number of models that are still in stock so if anybody’s keen on getting one before they’re all sold out, now’s the time to do it.

The status of the Scirocco shouldn’t have been in question to begin with. Despite its lack of fanfare, the sports compact coupe was as enticing an offering in its segment as any other model of its kind. But, the Scirocco never seemed to get out of the huge shadow cast by the vastly more popular Golf hatchback, which has become Volkswagen’s go-to front-wheel-drive vehicle. Compound the loss of appeal with Volkswagen’s idiotic Dieselgate scandal and the Scirocco suddenly became expendable in the eyes of the VW Group brain trust. So, is this the end of the Scirocco nameplate? It may as well be, although there’s a chance that the name could be brought back at some point in the future, albeit in a different package.

There have been rumors that VW was considering axing the current Scirocco and then bring back the name at a later date as part of its electric car lineup. It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine such a scenario happening and there have even been whispers that a Scirocco EV is already in the works with plans to fit it with a number of different output options, including a range-topping unit that produces 300 horsepower. Think what you will of the gossip, but rest assured, the current iteration of the Volkswagen Scirocco is all but retired. It had a good run, though, so raise those glasses and toast to the dearly departed FWD sports compact coupe. It’s been fun.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The Volkswagen Scirocco was a victim of circumstances that were out of its control


2014 Volkswagen Scirocco - image 542285
“Dieselgate is partly to blame for the Scirocco’s demise, but it’s not the only reason either”

Every decision that Volkswagen has made recently somehow finds its way back to the Dieselgate scandal. That’s how devastating it’s been for the German automaker, though, nobody’s going to throw it any pity parties. The punishments were well deserved and, while we’ve had to deal with the consequences ourselves, there’s nothing we – or Volkswagen – can do about it but look forward to the future.

So, Dieselgate is partly to blame for the Scirocco’s demise, but it’s not the only reason either. Sagging interest for a car that was once named Car of the Year by Top Gear Magazine compounded the issues plaguing the sports compact coupe, as did new priorities within VW that looked into the future of the automaker as a whole. One could also argue about the car’s age as a reason behind its axing. The current generation has been around for nine years and has only had one facelift – back in 2014 – to show for it. In short, the Scirocco was long overdue for a makeover if it was to continue its role as the automaker’s entry-level sports coupe.


2014 Volkswagen Scirocco - image 542287
“The current generation has been around for nine years and has only had one facelift – back in 2014”

It just so happened that the rationale for developing one wasn’t all that attractive anymore. It certainly would’ve cost the German auto giant money to develop it with absolutely no guarantees that it could hold up for as long as the current-gen model has. So, instead of forcing it, Volkswagen smartly cut its ties on a car that wasn’t long for the world anyway.

The good news to all of this though is that the Scirocco name may not be dead very long, especially if rumors about Volkswagen bringing the name back end up being true. We know that the VW is planning and developing a new small coupe with its upcoming MEB platform. Could it be that this small coupe will take the name of the Scirocco once it’s launched? I wouldn’t put it past anything that it does. For now, we’re going to need to start getting used to a world without the Volkswagen Scirocco in it. The car may be relatively new in its current format, but in the space of nine years, it sure as heck made quite an impression on the thousands of people who proudly got the chance to own one.

References

Volkswagen Scirocco


2014 Volkswagen Scirocco - image 542289

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Scirocco.


2014 Volkswagen Scirocco R - image 542295

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Scirocco R.


1974 - 1992 Volkswagen Scirocco - image 240161

Read more about the first generation Volkswagen Scirocco.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Passport: The Smart Way to Overpay for your German Car Addiction

We’ve heard the story before, and for some reason, the idea keeps coming around. So what is it that I’m talking about? Well, I’m talking about car subscription services. And, the latest to jump into the ranks is Porsche with a new program that will let you pay a monthly fee for access to cars like the Porsche 718 Boxer, Cayman S, Macan S and the Cayenne. The monthly fee? Oh, just $2,000. For that $2,000 you get access to a total of eight different cars. If you want more, you can level up from the “launch” package to the “accelerate” package for an extra $1,000 – bringing the monthly total to $3,000. With that subscription, you’ll get access to models like Macan GTS, Cayenne S E-Hybrid, Panamera 4S, and the Carrera S. Basically, “Launch” gives you the basic, entry-level models while “Accelerate” gives you access to the higher trim levels.

Now, the first thought that really comes to mind is that the price seems quite high, and that wouldn’t necessarily be a wrong thought, but it does include at least some incentives. First off, the subscription includes vehicle tax and registration, insurance, maintenance, and detailing. It’s all based on a mobile phone app, and there is a one-time activation fee of $500 as well. Plus, you’ll have to pass a credit and background check too. Once users receive their first vehicle same day or future vehicle exchanges can be requested via the app. For now, the program is available to those residing in the metro Atlanta area and is made available through a collaboration between Clutch Technologies LLC and Porsche Passport. So, how does this subscription service stack up against purchasing your own Porsche? Well, let’s take a look.

You Might be Overpaying


Porsche Passport: The Smart Way to Overpay for your German Car Addiction - image 738045
“For that $2,000 you get access to a total of eight different cars”

Now, the nice thing about this subscription is that you don’t have to pay for insurance, registration, plates, or even cleaning and maintenance. However, that $2,000 package gets you a base level model, so let’s take a look at the base, 911 Carrera. Priced at an entry-level price of $91,100, you might think you’ll be paying a ton, right? Well, with the standard $9,215 down, you can get a 36-month lease, with 15,000 miles per year for 3 years for roughly $1,152 a month – that’s $848 less than that “launch” package above. Will insurance and maintenance allow you to keep your total monthly expense below $2,000? I don’t know, I’ve never insured a Porsche, but I’m sure it varies by location as it does for any other vehicle. If you decide to purchase a base 911, you’re looking at $1,499 with the same down payment, which would put you a little closer to that $2,000 per month bracket with insurance. But, with that in mind, you can also do with the car as you wish, so it may be a fair tradeoff.


Porsche Passport: The Smart Way to Overpay for your German Car Addiction - image 738046
“This model will set you back a minimum of $112,000 on the sticker, but with $11,305 down, you can lease one for $1,555 a month or purchase one for $1,840 a month”

Now, let’s talk about the Carrera 4S – one of the same models you get in the $3,000 package and the best Carrera (outside of the cabriolet with the same badge) that you can get. This model will set you back a minimum of $112,000 on the sticker, but with $11,305 down, you can lease one for $1,555 a month or purchase one for $1,840 a month – both significantly cheaper than the $3,000 a month subscription fee even if you cover insurance and maintenance yourself.

Of course, I won’t forget that the program also includes detailing, which can set you back every month or so, if you don’t take care of your own vehicle. And, you can swap out your car for any other of the Porsche lineup (if you have the “Accelerate” package, anyway) so maybe the pricing isn’t all that bad. But, if you’re interested in driving a certain model on a regular, it will most certainly be cheaper to actually buy or lease the car than to opt for this kind of subscription.


Porsche Passport: The Smart Way to Overpay for your German Car Addiction - image 738047
“If you’re interested in driving a certain model on a regular, it will most certainly be cheaper to actually buy or lease the car than to opt for this kind of subscription.”

Now, the question is… What do you think? If you had pockets deep to shell out $2,000 or $3,000 per month, would you do it? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments section below.

References

Porsche 718


2017 Porsche 718 Cayman - image 697886

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman.


2017 Porsche 718 Boxster - image 723935

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster.

Porsche 911


2017 Porsche 911 - image 644852

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 911.

PostHeaderIcon Real Self-Driving Cars are on the way thanks to Nvidia

For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock for the past 24 years, Nvidia is a company that is quite popular in the gaming and computer world thanks to its amazing graphics processors. You might recognize the name “GeForce” – it’s the company’s main product line. Well, the same company that builds GPUs for gamers has dived into the automotive market headfirst and has now released a whole new computing platform that is said to be capable of level-5 autonomy. That’s right folks, the future is here, and true driverless cars are right around the corner.

The name of this new computing system? It goes by the Codename “Pegasus” and is considered an extension of the Nvidia Drive PX AI computer platform currently in use by more than 200 companies working on self-driving cars. It’s excessively important because this specific computer is capable of delivering more than 320 trillion operations per second. To put that into perspective. A Tesla Model S, which uses the Nvidia Drive PX 2, is capable of 24 trillion operations per second. So, we’re talking about more than 10 Model S computers all running at the same time and in sync with one another. The technology is here; now it’s just up to developers to put it into play. But, it’s going to take some time. Keep reading to learn why.

It’s Not Easy Being Driverless


Real Self-Driving Cars are on the way thanks to Nvidia - image 737912
“It goes by the Codename “Pegasus” and is considered an extension of the Nvidia Drive PX AI computer platform currently in use by more than 200 companies working on self-driving cars”

Out of all those companies that are partnered with Nvidia to deliver autonomous driving platforms, at least 25 of them are in the process of developing robotaxis to be our people-delivery slaves. But, at the current time, they aren’t exactly feasible for production as the deep learning process and related artificial intelligence requires a trunk full of computer equipment that’s not only a huge power suck but quite heavy as well. This system will make all of that a thing of the past, and instead provide all the computing power needed to analyze things like 360-degree cameras, lidar, radar, and laser sensors to maintain a safe and reliable journey all in something the size of a modern license plate. That means these cars will shed weight and account for a serious decrease in energy consumption.

Now, this is, of course, really good news, but the truth is that this is only one piece of the puzzle. This is the hardware, but it’s up to developers to integrate and develop software for it. And, keep in mind that they have to develop code that can handle all driving situations or “think” for itself. To add to that, it won’t be available to developers until mid-to-late 2018. Even still, if developers can pull it off, we just might see self-driving cars in the next decade after all…


Real Self-Driving Cars are on the way thanks to Nvidia - image 737914
“If developers can pull it off, we just might see self-driving cars in the next decade after all”

What’s your take on driverless cars? Will you give it a try with driverless taxis or would you rather a human stay behind the wheel? Let us know where you stand in the comments section below.

References

Tesla Model S


2017 Tesla Model S - image 672438

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S.


GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS - image 737171

Read more autonomous cars news.

PostHeaderIcon Car Salesmen are Living on Borrowed Time

You can buy just about anything online these days including things like computers, firearms, food, and car parts. And, as sure as the sky is blue, it was inevitable that we would eventually be able to buy cars online too. Well, Volkswagen is looking to take that big first step in online car sales as it plans to cut down its dealer footprint in Europe and increase average dealer returns by as much as a whole percent.

So far little is known about the situation, but since the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen Automotive Group has been doing its best to cut down costs across all 12 of its brands. Ideally, the group’s new “future sales model” will increase profitability and efficiency of its dealer network by some 10 percent which, along with trimming costs, will allow higher returns to each distributor. For now, this move is limited to European dealerships and chances are that once the online portal – which is being developed through a collaboration between VAG and its distributor – is complete a number of dealerships will eventually be axed. But, if VW is looking to increase profitability and efficiency by 10 percent, one couldn’t be blamed for assuming that VW would cut down 10 percent of its distributor network. That could mean as many as 300 dealers across Europe will close their doors as online purchasing begins to increase.

Apparently, Volkswagen has gotten its hands on some new IT equipment as well, as the group is claiming that its use could cut the time needed to service cars by as much as 70 percent. With each dealer employing an average of around 35 employees each, a few of job loss could be looming, but VW is confident that it can cut its workforce down by at least four in each dealer, who will then be assigned somewhere else. Rumor has it that the birth of a new dealer contract in 2018 will include a clause that allows dealers to dictate their own workforce, and as such, the trimming of staff will fall on each dealership individually.

Now, the question is, will this online portal actually be used by those looking to buy a car, and if it is successful, can it work around the world? Keep reading to hear more about it.

Dealerships be Gone


Car Salesmen are Living on Borrowed Time - image 737907
“I’m imaging a world where the technology like the internet and artificial reality will completely replace the car dealership altogether”

I’m imaging a world where the technology like the internet and artificial reality will completely replace the car dealership altogether. Ready for a new car? Just sit down at the computer, throw on your headset, and navigate to your favorite brand’s online showroom. With high-end graphics and technology that allows you to feel, taste, and sense what’s going on in the virtual world, you can take a virtual test drive, scope the car out, and enjoy it all right from your home office or even your bed. We might not be there quite yet, but they do have a technology that allows you to send tastes over the internet, and some high-end AR kits do include some form of sense displacement for realism. So, it’s only a matter of time really.

With the way we all naturally go online to buy anything, it’s almost guaranteed that online car buying will be a big hit. No dealing with salesmen, no gimmicks or nonsense, and the car can be delivered right to your driveway in a matter of hours if you’re close enough to a distribution facility. And, in time, manufacturers could even include trade in options that allow you to photograph your vehicle and take your trade-in deduction right on the spot.


Car Salesmen are Living on Borrowed Time - image 737905
“Unless manufacturers really want to be greedy, they could even drop prices and still maintain the same profitability”

On top of that, unless manufacturers really want to be greedy (I wouldn’t be surprised if they will be) they could even drop prices and still maintain the same profitability – no dealer means no overhead costs for a sales front outside of the people that keep the current websites going anyway. No dealer also means no salesman to take commissions, no bonuses, and ultimately a lower price for us, hopefully. Can it work in the U.S.? it’s hard to say, but it wouldn’t surprise me. We’re even lazier than the folks across the drink so I’m sure we’d certainly love to take advantage of online car buying.

What do you think? Would you buy a car and complete the entire process online? Let me know in the comments section below.

References


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733568

Read more Volkswagen news.

PostHeaderIcon General Motors Launches New Military Defense Division Called GM Defense

The U.S. Military now has a new supplier of vehicles and futuristic technology. General Motors announced its creation of a special division within the company designed to cater to military hardware, designed both by GM and in conjunction with the specific needs of the military. It’s called GM Defense LLC and is already working with the U.S. Army and Navy with at least three projects. According to a report by Automotive News, GM officials say GM Defense is “helping GM better anticipate and react to the diverse needs of global aerospace and defense customers.”

GM Defense’s latest project is SURUS, or the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. The hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle is fully autonomous and has a nearly limitless number of configurations thanks to its flat top designed to accept various accessory components like personnel cabs, cargo containers, and even mobile command and hospital pods. Preceding SURUS is GM Defense’ hydrogen fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a modified Colorado mid-size pickup designed as a support vehicle for the U.S. Army. Both SURUS and the ZH2 boast silent operation with no smells or emissions, which are perfect for sensitive combat operations.

Continue reading for more on GM Defense LLC.

GM’s New Military Division

“GM’s first hydrogen-powered vehicle for the military is an unmanned underwater drone for the U.S. Navy”

GM Defense LLC resides under GM’s Global Product Development arm, which is headed by Mark Reuss. Charlie Freese, the executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business, will oversee GM Defense LLC.

“This new business structure will enhance GM’s productivity, agility, and affordability in a very dynamic customer environment,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business, in an emailed statement to Automotive News. “Our goal is to make it simpler and more seamless to do business with General Motors.”

GM’s first hydrogen-powered vehicle for the military is an unmanned underwater drone for the U.S. Navy. The Navy is looking into hydrogen-powered drones for expended missions spanning weeks or months at a time.

Of course, this isn’t the first time General Motors has worked directly with the U.S. military. GM had a defense division from 1950 to 2003, similarly named General Motors Defense. That division was sold to General Dynamics. Its products include vehicles like the CUCV K5 Chevrolet Blazer; CUVC Chevrolet K10, K20, and K30 Pickups (prior to the Silverado name); the newer LSSV Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado; and the eight-wheeled Stryker armored fighting vehicle.

References


GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS - image 736778

Read more about GM’s latest SURUS platform.


GM Says It'll Shoulder Blame In Level 3 Autonomous Driving Crashes - image 736717

Read more General Motors news.

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