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Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

RedLine Time Attack 2010: Japanese Metal And Everything Else

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 3:00PM | By: John Welch

RedLine Time Attack 2010: Japanese Metal And Everything Else test 1-1

Here we have all of the images the AutoShopperBlog couldn't squeeze into other posts regarding the RedLine Time Attack Series event at Sebring Interantional Raceway last weekend. There were many more pictures that didn't make the cut, either because they were of cars we have fully covered, or my finger was in the way . . . whichever.

Here we have more than few GTRs, Evos, MINIs, BMWs, Scions and Porsches. This race was a blast to cover and hopefully will return next year. I wouldn't mind a slightly overcast day, though; I'm still peeling face skin off in sheets.

If you have any questions about any of the vehicles in these pictures, feel free to ask them through the 'comments'. Enjoy!

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering  test 1-1

According to Reuters, Mazda is planning the recall of more than 500,000 vehicles worldwide over safety issues with the power steering system. The recall includes 215,000 Mazda3 and Mazda5 models in the United States. Model years affected are 2007 to 2009.

The problem relates to a potential loss in power-assisted steering arising from rust off the high-pressure pipe falling off into the power steering pump and interfering with the power assist system. If this happens, it could present drivers with problems steering that could lead to a crash. According to the Reuters report, three accidents have been reported as a result of the problem, but none have resulted in injuries. While Mazda informed the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration that it would conduct the recall, it indicated that it did not believe the steering issue presents a significant safety hazard to drivers.

Cars Run on Glenkinchie Scotch Whiskey

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 1:27PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cars Run on Glenkinchie Scotch Whiskey  test 1-1

Researchers at the Edinburg Napier University are determined to offer a new green fuel option: booze. Or more specifically: booze byproducts. From one of the only places in the world that has a liquor named after it comes a new form of butanol that is significantly more efficient than ethanol and could become the next great alternative fuel.

The University's Biofuel Research Center is in the process of pushing the new product called biobutanol. The fuel was created from the byproducts of whiskey distillation including pot ale and draff, which were supplied by Diageo's Glenkinchie Distillery. The two-year research project culminated in the production of a biofuel that claims to offer 30 percent more output power than ethanol, while using nothing more than a waste product. This extra output means that cars could be fueled directly with biobutanol rather than requiring mixing with petrol gas the way that ethanol does.

Ethanol, a fuel that is found at pumps in the United States, is a clean-burning grain alcohol produced from crops such as corn. As such, it helps to reduce dependency on foreign oil and provide a cleaner form of fuel for the environment. However, ethanol is not used as a dedicated fuel, and must be blended with petroleum-based gasoline for use. According to the American Coalition for Ethanol, about 70 percent of the gasoline used in the United States contains some ethanol, but the majority of that only uses a 10-percent blend known as E10. Blends that include more ethanol such as E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent unleaded gasoline) are only used in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).

Porsche Upgrades Panamera Turbo With After-Market Turbo Kit

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:15AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Upgrades Panamera Turbo With After-Market Turbo Kit test 1-1

The Porsche Panamera has been splitting its time winning praise and fending off derision since its introduction last year. For owners that want to avoid the latter and welcome more of the former, Porsche has new options that will add power, performance and looks to the four-door. Panamera Turbo owners who want to massage even more horses out of their four-door will soon have a new option. Porsche announced the Powerkit that will boost the output of the Panamera Turbo by 40 hp. The kit will be available this fall. Also available this fall, Porsche will offer several new exterior options.

Porsche's new Powerkit will equip the Panamera Turbo models with new turbochargers that house titanium-alloy turbine wheels. The kit will also include tunes to the engine management system to make the Panamera Turbo's V8 more responsive. The kit pulls an extra 40 ponies out of the 4.8-liter V8 for a total of 540, and also boosts torque to 553 lb-ft (up from 516).


Auto Industry Satisfaction Down Since Last Year

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Auto Industry Satisfaction Down Since Last Year test 1-1

American satisfaction with the domestic automobile industry is measured on a scale of 0-100 using the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey (ACSI). In 2009 the industry rating reached an all time high of 84 according to Automotive News.com. Now that number has dipped to 82. 

According to the ACSI (designed to measure the quality of American products and services), "the domestic automotive satisfaction level has stabilized, and in a few cases climbed, despite an overall decline for the industry over the past 18 months."

The ACSI survey is performed over the phone; scores result from conducting 250 interviews with participants from age 18 to 84. This year’s results concluded that out of the top 19 auto brands, 14 dropped in customer satisfaction since 2009. Kia and Mazda scored below average for the industry, and at the bottom of the list were Dodge and Jeep. Buick and Ford's Lincoln-Mercury brand showed up at the top of the list for the first time since the inception of the survey.   Nissan had a 4 point increase to 84, and GMC realized a 2 point improvement, also ending up at 84. According to Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI: “It was not long ago when Detroit’s products were clustered at the bottom of the industry.”

Business Risks of GM's IPO Filing, SEC, sec, U.S. Treasury, u.s. treasury,

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:02AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Business Risks of GM's IPO Filing, SEC, sec, U.S. Treasury, u.s. treasury,  test 1-1

GM recently filed the paperwork for its upcoming initial public offering, and included in the filing was the S-1 documentation reporting risk factors for potential investors. Those considering the purchase of stock from the company should be most interested in the contents of the S-1 filing, listing the material risks to the future financial stability of the company.

The report is mandated by the SEC, and most companies actually overemphasize potential material risks in order to avoid any legality with the SEC that may result from under reporting. 

Risk factors commonly reported are economic fluctuations, commodity price, etc.  GM’s first couple of reporting factors would certainly fit into the more commonly listed, but when the nitty-gritty of the documents is examined, GM’s newly released S-1 filing is interesting reading to say the least.

RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Time Trials And Tribulations

On: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 4:45PM | By: John Welch

RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Time Trials And Tribulations test 1-1

Racing is as much a game of managing attrition as it is who travels the furthest, in the fastest time. The RedLine Time Attack Series displays this edict with force; featured in this article are two cars that should not have been running on Sunday morning, August 15th. Both cars were on track and one of them came away with several trophies. Mind you, the autos in question started life as production cars, designed to haul humans around in relative comfort at less than insane speeds. Neither has stuck to their intended nature, rather both vehicles are now fire-breathing, asphalt-shredding Time Attack warriors. Wow, too much? Perhaps, but I do love my toothy, pompous adjectives.

Neither of these beast is a purpose-built race car. Neither features any sort of modular design, no quick release hard points on either chassis. Both are very badass, and both took a hell of a beating before Sunday's full-on Time Attack. First up we shine the spot-light on Jay Stoops and his stoopifying (uhg, kill me) Nissan 370 Z. Prepared by Forged Performance, this is the first truly built 370 I've had the pleasure of laying eyes on. A well thought out race car, this Nissan has several interesting bits hidden under its bonnet. It is also serviced by an incredibly resilient crew, as evidenced by the tale of woe and suspension obliterating hardship you will soon read.

The other vehicle in this write-up suffered from arguably worse mechanical malfeasance. The Turn-In Concepts Subaru WRX Sti, driven by Tony Weisenhahn, had no business operating under its own power Sunday morning. The black carbon scar blanketing the Subies' hood vents told me everything I needed to know: catastrophic engine failure of one kind or another. Just how catastrophic, I was soon to find out.

BMW M Division Dealership Opens in Singapore

On: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW M Division Dealership Opens in Singapore test 1-1


In recent automotive news, BMW is adding a new showroom for selling only high performance BMW M division cars in Singapore; it is located at Teban Gardens Crescent.  Cars to be offered in the showroom include M3, M6, X5M, and all of the X6M models. The next-generation M5, to be released next year, will join the line up in Singapore, as well as a new M version of the BMW 1-Series.

Turner Motorsports To Utilize BMW M3 in 2011

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:50PM | By: John Welch

Turner Motorsports To Utilize BMW M3 in 2011 test 1-1

It’s no secret that I dig on BMWs, or that I happen to have a soft spot for the Turner MotorSports M6 that runs in the Rolex Grand Am Series. The visceral appeal of this car is immense, from its darkish yellow color to its kitten-eating engine note.

Next season Turner will upgrade its car with M3 bodywork, all but putting an end to the racing career of the BMW M6. In celebration of this slightly homely design The AutoShopper is giving the M6 an early send-off with its own image gallery.

Taken from the 2010 Rolex 24 and Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona, these images were not used in the original AutoShopper coverage of these events. 9 pictures to commemorate a faithful beast, the Turner BMW M6 . . . enjoy!

Chrysler Teases New Dodge Durango

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:00PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chrysler Teases New Dodge Durango  test 1-1

The new Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee have already launched this year, but 2010 still has some big changes in store for another prominent SUV: the Dodge Durango. The 2011 Dodge Durango will be the second complete overhaul in the Durango's history. Chrysler has launched a teaser site for the new Durango complete with pictures and video. From what we've seen so far, both from Chrysler's teaser site and from spy shots, the new Durango will be less boxy and awkward than the 2nd-generation Durango introduced during the 2004 model year, and will be a more styled, classy ride.

The third-generation Durango will share underpinnings with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It will get the same Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine and Hemi 5.7-liter V8 engine options of the Grand Cherokee and will be built together with the Jeep at Chrysler's Jefferson-North plant in Detroit. It's expected to offer a five-speed automatic transmission and come in 2WD and 4WD flavors. We'll see if and how the Durango answers the Ford Explorer's Intelligent 4WD system when it debuts.

In moving onto the Grand Cherokee platform, the Durango will lose the Dakota body-on-frame construction that it has traditionally sported in favor of the Cherokee's unibody. The car will also shrink down from its large midsize SUV mold to a regular midsize with room for seven.

Chrysler's teasers show a more sculpted Durango from front to back. The traditional Dodge grille remains, but appears to be longer and thinner than the last-generation Durango. The headlights have also been reshaped, providing a more sleek, styled look. Gone are the hideously bulbous taillights of the last Durango, replaced with a more sensible set. From the little that we see of the car's profile, it loses the straight, angular lines of the last Durango and offers a few more flows and curves.

RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Chris Rado And World Racing

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 2:25PM | By: John Welch

The BUSINESS! test 2

Before we delve into Chris Rado and his World Racing team’s disappointing weekend, there is a little story I have to tell. Standing in the paddock of Sebring International Raceway, wondering just how hot is was outside, I put down my Canon, wiped my forehead and simply observed the World Racing crew for a few moments. I had spent the last twenty minutes taking as many revealing images of Chris Rado's outrageous Scion tCs as I could, and had yet to actually see Mr. Rado himself. Out of the corner of my right eye I noticed a hauler door open and a fire-suit clad Rado step out into the unnerving Florida sunshine.
I've met a few race drivers in my time, NASCAR guys mostly, and it took all of my limited self-control not to strut right up to Rado and start yakking at the guy as if we had grown up on the same street. Rado inspected his "tame" Scion, the Super Modified FWD contender you see in most of the images accompanying this post; he displayed a scrunched forehead, a serious posture. I decided perhaps it might not be the best idea to bother him at the moment. After 30 seconds of discussion with a crew member, Rado, completely unaware that I was spying on him harder than a jilted Astronaut spies on her fantasy crewmate, displayed true sportsmanship like I have never seen in a race paddock, professional or otherwise.

Without touching either of his own cars, Rado walked over to one of his litany of air compressors and began assembling a hose and air chuck. A flat-black and red Honda Accord pulled up to the left of World Racing's pits, and it's driver, Sean Yearwood, threw the Honda into 'Park' (I know it’s a manual, how do you use that cliché without ‘Park’?) and gingerly climbed out of the Super Modified FWD-class Accord. That is the most important part of this entire story, Yearwood and his Honda compete in the same class as Rado and his be-winged Scion tC. Direct competitors . . . and Rado was actually helping Yearwood out, allowing the Honda driver to use his equipment and spending his own time and energy to make sure the compressor hose was long enough and that the tank was full of air. Never have I seen a racer help his competition out so thoroughly, going out of his way to make sure Yearwood ran his best time, and the fans were entertained. I decided that this act of selflessness had earned Rado a reprieve from my badgering, and did not approach him.

Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest, we can focus on World Racing's insane Scions, Rado's bad racing luck, and the images that accompany his trip to Sebring, Florida.