Many automotive journalists think they can drive. Sure, some of them are able to deliver respectable lap times but quite a few believe they’re far more capable behind the wheel of a motor vehicle than they actually are.
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The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is fading into the sunset after a decade and a half of high-octane competition. Starting next year it will cease to exist as it does today; it’s merging with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. But it’s not too late to stock up commemorative ALMS memorabilia.
What’s the first company that comes to mind when you think of car seats? If it’s Grayco or Britax you really need to get out more. In the realm of performance automotive seating Recaro is a leader in the industry, whether it’s at the OEM or aftermarket level.
Nissan’s DeltaWing racecar and the victory that almost wasn’t.
“Segments like the midsize car, where we need to make a big noise against Honda and Toyota, are much better places for Ford to make strong gains, but where we already have a strong presence and people are holding onto their trucks longer than ever before, we’re likely to continue giving customers what they want,” Eric Merkle said at the Motor Press Guild monthly meeting at the Ford Design studio in Irvine, Calif.
That doesn’t mean Ford fans will have to deal with dated drivetrain tech. Merkle was clear in telling the Chicago Tribune that updates will still happen, though cosmetic changes will be minimal. Instead, major changes will be focused on powertrain updates.
Those updates will probably include smaller, more efficient engines given that the company is talking about doing the same with the Mustang, which probably comes the closest to rivaling the pickup truck community’s V8 fanaticism.
There’s another budding branch in the Ford family tree of pickup trucks, one that we reported in August of last year.
“You know we announced the partnership with Toyota,” Merkle said, “to explore the idea of a hybrid pickup truck. … I think it would be kind of cool to use whatever electric generator that might include to run a bunch of power tools or set up a well-stocked campsite,” Merkle said.
Despite what the hardcore truck community might think, there are changes on the horizon for all gas-thirsty vehicles, pickups included. For now, the loyal old school can take comfort in Merkle’s prediction that the F-150 will stay true for the coming years.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford F-150
[Source: Chicago Tribune]
The battle axes are sharpened and starting to swing in Germany between the three largest luxury car makers, as Audi admits for the first time that they plan to sell their compact Q3 SUV in America.
The Volkswagen-based luxury brand has been hinting and teasing the notion that we might get the Q3 on North American soil, but until now there wasn’t any way to be sure. Now Audi has confirmed it will reveal a Q3 “Vail” Concept at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday, using the vehicle as part of a larger strategy to overtake BMW as the top-selling luxury brand by 2015.
“The next pillar of the market that we have to conquer is the United States,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in London on Thursday. “We see opportunities in the SUV and sedan segments.”
Audi has been growing as a brand outside the U.S. but making a more solid footprint in the American market is essential for them to meet their goal. Here in the States BMW and Mercedes still have a strong grip on luxury sales, but by introducing smaller cars, Audi may be able to change that. Along with the Q3, Audi is expected to deliver several versions of its next generation A3, including a sedan.
Another key point in their strategy will be manufacturing cars domestically rather than shipping and therefore significantly limiting availability to consumers, something BMW and Mercedes have already figured out.
It isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, though, according to Stadler, Audi is finally profitable in America, giving them the confidence to go from wading into full swim.
“In the next decade, we will have to think about the next icon in the Audi brand,” Stadler said. Given the strong trend toward smaller, more economy-minded cars, we’re eager to see what he has up his sleeve.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Concept
[Source: Automotive News]