Some automotive speculators say that the new regulation put into affect by the current administration may have killed the 8-cylinder engine.  According to the new rule governing vehicle fuel economy, each auto manufacturer must have an average fleet total of 54.5 MPGs by the year 2025.  That’s nearly double the current average MPG rating for some auto manufacturers.  Folks are wondering if the world of the muscle car is gone forever.

The appeal of cars like the Dodge Challenger is the V8 rumble and performance, though the new regulation has many car engineers looking into turbocharing smaller engines to get the same performance with better fuel economy.  Though moving forward with turbocharged technology is always a good thing, it may be somewhat sad if it means the end of 8-cylinder engines.

It may be that these are the last couple of years you have to buy a V8 Dodge Charger or Challenger, so get ‘em while they’re hot and rumbling.

For more information about the Challenger, or to take a look at any Dodge vehicle, contact Larson Dodge.

31 Aug 2012

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Strategic Quality Award

Global marketing and communications firm Strategic Vision has announced the results of its annual Total Quality Index. In the 2012 edition of the study, Volkswagen Group of America achieved the highest rating in Total Quality. This marks the German automaker’s second year of achieving the accolade. According to the press release from Strategic Vision, the runner up spot was actually a tie between Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Company.

Strategic Vision factored in vehicles like the Audi A4 and A8, as well as notable VW vehicles like the Golf, Eos, and Tiguan in its study. The study also pointed to the quality of vehicles like the Flex, F-150, as well as the Fiat 500 for such a tight finish between Ford and Chrysler.

Toyota came out with the fewest reported problems of any brand. According to the study, only 17% of Toyota owners reported having problems.

Strategic vision says this was its closest finish in “Total Quality” that it has ever reported. According to the release, “Customers are increasingly defining ‘quality’ holistically and using Total Quality in their decisions.” In assessing the Total Quality Awards, Strategic Vision calculated the results from surveys sent out to 45,390 individuals who purchased new 2012 model year vehicles from September to December of 2011. Scroll down below for the press release.

Continue reading Volkswagen again named tops in Total Quality survey by Strategic Vision

Volkswagen again named tops in Total Quality survey by Strategic Vision originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 16:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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31 Aug 2012

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened up investigations into more than 335,000 Chrysler Group vehicles, following reports of fires in Jeep Grand Cherokee models and rear wheel failures in the Dodge Ram 1500. According to documents posted to the NHTSA website, 106,803 Grand Cherokees and 230,000 2009-2010 Ram 1500s are being investigated.

There have been two reports of fires in the Grand Cherokee since May, and a third complaint regarding the JGC losing power steering fluid, resulting in a loss of power steering.

One of the owners whose vehicle caught fire says that he saw power steering fluid in his driveway prior to the incident. NHSTA suspects that the power steering fluid may be leaking onto hot surfaces in the engine compartment.

Additionally, NHSTA is opening up an investigation in the 2009-2010 Dodge Ram, following 12 complaints of rear differential failure, causing rear wheel lock-up.

In the 12 incidents, the common thread appears to be a loosening of the rear differential pinion nut. The majority of these complaints allege that situation resulted in the drive shaft locking up. One report claims that the driveshaft detached and punctured the fuel tank.

This report follows a successful sales month for the Grand Cherokee. June was the best month in sales for the all-road Jeep since 2005, and sales are up 38 percent for the first six months of 2012. Among Chrysler vehicles, the 75,117 units of the Grand Cherokee sold are second only to to the Ram, which sold 138,581 units in the first half of 2012.

NHTSA probing Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500 models over safety concerns originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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31 Aug 2012

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Not a Kung-Fu panda, but a “Super Panda.” That’s what Fiat is calling the third-generation, four-wheel-drive A-segment five-door hatch, which is apparently “ready to tackle mountain mule tracks and the urban jungle with the same cool.” If that sounds like your kind of beast, this 4×4 wears all manner of elements to let others know you mean business: black trim and skirting with contrasting skid plates front and back, different fog lights, 15-inch alloys on chunky tires, and the muffler has been raised so that it’s tucked within the bodywork.

The six-speed transmission has a low-range first gear. Power is routed to all four wheels, permanently, with an electronically-controlled coupling managing the differentials, with an Electronic Locking Differential further managing the spin at each wheel by applying the brakes when slip is detected. The suspension is MacPherson up front and ditches the semi-trailing arms for a torsion beam at the rear.

Both available engines improve on the previous 1.2-liter Fire that had 68 horsepower and 75 pound-feet of torque, with the new 1.3-liter, 75-hp MultiJet II diesel bettering torque by 30 percent and the 0.9-liter, 85-horsepower TwinAir Turbo raising that number by 40 percent. Both are fitted with start/stop.

The new Panda 4×4 has also got more colorful, with Toscana green metallic and Sicilia orange joining the exterior palette, and three-color seats placed inside. The cabin also gets more eco-leather detailing, remote central locking, rear headrests, a CD and MP3 player and more storage, since you never know what you’ll find on those mule tracks.

When the it is introduced at the Paris Motor Show next month it will be joined by two more additions to the Panda line: the Trekking and Natural Power times. Trekking gives the front-wheel-drive Panda the look of the 4×4 and Fiat’s Traction+ system that works off the electronic stability control programming to provide better grip. The Panda Natural Power uses the 0.9-liter TwinAir Turbo adapted to run on gasoline and methane. There’s more info to feed your Panda fix in the press release below.

Continue reading Fiat previews new Panda 4×4 ahead of Paris

Fiat previews new Panda 4×4 ahead of Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Aug 2012

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Canadian Auto Workers Union logoThe Canadian Auto Workers Union may soon be a thing of the past, but it still has to negotiate one more contract with the Big Three before its planned merger with the Canadian Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. The current deal expires on Sept. 17, so CAW representatives are meeting with the automakers this week in Toronto – and they’re coming armed with a strike authorization, according to The Detroit News.

While we can’t call the vote unanimous, some 99 percent of Chrysler union members voted in favor of walking out, with 98 percent of General Motors workers and 97 percent of Ford workers authorizing the action if the parties can’t come to terms. According to the report, the last CAW strike occurred in 1996.

CAW votes to authorize strikes against GM, Ford and Chrysler originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Aug 2012 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 Aug 2012

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Maybach 62 - two tone paint - front three-quarter view

It happens every year. We bid adieu to some cars and trucks that will be missed, and say good riddance to others wondering how they stayed around so long. Whether they’re being killed off for slow sales or due to a new product coming along to replace them, the list of vehicles being discontinued after 2012 is surprisingly long and diverse.

CNN Money has compiled a list of departing vehicles, to which we’ve added a few more of our own. In the slow sales column, cars like the Lexus HS 250h, Mercedes-Benz R-Class and the full Maybach lineup appear, while the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mazda CX-7 and Hyundai Veracruz are all having their gaps filled with more modern and more fuel-efficient alternatives. Obvious exceptions to the rule include models that still sell in decent numbers like the Jeep Liberty and the Chrysler Town & Country (which will eventually be replaced by a crossover-like vehicle).

Check out our gallery of discontinued cars above, then scroll down for more information.

Continue reading These cars are headed to the Great Crusher In The Sky

These cars are headed to the Great Crusher In The Sky originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Aug 2012 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Aug 2012

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2012 Chrysler 300 S and 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedans

In the not too distant past, large sedans had devolved into largely boring highway cruisers destined for lives consisting of annual trips from New York to South Florida. Thankfully, the industry’s latest crop of big four-doors actually brings improved quality and a more enjoyable driving experience to the table. This couldn’t be any more evident than the new large sedans that Consumer Reports recently tested and rated. While the Hyundai Genesis remained on top in this category, the updated 2012 Chrysler 300 surged ahead of its other competitors thanks primarily to the car’s new transmission. Other sedans tested that were new or improved in 2012 include the Hyundai Azera, Buick LaCrosse eAssist and the 2013 Ford Taurus.

With a rating of 87, the Hyundai Genesis is still the institute’s top-rated large sedan, but the new Chrysler 300 V6 with the eight-speed automatic transmission put Chrysler’s flagship sedan closer to the Genesis with a rating of 83; the V8-powered 300C has a rating of 82. This higher rating is a result of the new ZF-sourced transmission’s smoother shifts and improved fuel economy. A five-speed transmission is still offered in the car, but the new gearbox delivers an extra 4 miles per gallon on the highway (and 2 mpg in the combined rating). The new transmission did take a slight hit from CR due to its oddly “fussy” shifter.

Nipping at the heels of the new 300 V6, the redesigned 2012 Hyundai Azera received a favorable score of 81 due to mainly its improved interior and ride quality. The Buick LaCrosse eAssist mild hybrid comes in next with a rating of 78 to go with its best-in-class observed economy of 26 mpg, while the 2013 Ford Taurus is still at the bottom of the list with a rating of 64 primarily due to CR‘s dislike of the MyFord Touch infotainment system and the car’s cramped cabin.

None of the four new sedans received the coveted CR recommendation since all are either brand-new or significantly updated for 2012.

View the press release from CR below.

Continue reading Revised Chrysler 300 V6 joins Hyundai Genesis atop Consumer Reports large sedan ratings

Revised Chrysler 300 V6 joins Hyundai Genesis atop Consumer Reports large sedan ratings originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 23 Aug 2012 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Aug 2012

The Chrysler 300 has always been one of the best large sedans on the market.  Chrysler is known for adding in luxury and comfort touches inside their vehicle at no extra cost.  Now that the US’ most trusted quality assurance reviewers have found the Chrysler 300 to be absolute best in American-made large sedans, there’s no reason not to become part of the Chrysler family.

“The 2011 redesign of the 300 put Chrysler’s flagship back on the map in the large sedan category. Though the muscular V8-powered 300C delivers more oomph, most buyers will probably be quite happy with the V6 engine, which contributes to its refined character and helps it score near the top of its category,” David Champion, Sr. Director of Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center, told media.

Both engines for the Chrysler 300 have improved in performance in fuel economy.  That fact, combined with the knowledge that Chrysler makes a better large sedan than Ford, Toyota, Honda or General Motors, should bring buyers flocking.

For more information about the 300, or to take a look at any Chrysler vehicle, contact Larson Dodge Chrysler.

23 Aug 2012

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Chrysler dealership sale

Last December, J.D. Power’s Sales Satisfaction Index Study ranked Chrysler’s Jeep, Ram and Dodge brands at the bottom of the list. The Chrysler brand itself fared somewhat better with a ranking of nine out of 19 brands.

With those scores in mind, Chrysler execs deduced that their customer satisfaction incentive program for dealers just wasn’t working. Under that program, the largest dealers could earn as much as $200,000 for meeting customer service, facilities and management goals. Per quarter. So the program is being scrapped in favor of a system more like that used by Toyota. Instead of rewards and penalties, Chrysler dealers will now be motivated by simple profits.

“If you perform at a higher level based on customer experience, your percentage of loyalty will grow, your percentage of service retention will grow,” Mark Engelsdorfer, Chrysler’s director of market representation tells Automotive News. “With that will come a pretty substantial growth in your operating profit.”

Chrysler’s new program was drawn up with help from its dealer network and seems to be more amenable to dealers than the previous system. The new initiative “is really emulating a partnership,” Mike Maroone, COO of AutoNation Inc. said in the same article. “Their willingness to walk away from the carrot and stick is really the right way to go.”

Chrysler suspends incentives, penalties for dealer customer service originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Aug 2012 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Aug 2012

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Alec Baldwin (left) and Jerry Seinfeld (right) in Mercedes-Benz 280SL

For both comedy and car fans, Jerry Seinfeld and his “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” web series has been a car-filled, caffeine-fueled, laugh-fest. The trend continues in the two latest installments of his unusual unscripted series.

In the first video seen above, Jerry picks up actor Alec Baldwin in a Signal Red Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster. The two exchange anecdotes about their shared hometown of Massapequa, New York and of a Kirk Douglas-Burt Lancaster rivalry. Baldwin also considers his mortality and calls Seinfeld a “lazy, shiftless bastard.” Baldwin also decrees that he is the most articulate person in the Screen Actors Guild, and talks about the jealousy induced by watching his neighbors play on a Slip ‘n’ Slide.

Click below to see the video of the two prolific funny men talk over coffee and while tooling around in Seinfeld’s cherry SL.

Additionally, we’ve added a recent episode of the web series that you might have missed, and this time Jerry is on the West Coast at the wheel of a 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. Powered by a 340 Six Pack, Seinfeld picks up standup comic Brian Regan.

Continue reading Seinfeld’s CiCGC pairs Alec Baldwin with 1970 Mercedes-Benz SL

Seinfeld’s CiCGC pairs Alec Baldwin with 1970 Mercedes-Benz SL originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 Aug 2012 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Aug 2012