Archive for May, 2010

Ferrari CEO: Back to twin-turbo V8 for next-gen Enzo

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What goes around comes around. Ferrari broke ground in the supercar sphere with the 288 GTO and F40, which both used twin-turbo V8 powertrains. The subsequent F50 and Enzo went with V12s, and the 599's mill was based off the Enzo's. But the next model in Ferrari's range-topping mid-engine exotic line will go back to the twin-spool eight-pot.

This directly from the company's chief executive Amedeo Felisa (pictured above with the new 458 Italia), speaking with Autocar magazine. Although a high-output, direct-injection, twin-turbo V6 bounced around the rumor mill, Felisa says no such plans are in place, as customers still look to cylinder count as an indicator of a car's capabilities. The CEO added that the implementation of hybrid technologies - as previewed in the 599 HY-KERS concept - will allow Maranello to continue offering high cylinder counts, including V8, V10 and V12 engines. This is especially interesting because, F1 cars aside, Ferrari has never made a road-going V10. Could be an indicator of things to come, or perhaps just a typo.

Felisa also spoke on the use of carbon fiber, saying that its implementation will, for the time being at least, remain limited to the Enzo stratosphere and not used in its production models. According to Felisa, "nobody today has a real understanding of what happens if you damage a carbonfibre structure." Given its decades of experience with the material in F1 and the hundreds of on-track crashes that it surely accumulated over the years, if Ferrari doesn't understand it, we struggle to imagine who does.

[Source: Autocar]

Ferrari CEO: Back to twin-turbo V8 for next-gen Enzo originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Confirmed: Ford to build seven-seat C-Max in Spain for export to U.S.

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2011 Ford C-Max seven-seater - Click above for high-res image gallery

When Ford announced its new seven-seat Grand C-Max last fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show, it also revealed that the new model would be coming to North America for the first time. In conjunction with the announcement today that Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain would produce hybrid versions of the five-seat C-Max, Ford also announced that the same plant would be exporting the seven-seater to America late next year.

The larger C-Max is based off of Ford's new c-segment platform shared with the Focus and is similar in size to the Mazda5. This marks Ford's return to the sliding door van market that was abandoned when the Freestar was discontinued in 2006. Ford hasn't said what powerplant will go into the C-Max for export, but we would bet on the same 2.0-liter direct injected four that will power the new Focus with an optional 2.0-liter Ecoboost. Now that General Motors has decided not to sell the Chevrolet Orlando in the U.S., Ford and Mazda are currently the only entrants in this small minivan segment, with vehicles like the conventionally doored Kia Rondo lurking on the fridges.




[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Confirmed: Ford to build seven-seat C-Max in Spain for export to U.S.

Confirmed: Ford to build seven-seat C-Max in Spain for export to U.S. originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TheDetroitBureau.com on Autoblog with Paul Eisenstein

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Buick Back?

Later this month I'll be heading out to San Diego to get my first ride in the new Buick Regal. It's a trip I'm looking forward to, something I couldn't have said about most of the Buick product previews I've attended over the course of my 30 years on the auto beat.

Let's face it: Since the days of the classic Riviera, the long-struggling General Motors division didn't have a lot to offer other than "badge-engineered" products that appealed to a limited core audience of aging Buick buyers. One GM wag once suggested that the average age of the division's buyers was "nearly dead." And as that audience steadily dwindled, so was Buick.

Consider that over the quarter century from 1984 to 2009, Buick sales plunged nearly 90% from 941,611 to just 102,300 and you understand why so many industry analysts began urging GM to abandon the Buick brand long before last year's bankruptcy. Yet when the ashes of the century-old automaker rose like a phoenix last July, Buick remained among the four surviving North American "core" brands.

To understand why, I just need to talk with an old friend, Al Abramson, a long-time dealer in Asian art, jewelry and antiques, and one of the first Westerners to go behind the so-called Bamboo Curtain after the fateful meeting between Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong.


Paul A. Eisenstein is Publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com, and a 30-year veteran of the automotive beat. His editorials bring his unique perspective and deep understanding of the auto world to Autoblog readers on a regular basis.

Continue reading TheDetroitBureau.com on Autoblog with Paul Eisenstein

TheDetroitBureau.com on Autoblog with Paul Eisenstein originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler outperforming internal forecasts, readying IPO

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From Monday's 'More Good News' edition, this nugget from Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne: "It is clear that if we continue to perform at this rate we're going to be in excess of the guidance that was provided in 2009." What does that mean? It means that Chrysler is making more money and using that money more efficiently than expected. If such performance keeps up, the Pentastar will put up better than expected numbers this year, and could be ripe for an IPO ahead of anyone's schedule.

Chrysler showed an operating profit in the first quarter of this year, but even so, it doesn't want to change its estimates for the entire year, at least not yet. The only brand-new vehicle it will be rolling out is the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and that leaves a lot of not-exactly-new product trying to keep the momentum going all the way to the end of the year.

Still, for a company that was left for dead last summer, to be here in May of 2010 talking about it at operational break-even this year and net break-even next year is not a bad year of work. With negative cash flow of $1 billion expected this year, true profit is still a couple of years away, but we can at least see the way with the Fiat 500 arriving in December, a Chrysler small car in Q4 of 2011, updates on its current offerings and an IPO. Come on, Jeep Grand Cherokee...

[Source: Reuters]

Chrysler outperforming internal forecasts, readying IPO originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 17:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2010 One Lap of America: No. 3 Porsche 911 GT2 outlasts all comers

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2010 One Lap of America - Click above for high-res image gallery

This year's running of the One Lap of America wrapped up this weekend after a tidy 3,480 miles, and after a one-year absence from the top spot on the podium, a Porsche 911 has emerged victorious. The No. 3 GT2 (shown above) of Doug Wilks and Leh Keen outlasted all comers, including the No. 4 Nissan GT-R of Catesby Jones and Jose Collado that finished in second place, and the No. 5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 of Danny Popp, Todd Rumpke and Jeremy Herzberg.

As you may recall, a GT-R took the checkered flag last year, but persistent spark plug issues in the orange-and-gray #1 prevented a repeat performance in 2010. The massively tuned No. 39 BMW 325is of Anthony Magagnoli and Kevin Kreisa was impressively consistent, coming through in fourth place after the carbon fiber-bodied #23 Corvette Z06 of Danny and Kyle Corcoran suffered catastrophic engine failure on a transit stage to drop out of the top five. The failure was particularly unfortunate for Danny Corcoran, known as "Mr. One Lap" to his fellow competitors, as he was participating in his 20th - and likely final - event.

Other standout performances included the heavily modified #54 Honda Civic Si of Jonathan Weir and William Chan, with that car beating out far pricier machinery to finish eighth overall, winning the Econo Car class in the process. Also posting solid results was the No. 124 Mazda5 of Richard Fisher and Jason Saini (ringing up in 15th place) and the No. 20 Porsche Panamera Turbo of Bill and Todd Treffert. The bone-stock Panamera was but a couple of weeks old and barely broken in, yet it turned in a robust performance, including a launch-control aided quarter-mile time of 12.08 seconds in Tulsa, the sixth quickest time among all cars.

This year featured a robust crop of first-time One Lappers, suggesting that, despite America's continued difficult economy, America's toughest road car challenge has a bright future ahead of it.

For full race results, check out OneLapOfAmerica.com, and for event-by-event coverage, visit our friends at MotorTrend.com.



Photos by Chris Paukert / Copyright (C)2010 Weblogs, Inc.

2010 One Lap of America: No. 3 Porsche 911 GT2 outlasts all comers originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 16:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus holding spring sale on F-Sport packages for IS and GS models

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Lexus IS-C F-Sport - Click above for high-res image gallery

Lexus is having a spring sale on several of the F-Sport accessory packages that offers for the IS and GS models. The packages include a $1,450 suspension lowering kit and a $4,495 kit that adds new wheels and tires to the package. For those who want to go all out, the top package runs $8,995 and adds in a brake upgrade with six-piston front calipers and cross-drilled 14-inch rotors. A set of four-pot calipers and 13.6-inch discs are provided for the rear corners.

The sale price on that top package is a savings of $1,479. All three packages are discounted from June 1 to July 31 and installation is included in the price. Want to know more? See all the details after the break.


[Source: Lexus]

Continue reading Lexus holding spring sale on F-Sport packages for IS and GS models

Lexus holding spring sale on F-Sport packages for IS and GS models originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford confirms hybrid and PHEV C-Max will be built in Spain

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2011 Ford C-Max - Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford has just provided more details about its first European market hybrid models. The company's plant in Valencia, Spain will be building both regular and plug-in hybrid versions of the new five-seat C-Max MPV starting in 2013. The plant will receive $36 million in upgrades to accommodate hybrid vehicle production of the C-Max, which will be exclusively for the European market.

The new C-Max is the first vehicle being launched this year off of Ford's new global compact car platform that will also spawn the new 2012 Focus. The C-Max is essentially a tall wagon version of the Focus. The hybrid version will use Ford's next-generation hybrid system that will launch in North America in 2012, though no other details about the powertrain are available at this time. The C-Max is also the first application of Ford's new 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, which could be paired with the hybrid system.

The new C-Segment platform has been designed to support the installation of conventional, hybrid and full battery electric powertrains. A BEV version of the C-Max is also possible, though Ford has only confirmed plans for the Focus Electric at this time.



[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Ford confirms hybrid and PHEV C-Max will be built in Spain

Ford confirms hybrid and PHEV C-Max will be built in Spain originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota may replace rusty frames on 2000-2003 Tundra pickups for free

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Can you push a marble through a rusted-out hole in the frame of your 2000-2003 Toyota Tundra? If so, you may be eligible for a brand new frame courtesy of Toyota Motor Company. Toyota truck fanboy site Tundra Headquarters reports that the automaker is going a step beyond its original recall, which covered rusting rear-cross members. That recall was originally intended for the 20 cold weather states, though Toyota later expanded the safety action nationwide.

Toyota will reportedly cover the cost to replace the frame of any affected Tundra, provided that the rusted holes are at least 10 millimeters in diameter and the powertrain is in working order. The rust-induced holes also have to be in certain strategic areas to be eligible, and the Japanese automaker will provide a loaner vehicle while your truck is in the shop. This frame replacement procedure reportedly costs up to $10,000. Toyota is offering to replace frames of the 2000-2003 Tundras until April of 2012.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

Report: Toyota may replace rusty frames on 2000-2003 Tundra pickups for free originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Mazda dealer responds to allegations it bilked customer on meds

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Canadian Mazda dealer responds to overpriced car sale - Click above to watch the video after the jump

Over the weekend, we brought you the story of Madeline Leonard, a Canadian woman on disability who was pressured into the sale of a 2010 Mazda6 sedan when she came in to have some work done on her 2004 model year vehicle. Not only did she drive off of the lot in a new car she didn't really want (a demo car with around 3,700 miles, no less), she was ridiculously overcharged. The dealer sold her the car at a $45,846 CAD list price with an eight-year loan at 7.4 percent interest, bringing the grand total of the transaction to $66,000 CAD.

Now, the Orangeville, Ontario Mazda dealership has responded, saying that the two employees mainly responsible for this sale have been fired. What's more, the dealer plans to take the car back and refund Leonard all of the money that she has paid up to this point. That may be all well and good, but OMVIC says that the people involved could potentially face fines of up to $250,000, and possibly even do some time in jail.

Leonard, who is taking medication for a number of problems including fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, depression and anxiety, says that she feels cheated, lied to and manipulated. Understandably so, especially since an investigation by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) determined that the vehicle she purchased is only worth about $40,000 CAD.

Justice will indeed be served. Hit the jump to watch a video of this story which ran on a Toronto area news station. Hat tip to Jeff!

[Source: CityNews.ca]

Continue reading Video: Mazda dealer responds to allegations it bilked customer on meds

Video: Mazda dealer responds to allegations it bilked customer on meds originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: FWD Land Rover LRX will debut in Paris

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Land Rover LRX Rendering - Click above to enlarge

Hardcore Land Rover enthusiasts may want to sit down for this one. Autocar reports the UK's preeminent luxury off-roading marquee is going front-drive with the upcoming LRX; a move that is sure to rile some purists. The British site quotes an unnamed LR source as saying the Tata Motors-owned brand "cannot ignore the growth of the two-wheel-drive SUV segment."

While the small crossover segment is undeniably growing, another reason to offer a soft-roading LR is emissions. Autocar quotes LR as saying the front-drive LRX will achieve a scant 130g/km of carbon dioxide emissions, while the AWD version could net a still respectable 140g/km of CO2. That kind of efficiency would help Land Rover improve its fuel efficiency and bring down its overall CO2 footprint, helping the automaker towards the goal of meeting strict Euro emissions standards. Offering a B-Segment-sized crossover will also help Land Rover with toughening U.S. fuel efficiency standards. There is further speculation that the LRX could at some point feature Land Rover's rumored hybrid powertrain.

While the world has come to know of Land Rover's forthcoming two-door as the LRX, word is that the company isn't sure the name will make production. Among the names reportedly being considered for production is Range Rover Compact. Sounds like a lousy option if you ask us, but then again there is a good chance the little LR will get a different name here in the U.S. The front-drive LRX will reportedly bow in Paris this fall and will be offered after the 4WD model hits the market.

[Source: Autocar]

Report: FWD Land Rover LRX will debut in Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 May 2010 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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