Auto Car News and Review

Combative de Nysschen defends Cadillac move, naming change

September 30th, 2014 0 Comments

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Johan de Nysschen isn’t afraid of taking quick, decisive actions, even if they are criticized. Since taking the wheel at Cadillac, he instigated moving the luxury division’s base of operations to Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and introduced a new naming scheme for the future of the brand, like he did at Infiniti. The polarizing boss recently explained his feelings about the future of Cadillac in more depth on his Facebook page, but unfortunately only his friends could read it. Thankfully, Daily Kanban posted much of the strongly worded missive for the whole world to see.

Much of the message examines the decision to move some employees to New York. De Nysschen claims that it’s all about giving Cadillac distance from Detroit to reshape itself. It allows for, “No distractions. No side shows. No cross-brand corporate considerations. No homogenized lowest common denominator approach. Just pure, unadulterated, CLASS.”

De Nysschen’s isn’t afraid of stepping on some toes to make his point, either. He claims that after announcing the move to SoHo, he received, “emails from GM retires suggesting that is the dumbest idea since the Cimmaron. I quietly wonder if any of them had a hand in creating that masterful monument to product substance.”

De Nysschen also briefly takes aim at those critiquing the model naming scheme change, as well. “I do not determine strategy based on the unfiltered observations of people who do not have a 360 degree understanding of the problem,” he writes.

The new boss curtly ends the message: “So, Detroit fans, I love your city, the success of Cadillac will be your success, the majority of our jobs remain in Detroit, and as we grow, these will increase too. But other than that – don’t mess with me.”

The current goal for Cadillac’s leaders is to raise its brand perception and maybe take a step towards being the standard of the world again. After only being at the task for a few weeks, de Nysschen is certainly showing laser focus on getting the job done, no matter who gets upset at how he does it.

Totaled Tesla Model S is a case of buyer beware

September 30th, 2014 0 Comments
Rutman Tesla Model S

Getting a Tesla Model S for just $ 50,000 is a steal, but when it’s a salvage title car and was written off as totaled by an insurance company, the bargain might not be worth the headache. That’s what a San Diego man is learning now that he’s having trouble getting his fancy but damaged electric vehicle to work.

Tesla has a different version of the story, of course.

Peter Rutman has spent $ 8,000 in repairs for his EV, but there’s one important bit of help he still needs: official activation from Tesla. Rutman is steaming mad at Tesla, telling San Diego 6 that, “Tesla has created a situation where there is nowhere to go. They’ve blocked every avenue.” Tesla has a different version of the story, of course, and says that they’re happy to look at the car (and certify it to run if it’s in good shape), but said in a statement to AutoblogGreen that Rutman isn’t willing to sign a waiver to let Tesla’s mechanics get at the car.

“We have strong concerns about this car being safe for the road, but we have been prevented from inspecting the vehicle because Mr. Rutman refused to sign an inspection authorization form. That form clearly states that in order for us to support the vehicle on an ongoing basis, we need to ensure the repairs meet minimum safety standards,” the company said. You can read the full statement below.

San Diego 6 says that one of the problems is Tesla’s direct-sales model, which means that there’s only one place for a customer like Rutman to go for assistance: the company itself. Right now, Rutman says, a Tesla-certified mechanic has to trigger some switch before the car will charge. And that can’t happen until he signs the aforementioned authorization form.

Rutman told the local TV station (video also below) that, “The document they wanted me to sign didn’t indicate they were going to do any repairs to the car, or get it up and running. They can take the car. They can keep it. They can do whatever they want with it.” Tesla says this isn’t true, and also denies there is any sort of black list in effect.

What you missed on 9.29.14

September 30th, 2014 0 Comments

Pagani HuayraDriving and debating the pricey Cadillac ELR

See that pretty, black coupe over to the right? That’s the 2014 Cadillac ELR, and we think it’s perhaps the best-looking Cadillac currently on the market. Problem is, it’s also one of the most expensive, and we’re not so so it’s worth it’s shockingly (pun intended, sadly) high price. In fact, we’re pretty darn sure it isn’t. Read our full report to find out why.

Lamborghini leakLamborghini Asterion leaks in magazine

The 2014 Paris Motor Show is right around the corner, which means it’s just about time to expect the leaky wheels of the internet to start showing off the carefully hidden treasure trove of debuts planned for the City of Lights. In this case, though, it was a magazine that did the leaking, and it’s a tasty new concept from Lamborghini on its pages.

Chevy Corvette2016 Chevy Camaro spied in Germany

There’s a new Chevy Camaro headed our way, but before it gets Stateside, the boffins at GM need to make sure it’s completely ready for the road – and that means testing on Germany’s notoriously high-speed roadways and race tracks. And that, in turn, means spy shots. See the latest round of camo’d test mules right here.

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Kia showcasing Optima T-Hybrid concept in Paris [w/video]

September 30th, 2014 0 Comments
Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept

At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Kia showcased a new diesel hybrid powertrain. And at the rapidly approaching Paris Motor Show, it will present that new technology in the Optima sedan concept you see here.

Called the Kia Optima T-Hybrid, the concept mates a 1.7-liter diesel with both a turbocharger and electric supercharger to a small electric motor and a 48-volt lead-carbon battery. The mild hybrid setup allows it to travel in electric-only model at low speeds and at cruise, regenerating brake power to recharge the battery. Kia said it chose the lead-carbon battery pack over lithium-ion because it’s easier to recycle and does not require active cooling.

Because the powertrain is still under development, Kia isn’t saying what kind of fuel economy or emissions figures it gets in the Optima T-Hybrid concept, but it is targeting a “significant reduction” in emissions and fuel consumption, while delivering 15 to 20 percent more power. Check out the system in action in the video below.

Lamborghini Asterion leaked in print ahead of Paris debut

September 30th, 2014 0 Comments
Lamborghini Asterion leak

Lamborghini concept leakThe first purportedly leaked images from an Italian magazine of Lamborghini’s new vehicle for the Paris Motor Show are on the web, and they closely echo the model’s silhouette from the teaser. However, there’s no official mention of a name to confirm that this is being called the Asterion, as rumored.

The profile image (right) definitely suggests this is the same model that Lamborghini is previewing for Paris. It features the same slightly arcing hood and roof, and it has a rear air intake behind the door. The shape also seems to support the belief that this concept has a 2+2 seating arrangement to echo earlier Lambo models like Espada.

According to, which has posted the images, the vehicle may use a hybrid V10 with three electric motors to produce in the neighborhood of 900 horsepower. Furthermore, it claims that this might be just one of two concepts that Lamborghini is bringing to the Paris show. For now it’s still a mystery, but all should be revealed on October 2 for the vehicle’s unveiling.

2015 Ford F-150 claims segment’s best payload, towing ratings

September 30th, 2014 0 Comments
2015 Ford F-150

While we are set to drive the new, 2015 Ford F-150 in the coming days, there’s a big piece of news on the latest-generation of the Blue Oval’s bread-and-butter pickup coming out of Dearborn, and it focuses on the truck’s hauling and towing abilities.

The new F-150 will have a maximum payload of 3,300-pounds (V8 models), and, perhaps more importantly, a 12,200-pound tow rating (EcoBoost V6 models), which for the first time are compliant with the Society of Automotive Engineer’s J2807 standards. Those best-in-class figures are significant feathers in Ford’s cap as the Detroit Three continue duking it out for the title of top pickup.

“As founding members of the SAE trailer towing committee, we will meet SAE trailer towing standards,” Ford’s Aaron Miller told Autoblog.

In order to seize that max tow rating, you’ll need to tick the box for the F-150’s excellent 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and its 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, although your payload rating will only reach 3,180 pounds. Ford’s new 2.7-liter, 325-hp, 375-lb-ft EcoBoost V6, meanwhile, can manage to tow 8,500 pounds and enjoys a payload rating of 2,250 pounds.

If you’re aching for the max payload rating of 3,300 pounds, you’ll want to go naturally aspirated and opt for the F-150’s biggest engine, the 5.0-liter V8. Snagging for the 385-hp, 387-lb-ft eight-cylinder drops the tow rating to a still respectable 11,100 pounds. Finally, the F-Series’ base 3.5-liter V6 and its 283 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque can haul 1,910 pounds and tow 7,600 pounds.

Scroll on down for the full press blast from Ford.

Volkswagen charges up new Passat GTE for the trip to Paris

September 29th, 2014 0 Comments
2015 Volkswagen Passat GTE

We all know that the letters GT stand for Gran Turismo, but tacking on another letter can evoke a different meaning altogether. GTO for Ferraris (or Pontiacs), GT-R for Nissan supercars, GTA for high-performance Alfa Romeos (or car-theft video games, or metropolitan Toronto)… The list goes on and on, but few are as familiar with the idea as Volkswagen, which uses the letters GTI for hot hatches, GTD for their diesel counterparts, and most recently, GTE for plug-in hybrids.

VW introduced the nomenclature with the Golf GTE earlier this year, and is now following up with the Passat GTE you see here. It packs a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.4-liter turbo four producing 154 horsepower and an electric motor good for another 114 hp, channeled to the front wheels through a six-speed DSG for a combined output of 215 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque.

In electric-only mode, it’ll reach 80 mph and take you as far as 31 miles.

That’s more juice than the Golf GTE, but in the larger Passat delivers similar performance: 0-62 in under eight seconds and a top speed in excess of 136 miles per hour. In electric-only mode, it’ll reach 80 mph and take you as far as 31 miles. But with both motors running, and both the 13-gallon fuel tank and the lithium-ion battery topped off, it’ll travel up to 1,000 kilometers. That’s the equivalent of 622 miles – more than the Golf GTE and more than enough to send the plug-in Passat from London to its debut in Paris and back again (or all the way from Detroit to New York) all without stopping at a single charging or gas station along the way.

Set to launch in the second half of next year, the Passat GTE will be available in both sedan and wagon forms. But since this is based on the European model, we’re not holding our breath for its transatlantic voyage to North American showrooms. Hypermilers will just have to hope that VW will offer a model with a similar system Stateside in the near future.