Tag Archives: Chrysler

This Week’s Wheels: 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8

That’s right, a brand new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 is in my driveway for a week. I’m looking forward to all 470 horses pulling this beast all week. I’ve driven it ten feet so far, and all I can say is, God Bless Chrysler.

Stay tuned for more updates.

The 2011 Chrysler 200: Chrysler Impresses When Press Car Breaks

As some of you learned late last night via my Twitter and Facebook stream, the armrest on the Chrysler 200 broke. Now before you get into the Imported From Detroit quips, I want to give some background on the situation.

A few weeks back I had the 2011 Dodge Avenger Heat in my driveway. It shares the same armrest design as the new 200. When operating normally, the armrest should slide back and forth. When it slides back it should lock into place with a click. When the 200 arrived on Monday the armrest slid freely with no click. Meaning the armrest never locked into place at any point.

This leads me to think that at some level the armrest was already broken to a degree. I believe me putting weight on the armrest last night was merely the straw that broke the 200’s back.

I received a call promptly this morning from my Chrysler rep after she learned of the situation. I actually offered to drive the car to a local dealership and have the armrest repaired.

Chrysler isn’t taking the situation lightly. It has asked me to stop driving the car and is sending someone up to take it back tomorrow. It is actually shipping it directly to Detroit, and having the 200 team look at it.

I am told this is the first time the 200 team has heard of anything like this happening. It is planning on doing a full investigation in an effort to determine what was the cause of the breakage.

Chrysler’s reaction is what impresses me. It seems to be very concerned as to why something like this would happen. Enough so that it would take the time to look at this specific press car in an attempt to determine what caused the break. Would every automaker do that if a part broke on a new press car? None the less an armrest? I’m not sure, but today Chrysler is, and that’s something to note.

2011 New York Auto Show: 2011 Chrysler 300 S Video Walkaround

Chrysler unveiled a trio of 300 model variants last week at the New York Auto Show. One of those variants was the new 300 S, featuring unique wheels and interior. Of course I can’t forget to mention the stereo featuring the beats by Dre. Not only are the speakers and subwoofer beats branded, but Dre. himself worked with Chrysler to tune the system. Below is our video walkaround.

 

2011 New York Auto Show: 2011 Chrysler 300C Executive Edition Video Walkaround

Last week Chrysler introduced the 2011 300C Executive Edition at the New York Auto Show. Chrysler told us this is for the person who wants understated luxury. True luxury. American Luxury. I’ve got to say, it hit the American luxury part on the head. I’m not sure how understated it is, but the lack of chrome does help. Below is a video walkaround from the New York Auto Show.

 

2011 Minneapolis Auto Show

2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06March brings many things to Minneapolis, melting snow, warmer weather, usually at least one large snow storm, and of course, the Minneapolis Auto Show. This year the automakers were in full force. Both Porsche and BMW returned to the show, sadly Infiniti was still notably absent. Without further delay, lets jump in and take a look at the winners, losers and just some general observations of the show. Read More…

2011 Detroit Auto Show: The Good, The Great, The Sad

While Detroit has been down in the dumps for a while, this years auto show definitely shows things might be back on track in the D. Of course it had to snow while everyone was in town, but it gave those from the warmer climates a chance to see what us snow belt state peeps live through on a daily basis.

Some of you will remember that last year I wanted to differentiate myself. I started tweeting pictures of cars with the models and tagged them as #EyeCandy. This quickly became a hot topic. A few of my followers mentioned this year that I was not really tweeting any #EyeCandy and asked why not. The simple answer, there wasn’t any. Few booths had the babes that were in attendance last year. Though Chrysler group and Ferrari still pulled through.

But lets get down the to the product. The new Chrysler 300 looks terrific. In reality, many wondered when they saw the pictures if it can recapture the market that the 300 once had in 2005. Upon seeing the car in real life, I am happy to report that it looks much better in person. The interior really does deliver on the promise that the 300 made back in 2005. American luxury. From the great new Pentastar V6, to the growling Hemi V8 in the 300C, this is American luxury in a rear-wheel drive car.

Another car I was anxious to see in real life was the new Chevrolet Sonic. The Sonic is Chevrolet’s new B-Segment car which will take on the likes of the new Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and many others. I have to say, while I think the new Sonic is a home run from a styling perspective, I can see how many will not. It will be either a love it or hate it vehicle. From the exposed barrel headlights to the ridiculously short rear overhang and really long front overhang, the styling is nothing short of eye catching. The interior gauge cluster is also interesting, as they actually put into the production model the Aveo RS concept’s gauge cluster. With a racing like analogue tachometer and a digital speedometer, the gauge cluster is more reminiscent of a race car or motorcycle than that of a sub-compact car. Going on sale later this year I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see how the driving dynamics compare to the competition.

The new A6 has already won a design award without even leaving the show floor. In my opinion the new A6 takes everything that is right with the new A8 and A4 while dropping everything that is wrong with them. Smashing all the good together to make a great looking Audi. The design language has really come together for this car. The interior is terrific and the exterior is eye catching. The optional LED headlights are very intricately designed when inspecting them up close. You will see the new A6 on the road later this year.

I’m not going to really cover the CTS-V Coupe race car but I wanted to make mention of it. Two words come to mind when you walked past it on the turntable, menacing and awesome. Ok, moving on.

Toyota has finally unveiled a larger Prius. The model is called the Prius V. This is especially confusing to some since the regular Prius has trim level packages that are in roman numerals. Right now if you go buy a Prius in the top trim level you are buying a Prius V. Wait, that can’t make sense. So when you buy a top trim level Prius V will you be buying a Prius V V? This is clearly not well thought out. I wonder if Toyota realizes this yet. Maybe someone should send them a note. Regardless, I heard many people comment on how the Prius V rear end has a lot of Honda Fit in it. I can see that. The front, well it looks like a third generation Prius with a few slight tweaks. You’ll still know it’s a Prius. You will see the people mover Prius at a dealership near you in the Summer.

Ah the Honda Civic Concept. Honda waltzed Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy on stage to talk about the new Civic Concept. Here’s the problem, either Wentz was drunk or he really could care less about being there. He enthusiasm was worse than the new Civic’s styling. He barely stumbled through his words off the teleprompter. Note to Honda: make sure your spokesperson is somewhat excited about your luke warm product.

But getting back to that product, the new Civic Concept looks as if a new Odyssey and the current generation Civic got it on in the back room. That, or a designer of the current Civic got wasted one night, and just took the current Civics lines and tweaked them a little. For a mid-cycle refresh, I am not sure how this will be competitive until 2016 with new competition from Hyundai, Ford and Chevrolet. We will have to wait and see when the new Civic comes out, but I am not holding my breath.

Mercedes had its SLS E-Cell electric car on display. In a word it is blinding. The paint job on this car can literally sear your retinas. Beyond the paint job, it looks fairly identical on the outside to the current SLS. The interior changes a little as most of the gauges and center stack are now LCD screens. This car will go into production, but if you have to ask range or price, you can’t afford it.

I don’t really want to spend much time on the Passat as I’m not sure it deserves it. I’ll reserve final judgement until I drive one. Until then, I’ll say this, Volkswagen is going downmarket to sell more cars. Is that really a good idea? Why alienate all your current customers. People that buy current Passats pay more because they expect to get better quality materials. Cheapening the car for a lower base price is going to hurt your brand image. This is no longer just German engineering, it is German engineering to a price point.

While I skipped Porsches press conference to eat breakfast at my hotel (it was at 6:30 AM), I will say looking at the car in person, it is stunning. Seeing that huge flywheel in the passenger seat, yea. This is how you build a hybrid. It is good to see Porsche looking at new technology for racing. If this car does go into the racing circuit it could change the game. With less fuel stops needed and more power on tap for instant bursts, it could be a whole new era of racing.

At the end of the day I was exhausted. Most journalists were up at 5 AM and didn’t leave the show floor till nearly 8 PM. I ran to nearly every press conference and went through approximately 6,600 milliamps of battery power for my iPhone4. It was a good show with some great product. Not everything was great, but it was a good to see where each automaker is going in 2011.


Full Disclosure- My NAIAS travel and accommodations are being provided by General Motors

2010 LA Auto Show: The Good, The Bad, The WTF

Mazda Shinari Concept

I had hoped to get this post out last week, but for those that followed my adventures at the LA Auto Show, I was running on four hours of sleep and many cans of Monster Energy drinks. Hence why this post is coming to you a little bit late.

The LA Auto Show is the kick off to the auto show season. Some say it sets the tone for the following auto shows. This year held a ton of promise as the auto industry gets back on to its feet and companies start churning out new product.

Infiniti Essence Concept

Highlights of the show ranged from Mazda Shinari concept car to new Ford Focus sedan and hatchback. Heck I was even excited to see the new Nissan Quest minivan. Yes, you read that correctly. I was excited to see  a new minivan. Hey, in my defense, the teaser shots they leaked out were quite compelling, and I was not let down. The new Quest is quite stunning in my opinion. It was a pleasant surprise to see the Infiniti Essence concept that made its debut a while back. The car is as stunning now as it was when it made its debut.

I was also looking forward to finally seeing the new Dodge Charger in person. Sitting in the new Charger and feeling the materials, I was pleasantly surprised. While not all is fixed, this is a huge leap in the right direction. I look forward to getting to spend more time with that vehicle along with the rest of the revamped Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep line-up.

2011 Dodge Charger

2011 Toyota Corolla

The bad ranged from the “refreshed” Toyota Corolla to the “OMG they built that thing,” Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. The Toyota Corolla is more of a shock and awe. The fact that you can now only get it with a four speed automatic or five speed manual blows my mind. Let me repeat that, four speed automatic. You know, like from the 90’s and early 2000’s. This calls for a “lets party like it’s 1999” statement. Just shameful. Oh and they dropped the more powerful of the two engines. I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the fact that you can no longer get leather on any Corolla.

2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Moving along the bad portion of our trip down LA Auto Show lane we reach the “OMG they built that thing” section. We have heard rumors for years about a convertible Nissan Murano. Many outlets have comissioned drawings based upon insider knowledge. Well the time has finally come and Nissan took the sheet off the duckling. Is it ugly? Well, based on the gasp from the crowd, I am not entirely sure. I think the gasp from the crowd was a combination of, again, “OMG they built that thing,” and also a sticker shock when the price was announced at $46,390. I’m sorry, did you just have a slight heart attack? Because I am pretty sure the press at the Nissan press conference did as well. It was made slightly better when I learned later from a PR rep that the price is for the one trim model, which is a LE trim. This will come fully loaded with pretty much no options. Still, that is a pretty penny for this odd duckling.

Overall I would say the tone for the show was upbeat. The industry is clearly fighting to make its way back. Without question a nice foothold has been given, with sales up and profits finally being made, things are looking a little brighter. Here’s looking forward to seeing what is unveiled in Detroit in January.

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 34: “White Diamond Episode”

Loyal fans, we are back! Sorry for the delay, my work life has been crazy and Justin has school, between the two scheduling has been tough. Episode 34 starts with introducing this weeks guest Drew Dowdell owner of CheersandGears. Moving on we talk a little about the Fireball Run which I was in since the last recording. Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 GMC DenaliHD I was in for the past week.

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we feature a new ad campaign by Chevrolet called Max and Al. (Link)

We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • Outrage over the Chevrolet Volt’s drivetrain (Link)
  • Chevrolet Volt not PZEV (Link)
  • Is the Chevrolet Cruze really priced out of competition? (Link)
  • Disneyland and cars? Definitely! (Link)

Next came our main topic which was discussing Fiat/Chryslers onslaught of new product.

Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Cars & Café – August 7, 2010

Aston Martin DB7 Vantage

Another month, another gathering of man and machine.  Of course I speak of Cars & Café, out at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen.  This month promised, as usual, to be eventful.  I woke up a little early (4:40 am), as I did poor planning.  I had not washed the 300ZX (note to self: next month wash the 300ZX before the morning of Cars & Café). So, I washed the 300ZX and popped off the T-Tops.

As I was cruising out West to meet up with my buddy in his S2000, I saw black sky in front of me – then lightning  – and then I saw a car come over the hill with windshield wipers on (this was not going well).  I hit the gas and made it to his garage with the 300ZX still clean and dry.  We ended up taking his daily driver and leaving the 300ZX and his S2000 there, as it started pouring down rain right after I pulled into the garage.

Upon arriving, it was clear the rain, which was at this point a nice steady rain coming down, had affecte turn out.  Nooooooooo I cried to the car gods.  Luckily some of the cooler rides still managed to show up.  As I was admiring a nice Ford F150 Lightning, I heard something loud pulling into the complex.

I turn to see a true hard core car guy (you would have to be) driving a Cobra in (remember no top) through the rain.  Two Dodge GLH Turbos sat next to each other, both in ridiculously good condition.  I also counted not one but two Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbos (I drooled a little).  Quite a few Acura NSX’s showed up, along with a Lexus IS-F.

Two BMW’s caught my eyes this month.  One was a early 90’s 540i manual white on black with only 28k on the odometer.  The kicker?  It is for sale and they are asking only $25k!

Someone buy that car or buy me that car!  There was also a mid 80’s M6 in fantastic condition that caught my eye., along with an early 2000’s black Audi S8 that is a regular at Cars & Café.  I just love that car!

So good story,  I am walking by the club house and hear tires squealing like a burn out.  I look around and am quite confused.  Suddenly I realize that the sound is coming from behind this building in the VIP section.  I go running through the crowd, and as I turn the corner I almost fall over.

This Lamborghini Miura owner clearly had put the car in reverse instead of first gear (as best I can tell from the situation).  The car had gone backwards off the cement and onto the pebbles directly below.  Part of  the car definitely was resting on the cement.  The tires were squealing and these two guys were pushing the back of the Miura trying to get it back onto the cement.  Finally after a few minutes they accomplished this task, but not before you could smell the clutch and tires.  It was quite a scene.

Also filed in the – ahem – interesting category, was the Toyota Camry Solara parked in the American muscle section.  Hey at least it was on dubs!  Sitting next to that was a Chrysler 300C.  Not just any Chrysler 300C, but one riding on 24’s – and wait – it gets better.

The person had welded extensions (eyebrows?) onto the leading edge of the hood.  You can still see where the person welded and sanded them.  They were not painted yet (I am assuming they are going to paint them….at least I hope so).  Let’s not forget the white Toyota Yaris hatch with lime green wheels.

Jensen

On the list of awesome cars I would include the RUF 911, Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, and a Jensen that showed up.  The red GMC Typhoon that was for sale earlier this year was on hand, along with two Ford GT’s (they are Cars and Cafe regulars).  A new Lotus Evora made the trip, along with a Ford Mustang Shelby Super Snake.

One of the cleaner Oldsmobile 442’s I’ve seen was on site as well.  Obviously I have already mentioned the two Dodge GLH Turbo’s but I want to just mentioned them again in this section of awesome.  Last but not least was the regular BMW 200ti. It is a work in progress, but hot all the same.

One cool thing was this garage that had a Corvette Z06 in it.  Ok that car was nice but you know those bag chairs you take to soccer games and such?  Well they had one of those. and then they had a ginormous one that was literally super sized.  To get a idea of just how big it was they let me sit in it and I got a picture!

Overall the rain really put a damper on the attendance, or at least it felt that way.  With most of the people clearing out before 10 AM, it had to be one of the shortest Cars & Cafés I have attended yet.  Thankfully, the doughnut holes provided by Imola Motorsports stayed dry in the clubhouse.

Yes they were tasty,and yes I ate some.  Just for the record, doughnut holes always seems to taste better when they are delivered in a BMW M5.  I can not prove that, but that seems to be my experience.  Here’s hoping for a dry Cars & Café next month!

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 32: “In Your Dreams Episode”

Episode 32 starts with introducing this weeks guest Tony Pimpo from GM Inside News.  Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze press launch I attended last week. We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • New Ford Explorer Debut (Link)
  • Leaked Jeep Wrangler Interior (Link)
  • 200C drawings out and 900 new workers and second shift at Chrysler plant (Link) (Link)
  • 2011 Porsche Hybrid (Link)
  • Chevrolet Captiva Photos with no cammo (Link)

This week we continue with the new segment called car spotting.  Justin spotted a 1980 Corvette Indy Pace Car, Detomasso Pantera, 1960s jaguar e type convertible, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, possibally a Pagoni Zonda.  Tony & I lead boring lives the last few weeks in comparison to Justin, thus we spotted nothing exciting.

Next came our main topic which was discussing features we would like to see in all cars. (Link)
Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

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