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India’s Supercar Market

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  • On 24, Oct 2011

“Demand for supercars in India has exotic automakers scrambling, with Lamborghini on the verge of opening its second dealership in India this year, and Ferrari planning to open four more by the end of 2012.

Ferrari opened its first Indian dealership in May as the country’s blossoming economy continues to spit out millionaires left and right. The number of India’s millionaires is expected to double by 2015.

Despite climbing numbers of millionaires and increased demand for exotic rides, a chilling fact remains: World Bank estimates that 75 per cent of Indians live on less than $2 U.S. a day.”

Source: Autoblog

BMW M Divison

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  • On 24, Oct 2011

“Inside Line reports that BMW’s M division wants to play with the other kids and develop its own car, but it’s got to wait on parent BMW to say Alles klar. This isn’t new; they’ve been public about the desire for at least two years. The holdup, naturally, is that bean-and-spreadsheet wielding boogeyman named The Business Case: any in-house M offering has to feed the profit motive before getting the okay.

Sure, Audi has its R8, but that was made easier because of the Lamborghini link. The real template for this is Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, which created the SLS on its own, and on its own chassis. The sales success of that car must surely have the folks at M anxious to fabricate a proper challenger.

When we talked to former M Division head Dr. Kay Segler, he spoke about pushing the 1 Series M through without dilution in spite of frequent reservations about its business case. We haven’t heard the same talk yet from the department’s current head, so, using a different template, it could be time for M engineers to start turning wrenches in their spare time: the IS-F began as an after-hours project, and in effect so did the Pagani Zonda. Give us the M1 Hommage, guys. Or feel free to do even better…”

Source: Autoblog

Diesel Chevy Cruze

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  • On 24, Oct 2011

“The Detroit News reports that the diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze will be manufactured at the General Motors Lordstown, Ohio plant. GM is slated to retool the facility’s body shop and assembly line next year through a US$5.5-million investment, according to Tom Mock, a spokesman for GM. The Lordstown facility already produces the gasoline Cruze on three shifts Monday through Friday in order to keep up with demand. The Detroit News reports that the plant has recently taken to operating on the weekends to maintain the volume, as well.

The diesel Chevrolet Cruze is set to arrive in 2013, and though GM hasn’t released any official powerplant decisions or fuel-economy estimates as of yet, the vehicle is expected to return somewhere around 4.7 L/100 km when it arrives. This is the first legitimate diesel passenger car effort from a domestic manufacturer in years, and rumours indicate the vehicle will come boasting a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel with around 147 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque.”

Source: Autoblog

F1 Heading to New York

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  • On 24, Oct 2011

“If you thought Formula One racing had a checkered history in North America, well – you’re right. Over the years, the United States Grand Prix has been held in more locations and has suffered from more hiatuses than a drug addicted musician’s touring schedule. But a good portion of that drama has been played out in New York. Upstate, Watkins Glen hosted the United States Grand Prix for longer than any other single location, but the past few decades have also seen efforts to bring an F1 race to New York City.

That idea first came up in the early 80s, but seemed to have gained more traction in recent years. As you may recall, a bid was floated a couple of years ago to build a circuit at Liberty State Park (the piece of New Jersey extending behind the Statue of Liberty), but that failed after local residents protested the idea and the race was awarded instead to the Circuit of the Americas being built in Austin, Texas. Then a new project came up that would see an F1 race – backed by private investment instead of public funds – held between the New Jersey municipalities of Weehawken and West New York that would be easily accessible from the city while offering the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop.”

Source: Autoblog

Toyota Urges Supplier to Lower Prices

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  • On 17, Oct 2011

“For years, Detroit automakers would argue that the Japanese yen was artificially devalued, and that the value of the currency was a big competitive advantage to the likes of Toyota and Honda. To erase this gap, The Detroit Three pressured suppliers to lower costs in any way possible, which caused ill-will within their supply bases. In fact, Japanese automakers routinely scored higher in supplier relation studies, while General Motors, Ford and Chrysler hovered at the bottom of the list.

One massive global recession and a fast-rising yen later, it appears that the shoe is on the other foot. Automotive News reports that Toyota has made it clear to its 219 largest domestic suppliers that costs must be cut or business will be lost to countries with cheaper labour.

Toyota reportedly loses US$343 million in profit for every one yen the currency rises against the dollar. Given that the Japanese currency has risen by 13 versus the dollar over the past year, Toyota could be looking at a staggering $4.5 billion in losses. For perspective, that’s more than half of Toyota’s total research and development spending for any given year. Ouch.

And Toyota isn’t alone in looking for ways to combat the rising yen. Honda recently announced that it was going to build more vehicles outside of Japan. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recently asked the Japanese government to adjust the issue of the rising yen, or risk losing a great deal of the country’s industrial base.

Given its currency conundrum, we can’t blame Toyota for looking for more cost-effective ways to build vehicles. But when GM, Ford and Chrysler were in the same predicament, corners were cut and many vehicles were less competitive than they could and should have been. As a result, The Detroit Three had to add heavy incentives just to move product and their reputations suffered. Here’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.”

Source: Autoblog

Lotus Evora S GP Edition

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  • On 17, Oct 2011

“Lotus has unveiled yet another special edition version of the Evora S. In honor of the Lotus Renault Formula One Grand Prix team, the company plans to produce just three examples of the Lotus Evora S GP Edition. Each vehicle will pack all the usual goodies tied to the Evora S, plus the Premium Pack with SuedeTex, which is either a gentleman from Texas clad in a becoming suede suit or a faux-leather seating material. The company’s Tech Pack is also part of the deal, along with a set of forged diamond cut design 19-inch wheels.

Of course, each vehicle is dipped in a gold-and-black paint scheme that pays homage to the Lotus Renault Formula One Grand Prix race livery, which, in turn, is a tribute to the John Player Special Lotus of old. Think of it as the Inception of homages. If you like what you hear, rustle up £69,950 (or $111,731 CAD at current conversion rates) and head across the pond. This model is for UK buyers only.”

Source: Autoblog

Dan Wheldon Dead

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  • On 17, Oct 2011

“Tragedy struck this weekend’s Las Vegas Indy 300, as driver Dan Wheldon, 33, died from injuries sustained in a gruesome 15-car wreck just 13 laps into the race. Wheldon’s car sailed through the air outside turn two and smashed into a wall.

Yahoo! reports that the other drivers were told of Wheldon’s death at a meeting held two hours after the wreck. Some drivers reportedly called the crash the worst they’ve ever seen. The crash comes after some drivers voiced concerns about the high speeds reached at the Las Vegas circuit, as cars were traveling at up to 362 kilometres per hour during practice.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard issued a statement after the race saying that IndyCar “is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries.” Bernard went on to announce that the race had been stopped, but drivers chose to salute the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner with a five-lap run in his honor.

Wheldon, a 16-time IndyCar race winner, 2003 rookie of the year and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, including this year’s, was among the most skilled drivers in motorsports.”

Source: Autoblog

Fisker Karma Shown Off in Canada

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  • On 17, Oct 2011

“It must be difficult to plunk down a chunk of change to order a car that you haven’t driven yet. Even more challenging to our mind would be placing a deposit on a car you haven’t even seen in the flesh. Still, there are some consumers who have forked over a decent amount of money to order a Fisker Karma Sedan.

Fisker of Toronto recently invited a select group of VIP’s to an event at an upscale shopping esplanade to view the 403 horsepower, 2.4 l/100 km, ultra luxury sedan. These VIP’s were folks who have actually already put down their cash. Not only was their future car on display, but these deposit holders got to drive the Karma on the road.”

Source: Autoblog

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