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Automakers score 8 out of top 20 most-watched ads on YouTube [w/videos]

Fri, 14 Dec 2012 20:02:00 EST

Who would have ever thought there'd be a day where people are able to skip television commercials only to go to websites to watch them later? Such is the joy of a DVR and YouTube. AdWeek tabulated the 20 most-watched ads on YouTube, and found that nine were car-related including eight coming from automakers.
Volkswagen continued its Star Wars theme with two ads in the top 20, including the highest-ranking car commercial The Bark Side spot at number three with almost 18 million views, which doesn't even have a single car in it. Some of our favorites are from Chrysler with Clint Eastwood in It's Halftime in America and House Arrest with Charlie Sheen for the Fiat 500 Abarth. Chevrolet, Honda, Audi and Toyota were the other automakers in the top 20, but we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention one of the coolest ads on the list, the Hot Wheels corkscrew jump.
Of all the car videos, only the Fiat ad wasn't played during a Super Bowl. Check out all eight videos - in order - after the jump. Nike took the top spot with its My Time is Now ad that has been seen online more than 20 million times with Pepsi's Uncle Drew posted up in the runner-up; some of the other videos include four Old Spice commercials and an ad in which Snoop Dogg is pedaling Hot Pockets.

Ward's reveals annual 10 Best Engines list for 2013

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 10:01:00 EST

Ward's Auto has released its annual 10 Best Engines award winners. The 2013 list covers the full width and breadth of the internal combustion spectrum, from a spate of efficient four-cylinders to the most powerful production V8 on the planet. As always, the entries must be available in a production vehicle in the first quarter of 2013 with an MSRP of less than $55,000. The supercharged 3.0-liter V6 from the Audi S5 held on for the fourth consecutive year, and BMW earned two spots on the list with its turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder and turbo 3.0-liter inline-six.
Ford pulled in two awards for its 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and and the supercharged 5.8-liter V8 from the Shelby GT500. Honda matched BMW and Ford with two wins of its own. Wards awarded the 2.4-liter four-cylinder from the Honda Accord Sport as well as the 3.5-liter V6 from the Honda Accord. Chrysler, General Motors and Subaru each garnered a spot on the list as well for the 3.6-liter V6 in the Ram 1500, the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the Cadillac ATS and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder the Subaru BRZ, respectively. You can read the full press release below for more information.

Volkswagen Group, BMW Z4 top Total Value Awards by Strategic Vision

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 09:30:00 EST

It was just nine months ago that Strategic Vision announced its 2011 Total Value Awards, but you don't have to wait until next year for the 2012 awards. The Volkswagen Group keeps its lead as the number one brand, with seven products taking top category spots: Golf, Jetta Wagon, CC, Eos and Audi A3 Wagon, Q5 and Q7. Strategic Vision says "true innovation" - "rich and impactful, intuitive, motivational, in-depth and is able to trigger description by the user in great specificity" - is the open secret of the brands with the strongest showings. Results are culled from 77,153 owners covering more than 350 new cars bought between September of 2011 and 2012 ranked in the Total Value Index (TVI).
Other notable winners are Hyundai-Kia following VW in the brand category and having the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Sorento among category winners, the BMW Z4 taking the premium roadster category and the highest overall score of any vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt continuing to gather silverware in the Special Category, nabbing the second-highest score of all and representative of "nearly perfect innovation," and Chrysler and Dodge being most improved.
Check out the press release below for your day's dose of jargon and all the winners.

Car and Driver lists 10Best for 2013, same as it ever was

Wed, 05 Dec 2012 13:30:00 EST

Forgive us for having the distinct feeling of déjà vu, but it certainly feels like we've been here before. By that we are referring Car and Driver and the announcement of its annual 10Best vehicles for 2013. To be sure, it's an impressive selection of cars that combine heart-pounding performance and frugal sensibilities, but it also represents something of a broken record on the part of C/D. We're not so sure that's a flaw, though, as the resulting list is tough to argue with.
Vehicles like the Ford Mustang, Porsche Boxster, and BMW 3 Series have maintained their high-horsepower spots on this list for several years now. Even on the more practical and nimble end, the Honda Accord, Honda Fit and Mazda Miata have not budged. These continued spots are even in light of redesigns for some vehicles such as the Accord, Boxster and 3 Series.
In fact, the only newcomer to the 10Best list this year are the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins, which knocked out the Cadillac CTS-V. We think it would have been a huge misstep to have excluded the FR-S/BRZ, even in light of the supercharged Caddy's lamentable departure from 10Best.

Ford tumbles to second worst in Consumer Reports reliability survey, list dominated by Japanese [w/video]

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 15:59:00 EST

It's no secret that MyFord Touch has had its share of problems since being introduced, but the most recent reliability survey from Consumer Reports shows just how much this infotainment system has affected Ford. Just two years ago, the automaker was in the top 10 for the institute's reliability rankings, but since then, it has tumbled to the second-lowest rung just above dead-last Jaguar. In addition to MyFord Touch, CR also attributes a handful of new products that have had issues right out of the gate.
Compiled from 1.2 million subscriber surveys, this year's auto reliability survey heavily favors Japanese automakers, with eight of the 10 spots hailing from Japan. Toyota brands grabbed the top three spots (Scion, Toyota and Lexus - in that order) with Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura filling the next four spots. The only non-Asian automaker cracking the top 10 was Audi at number eight.
Audi climbed a total of 18 spots from last year, and Cadillac and GMC round out this year's top gainers breaking into the top 15. Helping Cadillac's upward movement, the CTS Coupe was named the most reliable domestic car. Lincoln, Volvo and Chrysler join Ford on this year's biggest loser list.

Volkswagen Group previews its wares on eve of Geneva show

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 16:55:00 EST

The Volkswagen Group is comprised of 11 brands producing 240 vehicles across 49 factories throughout the world. So the best way to show off the range of the VW family is to cram a few thousand journalists and VIPs into a massive makeshift stand to outline the Group's goals, what's in the pipeline and what you'll be able to buy later this year.
To that end, VW pulled out all the stops on the eve of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, bringing along 10 vehicles from across the range. We'll be delving into the details of each over the next two days of show coverage, but before that happens, you can read all about what we saw tonight from the cheap seats after the break.

Volkswagen Group names Paefgen head of classics program

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 08:00:00 EST

You may remember the name Franz-Josef Paefgen. Until recently, the German engineer and executive was head of both Bentley and Bugatti. Before that he was chief executive of Audi, after working for several years at Ford. He technically "retired" earlier this year, but like the cars he helped create, an executive like Paefgen could never really retire. So it should come as little surprise that the Volkswagen Group has named Dr. Paefgen head of its Classic program.
In his new capacity, Paefgen will oversee the historic automobile activities of the entire VW Group, including those of Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Audi, Lamborghini, and of course Bentley and Bugatti. It strikes us as a suitable semi-retirement for the man responsible in no small part for the Bugatti Veyron and Bentley Mulsanne, to name just two, and who was decorated in 2006 by the ACO as the "Spirit of Le Mans" for his contribution to endurance racing. Read the official announcement after the break.

2012 Seat Exeo is Audi with the old, in with the new-ish

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 18:29:00 EST

We know what you're thinking: This car looks an awful lot like an Audi A4. But it isn't. And it is.
Regular readers may be aware that Audi's Spanish sister-company Seat inherited the previous-generation A4 some time after it was replaced. They put some new badges on it and presto! A new flagship model for Seat.
Called the Exeo, it has now undergone a minor facelift that did nothing if not make it look even more like an Audi, if that were possible, and we got up close and personal with the new model here in Frankfurt. Check it out in our high-res gallery of live images from the show floor.

Audi Q3 production begins in Spain

Tue, 07 Jun 2011 10:30:00 EST

2012 Audi Q3 - Click above for high-res image gallery
It wasn't that long ago that Audi had no SUVs in its lineup - aside from the A6 Allroad Quattro - despite being known for its all-wheel-drive vehicles. But that's all changed, just as it has for BMW and Porsche. The Q7 was followed by the Q5, and now the Q3 has started production as well.
The first Q3 rolled off the assembly line today at the plant in Martorell, Spain. The facility belongs principally to Audi's sister-company Seat, but has gone through a considerable expansion - funded by both Audi and Seat - to prepare for the Q3's production.