Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to Transform Detroit Dodge Viper Plant Into Historic Vehicles Exhibition

Collection Will Initially Be Accessible to FCA Employees Only,
But Public Access May Figure Into Future Plans

The Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, former
production home of the Dodge Viper.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced plans recently to transform the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the iconic Dodge Viper was manufactured, into an internal meeting and display space that will showcase the company’s collection of concept and historic vehicles.

Renamed Conner Center, the former manufacturing facility, tucked in a Detroit neighborhood just south of the famed 8 Mile Road, will have space to exhibit 85 of the nearly 400 concept and historic vehicles that will now be stored onsite under one roof. Previously, the Company’s extensive collection was housed in several locations.

Mazda's Updated CX-3: An Example of What Tasteful Design Can Do for a Generally Boring Category—the Crossover

The crossover, or CUV, is not an automotive category that we're crazy about. We don't try to make that a secret around here. That said, it's also no secret that, at least relatively speaking, we are crazy about what Mazda has been doing design-wise recently. And the updated 2019 Mazda CX-3, which, interestingly, Mazda positions as a movement toward its next generation of vehicles, is a nice, if not earth-shattering, of what tasteful design can do for a category that, overall, is, well, shall we say somewhat lacking in the excitement department?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Get Ready to Say Buh-Bye to That Lead-Acid Battery in Your Car—if Mazda Has Their Way

Photo: Towel401 (Wikimedia commons).
Mazda Motor Corporation, ELIIY Power Co., Ltd. and Ube Industries, Ltd. have agreed to jointly develop lithium-ion batteries for use in automobiles. The three companies will work together to develop durable, heat- and impact-resistant 12-Volt lithium-ion batteries as a viable replacement for lead-acid starter batteries in motor vehicles by 2021.

Lithium-ion batteries offer a promising alternative to conventional lead-acid car batteries, as environmental regulations in some regions restrict the use of lead and engineers aim to reduce vehicle weight for improved fuel economy. But their application in motor vehicles so far has been limited due to the need for car batteries to withstand the high temperatures of the engine room and the potential impact forces of a collision. With this new project, Mazda, ELIIY Power and Ube Industries will combine their technical strengths to overcome such issues.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hot Hatch or Haute Hatch? Meet the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

The new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
Our regular readers have no doubt gathered by now that we are, to say the least, ambivalent toward the "hot-hatch" trend. 

Yes, some of them, like the Hyundai Veloster, are pretty cool. It's just that, depending on generational factors, it can be hard to shake the images of Chevettes and Dodge Omnis that come to mind when you hear the word "hatchback."

But, just for the record, we're sharing the news that Toyota Motor of North America announced Friday that they will unveil their all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback at the New York International Auto Show (March 30-April 8, 2018).

In a rather syrupy, purple-prose-laden press release worthy of the Bad Pitch Blog, Toyota characterized the new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback as "Toyota's newest, stylish, and most technologically-advanced small car."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Motorsports Rising Star Collete Davis Inks Deal as Tech Firm Spokesperson

XYO Network, a tech firm focused on blockchain crypto-location technology, recently selected 24-year-old motorsports rising star Collete Davis to serve as brand ambassador and spokesperson

Davis, currently driving the Wonder Woman Monster Jam Truck as well as competing in Sports Cars and Top Drift, will bring her high-energy, calculated risk-taking, and aptitude for business to the role. The announcement comes as Davis represents the company during the Monster Jam World Finals this weekend March 23-24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"When I moved to Silicon Valley 6 years ago, I quickly learned how cryptocurrencies were the future. Fast forward to now, it's been incredible to see the industry's progress and the XYO Network is a game changer in the space."

"I'm incredibly excited to announce my brand ambassadorship with XYO Network," said Davis. "As a race car driver, engineer, and entrepreneur, I understand the speed that this technology will be adopted and I'm proud to represent the XYO Network."

No, This Ain't Your Grampa's Honda Civic.

Those of us old enough to remember the humble, under-powered origins of the Honda Civic when it first graced American shores know that this venerable Japanese automotive brand has, to say the least, come a long, long way.

And now, a pair of Honda Civic Type Rs will join the popular new TCR category as the Touring Car divisions of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge series begin their season this weekend with a pair of races at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

RealTime Racing will field veteran Honda driver Ryan Eversley and the returning Nick Esayian aboard Honda Civic Type Rs in a competitive TCR field that includes no fewer than 14 entries representing five major automobile manufacturers.

Been Blown Lately? If You've Got a Supercharger, You're Part of a Market Headed Toward Nearly $11 Billion, Report Says

A suipercharged V8 engine in a vintage 1968 AMC AMX, 
ready for dragstrip racing. Photo by Christopher Ziemnowicz 
(posted to Wikipedia).
When it comes to being blown, size apparently does matter—market size, that is. A market research report released recently by MarketsAndMarkets, a firm based in Pune, Maharashtra, India, the global automotive superchargers space will have a market size of $10.95 billion by the year 2025.

The report also sizes the supercharger market at $7.26 billion as of 2017, according to a statement from MarketsAndMarkets announcing the report. The automotive supercharger market is also projected to grow at a rate of more than 5 percent annually, the company states. 

Of course, since superchargers are not relevant to electric vehicles, if the report is accurate, it's just another piece of evidence that speculation about the near-term demise of the internal combustion engine is premature indeed.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What the Heck Happened to the CarStuff Podcast on "How Stuff Works?" An Explanation, Of Sorts...

Have you been wondering what the heck happened to the CarStuff podcast from HowStuffWorks?

We have too, ever since the most recent episode showed up in our feed on December 27, 2017. It was one of our favorite automotive podcasts, and we have missed it greatly ever since.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fiat Chrysler Rolls Out New Marketing Campaigns for Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee

In an effort to infuse some fresh energy into the market for the new generations of two classic models, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has deployed aggressive marketing campaigns for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler and the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

Both campaigns are running across television and print, in addition to digital and social channels, including Jeep brand's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Each video is the first in the Jeep brand campaigns to launch the respective vehicles. The videos are viewable on Jeep brand's YouTube channel.

Kia Cadenza Wins Best Large Family Car Honors from U.S. News & World Report

If you're looking a new ride that delivers classy styling, very competitive value, and respectable performance, Kia is one brand that, today, should not be overlooked.

Along with Mazda, Kia is one of the few manufacturers putting out tasteful designs that manage to stand out nicely from a sea of boring CUVs and unimaginative lookalike sedans that suffer from chronic Fusion-Sonata-itis. Kia's styling has come a long way, especially in the past two years or so.

Want a New Camaro? Here's a Chance to Win One by Putting Your Wrenching Skills to the Test

Do you consider yourself an adept wrencher? Those very skills just might land you behind the wheel of a brand new customized 2018Chevrolet Camaro SS, if you're the winner in the GEARWRENCH® Win a Camaro Challenge.

The Win A Camaro Challenge is a traveling road show that will tour the country from April 3rd through August 31st, stopping at participating GEARWRENCH distributor and customer locations.

The GEARWRENCH Win A Camaro Challenge hauler will bring the Grand Prize customized 2018 Camaro SS to each event location, along with displays of GEARWRENCH products, giveaways, and the Win A Camaro Challenge, where contestants will strive to attain the fastest time to complete the four activities that make up the Challenge.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Car Guys & Gals to Rally in April, Supporting Parkinson's Awareness

In an event that demonstrates how living your passion can also drive your efforts toward doing good, car enthusiasts will converge in California May 4-6 for the second annual Drive Toward a Cure Rally, an awareness and fundraising event for Parkinson's Disease.

When name brands like Shell, Piloti, Maserati, Acura and Hagerty join forces for a second year in a row – as each are doing for non-profit Drive Toward a Cure and the organization’s multi-day ‘California Adventure’ charity rally – they are standing together to show that ‘driving has never meant more!’  Each are contributing once again to help raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and funds for research and patient care.  Through their involvement with Drive Toward a Cure, they are helping to open channels throughout the nation.

Hino—No, Not THAT Heino—Unveils New Line of Work Trucks

No, we're not talking about that Heino (left). We're talking
about Hino trucks. Photo credits Usien (left), posted in
Wikimedia Commons. Right: Hino Trucks website.
Ever heard of Hino? No, not Heino the German pop singer, who we have heard of. Ever heard of Hino Trucks?

Neither had we, until we ran across the recent announcement of the new 2018 lineup of work trucks from Hino Trucks, a Toyota division.

Hino Trucks unveiled its new line of trucks in a ‘big’ way at the 2018 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, IN.  Carrying the name Hino XL Series, this all-new lineup rounds out Hino Trucks Class 7 product offering and launches them into the Class 8 market for the first time in the U.S. The Hino XL7 and XL8 models are powered by Hino’s legendary A09 turbo diesel 8.9-liter inline 6-cylinder engine boasting a B10 life of 1,000,000 miles. 

Pennzoil AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway to Feature SuperLite SL-C Kit Car in April

It's stunning. It packs a 6.2L LS3 under the hood that makes 470 horsepower. You can put it together in your garage. And if you'll be in the Charlotte NC area in April, you'll be able to take a look at the  SuperLite SL-C Kit Car at the Pennzoil AutoFair Presented by Advance Auto Parts (April 5-8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), where an example, built by enthusiast Bill Phillips, will be prominently on display.

If Phillips’ low-slung racer looks familiar, it is because Superlite Cars – the Detroit-area company that designed and produced it – fashioned the SL-C to recall vehicles from the 1960s-era International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GTP series. Superlite and its sister company, Race Car Replicas (RCR), produce component kits that allow buyers to drive clones of iconic competition cars such as the Jaguar D-Type and Ford GT40. The cars’ bodies are fiberglass with embedded, color gel coats that require no paint. Most of Superlite and RCR’s chassis are aluminum monocoque designs with custom billet aluminum suspensions, and everything is TIG welded for strength and a cleaner appearance.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Porsche Unveils Refreshing New Twist on the Crossover: Meet the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Concept

Our first reaction? To tell the truth, we were a little perplexed.

Hmm... well, it looks a little like a Veloster from the back... doesn't it?

Then, we took a closer look. And our verdict? This, dear readers, is definitely a twist on the crossover concept that we can applaud—as ambivalent as we have been, in general, about Porsche's moves beyond the traditional sports car category.

And, to add another layer of interest, it's an electric. An electric that makes 600 horsepower.

We'll forgive the floating roof. It's still a concept, and mistakes are correctable.

Another Off-Road Season Confirmed for Subaru's Crosstrek Desert Racer

Subaru of America and collaborators Grabowski Brothers Racing and Crawford Performance confirmed on Thursday that they are entering the 2018 off-road racing season with the Subaru Crosstrek Desert Racer, an Unlimited Class 5 car.

So far, this year's schedule includes six confirmed races,starting with the Polaris RZR Mint 400 March 7-11.

In a news release, Crawford Performance characterized the 2017 Season as merely a test, with improvements to the car leaving the team prepared for their first 2018 race with confident enthusiasm. They describe the vehicle as "one of a kind and spearheading a new arena for Subaru to dominate."

Toyota, Mazda Form Joint Venture to Manufacture New Mazda Crossover and Toyota Corolla in Alabama

Mazda Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation announced on Thursday that they have launched a new joint venture, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (MTMUS), to build vehicles in Huntsville, Alabama, beginning in 2021.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Hey, Baby, Nice Rear"—On That 2016 Buick Regal, That Is!

A 2016  Buick Regal with a nice rear, photographed in traffic earlier this week.

Yes, we're Buick fans around here—fans especially of much of what came from the marque from the 50s and earlier through the mid 20-oughts.

Debut of Hennessey Venom F5 Announced for 2018 Geneva International Motor Show

The Hennessey Venom F5, a very limited edition hypercar, will make its worldwide debut at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, March 6, and remain on display through Sunday, March 18.

Scheduled for a production run of only 24 vehicles, the Hennessey Venom F5 was built with the goal of breaking the 300-miles-per-hour threshold. 

Toyota Forms New Company to Beef Up R&D in Autonomous Driving

Toyota has announced that they will open a new company in Tokyo in late march to boost technology development efforts for autonomous driving: the Toyota Research InstituteAdvanced Development.

To enable the new efforts at TRI-AD, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. (Aisin), and Denso Corporation (Denso) have concluded a memorandum of understanding on joint development of fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving. Going forward, the three companies will hold further discussions, aiming to conclude a concrete joint development contract. Releases 2018 North America Automotive Market Report

The "2018 North America Automotive Market - Emerging Dynamics and Future of North America Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles" report has been added to's offering.

The North American automobile market continues to record steady growth. The presence of leading manufacturers and consumption markets is driving the market value of the region. A boost in M&A activities, site relocations, integration operations are being increasingly observed in the region. The economic growth of the region has a direct impact on the sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Manufacturers are aiming to strengthen their self sufficiency across the value chain.