industry news

industry news

  Automotive industry news, it feels like nothing of what they say is really important but put it together and you will get the big picture before the others.

When word first broke out that Nissan was bringing back its once popular Datsun brand, the general feeling was a mix of intrigue and indifference. After all, it’s been a while since we last saw a Datsun out on the road yet the possibility of the return of the 240Z was too tantalizing to ignore.

Well, Nissan is dead serious about bringing back Datsun, so much so that they recently released the first teaser of the first model of the new Datsun. Unfortunately, Nissan has made it quite clear that Datsun will be an economy lineup for smaller markets, so don’t expect to see a 240Z revival any time soon.

The teaser doesn’t offer much in the way of giving us an idea of what the car is going to look like, but the first thing we thought of when we saw the teaser was that it resembled a Volvo Volvo . The angular headlights are there, as well as a vented hood and a small radiator grille with the Datsun badge attached to it.

About the only thing we’re interested in on this teaser is that Nissan is confident about turning Datsun Datsun into a brand with a strong independent identity. We’re not as confident as these guys are ,which makes it even more intriguing on how Nissan can pull this one off in time for Datsun’s expected 2014 return.

Nissan’s press conference regarding the current state and future of its in-house performance division, NISMO , was eye-opening for a multitude of reasons.

But the most important part of the whole thing, at least in our eyes, is the announcement made by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn regarding the possibility of a Nismo edition being built for the company’s flagship supercar, the GT-R .

Well, Ghosn put all the rumors to rest at the official opening of the new Nismo global headquarters and development center in Yokohama, Japan. "It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of Nismo road cars without including the GT-R," Ghosn said during the press conference.

"The standard road car is a global supercar and the GT-R’s performance on track reflects the passion and talents of the Nismo team. The GT-R Nismo will be special and I can’t wait to drive it."

Well, there you have it, fellas. The Nissan GT-R will get a Nismo version and Carlos Ghosn, as well as the entire population we imagine, "can’t wait to drive it."

No details were released regarding any specs or figures, but the automaker did say that the model will be based on the 2014 GT-R and is scheduled to hit dealerships in a year’s time.

"We know that enthusiasts around the world will be itching to know more about the forthcoming GT-R Nismo," Nismo president Shoichi Miyatani explained.

"It’s too preliminary to share any details yet, but fans can be certain we’ll be applying all of our motorsport expertise to creating a GT-R Nismo worthy of the name."

And with that, expectations for the GT-R Nismo just went through the roof.

Track-oriented three-wheeled race cars are a niche market that belongs to a select few of vehicles, including the Campagna T-Rex 14RR , the Morgan Three-Wheeler, and the Can-Am Spyder .

If these recent U.S. Patent Office sketches are any indication, it looks like recreational automaker wants to join in on the party with their version, the Slingshot.

Considering that Polaris is regarded as an eccentric auto brand that has a penchant to build some wonky off-roaders, we’re not the least bit surprised that their next project is something along those lines.

The sketches reveal, first and foremost, a three-wheeled vehicle whose overall bodywork - minus the chassis configuration - resembles that of the KTM X-Bow. It might even resemble it a little too much; something we think KTM might even have a problem with should Polaris green light production for the Slingshot.

Regardless, that’s not our business to dive into. As far as we’re concerned, the Slingshot looks pretty cool and if it can have the same amount of power as its competitors possess - somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 horsepower - it should make for an awesome ride.

If the car ever reached production, it’d likely feature a 2.4-liter General Motors-sourced four-cylinder engine delivering just over 200 horsepower and mated to a manual transmission.

Just like the Morgan 3 Wheeler, the Polaris Slingshot will be driven by its single rear-wheel and even though no details have been released about a possible release date, this lightweight and most-likely affordable sports car is something to get truly excited about!

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Aftermarket companies usually carry an ego about themselves that they can build the best program for certain vehicles. If you don’t have an ego in that business, you might as well just file your walking papers.

That’s why it was surprising to see Ken Lingenfelter, one of the foremost minds in the Corvette tuning scene, admit that the performing engine mods on the 2014 Corvette Stingray will be a challenge for them.

Speaking to “The Truth About Cars,” Lingenfelter admitted that the 6.2-liter V-8 LT1 engine that the Corvette Stingray carries is the first direct injected V-8 engine from GM and as such, will take considerable studying to get it up to tuning speeds. Lingenfelter also said that the engine is designed with performance limits and that tuners may struggle giving the car anything north of 700 horsepower with 1,000 horsepower, as Lingenfelter has been famous of, considered as "impossible".

He further explains this by saying that cars with direct injection proves a challenge when tuners want to swap heads and cams and makes significant modifications outside of the car’s factory fuel parameters.

The thing that makes it tough, though, is that the LT1 engine already boasts of the highest specific output of any GM engine ever with 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That’s not going to be a problem with the LS engine that the Corvette Stingray ZR1 is expected to come with, but with 700 horsepower on tap for that particular powertrain, that leaves little room for the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 powerplant for tuners to work it.

At the end of the day, the Corvette Stingray’s engine will still have room for performance improvement, but not to the level that Lingenfelter has come to be known for .

Ferrari FF

A day after being named the world’s most powerful brand, Italian automaker, Ferrari , announced even more good news that will make its customers - and stockholders - proud.

In 2012, the Prancing Horse posted the best ever trading period in company history, an across the board improvement that bested their 2008 numbers, and did so despite worse economic conditions. All in all, Ferrari delivered 7,318 cars to its dealership network for the year, a 4.5-percent improvement from their 2011 numbers.

North America accounted for the biggest percentage of that number with 2,058 delivered cars, the first time Ferrari has breached the 2,000-car mark in the U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, the Chinese market, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, saw the second largest number of delivered Ferraris in 2012 with 784 cars followed closely by Germany with 750, Great Britain with 673, and the Middle East and Africa with 556.

As a result of all the delivered Ferraris, revenues also rose by eight percent to 2.433 billion Euro with net profits hitting €244 million ($326 million), a 17.8-percent jump from their numbers a year ago, and overall trading profit up to €350 million ($468 million), an improvement of 12.1 percent.

“We are all enormously proud of ending the year with these kinds of results despite the unfavorable economic backdrop in many European nations, and the distinctly hostile one in Italy,” declared Chairman Luca di Montezemolo. “The credit for this goes to the men and women in Ferrari, the strength of the brand, a very complete and highly innovative range, and our gradual expansion into automotive markets worldwide.”

With such a robust showing in 2012, who knows what the 2013 has to offer for the Italian automaker. One thing we’ve come to know, though, is that if people have any money and they can afford to spend on an exotic, there’s a good chance that they’ll do so on a Prancing Horse.

Source: Ferrari
Alfa Romeo 4C

The Alfa Romeo 4C’s highly anticipated U.S. debut later this year is drumming up all kinds of hype from a lot of dealerships looking to get a piece of the Italian sports car.

Unfortunately, not every Fiat dealership will get their hands on the 4C, at least according to Chrysler Group vice president for network development and fleet, Peter Grady.

Talking to Auto News, Grady revealed that the two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe will only be sent to the best performing Fiat dealerships. Translation: those that don’t sell enough models are out of luck.

"The 4C is the first vehicle that comes at the end of this calendar year, and it’s going to go to the current Fiat dealers that are performing," Grady told Auto News.

"So if you’re selling and you’re taking care of your customer, you’ll be first up for Alfa Romeo."

There are two ways to look at this, shall we say, "condition" set by Chrysler. One, it could set off a competitive selling frenzy amongst a lot of Fiat dealerships in the U.S. just to get a piece of the 1,000 4Cs earmarked for the U.S. each year. On the flip side, you could see a virtual monopoly of the models by a select number of dealerships that are already ahead in the sales race of Fiat models.

Grady also said that he’s willing to be flexible to dealers that are confined by a limited location and can make the necessary adjustments to ensure that they’re not left out in the cold because of their circumstances.

Instead, he put out the condition that dealers meeting sales and customer service targets will still get Alfa Romeo franchises even if their stores are in malls, as long as they attach service departments before the Alfa Romeo models arrive sometime in 2015.

Source: AutoNews
Chevrolet SS Performance

You would think that with Chevrolet’s release of its high-powered SS sports sedan, a lot of countries would be chomping at the bit to have the car come to their roads.

Apparently, that’s not the case in Israel.

According to the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth via the Times of Israel, the Chevrolet SS will not be imported to Israel because it’s "Super Sport" name, or at least the shortened "SS" version of it, is similar to the Schutzstaffel, a paramilitary unit headed by one Heinrich Himmler under Adolf Hitler’s long reign of terror in Nazi Germany.

The same Yedioth report quoted Baruch Shuv, manager of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and chairman of the Organization of Partisans, Underground Fighters and Ghetto Rebels, saying that “the use of [the SS] name is very inappropriate."

"It is not a name that will bring them pride or success,” Shuv added.

Granted, we understand the position Israel is taking, and we’re not going to belittle the significance of the Jewish people’s plight during one of the most oppressive times in history, but c’mon guys… It’s an abbreviation for “Super Sport,” not some anti-Jewish conspiracy.

It’s also worth noting that this is the first time Chevrolet is branding the initials SS exclusively and not using the full Super Sport name on the model.

And if Israel has a big and justified problem with the use of the SS name and is taking the measure of keeping the car out of their country, then that’s their prerogative.

Ferrari F12 berlinetta

Ferrari may not be the most valuable brand in the world - that distinction belongs to Apple - but it sure is the most powerful brand in the world.

That much was alluded to by a recent study conducted by British research firm Brand Finance who determined that the Prancing Horse holds the keys to the car as far as the being the most powerful brand in the world.

Sure, its brand value is only at $3.6 billion, a far cry from the brand values of Apple ($87.3 billion), Samsung ($58.8 billion), and Google ($52.1 billion). In terms of revenue, a key factor in determining brand value, there’s no way Ferrari has the legs to compete with these tech giants.

But according to Brand Finance, once you factor in other important financial metrics (net margins, average revenue per customer, marketing and advertising spend) with qualitative metrics (brand affection, loyalty, emotional attachment), then nobody can unseat Ferrari on the top of the list.

With Ferrari so used to getting compared to other automakers in the industry, being considered the most powerful brand relative to every company in the world is an achievement that’s pretty remarkable. Especially when you’re staring down a top five list that includes Coca-Cola, Google, PwC, and Hermes.

Understandably so, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo was thrilled about the results of the study. "It is always a pleasure to top any list and still more so when the competition includes some of the world’s most famous companies," he said.

"This achievement proves that even in very tough economic times, Italy can still offer the world businesses of excellence. Behind this acknowledgement are exceptional products made by equally exceptional men and women. They made it possible and for that I thank them."

SRT Viper Roadster

SRT president, Ralph Gilles, knows all too well that when they introduced the SRT Viper as a coupe model instead of a convertible, they bucked a tradition that started since the Viper itself was born.

But even if the fixed-top coupe came out first this time around, it doesn’t mean that they’re asleep at the wheel in building the convertible version. They’re just not in under any pressure to release it yet, despite Chevy’s recent proclamation that the convertible version of the Viper’s nemesis, the Corvette Stingray , will find its way into dealerships later this year.

Talking to Wards Auto, Gilles admitted that, at its core, the Viper is still designed to be a convertible. "Under the skin is a convertible chassis. It’s already there – the stiffness is there. It’s extremely easy should that come, but we’re not in any rush.”

Without giving any definite timetable, Gilles did say that his hopes are for the Viper Roadster to be released "within a few years".

Talk about a vague answer.

As far as any customer clamoring for the Viper Roadster’s release, Giles downplayed the pressure of succumbing to these requests, saying that enthusiasts of the model have no preference regarding the launch sequence between the coupe and convertible models. “I get a lot of comments from them, and a lot of them love the car either way,” Gilles remarked, before adding that customers usually buy both when each comes out.

Source: Wards Auto
W Motors LykanHypersport

Despite carrying a ridiculous price tag of $3.4 million, it looks like Arabian supercar builder, W Motors, will have no problems selling their 750-horsepower hypercar, the LykanHypersport.

Recently, the company announced that they had already received more than 100 orders for the LykanHypersport, a staggering number given the retail price it has. Then again, it might not be too far-fetched, considering the car’s main market is the Middle East, home to some of the richest people in the world who probably wouldn’t even notice the $3.4 million missing.

For all that money, you get a car that not only looks about as aggressive as the mythical wolf monsters attached to its name, but one that apparently had the design influence of the Magna Steyr design studio in Italy.

That probably explains why the supercar will be initially built in Italy before production continues in the Middle East sometime after.

And, did we mention the car produces 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque with a 0-to-60 mph time of 2.7 seconds with a top speed of 245 mph?

Source: inautonews

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