Official: 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released

Filed under: Etc.

North American Car of the Year crystal award

Is it that time of the year again already? The 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award “long list” has just been revealed, with 29 nominees sliding into the car category and 19 up for consideration in the truck/utility space. As ever, both NACTOY lists serve to illustrate the ever-widening scope of product that our industry has to offer. Tiny electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark EV and luxury bruisers like the new Maserati Ghibli bookend the car list, and the truck/utility nominees continue to illustrate the growing popularity of crossovers.

Last year, the Cadillac ATS claimed the car award (the Ram 1500 took home the truck category), and this year, General Motors has a healthy crop of nominees, including two from Cadillac (CTS, ELR) and four from Chevrolet (Corvette, Impala, Spark EV, SS). On the other side of the fence, the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins are also vying for the coveted cut crystal. Kia and Mercedes-Benz also have a lot of vehicles up for consideration. The Korean brand is represented by the Cadenza, Forte, Soul, and Quoris on the car side, and the Sorento on the truck/utility front, while Daimler will see its B-Class, CLA-Class, E-Class and S-Class models in the mix.

As ever, the long list gets its name because it serves as broad brushstroke roundup of new or substantially updated vehicles released in time for consideration. Given the fluid nature of new vehicle releases, the long list shows which vehicles are eligible for consideration – some of them may not have been seen or driven by the NACTOY’s 50-strong juror pool yet. Select vehicles may thus fall off the list if they do not become available for judging in a timely fashion, while other vehicles not shown on the list may be still be added at this stage. Later this fall, after jurors have driven the vehicles, a first round of voting will be held, and the resulting “short list” of a dozen or so vehicles will trigger further assessment followed by another vote that will result in three finalists for each category. A final round of voting will commence, and the winners will be announced at January’s Detroit Auto Show.

Check out both lists of nominees by scrolling below, then have your say on who you think should win in Comments.

*Full Disclosure: Author is a NACTOY jury member.

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2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: 10 Most Dangerous Race Tracks list sobering to watch

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos

Sadly, the qualities that might land a racetrack on a “10 Best” list are the same ones that would place it on this list of the 10 Most Dangerous Race Tracks. Drivers and the automakers that fund their right feet are drawn to the challenge of conquering the world’s most difficult sets of turns, taming the fastest straights and enduring the longest trials, and we spectators like nothing more than to watch them try. That’s why over a century of auto racing has narrowed down the list of truly great tracks – la Sarth, Monza, Nürburgring, Daytona, Indianapolis, to name a few – and why most of those on that small list have regrettably claimed enough lives over the years to be mentioned in this video by XCAR.

Scroll down to watch the video, but be warned that it’s a sobering display of the high cost this sport exacts over time, a cost that has claimed not only the lives of drivers like Earnhardt, Senna and Wheldon, but many innocent souls in the stands, pits and working the track, as well. Props to XCAR for treating the topic with respect, and you might be surprised to learn how far out ahead of the others the number one selection is in terms of total lives lost.

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10 Most Dangerous Race Tracks list sobering to watch originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM leaps Ford into top 10 on 2011 Fortune 500 list

Filed under: Ford, GM, Earnings/Financials

fortune 500 top 10 gm tops fordFord has been taking the lion’s share of the headlines lately thanks to a fresh product lineup and a string of very impressive profit margins, but General Motors has been winning on the revenue front. CNN Money‘s annual Fortune 500 list was recently published, and GM climbed all the way from number 15 in 2010 to number seven in 2011. The General managed $135 billion in revenue, putting the automaker behind only Wal-Mart, some oil companies and a couple financial/investment conglomerates.

Meanwhile, Ford’s Fortune ranking went in the other direction. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker went from number eight in 2010 to number 10 for 2011. The Blue Oval dropped in the rankings in spite of the fact that revenue jumped from $118 billion in 2010 to $128 billion in 2011.

While GM can claim a higher Fortune 500 ranking than Ford, we’re guessing nobody in Dearborn is losing sleep over the matter. Both companies are in the top 10 and each company is solidly profitable, and that’s the stuff happy stockholders are made of.

GM leaps Ford into top 10 on 2011 Fortune 500 list originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 May 2011 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Forbes releases 2011 Worst Cars on the Road list

Filed under: Car Buying, Budget, Hybrid, Sedan, SUV, Truck, Etc., Crossover, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GM, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Smart, Luxury

2011 Cadillac Escalade

Forbes’ Worst Cars on the Road – Click above for high-res image gallery

Forbes has released its 2011 Worst Cars on the Road list, and the outcome is not pretty for American manufacturers. With the exception of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the 2011 Smart ForTwo and the 2011 Nissan Titan, the cars on the list are all American-made. Worse than that, they all come from two manufacturers: General Motors and Chrysler. Ford managed to avoid the list completely.

To determine which cars get the dubious honor and which don’t, Forbes compiles results from six studies by Consumer Reports including the Most Reliable Cars Report, Best and Worst Safety Performance Survey, Best and Worst Fuel Economy, Highest Cost of Ownership, the Best and Worst Values Report and Consumer Reports’ overall scores for new cars.

Chrysler made the list with the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country, which racked up dismal scores for reliability and cost of ownership. Both the 2011 Jeep Wrangler and the Jeep Liberty made the cut, with the Liberty scoring poorly for reliability and fuel economy. The Wrangler joined the Liberty in the reliability department, and also ranked for worst value, and made a spot on Consumer Reports’ Worst Cars list. The 2011 Dodge Nitro and Dodge Dakota made the list for similar reasons.

The picture is almost as bleak at GM, where offerings from Chevrolet and Cadillac crowded the picture. The base model 2011 Cadillac Escalade earned spots on the Worst Value, Highest Cost of Ownership and Worst Safety Performance lists. The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid hung with the Cadillac for Worst Value and safety, and earned a spot on the Least Reliable roster as well. The Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Colorado rounded out the worst General Motors offerings for 2011.

Though the results make it seem like General Motors and Chrysler still can’t do anything right, there are plenty of vehicles from both manufacturers that didn’t make the list. Added to that, luxury vehicles like the Escalade are at a disadvantage in the value and cost of ownership categories. Head over to Forbes for further explanation on how the worst cars are weeded out. Thanks for the tip, Irving!

Gallery: 2011 Forbes Worst Cars on the Road

2011 Cadillac Escalade2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid2011 Chevrolet Colorado2011 Chevrolet Aveo2011 Chrysler Town and Country

[Source: Forbes]

Forbes releases 2011 Worst Cars on the Road list originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Apr 2011 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NADAguides reveals 2011 “Must Consider” list… do you agree?

Filed under: Car Buying

2011 audi q5

NADAguides presents the cars to consider for 2011 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Consumer vehicle valuation and information website NADAguides has prepared a list of cars you should be looking at in 2011. Called the “Must Consider” list, the analysts at NADAguides have chosen seven vehicles they feel represent the intersection of value, performance, design and fuel efficiency. The vehicles on this list are also reportedly chosen because NADAguides feels the average consumer might not be considering it amongst their new-car candidates.

The Germans, Japanese, Americans, Koreans and even an Italian have a representative vehicle on the list. For 2011, the NADAguides Must Consider list is comprised of the following vehicles:

  • 2011 Audi Q5
  • 2012 Fiat 500
  • 2011 Ford Taurus Limited
  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring
  • 2011 Kia Soul
  • 2011 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition
  • 2011 Volkswagen Golf

Per Troy Snyder, NADAguides Director of Product Development:

“Every year our team is excited to announce the NADAguides Must Consider List. The data for these vehicles highlight them as a smart choice for consumers, but the industry buzz or consumer awareness just isn’t there for one reason or another. NADAguides recognizes why these vehicles are a great option for consumers and wants to ensure they do not go unnoticed.”

The reasoning behind each choice is provided in the full press release waiting after the jump. While the machines themselves are all fine vehicles for consumers to consider, we have to wonder whether or not they were really off the consideration lists for many consumers in the first place… feel free to agree or disagree yourselves in the ‘Comments.’

Gallery: NADAguides 2011 Must Consider List

2011 Audi Q52012 Fiat 5002011 Ford Taurus2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring2011 Kia Soul

[Source: NADAguides]

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NADAguides reveals 2011 “Must Consider” list… do you agree? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Apr 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Consumer Reports releases 2011 list of American Top Picks, Ford again on top

Filed under: Car Buying, Etc., Ford

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford Fusion Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

For the second year running, the Ford Fusion has not only come out as the top family sedan pick in Consumer Reports‘ list of the 2011 American Top Picks, once again eclipsing the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in reliability.

Topping the list in the budget car segment is the Ford Fiesta, though CR admits they aren’t sure how reliable the car will be, given that it’s a clean-sheet design. The Chevrolet Cruze takes the small car category.

Ford captures CR’s small SUV category with the Escape, and Chevrolet has nailed down the family SUV category with its Equinox 2LT. The funky Ford Flex takes the family hauler category, and the Mustang is the top pick among sporty cars.

The only non-Ford or Chevrolet product on the list is the Buick Regal, which takes top honors for CR’s sports sedan category. The Ford Fusion Hybrid (above) garners the American green car pick for 2011, and the Chevrolet Avalanche rounds out the list in the pickup truck category.

It should be noted that some categories in CR’s list only have a top-scoring American vehicle, not a top pick. In the budget car segment, the sports sedan segment and the small car segment, CR passes on picking a favorite because there are models in the segment that are too new to have reliability data yet.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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Photos Copyright (C)2009 Chris Shunk / AOL

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Consumer Reports releases 2011 list of American Top Picks, Ford again on top originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Mar 2011 16:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota, BP top list of biggest blunders in 2010

Filed under: Government/Legal, Marketing/Advertising, Recalls, Safety, Toyota

Toyota shadow logo with parked Camry

Don’t look now, but we’re firmly entrenched in the final week of 2010. Which means, besides figuring out a way to return a few gifts, it’s time to take a look back at the year that was. Here’s one to get us started: What companies made the biggest blunders of 2010?

In retrospect, number one seems almost comically easy. Clearly, British Petroleum and its merry band of PR professionals and executives deserve their very well-earned place at the top of the list of blundering companies of 2010. No arguments there. But it’s number two on the list, which just so happens to be Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, that we remember most vividly.

Recalls and safety probes are a natural part of building automobiles, but as Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University told MSNBC, “If you look at what they did it was clear that they didn’t really understand the magnitude of the issue and the potential PR risk.” Truer words have never been spoken. Click on past the break for the rest of 2010’s biggest corporate blunderers.

[Source: Fineman PR | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]

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Toyota, BP top list of biggest blunders in 2010 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Dec 2010 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mulally tops Motor Trend Power List for 2011

Filed under: Etc., Ford

Alan Mulally, Ford CEO

Motor Trend has compiled and released its annual Power List. This is the seventh year in which MT ranks the names of heaviest hitting personalities in the automotive industry. They’re all ranked in order of just how much juice they hold, and sitting at the top of this year’s list is Alan Mulally.

Ford’s CEO was previously ranked No. 10 in 2009 and rose to No. 2 last year, but this year, MT has him sitting in the pole position. Their argument? Mulally has moved Ford into a place of profitability as well as quality in both design and engineering. In the magazine’s words, “every Ford competitor needs a leader like Alan Mulally.”

Ford didn’t just see a win with Mulally earning the top honor. The automaker saw 10 of its employees in total make the 2011 Power List. General Motors is right behind them with nine folks earning recognition. After those two, the nearest competitor is Volkswagen with six people spread out across VW, Audi and Porsche.

The last few years have seen a flip-flopping trend between domestic and import bosses rising to the top spot on the power list. The 2010 edition saw VW’s Ferdinand Piëch as the numero uno automotive player and he’s still strong for 2011 with a fall of just one spot to claim the number two position. In 2009, Rick Wagoner was number one before free-falling off the list, and in 2008, Takeo Fukui of Honda sat at the Power List peak.

It’s not just team leaders like Mulally and Piëch who make the annual Power List. Well-regarded Hyundai USA CEO John Krafcik checks in at No. 10, five spots down from his boss, Chung Mong Koo, Hyundai’s global chairman. Peter Schreyer, head of design for Kia is ranked 13th overall and climbed way up from last year’s rank of 44th. Doug Parks is GM’s vehicle line executive for the Chevrolet Volt, and making sure that car arrived on time and in impressive fashion has landed him in the No. 20 spot.

You don’t even need to work for an automaker to make the list because Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson is ranked the 49th most powerful automotive figure… in the world.

The top 10 are as follows:
1. Alan Mulally (CEO, Ford)
2. Ferdinand Piëch (Chairman of Supervisory Board, Volkswagen AG)
3. Carlos Ghosn (President/CEO, Nissan/Renault)
4. Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen AG)
5. Chung Mong Koo (Chairman, Hyundai)
6. Mark Reuss (President, GM North America & Vice President, GM)
7. Lewis Booth (CFO, Ford)
8. Derrick Kuzak (Group VP Product Development, Ford)
9. Sergio Marchionne (CEO, Fiat/Chrysler)
10. John Krafcik (Hyundai USA, CEO)

Head on over to Motor Trend to read about all 50 players on their 2011 Power List, and then stop by the comments to leave your two-cents about what you think of the list.

[Source: Motor Trend]

Mulally tops Motor Trend Power List for 2011 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Limited-edition Nike Dunk 6.0 ‘DeLorean’ shoes run to the top of our holiday wish-list

Filed under: Etc., Design/Style

Nike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean shoes

Nike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean shoes – Click above for high-res image gallery

We internet types don’t always condone the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday for some mad-dash holiday shopping, but if there was ever a product we’d wait in line for, this might just be it. Starting this Friday, November 26, Nike will be selling its brand-new Dunk 6.0 DeLorean shoe, modeled after what is perhaps the most iconic movie car of all time, the DMC-12 from Back to the Future.

Our favorite stainless-steel sports car has been reinterpreted in the form of this seriously sweet pair of kicks, featuring a matte silver, no-sew constructed upper body. The shoe’s sole mimics the DMC-12’s 80’s-tastic taillights, and there’s even a Belfast stamp on the tongue, giving a hat tip to the Irish factory where John Z’s machines were originally produced. It even comes in a gullwing-inspired box.

No official details have been released as to how many pairs of these special shoes will be produced or what they will cost, though a few online sources have cited that 1,000 pairs will be available worldwide. Knowing our luck, these hot kicks will surely sell out faster than you can shout, “Eighty-eight miles an hour!”

Gallery: Nike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean Shoes

Nike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean ShoesNike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean ShoesNike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean ShoesNike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean ShoesNike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean Shoes

[Sources: DeLorean Motor Company via Facebook, Sneaker Files via Twitter]

Limited-edition Nike Dunk 6.0 ‘DeLorean’ shoes run to the top of our holiday wish-list originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Ford Fiesta takes care of the ‘Honey Do’ list, Ken Block style

Filed under: Motorsports, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchback, Ford, Humor

Ken Block takes out the trash – Click above to watch video after the jump

At some point during the development of the American vernacular, the term “grocery getter” became a term of condescension. Thing is, lugging around a few bags of consumables and clipping apexes don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Ford is hoping the average U.S. car buyer has outgrown the prejudices of his forebearers and is willing to jump into something with a hatchback. To help dispel any lingering thoughts of boredom, the Blue Oval has called on none other than Ken Block to use his guano-crazy Fiesta WRC rally racer to take care of a few household chores. Sideways.

The quick clip after the jump is filled with the kind of car control we’ve come to expect from Block, even with his recent run of bad luck in the WRC. If you like what you see in the video, you can register for a chance to win a 2011 Fiesta worked up to look just like Block’s racer. Something tells us the grand-prize car won’t be all-wheel drive, though. Hit the jump to watch the video, as well as check out the full press release with details on the drawing.

Gallery: Ken Block Gymkhana 3 Ford Fiesta

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Video: Ford Fiesta takes care of the ‘Honey Do’ list, Ken Block style

Video: Ford Fiesta takes care of the ‘Honey Do’ list, Ken Block style originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Aug 2010 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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