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Reporting on the automotive industry, including recalls and other news, motorsports and blog posts

World Series presentation by Chevrolet's Rikk Wilde

 

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How GM got it right with the bumbling #chevyguy

TOM MALONEY

Anyone who’s melted down in a public speaking appearance had to feel for the Chevy Guy.

As it turns out, thousands of people have sympathized with the man who bumbled through a World Series presentation in front of millions on live television Wednesday night.

Chevrolet, rather than fearing its brand would be soiled by the association with Rikk Wilde’s 15 minutes of infamy, embraced the moment by helping to make him a sensation on social media.

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GM promises big performance improvements for Volt

JEREMY CATO

Chevrolet’s Volt plug-in hybrid was born in crisis, coming to market not long after General Motors’ June 2009 bankruptcy. You’d expect the company would have learned a few lessons along the way.

And it has, says CEO Mary Barra. You’ll see proof in January at Detroit’s auto show.

When the 2016 Volt launches in the second half of 2015, it will represent a significant leap forward in technology, design and refinement, Barra recently told the Detroit Economic Club, adding the new Volt “will store more energy in its battery pack with fewer cells, yet go further on a charge. It will accelerate faster. And the car’s gas generator will come from an all-new GM engine family and use even less fuel.”

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Honda Indy Toronto will take to the street in June instead of July

Globe Staff

Honda Indy Toronto is moving to June 12-14 next year from the traditional July dates, as the Pan American Games will be using the Canadian National Exhibition grounds where the race is held.

IndyCar had inspected Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, located north of Bowmanville, Ont., as an alternative site for the 2015 event but elected to maintain the street race.

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Porsche to take on Tesla Model S?

The Globe and Mail

Tesla will be challenged.

Tha much is as certain as Lamborghini taking on Ferrari, Ford battling General Motors, Toyota testing Honda.

The only mystery is which auto maker, or makers, will step up.

Porsche is developing a five-door all-electric mid-size vehicle to challenge the Model S for market share by 2018, according to reports based on company chairman Matthias Muller’s interview with a German magazine.

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Mazda CX-3 set to debut at Los Angeles Auto Show

JEREMY CATO

The steady but slow pace of change at Mazda is shifting into high gear with the world debut of three key new models in 2014 – and the promise of more to come in 2015.

The latest and newest Mazda will be shown at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show where the CX-3 small crossover will be unveiled. It follows the recent global debut in Japan of the fourth-generation Mazda2/Demio hatchback and the summertime global unveiling of the next-generation Mazda MX-5/Miata.

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Airbag crisis: The vehicles in Canada that are affected

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Defective airbags have caused auto makers to recall nearly 3.4 million older model vehicles worldwide, including at least 200,000 in Canada.

The U.S. government warned more than 7.8 million people to have air bags in their cars fixed amid concern that a defect can kill or injure the driver or passengers. Degraded airbags can send the equivalent of shrapnel flying into the front compartment.

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Jeremy Cato: The fatal, unintended consequences of airbags

JEREMY CATO

This seems an apt moment to pause to consider the air bag, a safety device that has surely saved lives – and also taken many.

You may have been following with growing concern what observers are calling “a deepening crisis involving deadly airbags” that has led to the recall of 7.8 million vehicles in the United States. Auto makers from Nissan Motor to Toyota, Mazda, BMW and General Motors have been linked to an issue with airbags from the supplier, Takata. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is advising owners to “act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags.”

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Sorry Canada, it’s Americans who have embraced hybrids

JEREMY CATO

Americans, for all their love of pickups and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), have embraced gasoline-electric hybrids at a rate that far exceeds Canadians – and those that buy them like them, with 83 per cent planning to purchase another or a plug-in hybrid, a recent University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study has found.

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Yes, a millennial said to me, ‘Hey, nice Cadillac’

JEREMY CATO

The kid in front of the liquor store was beaming, and I was more than a little taken aback when he said to me: “Hey, nice Cadillac.”

By kid I mean 21 or 22 years old. Now, a twentysomething kid who not only liked my ATS Coupe test ride, but recognized it as a Cadillac, left me nearly speechless. “Thanks,” I managed to say.

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With the speculation in overdrive, Tesla to end ‘D’ suspense today

MADELINE O’LEARY

Tesla Motors Inc. chief executive officer Elon Musk Thursday will unveil new technology that helps keep drivers from drifting off the road and what analysts predict will be an all-wheel-drive variant of its Model S.

Musk last week tweeted a photo of a Tesla car behind a partially open garage door with a stylized D on it. The post has been retweeted more than 14,000 times and favourited more than 10,000 times. Analysts, including Brian Johnson at Barclays Plc, have predicted that Tesla will unveil an all-wheel-drive version of its luxury sedan. The company will also add technologies such cruise control that matches the speed of other vehicles, said a person familiar with the plan.

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Tesla boss says 'about time to unveil the D and something else'

SUPRIYA KURANE

Tesla Motors Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk sent out a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, saying it is “about time to unveil the D and something else”, with an accompanying photo which mentioned a date, Oct. 9.

It was unclear what the “D” or “something else” entails, but the image suggested a new model the electric car maker might unveil on that day.

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Mercedes pushes the envelope on big-money small cars

JEREMY SINEK

How much will people pay for a compact hatchback, even one that comes with Mercedes-Benz badging?

That question is about to be put to the test with the Canadian launch of the latest baby Benz, the GLA crossover. Pricing starts at $37,200 for the GLA 250, which has all-wheel drive and aspires to some off-road capability despite its sleek shape and low-to-the-ground stance.

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Why Belgian police are waiving traffic fines this week

Belgians who drive a bit over the speed limit, forget to buckle their seat belts or park illegally can breathe easier this week as police turn a blind eye in protest against plans to raise their retirement age. The country’s police are up in arms over plans by the incoming government to raise their pension age to 62 from 58 as part of its efforts to cut the federal budget. Some 40,000 officers demonstrated against it in Brussels two weeks ago.

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Don't put new winter tires on your credit card if you live in Manitoba

Danielle Boudreau

Manitoba Public Insurance is offering loans to residents for the purchase of winter tires. Financing for eligible Manitobans is at prime plus two per cent for loans of up to $2000 per vehicle, for terms of one to four years. The prime lending rate in Canada is currently 3 per cent.

To qualify for the program, you must be an individual owner, not a company, purchasing tires for a car or light truck that is registered in your name. You must not have any financing restrictions or owe money in arrears on your Manitoba Public Insurance account.

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2015 Car and Truck of the Year short list revealed

DARREN McGEE

The short list has been revealed for the 2015 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards – and Volkswagen AG leads the way with four nominated vehicles: two Audis, a VW and a Porsche.

Twenty-two vehicles in all – 10 cars and 12 trucks – were named and the contenders include three each from Ford, General Motors and Toyota. This list will be further narrowed to three cars and three trucks in December with the top car and truck to be announced this January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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Haven't we seen this one before? The Cadillac saga continues

JEREMY CATO

There are times in the car business when I feel like I am watching a movie I’ve seen before and this is one of them.

General Motors president Dan Ammann this week unveiled the company’s plan to move Cadillac’s headquarters to New York in 2015 and make Caddy a separate business unit within GM. “Cadillac’s mission,” he said, “is to reinstate the brand to a pre-eminent position among global luxury brands…More than a division or brand, Cadillac is becoming a centre of excellence for our company.”

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Cadillac CT6 ushers in new naming convention

DARREN McGEE

A day after announcing that its headquarters will be moved to New York City, Cadillac revealed that its new flagship car will be named the CT6.

The high-tech sedan, set to launch in late 2015, marks a change in the luxury auto maker’s naming convention. All future Cadillacs will bear the designation “CT”. Current product line nomenclature will not be affected.

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Reinvented Mustang finally holds its line in a corner

JEREMY CATO

Forget about the old, solid rear-axle Ford Mustang, the one built for drag strips and burning rubber. That Mustang is dead. Gone. Buried. Kaput.

I know this because I spent the day in the all-new 2015 Mustang. Yes, for some, Ford Motor has committed an act of heresy by deep-sixing the truck-like rear end, but for the rest of us, I have two words: about time. After 50 years, there is a new Pony car in town and it’s built for the 21st century.

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First look at a Slayer-inspired Scion prior to the SEMA show

DARREN McGEE

Scion is no stranger to SEMA.

Toyota’s youth-oriented brand dazzles every year at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association Show in Las Vegas with some seriously kitted out concepts.

And this year is no different. Scion will unveil the Scion x slayer Mobile Amp tC, jointly developed with thrash metal band Slayer, and the Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB, produced with help from professional skateboarder Riley Hawk. Sketches of both vehicles were made public on Thursday.

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