The Truth About Cars » Are You Ready For… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 04 Sep 2015 19:38:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Are You Ready For… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/are-you-ready-for/ Marchionne Calls For GM Takeover Just Short of Hostile http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-calls-for-gm-takeover-just-short-of-hostile/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-calls-for-gm-takeover-just-short-of-hostile/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:59:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156418 We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time. […]

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Sergio and 1.4L Turbo MultiAir in better times at Dundee. Chrysler Photo

We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time.

“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you,” said Marchionne to Vellequette. “Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”

And no, that’s not even the best part.

Marchionne asserts he and the board of directors have no choice but to pursue General Motors based on the numbers.

“We’re not talking about marginal improvement in margins,” Marchionne said, “we’re talking about cataclysmic changes in performance, just huge.”

And how sweet is that EBITDA figure?

“Look, the combined entity can make $30 billion a year in cash. Thirty. Just think about that fucking number. In steady-state environments, it’ll make me $28 to $30 billion.”

Yet, General Motors refuses to look at the numbers, with GM CEO Mary Barra stating in June that GM is busy “merging with ourselves.”

The relatively short piece from Automotive News is filled with that will likely become a Greatest Hits album for both Vellequette and Marchionne with lines like:

“It would be unconscionable not to force a partner,” he said

“I’ve offered to sit down with them and take them through the numbers,” said the Italian-Canadian CEO as he sipped an espresso and swiped through documents on his tablet, giving his visitors a cursory look at various charts and graphs he says make his case.

“They won’t listen. And that kind of abject refusal to engage … the capital markets won’t understand why you are rejecting the discussion.

“You may reject the deal but you can’t reject the discussion. If you’re refusing to talk to me, and you have seen nothing, you either think you’re above it all, or you think the capital markets are full of schmucks that owe you something.”

“There have been responses of people who have shown interest in discussing,” he said. “Are they the people I wanted to get the response from? The answer is probably not. There are people who are interested in doing deals. I’m not interested in doing deals with them … because there’s a better deal.”

“Why,” asked a high-ranking GM executive, “should [GM] bail out FCA?”

Asked directly, a GM spokesman wouldn’t call Marchionne’s analysis wrong but said GM officials believe the company and its shareholders are better off on their own.

Last emphasis mine.

If GM officials think that shareholders want anything other than increased profits, those officials are going to be in for a rude awakening — when they’re out of jobs after the dust has settled.

Everyone, especially a shareholder, has a price.

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VIDEO: Ford GT LM GTE Sounds Like A Four-wheeled Warzone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:58:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156250 Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video. I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with […]

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Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video.

I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with six turbocharged AK-47-esque cylinders.

Ford’s third iteration of the GT will be more track ready than its immediate predecessor. The Blue Oval plans to bring the pain to Ferrari at LeMans next year — and every other possible competitor in the GTE category.

Sitting just ahead of the rear wheels is a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with the horsepower knob turned up to 600.

Those looking to buy a street-legal version of the Ford GT will have to go through an application process and be accepted by Ford before parting with an estimated $350,000 in exchange for the car.

Maybe Bernie Ecclestone should buy 24 of these engines for Formula 1 next year.

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Formula E as an Olympic Sport? Probably Not http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/formula-e-olympic-sport-probably-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/formula-e-olympic-sport-probably-not/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133841 Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track). The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched […]

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Richard Branson, his Virgin Racing Formula E team, and the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders

Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track).

The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched the idea to Olympic organizers and offered the Formula E cars for competition.

Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve said he would “definitely” participate and added that 30 years ago tennis wasn’t part of the Olympic program, but now it’s a staple.

But that’s not even the best part.

In the story, organizers speculate on a possible procedure for the event. Three drivers from each country would be nominated for competition: i.e. Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg from Germany; Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Will Stevens for the U.K.; Felipe Massa, Felipe Nasr and probably someone named Piquet from Brazil.

(America would presumably hold open tryouts in non-consecutive weekends until our losing team could be selected.)

Anyway, that is a fun game.

It wouldn’t be the first time motorsport would be at the Olympics. In 1900, motorsports were a demonstration game in the Paris Olympics, alongside ballooning, lawn bowling and possibly cannon firing.

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Hyundai New Official Sponsor Of NFL, Official Truck Title Open To Others http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-new-official-sponsor-of-nfl-official-truck-title-open-to-others/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-new-official-sponsor-of-nfl-official-truck-title-open-to-others/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102969 Are you ready for some football? Along with some bulgogi and a pack of Hite? Hyundai is, as it is the new official automotive sponsor of the NFL. According to ESPN, Hyundai will pay $50 million per year for the honor of taking up where General Motors will leave off beginning this season, The Detroit […]

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Hyundai And The NFL - This Is Football, Oppa Gangham Style

Are you ready for some football? Along with some bulgogi and a pack of Hite? Hyundai is, as it is the new official automotive sponsor of the NFL.

According to ESPN, Hyundai will pay $50 million per year for the honor of taking up where General Motors will leave off beginning this season, The Detroit News reports. However, the deal only covers cars; the NFL can still award an “Official Truck of the NFL” to a sponsor of its choosing, so long as it doesn’t compete with Hyundai. The automaker’s official titles include car, SUV and luxury vehicle of the NFL.

Though GM no longer is the official sponsor — it cancelled its $25 million/year agreement with the league earlier this year, bringing an end to a relationship begun in 2001 — truck brand GMC will still have a presence on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Hyundai’s sponsorship of the NFL joins other automakers and brands in the game, including Kia’s relationship with the NBA, Chevrolet providing trucks with “technology and stuff” to Major League Baseball, Honda skating to where the puck will be for the NHL, and Audi shooting the winning goal into the back of the net for Major League Soccer.

The first instance of Hyundai’s new relationship will appear September 10, where the automaker will have a major presence during NFL Kickoff festivities.

(Photo credit: Hyundai)

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Mass Transit In Greece Free This Week Due To Economic Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102009 Some transit authorities offer free service to encourage ridership. Greece is offering free service this week because no one has money. As a result of Greece’s banks shutting their doors and ATMs for the entire week in order to prevent potential bank runs at the expense of their customers — in turn the result of […]

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Electric Bus In Athens, Greece

Some transit authorities offer free service to encourage ridership. Greece is offering free service this week because no one has money.

As a result of Greece’s banks shutting their doors and ATMs for the entire week in order to prevent potential bank runs at the expense of their customers — in turn the result of the failing bailout of the nation’s economy — transportation minister Christos Spirtzis declared transit service in Athens would be free to all until next week, Business Insider says.

The move would affect only those in the greater Athens metro area, where 40 percent of the nation’s population call home; the next-largest city, Thessaloniki, can’t waive its fares because its system isn’t fully run by the Grecian government. Meanwhile, Greece stands to lose €4 million ($4.44 million USD) as a result of the declaration; typical fares are around €1.20 ($1.33).

(Photo credit: hans-johnson/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Volkswagen Introducing ‘Budget-Car Family’ By 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101537 Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more. CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” […]

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Volkswagen Beetles in Paphos Circa March 2015

Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more.

CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” Reuters reports. Winterkorn added the cars — to cost between €8,000 and €11,000 ($8,932 and $12,225 USD) — would be assembled in China; the original target was between €6,000 and €8,000 ($6,670 and $8,932).

Though the low-cost vehicles are aimed for markets in Southeast Asia, Winterkorn says his company would determine “if this is something of interest for other markets as well.” Whether North America is among them, only he and his senior execs know for certain.

(Photo credit: Chris Parker/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Marchionne Not Yet Ready For GM, Fields Not Interested In Any Merger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/marchionne-not-yet-ready-for-gm-fields-not-interested-in-any-merger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/marchionne-not-yet-ready-for-gm-fields-not-interested-in-any-merger/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 20:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100777 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’s not ready to court General Motors’ shareholders for a merger, while Ford’s Mark Fields prefers no mergers at all. Though Marchionne was said to be gathering allies in the finance field to help persuade GM’s investors to consider consolidation — having been rebuffed already by CEO Mary Barra — […]

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Fiat 500 At Tuscany Wedding Circa April 2014

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’s not ready to court General Motors’ shareholders for a merger, while Ford’s Mark Fields prefers no mergers at all.

Though Marchionne was said to be gathering allies in the finance field to help persuade GM’s investors to consider consolidation — having been rebuffed already by CEO Mary BarraReuters says he stated the following while on the sidelines at Wednesday’s unveiling of the Alfa Romeo Guilia:

We are very far removed from any of those scenarios today. None of my staff has spoken to them, I haven’t spoken to them, nobody is under instruction to speak to them.

When asked about the possibility of going hostile in his ongoing need for industry consolidation, Marchionne’s reply was to proclaim those who “kept wasting capital” were the ones meting out the hostility.

One such individual would likely be Fields. Per The Detroit Bureau, the Ford CEO told reporters attending the annual Further With Ford conference mergers with any automaker, let alone FCA, were out of the question:

We have no interest or plan other than accelerating the One Ford Plan; delivering product excellence and driving innovation in every part of our business. We are never going to take our eye off of being a great developer of cars, trucks and utility vehicles.

Fields added he would consider ways to improve his company’s overall business model, stating it was important for Ford “to open up that lens” in order to lead the industry towards betterment.

(Photo credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

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Autoleaks: Scion iM Pricing Revealed Ahead Of Embargo’s End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/autoleaks-scion-im-pricing-revealed-ahead-of-embargos-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/autoleaks-scion-im-pricing-revealed-ahead-of-embargos-end/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100657 Via a poster on Scion iM Forum, pricing for the rebadged Toyota Auris has escaped onto the Internet for all to consider. Those who seek the six-speed manual version will pay a base price of $19,255, while those opting to let the CVT handle shifting duties on their way to Starbucks will cut a check […]

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2016-Scion-iM-4

Via a poster on Scion iM Forum, pricing for the rebadged Toyota Auris has escaped onto the Internet for all to consider.

Those who seek the six-speed manual version will pay a base price of $19,255, while those opting to let the CVT handle shifting duties on their way to Starbucks will cut a check for $19,995. AutoGuide says with the $770 destination charge, the figures rises to $20,025 and $20,765, respectively.

Pricing for the iM was revealed by Scion iM Forum member bicepeak, who later explained the information came from a since-deleted tweet by Autoweek‘s Mark Vaughn; Vaughn was attending a Scion School event involving the hatchback and iA sedan. A following photo from iMTaylor — possibly from Vaughn’s Twitter account, as well — noted pricing was to be embargoed until one minute past midnight Eastern June 29, along with driving impressions.

For the price of admission, one receives an iM powered by a 1.8-liter four-pot good for 137 horses, which are then fed through the front via either six-speed manual or the seven predefined ratios found in the CVT version. Other features include heated power-folding side mirrors, dual-zone climate control, 17-inch wheels, and optional navigation.

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California’s Black License Plates Are Back In Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/californias-black-license-plates-are-back-in-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/californias-black-license-plates-are-back-in-production/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099905 Thanks to California’s Legacy Plate Program, the state’s classic black license plates are back on the presses. The program, Hemmings Daily writes, was passed in 2012 after Assemblyman Mike Gatto noted the molds used to stamp the black, yellow and blue plates made in separate eras between 1963 and 1982 “were just sitting there in […]

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CAblackplate_700

Thanks to California’s Legacy Plate Program, the state’s classic black license plates are back on the presses.

The program, Hemmings Daily writes, was passed in 2012 after Assemblyman Mike Gatto noted the molds used to stamp the black, yellow and blue plates made in separate eras between 1963 and 1982 “were just sitting there in Folsom prison,” per Gatto’s legislative director Aaron Moreno. Moreno adds the molds were found intact once the dust was cleared, paving the way toward reintroduction.

However, the three plates could only be made if each one garnered a minimum of 7,500 pre-orders between January 2013 and December 2014. While the black plates blew away the rest with 20,000 pre-orders to date, the yellow and blue plates only had few thousand each.

When the new plates leave Folsom in the next few weeks, there will be two key differences between the 2015 edition and the originals made between 1963 and 1969: the “63” stamped in the right-corner sticker window will not be there, and the plate overall will be covered in a reflective coating as required by law. Otherwise, it will appear as if stamping never ceased.

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2016 Ford Focus RS Delivers 345 HP With ‘Specially Engineered’ EcoBoost Mill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-ford-focus-rs-delivers-345-hp-with-specially-engineered-ecoboost-mill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-ford-focus-rs-delivers-345-hp-with-specially-engineered-ecoboost-mill/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 17:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099817 Ahead of its arrival at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England, the 2016 Ford Focus RS’ horsepower figures were officially revealed. Ford says the hot hatch’s “specially engineered 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine” is good for 345 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque to all four corners. The turbo-four shares the basics with […]

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2016 Ford Focus RS

Ahead of its arrival at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England, the 2016 Ford Focus RS’ horsepower figures were officially revealed.

Ford says the hot hatch’s “specially engineered 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine” is good for 345 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque to all four corners. The turbo-four shares the basics with the all-aluminum mill found on the Mustang, with upgrades including: a “low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor”; “less restrictive intake design” for more breathing capability; larger intercooler and radiator for increased cooling; high-temp-resistant cylinder heads and high-tensile cast iron cylinder liners; and “a large-bore high performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe that helps optimise the balance of back pressure and noise output.”

Other features linked to the powertrain include Ford’s Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring system, launch control, and a handful of driving modes, including an “industry-first” drift mode so one can drift in Formula D without first yanking out the front differential.

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SPIED: Fiat 124 Spider Sports Long Hood for Small Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/spied-fiat-124-spider-sports-long-hood-for-small-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/spied-fiat-124-spider-sports-long-hood-for-small-motor/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:16:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099897 This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work. Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose. While this addition to the Fiat lineup is quite covered in camo in these photos, it’s easy to see the roadster will rock a longer hood than […]

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124 Spider_011

This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work.

Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose.

While this addition to the Fiat lineup is quite covered in camo in these photos, it’s easy to see the roadster will rock a longer hood than the Mazda MX-5. However, it looks like other elements stay quite similar to the original on which it’s based, including the curved windshield surround and proportions of the rear deck.

If rumor is to be believed, the new Fiat 124 will be powered by the same 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder found in other Fiat products. Power will be sent to the rear via a six-speed manual transmission and possibly a six-speed dual clutch or conventional automatic.

We will likely see the Fiat 124 in all its glory this November at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Expect sales to start next year.

The new Fiat will be built alongside the MX-5 in Japan.

124 Spider_011 124 Spider_010 124 Spider_009 124 Spider_008 124 Spider_006 124 Spider_005 124 Spider_004 124 Spider_003 124 Spider_002 124 Spider_001

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Lotus Resumes US Operations, Moves US HQ To Detroit Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099441 After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area. The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide […]

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Lotus Evora 400 Circa Geneva 2015

After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area.

The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide reports. The move would allow both divisions more ability to grow, and would improve efficiency of operations.

Meanwhile, the first car to make its way across the Pond will be the 2017 Evora 400, sale of which are set to begin this December. The 3-Eleven track car and a proposed crossover are expected to follow.

Finally, Lotus’ U.S. dealership network recently expanded by four to 47 total showrooms, with more planned for the future. The four newest additions are in West Covina and Thermal, Calif., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Calgary, Alberta.

(Photo credit: Lotus)

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Ford Unveils Carsharing Pilot Program For Select Ford Credit Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ford-unveils-carsharing-pilot-program-for-select-ford-credit-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ford-unveils-carsharing-pilot-program-for-select-ford-credit-consumers/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099089 Financing a Ford and looking to bolster your monthly payments? The automaker has an idea: rent your car to others. Ford owners financing their rides through Ford Credit can rent them out to other drivers through its Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing program, announced Tuesday evening. The pilot program will invite 14,000 and 12,000 owners “in six […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Financing a Ford and looking to bolster your monthly payments? The automaker has an idea: rent your car to others.

Ford owners financing their rides through Ford Credit can rent them out to other drivers through its Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing program, announced Tuesday evening. The pilot program will invite 14,000 and 12,000 owners “in six U.S. cities and London, respectively” to rent their vehicles to prescreened drivers on a short-term basis, with rental payments going towards paying down the note.

To enable this, Ford partnered with rideshare companies Getaround (U.S. market) and easyCar Club (London), whose respective “Web-based, mobile-friendly software” will handle all transactions.

The six U.S. cities selected to participate in the sharing program are the California cities of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco, as well as Portland, Chicago and Washington. The program is slated to run through November 2015.

(Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars)

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[UPDATED] 2016 MINI Clubman Official Images Revealed Ahead Of Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/autoleaks-2016-mini-clubman-official-images-revealed-ahead-of-frankfurt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/autoleaks-2016-mini-clubman-official-images-revealed-ahead-of-frankfurt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1098817 Ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, official images of the 2016 MINI Clubman escaped onto the Internet for all the world to see [now updated with info from the official press release – CA]. Underpinned by the UKL1 modular architecture also used by the MINI three- and five-door models, as well as the BMW […]

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Mini-Clubman-6

Ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, official images of the 2016 MINI Clubman escaped onto the Internet for all the world to see [now updated with info from the official press release – CA].

Underpinned by the UKL1 modular architecture also used by the MINI three- and five-door models, as well as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the Clubman replaces the skinny suicide rear passenger doors from the current model with conventional ones.

The Clubman — whose face takes its cues from the 2011 Rocketman concept — is reportedly bigger, as well, gaining 10.23 inches in length, 6.34 inches in width, and an inch in height over the model it will replace. Up to 47.9 cu. ft. of cargo space is available with help from either 60/40 or optional 40/20/40 rear seats, 17.5 cu. ft. when all five occupants are aboard. Curb weight ranges between 3,105 lbs and 3,300 lbs, depending on trim and transmission selected.

Power for the new Clubman will come from a pair of gasoline engines: a 1.5-liter three-pot good for 134 horses and 162 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Both engines can be paired with either six-speed manual or six- and eight-speed variants of MINI’s Steptronic automatic (six-speed for the Cooper Clubman, eight-speed for the Cooper S Clubman). Nil to 60 comes in 8.9 seconds for the Cooper Clubman (top speed: 127 mph), 6.9 seconds (auto) to 7 seconds (manual) for the Cooper S (top speed: 142 mph).

Handling comes from a single joint strut axle up front, and the 2 Series Active Tourer’s multilink setup in the back, with standard 16-inch and optional 17- to 19-inch alloys, dynamic traction, stability and damper controls, and electronic differential locking holding everything together on the road.

Other features available include: MINI Excitement Package (LED interior and ambient lighting, projected MINI logo from driver’s side mirror); HUD; collision/pedestrian warning; MINI Connected infotainment system; revised aero; start-stop; and MINI Driving Modes for increased fuel economy or more power depending on mood.

(Image credit: MINI)

Mini-Clubman-20 Mini-Clubman-6 Mini-Clubman-5 Mini-Clubman-22 Mini-Clubman-8 Mini-Clubman-18 Mini-Clubman-9 Mini Clubman 10 Mini-Clubman-21 Mini-Clubman-7

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HEMI Engine Family Receiving Upgrades To Fuel Economy, Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hemi-engine-family-receiving-upgrades-to-fuel-economy-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hemi-engine-family-receiving-upgrades-to-fuel-economy-power/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097977 Changes are coming to FCA’s HEMI engine family, ranging from increased fuel economy, to higher horsepower. Though details are scant, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 could receive direct injection to increase its fuel economy, Allpar writes. In turn, the upgrade would be enough to reduce or remove the need for FCA to buy CAFE credits. Meanwhile, […]

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Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine produces 707 ho

Changes are coming to FCA’s HEMI engine family, ranging from increased fuel economy, to higher horsepower.

Though details are scant, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 could receive direct injection to increase its fuel economy, Allpar writes. In turn, the upgrade would be enough to reduce or remove the need for FCA to buy CAFE credits.

Meanwhile, the Hellcat’s development splits two ways. One modification — for the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk — would be tuned for greater refinement to better match the character of both SUV and driver, likely leading towards less horsepower under the bonnet.

The second modification is in response to Ford and Shelby bringing to market an engine said to be more powerful than the Hellcat. Thus, for 2017, FCA are looking to push the Hellcat beyond 707 horsepower against the Blue Oval’s twin-turbo 5.0-liter with direct injection and a potential 740-plus horses pushing the 2017 Shelby GT500 down the highway.

Beyond what is known, no models have been discovered as recipients for the upgrades, while said upgrades may not be ready in time for the 2016 model year’s start.

(Photo credit: Dodge)

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Uber Bans Drivers, Passengers From Carrying Guns During Rides http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/uber-bans-drivers-passengers-from-carrying-guns-during-rides/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/uber-bans-drivers-passengers-from-carrying-guns-during-rides/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097937 Uber drivers and passengers alike are now banned from carrying their guns into town, thanks to a new policy. While no explanation has been given about the new policy, the following was implemented after a recent incident in April, where an Uber driver stopped what would have been a mass shooting in Chicago, according to […]

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Uber At Igby's In Cincy Circa April 2014

Uber drivers and passengers alike are now banned from carrying their guns into town, thanks to a new policy.

While no explanation has been given about the new policy, the following was implemented after a recent incident in April, where an Uber driver stopped what would have been a mass shooting in Chicago, according to The Truth About Guns:

We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform — both driver-partners and riders — feels safe and comfortable using the service. During a ride arranged through the Uber platform, Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle. Any rider or driver found to have violated this prohibition may lose access to the Uber platform.

The stance — long since adopted by competing transportation network company Lyft — contrasts what a spokeswoman for the TNC said after the incident in Chicago, stating its drivers were only required to abide by local, state and federal laws on the matter of carrying guns in one’s glove compartment.

(Photo credit: Uber/Facebook)

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Dodge Grand Caravan Continuing Into 2017 Model Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dodge-grand-caravan-continuing-into-2017-model-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dodge-grand-caravan-continuing-into-2017-model-year/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097873 Mourning over the loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan? You won’t need to pour a 40 out for your homie yet, as production will go on through the 2017 model year. Per an internal document unearthed by Automotive News‘s sources, FCA will continue production of the minivan alongside the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country set […]

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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Blacktop Package

Mourning over the loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan? You won’t need to pour a 40 out for your homie yet, as production will go on through the 2017 model year.

Per an internal document unearthed by Automotive News‘s sources, FCA will continue production of the minivan alongside the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country set to hit the line February 29, 2016. The 2017 model — bearing the same code as the 2015 edition — will join the T&C August 23 of the same year.

The continuation of the Grand Caravan — originally slated to end in 2016 — may be a hedge against losing market share over the T&C’s new look, and would also meet demand in Canada and from fleet owners.

A representative reiterated the Grand Caravan would eventually be discontinued, adding no further details on the continuation could be given at this time.

(Photo credit: Dodge)

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Report: NHTSA Failed Consumers Over Automotive Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097473 Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety. The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, […]

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BMW 325Ci on Fire

Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety.

The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, to carefully collecting data and properly training its employees, The Detroit News reports.

The report — the result of the NHTSA’s stumblings surrounding the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall crisis — notes the agency ignored complaints as early as 2003 from consumers regarding air bag deployment failures in certain GM models over the years.

The issue isn’t out of the ordinary, unfortunately, as the agency was found to ignore 90 percent of all consumer complaints arriving daily. The screeners responsible for reading them spent mere “seconds” on each complaint, with one screener having gone over 78,000 in one year — 330/day — while working in other duties.

Regarding self-reporting from automakers, the NHTSA isn’t doing all it can to determine accuracy in what is reported. According to Jalopnik, what everyone else would call a fire, manufactures call it something else:

However, according to [NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation] staff, manufacturers routinely miscategorize safety incidents. For example, staff told us that some manufacturers avoid using the word “fire” in non-dealer field reports and instead use phrases such as “strange odor” to avoid categorizing an incident as fire-related.

The Inspector General’s report lists 17 major recommendations needed to extensively reform the NHTSA, reforms administrator Mark Rosekind plans to “aggressively implement” by June 2016. Rosekind and the Inspector General, Calvin Scovel, are among those set to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday on automotive safety.

(Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

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Toyota Prius SUV Reportedly Under Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 19:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097417 The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV. The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes. The […]

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Toyota-C-HR-Concept-3

The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV.

The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes.

The partnership between the two automakers allows for powertrain technologies to be exchanged regarding new models. Thus, one idea for the SUV would be Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel for a hybrid-diesel variant, as well as one without electric motors for European markets. Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market, set to meet the ZEV standards set for 2018 by California’s government.

(Photo credit: Mike Schlee/AutoGuide)

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2016 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Planned For US Market Arrival http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-chevrolet-cruze-hatchback-planned-for-us-market-arrival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-chevrolet-cruze-hatchback-planned-for-us-market-arrival/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097233 A hatchback version of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze was shown to dealers at the brand’s national meeting in Vegas last week, with plans to sell it in North America. The Cruze hatch — like the current model pictured above — is already available in a handful of countries, Automotive News reports, the lack of which […]

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Chevrolet-Cruze-5-door-272226-medium

A hatchback version of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze was shown to dealers at the brand’s national meeting in Vegas last week, with plans to sell it in North America.

The Cruze hatch — like the current model pictured above — is already available in a handful of countries, Automotive News reports, the lack of which in the U.S. is considered “a pre-bankruptcy planning mistake” per General Motors product boss Mark Reuss.

Though no date of arrival has been announced thus far, speculation points to sales beginning after the Q1 2016 introduction of the 2016 Cruze sedan, set to be revealed later this week. The hatch would do battle against the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra GT, and Volkswagen Golf.

Speaking of the sedan variant, below is the amazingly twee press release, written entirely in Emoji; GM says the secret decoder ring will come Tuesday afternoon for those unskilled in the texting language.

The Tweest Press Release Ever - 2016 Chevrolet Cruze

(Photo credit: Chevrolet)

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Top Gear’s Three Musketeers Set To Return With New Series http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/top-gears-three-musketeers-set-to-return-with-new-series/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/top-gears-three-musketeers-set-to-return-with-new-series/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 16:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095953 While “Top Gear” moves forward with new host Chris Evans at the helm, Clarkson, Hammond and May are closer to introducing a new show of their own. Jeremy Clarkson confirmed the news to The Sunday Times, the details of which are still unknown beyond speculation the new show featuring Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May […]

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Hammond Clarkson May

While “Top Gear” moves forward with new host Chris Evans at the helm, Clarkson, Hammond and May are closer to introducing a new show of their own.

Jeremy Clarkson confirmed the news to The Sunday Times, the details of which are still unknown beyond speculation the new show featuring Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will be on Netflix. Said details are projected to come in the next few weeks, with the first episode to debut before “Top Gear” returns after next March.

Meanwhile, May will host a two-episode series called “Building Cars Live” on BBC Two. The 90-minute episodes will be broadcast live from BMW’s MINI factory in Oxford, England, where he and co-presenters Kate Humble and Ant Anstead will follow the process of building a car from raw materials. The series will also air before “Top Gear” returns.

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Frankfurt 2015: Production-Ready Infiniti Q30 Set For Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/frankfurt-2015-production-ready-infiniti-q30-set-for-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/frankfurt-2015-production-ready-infiniti-q30-set-for-debut/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 13:11:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096097 Two years ago in Frankfurt, the Infiniti Q30 debuted before the world in concept form. Come this September, it will return with a production-ready look. The brand is putting the finishing touches on its first-ever compact luxury car, including “dynamic testing and ultimate validation” in the United Kingdom — where development of the Q30 was […]

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2013 Infiniti Q30 Concept

Two years ago in Frankfurt, the Infiniti Q30 debuted before the world in concept form. Come this September, it will return with a production-ready look.

The brand is putting the finishing touches on its first-ever compact luxury car, including “dynamic testing and ultimate validation” in the United Kingdom — where development of the Q30 was completed last year — and across the Channel in Europe.

Following its debut in mid-September, the Q30 will hit European showrooms from Nissan’s production line in Sunderland, England at the end of 2015, with other markets set to get theirs in 2016.

The Q30 and its sibling compact crossover, the upcoming QX30, are expected to receive power from the same 2.0-liter turbo-four found under the bonnets of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA, whose basic underpinnings also provides a foundation for the Infiniti compacts. The exchange is part of a joint venture between Daimler AG and Renault-Nissan.

For now, this spy shot from Infiniti is the best we’ve got until closer to showtime:

Infiniti_Q30_TEASER_image___19_June_2015

(Photo credit: Infiniti)

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Honda Brings LMP2 Prototype To 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/honda-brings-lmp2-prototype-to-2015-pikes-peak-hill-climb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/honda-brings-lmp2-prototype-to-2015-pikes-peak-hill-climb/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096017 Having taken on Daytona and Sebring, Honda will bring its HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype to Pikes Peak for the 2015 edition of the historic hill climb. The HPD ARX-04b will be piloted by IndyCar and former F1 driver Justin Wilson, with power to come from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, AutoGuide reports. The car will also […]

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Honda HPD ARX-04b

Having taken on Daytona and Sebring, Honda will bring its HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype to Pikes Peak for the 2015 edition of the historic hill climb.

The HPD ARX-04b will be piloted by IndyCar and former F1 driver Justin Wilson, with power to come from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, AutoGuide reports. The car will also be the first full-carbon monocoque vehicle sanctioned by Pikes Peak authorities, where it will compete in the Unlimited class.

Honda says the effort is to test how the HPD’s chassis handles the climb, and what the high altitude will do to the production-based V6.

The 2015 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will occur June 28.

(Photo credit: Honda)

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2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Given The Green Flag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2017-jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-given-the-green-flag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2017-jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-given-the-green-flag/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 18:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095993 Per inside sources, the green flag has been given for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with testing already underway. The Trackhawk — codenamed Project K — is undergoing powertrain testing using 2016 Grand Cherokee bodies, Motor Authority reports. Said powertrain will be none other than the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 found in the Charger […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Per inside sources, the green flag has been given for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with testing already underway.

The Trackhawk — codenamed Project K — is undergoing powertrain testing using 2016 Grand Cherokee bodies, Motor Authority reports. Said powertrain will be none other than the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 found in the Charger and Challenger Hellcats, good for 707 horsepower. A ZF eight-speed auto will funnel the raw power to all four corners, with zero to 60 coming in 3 seconds, topping out at 200 mph.

For those whose hearts aren’t hardy enough for the most brutal and metal of all Grand Cherokees, the same sources state the Grand Cherokee SRT would gain a new name and a revised 6.4-liter HEMI V8 set to generated 490 horses.

FCA remains mum on the subject for now, of course.

(Photo credit: Jeep)

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Nürburgring Management Bans Manufacturers From Attempting, Publishing ‘Ring Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095969 Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring. During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, […]

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BMW M5 Ring Taxi

Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring.

During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, with the ‘Ring as the backdrop — director J.F. Musial said he received a phone call from Koenigsegg founder and CEO Christian Von Koenigsegg, informing him the track’s management had banned all manufacturers from attempting and publishing times achieved on the famed course. Koenigsegg had planned to put his One:1 through the pace prior to the ban.

The ban stems from an accident during a VLN race in March involving driver Jann Mardenborough, where a spectator was killed as a result. Management reacted by imposing a speed limit at the site where the accident occurred, followed by similar limits on other high-speed portions of the ‘Ring.

While management is set to review the limits at the end of this year, manufacturers are barred from making lap-record runs, even if the entire track was closed to the public for said runs. However, a run recorded by Lamborghini with its Aventador SV was allowed — under the claim the run happened before the limits were in place — while WTCC is permitted to ignore the limits altogether.

(Photo credit: elyob/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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