Dodge Durango SRT8, a Mitsubishi-powered electric sports car, and GM's worried about a recession

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1st Gear: Gordon Murray's Mitsubishi-Powered Electric Sports Car
Gordon Murray Design has turned its hand to a new project: to build an electric sports car. Car tells us that Teewave AR1 was commissioned by one of the world's biggest producers of carbon fiber, Toray Industries. And what better way of showcasing its talents than building a one-off electric sports car? The AR1 is based on the mechanicals of a Mitsubishi i-MIEV, so there's 63 bhp and 133 lb-ft of silent electric torque on offer.

2nd Gear: The Dodge Durango SRT8 Is Coming To Grab Life By The Horns
Edmunds Inside Line reports that following the recent introduction of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, Chrysler is considering a high-performance version of the Jeep's platform brother from the same mother, the Dodge Durango. The model would be called the Dodge Durango SRT8 and would be powered by the same 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that powers the other SRT8 models. Chrysler refused to comment officially, but a source close to the project has confirmed to them that the Durango SRT8 is being seriously considered. However, it's possibly being held back because of lackluster sales of the 2011 Dodge Durango R/T, an existing performance version of the SUV powered by a 370-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and available with rear-wheel drive. Of the 30,227 Durangos Dodge has sold since the R/T launched in March, only 2,418 have been R/Ts, a mere 7%.



3rd Gear: GM Should Call It A "Bagel" Instead Of Using The "R-Word"
GM chief executive on Wednesday expressed concern about the risk of a recession in the United States, but said pent-up demand was expected because of the need to replace ageing cars in the world's biggest economy. "It's hard to handicap but clearly we're concerned about it, as most Americans are," Daniel Akerson told Reuters in an interview in Shanghai, when asked about U.S. recession risks. Despite slipping consumer confidence, Akerson said some demand for vehicles was likely because of an aging fleet in the United States. "We know that the car park, or the average age of the fleet across all types and all makes in America, is at a general high, so there's likely to be some pent-up demand," he said. So we guess there's always a silver lining, right?


4th Gear: The Only Way To Travel Is In Cadillac Touch-Screen Style
The interior of the new 2013 Cadillac ATS — according to a spy photo shot by Car and Driver is going to look a lot like the interior of the Cadillac XTS concept we saw a year ago. Which itself looked a lot like the Vertu phone. Which looks pretty damn awesome. Therefore, by the transitive property of equality, since the Cadillac ATS interior = Cadillac XTS interior, the Cadillac XTS interior = Vertu phone, and the Vertu phone = awesome, does that mean the Cadillac ATS interior = awesome? Not if GM interiors of the past are any indication of future performance — but it certainly does bode well.



5th Gear: Republicans Want To Send Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Money To Help Storm Victims
Bloomberg reports this morning that Chrysler and plug-in car battery supplier A123 Systems Inc. may not receive some or all of the U.S. Energy Department loans they're seeking to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles, under a proposal the House is scheduled to debate today. Automakers and their supporters, including Democrats from Michigan's congressional delegation, are trying to keep the House from cutting $1.5 billion of the $4 billion remaining in a loan program that has benefited Ford and Nissan. Republicans including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia say the money is needed for disaster assistance to states hit by storms. Or, you know, they could just pull the money from tax breaks to oil companies.


6th Gear: GM Won't Need Chinese Subsidies For Volt
General Motors will introduce the Chevrolet Volt electric car in China without a subsidy, GM China Group President Kevin Wale said at a briefing in Shanghai today. The electric vehicles that General Motors develops with Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp., announced yesterday, will be "different" from the Volt, General Motors Senior Vice President Mary Barra said at the briefing.


⏎ Luis Gispert's 'Decepción' at Mary Boone Gallery. [New York Times]

⏎ Chrysler seeks to keep lid on UAW pay through 2019. [Automotive News]

⏎ Why I love Ezra Dyer. [New York Times]

⏎ New Era for Auto Industry. [Wall Street Journal]

⏎ G.M. Plans to Develop Electric Cars With Chinese Automaker. [New York Times]

⏎ Toyota to close 11 Japan plants early ahead of typhoon. [Automotive News]

Today in Automotive History:

On September 21, 2002, Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin dies after a heart attack. Bohlin spent most of the 1950s developing ejection seats for Saab airplanes, and in 1958, he became the Volvo Car Corporation's first safety engineer. At Volvo, he designed the first three-point safety belt—a seatbelt with one strap that crossed diagonally across the user's chest and another that secured his or her hips. "In a way," Bohlin said shortly before he died, "my design works as much because the belt is comfortable for the user as it does because it is safer. The pilots I worked with in the aerospace industry were willing to put on almost anything to keep them safe in case of a crash, but regular people in cars don't want to be uncomfortable even for a minute." [History]


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