Rabu, 11 Mei 2011

Subaru Tribeca

Nikkan Kogyo is reporting that Subaru has stopped development of the next-generation Tribeca and will soon end production of the current model.

Likewise, the newspaper says Mazda has decided to cease production of the unpopular Mazda6.

While this is sad news, if it turns out to be correct, it's not terribly surprising. Subaru has only sold 910 Tribecas since the start of the year and Mazda6 sales have been far below original estimates.

Jumat, 29 April 2011

Volvo S60 XC60 T6 R-Design

The upgrades take the 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six from 224kW and 440Nm to 242kW and 480Nm.
The US-spec T6 engine will eclipse the 4.4-litre V8 in the XC90, which produces 232kW and 440Nm.
But there are currently no plans to sell the 242kW T6 outside North America, with Volvo Car Australia’s Jaedene Hudson confirming the engine has been tuned specifically for that market.
“In terms of power, they’ve done that in the US … it’s not direct from the factory in Sweden,” Ms Hudson said.
“There are no plans at this stage to change the R-Design range in Australia.”
The Australian T6 R-Design range is powered by the standard 224kW/440Nm tune of the engine and currently includes the S60 sedan, XC60 compact SUV and the V60 wagon. The V60 is not sold in the North America, and as such there is no 242kW V60 available.
Volvo Cars North America President and CEO, Doug Speck, said the enhanced S60 and XC60 models will offer improved performance and renewed driving enjoyment.

Selasa, 29 Maret 2011

Subaru Tribeca

Subaru Tribeca This price range and class of vehicle means the Tribeca Limited we tested is up against some pretty stiff competition. Crossover style SUVs with third row seating have become commonplace, from domestics like the Ford Flex and Chevy Traverse (and Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia) to imports like the Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Veracruz. Subaru Tribeca And if you can live without third row seating (what, are you running a soccer team or something?), then all sorts of other interesting options emerge in this price range including the small put exceptionally sporty Infiniti EX35 and Acura RDX or more traditional midsize SUVs like the Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.

Subaru Tribeca There are two problems with third row seating, at least as it relates to the Tribeca. The first problem is third row legroom, or lack thereof. The second is a cramped second row, which is necessitated by the room required to jam a third row in the back of a midsize Subaru Tribeca SUV. The net result is an overcrowded area for backseat passengers in either row, unless of course you’re 10-years old or suffering from severe osteoporosis. We hauled a load of adults in the back for a relatively short road trip and the grumbles about legroom and were loud and clear.

Rabu, 09 Februari 2011

Ford's Farley talks Apple Genius Bars and the push

Jim Farley, Ford's Group Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales and Service, gave the keynote speech at the Chicago Auto Show this morning, and the only way it could have been more on-topic is if he had given his speech via Facebook chat.

Before Farley announced the new "What Would You Go Do?" campaign for the 2011 Ford Explorer, he laid out how the Explorer's Facebook launch set a new tone for how Ford has conversations with its customers, and even set a new tone for the company itself. Follow the jump for more and Ford's press release on the Explorer competition.

Rabu, 06 Oktober 2010

2011 Hennessey HPE700 Camaro Convertible

2011 Hennessey HPE700 Camaro Convertible
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is getting ready to take the stage at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, but John Hennessey and his band of tuners can't wait that long. Hennessey Performance has announced plans and specs for its upcoming, limited-edition 2011 Hennessey HPE700 Camaro Convertible.
HPE had a hit on its hands when it announced the 2010 HPE700 Camaro. That 725-horsepower coupe was limited to just 24 examples and they were all quickly spoken for. Since Chevrolet is bringing out the droptop Camaro, Hennessey has decided to produce another 24-car limited-edition run with the 2011 model. The 2011 Hennessey HPE700 will be available in both coupe and convertible form, and the cars stats are staggering.
The HPE700 ditches the LS3 mill found in the standard Camaro SS and in its place sticks the supercharged LS9 from the Corvette ZR1. Hennessey says the motor has been tweaked to produce 755 hp and 763 pound-feet of torque. The 6.2-liter V8 is able to hit those numbers thanks to revised boost levels and a more robust fuel system. Thanks to all that power, Hennessey has listed a 0-60 mph time of just 3.3 seconds. A trip down the quarter-mile happens in 10.9 seconds at 130 miles per hour. Those figures are for the hardtop version when fitted with optional Nitto drag radials.
It's not just a straight-line shooter though, as Hennessey adds more than power to its HPE700. The car is fitted with lightweight HPE wheels, 15-inch brakes with six-piston front calipers, larger sway bars and an adjustable coilover suspension setup. The exterior is fitted with numerous carbon fiber trim pieces. Inside, the HPE700 Camaro receives Hennessey logos on the headrests and floor mats, an HPE race shift knob and upgraded shifter, a numbered dash and hood plaque and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel.
Currently, there is no set allocation plan for the coupe and convertible in the 24-car run. Pricing has been set at a stout $132,500, but that includes the cost of the base vehicle. It also includes a one-day performance driving course at Lonestar Motorsports Park. The quarter-mile dragstrip, which has been featured in many of Hennessey's videos, is located next door to the company's production facility and showroom.

Jumat, 30 Juli 2010

Magnaflow Exhaust System Performance Includes 5 in. x 8 in. x 14 in

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Rabu, 09 Juni 2010

Think Chevy racing

the Chevrolet Cruze in the WTCC. Hear the words “Chevrolet racing,” and NASCAR is the first thing that probably springs to the minds of many, followed by Corvette Racing in the American Le Mans Series.

But that's just in the States. Chevrolet's figurehead over here in Europe is the compact, 2.0-liter Cruze--yes, the same one Chevy launched in the United States in April at the New York auto show.

Chevrolet competes in the World Touring Car Championship, the FIA's premier series for cars that have a roof. And for a team that only began in 2005 with the unloved Lacetti--essentially a rebadged Daewoo rather than a type of pasta--it is doing quite well.

Chevrolet leads the manufacturers' championship, with two of its pilots in the top three in the drivers' rankings. After the latest round (and a race win) in Monza, 40-year-old Frenchman Yvan Muller leads the standings, while Englishman Rob Huff is third. The third factory Cruze, driven by two-time British Touring Car champion Alain Menu from Switzerland, is ninth. Muller and 46-year-old Menu are both elder statesmen of the championship and established stars. The 30-year-old Huff, though, keeps them both more than honest.

Chevrolet might be an all-American name--“drove my Alfa Romeo to the levee, but the levee was dry” doesn't quite have the same ring--but its WTCC team, as befits a world championship, is truly international. That also explains the choice of the Cruze, as this is Chevrolet's world car, sold in a variety of different markets.

The WTCC aims to give manufacturers the opportunity to visit their most vital markets, which is why it goes to places such as Brazil (Chevy's second-biggest global market), Germany and Japan. Some of the circuits are iconic--such as Monza--and some are plain chaotic, like the twisty confines of Marrakech in Morocco, where there were so many crashes and safety cars that just seven racing laps were completed all weekend.

The man in charge is Chevrolet Europe's operations director, Frenchman Eric Neve. The team running the cars, Ray Mallock Limited, is British; the body shells originally come from Korea, and the Yokohama tires are Japanese.

“The identity is worldwide, but we're conscious that we're an American brand: When we win, the 'Star-Spangled Banner' is played on the podium,” Neve pointed out. “Maybe the Cruze isn't what most people would automatically think of as an all-American racing car, but--as is the case in most markets--there has been a trend of downsizing in America recently, and our racing car got a great reception when we displayed it at the New York motor show.”

Since last year, the team has campaigned the Cruze on a 10-weekend calendar that takes it all the way from Brazil to the fabled street circuit of Macau. Each weekend features two races, normally about 12 laps (15 kilometers) long. There's a conventional qualifying system to determine the grid for race one, while the grid for race two is determined by the finishing order for race one--but with the top eight reversed.

The Chevys battle it out with BMWs, Seats and the occasional other visitor. The cars are all 2.0-liter, normally aspirated machines, built to strict specifications to limit costs, although turbodiesels are allowed, too. Their superior torque has proved to be a formidable weapon.

The WTCC embraces variety: Last year, Lada had its own touring-car team, and Volvo has made one-off appearances as well. This year, though, Chevrolet is having its best season yet, aiming for a serious crack at the title.

Indications so far are that the team can do it, although with three different winners in the first four races, it's going to be close. The most diplomatic way to describe the racing would be “robust,” as the cars regularly head back to the pits with a few less layers of paint than they started with.

There are plenty of crowds, not only at the races but also on television. Television giant Eurosport--Europe's largest TV channel--is the series promoter and broadcasts all the races live all over the world.

Neve acknowledged that the WTCC campaign has been an integral part of rebuilding the brand in Europe.

“It's fair to say that we started at the very bottom,” he said. “It's hard to measure whether or not the WTCC is directly responsible for improving car sales, but it's been a really useful tool for showing Chevrolet as an exciting brand where you get a lot for your money and can fight against established competitors. The racing program is also a very good way to motivate your dealers, which is obviously extremely important. If you have motivated dealers who are excited by the product, then you are going to sell more cars. And this year, I think we've got a really good chance of the title.”

Even if Chevrolet adds the WTCC championship to its 15 NASCAR titles, it's probably not going to just walk away. “We've got an open-ended commitment,” explained Neve. “We'd like to think that we're in this for the long term.”

The drivers, too, are very happy with where they are at right now. But at some point in the future, Huff--Chevrolet's brightest touring-car prospect--would love to have the chance to try NASCAR.

“I think it would be a great experience,” he said. “I'm not kidding myself that I could jump straight into one and be quick, but it's something I'd love to try. There's so much enthusiasm about racing in America, and that matches my own enthusiasm. Really, I'll race anything anywhere.”

He hasn't raced in the States. Yet. For Chevrolet and the other WTCC manufacturers, a North American race is a major ambition. So it is possible that when a Chevrolet wins on U.S. soil in the future, it might not always be with a V8.

WTCC driver Rob Huff.
Rob Huff has won seven races, so far, in the World Touring Car Championship series.

Rob Huff: Living the dream

Rob Huff is the unlikely hero in what has often been hailed in Europe as a fairy-tale story for racing drivers.

There was no real motorsports background in his family, other than a bit of rallying that his quantity-surveyor father Peter--known as “Huff Daddy”--did on an amateur basis.

Huff comes from the quiet university city of Cambridge in England, which is more renowned for libraries than race circuits. But Huff was and is a motorsports fan, so he participated in clubman races beginning in his early 20s. One of the series he entered was the 2003 Seat Cupra championship. He won the title and the prize awarded to the champion: a seat in the 2004 British Touring Car Championship.

Although Huff only raced in the BTCC for one year, he did enough--two wins and seventh in the points chase--to impress the people at Ray Mallock's team, who had just secured a contract for the WTCC with a new manufacturer.

As Huff Daddy remembers, “One of the most amazing phone calls of my life was when Rob called to tell me that Ray Mallock had been in touch with him. Rob said: ‘They've got this World Touring Car program, they won't tell me who it's with, but they've asked if I'm interested and they even want to pay me to do it. What do you reckon I should do?' I told him straight away what he should do, and that day changed our lives.”

Rob Huff has stayed loyal to Chevrolet ever since, improving each year. So far he has won seven races and set seven fastest laps for Chevrolet, and at age 30, there's plenty more to come.

“I genuinely believe we've got a really good chance of the title this year,” he said. “It's been the best start to a season I've ever had, and I'm just going to go for it.”

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