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Chevrolet Shows (Part of) the 2016 Volt Ahead of Debut, Reveals Charging …

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Electrics may not have caught on at the pace envisioned by their bullish proponents, but the vehicles are establishing a small but sustained niche in the marketplace. One of our favorite vehicles in this segment, the Chevrolet Volt (which, technically, is a plug-in hybrid) is due for a redesign next year—and now after learning more about the next-gen Volt’s powertrain last month, GM has revealed even more details.

So what juicy new info is GM sharing with us? Besides releasing the teaser photo of the car under a sheet on its Facebook page (see above), the company revealed that the next Volt’s charging system will be optimized. That might not sound like a big deal, but charging procedures are critical to electric cars, and, it seems, to electric-car owners, as well. We like many things about the Volt, including its design and competent performance (for an EV, er, plug-in hybrid), so GM might be overly modest when it states: “if there’s one thing Chevrolet Volt owners like about their car, it’s being able to recharge the battery easily.”

2016 Chevrolet Volt spied

2016 Chevrolet Volt spied

To build on this satisfaction, General Motors has announced three changes: First, the 2016 Volt can recognize a “home” position through GPS data, utilizing preferred charging times, electricity rates, and recurring departure times pre-set for that location. Second, “more intuitive charge status indicators” can be seen atop the dashboard even from outside the vehicle, and the commencement, or possible delay, of refilling the battery is announced with specific sounds.” Finally, the 120-volt charging cord is longer than before (nearly 25 feet), and its storage space above the load floor has been selected after taking in customer suggestions.

These changes should make Chevy’s legion of happy Volt owners even happier, but we, of course, are far more interested in getting a full look at the 2016 Volt at the upcoming Detroit auto show. Based on the sneak-peek photo showing the 2016 Volt’s sleeker headlight and grille—which, based on spy photos of the car testing, underscore a sleeker overall design—people might have more than idiosyncratic charging procedures to get excited over.

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NYPD Safety Tips To Prevent Car Break-Ins


Car break-ins remain one of the biggest drivers of crime in the area. Thieves smashing car windows to steal sometimes as little as pennies from a cup holder are one of the reasons for the spike in crime recorded in the latest Compstat report from the 61st Precinct.

While motorists should feel comfortable parking their car wherever they like, the reality of the situation is that thugs take advantage of dark streets and look for indications that the car might have valuables inside. The local precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit recently sent out a batch of tips to help reduce your risk, and the area’s crime stats.

To make sure you’re possessions are as safe as possible, here is a list of safety tips:

  • Do not leave satellite radios, portable GPS system, or suction cup on windshield whether temporarily parking or parking overnight.
  • Do not leave wallets, purses, backpacks, jewelry, credit cards or any other valuable property in your vehicle while it is parked.
  • Do not leave cell phones or other electronics in the glove compartment.
  • Activate any theft deterrent devices you may have.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables in the vehicle.
  • Do not keep your license, registration or title in the vehicle.
  • Make certain that your vehicle is locked.
  • If possible, park in a bright, well lit area.
  • If you have a garage, use it. Lock both the vehicle and the garage.
  • Install video surveillance within the vicinity of the garage or driveway where your vehicle will be parked.
  • If you have video surveillance conduct periodic maintenance to make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Position the cameras so that it will be able to capture a good image of an individual’s face but secure enough to prevent any possible tampering.
  • Install wheel locks on your vehicle to help deter theft of tire and rims.
  • Contact the 61st Precinct Crime Prevention Officer to have your vehicle VIN etched.

You can learn more about the 61st Precinct’s VIN etching and other crime prevention programs by calling the Crime Prevention Unit at (718) 627-6832.

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DC Journalism’s Latest Scoop: Steve Cohen Drives a Car!

This is not a lift from Onion nor a loaner from our own “Fly on the Wall.” Roll Call, a leading Washington, D.C. publication for Capitol Hill insiders, devoted an entire page this week to two pictures of 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen driving a car.

We know the congressman, who has a weakness for indiscreet tweets, is gossip fodder, but — really?

One photograph dates from last week, another from 2012. In both shots, each by a different photographer, Cohen is at the wheel of a 1986 Cadillac and wearing a jaunty fedora.

The page that displays these photos is slugged “Hustle and Flow” — a nice homage to Memphis movie-maker Craig Brewer and his 2005 epic on Whupping That Trick in the Bluff City.

Seriously, folks, we haven’t puzzled out the reason for this picture page — other than the fact that Cohen looks good in both shots. The congressman’s own conjecture as to the reasons for this stop-the-presses feature: “Not everybody drives a 1986 Cadillac!” (And certainly not one with a 1994 Cohen-for-Governor bumper sticker.)

Nah. We think it’s the hat.

Judge for yourself:

click to enlarge

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    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed
    From the January 2015 issue of Car and Driver

    If 10Best testing is like any form of motorsports, it’s like rallying. No, we don’t time our laps around our 13.5-mile loop because we are not entirely insane. And unlike rallying, we don’t have co-drivers barking coded messages at us about what dangers lie beyond the next turn. Yet a full-tilt pace around our course (not that anyone attempts it) would touch triple digits in several places. And, as in rallying, we travel roads maintained by taxpayer-funded entities and that are in every conceivable way imperfect—actually, perfectly imperfect for revealing both the talents and shortcomings of any production car. Here are some staples of what our route holds and what we learn from them:

    The Esses and Magnum XL-200

    At just nine-tenths of a mile, this nine-corner sequence is the reason our 10Best loop is here. With the exception of two sequential corners, this is a busy bit of road, with alternating left- and right-hand curves and the occasional sprinting terrapin to avoid. By quickly loading and unloading one side of the car, this section reveals more about transient response than does any other patch of asphalt. At least four pucker-inducing blind rises give a car’s suspension a good workout. Unloading the front tires over these whoops, these backwoods Flugplatzes, reveals peculiarities in steering feel and effort. Treetops and telephone poles give a hint of where the road is headed beyond the precipice, so it’s best to look up.

    Sammy Hagar Cool-Down Section

    This segment is the straightest, flattest, and smoothest stretch on our loop. It also carries the most civilian traffic. All is not lost, though. Nothing allows you to concentrate more on wind and tire noise, engine sound and vibration, and on-center steering feel than following a ’94 Ford Taurus wagon with a “WWJD” sticker on the bumper and a tuft of blue hair at the controls. Indeed, what would Jesus drive?

    On Driving in the Rain

    10Best testing is a rigidly scientific, precision undertaking, at least until Mother Nature blows us a wet one. Occasionally, we are forced to drive in mixed or downright crappy conditions, and oncoming traffic requires that we always observe centerlines, even when it means plowing through rainbow sheens of percolating oil. Heavy rain turns some sections of the loop, particularly near our base camp, into a series of fast-flowing creeks, and our unpaved parking lot becomes caramel pudding. It’s really fun in the same way that serving in the Albanian army is fun.

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    On the Rough Stuff

    A smooth, flat road reveals little about a vehicle’s ride. The Torturous Road section of the loop, however, exposes the demons in the suspension. It is patched together about as well as Iraq, and some of the larger pots are deep enough to consume a low-profile tire. The less severe stuff provides a perfect test venue, and the best performers isolate the cabin and its occupants with only as much suspension travel as needed. The worst performers transmit every bump, or magnify them with reverberations through their structures.

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    On Going Both Ways

    While some editors prefer a clockwise circulation, some prefer counterclockwise. And others may deviate from the route entirely. However, the most important thing during 10Best testing is to eliminate variables. For example, if you drive the Mazda 6 in one direction, you’d better lap the Honda Accord the same way. If you polished off a coconut doughnut in the Porsche Cayman, don’t switch to Red Hots for the Chevy Corvette. Corner intensity depends on the direction of travel. An extreme example is the southernmost bend on the loop’s western edge, which we’ve nicknamed “Oh, Rouge.” Going north, the left-hander is fairly wide and followed by a short, suspension-compressing hill. Coming the other way, the suspension fully compresses at the bottom of the hill before a tighter-radius right.

    The 2014 Repaving Project

    The southeast corner of our loop was “resurfaced” just before 10Best week. In Michigan-speak, that means it got a low-cost sealcoating of loose gravel spread on top of tar, which made it seem as if we were driving in Simba’s litter box. Once the extra stones were swept away by 15 or 20 passes, grip in this area significantly improved compared with previous years, when the road was merely falling apart. Fortunately, none of our test cars was swept off the edge during our early road-clearing laps.

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed

    2015 10Best Cars: Secrets of Our Test Route Revealed




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    Automakers aim to drive away vehicle computer hackers

    Posted Nov. 25, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.

    Automakers aim to drive away vehicle computer hackers

    Published: 2014-11-25 11:25:21
    Updated: 2014-11-25 11:25:21

    Automakers take on car hackers
    Chris Valasek, poses for a picture at the during the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. Valasek, who helped catapult car hacking into the public eye when he and a partner revealed last year they had been able to control a 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Ford Escape by plugging into a port used by mechanics. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Against the team of hackers, the poor car stood no chance.

    Meticulously overwhelming its computer networks, the hackers showed that — given time — they would be able to pop the trunk and start the windshield wipers, cut the brakes or lock them up, and even kill the engine.

    Their motives were not malicious. These hackers worked on behalf of the U.S. military, which along with the auto industry is scrambling to fortify the cyber defenses of commercially available cars before criminals and even terrorists penetrate them.

    “You’re stepping into a rolling computer now,” said Chris Valasek, who helped catapult car hacking into the public eye when he and a partner revealed last year they had been able to control a 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Ford Escape by plugging into a port used by mechanics.

    These days, when Valasek isn’t working his day job for a computer security firm, he’s seeing how Bluetooth might offer an entry point.

    Automakers are betting heavily that consumers will want not just the maps and music playlists of today but also Internet-enabled vehicles that stream movies and the turn dictation into email. The federal government wants to require cars to send each other electronic messages warning of dangers on the road.

    In these and other connections, hackers see opportunity.

    There are no publicly known instances of a car being commandeered outside staged tests. In those tests, hackers prevail.

    One was the Defense Department-funded assault on a 2012 model American-made car, overseen by computer scientist Kathleen Fisher.

    Hackers demonstrated they could create the electronic equivalent of a skeleton key to unlock the car’s networks. That may take months, Fisher said, but from there it would be “pretty easy to package up the smarts and make it available online, perhaps in a black-market type situation.”

    The project’s goal is more than just to plug vulnerabilities — it is to reconceive the most critical lines of computer code that control the car in a way that could make them invulnerable to some of the major known threats. The model code would be distributed to automakers, who could adapt it to their needs. That should take a few more years.

    The industry is participating — and not waiting.

    One major association representing brands including Honda and Toyota is helping establish an “information sharing and analysis center” patterned after efforts by big banks to try to thwart cyberattacks.

    “Before, when you designed something, you looked at how might components fail,” said Michael Cammisa, director of safety for the Association of Global Automakers. “Now, you have to look at how would somebody maliciously attack the vehicle.”

    The so-called Auto-ISAC will allow participating companies to evaluate the credibility of threats and, in the event of an attack, let one warn others so they could test their own systems. The effort was announced this summer at the Cyberauto Challenge in Detroit, one of an increasing number of programs focused on auto hacking. Several days later, in China, organizers of a cybersecurity conference announced success in their challenge to hack a Model S made by Tesla Motors.

    Another American company, General Motors, has checked how Boeing and defense companies create systems to repel hackers, according to Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president of global product development.

    Cybersecurity is “one of the highest priority things that we have,” Reuss said. “We have got to make sure that our customers are safe.”



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    Copyright 2014 WRAL TechWire. All rights reserved.

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    Two men injured in head-on car crash in Irvine

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    What is a Conditional Sales Contract?

    Credit challenged consumers should check their sales contract carefully before signing on the dotted line

    Sales Contract Questions

    What is a Conditional Sales Contract?

    Here at Auto Credit Express we always get questions about car finance contracts, but recently we’ve received a number of inquiries from consumers that go something like this: “What is a conditional sales contract?”

    The most common definition is that it’s an “arrangement where a buyer takes possession of an item, but its title and right of repossession remains with the seller until the buyer pays the full purchase price.” But in terms of an auto sales contract, it can mean something much different.

    Spot Deliveries Conditional Sales Contracts

    In the car business, these types of contracts are called everything from “conditional sales agreements” to “conditional delivery agreements.”

    These types of contracts are the result of “spot deliveries” from car dealers. According to the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), spot deliveries occur when the “dealer allows (the) car buyer to drive off the lot with the car ‘on the spot’ when the sale and financing are technically not yet final.

    Not all states allow conditional auto sales contracts. Typically in states that allow it, a conditional sales contract must disclose to the buyer any conditions under which the dealer has delivered the vehicle – usually by stating that if the dealer is unable to secure financing for the borrower, the buyer is then responsible for obtaining financing for the vehicle.

    A second scenario involves the dealer calling the buyer back into the dealership to sign another sales contract – this one not conditional – usually at a higher interest rate in a practice known as “yo-yo” financing.

    Consumers with bad credit need to be aware of this type of conditional car sales contract because, according to the CRL, “car dealers commonly target consumers with poor or no credit standing for ‘yo-yo’ scams.”

    The Bottom Line

    A conditional sales contract is an agreement in which the borrower is responsible for securing financing for a vehicle, rather than the dealer, if the dealer cannot get the borrower approved. Sometimes this can lead to “yo-yo” financing in which the customer, usually someone with poor credit, has to sign a second contract at a higher interest rate in order to keep the vehicle.

    If you are looking for alternative auto financing from dealers trying to pull a fast one on you, consider us here at Auto Credit Express. Our nationwide dealer network can get you financed without pulling the rug out from under you. Just fill out our online application to get started!

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    This Is Montreal’s First Ever Car In The City

    by Michael D’Alimonte · November 24, 2014 · 123 views

    This Is Montreal’s First Ever Car In The City

    Photo cred - Wikipedia

    115 years ago, nearly to the date, the very first horseless carriage, or automobile, as they’re better known today, road on the streets of Montreal. On November 21st, 1899, the Crestmobile put Montrealers in a state of awe, according to Radio-Canada.

    When the Crestmobile (no affiliation to the toothpaste brand) first revved its engines, Montrealers found the newfangled piece of tech as noisy and dangerous. A pedestrian wasn’t hit by a car for the first time ’til 1905, which we’ll take as the symbolic start of reckless driving in Montreal, a tradition still in full-force today.

    Take a look at the original advert for the car below.
    Photo cred – Wikipedia

    Twitter user Dan Hein actually pointed out this bit of Montreal history to us, which got us wondering what other ‘firsts’ happened in Montreal around this time of year. On November 24th, 1859, the very first train crossed over the St. Lawrence river, and the first white child was born in Montreal on Nov. 24th, 1648. We were a little weirded out by that last factoid too.

    Are you looking for more? Click here for A Retro Look Inside The Very-First Montreal STM Metro Cars From The 1960s

    For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte


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    Weekly Car Payment Options for Poor Credit Buyers

    Borrowers looking for weekly payments may find the monthly payment option to be less expensive in the long run

    Payment Question

    Weekly Car Payment Options for Poor Credit Buyers

    Here at Auto Credit Express we recently received an inquiry from a consumer that went like this: “(I am) Interested in your weekly payment option.”

    The short answer is that although Auto credit Express is not a lender, the dealers in our network do work with a wide range of lenders, so let’s look at that.

    Monthly Car Payment Options

    Most of the dealers in our network work with subprime lenders who offer car loans indirectly through them. These lenders report both the loans they make – and the monthly payments on these loans – to the credit bureaus.

    While these subprime loans have higher interest rates and, generally speaking, stricter documentation requirements (such as references as well as income and residence verification), they share a number of similarities with regular car loans. These include simple interest as well as a monthly payment schedule. One more thing: in order to qualify for one of these loans, these lenders will first check your credit, which means that an approval is not guaranteed.

    Weekly Car Payment Options

    On the other hand, some of the dealers in our network offer vehicles that they finance themselves. Called buy here pay here, tote the note or in-house financing dealers, these loans are usually based on simple interest, but they can also be based on rule of 78s financing, a type loan whose interest rate is built into the payment and can result in higher interest charges. In addition, the interest rates on these loans are also at the upper end of the subprime spectrum. Although these dealers generally ask for higher-than-average down payments, they usually only look at your income and will not check your credit.

    Payments on cars financed at one of these car lots are usually made on a weekly basis, in person, at the dealership where the vehicle was purchased. Larger buy here pay here dealers usually report loans and payments to the credit bureaus, while some of the smaller ones don’t- which means these borrowers won’t establish any car credit (even with on-time payments).

    The Bottom Line

    While Auto Credit Express is not a lender, a number of dealers in our network do offer weekly payment options. Looking at both the indirect monthly subprime loan payment schedule as well as the buy here pay here weekly loan payment schedule, whichever one a consumer chooses will generally depend upon their current credit situation.

    Either way, Auto Credit Express specializes in matching consumers with poor credit to dealers that can offer them their best chances for auto loan approvals.

    So if you’re ready for that, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loan application.

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    Buffalo’s Epic Snowstorm Couldn’t Stop This Man and His 560-hp ’81 911 Turbo …

    1981 911 Turbo snowstorm1981 911 Turbo snowstorm

    Having spent more than 35 years traveling the globe to work on some of the most exotic Porsches of all time, Jay Lloyds probably never figured he’d come close to meeting his demise in a blizzard outside of Buffalo, New York.

    Just five days earlier, Lloyds was in his suburban Toronto Porsche performance shop finishing up a custom wastegate for his highly modified 1981 Porsche 911 Turbo before embarking on a marathon 19-hour solo run to Daytona, Florida, for the inaugural “Classic 24 at Daytona” historic sports-car racing event. Although he wasn’t competing, Lloyds had plans to reunite with friends from Germany and generally soak up all the sun and Porsche vibes he could. He figured—and we agree—that the best possible way to arrive was in his bright-orange Jägermeister Porsche 934 tribute. More than just a cosmetic homage, Lloyds’s car packs a 560-hp, turbocharged 3.3-liter air-cooled flat-six and an original four-speed manual transmission­­. “It’s the best transmission Porsche ever made,” says Lloyds. By his account, the weekend was a great success.

    1981 Porsche 911 Turbo peeking from snowbank1981 Porsche 911 Turbo peeking from snowbank

    When the tents folded in Daytona, Lloyds pointed the car north and set out to repeat his nonstop dash. He figured he might hit some snow, so, using a small kit of tools he had packed, he took the precautionary measure of raising the car’s ride height by an inch or so before departing. On Monday night, as he reached the southern shore of Lake Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania, it became clear the lift was in vain.

    “The snow was so deep and the wind so strong they closed all the highways,” Lloyds told C/D in a phone interview. “I had to use two-lane country roads, and it got to the point where the snow was being measured in feet instead of inches. At times, the car slipped 90 degrees sideways, but I never spun it.” An impressive feat in any vehicle, much less a car with a well-known reputation for swapping ends at the most inopportune moments. His choice of rolling stock didn’t help matters, as Lloyds’s handcrafted steel fender flares shroud massive 245/30 front and 315/30 rear Toyo Proxes R888 competition tires—essentially track rubber with just enough tread pattern to remain street-legal—on 18-inch AUTOArt wheels, themselves measuring 9 inches wide in the front and 13 in the rear.

    1981 Porsche 911 Turbo1981 Porsche 911 Turbo

    “Eventually, some 30 miles outside of Buffalo, the tires would just spin, and I came to the realization I was stuck. I thought, This is it, I’m 58 years old and I’m going to die in the car I love.” Complicating matters further, the Porsche’s heater was operating at 50-percent effectiveness, as Lloyds had disconnected one of the car’s notorious heater boxes before the trip. “Those things don’t make a lot of cabin heat to start with, and one of the exchangers was leaking, which can pump exhaust fumes into cabin,” said Lloyds with characteristic understatement.

    As reported by The Buffalo News, that’s when Lloyds encountered Michael Weazer, 24, and his girlfriend, Brittany Leighbody, 23, clearing snow in front of their Brant, New York, home. They offered him shelter from the storm, and he was still there when C/D spoke to him today. “It snowed again last night, and we’re having trouble getting out of the house. I was planning to take more pictures, but the car is even more buried now,” said Lloyds. (Update: The dig out has started! Lloyds sent us a couple more shots, which are at the bottom of this post.)



    Lloyds, who has a close relationship with Magnus Walker and whose résumé includes stints with the Roitmayer GmbH racing team in Munich and the Zeiss Racing and Flying Tigers teams in Hong Kong, seems to be taking it all in stride. “I can’t overemphasize how grateful I am for the couple’s hospitality, and I’m not sure when the conditions will be right to continue on,” he says. “But I have a lot of adventures in my life, and I’m not interested in wasting away in front of the television in a home. My Porsche shop, Lloyds Autosport in Mississauga, Ontario [motto: "I don’t do cheap, I do good”] has, among other machine tools, a lathe that I use to craft parts on. With any luck, I’ll die behind that lathe.”

    1981 Porsche 911 Turbo (somewhere)1981 Porsche 911 Turbo (somewhere)

    1981 Porsche 911 Turbo1981 Porsche 911 Turbo

    1981 Porsche 911 Turbo1981 Porsche 911 Turbo

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