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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Rumors

Details On The Next Pagani

On: Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 9:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


Details On The Next Pagani test 1-1

As can be seen by the Pagani Zonda HH and Pagani Zonda 750, Pagani makes some of the rarest, most distinctive, highest performing supercars on the planet. In fact, the overused moniker 'supercar' isn't even quite strong enough to describe what Pagani does with composites, V12 engines, and tires. And the world will soon see the next iteration of Pagani hypercar. Outside of a few privately commissioned one-offs, the Zonda has had its time in the sun and is on the verge of retirement. Pagani is developing the new C9 supercar, which will replace the Zonda. The C9 has been spotted testing in a few locations around the world, and some details of the new flagship recently began making the rounds.


Ford to Sell Mazda?

On: Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 11:28AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Mazda Shinari Concept test 2

Ford Motor Company is the top stake holder in Mazda Corporation with 11% ownership. Nikkei Business Daily reported that the company plans to reduce its majority stake in Mazda Motor corporation selling all but 3% of its interest to other companies that have business associations with Mazda.

Ford called the report “speculation” in a statement.  "Ford's ownership stake in Mazda remains unchanged," the statement said. "Ford continues to have a close strategic relationship with Mazda and we cooperate in areas of mutual benefit. We have no further comment on the speculation." The business daily states that Mazda asked Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and other firms to buy shares from Ford. Ford’s shares amounted to195 million Mazda shares, worth around 42 billion yen ($515.6 million), as of today, the Nikkei said.


Ohio Dealer Running for Congress Faces Two Lawsuits

On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 10:22AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ohio Dealer Running for Congress Faces Two Lawsuits test 1-1

Ohio auto dealer, Tom Ganley is running for Congress this year. Ganley is a 67-year-old Republican who is on the board of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and he faces two lawsuits pertaining to his professional conduct that is bringing unsolicited press to his political campaign.

Ganley Auto Group, located in Cleveland, is one of Ohio’s largest dealership groups with 28 franchises in 17 locations, including Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, and Volkswagen. Ganley has received criticism from other dealers for condemning the cash for clunkers program last year after selling a total of $20 million vehicles in the program.    
Russell Harris, former on-staff attorney for Ganley, claimed he was fired after he questioned Ganley about the dealer’s testimony during Chrysler arbitration hearings last year.

Ganley had stated in his testimony that Chysler delivered hundreds of inadequate vehicles, that had not been ordered, to his dealership, causing his sales to suffer. Those complaints were never substantiated by witnesses, and Harris concluded that he was unable to prove Ganley’s claims. Ganley maintains he fired Harris “on the spot for some of his conduct and performance at the arbitration,” Brent Buckley, Ganley’s current lawyer, said. Ganley’s claim was an attempt to win back reinstatement of 3 dealerships that Chrysler had closed, in the end he withdrew his claim and settled with Chrysler.


(M)ost (V)enomous (P)layer

On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 9:54AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


(M)ost (V)enomous (P)layer test 1-1

If you are among the millions of NFL fans out there, odds are you know what it feels like when a division rival’s best player gets injured or retires from the game. You know it’s good for your team, but it’s a bittersweet feeling at best. Sure if Peyton Manning got hurt, it will be good for the Texans, Titans, and Jaguar fans (and frankly, good for every team but the Colts, come to think of it). But suddenly beating the Colts won’t mean nearly as much with Curtis Painter at the helm. The victories would still be happily accepted, but they would be bittersweet to some extent. A win against a team at full strength feels more like victory than against a team that is depleted. Beyond that, a day in the NFL without Peyton Manning is a much worse NFL than the one with Peyton Manning. The league suffers if it loses one of its most fierce and demonstrative players for any amount of time.  

Such is the feeling Chevy and Ford more than likely shared when Dodge announced that it was discontinuing the Viper back on July 1 of this year. Sure, it trims the competition a bit and is one less 600 horsepower supercar the ZR-1 and GT500 have to deal with, but somehow it just feels like a hollow advancement up the ranks. Well, that feeling has come and gone faster than a Prius’ 0-60mph time, because Dodge’s MVP is on its way out of retirement and training to get back on the field. According to Autoweek.com, a concept rendition of what should be the next Viper was unveiled by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at a convention center in Orlando, Florida.  


 

Nissan Considering Free, One-Week Rental Car Loans For Leaf Owners

On: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 12:31PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Considering Free, One-Week Rental Car Loans For Leaf Owners  test 1-1

Simply defined, range anxiety is the fear of being stranded by a dead battery in an electric vehicle. Just the way your cell phone can die in the middle of a conversation, the lithium-ion battery in an EV can die out in the middle of the road. But instead of just ending a call early (which could be a positive), a dead car battery will leave you without a means of getting home, and possibly in harm's way.

Range anxiety is one of the huge obstacles that purveyors of all-electric vehicles face, and is one of the key weapons for automakers that want to sell hybrids. The technology just isn't quite there to feasibly offer electric vehicles that have ranges comparable to gas models, and without a charging infrastructure to rival the gas-fueling infrastructure, range anxiety remains a prominent concern.

Nissan is considering a new way of addressing the fear by offering a free rental of a traditional, gas-engined car for up to one week a year. The idea behind this program is that it would quell owners' fears of running out of juice on extended road trips—say when jetting across the desert between LA and Vegas—while still letting them cash in on the environmental benefits of an all-electric vehicle on more controlled trips, like the daily commute.


Infiniti Mulling High-End Sports Car

On: Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 4:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


Infiniti Mulling High-End Sports Car test 1-1

It looks like the Lexus LF-A may get a little competition from another Japanese luxury automaker: Infiniti. Rumors indicate that Nissan's better half is considering a high-performance sports car, a possible big brother to the GT-R. And the rumors come directly from the mouth of Infiniti chief Toru Saito.

The Infiniti sports car is far from confirmed, and may dissipate into thin air in the weeks and months that follow the report, but it does appear that the company is giving some serious consideration to introducing such a car. It's not entirely clear if the model would be high-end enough to compete with the Lexus LF-A and other all-out supercars, but indications are that Infiniti would base the car on the Essence concept that it showed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.

The Essence concept, which bears serious resemblance to the Fisker Karma, featured a twin-turbo 3.7-liter V6 with a 158-hp electric motor that provided an electric assist function. The hybrid powertrain put out a total of 592 horses. After being introduced in Geneva, the Essence ran in the 2009 Goodwood Hillclimb.

It's not entirely clear how much of a possible production car would be based around the Essence, or if it will feature a similar hybrid powertrain.


Big Changes In 2012 For Rolex Grand Am Series

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: John Welch


Big Changes In 2012 For Rolex Grand Am Series test 1-1

The AutoShopper Blog has been religious in our coverage of two of North America's premier road racing series, The American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Grand Am Series. We covered the changes in the ALMS in previous posts, but have only just now had some light shed on the changes for Grand Am, which we will see in 2012. The ALMS is getting smaller, LMP1 is going to downsize to LMP2-size power plants, and LMP2 is going to switch to straight-up production-based engines such as Ford's EcoBoost V6. The prototypes will all get slightly smaller, and there is a new "big honking fin" that will be added to the engine cover of all LMPs in an attempt to prevent blow-over type accidents. Grand Am solved that problem in 2003 by implementing an enormous cockpit and huge side pods on all Daytona Prototype chassis. These features have worn out their welcome, the DP chassis design has proven to be a safe one, and now it's time to let the engine manufacturers loose on the DP's bodywork, effectively clearing the way for Daytona Prototypes that closely resemble the design language used by their engine providers.

Before 2012 I would have recognized the Krohn DP as a Ford/Lola, whereas a layman wouldn't have had any idea what they were looking at. Hopefully, for the 2012 season, everyone, from veteran fans to the freshly initiated, will be able to recognize this car as a FORD. The Ganassi Rileys will be obvious BMWs, and GM-powered cars will be unmistakable as one Chevrolet sports car or another.
 
The GT field will change as well. Realizing the need for higher car counts and greater variety, Grand Am is already allowing GT3 Audi R8 machines in for next season, and will hopefully expand that rule to all FIA GT3 machines. Grand Am is not forgetting its current GT teams either; currently they are working on a rules set that will allow the GT3 cars and the current crop of Production 1 (road cars like the Corvette) and Production 2 (tube frame Riley chassis like the Mazda RX8 and Chevy Camaro) to race under the same classification.

Despite a disturbing economic climate that is supposedly ruining racing as we know it, it is an exciting time for the two best professional series in the world, and Grand Am isn't resting on their success. 2012 looks to be an incredible season for the Rolex Series.
 


Dodge Releases 2011 Charger, Uses Up Every Adjective Available In The Process

On: Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 2:46PM | By: John Welch


Dodge Releases 2011 Charger, Uses Up Every Adjective Available In The Process test 1-1

Some samples from a Chrysler-supplied press kit regarding the 2011 Dodge Charger:

sinister “ready to attack the road” face

iconic character

puts the world’s best E-segment sedan competitors between its new “split crosshair” signature grille

radically raked back headlights

iconic horizontal “coke bottle” or “double-diamond” body-side styling

signature taillamp design that incorporates 164 illuminating LEDs to form its signature “racetrack” graphic and gives the new Charger its unmistakable character from blocks away.

and finally . . .

the all-new 2011 Charger is the Dodge brand’s flagship that proudly delivers premium, world-class E-segment sedan precision at an incredible value.

Chrysler seems to have made a mistake. They keep saying "E-segment" but I'm pretty sure they mean "formerly E-Class". See, this Charger is still based on the underpinnings of the '96 to 2000 Mercedes E-Class, so it has a little catching up to do. It certainly looks the part, the sheet metal is less gaudy and more aggressive than that which it replaces, but it is still slightly behind the times. Also, I must applaud Dodge for sticking with a rear-drive chassis, as another Dodge Intrepid might just cause Mopar fanatics to violently raze any number of executive domiciles located throughout Metro Detroit. So, no matter how the car is or isn't, one thing is for sure: it is rear drive. Someone pass that memo on to Acura, please . . .


Volkswagen Plans to Overtake Toyota as World's Largest Automaker

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Martin Winterkorn test 2

CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn stated that the company plans to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018. This is a lofty goal for Volkswagen; the German automaker tied at 5th place this year (under Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and Hyundai) on Consumer Report’s  list of top automakers. While it’s true that VW has had some award-winning vehicles, such as the Volkswagen GTi, selling more cars than Toyota will be quite an undertaking for the German automaker.

Winterkorn reports that he feels so strongly about leading the company into first place, as the world’s largest automaker, that he wants to remain the CEO long enough to see that continuity is established and the company's goals are met. "We know how ambitious our goals are," Winterkorn said in an interview to be published Monday in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.


Rolls Royce Ghost Coupe and Convertibles on the Horizon?

On: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:38AM | By: Chris Weiss


Rolls Royce Ghost Coupe and Convertibles on the Horizon?  test 1-1

About a year ago, Rolls Royce unveiled its attractive, two-toned Ghost sedan at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. A report today indicates that it's considering spinning the Ghost into a full line with both coupe and convertible models.

 

Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes told Bloomberg in an interview: “I'm quite confident that we're going to see a Ghost derivative to come. There's still a lot of potential in the market." 
 
The Ghost, a $250,000 model that slates in under the Phantom, went on sale last year and has helped Rolls Royce recover from a down year in 2009. Mueller-Oetvoesent didn't go into specific details about what Ghost derivatives might be planned, instead deflecting that decision onto customer demand. Possibilities include usual suspects like a coupe that could offer even more performance than the sedan version and a drop-top.
 
Rolls Royce is in the process of recovering sales after the recessed economy cut demand for $300,000 ultra-premiums. As of August of this year, Rolls sold 1,467 units, already breaking its single-year record under BMW ownership of 1,212 cars in 2008. It aims to break the 2,000-car mark by year-end.

Ford Could See Earnings Decline Into 2011

On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 12:51PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Could See Earnings Decline Into 2011 test 1-1

Credit Suisse has projected that Ford Motor Co. may continue to realize decreasing profits into 2011. Financial analysts project that Ford Motor Co. may possibly see a decline in profits from 2010 to 2011 as a result of increased cost for materials and structural costs, as well as the rise in future pension expense.

It seems that the cards may be stacked against automakers today in more ways than one. It’s not enough that a slow economy has negatively impacted automotive sales with the lowest level profits since the 80s; Ford now faces the possibility of a $900 million addition to the company’s pension expense.  According to a recent Automotive News article: “an earnings-per-share headwind of about 15 cents to 20 cents; if discount rates remain unchanged and asset returns do not improve, analysts, including Christopher Ceraso, said.”

"To the extent that Ford has been a great earnings momentum story, it will be difficult, in our view, for the shares to push higher in the face of declining earnings," analysts wrote to clients.

Analysts believe that Ford could possibly realize a “step-down” in profits from the financing arm of the company, Ford Credit, which has received benefits this year from gains on higher lease residuals as well as losses from slow repayment of credit accounts, which are at an all-time low.