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Volkswagen Working On BlueSport Convertible For 2013 Debut

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Working On BlueSport Convertible For 2013 Debut test 1-1

Like the Porsche Boxster, but don't quite have the money to justify a $50,000 roadster? Porsche's daddy Volkswagen is working on just what you crave. The BlueSport roadster was originally launched as a concept in 2009, and word is that the German automaker plans to debut the production version in 2013. Development is underway.

Debuted at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, the BlueSport bore some definite resemblance to the Boxster, but lost the overdone Porsche headlights in favor of a more angular pair similar to those seen on the Jetta, only sharper and more narrow. Smaller than the Boxster, the BlueSport measured in at 13 feet (the Boxster is over 14) with a 96-inch wheelbase.

Toyota Asks For Class-Action Suit To Be Dismissed

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Asks For Class-Action Suit To Be Dismissed test 1-1

Toyota Motor Co. has requested that the judge in a California class-action lawsuit drop the charges of alleged defective parts causing unintended acceleration on the grounds that no electronic throttle defects have ever been identified. Toyota states that while claims have been made on behalf of all Toyota owners with electronic throttle control systems, “only a tiny fraction of the vehicles in question” have accelerated out of control.

Out of thousands of mechanical/technical examinations of Toyota vehicles that allegedly sped out of control, Toyota Motor Co. engineers and federal regulators have been unable to find any evidence of electronic defects that could possibly be the cause of unintended acceleration.

Three Dealer Candidates Take House Seats from Incumbents

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 3:09PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Former Cadillac dealer Mike Kelly test 2

Three of four current and former dealer candidates took seats from House incumbents yesterday.  Mike Kelly, Republican from Pennsylvania, got involved in the election after he learned that his Cadillac franchise was one of the dealerships that were scheduled for termination by General Motors. The election received a national wave of republican votes, and resulted in a total of 6 dealers (all Republicans) with seats in the House, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, that’s twice as many as before yesterday’s election. 

When Too Much Is Never Enough

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 11:07AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

When Too Much Is Never Enough test 1-1

It's an age-old mantra most gear heads will recognize:  Run what ya brung, and hope it's enough!  Whether it's at the track, road course, or just the next traffic light, every hot rodder knows that feeling of getting beat out when you weren't expecting to lose.  Watching taillights pull ahead of you when you're giving your own car everything its got is demoralizing, disheartening, and feels worse than watching your favorite team lose the Superbowl.  After a loss, there are stages of rehabilitation:  Surprise, Anger, Denial, Sadness, Acceptance, and in some cases, Resolve.  


Surprise that another car is able to beat a car that you believed was unbeatable, then anger quickly on its heels that you spent money on a car that isn't as fast as the car now humbling and/or humiliating you.  The denial comes a little later.  The denial usually stems from the transmission:  "Oh I missed a shift" or sometimes, "He caught me in the wrong gear" or the ever popular, "I need a new clutch, this one is slipping pretty badly, but next time ..." Each of these excuses, along with hundreds of others like it all boil down to the same result:  You lost.  Winners never make excuses for why they won.  


Such is the life of any car enthusiast, but maybe none more than the drive-it-to-the-track guy.  Sure he is only a weekend warrior, sure he might have 85,000 miles on his three year old racer because much like the driver himself, his car leads a double life as a Clark Kent-type daily driver grinding through the Monday to Friday commute before they can both jump in a phone booth and transform into Superman and Supercar.  But the problem is, even if drive-it-to-the-track guy explains all this to trailer-queen racer guy, he still lost and trailer-queen guy is king of the race.  


It seems Audi has heard the cry of the daily driver track star, and has tried to help bridge the gap between the two worlds with the new Audi R8 GT.  Although it might seem redundant and almost unnecessary to try to improve the R8, Audi officials seem to think otherwise and seem to have taken on a mentality that Ferrari has all but perfected when it began introducing its Challenge Stradale and Scuderia models in recent years.  It's very similar to a hardcore bodybuilder at a health club.  Sure he can bench 450, and that might be the best anyone at that club has seen, but if he can do better, why not? 


BMW, Porsche, Subaru All Post Sharp Sales Increase In October

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 10:21AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 BMW X3 test 2

Subaru, BMW and Porsche posted sharp increases in October U.S. auto sales today as manufacturers appear poised to report a solid month. Analysts are saying that the October seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) is expected to be the highest since the falsely inflated automotive sales numbers that occurred during the government Cash- For-Clunkers program that offered $3 billion in buying incentives in September of 2009.

According to AutoData Corporation; “The average of nine analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg is a SAAR of 11.9 million, slightly higher than September's 11.8 million. Excluding sales volume for September of 2009; 11.9 million is the highest sales reported by the automotive industry since September of 2008." Due to Election Day, many manufacturers have delayed the release of October sales numbers, but others such as BMW, Porsche, and Subaru have already posted huge gains in last months’ auto sales.

Nissan Shows New Mobility Concept

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 10:06AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Shows New Mobility Concept test 1-1

Exploring the ground between the subcompact and personal mobility devices like the Segway has been a popular course of action lately. The latest example is this mobility concept from Nissan, a vehicle which it unveiled this week. In a clear case of the engineering department wearing out all its creativity on the concept itself, Nissan chose the name "New Mobility Concept" for the tiny urban car.

Like the Renault Twizy, which was shown in full production garb at the Paris Motor Show, the New Mobility Concept is powered by a small, 15-kW electric motor. The two-seat, zero-emissions concept can reach speeds of up to 47 mph and distances up to 60 miles per charge. Unlike the Twizy, there are no current production plans for the NMC, and Nissan is using it more as an exploratory vehicle. The company mentioned a "seamless mobility service" use, which would have the NMC vehicles linking urban drivers with public transportation in order to cut down on traffic and pollution.

Wireless Vehicle Charging System Launches In London

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 9:49AM | By: Chris Weiss

Wireless Vehicle Charging System Launches In London test 1-1

Last week, we took a look at a new partnership that is working toward a wireless charging system for plug-in hybrids and EVs. At the time, we mentioned it's not the only system of its kind out there; not a full week later, a new system has launched in London. Designed by New Zealand-based start-up HaloIPT, the system, which is hailed as the world's first wireless charging system for vehicles, is even more intriguing than other systems in that it can provide for charging when parked and when in motion.

Bentley Engineers To Paddleboat Across The Atlantic For Charity

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley Engineers To Paddleboat Across The Atlantic For Charity test 1-1

What's the furthest possible vehicle from a Bentley that you could think of? I don't think that you can get much further than a paddleboat slowly pedaling across the giant hunk of landless blue known as the Atlantic Ocean. I suppose a paddleboat in the even larger hunk of blue known as the Pacific Ocean would be a little less luxurious, but you get the idea.

A pair of Bentley engineers are preparing for just that type of voyage. Not so much a rebellion against the luxurious, premium cars they work on every day, but an interesting if rather foreboding charity event, the engineers will be aiming to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


Toyota Tacoma X-Runner RTR Racing Truck: Hauling Takes On More Than One Meaning

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 9:39AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Tacoma X-Runner RTR Racing Truck: Hauling Takes On More Than One Meaning test 1-1

Toyota’s Tacoma X Runner RTR is a “ready to race” concept  pick-up that will be featured at the 2010 SEMA Show. A high performance vehicle that sprang from a “parts bin build with all but a few components currently available for Toyota products,” according to a recent Automotive News article. The supercharged 5.7-liter V-8 engine is able to pull the RTR from 0-60 in just 3.76 seconds which is remarkable for what Toyota calls an un-calibrated drag truck "that just came out of TRD’s garage," according to Toyota Press Room.

The Tacoma X-Runner RTR achieves its performance with a stock, current-generation Tundra 5.7-liter V8 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Supercharger Kit.  The engine has a whopping 504 horsepower and 550 lb.-ft. of torque and runs on premium gas rather than race fuel.

Pint-Sized Fiat Mio Concept Designed By Team of 17,000

On: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 2:42PM | By: Chris Weiss

Pint-Sized Fiat Mio Concept Designed By Team of 17,000 test 1-1

The Sao Paulo Auto Show isn't as world-renowned as the Paris and LA shows that it's sandwiched between, so there aren't many huge debuts coming out of Brazil. But Fiat did use the show to introduce a tiny subcompact that's not only an interesting concept but also an interesting concept in the auto design process.

The Mio concept was created with help from a team of no less than 17,000. Fiat opened the design process up to online collaborators who worked through the company's website to design the concept. Those contributors offered up some 10,000 different ideas about the overall design, components and materials, and input came from countries around the world. The inspiration behind the design was to create a car that emphasized futuristic mobility and sustainability.

Lotus Esprit Will Be The First of Paris Concepts To Production

On: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 11:44AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Esprit Will Be The First of Paris Concepts To Production test 1-1

At the Paris Motor Show last month, Lotus provided one of the big highlights of the show when it displayed five new concepts designed to outline its intended plans for the future. Of course, the most exciting one of those debuts was the new Lotus Esprit, a car that is much more powerful than past iterations of the Esprit. Lotus confirmed this week, that the Esprit is the first to-do item on its new agenda.

According to Autocar, Lotus insiders say that the company has focused all its attention squarely on Esprit development. The new Lotus halo car is the only one of Lotus Paris concepts to have undergone a significant amount of engineering. The model is being planned for a 2013 launch.