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Top Gear USA Heading Overseas

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“Top Gear fans in the UK are about to get more than they bargained for. The BBC has announced that Top Gear USA is headed across the pond. Season one of the Americanized version of the world’s favourite car show is set to debut on BBC Three on October 14.

Why? Um, that’s a really good question. Near as we can tell, the BBC wants to fill the airwaves with something other than reruns, though we have to wonder if fans of the original Top Gear won’t find some of the premises, challenges and writing on Top Gear USA more than a little familiar.

We don’t count ourselves among those who find Top Gear USA an affront to nature, but sending our show back to the land of Clarkson, Hammond and May feels a bit like importing Taco Bell to Mexico. You’re gonna get some strange looks.”

Source: Autoblog

Creators of Wipeout Have a New Show

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“The folks who bring you ABC’s Wipeout have changed the network and the challengers for their next creation: called Whipped and airing on Speed in 2012, the new “automotive-based game and racing show” will put drivers in their own cars through “an intimidating automotive obstacle course.”

There’s an extra hook at the end, when the last challenger standing – who would normally be the winner-take-all – has to run a final obstacle course in the show’s race-prepped car. Their mastery, or not, of that test “determines how much we trick out their ride.””

Source: Autoblog

Daijiri Yoshihari Crowned Champion

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“Formula Drift headed to Irwindale Speedway to decide who would be crowned the 2011 champion in front of a sold-out crowd. Going into the event, the title race was the closest it had ever been with Falken Tire teammates Daijiro Toshihara and Justin Pawlak separated by just 12.75 points. Each driver had two wins and three podiums this season, leaving the final event to decide the title.

Initially, it seemed that Yoshihara had blown his chances when Ken Gushi knocked him out of the round of 16, leaving it up to Pawlak to claim the championship for his own. Pawlak failed to capitalize in the next round, though, when he tagged the wall during his second run and was beaten out by fellow Falken driver Darren McNamara. The final points tally had Yoshihara just 5.75 points ahead of Pawlak, the closest finish in Formula Drift’s history. This is the first championship for the Japanese native, who is an eight-year veteran of the series.

“It’s a great feeling and a dream come true,” said Yoshihara after the event. “After eight years of driving it finally paid off. I owe a lot to my team and sponsors. My new goal will be to defend the championship and win it outright during the event.””

Source: Autoblog

Nissan Struggling with Quality

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“While Nissan has never enjoyed the same stellar reputation for quality as its Japanese compatriots at Toyota and Honda, it has lately found itself in danger of acquiring the opposite rep. Nissan’s performance on influential J.D. Power quality and dependability studies has been below average lately, as many of its rivals have improved. Nissan will be launching a new quality plan in November, but Automotive News has the scoop today.

The most immediate change in Nissan’s quality approach is a shoot-the-messenger measure requiring dealers to present car buyers with a two-page quick-reference guide that’s part of 2012 owner manuals. The manual insert will seek to address some of the common threads that have cropped up in J.D. Power survey results. Nissan will also be addressing some of the most frequent customer complaints, like poor shift quality from its new seven-speed automatic transmissions used in Infiniti products. Nissan tells AN that it is already upgrading the software in the transmissions.

While that’s a start, Nissan has a long way to go to hit its stated goal of having both Nissan and Infiniti brands in J.D. Power’s top three in their respective categories by 2016. Nissan ranked just 24th in the Initial Quality Survey released in June, and managed only 25th in the Vehicle Dependability Survey, according to AN.

Other issues that have bothered Nissan customers include difficulties with HVAC controls, confusing rear wiper controls, and using hands-free phone systems. Kazumasa Katoh, Senior Vice President of Global Quality, said that these kinds of customer complaints are the result of Nissan customers’ embrace of new technology, which can be complicated.

We’ve heard this line rather often, ever since Mercedes-Benz saw its J.D. Power scores plummet almost a decade ago. Yet automakers seem to continue to struggle in designing in-car systems that are simple and intuitive. Earlier this year, Ford’s MyFord Touch system led Consumer Reports to pull its coveted Recommended rating from the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX.

Source: Autoblog

Subaru BRZ Teases Again

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“Between Subaru and Toyota, the pair of BRZ/FT-86 rear-wheel-drive coupes are high in the running for the honourary Chevrolet Volt Award For Painfully Slow New Car Rollouts. We won’t take you through the entire lifespan of this pair of Japanese sports cars, but we’ll say this: we’re sick of waiting in Pavlovian anticipation for their Tokyo Motor Show unveiling already.

Still, at least this latest set of spy photos gives us a better glimpse at some of the Subie’s finer details, including the full shape of the taillamps and what appear to be LED running lights just above the fog lights. We could probably do without that rear spoiler, though we’ll wait until all of the swirly paper has been removed before making any final design assessments.

Subaru will be bringing a concept version of the BRZ to the Los Angeles Auto Show before the final production car debuts in Japan. All we can say is, it’s about time.”

Source: Autoblog

Mazda Tweets That The Rotary is Back

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“In the soap opera saga of are they or aren’t they still developing a rotary engine, Mazda seems to have indicated the affirmative. According to a translation of a Tweet from Mazda PR posted on a Japanese car blog, a “new model with a next-generation rotary engine” is in development.

While there’s only so much to be gleaned from a single 140-character message – even in information-dense Japanese – this forthcoming vehicle will incorporate Mazda’s fuel-saving SkyActiv technologies, which is only logical. Being thirsty has long been the Achilles heel of the Wankel, and anything that can help boost mileage and cut emissions should be well-received in a successor to the discontinued RX-8.”

Source: Autoblog

The Nissan Juke R

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“When Nissan UK announced that the company planned to build a design study using the body of a Juke and the running gear of GT-R, we knew the automaker’s engineers had some serious work cut out for them. Now Nissan is giving the world a glimpse into exactly what it will take to bring the Juke-R to life with a series of build videos. The company isn’t simply cramming a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 into the CUV and calling it a day. Instead, a donor GT-R will lend its full all-wheel-drive system and all of the tech necessary to keep the car planted on the road to the effort.

Nissan has already started by shortening the wheelbase of a standard GT-R to Juke dimensions (see above) to ensure that everything will still work once workers begin swapping floor pans. The whole project looks deliciously maniacal.”

Source: Autoblog

Ford To Celebrate 100 Years of Racing

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  • On 12, Oct 2011

“On this day in 1901, Henry Ford took his home-built race car named “Sweepstakes” and entered a 10-mile race at the Detroit Driving Club against the favored Alexander Winton. Ford ended up winning the race and the victory garnered attention from investors that would help launch the Ford Motor Company just a couple of years later. Since that first race, Ford has achieved a multitude of successes in a variety of motorsports including wins at the Daytona 500, Indy 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Baja 1000 and more.

As part of their celebration of 110 years of racing, Ford will be bringing together some of their more historic race cars to display at the upcoming SEMA show in Las Vegas next month. The lineup is truly impressive, including the Le Mans-winning 1967 GT40 MkIV, Parnelli Jones’ 1970 Mustang Boss 302, Jim Clark’s Lotus that won the 1965 Indy 500, various John Force Funny Cars and the winning race car from this year’s Daytona 500 just to name a few.

Next month, we’ll bring you live coverage of the historic display of Ford Racing cars as well as the rest of the 2011 SEMA extravaganza.”

Source: Autoblog

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