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Aston Martin One 77

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  • On 30, Apr 2012

“If you were waiting for those savings bonds to mature so you could get your hands on an Aston Martin One-77, we’re afraid we have some unfortunate news for you: they’re all gone.

According to the reports circulating the interwebs, all 77 examples of the range-topping, seven-figure Aston Martin supercar – complete with its specially-built 7.3-litre, 750-horsepower V12 engine and Canadian-built chassis have been spoken for. That’s after the last example was apparently sold since reports surfaced in February indicating there was still one left.

Don’t worry too much, though, as Aston should still have a few examples of its new top-of-the-line model up for grabs. Production of the V12 Zagato is pegged at 150 units – barely more than twice that of the One-77 – with a sticker price of £330,000 – roughly half a million dollars, or a quarter the price of the One-77. Of course if you’re hell-bent on spending over a million on a new supercar, there are some gentlemen in Modena and Molsheim who’d be glad to help you out.”

Source: Autoblog

BRZ Arrives in Canada in June

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  • On 23, Apr 2012

“Subaru has gone ahead and priced the enthusiast-oriented BRZ for Canada this week. The 2+2 sports car will start at $27,295 with the six-speed manual gearbox. Opting for the two-pedal transmission (but c’mon, why would you?) will up the price of entry to $28,495. This “base” trim includes goodies like a Bluetooth connection for a phone and music streaming as well as HID headlights and a navigation system with a touchscreen.

A Sport-tech Package will be on offer as well, adding fog lights, Alcantara- and leather-festooned seats and dual-zone climate control. A smart key and push-button will mean users never have to fumble around with the key and the ignition, making for quick getaways. The Sport-tech Package-equipped BRZ will run $29,295 plus the requisite fees and taxes with the stick and $30,495 for the slushbox.

No stand-alone options were revealed at this time, but Subaru did promise the car will be at dealerships this June.

In contrast, the BRZ’s twin, the Scion FR-S, will be priced from $25,990, here in the Great White North, so the Subaru does command a $1,305 premium. It’s not yet clear what, if anything, buyers will get for the extra loonies, however.”

Source: Autoblog

Anonymous Takes Down Forumula1.com

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  • On 23, Apr 2012

“The group of hackers known as Anonymous issued a press release last night announcing their intent to hack and take down the official website for Formula One at formulaone.com for the duration of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Their reason? To protest the increasingly violent crackdown on the people of Bahrain by their own government.

As of this writing, formulaone.com is down as promised and another website, F1-racers.net, is displaying a message from Anonymous that claims responsibility.

In its press release, Anonymous addresses Bernie Eccelstone, president and CEO of Formula One, directly, promising the following.

Anonymous will turn your web site (www.formula1.com) into a smoking crater in cyber space. We will also jam your phone lines, bomb your E-Mail inboxes – and wreck anything else of yours we can find on the internet.

The group also calls upon fans of F1 to ignore the race by either not attending in person or watching it on television. They also appeal to the drivers themselves to protest the race by not crossing the starting line at the beginning of the race.

Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to civil unrest, and despite the increasing frequency of protests and severity of their crackdown leading up to this weekend’s race, it has not yet been cancelled. As a result, activists, now including the Anonymous group, are using the motorsport’s worldwide popularity to gain attention for their cause.”

Source: Autoblog

Porsche Pulls Out of Iran

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  • On 23, Apr 2012

“Iran just became a bit less interesting for automotive enthusiasts with the announcement by Porsche that it will no longer do business there. The announcement was made Monday by United Against Nuclear Iran and New York Public Advocate Bill De Blasio.
“Consumers here have the power to force these companies out of Iran and tighten the screws on Tehran’s regime,” De Blasio said in the statement. “Our message is clear: you can do business with the Iranian regime or you can do business with the [international] consumer – but you can’t do both.”

This follows news that Hyundai will also stop selling or servicing its cars in Iran. But despite the ongoing international embargo against Iran, car shoppers there still have plenty manufacturers from which to choose: Fiat, Isuzu, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Suzuki, Toyota and Volvo are all still selling and/or servicing their models there. Sadly, for Iranians, nothing on par with Porsche.

But then again, most Iranians aren’t exactly flush with cash. A Bloomberg report from March says car sales in Iran were down 20 per cent with prices up by about the same amount. For example, an imported Lexus RX350 sells for about CAD$155,000 over there. Even in good times, that’s a tough monthly payment for the average Iranian. In that same report, a Tehran car dealer said he hasn’t replenished his stock of Porsche models for months because no one can afford them.”

Source: Autoblog

Audi Buys Ducati

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  • On 23, Apr 2012

“There aren’t a lot of automakers that also make motorcycles: Peugeot, Honda, Suzuki, and perhaps most pertinently, BMW. And now Audi is getting in the game – not with its own four-ringed motorbikes, but with today’s acquisition of Ducati.

In the announcement just released, Audi confirmed the deal but stopped short of confirming the reported purchase price of 860 million Euros (CAD$1.14B). Although Audi is, of course, part of the Volkswagen group, it is Audi AG itself that officially bought the motorcycle manufacturer, making Ducati the third Italian operation under its umbrella alongside Lamborghini and ItalDesign-Giugiaro.

Tellingly, Audi also points to certain technologies developed by Ducati – particularly their control systems, combustion chamber process and competence in lightweight construction – as particular assets that “offer great potential for AUDI AG and the Volkswagen Group.””

Source: Autoblog

Mazda Focusing On Rotary

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  • On 23, Apr 2012

“The minds at Car and Driver recently took a moment to speak with Robert Davis, senior vice president of Mazda U.S. operations, about the automaker’s plans for the future. According to Davis, the rotary engine will continue to play a role in the company’s products moving forward, with engineers applying the lessons learned through the SkyActiv program to the powerplant. That means the next-generation rotary will likely feature reduced internal friction and lightweight internals in a quest to reduce emissions and increase fuel economy. But the engine may find applications outside of its traditional role.

Not only is Mazda pursuing a rotary engine to power a vehicle, Davis admits Mazda is also investigating ways to use the design in tandem with an electric motor, with the pistonless engine responsible for charging an extended-range EV’s batteries. Given the compact size and relatively low torque supplied by a rotary, this application would seem to hold promise. Of course, we’ve heard some of this before.

And what of a SkyActiv V6? Davis makes it clear there’s no room in the SkyActiv stable for a six-cylinder, saying that the company will focus on lighter platforms and forced-induction four-cylinder engines instead.”

Source: Autoblog

Next Mustang May Ditch Retro Look

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  • On 17, Apr 2012

“Matt Ramsey from The Wall Street Journal claims that the next-generation Ford Mustang will be ditching its ’60s-inspired retro styling. Citing people familiar with Ford’s plans who have seen the new Mustang, Ramsey claims the new model will look more like the 2013 Fusion and be a dead ringer for the Evos concept car that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last fall. The reason for abandoning the retro-inspired styling, says Ramsey, is Ford’s desire to appeal to Generation Y consumers – people born between 1980 and 1999.

It may very well be the case that the next Mustang, which Ramsey says will be a 2014 model (we suspect it will be labeled a 2015), will look a lot like the Evos concept, but we don’t buy some of the reasoning for why the Stang’s retro look might be going away. They cite declining sales of certain retro-styled vehicles like the Volkswagen Beetle and Mustang itself, but having just experienced an economic recession, many models saw their sales decline during the past two years compared to prior peaks, not just ones with retro styling. In particular, he cites Volkswagen selling just 6,468 units of the New Beetle in the U.S. last year compared with over 81,000 in 2000, but last year was that generation’s final year of sales. It has been replaced with the all-new-but-equally-retro 2012 Beetle, sales of which are up a staggering 2,722 per cent so far in 2012.

And as for the Mustang, after enjoying a competition-free pony car market from 2002-2010, it’s now sharing that segment’s sales with worthy competition from both Chevrolet and Dodge. Its sales are certainly below their peaks from last decade, but again, a recession and new competition where there was none before will do that.

So while we have no reason to argue against Ramsey’s claim about the next Mustang moving away from its retro roots, we’re not sure we buy his evidence for the reason behind it.”

Source: Autoblog

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