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16 Dec 2014

Dodge delaying Challenger Hellcats ordered with satin black hood [UPDATE]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is one of the most formidable muscle cars on the planet. And it looks the part, too – especially with the optional satin black hood. But if you were one of the first customers to place an order for the 707-horsepower Mopar muscle car and specified the black hood on the options sheet, you may have to wait awhile.

According to members of the Hellcat.org forum cited by Car and Driver, deliveries of certain Challenger Hellcats have been delayed without explanation. When these fanatic customers started looking into the issue, they realized that all of the delayed orders shared one thing in common: they all had ordered their Dodges with that optional black hood.

Although an exact reason wasn’t specified, those who ordered the black hood on their Challenger coupes were told that delivery was being pushed back to February. But some were reportedly informed by their local dealership that things could be moved along if they switched their order to a body-colored hood instead. It’s not clear if the issue is a supplier problem, a paint booth issue at the factory, or something else entirely.

We’ve reached out to Dodge for clarification, and will update this story when we hear back.

UPDATE: Reached for comment, a Dodge spokesperson confirmed to Autoblog that the satin black hood “is not currently available for production” and that customers who ordered it “can opt to change their order to a body-color hood” or otherwise have their orders delayed until the option becomes available at a later date to be confirmed.

Dodge delaying Challenger Hellcats ordered with satin black hood [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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16 Dec 2014

Cheap gas has Ford investors nervous over 2015 F-150

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2015 Ford F-150

Gasoline in the US continues its weeks-long descent with prices down about 13 cents a gallon over last week to $2.544, which is lower by around 69 cents/gallon from this time last year, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Many drivers are welcoming the lower bills at the gas station as a fantastic holiday gift, but Ford investors are somewhat spooked over the potential sales implications for the 2015 F-150.

Market analyst Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank recently downgraded Ford’s stock from a buy to hold, according to TheDetroitBureau.com, and his report to investors may have played a part in a drop in the company’s share price. Lache praised the truck’s powertrain and lightweight technology, but wrote, “We question whether consumers will pay the price for this content with $2-$3 gas,” in his report, according to the website.

Whether buyers actually turn away from the F-150 is mostly speculative at this point because it only recently began production. With around 700 pounds of weight loss thanks in parts to its new aluminum parts, the latest Ford pickup offers up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway, plus segment-best payload and towing ratings. Prices are up somewhat in part to pay for additional standard features, though.

Still, any further dip in Ford’s stock is bad news this year. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the company’s shares are down about 7.5 percent this year. On December 15, the price fell to $14.28, the lowest since November 10.

Cheap gas has Ford investors nervous over 2015 F-150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15 Dec 2014

Volvo wants to sell cars online, skip most auto shows

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Volvo XC90

Volvo is completely rethinking its marketing strategy with an approach that it calls the Volvo Way to Market. The revised plan means an increase in the company’s advertising budget overall and a totally different way to allocate those funds. The most dramatic shift is the Swedish automaker’s decision to begin selling its models online directly to customers worldwide.

Volvo is leaving out specifics of its online sales strategy at the moment, but it promises that the approach doesn’t push out its current dealers. According to Reuters, models sold through the web still go through the seller network for delivery. “We don’t see a car distribution network without dealers in the foreseeable future,” said company sales boss Alain Visser in an interview with Reuters.

The automaker already tested the online waters this year with the Special Edition XC90 that sold out in 47 hours and for the 120 US reservations of the S60 and V60 Polestar models. Tesla has been one of the major proponents of direct sales thanks in part to its unique model of having discrete stores. However, BMW and Ford have also made attempts at it in some regions.

Volvo is also cutting back on big auto show launches and plans to focus on just three events each year in the near future: the Geneva Motor Show, the alternating Shanghai and Beijing Motor Shows and the Detroit Auto Show. Instead of making reveals at the others, the company wants to conduct its own annual event to showcase vehicles. The strategy includes cutting back on sponsorships as well, except for the Volvo Ocean Race.

In perhaps the most bizarre move of the bunch, the automaker wants its dealers to highlight the brand’s Swedish heritage. This means including “sound and smell elements that portray a Scandinavian spirit,” according to the company’s press release, plus Swedish cuisine in the waiting area. Read the full announcement below and look forward to enjoying some lingonberry jam during your next showroom visit.

Continue reading Volvo wants to sell cars online, skip most auto shows

Volvo wants to sell cars online, skip most auto shows originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 Dec 2014

DOE admits nearly 50 percent of EVs bought in California

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California Plug In

As fuel prices keep falling across the US, sales of fuel efficient vehicles keep going with them. By AutoblogGreen‘s tally, the market for green cars, which includes diesels, is down 6.4 percent through November 2014. However, there is a bright spot in the bleak news. Plug-in sales are actually up for the year by about 30 percent. A report from the US Energy Information Administration, a branch of the Department of Energy, finds that this segment is still growing. Though, their popularity is still largely a West Coast phenomenon.

When looking at registrations as of 2013, the study found about 70,000 battery electric vehicles and 104,000 plug-in hybrids nationwide. While still a tiny percentage of the 226 million total, the segment shows expansion. The total for all plug-in vehicles (PEVs) among new sales was 0.4 percent in 2012, 0.6 percent in 2013 and 0.7 percent through 2014 so far.

About half of the nation’s plug-ins reside in California, and the state boasts the highest rate of them in the US with about five out of every 1,000 vehicles there using an outlet to charge. Although, there are very good reasons for this, like the state’s laws that mandating automakers sell zero-emissions models with the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program. While some other states have decided to follow California’s lead, most plug-in vehicles are not sold outside of the Golden State. California wants at least 15 percent of the cars there to be emissions-free by 2025.

Other states are showing improvement too. According to the study, Washington and Hawaii are the only two other places with three or more PEVs per 1,000 vehicles. Oregon, Georgia and Maryland come close though, with between two and three per thousand.

The figures also suggest the interesting effects that incentives can have on PEV sales. In addition to federal money, Californians can claim up to $2,500 for electric vehicles and $1,500 for plug-in hybrids. However, Washington puts more motivation behind pure EVs by making them exempt from the state’s 6.5 percent sales and use tax. The intriguing result is pure electric vehicles actually outnumber plug-in hybrids in the state – a rather unique situation. Scroll below to read the EIA’s full report.

Continue reading DOE admits nearly 50 percent of EVs bought in California

DOE admits nearly 50 percent of EVs bought in California originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Dec 2014

Audi tests new kind of car sharing, lets you buy cars with buddies [w/video]

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Audi Unite

Car sharing services like ZipCar, Car2Go and others offer people in cities the chance to have a vehicle without dealing with the hassles of parking or maintenance, while also eliminating traffic. However, many individuals are turned off by the idea of splitting a car with an entire metropolis or would prefer to have a specific model at their disposal. For these unsatisfied souls, Audi has a new arrangement in Stockholm, Sweden, called Audi Unite that might be just the ticket.

The setup is basically a small-scale car sharing service. Up to five people agree to share any of Audi’s models for a year or two – even an R8 if they are so inclined. Each user has a special Bluetooth key fob that identifies them to the vehicle, and a smartphone app allows operators to schedule time with the car. Each person is then billed monthly according to his or her use. Audi thinks it might work best with friends, colleagues or neighbors, but the company can also play matchmaker for clients, if necessary.

“In the beginning, our biggest fear was what if two people want to go somewhere at the same time-what happens then?” said Clemens Weisshaar, one of the founders of design firm Kram/Weisshaar that helped develop the idea, to Fast Company. “Interestingly, it never happened.” They chose Stockholm because the city was tech-savvy, and there is a tradition of sharing there.

Prices for Audi Unite seem fairly reasonable for each user. According to the service’s website, if four people use an A3 Sportback for two years with a 20,000-kilometer (12,247-mile) driving limit, they would pay an average of 2,091 Swedish krona ($277) each per month. For an extra 365 krona (about $50) per person each month, they can add a package that includes vehicle pickup and delivery for monthly interior and exterior cleaning, winter tire exchanges and necessary servicing.

After Stockholm, Audi plans to try Unite in other Swedish cities before launching the program in additional countries, according to Fast Company. Scroll down to watch a video with more explanation about how the program works and read the automaker’s press release about the initiative.

Continue reading Audi tests new kind of car sharing, lets you buy cars with buddies [w/video]

Audi tests new kind of car sharing, lets you buy cars with buddies [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Dec 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Dec 2014

Turns out Millennials like driving about as much as their ’80s counterparts

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Legislature and You-Teen Drivers

Over the past few years, it has become generally accepted wisdom that the Millennial generation cares less about cars and drives less than the generations of Americans that came before them. However, a recent dig into one dataset by The Atlantic’s Citylab blog finds that assertion might not be entirely accurate.

The information is based on recently released US Census data examining people 18-34 in 1980, 1990, 2000 and from 2009-2013. It found that for the entire country driving in this age range has changed little in the past 30+ years. For the most recent group, 84.5 percent commuted to work by car or carpool. Contrary to popular assumption, that figure was higher than in 1980 at 83.8 percent. However, the figure was lower than in 1990 at 85.6 percent and in 2000 at 86.7 percent.

Furthermore, Citylab did an analysis on just the data for the nation’s 25 largest metro areas and came up with some intriguing results. For seven of them, driving among people ages 18-34 actually increased compared to 1980 – led by an 8.1 percent jump in San Diego. Nine other cities showed numbers within a single percent higher or lower than the ’80 figures. However, nine locales did show a decline in driving among young folks, with New York in the lead with a 9.4 percent decrease.

This data seems to suggest that the concept of Millennials driving less might be overblown, but it unfortunately doesn’t tell us what kind of time they spend in their vehicles. Other studies have shown that the average number of miles driven for people 16-34 dropped by 23 percent from 2001 to 2009.

Turns out Millennials like driving about as much as their ’80s counterparts originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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10 Dec 2014

Big Black Friday discounts key to Chrysler 200 sales success

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Chrysler 200

A lot of people go shopping for deals on TVs or computers around the holiday season, but it looks like some folks are finding some fantastic deals on cars too. Take the Chrysler 200 for example. The new sedan had a great November in terms of sales, and by Chrysler’s numbers, it delivered 14,317 of them for the month, a 155 percent increase from the same month last year. It even beat the November 2013 sales of the old 200 and Dodge Avenger combined. However, a report from Daily Kanban based on TrueCar data suggests that the good month came at least in part from steep incentives.

Based on 20,156 sales of the 200 from TrueCar’s database, average transaction prices were about $2,500 to $4,000 under MSRP for all but the base LX front-wheel drive model. That one actually went for about $68 above the typical base price. Going by these numbers, most people could have bought nearly any trim cheaper than the listed price of the one above it. For example, the top C AWD averaged $27,423, less money than the stated MSRP of the lower-spec S AWD. TrueCar’s website also shows 200 pricing dipping in the latter part of November and into early December.

There’s no doubt that the 200 had a stellar month for November. But these figures suggest that it might have come partially because buyers found stacks of money on 200 hoods, while out doing some holiday shopping.

Continue reading Big Black Friday discounts key to Chrysler 200 sales success

Big Black Friday discounts key to Chrysler 200 sales success originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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08 Dec 2014

2015 Nissan Murano configurator is lux’d and loaded

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Nissan Murano

We just got done driving the all-new, 2015 Nissan Murano and while you’ll have to wait just a few more hours for our complete driving impressions, you can at least get online and build your very own example of Nissan’s latest CUV, thanks to the company’s new configurator.

While Nissan has already published the Murano’s starting price, this is our first glimpse at the full pricing details. As we said, prices start at $29,650, not counting an $885 destination charge. From there, things, um, increase. Moving from the base S to the mid-level SV will require an extra $3,060, and adds navigation with the NissanConnect telematics system, a power driver’s seat, LED running lights, remote start and a USB port for backseat passengers.

An additional $4,330 moves you up to the Murano SL, adding heated leather seats, a Bose stereo, AroundView monitoring, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a power liftgate and blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert. At the top of the range sits the Platinum, starting at $39,000 ($2,050 more than the SL). It includes 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Regardless of trim, Nissan customers will get about with the help of a 3.5-liter V6 that’s been mated up to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission. Adding the optional all-wheel-drive system will bump up the CUV’s price an additional $1,600.

Head over to the configurator and build your own ideal Murano.

Continue reading 2015 Nissan Murano configurator is lux’d and loaded

2015 Nissan Murano configurator is lux’d and loaded originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Dec 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Dec 2014

2015 Lexus RC F configurator heats up

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2015 Lexus RC F

Just over two weeks after Lexus activated its online configurator for the 2015 RC350, the Japanese luxury marque is flipping the switch on the car we really want to customize – the 467-horsepower RC F.

In addition to letting us play about with various configurations for the new sports coupe, Lexus’ latest builder is decidedly different and more visually pleasing. It also does away with the brand’s typical, and occasionally unintuitive, grouping of options. In its place, we have a trio of simple, logical packages.

There’s a navigation pack that adds, um, navigation. It also includes in Lexus’ Enform telematics suite. You can also select a Premium Pack, that adds luxury features like heated and vented seats, park assist and LED headlamps, while an all-weather pack tacks on a heated steering wheel, headlamp washers and a deicer for the wiper blades.

There are some secondary options, too, including an attractive set of 19-inch wheels, an updated leather interior, adaptive cruise control and a moonroof. All in all, pretty standard fare. Prices for the RC F start at $62,400, not counting a $925 destination charge.

Head over to Lexus’ consumer page and build your ideal RC F.

Continue reading 2015 Lexus RC F configurator heats up

2015 Lexus RC F configurator heats up originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Dec 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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03 Dec 2014

Lil Wayne’s daughter gifted Ferrari GTO, BMW X4 for 16th birthday [w/video]

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Ferrari 599 GTO birthday present

It must be nice to have ludicrously rich parents. Rapper Lil’ Wayne’s daughter Reginae recently celebrated her 16th birthday with a huge party in Atlanta. Where many teens would be overjoyed just to get a family hand-me-down for a first car, the rapper’s daughter got two brand-new vehicles – a BMW X4 and a Ferrari 599 GTO.

The X4 would certainly be extravagant by itself, but it’s not totally without precedent. Anyone who watched even a snippet of MTV’s old show My Super Sweet 16, probably saw a few vehicles that were just as expensive.

However, the concept of any newly licensed teen behind the wheel of a Ferrari is absolutely terrifying to us. This one is even crazier, with 661 horsepower and a chassis capable of lapping Ferrari’s Fiorano test track quicker than an Enzo. Of course, with just 599 built, Reginae could probably just park the coupe and let it appreciate enough to finance her next big party. The BMW is reportedly going to be her daily driver, anyway.

According to TMZ, Reginae’s mother and stepfather bought her the Ferrari with Lil’ Wayne’s blessing. They believe their daughter can handle the 599 GTO, which shows some serious – if misguided – trust. Check out the video below to see the cars and her party.

Continue reading Lil Wayne’s daughter gifted Ferrari GTO, BMW X4 for 16th birthday [w/video]

Lil Wayne’s daughter gifted Ferrari GTO, BMW X4 for 16th birthday [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 03 Dec 2014 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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