Today hottest/favourite autonews about auto makers (Hyundai, GM, Dodge, Chevy, Mercedes-BenzB, Cadillac, BMW, Toyota), photos/videos of supercars and from auto shows
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Today hot auto news

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Report: Jaguar Land Rover and Chery investing in Chinese plant

11/24/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Plants/Manufacturing, Jaguar, Land Rover, Chery, Tata, Luxury

While the European auto market for Jaguar and Land Rover is waning, Chinese car buyers can't get enough of the British marques. To meet that demand, Tata Motors, parent company of Jag and Land Rover, is partnering with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co.

The two announced plans to invest $1.75 billion to build a new plant and create a new, China-focused brand. 2014 is the target for completion of the factory. Jaguars and Land Rovers built at the facility will be the first ever produced outside the UK according to the Associated Press. The JV will be called Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Company Ltd.

The announcement comes less than a month after JLR announced it would open a design studio in China. It's not clear from the reports whether the two announcements are part of the same JV or two separate plans.

China requires any company wanting to set up domestic production to partner with a local business. By doing so, JLR avoids a 25-percent tariff on imported cars. Chery benefits from a planned research and development center as well as a chance to "really upgrade its capabilities," according to Bill Russo of Synergistic Ltd. in Beijing.

You can read the official press release below.

Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover and Chery investing in Chinese plant

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Cargo ship Cougar Ace tips over, 4,700 Mazdas aboard

07/27/2006   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Etc., Japan, Hatchbacks, Mazda

Cougar Ace

The Singapore-flagged cargo vessel Cougar Ace has tipped over off the coast of Alaska. All 23 crewmembers have been rescued. The same cannot be said, however, for the 4,700 Mazdas aboard the ill-fated 654-foot ship.

Cougar AceAccording to Mazda, 60% of the cars aboard are Mazda3s, and 30% are CX-7 SUVs. The Associated Press reports that the Cougar Ace tipped after her ballast was adjusted in the open sea. The resulting imbalance sent her over into the 60-degree list she is currently experiencing. As seen in the US Coast Guard photo above, her keel, rudder, and propeller are all out of the water.

The Coast Guard reports that aside from the list, the ship is stable and not sinking. Mitsui O.S.K., the Cougar Ace's owners, has initiated a salvage operation and the company they're working with is expected onsite in approximately one week.

Mazda does not know the extent of the damage to its vehicles and will refrain from further comment until it has more solid information, but based on photos of the ship, it looks like it's safe to assume that the conditions in the hold are, at best, a gigantic mess.

(Mazda press release after the jump)

[Sources: Mazda, AP via CTV, Alaska Report)


Mazda Vehicles Aboard
Stricken Car-Carrying Vessel, Cougar Ace

On July 24, 2006, Mazda was advised that the Mitsui OSK Lines' Cougar Ace had run into trouble off the Alaskan coast. Although it is reportedly still afloat, the vessel is on its side,

What caused this incident or the extent of the damage to the vehicles is currently unknown. Just over 4,700 Canadian- and U.S-bound Mazdas were on board. Approximately 60 percent of the cars are MAZDA3s and close to 30 percent are Mazda CX-7s. The vehicles were headed to the ports of Vancouver (Canada), Tacoma and Hueneme in the USA.

A plan for salvaging the vessel is being developed and will be executed by Mitsui OSK Lines as soon as possible.

Mazda will wait until the situation has been fully evaluated and understood, before disclosing further information.

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A desktop V8 - that runs!

08/01/2006   [Original: Replica Engines, Machine Design via Autoblog]
Category: Etc., I.C.E.

These beautiful 1/4-scale engines are the creation of aptly-named Replica Engines, a small company run by the Warner family of Gulliver, Michigan. The company recreates famous internal combustion engines in scale models that are fully operational. That means real four-cycle operation with spark ignition and fully-functional valve trains, oil pumps, water pumps and fuel pumps.

The engine pictured above is Replica Engines' latest - a recreation of the racing version of the Oldsmobile Aurora V8 that General Motors built for the Indy Racing League. Without access to engineering drawings, the model motor was painstakingly reverse-engineered from a full-sized unit.

More after the jump...The miniature aluminum block V8 displaces 3.8 cubic inches, with a .915 inch bore and a .723 inch stroke, and features dual overhead cams running four valves per cylinder, a 15:1 compression ratio, mechanical fuel injection and a dry sump oiling system. The engine runs on methanol, just like the original.

In order for the scale engine to be fully operational, some of the internals are not to scale, such as the Aurora engine block's internal oil passages, which would be too small to flow enough oil at their true scale diameter of .063 in. But functionally, the engine is faithful to the original design, with oil feeding through the engine block to the crankshaft and to the four overhead camshafts. The hollow camshafts pass the oil through while feeding oil to the cam-bearing surfaces cast into the heads. Oil then siphons to the bottom end.

The laws of physics also intervene in scaling down the ignition system, where the model engine's twin distributors are slightly larger than scale to prevent high-voltage arcing across the terminals. (By the way, the distributors feed handmade steel and ceramic spark plugs.)

Other model auto engines built by the Warners' company include a 1940 Offenhauser, a 1937 Harley "Knucklehead" V-twin and a 1937 Ford 60 flathead V8. (Videos of the Offy and the Harley - running - are here.)

The Aurora V8 is being built in a limited edition of 100 units, with a complete engine setup, with test stand, chrome headers and ignition coil, running just under $10,000.

Thanks for the tip, Gary!

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BMW shows off a slew of custom Lo Rider renderings

11/18/2008   [Original: Motorcycle News via Autoblog]
Category: BMW, Motorcycles

Click above for more custom renderings of the BMW Lo Rider concept

When BMW introduced its Lo Rider motorcycle concept on the unsuspecting public at the EICMA Show, officials for the German cycle manufacturer said that it designed the bike to be owner-customizable. Guess what? They weren't joking, and to prove it, the manufacturer has let loose more than a dozen renderings of possible custom Lo Riders. Much like what Harley-Davidson has done, BMW has created a single platform that offers customization through various saddles, handlebars, headlights and exhaust systems. By varying things like the seat height and footpeg location, the Lo Rider could offer either a very sporty ride or a machine for laid back cruising.

This theme is something new to BMW Motorrad, which has traditionally been much more at home designing long-distance touring mounts and standard bikes. More recently, the cycle maker has branched out into all-road style machinery under its GS label and super sporty bikes under its K-Series nameplate. In the late '90s BMW introduced the R1200C to combat the growing number of HDs and Japanese cruisers, and it is this custom crowd that the Lo Rider is aimed at. We hope to see more bikes from BMW that follow this pattern.

Gallery: BMW Lo Rider Concept Renderings

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Toyota of Jamaica Camry looks suspiciously like Honda Accord

12/20/2008   [Original: Toyota Jamaica via Wheels Jamaica via Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Etc., Marketing/Advertising, Honda, Toyota

If you visit the Toyota Jamaica website and have a look at the box under Toyota cars, you'll see these models listed: Avensis, Camry, Corolla, Yaris. Look at the pictures next to the cars listed, and you'll see an Avensis, an Accord, a Corolla, and a Yaris. That's right -- there's a Honda Accord thumbnail pictured next to the link for the Toyota Camry. According to tipster Michael, it's been that way for more than a year. We can certainly understand the odd spelling error or even the wrong picture... for a little bit. But substituting your bread-and-butter for your direct competitor's bread-and-butter for more than a year? Well, life is indeed relaxed in Jamaica town. Thanks for the tip, Michael!

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John Cooper Works garage closes doors

07/14/2006   [Original: 4Car via Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Euro, Hatchbacks, MINI

The John Cooper Works garage in East Preston, U.K. is closing after being open the last six years. Named after John Cooper, a legend among race engineers and MINI owners, the garage was mostly a retail outfit from which John's son, Mike Cooper, continued to sell new and classic MINIs, mostly with the John Cooper Works kits and other tuning mods his father developed in collaboration with BMW.

The John Cooper Works package of mods can now be had from the factory on the new limited-edition MINI GP, though practically every MINI dealership now has the ability to install the tuning kit themselves.

Despite closing the garage, Mike Cooper plans on continuing his father's work of producing more tuning kits and performance upgrades for MINIs. In fact, as its partnership with BMW strengthens, one might expect John Cooper Works to become MINI's own AMG- or SRT-like tuning arm.

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France set to invade Germany

09/14/2007   [Original: Reuters via Autoblog]
Category: Euro, PSA, Renault

Renault and Citroen are winding up to launch a frontal assault on the German car market. Germany is Europe's largest automotive market, filled with über-drivers that demand cars that set the performance and luxury standard for the rest of Europe, and arguably the world. The French automakers want a larger piece of the German market, as well as further global expansion, too. Renault is bringing the fight to Germany with their new Laguna. The Laguna was designed specifically to appeal to the tastes of German buyers, with Renault's German marketing department making sure the car met the needs and desires of the Deutschland buyer. Hopes are high that the Laguna will bolster profits for Renault. It's an attempt to crack into the $35,000 price range, where profits are fatter, yet buyers are more demanding.

Citroën is also trying to push into the luxury market. Long known for small and medium-sized cars, the brand's C6 is attempting to mix it up on Mercedes, Audi, and BMW's turf. Citroën has a plan to bolster its credibility as a maker of luxurious cars, such as drawing the line from the DS to the C6, while also improving the dealer and support experience to keep customers smiling. Both brands don't yet have the volume in the German market that they desire, but have pledged that Germany is crucial to their survival plans.

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Bugatti Veyron Pur Sang sells out in less than 24 hours

09/15/2007   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Frankfurt Auto Show, Supercars, Bugatti

The Bugatti Veyron may be limited to a run of only 300 lifetime units, but there is little doubt the 1001 HP supercar is the king of the automotive kingdom. To keep the $1.4 million rolling sculpture hotter than a cattle prod, Bugatti unveiled the Pur Sang at Frankfurt, with beautifully exposed carbon fiber and aluminum saving about 220 lbs. The Pur Sang is so exclusive, Bugatti only showed it once, and not even at the official Frankfurt show. With a production run of five, the Pur Sang promises to be among the most exclusive Veyrons ever, but none of us can have one, even if we had €1.4 million to blow on a supercar, because all five copies sold out in only 24 hours. It's amazing that VW won't make any money off their king of cars, it seems they can sell them as fast as they want, and at whatever price they please.

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First 2009 Cadillac CTS-V spotted in public

01/29/2008   [Original: via Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Sedans/Saloons, Cadillac

click above for more shots of the Cadillac CTS-V in the wild

The mouthwatering new Cadillac CTS-V is an absolute celebrity in the American automotive industry. But while we got an eyeful of the supercharged super-sedan at its unveiling in Detroit, as any Hollywood buff could tell you, it's one thing to see a celebrity on stage and quite another to meet one out in the real world. That's the experience some lucky fans got when the new CTS-V rolled by what appears to be a Corvette gathering in Florida. It would appear to be an appropriate assembly to show off the super-Caddy, powered as it is by a 550-hp derivative of the supercharged V8 in the new Corvette ZR1.

As you can see from the pictures in the gallery, this CTS-V was wearing glossy black V-shaped, split-5-spoke Cadillac rims, a beautiful metallic silver paint job, Michigan plates and, oddly, some camouflage over the rear bumper. Why GM felt the need to hide the rear end of a car already released is beyond us. Thanks to Lau for the tip on the images posted by CTS Dude on behalf of pat_ernzen.

Gallery: Cadillac CTS-V in the wild

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People turn to torching cars in bad economy

10/15/2008   [Original: Washington Post, photo by Maryland State Fire Marshall via Autoblog]
Category: Trends, Etc.

Vehicle owners behind in their payments and faced with mounting debts have begun taking matches to their cars and trucks in an effort to stop their payments and collect the insurance settlements. Unfortunately, in most cases the attempts backfire (pun intended). According to police, when delinquencies on auto loans rise, owner-involved arson jumps as well. Between 2004 and 2007, "potential owner give-ups" (most of which involve torched vehicles) nearly doubled nationally. Distinguishing between an actual theft-and-burn and an owner-induced arson is the job of investigators who often find such cases easy to crack.

For example, recently a pair of Chrysler Pacificas were burned and it just so happens that that particular model was only reported stolen 98 times across the nation this year - the so-called "theft" raised more than a few eyebrows at headquarters. In another case, a Yukon owner claimed his truck was stolen and burned overnight. Police knew that the thief likely had the keys (Yukons are especially difficult to hot-wire) so their focus was immediately turned towards the owner who had conveniently left "two cans of gasoline" in the back. In yet another case, the late-paying owners had significantly lowered their deductible just days before the reported theft.

Over their heads in debt, fraudulent owners choose arson because the burned-out vehicle shells are often found immediately by authorities, and the insurance companies settle and disburse payments quickly. That is, assuming they haven't fallen behind on their insurance bills as well! Thanks for the tip, Ben!

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