Automotive industry rumors and gossip

Nissan GT-R

Since its release in 2009, the R35 Nissan GT-R has been a relative success, given its niche and $90,000 price tag, as it has sold a total of 5,914 models in the U.S. For a while, it seemed as if the R36 GT-R, the replacement for the R35, was a near certainty to be produced. Well, we are getting mighty close to the fourth production year for the R35 and the fifth year is the typical redesign year for any model and according to reports, the R36 GT-R has yet to receive the green light.

Nissan has been pretty preoccupied lately with its development of electric and hybrid models, so we are not too surprised to see the R36 take a back seat. Add in the fact that sales have fallen to just 583 units, as of late July, and we are living with the possibility of Nissan axing the U.S. model altogether. At its current pace, the GT-R is only going to sell just over 1,100 GT-Rs this year, which is its lowest total since 2010 and over 600 units fewer than its debut year.

Nissan may also be worried about the CAFE changes in upcoming years and might be looking for a way to get a few more mpg from its sole sports car. A big possibility is the use of a hybrid drivetrain mated with a 4-cylinder engine to keep its horsepower near the 550 mark, but increase its overall mpg. With the near-$100K price point of the 2013 GT-R, it shouldn’t be too hard to fit a hybrid system somewhere near that price. This could explain the lack of approval, as Nissan would need a little extra time to develop a drivetrain suitable to replace the current twin-boosted 6-pot.

We’ll keep you updated on how things are progressing with the potential R36 GT-R just as soon as there is some information released.

Source: Inside Line

DRB-Hicom and Lotus have officially shut down the five-year plan that Dany Bahar placed the compact sports car company on shortly before he was canned. In fact, DRB-Hicom flat out called the plan unrealistic and we agree. Now with Lotus hanging around with no real future in sight, could DRB-Hicom be ready to offload Proton and Lotus altogether?

If it is ready to cut the money pits named Proton and Lotus loose, there is a suitor ready and waiting, according to a report by Reuters. Volkswagen, the recent PAC-Man of the automotive world, tried once to snatch up Proton, but failed, and now it looks as if it is ready to try again for at least partial control.

Ideally, for VW , DRB would let go of controlling stake in both companies and sell them to VW on the cheap, so that the magical Volkswagen Volkswagen wand can heal Lotus and Proton Proton , much like it has with Audi. The connection is already there, as VW uses a DRB-Hicom facility to manufacture the Passat, so starting up the conversation of a buyout is as easy as pressing a speed-dial button on a cellphone.

Volkswagen, of course, isn’t saying a word about all of this and DRB-Hicom has been insisting that it is not selling Lotus or Proton. As we all know, car manufacturers will deny any type of news about selling companies or merging until they absolutely cannot deny it anymore, so we take all of this denying with a great big grain of Sodium Chloride.

We’ll keep you updated if anything else comes up on this front.

Source: Reuters
Bentley EXP 9 F

We automotive industry folk like to read between the lines to dig up stories and sometimes we’re right, but a lot of the time we’re off the mark. One between-the-lines story is surrounding the much debated Bentley EXP 9F and its relation to the extra week that the Crewe, England plant will be shut down this summer.

Automotive plant shutdowns are no huge ordeal, as they have become pretty much commonplace in the modern automotive world. These shutdowns are designed to help reduce costs during low-production times, which are normally toward the end of the summer. The Bentley plant in Crewe, England typically closes its doors in August for two weeks to allow workers to rest and to help keep costs down, but this year that time frame has been extended to three weeks.

That would normally be chalked up as additional cutbacks, but the reasons given for the extra time off included enabling a number of facility changes in preparation for future productivity increases. Well, Bentley is not one to put out a new model each and every year and their productivity level does not change each year, so the only reason productivity would increase would be the addition of a new model. Add in the fact that the only new model that we know of in development is the EXP 9F, and you can see why we think that this extra shutdown is to get ready for the production phase of this love-it-or-hate-it SUV.

As we said earlier, we could be completely incorrect, but that slip of the tongue by Bentley is pretty telling. This is especially telling when dealing with a company that only sells fewer than 10,000 cars per year.

We’ll keep you updated with any new information or rumors that may pop up around the possible release of the EXP 9F as more news becomes available.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT

Now that we have seen the updated version of the amazing Mercedes SLS AMG , people are switching their focus to new versions of the car. We’ve already heard about the E-Cell version, but the model that is making heads spin is the Diesel SLS AMG.

Wait, what?! A diesel-powered SLS AMG? Well, not really. Polish website, Moto.pl, says Mercedes will be unveiling a diesel powered version of the SLS AMG in the future. This new version will be called the AMG SLS CDI and will be powered by a six-cylinder diesel engine with triple turbochargers. It is said to deliver about 400 HP. Jalopnik, on the other hand, says a diesel-powered SLS AMG will never happen. Both websites neglect to mention any viable sources, so both pieces of information need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Okay, so what’s really going on here? Europe is in high demand for diesel-powered sports car and, back in 2008, it was rumored that AMG was working on a diesel powered high-performance model. That being said, earlier this year, Mercedes AMG announced that a diesel powered vehicle wouldn’t fit in their line-up and they have no intention in following their German automaker rivals. The question is: should we trust them? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Moto

The Jeep Wagoneer disappeared from existence following the 1991 model year, as the Grand Cherokee took over for it in the 1993 model year. This was the beginning of the softening of the Jeep brand, as even its once rugged Wrangler eventually morphed into more of an on-road vehicle capable of light off-roading through the 1990s and 2000s. According to a statement by Fiat – parent company of Chrysler and Jeep – CEO Sergio Marchionne, the Wagoneer will bow in shortly and sit on the same underpinnings as the current Durango .

The details are still very slim on this rebirth of the Wagoneer, but being it is going to ride on the same underpinnings as the Durango , we can make some pretty safe assumptions. We will use our knowledge of the current automotive world to give you the best idea possible of what to expect from this new Wagoneer. Unfortunately, all we have to go off of is the CEO’s words, so we will continuously update you as details come to the surface.

Click past the jump to read our full review and keep on the lookout for updates.

Image note: All images are of the 2012 Dodge Durango, not the Wagoneer.

Source: AutoNews
Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept

We love gossip just about as much as a 16-year-old schoolgirl, but our gossip is about [ahem] manly stuff; you know? Things like the rumor out of France that Renault will in fact re-launch the Alpine brand that it shuttered up a little less than two decades ago. You read that right, the Alpine sports car brand is returning… if the rumors are true.

According to comments made by Renault chief of design, Laurens van den Acker, the French automaker is trying to develop a car that is more similar to the A110Berlinette from the `60s and `70s and that it is trying to do with Alpine what BMW has done with MINI . Now, before you go getting all excited about seeing a production model of the A110 concept, you can scratch that, as Renault wanting a design similar to the `60s and `70s Alpine A110 nixes that possibility.

To add some validity to the reports, Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault’s motorsports department head, was reported saying that they anticipate producing 5,000 to 10,000 Alpines per year. Rumors also point to this limited lineup of sports cars running between €35,000 and €40,000 ($44,000 to $50,000), which makes them relatively attainable.

The final tidbit of info leaked is that Renault is anticipating its release to occur sometime in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no information on whether the new Alpine lineup will be available in the U.S. or not. We are certainly hoping that it does, given what we have seen from the A110 concept.

We’ll keep you posted on anything else that comes across the rumormill.

Dodge Demon Roadster Concept

Chrysler kicked off its new sub-brand, SRT, with the unveiling of the new generation Viper and the cars will just keep coming from here on out. The sub-brand’s second model will be the new generation Barracuda that will join the line-up for the 2015 model year and, according to MotorTrend, SRT is already working on a third model for their line-up.

Details on the third model are a bit unclear at the moment, but it could be either a successor to the Dodge Ram SRT10 or a small, two-seat sports car. Obviously, our hopes lie in a new sports car. Chrysler has already teased us with a Dodge Demon Concept designed as a competitor for the Mazda MX-5 Miata , and now that Mazda and Fiat have teamed up to build a new RWD sports roadster, we are hoping that Chrysler will consider offering a production version of the Demon.

Any thoughts on what this new model could be? Hit us up in the comments section below!

Source: MotorTrend
Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

Rumors come and rumors go, so we rarely put much stock in any given rumor, especially outlandish ones. Sometimes, however, a rumor is so incredibly ridiculous, that we cannot help but report on it. This latest rumor floating around about Lamborghini and the Aventador is one that falls in that so-ridiculous-we-can’t-ignore category.

Rumors are afloat that Lamborghini is secretly working on adding a little more passenger space in the Aventador coupe. By “more passenger room,” we don’t mean by increasing leg room, we mean extending its wheelbase and adding two additional seats in the rear. Yeah, a 4-seat Lambo that is not called the Urus. Granted, it would likely be more of a 2+2 than a true 4-seater, but still an amazing thing to consider nonetheless.

To access these rear seats, Lambo will be installing a set of reverse-hinged rear doors, a la RX-8 or Saturn SC-2. This revised supercar is said to be dubbed the Aventador GT, which we assume stands for “Grand Touring” or something to that effect, and is said to hit the auto show circuit in Geneva next March.

Now the real question is how well we trust these rumors. Well, they are coming from our friends over at Motor Trend, and they typically won’t report it, unless its source is fairly reliable. So, we can say that these rumors are credible, but will the model ever see the light of day? We really doubt it.

Why after 49 years of auto manufacturing would Lamborghini decide to change up its entire design philosophy? Then again, with Ferrari and Porsche willing to explore the 4-door and 4-seat realms, maybe Lamborghini feels like it might need to do the same to keep pace.

For now this is all just pure speculation, but if there is any truth to this rumor, Lamborghini can’t keep it bottled up for too long, so we’ll keep a keen eye out for any more definitive evidence of said 4-seat Aventador.

Source: MotorTrend
Ford Mustang

Ford Motor Company is desperately trying to breathe some life into its nearly deceased luxury brand, Lincoln. A recent lineup overhaul was step one, and we definitely see improvement to date. The next step appears to be to develop a new rear-wheel drive car to add to Lincoln’s lineup to face off against the likes of the Cadillac ATS and BMW 3-Series .

Lincolns will not have to look too far for a donor rear-wheel-drive car that is willing and able to donate a platform for this new Lincoln. According to Car and Driver, Ford is seriously contemplating using the 2015 Ford Mustang platform as the Lincoln’s base. If that ends up being the case, we could not only be in for seeing the first rear-wheel drive Lincoln in some time, but also we could see the first performance-based Lincoln since who knows when.

This could end up going in either direction. On the good side, it could result in the Lincoln brand being seen as “cool” again and drawing in young buyers. Then again, once Mustang enthusiasts find out that the Mustang underpinnings have become modular, they could lose interest rather quickly.

We would love nothing more than to see Lincoln succeed. It has one of the longest and most storied histories in all of the automotive realm. That said, you don’t want to alienate the bases that you already have. Ford needs to make sure that, if it decides to go this route, they change the Mustang’s underpinnings enough so when under the Lincoln name, Mustang owners can notice a difference and feel satisfied.

On the other hand, Lincoln, despite its struggles, does have a loyal customer base, so Ford has to be sure not to alienate them. We’ll keep an eye on this situation and let you know if anything else comes up.

We have heard all kinds of rumors about the BMW M1 supercar, including the possibility of its return. You may remember that, four years ago, BMW unveiled the M1 Hommage - a concept car built as a tribute to the M1’s 30th anniversary. Back then, everyone believed that this would be a preview of a new production M1, but BMW quickly denied those rumors, leaving all of us with the disappointed hopes.

Now German magazine Autobild is reporting that a successor for the M1 will in fact be unveiled in 2016, after the unveiling of the hybrid i8. The next M1 will be built as a combination between performance and economy and will be powered by a V8 engine with direct injection and a turbocharger. This engine’s an output will be placed somewhere between 600 and 650 HP.

The new M1 will be built using BMW’s "Efficient Dynamics" program meaning that it will come with features like a start-stop system and braking energy recovery. All of these features will be combined with a carbon-fiber body and a total weight of 2,755 lbs, which will make the next M1 a real competitor for models like the Mercedes SLS AMG GT and the Audi R8 .

Expect the new BMW M1 to debut in 2016, priced at about 250,000 euro, about $315.000 at the current exchange rates.

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