autoMedia CARnival 06-13-10: The week in Auto Blogs

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Welcome to this week's better-late-than-never edition of the autoMedia CARnival! We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've got links to wacky news, green news, racing news, great videos and more, so relax and enjoy! 


chevrolet bowtimeEverybody's talking about last week's Chevrolet memo mandating that the nickname "Chevy" no longer be used as the company works to establish a global presence for Chevrolet by using a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes.  Consumer Reports  also includes the company's retraction, in which the company further explains, "In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name.  We deeply appreciate the emotional connections that millions of people have for Chevrolet and its products." You say Chevy, they say Chevrolet: in the long run, it's still made by General Motors. Click here to to learn more about the history of the iconic bowtie emblem. more

autoMedia CARnival 05-28-10: The week in Auto Blogs

Brandy Schaffels on

Welcome to this week's edition of the autoMedia CARnival! We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've got links to wacky news, green news, racing news, great videos and more, so relax and enjoy!

honda dog in carWith the approach of the long Memorial Day weekend, the summer travel season is upon us and many families will hit the road, including the four-legged furry members. While it's great to include your pet in your plans, keeping the family together and saving kennel fees in the process, there are some considerations to keep in mind. It's important to plan ahead, make sure you have all the necessary gear, and prepare your vehicle accordingly. Consumer Reports has a few tips to ensure your pet -- as well as your other passengers -- in the car enjoy a fun, safe trip.

2011 ford fiesta social media
While a billboard can tell you about the Ford Fiesta's keyless entry, it takes a webisode to show how that feature can help a Fiesta owner escape from zombies while his Toyota and Honda-owning friends become a snack for the undead. That's why Ford turned to agents from the successful first chapter of the Fiesta Movement to create online content to promote their new subcompact. They're calling it the Fiesta Project, and so far the YouTube videos have gained nearly 500,000 views. "We selected some of our most creative, funny and socially vibrant agents to help us showcase the vehicle's class-exclusive features," said Jonathan Beebe, Ford's Digital Communications manager. The webisodes join a traditional marketing campaign and a second chapter of the Fiesta Movement, gaining big publicity for the tiny car. Read all about it at wired.com/autopia.

jalopnik road sign Speaking of social media, here's an interesting way to get a message across to the masses: How about hacking those electric road signs? Pranksters in Wisconsin once again ignored Jalopnik's continuous and fervent requests to not hack road signs. This time there's no confusing political message, just the lyrical poetry of Detroit garage disco rock stars Electric Six.


Mercury logoAfter 70 years of existence, it looks like Mercury will be the next auto brand to go the way of Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn. According to CarGurus, top executives are preparing a proposal to kill Mercury. That proposal will be presented to the board in July, but it seems the Ford family is in favor of axing the brand.

toyota logo

Caused chiefly due to faults that recalled millions of American Toyota vehicles, Automoblog reports the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee has devised an Act that could bring some sweeping changes not only to the issue of unattended vehicle acceleration but to the whole recall process.


fisker karmaFisker Automotive is still in the absolute infancy of its life cycle as an electric carmaker, but, according to LeftLaneNews.com, it plans to produce as many as 100 examples of its first planned model -- the Karma sedan -- in order to carry out various forms of testing. Apparently, Ray Lane, one of the investors in Fisker Automotive, said the 70-100 vehicles would "be tested internally, crash tested and used for other testing purposes. Some of them will be given to customers for testing purposes as well, out in the real road." 'Bout time.

automopedia lost carsThat's right friends, even your pals at Automopedia are doing a Lost tie-in. The show's epic finale was this week, and who could have guessed The Island was really... Just kidding. Won't give it away because frankly we at the Automopedia offices need to watch The End on Hulu again, to try and catch everything. But they are sharing the six cars you wish you never had to deal with. You may be surprised at this list - they're not going with the usual "Worst Car" ranking, which almost always includes a Pontiac Aztek and Yugo. And yes, they're doing six because Lost was on for six seasons -- they are such geeks.

Volkswagen ipad High-tech rules! Volkswagen is the first automaker to develop a digital customer magazine as an app for the Apple iPad. According to The Detroit Bureau, the "innovative" digital product -- dubbed DAS for Digital Automotive Space - is appearing as the launch of the new Apple tablet computer proceeds across Europe.



gm uses albert einstein to pitch terrainTheCarConnection says General Motors has a problem: Not its recent bailout. Or its endless personnel shakeups. Or even the public's lingering doubts about GM production quality. They've also been through a slew of advertising and branding agencies during their recent tumultuous times. Behold the product of one campaign, which featured the likeness of Albert Einstein atop a sexy hunky-hunk of muscular manflesh. Unfortunately, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem owns the licensing rights to Albert Einstein's image, and they are not happy about this representation of the famous brainiac. Hey, ideas are sexy too!

 

modifiedcars.comGot a yearning to gaze at lovingly modified cars, adorned by surgically altered models? Check out ModifiedCars.com for an assortment of super-tuned road monsters and plenty of eye candy. Most galleries include images of high-enough resolution to serve as wallpaper on even the largest of high-def monitors. Enjoy!



wreckedexotics.comWhen some people buy an exotic, they can't wait to push the limits. Unfortunately, sometimes they get a little too giddy and wreck the car before they even had a chance to really enjoy it. Call it schadenfreude. Call it pure voyeurism. You know you want to see what those bozos do to their very special vehicles, so wreckedexotics.com offers you this compilation of exotic cars wrecked only days or weeks after purchase.

 

wrecked aston martin rapideSpeaking of wrecked exotics, The devastating hailstorm that recently wreaked havoc in the Midwest damaged a lot of property and injured a lot of people, but what really caught the attention of TopSpeed.com is this Aston Martin Rapide pinned beneath a tree in the parking lot of the Midwestern Automobile Media Association. Bummer.



william shatner carlustOh yeah, there are some things in our past that we will never live down. Take for instance: William Shatner's early days as Captain Quirk, er, Kirk. Carlust.com remembers the era with a special Shatner blog, featuring StarTrek stars and their futuristic cars, saying "It's amazing...how well these cars and these pictures represent the two Star Trek characters. Kirk was a vibrant, bouncy, irresistibly cheerful character with a zest for livng life to the fullest. It's completely appropriate that he's pictured here in full color, sitting on a wild, futuristic hot rod with a jaunty smile on his face." Yeah, that's a jaunty ride, alright...


lexus steering recallToyota/Lexus just can't catch a break these days, can they? Toyota has apparently released a quick flick showing the details of its most recent recall involving the variable gear-ratio steering on the 2010 Lexus LS. This video at autoblog shows --  in English and Japanese -- exactly what happens when the design defect rears its ugly head on the range-topping sedan. Fortunately, only about 3,800 affected vehicles are actually roaming U.S. highways, and all of them are eligible for a free fix. Check with your dealer if you're concerned about your own car.

 

Kelly Blue Book gets ticketedKelley Blue Book ace and auto pal James Bell and his team brought a slew of vehicles to Santa Monica, California for some analysis on KTLA channel five's morning show. However, while Bell and KTLA were live on the air, a Santa Monica parking enforcement officer began rifling off $50 tickets for each vehicle on display. Check out the video footage of this $500 parking faux pas at autoblog.com


And with that video to make you thankful you've got a private parking lot at your disposal, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!



Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor more

autoMedia CARnival 05-21-10: The week in Auto Blogs

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Welcome to this week's edition of the autoMedia CARnival! We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've got links to wacky news, green news, racing news, great videos and more, so relax and enjoy!

prosche hybrid nurburgringAfter more than 22 hours of circling the punishing Nuerburgring circuit, Porsche nervously waited for the remaining two hours to tick by. After unveiling its new hybrid drive system back in February, the company's new 911 GT3 R Hybrid was in the lead of the grueling Nuerburgring 24 Hours. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid had been leading the race for several hours on Sunday afternoon when at the 22 hour, 15 minute mark, the driver heard a loud noise towards the engine and the hybrid's race was over. In the end a BMW M3 GT2 claimed the title this year at the Nuerburgring, ending a four-year winning streak for Porsche. Read the complete race report at wired.com/autopia.

lord jesus christ vs chevrolet monte carloLord Jesus Christ was hit by a Monte Carlo over the weekend! Christ suffered minor injuries when crossing in a Northampton, Massachusetts crosswalk this weekend. According to Automopedia.org,  20-year old Brittany E. Cantarella failed to yield while making a left-hand turn and clipped The Son of a Carpenter. She was given a ticket for moving violation, no word yet on whether she was also issued a ticket straight to hell.

teeneage drinking and drivingEach year, spring school rituals - prom and graduation - begin with so much excitement and promise, yet end in tragedy for hundreds of teen drivers and their passengers. If you're the parent of a teenager, then you'll want to read this three-part series on teen drinking and driving at AskPatty.com

nissan leaf for lance armstrongNissan has opened reservations for the daring Leaf electric car to the public.  Previously, Nissan had allowed prospective customers who registered early to essentially get in line first with an early reservation. Now, all buyers are welcomed: Thus far, Leaf orders stand about 12,000 in the United States and 17,000 worldwide. Well, according to AutoBlogGreen,  legendary cyclist and official Leaf spokesperson Lance Armstrong will become the first official U.S. owner of the Nissan Leaf. In fact, not only will Lance be first in line, word is he'll get his Leaf in September, nearly three months before the general public has a shot at getting into Nissan's all-new EV.

porsche garage crashCrashing a highly valued press car has got to be every journalist's nightmare. Well, a story about how the son of Canadian automotive journalist Peter Cheney crashed a $180K Porsche press car made the rounds yesterday. Jalopnik has the complete story describing how this kid drove a Porsche 911 Turbo through a garage door. I heard a similar situation happened several years ago when a Motor Trend editor's son wrecked a Dodge Viper. Yikes!!

nationwide cell phone lawsTraveling on vacation this summer, or maybe just over the state line for a soccer match this weekend? Consumer Reports  suggests you make yourself aware of state laws on cell-phone use and texting while driving with this excellent cell-phone laws resource from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

chevy baseball iphone appChevrolet is offering iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad owners a chance to experience the excitement of America's favorite pastime in the palm of their hands!  Baseball enthusiasts can play fully 3-D simulation baseball game and earn a chance to win a trip to attend the 2010 All Star Game with the free downloadable game Chevy Baseball. Find out how to swing for the fences with Chevy Baseball at TrueCar.com  Play as either the Camaros or the Silverados in that brings to the palm of your hand.

hand grenade by mconnors a morguefileToyota already has its hands full with a rash of recent recalls, but the Japanese automaker faced a new crisis in the past week: Apparently deliveries of four suspicious (read 'bomb-like') packages  sent to various Toyota facilities across the country since Friday had put quite a scare into Toyota and Postal employees alike. Just yesterday, according to LeftLaneNews,  authorities determined that the packages contained designs for a turn signal system and were not intended as fake bombs. Whew!

Tesla Roadster chargingAnd as long as we're talking about Toyota, Wired.com/autopia reports that Toyota is teaming up with Tesla Motors to develop and build electric vehicles, and the Japanese automaker will buy $50 million worth of common stock when Tesla goes public. Under the partnership announced yesterday, the two companies will develop electric vehicles and components, and Tesla Motors also will invest "a couple of hundred million dollars" retooling a shuttered Toyota factory near San Francisco to build the Model S sedan.

2011 porsche cayenne hybridPerformance hybrid systems haven't yet shown a record for being strong sellers. But Porsche--now along with several luxury automakers, actually--believes that it has a strong case for the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. A first-drive experience at TheCarConnection  with the new Hybrid indicates that Porsche might be on to something: this off-road capable model can hold its own on the track and yet return well over 20 mpg on the street.

lexus dark rideWhat do you think about social media advertising campaigns, such as the Fiest Movement? As manufacturers strive to find new ways to reach their online audience, Lexus has released its own social media marketing campaign online at www.lexusdarkride.com. According to CarGurus.com,  Lexus wants potential customers to star in an interactive film, in which Boondock Saints star Norman Reedus takes advice from you while piloting the new Lexus CT 200h. Apparently, consumers will use an array of interactive features in the film--allowing them to insert their own likeness (via a Webcam or profile pic), record their own dialog lines, control the camera movement and POV, and make decisions that alter the path of the film so new situations arise each time. Are you interested in playing?

2011 Audi A1 SIn another social media advertising campaign, Audi's 2011 A1 minicar is co-starring alongside Justin Timberlake in "The Next Big Thing," a six-episode online movie/advertising effort airing at audi.com. Similar to the successful concept of BMW's "The Hire" series produced for the Internet in 2001 and 2002, Audi's movie series promises to blur the lines between reality and fiction as it follows the suspenseful interactions of John Frank (played by Timberlake).   You can also watch the first three episodes (out of six) here at TheCarConnection.com

And with that video series to keep you entertained for the next 20 minutes or so, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!


Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor more

autoMedia CARnival 05-14-10: The week in Auto Blogs

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Welcome to this week's edition of the autoMedia CARnival! We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've got links to lots of car-buying tips, green news, and great video, so relax and enjoy!

2010 Honda OdysseySo Parents magazine teamed up with Edmunds.com to rank the Best Family Cars of 2010,  But The Auto Prophet  calls their screening criteria "full of fail." Why?  The article states they only "included models equipped with antilock brakes and front, side, and side-curtain air bags," and TAP says he "can't recommend any vehicle which does not have ESC, particularly any vehicle with a tall profile such as most CUVs and SUVs." So what do you think? Weigh in on the debate with your own comments!

the truth about cars logoTime for a new car? Trying to decide whether to purchase new or used? TheTruthAboutCars  gives some advice to a reader suffering from analysis paralysis over his list of more than a dozen vehicle choices, and you might be surprised by their answer.

for sale signDon't let buying a used car turn into a nightmare! A smart buyer knows there are many things to look out for as some owners try to hide problems from buyers in an effort to drive up the price of the car. Automoblog shares three of the biggest mistakes people make so you don't have to.

True Car logoSummer is nearly upon us, and some parents might be shopping for cars with their young graduates. Want to know which vehicles are most appealing to today's youthful drivers? A new study recently completed by TrueCar.com,  shows the top 10 models for young drivers, saying Mitsubishi, Mazda and Volkswagen have the highest concentration of younger buyers.  TrueCar also identified the best deals on models for this demographic based on current actual transactions.

progressive xprize carHave you been following the Progressive Automotive X-Prize? (Nope? Me neither.) However, initial track testing has been completed, and the teams will progress into the final testing stage. Read a complete update at AutoBlogGreen  which explains how 22 teams representing 27 vehicles will continue to the pivotal, scored knockout stage June 20-30 in pursuit of a multimillion dollar cash prize for super fuel-efficient cars.

2011 chevrolet cruzeSpeaking of super-fuel-efficient cars: Hybrids may appear to be a great way to max out on MPG, but a new breed of conventional gas-powered cars are promising better than 40 miles to the gallon--at least on the highway. The all-new Chevrolet Cruze Eco, due out in late 2010, is one of those contenders, and last week, HybridCars.com gave it a test drive on a closed course at GM's Milford Proving Grounds. Here's their report.

empty gas gaugeIf you're seeking better fuel economy from your daily driver, don't bother to change your air filter every few months, let your cold car warm up before driving off, or use premium fuel or aftermarket additives. According to The Detroit Bureau,  these are just some of ways not to improve your fuel economy.

sinking carYou never know what kind of accident could happen while you're driving, so automopedia.org has tips on how to escape a sinking automobile. Well, yeah, "stay calm" is obvious, but did you know they recommend keeping your seatbelt ON till the last possible moment.  Find out how to prevent drowning in a sinking auto here at automopedia.

Porsche 911 GT2 RSPorsche has officially given up the goods on the ultra high-performance 911 GT2 RS -- the most powerful road-going Porsche ever produced. While the track-minded 911 GT2 RS will make its official public debut on August 25th at the Moscow Auto Show, LeftLaneNews  has video that shows exactly what this coupe can do on the track. We can't decipher all the expletives, but we can spell "awesome!"

speak n spell vs chryslerThrough the magic of technology, the 1986 Chrysler New Yorker could talk to its driver. Similarly, the Speak & Spell children's learning toy could school you with a mechanized voice. Jalopnik  has entertaining video that shows what happens when you put them together. And as always, the comments are quite entertaining!

mythbusters duct tape testSays Wikipedia, "Duct tape is a polyethylene, reinforced, multi-purpose pressure sensitive tape with a soft and flexible shell and pressure sensitive adhesive." Sounds pretty simple. And yet, as you are likely aware, the uses for such a product are seemingly endless. So the Mythbusters ask: is it possible to reassemble a torn-apart car using nothing but a few rolls of tape? Next, is it possible to stop a car from moving with the sticky silver material? Set aside 20 minutes to check out these two videos at autoblog.com

And with that video to send you racing to the store to buy a case of duct tape in preparation for your next round of car repairs, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 05-07-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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Welcome to this week's edition of the autoMedia CARnival! We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world.

2011 Ford FiestaThe first road tests of Ford's highly anticipated 2011 Fiesta went live last week. It'll be arriving in dealerships in just a couple months; it's easy on the eyes, economical, and right-sized. It's also well-built. If you're a fan of this sporty little car, then you'll want to read our review here at autoMedia.com.

GM tarp repaymentLast week, General Motors announced they had paid back their government loans ahead of schedule. It sounds a little complicated, but is it possible that GM actually paid back their TARP loans with... more TARP loans? Well, Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine explains exactly how GM paid back their government loans here at WashingtonExaminer.com

2010 MazdaSpeed3How much sex appeal does your car have? Many have asked just this question -- and while you might not think it's relevant or even worth talking about, it plays an important role in car-buying situations. There's no denying it; the curb appeal of a car is part of the buying process. And if it isn't, then you clearly know nothing about cars and care very little about what the world thinks of you as a human being. Would you wake up and put a potato sack on to go to work? Automoblog doesn't think so. So, how does one measure a car's sex appeal? Click here to read more at Automoblog.

teen textingDriving after dark always has its risks, but a new study published at TheDetroitBureau  finds that the number of nighttime fatalities involving teenage drivers has risen well beyond that of the rest of the population, and cellphones are the likely cause. In fact, the study shows, the percentage of deadly nighttime crashes involving drivers 16 to 19 years old increased sharply between 1999 and 2008, according to research by the Texas Transportation Institute.

windfarmApparently Mitsubishi and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIoT) were working on a way to use power generated while a windmill spins at night. So, what's so special about wind power produced overnight? Well, according to AutoBlogGreen,  power companies usually only buy energy that wind farms produce during the day when demand is high. When the windmills spin all night long, the power generated is wasted, unless an expensive battery is used to store the energy. Mitsubishi and the TIoT are developing a system that will allow this "wasted" night energy to charge electric vehicles - and it doesn't rely on that costly battery. ABG asks, since the energy would be wasted anyways, why not send it to EV owners for free?

harveys seatbelt bagLooking for some last-minute gift ideas for Mother's Day? AskPatty has a list of items sure to please any car-loving Mom! From Harvey's Seatbelt Bags, to Porsche sunglasses, a simple baseball cap, or a fancy swarovski license plate frame, there's something here for every pricerange or taste. And while many items may require a shipping delay, Jiffy Lube Gift Cards are a nice way to help her care for her car, and don't require any waiting at all.

2010 Lexus GX 460As was reported last week, Lexus performed a remarkably quick turnaround in fixing its 2010 Lexus GX 460's stability control. The problem was exposed by Consumer Reports, which placed the SUV on its "do not buy" list as a result. The GX 460 is now off the list, and back in sales, and this video at TheCarConnection  demonstrates the improvement made by the new stability software.

obsolete auto lawsSince the first automobile was rolled on the horse-trekked roadways, the usage of these four-wheel conveyances have been governed by laws. With over a century spent driving, some traffic and/or car-related laws have eventually be antiquated or just downright nutty. Among these, some of the earlier traffic laws remain on the books as remnants to the early days of the horseless carriage where only an elite few motorists could putter around in then-bizarre machines. Read up on these obsolete rules of the road at Automoblog.

arizona traffic camsAfter nearly a year and a half of closely monitoring - and issuing harsh penalties - Arizona's 76 speed cameras will be turned off and removed on July 16. According to Left Lane News,  the cameras snap photos of cars exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph and were supposed to bring in up to $90 million annually. Unfortunately, they fell far short of that goal because ticketed drivers regularly ignore the citations. Oops!

audi r8 tony stark challengeIron Man 2 opened nationwide today, and it's already gathered its own collection of headlines:  First, consumers are invited to submit up to two-minute videos showcasing their ideas for better living through the use of technology, just as Tony Stark did with his Stark Expo in the movie. According to this blog at TrueCar.com,   each participant can create up to three two-minute entries with a potential prize of $15,000 plus some Tony-Stark-style perks.

2010 Rolls Royce GhostMeanwhile, AutoBlog  asks "What is it with Iron Man movies and the wanton destruction of perfectly good, desirable automobiles?" In the first flick, the crew purposely crashed a pair of Audi R8 coupes, and neither sequence actually made it into the final film. For their sophomore effort, the crew reportedly split into slivers a pair of Rolls-Royce Phantoms - supposedly the first two identical machines that the famous marque has built. Want to see it for yourself? Check it out here at YouTube.

And with that video to send you racing to the movie theatres to watch Iron Man 2 on the big screen, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 04-30-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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carnival logoWe've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've also included plenty of green content to celebrate the end of Earth Month!

suzuki kizashi free gasLast year, Suzuki offered its "Free Gas for Summer" promotion on SX4 Sport and Crossover models. This summer, the automaker is not only reviving this campaign, but is spreading the promotion across its full model range (Kizashi, Grand Vitara, Equator and SX4 models). Since fuel prices commonly rise in the summer months, AutoBlog  anticipates shoppers will be excited about any promotion that involves free fuel, and with the hot new Kizashi just now hitting dealers, this incentive could indeed boost sales of the hot new midsize sedan.

GM Education Google EarthFrom time to time, the greenies over at AutoBlogGreen go head-over-heels over stuff that non-greenies would have no interest in. For example, they say they always thought that a great Google Earth app would be one that shows automotive plants across the globe, but why stop there? Throw in things like locations of wind farms, solar parks, and hyrdo-plants and those Greenies would start to drool. Well, General Motors either shares a similar vision or company officials were their reading our minds: witness the new GM Education Google Earth Project, which takes the power of Google Earth and transforms it into an educational tool that focuses on production of energy across the globe.

hybrid moneyKermit the Frog laments, "It's not easy being green," and LeftLaneNews  agrees in their indepth search to find the most cost-effective hybrid money can buy. One of the major hurdles cost-sensitive buyers report when plunking down the cash for a hybrid is trying to calculate the amount of time it takes to pay off the additional cost over an equivalent non-hybrid model. With so many factors to consider, it's not easy to find out how to save the most green - while driving a green car. The results of their research might surprise you...

Hyundai Sonata HybridIn recent years, Europe has been embracing stop-start systems--also known as "micro-hybrids"--but the US has been slow to adopt the technology. Until now. HybridCars shares a report predicting that  Hyundai and Ford will begin offering stop-start systems on several of their models.

Mini-EWhat's the latest trend in Green Car Technology? For Earth Day 2010, Automopedia takes a look at what's new and improved in the world of eco-friendly tech. Has the hybrid craze finally come to an end? Are we looking to a future of all electric- and alternative-fueled vehicles? While hybrid cars are still a top-selling subdivision of both import and domestic automakers, alternative methods are being tested. This report at Automopedia takes a look at other eco-friendly automotive options.

tire-eating potolesThink those tire-eating potholes and frost heaves along the commute--and all the rattles and squeaks they elicit from your car--are costing you big in extra repairs and vehicle wear? Well, according to TheCarConnection,  you're right! Awful road conditions cost U.S. motorists $67 billion per year in additional repairs and operating costs--an average of $335 per motorist, nationally.

2011 ford fiestaFord rolled out its B-segment competitor in San Francisco last week, in both sedan and hatchback versions. Can the 2011 Ford Fiesta compete with the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris? This first drive at AutomotiveTraveler  gives the answer.

check the oilAccording to unscientific research at CarGurus,  free scheduled maintenance programs are a nice perk, but not a big enough reason to consider a BMW (or, presumably, a Jaguar) over another make. Their article researches whether free schedule maintenance programs actually save you money...the verdict? Considering the cost of purchasing a BMW or Jag can range from $40K to $100K (or more), a more practical cost savings might be buying a top-end Honda, Toyota, Chevy, or Ford and following its recommended service schedule at a trusted independent shop.

2011 Scion xDIf you're in the market for your child's first car, you're probably interested in an affordable model that is safe and reliable. Maybe you're even thinking of passing down a car that's already in the family. According to Consumer Reports, that's fine, as long as it is a relatively recent model, with all the latest safety features, rather than a worn-out, low-value clunker. Why? Safety and reliability are important when choosing a vehicle for a young, inexperienced driver, especially because car crashes are the number one killer of teens. What are the best cars for teen drivers? Find out at Consumer Reports.

10 worst crash testsWhile some concerning things have been happening in the automotive industry, good developments are also occurring in the area of automotive safety. The overall safety of our cars is much higher than ever before. In fact, last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 33,963 automotive traffic fatalities, the lowest amount since 1954, with the percentage down by 8.9 percent compared to 2008. However, there are some anomalies in the overall progression of safety - and they include recent and popular vehicles. That's why Automoblog  decided to compile this Top 10 list of some of the worst offenders. Glad those videos show crash test dummies!

Fiat on two wheelsDontcha just love Jalopnik? They had a treasure trove of entertaining videos this week! First, they've got amazing footage of a  Fiat Abarth Trofeo racing on two wheels! The driver gets sideways in a turn, runs across the curb, and bounces up onto two wheels, "Herbie, the Love Bug" style. Best of all? He saves it!  And if that's not entertaining enough, the gentlemen at Jalopnik have also shared a short video showing what happens when you strap a car seat onto an exploding airbag.  Good thing he was wearing a helmet, which is more than we can say for the guy in the video added to the comments. 'Nuff said. You've got to see it to believe it.

And with those three video segments to keep you focused on the computer screen, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 04-23-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. We've even gathered up some green content in honor of Earth Day on April 22, 2010!

2011 FORD FOCUSWhen Americans are asked which country makes the best cars, the answer has long been Japan. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have enjoyed a stellar reputation for quality and longevity, but the results of a survey posted at TheCarGurus  suggest the U.S.A. has finally ended their reign. Do you agree with their opinion?

2011 ford fiestaYes, I am admittedly a fan of the upcoming 2011 Ford Fiesta, which is why I was happy to see the sporty little car make the news twice this week! While hands-free Bluetooth, cellular, and audio functions are now common in many cars, Ford and SYNC are taking hands-free safety one step further with voice and vehicle control of smart devices like Android and BlackBerry smartphone apps. If you've got one of these devices, TrueCar says you can be among the first to use Pandora internet radio, Stitcher "smart radio," and Orangatame's OpenBeak Twitter application in your SYNC-enabled Fiesta.  And other apps are on the way! So if this announcement increases your desire to own one, you might be able to win one personalized by the top American Idols, as part of the weekly Ford Music Video Challenge.

sunglassesTired of gripping that steering wheel? According to a report at Yahoo! News, German researchers have developed a new technology that lets drivers steer cars using only their eyes. Apparently, the technology tracks a driver's eye movement and, in turn, steers the car in whatever direction they're looking. What happens if you look at the cute driver next to you, or try to dial your phone while driving? Supposedly, the vehicle is an autonomous car equipped with GPS navigation, scores of cameras, lasers and scanners that enable it to drive by itself. Wow.

top gear usa logoAre you a fan of Top Gear? In an exclusive interview at Jalopnik,  motoring show Top Gear USA, reported the American version will produce 10 episodes for The History Channel, and plans to meet or exceed the bar set by the UK original. The program will be hosted by racer Tanner Foust, comedian Adam Ferrera, and NASCAR "analyst" Rutledge Wood.

earth dayEven though Earth day is a few days past, it's not to late to show your support and take action by heading over to earthday.org and checking out the campaigns, events, and looking at some of the ways you can reduce your energy consumption. Automoblog has posted a few green automotive tips, tricks, along with some earth-friendly products to help drivers reduce energy use, encourage using recycled products, and save some cash.

ford logoFord has announced a safety recall that will affect approximately 33,000 of its 2010 Fusion, Explorer, Explorer Sport Trac and Mercury Milan and Mountainer vehicles. According to LeftLaneNews,  the recall addresses front seat manual recliners built between mid-December 2009 and early February 2010. Though no injuries have yet been reported, the recliners in question have faulty gears that could potentially cause the seat back and head restraint to move rearward in the event of a crash.

recycle car batteriesWhen most green-minded folks think of Earth Day, they're more likely to have visions of planting trees and cleaning streams than pondering their car battery's place in the universe. But car batteries are highly toxic, being made up primarily of lead, acid, and plastic. According to Consumer Reports, they're also highly recyclable, and old ones usually end up getting turned into more batteries. Click to find out more!

speedometerThe U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the United States uses about 150 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Eco-driving techniques tested by Ford showed that motorists coached in eco-driving can significantly improve the fuel economy performance of their vehicles. Here are some simple driving tips from AskPatty  that any driver can use to be more eco-friendly in the car.

Toyota Prius minivanAutoBlogGreen  reports that Toyota will produce a hybrid minivan wearing the Prius badge. The minivan is expected sometime in 2011 and will likely become the first Toyota production vehicle equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack developed in-house. This seven-seater will appeal to a family-oriented buyer with a projected price of somewhere in the mid-20 thousand dollar range.

2011 Nissan LeafIt's a few weeks into the pre-order phase, and Nissan has already recorded an impressive 3,754 reservations for its all-new Nissan Leaf EV in Japan. According to TheCarConnection,   that's over half the automaker's sales goal for the year. Even more intriguing? Nearly two-thirds of prospective buyers -- 61%, in fact -- are age 50 or older. Can't wait to see how the statistics pan out for American buyers, who only began ordering last week.

the driverIt looks like a new animated series has come along to whet your appetite for well-drawn cars. It's called The Driver, and it is expected to launch by summer of this year. Watch the trailer here at AutoBlog.

And with that animated racing adventure to take you back to the early days of Speed Racer, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 04-16-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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carnival logo We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs for the last two weeks to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world.

apple ipad incar installationOnly about a week after its release to the public, SoundMan Car Audio has already created TWO in-car installations of the Apple iPad. The first installation went into a Toyota Tacoma pickup on the day the device was officially released, and now that they've had a week to think about it, SoundMan has found a way to install the wuendertablet, into the dash of a 2004 Nissan Maxima. Check it out, complete with video at AutoBlog.  You know it won't be long before iPad installations become available on most cars on the road.

stylized hydrogen equinox logoIf you're a fan of using hydrogen to power automobiles, you're likely saddened that the hype for hydrogen as a fuel has quieted down substantially over the past two years as momentum for building out a fueling network has ground to a halt. Germany, says AutoBlogGreen, still likes the idea of fuel cells, and has committed to spend $2 billion over the next decade and wants to have at least 1,000 hydrogen stations in action by 2017.

New York City TrafficIt might be an unfortunate misunderstanding, but many people across the United States have the impression that New York drivers are bad and that their traffic is terrible. In a photo report at Jalopnik,  Tom Vanderbilt, traffic expert and author of the bestselling book "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do," shares ten things to know about New York City driving. Among his tips, Vanderbilt advises "If you're in a car, stay the heck out of the Bronx," explaining the nation's worst bottleneck is in the Bronx. The exit 4B segment (0.30 miles) of the Cross-Bronx Expressway is congested a whopping 94 hours a week at speeds averaging just 9 mph.

batteriesLeftLaneNews
  is reporting on Ford Chairman Bill Ford's belief that the business of batteries for electric vehicles could become the next national security issue, and that without an investment in domestic automotive battery technology the situation could become potentially follow the same disastrous path as oil. Ford has designated one billion dollars towards EV development in Michigan in 2010 and has already begun developing batteries internally; meanwhile GM is investing another $8 million into its Global Battery Systems Lab in Michigan. Will it be enough, or will be trade our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign batteries?

computer mouseConsidering buying or selling a vehicle through an online retailer (such as eBay)? If you think it's impossible to make such a transaction safety, then consider this two-part series at AskPatty  which educates online auto buyers with tips for buying autos online, safely. The series shares ways to avoid internet fraud, and provides information about fraudulent and authentic internet escrow companies.

costs of driving drunkWhat's the true cost of driving while drunk? Two bars in Brazil itemized the costs of an accident caused by drunk driving - from amputation and ambulance to ICU costs and wheelchairs -- and presented patrons with these charges as part of their bar tab. According to a story and video at TheCarConnection,  while most customers were freaked out by their R$73,000 (just over $40,000 U.S.) tabs, the point was well taken after bartenders explained the costs. For an action that cost them nothing, those bars were able to make more than a few drunks think before driving.

BMW Art CarThe names read like a Who's-Who of the art world: Calder, Stella, Warhol, Lichtenstein. Now add Jeff Koons, the avant garde artist who has become the latest in a long line of artists to apply his hand to one of BMW's rolling canvas, the Art Car, which will be more than just a museum piece. In fact, according to TheDetroitBureau, his BMW M3 GT2 will race at the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 12 and 13.

electronic stabilty testingThe recent Don't Buy: Safety Risk designation from Consumer Reports on the 2010 Lexus GX 460  and the resulting "stop sale" directive from Toyota, has prompted many questions about the role of electronic stability control (ESC) in keeping a vehicle under control. Consumer Reports  presents a primer on this important technology that helps a vehicle remain on its intended path by preventing it from sliding sideways in a turn (and potentially cause a rollover) can help save lives.

snoop dogg voiceskinFo' Shizzle my Nizzle, make the next lef-tizzle in 10 feet-izzles. Yep, according to Automopedia,  Snoop Dogg, West Coast rapper turned caricature, has done a celebrity voice for the TomTom GPS system. The TomTom GPS upgrades, featuring Snoop Dogg, Homer Simpson, and many other celebs giving you directions, are available for download for $12.95 at VoiceSkins.com.

porsche T64Are you an automotive history buff? To celebrate their 60th anniversary in North America, Porsche is sponsoring "The Allure of the Automobile" - a fine art display at Atlanta's High Museum of Art exhibition March 21st through June 20, 2010. Automoblog says the expo displays 18 vehicles in total, including one very rare specimen - the 1938/39 Porsche Type 64. The car has never been out of Germany, let alone a different continent, which will gives plenty of reason for car enthusiasts to visit the expo - particularly Porsche lovers.

true car logoIn a recent study that looked at the correlation between new vehicle sales and major macro-economic indicators, TrueCar,  was able to isolate which auto manufacturers were reliant on a positive economy and which are not. The study - which examined data dating back to January 2007 - was designed to find out the correlation between some of the most commonly followed macro-economic trends and new vehicle sales in the U.S. The results are very interesting!

Clark VogelerSo many of this week's items contain videos, it's hard to find just one to end with. However, after much consideration, I leave you with this surreal jalopnik  video by filmmaker Clark Vogeler that uses shift- and stop-motion photography that shows Los Angeles in a new and unique way.

And with that video to to give you a whole new perspective on traffic in Los Angeles, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! We're back to our regular weekly schedule, so check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 04-03-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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New YOrk Auto Show logoWe've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world.

The New York International Auto Show, held annually at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, is now open to the public and, as always, the city has braced itself for the amazing debuts and concepts to be on display. TrueCar.com has posted their TrueBuzz Ratings  for the coolest of the cool cars at the New York Auto Show.  LeftLaneNews has a review of the 2011 Sonata Hybrid to be powered by next-generation Lithium Polymer battery technology.A-Team movie van

Motor Trend has got the scoop on the 1980s-vintage GMC G20 Vandura  which drew crowds for its role as the co-star in the upcoming A-Team movie remake.

Porsche 918 SpyderWe've got coverage of the new 2011 Porsche Cayenne lineup released at the New York Auto Show here at autoMedia.com,  but the Cayenne Hybrid was just one of the vehicles showcased in the Porsche booth. AutoBlog  has analysis and video announcing the "other" green car in the lineup: Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid sportscar.

Nissan LeafHybrid vehicles were prolific at the New York Auto Show, but one giant announcement involved the pricing of one little electric car, and the $25,280 suggested retail price of the Nissan Leaf (after $7500 in Federal tax credits). Find out more at AutoBlogGreen.

Mazda2As the current trend of small cars gains favor, we're seeing carmakers shrinking models down as small as they can go and focusing on efficiency in fuel economy and price. Enter the teensy Mazda2: with an opening price of $13,980, the Mazda2 competes squarely against the Nissan Versa, Chevy Aveo, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, and Fiat 500. Read more about it at automoblog.com.

Daimler logoDaimler AG has paid a $185 million fine to settle bribery charges. But it turns out the company could have avoided the problem by enforcing its own ethics code passed in 1999. Read the entire story at The Detroit Bureau.

Text MesssageAT&T has launched a new anti-texting ad campaign for TV, print, and in-store video aimed at helping to reduce the crashes and deaths from distracted driving. According to Consumer Reports,  the ads show the simple text messages that were sent right before deadly crashes: Simple messages, like "Yeah" and "Where you at." Put the handheld down, and drive, people!

Bill Caswell, an unemployed Chicago racing freak, entered the Mexico round of the World Rally Championship in a 1991 BMW 318i that he found on Craigslist for $500. When the event was over, Bill's final time after penalties was 5:29:38.4 enough for a third-place finish in their class and a hypothetical 23rd over $400K rally cars in the same event. Read the complete story complete with photo galleries and video from the race at Jalopnik.com

And with that racing adventure to keep you occupied for most of the afternoon, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 03-26-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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New York Auto Show Logo We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. New York Auto Show opens its doors to the media next week, so we're seeing lots of vehicle previews across the blogs, so take your pick.

AutoMedia has posted a stack of previews, and staffers will be at the show next week, so bookmark your browser to autoMedia.com and check back again next week for more in-depth information and vehicle news.  I can't wait to see the new 2011 Acura TSX Sport WagonPorsche Cayenne Hybrid,  and 2010 Nissan Juke

Hyundai Sonata HybridHyundai's greenest Sonata is just days from being officially unveiled at the New York Auto Show. To build excitement, the Korean automaker released a teaser image of the 2011 Sonata Hybrid - photos and analysis by Mark Kleis can be found at Left Lane News.

Automopedia says the Lexus CT 200h Compact Hybrid revealed in Geneva last month, will in fact be on sale in the United States. Set to display at the 2010 New York Auto Show, the CT 200h "is expected to lead the class in fuel economy and deliver low emissions, but the CT 200h isn't just about being a hybrid, it's about having fun," said Lexus group VP and GM Mark Templin. Apparently, according to The Car Connection, Lexus will accompany its NYAS appearance with Lexus is sponsoring a debate on global warming hosted by Sarah Silverman. Don't want to miss that one!

Motor Trend  has already begun posting its advance coverage of the New York Auto Show, with photos and information on a generous handful of vehicles set to be on display at next week's show.

Auto Club top commutersAutoblog is revealing the Automobile Association of America's (AAA) top picks in commuter vehicles, saying the top vehicles include an eyebrow-raising potluck of conveyances. Judged on "practicality, safety, comfort, fuel efficiency and affordability" the Honda Insight comes in first, one of three Hondas in the top ten. They are joined by the Ford Fusion at number two, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI at three, and a Chevy, Mazda, Hyundai, and two Subarus to round it out. Click here to see the entire list.

GreenlingsOne of the challenges to making electric vehicles (EVs) "work" in the real world is figuring out how, where, and when to recharge them. If you have a garage, then those questions kind of answer themselves. You come home, take 15 seconds to plug the car into the wall and undo the plug in the morning with a full charge. But what will apartment dwellers do? This week's AutoBlogGreen "Greenlings" column presents a variety of options.

2011 Volvo S60Ford Motor Co. officials say they expect to complete the $1.8 million sale of Volvo to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. "in the next few days." The Detroit Bureau  says the sale price will less than one-third what Ford originally paid for the Swedish automaker in 1999.

dogs eat cop carThanks to Jalopnik (via Jezebel)  for this week's funny video of a pack of doggies devouring a cop car. Don't know what kind of yummy dog food was painted on the cruiser's bumper, but this dog was not going to let go, no how, no way: he ate the bumper and two tires. Nom nom!

And with that video to make you hungry for your iron supplement, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 03-19-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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crnival logo We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. And although the word "Toyota" appears in this edition several times, rest assured there is plenty of OTHER news worthy of your interest.

Toyota prius hybrid logoYou've probably heard the Toyota Prius referred to as the "Pious." The joke is that Prius owners feel driving a hybrid means they are holier than thou. Well, an article at AutoBlogGreen  reports that a study published in Psychological Science focused on the social behaviors of green consumers, and the results were surprising. Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong evaluated the behavior of environmentally conscious types, and Mazar and Zhong say they are liars, cheats, thieves, and just plain mean. Wowzer!

volkswagen new beetle ragster conceptThe Volkswagen New Beetle has carried on relatively unchanged since its market launch in 1998, but big changes are on the way for the retro two-door as the German automaker is planning to launch an all-new model by early 2011. LeftLaneNews is reporting that the new Beetle will ride on a variation of the next Jetta's platform, providing a longer wheelbase and more interior volume, and will be produced alongside the new Jetta at VW's Puebla, Mexico plant.

Honda recallToyota is no longer at the top of the recall list: Adding to a growing number of "safety campaigns in recent weeks, Honda will recall 410,000 minivans and other vehicles to deal with a balky braking system. According to The Detroit Bureau, the move affects 344,000 of the maker's Odyssey minivans and another 68,000 Element crossovers produced during the 2007 and 2008 model-years. Among other recent safety-related actions, Honda has announced a "service campaign" to repair power liftgates on the 2005 Odyssey minivan. and in March, the company added another 437,000 vehicles to a list of products with potentially defective airbags.

foot by darnak at morguefile.comAnother point for Toyota: Few automotive engineers believe in so-called "sudden acceleration." But until recently, says John Voelcker, "there's been no way to determine what a driver what doing when he (or she) swears that he was pressing the brake pedal with all his strength even as the car accelerated. Now, that's changed. Federal investigators say, [based on the car's black box report] the latest highly publicized incident--in which a 2005 Toyota Prius in the New York City suburb of Harrison, NY, accelerated across  a street and into a stone wall on March 9--appears to be the fault of the driver." The informative story also includes explanations for how such SUA incidences actually can happen. Check it out at The Car Connection.

toyota logoJust one more thing about Toyota: Go on over to MotorTrend.com and read what Todd Lassa has to say about this entire debacle, in his article titled "My Own Schadenfreude on the Toyota Unintended Acceleration Issue."  Kudos to Todd for saying out loud what many of us are already thinking. (Insert applause here.)

GM Event Data RecorderSo what is that "Black Box" that everyone's talking about these days? An article at Consumer Reports explains "Most new passenger vehicles are now equipped with "black box" devices that record data immediately before, during, and after a crash. Like more well-known devices on airliners, these event data recorders, or EDRs, can help police and investigators reconstruct what happened in a crash and why. They typically record information such as vehicle speed, throttle position, air bag deployment, whether brakes were applied, and if the driver was wearing a safety belt." Read the article to find out more about the no-longer-so-mysterious Black Box.

unstoppableHave you wondered how strong those cement barriers are, that you see in front of military base entrances? Well, AutoBlog has video proof of what happens when an unstoppable force encounters an immovable object. Let's just say those barriers are stronger than you might think, watch the video and see for yourself...

Kia SuperBowl adApparently, according to The Car Connection, Drive-In Music Company is in a tizzy, hurling lawsuits at Kia Motor Company, CBS, the NFL, and anyone else within arm's reach. At issue: the backing track used in Kia's Super Bowl commercial for the 2010 Kia Sorento, which Drive-In sees as a rip-off of a tune by 60s funk band *** and the Blazers. Well, Drive-In, get over it: as the final video in this article demonstrates, pretty much all popular songs are just mashups of the same four chords.

And with that video to keep you humming variations of the same four chords all weekend long, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 03-12-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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Carnival logoWe've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world.

Ford Police Interceptor ConceptAt a private fleet sales event in Las Vegas today, Ford finally took the wraps off a new-generation Police Interceptor model based on the 2010 Taurus. The new car has big shoes to fill as the Crown Vic has accounted for 70 percent of all police vehicle sales over the past five years. Check out the report at AutoBlog.com  for more news and photos about the new Police Interceptor.

Toyota in the hotseatThe unintended acceleration case of the second-generation Prius belonging to James Sikes now officially has an interesting backstory and has fallen under intense scrutiny. Apparently, according to USAToday, Sikes' "case against Toyota is starting to look shaky." Why? AutoBlogGreen  gives two reasons: First Toyota says the built-in brake override system should have slowed the car. And second, Sikes is apparently deep in debt. Jalopnik has unofficially labeled Sikes "The New Balloon Boy,"  and Hybrid Cars.com is calling him a "Hybrid Hero"  for being the man who convinced the public to question if Prius safety questions are more hype than reality.

Chrysler logoInterestingly, with all the bad press they have received lately, it might be easy to believe Toyota is the car company with the most problems right now, right? Wrong. The car company with the worst start to 2010 is Chrysler. An article at CarGurus.com says  American consumers have essentially turned their backs on the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands. In fact, according to CNNMoney.com  more than half of Chrysler's sales in January and February have been to fleet customers, such as rental car companies; statistics show Chrysler's sales to consumers have plunged more than 44% so far this year.

airbag safetySpeaking of vehicle safety concerns, Consumer Reports  has posted a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showing that new frontal air bags designed to meet the latest federal standards have not improved occupant protection and may have actually reduced protection for belted drivers compared with earlier-generation air bags, and reminds drivers "it is key that passengers remain vigilant about wearing seat belts."

HummerWith General Motors' ill-fated Hummer brand all-but-closed, some dealers are creating particularly innovative ways to clear out their remaining inventory. LeftLaneNews  reports that Lynch Hummer of St. Louis, which has gained attention over the past few years for its "free gun included" sales tactics, will be launching a new final clearance that includes a $2,000 Browning shotgun with each purchase.

Doggy car seatDo you commute with pets in the car? If you drive with doggy in tow, Automopedia.com highly recommends a Puppy Safety Seat for your vehicle. While the article is light-hearted, advocates for animal safety behind the wheel stress that having your dog comfortable yet contained is very important for stress-free travel, saying A Puppy car seat can also keep "a dog contained in the car cuts down on driver distraction and limits the potential for the dog to become a projectile in the event of an accident. It also keeps emergency responders safe if there's been a car crash and the dog is agitated."

Conans TaurusYeah, we're all disappointed that Conan O'Brien was dumped so Jay Leno could have the coveted late-night talk show slot. But fear not, #TeamCoco fans! Officially dubbed 'The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour,' the red-headed funny guy is embarking on a 30-city comedy tour. Find out more at TeamCoco.com/ How is this auto-related you ask? Well, if you're missing Conando mucho, you can follow him at Twitter as @ConanOBrien, and even befriend his pet @ConansMonkey or his method of transportation @ConansTaurus.  Yeah, it's a stretch, but he says that dusty Ford IS his car.  

2011 Chevrolet VoltShould you buy a hybrid or battery car? What's the actual cost of driving a battery car like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt? That likely depends on how and where you drive. Everybody has a different opinion on this topic, but The Detroit Bureau  says a high price up front can save you money at the back end.

Green Cars for St. Patrick's daySt. Patrick's Day is quickly approaching, and in that spirit, TheCarConection  has shared a collection of The Most Popular Cars Painted Green. It's long been known that a green paint job is a special taste for car buyers. I grew up hearing that green cars were unlucky! Year after year, the most popular colors are silver, gray, white, and black. Across all models sold, green cars represent a mere 2 percent of the total. You'll have to check out the complete article to find out that the single most popular green car is...

Suzuki Kizashi Wicked Weather gameHave you played Suzuki's Wicked Weather game?  The goal is to drive a Kizashi across snowy terrain, while avoiding being hit by snowballs thrown by evil snowmen. Mother Nature adds lightning strikes and potholes to make the journey even more treacherous. Kizaski's all-wheel drive will help you get home safe and sound, and put that wicked weather in its place. After hours of practice, I managed to ram 11 snowmen in 51 seconds. When avoiding the frosty baddies, I made my journey in 41 seconds with three snowball hits. How will you fare?

And with that game to keep you face-planted in your computer for the evening, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 03-05-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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carnival logo We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world.

2011 ford mustangIf you ever thought a car with 300 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon was impossible, Ford would like to prove you wrong with its new 2011 Mustang V-6. But, the Mustang certainly isn't the only choice when looking to maximize fuel economy and speed. The CarGurus Blog  has compiled a list of nine cars that'll have you squealing the tires while using less gas.

2010 ferrari 599In need of a green car fix? John Voelcker of GreenCarReports has assembled a collection of green cars  shown this week at Geneva that are headed for production. Most of them are headed for the U.S. market. Not enough green for you? Then check out his similar roundup of the greenest concept cars  from Geneva.

2011 porsche 911 gt3r hybridMotor Trend has photos and information on nearly 50 production and concept vehicles from the Geneva Motor Show,  covering everything from the 2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Concept to the 2010 Opel Meriva and Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

geneva motor show booth babesVehicles from the Geneva Motor Show are at every automotive website this week, but leave it to Jalopnik to share a photo series of the show's booth professionals. They say "Geneva's proximity to Paris and Milan lends it the ability to attract the most classically beautiful booth professionals, picking and choosing them from the world of high-fashion."  And while you're there, check out their behind-the-scenes scoop on the world of auto spokesmodels.

ford fiesta movementFord has officially restarted its social media engine with the launch of its second chapter of the Fiesta Movement. This time around Ford turned to 20 teams of two agents to help manage, direct and inspire product launch advertising in each of 16 major cities across the U.S. Read more about Fiesta Movement Chapter Two at LeftLaneNews.

toyota logoAccording to The Detroit Bureau,  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received more than 60 unverified complaints of acceleration problems on Toyota vehicles, which had been repaired via to Toyota's recent recall. NHTSA also said that it now has reports of 52 fatalities and 38 injuries in incidents alleged to have been caused by unexpected or uncontrolled acceleration of a Toyota product.

recallsToyota is not the only maker suffering vehicle recalls. Consumer Reports says Nissan is recalling more than 500,000 vehicles for brake and fuel gauge concerns,  and General Motors is recalling more than a million Chevrolets and Pontiacs due to a problem with their power steering, as well as 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion vehicles due to an issue with their fuel pumps.

filfthRental cars are abused and flogged by nearly anyone who wants one, and most of their drivers have the "it's not my car - who cares" mentality. However, a video analysis at AutoBlog from the folks at The Today Show takes a deeper look into the overall cleanliness of these vehicles, pointing out some frightening facts about the levels of bacteria found on the most commonly touched surfaces (steering wheel, gear shift, door handles, etc.). Yikes!

And with that video to make you afraid to touch the interior of your next rental car, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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autoMedia CARnival 02-25-10: The week in Auto Blogs
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We've browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that's happening in the automotive world. Top news this week is actually about NEXT WEEK's Geneva Motor Show.

geneva motor show logoThe 80th Geneva Motor Show opens its doors to media on Monday, and pre-show sneak peeks are all over the internets. LeftLaneNews has info on the Special Edition of the Pagani Zonda Tricolore, 2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta,  and Hyundai's i-flow concept;  AutoBlog has info on BMW's new Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid  as well as  Techart's modified GTStreet R Porsche 911 Turbo and Concept One Panamera; and TheCarConnection has news of the new Lexus CT 200h premium hybrid hatchback.  Watch for more news from the show next week.

no hummer for tengzhongBad News for Hummer fans: AutoBlog reports that General Motors is taking a second look at two previous offers for Hummer after the deal to sell the ailing sports utility brand to China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery for $150 million was rejected by the Chinese government this week.

saab joins spykerGood News for Saab fans: Consumer Reports has news that on Tuesday, General Motors finalized the of Saab to Dutch supercarmaker Spyker Cars in a deal valued at just under $1 billion.


artistic hand and wrenchWhile news of Toyota's recall woes are still big news, the fact is that a variety of manufacturers have recently announced recalls designed to address vehicle flaws, some minor, some quite significant. They can involve faulty tires, leaky windows, malfunctioning windshield wipers, or even misfiring airbags. Paul Eisenstein has an insightful primer on how recalls and technical service bulletins keep you safe at The Detroit Bureau.

nissan leaf at hertz rental carsIn what could be one of the shrewdest marketing moves in recent memory, Nissan will be partnering with Hertz rental cars so consumers can try out the hotly anticipated Nissan Leaf electric vehicle before committing to a purchase. According to Automoblog,  Hertz will be adding the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle to its rental fleets in Europe and the United States next year.

Fritz Henderson back at GM"Who could have written this script?" asks The CarGurus Blog. Fritz Henderson has been rehired, this time as a consultant at $59,000 a month (which comes to around $3,000 an hour for the 20 hours his monthly contract requires). His boss, Ed Whitacre, the one who had fired him, will be getting a $9 million pay package. That's about $4,500 an hour. Wowzer!


And with those numbers to crunch, we thank you for joining us for this week's CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form  so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!

Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor

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