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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.


GM Closes 500 Dealerships Despite Congressional Objections

On: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 11:37AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


GM Closes 500 Dealerships Despite Congressional Objections  test 1-1

In spite of the fact that approximately 24 congressional members (both Republican and Democratic) voiced objection, General Motors Co. proceeded to close the doors to 500 dealerships on October 31st,  as planned. 

There were 22 house members asking automakers to hold off on termination of dealerships until the completion of a federal investigation that was implemented in order to address allegations of foul play that may have occurred during the process of selecting which dealerships would be forced to close shop.  Republican Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Rep. Steven LaTourette, congressman suggested that the Obama administration suspend the 500 GM dealerships scheduled to be terminated October 31st.  Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio was also one of the members of congress asking for a delay in dealer closings while waiting for the courts to rule on appeals filed by dealers involved in the recent arbitration hearings.


Off Season Endurance Update: Peugeot 90X

On: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 10:25AM | By: John Welch


Off Season Endurance Update: Peugeot 90X test 1-1

Endurance racing is exciting. Very exciting. The action and strategy is grind your teeth to dust-exciting during both the LMS and ALMS seasons, and even more so, to a point, during the winter off season. You can expect a newly designed NASCAR stocker once every, what? two decades?! Boring . . . In the modern era you get a fresh Indy Car every 12 to fourteen years. Formula 1 cars are "new" every season but the rules are so restricted that the innovations are minimal at best. Open-form endurance racing produces new ideas, cars and teams nearly every season. If you enjoy motorsports, technology, or "design" in general and endurance racing doesn't quicken your pulse . . . well, you may want to consult a physician. There is a good chance you're stone dead.

Rule changes meant to decrease cost and increase safety are a part of all racing formats in this new decade, an inescapable side effect of a crappy world economy and our increasingly sissified international society. Other forms of motorsports suffer from these changes whereas top flight endurance racing just gets more exciting. Look at the header image that accompanies this article. The Peugeot prototype pictured doesn't immediately seem all that different from the diesels squishing 908's we are used to. The orange arrows point out differences between this so-named "90X" and it's 908 HPDi progenitor. It is NOT the same car, though it is possible they share the same basic carbon fiber passenger compartment. Each of those annoying arrows points to a modification that has been made on the name of rules compliance, or, unlike most motorsport, out right speed. There is a billboard affectionately named "Big Honking Fin" by the Internet, different side pods, goose-neck attachments for the rear wing, a new engine intake and so on. We cover each of those arrows inside this post; hopefully we get our hands on images of the next Audi soon . . .


 

Lexus Launches Real Life Driving Simulation Technology

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 4:53PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Lexus Launches Real Life Driving Simulation Technology test 1-1

The next big thing from Lexus is not a car!  Lexus has designed the world’s most advanced driving simulator, located in Higashifuji, Japan where the company’s research campus is housed. The simulator is a dome-shaped structure, 15 feet high and 56 feet in diameter, located on top of a series of complex interlocking full motion tracks that run across a room the size of a football field.

Step inside the dome to discover a genuine Lexus car mounted to a turntable that allows drivers to test drive the actual steering wheel, gear shift, and accelerator. An imaging system with high definition displays provide a 360-degree view of roads around the vehicle. Traffic is visible and audible, as are images of a city surrounding the scene, just like it would be in a real life driving scenario. 


Study: Consumers Want Green Cars, Barely

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 4:45PM | By: Chris Weiss


Study: Consumers Want Green Cars, Barely test 1-1

Consumer Reports recently released the results of a consumer survey on green car buying that unveiled some interesting attitudes. The findings were originally presented at the GridWeek summit held earlier this month, a meeting of the stakeholders and players in the Smart Grid arena. While most consumers did admit to considering the green factor in a new car purchase, it's still not a primary a concern.


Honda To Introduce EV Concept and Hybrid Platform in LA

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 4:20PM | By: Chris Weiss


Honda To Introduce EV Concept and Hybrid Platform in LA test 1-1

In addition to the concepts and electric vehicles detailed by the LA Auto Show last week, Honda will be bringing a brand new electric vehicle concept to the show. The automaker will also detail a new plug-in hybrid platform that will guide the future of Honda hybrids. Both initiatives will help to flesh out the future of green vehicles under CEO Takanobu Ito.


Election Day Postpones Monthly Sales Posting for Many Automakers

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 4:20PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Election Day Postpones Monthly Sales Posting for Many Automakers test 1-1

Will automakers postpone monthly reporting for 24 hours when the monthly posting date happens to fall on Election Day? According to automotive news.com “automakers are splitting their ballot.” This year represents the first time the coincidence has happened in 6 years.

Many automotive brands, such as Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru, have decided to stick with Tuesday for posting monthly sales records, which happens to be the same day that the U.S. voters get an opportunity to participate in perhaps the most significant election of the decade. The political party that controls the United States House and Senate (as well as 37 state governorships) will be elected, and automakers fear their earning statements might affect the results.


New Details On 50 LA Show Debuts

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: Chris Weiss


New Details On 50 LA Show Debuts  test 1-1

In an effort to gain more prominence in the auto show circuit, the LA Auto Show, which originally took place in early January pushed its dates back several years ago. This move separated it from other major shows like the North American International Auto Show that takes place in mid-January in Detroit, as well as from the holiday season. Beginning with the 2007 show, LA found a new slot in mid-November/early-December of each year.

The move back the calendar is paying off for LA in that more automakers are using the City of Angels as a backdrop for big unveils and North American debuts. In July, the show provided an initial look at some of the 20 world debuts that are coming to the show, and yesterday it issued some more details on what we'll see.


New Lawsuit Alleges Toyota Secretly Re-purchased Defective Cars From Owners

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


New Lawsuit Alleges Toyota Secretly Re-purchased Defective Cars From Owners test 1-1

A revised lawsuit is claiming that Toyota Motor Corp. secretly purchased defective automobiles from consumers in order to cover-up problems with unintended acceleration and hide the facts from federal safety regulators and the public. According to the amended class action suit, Toyota allegedly asked customers to agree NOT to disclose any details regarding the problems with Toyota vehicles, and to refrain from suing Toyota, in exchange for the buy-back arrangement.

Automotive News.com: “The new complaint also cites internal company records documenting instances in which Toyota technicians or service managers replicated speed-control problems like those reported by customers.” Alleged records also reveal that there was at least one incidence of unintended acceleration that was obscured to avoid federal safety regulators from finding out about it.


Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster Snapped In The Wild

On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 9:31AM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster Snapped In The Wild test 1-1

The famously gullwinged Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG launched last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Featuring a 563-hp 6.3-liter V8, 3.7-second 0 to 60 mph time and 197 mph top speed, the SLS has given Mercedes a place in the high-end sports car market. And that place will get a little bigger sometime in the future when Mercedes launches the roadster version of the SLS at next year's Frankfurt Motor Show or possibly Geneva show. That model was recently spotted out testing.