Welcome to this week’s edition of the autoMedia CARnival! We’ve browsed our favorite automotive blogs all week long to gather all the highlights from each so you can stay informed of everything that’s happening in the automotive world. We’ve got links to wacky news, green news, racing news, great videos and more, so relax and enjoy!
With the approach of the long Memorial Day weekend, the summer travel season is upon us and many families will hit the road, including the four-legged furry members. While it’s great to include your pet in your plans, keeping the family together and saving kennel fees in the process, there are some considerations to keep in mind. It’s important to plan ahead, make sure you have all the necessary gear, and prepare your vehicle accordingly. Consumer Reports has a few tips to ensure your pet — as well as your other passengers — in the car enjoy a fun, safe trip.
While a billboard can tell you about the Ford Fiesta’s keyless entry, it takes a webisode to show how that feature can help a Fiesta owner escape from zombies while his Toyota and Honda-owning friends become a snack for the undead. That’s why Ford turned to agents from the successful first chapter of the Fiesta Movement to create online content to promote their new subcompact. They’re calling it the Fiesta Project, and so far the YouTube videos have gained nearly 500,000 views. “We selected some of our most creative, funny and socially vibrant agents to help us showcase the vehicle’s class-exclusive features,” said Jonathan Beebe, Ford’s Digital Communications manager. The webisodes join a traditional marketing campaign and a second chapter of the Fiesta Movement, gaining big publicity for the tiny car. Read all about it at wired.com/autopia.
Speaking of social media, here’s an interesting way to get a message across to the masses: How about hacking those electric road signs? Pranksters in Wisconsin once again ignored Jalopnik’s continuous and fervent requests to not hack road signs. This time there’s no confusing political message, just the lyrical poetry of Detroit garage disco rock stars Electric Six.
After 70 years of existence, it looks like Mercury will be the next auto brand to go the way of Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn. According to CarGurus, top executives are preparing a proposal to kill Mercury. That proposal will be presented to the board in July, but it seems the Ford family is in favor of axing the brand.
Caused chiefly due to faults that recalled millions of American Toyota vehicles, Automoblog reports the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee has devised an Act that could bring some sweeping changes not only to the issue of unattended vehicle acceleration but to the whole recall process.
Fisker Automotive is still in the absolute infancy of its life cycle as an electric carmaker, but, according to LeftLaneNews.com, it plans to produce as many as 100 examples of its first planned model — the Karma sedan — in order to carry out various forms of testing. Apparently, Ray Lane, one of the investors in Fisker Automotive, said the 70-100 vehicles would “be tested internally, crash tested and used for other testing purposes. Some of them will be given to customers for testing purposes as well, out in the real road.” ‘Bout time.
That’s right friends, even your pals at Automopedia are doing a Lost tie-in. The show’s epic finale was this week, and who could have guessed The Island was really… Just kidding. Won’t give it away because frankly we at the Automopedia offices need to watch The End on Hulu again, to try and catch everything. But they are sharing the six cars you wish you never had to deal with. You may be surprised at this list – they’re not going with the usual “Worst Car” ranking, which almost always includes a Pontiac Aztek and Yugo. And yes, they’re doing six because Lost was on for six seasons — they are such geeks.
High-tech rules! Volkswagen is the first automaker to develop a digital customer magazine as an app for the Apple iPad. According to The Detroit Bureau, the “innovative” digital product — dubbed DAS for Digital Automotive Space – is appearing as the launch of the new Apple tablet computer proceeds across Europe.
TheCarConnection says General Motors has a problem: Not its recent bailout. Or its endless personnel shakeups. Or even the public’s lingering doubts about GM production quality. They’ve also been through a slew of advertising and branding agencies during their recent tumultuous times. Behold the product of one campaign, which featured the likeness of Albert Einstein atop a sexy hunky-hunk of muscular manflesh. Unfortunately, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem owns the licensing rights to Albert Einstein’s image, and they are not happy about this representation of the famous brainiac. Hey, ideas are sexy too!
Got a yearning to gaze at lovingly modified cars, adorned by surgically altered models? Check out ModifiedCars.com for an assortment of super-tuned road monsters and plenty of eye candy. Most galleries include images of high-enough resolution to serve as wallpaper on even the largest of high-def monitors. Enjoy!
When some people buy an exotic, they can’t wait to push the limits. Unfortunately, sometimes they get a little too giddy and wreck the car before they even had a chance to really enjoy it. Call it schadenfreude. Call it pure voyeurism. You know you want to see what those bozos do to their very special vehicles, so wreckedexotics.com offers you this compilation of exotic cars wrecked only days or weeks after purchase.
Speaking of wrecked exotics, The devastating hailstorm that recently wreaked havoc in the Midwest damaged a lot of property and injured a lot of people, but what really caught the attention of TopSpeed.com is this Aston Martin Rapide pinned beneath a tree in the parking lot of the Midwestern Automobile Media Association. Bummer.
Oh yeah, there are some things in our past that we will never live down. Take for instance: William Shatner’s early days as Captain Quirk, er, Kirk. Carlust.com remembers the era with a special Shatner blog, featuring StarTrek stars and their futuristic cars, saying “It’s amazing…how well these cars and these pictures represent the two Star Trek characters. Kirk was a vibrant, bouncy, irresistibly cheerful character with a zest for livng life to the fullest. It’s completely appropriate that he’s pictured here in full color, sitting on a wild, futuristic hot rod with a jaunty smile on his face.” Yeah, that’s a jaunty ride, alright…
Toyota/Lexus just can’t catch a break these days, can they? Toyota has apparently released a quick flick showing the details of its most recent recall involving the variable gear-ratio steering on the 2010 Lexus LS. This video at autoblog shows — in English and Japanese — exactly what happens when the design defect rears its ugly head on the range-topping sedan. Fortunately, only about 3,800 affected vehicles are actually roaming U.S. highways, and all of them are eligible for a free fix. Check with your dealer if you’re concerned about your own car.
Kelley Blue Book ace and auto pal James Bell and his team brought a slew of vehicles to Santa Monica, California for some analysis on KTLA channel five’s morning show. However, while Bell and KTLA were live on the air, a Santa Monica parking enforcement officer began rifling off $50 tickets for each vehicle on display. Check out the video footage of this $500 parking faux pas at autoblog.com.
And with that video to make you thankful you’ve got a private parking lot at your disposal, we thank you for joining us for this week’s CARnival! Have you got something of interest you want us to include in a future carnival? Then fill out our online form so we can be notified of your interesting entry to our weekly blog CAR-nival. Check back next week for another installment!
Brandy Schaffels, autoMedia.com contributing editor