Ford recalling 370,000 Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Town Car models

Filed under: Recalls, Safety, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury

2005 Ford Crown Victoria

The Detroit News is reporting that Ford will recall some 370,000 Crown Victoria (pictured), Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car vehicles from model years 2005 through 2011, for an issue regarding the lower intermediate steering shaft. 355,000 of the vehicles in question were sold in the US, with the other 15,000 sold in Canada.

The report indicates that corrosion of the lower intermediate steering shaft could cause a “loss of steering,” presumably because of a partial or complete failure of the part. The report points out the dealers will inspect and replace the offending steering component for recalled cars, and may also secure a lower steering column bearing and replace the upper intermediate steering shaft as needed. The company is unaware of any reports of the faulty part causing any accidents or injuries.

Ford helpfully lists states in which corrosion is more likely to have taken place, mostly in the Snow Belt, as you might guess. Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia are listed.

The Detroit News also quotes a Ford spokeswoman saying, “Customers located in other states who routinely operate their vehicles in one of these areas, or customers who have concerns regarding their steering, will also be able to have their vehicles inspected and repaired if necessary.”

Ford recalling 370,000 Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Town Car models originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus boss Templin says brand to lose luxury sales crown over Japan quake

Filed under: Japan, Lexus, Luxury

mark templin lexus vp Lexus has been the king of luxury car sales in the U.S. for over a decade, but Toyota’s high-end brand will likely lose its crown in 2011, due at least in part to the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

Certainly, Lexus was already facing a great deal of pressure from rivals like BMW and Buick, but Automotive News reports that Toyota VP and Lexus Group Manager Mark Templin says dealers are down to a 30-day supply of most models, and that vehicle shortages will be felt as early as this week. The problem is that some key components from Japan come from plants that are still shut down as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The Lexus CT 200h is reportedly close to sold out due to the issues.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Lexus ramped up the leasing business three years ago, and those customers will soon be bringing back their luxury rides in large numbers. That’s good news for dealers looking for products to sell, but it’s bad for customers who may not have the ability to purchase a new Lexus model.

The automaker is looking to ease this issue by offering six-month lease extensions. At the same time, Templin knows many customers will simply purchase their lease vehicle outright, and he’s asking dealers not to gouge those customers. The fear is that a shortage of models will result in more demand than supply, which could then jack up the price of Lexus models to unreasonable levels.

Since the automaker appears to be out of the running for the 2011 luxury sales crown, it seems natural that Lexus will come back with a vengeance in 2012. But Templin says the automaker may never again grab the sales crown, since luxury car makers are aiming down-market to improve corporate fuel economy averages. Templin opines that it won’t be long before a luxury car maker hits 500,000 sales in a year.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Lexus boss Templin says brand to lose luxury sales crown over Japan quake originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Apr 2011 16:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Consumer Reports holding tournament to crown Drivers’ Choice champion

Filed under: Car Buying, Etc., Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Land Rover

Consumer Reports Moto Madness

Consumer Reports has added itself to the insanity that is March Madness with a bracket all its own. Consumer Reports will crown this year’s driver’s choice champion with an NCAA Tournament-style bracket made up of four “regions,” which in this case relate to types of cars.

First-round voting has already begun in the four categories, which are: sporty cars, SUVs and trucks, practical cars, and performance sedans. The bracket is well thought out and the choices are legitimately thought-provoking. Would you rather have a Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, or the last-hurrah Dodge Viper? How about a Range Rover or a Cadillac Escalade?

Head over to Consumer Reports to see the full bracket and make your selections before the second round begins on March 21.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Consumer Reports holding tournament to crown Drivers’ Choice champion originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 20 Mar 2011 15:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Chrysler Town & Country set to reclaim minivan sales crown from Honda Odyssey

Filed under: Car Buying, Minivan/Van, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, Toyota

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

2011 Chrysler Town & Country – Click above to view high-res image gallery

Is the real swagger wagon of 2010 built by Chrysler? If you go by total sales, it is. The Chrysler Town & Country has been a player in the minivan market since its arrival in 1990. Now in its fifth generation, the Town & Country has just been refreshed after a comprehensive redesign in 2008. It’s not alone in getting an upgrade, however, as some serious competition arrived from Japan in 2010.

All-new minivan models for 2011 include the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest, with each of them stuffing a ton of features into modern packages. The Odyssey, which has been the segment’s best-seller for the last two years, has had a strong year. Yet despite serious pressure in a surprisingly strong minivan market (2010 will see the segment’s first volume uptick since 2005), the Town & Country has climbed the sales board and is poised to take out Japan’s finest.

According to The Detroit News, the T&C is sitting on 102,495 sales through November, while its closest competitor, the Honda Odyssey, has sold 98,035 units. Trailing further behind those two is the Sienna with 89,509 sales so far this year. There is one month left but Chrysler’s, familymobile seems to be sitting pretty.

Gallery: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country

[Source: The Detroit News]

Report: Chrysler Town & Country set to reclaim minivan sales crown from Honda Odyssey originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Dec 2010 13:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bobby Cleveland brings Fastest Lawnmower crown back to USA [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Etc., Videos, Specialty, Racing

World's Fastest Lawnmover

World’s Fastest Lawnmower – Click above to watch video after the jump

One minute, you’re the king of going fast on a lawnmower. The next, you’re number two behind a man from the UK. That’s what happened to Bobby Cleveland, but he didn’t sit idly by on his grass clippings – he went out and brought the title of World’s Fastest Lawnmower back to the United States with a new speed record of 96 miles per hour.

Cleveland set a world record back in 2006, with a speed of 80.792 mph. His mark was then bested by Don Wales whose Project Runningblade mower was clocked going 87.833 mph. Bobby Cleveland wanted to be the first to cross the 100 mile per hour threshold, but 96 mph is still a mighty leap over Wales’ mark. The way these two are going back and forth it’s only a matter of time before one of them hits that magic number, but until they do, check out Cleveland’s latest run after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]

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Bobby Cleveland brings Fastest Lawnmower crown back to USA [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Oct 2010 16:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350 is soft-riding royalty that’s lost its crown

Filed under: Sedan, Lexus, Reviews, Luxury

2010 Lexus ES 350 – Click above for high-res image gallery

The entry-level luxury sedan segment doesn’t command the enthusiast attention of, say, the ultra-premium luxury sports sedan. But if you ask automakers to choose between the two, we’d wager that most would rather have a best-in-class $35,000 sedan than a world-beating $70,000 sports tourer.

The reason? Very few fortunes are made selling a few thousand highfalutin’ rocket launchers, but bottom lines can easily be bolstered or crippled based on the success or failure of a plush, high-volume cruiser. Luxury marques from Acura to Volvo have experienced varied levels of success at the low end of the luxury market, but few have enjoyed the consistent sales dominance of the Lexus ES. In the past decade, Toyota has cranked out over 600,000 copies in the U.S. alone, with another 650,000 units shipped around the world. And those sales have traditionally been overwhelmingly of the retail variety with little or no incentives. Not bad for what many consider a glorified Toyota Camry.

Enthusiasts take note: Lexus didn’t reach such lofty sales levels with a rear-wheel-drive architecture or pavement-punishing quantities of horsepower. The road map to success for the ES has been simple: a soft, compliant ride; a pampering interior; and unmatched quality. The fifth-generation ES350 has built nicely on those attributes with smoother power, a quieter cabin and more technology. But the competition is still striving to overtake the ES in sales, so Lexus has gone and given its top-selling sedan a mid-cycle refresh for 2010. We spent a week in a Starfire Pearl ES350 to see if it still had the goods to remain a top option in the entry-level luxury segment.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350

Photos by Chris Shunk / Copyright (C)2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350 is soft-riding royalty that’s lost its crown originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Jul 2010 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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