Cars is a 2006 American computer-animated comedy-adventure sports film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed and co-written by John Lasseter, it is Pixar's final independently-produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney. Set in a world populated entirely by anthropomorphic cars and other vehicles, it features the voices of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman (in his final non-documentary feature), Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Michael Wallis, George Carlin, Paul Dooley, Jenifer Lewis, Guido Quaroni, Michael Keaton, Katherine Helmond, and John Ratzenberger. Real life race car drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mario Andretti and Michael Schumacher, and car enthusiast Jay Leno (as "Jay Limo") voice themselves. It is also the second Pixar film—after A Bug's Life—to have an entirely non-human cast. The film was accompanied by the short One Man Band for its theatrical and home media releases.
Cars premiered on May 26, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina and was theatrically released on June 9, 2006, to positive reviews. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. The film was released on DVD on November 7, 2006 and to Blu-ray Disc in late 2007. Related merchandise, including scale models of several of the cars, broke records for retail sales of merchandise based on a Disney·Pixar film, bringing an estimated $10 billion in 5 years since the film's release. The film was dedicated to Joe Ranft, who was killed in a car accident during the film's production.
A sequel, Cars 2 and Cars 3, was released on June 24, 2011 and June 16, 2017, and a spin-off, Planes, produced by DisneyToon Studios, was released on August 9, 2013. A series of short animated films entitled Cars Toons has been airing since 2008.
In a world populated by anthropomorphic talking vehicles, the grand race of the Piston Cup season ends in a three-way tie between retiring veteran and Piston Cup Racing Series legend, Strip "The King" Weathers, frequent runner-up Chick Hicks, and brash rookie sensation Lightning McQueen; the tiebreaker race is scheduled for one week later at the Los Angeles International Speedway. McQueen is desperate to win the race, not only to be the first rookie to win the Piston Cup, but also because it would allow him to leave the unglamorous sponsorship of Rust-Eze, a bumper ointment company, and take The King's place on the prestigious and lucrative Dinoco team. McQueen struggles to work well with others due to his arrogance, which has resulted in him firing three crew chiefs and having his pit crew quit following the race. Eager to get to California as soon as possible, he pushes his big rig, Mack, to travel all night long. While McQueen is sleeping, Mack nods off and is startled awake, causing McQueen to fall out the back of the trailer and onto the road. McQueen wakes up in the middle of traffic and speeds off the highway in search of Mack, but instead ends up in the rundown town of Radiator Springs, where he inadvertently damages the pavement of the main road. McQueen is detained and watched over by Mater, the dim-witted and optimistic tow truck.
The next morning, the town's judge, Doc Hudson, who is disgusted to see a racer, impulsively orders McQueen to leave town immediately, but the local attorney, Sally Carrera, provides that McQueen should instead be assigned community service to repave the road, to which Doc reluctantly agrees. Still in a rush to leave town, McQueen runs after Mater takes the boot off his wheel but his gas tank was siphoned and is brought back to repave the road. During this time, McQueen begins to warm to the town, and befriends several of its residents. He learns that Radiator Springs was once a prosperous and thriving town that served as a popular stop along U.S. Route 66 until the highway got bypassed with the construction of the Interstate 40 and forgotten, and that Doc was the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, a famous three-time Piston Cup champion whose career was cut short following a serious wreck in 1954. McQueen bonds with Sally, who found happiness when she gave up a fast life in LA to live in Radiator Springs, and now dreams of putting the town back on the map. McQueen finishes repaving the road, reinvigorating the town's residents, and decides to spend an extra day in Radiator Springs with his new friends, but he is suddenly found and whisked away when Mack and the media descend on the town. McQueen half-heartedly leaves to reach California in time for the race while Sally chastises Doc upon discovering that he was responsible for tipping off the media to McQueen's whereabouts.
At the race, McQueen cannot stay focus and soon falls into last place. He is then surprised to see Doc, having a change of heart, has taken over as his crew chief and several of his other friends from Radiator Springs are helping in the pit. Inspired and exhibiting tricks he learned from Doc and Mater, McQueen quickly emerges to lead the race in the final lap, but at the last minute, Hicks, refusing to lose to The King again, sideswipes, and sends him into a dangerous crash. Seeing this on the jumbotron and recalling Doc's fate, McQueen stops just short of the finish line, allowing Hicks to win, and drives back to push The King over the finish line and help him finish his last race. As a result, the angered crowd and media condemn Hicks' victory while also praising McQueen's sportsmanship. McQueen is offered the Dinoco sponsorship, but declines and insists on staying with Rust-Eze out of loyalty for their past support. Back at Radiator Springs, Mater's dream of helicopter flying is fulfilled, McQueen reunites with Sally and announces that he will be setting up his racing headquarters there, putting Radiator Springs back on the map.
- Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen, described by John Lasseter in the LA Times as "A hybrid between a stock car and a more curvaceous Le Mans endurance racer."
- Paul Newman as Doc Hudson, a 1951 Hudson Hornet who is later revealed to be the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.
- Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera, a 2002 996-series Porsche 911 Carrera.
- Larry the Cable Guy as Mater, a 1951 International Harvester L-170 "boom" truck with elements of a mid-1950s Chevrolet. One-Ton Wrecker Tow Truck.
- Cheech Marin as Ramone, a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Lowrider.
- Tony Shalhoub as Luigi, a 1959 Fiat 500.
- Guido Quaroni as Guido, a custom forklift, resembling an Isetta at the front.
- Jenifer Lewis as Flo, a 1957 Motorama show car.
- Paul Dooley as Sarge, a 1941 Willys model jeep, in the style used by the US Military.
- George Carlin as Fillmore, a 1960 VW Bus.
- Michael Wallis as Sheriff, a 1949 Mercury Club Coupe (police package).
- Katherine Helmond as Lizzie, a 1923 Ford Model T.
- John Ratzenberger as Mack, a 1985 Mack Super-Liner.
- Joe Ranft as Red, a 1960s style fire truck (most closely resembles a mid-1960s) and Peterbilt, this was Ranft's last voice role before his death in August 2005.
- Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks, described by Pixar as a generic 1980s stock car. Strongly resembles a 1978–88 General Motors G-Body such as a Buick Regal or Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
- Richard Petty as Strip "The King" Weathers. The car's design was based on Richard Petty's 1970 Plymouth Superbird
- Jeremy Piven Jeremy Clarkson Clarkson (UK) as Harv, Lightning McQueen's agent, never seen on-screen.
- Bob Costas as Bob Cutlass, is a 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora an announcer for the Piston Cup races and friend of Darrell Cartrip.
- Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip, a 1977 Chevy Monte Carlo, is a Piston Cup announcer and the friend of Bob Cutlass.
- Richard Kind and Edie McClurg as Van and Minny, is a 2003 Ford Windstar and a 1996 Dodge Caravan.
- Humpy Wheeler as Tex Dinoco, is an 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville the owner of Dinoco.
- Tom and Ray Magliozzi as Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze, is a 1963 Dodge and a 1967 Dodge A100 and the owners of Rust-eze.
- Lynda Petty as Mrs. The King, a 1964–1967 station wagon is Strip Weathers's wife.
- Andrew Stanton as Fred
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. as "Junior" #8,
- Michael Schumacher as Ferrari,
- Jay Leno as Jay Limo
- Mario Andretti as Mario Andretti #11,
- Sarah Clark as Kori Turbowitz, is a 1997 Ford Puma a news reporter.
- Mike Nelson as Not Chuck
- Jonas Rivera as Boost
- Lou Romano as SnotRod
- Adrian Ochoa as Wingo
- E.J. Holowicki as DJ
- Elissa Knight and Lindsey Collins as Tia and Mia, is a identical twin 1992 Mazda MX-5 ("Miata") sisters.
- Larry Benton and Douglas Keever as Larry Camper and Doug R.M.
- Jack Angel
- Michael Bell - Houser Boon
- Bob Bergen - Tim Rimmer
- Susan Blu
- Andrea Boerries
- Marco Boerries
- Rodger Bumpass
- Torbin Xan Bullock
- Richard Cawood
- Scott Clark
- Kathy Coates - Kathy Copter
- John Cygan - Richard Clayton Kensington
- Jennifer Darling
- Paul Eiding
- Bill Farmer- Ruby Easy Oaks, Lee Revkins, Winford Bradford Rutherford
- Brian Fee - Al Oft
- Teresa Ganzel
- Craig Good - Skip Ricter
- Jess Harnell - Chuck Armstrong, Sven "The Governator"
- Arite Kempner - Arite
- Hooman Khalili - Hooman
- Sonoko Konishi - Chuki
- Erik Langley
- Sherry Lynn
- Danny Mann
- Mickie McGowan
- Laraine Newman
- Teddy Newton - Chuck Manifold
- Colleen O'Shaughnessey
- Bob Peterson - Wide Chick Pitty
- Steve Purcell - Frank, Tractors
- Jan Rabson - Marco Axelbender, T.J. Hummer
- A.J. Riebli, III - Albert Hinkey
- Dan Scanlon - Dan Sclarkenberg
- Stephen Schaffer
- Ken Schretzmann
- Bob Scott - Brian
- Matt Staudt
- Jay Ward
- Jim Ward - Chief Chick
- Colette Whitaker - Andrea
Cars received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, The film has a score of 75% based on 201 reviews with an average score of 6.91/10.