1st Gear: Are Buyers Losing Interest In Chevy Volt?
USA Today's Chris Woodyard reports this morning that interest in buying the $39,995 Chevy Volt plug-in car is starting to taper off, not only among "early adopters" but among other buyers, as well, reports CNW Marketing Research. Considering that the Volt has some of the hottest technology going, that's a disturbing development for the bowtied-Chevy brand. But according to CNW, in March, more than 21% of early adopters said they were very likely to consider the GM vehicle. In the July study, that figure had dropped to 14.6%, CNW says. Of course it also could be that GM's cut some of their dealer marketing while they wait for production to ramp up.
2nd Gear: Eterniti Motors Hemera Heads To Frankfurt
Eterniti Motors, a new British luxury automaker (or so they claim) based in London (or so they claim), plans to unveil their first vehicle (or so they... wait... no, this would be their first vehicle) at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. It's called the Hemera. There's no details yet other than this sketch showing a vaguely angry-looking gaping-mouthed crossover. By the way, you know it's the end of the automotive world when even the crazy-ass never-before-heard-of automakers are unveiling crossovers. Oy.
3rd Gear: Chrysler Looks To Flappy-Headed, Beady-Eyed Canadians For Sales Ideas Speaking of sad, Bloomberg reports this morning on Chrysler's new head of U.S. sales who will try to duplicate the gains he made for the automaker in Canada, where it's almost tied for No. 2 seller of vehicles and has already exceeded market-share targets set for 2014. That's right, we're now looking to Canada for successes in sales. Reid Bigland, named to the post in June, also kept his role as chief executive of Canada operations and added oversight of the Dodge brand. Chrysler has recorded a Canadian sales increase of 13% so far this year after a 26% gain last year. "I think he's going to take his plan and what's done in Canada and drop it down on the U.S.," said Bill Johnston, a Chrysler franchise owner and dealer council president in Canada. "Aggressiveness is what he's going to bring to the U.S."
4th Gear: Chevy Dusts Off Two Concepts For Frankfurt
Chevy blowing the dust off two concepts it's already unveiled to bring to next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. The first is the Miray, first unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show back in March. Designed to offer a "fresh interpretation of some typical Chevrolet design cues" while also "paying tribute to Chevrolet's sports car heritage," it certainly looks cool and futuristic. Makes sense. The name is actually Korean for "future." The second concept is big, it's bad, it's the Colorado Rally Concept, first shown at the Buenos Aires International Auto Show, and designed to preview the next generation of the midsize pickup truck. But don't worry, we hear Opel's bringing a sports car concept. So, you know, there's that.
5th Gear: Smart Fortwo ED Gets A Power Boost
This is the newly-revised Smart Fortwo ED — which boasts, supposedly, greater performance and additional range to the compact rear-wheel drive plug-in electric car. The little two-seater will make its world premiere at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. The so-called phase three Fortwo ED receives a completely new driveline consisting of a more powerful brushless electric motor supplied by Bosch and a higher capacity lithium ion battery. Peak power increases by 33 hp over the phase two Fortwo ED from 40 hp to 73 hp, with nominal power up by 20 hp from 27 hp to 47 hp. Torque has also risen by 7 lb-ft to 96 lb-ft. The increase in reserves cuts the new car's 0-to-37 mph time by 1.5 seconds to a claimed 5.0 seconds. The 0-to-62 mph time has also been reduced to under 13.0 sec, while top speed increases from 62 mph to 75 mph.
6th Gear: Mercedes Recalls 2002-2003 Sprinter Vans
Mercedes-Benz is recalling 665 2002-2003 Sprinter 2500 and 3500 vans sold as Dodge and Freightliner. A chemical reaction involving sulfur in the diesel fuel that takes place under certain conditions can lead to the formation of sulfuric acid in the exhaust channel of the intake manifold. That could lead to an exhaust gas leak, damage to the fuel return line which could cause a fuel leak, and heat damage to the insulation at the fire wall. And that could, actually, really this time, lead to fiery death!
⏎ Saab pulls out of next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. [Automotive News]
⏎ Metro Detroit's historic Vinsetta garage to be preserved as a restaurant. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ No Parking From 6 to 4, but Limos Are Welcome. [New York Times]
⏎ Car Collectors' Destination: Pebble Beach or Owl's Head? (Or, you know, the Woodward Dream Cruise!) [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ All the details on the 2012 Lexus IS line. [Toyota]
⏎ Look for 'Woodie' the station wagon at the Woodward Dream Cruise. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ How Much Will That Car Actually Cost You? [CNBC]
⏎ In Chrysler Deal, Cellulosic Ethanol Firm Gets a Prominent Partner. [New York Times]
⏎ Quimera AEGT Electric Supercar Goes From 0-60 MPH In 3.0 Seconds. [Motor Authority]
Today in Automotive History:
After close to 30 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women unanimously acquits the former automaker John Z. DeLorean of eight counts of drug trafficking in Los Angeles, California, on this day in 1984. [History]
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