AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Two U.S.-based advocacy groups, The Iran Watch List and United Against a Nuclear Iran, launched a campaign against the Tehran regime in Iran when they found that the Iranian auto industry, the 13th largest in the world, is overrun by both members of the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Patent applications from Ferrari have revealed some details on a new hybrid system for its performance road cars.
Ever since the FIA motorsport governing body permitted the application of a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) in Formula 1, Ferrari had intended to trickle down its latest racing technology and apply it to its line of sports cars. At the Geneva Auto Show of 2010, Ferrari first introduced its new gas-electric hybrid concept based on the Ferrari 599, dubbed the HY-KERS.
After a duration without much word on HY-KERS development, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa revealed last month of continuing hybrid developments that will allow its V12 engines to become more fuel efficient and meet the demands of future emission regulations as well as the demands from Ferrari’s eco-conscious customers.
Rather than borrowing from team Scuderia Ferrari’s flywheel-based KERS racing technology, the Ferrari patent applications illustrate a more conventional electric motor and battery setup. The patent also states that the battery may be replaced with a supercapacitor as an alternative energy storage device.
In detail, the design features two electric motors, one sending power to the wheels and the other used to generate energy for on-board electronic devices including the air-conditioning and power steering systems. Another patent application features designs where the electric motor is mounted in between the cylinder banks of the V12 engine or mounted directly to the gearbox – the latter similar in setup to the 2010 HY-KERS concept car.
Ferrari’s hybrid patent filings are exclusively designed for front engine vehicles for now, possibly applied for future Ferrari FF and F12 models.
GALLERY: Ferrari HY-KERS
[Source: Car and Driver]
Bentley of late has enjoyed double digit growths as the luxury marque rapidly expands in new markets. Moving forward with an aim to double annual sales by 2017, Bentley hopes to create a bigger impact in foreign markets by announcing a partnership with the world class St. Regis and The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, brands of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide company.
According to Global Brand Leader for St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Paul James, “Starwood’s luxury brands continues to grow globally and so does the global nature of our guests. We are committed to providing experiences that far surpass their expectations, and this partnership with Bentley enables our discerning guests to explore must-see destinations in unparalleled style.”
Previously, St. Regis hosted a pilot bespoke Italian driving tour for Bentley model owners and guests of The St. Regis Rome and the newly opened St. Regis Florence in October, 2011. For the new partnership, the St. Regis hotels has chosen a line of Bentley Continental Flying Spur models for its house fleet of luxury travelers. The Bentley Flying Spurs will be appointed at resorts including The St. Regis Singapore, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi, as well as the flagship hotel in New York.
Head of Bentely Motors customer relations Joe Ashworth is pleased with the partnership, “At Bentley, we are committed to maintaining our position as the definitive British luxury car company. It is therefore important that we partner with a pinnacle brand that underpins our own values of craftsmanship, style, and sophistication. Our current and prospective customers recognize the heritage of both brands, and with Starwood’s Luxury Brands, we aim to broaden the appeal and experience of Bentley.”
Later this month, The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts and Bentley will hold an inaugural “Springtime Bentley Grand Tour” from Vienna to Salzburg, Austria. A two day event, guests will receive a grand experience of scenic Austria behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT W12 or a Bentley Continental GT V8. The journey will also showcase four iconic Luxury Collection Hotels including the Hotel Imperial in Vienna and the Schloss Fuschl in Salzburg.
GALLERY: Starwood Hotel and Resorts Bentley Continental
This Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix race weekend enjoyed many firsts. Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg scored his maiden Formula 1 pole position and succeeded in taking the momentum from his strong qualifying performance over to race day, earning his first ever F1 GP victory.
Controlling the race from start to finish, Rosberg commented, “It’s been the perfect weekend. Everything’s gone [well]. It couldn’t be better. Very happy. It was a great race. It was impressive to see really how we’ve managed to progress so quickly. We’ve really had some difficult times in the races, the first two, but we’ve made a lot of changes, worked hard at it and all of a sudden it’s come good. That’s been fantastic to see today. I’m just so happy for all of us and I really look forward now to spending some time with the team later on.”
Giving major credit to team efforts for his victory, Rosberg’s career first win also marks the first win for the new Mercedes GP team, since the factory-backed racing team returned to the stage back in the 2010 season. Prior to this weekend, Mercedes-Benz‘s last factory-backed Formula 1 victory was back in September of 1955, when Juan Manuel Fangio won his last race for Mercedes at Monza.
During the Chinese GP post-race press conference, reporter Frederique Ferret asked, “Nico, you said you wanted to win with Mercedes, now you have done so, just like Fangio and Stirling Moss. What does that mean to you?”
“Ah, it’s definitely very special, the whole thing. Firstly just to win the race, to win my first race is special and everything that comes with it, with the Silver Arrows, with the team that I have, with everybody who has been working together for more than two years now,” said Nico Rosberg. “Yeah, it’s a very happy moment.”
Electric vehicles probably seem to have a tiny carbon footprint at the surface, but a recent study suggests environmental impact varies in gravity according to where the vehicle is charged.
Automakers tout EVs as zero-emission transportation but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an environmental impact. The issue is that charging creates green house gases, and those emissions aren’t necessarily constant. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, which uses the electric power requirements of the Nissan Leaf as a basis for comparison, there is a significant disparity in greenhouse gases released into the environment depending on the source of the electricity itself.
While classic Ferrari sports cars are characterized by the sonorous small displacement V12 engines sitting in the middle of their stretched bonnets, the turbo era of the 1980s brought along a new Ferrari that has come to serve as the definitive Italian supercar of the modern era – the Ferrari F40.
Still one of the most extreme vehicles on the road today, it’s hard to believe that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the F40 since it was first introduced in 1987. Commanding an astronomic starting price of $400,000 when new, only 1,315 units were ever produced. As it is also the last vehicle founder Enzo Ferrari personally commissioned, the Ferrari F40 continues to demand an enormous sum of money today.
April 14, 1927 marked the first mass-produced Volvo ÖV4 model to roll off the Volvo Lundby factory of Göteborg, Sweden. Now, 2012 marks the 85th anniversary of Volvo cars.
To celebrate the occasion, Volvo president and CEO Stefan Jacoby will join Volvo Group president and CEO Olof Persson to drive a restored ÖV4 past the Lundby factory gates once more to commemorate the company’s history.
According to Stefan Jacoby, the ÖV4 is “a fantastic car, but it’s easy to see how much has changed over the last 85 years.”
A lot has changed indeed as Volvo sold a very modest 300 vehicles on its first year of production. Last year the company sold about 450,000 cars in 120 countries with the United States as its single largest market.
When it comes to the pinnacle of motorsports, things get very expensive and very complicated at Formula 1.
A Formula 1 steering wheel, a tiny carbon fiber control panel that places every electronically adjustable parameter of a Formula 1 race car into the palm of the driver’s hands, can cost $50,000 alone. With more buttons, toggle switches, dials, and switches than a tournament-spec Streetfighter fighting-stick gamepad, racing drivers must push their cars as hard as possible, handle the physical strains from high loads of G-force, while delicately managing all the vehicle vitals and settings on the button array.
To the unfamiliar, the dizzying control layout may seem excessive, but Mercedes GP and 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher share a guided tour of the steering wheel to help racing fans understand what’s what.
Starting with its main function of steering the vehicle left and right, Schumacher gets into identifying the boost button for the car’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), the neutral and speed limiter button for coming into the pit-lane, a button that alerts the team for an unscheduled entry into the pits, a safety car button, a reverse button, brake balance check and clutch check buttons, toggles for the clutch, fuel mixture, engine management, differential adjustment, and wheel diameter adjustment. Finally, a main menu toggle switch and a multitude of ‘menu’ option buttons handle the rest. In the event the buttons and switches on the wheel fail to respond, a ‘reset’ button is available as well.
Check out Schumacher’s video below to find out more: Continue Reading…
The Facebook game gives users and four of his or her friends the opportunity to create a short virtual trip in the new Ford electric vehicle, using MapQuest mapping data to calculate how far a destination is in relation to available charging stations nearby.
Ford Focus Electric marketing manager Chad D’Arcy says, “This is a great way for consumers to both have fun and learn about the new Focus Electric at the same time. We want to offer people the opportunity to experience the car now, especially those on Facebook who have supported us for so long.”
In response to these trends, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has conducted a study revealing the proposed 54.5 mpg CAFE standards for 2025 will cause a significant increase in the technology as well as the cost required to build vehicles and, in turn, increase the price for each vehicle. As a result, many potential new-car buyers will be forced out of the market.
According to estimates calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency and NHTSA, the efficiency standards will cause the average retail price of passenger cars and light trucks to increase by nearly $3,000 by 2025. NADA’s study, “The Effect of Proposed MY 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards on the New Vehicle Market Population,” states that the price hike may be too much for approximately 7 million lower income consumers, such as college students and working families, as they may no longer qualify for auto financing to purchase the more expensive vehicles.
Regarding the 2025 CAFE requirements, Ford dealership owner Don Chalmers said during the NADA press briefing, ”To work, fuel economy improvements must be affordable. While you can mandate what automakers must build, you can’t dictate what customers will buy, nor can you dictate if a bank will make a loan.”
Chalmers continued, “If my customers can’t buy what I’ve got to sell, there are no savings at the gas pump and there is no environmental benefit. If car and truck buyers do not purchase these new products, we all lose.”
Doug Greenhaus, NADA chief regulatory counsel for environment, health, and safety, summed up the sentiment and suggested that the government must better understand the impact of the proposed CAFE regulations on consumers and auto lending before proposing the lofty mpg mandates. Greenhaus urged, “Disregarding vehicle affordability will undermine the environmental and national security benefits the administration is seeking. The proposed MY 2017-2025 fuel economy rules should be deleted until there is a more accurate picture of how prospective buyers will react.”
Devoted to celebrating the history and the culture of automobiles, car museums allow enthusiasts to admire the rarest and most iconic of cars, but don’t forget the “do not touch” sign.
Now, thanks to the Road, Inc. classic car app, you can touch these cars to your heart’s content… on your iPad. A car museum at your fingertips, the Road Inc. app features an extensive collection of images, videos, sound clips and documentation on 50 carefully selected automobiles, ranging from super cars that broke the status quo to historically significant basic transportation.
While the app was originally sold for about $9.99, developer Pyrolia has now lowered the price to $6.99. A bit more expensive than the average app, Pyrolia also offers a free version, featuring just one out of the fifty vehicles – a Ferrari 250 GTO. If you’re a selective connoisseur and don’t care for all fifty cars, each of the cars can be downloaded for $0.99, or in categorized groups ranging from $1.99 to $3.99.
However you choose to enjoy the app (we recommend just paying $6.99 for the complete collection), we guarantee it will be more enjoyable than any of the table-top magazines you’ll see the next time you find yourself at a waiting room.
GALLERY: Road Inc. car museum app
Speaking to German newspaper Handelsblatt, Winkelmann revealed Lamborghini’s goal to have an SUV as a new third model to diversify the Lamborghini line-up as soon as 2017. Suffering losses (as most supercar brands do) since 2009, Lamborghini is under pressure from parent company Volkswagen to become a profitable asset.
Nothing is certain but death and taxes. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study which consisted of researcher Dr. Donald Redelmeier and colleague Christopher Yanell of the University of Toronto comparing the number of fatalities during each tax deadline day to the number of fatalities occurring on regular days. The statistics show that the number of fatal crashes taking place during tax deadline day was 6 percent higher than the control days.
Dr. Redelmeier says, “Tax Day is one of the few opportunities to study societal stress on a widespread basis because it’s synchronized and it’s recurrent throughout an enormously large community.”
A total of 19,541 individuals were killed in crashes during the 30 tax days and 60 control days. Sorting the numbers, Redelmeier’s study revealed that the 30 tax days accounted for 6,783 deaths, or an average of 226 fatalities per day. In comparison, the 60 control days accounted for 12,758 deaths, averaging 213 fatalities a day. Spread over 3 decades, fatalities on tax deadline day account for an additional 404 fatalities.
When sports car company Lotus had announced the end of its title sponsorship of the Lotus F1 team, a red flag was raised as concerns over Group Lotus’ financial problems surfaced. Now, new reports reveal that the troubles facing the automaker are more than meets the eye.
Earlier warning signs were brought to attention this year when Lotus’ Malaysian parent company Proton sold a controlling stake to another Malaysian conglomerate, DRB-Hicom. As per Malaysian law, Lotus had to halt all business operations and freeze its financial accounts during the 60-day transition period.
The 60-day period ended in March and now, new owner DRB-Hicom is currently conducting the due diligence of Group Lotus, investigating worrisome figures including Lotus’ $320 million in accumulated debt.
Due to the mounting concerns, rumors have spread that Lotus may be put into administration to free itself from debt and that even CEO Dany Bahar has been let go from the company. What’s more, in line with our reports earlier this year, Chinese automaker Zhejian Youngman Lotus Automobile (Youngman) is a potential buyer of the brand, placing a bid on its remaining assets, including naming rights. The official importer of Proton and Lotus cars in China, Youngman is perhaps better known for its past failed attempt to purchase the now defunct Saab.
So far, a Lotus spokesperson has denied these rumors and insisted that DRB-Hicom and Lotus executives are working to keep the business running as usual, ”There have been and continue to be positive discussions between Group Lotus senior management and senior management at DRB-Hicom both here in Hethel and in Malaysia. Despite various rumours in the media to the contrary, at no point has DRB-Hicom indicated to Group Lotus that they intend to put the company into administration and we welcome the opportunity to put that rumour along with incorrect speculation that production has stopped, that Dany Bahar is no longer CEO and that we are no longer involved in F1 to bed.”
The spokesperson adds, “It’s no secret that we are going through a very difficult time at the moment due to the change in ownership but we’re doing everything we can to get through this period and come out the other side stronger than before.”
Optimistic words, but something definitely isn’t right in the house of Lotus. Stay tuned for more information as the situation continues to develop.
The first aftermarket tuner BRZ has been rendered by Sydney, Australia-based performance company Tunehouse, known for its work on Holdens, Fords, and a variety of German and Japanese imports.
Teaming up with Cosworth, Tunehouse is looking to replace Subaru’s 200-hp boxer engine with a more robust Cosworth 2.6-liter crate motor, equipped with an HKS turbocharger, intercooler, billet crank and flywheel, and finally an EcuTek engine control unit. Tunehouse expects all this work to amount to an output of at least 330-hp . Other pieces of hardware reserved for the BRZ include KW Variant coil-overs, Whiteline stabilizer bars, uprated bushings, and a limited-slip differential. The BRZ will also receive 18-inch Advan wheels wearing Federal RSR tires (245/35R18 front, and 285/30R18 rear).
While the modifications planned for this particular BRZ are quite extensive, Tunehouse’s project is just the beginning of what’s in store for the future, as more and more tuners begin to get their hands on a Subaru and reveal daring projects of their own.
Discuss this story at SubaruBRZForum.com
Formula 1 and Indy Series champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive his father Gilles’s 1979 Ferrari 312 T4 Formula 1 car at the Fiorano test track on May 8 in tribute to the 30th anniversary of his father’s death.
In 1982, Formula 1 witnessed the talents of the Canadian race car driver. Regarded as the fastest ever to compete in Formula 1 by fans and fellow drivers, Villeneuve’s short career with Scuderia Ferrari was highlighted by six grand prix victories as well as a remarkably ferocious wheel-to-wheel battle for second versus Renee Arnoux during the closing stages of the 1979 French Grand Prix, all of which earned him a legendary status while driving a series of dangerous and ill-handling Ferraris.
Black and yellow prancing pony badges have been available in the Chinese car market for 20 years and Ferrari is celebrating the anniversary.
To mark its growing success in the country, the automaker announced the inauguration of a permanent brand exhibition at the Italia Center of the Shanghai World Expo Park. Covering almost two square miles, it designed five specific themes to showcase at the venue.
Between the dedicated Ferrari in China, green technology, product, design, and racing wings, visitors will not only get to see current and past ferrari models, but will also get to admire a rich selection of images and videos made for the exhibition.
Custom builders have been able to create some unique and exciting cars from Toyota’s dull model lineup in the past, so it only stands to reason that amazing things are happening as tuners tinker with the new Scion FR-S.
We’ve already seen an in-house performance build from TRD as well as a specially prepared 600-hp FR-S drift car, but tuner Cartel Customs, a California-based company, created the FR-S Speedster you see above.
Starting the FR-S transformation first by lopping off the top, Cartel left a lower windshield in place, installed sloped side windows and a double-bubble deck lid for classic speedster looks. Cartel repainted the car without a body kit to keep the FR-S from having body lines that were overly fussy.
Inside, they treated the car with a redesigned, vintage sports car inspired custom interior, featuring center stack gauge clusters, a bare-bones racer steering wheel and loads of stitched leather everywhere you can imagine — oh and the sound system is gone too.
In addition to a dramatic internal surgery, Cartel also made a few mechanical changes starting with an upgraded clutch, exhaust, and suspension. New brakes, wheels and a carbon fiber rear wing also went into the package.
Look for the Cartel Speedster FR-S make its official debut at the 2012 Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix.
GALLERY: Cartel Speedster FR-S
During its glory days, Toyota enjoyed 43 victories as well as seven FIA world rally titles. From 1973 through 1999, Toyota was a fixture in the sport.
Now, a report from the FIA World Rally Championship website revealed that Toyota has built a regulation 1.6-liter turbocharged powerplant, which meets the WRC Global Race Engine technical regulations, and is currently performing a series tests at Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne. According to a spokesman from Toyota Motorsport, “We’re leaning towards an S2000-style of car which would be available for customers first. This is a development project, but it’s very early days – the engine only fired up for the first time a few weeks ago- at the very earliest, a car won’t be available until next year. Obviously, this being a Global Race Engine, it could go in any car, but the Yaris seems to make sense.”
According to the anonymous spokesman, participation in rallying is a part of the automaker’s medium-term future goals. What’s more, a Super 2000 category vehicle may also suggest new plans for World Touring Car Championship, as the S2000 specification is split to cover both rally and touring car racing regulations.
Despite the commitment of many automakers to go green, consumers do not share the sentiment. According to a Polk study released today, almost two-thirds of U.S. hybrid buyers do not return to the market for another hybrid.
From surveys recorded since 2008, customer loyalty ratings for hybrids have been inconsistent. While the loyalty rate for hybrids are at 22 percent now, loyalty once reached 41.8 percent during the second quarter of 2009. By the fourth quarter of 2010, the rate had fallen to 26.4 percent, but had risen back to a total of 35 percent for 2011.
Standing toe-to-toe with Bugatti Veyron, the Koenigsegg is harder to pronounce, lesser known, and more exclusive, arguably making this small Swedish carmaker the definitive supercar marque, full stop.
Continuing to raise the bar, the latest 2013 Koenigsegg Agera R now boasts an output of 1,140-hp. Since last September, Koenigsegg claimed a number of new production records, reaching 200 mph from a stand-still in 17.68 seconds, braking to a stop from 200 mph in 7.28 seconds, and finally a full cycle 0-200-0 mph run in 24.96 seconds. While the Bugatti Veyron Supersport holds the top-speed title at 268 mph, the Agera R sprints from 0-300 kmh (186 mph) more than 2 seconds quicker than the Bugatti. Mind-boggling numbers on paper, but what does that mean in real life?
From the Nurburgring pit lane access at Dottinger Hohe, the very end of a 2.2 mile long straight, a track-side fan records a top speed fly-by and receives a serious case of whiplash in the process, as the screaming 5.0-liter twin turbo V8 engine propels the Agera R to an insane 249.5 mph at the end of the straight.
The violent 250 mph pass is shown at the 1:40 mark. Hold onto your butts and check out the video below: Continue Reading…
The all-new 2013 SRT Viper is without a doubt the star of this year’s New York Auto Show. Boasting big numbers, the Viper’s enormous 8.4-liter V10 engine produces 640-hp. Plus, SRT has announced a factory-backed return of the Viper to the American Le Mans Series and international endurance racing.
But here comes the most important bit of information of all – show your support for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer and the very first Viper can be yours. The official charity of the American Le Mans Series, the Austin Hatcher Foundation For Pediatric Cancer’s mission is to aid cancer children and their families during the treatment and to provide continuing support throughout survivorship, all services are at no cost to families, and are funded solely buy donation.
The auction for the first 2013 SRT Viper will hold at Barrett-Jackson of Orange County, from June 22-24. Serial #01 vehicles have displayed a historic trend of reaching massive figures by auction end, so it will be exciting to see how much the new Viper can raise for the Austin Hatcher organization.
Co-founder of Austin Hatcher Foundation Dr. Jim Osborn said, “We are very excited that the first production Viper be auctioned at Barrett- Jackson Orange County to benefit the many families faced with pediatric cancer. We just can’t thank Mr. Gilles and his team enough.”
GALLERY: 2013 SRT Viper
Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 140,310 model-year 2012 Ford Focus vehicles built through Oct. 18 in the Wayne, Michigan Assembly plant over a potential windshield wiper defect.
According to Ford, a seal plug on the passenger side windshield wiper motor electrical connector may be missing, causing water to fall into the motor and a short in the unit.
Ford’s recall entails the installation of a redesigned seal plug and dealers will re-coat grease for electrical connectors to ensure wipers are protected and functioning.
Ford told dealers to begin the recall on Tuesday and notified affected owners on Friday.
As more and more automakers embrace social media marketing, Lamborghini has opted for a more intimate approach, inviting select clientele to attend a special New York City preview event to gain feedback for a potential third model for the Lamborghini line-up.
Lamborghini should, however, know that technology always prevails with details of the private affair having leaked on the internet.
A couple guests blabbered news of a cherry red Lamborghini SUV concept that will make its way to a Beijing premiere at the Auto China later in the month. Armed with a personal blog, one Lamborghini guest, Ed Bolian, revealed that the new Rambo Lambo features a silhouette similar to the BMW X6 and an overall size similar to the Audi Q7, all but confirming previous reports that the Lamborghini SUV will use a modified VW Group PL71 SUV platform that’s also used for the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.
Even though an SUV body style is naturally higher off the ground, Lamborghini’s carbon fiber body kit brought out a more muscular and couple-like profile to make the stance of the Lamborghini SUV seem lower and more planted. Bolian also described the front fascia as Estoque-like, while also featuring a full LED headlight arrangement. The rear of the SUV is emphasized by a boldly designed trapezoidal quad-exhaust, integrated to the rear diffuser. Wheels on the SUV are 24-inches in diameter and incorporate carbon fiber blades similar to that of the Aventador J. A dramatic statement for a concept vehicle, the carbon fiber blades are unlikely to carry over into production.
Inside, carbon fiber trim is generously applied throughout the cabin, lending an appearance similar to the interior of the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. What’s more, a high center console extends to the rear passengers to provide a more coupe-like seating arrangement.
Lamborghini has yet to reveal any details regarding the production powertrain but previous reports have suggested a Gallardo-sourced 5.2-liter V10 engine, producing 585-hp.
Whether the concept is the real deal or just a styling exercise, we’re excited to share more information on Lamborghini’s concept SUV as we draw closer to Beijing’s Auto China show.