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Review: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic 5 Door 1LT 6MT
Nov28

Review: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic 5 Door 1LT 6MT

By Brendan Moore

Decades worth of passing judgment on new cars has left me with a distinct case of cognitive dissonance when it comes to driving General Motors iron in recent years. Brain and muscle memory scream out for me to thrash any GM automobile in my review, and it only gets worse as the cars get smaller.

GM made some really crappy cars in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Craptastic cars – that is, fantastically crappy. Their small cars were just amazingly awful, as if someone tried to make them as crummy and as unappealing as possible. I bludgeoned those cars in print and in interviews. And they deserved every bit of scorn I heaped upon them.

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Review: 2012 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI
Nov10

Review: 2012 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI

By Brendan Moore

For those of you that have never heard of him, Dan Neil is a great auto journalist. He’s also, by all accounts, a pretty good guy, and I’ve had a couple of brief exchanges with him over the years, and he does seem like a pretty good guy. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2004 (yeah, an automotive writer- cool, huh?), presented annually to a newspaper writer who has demonstrated “distinguished criticism”. The distinguished criticism the Pulitzer Committee had in mind when they handed him that award was his “Rumble Seat” column for The Los Angeles Times, his then-employer. He reviewed passenger vehicles in that column.

He now writes for The Wall Street Journal. published in the Journal on October 22, the header on the review was, “Honda’s Sporty New Civic, Heavy on the ‘Ick’.”

I would have given him the Pulitzer just for that alone. That’s some good writing, there.

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SAAB – Now What?
Nov03

SAAB – Now What?

By Brendan Moore

As you may have read, Saab’s slow death rattle was halted last Friday. Two small Chinese firms, and Youngman, offered again to purchase Saab from the floundering Swedish Automobile, a company born from the ashes of the GM abandonment, Spyker’s purchase of Saab, and then, the subsequent divesture of the Spyker supercar part of the business. 

The time, Swedish Automobile said yes to the acquisition, staving off what would have been certain liquidation of Saab. So, it now looks like Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. will probably be the proud new owners of Saab, and all for the laughably low price of $142 million USD. 

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Review: 2011 Kia Forte SX 5-Door
Oct25

Review: 2011 Kia Forte SX 5-Door

By Brendan Moore

Yes, I know, the 2012 models are already out. But we hadn’t reviewed this car yet, and with a full dance card of 2012 models already in queue, it may be quite some time before a Kia Forte 5-Door works its way into the rotation again, so I decided to take the opportunity to review this hatchback.

So, I told Kia to bring it over to Techshake Plaza, and here we are – I’m writing and you’re reading. There certainly is a certain symmetry to the universe, don’t you think?

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Saab’s Uncertain Turnaround Continues at a Stagger
Jul01

Saab’s Uncertain Turnaround Continues at a Stagger

Since the last piece I wrote about Saab, , there have been subsequent machinations in Trollhättan, as the Swedish auto manufacturer tries desperately to live another day in order to facilitate its long-term survival. 

Just to recap regarding the emergence of Saab’s new Chinese partner, and possible saviour, Pang Da: 

After a deal with Chinese SUV-maker Hawtie fell apart, Saab immediately fell into the arms of Pang da, a more well-known Chinese company that is a vehicle distributor in-country. Pang Da currently imports and distributes Toyota, Subaru and Honda brands in China. 

The initial agreement had a commitment by Pang Da to buy Saab vehicles in two tranches. An initial purchase worth 30 million euros has already been agreed to and a subsequent tranch worth 15 million euros is scheduled right behind that, Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker, told journalists in Sweden in May. Muller then added that the first tranch was already on a train, heading for China. 

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