Lifestyle auto news

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Aston Martin joins the party, opens first merchandise store at the N?rburgring

07/17/2009   [Original: Aston Martin via Autoblog]
Category: Aston Martin, Lifestyle

With Ferrari raking in cash hand over fist from Prancing Horse-branded merchandise, it was only a matter of time before its rivals began to catch on. And catch on they have, with several exotic automakers simultaneously cashing in on their image and promoting it with their own lines of branded merchandise. Stuttgart knows the game with its longstanding Porsche Design division, Molsheim has launched its own Bugatti Collection, and now Aston Martin has joined the fold in opening its first dedicated merchandise store. And where did they open it? At the Nürburgring - where else?

Opening its doors around the same time and in the same Grand Ring Boulevard location as the new Ferrari Store (coincidence? we think not), the first Aston Martin Store stocks an assortment of items from the Aston Martin Collection, including clothing and accessories for men, women and children, gifts, models and more. The store's grand opening was highlighted by the first production example of the One-77 rolling down the street from Aston's 'Ring-side test center. If you're not planning on heading down to the Nürburgring anytime soon, well... you should. But you can always stop by Aston's online shop and pick out your wares there. Details in the press release after the jump.

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Daily U-Turn: What you missed on 7.16.09

07/17/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Trends, Hybrids/Alternative, Lifestyle

First Drive: 2010 Buick LaCrosse looks to breathe life into old brand

GM CEO Fritz Henderson says that the new breed of Buicks new must be more than competitive - they must be superb. So does the 2010 LaCrosse have the goods to take on Acura and Lexus? We find out.

STUDY: More Americans planning to keep their cars longer... are you? [w/POLL]

Automakers looking for a quick turnaround in the new car market aren't going to like a new survey that says consumers plan to hold onto their vehicles longer than ever before.

Pics Aplenty: Double-size gallery of 2010 Jaguar XJ images

For any of you looking to get an even better look - or perhaps just additional looks - at the 2010 Jaguar XJ, we've added about 40 new photos to our gallery.

Other news of import

  • Ford poised to overtake GM as America's top-selling automaker

  • NHTSA: Drunk driving is down, but 16.3% of nighttime drivers are on drugs

  • Discovery Channel's HD Theater bringing WRC coverage back to U.S.

  • Officially Official: Mercedes to produce electric SLS gullwing
  • BMW trademarks "Countryman" for Mini crossover name?

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STUDY: Despite insurance breaks, hybrids driven more, cost more to fix, and get more tickets

07/17/2009   [Original: Quality Planning via Marketwire via Autoblog]
Category: Maintenance, Trends, Hybrids/Alternative, Lifestyle

2010 Honda Insight EX - Click above for high-res image gallery

Conventional wisdom is that hybrid vehicles reduce our dependence on foreign oil and emit fewer environment hurting CO2 emissions. When comparing a hybrid to a conventional gasoline-powered model on a mile-by-mile basis, there's some logic to this argument provided the pricing disparity between the two models isn't too broad. However, a new study by Quality Planning shows that hybrid owners drive much more than non-hybrid owners, potentially negating the benefits of the added battery pack and electric motor.

Quality Planning studied nearly 360,000 vehicles throughout 2007 and 2008 to analyze driving habits, and some of the study's findings are pretty surprising. According to the survey, hybrid and non-hybrid drivers have statistically similar commutes, but hybrid owners drive their vehicles 25% more (2,000 miles) in non-commuting scenarios.

Dr. Raj Bhat, president of Quality Planning, thinks part of the reason for these findings has something to do with the fact that high mileage drivers are typically more interested in hybrids than infrequent drivers.

"What we don't know is whether owning a hybrid vehicle encourages people to drive more miles each day or take more pleasure trips. High-mileage drivers appear to be attracted to these vehicles, so insurers should take steps to verify the intended use of hybrids and validate actual miles driven wherever possible."

The study also shows that hybrid owners are significantly more likely to receive traffic tickets. According to the survey, Toyota Prius owners received .38 tickets per 100,000 miles driven, versus a non-hybrid average of .23 tickets per 100,000 miles. That's a 65% differential. One possible explanation for the ticket disparity has to do with where hybrid owners live. Quality Planning found that hybrid owners are more likely to live in an urban setting, where tickets are more frequently issued.

If you really want a hybrid and you don't want to hear any more bad news, you should stop reading. QP also found that repair costs are significantly higher for hybrid owners. The Ford Escape Hybrid, for example, costs 31% more to repair than the gasoline-only model, while repairing the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will reportedly add 45% more cost. A recent report by IntelliChoice that found that, in the long-term, hybrids and diesels are actually cheaper than gasoline-only vehicles.

The text below illustrates how much on a per dollar basis hybrid repair costs for collision and comprehensive coverage versus one dollar for a non-hybrid. The disparity is shrinking every year, but according to QP, hybrids still cost more to fix. Hit the jump to view the Quality Planning press release.

Collision Comprehensive

Coverage Coverage

2006 Hybrid Models $1.16 $1.75

2007 Hybrid Models $1.09 $1.35

2008 Hybrid Models $1.13 $1.17

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MADD angry at Flying Fish brewery for naming beers after NJ freeway exits?

07/15/2009   [Original: Boston.com via Autoblog]
Category: Etc., Lifestyle

It is acceptable to name your alcoholic beverage after a moving vehicle so long as a car isn't the vehicle in question; e.g. Night Train Express wine and Warbird beer (How about Thunderbird? - Ed). In fact, it's frowned upon to give alcohol a name that can even be associated with cars. New Jersey craft brewer Flying Fish has attracted the attention of MADD, the NJ Turnpike Authority (NJTA), and the press for breaking the taboo with its line of beers named after exits on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Exit 4 American Trippel was the first in the "big beer" series -- they come in 750-ml bottles -- part of "a multi-year brewing experiment to brew a series of beers as diverse as the great state of New Jersey." Exit 11, a Hoppy American Wheat Ale, will be coming later this month and is "a tribute to Woodbridge's exit, where the Turnpike meets the Garden State Parkway." Which must taste delicious...

MADD feels that "The combination of a roadway and advertising for any kind of a beer doesn't make any kind of sense." The NJTA wants to make sure no one thinks it's turned into a brewer. To address both issues each bottle of flying fish includes a disclaimer, "The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has no affiliation with the Exit Series. Both the Turnpike Authority and Flying Fish agree that you should never drink and drive." That hasn't quite quelled the controversy, but it does tell people two things they should already know.

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VIDEO: Robbie Maddison does the backwards flip with no-hands thing over the Thames

07/15/2009   [Original: BBC News via Top Gear via Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Videos, Lifestyle, Motorcycles, UK, Celebrities

Click above to watch the video after the break

Robbie Madison is set to solidify his reputation as the World's Preeminent Daredevil Motorcyclist after performing a no-handed backwards flip over the Thames in London at 2:55 am on July 13th. Using the iconic Tower Bridge as his takeoff and landing points, the Australian rider performed the stunt with the bridge in its raised position about 100 feet above the water.

Maddison hit the jump at about 40 miles per hour and managed a picture-perfect landing on the other side. The 27-year-old rider currently holds the record for the longest ever ramp-to-ramp jump ever at just over 350 feet and the highest ever "step up" to the 96-foot-tall Arc de Triomphe at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. Click past the break to watch the event unfold on video.

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Porsche Design and Adidas Gear Up for the Winter

07/10/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Porsche, Lifestyle


Porsche Design Sport Fall/Winter 2009 Collection - Click above for high-res image gallery

While the rest of us are enjoying the summer, those working in the fashion industry at any level are already gearing up for the winter wonderland around the corner. So Porsche Design - the lucrative merchandising division - has released its latest Sport collection for the Fall and Winter seasons.

Made in collaboration with sportswear giant Adidas, the latest Porsche Design collection includes lines for sailing, golf, tennis, running and skiing, but of course, we cut straight to the good stuff: the driving gear, including a fresh assortment of driving shoes, gloves, scarves, sweatshirts, jackets and more. Naturally, they're all exquisitely designed, meticulously crafted and eager to keep you warm on a drive through the Alps. Follow the jump for the full press release and check out the images of the driving gear in the gallery below.

Gallery: Porsche Design Sport Fall/Winter 2009

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Elle Macpherson gets topless at Fiat 500C launch [w/VIDEO]

07/10/2009   [Original: MS&L London via Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Green, FIAT, Lifestyle

Fiat 500C with Elle Macpherson - Click above for high-res image gallery

Fiat held a glitzy launch for the convertible version of its super hot supermini at the Whisky Mist in London the other night and swimsuit supermodel Elle Macpherson was the first in the UK to go topless, getting her very own 500C. We're told the Australian-born model and actress received the keys to the latest iteration of the Italian-built model outside her Notting Hill home and was soon overheard telling a friend how cool and sexy she thought it was. Of course, Elle knows all about cool and sexy Fiat 500s, having previously owned the original hard top version.

Other convertible-celebrating celebrities up in da club with Edoardo Agnelli, the nephew of Fiat's co-founder, included Tesla Roadster buyer and Black-Eyed Peas guy will.I.am and Sugababes' Amelle. Feel free to check out the gallery below of Elle's famous friends posing with her new ride. Americans lusting after a topless model for themselves may have to wait until 2011 before they are able to satisfy their desire. Hit the jump for a couple bonus vids of the 500C in action and the official UK launch press release.

Gallery: Fiat 500C UK launch

Continue reading Elle Macpherson gets topless at Fiat 500C launch [w/VIDEO]

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FOLLOWUP: GM orders YouTube to remove "tasteless" gay Camaro promo video?

07/10/2009   [Original: USA Today; Mlive via Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Marketing/Advertising, Chevrolet, GM, Lifestyle

Yesterday, not long after we posted a story about a gay-centered General Motors marketing video for Chevrolet's new Camaro, the video was mysteriously pulled from YouTube. As it turns out, GM itself has copped to the disappearing act, as it reportedly ordered the popular video hosting site to yank the footage.

According to a USA Today article, GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss felt that the video - which featured a pair of so-called 'go go boys in Camaro-branded underwear washing a new 2010 model - was "not appropriate and not in good taste." The footage was filmed as part of a Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen gay day promotion at a Hollywood movie theater.

Despite pulling the video, GM has reportedly launched a more concerted campaign to broaden the scope of its marketing efforts as it applies to the Camaro, with more overt efforts to target gays, bisexuals and the transgendered. It is not immediately clear what (if any) effect pulling the footage will have on the rest of the automaker's p.r. efforts.

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VIDEO: Vauxhall trying to bring back roller skating? Groovy.

07/10/2009   [Original: Event magazine via Autoblog]
Category: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Vauxhall, Lifestyle, UK, Event Alert

Vauxhall skate party -- Click above to watch video

Vauxhall is rolling out the retro cool by holding an invitation-only roller skating event in North London on July 29. As part of the festivities, the General Motors division has reportedly commissioned bespoke sets of Vauxhall Corsa roller boots (seriously), and the event will even feature a "pit-stop themed hair salone with free styling from a 'huge name' in celebrity hairdressing." The secret party doesn't look to have a name, but it's got the kind of vibe that doesn't need one: "'70s disco meets Knight Rider on roller skates." If only the Knight Rider show had thought of that, perhaps it would still be on the air.

You can check out the details at www.tiny.cc/vauxhallskate, and you can get into the groove with video of a young lady doing her thing wearing Vauxhall Corsa skates after the jump. Hat tip to Clarence.

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Elle Macpherson gets topless at Fiat 500C launch

07/09/2009   [Original: MS&L London via Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Green, FIAT, Lifestyle

Fiat 500C with Elle Macpherson - Click above for high-res image gallery

Fiat held a glitzy launch for the convertible version of its super hot supermini at the Whisky Mist in London the other night and swimsuit supermodel Elle Macpherson was the first in the UK to go topless, getting her very own 500C. We're told the Australian-born model and actress received the keys to the latest iteration of the Italian-built model outside her Notting Hill home and was soon overheard telling a friend how cool and sexy she thought it was. Of course, Elle knows all about cool and sexy Fiat 500s, having previously owned the original hard top version.

Other convertible-celebrating celebrities up in da club with Edoardo Agnelli, the nephew of Fiat's co-founder, included Tesla Roadster buyer and Black-Eyed Peas guy will.I.am and Sugababes' Amelle. Feel free to check out the gallery below of Elle's famous friends posing with her new ride. Americans lusting after a topless model for themselves may have to wait until 2011 before they are able to satisfy their desire. Hit the jump for a couple bonus vids of the 500C in action and the official UK launch press release.

Gallery: Fiat 500C UK launch

Continue reading Elle Macpherson gets topless at Fiat 500C launch

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