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Press Release: GM Opens Engine Plant In Uzbekistan

On: Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 9:17AM | By: Peter C Sessler

GM Opens Engine Plant In Uzbekistan test 2

General Motors and its local joint venture partner UzAvtosanoat opened a new state-of-the-art engine plant in Tashkent today, 400 kilometers from the automakers’ vehicle manufacturing facility in Asaka. It represents GM’s most significant powertrain investment in Central Asia.

GM has a 52 percent stake in GM Powertrain Uzbekistan and its partner has a 48-percent stake. The facility, which covers 40 hectares, is GM’s first engine plant in Uzbekistan. It will produce more than 225,000 new fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.2L and 1.5L engines for use in GM small passenger cars sold around the world.

The first engines produced at the plant starting this month will be installed in the Chevrolet Spark mini car that commands 94 percent share of the Uzbekistan domestic market and is exported to Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Lamborghini Offers Its Own Winter Driving Course

On: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 3:25PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Offers Its Own Winter Driving Course test 2

Ferrari has been gaining all the headlines of late in regards to four-wheel drive and winter driving courses. Its FF is the first Ferrari ever to feature all-wheel drive, and Ferrari is highlighting that fact through its winter driving program in Aspen, Colorado.

Ferrari's biggest in-country rival Lamborghini has a response to that that sounds a little something like "Hey, me too." Lamborghini has been using four-wheel drive for a while now, including on its upcoming Aventador LP700-4, and also has a winter driving course all its own.

Tokyo Motor Show Preview: Honda Combines Sportiness And Green Powertrains

On: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 1:48PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Combines Sportiness And Green Powertrains test 2

There are two ways to really get us excited about electric vehicles. Either design EVs that can drive just as far or farther than gas vehicles on a single charge or design sporty, performance-oriented cars that show that EVs can be more than tiny, boxy commuters. Honda's upcoming Small Sports EV Concept goes the latter route, showing what we hope will one day be an electrically driven Honda convertible.

Similarly, the Honda Advanced Cruiser-X concept puts a sporty package around a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The Small Sports EV packs sporty curves into a pint-sized, two-seat roadster package. While Honda hasn't provided the specs of the car just yet, it's clear from looking at it that it should have spry handling and ample performance thanks to its tiny size (and weight).

Countrymen, Lend Me Your Gears! (Video)

On: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 11:37AM | By: Chris Salamone

Mini Countryman X-raid test 2

Much has been said about Prodrive-enhanced Minis as the latest and greatest Mini modification. Step aside, Prodrive, X-raid has entered the arena. Sponsored by Monster, the German-based Baja racing team X-raid plans to enter five excruciatingly excellent Minis in a high-stakes South American desert rally race starting January 1, 2012 and concluding two weeks later across the continent.

In addition to five brightly-colored Minis, X-raid also intends to throw in three BMW X3s in the 2012 Dakar rally which spans from Mar del Plata, Argentina to Lima, Peru.


New 2012 Jeep Wrangler And Liberty Arctic Special Edition

On: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 10:07AM | By: Peter C Sessler

New 2012 Jeep Wrangler And Liberty Arctic Special Edition test 2

Trying to satisfy that huge pent-up demand, Jeep has announced two, yes two, new models: the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler Arctic and Jeep Liberty Arctic. Now those of you who love the cold can pretend that you are off to the Arctic!

“There are few environments more grueling and demanding than the Arctic, which is just the type of terrain legendary Jeep vehicles are engineered to conquer,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO — Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Not only will the Jeep Wrangler Arctic and Jeep Liberty Arctic appeal to our loyal enthusiasts, but their unique content will attract new customers to the Jeep brand.”

Available in Liberty, Wrangler, and Wrangler Unlimited, the 2012 Arctic models arrive in Jeep showrooms this month.

2012 Ford Taurus SHO

On: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 9:05AM | By: Peter C Sessler

2012 Ford Taurus SHO test 2

The Ford Taurus was originally released back in the 1990s, and during its production run, it gained quite a following—I remember there were SHO car clubs, which probably still exist. The Taurus was briefly dropped, and returned as the Ford Five Hundred, and then the Taurus brand was reintroduced once again—a much better car than the original Taurus, too.

The 2012 Taurus SHO is the top of the line version that is substantially different from the rest of the lineup. The engine is a 3.5L twin turbo EcoBoost V-6 making 365hp and 350 ft.-lb. of torque, and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The “Eco” part of the name is supposed to bring forth images of fuel economy, but that is not the case for the direct-injected V-6. The engine is rated at 17/25 mpg, but the reality of getting less than 17 mpg in city driving is probably likely.

Chevy To Bring An Updated 2013 Spark To LA Auto Show

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 4:26PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Chevy To Bring An Updated 2013 Spark To LA Auto show test 2

The Chevrolet Spark is a sporty four-passenger, five-door hatch which has been updated for United States and Canadian buyers. The Spark is designed to excite first-time buyers with its bold styling and colors, affordability, the safety of 10 standard air bags, fuel efficiency and maneuverability.

Compared to the Fiat 500, Smartfortwo and the Scion iQ, the Spark offers more passenger and cargo room than other mini cars. Equipped with the 1.2L four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, the Spark offers competitive fuel economy as well.

Chevrolet’s exclusive MyLink infotainment system, which features the personalized connectivity of Pandora and Stitcher internet radio, will be offered on 1LT and 2LT models when Spark goes on sale in the United States and Canada in mid-2012. In addition to MyLink, Spark is the only car in its segment to provide the added value of a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the safety and security of OnStar.

Top 5 Roads To Wander

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 3:20PM | By: Chris Salamone

Atlantic Road test 2

The 'road' is something of a paradox. We use roads to run our errands, conduct business, and to take the occasional trip. But, not all who travel by road seek any specific destination. For some the simple act of driving is, in itself, the only destination they need. Therein lies the rub—are roads meant for arriving or are they meant for driving? Like all semantic challenges, the answer will invariably be a mix of all available options. In the spirit of all-inclusiveness, hopefully these Top 5 roads to wander meet both criteria: usefulness and venerable adventuring.

Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever (Video)

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 1:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever test 2

After several years of covering the technology industry, one of the trends that I found was that the entire field of robotics seemed to have been created just so that we had robot-servants to get us beer out of the fridge while we while the days away watching television or tanning on a lounge chair. Forget production automation, space exploration or other potentially life-changing objectives, robot after robot was created to keep man lubricated and jovial with Heineken upon Heineken.

While I ran into numerous beer-popping robots in the technology world, this Honda ASIMO is the first I've come across in the automotive world. It's also one of the most human-like and awesome robots I've seen.

HBH Shows Rendering Of Mid-Engined Aston Martin

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 12:18PM | By: Chris Weiss

HBH Shows Rendering Of Mid-Engined Aston Martin test 2

HBH has been making all kinds of news lately. Not only did the Zenvo ST1 S50 that it designed land in the United States, but its next project is getting a little more public. We told you about the mid-engined Aston Martin Vantage that the company was planning a couple months ago, and now the firm has released a computer rendering, providing a better idea of what the car will look like.

I have to say, I'm somewhat disappointed by this rendering. The original teaser made it look as though HBH had figured out a design solution to the mid-engined supercar. When you have a massive engine bolted behind the seats of a car, it tends to make for an unnaturally long rear-end and a squashed-forward cabin. Many mid-engined supercars look misproportioned and awkward because of this.

The Camaro ZL1: Designed For Downforce

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 11:08AM | By: Peter C Sessler

The Camaro ZL1: Designed For Downforce test 2

With 580 hp, the Camaro ZL1 can now hit 170 mph at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course in Germany. Obviously, it takes quite a bit of aerodynamic downforce to do this, and do it safely.

“The Camaro ZL1 lapped the Nürburgring in an incredible 7:41.27 seconds, which would not have been possible without work of our aerodynamics team,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “The design of the ZL1 creates downforce like a race car, harnessing air pressure to press the tires against the track for extra grip and control at high speeds.”