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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

Chevy To Return To IndyCar In 2012?

On: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 10:45AM | By: John Welch

Chevy To Return To IndyCar In 2012? test 1-1

Honda has been the sole supplier of engines to the IRL and Izod IndyCar Series (same thing) since Chevrolet dropped out in 2005. The racing has been reliable, but boring. This morning it is expected that GM will return to open-wheel racing and field a new twin-turbo V6 for IndyCar teams in 2012. It is also expected that Roger Penske will be the first to use the Chevy power train, putting Chevrolet in a good position to win races quickly.

2012 will be the first IICS season run under a new rules package that does away with the current Dallara chassis; replacing it with a . . . Dallara chassis. The Series directors have taken an "open source" approach to the is new chassis however. The basic safety cell, or monocoupe, in each car will be identical, but the aero bits we can actually see are all fair game for designers. Dallara offers an low-cost entry kit; Group Lotus has already signed on to manufacturer a kit for the Dallara, and it is reasonable to think that Penske and Ganassi will both create their own kits. Engine size is limited to 2.4 liters, and can be a four- or six-cylinder design.

Watch the official announcement at 10 am EST at SPEEDtv.com. More from us after Chevrolet becomes the second Izod IndyCar Series engine supplier for 2012.

Lamborghini Building Smaller, Supercar-Styled SUV

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 5:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Building Smaller, Supercar-Styled SUV test 1-1

Rumors of the development of a new LM002 have been heating up of late and Auto Express reports some new details today, based on conversations with "industry insiders." The original LM002 was phased out back in the early 1990s and the SUV market has undergone much change since then—from the explosion around the turn of the century to the more modest, fuel-obsessed state of the market today. Lamborghini's new SUV effort will reflect today's market, aiming to be a smaller crossover, rather than the big, brutish "Rambo Lambo" of the late 80s and 90s.

Mustang Boss 302 Offers New Track Mode Feature

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 4:57PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Mustang Boss 302 Offers New Track Mode Feature test 1-1

Ford announced that the company will be offering an innovative “TracKey option” for the new 2012 Mustang Boss 302. The TracKey will shift the powertrain module into a software system that will enable 200 separate settings from the sports car’s street mode settings. Mustang Boss now offers full race calibration and two-stage launch control, as well as stock calibration.

The TracKey software is installed as an option after the Boss is purchased. The dual-path powertrain control module (PCM) is accessed by a specially programmed vehicle key. The new code coexists with stock Boss software, allowing drivers to choose between street or track use simply by selecting a key.

Belgium's Supercar Gets a Successor

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Belgium's Supercar Gets a Successor test 1-1

It seems that no matter how long I write about supercars and the automotive industry, there's always some random exotic company out there—often in northern Europe—building a supercar that I've never heard of. The latest company to point to my insufficient supercar knowledge is Automobiles Gillet. Its new Vertigo .5 Spirit is a successor to the original Vertigo that was launched back in the 1990s and promises to deliver even more performance.


Pricing Announced For New Chryslers, Can We Really Call Them New?

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 3:24PM | By: John Welch

Pricing Announced For New Chryslers, Can We Really Call Them New? test 1-1

Chrysler rolled out a series of awful disappointments in the years leading up to their controlled bankruptcy in 2009. New Italian management has stepped in to right the listing ship left stranded by Cerebus and Daimler, and they are setting about bailing the water from Chryslers' decks. One of the first tasks ahead of them pertains to aging models nobody wants. Specifically, the Chrysler Sebring and Town&Country. I have written at great length regarding my distaste for any commuter car being named "Sebring", and since Chrysler is going to label its new people-mover the "200", I won't go into a long, anit-front drive tirade. The Town&Country retains its moniker, and, along with its Dodge Caravan cousin, receives a raft of updates for 2011.

We have covered the 200 in previous posts, nothing has developed on that front, accept for pricing. Expect $19,995 for the base model Chrysler 200, the LX. The fancier Touring model will open at $21,995, while the even more fancy Limited will be $24,495. All of these prices include a $750 destination charge. Something we didn't cover in previous posts; power trains. The base LX Chrysler 200 will feature the usual Mitsu-Chrysler "world engine", in 2.4 liter guise. This four cylinder should supply excellent fuel economy, but forgive us if we are expecting glacial acceleration. The upper trim levels are packing the new PentaStar V6. Highly anticipated, this engine pounds out a class leading 283 horsepower, and is mated to a modern six speed transmission. About damn time.

If the Chryselr PR machine is to be believed, every surface inside the Town&Country has been reworked, enhancing the tactile feel of the vehicle. This is a good thing- we got our hands on a then-new 2010 T&C at last years' Tampa International Auto Show. It was a startlingly bad vehicle, shamed by the quality of the Kia's and Subaru's being shown next door. The dash was hard and unsightly, the trim brittle and falling apart. The stitched leather on the sift knob was peeling off, in a show car! It was a disgrace, and needed improvement about as badly as Mel Gibson needs an anger coach. The Stow&Go functioned well on the show van, the interior tricks were all very impressive, but the van as a whole left lots to be desired. Considering the $25,000 Rolls Royce, I mean, Subaru Legacy sitting next to it, the T&C was a complete joke. It belonged in Mel's rose garden. It was, in a word, terrible.

I'm not reporting anything here that Chrysler isn't aware of. They know what they did, and they know what they have to do to fix it. As evidenced by the C6 Corvettes' seats, that knowledge is not always heeded in the automotive world. Looking at the images Chrysler was nice enough to provide, I'd say the Town&Country has improved, but then, the old van didn't look that bad. Only when you actually got inside did you realize just how cheap and flimsy it actually was. Hopefully not the case with the new T&C. For full press release and image gallery, click inside this post . . .

GM Profits Top Toyota, Ford Tops Everyone

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 11:47AM | By: John Welch

2011 Chevy Cruze test 2

In a storied turn around the likes of which no pessimistic auto scribe was able to predict, the US auto industry has reversed its fortunes in a short two year span. We aren't out of our global economic anemia just yet, but the car market is already bouncing back in a big way. Global sales may go as high as 70 million vehicles this year, and because of smaller work forces, factory closings and fewer actual brands, automakers have positioned themselves to reap higher profits as the world revives its taste for cars.

Not that they aren't working hard for that money. GM has improved its products across the board, Honda is kicking relative ass on the strength of brand loyalty, VW continues its steady march toward world domination and Ford simply shalacks them all! Here are some hard numbers for you: In the first three quarters of 2010 GM has turned a profit of $4.77 billion. Toyota has only managed $4.46 billion in the same nine month period, while VW claims $4.9 billion. Honda is second on the list with $5.34 billion in profits before September 30th, and Ford demolishes them all with $6.37 billion; more than doubling its profit for the entire 2009 calendar year. The Ford Fiesta and Super Duty trucks are raking in the dough, and now Alan Mullay is enjoying the praise and recognition he so rightly deserves. What happened Toyota? Recalls got you down?

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival 2010, The Lost Roll

On: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 5:18PM | By: John Welch

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival 2010, The Lost Roll test 1-1

I can hear it already . . . "The 'lost roll'?! What does that mean?" I am of course referring to film, something we don't use all that often in 2010. Instead we carry digital celluloid with us to car shows, and we squeeze every last megabyte out of our CF treasure chests. Because space is limited and time is short, we aren't always able to present the full battery of images taken at each event. We can make up for it later though, ressurecting images that weren't used in the original posts but probably should have been.

This gallery contains the usual mix of shiny paint and even more shiny chrome, as well as a few avant garde shots. The images were snapped by either myself, Drew Christy, or Drew's wife, Stephanie. We have a boat-load of shots left; look for another "Lost Roll" post before the end of the month . . .

London Set to Take a Lead In EV Charging Infrastructure

On: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

London Set to Take a Lead In EV Charging Infrastructure  test 1-1

Here in the United States, we've heard President Obama's goal of getting a million plug-ins on the road by 2015. It's a good goal, but so far the implementation of a charging infrastructure has been rather slow and piecemeal.

London recently revealed its own plan for plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure, a plan that could serve as a model for Europe and other countries worldwide. The plan calls for the addition of 1,300 EV charging stations around the city by 2013. The U.S. might want to watch closely.

Audi Teases Next Generation A6, Production Begins This Year

On: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi Teases Next Generation A6, Production Begins This Year test 1-1

Audi doesn't have any news quite as exciting as BMW's confirmation of a Vision EfficientDynamics production model last week, but BMW's competitive countryman also released some new details about one of its production facilities. Along with the news of the models being built at Audi's plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, Audi showed a new teaser of the next-generation A6 sedan.

BMW Confirms Vision EfficientDynamics-Inspired Plug-In Sports Car

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Confirms Vision EfficientDynamics-Inspired Plug-In Sports Car test 1-1

The Vision EfficientDynamics seen at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show is officially go. Well, kind of. BMW confirmed today that it will be producing a plug-in hybrid sports car, and while it will be based on that model, we're not expecting to see some of the most intriguing aspects of the concept, like the glass doors and blue, white and black motif.

GM Goodwrench Getting The Long Kiss Goodnight

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 12:52PM | By: John Welch

GM Goodwrench Getting The Long Kiss Goodnight test 1-1

In another attempt to differentiate its brand images, GM will be axing the "GM Goodwrench Service Plus" branding it has used for its service arm since 1974. Originally introduced under the "Mr. Goodwrench" name, GM will split the former halo corporations' duties between its four brands, creating Chevrolet Certified Service, Cadillac Certified Service, Buick Certified Service, and GMC Certified Service in its place. Dale Earnhardt fans everywhere could be heard issuing a collective sigh of relief, as they can now rest assured that "Goodwrench" will never be resurrected on another, less worthy driver's stock car. The number "3" is a different story; Richard Childress have commissioned its use on more than one of his grandson's race cars.

Wait, what? I digress . . . “This is another part of the effort to clear out brand clutter,” a GM source said, though the brand will remain in Canada, where it still carries some sort of cachet. In the States, the brand will officially bite the dust February 1st, 2011. It seems that GM dealers have gone against the Mr. Goodwrench credo in recent years, failing to display signage touting "Service for all GM vehicles, at all GM dealerships, using nothing but GM certified replacement parts." The Goodwrench brand, obviously, has lost some of its sway.

Steve Hill, vice president and general manager, GM Customer Care and Aftersales, explains the new branding in a statement released this morning: “Certified Service supports GM's strategy to focus on the four brands—Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac—and is a natural extension of the customer's vehicle purchase experience at the dealership.”

The name change does little to affect the bad rap GM service has earned over the years, needless to say their crappy cars. Here's hoping the recent improvements in product design and execution trickles down to the proverbial service department. The full press release can be found inside this post . . .