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1st Gear:The Chevy Volt isn't winning a lot of fans at Consumer Reports, if the director of testing is any indication: "The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle, and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," David Champion said Monday. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer." Especially if that consumer pays a $5,000 markup to the dealer for a Volt, as Consumer Reports did.


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2nd Gear:Speaking of Consumer Reports: Its annual auto report card shows Honda is still the teacher's pet, and as far as Toyota's concerned, all's forgiven. Ford, Subaru and Volvo also got high marks. Less so: General Motors and Chrysler, dragged by bad quality on old models. But European makes scored the worst, with Mercedes and BMW smacked down on quality, and the 'Muricanized Volkswagen Jetta dinged for "its low-grade interior and mediocre fuel economy."


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3rd Gear:As if the rat's nest of deals in Formula 1 weren't complicated enough, the Red Bull team now has a deal with Nissan to get free engines from Infiniti — which will still be labeled Renaults. This will somehow help convince luxury buyers around the world that Infiniti is a real luxury brand. It's the corporate application of "because racecar."


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4th Gear: Thieves made off with the beat-up Beetle from SPEED's "Chop Cut Rebuild" program before it was finished. If you're in the Riverside, CA area and see this unique matte black VW please call the police, lest they cancel the show and replace it with "NASCAR Chefs: Just Desserts."


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5th Gear:An 850-hp Dacia Duster is going to tackle Pikes Peak? Awesome. Wait, where does Dacia get an 850-hp engine? Let's see: Dacia is part of Renault, which owns Nissan. And Nissan has the GT-R and... this is a GT-R-powered Dacia. We'll take six.


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6th Gear: Young women will start having to paying more for insurance if the European Court of Justice rules that making young men pay more to insure their cars is a form of gender discrimination (they call it sex discrimination). We applaud the courts for trying to remove one of the few forms of gender discrimination that goes in a young woman's favor. Also, this ruling doesn't apply outside of Europe. Sorry fellas.


Reverse:

⏎ Bernie Ecclestone's planning to reschedule the Bahrain G.P. for August, despite the heat of summer (and tanks and gunfire and mass protests). [AP/Yahoo]

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⏎ Russia's opening up a plant in Siberia, probably just so they can follow up on their threats to send employees who talk to safety regulators there. [TTAC]

⏎ Feds scrap a rule requiring powered windows to have $6 auto-reverse switches. It's okay, kids, "stumpy" is a pretty good nickname. [Automotive News]

Today in Automotive History:

On this day in 1973, just as oil crises and Mideast instability combined with the lingering economic malaise and a lengthy land war in southeast Asia, Honda introduced the first Civic to the United States. Thank goodness we don't live in the past. [300C Forums]

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