Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another round of dealer cuts imminent at GM

Just a couple of weeks ago General Motors revealed that it would be cutting ties with over 1,100 dealerships, and the bad news keeps coming for dealers as the struggling automaker is expected to cut a further 450 dealerships in the coming months.

Many dealerships are under franchise agreements with GM that are expected to finish late next year - at which point around 450 dealers will most likely not have their contracts renewed. The dealerships facing the axe from GM have been chosen because they "have very specific issues", the automaker’s sales chief Mark LaNeve revealed to Automotive News. These issues include the fact that certain dealerships may have been exclusively stocking the now-defunct Pontiac brand, or be underperforming in regards to sales targets.
more detail. ...

First 2010 Subaru Legacy rolls off the line in Indiana

The 5th-generation Subaru Legacy has officially begun production, with the first car rolling off the Lafayette, Indiana assembly line late last week to confetti-strewn, ribbon-cutting fanfare.

In keeping with Subaru's recent new-model introductions, beginning with the current Impreza and continuing with the new Forester, the 2010 Subaru Legacy wears controversial new bodywork that abandons the elegantly understated lines of the outgoing model in favor of a more stylized (overstyled?) face attached to a car that has grown dimensionally in order to be better-positioned against the likes of the Honda Accord.

With production now underway, look for the new Subaru Legacy to start arriving in U.S. showrooms by July. We'll weigh in with our impressions of the car as soon as we can get our hands on one.

I really think it's going to be a good selling vehicle. It's designed for the North American market. I think it's got a lot of amenities that will appeal to the U.S. market," said Ken Nelson, a group leader in quality control who helped cut a red ribbon to celebrate the start of production.

It's pretty exhilarating. I've been working on this for a year and a half -- some pretty long hours.

SIA expects to build 165,000 vehicles this year. That includes a combined 68,000 Legacy and Outback models and 7,000 units of the Subaru Tribeca, along with 90,000 Toyota Camrys. That compares to a total of 183,249 units last year.

They should be in dealerships in July, maybe late June," said Tom Easterday, SIA senior vice president. "An ad campaign will begin in August or September.

Source:JConline via autoblog

Hamann does its thing to the new BMW 7 Series

The arrival of the new F01 BMW 7 Series means that aftermarket companies have a new toy upon which to apply their talents. Enter Hamann, the German tuner with a penchant for Lambo-dooring, among other things. Thankfully, the firm's workup of the all-new 7 Series leaves the factory door hinges intact, but that's about it.

A new aero kit makes the big sedan less vanilla-looking with updated fascias, skirts and spoilers on both the rear decklid and roof. Naturally, a lowered suspension is offered, which, when combined with a selection of new wheels and the aforementioned bodywork, gives the ├╝ber-Bimmer a nastier stance.

Inside, Hamann will fully customize the cabin appointments to your taste, or lack thereof. The Hamann 7 Series isn't necessarily all show, either -- an available sport exhaust upgrade for the 730d bumps power by 45 horses for a total of 290. Hamann's unlikely to stop with this batch of initial offerings, so more extreme modifications are probably inevitable. Just resist that primal urge on the butterfly doors, okay guys?


The HAMANN refining programme for the new BMW 7-series

Individualisation on the highest level – this is the motto under which HAMANN presents its refining programme for the new BMW 7-series of the model range F01 and F02. Already since 1986, the Laupheim-based company develops and produces products for the individualisation of BMW automobiles. Thereby, the HAMANN technicians profit from hundreds of successful motor sports participations. The competence which was gained there is the basis for the development of new HAMANN products and renders the highest level for product quality and processing. The result: stainless steel exhaust systems with a sporty and earthy sound, aerodynamics components reducing the lifting forces and striking light alloy rims from 19 to 22 inches. Interiors perfectly fitted with leather and combined with floor-mats in matching colours as well as non-slip aluminium pedals extend the accessory range.

Already when establishing the design, HAMANN perfectly adjusts the individual components of the aerodynamic pack. The result is an exciting styling with an optimised air flow across the car silhouette. LED daytime running lights which are integrated in the new front skirt, render a sporty-dynamic look and increase the passive safety. Simultaneously, in combination with the roof spoiler and the rear spoiler, the lifting forces are reduced and give the upper class limousine a new, attractive overall appearance. The visual connection between the front and rear part are the HAMANN side skirts which are available for the model series F01. The optionally available rear shield insert for the side skirt of the model 730d and 740i allows fitting the four-pipe sport end muffler. Four round stainless steel end pipes with a diameter of 90 millimetres perfectly enhance the rear part of the 7-series BMW and produce a powerful, earthy sound.

A performance enhancement for the Diesel engine with variable turbine geometrics is already under construction. By this first tuning stage the serial measure of the 730d (180 kW / 245 hp) increases by approximately 33 kW/45 hp.

A technical highlight of the offered tuning programme is the one-piece HAMANN-aluminium wheel called DESIGN HM EVO 22 inches. A hallmark of the modern styling is the glossy black paint with the diamond-grinded rim star and the discreet deep rim well. Five elongated and over-vaulted triple spokes document visual and technical finesse. Struts inside the spokes render additional stability. Modern production processes and the use of special aluminium alloys guarantee highest bearing loads at a low weight. Here, HAMANN recommends the dimensions 9.0Jx22 inches with 265/30ZR22 tyres at the front axle and 10.5Jx22 inches with 295/25ZR22 tyres at the rear axle.

The four progressively coiled chassis springs which lower the centre of gravity with the models 730d, 740i by 40 millimetres at the front- and rear axles, render a dynamic appearance. For the models 750i and 750Li, there is a lowering kit consisting of two chassis springs and an evening kit.

In addition to the existing, serial interior equipment, HAMANN accessories made first-class aluminium, pedals and foot-rests render motor sports air and perfectly match the embroidered HAMANN floor mat set. If desired, even a complete leather equipment can be produced with expert precision.

For more information about the extensive HAMANN refining programme, please visit the web site

Lexus LF-A V10 Rumored to Debut at '09 Tokyo Show, Production Limited to 500 Units

If we are to believe the latest gossip coming in from the 'Land of the Rising Sun', Lexus is scheduling to reveal the production version of the long-anticipated LF-A supercar at the forthcoming 2009 Tokyo Motor Show that runs from October 23 to November 8. Citing inside sources close to the V10-powered supercar's development team, Japan's Best Car magazine said that the LF-A's production will be limited to a mere 500 units, with 120 of those being allocated to the domestic market with an estimated starting price of around 30 million Yen a piece or about $310,000 US - €220,000 at the current exchange rates.

Lexus LF-A - CarscoopThe price alone places Lexus' V10-powered supercar into an entirely different league than the GT-R as it costs twice as much as the recently launched GT-R V-Spec model (15,750,000 Yen in Japan).

The report goes on to say that aside from the standard model that will most likely bear the GT500 moniker, there's also talk about an even more exclusive version dubbed SS550 where SS stands for Super Sport - that is unless someone decides to make a fuss about the name...

More specifically, the GT500 will be powered by a high-revving 5.0-liter V10 producing an estimated 500HP, while the SS550 is said to get a tweaked version of the V10 with a displacement of 5.5-liters and an output of around 550HP. Both variants feature a front-mid engined layout with a transaxle housing the semi-automatic gearbox and rear-mounted radiators.

Lexus LF-A - CarscoopWhen Lexus first unveiled the LF-A Coupe concept at the 2005 Detroit motor show (followed by a Roadster study at 2008 Detroit show - see photo album below ), the Japanese automaker claimed that its Ferrari-challenging supercar would reach a top speed of around 200mph or 322km/h. But now the word is that thanks to the extensive work on the LF-A's aerodynamics, the supercar will top out closer to 220mph or 354km/h.

We remind you that Lexus entered two LF-A prototype models at the 24h of Nurburgring endurance race, with one of those cars ending up in flames - see the video here.

Via: Best Car

Lexus LF-A - Carscoop Lexus LF-A - Carscoop Lexus LF-A - Carscoop Lexus LF-A - Carscoop Lexus LF-A - Carscoop Lexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - CarscoopLexus LF-A - Carscoop

G-POWER's BMW M3 Coupe Tornado with 500HP Supercharged V8

Even the most recent BMW M3 with its 420HP V8 engine can't escape from the tuning claws of G-Power. However, if you've been following the latest news from the German tuning firm, you will probably be surprised with the somewhat modest upgrades that G-Power has incorporated into the M3 Coupe Tornado. The most significant change concerns the addition of tailor-made 'light' supercharger from ASA with a moderate 0,3 bar boost. Along with a new intercooler and a performance exhaust system, the 4.0-liter V8's output increases from 420HP and 400Nm to 500HP and 480Nm (354-lbs/ft).

G-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power says that the supercharged M3 Coupe with the 6-speed manual gearbox can accelerate from standstill to 200km/h (124mph) in just 13.5 seconds compared to the standard M3's time of 15.8 seconds. Customers can opt for the removal of the electronic speed limiter, in which case the M3 Coupe Tornado can reach a top speed in excess of 320km/h or +199mph..

The M3 Coupe Tornado also comes with a height-adjustable coil-over suspension with nine selectable settings each for bound and rebound while the car rides on Michelin Pilot Sport tires -255/30 ZR20 in front, 295/25 ZR20 in the rear- mounted on lightweight 20-inch Silverstone alloy wheels. The kit is complemented by a new four-pipe muffler made from stainless steel or optionally, from titanium which is 14,5kg or 32-lbs lighter than the factory part.

Unlike other G-Power models like the M6 Hurricane CS and the X5 Typhoon, the M3 Coupe Tornado does not feature any exterior upgrades other than the rims. The German firm does however update the interior with carbon-fiber trim, a new speedometer with the G-Power logo, an aluminum pedal set and optionally, a special leather treatment.

G-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power BMW M3 Tornado - Carscoop G-Power BMW M3 Tornado - Carscoop G-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power BMW M3 Tornado - CarscoopG-Power BMW M3 Tornado - Carscoop

Ferrari Dino Rosa: Concept Study for a New Entry Level Mid-Engine Ferrari

Many independent designers have tried to capture the Ferrari spirit in their conceptual proposals, but to be completely honest, very few have really succeeded. Unfortunately for designer Paolo Rosa, we'd classify this study for a smaller mid-engined Ferrari sportscar -supposedly inspired by the 1967 Dino 246 GT- in the first category. In our opinion, the worst design aspect of the Ferrari Dino Rosa is the rather generic front-end. Hit the jump to check out more photos of Rosa's 1:10 scale model that is currently on display at the "Dreaming the Automobile" Exhibition hosted by the Museo dell'Automobile Bonfanti-Vimar in Italy.

Source: Museo dell'Automobile , Via: Carbodydesign

Ferrari Dino Rosa Concept  - Carscoop
Ferrari Dino Rosa Concept  - Carscoop
Ferrari Dino Rosa Concept  - Carscoop
Ferrari Dino Rosa Concept  - Carscoop

Spotted: Porsche 928 GTS Pickup Truck

The long-gone and much missed Porsche 928 GTS with its big macho V8 engine is one of our most favorite gran-turismo coupes of the past two decades or so. That said, we find the conversion of any 928 into a mullet-loving pickup truck, pointless and in some cases such as Harry Thoma's six-wheeler 928 GTS truck that we showed you in a previous post, even repulsive. This particular small-bed pickup-truck version of the 928 GTS was snapped on the road (we're guessing somewhere in Denmark) by a reader of the Autogespot forums.

Via: Autogespot

Porsche 928 GTS Pickup Truck - Carscoop

2010 Honda Pilot Brings Higher Prices but no Changes

Honda has announced pricing for the 2010MY Pilot SUV that sees no styling or equipment changes from the new 2009 model that went on sale in the U.S. last May. What the '2010MY' moniker does bring for Honda's eight-passenger crossover is a petite price increase that ranges between $250 and $350, depending on the trim level. Available in both 2WD and 4WD forms, the Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine that cranks out 250Hp and 253 lbs-ft of peak torque. Prices for the 2010 model start from $27,895 for the entry-level 2WD LX and top out at $38,645 for the 4WD Touring.

2010 Honda Pilot Prices

  • Pilot 2WD LX - $27,895
  • Pilot 4WD LX - $29,495
  • Pilot 2WD EX - $30,745
  • Pilot 4WD EX - $32,345
  • Pilot 2WD EX-L - $33,845
  • Pilot 4WD EX-L - $35,445
  • Pilot 2WD Touring - $37,045
  • Pilot 4WD Touring - $38,645