Take that Google: Dodge Rebels Against Robots in New 2011 Charger Commercial

The future, as we imagine it now, may be full of robots doing all kinds of things for us humans, including driving our cars. As some scientists over at Google recently proved, driver-less vehicles may become a reality sooner than we expect, so here's what an automaker that produces cars for drivers has to say about this issue.

In the Chrysler Group’s latest commercial for the 2011 Dodge Charger called “The Future of Driving”, we are presented with a gloomy future, in which robots control all aspects of our lives, from choosing our diet and wardrobe to even walking our pet dogs. The hero of the commercial has nothing to say about all these things, but when a robot invites him to sit on the passenger seat of his own car, things get a little bit out of control...

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VIDEO: Fast 5 Movie Goers Cause Automotive Mayhem Outside of Theater in Detroit

Fans of all kinds and sorts of the much talked about Fast 5 film went “fast and furious” at a theater parking lot in Detroit before and after a midnight release of the movie on Thursday. Steven Pham, a professional photographer and automotive enthusiast, happened to be one of those early moviegoers and filmed some of the hoonery that went on up until the boys in blue showed up to put an end to the tire-burning games.

We came in contact with Steven and here's what he told us:

"After seeing the trailers for Fast Five, there was a lot of hype in the automotive community. I'm pretty sure every car enthusiast is a fan of the series, if not, then there is something wrong with them. Sure each movie has some sort of unrealistic scene, though I think it adds to the movie in a "wtf, did that really just happen?" kind of way.

Everything that went on in the parking lot outside of the theater before and after the movie was hysterical. Cars revving it up, dozens of people doing burnouts and donuts and to the one guy that was playing the Tokyo Drift soundtrack with his subs. It was like a short film in between all of the Fast and the Furious movie series, except without girls walking around and dancing in bikinis."

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Inden Design Applies the Black Series Treatment to the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

Since 2008, Mercedes-Benz has been producing a special edition version of the SL65 AMG called the Black Series that comes with a fixed carbon fiber roof, a wide body kit, an upgraded V12 and numerous other performance and styling enhancements. If you happen to like the look of the Black Series but prefer to keep the retractable hardtop of the standard SL65 AMG, you may want to check out Inden Design’s latest tuning package. Read more »

Study Reveals Steering Wheels Are Nine Times Dirtier than a Public Toilet

This disturbing conclusion comes from a UK survey done at the request of home store B&Q. While 80 bacteria are found on each square inch of toilet, around 700 harmful bugs lurk in the interior of a car and specifically on the steering wheel, gear stick and back seats. The study also revealed that 42 percent of motorists regularly eat meals while driving.

“A car is the perfect place for germs to breed, especially if you eat in it and leave litter or uneaten food around. To avoid potential health risks it would be wise to regularly clean your car inside and out,” said doctor Ron Cutler, director of biomedical science at Queen Mary University, London.

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Nissan gets Creative with Smoking Billboard at New York Auto Show

It might not be an award winning campaign, but Nissan’s new outdoor board placed right outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during the 2011 New York Auto Show (April 22 to May 1 for the public) is sure to grab attention and increase awareness for the firm’s all-electric Leaf family car.

The two-sided Smokeboard was created by the Japanese firm’s advertising partner TBWA\Chiat\Day, which is the American division of the advertising agency TBWA Worldwide.

On one side, the billboard features an actual working tailpipe that emits fumes into the air (with the agency stressing the fact that the exhaust is environmentally friendly…) and a headline that reads, “The auto show has over 1,000 of these”. On the other side, there’s a photo of the Leaf and a caption that says “But only one 100% electric, zero-tailpipe Nissan Leaf”. Check out the ad in action in the clip after the jump.

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Ford Says F-150 Orders with EcoBoost V6 on the Rise

With gas prices on the rise again, an increasing number of Ford F-150 buyers looking to save some (let’s not get carried away here…) cash at the pump without compromising on power are turning to the company’s new EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine. According to Ford, demand for the EcoBoost engine in the F-150 has increased each month since production began in January. In March, one in every four (25%) models sold in the States was equipped with the force-fed V6, increasing to around 35 percent in April. Read more »

VIDEO: How Not to Take a Corner with a 14-Wheeler Truck

Vehicle accidents happen on the road everywhere and every day. However, some mishaps could be easily avoided if the person behind the wheel has his or her head screwed on the right way. For example, take a look at this video showing a 14-wheeler truck overturning on a busy road in Wenling City in eastern China's Zhejiang Province; this is not the way you are supposed to turn into a corner with such a heavy and long vehicle.

As you can see in the closed circuit TV footage that captured the incident as it happened, the driver of the lorry was apparently in a hurry to pass the traffic light and speeded through the crossroad only to overturn and drop the container on its side. According to media reports, officials said by-passers narrowly avoided being hit. Watch the clip right after the break.

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The QTvan: World’s Smallest Caravan or Just Clever Marketing?

Mobility scooters (or shop riders) are big business in the UK, with close to a quarter of a million of the island nation’s elderly and disabled population using them to get around. In response to a previous untapped market segment, Environmental Transport Association (ETA) has introduced the world’s smallest caravan that can be towed by a mobility scooter.

In what’s perhaps more marketing ploy than real product, ETA’s QTvan is a 2 metre by 0.75 metre (6.6 feet by 2.5 feet) caravan incorporating a full-size single bed, an onboard battery supply, a 19-inch (48 cm) television, radio / alarm clock, kettle and drinks cabinet. It costs £5,500 (US$9,077 / €6,234) and is offered with such extras as roof-mounted solar panels, air horn, satellite dish, central heating and bespoke paint.

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GM to Build and Sell New 2013 Chevrolet Malibu in Korea

General Motors is quite serious about selling its upcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu on a global scale. So serious, in fact, that the Detroit automaker is making plans to built the mid-size model on several continents. Today, GM revealed that will build and sell the redesigned Malibu sedan in Korea. We’ll remind you that earlier this year, GM Korea announced it is replacing the Daewoo nameplate with the Chevrolet brand for the local market. Read more »

Lamborghini Unleashes two Aventadors on the Twisty Roads around Rome

We've only recently brought you a host of videos from Lamborghini's presentation of the Aventador LP 700-4 in Rome, but we’re convinced you won’t mind us showing more of Sant’Agata’s exotic creation. This time, two new and eye-catching short films of the Aventador surfaced online. The official videos show a pair of LP 700-4s taming the Eternal City's scenic streets as well as the winding countryside roads outside the Italian capital.

So buckle up, turn up the volume and head over the jump to watch the white and orange Aventadors enjoying life in their natural habitats.

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U.S. Gov Study Reveals Significant Decline in Border Crossings through Canada and Mexico over the Past Decade

A new study by the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports a considerable decline in the number of people crossing from Mexico and Canada into the U.S.A from 2000 to 2009.

The report found that the number of people entering the U.S. through its land borders dropped 37 percent in this period, from 400 million people in 2000, to 252 million in 2009, with the majority (75 percent) crossing through Mexico. In the same period, border crossings from Canada declined by 40 percent and from Mexico by 36 percent.

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Kia Recalling Spectra Models Over Fears that the Fuel Tank May…Fall Off

South Korea’s Kia Motors said Friday it will recall certain Spectra LD vehicles from the 2004-2007 model year in the United States over a corrosion issue that could cause the fuel tank to fall from the car. The recall covers 58,322 Kia Spectra models build from November 7, 2003, through March 6, 2007, and sold or currently registered in states that rely heavily on road salt to melt ice in the winter. Read more »

Mini to Use Rolls Royce-Prepped Goodwood as a Sub-brand for Bespoke Models

In the same way the John Cooper Works moniker designates high-performance models,
Mini plans to use the Goodwood name as a sub-brand for high-end luxury versions of its cars. According to British magazine Autocar, which quotes sources from within the company, the Goodwood badge will be used on luxurious, bespoke Minis just like the JCW badge is put on its high-performance models.

The first model of the Goodwood line is the “Mini Inspired by Goodwood”, which made its world premiere at the Shanghai auto show. The car is essentially a Cooper S that sports unique styling cues and trim options designed “in close collaboration” with Rolls-Royce. The name itself pays tribute to Rolls-Royce's headquarters, while the Shanghai unveiling signals the importance of the Chinese market for very expensive Minis.

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VIDEO: Meet the Amazing...5-Year Old Screenwriter of Fast and Furious 5

For most of us gearheads, the Fast and Furious franchise is just another way to entertain ourselves for a couple of hours with plenty of fast cars, scantily dressed women and over the top brain-bashing action scenes - nothing more, nothing less.

Does that mean we shouldn’t criticize it? Of course not. And what a better to do it than through a sarcastically amusing (in a tongue in cheek manner) sketch that comes to us courtesy of the folks over at The Onion.

The Onion news network joked about the low quality of the latest installment of the series, Fast 5, which hit the big screen today, in its Today Now show by interviewing one of film’s screenwriters…a five-year old kindergartener named Chris Morgan. Enjoy the clip after the jump.

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New Audi R18 TDI Le Mans Competitor with smaller 3.7-liter V6 Diesel to Receive Racing Debut in Spa

In less than two months time, Audi’s brand new R18 TDI racer -that would be the bug-eyed model pictured on the right, will show us what it’s capable of at the famous 24 hours of Le Mans on June 11/12. But before the prestigious event in France, the brand with the four rings will give the R18 TDI its racing debut at the second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Spa in Belgium on Saturday, May 7. Read more »

Toyota Confirms 2.0-liter Boxer Engine, Six-Speed Gearboxes and LSD for 2012 FT-86

In keeping enthusiasts on their toes, Toyota’s European division came out with a new release today on its upcoming FT-86 sports coupe. The Japanese automaker confirmed that the production version will go on sale in 2012 with power coming from by Subaru's new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine fitted with Toyota's D-4S technology. The latter consists of direct injection combined with port injection.

We still don’t get any output numbers although Toyota says the D4-S technology “results in increased horsepower and torque without sacrificing fuel consumption and environmental performance.” Subaru's latest 2.0-liter horizontally opposed gasoline engine, which is offered on the all-new Impreza, develops 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft (197 Nm) of torque, but in the case of the FT-86, output is expected to increase significantly.

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Spyker Cars Says Saab won’t Meet its Sales Target this Year, Now Talking with Chinese Companies for Funding

The roller coaster that is Saab has taken another turn, and unfortunately for the Swedish brand, the future doesn’t look so bright. In spite of a tentative agreement to let Russian banker Vladimir Antonov invest 30 million euros in Saab’s parent company Spyker in return for a 29.9 percent stake, the investment still needs to be approved by the European Investment Bank, which means the Swedes are still short on cash and cannot resume full production.

Today, Spyker reported a loss of €79 million before interest and tax for its first quarter earnings, while the company’s CEO, Victor Muller, said that Saab will not meet its sales target this year.

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Lincoln Touts All-Wheel Drive Sales in the USA

Not to be outdone by GM and its Cadillac brand, which had recently published some fresh statistics about its all-wheel drive model sales in the States, Ford’s Lincoln division came out with a similar announcement to increase awareness and do some show off. Ford’s premium brand offers all-wheel drive as an option on all five models of its range, including the MKT, MKS, MKZ, MKX and the Navigator. Read more »

U Spy: BMW’s New X1 ‘baby’ Crossover Caught Strolling in Long Beach, California

While BMW is still keeping mum on when it will bring its smallest crossover model over to the States, Carscoop reader, Nick K., who is always alert for new models on the road, snapped this picture of the X1 dressed in an M Sport outfit during his daily maneuvers in Long Beach, California. “I saw this BMW X1 driving in Long Beach today followed by 3 5-Series BMW's. It had specially marked plates and it was beautiful,” Nick told Carscoop. Read more »

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Filmed out in the Open in Texas

In what could be one of the first public sightings of the brand new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle outside of a motor show, Youtube user JWalters84 passed by and filmed his short encounter with the car on a road in Laredo, Texas. What was it doing there? Well, who knows, but it's safe to assume that it’s probably a pre-production model used either by dealers or by VW Group employees since sales of the third generation of the Beetle in the USA will not start until September. Read more »

Celebrating 50 Years of Queensland’s Lakeside Park [with Gallery]

Nestled somewhat innocuously behind a golf course in Pine Rivers Shire, South East Queensland, Australia, is historic Lakeside Park Raceway. It holds the distinction as the Queensland’s first permanent, purpose-built racetrack and has sat - for fifty years - on the banks of Lake Kurwongbah. It is a monument to both motorsport and Australia’s can-do attitude, having been built on a foundation of favors, borrowed equipment and volunteer labor - not to mention a former dairy farm.

It is 2.4 km (1.5 miles) of bitumen and yet, it is so much more. Several Aussie motorsport legends – including Dick Johnson, Tony Longhurst and Mick Doohan – cut their teeth at Lakeside. It may not share the prestige or recognition afforded to other tracks like Mount Panorama or Philip Island, but to those who know it Lakeside is just as beloved.

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Brand New Trailer for "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon"

Today we get our first look at the second, full-length theatrical trailer for Michael Bay’s upcoming blockbuster film, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. The brand new trailer provides us a deeper look into the story, characters and the action we can expect to see in the third and possibly final chapter in the Transformers franchise.

While Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky, this time he will have to do without Megan Fox who was replaced by super-hot-model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Aside from the new (human) faces, we’ll also see a fresh batch of Autobots and Decepticons wreaking havoc on earth, in space and on each other, with Michael Bay promising a more mature and perhaps darker story line. We shall see.

The third chapter of the Transformers films opens everywhere on July 1, 2011. For the time being, follow the jump to check out the new theatrical trailer.

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VIDEO: Geely’s McCar Bundles Four Seats and a Scooter in a Mini Package

At the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show, Chinese automaker Geely displayed an interesting concept car called McCar, whose funny name reportedly stands for “Magic car” and “Motorcycle Car” , and has nothing to do with the famous chain of fast-food restaurants – unless you take into consideration the fact that there is a folding electric scooter sandwiched between the rear seats of the car… Read more »

VW Remembers its First Diesel-Powered Golf, we Compare it with its Modern Day Successors

In 1976, just two years after the introduction of the original Golf Mk1 that was designed to replace the Beetle, Volkswagen presented the first diesel version of its compact model, the Golf D. It was powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that put out 50HP at 5,000 rpm and 80Nm (59 lb-ft) of peak torque at 3,000 rpm.

The most economical Golf of its time returned a combined fuel economy of 6.5 lt /100km, equal to 36.2 mpg US and was able to complete the 0-100km/h (62mph) sprint in 19 seconds while reaching a top speed of 141 km/h (88 mph).

Over the years the Volkswagen Group invested in this particular engine technology and today, buyers of the current, sixth generation of the Golf can choose from a variety of diesel powerplants ranging in output from 105HP to 170HP. And the results are quite impressive when you compare the original Golf D from 1976 to its modern day successors.

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Swedish Debt Office and GM Allow Antonov to Invest in Saab

It appears that
Saab's hopes of survival continue to depend after all that happened on Vladimir Antonov, the Russian banker who was forced by GM to sell his initial shares in Spyker for the Saab sale to occur. Spyker today confirmed that the Swedish National Debt Office (NDO) allowed Antonov to become a major shareholder in Spyker Cars, Saab's parent company.

"This is a great day for our company and for me personally. We worked relentlessly for 11 months to achieve the desired result: restore the reputation of Vladimir Antonov, who made so many valuable contributions to Spyker since 2007 as financier and shareholder,” said Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker and chairman of Saab Automobile.

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Aftermath: Chevrolet Suburban SUV Rams Ferrari California

A crash is never a good thing but fortunately for those involved in this three-vehicle accident in Texas City on April 19, no one was seriously injured. According to a report from The Daily News, the driver of a big ol’ 1987 Chevrolet Suburban SUV was traveling west on FM 517 with his wife and two children when he disregarded the red traffic light and crashed into an oncoming Ferrari California in the intersection. The Italian supercar was squashed between the Chevy and a southbound Ford pickup truck. Read more »

Seat Rumored to Start Production of Audi Q3-based SUV in 2012

It seems that the VW Group’s Martorell plant in Spain will not only build the new Audi Q3, but a similar version of the compact SUV for Seat as well, according to a report from British car magazine, What Car. Industry sources told the publication that the Seat IBX crossover study shown at Geneva this year will be built in the same plant with the Audi Q3, with both models to share the same platform. The production version of the IBX is expected to be introduced next year. Read more »

Mad Vandals Fill Airbrushed Range Rover with…Insulating Foam

The owner of this airbrushed Land Rover Range Rover was in for an unexpected and definitely unwanted surprise when his parked luxurious SUV became the victim of vandalism committed by unknown individuals. The incident presumably took place somewhere in Russia.

The artsy troublemakers not only spray painted the Range Rover and broke several components such as the bumpers and lights, but –get this- they also filled all visible openings including the doors, hood and the rear hatch as well as the alloy wheels with insulating foam!

The only piece of evident, if you can call it that, is an odd message on the rear hatch window that reads “Thelema 666 is make me sick. Is a star. What a f***?” Follow the jump for more photos of the SUV before and after the attack.

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Chrysler Group to Repay $7.5 Billion of Government Loans by the End of June

In order to pave the way for
Fiat to reach 51 percent ownership of the Chrysler Group, the Auburn Hills-based automaker announced today that it intends to repay in full the loans provided by the U.S. and Canadian governments back in 2009 ($7.53 billion in total).

The Chrysler Group said it plans to complete the repayment during the second quarter of 2011 (ending in June). The company will use money from a new term loan facility plus a new issue of debt securities that will be sold to institutional investors in a private offering along with proceeds from Fiat’s recent cash infusion to increase its stake in Chrysler.

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Sic…Lexus Becomes Official Supplier to HSH Prince of Monaco who will use an LS Hybrid for his Wedding

For those who still believe in the institution of monarchy and the legitimacy of kings, queens and royalty in general in this day and age (…some 2,500 years after the Athenians gave birth to democracy), 2011 will be marked by the royal weddings of Prince William to Catherine Middleton, and to a lesser extent, Prince Albert II of Monaco to Miss Charlene Wittstock.

If you wondering what all this has to do with the world of automobiles, Lexus’ European division announced today that it has received the royal stamp of approval from His Serene Highness [HSH] Prince Albert II of Monaco. The latter appointed the Japanese automaker as the official supplier of luxury cars to the blue-blooded residents of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

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Chevrolet Reveals 2012 Corvette with Modest Upgrades [with Video]

Chevrolet will improve the Corvette’s performance capabilities with a series of enhancements for the 2012 model year aimed at offering better on-track performance and on-road comfort. The subtle performance improvements concern the Z06 and ZR1 models, while the rest of the Corvette lineup receives modest interior and equipment updates. Read more »

New Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Debuts as Official Safety Car of DTM Racing Series

Mercedes-Benz and its AMG division continue to serve safety cars to the world of racing, this time with the refreshed C63 AMG sedan that will be used for the 2011 DTM touring car season. The Stuttgart automaker’s latest Safety Car will make its premiere on May 1, 2011, at the opening race of the German Touring Car Masters season at the Hockenheimring in Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Read more »

Porsche Says Goodbye to the 997 Series with 500HP 911 GT3 RS 4.0 [with Video]

The new 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is Porsche's ultimate street-legal track racer and a fitting farewell to the current 911 series, codenamed 997, which will soon be replaced by an all-new model set to be unwrapped at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

There’s a lot to like about the new GT3 RS including the fact that it is fitted with the largest engine ever to be mounted on a factory-approved 911; a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six unit that develops 500 horsepower at 8,250 rpm, 50 horses more than the standard GT3 RS. It is also the most powerful 911 naturally aspirated engine with 125 horsepower per liter. The engine carries the crankshaft from the 911 GT3 RSR racing car, while the forged pistons' connecting rods are made from titanium.

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Zagato TZ3 Stradale: A Dodge Viper ACR Dressed as an Alfa Romeo

We don’t know if Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s future plans for the upcoming, next generation of the Dodge Viper include the development of a corresponding Alfa Romeo model based on the underpinnings of the muscle car, but famed Italian coachbuilder Zagato has given the formula a try with its new TZ3 Stradale.

You see, Zagato’s TZ3 Stradale is an Alfa Romeo bodied sports car based on the platform and mechanical hardware of the track-conquering Dodge Viper ACR, which features the same 600HP 8.4-liter V10 engine as the standard Viper SRT-10 along with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a race-spec suspension. All parts of the TZ3 Stradale’s carbon fiber body are new with the cherry topping being the classic Kamm-tail (K-tail) layout.

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Poll: What’s Your Favourite Toyota FT-86 Concept?

Toyota’s FT-86 sports coupe has to be one of the most hotly anticipated cars of the last ten years. A sporty, lightweight, front-engined and rear-wheel-drive spiritual successor to the legendary AE86, brought to you by the same company that built the Celica, MR2 and Supra? Yes, please!

So far, we’ve had three iterations of the “AE86 Nouveau”. First, there’s the original, scene stealing Toyota FT-86 Concept from the2009 Tokyo Motor Show. Then there’s the much derided FT-86 II Concept from Geneva 2011. And lastly, there’s the Ferrari-emulating Scion FR-S that took the 2011 New York Auto Show by storm.

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SCOOP: Third-Generation 2012 Porsche Boxster Caught Working Out

The next iteration of the 911 series, codenamed 991, isn’t the only new model undergoing development by Porsche these days. The Stuttgart-based sports car maker is also busy testing a brand new generation of the Boxster, as these latest spy photos reveal.

In typical Porsche fashion, the third generation Boxster’s styling will be an evolution of the second generation model, which itself was an...evolution of the original drop-top, entry-level Porsche which debuted in 1996.

However, expect to see some styling influences from the Panamera at both ends of the car, as well as in the cabin. As you can see from the scoop pictures, the prototype model keeps the current version’s electrically operated cloth top.

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Chromed-out Chevrolet Camaro SS Takes Czech Republic by Storm

A Czech company called Tintek promotes a chrome exterior wrap for the Chevrolet Camaro SS that will either make your eyes hurt or it will make you google their name to find out more. Tintek says the Camaro is the first chrome application of this kind in the Czech Republic, as the effect is not obtained by painting the car but by applying a special 3-D foil over the original paintwork. Read more »

Porsche Engineering Celebrates 80th Anniversary with Special Museum Exhibition

Porsche has been making sports cars for more than sixty years, but the historic roots of the brand go further back to 1931, when Ferdinand Porsche founded and registered an engineering design bureau in Stuttgart. Up until 1948, when Ferry Porsche built the first Porsche automobile (the legendary Type 356), the design bureau offered engineering services to important companies around the world. Read more »

Buick’s China Sales Surpass 3 Million Mark 12 Years After the Brand’s Debut

China with its massive emerging middle class is shaping up to be one of the important markets for General Motors. In fact, for one of the Detroit firm’s brands, China is actually its biggest market by far. We’re talking of course about Buick that has just surpassed the 3 million mark in Chinese sales since GM’s joint venture began offering the brand in the country in 1999.

Last year, Buick’s sales in China rose 23.0% to a new high of 550,010 vehicles. That’s compared to 155,289 deliveries (+51.9%) in the USA in 2010. Buick has more than 400 stores across China with the brand’s lineup comprising of several familiar models including the Regal, Enclave and La Crosse, as well as market-specific cars such as the Opel Astra-based Excelle XT, the new GL8 MPV, and the Holden Caprice-derived Park Avenue.

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