Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

REMINDER: Enter to win a DashDAQ Series II

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If you haven’t already entered to win the Grand Prize of our 2007 Holiday Sweepstakes, click here to do it now. The prize of a DashDAQ Series II is worth $695, and it’s more than just a computer for your car. Read more about it on the DashDAQ website, click here to enter, and read the official rules. We’ll be randomly selecting a commenter as the winner at 12:00PM EST, Monday 12/17/07. Good luck!

 

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Spy Shots: 2009/10 Ford Fiesta

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click above image for more spy shots

Brenda Priddy & Co. caught a Euro Fiesta mule filling up its gas tank in North Sweden, and the car can already be seen wearing a few cues inspired by the Verve Concept that debuted in Frankfurt. First and foremost is the large front grille that punctuates the cladding this mule is wearing. This car’s beltline also sweeps up dramatically from front to back, and the rear taillights are mounted on the C/D-pillar just like the Verve’s. Of course, we’re interested in the European Fiesta because after it debuts over there next summer as a 2009 model, it will arrive in the U.S. virtually unchanged the following year as a 2010 model. Expect both three- and five-door hatchback models to be offered, which makes the loss of those model types in the larger Focus lineup a bit easier for us to swallow.

[Photos: Brenda Priddy & Co.]

Gallery: 2009/10 Ford Fiesta – spy shots

Continue reading Spy Shots: 2009/10 Ford Fiesta

 

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Performance-based pay raises coming back to Ford

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Cost-of-living pay increases are nice and all, but after you’ve invested your heart and soul in a job well done and have performance metrics to prove it, a merit increase should be expected, as well. Salaried employees for Ford haven’t seen a merit-based increase in pay since last year. Regardless of how well they performed their jobs, the Blue Oval just didn’t have enough money to invest back into its workforce. While Ford claims it’s hasn’t “completely turned the corner”, it’s doing well enough that merit-based pay increases are being reinstated this April.

According to The Detroit News, Ford is setting aside 2.7% of its total U.S. payroll for salaried workers so that it can dish out raises based on how well each employee has performed. Managers will get an automatic half percent pay increase, and bonuses will also be doled out. There’s a catch, though. Salaried employees will also be asked to be pay 24% more for their health insurance next year, an amount that breaks down to be between $20 and $25 per month, which TDN reports is more than the merit increase for most workers will cover. For their sake, hopefully Ford will turn the corner soon so these people can get paid.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 

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2007 SSC Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo for sale

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Getting tired of the staid supercars sitting in your garage? Now is your chance to own the Guinness-verified world’s fastest car, the SSC Ultimate Aero which was clocked at an average two-way speed of 255.83 mph – besting both the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX. Motorcars of Las Vegas, the sole distributor of the Ultimate Aero, has chassis #SSC-07-004 on its showroom floor ready for its first owner. This is the first one they have had for immediate delivery, and there are only 15 miles on the odometer. The twin-turbo V8 mounted amidships puts out 1183 horsepower and 1094 lb-ft torque. Other features include a full carbon fiber body, navigation system, back-up camera, and a front lift system to clear speed bumps. If this particular one doesn’t suit your taste, you can also commission one to your own specifications.

[Source: Motorcars of Las Vegas]

Gallery: 2007 SSC Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo

 

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First nighttime F1 race gears up

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On September 28, 2008 at 8 pm, the first Formula 1 race ever held at night will begin in Singapore. Sixty-eight miles of power cable will provide juice to 1,500 light projectors mounted on 240 pylons around the track. What does that mean? It means three billion watts of power — about four times brighter than a sports stadium. And that might make it the only night time race that requires sunglasses.

Recent developments in Melbourne, Australia, however, mean that Singapore might not be so special for long. Hella has created a special night lighting system for the Australian Grand Prix, and is waiting on a response from the FIA to move forward with it.

 

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Chevy Silverado commercial spoils CBS show for fans

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Earlier this year, the CBS show Cane was the seventh most searched new fall show. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about it, neither good or bad. That changed this week when someone at CBS had a Homer moment (“D’oh!”) and ran a story-spoiling commercial before the plot had run its course on the show.

On the show, cut to: Jaime taking off in a Chevy Silverado into a cane field, being chased by his father, Alex (Jimmy Smits in the lead role), and getting caught in a fire set by a rival. Fade to black. Cut to commercial: a Chevy Silverado bursting through a wall of flames, and a narrator asking “Did you think that stunt with the Silverado was hot?” Cut to viewers asking: “Uh, what the…?”

But come on — was this really a plot spoiler? Because you really thought it possible that the main character and his son were going to die in a fire in the show’s first season? Really? CBS, in fact, did get one angry call. And with that, probably lost the one ardent fan of Cane.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

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Volkswagen undergoes name change

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (Dec. 12, 2007) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it has changed its name to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. The change will be fully effective January 1.

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Nissan GT-R dynoed at 475 hp, 428 lb.-ft. of torque

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Japan’s BestCar buff book grabbed the keys to a new Nissan GT-R and made for the nearest Super Autobacs. Once they arrived, they mounted Godzilla atop a Dynapack chassis dynamometer, removed the wheels and laid down a few runs to get power figures straight from the axles. The numbers are due for publication in the mag’s December 25th issue, but our new friend Jeff made Christmas come early.

The dyno chart shows a peak output of 475 hp at 6,115 rpm and 428 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,130 rpm. Those numbers are incredible close to Nissan’s claim of 480 hp and 430 lb.-ft. of twist, but we’ll have to wait until a few lucky souls slap the GT-R onto a set of rollers to get some idea of wheel horsepower and torque figures.

Looking over the chart shows very little happening before 3,000 rpm, which is contrary to a number of driving reports we’ve read so far. Turbo lag has virtually been eliminated on many new models, the GT-R included, so we’re assuming that the Dynapack at Super Autobacs wasn’t paying attention until later on in the rev range.

[Source: NAGTROC]

 

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Jaguar and Land Rover to build coolest design studio on Earth

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Even though Jaguar and Land Rover might only have a foot or so of visibility into the fog of their business futures, they continue to plan for long-term success. The latest step is a $4 million investment in a “virtual reality center” that will create three-dimensional projections for designers and engineers to study, saving the time and expense of having to build individual models.

Jag and Land Rover worked with four suppliers to create the four-walled studio. Projecting power will come from eight Sony SRX-S105 projectors, each one of them as powerful as the best cinema-standard projector and each one having four times the resolution of HD. With that kind of capability, designers — wearing 3-D glasses — will be looking at photorealistic representations of their creations.

When finished in the spring of 2008, it will be the most advanced design studio in the world. We’re glad to see the two embattled marques focused on nothing but getting better. Now if Jag could use that studio to make a kick-ass XJ replacement, and make the XF — as good as it is — everything it could be, then they’d really have a blockbuster studio on their hands.

Continue reading Jaguar and Land Rover to build coolest design studio on Earth

 

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Nissan-built Suzuki pickup confirmed

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Nissan is all about collaboration with its competitors, as evident by the rumor today that it could enter into an agreement with Chrysler to co-develop cars, trucks and engines. Japan’s third largest automaker partnered up with Suzuki in 2006, and as Mike Levine from Pickuptruck.com figured out, one big collaboration that has resulted is a new mid-size Suzuki pickup that will be based off of Nissan’s Frontier platform and be built by Nissan at its Smyrna, Tennessee plant. Both automakers have now officially confirmed that they’re working on the truck together, and the only thing left to wonder is when it will debut and what it will be called. Mike Levine again provided us with an educated guess that the truck will show up at the Chicago Auto Show, and based on recent trademark filings by Suzuki, will be called the Equator. We feel compelled to reiterate our initial concern that entering the mid-size truck market is not the best way for Suzuki to continue increasing its sales in North America, as the segment is shrinking at fast pace. Isn’t there a small three-door hatch you’d rather sell in the U.S., Suzuki?

[Source: Suzuki, Nissan]

Continue reading Nissan-built Suzuki pickup confirmed

 

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