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Rolls-Royce Is Bustin' Out All Over, Part 2: Now It's The FACTORY That's Expanding

On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 1:35PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Rolls-Royce factory shot test 2

It’s true: the global financial crisis is not only over, it’s been drawn, quartered, salted, burned, and cast to the winds. How else could ultra-luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce have not only hit its maximum plant capacity, but exceeded it?

Here’s their PR department's typically understated (read: "English") way of saying it: “The Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood in West Sussex is to expand in the months ahead. The news follows significant growth in worldwide sales over the last 18 months and a greater demand from customers for highly personalised Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom models.”

Or: Makin’ a killin’ is their business, and business is GOOD….


Hyundai i30 Go For Launch

On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 11:20AM | By: Chris Salamone


Hyundai i30 test 2

Back in 2007, Hyundai unveiled the company’s first i30 which was released exclusively in Europe. In 2010 alone, the i30 attracted 115,000 buyers—making Hyundai history as the largest-selling brand vehicle in Europe, totaling more than 350,000 units from 2007 to mid-2011. So, what’s the big deal about the next generation i30 to be premiered at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show?

Although this latest i30 will be available only to European buyers, it is a car which perfectly represents Hyundai’s ability to adapt to new markets and prosper, a symbol of the company’s incredible success both abroad and in the United States, and a firm statement that funky-practical vehicles don’t need a ridiculous nametag.


Chevy Camaro ZL1 Rated At 580-HP

On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


Chevy Camaro ZL1 Rated At 580-HP test 2

Back when the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, Chevy said that it produced an "estimated" 550 horses from its 6.2-liter supercharged LSA engine. When we heard that little caveat, we assumed that it was going to be slightly lower, since we figured Chevy would want to project the highest output possible. But, between then and now, something else happened: rumors about the 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 offering around 600 horses hit the interwaves, and Chevy decided to move that "estimated" figure right on up the scale. 

The Camaro ZL1 recalls the 1969 engine of the same name and will be the most powerful Camaro ever. Its 580 hp will come at 6,000 rpm, and its 556 lb-ft of torque will come at 4,500 rpm. The LSA engine offers 24 horses and 5 lb-ft over its Cadillac CTS-V application. In short, the ZL1 means business.


Lotus Teaser More Of A Baffler

On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 9:41AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lotus Teaser More Of A Baffler test 2

As the hours wound down to the Frankfurt Motor Show, the automotive-teasing infrastructure went into overdrive. Companies frantically tried to tease, detail, and debut their Frankfurt wares in hopes that they'd be among the most interesting stories in Germany.

For its part, Lotus used an interesting strategy: leave everyone scratching their heads and wondering what the hell it's even teasing.


 

Financing Your Car

On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 9:05AM | By: Peter C Sessler


Financing Your Car test 2

Most dealers literally give their cars away these days—at least they don’t make the profits they used to on the sale of a car. There’s much more awareness today of what the cars cost and so the consumer is able to bargain more effectively. At the same time, the manufacturers have cut the dealer’s profit margin. It’s hard to believe, but the gross profit on a base is only a few hundred dollars!

Of course, dealers still do quite well with used cars because it’s practically impossible to find out what their cost is. In fact, with many dealerships, it’s their used car operations that keep them going.

With “front-end” profit margins (profit made from the sale of the car) shrinking, dealers have focused more and more with their Finance or Business office to make money—this is known as the “back-end” profit. By getting the customers financed, they are able to earn “reserve,” and this is where they sell extended warranties and accessories—commonly known as ”aftersell”.


Ferrari 458 Spider Debuts Live in Maranello

On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 5:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari 458 Spider Debuts Live in Maranello test 2

If you're one of the ogling window-lickers that just like to check out Ferraris online and in the glossies, you'll have to wait until later this week for the official live unveiling. Actually, you're probably just satisfied with the official Web unveiling from last month. But if you're a Ferrari VIP—one of those folks that is likely to actually buy the 458 Spider—well then, you got a sneak peak at a special event at Ferrari headquarters this week. Luckily for us window-lickers, the Web is the ultimate playing-field leveler.

Ferrari pulled the cloth off a handful of 458 Spiders earlier this week in Maranello in front of a crowd of 800 special guests. The video below shows highlights from the event and has a little bit of everything that's right about the world—generation after generation of different colored Ferrari Spiders lined up and driving scenic roads, hot blonde Europeans (one, at least), fireworks, and all kinds of 458 Spiders.


2012 Mercedes-Benz SL

On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 3:01PM | By: Peter C Sessler


2012 Mercedes-Benz SL test 2

“The best or nothing.” Well, that phrase certainly says a lot. What car company says they build cars that are the best, and, at the same time, are willing to prove it? Or is it just advertising hype? Is the phrase “the best or nothing” actually true (it is, after all, the Mercedes-Benz motto)?

The problem with Mercedes-Benz is its cost. It’s just too high, except for the really well-to-do. The “base” model SL starts at $103,650, while the higher-performance AMG SL63 starts $140,440, and the top of the line AMG SL65 at $202,225. AMG stands for Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd.)— all you have to know is that AMG produces the most expensive and highest performance models of each Mercedes-Benz series. AMG models have more aggressive looks, more power, better handling and stability than the “regular” Mercedes counterparts.


Mecum Muscle Means Multiple Modern Camaros At St. Charles Sale

On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 12:12PM | By: Andrew W Davis


1997 Chevy Camaro 30th Anniversary Edition Z28 Coupe test 2

Billed as offering 1,000 vehicles and featuring “Muscle Cars and Corvettes, Open to ALL Collector Cars,” Mecum’s September 15-18 St. Charles sale is named for the Illinois city that’s home to its sale’s base at the Pheasant Run Resort.

With that many cars to offer, the fact that there’s nearly 60 Chevy Camaros of almost every stripe on sale might seem statistically insignificant. But if you’re in the market for a special edition—or just special—Camaro, having 60 of them in one place at one time (OK, the sale’s three days, but still) is an opportunity not to be missed.

For this installment I’m starting where the Camaro’s original timeline ended, with Mecum’s offerings of limited-edition Camaros built from 1993 to 2002. We’re talking eight Pace and Anniversary cars, including FOUR 1997 30th Anniversary Edition Z28 coupes. Speaking of which…


It's All You: Volvo Concept Teased

On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:29AM | By: Chris Weiss


It's All You: Volvo Concept Teased test 2

This angry-looking SOB is the all-new Concept You from Volvo—or at least a teaser pic of its grille. The concept, which may be a preview of the next S80 flagship, will make its debut at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show. Volvo has released a little teaser video providing a glimpse at what it's all about.

While "You" may seem like an odd choice of names for a concept car, it alludes to a rather smart marketing strategy. Volvo's recently designated "Designed Around You" campaign is aimed at providing a luxury vehicle that is a little more comfortable and personal—or at least gives that impression.


Start With Starter Problems

On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 9:05AM | By: Peter C Sessler


Start With Starter Problems test 2

No matter what plans you have when you get in your car, you can put them aside if all you hear is a series of clicks or even nothing at all when you try to start her up. You may be lucky enough to hear the starter engage and turn the engine over a couple of times, but to no avail when the process ends in a long, dying whine. Such circumstances all point to starter problems.

First, let’s get an understanding of how starters work. A starter is basically a large, electric motor that turns the engine over enough times and fast enough so the natural forces of combustion take over. Because you can’t have the starter running all the time, there is a switching system built into the system to engage the starter motor only when it’s needed. This switching is done by the starter solenoid.


Kia V-8 "GT" Concept Leaked

On: Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 9:15AM | By: Chris Weiss


Kia V-8 GT Concept test 2

We've heard Kia will introduce two V-8-powered, RWD sports cars within the next few months, and we knew the first was coming at the Frankfurt Motor Show. What we didn't know is that a whole bunch of pictures of it were going to leak a little early. A handful of pictures of Kia's sporty concept have leaked, providing views from nearly every angle.