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Trans-Canada Highway

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

Volvo will test selling cars online

JEREMY CATO

Volvo is taking digital commerce to a new level among mainstream auto makers by enabling customers to order online a limited number of the company’s all-new 2015 XC90 crossover.

A total of 1,927 individually numbered XC90s to be sold in Canada and 29 other countries may only be reserved using a new online interface “that simplifies the process of shopping for, buying and owning a Volvo,” says Margareta Mahlstedt, Volvo Canada’s vice-president of marketing.

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New XC90 tasked with ‘relaunching’ entire Volvo brand

MARK HACKING

For the first time in 12 years, a new Volvo XC90 has been revealed to the world, this time at a global press event on the outskirts of Stockholm.

This flagship SUV has also been tasked with reviving the entire brand, which was sold by Ford to Chinese automotive conglomerate Geely Holding Group in 2010.

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Two car companies that pay for their 'green halo' with truck profits

JEREMY CATO

Toyota has a truck problem, one borne of the staggering success this global automotive powerhouse has had positioning itself as the greenest of auto makers.

Make no mistake, Toyota is perceived the world over as a green brand. Just ask Interbrand, which rates Toyota as the world’s No. 2 “green” brand, right behind Ford, and ahead of Honda.

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Why Ontario and Quebec should scrap their electric vehicle subsidies

JEREMY CATO

Last month sales of the Nissan Leaf jumped by 179 per cent and sales of Nissan’s battery car have almost doubled year-on-year.

So the Leaf is on the move. That’s the good news. The bad news you find in the actual sales numbers, not the percentages – at least if you’re Nissan with a multi-billion dollar investment in pure electric vehicles (EVs). Canadians bought 117 Leafs in July and have silently driven home 579 in total this year.

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This retro beauty is a modern electric beast

DARREN McGEE

The past met the future Friday at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as Renovo Motors unveiled its Renovo Coupe all-electric supercar.

The Renovo Coupe prototype, inspired by the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe, can do 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, powered by lithium-ion charged twin motors producing 500 horsepower and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. It has been in “stealth mode” development since the company’s founding in 2010.

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Honda announces Canadian pricing for the 2015 Fit

GLOBE STAFF

Honda announced Canadian pricing on Friday for seven trim levels of the 2015 Fit subcompact, ranging from $14,495 to $22,595 for the Fit EX-L Navi CVT.

The car will be available in dealerships on Sept. 19. A pre-sale package, available starting Aug. 8, includes a six-year/100,000-kilometre extended warranty.

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Ten cars that make the grade for back to school

DARREN McGEE

With the academic year mere weeks away, Kelley Blue Book has released its annual list of the 10 best back-to-school cars.

Editors at the American auto price information company gave top grades to vehicles that were practical and affordable, but also had style and personality. For those curious as to why the Nissan Micra – surely a contender given that it’s Canada’s cheapest car – is not on the list, that’s because it is not sold in the United States.

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Autos are erotic for fulfilling fantasies, survey says

DARREN McGEE

I don’t know who decides these things, but July 31 was apparently National Orgasm Day. Who knew? It wasn’t circled on my calendar.

Anyway, to mark the happy occasion, Durex asked 1,000 American men and women where they fantasize having an orgasm and where they have actually achieved one. Thrill seekers clearly like to get risqué on the road as various modes of transportation figured prominently in the survey.

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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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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