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Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews

Lotus Model Spree Canceled, Esprit Still Likely

On: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:02PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Model Spree Canceled, Esprit Still Likely test 2

There's been a lot of news coming out of Hethel lately, not all of it good. CEO and former Ferrari exec Dany Bahar was fired earlier this summer, and a lot of questions have surrounded Lotus' future. That future will not include the six models that had been announced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, says a new report.

In Bahar's wake, DRB-Hicom, the Malysian company that purchased Lotus owner Proton earlier this year, has taken over operations of Lotus. According to reports originating in Malaysia, it has revealed a new business plan to creditors. The plan is called more realistic than Bahar's Paris 2010 plan, which is described as "basically unworkable."

Nissan GT-R On The Chopping Block?

On: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:43AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan GT-R On The Chopping Block? test 2

When it debuted in 2007, the Nissan GT-R wasn't just a new car; it was a new paradigm. The car demonstrated that extreme supercar-beating performance can be established without a huge engine or $200,000 price tag. It wasn't the most exotic-looking car, but with acceleration equivalent to a $250,000 Italian sports coupe, it was, and continues to be, the supercar for the masses. But its reign at Nissan may be waning.

According to an Inside Line report citing an inside source, Nissan has not yet approved the next-generation GT-R, and it may not end up doing so. The report cites weakening sales and the retirement of GT-R chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno as reasons Nissan may not wish to keep the GT-R alive.

Mazda Pushes Up The Mazda6 Debut

On: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 9:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda Pushes Up The Mazda6 Debut test 2

After saying that it would debut the new Mazda6 at the Paris Motor Show, Mazda has pushed the reveal date up by about a month. The Japanese automaker will debut the car at the 2012 Moscow Auto Show in late August.

We assume the pushed up debut has everything to do with a leaked photo raining all over Mazda's teaser parade. Mazda was on its fourth teaser, and we assume a fifth was coming, when a Russian blog leaked the first full photo. Mazda's announcement about the Moscow appearance was accompanied by that very same photo just a day later, so it appears Mazda is eager to take back its role as narrator of the Mazda6 story.

Cost Of Natural Gas Fueling Stations Coming Down

On: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 4:18PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cost Of Natural Gas Fueling Stations Coming Down test 2

Natural gas cars like the Honda Civic Natural Gas often get overshadowed by electric and hybrid vehicles, largely because the lack of a natural gas fueling infrastructure makes them a low-volume niche. While we also lack a proper electric charging infrastructure, homeowners can plug their EVs right into their home sockets, or pay a reasonable amount for upgraded 240-volt hardware. Natural gas vehicle owners aren't so lucky, but according to a new report, they may be in a few years.

Natural gas vehicle fuel economy numbers don't jump off the page like those of hybrids and electrics (the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is EPA-rated at 27/38 mpg). However, natural gas is significantly cheaper than petroleum gasoline. In an April 2012 report on fuel prices, the EPA listed the cost of compressed natural gas at $2.08 per gallon with regular gasoline listed at $3.89. Even with modest fuel economy, there are savings to be had.


McLaren F1 Successor: 1,000 HP, 2.5 Seconds To 62 MPH, August Debut

On: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 1:52PM | By: Chris Weiss

McLaren F1 test 2

We've heard tell of a big McLaren debut before. At the time, it wasn't clear if the reveal would be public or private, and since we never heard anything about it later on, it was either private and tightly concealed or didn't happen. According to a new report from the UK, McLaren will hold a private debut at Pebble Beach, followed up with a full public reveal at the Paris Motor Show a month later. The subject of the reveal, of course, is the much anticipated F1 successor.

Not only does CarsUK provide a pretty solid (and believable) time line for the F1's appearance, it also has some new rumors about what the car will be capable of. We've heard the flagship's codename is P12, and CarsUK says that the actual model may be called '799'. That number undoubtedly refers to the ~800 hp that's rumored to come from its 3.8-liter V-8 engine.

Eight hundred horsepower would be more than enough for McLaren to compete with cars like the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta or Lamborghini Aventador, but the P12/799 is about something more - it's about competing with the fastest, most powerful cars in the world. The Bugatti Veyron, SSC Tuatara and upcoming Ferrari Enzo successor are a few of its future colleagues. So McLaren will reportedly use a KERS system to add up to a 200-hp boost for a total of 1,000.

Carfax Releases Android App

On: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 12:47PM | By: Chris Weiss

Carfax Releases Android App test 2

As annoying and incessant as those Carfax commercials are, if there's one service they provide, it's in reminding you that you should do your research before putting that down payment toward a used car. And what easier way to do that than with a mobile app you can load up on the dealership floor? You don't even have to ask the dumbfounded yet deceitful dealer to "show you the Carfax."

Carfax released an app for iPhone users last year, and this week it's released the Android version. The app gives users on-the-spot access to Carfax Vehicle History Reports. All you have to do to access the report is enter information that's readily available at the dealer. You can enter the VIN or license plate number or scan the barcode to bring up the report.

Ford C-Max Becomes America's Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrid

On: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 4:37PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford C-Max Becomes America's Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrid test 2

When the Ford C-Max Energi launches this fall, it stands to become America's most affordable plug-in hybrid (just barely, after tax credit). Its solid price combines with a Prius Plug-In-beating 20 miles of all-electric range, making it a solid combination of affordability and eco-friendliness.

The C-Max Energi is a plug-in version of the C-Max Hybrid and is more closely aligned with the Toyota Prius Plug-In than the longer e-range Chevy Volt. The car packs 20 miles of all-electric range and 550 miles of total range into a package that ducks below $30,000 after tax credit.

First 2014 Mazda6 Photo Leaks

On: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 2:27PM | By: Chris Weiss

First 2014 Mazda6 Photo Leaks test 2

As nice of an update as the new Mazda6 appears to be, we were getting a little worn out by all the teasing. We covered the first three videos, but had to start ignoring the teaser barrage. A run-of-the-mill mid-sized sedan just isn't worth that much teasing and analysis.

Thankfully, the power of the Internet has stepped in to put an end Mazda's teaser campaign at four videos. A photo originally leaked on Russian blog AutoWP shows the first full look at the Mazda6's front end. We imagine a full official reveal will follow soon.

Natural Is New Black, Earth Tones On Rise

On: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:30AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Subaru Outback test 2

If you’re sick of the same old red, white, gray, and black options, a wave a good news is about to arrive. BASF Automotive Coatings recently told The Detroit News that “naturally cultivated” vehicle colors are on the rise.

Considering the success of Subaru’s nature themed, green Outback, we can safely say that market trends do seem to be leaning toward a 1980s-esque palate of vibrant choices. But instead of variations on gold and maroon, BASF suggests that blues, browns, and greens will be the motifs that define the next generation of vehicle paint.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the story, though. A bump in color choices – regardless of genre – may indicate another, altogether more promising, trend. The future of automotive color choices AND the industry as a whole looks a lot more…well…colorful.

BMW On Demand Offers Flexible Rentals In US

On: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:43AM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW On Demand Offers Flexible Rentals In US test 2

About two years ago, BMW launched the On Demand service in its hometown of Munich, Germany. Designed to give car rental customers more flexibility, the program offers BMW vehicles for hourly rental. So far, the service has been concentrated in Europe, but BMW will bring it to the United States in the coming weeks.

BMW has launched the website bmwondemandusa.com, which isn't fully up and running yet. Auto Blog reports that the first On Demand location will be BMW of Manhattan and will launch with about 100 328i models in stock. The models offered will change over time, and BMW is expected to expand to other major cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington D.C.

Cadillac Flagship Is Go

On: Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 5:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cadillac Flagship Is Go test 2

Cadillac's current flagship, the XTS sedan, has gotten off to a good start. GM is certainly hoping that good start will continue and possibly roll over into a strong debut for a bigger flagship sedan to compete with the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S Class.

A Cadillac flagship has been rumored for years, and this week's news is the closest we've gotten to an official confirmation. According to Automotive News, insiders have revealed that the sedan has been given the official nod by GM brass. The rear-wheel-drive sedan will be built on the Omega platform.