2012 Range Rover Sport, Chinese passenger car sales go up, and Lincoln succeeds despite its best efforts

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1st Gear: Range Rover has revised the Range Rover Sport for 2012 – and refinement is the name of the game. It has a new eight-speed auto ‘box and a host of toys including a new 17-speaker audio system and voice command. Land Rover may talk of a focus on reducing emissions, but ironically the supercharged 510bhp 5.0 petrol V8 remains unchanged. Also, the Discovery 4 (LR4 over here) has gotten an upgrade as well — with an eight-speed auto tranny.

2nd Gear: China's passenger-car sales in June rose 3.5% from a year earlier to 1.02 million units, China's Passenger Car Association said today to Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement.


3rd Gear: Jay Williams, the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, was named director of the government organization charged with assisting communities affected by the declines in the auto industry. Williams, 39, will oversee the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, which was created as part of the government's bailout of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. Williams, who has been mayor of Youngstown since 2006, will resign from that office Aug. 1st.


4th Gear: Chrysler has no plans to revive its stretched 300 sedan. Cadillac front-wheel-drive sedans don't sell well in the livery market. So, despite themselves, and the days of the Lincoln Town Car being numbered, somehow Lincoln may end up winning over the luxury livery market by default. With a FWD crossover. Seriously, the front-wheel-drive Lincoln MKT will end up leading livery sales just by changing its name to "Town Car" for the livery and limo market.


5th Gear: As debate rages over the Australian government's decision to exclude fuel from its carbon tax scheme, new research shows fuel prices need to reach stratospheric levels before a majority of Australians will consider buying or leasing an EV. In an Australian-specific survey that forms part of a global study titled ‘Gaining traction: Will consumers ride the electric vehicle wave?', consulting firm Deloitte also found that pump prices need to hit much higher levels before the vast majority of consumers (71%) would be more willing to consider an EV over a regular car.


6th Gear: The Lotus Evora has been given a five-year stay of execution after Group Lotus boss, and huge Jalopnik fan, Dany Bahar revealed big changes to the Norfolk-based company's radical, even magical, plans. Autocar reports that Bahar has confirmed that the new Elan has been postponed until 2017, thus extending the life of the current Evora. Other revelations in the tweaked five-year plan include confirmation that it will build its own 570 bhp 4.8-litre V8 engine at Hethel to power the new Esprit, planned for 2013.



⏎ Yes, there will be a Jaguar XFR wagon too! [Telegraaf]

⏎ Young car buyers going foreign. [Detroit News]

⏎ Citroëns to Rally Through New York for Bastille Day Celebration. [New York Times]


⏎ Chrysler Grand Voyager revised. [Autocar]

⏎ Hyundai Accent a small car with big ambitions. [Detroit News]

⏎ Bullish on Autos. [CNBC]

⏎ Aston Martin Chief Says Luxury-Car Maker Waits for ‘Right Window' for IPO [Bloomberg]


⏎ Drive-ins staging a revival this summer. [Detroit News]

Today in Automotive History:

On this day in 2000—eight weeks to the day after the fourth-generation NASCAR driver Adam Petty was killed during practice at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire—the driver Kenny Irwin Jr. dies at the same speedway, near the exact same spot, after his car slams into the wall at 150 mph during a practice run. [History]


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