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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.

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

Automakers these days are hitting the big 100-year mark left and right, and Mazda is no exception. With its big date coming in 2020, plans are already underway to create a supercar worthy of celebrating the company’s centenary. Rumblings from within the company point to a halo vehicle that brings notoriety and prestige to the brand. Likely called the RX-9 , the car hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Yasuhiro Aoyama, Mazda’s General Manager of Global Sales and Marketing, smiled knowingly when asked about it by Motoring.com.au

Adding to the hype is the 2020 Olympics set to take place in Tokyo, helping shine the world spotlight on all things Japanese, Aoyama mentioned.

While 2020 is more than five years away, Mazda may be planning a revival of the rotary engine in the mean time. Combine the fact the automaker has already renewed the trademark on the RX-7 nameplate and the 50-year anniversary of the Cosmo rotary-engined sports car is happening in 2017, and things begin to look promising for Mazda’s sporting future.

"This is a very fantastic idea, 2017, [for] a new rotary," said Aoyama. “Fascinating,” as he grinned with the Motoring.com.au reporter. Though he refused to confirm anything, the possibility of the RX-7 and RX-9 seem more real.

All this is possible, thanks to Mazda’s record profits for the last Japanese fiscal year, topping $1.41 billion. With some extra cash in its pockets, Mazda has the resources to invest in new, high-stakes projects.

Click past the jump to read more about Mazda RX-9

2014 is shaping up to be a great year for Ford . The redesigned Mustang is set to go on sale as the first version of the pony to reach global markets, while the new-generation F-150 introduces the aluminum body to the pickup-truck segment. New additions also include the revised Expedition SUV and Transit van, introduced for the first time in North America as a replacement for the long-running E Series .

2015 will be equally busy, with several new or refreshed vehicles to hit dealer lots. The new Super Duty trucks, the Edge crossover, and the restyled Focus are the most important additions that come to mind. But Ford has a lot more going on for the remainder of the decade, according to Automotive News, who managed to obtain more details about what Ford may have in store for the next three years. Read on to find out more about Ford’s future product plans.

Click past the jump to read more about Ford’s upcoming vehicle lineup

Already 10 years old, the Aston Martin DB9 will continue to be around until 2016, when the British automaker will unveil its successor. Whether the next-gen model will still carry the DB9 moniker or not is still unknown, but a report coming from Autocar claims Aston Martin has submitted trademark filings for names DB10 through DB14.

Although these trademarks could be used for five different models, Aston Martin is expected to pick the DB10 name for the next-generation DB9. The Brits are known to move forward with the numerical denomination of its models to emphasize the advances made in terms of design and performance. However, Aston Martin skipped on the DB8 name, jumping from DB7 to DB9 in 2004. That being said, the next-gen DB could very well be launched as the DB11, with the DB10 trademark filed just to protect the numerical denomination.

Scheduled to go on sale for 2017 model year, the next-generation DB9 will ride on a brand-new modular platform and feature a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine built by Mercedes’s AMG division.

Click past the jump to read more about the Aston Martin DB9

Source: Autocar UK

You can file this in the "saw that coming" file, but Lamborghini is going to be making multiple versions of its new Huracán over the next few years, including a rear-wheel-drive model. This news comes courtesy of Autocar, who managed to get a few words with Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann after the reveal of the new Huracán Super Trofeo at Pebble Beach last week. The key phrase Winkelmann uttered was “why should we not do a rear-drive option?”

There was a limited run of RWD Gallardos that started with the special LP550-2 Balboni Edition . After the Balboni came another limited run Bicolore special edition , and finally Lamborghini just began offering a base level RWD car. It makes sense that the Huracán will follow this same tradition, but Autocar expects the RWD model to be a special, high-end creation that will carry a higher price and more limited production numbers.

Before the RWD model arrives, expect a convertible Spyder version to arrive next year, with a higher performance variant a year or two after that. There will inevitably be lightweight versions as well, and this may be where the RWD comes into play. Cutting the AWD system from under the Huracán is likely to save 100 pounds or more.

Click past the jump to read about the Lamborghini Huracan

Source: Autocar UK

It’s been four years since Lotus introduced a brand-new model, but the financially troubled automaker could soon bounce back with a couple of new vehicles besides the Elise R that was spotted testing at the Nurburgring in August 2014. According to Malaysian outlet Utusan, the British sports car manufacturer is aiming to save itself from bankruptcy by entering two previously unexplored markets. Specifically, Lotus is planning to develop an SUV and a D-segment sedan (midsize for the U.S. market).

The new plan was devised Jean-Marc Gales, who took over as Lotus CEO in May 2014, and presented at a Board of Directors meeting chaired by Proton executives in Malaysia. Gales, who has previously worked for Citroen , Daimler , GM and Volkswagen , has been appointed to implement a new brand strategy at Lotus, which suffered a $283 million net loss in 2013, when global sales dropped by 40 percent.

Still hoping to sell more than 4,000 vehicles a year, a plan that went down the drain given last year’s disastrous results, Lotus wants a piece of the ever-growing SUV market and a powerful sedan that would appeal to Asian, and especially Chinese customers.

Click past the jump to learn more about the Lotus’ new vehicle plan

Source: Utusan
Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

Aston Martin is probably the coolest car company in the world. Its stunning designs, growling V-12s and relationship with everyone’s favorite British spy, give it an image of undeniable desirability. However, despite its icy coolness, Aston has always been a flawed company. Being a relatively small company, it’s always dealt with financial issues and, because of this, has always suffered in the R&D department. Due to it’s lack of funds, Aston has never been able to keep up with it’s rivals, particularly Porsche , when it comes to technology and innovation. For instance, Aston’s latest and greatest, the new Vanquish , uses an engine that’s essentially a decade old. So Aston Martin needs some help and Daimler very well may be there to help it carry on.

Last year, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, acquired four percent of Aston Martin. Now, however, Daimler wants a larger stake and bought one more percent to make it a nice, even five.

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

It has basically been a big whaaa-fest from the Viper community since Dodge unveiled the Hellcat siblings, the Charger and Challenger . I can see their point in the whole mine-is-bigger-than-yours game that happens in the auto-enthusiast realm. I get it, 707 ponies is bigger that 640 horses and same goes for the torque value between the Hellcats and the Viper, but that isn’t the entire picture. The Viper is a track machine that can handle twists and turns all while delivering blistering performance. Put a Charger Hellcat on the track with a Viper and get back to me as to which one is the more capable machine — I likely know the answer. Despite logic, Chrysler and Dodge Dodge do have bills to pay, a Viper to save and customers to please, so it is no surprise to hear rumors that a supercharged Viper is on its way.

The rumor hails from folks at Allpar — the Interwebz’ utmost authority on all things under the Pentastar — and they are saying that a supercharged V-10 is being prepped for the Viper. In fact, a new rumor also claims that Chrysler actually took delivery of a completed version of said engine.

So, just how powerful will it be? You can expect somewhere in the 800-horsepower and 650-pound-feet range. That’s just enough to give the Viper a clear advantage in the numbers game. Could SRT squeeze 1,000 ponies and 1,000 pound-feet of twist from the V-10? Of course it could, but that would require a ton of drivetrain, chassis, cooling system and body modifications, which would make the Viper unrealistically expensive.

Besides, all that matters to the group that is concerned about this is that the Viper has more power than the Hellcat brothers, so why push the Viper any further than needed?

And before people start screaming "yay!! A Viper Hellcat!!!" please remember that Dodge made it rather clear that the Hellcat name refers only to the supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 and it will not affix it to any other engines.

Stay tuned for more info.

Click past the jump to read more about the Viper.

Source: Allpar

While buying a Tesla Model S requires customers to fork out at least $69,000, owning one is more than affordable, given the fact that you don’t have to visit the gas station unless you need a sandwich and a soda. As of August 2014, current and future owners have one more reason to be happy with their all-electric sedan , as Tesla has extended the drive unit warranty for the 85 kWh sedan to match that of the battery back. Specifically, both the battery and the drivetrain now benefit from an eight-year, infinite-mile warranty.

The good news expands even further, as the rule doesn’t apply only to newly purchased vehicles. The warranty extension will apply retroactively to all 85 kWh Model S sedans ever produced. What’s more, the new warranty extends upon resale of the Tesla S too, no matter the number of owners, meaning the used-car market benefit from Tesla Motors’ gesture of generosity.

"If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that," Elon Musk explained in a statement.

The new warranty only applies to 85 kWh and 85 kWh Performance models. The former comes with 362 horsepower and costs from $79,900, while the latter carries a $93,400 sticker and cranks out 416 ponies. The entry-level 60 kWh version benefits from the same four-year, 50,000-mile warranty as before.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S.

Things aren’t looking so good for Aston Martin’s future if the automaker fails to get an exemption from the U.S. government’s crash test standards regarding its DB9 and Vantage models. More specifically, both models fail to comply with the new side-impact crash standards coming into effect next month and therefore would not qualify for sale within the U.S. Bloomberg reports Aston Martin filed for an exemption for the two cars last year, but the word is still out on whether the automaker will be able to continue selling the two models without making significant structural changes to meet the higher standards.

The exemptions would allow the DB9 to be sold through August 2016 and the Vantage through August 2017. Without such leeway, the automaker could suffer tremendous financial losses to its dealer network, resulting in many lost jobs and closed franchises.

With the independently owned Aston Martin already in a tight financial bind, the automaker likely cannot afford to significantly alter the DB9 and Vantage to comply with the new legislation. Since Aston Martin isn’t a part of a larger organization of automakers, it cannot simply borrow technology or shift funds to fix the problem.

The new side-impact crash standards taking effect next month are designed to heighten a vehicle’s ability to protect occupants against impacts with solid objects such as utility poles and trees.

Click past the jump to read about the Aston Martin Vantage and DB9

Source: Bloomberg

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