With the return of two storied nameplates like the Ford GT and Acura NSX, it’s easy to understand why the only Chinese automaker with a display at the North American International Auto Show last month in Detroit, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., didn’t get much attention. For the past decade or so, a number of Chinese car companies have had displays and press conferences at the media previews to the Detroit show, some of them with plans to export cars to North America, but so far little or nothing of substance has come to fruition from those plans. Whether or not they end up selling Chinese cars here, it does make a little bit of sense to take advantage of the presence at the NAIAS of thousands of members of the international press. That’s probably why GAC used the 2015 NAIAS to have the world premiere of their GS4 compact SUV. In addition to the GS4, which appears to be more of a car based crossover than a serious SUV, GAC also showed their GA6 sedan (which they say was developed for “the higher end market”) and the WITSTAR concept (that included it’s own built in aquarium between the back seats). (Read More…)
Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber
Last month, Dodge announced the Viper GTC model. The “C” part of the name presumably stands for “custom” as paying the $10,000 premium over the base Viper give customers access to literally *millions of custom paint, interior trim, striping and wheel combinations. I’m tempted to say that truly custom, or as our British cousins like to say, bespoke, items can’t be ordered from a list, but the heart of what Dodge is promoting as the Viper 1 of 1 program is a color palette of 8,000 hand-sprayed exterior color paint options. I worked in an automotive paint research and development lab for more than 20 years. Eight thousand colors is a huge selection and one of the features of the 1 of 1 program is that once an exterior color is picked, that will be the only Viper painted that color for the model year, making it a true one of one collectible. Ironically, though, the rainbow colored Viper they used to promote the program at the Chicago Auto Show wasn’t actually painted. (Read More…)
I don’t know if it will help them sell cars are not, but Cadillac’s decision to move it’s business headquarters to the trendy Soho district of New York City has certainly gotten some attention as have Cadillac marketing maven Melody Lee’s comments related to the move and the potential customers they hope to reach by making Cadillac into a more general luxury brand, not just a car company. When I saw that Lee’s boss, Jim Vurpillat, Global Marketing Director for Cadillac was going to be participating in a press event for the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, because Cadillac has factory based teams running racing versions of the ATS in the Pirelli World Challenge, it seemed like a good opportunity to ask him how racing and the high performance V cars in Cadillac’s portfolio fit in with appealing to New York’s trendy set, a group not known for their love or horsepower or what they see as environmentally questionable motorsports.
This story is admittedly a bit on the tabloid side for our august site, but the terrible misfortune of a Georgia couple should be a cautionary tale about trying to buy things from strangers online advertising at sites like Craigslist that provide no protection of any kind to the buyers or sellers. Usually that protection is fiduciary, though not having to deal face to face when transacting trade does have its advantages. Of course, there’s nothing in this story that couldn’t have happened when most used car ads were in newspaper or penny-saver classifieds, so it’s not a case of the internet changing everything, but it’s still a reminder that trying to buy a special car can go wrong in so many ways. (Read More…)
I try to find what I think are interesting backgrounds to use when taking photos of cars that I review. Last summer, because of the Independence Day weekend, I was able to keep a Scion FR-S for a couple extra days and, procrastinator that I am, I put off taking some pics until the last moment. Baker’s of Milford, a restaurant and banquet hall located not surprisingly in Milford, Michigan, home of the famed General Motors Proving Grounds, hosts one of the oldest and biggest weekly cruise-in car shows in the country every Sunday afternoon. There are some great two lane roads in that part of Oakland County, including those that circle the Proving Grounds, roads exactly of the sort for which the Toyobaru sports car was designed, so I headed out to Bakers. It was late, they were giving out the raffle prizes, but there were still lots of cars, enough to make a nice backdrop for the photos.
While there has been ample skepticism of the Elio Motors enterprise, I’ve personally been one of the more optimistic, or at least less skeptical voices concerning the project. All along, though, I’ve said that there were benchmarks that had to be met, like progress on the IVL led Elio engine development program and the beginning of hiring in earnest for Elio’s facility in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, LA, and that the time for skepticism would begin if and when those benchmarks weren’t met. Elio isn’t trying for a moonshot, just a 1,200 lb 55 horsepower reverse trike using mostly proven components, so whatever barriers to getting the enterprise off of the ground are mostly financial, not technological. Now, it seems that Elio will be missing one of those benchmarks, or at least moving the goalposts, as it scrambles to put together the almost quarter billion dollars Paul Elio says he needs to start production. (Read More…)
You can put me on the list of fans of Chris Harris. As a car enthusiast, you’ve got to love someone who can get as excited about driving a Citroen 2CV as he is behind the wheel of Ferrari’s latest and greatest supercar. However, while I appreciate his perspective on things automotive his recent screed explaining why he’s so glad that he won’t be attending the North American International Auto Show this year was so one sided that I have to stand in defense of one of my home town’s most major annual events.
Almost everything that Harris said about Detroit and the NAIAS is (or was) true. (Read More…)
Detroit Electric, the startup company that hopes to revive the early motoring age’s most successful brand of electric cars, has revealed the final design details and specifications of its Lotus based SP:01 battery powered sports car, which it says will start production in the UK early this year. Preproduction prototypes are being tested at the Leamington Spa assembly facility. Detroit Electric also announced the appointment of its first distributor in Asia. (Read More…)
Organized labor has had setbacks as states formerly seen as union strongholds in the industrial midwest, Wisconsin and Michigan, have enacted right-to-work legislation that makes paying union dues voluntary. Now, the United Auto Workers, which has been trying to organize autoworkers at ‘transplant’ facilities operated in the American south by foreign automakers faces the prospect of dealing with right-to-work laws at the county level, in Kentucky. The new laws present the autoworkers’ union with a double whammy. (Read More…)
If you have any kind of tribal affiliation, you probably have the experience of spotting signs of others who might have the same affiliation. Deadheads will spot a dancing bear decal on a VW bus and car enthusiasts, no different, will note a track decal on a coworker’s bumper. That’s how I found out about Jerry Gordon’s car kippah. (Read More…)