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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.
Like a Broadway premiere the 2014 Mazda3 will take a bow in New York City today. Mazda’s best-selling compact car has received a bumper-to-bumper redesign along with some significant improvements. The company’s latest C-Segment offering brings a healthy dose of style, performance and technology to an extremely competitive slice of the market.
There will be 10,000 new public spaces to charge electric cars in New York City in seven years if mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way.
Even though the last one was produced in 1982 and no working examples are left in the Big Apple, the Checker Motors A11 is still considered the definitive New York taxi cab.
Nissan is hoping that in the 21st century, it’s so-called Taxi of Tomorrow, based on the NV 200 van, will become the next yellow cab icon. In fact, the company is putting together a new marketing campaign for the vehicle, designed to draw attention to the vehicle when it goes on display at the upcoming New York Auto Show, as well as highlighting Nissan’s spirit of innovation.
The NV 200 Taxi campaign, which has an estimated budget between $2-$3 million, will play on typical Big Apple and taxi themes such as “if it [the NV 200] can make it in New York, it can make it anywhere,” and “kept it yellow, changed everything else.”
Other ads for the future taxi play on Nissan’s larger overall marketing strategy, which emphasizes “innovation for all.” Examples include “innovation for NYC,” “the cab that goes to the corner of innovation and cool” and “the future of the auto industry? We’ll take you there.”
Although New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg clearly views the NV 200 as the ideal taxi for America’s largest city; the concept of a nondescript, boxy van (one that’s sold in multiple countries no less) becoming as iconic a symbol of New York as the old Checker, is probably a stretch at best. Nonetheless, you can’t blame Nissan for trying.
[Source: New York Times]
Nissan is trying to stay at the forefront of the rapidly-progressing electric vehicle market by announcing a plug-in version of their compact van today at the Detroit Auto Show, the e-NV200.
“A potential game changing vehicle in its segment, the battery capacity will support a driving range similar to the Nissan LEAF, while payload and cargo space will offer the same level as the current NV200. The production version would be targeted mainly at businesses, but also at private users or families in major regions,” Nissan corporate vice president, Hideto Murakami said in a press release.
The concept takes cues from the Leaf. “The Nissan e-NV200 Concept is a standout design, sharing the iconic EV look established by the Nissan LEAF but in a modern, active, functional commercial vehicle form,” said Murakami.
The fact remains that this is just a concept, so exterior and interior features have a lot of room to grow, though it makes sense that the company would borrow heavily from their already existing EV formula. Some concepts are easier to take seriously than others, because as many of us know: concepts often remain on the auto show floor and the drawing board. That isn’t the case for the e-NV200, Nissan sayas they are already conducting tests and preparing it for the real world.
The initial trial took place last year during the summer with the Japan Post Service and the company is continued that work in London with FedEx starting last month.
While cars with a range close to the current Leaf’s capacity will be good for deliveries in cities where routes are short and fleets are big, the reality is that charging times and the cost per vehicle may be prohibitive for small businesses who run frequent deliveries, even with federal tax credits.
The gasoline NV200 is produced in Japan, Europe and China and available in 40 countries, but currently not sold in the U.S. Americans can look forward, however, to seeing the NV200 late next year in New York City as taxi cabs.
GALLERY: Nissan e-NV200
Six Nissan Leafs will partake in a journey that no other electric vehicle has gone on before. As part of a pilot program, six pioneering Leafs will serve commercial duty as taxi cabs for one of the most populous metropolitans in the world, New York City.
The goal of this pilot program is to retrieve valuable information on how these electric vehicles will fair against the tall orders required to navigate New York’s busy streets. If the program proves to be successful, it will help further convince people that EVs are in fact viable options for daily use.
For those interested in participating, Nissan has provided an online application from which they will handpick eligible applicants. Remember, there will only six cars! Those interested will have until November 30th to apply.
[Source: Autoblog Green]
Following the lead of Atlanta and Washington D.C., New York City is due to get around 300 parking meters that will allow drivers to pay for parking via their smart phones.
Drivers will have to register for the service initially, but will be able to input the parking meter’s ID number via a text message or mobile app, and can buy parking time via their phone. Drivers will also receive a warning when their time is about to expire, and will be able to add additional time without having to return to their cars.
Pay by phone systems are in place in other locales (mainly Europe) and frankly, we think that their implementation on our shores is long overdue. With an increasing number of parking transactions paid via credit card rather than spare change, these systems only make sense when it comes to a broad implementation.
[Source: New York Post]
An international gang of thieves operating in New York City managed to steal nearly 300 vehicles, shipping them off around the globe before finally being busted by police.
The 19 thieves targeted luxury SUVs such as Range Rovers, taking orders for specific models from potential buyers around the country and overseas. The crew would then go about producing illegal paperwork, including fake titles and registrations. Two Toyota dealer employees gave master key codes to locksmiths to unlock the vehicles. Within 48 hours, the stolen cars would have their VINs stripped and be bound for destinations as far-reaching as Africa, Yemen, and Afghanistan, complete with forged paperwork.
The NYPD’s auto crimes division took 10 months to investigate the group before making arrests, and now ringleader William Cruz is awaiting trial at Rikers Island, along with 2nd-in-command Michael Torres.
[Source: NY Daily News]
Here’s one way of getting your point across in regards to obeying the speed limit – in New York City, the Department of Transportation will flash a skeleton to scare you into going 30 miles per hour.
Set to be launched this summer, a radar-equipped, custom-designed speed board will spook drivers who go above the 30 mph speed limit on city streets with an LED skeleton. This bony fellow reminds drivers of the deadly consequences of speeding, playing on the pedestrian stick-figure showcased on crosswalk lights.
Part of the Transportation Department’s “That’s Why It’s 30″ advertising campaign, the skeleton stars on bus shelter ads and television spots that warns drivers about the dangers that speeding vehicles pose to pedestrians. There’s no word about where these boards will be placed, but we think wherever they go, they will get their point across.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg compared the signs to cigarette packs that feature a skull-and-crossbones label to warn about lung cancer: “Unless you make it graphic, people don’t get the message,” he said.
Do you think these signs will do the trick and get drivers to slow down to 30 mph? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
[Source: The New York Times]
What will Manhattan look like in 2030? Get your multipasses ready, because Audi has an idea—it’ll be green, multicultural, and certainly involve four rings.
Opening at the New Museum at the Bowery, the exhibit brings designers, architects, and artists together to form a unified vision of what life will be like in less than 20 years, with five prominent New York architecture firms concentrating on one section of the island. The exhibit features a 1:1200 rendering of the Manhattan of 2030, with an Inception-like rendering of the island folding upon itself.
“With the Audi Urban Future Initiative we as a globally operating company are exercising social responsibility”, said Peter Schwarzenbauer, an Audi board member. “In order to convert visions into reality more quickly, our experts are taking part in the debate about the city of the future. At the same time we are networking with experts from other disciplines – and in this way playing our part in shaping the urban future.”
Want to get a glimpse of the future? You’ll have to go to the New Museum and attend its Festival of Ideas for the New City, including a three-day symposium, starting May 7th, about what this future will truly bring. Flying Audis? Self-tying shoelaces? Zombies? Remember, it’s only 4 more years until we’re supposed to get hoverboards. Get on it, you lousy scientists.
For more information, visit the Audi Urban Future Initiative web site.
The 1st day of the MINI Takes The States Tour kicked off with a bit of a surprise – it turned out that a MINI press car was unable to take me from Newark Airport to our first destination, so I had to slum it in a BMW 550i. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.
Unfortunately, the 550i’s nav system took me in the opposite direction from New York, nearly sending me to Camden, New Jersey, ranked America’s most dangerous city in 2009. Not exactly the kind of place you want to take a brand new Bimmer.
All was resolved thanks to a local friend who laughed at my inept sense of direction and set me on course for Manhattan’s Meat Packing District. I set forth for MILK Studios, a gallery space where MINI was hosting a launch event for the new 4-door Countryman SUV, as well as the launch point of the Eastern leg of the MINI Takes The States Tour.
Once I hit Manhattan, I began to wish for a Mini Cooper S to help weave through the atrocious traffic. Being an admitted small car guy (my Miata keys in my pocket), the 5 Series was not my ideal vehicle, though I was kept in air conditioned, HD Radio’d comfort for the few hours (yes, hours) it took me to get from Newark to Downtown Manhattan.
Keep reading more MINI Takes the States Tour, Day 1: New York after the jump:
CEC Wheels has just announced their fleet of six vehicles attending this year’s Bullrun Rally. Starting from New York City and ending at Las Vegas, Nevada, we’re fairly confident this year’s Bullrun (which has just gotten underway) will be full of crazy antics. This year’s all star lineup from CEC Wheels consists of a pair of Mercedes-Benz C63s, an Aston Martin Vantage convertible, a pair of Ferrari 430s (one of them being a Spyder) and our favorite of the bunch, a Black Series-converted Mercedes-Benz SL63.
But let’s not overlook one of these Ferrari F430s. At a quick glance one may think it’s simply flat black, but on closer inspection this stallion sports a wicked carbon-fiber wrap. It’s got quite the sinister look and feel to it. The pair of C63′s don’t stand out to us, and neither does the red Spyder F430. (Aren’t we snobs?).
The Black Series-converted SL63 is worth taking a closer look at. The flat white exterior is definitely a nice change of pace from the matte black we’ve seen everywhere over the years. Our biggest complaint though is the ride height, but we’re sure CEC dialed-it in before they departed this past weekend on July 10th.
We’ll be sure to follow-up this week as things surface related to this year’s Bullrun.
GALLERY: CEC Wheels Six Car 2010 Bullrun Team
[Source: CEC Wheels]