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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Concept Cars

Mazda Previews Paris-Bound Shinari Concept

On: Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda Previews Paris-Bound Shinari Concept test 1-1

Mazda is showcasing new design language in a concept that it calls Shinari. The Japanese automaker recently previewed the new concept at a design event in Milan, and will officially debut the Shinari at the 2010 Paris Motor Show in late-September/October.

The Shinari is a curvaceous five-door hatch with an RX-8-meets-Aston-Martin look. The concept displays a shift in design language from Nagare to Kodo. Kodo translates into "soul of motion." The new language clearly drops the flowing side strakes that were such an integral part of the Nagare language, but maintains a similar flowing, kinetic style. The front-end has been tightened over the more bulbous front ends seen under Nagare, representing a move toward a more compact, focused design ethic.

Not to be confused with the nigiri of Japanese sushi houses, Nagare translates to "flow." The vehicles crafted under the mantra were designed to show “motion in vehicles, whether they’re moving or still,” with prominent lines flowing along the sides melding the front fasica seamlessly to the rear-end. Nagare first appeared on the aptly-named Nagare Concept, which debuted at the 2006 LA Motor Show.

The language appeared on several other concepts before making its full production debut on the 2011 Mazda5 at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Reports earlier this summer indicated that Mazda was unhappy with the language and was moving in a new direction.

Kia's Conceptual, Four-Wheeled Bubble Coming to Paris

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 9:43AM | By: Chris Weiss

Kia's Conceptual, Four-Wheeled Bubble Coming to Paris test 1-1

Kia previewed a new mini urban commuter concept this week that it calls Pop. A fitting name since the car resembles a four-wheeled version of the Pop-O-Matic bubble that every kid and former kid will recognize from the game of Trouble. Look at it from the top and it's hard not to want to give it a lil' pop. The new zero-emissions concept will make its official debut at the Paris Motor Show in late September.

In the purple and silver preview pictures, we can see an odd, otherworldly contraption that sports a rounded, futuristic look. The concept features a bulbous windshield that extends into a glass roof panel and capsule-shaped side windows that look more space age than automotive. The lines on the side and low door handles indicate that the doors open upwards--something that would continue the theme of the concept's spacy look. Up front, the Pop has a rather insect-like appearance with its extended fenders taking on the look of antennae or pincers and its multi-light headlamps giving it fly-like eye balls.

Chevy Gets a Woody in an Artsy Sort of Way

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 9:23AM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Gets a Woody in an Artsy Sort of Way  test 1-1

Showing that you don't have to live in southern California to rock a little gnar, Chevrolet of Europe introduced the Spark Woody yesterday at the Boardmasters surf, skate and music festival in the U.K. The supermini hatch features a prominent serving of woody station wagon circa the 1950s and 60s. Unfortunately for anyone who thinks the surf-ready ride looks like what they've been craving in their driveways, the car is but a one-off art car that won't be available for sale.

Porsche Developing New Hybrids and Electrics For Next Year

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 10:18AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Developing New Hybrids and Electrics For Next Year  test 1-1

Like its parent company Volkswagen, Porsche is hard at work on a new generation of hybrid and electric vehicles that will begin making their way to the market in 2011. The Stuttgart automaker unveiled the Cayenne S Hybrid at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and announced this week that a Panamera S Hybrid will share a powertrain with the Cayenne model and launch shortly after it. The company is also deep in the works on an electric vehicle, with testing set to begin next year.

The hybrid powertrain that underpins the Panamera S Hybrid will be the same supercharged 333-hp 3.0-liter V6 and 47-hp electric motor pairing that was detailed for the 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid. That powertrain promises to boost efficiency by 20 percent in the Cayenne and offer all-electric driving.

Porsche came out with its hybrid flags flying this past March in Geneva, offering a look at three hybrid vehicles and concepts. The first was the Cayenne S Hybrid, and the other two were the 918 Spyder Hybrid and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid.

The race-specific 911 GT3 R Hybrid features a pairing of two front-axle-mounted 82-hp electric motors and a flywheel generator, which gathers energy from braking and powers the motors when accelerating. This combination teams with a 480-hp rear-mounted flat-6.


Lotus Plans New Supercar Concept For Paris Motor Show

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Esprit Concept test 2

Six years ago, British automotive company Lotus saddened car fans everywhere when it discontinued its iconic Esprit sports coupe. The plan at the time was to refocus the brand on smaller, lighter, more affordable vehicles. While models like the Elise, Evora, and Exige have opened the Lotus badge to a new breed of buyers, the Esprit has been sorely missed. Rumors have been loudening that Lotus plans on showing an Esprit concept at the upcoming 2010 Paris Motor Show. Today, Lotus confirmed that it has a supercar concept planned, but hinted that it may be even more intriguing than a new Esprit.

The Norfolk-based automaker stated that the supercar concept it brings to Paris may be "perhaps even more” than a simple Esprit revival, indicating that Lotus may move even farther upmarket. Under the leadership of former Ferrari executive Danny Bahar and a handful of other transplants from Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Porsche, it's understood that Lotus plans to make a decisive move toward Porsche and Ferrari territory. Lotus didn't reveal any details about the upcoming concept, but indicated it will provide a clear outline of the brand's intended future direction.

Volkswagen Plans Leading Role in Hybrid/EV Market

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:18AM | By: Chris Weiss

VW E-Up! Concept  test 2

Look around the U.S. market today, and you won't see a single Volkswagen hybrid or electric vehicle. You'll have to wait until later this year for that, when the 2011 Touareg hybrid becomes available. While Volkswagen AG has battled with Toyota for the title of world's largest car maker in recent months, it has lagged well behind Toyota and other manufacturers in terms of hybrids and electric vehicles. VW plans to remedy that situation with a barrage of hybrid and electric launches over the next three years, hoping to become a leader in the green auto market.

"I am deeply convinced Volkswagen will play a key role in electrifying the automotive world," VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said at a press conference yesterday. He spoke at VW's Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, CA, where he was for a 2011 Jetta launch event.

Winterkorn plans to back up this broad statement with a steady stream of hybrid and electric car releases. Following the recent debut of the hybrid Touareg, VW will launch a hybrid Jetta in 2012 and a Golf and Passat in 2013. In terms of EVs, Volkswagen will launch an E-Golf and E-Up! in 2013. An electric Jetta is also planned. 

Other brands within Volkswagen AG will also be introducing electrics and hybrids over the coming years, as well, including the Audi e-tron, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and, possibly, the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid.

Who's Your Caddy?

On: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 3:31PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Who's Your Caddy? test 1-1

When you think of a stereotypical old person driving a car, what kind of car comes to mind first? If you are anything like me, it might just be an older Cadillac.  Everyone had a grandparent, or knew of a grandparent, who owned a big boat Caddy for almost always the same reason:  "They don't make 'em like they used to."  The image of gray hair, wrinkled skin, and a slow and steady 15 mph under the speed limit has haunted Cadillac for years. Despite a couple half-hearted attempts at a youthful movement, like the 1987-1993 Allante or the Catera from 1997-2001, the company has been unsuccessful in changing its overall reputation and street cred.

All of that has begun to change, however, with the advent of Cadillac's V-Series. Unlike many of GM's marketing ploys over the years, all of the Vs has been real upgrades, modifications, and huge improvements that transform relatively mundane and comfy sedans into serious street performers. Much like BMW's M hot rods, Audi's S line, Mercedes' AMG,  and Jaguar's R line, Cadillac's V-Series gave the company entry into a very elite class of vehicles where buyers are concerned with two things:  Comfort and performance. The one problem Cadillac still had, though, was that other than XLR and XLR-V the entire Caddy were four door sedans. Again, this was leaving a lot of sales on the table for cars like the M3, RS4, XKR, and C63. That was, until the new CTS-V Coupe hits the showroom floor.

IndyCar 2010; Turning Boring And Irrelevant Into Exciting And Cost Effective

On: Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:19PM | By: John Welch

Lola's proposed Indy Car for 2012 test 2

We have no reason whatsoever to cover the current Izod IndyCar Series. Every car has the same chassis, same engine, and foriegn drivers. Blah. Not only are the engines and chassis identical, they have been the exact same part since 2002!! Not exactly something we have time for here on the 'Shopper Blog. Maybe if they changed the rules a little, invited in some new manufacturers, some new chasses, and some fresh competition, then maybe we would care. As long as there are racing Series such as the Rolex Grand-Am Series and the American Le Mans Series then Americas premier open-wheel series has to step up their game in order to charge NASCAR prices for USHRA product.

Today, things may change. At high noon . . . thirty today, the Izod IndyCar Series will release its plans for 2012, establishing hope for open-wheel racing and/or putting the nail in the coffin. The 'Shopper will be watching, and you should too. A note: in the nineties, IndyCar was considered an equal to F1. I wouldn't mind getting that sort of international recognition back for an American series.

The press conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. EST, and can be streamed here. Thanky and Good Day . . .

Toyota Announces Plans to Work on EV Prototype with Tesla

On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 9:51AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Tesla Model S test 2

Tesla, a relatively new company without much of a track record, and the number one green car auto manufacturer in the world, and Toyota have formed a partnership that has been somewhat baffling to many.

Tesla Motors recently held their IPO and Toyota Motors purchased $50 million in stock as the two automakers plan to partner in the making of electric vehicles at the Nummi Plant that was recently closed in Freemont, California.

Since initial trading on June 29th, Tesla shares have dropped and are trading slightly below their initial public offering price of $17.

During a recent interview the president of Toyota Corporation; Akio Toyoda, announced that his company has begun the process of building the first prototype electric vehicle that has a Tesla battery pack.

This year, Tesla launched an all-electric Model S Sedan that travels 300 miles on a single charge, sells for $57,000, and reportedly has enough power to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Range Rover Celebrates 40 With New Compact SUV

On: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: John Welch

Range Rover Celebrates 40 With New Compact SUV test 1-1

Land and Range Rovers receive altered styling so in frequently that you could time said updates by Margret Thatcher's "cycle". That is to say, almost never.

For their 40th anniversary however, Range Rover is introducing a new compact SUV (I think I might get shot if I call a Rover a "CrossOver" . . .) that represents a serious departure from the typical military-grade kiddie carrying boxes we are used to seeing from Rover.

Rumored to be based on the LRX concept seen at larger auto-shows the last two years, the new SUV will be unvieled during an event in London at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Rover isn't telling us everything about the new vehicle, saving some of the juiciest morsels for the Paris Motor Show this fall.

The Hungarian Prototype That Can Split Into 2 Cars

On: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 11:24AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Hungarian Prototype That Can Split Into 2 Cars  test 1-1

You may have heard of the Yugo from Central Europe it was known as “the worst car in the world.”  Many people think of the Yugo when automakers from countries such as Hungary come to mind, but things have changed recently and some European car enthusiasts are supporting the design of new environmentally clean vehicles manufactured in their own country.

One example is the car manufacturer named Antro in Hungary that has been developing a brand new concept in a prototype with financial backing from local sponsors. The company has invested 1.5 million Euros in designing a prototype of a car that can split into two smaller vehicles. The car is called the Antro Solo and plans are being developed to bring it to market by the year 2012.

The Solo incorporates a Hybrid drive system, it has a very sleek looking design with a center driver’s seat, doors that pivot, and a roof loaded with solar panels. It definitely looks like something in a futuristic movie setting.