MotorMediaWatch April 18

Rumble Seat: 2009 Nissan GT-R
By Dan Neil
A marvel of power and speed, the all-wheel-drive GT-R coupe is so safe and serene that it’s curiously lacking in thrills. (LAT)+++

Viva Speed Racer
For those who like their movies full of thrills and spills, with their colors over-saturated, Speed Racer could be just the thing. (LAT)+++

Stylish Off-Roaders
A new group of small recreational utility vehicles are bringing horsepower and style to a previously dowdy segment of off-road driving. (WSJ)+++

Chinese Demand for Pricier Cars Rises
No longer content with no-frills econo-boxes, Chinese car buyers are increasingly using their new wealth to buy the kind of bigger, more-expensive wheels that predominate in developed markets like the U.S.(WSJ)+++

GM Streamlines Marketing
General Motors is aligning its marketing leadership with the four channels that oversee its eight North American brands, in part to improve product development.(WSJ)+++

Learning to Drive on a Stick Shift
This week, Jonathan Welsh offers advice to readers looking for a sedan with a manual transmission to teach a teen how to drive, replacing a small station wagon and the benefits of all-wheel drive in a luxury sedan. (WSJ)+++

European Auto Sales Decline
Uncertainty in the global economy helped put a dent in car sales in Europe last month. New passenger-car registrations on the continent were down 9.5%.(WSJ)+++

Review: Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
David Patton gets behind the wheel of Chevrolet’s new Tahoe Hybrid. The big, pickup-based SUV has been fully engineered to be as fuel-efficient as possible. But are the changes that enough to overcome its heft? (WSJ)+++

Story’s Not Over for Delphi’s Boss
With Delphi mired in bankruptcy, Chairman Robert S. Miller has no shortage of headaches. And now he has another one: His new book, which is being released with more controversy than he and his publisher had expected(WSJ)+++

Chrysler, Nissan Unveil Broad Partnership
Chrysler and Nissan are teaming up to build full-size pickup trucks for the U.S. market and small cars for North America and other markets.(WSJ)+++

Ford Aims to Wow Dealers
Ford is hoping its new “Drive One” marketing strategy, which includes online and viral elements as well as television and print advertising, will get dealers jazzed and turn them into grass-roots advocates for the company.(WSJ)+++

Talking Traffic
David Patton and Mathew Passy talk about Ford’s marketing efforts to its dealers, gadgets that draw buyers and whether people really use new traffic info to avoid jams.(WSJ)+++

Electric carmaker Tesla sues designer
The Tesla Roadster and the Fisker Karma share a sleek, sexy vision of an alternative-fuel future. But their green path has become a rocky road. (SJM)+++

Study: Collision, lane departure systems show promise
Collision warning systems and lane departure alerts are among the most promising new safety technologies and could potentially prevent thousands of fatal accidents, according to a new study by an insurer-funded group. (SJM)+++

Hyundai recalling some Sonata cars
Hyundai Motor said Tuesday it was recalling 393,714 Sonata passenger cars in the United States to fix a problem with the air bag system in the front passenger seat.(SJM)+++

Workers walk out at Lansing GM plant

Union workers at General Motors Corp.’s Lansing Delta Township plant walked off their jobs at 10 a.m. today in a dispute over local contract issues. The strike could cripple production at the plant and have serious implications for the Detroit automaker. (DFP)+++

S. Korean trade deal worth close look
SEOUL, South Korea — On the eve of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak’s two-day visit this week with President George W. Bush at Camp David, a story that’s been front-page news in Korea for two years may finally get some notice in the United States. (DFP)+++
Chrysler opens engineering office in China

Chrysler LLC has opened an engineering office in Shanghai, China, part of a much larger expansion by the Auburn Hills automaker to beef up its product design efforts outside the United States. (DFP)+++

GM tries to stay out of talks in Axle strike
Despite being stuck in the middle of the UAW’s 7-week strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., General Motors Corp. has stayed away from the bargaining table. (DFP)+++

Supplier strike slows GM crossover production
DELTA TOWNSHIP — Labor disputes are putting production of some of General Motors Corp.’s best-selling vehicles in jeopardy.
(DFP)+++

Warehouse faces strike
General Motors Corp.’s Lansing Delta Township facility isn’t the only area operation facing worker unrest. About 150 warehouse workers and truck drivers at Comprehensive Logistics in Delta Township could go on strike as early as 12:01 a.m. May 1. (DFP)+++

State loses 15,000 factory jobs in March
Michigan shed 15,000 manufacturing jobs in March because of the American Axle strike and its ripple effects through the auto industry.(DFP)+++

FREEWHEELING
The fastest growing automotive segment is not hybrids, flex-fuel vehicles, crossovers or sedans. It is drivers 65 and older, numbering 29 million today, according to the American Automobile Association. AAA is…(SFC)+++

2008 Malibu Hybrid sedan has the making of a prize-winner

Chevrolet Malibu keeps getting better. The all-new 2008 sedan is a “Car of the Year.” With gasoline topping $3.50, there’s no better time to drive the Malibu Hybrid. The EPA fuel economy rating for the Chevrolet hybrid… (SFC)+++

Salvaged Treasure

Robert L. Moisoff is Business Continuity Manager at ADP National Account Services in Pleasanton. He lives in Concord. If you regularly travel the Interstate 680 corridor between Walnut Creek and Pleasanton during… (SFC)+++

DOWN THE ROAD
Even during bad times, sales of some luxury cars continue to do well, especially those that offer exceptional performance and an air of exclusivity. All of the major players in the performance luxury “club” have… (SFC)+++

2008 MINI Cooper Clubman

If you believe the MINI is too small to accommodate some activities, meet the other MINI – the MINI Clubman. Available as a base Cooper model and the hotter Cooper S, it’s essentially identical to the MINI Coupe from…(SFC)+++

2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid
Mazda North American Operations has added the Mazda Tribute Hybrid Electric Vehicle to their lineup for the 2008 model year. The Tribute HEV is the latest environmentally friendly vehicle to join the Mazda lineup. A..(SFC)+++

No car repairs or painting in Beijing until after Olympics
The city of Beijing has drawn widely-publicized controversy due to its poor air-quality leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympic games.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Beijing ’08 Preview: Changfeng Qi Ling CP1A
Imagine a Hyundai Elantra minus the swoopy body line and with a more assertive, Opel-ish beak, and you have the Changfeng Qi Ling CP1A that’ll be unveiled this weekend at the Beijing Motor Show.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Singapore’s F1 night race to use electronic flags
When the Singapore F1 Grand Prix begins on September 28th, it will feature the first application of Digiflags, 35 large screens that can display the different flag colors, making it easier for racers to know what’s going on while speeding down the track.(AUTOBLOG)+++

More cars than ever require premium fuel
Whether you call it “premium,” “super unleaded,” or even “high test,” it all means the same thing — the most expensive gasoline at the pump.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Real photo of the real Volt powertrain mule
As so often happens when the first spy shots of a new car surfaces, we jump all over them trying to get them on-line and then we stop and take a closer look at what we have.(AUTOBLOG)+++

IIHS questions the effectiveness of five new safety features
In the last 24 hours, we’ve been accosted with more high-tech, in-car wizardry than we’ve ever asked for. And while you’ll have to wait until next week to read our review of the new Infiniti FX(AUTOBLOG)+++

Ford launches new performance site for enthusiasts
FoMoCo has decided to provide Ford enthusiasts of all stripes a single website to cater to their performance needs, lusts and communities.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Beijing ’08 Preview: BYD e6 electrifies family hauling
When Auto China (a.k.a. the Beijing Motor Show) opens next week, BYD will pull the wraps off its e6, an EV crossover/MPV with a front end similar in appearance to the JDM Honda Odyssey. Unlike Honda’s people-mover, the e6 runs exclusively on batteries. Its operating range is stated as being 300 km (186 miles) on a full charge.(AUTOBLOG)+++

UAW strike halts GM’s CUV production
This morning, UAW workers at General Motor’s Lansing Delta Township plant in Michigan have began a work stoppage, halting production of the Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Volkswagen Phaeton could return to the U.S. this year, or next
To put it charitably, the Phaeton never met the U.S. sales expectations set by Volkswagen, but that hasn’t stopped VW execs from considering another push to market the luxobarge in North America.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Honda NSX to spearhead RWD model lineup
By most accounts, Honda originally planned to show off the next generation NSX to the seething throngs at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. (AUTOBLOG)+++

2008 International Engine of the Year Award nominees announced
The “International Engine of the Year Award” is a big deal as far as bragging rights go in this industry. Think of it like the Academy Awards for engines.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Officially Official: BMW S 1000 RR race bike
Let the speculation end! BMW has officially pulled the covers off of its S 1000 RR race bike, which will sprout a production model next year. (AUTOBLOG)+++

Volkswagen up! More details revealed
Volkswagen’s adorable little up! has the ambitious goal of becoming the next original Beetle, and new info on Auto Express seems to indicate that the Germans in Wolfsburg may be on to something.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Ferrari sends Marlboro logos to the ashtray
Though most other F1 teams have banished cigarette advertisements from their fenders in the past few years (AUTOBLOG)+++

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