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Ferrari Will Increase Production To Meet Demand, Rumors About An SUV Persist 16
Dec
Posted by Michael Karkafiris in Ferrari, Reports on 12 16th, 2017


Ferrari plans to boost its production capacity as the target for 9,000 cars per year is going to be reached a year earlier than originally scheduled.

The Italian supercar maker will double its assembly shifts to two a day in 2018 according to Bloomberg, which cites sources familiar with the matter.

This production boost is part of Sergio Marchionne’s plan to double Ferrari’s operating profit. The plan also includes the expansion of the company’s range of models while maintaining the exclusivity of its more expensive supercars.

More and more reports also talk about Ferrari planning to launch an SUV, which will help it exceed the self-imposed 10,000-car production limit. The goal is to reach an operating profit of about 2 billion euros per year ($2.35 billion) by 2022.

Last month Ferrari revised its 2017 profit target upwards as the launch of limited-edition models, such as the FXX K Evo, help it achieve its profit goal two years early. Ferrari is expected to earn about 1 billion euros this year, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Ferrari expects to build around 8,400 cars in 2017, with the number going up to 9,000 cars in 2018.

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Porsche’s Battery Suppliers Can’t Keep Up With Demand For Hybrid Panamera 16
Dec
Posted by Michael Karkafiris in Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, PHEV, porsche, Porsche Panamera, Reports on 12 16th, 2017


It’s not just Porsche that was surprised by the increased demand for the hybrid Panamera; its battery suppliers didn’t see it coming either.

Following the news that 60 percent of all second-gen Panameras sold are hybrids, Reuters reports that the German car maker is pushing its battery suppliers to their limits.

Gerd Rupp, head of Porsche’s Leipzig factory where the Panamera is assembled, said: “At present we are able to meet customer demand well”, though he conceded that “there are limits, because we are dependent on the capacities of battery suppliers.”

“We had originally projected different volumes (of battery systems needed),” Rupp commented. “The effects can be seen in longer delivery times of currently 3-4 months for Panamera hybrid models.”

Furthermore, Porsche expects demand to rise even further as the plug-in Panamera launches in the US and China, the model’s two biggest markets.

The Leipzig factory is the strongest candidate for manufacturing the all-electric Mission E, according to Porsche’s exec: “The chances for producing a fully-electric Porsche in Leipzig are good,” he said, predicting a decision in the first half of 2018, but building it there would require “a larger three-digit million-euro” investment in an all-new body shop.

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Aussie Startup Wants To Create A Flying Car Racing Series By 2020 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Australia, Flying Cars, racing, Reports, Tech on 12 16th, 2017


An Australian startup has taken to Kickstarter to reveal its plans for a flying car demonstration race and, eventually, a world championship.

The company, Alauda Racing, has created a prototype of its ‘flying car’, which in reality is just a large quadcopter designed to fit a person. Dubbed the Alauda Mark 1 Airspeeder, the startup says it will begin testing in the next few months ahead of a proposed demonstration race in an unnamed desert in the middle of 2018.

The two Airspeeders that will take part in this demonstration race will be unmanned, but by 2020, the firm hopes to kick off the ‘Airspeeder World Championship’ with human pilots.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign had raised $4259 AUD ($3222) of a $100,000 ($75,653) goal, with the campaign running through until January 11, 2018.

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Aussie Startup Wants To Create A Flying Car Racing Series By 2020 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Australia, Flying Cars, racing, Reports, Tech on 12 16th, 2017


An Australian startup has taken to Kickstarter to reveal its plans for a flying car demonstration race and, eventually, a world championship.

The company, Alauda Racing, has created a prototype of its ‘flying car’, which in reality is just a large quadcopter designed to fit a person. Dubbed the Alauda Mark 1 Airspeeder, the startup says it will begin testing in the next few months ahead of a proposed demonstration race in an unnamed desert in the middle of 2018.

The two Airspeeders that will take part in this demonstration race will be unmanned, but by 2020, the firm hopes to kick off the ‘Airspeeder World Championship’ with human pilots.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign had raised $4259 AUD ($3222) of a $100,000 ($75,653) goal, with the campaign running through until January 11, 2018.

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Huge Autonomous Vehicle Test Center Opens In Michigan 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech on 12 16th, 2017


A $135 million autonomous vehicle testing facility has opened near Ann Arbor, Michigan and promises to act as an important location for carmakers to test and develop their self-driving technologies.

The American Center for Mobility has a 2.5-mile highway loop, a 700-foot curved tunnel, intersections, roundabouts, and two double overpasses to mimic everyday driving conditions.

Companies including Toyota and Ford have invested in the facility and, on December 13, a number of Toyota engineers arrived on the site for a driver training program. Joining the Japanese automaker at the facility is electronics supplier Visteon. Motor Trend reports that other carmakers and technology companies will start using the site from next week.

Construction at the site is still ongoing and the next phase is tipped to begin in the spring of 2018, adding an urban driving environment to the facility.

Speaking about the site, chief executive of Business Leaders for Michigan and chairman of ACM’s board, Doug Rothwell, said it was important for many different parties to get behind the project.

“This technology posed a hell of a lot of risk to this state. I’m heartened that everyone pulled together—state government, the private sector, universities—so that we could solidify our role in this growing part of the industry.”

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Huge Autonomous Vehicle Test Center Opens In Michigan 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech on 12 16th, 2017


A $135 million autonomous vehicle testing facility has opened near Ann Arbor, Michigan and promises to act as an important location for carmakers to test and develop their self-driving technologies.

The American Center for Mobility has a 2.5-mile highway loop, a 700-foot curved tunnel, intersections, roundabouts, and two double overpasses to mimic everyday driving conditions.

Companies including Toyota and Ford have invested in the facility and, on December 13, a number of Toyota engineers arrived on the site for a driver training program. Joining the Japanese automaker at the facility is electronics supplier Visteon. Motor Trend reports that other carmakers and technology companies will start using the site from next week.

Construction at the site is still ongoing and the next phase is tipped to begin in the spring of 2018, adding an urban driving environment to the facility.

Speaking about the site, chief executive of Business Leaders for Michigan and chairman of ACM’s board, Doug Rothwell, said it was important for many different parties to get behind the project.

“This technology posed a hell of a lot of risk to this state. I’m heartened that everyone pulled together—state government, the private sector, universities—so that we could solidify our role in this growing part of the industry.”

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Lewis Hamilton Says He Wants To Battle Fernando Alonso Next Season 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in F1, mclaren, Motorsport, racing, renault, Reports on 12 16th, 2017


Lewis Hamilton says he’d like to see the McLaren team competing at the front of the field next season and hopes to battle Fernando Alonso in 2018.

Alonso has failed to secure a single podium with the McLaren-Honda team, but the outfit will ditch Honda powertrains for next season and instead use Renault-sourced power units. With a finely-tuned chassis, it’s reasonable to expect McLaren to be in a much better shape next year.

“They’ve had such a difficult time. Given that I grew up with McLaren from 13, I go through qualifying and I always look to see where Fernando is, I always look to see where they are and am watching their progress,” Hamilton told Motorsport.

“There’s just a natural place in my heart for them, because I achieved a huge amount with them. I really, really hope next year is a successful year for them, I really hope we are battling with them because McLaren deserve to be at the front. I hope with this new power unit they’re there with us. I hope we have another incredible world champion up there with us fighting for the world championship,” said the four-time world champion.

As for Alonso, he is currently on a “multi-year” agreement with McLaren and intends on finishing his F1 career at the British racing outfit. Despite his limited success the last three years, many pundits still consider him one of the best drivers in the field.

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GM’s Marketplace App Previews Firm’s Over-The-Air Future 16
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in GM, Reports, Tech on 12 16th, 2017


The introduction of GM’s Marketplace app marks an important development in the carmaker’s long-term plan to offer over-the-air updates to all of its new vehicles.

Last week, roughly 1.9 million 2017 and 2018 vehicles in the United States received the Marketplace app through an over-the-air download, the first time GM has introduced an infotainment system in such a way.

Although Tesla owners have become accustomed to receiving infotainment, software, and mechanical updates with wireless updates, most other carmakers have yet to incorporate the technology in such a significant way. For GM, the Marketplace app is an important step in that direction, Automotive News reports.

The app has been billed as the “industry’s first commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases” and allows drivers to order items from shops including Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks or to reserve a table at restaurants including TGI Fridays.

Not everyone is happy about the app, however. According to National Safety Council president Deborah Hersman, “there’s nothing about this that’s safe.”

Responding to this claim, GM spokesman Vijay Iyer said the app had been developed to comply with voluntary driver-distraction guidelines and “is designed to minimize manual interactions, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

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Preston Tucker’s Personal Car Is A True Piece Of Automotive History 16
Dec
Posted by Michael Karkafiris in auction, Classics, Reports, Tucker on 12 16th, 2017


This isn’t another 48, if you can call a Tucker 48 that; this is Preston Tucker’s personal car, chassis number 1029.

After undertaking high-speed tests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tucker and his family drove it for seven years. In 1955, Preston Tucker sold it to Winthrop Rockefeller.

The car changed a few hands before being sold to Jack Bart in 1967. Bart, a well-known automotive enthusiast, had the car refinished in its original color and supplied it to the production of the 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream”, starring Jeff Bridges.

The specific Tucker 48 has covered 19,199 miles is described to be in a solid and original condition, and is accompanied by a history file created by noted Tucker historian, Jay Follis.

As with the majority of the 51 Tuckers, this one is powered by a Franklin O-335 flat six engine. Measuring 5.5-liters in capacity, the engine produces 166hp. “The Car of Tomorrow”, as it was once called, managed to create a massive hype prior to its launch but politics along with development issues meant that Preston Tucker’s dream would remain grounded, just like DeLorean’s.

The car is set to cross the auction block at RM Sotheby’s Arizona event on January 18.

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Stolen Honda HR-V Found With Lyft Stickers On, Ride-Sharing Company Is Oblivious 16
Dec
Posted by Cristian Gnaticov in honda, Honda HR-V, Offbeat News, Reports on 12 16th, 2017


A couple living in San Francisco didn’t get to enjoy their new Honda HR-V for long, as it was stolen at the end of August, while it was parked in front of their apartment in Livermore.

Fast-forward to December, and Cierra and Josh Barton, the HR-V’s owners, were contacted by the police, informing them that their crossover had been found in Hayward, after being abandoned on the side of the road for about two weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday.

The odd thing is that, when they got to it, they found Lyft stickers on the front and rear windows, before noticing that the odometer had went from 2,000 to over 13,000 miles (3,220-20,900 km).

Moreover, apart from a pillow, a jacket, and a stuffed animal in the cabin, there were a a few dents on the bodywork and a rattling hood.

At a first glance, the HR-V appears to have been used as a Lyft vehicle, but the ride sharing company couldn’t find any trace of it being used to transport people.

“The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we take these allegations seriously. Given the information provided, we are unable to match this vehicle to any Lyft accounts in the area. We have reached out to Ms. Barton, and we stand ready to assist law enforcement in any investigation”, Lyft told the paper in a statement.



Audi E-Tron GT Four-Door Coupe Reportedly Coming In 2022 15
Dec
Posted by Michael Gauthier in audi, Electric Vehicles, Reports on 12 15th, 2017


Audi executives have already dropped plenty of hints suggesting the company was considering an electric sports car and now new details are starting to emerge about the model.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, Audi is working on a four-seat sports car which has been dubbed the E-Tron GT. The model is reportedly a four-door sedan with coupe-like styling. The car is also slated to adopt the company’s new E-Tron design language which has been shown on various concepts including the E-Tron Quattro and E-Tron Sportback.

The car will reportedly be heavily influenced by the Porsche Mission E and have an electric powertrain that produces 600 PS (441 kW). Additional information is limited but the report claims the car will have all-wheel drive and a floor-mounted lithium-ion battery that enables the vehicle to travel more than 500 km (310 miles) on a single charge. When battery is depleted, the E-Tron GT’s rapid charging system could enable the model to have 400 km (248 mile) of range in as little as 15 minutes.

If the report pans out, the E-Tron GT could be launched in 2022 and have a base price of less than €100,000 ($117,565).

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Foreign Automakers Facing Autonomous Driving Restrictions In China Over Fears Of Spying 15
Dec
Posted by Michael Gauthier in Autonomous, china, Reports on 12 15th, 2017


China is one of the largest automotive markets in the world and autonomous driving technology is poised to make traveling in its density populated cities much easier. However, fears of spying could derail this utopian dream.

According to the Financial Times, Chinese officials are afraid that high-resolution images and GPS data recorded by mapping vehicles could pose a threat to national security. As a result, the country has reportedly placed restrictions on foreign automakers and their autonomous driving programs.

According to a representative of an unnamed automaker, “We have some obstacles related to testing of automated functionalities, but this is a delicate thing.” They added the issue centers on taking “photos and recording GPS coordinates” as these things are “connected with national defense policies.”

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology wasn’t available to comment on the report but the publication notes Chinese automakers aren’t subject to the same restrictions. Even foreign automakers who aren’t dissuaded from testing autonomous vehicles in China are forced to partner with one of nearly a dozen Chinese companies which specialize in high-definition mapping.

China in the process of developing new regulations for autonomous vehicles and Baidu believes the rules could allow fully autonomous vehicles to be tested in the country as early as February.

H/T to The Drive

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Detroit Auto Show Is Shaping Up To Be Truckapalooza, New Ford Ranger Could Bow Too 15
Dec
Posted by Michael Gauthier in Chevrolet, Chevrolet Silverado, Detroit-Auto-Show, Ford, ford ranger, GMC Sierra, Hyundai Veloster, Mercedes G-Class, RAM, Reports, Toyota Avalon, VW, VW Jetta on 12 15th, 2017


The North American International Auto Show kicks off on January 14th and a handful of automakers have already announced plans to stage some major introductions in the Motor City.

At least seven models have already been confirmed for the show and they include the Ram 1500, Toyota Avalon, and Volkswagen Jetta. We will also get a glimpse at the all-new Hyundai Veloster as well as the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept which could preview a flagship crossover. Mercedes will also have a strong showing as the company will unveil the CLS53 and the luxurious new G-Class.

Of course, there will also be a handful of other models making their debut in Detroit and Autoweek is reporting we can expect an onslaught of pickups. We’ve already mentioned the Ram 1500 and it will reportedly be joined by the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. If three trucks isn’t enough, you’ll be happy to know Ford could also to showcase the new Ranger.

On the performance front, there have been constant rumors that Chevrolet will unveil the mid-engine Corvette in Motown. That remains uncertain and so do rumors that Ford will showcase either the Mustang Bullitt or Shelby GT500.

Speaking of uncertainties, Infiniti has hinted it could unveil a flagship concept at the show but little is known about it at this point.

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Even John Hennessey Isn’t Sure If The Venom F5 Will Hit 300 MPH 15
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Hennessey, Hennessey Venom F5, Reports on 12 15th, 2017


In early November, Hennessey unveiled the Venom F5 with an ambitious claim that it will hit 301 mph (484 km/h).

At the time, such a top speed seemed rather far-fetched. After all, Bugatti had previously declared that the Chiron won’t reach the 300-mph mark. However, a few days after the Venom F5’s launch, Koenigsegg set a new production car top speed world record, reaching an average of 277.9 mph and 284 mph during a single pass.

With this in mind, is John Hennessey’s claim of 300 mph actually achievable?

A few weeks back, Jalopnik asserted that it was extremely unlikely because of the tires used by the Venom F5. According to tire experts and even Michelin themselves, Hennessey’s claims could be somewhat excessive.

Responding to these assertions, John Hennessey recently spoke with Jalopnik at the LA Auto Show, indicating that the Texas tuner doesn’t really know what speeds the F5’s tires will tolerate.

“I guess my general statement about tires is like if you ask the submarine commander how deep will the submarine go? They don’t really know. Now you know we don’t really know what the upper limit is, and I don’t think any tire manufacturer from Pirelli to Michelin or anybody else.

“Those guys aren’t going to go on the record from a liability standpoint—sure they’re not going to say.

“So if I was a little more casual and relaxed probably because I’d had a margarita [when first discussing a 301 mph top speed]. You know we’re going, you’re trying, to go 300. We’d like to go 300,” Hennessey said.

The man behind the tuner doesn’t seem so resolute about the Venom F5’s top speed abilities after all. However, he did say that if the company feels like it reaches the limit of the tires during high-speed testing, it will put a speed limiter on the hypercar.

“If we get to a point where whatever speed it might be—280, 285 or 290, and we feel like, okay that’s the limit of the tires, we will put a speed limit on the car. Okay? You put a limit on because, again, safety is paramount.”

Engineering Explained recently said that on paper, the Venom F5 has enough grunt to reach 300 mph, claiming that the only limiting factor will be tire technology.

Watch this space…

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New Alpine A110 To Cost Between €55,000 And €60,000 In France 15
Dec
Posted by Cristian Gnaticov in Alpine, Alpine A110, France, new cars, prices, Reports on 12 15th, 2017


All 1,955 units of the Alpine A110 Premiere Edition have been spoken for, but as the delivery date for the regular models is fast approaching, the French car marque has revealed their price.

Estimated to cost between €55,000 and €60,000 ($64,962-$70,867) in its homeland, tax included, it can already be reserved on Android and iOS smartphones and tablests, using the official ‘Automobiles Alpine’ app, found here and here.

For what it’s worth, the Premiere Edition sold for €58,500 ($69,096), with extra features applied to the exterior and interior, alongside a special plaque that reminds users of its limited build number.

You may want to pay extra care when choosing some of the optional extras, though, because one of its main rivals, thebase  Porsche 718 Cayman, starts from €55,040 ($65,009), whereas the ‘S’ guise comes from €67,790 ($80,068).

The Alpine A110 will be available in 12 European countries at first, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and UK. Its availability will eventually expand to other markets throughout 2018, and it will include Japan as well.

No matter where they live, customers will have to settle for the mid-mounted 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged, which is the sole choice. Shared with the new Renault Megane RS, it delivers 252PS (248hp) and 320Nm (236lb-ft) of torque, thus allowing the French berlinette to reach 100km/h (62mph) in 4.5sec, from a standstill, before tapping out at 250km/h (155mph).

Note: Alpine A110 Premiere Edition pictured

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