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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

GM procrastination, Re Deux

On: Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 1:10PM | By: John Welch

GM procrastination, Re Deux test 1-1

Boy, New GM may have shed plenty of toxic debt, but they've retained every bit of the arrogance they've compiled over the years. In an earlier post we outlined the "Saab/Koenigsegg" deal for you, a financial transaction that is moving at a snail's pace. Well, GM likes to spread the procrastination around. Opel, a long time subsidiary of the General, is currently up for bids. It has been since GM declared bankruptcy, and there have been several bidders. Why hasn't it been sold already? Simple; GM wants to maintain a stake in the company so that it can regain management of Opel should the capital become available. "Hedging their bets," so to speak.

Toyota to boost engine production Stateside

On: Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 10:48AM | By: John Welch

Toyota to boost engine production Stateside test 1-1

In a surprise announcement Toyota has made it clear that they plan on increasing four cylinder engine production at their Huntsville, Alabama plant. This is a surprising announcement considering Toyota completely abandoned its NUMMI plant earlier this month.

The original (rather short) story ('blurb,' if you prefer) comes from The Wall Street Journal

New Buick Regal Apes Vauxhall/Opel VXR

On: Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 10:27AM | By: John Welch

New Buick Regal Apes Vauxhall/Opel VXR test 1-1

We may be looking at the next Buick Regal, assuming Fritz Henderson doesn't invent some reason why it offends his 're-badging' sensibilities. The 2010 Vauxhall Insignia VXR seen here is about as striking as a GM product has ever been. (I'm still keen on the '89 era IROC-Z, spent my entire childhood lusting after that car; until I discovered it was making an earth shattering 195 bhp, sigh.) It's from GM's current German arm, Opel. It rides on the same Epsilon II platform that underpins the Chevy Malibu and Buick LaCrosse.There is an interesting assortment of parts that go into the VXR, including bits from Saab, Opel, and GM's Korean subsidiaries. The 321 bhp 2.8-liter twin turbo V6 is sourced from Holden, those same wonderful Aussies who brought us the GTO and G8 before Fritzy decided DESIRABLE cars were not on the docket for GM . . . eeerrr, Government-installed CEOs rub me the wrong way . . . my thoughts on Henderson and his 'rebadging' hypocrisy in a later post . . .

Anyway, here we feature a brief gallery of Insignia VXR images, as well as a link to the origninal story in Edmunds Inside Line.

Wiedeking In Hot Water!

On: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 2:54PM | By: John Welch

Wiedeking In Hot Water! test 1-1

And the Porsche/VW saga gets deeper and deeper. Now it looks like high ranking officials within Porsche may have traipsed around the law when attempting to acquire a majority share in Volkswagen last year. Several offices in Porsche's Stuttgart headquarters were raided this morning, including the office of former chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking. Is it just me, or is it impossible to trust a man named 'Wendy'? Almost as egregious as 'Fritzy' . ..

The full write up can be found at The Times Online


Running Round the 'Ring

On: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 2:16PM | By: John Welch

Running Round the 'Ring test 1-1

Ahhh, the Nurburgring. Possibly the world's greatest race course (that's debatable, of course; Indy and La Sarthe may take offense). Considered by most of the world's automakers as the ultimate test for their machinery. Manufacturers are so high on the 'Ring koolaid that they've been waging a 'fast lap' war around the circuit for the better part of three years. The waters surrounding these records are starting to get a little muddy. In the last four days three different manufacturers (Devon, Gumpert, and Radical) have made claim to the 'production car' lap record. Huh? The PRODUCTION lap record is held by the Corvette ZR1, at a time of 7:26.4. It could be argued that none of these other cars are 'production' cars. They are all hand-built, small volume rocket sleds that surely required serious bribes in order to get street legal. Take a look at the Radical; it's a LMP2 car with slim bodywork for barkinoutloud.

Besides the epic ego-war being waged between Porsche and Nissan, the fight between these small firms has become increasingly interesting. Following is a breakdown of the supposed records and as much media as I can find to go with them.

Devon GTX
: a Dodge Viper with frilly body cladding. Whoopee. It is 100% American, which I like, but they're shooting for a time of 6:55. MMmmm, that's a little hard to swallow.

Gumpert Apollo
: Here a we a have a serious beast. In the back of the wildly styled chassis lays an Audi V8. Oh, and a couple of hairdryers. You can order the performance flavor that best suits you: 600, 650, and 700 horsepower. Delicious. The Apollo even beats the Corvette by eleven seconds! To bad it looks like Falcor.

Radical SR8LM
: And here we have the new Champ. Though I refuse to call it a production car, it is remarkably reliable. The car was driven from England to South West Germany, and ran its lap on the same tires used for the transcontinental trip. I'll let you read the story for the lap time, but I assure you, it's eye-watering.


Hyundai to release flagship sedan

On: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 11:36AM | By: John Welch

Hyundai to release flagship sedan test 1-1

Hyundai just doesn't stop flooding our shores with new product. Last year we received the Genesis, the Genesis Coupe, and a host of new offerings form Hyundai's little brother, Kia. Wanting an even larger chunk of the US meatpie in its pocket, Hyundai is now leveling its cross hairs on the Luxo-Barge market.

The Hyundai Equus is the flagship sedan for the Korean company. Introduced at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last week, the Equus boasts the same V8 as the Genesis, with appropriate power updates to deal with the increased mass of the larger Hyundai. The styling is conservative, if slightly more brazen than the Lexus LS.


The full Press Release can be viewed at Hyundainews.com

Saab Deal Final?

On: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 12:27PM | By: John Welch

Saab Deal Final? test 1-1

Not quite. The Saab/Koenigsegg saga is nearing its end as Koenigsegg made their financial situation a little clearer this morning. If all parties are to be believed, Koenigsegg requires a significant loan from the European Investment Bank, in the name of Saab. This loan could total $413.6 million, and would officially make Saab a subsidiary of Koenigsegg (say it: Co-NeenG-Sag).

Saab has spent much of the last few months reorganizing its business model, cutting inventories and positioning themselves better to meet realistic demand. So, the deal is not final, however, according to Koenigsegg spokespeople it should be cut by the end of the month. GM is less optimistic, predicting final sale by the end of the year. GM has stated it and Saab would continue to share technology and services during a defined time period, which would be managed through licenses and service agreements. And possibly more prominent roles for Saabs in Michael Bay flicks . . .

A full write up can be found from The New York Times

Clarkson doesn't just say nasty things, he also writes them

On: Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 5:18PM | By: John Welch

Clarkson doesn't just say nasty things, he also writes them test 1-1

Unless you live under a rock, (which is entirely possible, I'm not judging . . .) then you have probably witnessed a scene or two of Top Gear. "Uh oh," you're thinking, "Another blog, brown-nosing Top Gear . . . " Not entirely true. Give me a BBC budget and I'll blow up some buses for ya. No problem. I'm not brown-nosing the show, more its presenters. One presenter in particular, Jeremy Clarkson.

Weekend Viewing: How I Wasted My Sunday..

On: Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 5:05PM | By: John Welch

Weekend Viewing: How I Wasted My Sunday.. test 1-1

There was no sports car race, ALMS or Grand-Am. Ahem; there was no televised sports car race. The NASCAR event at Pocono was doomed at eight a.m. Torrential downpours the week prior had left the racing surface soaking wet and "weeping". Even after drying, the track will secrete water from beneath the initial layer of asphalt. It rained again on Sunday and the race was called off by five. Nice. This sort of Sunday will affect my mood for weeks.

General Motors timeline, from Billy Durant to Fritzy Henderson

On: Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 4:23PM | By: John Welch

General Motors timeline, from Billy Durant to Fritzy Henderson test 1-1

General Motors was formed in the early twentieth-century by William Crapo(sic) Durrant. One hundred years later GM is struggling to survive, though it APPEARS that a turn-around is on the horizon. The New York Times has slapped together a fairly informative time-line covering the span of GM's corporate life. It is simple and concise, highlighting important technological advancements such as the implementation of catalytic converters. Something I was unaware of: GM was the first manufacturer to affix catalytic converters to their entire line of vehicles. One of many achievements the company can be proud of; too bad the time-line gets really depressing right around 1980.

Possible Federal Texting Ban

On: Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 3:49PM | By: John Welch

Possible Federal Texting Ban test 1-1

Even though the spread of Big Brother-ism is getting a little troublesome (British laws FRIGHTEN me), it's about time we tackle the issue of 'Texting While Driving.' This practice has raised my blood pressure in traffic more than once.