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Thieves still love older Hondas and pickups most, says NICB [w/video]

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST

No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That's the lowest figure since 1967. That's also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. "The drop in thefts is good news for all of us," says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year."
Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year's theft study. Toyota and Dodge can't really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year's list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups.
The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were:

Ford begins testing right-hand-drive Mustang

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:02:00 EST

Ford has officially kicked off testing of the right-hand-drive variant of its sixth-generation, 2015 Mustang, according to a statement issued by the company, which came with the above photo.
According to Ford, this will mark the first time a right-hand-drive 'Stang has traveled down the company's assembly line alongside its LHD brethren. It is far from the first of the legendary pony cars to feature its wheel on the wrong side, though, as converters in RHD markets across the globe have been making swaps for years.
Ford is planning on using the white, droptop Mustang for RHD development ahead of the car's arrival in the UK, Australia and South Africa, among other markets. Scroll down for the official press blast.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit can haul on the track

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:00:00 EST

Line up any two comparable vehicles, and eople are going to want to race them. Need proof? In its latest track battle, Auto Express wants to know which commercial vehicle can lap a circuit faster - a Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Let's face it, neither of these European vans were ever meant to be near the track unless they are delivering a racecar and a ton of parts for a fun weekend, but it's massively fun to watch them give it a go anyway.
The one thing that Auto Express really illustrates here is the modern marvel that is stability control. The driver hops curves, and these big vans lean in the corners like your friend walking home from a long night at the bar. However, because of the amazing stability systems, the vans mostly keep all of their wheels planted and never seem close to getting sloppy, despite their behemoth size.
Unfortunately, the two vans aren't exactly fairly paired. The Ford has a dual rear axle and a few other advantages over the Mercedes, but it's still hilarious to watch them go. Even better, the host breaks down everything happening behind the wheel like these commercial vehicles were two Porsches. Enjoy watching this very unorthodox battle between Ford and Mercedes.

Ford issues four recalls covering 163k vehicles

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:27:00 EST

Recalls! 2014 will be forever remembered as the year that automakers went recall crazy, with millions and millions of vehicles adding up to crush previous recall records well before the end of the year. Adding to that tally is Ford, which announced a call-back for 163,000 vehicles.
Leading that charge are the 2.0-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder engines of the Ford Focus ST and Ford Escape. 160,000 of the 2013 and 2014 models have bad wiring harnesses that can disrupt the signals traveling to the powertrain control module. That, in turn, could lead to a check engine light, reduced power and stalling. Notably, Ford hasn't recalled any other vehicles that feature the 2.0 EcoBoost, such as the Fusion, Taurus or Explorer.
While the Focus ST and Escape constitute the vast majority of recalled vehicles, they aren't the only problem children in the Ford family. 1,300 Transit passenger vans from model year 2015 were recalled due to brake fluid leaks, while another 600 Transit cargo variants were recalled after Ford discovered the windowless sliding doors could come open in the event of a side-impact crash. Dealers will replace the sealing washers on the passenger variants and add a reinforcement plate on the cargo models, The Detroit News reports.

Autoblog joins Elon Musk and Danica Patrick in accepting ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:30:00 EST

Unless you've been living in an off-the-grid cabin in the woods for the last couple of weeks or abstain entirely from social media activities, you've probably seen someone you know dump a bucket of ice and water over their own head recently. While the origins of the so-called Ice Bucket Challenge are shrouded in a history typical of Internet memes, its effectiveness in raising money and awareness for the ALS Association has been astonishing.
Celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sports, technology and more have generated untold millions of video views in support of the organization that is helping patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), and generated a much needed influx of cash, as well. Recent reports have some $15.6M raised in the last two weeks.
Of course, the big-hearted world of automotive celebrities has taken part in the drenching charity effort as well. Follow on below for some of the biggest names on four wheels getting iced for charity, with a smattering of your favorite Autobloggers thrown in for good measure.

Ford recalls 83k Taurus and crossover models for halfshaft issue

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 08:44:00 EST

Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have issued a recall for some 83,250 vehicles in the US, for an issue with halfshafts. More specifically a "halfshaft retention circlip" might not have been properly installed on affected vehicles, with the result being halfshafts that may move improperly or disengage completely from the linkshaft while driving. The NHTSA release also notes that the issue may occur "without prior warning" which obviously factors in to the timeliness of getting this checked.
Should the halfshaft disengage, a few troubling things could happen. If it occurs while driving, power from the engine will no longer be transmitted to the wheels. And, if the vehicle is parked without the parking brake applied after disengagement of the circlip, vehicles may roll away even if they're transmissions have been placed in "Park."
Affected vehicles are as follows: Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers from model years 2012 to 2014; Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans from model years 2013 to 2014; Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT vehicles from model years 2013 to 2014.

Ford Fusion getting substantial refresh for 2017

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:29:00 EST

It's only been a couple of years since Ford rolled out the current Fusion, but if these spy shots are anything to go by, it's already planning what appears to be a substantial update for the mid-size sedan.
According to our paparazzi on the ground, the new Fusion is being prepared for launch late in 2016 or early 2017. Although heavily camouflaged to keep it from prying eyes such as ours, it appears that the updated Fusion will tone down the Aston Martin-style grille, ditch the small corner window with revised front side glass and tweak the vehicle's overall shape. But there's more to the new Fusion than a styling adjustment, and our spy photographers have caught a glimpse inside and taken us along.
Apparently the new Fusion is to get a completely overhauled interior with soft-touch surfaces and matte wood trim to make it seem more upscale. There's an all-new rotary gear selector (like you'd find on a Jaguar, for example) hinting at the implementation of a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The prototype appears to be packing the Microsoft SYNC system, suggesting that the new Blackberry QNX system isn't ready quite yet - though that doesn't necessarily mean it won't be ready by the time the new Fusion is.

The 11 most expensive American cars ever

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:45:00 EST

Here's a Pro Tip for all you would-be classic car investors out there: buy Ferraris. With the Pebble Beach festivities kicking off this week, including any number high end car auctions, we thought it would be entertaining to compile a list of some to the most expensive cars ever sold with the bang of a gavel. Trouble is, once you get past the splendor of everyone's favorite Italian sports car maker, that list is pretty boring.
Ferrari dominates the all-time auction sales list; seven of the top ten most expensive cars sold wear the Cavallino Rampante badge, as well as more than half of the top fifty. Sure, a nearly $30-million Mercedes-Benz W196 racecar might be the new top dog as of last year, but it's even possible that Ferrari could take that title back in Monterey this weekend. Long story short: we think a list of the most expensive American cars ever sold at auction is a lot more entertaining to read. Hell, our list has a friggin' Batmobile on it, how can it go wrong?
Follow on below for the top ten cars that are red, white, blue and a whole lot of green.

Weekly Recap: Auto execs face life in prison for recall delays under proposed legislation

Sat, 09 Aug 2014 12:00:00 EST



The stiff punishments are part of broader transportation legislation, but clearly McCaskill has automakers in her sights.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill threw down the gauntlet this week, proposing a bill that could send auto executives to prison for life if they were found to have delayed a recall. She also wants to eliminate the limit for fines for auto safety violations, which are currently capped at $35 million.

Ford-sponsored survey says a third of Brits have snapped a 'selfie' while driving [w/videos]

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 09:30:00 EST

Talking on the phone while driving isn't advisable, and texting while driving is downright dangerous. Considering those truths, the fact that we even need to point this out this is incredibly disturbing: taking "selfies" while behind the wheel is exceptionally stupid. But, it's a thing that a third of 18- to 24-year-old British drivers have copped to doing, according to a new study from Ford.
Ford, through its Driving Skills for Life program, surveyed 7,000 smartphone owners from across Europe, all aged between 18 and 24, and found that young British drivers were more likely to snap a selfie while behind the wheel than their counterparts in Germany, France, Romania, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
According to the study, the average selfie takes 14 seconds, which, while traveling at 60 miles per hour, is long enough to travel over the length of nearly four football fields (the Ford study uses soccer fields, but we translated it to football, because, you know, America). That's an extremely dangerous distance to not be focused on the road.