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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.

So this is what the Aston Martin Lagonda Sedan looks like. It doesn’t look like a typical Aston Martin that much I can see. But more surprisingly, the Lagonda’s first public appearance came as a collaboration with luxury airline Oman Air.

The two companies announced a partnership that basically gives the Middle Eastern airline a free publicity tie up with the British automaker’s new top-of-the-range, luxury four-door super-saloon designed exclusively for the Middle East market. So if you happen to travel in that part of the world, prepare yourself to see a lot of Lagonda-Oman Air billboards.

It’s a stroke of marketing savvy for both companies. Aston Martin gets a top quality airline on its side and Oman Air rakes in whatever interest - and they’re sure to be many - the limited edition Lagonda Sedan will generate in a market that has no shortage of deep-pocketed customers.

As part of their partnership, Aston Martin is sending a Lagonda prototype to do some test runs in Muscat as part of its early testing program, allowing the vehicle to get a good read on the environmental conditions in that region. Don’t be surprised if some of the beautiful people of Oman snap some quality photos of the Lagonda mule. You might even see some of them in these pages at some point in the future.

Click past the jump to read more about the Aston Martin Lagonda

Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

Bentleys introduction to the SUV world will come in the form of the Falcon. Due next year, Bentleys new flagship model, will be designed by Luc Donckerwolke, who has worked for the Volkswagen group for many years now and was the designer behind the Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo . His style usually utilizes sharp, crisp lines designed to reflect light. “I like really sharp, defined surfaces. If it’s too voluptuous, it’s too sweet. You need spices.”Said Donckerwolke.

This is somewhat different to the usual Bentley design, which is about softer, more rounded edges. However, despite his love for sharper lines, the new Falcon SUV will stick closely to the Bentley design language while still being a new direction for the famed British brand. “We are adapting the DNA of the brand to a new topology of car, but it’s always good when you do something that the brand hasn’t done before.”

A larger issue that Donckerwolke faces is creating a car for both the Western and Eastern markets. The Chinese and Russians seem to like the EXP 9 F concept , in which the Falcon is based, quite a bit, however the Western markets seemed more opposed to it. So the design for this car has to meet somewhere in the middle for both markets. Donckerwolke claims this is a difficult task and says Bentley “can’t design for just one market. We are ambassadors of a culture, and we have to look like a Bentley.” Hopefully Donckerwolke is up to the task, as he will have some stiff competition from Maserati and Aston Martin, which are both developing their own SUVs .

Click past the jump to read more about the Bentley Falcon

The Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) has become increasingly difficult for Cadillac and its CTS-V.R race car , which now faces competition from lighter and more powerful GT3-spec machines. Mercedes AMG , McLaren , Lamborghini and Porsche have all joined the PWC series in 2014, preventing the CTS Coupe-based racer from winning more than three events in 2014. Cadillac is in dire need of brand-new vehicle and word has it the manufacturer is already testing a brand-new chassis for 2015.

According to Racer, the next-generation Pirelli World Challenge car was seen lapping the Gingerman road course in Michigan in late-August 2014. While there’s no actual footage or photos of the vehicle, the source claims the new chassis will drop the CTS-V Coupe body in favor of an ATS-V Coupe -based shell. A new body could also mean a new engine, as Cadillac is expected to drop a twin-turbo V-6 in the yet unconfirmed ATS-V.R. The current race car is motivated by a naturally aspirated, 6.2-liter V-8.

As with its predecessor, the ATS-V-based track car is also developed by longtime Cadillac Racing partner Pratt & Miller engineering.

Click past the jump to read about the Cadillac ATS Coupe

Source: Racer

BMW’s M5 is rumored to get a healthy boost in power while the rest of the 5-Series lineup gets some additional features both inside and out. That’s according to the German website Autobild, which reports the changes will come with the next generation of BMW’s full-size sedans .

Leading the headlines is a rumored 626-horsepower M5 that will feature all-wheel-drive. Not much is know on how BMW plans on producing that power, but it’s a possibility the automaker will still use the same twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8. Currently that engine produces 560 horsepower, so adding an extra 66 horsepower shouldn’t be an impossible task.

The next-gen 5 Series lineup is said to also roughly 100 pounds lighter, thanks to extensive use of aluminum in place of steel. Despite the added lightness, the Bimmer will feature more premium interior materials. The iDrive controller will be revised to use smaller turn/push knob and its voice recognition software will be easier to use. The car’s automated driving features are also set for an extensive update, making fully automated driving a closer reality.

A plug-in hybrid is also set for release. Its 109-horsepower electric motor will work in conjunction with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, itself producing 240 horsepower. The hybrid is also rumored to have inductive charging abilities.

The remainder of the BMW 5 Series lineup will get power updates as well. The top version of the 3.0-liter I-6 will produce 354 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque; the diesel will produce 324 horsepower with a respectable 486 pound-feet of torque; and the M550xd will kick out 402 horses and 553 pound-feet of torque.

We can expect the new 5 Series to hit German roads for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read about the current BMW M5

There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming, high-performance version of the sixth-generation Mustang . Heck, we’ve even had numerous videos and spy shots to keep us excited about the next muscle car to come out of Dearborn. With most details still under wraps, the next performance Mustang is more about rumors than facts. Will it come with a GT350/GT500 badge like the fifth-gen Shelbys or is the SVT making a comeback? Or maybe we’ll be getting both, with one to act as a competitor for the track-prepped Camaro Z/28 ?

Whatever the case, it seems the GT350 is one of those high-performance Mustangs under development, as revealed by a leaked image showing the vehicle’s badge.

The emblem surfaced the Interwebz on an info sheet published by Mustang6g. The file also includes the "5.0" badge that appears on the GT model, along with the familiar stallion insignia. Judging by the codes coming with the "5.0" and "GT350" badges, both are intended to be used as fender emblems. What’s more, the "GT350" uses the same font seen on previous Shelby GT350 models, although the layout has been redesigned. This means the upcoming GT350 will no longer wear the Cobra badge seen in the fifth-generation models. The previous GT350 was introduced in 2011 and discontinued after the 2013 model year.

Click past the jump to read about the Ford Mustang GT

Source: Mustang 6G

Remember the Bugatti Veyron that veered into a lake from a seemingly straight road? Yeah, well the driver recently pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire mail fraud in connection with the crash.

Andy House, 39, of Lufkin, Texas reportedly bought the 2006 Bugatti Veyron for $1 million then promptly had it insured for $2.2 million. Soon afterwards on November 11, 2009, House purposefully drove his supercar into the Gulf Bay. What’s more, House then left the quad-turbocharged, 8.0-liter W-16 engine running in order to fill it with saltwater.

Veyron destruction accomplished; the Bugatti was a total loss.

Unbeknownst to House, another motorist was admiring his 1001-horsepower ride with his video camera rolling when House decided to turn his Bugatti in to a bag of cash. With the video evidence uploaded to the all-telling YouTube, the FBI’s investigation on House’s questionable insurance payout had plenty of evidence.

House now faces up to 20 years in federal prison for his scheme. A sentencing date has not been set, so House’s fate is still unknown, but it’s not looking good.

So remember, kids – insurance fraud is no joke.

Click past the jump to watch the entire cringe-worthy episode from 2009 and to hear someone confuse a Veyron with a Lambo...

The iconic Ford Mustang has officially entered a new era, as production of the brand-new, sixth-generation model has commenced at the company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan. Shown to the world in early December 2013, the sixth-generation Mustang is the first ever pony car to be sold globally in more than 120 countries around the world. Additionally, the 2015 iteration is also the first Mustang to feature an independent rear suspension. You can see why this is a big day for the Blue Oval and the automotive industry alike.

Another premiere that comes with the sixth-gen pony is the creation of the first ever, factory-built Mustang with right-hand-drive. These vehicles will be sold in more than 25 markets, including the United Kingdom , Australia, and South Africa. "Mustang is and will continue to be an automotive icon," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas.

The 2015 Ford Mustang will reach most global dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2014. U.S. pricing starts from $23,600 for the fastback and $29,100 for the convertible .

Click past the jump to read more about the Ford Mustang

It seems Chevrolet has a hit on its hands. The new 2014 Corvette Stingray has posted some rather impressive sales stats during its first year in production. General Motors officially announced the C7’s sales numbers at the 2014 Carlisle event, quoting it had sold 37,288 Corvettes so far this year.

This represents a massive increase in Corvette sales over last year’s sales of roughly 11,392 cars. Granted, 2013 was the last year for the outgoing C6. The C6 hadn’t always had slow sales – in fact, the C6 still holds the No. 1 and No. 3 spots in Corvette sales history at 40,561 and 37,372 respectively for 2007 and 2005. The 1985 Corvette C4 holds second place at 39,729 units moved.

It’s also interesting to note that the majority of Stingrays sold were ordered with the Z51 performance package. According to Corvette Blogger, the Z51 accounts for 56 percent of all C7s sold. The six-speed automatic also won out over the seven-speed manual, accounting for 65 percent of sales. That number may actually increase for 2015 with Corvette adopting a new eight-speed auto unit.

All the details aside, the fact that Corvette is selling well again is great news for the “New GM.” The automaker certainly has a popular product on its hands and sales will only continue to grow as the monstrous Z06 coupe and convertible hit the streets for 2015.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Aston Martin may have a savior knocking on its door, as Daimler is considering purchasing the flailing British automaker. Though it already owns a five percent stake in Aston Martin, reports suggest a 50/50 probability Daimler may purchase the remaining percentage of Aston Martin.

Aston Martin would be yet another feather in Daimler’s hat, joining Mercedes-Benz , Smart , Maybach , Freightliner , and Thomas Built Buses. The two automakers are currently in a partnership that gives Aston Martin some needed engineering help and technological innovations for its upcoming products. Since that partnership is just a year old, little Daimler influence is seen in Aston’s current vehicle lineup. However, that’s all going to change with both automakers’ next generation of cars.

If the deal goes through, we can expect to see plenty of Mercedes and AMG tech infiltrate Aston’s product portfolio, such as replacements for the aging VH platform, and the outdated V-8 and V-12 engines. It’s unlikely that the two automakers’ design departments will share notes, so we can expect Mercedes and Aston Martin to keep their looks to themselves.

Daimler is also in deliberating on purchasing a controlling share of the Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta . This comes on the heels of Audi buying up the famed motorcycle brand Ducati , which had previously worked with AMG. The new acquisition of MV Agusta would put Daimler back on track to compete more squarely with Audi in that respect.

Neither one of Daimler’s deals are official yet, but things are looking pretty good. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for any developing information.

Click past the jump to read more about the Daimler-Aston Martin partnership

Every one of us here at TopSpeed is foaming at the mouth to see the Q50 Eau Rouge take production form, but there may be a handful of roadblocks ahead. On January 8th, Infiniti filed a trademark application for the super-sedan’s "Eau Rouge" name, and the patent office has yet to approve it. It is almost a certainty that the patent office will approve it, but it will then go up for contention, and this is where the issues may pop up.

You see, the Eau Rouge name is actually inspired the famous uphill bend on the Spa-Francorchamps course owned by the Wallonian government. Though there is no American trademark on the name, the track does have the "L’Eau Rouge" name registered with the European Union’s trademark office. This would give the track and its owners legal grounds to contest the name, which could spell trouble for Infiniti.

Contention would ultimately give Infiniti two options. Option 1: change the name altogether. Option 2: pay Spa-Francorchaps a sum for each vehicle sold, much like GM did to SCCA for using the Trans Am name.

It is doubtful that the racetrack’s owners would turn down an offer to make a couple bucks with each vehicle sold just to use the nickname. Race tracks are notoriously expensive to run and go bankrupt regularly, so the extra cash flow for simply signing off on Infiniti using the name would likely be welcome.

We’ll keep an eye on this situation and update you as soon as the trademark issue is addressed.

Click past the jump to read more about the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge

Source: Bloomberg

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