21 Sep 2014
The Toyota Tacoma may be getting on in age, but that isn't stopping the Japanese manufacturer from ramping up production at the pickup's Baja California factory. The Mexican plant will soon be home to another 300 jobs as it increases total capacity by 41 percent. The increase is slated for April 2015.
The move is a curious one, considering the Tacoma's age and the fact that General Motors is preparing what, on the surface, appear to be two very competent challengers. The factory increase could be in preparation for the 2016 Taco (spy photos shown above), which is expected to represent a significant overhaul of the long-serving truck.
Toyota's decision to increase capacity could also be due to the factory building freeze implemented by President Akio Toyoda, according to Automotive News. Toyoda put a hold on new factories until 2016, asking executives to squeeze as much production as possible out of remaining factories before bringing any additional facilities online.
What do you think Toyota is up to? Is this just preparation for next-gen Tacoma production? Might a different vehicle altogether take up the additional capacity? Have your say in Comments.
Toyota to ramp up Tacoma production in Mexico by 41% originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 Sep 2014 4:04pm GMT
Fisker Automotive appears to be wrangling up its proverbial ducks and properly aligning them again after halting production nearly two years ago. After filing for bankruptcy, the Chinese company Wanxiang, like an angel made of money, scooped up the maker of the Karma range-extended electric sports car for the sizeable sum of $149.2 million. Now, Wanxiang is looking to relaunch the Karma by early 2015, and the car that we see upon its revival will likely look quite familiar.
An insider who wished to remain anonymous told Automotive News the new Karma "will have to be nearly identical to the 2012 model." Hoping to relaunch quickly, the company doesn't have the luxury of undergoing new safety testing and certification that would be required if it made major changes to the car. Also, the less engineering that needs to be done and the more old parts Fisker can take advantage of, the better.
However, another person close to the project paints a slightly different picture of the new Fisker Karma. "The new Karma will be different in many key areas," said the unnamed source, without giving specifics. "It will have noticeable upgrades."
Throwing a possible wrench in the works are Fisker's old suppliers, who are none too pleased about being left behind when the automaker stopped making cars. Many ended up clearing out the tools they were using to make parts for the Karma. With the time that has passed, one critical supplier suggests that the new Karma might be a bit stale, stating, "You're not buying something that's considered 'state of the art' necessarily."
Still, with only about 1,800 Fisker Karmas having been sold before the disruption, the renewed model, similar as it may be to the old, will still seem fresh to all those eyes that haven't yet beheld the sleek EV. Even if, as some worry, it takes a bit longer to get production back on track, there's sure to be many happy to see the new car (and even some of the old ones) on the road.
21 Sep 2014 2:01pm GMT
Every once in a while, Mother Nature has a rather tenuous relationship with her children. Such a scenario plays out each and every year as mankind clings to one of the last vestiges of open space left on our planet, the Bonneville Salt Flats, to which hundreds of men and women each year flock to take out their frustrations with the pace of life by attempting to outdo and one-up the accomplishments of those who dared make a similar attempt in years prior. It's a vicious cycle, and one that depends upon the cooperation of Mother Nature in order to keep itself perpetually spinning.
When it comes to actually producing some meaningful documentary-style video on the symbiotic relationship between mankind and Planet Earth, nobody does a better job than the British. Beautiful cinematography joined with well-written prose and a soothing voiceover with a pleasant accent makes for a nice way to spend a few minutes, and that's exactly what we suggest you do as you watch the videos we've embedded right down below. They are brought to you by Triumph and Castrol, which have teamed up to break the 400-mile-per-hour barrier in a machine they have aptly named Rocket.
Triumph takes us on an emotional journey over the salt originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
21 Sep 2014 12:01am GMT
20 Sep 2014
I was in Nashville last weekend for a friend's bachelor party. It's all rather fuzzy, but I do recall that my friends and I found it hilarious to request Slayer every time one of the country groups on the Broadway strip asked for a specific song to be played. While there were a few good sports, most didn't find it too funny, largely because country music and Slayer don't mix all that well. Actually, Slayer and a lot of things don't mix too well. Like Slayer and Scion, Toyota's slowly withering youth brand.
This mish-mash hasn't prevented the Japanese budget brand from teaming with the metal group for a concept vehicle based on the tC coupe (shown above). If the Slayer link is a bit too extreme, Scion has a more mainstream xB, styled by skateboarder Riley Hawk on the way. Both new vehicles will be shown at the upcoming SEMA show, but Scion has opted to release a pair of sketches of both aftermarket creations ahead of the Las Vegas expo.
It's hard to tell what kind of exterior changes have been made to the tC, although Scion says the cabin now boasts a 32-inch monitor, as well as a heavily revamped stereo. As you can see, it will say "Slayer" on the door, in the band's stylized script.
"Slayer's fans are going to be excited when we reveal what a metal-inspired Scion tC looks like," Slayer guitarist Kerry King said in a statement. "Working with Scion has given us another way to reach new audiences and inspire them to keep going down their own paths."
As for the xB, the biggest change is the higher roof, which provides accommodations for both an upgraded stereo and skateboards. The overall inspiration for the boxy five-door was the 1970s, and it's been equipped suitably, with an 8-track player, shag carpets and wood-grain paneling.
Check back for more on these Scions, as well as the rest of the lunacy from the 2014 SEMA Show when it kicks off on November 4 in Las Vegas. Until then, scroll down for the official press release.
Scion sketches SEMA spread starring Slayer, skateboarder originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
20 Sep 2014 10:00pm GMT
We're not yet ready to call it a trend, but rumors have been flying that a couple more major automakers have set their sights on motorcycle manufacturers to add to their portfolios. If they do, they'll be following in the footsteps of the Volkswagen Group, which gobbled up Ducati and put it under the Audi brand in its ever-growing stable of nameplates.
According to rumors floating in from Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering bringing the Piaggio , which would likely include Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa, brand under its umbrella. While the automaker is currently denying such rumors, a tie-up wouldn't be without merit. In the eyes of certain financial or some-such experts, since BMW is well-known for both cars and motorcycles, a brand that competes could conceivably add in some two-wheeled flavor in order to truly rival the Bavarian firm on all levels, both on paper and in the minds of consumers.
We've also heard rumors that Daimler has more than a passing interest in MV Agusta, a storied Italian marque that has seen a number of ups and downs over the last several decades, and could conceivably market it as a sub-brand under Mercedes-Benz. And then there's Mahindra, which is said to be taking a long, hard look at Peugeot Motorcycles, the scooter-heavy brand that has been losing money for parent company PSA Peugeot Citroën for the last decade, according to Bloomberg.
In any case, while we're not quite sure which of these rumors are most likely to turn into reality, we can at least say that such a move wouldn't be without precedent, and wouldn't be terribly surprising given the current automaking climate. Stay tuned for more as we hear it.
Fiat Chrysler interested in Piaggio; Mahindra considering Peugeot Motorcycles? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
20 Sep 2014 8:00pm GMT
"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up." - Darren Cox
Nissan is aiming to put an American behind the wheel of one of its LMP1 racecars in 2016 as part of plans to grow its motorsports program in the United States.
The driver would compete in the LMP2 class and the new LMP3 class of the FIA World Endurance Car Championship next year and then graduate to the higher level of competition. Nissan said it would select candidates from its GT Academy program, including former winners Bryan Heitkotter, Steve Doherty and Nick McMillen, plus other drivers. Ultimately, the goal is to have an American on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up," Darren Cox, Nismo global head of brand, marketing and sales, said in a statement. "It is going to take more than just talent to get them into an LMP1 car, but the opportunity will be there if they are prepared to work for it."
Nissan's LMP1 program will launch next season, competing against Audi, Toyota and Porsche on circuits around the world. It will be based in Indianapolis in the facility of an old Champ Car team, Forsythe Racing, and have facilities in Europe and Japan. The LMP1 racer takes the name of one of Nissan's most famous sports cars, and it will be called the GT-R LM Nismo. Nissan will field two cars, and possibly a third one at Le Mans, a spokesman said.
Founded in 2008, Nissan's GT Academy has taken video gamers and turned them into professional drivers-with extensive training that maximizes their talents and translates that into real-world racing skills. More than five million gamers have used the academy through PlayStation, Nissan said.
In other racing news, Nissan also announced it will supply engines for the LMP3 series, which launches next season in Europe.
Nissan wants an American driver for its Le Mans team originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
20 Sep 2014 6:01pm GMT
By the end of the lengthy session, senators had painted the unflattering portrait of a toothless agency in disarray.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a brutal one-two punch from Congress this week for its response to the General Motors ignition-switch scandal.
NHTSA was hammered in a 45-page House report, and then grilled by senators during a hearing on Capitol Hill. Both on paper and in person, legislators picked apart the agency's plodding, seemingly inept responses to GM, and questioned NHTSA's ability to serve as a watchdog for the auto industry, which has faced extensive recalls, fines and controversy in recent years.
Deputy administrator David Friedman, who's only been with NHTSA since 2013, had few answers when questioned on the hill, and by the end of the lengthy session, senators had painted the unflattering portrait of a toothless agency in disarray.
Yes, there was some grandstanding. But legislators, and Friedman's responses to their often-testy questions, illustrated a valuable point - NHTSA needs help. It needs more power, more people and more money to effectively regulate on of the most complex industries in the nation.
Weekly Recap: NHTSA searches for answers after Congressional grilling originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
20 Sep 2014 4:02pm GMT
Filed under: Technology
The proliferation of start-stop systems in today's cars and trucks is pretty simple to explain. With these systems, manufacturers have an easy, mostly unobtrusive way of boosting a vehicle's fuel economy. As with just about anything though, there are drawbacks to modern start-stop tech.
In particular, they're not great when paired with today's lead-acid batteries. These batteries limit the ability of the start-stop function to operate based on factors like charge level and temperature. If the battery is outside the parameters, the stop-start system won't function, curbing any potential fuel economy gains. Obviously, this problem will only become more noticeable as the battery ages.
Ultracapacitors could solve this problem, though, according to a new report from Ward's Auto. Because ultracapacitors can be cycled rapidly and they can store quite a lot of energy - they don't function via chemical reactions, like standard batteries - they could handle the stop-start duties when the battery isn't up to snuff.
There are other applications for the high-powered capacitors too, including regenerative braking functions, where their ability to harness energy can really be taken advantage of. Ward's has a great breakdown of the pros and cons in a fairly extensive feature on the future of this potentially big automotive technology.
Stop-start problems could lead to rise of ultracapacitors originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
20 Sep 2014 2:00pm GMT
Nobody should be shocked that a big, heavy vehicle like a semi truck takes a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car; it's just basic physics. However, this BMW X5 driver seemingly has a major problem grasping the concept, and it results in some serious damage to the back of his SUV.
The whole incident is very confusing to watch. The BMW doesn't even seem to have a reason to slow down before the semi slams into the back of it at fairly high speed. But to make the situation even weirder, the crashes just keep happening again and again.
To give the BMW driver a little credit, he appears amazingly calm when surveying the damage afterward. But you have to wonder what this guy was thinking when trying a harebrained move like this. Check out the video to watch the carnage unfold.
BMW X5 driver repeatedly fails to understand big rig braking distances originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
20 Sep 2014 1:00am GMT
2015 Ford Mustang first drive
Finally. After drooling over the 2015 Ford Mustang since it first drove onto our screens last year, we've now had the chance to drive Ford's pony car in and around Los Angeles. Jonathon Ramsey focuses on what's most important here, the actual driving dynamics, in his full review. Give it a read, here.
New Cadillac flagship will be built in Detroit
Cadillac has big things in store for its next all-new product - literally. The automaker is finally launching a proper, large flagship sedan to slot above the XTS, based on rear-wheel-drive architecture, and ready to compete with the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. And today, we learned that Cadillac will build its new flagship in Detroit. 'Merica!
New radar gun can sense texting while driving
Our lead feet might not really love cops' radar guns, but when it comes to the subject of texting and driving, we're fully onboard with anything that will stop people from being so stupidly distracted (seriously - put your phones down). A new technology might allow those very radar guns we oft loathe to catch people texting while driving. Read all about it, here.
- 2015 GMC Sierra Elevation Edition goes dark, looks good
- Peugeot Quartz Concept is sinister 500-hp hybrid crossover
- Austrian policeman victim of explosive poo trap
20 Sep 2014 12:32am GMT
19 Sep 2014
It's fair to say that most consumers would prefer a green vehicle, one that has a lower impact on the environment and goes easy on costly fuel (in all senses of the term). The problem is that most people can't - or won't - pay the price premium or put up with the compromises today's green cars demand. We're not all "cashed-up greenies."
In 2013, the average selling price of a new vehicle was $32,086.
The truth is that most Americans can't afford a new car, green or not. In 2013, the average selling price of a new vehicle was $32,086. According to a recent Federal Reserve study, the median income for American families was $46,700 in 2013, a five-percent decline from $49,000 in 2010. While $32,000 for a car may not sound like a lot to some, it's about $630 a month financing for 48 months, assuming the buyer can come up with a $6,400 down payment. And that doesn't include gas, insurance, taxes, maintenance and all the rest. It's no wonder that a recent study showed that the average family could afford a new car in only one of 25 major US cities.
AutoTrader conducted a recent survey of 1,900 millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) about their new and used car buying habits. Isabelle Helms, AutoTrader's vice president of research, said millennials are "big on small" vehicles, which tend to be more affordable. Millennials also yearn for alternative-powered vehicles, but "they generally can't afford them."
When it comes to the actual behavior of consumers, the operative word is "affordable," not "green." In 2012, US new car sales rose to 14.5 million. But according to Manheim Research, at 40.5 million units, used car sales were almost three times as great. While the days of the smoke-belching beater are mostly gone, it's a safe bet that the used cars are far less green in terms of gas mileage, emissions, new technology, etc., than new ones.
19 Sep 2014 11:45pm GMT
Lamborghini had us seriously stumped when it released its teaser (above) for a new vehicle that'll debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. The image seemed to depict a fastback GT somewhat reminiscent of Lambo's earlier 2+2 models like the Espada, and was accompanied by the sentence, "Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it." We're still not entirely sure what the means, but a possible leaked logo for the car might offer some big hints about its powertrain.
According to the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market in Europe, Lamborghini applied for a trademark on the name Asterion on September 15 to cover vehicles, clothing, toys and video games. The logo (right) included a lightning bolt slashing through the 'O' in the word. That could suggest this forthcoming vehicle is a hybrid, but it's also not clear whether we're going to be hearing about a pure concept, or a production model.
The name itself might also be a tell. Asterion is one of the names for the Minotaur in Greek mythology, which is a creature that is part bull and part man. This could be another indication that the concept combines the traditional Lamborghini style with something else.
The possibility of a hybrid Lamborghini really shouldn't be a total shock, though. The latest run of hypercars like the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1 already use the tech, and the company's own Aventador has capacitors to power its stop/start system. Still, we can't wait to see what the new Lambo has to show when it debuts on October 2.
19 Sep 2014 10:58pm GMT
It's always amazing to see how different kinds of racecars are made. Formula One racers are often constructed in modern architectural marvels that hint at some of the cutting-edge technology going into the racing. Conversely, rallying is all about sliding around on a varied course as fast as possible, but it often leaves a vehicle caked in mud. So it makes some sense Olsbergs MSE, or simply (OMSE) rally car shop in Nynashamn, Sweden, shows technological sophistication in a more down-to-earth setting. It builds Ford Fiesta ST racers for Global Rallycross there, and this new video gives viewers a tour through the work.
Former rally driver Andreas Eriksson runs OMSE. These days instead of racing, he and the company's 46 employees are building Ford racers from scratch. A ton of work goes into constructing each one, and according to Eriksson, it takes 400 hours to complete each body. At times, things are so busy that some of the technicians live in the shop in apartments that are on premises. There's even a restaurant to keep them fed. Sadly the dyno room is empty during this visit, though.
By the time OMSE is done, a rallycross car might resemble a Fiesta ST on the outside, but as you see in the video, it's a completely different beast underneath. Check out the work it takes to build one of them, and scroll down to read more about it in the official release.
Ford opens the doors on its Swedish rally skunkworks originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
19 Sep 2014 10:13pm GMT
The term "luxury" gets thrown around a lot when speaking about vehicles that are actually somewhat affordable like BMWs and Cadillacs, but Rolls-Royce and hotel magnate Stephen Hung (above in the wild suit) are proving what real opulence really is with the largest single order from the fabled British marque, ever. Hung is purchasing 30 custom examples of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase (pictured right) for $20 million. To push the deal even further over the top, two of the Phantoms are the most expensive examples ever commissioned.
This assemblage of über-luxury sedans isn't for Hung's personal collection. Instead, the cars are going to be part of the fleet for the swanky hotel and casino that he's opening in Macau, China, in 2016 called the Louis XIII. According to The Washington Post, when the 200-room resort opens, the Louis XIII is supposed to be one of the most mind-blowing places in the world, including a suite that costs $100,000 a night.
When completed, the 30 cars will be in matching crimson red to echo the exterior of the hotel. That color will be carried into the interior trim, as well, including the gauges, and the seats will have a checker board pattern. Each one will be outfitted with a bespoke clock from Graff Luxury Watches. The two most expensive Phantoms will get all of this attention, plus gold-plated trim covering the interior and exterior.
As this huge order suggests, Hung doesn't do anything on a small scale. If you need even more proof of that, Rolls-Royce isn't just providing him with the cars, the automaker is also helping to design the parking area to house them and training the staff to drive the special fleet. Scroll down to read the full announcement of this historic order.
19 Sep 2014 9:30pm GMT
Forget about the so-called sporty Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition. If you want a General Motors pickup with some added style, this one looks like a more cohesive, well-done package to our eyes (though it's also not "sporty," despite GM using that term over and over again). It's called the GMC Sierra Elevation Edition, and it hits dealerships later this year.
For its more stylish truck, GMC has fitted the 2015 Sierra Double Cab with a body-colored grille surround, door handles, mirror caps, side moldings and bumpers. The truck also rides on black 20-inch aluminum wheels.
The Elevation Edition, which GMC contends qualifies as a sport truck, comes standard with the Sierra's 285-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6, though buyers can opt for the more powerful 5.3-liter V8 with 355 hp. Other standard goodies include OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and Bluetooth, all housed in the 4.2-inch Intellilink color display.
Pricing information has yet to be announced, but in the mean time, click through the gallery above to see more shots of the Elevation Edition, and take a glance below for the official press blast.
2015 GMC Sierra Elevation Edition goes dark, looks good originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
19 Sep 2014 8:45pm GMT
There are few things more frustrating in life than watching your car being towed away and not being able to do anything about it. However, this guy reportedly in Walthamstow, East London, apparently wasn't going to let that happen to him.
As the story goes, the driver in question made it to his car just in time to find it loaded on the back of a flatbed tow truck over a "civil dispute," a parking infraction. However, his Vauxhall Astra hadn't yet been strapped down to be hauled away. The vehicle wouldn't get the chance to leave on the truck, either, because the owner hopped in, threw it into reverse and mashed the throttle. A brief moment of airtime was followed by a sickening crunch and scraping metal, but according to UK newspaper The Daily Mail, the guy drove off afterward.
Of course, we're now left to wonder which has ended up being more expensive: the repair bill for any damage caused by the three-foot fall or the fine for having his car towed. It's hard to imagine this driver thought about the math before this stunt, and we also have to wonder if the flatbed driver didn't get his license plate number, a reality that might lead to further troubles down the road for our flying hatchback artist.
Watch as upset motorist drives off flatbed truck to avoid parking ticket originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
19 Sep 2014 7:58pm GMT
News 19 Sep, 2014
Dutch company Vencer launches the Sarthe - 622bhp supercar is yours for £213,000
19 Sep 2014 3:53pm GMT
News 19 Sep, 2014
First look at 100mpg C-Class, plus Merc planning 10 plug-in hybrids by 2017
19 Sep 2014 3:08pm GMT
News 19 Sep, 2014
Mercedes demos its wireless charging technology, available as an option on all plug-in hybrid and pure electric models within two years
19 Sep 2014 2:41pm GMT
News 19 Sep, 2014
Dacia Duster kitted out with styling and trim upgrades - on sale now, pricing still starts from £9,495
19 Sep 2014 11:15am GMT
News 19 Sep, 2014
New special edition Range Rover Evoque to debut at Paris Motor Show, with innovative Head-Up Display tech also joining the range
19 Sep 2014 9:15am GMT
18 Sep 2014
News 18 Sep, 2014
As many as 325 jobs could be lost at Lotus, thanks to cost-cutting measures at the British firm
18 Sep 2014 4:32pm GMT
News 18 Sep, 2014
Engineers at Nissan's Arizona-based Technical Centre develop Leaf and Navara-based EV pick-up, called the Sparky
18 Sep 2014 3:02pm GMT
News 18 Sep, 2014
Heavily disguised Mercedes-Benz E-Class spied testing for the first time, ahead of its launch in 2016
18 Sep 2014 1:09pm GMT
Opinion 18 Sep, 2014
Mazda has perfected the MX-5 in such a way that not even Ferrari could do better, says Mike Rutherford
18 Sep 2014 10:07am GMT
17 Sep 2014
News 17 Sep, 2014
Teaser shot of new Lamborghini concept hints at an all-new model, possibly with four seats
17 Sep 2014 4:29pm GMT
News 17 Sep, 2014
VW Polo GTI takes on the Fiesta ST with a more powerful 1.8 TSI engine and a six-speed manual gearbox
17 Sep 2014 4:10pm GMT
News 17 Sep, 2014
Hong Kong tycoon places gigantic order for 30 Rolls-Royce Phantoms featuring gold-plated accents
17 Sep 2014 4:07pm GMT