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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Rumors

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.


New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:57AM | By: Chris Weiss


New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012 test 1-1

Back in early July, a rather sickly looking yellowish-brown mess of a Dodge Viper rolled off production lines. That was the last Dodge Viper that we'll see from this generation, and it left a rather bitter taste in the mouth. The official idea was to make it an earth-toned Viper--for what reason we don't know--but the thing came off looking like some large animal had taken a squatter directly over it. It was that bad.

Luckily, that Viper will be long forgotten when the next-generation model makes its debut. Reports of the new Viper have been heating up, and according to Autocar, Dodge has already shown the new supercar to a group of dealers at Chrysler's dealer conference in Orlando earlier this week.


Hints At a McLaren Hybrid

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 3:46AM | By: Chris Weiss


Hints At a McLaren Hybrid test 1-1

One of my favorite types of auto or tech leaks is the unavoidable job posting leak. The company in question clearly needs some new blood to help it step into a new direction and it can't help but advertise. And while company execs are busy trying to bulk up their team toward future production, the media world is scouring the ads and making educated guesses as to what the company is up to.


Nissan May Drop Xterra From Its Line-Up

On: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 12:20PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan May Drop Xterra From Its Line-Up  test 1-1

What a difference a decade can make. At the turn of the millenium, auto manufacturers couldn't pump SUVs off the lines fast enough. But in 2010, they can't seem to give them a way. Blame the economy, rising gas prices, a reborn effort to save the environment and a certain self-awareness that just didn't exist a decade ago, but manufacturers are watering down old SUVs with unitized frames and swank interiors and/or killing off the SUVs of old altogether. We saw it with the new Ford Explorer; the new Dodge Durango is set to take the same direction and now another body-on-frame SUV is on the chopping block. Nissan may eliminate the Xterra from its line, leaving mid-size SUV traditionalists less options than ever.

Like any company, Nissan's decision will be guided by its bottom line. Sales of the Xterra have been floundering, with only 12,186 sold as of July this year, compared to 88,578 sold in 2000. According to Wards' numbers, automakers in general sold a total of 211,042 mid-size SUVs in 2009. Compare that to the 1.65 million they were selling back in the 2000 year, and it's painfully obvious that SUVs are simply no where near the cash cows they once were.

Combine the dismal sales of the greater mid-size market with tightening Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, and you have the recipe for extinction. With CAFE standards set to rise to 34.1 mpg by 2016, a number that is fleet-wide and includes both passenger cars and light trucks like the Xterra, the Xterra's fuel economy numbers of 17 mpg combined certainly won't help Nissan's cause.


 

The Grandest Cherokee

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:35PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


The Grandest Cherokee test 1-1

At one point in the not too distant past, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 was the fastest production SUV on the planet. With an old school pushrod six liter Hemi engine producing 420 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, it was the sport in sports utility vehicle. With performance numbers like 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, 0-100 in 11.8 seconds and the ¼ mile in 13.2@104, it could put almost all but the most muscular of muscle cars from the 1960s to shame.

But as it’s been noted several times over, “Racing improves the breed.”  Since its introduction, the Cherokee SRT8 has been eclipsed by its German competitors in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and the BMW X5 M that produce almost god-like performance numbers. The Germans outperform the SRT8 in almost every category except price. The once unbeatable Cherokee loses out on horsepower, torque, acceleration, handling, towing capacity, transmission gears, and braking to its foes. 

But fear not, Cherokee faithful; it seems that Chrysler has relocated the entire staff of the now deceased Viper to the SUV department. If the rumors are true, the next Grand Cherokee SRT8 will be, quite simply, the most powerful, meanest, and mind-bendingly fast vehicle to ever bear the Jeep nameplate.  


Lamborghini Considering First-Ever Sedan

On: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Considering First-Ever Sedan test 1-1

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann recently gave credence to a possible Lamborghini sedan in an interview with Bloomberg. Winkelmann's statement lends some credibility to the idea that Lamborghini might build a production four-door based on the Estoque concept of the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The sedan would compete with other high-end performance four-doors like the Aston Martin Rapide, Maserati Quattroporte, and Volkswagen AG stablemate Porsche Panamera.

Winkelmann pointed to the possibility of a four-door concisely in an interview at Lamborghini's headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, stating: “A third model would fit Lamborghini very well. A four-door car would be a very feasible approach.”

According to Bloomberg's report, Lamborghini has not yet made a final decision on the four-door and it will need to make sense in terms of boosting sagging sales.


PartnerShift

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 11:37AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


PartnerShift test 1-1

By now, most gear heads, or at least auto show goers are familiar with and drooling over the Toyota FT-86.  The Future Toyota-86 will mark Toyota's first re-entry into the small sports car segment since the MR2 Spyder bowed out three years ago.  The new car promises to be fast, fun, and affordable, not to mention quite the looker.  But what people seem to be forgetting is the reason why the new Toyota will be fast and affordable:  It was designed in partnership with rally-car obsessed Subaru.  This partnership is the first for the two companies and could pay off in a big way for both companies who bring very different aspects to the table.  In this situation, Toyota appears to be the big money Trump-like investor who promises a solid name to attach to the car using their best marketing and (once) marquee quality control, while Subaru appears as the start-up guy with all the ideas and the design plans.  But however they dice up the partnership, both companies could be the beneficiaries of some very high revenue if this car hits the market with as much value as promised.  


Rumors Bring Both Good and Bad News For Lamborghini Lovers

On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 9:58AM | By: Chris Weiss


1986 Lamborghini LM002 test 2

A new report from Car and Driver's German correspondent indicates that Lamborghini may be looking to return to several market segments that it abandoned back in the 80s and 90s. The sports car marquee is reportedly looking at the possibility of a new, hardcore SUV and an entry level model that will slate in below the Gallardo. On the flip side, rumors indicate that a possible four-seater is all but dead.

Back in the late 80s and 1990s, the Lamborghini we know and love was somewhat of an anomaly. The company still had the timeless sports masterpieces that the brand is recognized most for—like the Countach and Diablo, but it also had something entirely different: a large, civilian/military SUV named the LM002. Those who don't know any better might look at pictures of the LM002 today and think that the Raging Bull badge was photoshopped on. At the time, however, the 'Rambo Lambo' was quite popular, providing an entirely new dynamic to the brand. The jeep carried over the V12 engine from the Countach and offered incomparable desert performance thanks to an extra large radiator and Pirelli Scorpion tires. Alas, it was killed off in 1992.


Micro Machine

On: Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 11:47AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Micro Machine test 1-1

It seems that the bar for car size keeps dropping every year. (Anyone remember when a Honda Civic looked tiny?) Big cars are almost extinct, small cars are now big cars, and the smallest cars today won't be for too much longer. If you haven't heard of the British-born company Gordon Murray Design yet, you will in the next year or two. The new kid on the block, who hasn't quite moved in yet, has designed a car that will make the current Mini Cooper look like a portly slob.  It’s called the T.25, and we believe the T should stand for 'Tiny'.  

Small does not begin to describe this car. At a hair under eight feet long (94.5 inches) and a hair over four feet wide (51.2 inches), this 1265 pound car will remind many of their childhood Power Wheels toys more than a revolutionary paradigm-shifting answer to pollution.  


Pleading The Fifth

On: Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 1:37PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Pleading The Fifth test 1-1

 

In the court of public opinion it seems that the previous generation M5 (designated E60 inside BMW) was indicted on charges of impersonating a super sedan for the American public. It seemed the jury found the chassis too stiff, the sequential auto shift too difficult to use for everyday driving, the engine too… well… too racy. The Formula One-inspired, naturally aspirated V-10 produced 500hp from its five liters (100hp per liter is such a high benchmark that it is reserved mostly for those that use turbochargers or superchargers). Despite its 8000rpm shriek, it managed a peak of ‘only’ 383lb-ft of torque at a very lofty 6100 rpm. The race-inspired V-10 also had the thirst of a track car averaging only around 11/city and 17mpg on the highway.  

Add to that condemnation a haughty as- tested price of entry at around 90k and a competitor from Cadillac in the form of the mighty LS6 and the even more potent LS9-powered CTS-V, that had more torque, more horsepower, and an entry price almost 30 grand less and you have a case mounting against the German hot rod. GM all but threw the book at the E60 with a very impressive run around the Nurburgring Nordschleife (a 12.9 mile track that sports 33 left hand turns and 40 right hand turns) in the CTS-V, making the Cadillac currently the fastest sedan in the world. At the end of that trial you have a car in the M5 that is guilty of asking too much for just not enough.  

The Bavarians are not known for sitting on their laurels, however, and they quickly bailed out their V10 super car. They have been working with the M5, and began its rehab program in the hopes it will be vindicated of the defamation it suffered at the hands of critics and Cadillacs alike. Though still a year or so away it doesn’t look like a full pardon is going to be a problem.  


Donde Esta La Fiesta?

On: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 2:30PM | By: John Welch


Donde Esta La Fiesta? test 1-1

"Summer Release" is rather arbitrary phrasing. Here in Florida, the word "Summer" could refer to July; it could also mean March or September. Ford unleashed a doozie of a marketing campaign on Americans last year, doing anything it could to get publicity for the upcoming "Summer 2010" release of the US-ified Fiesta. Ford tried everything from grinding a Fiesta into dust to straight up giving them to hoity-toity post-grad movers and shakers. It worked. We all know what the Fiesta is and plenty of us want one. Now where in the eff are they?

According to Ford, they are right on schedule. Ford began shipping the cars this week from an assembly plant in Mexico. On Ford's Fiesta Facebook page, some customers awaiting their pre-ordered car vented about it being at least two weeks late. One complained of Ford's lack of communication about the holdup. Ford insists both accusations are inaccurate.

“We've been very transparent with our customers who've made pre-orders,” said Angie Kozleski, a Ford spokeswoman. “We have a reservations call center and a reservations hotline. In the case of this vehicle, there's been a lot of communication with them.”

Ford has approximately 2,000 early orders for the car. Ford's Kozleski said those are orders from customers who put cold, hard cash down to buy the Fiesta.