Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year readers. We want to thank all of our loyal readers and wish them all a Happy New Year. 2007 was an interesting year for the automotive industry. 2008 will be an exciting year as well. Our humble site has only been around for about 3 months now, and you have all helped to push the site to over 1,000 visits. We will bring you exciting news all through 2008 and beyond.

Spied: Facelift Mercedes Benz CLS


These shots are fresh from someone inside Mercedes. They were able to snap these two pictures of the upcoming facelift for the ultra sexy Mercedes Benz CLS 4 door coupe. And to make this eye candy even better. The pictures are of the top of the line CLS 63 AMG.

No word yet as to the performance or mechanical upgrades to the new car. Though the bodywork is still just as stunning. Even more so. Noticeable changes include a new grille. New 19 inch wheels. Carbon fiber rear spoiler and bumper diffuser. And lastly LED tail lights.


Source: Motor Authority.

VW TDI Cup gearing up for 2008 season

Are you between the age of 16 and 26? Do you like legal track racing? Do love VWs? If you answered yes, then the VW TDI Cup is for you.

VW announced the TDI Cup at the SEMA show in October along with showing off the new Jetta TDI Cup Car. The jetta is powered by a specially prepared 2.0liter Turbo by Volkswagen Motorsport. Capable of 170 horsepower.

Interested drivers will begin a series of qualifying events beginning in March. The entire series will be limited to thirty drivers. Qualifying drivers will be required to come up with $35,000 to cover the race season. VW will provide the Jetta TDI Cup Cars complete with all the safety equipment, tires, etc for the season. Each race is worth $1,500 to the first place driver with a $100,000 purse at the end of the season for the championship winner. As a bonus, if the winning series driver can score him or herself a pro ride within six months within winning. They will be awarded an additional $250,000 bonus.

Interested drivers should contact Volkswagen directly via the VW Motorsports website below.
Source: VW

2008 Barrett Jackson will auction first Challenger, ZR & GT 500KR

Every year the Barrett Jackson classic car auction fills our heads with dream cars that we all wish to someday own. In recent years we have seen many modern day and future classics roll across the auction block. Though not just any special cars. First production cars. Usually it results as the first actual production or retailable car. The most notable was the first 06 Shelby GT 500 Mustang, and 07 Shelby GT Mustangs. Both times these cars fetched WELL over their original sticker prices. And as with just about everything Carroll Shelby does, the proceeds go to charity.
At the 2008 auction in a few weeks. We will see not one, but three first production future classics be made available. Shelby will of course off the first 2008 GT 500KR(King of the Road). But new comers Chevrolet and Dodge will auction the first production Corvette ZR1 and Challenger SRT-8s to roll off the assembly lines. Both the Vette and the Challenger will/should be fresh off their introductions at Detroit. Just before the auction begins.

The best part is that like the Shelbys of the past few years, all proceeds from all three lots will go to auction. Sales will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), The United Way, and the notMYkid charity.

We're sure that these cars will command the high dollar value as they have in the past with auctions of this type. So we expect to see at the very least 7 figure dollars amounts for these future classics. And we also expect that at least one, if not all three will end up in the collection of Arizona business tycoon Ron Pratte. See you in Scottsdale!



Source: Barrett Jackson.








Pick your poison. 2009 Camaro Color Chart

Now first off, these are not official from GM. A diligent reader of autoblog.com, who just happens to work in the body shop of a Chevy dealer found these. So a Thank You goes out to this anonymous reader. Known only as Chris.

What we have is a list of 8 "possible" colors and the names of two others, sans the color chip. Those colors are Switchblade Silver Metallic and Aqua blue Metallic. We did notice that there is also a lack of white or green shades for the Camaro. I don't know about green, but it would look good in white. So we'll take this for what it is, and hope to hear something from Chevrolet soon. Here is the list.


*Victory Red
*Yellow
*Red Jewel Metallic
*Imperial Blue Metallic
*Ink Slate Metallic
*Mocha Bronze Metallic
*Black
*Dark Tarnished Silver Metallic
*Switchblade Silver Metallic
*Aqua Blue Metallic
We'll take ours in Mocha Bronze Metallic wit silver stripes.
Source: autoblog.com

4 States to insert RFID chips in drivers license

If you live in Arizona, Michigan, Vermont, or Washington. You will soon be able to "Voluntarily" have a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip inserted in your next drivers license. These chips can be monitored within a 30 foot radius of the monitor. And will display items like Name, Date of Birth, Description, etc.

"The Department of Homeland Security is in favor of the program, promoting it under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Said a DHS fact sheet, "Multiple cards can be read at a distance and simultaneously with vicinity RFID technology, allowing an entire car full of people to be processed at once." Motorists won't be compelled to use an enhanced ID, however -- in the beginning, it will be by voluntary issue only."

On a plus side, it will eliminate the need to have a passport to cross the border starting January 2009. Now as to which border, we don't know. More than likely it would be for Canada and Mexico.

Remember, Big Brother is watching......

Source: The Newspaper via Autoblog.

General Motors the first global automaker to sell 1 Million cars in China in one year

The General has turned the emerging Chineese market into the glordy days of the U.S. market of old. GM has announced today that they have become the first global automaker to sell one million, yes 6 zeros. One million cars in China for 2007. The one millionth car was a Buick Park Avenue.

Source: GM

Press Release:
General Motors Achieves New Milestone in China
First Global Automaker to Sell 1 Million Vehicles in Single Year

Shanghai – General Motors became the first global automaker to sell 1 million vehicles in China in a single year today when GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale handed the keys to a Buick Park Avenue to Mr. Zhang Jianping at Shanghai GM's corporate showroom in Shanghai.

"Becoming the first global manufacturer to sell 1 million vehicles in China is a demonstration of the strength of our product, our people and our partnerships," said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. "China is a very important market, and we're extremely proud of the contribution we have been able to make to the growth and development of its automotive industry. It's been an extremely beneficial relationship for both sides."

GM sales in China first surpassed 100,000 units annually back in 2002. Since then, GM sales have enjoyed steady growth, topping 500,000 annual sales in 2005, thanks to its growing lineup of brands and vehicles. The milestone million mark featured GM's best-known and strongest brand in China, Buick.

"I'm extremely honored to be the one millionth customer in 2007 for General Motors," Mr. Zhang said. "This is my second Buick and I appreciate the performance, safety and durability of Buick. In addition, I was very satisfied with the fuel economy of my first car. After comparing other products in the premium segment for my next car, it made perfect sense to choose the Park Avenue."

"From day one, GM and our partners have been committed to continually rolling out new and upgraded models, with specific engineering done in China for China to satisfy the needs of Chinese vehicle buyers across the country," Wagoner added.

This year, GM and its joint venture partners have begun offering several new products, including the Cadillac SLS luxury business sedan, Buick Park Avenue premium sedan, Chevrolet Captiva SUV, all-new Chevrolet Epica intermediate sedan and Wuling Hong Tu minivan.

According to Wagoner, reaching the new sales mark in 2007 is especially significant as it is taking place in a year in which GM has celebrated several milestones in China. Both Shanghai GM, the automaker's flagship manufacturing joint venture, and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), GM's engineering and design joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), marked their 10th anniversaries earlier this year. SAIC-GM-Wuling, GM's mini-vehicle joint venture, also celebrated its fifth anniversary.

2008 Range Rover Westminster

Land Rover doesn't produce all that many special edition trucks. Here is one that deserves the name special edition.

North America will get 500 Westminster Editions. A supercharged 400 horsepower V8 will give you all the stump pulling power you need topped with 20 inch 10 spoke rims. The only paint choice we see is black. Inside there is lots of real oak wood trim, special two tone black and java leather seats.

All of this can be yours for only $105,600. Of course the off road fun you have after purchase is of course, not included. The photos look painfully photochopped, so hopefully Land Rover will release some official pictures soon, or will have the Westminster on display in Detroit.




Source: Jalopnik.com

Jag Rover status. Nothing til after the new year

Ford is going to stay tight lipped til after the new year regarding the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover. Automotive News is reporting that three bidders are still in the running. Inda manufacturer Tata Motors is in the running, but not the single bidder as reported by the Birmingham Post yesterday.

Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and U.S. private equity firm One Equity Partners are all bidders, but as reported, Tata, looks to be the most likely candidate to take home Jaguar and Land Rover. All for a cool $2 Billion.

Stay tuned for more news as this develops.

Source: Automotive News

IIHS Fender Bender Tests

No one likes to get in a minor fender bender. That is of course you are a stunt driver or in a demolition derby.




The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted minor collision tests on 6 2008 minivans. The test is designed to simulate a minor collision at 3-6mph. The same as a typical setting in traffic or a parking lot. In each instance each van sustained an average of $5,000 damage. "In the Institute's bumper tests, each vehicle is run into a barrier designed to mimic the design of a car bumper. The steel barrier's plastic absorber and flexible cover simulate cars' energy absorbers and plastic bumper covers. The series of 4 tests includes front and rear full-width impacts at 6 mph and front and rear corner impacts at 3 mph. The bottom of the barrier is 18 inches off the ground in the full-width tests and 16 inches from the ground in the corner impacts. These heights are designed to drive bumper improvements and lead to better protection from damage in a range of real-world crashes."


The worst of the bunch, the redesigned Nissan Quest. Had more than $8,000 damage!


The press release is lengthy, but a worthwhile read. Makes you want to avoid the soccer moms in their minivans in the mall parking lot even more.


For a full gallery of all cars tested, visit this link at Autoblog.com http://www.autoblog.com/photos/iihs-bumper-crashes/


Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


PRESS RELEASE:
Minivan bumper test results: Nissan Quest is by far the worst performer



ARLINGTON, VA - None of 6 minivans, all 2008 models, is designed to resist vehicle damage in many low-speed collisions. The front and rear bumper systems on these minivans allowed $5,000 or more damage in a series of 4 crash tests conducted at 3 and 6 mph. The Nissan Quest was the worst, sustaining damage that cost more than $8,000 to repair. These are the results of recent crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to assess and compare how well vehicle bumper systems resist damage in the kinds of low-speed collisions that frequently occur in commuter traffic and parking lots.

"These minivans don't have the worst bumpers we've tested, but they still allow way too much damage in minor impacts. It's damage that consumers shouldn't have to pay for or put up with the aggravation of having to get their vehicles repaired," says Institute senior vice president Joe Nolan.

In the Institute's bumper tests, each vehicle is run into a barrier designed to mimic the design of a car bumper. The steel barrier's plastic absorber and flexible cover simulate cars' energy absorbers and plastic bumper covers. The series of 4 tests includes front and rear full-width impacts at 6 mph and front and rear corner impacts at 3 mph. The bottom of the barrier is 18 inches off the ground in the full-width tests and 16 inches from the ground in the corner impacts. These heights are designed to drive bumper improvements and lead to better protection from damage in a range of real-world crashes.

Minivan designs help in bumper tests: The minivans performed somewhat better in the 4 bumper tests than the midsize cars the Institute tested earlier this year. This is in part because the minivans' front bumpers are an inch or so higher off the ground, compared with car bumpers (about 17 inches versus 16). The extra height means the minivans' front bumpers usually didn't underride the test barrier, which exacerbates the damage.



Another important design aspect is that most of the minivans the Institute tested have third-row seats that fold into the floor, which requires pushing the vehicles' frame rails out wider. Because the bumper systems attach to the ends of the rails, the rear bumpers (but not the front ones) also are wider. This means they do a better job of protecting the rear corners of the minivans from damage in low-speed collisions. For example, the taillights on the minivans weren't damaged in any of the rear corner tests while the headlights were damaged in 4 of the 6 corresponding front corner tests.



Nissan Quest failed 'miserably:' The worst performer overall, the Nissan Quest, "miserably failed the rear full-width test, sustaining more than twice as much damage as the best performer, the Honda Odyssey," Nolan points out. "This is disappointing because full-width tests are the easiest ones. They spread the energy of an impact across a vehicle's whole back or front. But the Quest's rear bumper system failed when its reinforcement bar cracked and was driven into the rear body of the vehicle, resulting in expensive repairs. The tailgate was so badly damaged that it had to be replaced."



The tailgates on 5 of the 6 minivans the Institute tested - all but the Chevrolet Uplander - sustained damage in the rear full-width test. Only the Quest and Toyota Sienna required tailgate replacement. Those on the other minivans could be repaired at less cost.



The Quest's performance wasn't much better in the two frontal tests. It was the worst performer in the corner test and second to worst in the front full-width test, during which it slid under the bumper barrier and sustained damage to the hood and grille. This was the only minivan with hood damage in the front full-width test.



"Quest owners can expect huge damage repair bills after all kinds of low-speed collisions. This isn't a good vehicle choice for consumers looking for a minivan with reasonable repair costs," Nolan says. Nor are a couple of other Nissans. The Maxima racked up more damage in an earlier series of the same bumper tests than 16 other moderately priced midsize cars, and the Infiniti G35 was worst among 11 luxury midsize cars.



Honda Odyssey performs best overall: Damage to the Odyssey in the two frontal tests, full-width and corner, was in line with damage to the other minivans, but this vehicle performed better in the rear tests. It was the best performer in the rear full-width configuration, sustaining damage costing half as much to repair as the damage to the Quest. In the rear corner test, the Odyssey was the second best performer. Damage was largely confined to the bumper system - the plastic cover, reinforcement bar, and the energy-absorbing foam. The Dodge Grand Caravan was the best performer in this test, sustaining the least amount of damage ($483) in any of the 24 individual tests in this round of bumper evaluations. Damage to the Grand Caravan, as well as the Odyssey and Sienna, was limited to the bumpers.



The Toyota Sienna sustained the least amount of damage in the front corner test. But if the crash configuration had differed slightly, the outcome could have been very different because there's little underneath the Sienna's bumper cover to absorb crash energy. The Sienna and Chevrolet Uplander were the only minivans to withstand the front corner test without headlight damage."There are good examples in these results," Nolan says. "Although neither the Odyssey nor the Grand Caravan performed particularly well in the frontal tests and the Sienna didn't do particularly well in the rear tests, all three of these vehicles did turn in good performances in one or two tests apiece. What we want is for all passenger vehicles to perform as well or better than the best minivan examples in each test."



All parts don't cost the same: Besides the amount of damage sustained in a low-speed impact, repair costs are influenced by both the price of replacement parts and the complexity of the necessary repairs. For example, the one-piece plastic radiator supports on both the Quest and the Grand Caravan had to be replaced after the front corner impact. Although the repairs were essentially the same, the price of the jobs differed a lot - $347 for the Grand Caravan compared with almost twice as much ($674) for the Quest.



"Because minivans and other passenger vehicles allow so much damage in low-speed collisions, we have to pay attention to comparative repair and replacement costs," Nolan concludes. "The best way to avoid these costs is for automakers to equip their vehicles with bumper systems that resist damage in the first place. Until manufacturers do this, consumers will have to study our crash test results and shop accordingly."

Only in the USA. Mercedes SLR McLaren 722 GT

As if the SLR McLaren couldn't get any cooler. Mercedes goes and makes the 722. Then they top that with the 722 GT. What we originally thought would be a home market car all changed today. Mercedes tuner RENNtech will make the uber cool 722 GT available in the U.S.
21 of the 722 horsepowered super cars will be made available direct from the factory in Germany. That is of course you have the $1.2 million dollar entry fee.
Now as if this wasn't enough. RENNtech is taking a page from Ferrari and their FXX program. RENNtech is setting up a full track-day program for the SLR 722 GT owners, including set-up and maintenance by specialized technicians, opportunity to learn the track behind the wheel of its special SLR shifter karts and instruction from professional drivers. The karts are even styled to match the SLR.....to an extent.

Sounds like a pretty awesome deal to us. Unfortunately we don't have the $1.2 Million. But we are open to contributions.


Source: RENNtech

Press Release:
Lake Park, FL - 18 DEC, 2007 - Officially official: Mercedes-Benz' SLR McLaren 722 GT, available exclusively at RENNtech.
While Mercedes' ultra-exclusive SLR McLaren 722 GT track car has been making rounds in the motoring press for several weeks now, a few key questions remained unanswered - including "How much?" and "Where can I get one?"We can answer the "How much?" question rather easily (795,000 €, or about 1.2 million USD), it's the "Where can I get one?" question that's more interesting.
As of Monday, Dec. 17, 2007, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT will be made available to the North American market exclusively through RENNtech, the Florida-based MB tuning house owned and operated by super-tuner Hartmut Feyhl, who also lists "technical director, AMG North America" on his resume. "It's been a very exciting project to be involved in," explains Feyhl.

Similar in concept to Ferrari's Enzo FXX program, the 722 GT is built specifically for track use by renowned British motorsports specialists at the RML Group to be the fastest possible on a track. The SLR 722 GT offers impressive power and cornering and delivers exactly the kind of motorsports experience one would expect from a competition car - and, with only 21 examples of the hyper-exclusive track cars being offered for sale, driving one is sure be a special occasion.

RENNtech will be organizing several on-track events (to be announced) throughout the US, beginning in 2008.

The SLR 722 GT trackcars will be set-up and maintained by RENNtech, which will have specially trained technicians and engineers on hand at each of the planned on-track events, which will follow a format similar to the SLR.Club SAFETY & SPEED ACADEMY track weekends in Europe. Participating customers will receive a mix of on and off- track instruction by trained instructors and professional drivers (including Jochen Mass, David Coulthard, and others), as well as some track time in RENNtech's Aixro SLR. Karts - to get a good feel for each track before going out in their SLRs.

Feyhl explained that the concept is to deliver to SLR McLaren customers a true and authentic motorsports experience in a competitive and reasonably safe environment.

If it is RENNtech and Mercedes' goal to deliver "an authentic experience", the SLR McLaren 722 GT is a great place to start - compared to the road-going SLR, the 722 GT gets the full FIA GT treatment from RML: more than 400 redesigned components, FIA spec.

Safety equipment, fully adjustable suspension, full-on competition brake hardware, a no-nonsense interior, and a track-only exhaust system that bumps the 722 GT's output to well over 670 hp. The real game-changers, however, are the 722 GT's towering rear wing and drastically reduced weight. At 1390 kg, the 722 GT weighs some six- hundred pounds less (!) than the stock 722, and the rear wing (in conjunction with the car's front splitter) provide more than enough aerodynamic downforce to tackle the fastest turns with confidence.The 722 GT also benefits from years of wind-tunnel and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) experience at RML and McLaren, making the wings and body mods much more than an aesthetic package. Everything on the car, every vent and louvre, is fully functional - a terrific enhancement to on-track performance.

With more power, less weight, and dramatically improved handling, the limited-edition Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT, one thing is certain: if you love cars, love racing, and have the money (but not the time) to campaign a full-on race series, the 722 GT is your ticket.

Contact RENNtech for more info.

Audi to bring stunning concept to Detroit next month

What exactly is a "Stunning" concept car? We're not sure. But since it's coming from Audi. It's bound to be extremely cool and.....probably stunning.

The rumors are flying that it could possibly be the V-10 powered RS8 or even a roadster version of the R8. And while they might say it's a concept. We know it will more than likely be a production car for a couple years away.

As for a world first. Could it be the TT-S? Maybe a face lifted A3? How about the A/S 5 convertible? We're not sure again. But what ever Audi has in store for us in Detroit. We will bring it to you here.
Source: Audi.

PRESS RELEASE:

2008 Detroit Auto Show

Audi press conference to feature world premier

Visitors will be treated to both a world first and a stunning concept car at the Audi press conference for the 2008 North American International Auto Show. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, will present the latest innovations at the Audi Press Conference, Sunday, January 13, 2008, at 02:20 p.m., on the Audi stand in the COBO Center in Detroit, Wayne Hall.

Final Chrysler Crossfire Leaves Factory

With the close of 2007 upon us, we come also to the production of the final Chrysler Crossfire.

During its five year lifespan, the American coupe/roadster built in Germany sold 80,000 units. 2006 US sales accounted for only 8,216. Down over 50% from 14,665 units in 2005. The Crossfire was offspring of the now ended partnership between Chrysler and Mercedes, and shared its platform with the original Mercedes Benz SLK roadster.

The Crossfire is the first of four models that Chrysler is giving the axe under its new ownership, and since production of the car and many of its components are so closely tied to Mercedes, it's only natural that it's the first to go. Next to be cut are the Dodge Magnum, Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible.





Source: Motor Authority.

Tata for Jag and Rover?

Britain's Birmingham Post is reporting that India's Tata Motors is confirmed as the winning bidder to purchase both Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Company. Neither Ford or Tata will confirm that this is true. Though Birmingham Post is saying that an official announcement could come as early as tomorrow, December 21st. Tata is reportedly spending $2 Billion dollars to purchase both brands. Further news as this develops.


Source: Automotive News.

The King returns! The 2009 Corvette ZR1

The Myth, The Legend, The History. It all returns with the new C6 Corvette ZR1. Formerly known as the Blue Devil and the Corvette SS. What we are looking at here is the fastest production Corvette of all time.

The aluminum and magnesium from the Z06 is the basis for the ZR1. At the front, you'll find a C6-R inspired splitter in carbon fiber. Flared front fenders with large air outlets to quickly move hot air out of the engine compartment. Also for the first time on a production Corvette, the hood has a clear lexan window to show off the new LS9 V8 engine. Which is oh so cool to look at. Oh, did we also mention that all the front sheet metal is carbon fiber rather than fiberglass?

A major styling change is the carbon fiber roof. GM really pulled out all the stops for the carbon fiber. GM materials engineers put a lot effort into developing an additive for the clear coat that could be applied to the carbon to preserve it for the life of the car. The ZR1 is the first car ever to have a carbon fiber clear coat that will last the life of the car. The chemical additive costs $60,000 a gallon and the clear coat with the additive mixed in comes to $2,000 a gallon. With out this the resins in the carbon fiber will break down over time, causing the appearance to yellow and become brittle.

When the original ZR1 was let lose in 1990, it was powered by a dual overhead cam, 5.7 liter V8 with 405 horsepower. Seems like nothing when compared with the super cars of today, but for 1990 this was earth shattering. The new LS9 supercharged 6.2 liter V8 in the 2009 ZR1 is rumored to have somewhere between 620 and 650 horsepower. That's well over the 505 hp on the current Z06 with it's 7.0 liter V8.

With the Z06, GM received many complaints about how hard the car was to drive on the street. Yeah it did great at the track, but in an everyday setting. It was just too much. In the ZR1, there are softer springs than the Z06 but GM added the same magneto-rheological dampers as the Ferrari 599. The fluid in these units is filled with iron particles and the viscosity can be instantly changed by varying an electric current passing through it. Sensors in the car take measurements every 0.001 seconds and adjust the dampers every 0.002 seconds.

15 inch Brembo brake rotors are placed in the rear wheels, while 15.5 inch rotors are used up front. Capped with bright blue 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers, also from Brembo. The brakes are topped with Michelin Pilot Sport
285/30ZR19s front tires while traction goes through 335/25ZR20s at the rear.

Will the new ZR1 be King of the Hill like the C4 ZR1? Only time will tell, and the numbers will be proven once GM sends a few out for testing. Look for more details as we get closer to the Detroit auto show next month.


Source: GM.

Energy Bill Passed! On to Pennsylvania Ave

In it's fourth round of voting in the House. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 has cleared Congress and the House of Representatives. Now it's on to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for President Bush to officially sign the bill into law tomorrow. The bill passed through the House today with a vote of 314 to 100.

As many of you already know. The main importance of this bill was the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to rise to 35 mpg by the year 2020. Below we have attached official response from both Ford and Chrysler.

Source: Associated Press.

PRESS RELEASE:
FORD COMMENT ON CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF NEW CAFE STANDARDS AND THE ENERGY BILL
The following is a statement from Ford Motor Company on the final passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by Congress:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2007 -- "Ford has worked with lawmakers to enact nationwide requirements that provide a significant increase in fuel economy while protecting consumers' choices of cars, SUVs and light trucks. We are working to do our part to help reduce greenhouse gases and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

This legislation will provide one clear requirement for increasing fuel economy and provide greater certainty for our product planning. Ford is committed to providing safer, more fuel efficient, quality products – in high volume – that customers want and value."

Press Release:
Statement from Robert Nardelli, Chairman and CEO, Chrysler LLC, Regarding New, Nationwide U.S. Fuel Economy Standards:

"We commend the Congress for passing an energy bill today and we fully support it being signed into law. Chrysler is committed to meeting the fuel economy standards of the bill and doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our country's reliance on foreign oil. We continue to devote significant resources to develop quality, fuel efficient products that our customers expect. This year alone, we offer six vehicles that get 28 miles per gallon or better, and more are on the way."

Toyota Tundra 2008 Motor Trend Tuck of the Year?

In a shocking surprise today. Motor Trend has announced the Toyota Tundra pickup as their 2008 Truck of the Year winner. Using the same system used to calculate the Car of the Year. The Tundra was judged in three categories. Euperiority, value and significance. And scored highly in all three. Competition was tough this year. The Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD and Ford's F-250, 350 and 450 Super Duty trucks.

Despite recalls, poor IHS ratings and poor build quality. Not to mention the huge rebates and incentives. The Tundra pulled it off. Toyota has been striving for 200,000 Tundras sold this year, and with this announcement the push will pick up steam to close out the year.

For the record. Our vote was for Ford. Don't get us wrong. The Tundra is a cool truck and all. But how can anyone ignore the fact that the rest of the line up offers Diesle powerplants?

Source: Motor Trend

BMW running at 100% capacity, suppliers up in arms

Everything at BMW is running full steam ahead. All 23 of their production facilities worldwide are running at 100% capacity. It's come to the point that BMW has actually criticized their suppliers for having a better bottom line than BMW. BMW currently is pushing a 10% profit margin.

In an effort to become more cost effective. BMW is now starting to produce components in house. Rather than rely on suppliers. Current facilities in Leipzig and Regensburg are undergoing expansion. An entirely new Leipzig stamping facility will be built in 2009.

The statements made by BMW's deputy chairman of the supervisory board, Manfred Scoch to the suppliers. Many are displeased with how BMW thinks they are treating them. All of this dissatisfaction has led the suppliers to feel that BMW has shifted its focus from quality and innovative technology to the bottom line.

Source: Automotive News

Oregon Trail 2007. Forget covered wagons, now you got cars

Who doesn't love Oregon Trail. If you grew up in the 80s, just about everyone who had a computer or access to one played it. Hunting for food, crossing rivers, trying not to get sick all in an effort to cross the United States.

Luggage rack manufacture Thule has come up with the Thule Trail game on their website as part of their road trip promotion. You and 4 of your companions have to drive cross country using a Dodge Nitro, Honda Insight or a Volvo 240 wagon as your steed. You have challenges such as hunting, picking up hitchhikers, snowboarding and lots more. They even were able to nail the 80's graphics. So if you're bored at work or home check it out.



Detroit 08 Preview: Buick Riviera Concept

To kick off its North American Tour. Buick will bring the GM China designed Buick Riviera Concept Car to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

The exciting gullwing door sports coupe was a hit at the 07 Shanghai Motor Show. The Riviera shows where Buick styling is headed in the next few years, and would make an excellent production vehicle for Buick(GM are you listening?). Look for more info and picture when we visit Detroit next month.




Source: Autoblog.com

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix announces all Italian Cars as Marque of the year for 2008

We are pleased to announce all Italian Cars as Marque of the Year for the 26th Annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 2008.

AAM has been a longtime supporter of the PVGP and all of their charities. There is no event quite like the grand prix. While vintage racing is known all over the country. The first event like this that might come to your mind is the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca. That is an excellent event, but it does not match the uniqueness of the PVGP or it's beautiful setting just outside the City of Pittsburgh in historic Schenley Park. Also the fact that the races are run on city streets that are open to the public 363 days a year through Schenley Park golf course.

Combined car shows are also part of the allure of the PVGP. Cars of all vintages from all over the world are parked right on the golf course and all have an excellent view of the racing action. Local clubs and national chapters put on the shows for their individual marques, and the entire course is marked for each country and then by marque. The organization is key. Each year more than 5,000 vehicles are entered in the combined car shows.

Each year the PVGP operating committee selects a unique brand as their marque of the year. Mercedes Benz held the honor for 2007. For 2008 all Italian Marques will be featured as Marque of the Year. So we expect to see some quality vehicles from all over the country in attendance. Brands like Ferrari, Lamborgini, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and many more.

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix was started in 1983 and has grown from being a weekend race to being a 2 week long festival of cars. Starting with a kick off rally leading a mystery course around Pittsburgh, to the historic races at BeaveRun raceway the first week to invitational car shows, black tie events, charity concerts, Downtown Pittsburgh car show displays and car cruises. All leading up to the vintage weekend in Schenley Park. Since 1983, the PVGP has given all of the proceeds to charity. Yes ALL proceeds, all money from the car shows, vendors, racing fees, memorabilia sales, and donations are given to benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School. So not only is the event an absolute blast for the car enthusiast, but it all goes to a worthy cause. For 2007, the PVGP raised $170,000 for charity. Since 1983 the PVGP has raised $2.25 Million dollars. Proceeds from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix provide residential care, treatment and support for developmentally disabled individuals at the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.

Look for more announcements here, as well as full coverage of all PVGP events starting in July, 08.

Press Release:
On November 21, 2007 PVGP Executive Director Dan DelBianco was proud to announce that Bernie Martin will serve as the PVGP's Chairperson for Marque of the Year, stating " We are excited to have Bernie onboard. He is well connected in the racing and automotive industry and his enthusiasm for our event and our charities is only exceeded by his passion for Italian cars. We look forward to the 2008 Marque celebration to be one of the most unique of our 26 year lineage". So stay tuned in the next few weeks as new events and detailed information become available.

For more information on the Marque program or these events, please email our new Marque of the Year Chairperson Bernie Martin.

The Marque of the Year Car Show at Schenley Park on July 19/20 is open to any Italian car owner, all clubs welcome, any year car is eligible. Join us for one of the best Italian parties of the year.

$125 per car entitles you to:
- A parking spot on the fairway alongside the Marque of the Year Tent
- Italian style lunch for two on both Saturday and Sunday
- Complimentary dash plaque and race program
- Parade lap of the racetrack in our Marque of the Year Parade on Sunday at 10:30 AM
- Optional dinner on Saturday night at Start/Finish with drivers & volunteers - $25 per person
- Optional reception with the vintage drivers and their crews at Carnegie Museum on Friday, July 18.

The price is wrong Bob. Winner claims car she won was used and wrecked

In a very interesting article. A winner on "The Price is Right" has filed suit against the show, CBS, the selling dealer and the transport company. Donna Tillman claims that the 2004 Pontiac GTO that she won on "The Price is Right" was given to her under the pretense that it was a brand new car. The car she received was in fact used and wrecked, according to Tillman.

When she took the car in for servicing was when she was notified of the damage to the front end of the car. The car was blatantly damaged and repaired. The owner of Thorson Pontiac GMC is of course stating that he knows nothing about this. Of course being the good dealer that he is, is trying to cover his rear. There's a good chance that he didn't in fact know anything about the car being damaged. Though the odds are also highly favorable that he did know. And used selling the car to CBS as a way to make the "problem" go away. We may never though. But this is certainly an interesting article.

Full Article:
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- The price was right but the car was wrong, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court. In June 2004, a contestant on "The Price is Right" guessed that a sports car was worth $33,495 and left the stage thinking she had just won a new 2004 Pontiac GTO Coupe.

Donna Tillman on Thursday filed suit against the game show, CBS Broadcasting, the auto dealership that provided the vehicle and the transportation company that delivered it. Tillman alleges the GTO Coupe she received was not new, as she had been promised, and had been in an accident.

Tillman competed on the popular game show on June 28, 2004. Thorson GMC Pontiac and Precise Auto Transport delivered the car to her home in Washington state on September 13, 2004, according to the lawsuit.

When Tillman took the car in for service the next year, she was told that it had suffered structural damage to the frame and front end, "but the repair work was such that an obvious effort had been made to conceal or hide the damage," the suit alleges.

Tillman is suing for breach of contract and negligence, and is seeking damages of more than $25,000, plus attorneys fees.

Tom George, the owner of Thorson GMC Pontiac in Pasadena, Calif., said that according to his dealership's records, the car was not in any accident and was sent to Tillman brand new.

"I don't know what this lady is talking about," George said Friday. "I certainly wouldn't sell a car with prior damage."

A spokeswoman for CBS declined to comment on the lawsuit.

2008 Chevrolet Impala 50th Anniversary Edition

The Chevrolet Impala has long been a favorite of ours. For 2008, not only will General Motors be marking their 100th anniversary, but Chevrolet will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Impala. Now before we get all excited and start dreaming of the return of the ever popular 94-96 Impala SS. We have to pop out balloon and come back to earth.

What we have for a special 50th anniversary edition is a dressed up Impala LT. Nothing too special, but for a paint and badge option. You will get an Impala that is a little different from the rest. The LT comes as an already well equipped grocery getter, though here are some of the major items you'll get with the 50th.

*Sports Suspension
*18 inch wheels
*Rear Spoiler
*2 Tone leather interior
*Special 50th Anniversary badges, doorsills & embroidery
*Choice of Black Granite Metallic or Red Jewel Tintcoat paint

Otherwise, the rest of the car is a pretty much standard affair. 3.5 liter V6 pushing 211Hp with 214 lb. ft. of torque. And will be a FlexFuel car. Able to run on both gasoline and E85 Ethanol. OnStar will of course, also be standard.
Now if I worked and GM(and I wish I did). I would have based the 50th anniversary Impala on the Impala SS. But that's just me. That would have given the just that extra bit to make it a really special car. I would also make maybe two or three thousand of them. After all, isn't that what makes a special edition a special edition? We'll take ours in black at any rate.

Source: GM.

PRESS RELEASE:
CHEVROLET MARKS 50 YEARS OF THE IMPALA WITH COMMEMORATIVE EDITION

DETROIT – An iconic brand of America's automotive market for half a century, Chevrolet's venerable Impala celebrates its golden anniversary in 2008. Chevy is recognizing the milestone with a commemorative model.

Like the original 1958 edition, the 2008 Impala 50 th Anniversary Edition is distinguished with unique trim and amenities, giving customers a special product infused with the fun-to-drive spirit that has characterized the Impala for half a century.

"Chevrolet is thrilled to mark 50 years of the Impala," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "Few brands can claim such a heritage and throughout the decades, Impala has always stood for the value, performance and style that has made Chevrolet America's car."

The Impala 50 th Anniversary Edition goes on sale in spring 2008. It is based on the popular and well-equipped Impala LT, with the following unique and standard features:

* FE3 Sport Suspension (replaces the FE1 Touring Suspension)
* Four-wheel ABS
* Eighteen-inch alloy wheels (replaces 16-inch wheels)
* Rear spoiler
* "50 th Anniversary" Impala badge on the C-pillar
* Two-tone, leather-trimmed seats and "50 th" logo embroidered on the front headrests
* Eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (replaces six-way adjustability)
* Leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent-color thread (includes audio controls)
* Ebony carpet
* Ebony floor mats with accent threading
* "50 th" Anniversary emblem on the sill plates
* Two premium exterior colors: Black Granite Metallic or Red Jewel Tintcoat

The 50 th Anniversary Impala also includes a one-year upgrade to the OnStar Directions and Connections package, including Turn-by-Turn Navigation.

Also standard is the Impala's convenient flip-and-fold rear seats, the cushions of which flip forward to reveal a storage tub that serves as a covered storage area beneath the seat and offers convenient grocery bag hooks. A generous pass-through from the trunk can be created by flipping the seat bottoms forward and the seat backs flat – an exclusive feature in the midsize segment.

The 50 th Anniversary Impala is powered by a refined and efficient 3.5L V-6, rated at 211 horsepower (157 kW)* and 214 lb.-ft. (290 Nm)* of torque. Vehicles with federal emissions systems in the United States are equipped with the 3.5L engine, which is compatible with E85 ethanol fuel, allowing the vehicle to run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85.
When using gasoline only, the 3.5L-equipped Impala is EPA-rated at 29 mpg on the highway.

New VW Passat CC Coupe spotted in Finland

Out for some winter testing and cunningly disguised as a Lexus. Here we have the VW Passat CC. The CC will be a 4 door coupe, following along the lines of the Mercedes Benz CLS.




The car has not been officialy unveiled yet, though is expected to bow at the Geneva auto show this year. The CC is rumored to have up to 5 different engine choices, including a diesel option. Initial specs list the wheelbase at 106 inches and the overall length at 190 inches.



The Passat CC is going right for the jugular of the Mercedes CLS 4 door coupe. And was originally planed as a replacement for the Phaeton after it's dismal at best try at the U.S. Market. Though it should still play a part as an upscale jump for VW.

This spy phot was taken in Finland doing some winter testing. Complete with a CLS in tow. So we can definately understand the market VW is after. The Passat CC in the is sans any kind of camoflage, though it is disguised to looke like a Lexus. Note the dummy lights in the grille and the imitation badge.

Source: TheAutoChannel.

Energy Bill passes Seneate. Bring on the green cars!

You know what they say. Third time's the charm. In late voting last night the Senate finally passed the Energy Bill by a vote of 86 to 8! The biggest tie up in the 1st and 2nd round of voting was a $21.8 Billion dollar new tax hike. Once that was removed, the bill passed almost unanimously.

The bill is now back on to the House to be voted on again since it had been changed. Though this should not prove to be be a problem. The White House has also agreed to sign this bill in to law once the House has approved it.

The core part of the bill is to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy(CAFE) to 35 mpg by 2020, and this remains. This means that we will start to see the first changes to CAFE standards since the mid-'80s.

There are already a number of automakers on board that can and will meet these new laws. GM, Chrysler, and VW are three of the largest. And are already developing new vehicles to meet these standards, along with exciting new Hybrids.

Chevrolet to return to ALMS with Corvette C6.R in 2008

There had been some speculation that Chevrolet was not going to continue to participate in the American LeMans Series(ALMS) after the 2007 season due to lack of competition inf the GT1 class. Though today Chevrolet has announced that they will participate in the full 12 race 2008 schedule. So expect to see the familiar images of the competition yellow C6.R Corvettes thundering down the straights next year.

Competing in the series for 2008 will be an important part of General Motors 100th anniversary celebration in 2008.

Since the teams debut in 1999. Corvette Racing has won seven consecutive GT1 manufacturers and team championships and six straight drivers championships in ALMS. The team also holds the series' records for class victories (57) and 1-2 finishes (40).

Source: GM.

Press Release:
Chevrolet Factory Team to Run Entire ALMS Schedule and 24 Hours of Le Mans

DETROIT – Corvette Racing, the most successful team in the history of the American Le Mans Series, will compete in the GT1 class in all 12 events on the ALMS schedule in 2008. Chevrolet's two-car factory road racing team will also return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in pursuit of a sixth GT1 title in the world's most famous sports car race.
"Corvette Racing was conceived as a long-term program to showcase the performance, technology, and value of Chevrolet's world-class sports car," said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. "Since the team's competition debut in 1999, Corvette Racing's success in top-tier road racing has produced a strong return on our investment, paying dividends in marketing, engineering, technology transfer, personnel development and other areas of our business. Corvette is now a performance icon that's recognized around the world, and Corvette Racing's continued participation in the ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be an important element in the global celebration of GM's 100th anniversary in 2008."

Corvette Racing has won seven consecutive GT1 manufacturers and team championships and six straight drivers championships in ALMS competition. The team holds the series' records for class victories (57) and 1-2 finishes (40).
"Our decision to compete in all 12 rounds of the ALMS schedule in 2008 reflects our commitment to our sponsors, our suppliers, and to Corvette enthusiasts worldwide," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. "There is a reason why thousands of Corvette owners attend Corvette Corrals at ALMS events and why the autograph line at Corvette Racing is the longest in the ALMS paddock: Racing is an integral part of Corvette's history and heritage, and we are continuing that tradition.
"Experience teaches us that motorsports is cyclical, and the GT1 category is currently in transition," Wesoloski observed. "Would we like to see more competition in GT1 in the ALMS? Absolutely! But in the absence of season-long competition, we are absolutely committed to controlling our own destiny. We are pushing hard to develop our chassis and powertrain, to refine our race strategy, and to continuously improve every element of the program. We know that the competition at Le Mans will be intense, and we will use the ALMS series to hone the race cars, the drivers, and the team to prepare for it."

Corvette Racing will test two new Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars in February in preparation for the season-opening round of the ALMS series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 15, 2008.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Volkswagen of America changes name

In order to go with their new appearance and surroundings. Volkswagen of America has announced that they have changed their name to Volkswagen Group of America.

Executives feel that this name better suits the fact that there are five automotive brands under the umbrella of Volkswagen in the United States.

Seems to be more fitting. It's just going to take some time to get used to VGoA from now on. And historically speaking, VWoA will continue to exist.

Press Release:
AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (Dec. 12, 2007) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it has changed its name to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. The change will be fully effective January 1.

The new name better reflects the fact that the Volkswagen Group of America includes five distinct brands: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen, as well as the related financial services functions of Audi Financial Services, Bentley Financial Services and Volkswagen Credit.

“Our company, like the entire Volkswagen Group, has grown dramatically since our formation in the United States in 1955. Our new corporate name allows our individual brands to flourish, while recognizing that we have a common support structure that gives us great strength as we face our competitors,” said Stefan Jacoby, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new name Volkswagen Group of America reflects the much wider array of goods and services we now offer, and prepares us for even more activities in the future.”

Operating under the umbrella of Volkswagen Group of America, the Volkswagen and Audi brands will continue to provide sales and service under their names, Volkswagen of America and Audi of America.

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. remains a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, which together with its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide is now the fourth largest automobile company in the world.

Chrysler says it can meet new CAFE standards

Chrysler LLC is readily welcoming thew new CAFE standards with open arms. When it happens of course.

"We will" cooperate rather than fight the anticipated increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard," Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli told TheCarConnection.com Wednesday. "We'll have to obviously accelerate significantly our investment in technology to get there," said Nardelli.

Some of the technology being used is a new two mode hybrid system that was jointly developed and engineered by BMW, General Motors, and Daimler. Chrysler's former German parent company.

Chrysler is looking to recent help from the United Auto Workers(UAW) and their agreement to take over Chryslers heft healthcare costs. This helped to free up a large amount of cash. This will allow for Chrysler to invest $500 million dollars in product development.

Source. The Car Connection.

Chrysler announces cutback in truck produttion. You're move GM

Following both General Motors and Ford, now Chrysler is going to shut down their truck plants for a while. Effective this month, Chrysler LLC is going to temporarily close their Warren, The Jefferson North Assembly and Windsor Assembly plants.

The Warren plant that assembles the Dodge Ram and Dakota pickup trucks will be closed the longest, from December 21 to February 4. Jefferson North, home of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs, will close for three weeks starting January 4, 2008. That plant will also lose 911 workers, and will lose its second shift as of February 4. The Windsor plant, in Ontario, Canada, which builds the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, will close January 14 for two weeks.

Source: Automotive News.

Energy bill fails is second vote in Conrgress. 3rd vote set for later today

After passing the House of Representatives the new energy bill carrying the revised CAFE standards, failed it's first round of voting in the halls of Congress at 53-42. The bill was revised and voted on again this morning. This time falling short by the one voted it needed to pass. At 59-40 the bill has again been revised and will be voted on later today.

The major revision is the removal of $21.8 billion dollars in new taxes. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has confirmed that House would pass a new version of the bill sans the tax hike. The Detroit News reports that the revised bill will not include $1 billion in consumer tax credits for buying plug-in hybrids, and will cut a 20% tax credit for people who convert their vehicles into plug-in hybrids(we want more info on this). What will remain is the core piece of legislation that will raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards(CAFE) to 35 mpg by 2020. The White House has repeatedly stated, however, that it plans to veto the bill if it passes both houses of Congress.

Source: The Detroit News.

New Camaro spy picture sans camo

Well zebra stripes at least. Here's a fresh off the net spy pic of the 2010 Camaro. We like what we're seeing so far. It looks very close to the concept Camaro. Looks like the side air scoops are just stamped in the sheet metal, rather than functional. Though that was to be expected. The grille looks as though it has changed also. We should see a production version of the Camaro in Detroit next month. So more info should be on the way soon.

Source. Camaro5.com

Auto Jingles: Have you driven a Ford lately?

As nostalgic as we are, how could anyone forget the jingle Ford used in the mid 1980s? Have you driven a Ford lately? Why don't car manufacturers have unique jingles like this anymore? You know it had to work if someone still remembers it 20 years later. Over the next few weeks, we're going to jog everyones collective mind and bring some good old fashion car jingles out of the archives. We're going to remember a time, when manufacturers would spend the money to have a song written about their product. To start this off. Here are two 1986 Ford Taurus commercials. Both carrying the Have you driven a Ford lately? jingle. But also unique music just for the Taurus. It's funny, I remember a time back in the late 80s, visiting the Pittsburgh Auto Show and this jingle would play over loudspeakers hidden in the Ford display every few seconds. Enjoy.



The Italians are coming! Alfa Romeo building U.S. Assembly Plant

This is about as official as you can get. Alfa Romeo will give it another go at the North American market. it has been nearly 20 years since Alfa pulled out due to poor sales and poor reliability ratings. Though all of that has changed. Alfa has been building some rather splendid automobiles in Europe for many years now. Though their quality can be questionable at times.

With the decline in the U.S. Dollar, Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed that Alfa will open a factory in the United States. This will be imperative to Alfa turning a profit in the U.S. Which will only happen after the first three to four years, once they are here.

In 1909 Fiat inaugurated a plant in Poughkeepsie, New York which it closed 1919.

Source: Automotive News.

Knight Rider 2008 KITT revealed

All rumors are put down as the official word from NBC on the return of Night Rider are finally announced today. There was speculation that the new KITT was changing bodies from the still cool Pontiac Trans Am to a Ford Shelby Mustang GT 500KR. All of this is true. The new KITT(Knight Industries Three Thousand) will be a Shelby.

The new KITT has a sinister bad ass look to it, just as the highly modified Trans Am did over 20 years ago. KITT will feature 3 distinct versions in the new show. KITT Hero is a 540 Hp powered hero car. KITT Attack is a super high performance version, with likely some body changes to set it apart. And lastly is KITT Remote. A driverless version. KITT's voice unfortunately will not have the gravel tone of William Daniels who voiced the original. This time around KITT's voice will be actor Will Arnett.

The new Knight Rider will debut on February 17th as a 2 hour movie. The cast will include Justin Bruening, Deanna Russo, Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Bruce Davison. One saving grace will be a guest appearance by none other than the "Hoff" David Hasselhoff, who will be reprising his role as Michael Knight. Glen A. Larson who wrote pretty much all of the original Knight Rider episodes was on hand to write the TV movie. So everything should have the same feel as the original show. Just a bit different.

Source: NBC

PRESS RELEASE:
UPDATED 'KNIGHT RIDER' REVS UP TO RETURN TO NBC FOR SPECIAL TWO-HOUR MOVIE EVENT ON FEBRUARY 17 AS NEW KITT CAR IS REVEALED

BURBANK, Calif. - December 12, 2007 - As "Knight Rider" -- NBC's iconic 1980s television classic that became a runaway success, comes roaring back to life on the network with an updated sequel that will air as a two-hour movie event on Sunday, February 17 (9-11 p.m. ET) -- NBC unveiled the new customized KITT Ford Mustang to be featured in the series in a press event held at NBC's Burbank Studios today.

The movie stars Justin Bruening ("Cold Case," "All My Children"), Deanna Russo ("NCIS," "The Young and the Restless"), Sydney Tamiia Poitier ("Veronica Mars," "Grindhouse") and Bruce Davison ("Breach," "Close to Home"). In addition, David Hasselhoff (NBC's "America's Got Talent") -- who starred in the popular lead role as Michael Knight for four seasons during the original series -- returns as the same character in a special guest-star appearance. Will Arnett (NBC's "30 Rock," "Blades of Glory") will provide the voice of KITT.
Dave Bartis ("Heist," "The O.C.") and Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "The Bourne Identity") serve as executive producers. NBC also has an arrangement with Ford Motor Company that provides for a unique content opportunity that makes the Ford Mustang one of the stars of the movie.

The three cars to be employed in the series include the KITT Hero -- a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR that is playing the part of the everyday Hero car with 540 horsepower; the KITT Attack -- a super high-speed version of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR Hero car that transforms into Attack mode with the help of air-ride technology and specialized body parts -- and a KITT Remote, which is a driverless Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR version of the Hero vehicle.

As the original story resumes, the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is absolutely the coolest car ever created: its supercomputer capable of hacking almost any system; its weapons systems efficient; and its body -- thanks to its creator's work and nanotechnology -- is capable of actually shifting shape and color. Plus, its artificial intelligence makes it the ideal crime-fighting partner: logical, precise and possessing infinite knowledge. It is the ultimate car -- and someone will be willing to do anything to obtain it.

Sarah Graiman is a 24-year old Ph.D candidate at Stanford University, following in her genius father Charles' (Davison) footsteps. But when men attempt to abduct her, Sarah receives a mysterious call from KITT warning her that he's a creation of Charles, who also invented the first KITT 25 years ago -- and that her father is in serious danger.

Sarah and KITT track down her best friend from childhood, Mike Tracer (Bruening), a 23-year-old ex-Army Ranger, whom Sarah hasn't seen since he left home at 18. Having served in Iraq, Mike is now jaded and lost and initially resistant. Eventually he agrees to help Sarah and the two set out to discover who's behind the attempt to procure KITT and find Charles. Along the way, Carrie Rivai (Poitier) plays the agile yet tough FBI agent who has a long-standing friendship with Charles and Sarah. Due to those ties, she is brought into the mix to help in the search.

David Andron is supervising producer and writer. Steve Shill ("Dexter," "The Tudors"), also a co-executive producer, directs the two-hour movie from Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven Productions.

Hold your horses: Mustang production scaled back for 2008, fans push for more special editions

No one can deny the Mustang's popularity. Especially when it is the only real pony car on the market til the Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro hit showrooms. Though one this is for sure. The V8 Mustang just isn't as in high demand as it was.

Since 2004 the 4.6 liter V8 has accounted for 52% of the sales mix. In the past it has usually been right around a 70% V6 to 30% V8 mix. 2005 saw a greater demand and Ford responded with increased output.

For 2008 Ford has announced that they will be cutting back production on the 2008 V8 powered Mustang. Ford cites higher fuel costs, and the fact that the performance oriented buyers have already purchased their Mustangs.

This brings us to another interesting article out of Automotive News. Since 2005 Ford has steadily produced a number of low volume, hopped up Mustangs to eager buyers. And according to Ford, has not has as many special edition stangs in the stable as they do now. Despite this, Mustang enthusiasts are still nagging for more cars. Mustang Chief Designer Doug Gaffka says "They want Mach1, they want Boss,".

For promises not to disappoint. So we may see even more special Mustangs being produced in the next few years.

The current stable is made up of:
  • Shelby GT500 (coupe & convertible)

  • Shelby GT500 KR (coupe only)

  • Shelby GT (coupe & convertible)

  • Bullitt(coupe only, 2008 production)

  • GT California Special (coupe & convertible)

  • Warriors in Pink (coupe & convertible. Portion of sales go to fund breast cancer research).

And this doesn't even include the special Mustangs produced by Saleen, Roush, Steeda and others.

It would be nice to see another Mach1 Mustang. Especially if equipped with a true shaker hood scoop though.


Source: Automotive News

Ford idles truck and SUV plants

Following the lead from General Motors, Ford today has ceased production at their F150 Dearborn, Mi factory(the famous Rouge factory) along with the Louisville, Ky factory that produces the Explorer. It is unclear as to how long the factories will remain closed.

Sales of both models have continued to fall this year. F150 sales are 12.4% below 2006 figures. The Explorer is at 23.5% vs. 2006. The closings give ford a combine 10,450 units per week lost for the F150 and Explorer.

Ford exec Mark Fields said in a related article in the Detroit News that the Ford Motor Company is expecting a rough 2008 as car sales in the U.S. continue to decline. Fields asked and answered his own question, saying, "Do I think it's going to be Armageddon? No." He continued by saying that Ford will take the coming year on a month-to-month basis in order to "manage the business appropriately."

Source: Automotive News, Detroit News.

Camo'd Camaro spotted in Australia

Looks like the General is doing some down under testing of the 2009 Camaro. Why they have the car camouflaged is anyone's guess though. Chevrolet vowed to keep the car as close as possible to the concept car as they could. You can make out the roof line is the same and the rear end looks to be pretty similar to the concept. No good shots of the front end though. Enjoy the pics.



Source: Straightline via Autoblog.com.




The name's Martin......Aston...Martin: James Bond will stay with Aston Martin

With the sale of Aston Martin from under the Ford umbrella. There has been some speculation as to what will happen to James Bond's trusty spy car in future movies. Well that has all been laid to rest. Aston Martin has announced today that James Bond(Daniel Craig) will continue to drive his Aston Martin DBS in the next Bond movie.

This continues a long working relationship between the film makers and Aston Martin. The first appearance was in Goldfinger with Sean Connery driving the now famous silver DB5 "With Modifications" as Q was quick to point out. That has led to a half dozen or so Astons driven by agent 007 over the last 40 years.
The working title for the movie is Bond 22, for the 22nd installment in the James Bond series.

Source: Aston Martin.


PRESS RELEASE:
Aston Martin DBS to star in new James Bond film

Gaydon, December 11th 2007: Aston Martin announced today that their new flagship model, the DBS, will once again be driven by James Bond (DANIEL CRAIG) in the next 007 film to be produced by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for EON Productions, and directed by Marc Forster.

The Aston Martin DBS made its first public appearance in Casino Royale when it smashed its way into the Guinness World Record books for 'The Most Cannon Rolls In A Car'. The record-breaking stunt saw stuntman Adam Kirley taking the helm of Bond's famous Aston Martin. The stunt proved one of the most spectacular in movie history when he rolled the DBS an amazing seven times.

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, said: "Aston Martin is proud of our long association with James Bond. The DBS has its own unique character which equals that of James Bond. It is explosive power in a black tie. It is the perfect car for James Bond as it delivers the complete driving experience and bridges the gap between our road and track cars – the DB9 and DBR9. It is equally at home on a twisting mountain circuit as on the open road and we are all very excited at the prospect of seeing it on the big screen again."

BOND 22 (working title) is scheduled for international theatrical release in November 2008.

Carroll Shelby responds to club allegations.

There are very few times that we stand corrected. This is one of those times. When you read the responses from Shelby, and read the postings on the SAAC club forums, you get two entirely different stories. Now while we are not members of the SAAC, and are well aware of Carroll Shelby and his history. We don't really want to make an attempt to take sides. But we will stand corrected on the facts that were laid out for us to see. Below is the Shelby press release.

Source: Shelby American.

PRESS RELEASE:
Carroll Shelby, CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing Inc., (CSL) has issued a statement in response to allegations made by the owners of the organization formerly known as the Shelby American Automobile Club.

"I wanted to explain my concerns to the members of the Shelby American Automobile Club directly, but couldn't because SAAC has refused to give me a list of its members, even though the licensee agreement with SAAC requires them to allow me access to their books and records. So I am being forced to share the facts through a news release.

Rick Kopec and Ken Eber, two of the individuals who run the for-profit business called SAAC, have said that they don't know why we didn't renew their annual license. That's not true. We've sent e-mails, made phone calls and mailed letters explaining our concerns for quite some time. Except for the message noted at http://www.shelbylicensing.com/press.htm , they went unanswered. For the past several years, I've repeatedly told them that I was unhappy with their disregard of the reporting requirements of their license agreement and the way they managed the club. And, for the past eight years, their business hasn't kept the terms of its extremely favorable agreement with my licensing company, Carroll Shelby Licensing.

Here are the primary reasons that we did not renew the license for this business:

  • For many years, I loaned truckloads of memorabilia to the club and provided 1960s production records for the registry; Kopec and Eber promised that everything would be returned to me whenever I asked. In fact, that's what Kopec admits to on page 11 of the last printed edition of the "Shelby American World Registry," which was published in 1997. But they have refused to do so, and I'm told they have sold many of the items, like cancelled Shelby American checks, over the Internet and the like. This is not what anyone had in mind when I let them borrow my things, or my licensing company granted them a license.
  • Under the terms of their licensing agreement with CSL, they were required to provide annual and quarterly sales reports, as well as certified statements of sales and a full audit. Also, if requested, they were to allow us 'free and full access' to their books, records and accounts. They have not done any of these things, even though I've personally asked them many times.
  • They've never provided proof of the basic liability insurance required by the license agreement. This could expose me personally and all of my companies to enormous liability.
  • They failed for nine years to even ask for, much less receive advance approvals from CSL of the thousands of products and product designs they've been selling under license, even though the license agreement clearly states that this failure is grounds for "immediate" termination.
  • They didn't even pay the $1 per year licensing fee for the past nine years.
  • CSL not only has the right not to renew SAAC's license (which was made for only one year at a time for a reason), but in light of their continued disregard for the license agreement requirements, my trademarks and other intellectual property rights are at great risk if I allow this to continue.

Kopec and Eber say SAAC has 5,000 members who pay almost a quarter-million dollars in dues each year. Then there are advertising revenues, sponsorships and money made at the SAAC national convention. In return, from what I can tell, members receive just one mediocre publication and a couple of classified advertising newsletters.


And where is the Registry that has been promised year after year? The last one was published 10 years ago. I have received many calls from people who have paid hundreds of dollars for a Registry; they have threatened lawsuits against me and my companies because they have not received their book. The basic information in the Registry about colors, how many cars were built, etc., should be regularly updated and available online for instant access by members.
Kopec and Eber recently offered sponsorship of the club to a kit car maker. I have no issue with the individuals who buy kit cars and love the Shelby brand. But, would GM let Chrysler sponsor the Corvette Club? Would Harley Davidson ignore an attempt by Kawasaki to sponsor the Harley Owners Group?


I tried for years to address changes that should be made, but my requests fell on deaf ears. Some of the correspondence concerning this matter can be found at http://www.shelbylicensing.com/ . So my licensing company and I asked Eber and Kopec to return the 1960s records and items they originally promised to give back to me, as well as those they have collected over the years using my name under license. And I told them that they can't use my name or the name of my company anymore, and to dispose of their inventory as required by the license agreement.


Now they want club members to give them hard-earned money to defend their business interests. Eber and Kopec are asking people to help sue me when they won't even tell anyone, much less my licensing company, how much money the club has made over the years collecting member dues and selling 'Shelby' memorabilia and merchandise for a royalty fee of only $1.00. Are they fighting me because they're really afraid for the Registry or do they fear giving us financials, which they've been required to do, but refused?


Shelby enthusiasts, as well as SAAC club members and registrars deserve better. They should have a club that provides good value and benefits everyone who is involved. They deserve a club that leverages technology to share information and runs events that encourage people to enjoy their cars. They deserve to be treated with class and respect. To say that Team Shelby will negatively impact the value of Shelby cars is ridiculous.


I've received probably 250 telephone calls from people asking me to check on whether a particular Cobra or Mustang they wanted to buy is authentic. The next thing I hear from them is that Ken Eber has bought it. Where I come from, when there's that much smoke there's usually some sort of fire!


Also, I've been told many times by members that Ken Eber has said that he doesn't need Carroll Shelby. Well, now he won't have to bother with me and I won't have to bother with him. And, it seems to me that they make enough money that they don't need to go around poor-mouthing to the Club members to finance their legal defense fund against me. Shame on both of them! And, as far as Ken and Rick's associate, Mr. Pardee, the Club members should ask him how much of my personal memorabilia is being stored in his garage that, by all rights, should come back to me. Even though the three of them have slandered me by making public statements that I am 'evil,' I'm still entitled to get my personal belongings back. Who can disagree with that?


The bottom line is my legacy should be left in the hands of my family and real enthusiasts. I want to extend an offer to the local clubs to contact my office and arrange for a license to use the Shelby and Cobra name at the same base cost that we offered SAAC of $1. This will allow them to continue their great work.


It's my right to stop letting someone use my name and the name of my legacy company, Shelby American, when they won't listen to me or keep the terms of the licensing agreement they signed many years ago. Team Shelby won't be run that way. You have my word on it."

Is Ford signaling the end of the mighty Crown Vic?

The Detroit News announced today that Ford has plans to close their Ontario, Canada factory, by the end of 2010. The factory in St. Thomas is home to the Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car.

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) president, Buzz Hargrove, told the Detroit News that, "There's nothing we can do to save St. Thomas."

The St. Thomas factory has made some glorious Ford vehicles in the past. From the firetacular Pinto, to the almost world car Escort. The 2.6 million square foot facility employs 2,400 people.

While it would be shame to see the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Town Car go on to that parking lot in the sky. These fall into that same category of cars that the old Taurus did. For really did nothing to the cars to keep them up to date. Other than very minor upgrades over the past few years, the cars themselves have not changed much cosmetically in the last 10 years. There was also Ford's "Late to the game" Mercury Marauder which was the answer to the Chevrolet Impala SS that went out of production in 1996, which also put GM out of the cop car game.

What Ford REALLY needs to do is revamp the Crown Victoria into a true modern rear wheel drive platform. If GM can develop a hybrid system that can move a heavyweight like the Escalade around, Ford can do the same to the Crown Vic. Having a hybrid system would do wonders for both police use and as taxi cabs.

Source: Detroit News.

Chevy Volt Teaser Shot

Here's a teaser shot out of General Motors today. Gives you an idea of what the Volt production car will look like, but without giving too much away.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz vowed at the Los Angeles Auto Show that the Volt project is working at full steam ahead. This is all in order to have the Volt in production by the end of the decade. He also announced that we will start seeing driveable prototypes on the road as early as spring of 08.

I like what I'm seeing from this teaser shot. The styling follows along the lines of Chevrolet's current line up. The grille work reminds me of the new Malibu. You can also make out the low sleek roofline carried over from the concept Volt.

More info as it becomes available.

Source: GM

Detroit Preview: Hummer HX Concept

Here are some design sketches of the up coming Hummer HX Concept which we will see in Detroit next Month.

Three months worth of sketching and sculpting went into this concept before it was given the go ahead by GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. The concept is designed with the future of off roading in mind, with a flair for the youth market which loves the Hummer brand. The HX Concept will feature removable body panels and roof, similar to the Jeep Wrangler. And like most of GMs more recent concepts, will be powered by E85 Ethanol FlexFuel.

Should be interesting to see the finished project next month.

Source: GM

PRESS RELEASE:
Three Young Designers Shape Future Of HUMMER Through HX Concept

DETROIT – Scheduled for introduction at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the HUMMER HX concept reflects the innovative minds of three new GM designers - David Rojas, Min Young Kang and Robert Jablonski - whose first assignment was to provide a vision for the future design of off-road vehicles.

Fresh out of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Mich., the designers' first test in GM was to design a fun, nimble and innovative HUMMER concept.
"HUMMER appeals to young people globally and served as a perfect first assignment for our newest talent," said Ed Welburn, vice president of global design and product planning. "Today's graduates from top design schools are ready to hit the ground running. The HUMMER design challenge gave our newest designers an opportunity to sprint."

The task presented numerous challenges to the new designers, from creating a vehicle for a brand known around the globe for its iconic design, to ensuring the model would live up to the market's expectation of HUMMER off-road capability.

To help ensure designs were true to the HUMMER brand, these designers were given limited design direction by Carl Zipfel, an ex-professional motocross racer and director of the HUMMER design studio.
"Carl definitely set the tone," said Rojas. "While he gave us creative liberty and challenged us to develop innovative ideas, he also defined three HUMMER proportions – wheelbase, approach and departure angles, and stance – and assigned one to each of us. It gave us a chance to collaborate, but also take our own direction."

While sketching and sculpting together in the HUMMER studio, these recent graduates drew upon the creative energy of each other, further improving their individual designs, as well as that of the final concept.

"We drew inspiration from one another," said Kang. "As you're designing and sketching you try to absorb what the other designer is doing and try to make it better."

David, Min Young and Robert's collaboration inspired the HUMMER HX concept, which presents extraordinary efficiency without sacrificing the unique essence of the HUMMER brand, the world's most capable off-road vehicles.
"While we took inspiration from the HUMMER heritage and DNA, we each wanted to evolve it in a new way," said Jablonski. "We agreed it should be contemporary, compact and definitely open air. It came out great."

After three months of sketching and sculpting theme work for the new HUMMER concept, each designer had the opportunity to present scale clay models to Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman and Ed Welburn, who chose which design would ultimately become the HX concept.

In its final concept form, the E-85 FlexFuel capable HUMMER HX embodies the off road spirit of HUMMER in a fully customizable package. The HX offers an open-air driving experience via a pair of removable roof panels above the driver and front passenger and a modular, removable rear roof assembly enabling a quick conversion from closed vehicle to open vehicle SUT. It also features a slant back assembly with removable doors and fender flairs.

"Working as a team, you realize it's more than one person influencing the vehicle," said Rojas. "You can see the inspiration from each of our designs in the final concept vehicle. We're all proud to have the chance to see our sketches become reality."
Copyright © Automotive News & Concepts. All Rights Reserved.