Read This: Chrysler ‘at war’ with world’s largest Viper club?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Chrysler, Dodge, SRT, Read This

Viper Club of America is alleged to be operating illegally as a for-profit business.

The situation was bound to boil over at some point. Grumblings from former and current members of the Viper Club of America, and letters sent from Chrysler to VCA president Lee Stubberfield, allege that the non-profit club is being run illegally as a for-profit business, Jalopnik reports.

The trouble reportedly started in 2007, when VCA member and former club national president Chris Marshall is alleged to have taken a paid position at the club courtesy of the acting board members at the time. By 2010, with the demise of the Dodge Viper looming, the VCA reportedly made a deal with Chrysler to to acquire a stash of old parts and tooling for the Viper. The stash would then be sold by the newly formed Viper Parts of America, a company that was supposed to be run by Marshall, Jalopnik reports.

This sounds like shady business to us – at the very least a conflict of interest. And it’s said that the VCA will not hesitate to suspend – for a year or more – the memberships of those who oppose it.

Read the article and the accompanying letters from Chrysler to find out how the drama unfolds. But it isn’t over yet; we’ll be staying tuned to this one.

Chrysler ‘at war’ with world’s largest Viper club? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: Race Recap: Belgian Grand Prix is new skirmishes, same war [spoilers]

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, McLaren

It’s been four weeks since we last saw a Formula One race, when Lewis Hamilton improbably put his Mercedes-AMG Petronas in P1 in Hungary. Even more improbably, he held onto the first spot at the finish of the race, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen in the Lotus and Sebastian Vettel in the Infiniti Red Bull.

Resuming the season at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend, Hamilton picked up his recent – and just as improbable – pole-setting form by putting the Mercedes in P1 for the fourth time in a row. The effort came during a qualifying session visited by intermittent rains and dry spells, his 54th trip to the front of the pack, tying Niki Lauda.

But neither the fireworks and surprises, the mid-field full of backmarkers, nor the tire strategies and timing choices changed the mission for the drivers in with a chance at the title: finish in front of Vettel.

Continue reading Race Recap: Belgian Grand Prix is new skirmishes, same war [spoilers]

Race Recap: Belgian Grand Prix is new skirmishes, same war [spoilers] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hyundai CEO Krafcik warns against price war, short-term thinking

Filed under: GM, Hyundai, Toyota, Earnings/Financials

John KrafcikHyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik believes that some automakers are starting a price war, which would be an unwise move that focuses solely on short-term sales.

General Motors had strong sales in January 2011, but its 23-percent gain was due to increased incentives and price-cutting. After GM made its move, Toyota followed suit.

Krafcik says that Hyundai, whose incentive spending is among the lowest in the industry, has no plans to join in this game. Heavy incentive spending leads to sharp up and downswings in an automaker’s accounting ledger. Hyundai sales rose 24 percent in 2010 and Krafcik expects to see improvements in 2011. While some automakers are fiddling with the radio, Krafcik is paying attention to the road in front of him.

[Source: The Economic Times]

Hyundai CEO Krafcik warns against price war, short-term thinking originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 13 Feb 2011 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago 2011: 2011 Ram 3500 HD High Output takes the torque war nuclear

Filed under: Chicago Auto Show, Truck, Work, Chrysler

2011 Ram 3500 HD High Output

2011 Ram 3500 HD High Output – Click above for high-res image gallery

The minds at Chrysler have set out to make sure that buyers who need to tow small planetary bodies on occasion are taken care of with its new high-output 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine. The oil-burning mill churns out 23 percent more torque than the old engine, and the final figure now sits at an astronomical 800 pound-feet. There’s also 390 horsepower on hand, and combined, those numbers are good enough to help the 3500 HD tow up to 22,700 pounds. The big-daddy Ram also packs a ridiculous gross vehicle rating of 30,000 pounds when equipped with the optional Max Tow package.

Those impressive ratings are partially thanks to the truck’s braking system. Chrysler’s engineers folded in the largest brakes of any full-size pickup with 14.17-inch rotors up front and 14.09-inch discs out back, and the 3500 HD wears what Chrysler calls the strongest exhaust brake available on any heavy-duty pickup.

Additionally, that meaty Cummins block is said to be good for over 350,000 miles before requiring a major overhaul, and unlike competitors from Ford and General Motors, this beast requires no diesel exhaust fluid to pass emissions. Hit the jump for the full press blast.

Gallery: 2011 Ram 3500 HD High Output

Gallery: 2011 Ram 3500 High Output

2011 Ram 3500 High Output2011 Ram 3500 High Output2011 Ram 3500 High Output2011 Ram 3500 High Output2011 Ram 3500 High Output

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Chrysler]

Continue reading Chicago 2011: 2011 Ram 3500 HD High Output takes the torque war nuclear

Chicago 2011: 2011 Ram 3500 HD High Output takes the torque war nuclear originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Feb 2011 15:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: BMW teaches evasive driving techniques at a Cold War air base

Filed under: Europe, Safety, Videos, BMW

BMW Security Driving

Click above to watch the video after the jump

It’s not without reason that BMWs are among the top choices for high-security personnel transport. BMW Security vehicles – armor-reinforced versions of the standard roadcars we see on the road every day – are known to be both secure and responsive to quick, often life-saving maneuvers. But what good would these vehicles be if their drivers didn’t know how to handle them properly?

That’s why BMW has a security vehicle training facility in East Germany. Built on the grounds of what was once the largest Cold War air base in Europe, the center is run by advanced driving instructor Klaus Heimerl, who shows chauffeurs and security personnel how to evade any number of potentially threatening situations, from ambushes to roadside bombs. Follow the jump to watch the video, and head to www.bmw.com/drivertraining to find out more.

[Source: BMW]

Continue reading Video: BMW teaches evasive driving techniques at a Cold War air base

Video: BMW teaches evasive driving techniques at a Cold War air base originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 12:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Korean War: Inside Line pits Hyundai Sonata against Kia Optima [w/poll]

Filed under: Sedan, Hyundai, Kia

2011 Kia Optima and 2011 Hyundai Sonata

2011 Kia Optima and 2011 Hyundai Sonata – Click above to enlarge

The Koreans are coming! Actually, strike that… they’re already here. As a matter of fact, both the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and its corporate kissing cousin, the 2011 Kia Optima, rank very highly on our own midsize sedan pecking order chart. All of this begs the question: Which one is better, and why?

The boys from Inside Line decided to pit the two sedans, which share most major components and assemblies, against each other in a no-holds-barred fight for supremacy. Not surprisingly – both use 2.4-liter four cylinder engines (plus or minus California emissions…) and six-speed automatic transmissions, and both weight nearly the same – picking a winner means delving into the details.

And IL found that the details favored the Kia. There are a number of reasons given for the why and how of this conclusion, which you can read all about right here. Basically, though, IL found that the Optima is tuned more for the enthusiast as opposed to the competent and comfortable nature of the Sonata.

Which one would you pick? Take our poll below and then feel free to talk about your choice in Comments.

View Poll

Gallery: First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Gallery: 2011 Kia Optima: First Drive

Gallery photos copyright (C)2010 AOL

[Source: Inside Line | Main Image: Kurt Niebuhr for Edmunds]

Korean War: Inside Line pits Hyundai Sonata against Kia Optima [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Dec 2010 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How does Hyundai do business in the shadow of war?

Filed under: Hyundai, Kia

In the event of war, you can’t hurl Hyundais at the enemy

North Korean Shelling

Former General Motors Chairman Rick Wagner used to talk of “externalities,” those uncontrollable factors that he routinely blamed for the humbled automaker’s continuing decline. Other industry leaders preferred the term “headwinds,” but they were routinely referring to such matters as rising raw materials costs, unpredictable petroleum prices or, perhaps, an economic meltdown.

What most major automakers don’t have to worry about is the idea of having a shell land in the middle of their boardroom. But the news out of the Korean peninsula makes it clear this is a very serious, very real possibility for the folks who run Hyundai and Kia.

Continue reading…


Paul EisensteinPaul A. Eisenstein is Publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com, and a 30-year veteran of the automotive beat. His editorials bring his unique perspective and deep understanding of the auto world to Autoblog readers on a regular basis.

Continue reading How does Hyundai do business in the shadow of war?

How does Hyundai do business in the shadow of war? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Nov 2010 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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