The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry
Back in September we came across dontblogabouthis.com, a URL purchased by everyone's favorite Bavarian car company, BMW. The website was populated with weird posts regarding what appeared to be a BMW 6 Series coupe. Some things didn't add up. The car has a single exhaust pipe and really skinny tires. The body work was of course ill-fitting and featured enormous fender flares. Strange, to say the least.
BMW did want us to blogaboutthat, and they placed two eerily vague videos featuring this . . . whateveritis car zipping in and out of focus, though never actually being in focus. We were intrigued, naturally. BMW has produced some extremely interesting concept cars in the last few, post-Bangle years, though their actual cars have gotten pudgy and staid. I didn't like the goofy trunklid that came with Bangle-butt; I don't like a 5-Series riding on a 7-Series platform either.
So, now it is official, the mystery coupe is, in fact, a production varient of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept. This car is a looker for sure, but it also brings some interesting techno-zaniness to the Fisker luncheon. Prius-pounding economy? Check. WRX-whipping acceleration? Check. Doors that out-SLS the SLS? Check. Dueling hybrid powertrains, plug-in capability, and full electric operation? Check, check, and Check.
Posted In: Concept Cars, Hybrid / Green, Videos
Tags: BMW, Efficient Dynamics, efficientdynamics, Vision Efficient Dynamics, visionsefficientdynamics, VED, BMW VED, bmwved
Over the past year, Honda has been doing a slow U-turn in terms of developing and committing to electric vehicles. Plug-ins were considered a waste of resources by previous CEO Takeo Fukui, but CEO Takanobu Ito, who took over last summer, seems to view them a little less skeptically. Last week, Honda announced a new electric vehicle concept that will debut at the LA Auto Show, and Ito said of the future of EVs and Honda: "...we have been researching [batteries] all along. Since I became president, that was accelerated quite a bit." Ito recently provided some further insight into Honda's EV plans in a discussion with Reuters.
Posted In: Auto Shows, Car News, Hybrid / Green, Reports
Tags: Honda, EV, green, plug-ins, corporate, Takanobu Ito
Tesla Motors is preparing to partner with the Japanese technology giant Panasonic. Automotive News stated yesterday that Panasonic, which is already working with Tesla to provide lithium-ion cells for the Model S, is planning to invest in the California automaker. Citing the Nikkei business daily, Reuters reported that Panasonic "aims to work with Tesla to develop battery systems for next-generation EVs."
Posted In: Car News
Tags: Tesla Motors, Toyota Motor Company, Panasonic Corporation, Electric Vehicles, EV Powertrain, Model S
Toyota has been striving to bring back one of the most mocked cliches of the late 20th century: the minivan. Like it or not (not), we're all too familiar with the rhyme-spitting, image-obsessed Sienna family of Swagger Wagon fame. Toyota's family of four has been trying to make its Sienna minivan cool for a while now.
This week, Toyota pulled out some bigger tricks in its mission to give some street cred to the Sienna mini. They basically threw out the "mini," exaggerated the utility of the minivan beyond belief and destroyed any practicality that this particular mode of transportation has. What is left is known as the Swagger Wagon Supreme.
Posted In: Auto Shows, Concept Cars, Special / Limited Edition
Tags: Toyota, Sienna, Swagger Wagon, SEMA, concepts, special edition, limos
Range anxiety isn't the only big issue facing electric vehicle manufacturers. About a year ago, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released study findings showing that crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists occurred more frequently among hybrid drivers than among gas-powered drivers. While the NHTSA didn't get involved in analyzing the reasons behind the discrepancy, the quiet, "silent killer" nature of the hybrid (and electric vehicle) has been a concern among road safety organizations, organizations for the blind and vehicle manufacturers. Companies like GM, Toyota and Nissan have worked on artificial systems designed to mimic the sound of a gas car and warn pedestrians of approaching vehicles.
For its own future electric vehicles, Audi has decided to take a different route. Instead of a faux engine grumble, the company is borrowing some inspiration from Hollywood.
Tags: Audi, electric vehicles, robots, e-tron, EV, pedestrian safety, artificial noise
In October, GM posted sales of 183,392 units, 13% more than it did in October of last year. Chevrolet sales increased 7%, Buick increased 39%, GMC increased 30%, and Cadillac increased 15%. The majority of the inflated sales numbers were accounted for by crossover and full-sized pickup sales. In fact, over 47,000 of the total vehicles sold were Sierras and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. GM sold 5048 units of the newly launched Chevrolet Cruze. GM picked up 2% of the total market share and Chevy sales made up 68% of the total.
Posted In: Car News, Miscellaneous, Reports
Tags: Chevrolet, General Motors, Chevy Cruze, Silverado Pickup, GMC Sierra, Alan Batey, Equinox, Third Quarter Sales, Volt
General Motors is on a rebound, of sorts, and the proof is in the SEMA pudding. Besides aftermarket tuners going absolutely bat-ess on the ubiquitous Camaro, GM itself offered up a few (more like a "bunch") of performance enhanced Chevrolets, covering every aspect of the market from tacked-on appearance upgrades to full-bore track mods designed to transform the Camaro and Corvette into asphalt devouring track beasts ala the Dodge Viper ACR-X. The General's front drive line up wasn't left out of the fun; GM introduced its new Z-Line series of visual and aerodynamic enhancements for the Volt, Cruze, and Spark commuter boxes.
The aftermarket spit out more than a couple modified GM vehicles, but by far the most intriguing came from our friends over at Hurst Performance. Allow me to pontificate for a moment regarding the base engines offered in modern "Muscle Cars". The key word is "modern" here. Though a V8-powered Camaro or Mustang is physically faster, in a straight line, than its V6-powered counterpart, when the going gets twisty the dynamic responses of the smaller-engined cars are superior. Even with cheaper/smaller/less grippy rolling stock. The designers of these machines are able to position the V6 engines with more freedom than the V8s, because of their smaller size and mass. A V6 can be crammed right up against the firewall of a car, keeping as much of the weight of the engine behind the shock towers as is mechanically possible. This translates to better weight distribution, which in turn translates to better handling.
What if the power output of these V6s were to match or exceed that of the throaty V8s? Hurst asked themselves that question and then got to work. We will tell you all about it tomorrow. First, the General has some presents for you . . .
Posted In: Aftermarket, Car News, Concept Cars
Tags: Chevrolet, Chevy, Chevrolet Corvette, chevroletcorvette, Z06X, Corvette Z06X, corvettez06x, Corvette Jake Edition, corvettejakeedition, Jake Logo, jakelogo, Jake, Corvette Racing, corvetteracing, LS3, LS7, Chevy Volt, chevyvolt, Volt, Chevy Cruze, chevycruze, Cruze, Chevy Spark, chevyspark, Spark, Z Line, zline, SEMA
The U.S. auto market has posted low profits of new car sales for the past couple of years, but according to Automotive News.com, there is a "silver lining" in the weak new car market. Fewer new cars being sold translates to lower numbers of used cars available on the market for the next 2 or 3 years. Lower used car inventory will enable automakers to promote leasing without concern for whether or not returned lease cars will flood the market in 2012 or 2013.
As a result, automotive leasing has been making a come back in the past few months. In fact, leasing has climbed to approximately 21% of U.S. sales through September 2010, compared to only about 16% for all of 2009, according to Emunds.com.
Posted In: Car News, Miscellaneous, Reports
Tags: Automotive Leasing, automotiveleasing, New Car Sales, newcarsales, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Kia, General Motors Geroge Magiano, Don Esmond
Ford Motor Company has announced the upcoming launch of the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup truck on the market—the 2011 F-150, equipped with the all-new 3.7-liter V6 engine. Good economy is expected with a base V6, but what about some power? Try 302hp, 278 lb.-ft. of torque . . . from a base V6! It is projected to deliver best-in-class 23 mpg highway, pending EPA certification. Ford’s new Ford 2011 F-150 3.5-liter V6 engine and its new 5.0 V8 are projected to deliver best-in-class, provided EPA certification comes through.
Posted In: Car News, Reports, Technology
Tags: Ford F-150, Fuel Economy, fueleconomy, EPA Certification, Ford F Series Trucks, Doug Scott. Best In Class Fuel Econmony, Barb Samardzich, EPAS
Usually a new car begets a commercial, not the other way around. But in the case of a new Kia SEMA concept, the Korean automaker pulls inspiration from its commercials for a modified Soul. The Hamstar debuted this week in Las Vegas.
At this point everyone's seen at least one version of Kia's hamsters. Those cute little urbanized rodents that drive around in their Kia pumping bass like white suburban teenagers with a chip on their shoulder. Kia seems to have the right idea with those commercials: regardless of our views on the Soul, we certainly love hamsters more than the annoying Sienna family or "earnest" GM executives that appear in other automaker commercials.
Posted In: Car News, Concept Cars, Special / Limited Edition, Auto Shows
Tags: Kia, Soul, Hamstar, concepts, 2010 SEMA, advertising, commercials
There are still a handful of concepts promised but not detailed by the LA Auto Show last month. This week, Subaru announced that one of those concepts will hail from its stables and will be used to demonstrate a new philosophy to appear across future vehicles. The concept appears to be a rather sporty, muscular coupe and is designed to exude "Confidence in Motion." That sounds to me like the type of meaningless auto babble that only makes sense to Subaru's marketing team and maybe a handful of engineers. I mean, what car isn't supposed to incorporate some type of "confidence in motion." Driving would be pretty scary if the manufacturer that made your car had no confidence in your motion . . .