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Shifting Gears

Van Damme it, Volvo sales are up Add to ...

CELEBRITY DIVIDENDS: First, Will Ferrell – as anchorman Ron Burgundy – shilled for the Dodge Durango in a series of commercials, and sales skyrocketed 36 per cent in November over the same month a year earlier. And now, the Wall Street Journal reports, Volvo Truck sales were up 31 per cent in the same month. Could it have anything to do with the viral YouTube ad starring Jean-Claude Van Damme appearing to perform a split between two moving trucks?

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? There have been a lot of badly named cars through the years. Hell, I’ve owned a few of them, most notably a Ford Probe (ouch) and a Suzuki Esteem. So it will be interesting to see what Ferrari fans come up with for the Italian auto maker’s 2014 Formula One car – as Ferrari fans worldwide will have a say this month in choosing the race car’s name, via the Internet. The company’s F1 website – formula1.ferrari.com – boasts that its Facebook page has half a million “likes” while the auto maker’s page has 12.6 million. The Ferrari Twitter account (@InsideFerrari) has more than 670,000 followers. Go to any of these should you want to have your say.

CAMRY COMEBACK: The Toyota Camry, a popular ride both in Canada and the United States – it’s the 10th best-selling car here and No. 1 south of the border (for 12 straight years) – is back on the Consumer Reports recommended list, Bloomberg News reports, after improved results on an insurance-industry crash test. The magazine ditched the Camry from its influential list in October after the 2013 model sedan received a poor rating in a new front-end test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, the 2014 Camry received an “acceptable” rating when retested. “The Consumer Reports recommendation is certainly a big thing for Toyota,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing told Bloomberg, adding that he wasn’t aware of any vehicle returning to the recommended list faster than Camry.

REV IT UP: With the recent ice storm paralyzing Toronto and environs, motorcycles are likely the last thing on most people’s minds. However, should you want to take the chill off and start dreaming of the two-wheeled rides that are just mere months away, the North American International Motorcycle Supershow rolls into the International Centre (6900 Airport Rd., at Derry Road in Mississauga) for a three-day stay, starting Jan. 3. More than 1,000 motorcycles will be on display and adult tickets are $20.

SHOW STOPPERS: Honda will debut its 2015 Fit at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in two weeks. And Acura will take the wraps off its newly named 2015 TLX Prototype performance luxury sedan.

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