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Auto blogThu, 22 May 2014 12:44:00 EST
Regardless of what you think of his skill as a racer, Ken Block is an expert showman. At this point, he has a career of showing up around the world to do vehicular stunts, and he's still able to go racing as well. It's a pretty sweet niche to carve out. Recently, Block was in Barbados to participate in Top Gear Live and the first event of the Global Rallycross Championship season, and Ford Racing produced a short video to show off his exploits.
It looked like a great show. Block got to race Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes-Benz Formula One car and had a very weird crash during a Rallycross race that put his Ford Fiesta on its roof. Top Gear also released an extended look at Block and Hamilton's spectacle with the two of them expertly sliding around. Scroll down to watch the videos and get a taste of Block's tropical racing adventure.
Ford and Hyundai are out from under the scrutinizing eyes of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after the government agency said it was closing investigations against both automakers over vehicle safety concerns.
Ford was being investigated for reported damaged speed control cables on Ford Taurus (shown above) and Mercury Sable models, both built between 2000 and 2003. Vehicles with the company's Duratec engines allegedly failed to allow owners to brake as expected. Owners lodged 100 complaints and were involved in five accidents, according to NHTSA records. The American automaker responded to the reports, and on June 21 of this year, said that it would inspect and repair all affected vehicles, regardless of the mileage.
Hyundai was under investigation for a reported loose fastener on the steering shaft of its 2011 Santa Fe (shown in the gallery below). After NHTSA launched its inquiry, the Korean automaker responded with its own investigation that yielded four affected vehicles. Following the inspection of 680 vehicles at its assembly plant, Hyundai said the issue was due to employee error and that no further defects have been found.
YouGov's mid-year Brand Index rankings of America's best perceived brands has been released, and Ford has found its way to the top. The Dearborn, Michigan based manufacturer beat out online shopping giant Amazon, The History Channel, and home improvement superstore Lowe's, to take the top spot.
Ford jumped from sixth overall in 2012 to first for 2013, but those that have been watching these rankings shouldn't be hugely surprised. Ford was rated the best perceived automotive manufacturer by the same organization last year. The Blue Oval's success on the overall brand rankings is made all the more impressive by the complete lack of other automakers on the list.
YouGov (that is, survey respondents) cited Ford's first quarter of 2013 business, which saw an increase in market share and the best earnings recorded in over 10 years. Successfully launching the Focus and Fusion (pictured) and keeping them fresh in the minds of consumers has also contributed to Ford's best overall score.