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Archive for the ‘industry news’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Lotus Finally Gets A New Owner!

For the longest time, Lotus seemed like the most under-utilized car company in the industry. At the very least, it ranks high on the list of automakers that have failed to live up to its potential. Fortunately, things are now taking a turn for the better for the beleaguered British automaker as Hong Kong-based automaker Geely acquires a 51-percent share in Lotus from its parent company, Proton.

In addition to the 51-percent stake in Lotus, Geely is also acquiring a 49.9 percent stake in Proton itself from the company’s parent firm, Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom. The movement of all these chess pieces means Lotus is free from its struggling past ownership and under the watchful eye of Geely, the fledgling Chinese automaker responsible for reviving Volvo. Geely’s assumed goal to do the same for Lotus, which is largely credited for introducing some of the best handling, lightweight sports cars back in its heyday. It’s been a while since Lotus was a relevant name in the auto industry, but with Geely now in charge, there’s a lot of optimism in the air.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini’s Fourth Model Could Arrive…In Five Years

It was only a few years ago when Lamborghini set benchmarks to sell 1,000 units per year. Times have changed since then and House Raging Bull has changed with it. Now, Lamborghini is ready to bring out the Urus SUV, it’s third current model and the ticket to carry sales to 7,000 units per year by 2018. But the Urus isn’t the end of the company’s aggressive expansion because a fourth model is on the horizon.

Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali refused to dive into great detail about the fourth Lamborghini model, telling only Car Advice that the company won’t rush into expanding to a four-model family until its current three-model lineup is stabilized. That would require a few years to get the Urus up-to-speed with market forces while helping maintain relevance for its two supercars, the Huracán and Aventador. Domenicali foresees this stability to arrive after the first wave of production, possibly around 2022 or 2023. From there, discussions of a fourth Lamborghini model could start depending on what market trends are taking place at that time. The timetable is still at least five years away, so fans of the Raging Bull shouldn’t get too excited just yet. But, it’s possibly in the cards. That’s more than what anyone could expect a few years back when exclusivity was at the height of Lambo’s priorities.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Lucid Motors Crashes Back To Earth, Admits It Needs More Money

Over-promising and under-delivering isn’t a good business practice. Lucid Motors is learning that the hard way after the company’s chief technology officer, Peter Rawlinson, admitted to Automotive News that it’s going to need more money before it can make good on its promise to be a game-changing electric car maker.

According to Rawlinson, the company is looking to secure its next series of financing before it can proceed with breaking ground on a $700 million production facility in Arizona that will house the production of the Lucid Air electric sedan. The company is touting the car as the first real challenger to the Tesla Model S. More cautiously, Rawlinson added that it would be “irresponsible to start moving fast or start anything until we have a financial runway to execute that professionally and with absolute integrity.”

The statement comes with a tinge of humility – one that flies against what the company said in December 2016 when it stood on a pulpit and proudly and quite loudly told anybody willing to listen it was going to take the fight to Tesla. Its vehicle was promised to beat the Model S in several conceivable ways, including a range of more than 400 miles thanks to a larger battery pack. The startup alluded to its partnership with Samsung SDI as its trump card, confident that despite the ills Samsung has been through in recent years, it still had a product that could reshape the electric car industry in the future.

None of that will matter though if Lucid can’t find the funds it needs to get the project off the ground. That’s the most pressing issue Lucid Motors will have to deal with, although at this point, it might be better for the company to tone down on the rhetoric before it knows it has a product that can literally live up to them.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Will Modern Road-Going Cars be Banned from Track Days?

Modern day vehicle safety systems have proven themselves to be a huge benefit since we humans are too dumb to put down the phone and pay attention to the road. We’re so out of touch with paying attention to what we’re doing that manufacturers have had to develop automatic emergency braking and even lane keep assist systems to help prevent accidents. Our lack of attention isn’t limited to just cars either – remember the people who were walking into traffic during the Pokemon Go phase? Anyway, back to the topic, these automatic safety systems are great for road use, but what about the track? Well, truth is, these safety systems pose a serious hazard and can lead to mishaps on the track. That’s why the Genesee Valley Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America has taken a huge step and banned any vehicle with automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist systems from some of their track day events.

In the official announcement, it is claimed that these systems may behave in “unpredictable and undesirable ways on the racetrack.” And, it makes sense, considering these systems are designed to prevent most of the maneuvers that happen during a competitive day at the track. GVC has gone so far as to say it will ban all vehicles equipped with these systems from its HPDE events, even if they can be disabled, and that anyone showing up with a vehicle equipped with such features will be denied participation and will forfeit their entry fees.

Sounds pretty intense, and is a low-blow to those who happen to own a vehicle with said systems. But, it gets worse. This is just one chapter of one club, and chances are this will catch on, and quick, as these systems can cause accidents on the track. A lot of BMW vehicles come standard with these systems and all will by 2022, so chances of taking a new BMW to any of these events in the future is slim and none.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Car Find of the Decade: Two Unmolested, Barely Driven, 1987 Grand Nationals Twins

Every now and then we come across some crazy barn find, or some crazy deal on a car that deserves a new life, but this time, I think we’ve stumbled upon something that’s absolutely mind blowing. The cars were living in a garage in Oklahoma and covered in dust, but the seller at the time was asking a cool $200,000 for the pair. William Avila, a member of the GN/Ttype Central group on Facebook, decided to go check them out, and he’s pretty happy that he did. See, these aren’t your everyday Grand Nationals (if there is such a thing.) No, these things are so unmolested that they haven’t even been broken in yet. Yeah, you read that right – they only have 1,399 miles combined. One has just 592 miles while the other has 807. But, that isn’t even the craziest part.

These two Grand Nationals, while obviously filthy from sitting for so long, are practically brand new inside and out. They need a little bit of love after sitting for so long, of course, but mechanically they are pretty much brand new. One was even said to smell new inside – an ’87 Grand National that still has the new car smell. Oh, how I would love to know what it feels like to find something to pure. Anyway, the story gets better. These two cars have sequential VIN numbers, which means they rolled off the line one after the other, and to take things even one step further, they were optioned the same way. They really are Twins in every sense of the word, and have been together from the time manufacturing started until now – they rode on the same transport, and went to the same owner. Pretty crazy, huh?

After digging around on Facebook a bit, it turns out that Mr. Avila did end up purchasing the two Grand Nationals. The end price is unknown but is said to be lower than the initial asking price of $200,000. And, since they are 1987 models, the 3.8-liter under their hoods delivers a cool 245 horsepower instead of the initial 200 ponies that was available when Buick introduced the Grand National in 1984. All told, Mr. Avila and his buddy, who presumably went in on the purchase with him, plan to keep the two together. After some mild restoration, they’ll be displayed at local car shows and certainly be a prime topic of conversation at each one.


PostHeaderIcon Will Hyperloop One Revolutionize the Transport and Travel Industries?

Hyperloop one has been busy working on its test track in Nevada and has made a lot of progress, confirming that the company has finalized the tube installation on its 1640-foot test track. It’s not quite operational yet, but one could say that things are coming along swimmingly. So swimmingly, in fact, that Hyperloop One has just released a list of routes here in the U.S. that all have the potential for being built in the coming years. Most routes cover a few hundred miles, give or take, but some go much farther, with a route from Cheyenne to Houston taking the cake at 1,152 miles from end to end. The smallest proposed route is just 64 miles, linking Boston to Somerset and Providence in Massachusetts.

Other potential routes would link Los Angeles to San Diego with 121 miles of track, Miami to Orlando for a route total of 257 miles, and there’s even a mini route between Boston, Somerset, and Providence in Massachusetts stretches just 64 miles. A track linking Reno to Las Vegas would extend a total of 454 miles and make the trip to Vegas much quicker for those living in the northern end of the state. Hyperloop one expects a completed system to be able to reach speed in the 700 mph range, making a non-stop trip from Cheyenne, WY to Houston, TX take less than two hours. That’s less than half of the 4 hours and 40 minutes it would take you to get there on a non-stop flight as of the time of this writing.

The chances are that Dubai will get the first function track, thanks to tons of interest, but with these potential routes in mind, the U.S. just might get dibs on the first track. After all, that 64-mile route in Massachusetts would be relatively cheap to build in comparison to some of the other proposed routes. But, how will hyperloop one – should it prove to be a successful innovation – affect the transport and travel industries? Keep reading to find out.


PostHeaderIcon Buying a Car vs Leasing: What you Need to Know to Make the Right Decision

When you stroll onto a dealership lot, car salesmen do everything they can to gain your interest in making a decision about what car you want and how you want to obtain it. That in itself isn’t a decision to be taken lightly; after all, you’re going to be driving the vehicle for at least the next few years. But, what’s more important is whether you decide to purchase the car or lease the car. Both options have their benefits and downfalls but which one is really right for you, your family, and your current financial situation?

To put things simply, purchasing a car means that it’s yours to do what you wish – as long as you keep up on your loan payments, of course. If you want to install a custom sound system, make mechanical upgrades, or even repaint it, you’re free to do so. But, you’ll also be burdened with making a sometimes hefty down payment, paying for repair costs that occur later in the life of the vehicle once the warranty coverage has expired, and you have to consider how much value the car will lose between the time you purchase it and the time you decide to sell it and trade it in for a new vehicle. When you lease, you don’t have to worry about the aforementioned burdens, as they typically have smaller down payments, and carry a full warranty through the entirety of the lease. But, on the other hand, you’re responsible for any excess wear and tear, mileage that exceeds your predetermined allotment, and have zero equity in the vehicle. Those who choose to lease a vehicle typically pay less in sales tax, but usually need a higher credit score and often end up paying more for insurance while the car is in their possession.

That’s just the tip of a very large iceberg, though, as there are a lot of different things that you need to be aware of if you want to make an informed decision. Your credit score will even play a factor in which options are available to you and what the end cost of purchasing or leasing a car will be. So, we’ve put a guide together that covers the pros and cons of purchasing and leasing, as well as information that will help you decide which option is best for you before you even head over to your local car dealer.


PostHeaderIcon Tesla Sucker Punches GM as Stock Prices Pass the $300 Mark

Tesla, as a company, has made huge advances in feasible, all-electric mobility and autonomous technology and has been growing at an alarming rate. One could even argue that it knows how to sell the hell out of its electric cars, evidenced by the delivery of just over 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2017 that included an eight-percent growth in sales for the Model S and 381-percent growth for the Model X over the same quarter in 2016. But, one thing it’s doesn’t do so well is make profit – something that the brand is commonly criticized for by other key players in the business. Be that as it may, the company is doing well when it comes to stock market and valuation.

With production of the Model 3 on the horizon and a record-setting first quarter as far as vehicle deliveries go, Tesla’s stock jumped past the $300 barrier for the first time in company history. But wait; that’s not all. This jump also puts Tesla’s market cap over $52 billion, a feat that puts it above both Ford and GM here in the U.S. As of the time of this writing, Ford’s market cap was $45.07 billion, GM’s was at $51.23 billion, and Tesla hit $52.08 billion. This officially makes it the largest and most valuable automaker in the U.S. by market capitalization.

That’s a pretty big deal for Tesla, especially considering the company rarely turns out a profit. But what does it mean for the long term?


PostHeaderIcon April Fools' 2017 – Recap

As if we haven’t heard enough about “fake news” lately, April 1st usually bring with it an expectation of tricks and pranks. The auto industry is more than willing to get in on this annual tradition, and 2017 brought out all kinds of entertaining, hilarious, and otherwise bizarre April Fools’ jokes from the world of cars. And uh, yeah, we too might be guilty of yanking your chain, dear reader.

So, to help you get your feet back on the ground, and possibly eke out a chuckle or two, we’ve recapped all the big jokes right here in this article. Included is a featherweight supercar, an emotive car horn, a high-performance tractor, cats in hats, and a whole lot more, plus all the pranks we here at TopSpeed managed to come up with.

Which begs the question – which of these ideas are worthy of a shot at making it in reality? Or, to say it another way, which of these jokes shouldn’t be jokes at all, but real? Let us know in the comments!

And, as always, enjoy!

Continue reading for the full April Fools’ 2017 recap.


PostHeaderIcon Tesla 8.1 Software Update Includes "Turtle Mode" for Drag Racing

Tesla just rolled out the new 8.1 software, which includes updates to Autopilot that supports version 2.0 of the driver assistance system. The upgrade essentially brings newer Model S and Model X vehicles up to date with the first-generation software by increasing the speed limit for Autosteer, among other features. Autospeed speed limit increases from 55 to 80 mph, the Summon feature lets owners call their vehicles from parking spaces without anyone behind the wheel, while the lane change feature allows drivers to have the car initiate a lane change while in Autosteer mode by using the turn signal. Finally, the software update reportedly adds a feature called “Turtle Mode.”

According to sources inside Tesla that requested they remain anonymous, this mode was designed specifically for the drag strip, where the Model S has been making quite a few headlines in recent months by defeating some of the most powerful gasoline-fueled vehicles. But, unlike other race-specific modes that change the car’s settings for increased performance, this one is actually a feature that enables the Model S to win races effortlessly. Specifically, instead of the driver needing to launch as soon as the lights go green, the car launches by itself automatically. Not only that, but it also activates the throttle just in time to win the race at the very last second. Basically the Model S can leave the line later than its competitor, but still cross the finish line in first place.

Sounds a bit sci-fi right? Well, it’s Tesla and Elon Musk we’re talking about here!

The Tesla insider wasn’t very keen to provide specific details, but did say that the racing app is able to calculate how fast the other car is going by adding the make, model and year in the Model S’ computer. In the situation in which the opposition drives a modded vehicle, the system can reportedly monitor acceleration and speed and automatically compensate with throttle modulation. By doing so, the app keeps the Model S on the starting line at the beginning and launches just in time to put the car’s aerodynamic nose just ahead enough to win. Thus it eliminates the need to leave early, which makes drag racing less stressful for the driver.

The silly “Turtle Mode” name is beginning to make more sense now, right? If you still don’t get it, it means you didn’t watching too much Bugs Bunny as a kid and you definitely don’t know who Cecil Turtle is. Just google “Tortoise beats hare”…

The app that makes drag racing effortless — just like almost everything else in a Tesla — only works for quarter-mile tracks. Because it’s still a beta version, the feature can’t be used on longer drag strips, but this should change by the end of the year. “Turtle Mode” is also a hidden feature that requires a specific set of inputs to find, just like “Ludicrous Mode.” Needless to say, this “Turtle” feature sounds pretty ludicrous for a car that wasn’t designed for racing, but it’s probably Tesla’s way of making fun of all those high-revving, gasoline-powered sports cars at the drag strip.

Elon Musk sure seems to have a lot of free time on his hands, but hey, I’ll take anything that would make a Challenger SRT Hellcat driver burst in tears at the end of the quarter-mile run. Hopefully the Model S will be as efficient against the Challenger SRT Demon too.


PostHeaderIcon President Trump wants to Remove Gas Guzzler Tax

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to remove the Gas Guzzler Tax, according to a tweet he made today. Having called global warming a hoax in the past and promised to take the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement, Trump now thinks that the Gas Guzzler Tax is also a hoax that must be eliminated.

“Just like global warming, the gas guzzler tax is a total hoax. It must go and I will take care of it,” he said on his Twitter account.

Granted, a short statement on social media doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump will actually remove the tax, especially given that he has changed his mind and denied his most controversial affirmations on many occasions, but he did sign an Energy Independence Executive Order that will reverse Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions. Compared to that, eliminating the Gas Guzzler Tax is child’s play.

Needless to say, Trump’s tweet is far from surprising. In 2012, he used social media to claim that the concept of global warming “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” while in 2013 he called it “a total, and very expensive hoax. At some point he even went as far as to call global warming “bullshit” simply because the U.S. had “record low temps” and the “coldest weather in years” in 2014. His aggressive diatribe toward global warming continued in the presidential campaign. As soon as he was elected, he named a climate change skeptic to lead the EPA and announced plans to revisit fuel standards. Trumps administration also said it plans to cut funds for climate research because it is “a waste of money.”

All told, eliminating the Gas Guzzler Tax seems like something Trump may want to do in the near future, but it remains to be seen whether he will find enough support to actually turn yet another tweet into law.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Poised For AMG Buyout, German-Tuned Mustang Possibly In The Works

Last October, German officials took steps to ban the production of new internal combustion-powered cars by the year 2030. Although mounting pressure to create ever more efficient green vehicles is expected over the next few decades, an outright ICE ban is considered an extreme measure that could pose a huge challenge to the established German automakers. As such, AMG, the performance engineering firm best known for churning out high-spec Mercedes vehicles, might head stateside to circumvent the looming ban. Ford has been tapped as one possible buyer, prompting rumors that the Blue Oval’s next pony car could see a high-performance AMG iteration sometime in the near future.

According to insiders, Ford is eager to pick up AMG to help bolster its line of sports cars, and in particular the Mustang. “The Mustang is a global product now,” a source familiar with the matter told TopSpeed. “It’s important that Ford gives customers the sense they are buying something sporty, but also of the highest quality. An AMG badge would help monumentally in that regard.”

Whether or not Ford will go through with the purchase remains to be seen. There still remains a possibility that a rival like General Motors could pick up the wayward tuning company instead, but it’s unlikely given Ford’s reported interest in the deal.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Dodge To Offer Challenger Demon With Faster All-Electric Option

With the seemingly endless parade of teaser videos and pictures that Dodge is churning out to whet our appetites for the upcoming Challenger SRT Demon, there’s certainly been no shortage of speculation as to what will be offered under the hood. Most folks believe this drag monster will come equipped with the same blown 6.2-liter V-8 as the Challenger Hellcat, albeit with a bit more output than the 707 horsepower provided by the bad cat. However, no one expected this – electric motors and a battery pack.

The startling revelation comes courtesy of insider sources citing an internal memo between Dodge and SRT that looks to “explore alternative power sources” in the ongoing quest for ever-faster performance machines. One company official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the Tesla Model S was considered a serious threat to the Demon’s intended domination at the drag strip, and as such, Dodge would offer an even-faster Demon EV to counter.

While electric performance enthusiasts are thrilled at the prospect, traditionalists are appalled. “I want my car to sound like it’s a volcano erupting, with explosions and fire – not an overactive blender,” said one elderly racer upon hearing the news.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BMW, Mercedes, and Audi Just Got Punked Out by the Kia Stinger

There was a time when getting bullied meant you fought back and reclaimed your dignity, and after years of being bullied by the world, Kia finally started swinging back at the competition. You could say Kia fired its first shots with the 2017 Kia Cadenza and the 2016 Kia Optima, but it went full-on nuclear when it showed up at the Detroit Auto Show with the Kia Stinger. It’s sporty, insanely comfortable, packed to the brim with technology, and offered in range-topping form with a 3.3-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that we now know is capable of pushing it up to 62 mph in as little as 4.9 seconds – 0.2-seconds faster than Kia’s original estimate of 5.1 seconds.

News of its official 0-to-60 time comes courtesy of is Asian-market debut at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show, where it’s being displayed, for the first time, next to the Stinger GT Concept from which it got a lot of its DNA. So, for those of you still on the fence about this Korean brand, it’s time to accept that it’s not the econobox, throw-away car maker that it once was. I mean, after all, we’re talking about a Kia with as much as 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. But, the real question is, how does its 0-to-60 time stack up against the competition? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Would You Let Elon Musk Connect Your Brain to a Computer?

Elon Musk isn’t a bad guy. He can be arrogant at times (can’t we all?) but he’s made huge strides in battery technology, autonomous driving technology, and even getting big hunks of metal (that may eventually carry us to Mars) into space. You would think that a man like Musk, who’s splitting his time between companies like SpaceX and Tesla, would have a full plate, but apparently, his plate isn’t full enough as he has announced a new venture that seeks to interface our brains with computers. The company, which is in the very early stages of creation is called “Neuralink” and looks to implant tiny electrodes in our brains to allow us to connect directly to computers.

The crazy thing is that the whole thing has been pretty well thought out, and has been a concept routinely explored in science fiction as well. If this new company is successful, it would be able to make a direct cortical interface between man and computer, ultimately allowing our thoughts and maybe even memories to be downloaded to a computer, or allow us to control a computer without using anything but our minds. Eventually, the technology could even be used to increase cognitive capabilities that allow us to increase our intelligence and memory. It’s like adding RAM to a computer, really. It might sound a little outlandish but, believe it or not, it’s actually a feasible idea. After all, the human brain is considered to be the most advanced computer in existence thus far, right?

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon California Sticks it to Trump; Approves Vehicle Pollution Rules

What happens when an entire state hates the President of the United States? Well, it defies him every chance they get, and in this case, they gave Trump the proverbial middle finger by approving vehicle emission regulations for 2022 to 2025 that the Trump admiration says needs further review. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) reviewed their own rules (and the work of independent analysts, apparently) and found that it’s vehicles standards are achievable and cost-effective. Meanwhile, the Trump administration looks to possibly relax emissions regulations at the federal level, with EPA Boss Scott Pruitt, saying that the 2025 emissions rules merits review.

But, that didn’t stop California and CARB from going ahead and pushing its regulations through anyway. The standards set in place would require a fuel economy as high as 46.3 mpg in 2025. The stricter pollution controls are expected, by the U.S. and California, to increase the cost of each car sold in 2025 by about $1,000. But, the Trump Administration is more worried about protecting jobs and providing consumers with affordable cars. Meanwhile, CARB board member Daniel Sperling has said that “If anything, these standards should be more aggressive.”

In the end, it’s the beginning of a battle that’s going to last at least as long as Trump is in office. The federal government can challenge California’s ability to make rules about greenhouse gasses and fuel economy, but that will only stir the pot and make things worse.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Anarchists Go Wild In Oregon, Repair Potholes

Anarchy – it’s a term often associated with pandemonium, craziness, mass hysteria. After all, how can society survive without the protections of the state? Well, as it turns out, the state can leave much to be desired, as evidenced by the fact our roads are falling to pieces before our eyes. As such, a group of Portland anarchists have taken it upon themselves to fill in the gaps – literally.

As reported by local news outlet The Oregonian, an anonymous group dubbed “Portland Anarchist Road Care” has decided to take the initiative in fixing the city’s mangled streets. The group reportedly repaired potholes on Southeast Salmon Street last month, and plan further repairs in the near future.

“By creating structures to serve the same purpose as state structures, such as our organization, we have the ability to show that government is not necessary for society to function, that we can have a truly free and liberated society,” a group representative stated in an email to The Oregonian.

City officials warn that while there is no explicit law forbidding the repairs, there could be issues with liability if the repairs are not done properly.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Elon Musk Not Happy About Trump's New Plan for Nasa

Earth’s atmosphere serves as the doorstep to the rest of the universe with an all-new frontier just waiting to be explored and discoveries waiting to be made. It’s been more than 40 years since any human (that we know of) has stepped foot on a celestial body other than the earth, and Elon Musk plans to send a manned mission to mars as early as 2022 via his prized SpaceX rockets that are, in fact, very promising. However, on the other side of the spectrum, President Trump signed legislation S. 442, which provides funding of $19.5 billion to NASA and a goal (or ultimatum) to get to Mars by 2033.

At face value, the funding and goal to get to Mars seems promising, as that means that NASA isn’t going to experience the same funding cuts as other science agencies in the mix. It looks so good, in fact, that Recode co-founder, Kara Swisher, tweeted to Musk saying “Somewhere @elonmusk is smiling.” As it turns out, though, Musk has a completely different view and isn’t really happy at all. See, Musk wanted added funding for the Mars mission, while in fact, this bill does nothing of the sorts. His replies on twitter say it all:

“ @Karaswisher I am not. (smiling) This bill changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing. Existing programs stay in place, and there is no added funding for Mars.” He continued in a second tweet, saying that maybe there will be a bill in the future that makes a difference, but this one isn’t it. And, he’s not the only expert who thinks that way either. Scott Pace, the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, thinks it’s more of a vote for stability than it is a great leap forward.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Shelby GT350 Owners Are Ready to Burn the Blue Oval at the Stake

The Ford Shelby GT350 was Ford’s answer to the new Camaro Z/28 and the car Ford enthusiasts had been waiting for. It came with more aggressive exterior styling that reduced aerodynamic drag, a new front splitter, angled ducts in the grille, a vent on the hood, and real vents in the lower fascia that help to keep the front brakes cool under heavy load. It even had a belly pan to help increase air flow through. And, Ford even replaced the 5.0-liter with a 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V-8 that delivers an awesome 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. So, it’s got the credentials of a track-ready car and was marketed as such, but a bunch of owners of this “track-ready” car say it’s not track ready at all and seek financial compensation from the blue oval for being duped into thinking it was.

Apparently, the GT350 will suddenly lose speed and power once on the track. And, in some cases, this can happen in as little as 15 minutes. That doesn’t sound like it makes for a fun day at the track, does it? As the story goes, it has been found that base model GT350s or those equipped with the technology package can overheat due to defective transmissions and rear differentials that overheat without external coolers. As such, the computer detects the overheating and puts the car into limp mode, causing it to lose power and slow down suddenly – something that not only ruins your run at the track but also poses a serious safety issue if there’s anyone close to you when limp mode is activated.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon BMW And Mercedes Are Now Realizing What Their Customers Have Known For A Long Time

A lot of people knew that this was bound to happen. The only question was when it was going to. Turns out, both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are finally realizing the consequences of their actions with regards to having too many models and niches in their lineups.

Speaking with Car and Driver at the Geneva Motor Show, Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, indicated that while Bimmer still has a few models that are in the pipeline, the current lineup – or checkerboard, as he puts it – of body styles and segments is already brimming full. And so, the German automaker is planning to take action by removing some body styles from its current lineup in the future. In a somewhat ironic bit of happenstance, Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche admitted that same thing in Geneva when he said that his company is planning to do the same thing in the near future.

Neither BMW nor Mercedes-Benz dived into the specifics of its plans, but the common thread between the two companies appears to be a new-found willingness to trim its current lineup and get rid of models that aren’t selling very well. In both cases, traditional coupes and their open-top counterparts appear to be the ones most likely to be sent to the chopping block.

“The segment that is not really progressing is the roadster segment,”Robertson said.

And so, a future with fewer coupes and roadsters could be in store for the two German titans. It took both companies this long to recognize it; let’s hope then that it doesn’t take either of them as long to take action.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


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