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Apr
24th

Hyundai Q1 profit hit by slow U.S. sales

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Hyundai posted first-quarter net profit that was almost identical to a year earlier, as increased sales in China and Korea helped offset weak U.S. demand.No tags for this post.
Apr
24th

UK car production returns to growth, boosted by increased European demand

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British car production returned to growth in March, boosted by increased demand in Europe and by automakers completing retooling to build new models. Output increased 12 percent last month.No tags for this post.
Apr
24th

Kia enhances Soul’s SUV traits

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Rising demand for subcompact-sized SUV-styled models has driven Kia to put more emphasis on the latest Soul's crossover characteristics.No tags for this post.
Apr
24th

JCI Q1 profit rises 59% on increase in automotive business

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Johnson Controls, which counts on Europe for about half of its sales, reported a 59 percent jump in quarterly profit, helped by higher sales in its automotive unit.No tags for this post.
Apr
24th

NASCAR: Swan Racing merges one team, sells the second, Kligerman looking for a ride

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Swan Racing, the ambitious team which went from a one-car to two-car squadron at the beginning of the 2014 season, has been forced to sell one team and merge one team due economic issues.

The No. 26 team with driver, Cole Whitt, has merged with BK Racing. The No. 30 team was sold to Xxxtreme Motorsports owner John Cohen, whose team has attempted two races this year. team. Many team members including crew chief Steve Lane stay on, but JJ Yeley will replace driver Parker Kligerman.

"Over the past couple weeks we worked tirelessly to find an alternative to ending operations," Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis said in a statement. "Fortunately, we were able to find a home for the No. 26 team and the No. 30 team thanks to Anthony Marlowe and Jonathan Cohen, respectively.

NASCAR Cole Whitt Swan Racing Parker Kligerman
Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman, Swan Racing. (Photo: NASCAR)

"Anthony and Jonathan are both young and ambitious NASCAR enthusiasts. It is important to keep them in the sport for the long term. ... Most importantly, most of the team members have the opportunity to continue their employment in the sport and to support their families. This was critically important to me."

Kligerman, 38th in Sprint Cup standings is now without a ride, but is still under contract to Mr. Davis.

"Swan Racing is exploring any and all options to keep Parker Kligerman on track throughout the season. We are encouraged by the response we have received from interested parties. Parker continues to be one of the most talented young drivers in NASCAR. He brought this racing team one of its strongest results in his first race with us, and we are certain of his success in the future. We will provide updates as new information and facts are established," Brandon Davis said.

"Although it's unfortunate we are having to scale back, I look forward to the future and the exciting things that I'm confident we will accomplish at Swan Racing or with another team," said Kligerman. "I value the relationship that I've had with Brandon Davis and am very grateful for him giving me an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Whether I continue to race with Brandon and Swan Racing or end up with another team, I will always give it my all on and off track to be the best I can be."


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Apr
24th

2014 Hyundai Sonata Review

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Toward the end of the 2000s, Hyundai saw the writing on the wall for their fifth generation Sonata. Even equipped with a mild refresh, the Sonata was a bland blob in a sea of ever-better competitors. Hyundai had to do something drastic. Something mind-blowing.

Hyundai gathered all their competitors' mid-size vehicles in Korea. The goal: to design and engineer a mid-size sedan that was just as good, load it up with more features, and undercut the competition on price.


What is the Hyundai Sonata?
Hyundai's mid-sizer is the first “gotcha” product to come out of the company since their most recent resurgence in growth. After years of pumping out value-proposition product, the Korean automaker wanted to grab the attention of the buying public, which they they did with the Sonata in 2010.

The Sonata in its current form is now in its final year of production. Next year, a new generation will take its place sporting a design closer to the Genesis sedan.

2014 Hyundai Sonata Price and Specs
The Sonata is available in GL, GLS, SE, Limited w/ Navigation, and 2.0T Limited w/Ultimate trims. There's even a Hybrid model. All models, except the 2.0T and Hybrid, are powered by a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine which produces 190 hp. A 2.0T belching out 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque powers the 2.0T Limited. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. There is no all-wheel drive option.

Base GL trimmed Sonatas start at $23,999 before freight, PDI, and the taxman getting his cut. Full-blown 2.0T models bring MSRPs up to $34,199.

Driving the 2014 Hyundai Sonata
Mechanically, the Sonata gives you a decent amount of performance out of its 2.4L 4-banger. It's not the smoothest engine in the world - it seems all modern direct injected four-cylinders are a bit rough - and the six-speed automatic clicks through the gears as expected.

Brakes were adequate, though a tad bit noisy. Cabin noise was acceptable, though not best in class. And comfort was pleasant, though not awe-inspiring.

There is one thing though - and it's massive, mountainous - that makes me go insane about the Sonata and virtually every other Hyundai on the market today.

Thanks to being tuned for glass-like road surfaces, the suspension provides almost no damping for the larger potholes and other road imperfections we get in Canada. Even small cracks in the road surface can be felt in your fingertips through the steering wheel. Our tester, which was shod with 17-inch aluminum alloy rims and slivers for tires, had a ride somewhere between a wooden rollercoaster and a rock quarry truck.

Maybe the ride is better in some of the lesser trims with smaller wheel diameters allowing for taller tire sidewalls.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Hyundai Sonata
If you haven't already gathered, I'm not the biggest fan of the Sonata in the design department. If I wanted to, I could write an entire essay on how the design of the current Sonata makes my stomach winge.

Instead, I'll use the remaining space to tell you why the inside of the Sonata is the nicer place to be, though what you may see on paper may not be what you get in the real world.

Hyundai has loaded the Sonata up with some great options. For one, rear heated seats are a welcomed treat for passengers, as long as said passengers are of average height and under. The rear bench leaves occupants wanting for thanks to a sloping roofline.

Up front, very clear controls mounted to the center console make it easy to navigate air conditioning and navigation without thinking about them too much.

Hyundai has even equipped the Sonata will selectable steering modes, though I can't see why anyone would use any other setting but Comfort. Normal? Sport? No, the Sonata is neither of these things.

The leather seating is comfortable, though it doesn't feel luxurious. It feels like the cheap leather coat you buy to say you own a leather coat. In fact, a number of the features on the Sonata, and many other Hyundais, work this way.

The Sonata, when compared to a Camry or Fusion or Accord, might add up on paper. But if you line them up, side-by-side, and sit in all four in succession, you'll notice the difference. The features may all be there in the Hyundai, but they aren't as good in direct comparison.

This is how Hyundai packs “value” into their cars.

But, after a while, you'll start to notice where corners have been cut. It's a cost game where you're the winner and the loser all at the same time. And if you're willing to shell out a few dollars more, you'll end up happier at the end of the day.

Comparing the 2014 Hyundai Sonata
The Sonata is older than virtually all its competitors - the Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagen Passat, and the Mazda6, AJAC's 2014 Canadian Car of the Year.
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Apr
24th

F1 board admits Ecclestone reign ”over”

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From GMM

The criminal trial is only just beginning, but F1's board has already conceded that the Bernie Ecclestone reign is at an end.

The banker he allegedly bribed, Gerhard Gribkowsky, is already in jail for receiving the $44 million, and a UK judge has also declared that the sport's 83-year-old chief executive paid a bribe.

Still, Ecclestone's defence appeared to get a boost this week when it emerged that German prosecutors concede that the diminutive Briton was in fact blackmailed by Gribkowsky.

Writing in Forbes, and quoting from the indictment, F1 business journalist Christian Sylt explained that Gribkoswky was putting "pressure" on Ecclestone by "repeatedly insinuating" that Ecclestone had control of his family trust.

Bernie Ecclestone claims he paid the $44 million only because Gribkowsky was 'shaking me down' over his personal tax affairs.

"It seems to be a textbook example of blackmail," Sylt said.

Nonetheless, as the Munich proceedings begin on Thursday, the signs for Ecclestone are worrying.

Writing in the Times, Kevin Eason said Ecclestone could avoid jail by accepting he is guilty and paying more than a staggering $400 million.

Even so, the Ecclestone era is "over", Eason quoted a source close to F1's owners CVC and the board as saying.

The report said the board has been advised by a London law firm not to keep Ecclestone in charge after a judge called him "untruthful and unreliable".

The source explained: "In truth, it (Ecclestone's reign) has been over for a while, but Bernie has been allowed to continue as the face of the sport until this legal advice, which was devastating."


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Apr
24th

F1: More changes at Ferrari after Stefano Domenicali exit

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From GMM

Ferrari has been told to "step up a gear" in the wake of team boss Stefano Domenicali's departure.

After a poor start to the season for the fabled Italian marque, the F1-unknown Marco Mattiacci was drafted in to replace team veteran Domenicali, who resigned between the Bahrain and Chinese grands prix.

And according to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, the management reshuffle is not the only change behind closed doors at Maranello.

The official Ferrari website said Montezemolo told "Mattiacci and his staff" of the need to "step up a gear in the work of the Gestione Sportiva".

The report added: "These words have been transformed into actions, which have made the decision making process even more immediate, with the aim of optimising the work and the direction of development taken by the engineers in Maranello in real time."

F1 Ferrari F14 T Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F14 T. (Photo: WRi2)

Luca di Montezemolo, who confirmed last week that he is increasing his involvement in the F1 team, "has asked for an immediate overhaul and streamlining of internal processes, eliminating intermediate stages and bureaucracy in order to be more flexible and efficient", Ferrari added.

The report said Ferrari has also made "cutbacks in the number of consultants and admissions aimed at strengthening some key areas to find more performance from the F14 T (car)".

And suppliers to the team have been asked to slash "the turnaround on parts ... thus reducing the waiting time for every single component".

German-language Speed Week reports that Ferrari plans to debut a Mercedes-style short front nose at the Spanish grand prix next month.


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Apr
24th

F1: Lotus sees two top teams hard to chase in 2014

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From GMM

Gerard Lopez, the owner of the Lotus team, has conceded that Mercedes is strolling to the 2014 title.

Asked about the championship prospects of the Enstone team, who are still yet to score a single point after a disastrous start, he said: "First of all, we can forget about Mercedes.

"They will continue to do their one-twos," Lopez told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"Red Bull has also made great progress so they will also be difficult (to compete with). But behind them it is interesting," he said.

F1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) leading Nico Rosberg (Mercedes). (Photo: WRi2)

Indeed, after a disastrous start to 2014 for the Renault-powered team, Lotus is finally beginning to make progress, with Romain Grosjean fighting in the points in China until his retirement.

"Ferrari has good results thanks to Fernando (Alonso)," said Gerard Lopez. "Williams' advantage is due to the engine, but Force India has a good car, otherwise they would not be third in the championship.

"Of course there are many factors, but I think we can deal with those teams," he claimed.


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Apr
24th

F1 China: One word caused China GP ‘flag-gate’

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From GMM

A single word caused 'flag-gate', it has emerged.

Article 43.2 of the sporting rules dictates that if the chequered flag is waved early, even in error, the race is over.

That is precisely what happened towards the end of the Chinese grand prix, meaning that a last-lap pass by Kamui Kobayashi did not officially count.

Explaining the mishap, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said that with a couple of laps left to run, the local race director Zhuang Tao asked Charlie Whiting if a white flag should be shown to mark the penultimate lap.

By radio, Zhuang relayed Whiting's answer to the flag man with the words "No flag now", but the Chinese official reportedly did not hear - or misunderstood - the "no".

F1 Mercedes China Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05, winner in China. (Photo: WRi2)



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Apr
24th

Top Car Copies from the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

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If you follow the global car scene, you will have heard about and likely seen online pictures of Chinese-built cars that bare an uncanny resemblance to products you and I know to not originate from China.

Although there were a huge number of proper knockoffs at the Beijing Auto Show, I'd expected to find far more in every nook and cranny. Anyhow, here are some of my favourites from the 2014 edition of Auto China.

BAIC-1 - Jeep Wrangler meets Hummer H1. Everybody looses.
BAIC-1
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

BAIC BJ80 - Chinese Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Not so bad...
BAIC BJ80
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

BAIC D60 - Mercedes C 63 AMG by another name.
BAIC D60
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

BAIC - Jeep Wrangler on generic ‘roids.
BAIC
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

GAC GONOW GA6470 - Range Rover Evoque sadly mates with an Outlander.
GAC GONOW GA6470
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Haval H2 - Volkswagen Tiguan that's put on weight.
Haval H2
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Haval H6 Sport
- Volkswagen Touareg and Hyundai Santa Fe have an illegitimate baby.
Haval H6 Sport
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Hawtai "cayenne"- A sad, sad, sad, bad, bad 1st Gen Cayenne goes uglier.
Hawtai
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Hawtai "santafe" - Of all the SUVs to copy... The 1st Gen Santa Fe was bad enough as it was.
Hawtai
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Continue reading Top Car Copies from the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

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Apr
23rd

AutoNation swipes at third-party car sites as it builds digital footprint

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AutoNation wants to reduce its dependency on online lead generators and third-party shopping sites.No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

Asbury 1st-quarter sales, continuing-operations profit rise

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Asbury Automotive Group reported a 3 percent profit slide for the first quarter of 2014, but improvements in all parts of the business drove profits from continuing operations up sharply.No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

CPO sales rise 11% in 1st quarter

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Industrywide sales of certified used vehicles rose 11 percent in the first quarter from the year-earlier level, with many companies registering double-digit increases.No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford gain in blue-sky store values

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Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford saw their blue-sky multiples increase in the second half, according to a study by a dealership buy/sell advisory firm. But BMW, Mini, Hyundai, VW and Mazda saw theirs decrease.No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

GM owners claim bankruptcy fraud to keep recall suits alive

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GM's request for court protection from 50 car-owner lawsuits seeking compensation for millions of recalled autos with defective ignition switches was attacked as legally 'unsupportable.'No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

2015 Ford Mustang order guide hints at key options

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The 2015 Ford Mustang order guide is now available to U.S. dealers and the options include a lot of familiar stuff such as racing stripes and tech packages.No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

Porsche Macan gets four-cylinder powerplant: Macan becomes first I-4 powered Porsche since the 968 at Beijing motor show

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The new entry level Porsche Macan, shown alongside the new Boxster and Cayman GTS at the No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

GM’s 1st-quarter profit to take hit from recalls

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This was supposed to be the year when GM made a record $10 billion in profit. But the company, rocked by a recall crisis, will be hard pressed to avoid posting a loss when first-quarter earnings are released on Thursday.No tags for this post.
Apr
23rd

Showa latest supplier to plead guilty to price-fixing, will pay $19.9 million

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Showa has agreed to plead guilty to fixing the prices of electric power steering assemblies and to pay a million fine, the Justice Department said today.No tags for this post.
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