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

Yet another Lincoln update: Does the new president have the keys to success?

JEREMY CATO

Thought about buying a Lincoln? Read on. This is perhaps instalment 4,288 in the ongoing Remake of Lincoln saga that I began in 1998.

Ford Motor’s Lincoln brand has yet another new president, Kumar Galhotra. He moves over to Lincoln on Sept. 1 from his current job as vice-president of engineering. The next step in Ford’s ever-accelerating push to make Lincoln a world-class luxury brand fits into a longer Lincoln chronicle that in my case dates back to when the former Lincoln-Mercury moved its headquarters from Detroit to Irvine, Calif. in 1998.

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Darth Vader car debuts at Comic-Con

DARREN McGEE

Hot Wheels has gone to the Dark Side for this year’s annual Comic-Con pop culture geek fest in San Diego.

The hottest ride this side of Tatooine - a full-size working “Vadermobile” - will be on display at the Mattel booth at the San Diego Convention Centre, starting Thursday. The sleek black car can hit a top speed of 130 km/h and, according to The Associated Press, the dashboard inside resembles the interior of Darth Vader's helmet and will make the Sith Lord’s distinctive heavy breathing sounds.

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Convertible owners are more educated and affluent, study says

DARREN McGEE

Drive a new convertible? Chances are good then that you are an affluent baby boomer with at least a bachelor’s degree. Oh, and your ragtop of choice is probably a Ford Mustang - which you park in the driveway of your million-dollar-plus home.

That’s according a recent trends analysis conducted and released Tuesday by Experian Automotive, a data research company located in Schaumburg, Ill. It found that 50 per cent of all American convertible buyers have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 38.2 per cent of average new car buyers.

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Buick sales are booming (Yes, you read that right)

JEREMY CATO

Five years ago, grandpappy’s Buick brand was saved during General Motors’ bankruptcy thanks to booming sales in China (810,000 cars sold there last year alone). Now in 2014, in what can only be described as the shock of shocks, Consumer Reports is in love with a Buick.

“The (Buick) Regal is a thoroughly developed and satisfying mid-sized sports sedan that’s more reminiscent of a German sports car than the softly sprung luxo-barges that Buick was once known for,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, in summing up recent testing.

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Calgary taxi passengers face cleanup fee for throwing up in cabs

Throwing up in a Calgary cab will cost passengers $100.

City council has approved the fee intended to allow drivers to recover at least part of the cleanup cost.

It’s also to help with the loss of revenue when cabs are out of service to get cleaned up.

Councillors also hope some compensation will encourage more drivers to work at night when cabs are scarce.

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Just what you need: a way to increase the noise level in a minivan

Danielle Boudreau

Have you ever complained that the noise level in your minivan isn’t enough to wake the dead? No?

Toyota has a solution for the minivan driver who wants to make sure that the rear passengers (and perhaps the surrounding cars on the highway?) can hear them ask if anybody wants a cookie, or to please please please stop poking your brother.

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Pagani Huayra supercar is coming to Canada

DARREN McGEE

Pining for a Pagani Huayra supercar? Is that $1.7-million you’re eager to fork over to buy one but can’t – because it isn’t available in Canada – burning a hole in your pocket?

Well, fret no more. Pfaff Automotive Partners announced Thursday that it has been named the exclusive Canadian importer and dealer of Italian auto maker Pagani.

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Nissan inks five-year deal with Manchester City

DARREN McGEE

English Premier League champion Manchester City has signed Nissan as the first global sponsor of its portfolio of clubs.

The marketing deal, announced Thursday at Nissan’s world headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, is for five years and is reportedly worth £20 million ($36.6 million Canadian), although financial terms were not released.

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GTA drivers: The streets to avoid in Toronto this weekend

The Globe and Mail staff

From the IndyCar races at Exhibition Place to Jays games at the Rogers Centre and ongoing repair work, Toronto will be tricky to navigate this weekend.

Honda Indy Toronto road closures have already started and will be in effect until late Sunday night. Lake Shore Boulevard will be closed from Strachan to British Columbia Road for the IndyCar races.

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RM puts 80 classics up for bid at Motor City Auction

DARREN McGEE

Canada’s RM Auctions will put 80 classic cars under gavel on July 26 as part of the prestigious 36th annual Concours d’Elegance of America being held in Plymouth, Mich., from July 25-27.

The Motor City Auction is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the Detroit area and among the American and European vintage vehicles up for bid by the Blenheim, Ont.-based company are a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Tourer that RM expects to sell for between $650,00-$850,000; a 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse ($525,000-$725,000); a 1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Drophead Coupe ($325,000-$450,000) and a 1940 Packard Custom Super Eight One Eighty Convertible Sedan ($225,00-$300,000). There are a dozen Packards in all and there are also several Cadillacs, and two 1937 Cord 812s.

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Nissan and CFL put high school football teams ‘Back in the Game’

DARREN McGEE

For many high schools, football is a luxury they simply cannot afford.

However, Nissan Canada and the Canadian Football League plan to change that with a program called “Back in the Game” – a joint venture that will provide funding, equipment and field upgrades to 21 struggling high school football programs in 18 cities from Vancouver to Montreal.

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Tesla drivers can now travel for free from Whistler to San Diego

Globe Staff

Tesla has installed a supercharger in Squamish, B.C., enabling drivers of its Model S to travel “for free” along its powered West Coast route.

The company’s “supercharger corridor” includes a network of stations along U.S. Highway 101, Interstate 5 and now the Sea-to-Sky Highway, enabling travel from San Diego to Whistler, B.C.

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What happens to ugly cars when nobody buys them

JEREMY CATO

Douglas MacArthur, the famous U.S. general, once said, “Old soldiers don’t die; they just fade away.” The same can be said of cars.

Old, failed cars like the Nissan Cube just fade away without the fanfare, excited press releases or any of the massive hype that marked their launch. The Cube in Canada slipped away for 2014 without mention from Nissan Canada and now it’s going to disappear from Nissan’s lineup in the United States – in 2015.

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Calling all computer hackers: Break Tesla's code to win $10,000

DARREN McGEE

Calling all computer hackers: A Beijing security conference is offering $10,000 to the first person who successfully hacks into a Tesla Model S.

Organizers of the Symposium on Security for Asia Network (SyScan) will set up a Tesla Model S and some computers on July 16 and 17 and are inviting conference participants to crack the code of the high-tech car. The goal of the competition, according to the conference website, is to test the software safety of premium electric vehicle.

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Listed: Six cars that replace the Toyota Matrix

JEREMY CATO

Last year the Toyota Matrix was the 10th best-selling model in Canada’s most important segment, compact cars – 10,689 sold. That was good, but at its peak back in 2005, the Matrix was the runabout darling of 24,048 Canadians.

We can all understand the Matrix decline. While the Matrix has always been exceptionally reliable, over the past few years, the competition has passed it in space, comfort, power and refinement. Toyota let the design and its execution grow old and stale for more many reasons, of course, but perhaps the biggest one was this: Americans don’t really like small hatchbacks and don’t buy them in great numbers.

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Today's small cars have nothing in common with the Geo Metro

JEREMY CATO

Almost 20 years ago, in late 1996, I tested an $11,495 Geo Metro powered by a very sorry engine. Its three-cylinders churned up a wheezy 55 horsepower and 58 pounds-feet of torque. Usain Bolt does the 100 faster than that three-door hatchback ever could.

Its handling was clumsy and it was ugly. I remember a friend pointing at the Metro and laughing. Embarrassing, he said. “Put a bag over your head. You don’t want to be seen in that.”

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Manchester United’s Chevy-sponsored uniform unveiled

DARREN McGEE

The World Cup has kicked soccer fever into overdrive and Chevrolet has jumped on the wave, finally unveiling the kit that Manchester United players will wear as part of the auto maker’s $560-million (U.S.), seven-year sponsorship deal with the iconic sports franchise.

Chevy replaces Aon as jersey sponsor. The shirts will be game worn for the first time on July 23 when Man U plays an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Chevrolet is also sponsoring the Red Devils’ Aug. 2 friendly versus Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. And, of course, Chevy’s trademark bowtie will be front and centre when Man U opens its English Premier League season against Swansea City on Aug. 16 at Old Trafford.

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Toyota and Nissan tops in fleet value awards

Globe staff

Nissan and Toyota emerged as the big winners in the best fleet value in Canada awards, as judged by Vincentric.

A Michigan-based consulting company, Vincentic said its third annual awards were based on analysis of more than 1,900 vehicle configurations in 24 life-cycle cost scenarios, using data from the 10 provinces. The measurements included depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost, and repairs.

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Internet award hails Mercedes-Benz S-Class as Europe’s best car

DARREN McGEE

Just when you thought the car kudos season was over and done with until at least late autumn, along comes the Internet Auto Award.

And winner is ... the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Yes, Merc’s stunning coupe was named best car in Europe by 191,363 online voters from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

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Acura prices its new TLX sedan at $34,990

DARREN McGEE

Acura, Honda’s premium brand, says the base price of its 2015 TLX sedan will be $34,990 when it goes on sale in August.

For that price, the vehicle features a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine making 206 horsepower mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Further up the TLX spectrum, a 3.5-litre V-6 with 290 horses mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and with all-wheel drive, lists for $39,990. Adding in a technology package boosts the cost to $43,890 and an elite package tops it out at $47,490.

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Jeremy Cato

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @catocarguy

Darren McGee

Darren McGee is an editor and writer for Globe Drive.

Follow Darren on Twitter @WoodyMcGee