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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.
Mays We Introduce You to J?
In case you haven’t heard the news, J Mays is retiring from Ford. As group vice president and chief creative officer of Blue Oval design he’s kind of a big deal. But that’s not the extent of his achievements. Mays’ automotive career spans more than three decades with tenure at companies far beyond the one headquartered Dearborn, Mich.
He’s played pivotal roles in countless iconic designs, whether as the man pushing pencils, the person sculpting clay or the leadership guiding an entire department. Styling is a team effort; it’s hard to pin any one job on a single person. Really it’s the product of a thousand minds and twice as many hands.
Whether he was a stylist in the trenches or a manager in the corner office here are the Top 10 Vehicle Designs J Mays has played a roll in.
Slowly but surely Kia is transforming itself from a provider of inexpensive transportation appliances to a purveyor of premium automobiles. Further pushing the brand up-market, reports indicate the South Korean firm will build a production version of its dramatic GT concept.
Color Me Surprised
Automakers have come a long way from the days of Henry Ford’s Model T. While many colors were available over the “Tin Lizzy’s” long production run, this rugged and bare-bones vehicle was only offered in black for many years. Talk about choice!
Today, car manufacturers offer more hues than there are colors of the rainbow. But that’s not all. Depending on the product, customers can get shimmering metal flake or even special pearlescent paint jobs that seem to change color under different lighting conditions.
Spurning the basics like black, white and beige, even mass-market companies are offering buyers ever more assaulting hues. These days you don’t have to pony up the cash for a Lamborghini to drive something bright. Here are the Top 10 Craziest Paint Colors Available Today.
After years on the market, today’s Mazda3 is still one of the best C-Segment cars available, but it’s something of a controversial vehicle. It may be great to drive, exceedingly functional and built to last, but a lot of people take issue with its grille. The car’s front end looks like the face of a mouth-breathing mudpuppy. To the relief of many that gaping maw is a thing of the past with Mazda’s brand-new 2014 model.
You Know You Want One
Your grip on the steering wheel tightens. Your eyes fixate on the yellow line. Your brain screams about the trees just beyond the shoulder. Wait for it… wait for it… ok, NOW! You pounce on the clutch as your right foot stabs the accelerator. A wrist-flick completes the downshift. Feather the brake, turn into the corner and scrub off some speed; the radius decreases slightly. You nail the apex, tires howling like a bloodhound on the trail. You roll back on the throttle for a speedy exit and dive into the next corner.
When it comes to automotive styling numerous design trends are popular today, but future vehicles are guaranteed to look very different. Functional styling elements will likely play a bigger role in exterior design, things like integrated air vents and spoilers. Naturally vehicle interiors will receive major updates as well, but arguably government regulations are the most important things driving change. Ever-increasing safety and fuel-economy standards are impacting automotive design in major ways.
You’re not alone if you haven’t heard the name Qoros before, that’s because its a newly-formed subsidiary to Chinese automaker Chery.
The new Pagani Huayra continues the brand’s unique design language from its insect feeler-like mirrors to the unmistakeable afterburner-style exhaust.
The video featured below is packed with details perfect for car geeks. It dives into detail about the production process, telling you about the complex materials that the Huayra is made up of, and the important safety of the fuel-tank (It cuts off fuel as soon as it detects a collision), among many other tech-heavy details.
If mechanical specifics aren’t your thing, you can just look at the borderline car-porn of the fully finished product and the sheet-metal underneath it. You also get plenty of wonderful motor sounds as the Huayra zips around the track. Click the jump to see for yourself.
Ramciotti was lured out of retirement to head up the project, which aims for a common design language for the two brands. “We are trying to find an international language, which could have a place both here in Italy and in the U.S.,” said Ramaciotti in an interview with Bloomberg. “If you put all the models into the showroom, they must fit together. It’s a delicate problem.”
Sergio Machionne, Chief Executive Officer of Fiat and Chrysler, hopes sharing designs will boost both Chrysler and floundering Italian sister company Lancia, a weak link for Fiat. The carmaker loses an estimated $1.08 billion annually in Europe. If all goes as planned, the new Chrysler-Lancia line will boost group sales 64 percent by 2014.
Sharing vehicles between manufacturers is a quick way to cut costs, but it can have a high price.
“It’s extremely difficult to succeed in a strategy of globalizing design,” said Roberto Verganti, a management professor at Milan Polytechnic. “The risk is making international cars with no personality. When you buy a Lancia, you are looking for a piece of Italy, and when you choose a Chrysler, you are getting a slice of America.”
Despite the plan to marry models between Chrysler and Lancia, Fiat doesn’t plan to do the same for other brands including Dodge, Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, all of which will retain their respective identities.
Currently, Chrysler provides re-badged Grand Voyagers and 300s to Lancia, with Lancia calling them the Voyager and Thema respectively. For now, the cars are attracting attention in showrooms, but they haven’t been hot sellers in the depressed Italian economy. “Reactions are good. The Thema is pretty, design is attractive for Italians, too, but no one is buying these kinds of cars now,” said Roberto Ferrari, who owns a Lancia dealer outside Milan.
Overall, Chrysler only sold 37,000 cars in Europe last year, including Jeep and Dodge. That number is down by almost 38 percent since 2007 when they peaked at 120,000 units.
The news isn’t all bad for Fiat’s rebranded American cars though. Since June, the company enjoyed 18,000 orders for their rebranded version of the Dodge Journey minivan, more than double their total sales for 2009.
Legendary design firm Pininfarina is ending its auto production business, but will retain its engineering and design divisions. Pininfarina said it will shed 127 jobs due to the division’s closing.
“Unfortunately we are having to stop our production activities, given the way the car market is. So we are focusing on design and engineering,” a Pininfarina spokesman told Reuters.
Pininfarina has a long and storied history, having designed most Ferrari and Alfa Romeo vehicles, as well as numerous other vehicles.
Not too long ago, a beauty contest in the sub-$20k segment would seem like a competition for the most attractive bar of soap. But now, Kia‘s current line-up will make you look twice.
Men’s lifestyle and fashion magazine Esquire has announced the Kia Optima as the “Most Gorgeous Car Under $20K.” Editors were especially impressed by the South Korean automaker’s “clean and inspiring” design. Moreover, numerous other automotive publications have made positive comparisons of its exterior to the more upscale Audi.
VP of Kia America marketing & communication Michael Sprague says, “Esquire defines and shapes men’s style and fashion in today’s contemporary culture, and this recognition further validates Optima’s tremendous value proposition with its unmatched combination of world-class design, advanced technology, and fun-to-drive performance. The stunning design and value of the Optima has significantly increased awareness, perception and consideration for the Kia brand…”
More than just a pretty face, the 2011 Optima is available with luxury and technology including a satnav/audio system with Sirius XM radio and live traffic, Bluetooth capability, USB and auxiliary input, and steering wheel integrated voice controls.
The Optima is available with an economic 2.4 liter four cylinder producing 200 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque or a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder producing 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the Optima Hybrid provides the 2.4 liter combined with an electric motor, combining for 206 hp and 193 lb-ft of torque. Prices begin at $19,200.
GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima
Ferrari is holding a world design contest to develop the Ferrari of the future. Ferrari, in collaboration with with Autodesk, the technical partner and supporter of the project, is challenging students to develop the Ferrari hypercar of the future with the latest generation technologies and materials, while preserving the iconic performance and elegance associated with the legendary Italian automaker.
Students must focus on lowering fuel consumption,alternative powertrains, and hybrid technology while also emphasizing driving pleasure and weight reduction through their models.
Fifty presigious international design schools began the competition, and now there are seven finalist schools, from all over the world. The finalists include: IED and IAAD from Turin (Italy), the London Royal College of Arts (UK), the European Design Institute Barcelona (Spain), Seoul’s Hong-ik College (Korea), the DSK Supinfocom (India) and the College For Creative Studies in Detroit (USA).
The winner of the design contest will be announced on July 19, including a grand prize of an internship at Ferrari in Maranello, Italy as well as cash prizes. Autodesk will also award the student team that best used Autodesk Alias software to communicate their design and demonstrate their process of design.