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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Audi To Launch RS5 Sports Coupe In North America in Early 2012

On: Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


Audi To Launch RS5 Sports Coupe In North America in Early 2012  test 1-1

When Audi first introduced the 450-hp RS5 coupe at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, it wasn't clear whether or not it would be offered in the North American market. Audi clarified this in April, when word from its high-end Quattro GmbH division confirmed that the RS5 would make it across the Atlantic. At the time, deliveries were speculated for early-2011 or even as early as the third quarter of this year. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until sometime in early 2012, as Audi North America chief Johan de Nysschen told the NY Times today.

When the RS5 hits, it will mark the return of Audi's high-end performance RS models to the U.S. The coupe will settle in above the S5 and A5. It features a 450-hp V8 engine, a slightly tuned version of the 4.2-liter V8 used in the Audi R8. The engine is mated to a dual-clutch seven-speed S-tronic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The V8 and gearbox team up to deliver 317 lb-ft of torque, a 0-to-62-mph run of 4.6 seconds and an electronically-limited 155 mph top speed. The latter can be increased to 173 mph upon request. Despite its speed and performance, the RS5 provides an Audi-sourced fuel economy of nearly 22 mpg.

Other aspects of the RS5 include the Quattro all-wheel-drive system with a crown-gear differential, designed to allow shifting in torque between the two axles—up to 70 percent can be delivered to the front and up to 85 percent to the back. In standard setting, the all-wheel configuration is set at 40:60, with the majority going to the rear wheels to enable sporty handling. Torque vectoring technology works with the all-wheel drive to improve traction and cornering, and three drive modes—auto, comfort, and dynamic—alter the settings of the steering, transmission, differential and engine to meet the driver's demands.


Closing of Mercury Will Cost Ford $500 Million

On: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 4:22PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Closing of Mercury Will Cost Ford $500 Million test 1-1

Closing Mercury will cost Ford nearly $500 million, Ford CFO says.  A June auto news reported that Ford Motor Company plans to stop the production of the 71 year old brand, Mercury in the fall of 2010, and then sell the remaining Mercury inventory by the end of the year, a decision that according to a recent GM Inside News Report, could cost Ford nearly $500 million as stated by Ford CFO Lewis Booth.

Booth told Automotive News that “Ford took special charges of $247 million in the first half of 2010 to cover the cost of ongoing dealer reductions and shuttering the Mercury brand. He estimates the total cost to close the brand will be twice that amount.”

Booth also stated that 700 of the total 1,700 Mercury Franchises have already signed an agreement to close up shop after being offered cash compensation which accounts for the lion’s share of the expense that Ford will incur to close Mercury down.  When the original announcement was made back in June, Ford announced that it would be presenting a termination agreement with a buyout that included approximately $200,000 per dealership.

 “The plan is in place and we're having very fruitful discussions with our dealers,”


Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory

On: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: John Welch


Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory test 1-1

So maybe the title of this article is slightly misleading. Saturday, at Lime Rock, CytoSport/Muscle Milk was able to hand the Porsche RS Spyder its second post-Penske victory, but its first over-all victory this season. What in the huh am I talking about? Lime Rock Park saw one, combined LMP class (a very dismal field of five cars) take to the tarmac. CytoSport took its first victory at Sebring, but because the prototypes were still separated into LMP1 and 2, it was only a class victory. Seriously, that race featured a duo of Peugeot 908s; it was over before it began.

Ahem, technically its first victory, Klaus Graff and the CytoSport crew made it as exciting as the limited car count would allow. Raining and slippery during qualifying on Friday, Patron-Highcroft was able to use their tractable HPD V8 to great effect, taking the pole handily over the rest of the field. Saturday's race, however, was completely dry, the changing conditions giving the upper hand to more powerful turbo and 10-cylinder cars. The start was gnashed-teeth exciting, the Dyson Mazda, Intersport Lola and Drayson Lola-Judd all cramming into Turn 1, a piece of real estate barely the width of a country lane. The Dyson Mazda came out of the turn in the lead; followed by Lord Drayson's Union Jack-splattered Lola, Jon Field's Lola coming up in third position.

The Dyson Lola coupe dominated the first few rotations, a sight for sore eyes. Lola will not build any more LMP Coupes, so this may be the last season we see this gorgeous design scooting around American tracks. The Dyson team is to be applauded for taking risks: switching from the proven RS Spyder to the Lola, squeezing nearly 700 bhp out of a 2-liter four pot, laughing in the face of E85, and going straight for IsoButanol. These moves have done much to endear this team to me, and they deserve a victory as much as anyone on the grid. Alas, Saturday, July 24th was not that day . . .


Ford Reports Second-Quarter Profits Up 13%

On: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 8:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Reports Second-Quarter Profits Up 13% test 1-1

Contrary to what many financial analysts predicted, Ford Motor Company’s second-quarter profit has reached $2.6 billion, a 13% increase, marking the fifth quarter in a row that Ford has been able to report the good news. Sales have been up for Ford Motor Co. as a result of the new redesigned the Taurus, and many new fuel efficient models that have been launched this year, which have shown that Ford continues to be a success in the marketplace.

Ford’s total sales climbed to $31.3 billion, which is quite an increase over last year’s numbers, which were reportedly only $27.2 billion.

In a recent conference call, Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally stated, “Overall, our performance this year gives us great confidence going forward.”  He continued, “We are ahead of where we thought we’d be.”

Paying off debt has been a big goal for Ford and analysts say if the company continues the track record it has set so far this year, that goal should be attained by the end of 2011. According to analyst Shelly Lombard: “It can give the company more flexibility and ultimately improve the way they’re perceived on Wall Street.”

Analysts predicted a 41-cent rise in stock shares but Ford reports stock earnings at 68 cents per share, to $12.73. Ford shares had fallen as low as $1.26 in 2008.

According to a recent Associated Press article posted on www.kval.com, Ford, which had mortgaged everything to avoid taking government bailouts as well as bankruptcy, is now “reaping big rewards and stealing business from stumbling rivals.”


 

Bring Back the '57 Chevy

On: Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 11:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Bring Back the '57 Chevy test 1-1

Today, the 1957 Chevrolet is known as one of the ultimate classic cars. If you are a car buff, you can immediately identify the '57 as one of the most popular cars of all time.  In fact, the '57 Chevy was so popular that it has actually evolved into an icon for American car history. A 1957 Chevrolet Convertible was the dream car of every baby boomer in the late 1950s and early 1960s,— and the car has been in high demand since production ended, as one of the best classic cars for antique car collectors.

The '57 Chevrolet was launched in late 1956 by GM as a part of a special “Sneak Preview of New Cars.”  The famous features noted back then were the tail fins and excess trim on the sides—such as most cars of the 50s had. I’m sure that the trim would have become one of those little-known obsolete car details of the past had the '57 Chevy not become one of the most popular cars in all of history.  

As time passed, most of the competitors of the ‘57 Chevy faded away, while the ’57 continued to maintain its popularity, particularly the Bel-Air model which started as a favorite in southern California, then its popularity spread across the nation.


ALMS Attacks Lime Rock Saturday

On: Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 11:16AM | By: John Welch


The Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 RSR test 2

So the Utah race was little bit of a snoozer; it was the fault of that awful Miller Motorsports Park, not the ALMS regulars who raced there. That track, in a word, is BORING. Lime Rock on the other hand is INTENSE! That is a significant difference when talking about cars that need some sort of straightaway to pass. This weekend we have straightaways galore!

The Grand-Am Series has already raced at Lime Rock this year, and it was purty badass. The ALMS features prototypes and GT cars that are even faster than Rolex Series racers, making the long front stretch that much more important. Passing is at a premium in Utah, it should be omnipresent in Connecticut.

The rain has already fallen during the first practice session, which began about an hour ago. The Drayson Lola looks fast, as well as the usual ALMS favorites, Patron Highcroft Racing. Their HPD ARX-01c is out-paced by the Drayson's V10 Judd engine and the Intersport AER-sourced Turbo V8, but in the corners the Wirth-Engineering chassis shines. It doesn't hurt that Highcroft employs some of the best drivers in the world, David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud, among them.

Qualifying can be viewed live, online at SPEEDtv.com. The race goes green tomorrow at 2 p.m. Eastern. The 'Shopper Blog will have a full recap Monday, images and videos included!


MotorTrend Archives; AutoStag From The Past

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 3:05PM | By: John Welch


MotorTrend Archives; AutoStag From The Past test 1-1

I may have come off as less than a MotorTrend supporter in the past. Something about poor editing in the name of saving money just doesn't hit me the right way. Though they regularly print glaring errors, MotorTrend does have its upside: the website.

Buried deep within the bowels of MT's server we are able to find the MotorTrend Archives, an absolute treasure trove of old car reviews and articles. Not the typical stuff from the fifties or sixties either; I'm just finishing an article about the 1986 Mazda RX-7. I would have never known how absolutely brilliant this thing was. The FC RX-7 came equipped with every trick used by automakers today. Everything from an nearly active rear suspension (the rear-end is able to change camber to suit driving conditions . . . what?!) to electronically controlled power steering, something that annoys the hell out of us nowadays, but in 1986 this feature was totally space-aged.

The Archives are sort of difficult to find, as I alluded to earlier, but we grabbed a link so that you can skip all of the self-stroking puffery and get straight to reviews about cars you can actually afford. Enjoy!


Bill to Electrify Half of U.S. Auto Fleet Passes Senate Committee

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:46AM | By: Chris Weiss


Bill to Electrify Half of U.S. Auto Fleet Passes Senate Committee  test 1-1

An electric vehicle bill sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today in a vote of 19 to 4. Called the "Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010," the bill aims to provide the financial incentives necessary to turn half of the vehicles on U.S. roadways into plug-ins by 2030. While easily passing out of committee, the bill faces an uncertain future with the current Senate term winding down toward an August recess and November elections.

Democrats are considering combining the bill with a greater package of energy and climate legislation to be presented on the Senate floor. They're hoping to push that legislation through the Senate in the near future, before recesses in mid-August and November interrupt their plans.


GM Awards $2 Billion To Hewlett-Packard For Technology Contract

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:23AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 GM Awards $2 Billion To Hewlett-Packard For Technology Contract  test 1-1

General Motors has approved a $2 billion contract with Hewlett Packard (HP), which will maintain the companies' partnership that was established over two decades ago. In a recent press release, HP spokesperson was quoted as saying that this agreement will extend the two companies' 25-year relationship.

According to HP, the company will "manage GM’s technology infrastructure with a focus on providing an enhanced and continuously improving world-class end-user experience." Translated, that means that HP will integrate its own technology into GM platforms, including OnStar.

“The automotive industry is in the midst of a transformation and GM’s technology infrastructure needs to be hitting on all cylinders to take full advantage of the potential market opportunities,” Tom Iannotti, HP senior vice president and general manager, said in a company release. “HP has a track record of outstanding service to GM that we will continue to deliver to help GM realize their business objectives.”

Not only does HP provide apps for GM’s auto technology in new vehicles, the company also provides data and financial management for GM.


Which Safety Car Seat is Best for Your Child?

On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 3:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Which Safety Car Seat is Best for Your Child? test 1-1

New parents looking to provide the safest child car seat for their infant may find that there is more to selecting the best baby car seat than they initially realized, and to complicate matters more, there have been many recalls on seats that were deemed more of a safety hazard than anything. So, how do parents know they are getting the safest car seat for their child?

First of all, it’s important to select a car seat that is fairly simple to use; if you cannot get the belt buckled in a pinch, it will only bring frustration. You should get familiar with the mechanisms of your child safety seat before actually installing it in your car; that way if you have your hands full and the baby is crying, or it’s dark in the car and you cannot see the latching mechanism, you will know how to use it fast and efficiently getting the baby buckled into, and out of, the seat.

Some car seats have special features that enable the seat to be easier to use, including the behind-the-seat harness adjustment, harness straps that won’t twist up, and even some that have automatic tightening and tethering of the straps. There is usually a significant price difference in the seats with extra options.


The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations

On: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 2:50PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations test 1-1

Manufacturers of electric cars would like to make the public believe that the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is already in place, and that charging at home will not be a problem. The truth is that if car owners don’t have a special connector they will wait for long periods of time to recharge.

Although it’s true that electric charging stations do exist, particularly in select cities that were chosen to be the first to launch some of the electric models, they are not as prevalent as automakers may want us to think.

For apartment dwellers, plugging in will be very difficult; even finding a standard 110 outlet is not so easy for those in multi-family houses.

What many would-be electric car owners may not know is that it could take over 24 hours to charge their new EVs, particularly using a standard 110-volt outlet for power.

The Wall Street Journal published a recent article that described how difficult it is for the average home owner to cut through the bureaucracy in order to get the upgraded 220 charging stations installed in their residences. It can currently take many weeks for a city to issue the permits needed to supply the fast charger that will reduce the recharging time to between 4 and 8 hours for most models of electric vehicles. The price for the electric charging stations can be another hurdle, at $1,200 for a home charging station, to several thousand dollars for the fast charging posts.