By on November 7, 2016

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Three Kansas City teenagers took a dream road trip last Friday, only to crash a stolen Dodge Challenger Hellcat and two Charger Hellcat sedans less than a mile down the road.

That, Toyota is finally considering a long-range electric vehicle, Jaguar’s deal with Silverstone goes off-track, and AutoNation is staying put where it is.

2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat

Teens abscond with, and immediately destroy, Mopar performers

Car thieves in movies are always stealing exotic sports cars or tuned up racing machines, but, in reality, it’s usually just a Honda Accord or neighbor’s F-150. That’s because most car thieves aren’t veteran getaway drivers — they’re typically young and wildly inexperienced. So, what happened when St. Peters’ Napleton Mid Rivers Dodge dealership lost two Charger SRT Hellcats and a Challenger Hellcat to car thieves in the early morning hours of November 4th?

Immediate failure.

The vehicles were crashed a short distance from the dealership (police say less than a mile) and the suspects were easily apprehended.

“It appears as though they did not know how powerful these cars were or know exactly how to operate them. They lost control of them fairly easily. I mean, they made it less than a mile,” St. Peters Police Officer Melissa Doss told KTVI.

Deandre Chiney, 17, and Jordon Neely, 19, are in jail under numerous charges, including burglary and receiving stolen property. Police said the 16-year-old will be facing juvenile court.

Two of the three stolen cars were totaled by the teens. Frank Schaffer, general manager of the dealership, said he’ll have a tough time ordering replacements — the 707 horsepower Hellcats are in high demand.

“It’s going to take several months to replace before Chrysler will give me allocation to replace them, so this one left is kind of special,” he said.

Toyota logo

Toyota gives in, considers a long-haul EV

Toyota Motor Corp. is considering bringing long-range electric vehicles to the automotive market in 2020 — a dramatic reversal of strategy for the Japanese manufacturer.

Automotive News Europe writes:

Even as rivals such as Nissan Motor Co., Volkswagen Group and Tesla Motors have touted pure electric cars as the most viable zero-emission vehicles for the future, Toyota has said it would reserve EVs for short-distance commuting given the high price of rechargeable batteries and lengthy charging times.

By adding longer-range EVs to its product range, Toyota would be changing its tune from promoting plug-in hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) as the most promising alternative to conventional cars.

The Nikkei, without citing sources, said Toyota would set up a team in early 2017 dedicated to developing electric cars that can travel more than 300km (186 miles) on a single charge.

The paper added that Toyota aims to begin selling its first long-range EV in 2020 in Japan as well as other markets such as California, and China, which is promoting a switch to EVs.

While Toyota has promised to make its vehicles emissions-free by 2050, the company has neither confirmed nor denied the report. In an emailed response, Toyota says it plans to continue development of various fuel-efficient technologies, including electric vehicles.

Silverstone Circuit

Jaguar backs out of Silverstone deal

After a some serious consideration, Jaguar Land Rover has turned its back on the storied Silverstone racetrack and said it is no longer seeking to purchase the circuit.

Reuters writes:

In April, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) said it was in talks to lease the circuit’s property to Jaguar Land Rover, which had been considering turning the site into a “heritage center” to show off its luxury cars.

But after months of talks dragging on, a spokesman at Britain’s biggest carmaker said the plans had been scrapped.

Lawrence Tomlinson, who owns Ginetta Cars, has also backed out of deals to purchase the racetrack. He reportedly walked away because he had extended his offer numerous times with the ultimatum that a deal had to be done before the end of October.

This leaves only one remaining bidder: Jonathan Palmer, owner of the Brands Hatch circuit.

Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, desperately needs a backer. Its cash reserves have dwindled from £21.8 million ($27 million) in 2008 to only £9,000 ($11,150) at the end of last year.

autonation direct

AutoNation scales down acquisition plans

AutoNation is retrenching dealership acquisition plans as it begins its half-billion-dollar quest to build CarMax-affronting used car outlets. AutoNation’s CEO, Mike Jackson, told Automotive News that the brand-extension plan meant not going overboard with the the company’s acquisition strategy.

Automotive News writes:

“We certainly don’t have the desire or the capital” to expand beyond the current geographic footprint, Jackson said. “Unquestionably, our primary focus is going to be building and extending the AutoNation brand. We’d rather do this than a new market.”

But, he added, “We’re not going dark on acquisitions.”

AutoNation will continue to look for dealership acquisitions that fit its current footprint — tuck-ins or dealerships that represent brands missing from the company’s portfolio in an existing market, Jackson said.

In 2016, AutoNation has snatched up dealerships and been awarded points that represent 49 new franchises. Jon Ferrando, AutoNation’s executive vice president for corporate development and human resources, expects the acquisitions to generate roughly $1.5 billion in annual revenue.

[Images: FCA; Toyota; Silverstone Circuit; AutoNation Corporate]

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