Rumors began surfacing about a month ago that Mazda was eying a complete pullout from US production, as it endures weak sales of its last American-built product, the Mazda6. Mazda had reportedly planned for 100k units of Mazda6 production at its Flat Rock plant, which it shares with Ford, before the economic crisis sent the US market tumbling. And with only a little more than 36k Mazda6s built alongside the Ford Mustang at Flat Rock last year, Mazda has little reason to maintain its joint venture, and with it, its US manufacturing presence. Now, the Nikkei [via the DetN] reports that Mazda’s pullout is more likely than ever, citing an unnamed Mazda source as saying it hoped to sell its 50% stake in the Flat Rock AutoAlliance plant to Ford as it restructures its global operations.
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OK, not every car other than the BenzGay Mercedes-Benz W124 fell victim to thrown rods, busted suspensions, and the usual woes that knock LeMons cars out of races, but only 21 entries were still moving under their own power at the low point of late afternoon today. When the checkered flag waved at the end of the session, the BenzGay 300E sat atop a semi-comfortable four-lap cushion. Read More >
Fisker’s plug-in luxury car has been delayed again, as sales that were once planned for March and April, and then delayed to May or June have now been delayed until July, according to GreenCarReports. And that’s not just bad news for Fisker and its customers, but it’s bad news for President Obama’s goal of getting a million plug-in cars on American roads by 2015 as well. According to the DOE, the government’s goal banks on Fisker selling 1k Karmas this year, and 5k next year, rising to 10k in 2013. It’s also a bad sign for the government’s expectation that Fisker will sell 5k of its next-gen “Nina” (which has not even been shown in concept form) next year and 40k in 2013. It seems that the DOE’s half-billion dollar loan to Fisker is still a ways from yielding the desired results…
Police in Louisiana slammed a 67-year-old man into the ground, arresting him over a questionable traffic violation. The state court of appeals ruled May 11 that Calvin D. Miller’s injuries were only worth $25,000 in compensation. Miller had been driving his big rig logging truck home to Florien on US Highway 171 at 5:30pm on July 13, 2007. As he passed through the Village of Hornbeck, Officers Kenneth Hatchett, Jr., and Andy Mitchell, 19, pulled him over because he began speeding up “about 100 feet” before the limit changed from 45 to 55 MPH. Having driven the road for the past forty-seven years, Miller was quite familiar with the speed limit. He insisted he was not speeding.
“I can see right now you’re going to need an attitude adjustment,” Officer Hatchett said to the five foot, six inch tall elderly man.
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth
You find unusual cars down on the street, stored off of the street, parked by by the curbside, ready for the crusher at a junkyard, or sometimes even abandoned in Brooklyn or Qatar. I first noticed this Avanti II while I was taking my mom to physical therapy. She broke her wrist and until she had recovered enough hand strength to take the shifter out of park I was given the task of driving Miss Peshie (Mom’s Yiddish name). My intention was to drop her off at the clinic and then attend the funeral for my cousin’s mechutan. When I passed the Avanti I was little disappointed. I’ve tried to get in the habit of taking my cameras with me most places that I go so I can seize the opportunity when I find a car worthy of note. I had my camera bag with me but there was no way I could shoot the Avanti while we were both driving in traffic. When I got to the cemetery, though, I noticed that the Avanti driver was also paying his respects.
TTAC scribes have descended on MSR Houston from all corners of the globe (actually just Ohio, Texas, and Colorado), and we’re busily flashing the TTAC gang sign and spraying our tags on fools’ whips. Left to right, Sajeev “Big Chief” Mehta, Murilee “Judge Phil” Martin, and Jack “Plymouth Master” Baruth. Read More >
One year after debuting the closed version of the R8 GT in Paris, Audi will show the mess-up-your-significant-other’s-hair model at the Frankfurt IAA this fall. The Audi R8 Spyder GT will be sold as a limited series of only 333. It should be available in early 2012 at your friendly Audi dealer in Europe for 207.800 Euro ($303,886 usual disclaimers apply.) Hit the jump for pictures …. Read More >
“I’m tired of being ashamed of where I live,” declared Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North America, at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference. His colleagues are likewise frustrated. “With all the national bashing of the region,” an aversion to Michigan is ingrained in the minds of potential job prospects, said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor. Detroit is the city of long lost sex-appeal. Echoing the dejected sentiments of a clockwatching professional with a clientele of reluctant customers, Bill Ford added: “We have to do an incredible sales job to get them to come.” Read More >
When I first heard that Chrysler had revised nearly every one of its models for the 2011 model year, I cynically assumed the changes couldn’t possibility make much of a difference. After all, how much could they have done with little money and even less time—and with Detroit’s tendency to make minor changes and expect them to have a major impact? Then I drove the new Dodge Grand Caravan, and was amazed at how much its ride and handling had improved. For those seeking something smaller, or who simply refuse to buy a minivan, Dodge offers the Journey crossover. Underwhelming before, does it now similarly surprise? Read More >
After the U.S. and Canadian government are out of the car business, at least as far as Chrysler is concerned, Fiat will own 52 percent. Who owns the rest? A large chunk, 45.7 percent, is owned by the UAW. By the UAW’s VEBA healthcare fund, to be exact. And the union is in no great hurry to change that. The UAW has a big “HOLD” on their share of Chrysler, hoping that the value goes up. That’s what “two people familiar with the fund’s strategy” told Reuters today. Read More >
In the merry month of May, Germans celebrated their new-found love for das Auto. Europe’s largest auto market grew 22 percent year-on-year and 14.4 percent month-on-month. That according to just released statistics by the German Kraftfahrtbundesamt. Read More >
The ominous Hydrogen Year 2015 is popping up again. Last year, Byung Ki Ahn, general manager of Hyundai-Kia’s Fuel Cell Group said: “There are already agreements between car makers such as ourselves and legislators in Europe, North America and Japan to build up to the mass production of fuel cell cars by 2015.” Going through the many files produced in Brussels, you find that in Europe “car manufacturers are getting ready for the commercial production of hydrogen vehicles by 2015.” Read More >