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NEVS' reorganization plan approved after all?

Posted Aug 29th 2014 5:45PM

SWEDEN-AUTO-COMPANY-SAAB

What a difference a day makes. Thursday, we reported that current Saab parent National Electric Vehicle Sweden had its application for creditor protection denied by the Swedish court for being "vague and completely undocumented." But NEVS was back in court on Friday, and this time the application was granted. However, the story continued to get weirder as defense contractor Saab AB allegedly revoked NEVS' rights to use the Saab name.

NEVS did put out a brief press release confirming the court decision saying: "The District court of Vänersborg, Sweden, today August 29 approved the application for reorganization from National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB." The company allegedly has over 90 creditors, and according to Reuters, it owes them roughly 400 million Swedish krona ($57.56 million). The business says that it is in negotiations with two, unnamed companies to get additional funding.

Also, according to Reuters, Saab AB, best known for making fighter planes, has revoked NEVS' rights to the Saab brand name because the company's application for creditor protection gave the defense contractor that right. When NEVS bought Saab, it only acquired the automaker's physical assets, and had to negotiate for the rights to use the name.

Autoblog reached out to NEVS to better understand what all of this means for the company moving forward. We'll update this story, if we hear back. Scroll down to read the entire, two-sentence press release from NEVS about the court's decision.

News Source: Reuters, National Electric Vehicle Sweden

Image Credit: Bjorn Larsson Rosvall / AFP / Getty Images

Tony Stewart to race again, reacts to fatal Ward Jr. accident [w/video]

Posted Aug 29th 2014 4:57PM

Oral-B USA 500 - Practice

Two weeks since fatally hitting driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race in New York, Tony Stewart is returning to the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the upcoming race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The three-time series champion had missed the last three races following the tragedy.

Stewart also gave a press conference at the track where he reacted publicly to the incident for the first time. "This has been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with both professionally and personally," he said. At this time, Stewart isn't answering any questions from the media regarding the crash because the police investigation into the case is still ongoing. It's still not known whether the driver could face any criminal charges. You can watch the entire statement from him in a video, below.

The Ontario Country Sheriff that's investigating the death also released a statement that said, "the investigation into the death of Kevin A. Ward Jr., which occurred August 9, 2014, at the Canandaigua, New York Motorsports Park will continue for at least another two weeks."


NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell also put out a report to USA Today:

"Tony Stewart has received all the necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities and therefore is eligible to compete this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR has remained in constant contact with his race team and we will stay very close to this situation as Stewart returns to competition."

According to USA Today, in the wake of the fatal accident, NASCAR passed a new rule requiring drivers to remain in their cars, unless they are in immediate danger, until safety crews arrive. Scroll down to watch Stewart's full conference and read the statement from the sheriff's department.

News Source: USA Today [1], [2] via Road & Track

Image Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

ETC

Challenger A/T Unlimited Concept could be your next Hellcat-powered ORV

Posted Aug 29th 2014 4:32PM



This past June I spent an excellent day hanging out with Joey Ruiter, driving and discussing his Reboot Buggy project. Before heading home, I let him know that he was more than welcome to keep me abreast of whichever new automotive project he'd get into. You can never have too many car designers and one-off fabricators in your Rolodex, right?

Ruiter recently made good with the follow-up, emailing me with details on this Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed Concept that pushes a lot of hot buttons for the muscle car and off-roading enthusiasts.

This all-terrain Mopar is a lot more than a Challenger body dropped on a truck chassis, too. A materialized version of the A/T would included a completely new, long-travel suspension, skid plates, body armor and rock sliders, and obviously flared fenders to help accommodate a hellacious set of off-road-ready tires. The dramatically revised underpinnings would be topped with a slick graphics package and a killer lower light bar, all making the A/T look quite cohesive in its own, radical way. And the result would be a car no longer limited to mere road-driving.

I asked Ruiter if his concept was rocking a theoretical Hellcat V8 under the hood, and while he agreed that the supercharged engine would make the A/T "the most insane ride ever," he thinks a tuned V6 would make more sense from a weight standpoint. Ruiter also told me that he "wanted the passion given to the Hellcat to be pushed into more areas."

That's a sentiment a lot of you should be on board with, considering how many "Hellcat Grand Cherokee NOW!!!!" comments I read, every time we run a new HC piece.

Which is important to know, because, while the package isn't ready yet, Ruiter really would like to offer something like the Challenger A/T for real customers. He's working to develop a kit that could A/T-ize Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros. We're all for it.

Do you think the Challenger A/T Untamed should transition from concept to reality? Have your say below, in Comments.

News Source: J. Ruiter

Image Credit: Oddlyeven.com

Online Find Of The Day: Custom 2005 Chevy SSR is late for Shark Week

Posted Aug 29th 2014 3:44PM

2005 Chevy SSR Custom

Even when brand new, the Chevrolet SSR wasn't the most beloved car on the market. Its attempt to mix a pickup, convertible sports car and retro styling caused to be a love-it-or-hate-it design. With most people falling deeply into the latter camp, production only lasted from 2003 to 2006.

But let's just say one of the most polarizing vehicles of the last decade wasn't enough for you. What would you do? Well, one owner commissioned a fiberglass body kit with reptile eyes, snout, fangs and spiky tail to create the dinoSSauR, as the dealer calls this creation. It can be yours for the low, low price of $34,988.

To this 2005 SSR's credit, the dealer claims just 6,468 miles on the clock – possibly because no one would ever want to be caught driving it. Although, Halloween is coming, and it could be a great match for your caveman costume. The SSR has its stock 6.0-liter LS2 V8 under the hood with an aftermarket Magnaflow exhaust and a six-speed manual gearbox. It also comes fairly loaded with heated seats, an auto-dimming mirror, memory seats and more. So at least the dinoSSauR is a comfortable bit of rolling weirdness.

To add the cherry of oddness on top of this insane vehicle sundae, it's being offered by a dealer called North Freeway Hyundai in Spring, TX, which claims to be the largest SSR seller in the world having moved over 350 of them. If you're digging the idea of a dinosaur-inspired Chevy retro-truck convertible, head over to Cars.com and put this beauty in your garage.
Related Gallery2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom
2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom2005 Chevrolet SSR Custom

News Source: Cars.com via LSX TV

Image Credit: North Freeway Hyundai via Cars.com

Red Bull captures F1 action in all its thermal glory

Posted Aug 29th 2014 3:00PM

Red Bull RB8 in infrared

Remember a few months ago when BMW released thermal imagery of one of its M4 DTM touring cars coming in for a pit stop? That was pretty cool, but this is even cooler.

The Red Bull Racing team has partnered with Oregon-based thermal-imaging company FLIR Systems to capture its Formula One racers with cutting-edge infrared cameras. The results, as you can see from this video clip, are quite stunning, showing where the heat builds up in a modern grand prix car – predictably enough around the tires, engine and exhaust, though we're sure it gets pretty hot inside the cockpit, too. Check out the footage right here.

News Source: FLIR Systems via YouTube, Carscoops

Lutz's Fisker-based WM Destino caught in Death Valley testing with changes

Posted Aug 29th 2014 2:14PM

WM Destino Spy Shots

New spy shots make it look like Bob Lutz's idea to convert the Fisker Karma into a fire-breathing sports sedan called the Destino might not be vaporware after all. Two of them were recently spotted testing in Death Valley sporting changes that make them appear closer than ever to actually going on sale.

The idea behind the Destino was always fantastic. Take the Karma (already a great-looking sedan), ditch it's powertrain and drop in the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. However, since we first saw the concept at the 2013 Detroit auto show, there hasn't been much solid news about its actual production.

These test cars sport a number of changes indicating that development is still ongoing. Most notably, there are new heat extractors flanking both sides of its bulging hood. That big V8 obviously needs cool air to breathe, and they should help. Plus, the louvers give the Destino a bit of extra menace from the front.

The interior shots show the Fisker covered in Alcantara with some carbon fiber trim, and the transmission tunnel is slightly reworked and fitted with a new gearshift. These photos obviously show an automatic, but a manual is likely possible.

One final change for the Destino is less obvious, and that's its new name. VL Automotive and WM Greentech Automotive recently merged, which gives the sedan the new name of the WM Destino. When it does hit the road, prices are rumored to be around $200,000 to put this supercharged creation in your garage.
Related GalleryWM Destino Spy Shots
WM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy ShotsWM Destino Spy Shots

Image Credit: KGP Photography

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata reveal to be livestreamed, feature Duran Duran

Posted Aug 29th 2014 1:28PM

Mazda MX-5 Miata Duran Duran

We're all hungry like the wolf to see the unveiling of the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on September 3, but Mazda is seriously excited about taking the sheet of its latest droptop because it has 1980s New Wave act Duran Duran headlining the event. In case you can't make it to Monterey, CA, Tokyo or Barcelona to watch the reveal happen, the brand is also livestreaming it on YouTube starting at 6:00 PM PT (9:00 PM ET). The Miata is then showing its all-new face again during the broadcast of Fashion Rocks on CBS on September 9 at 9:00 PM ET.

Facts about the new MX-5 have remained elusive, but we saw its bare chassis at the 2014 New York show. The roadster was rumored to return to the classic oval grille from the earlier models and also shed a decent amount of weight over the current version, possibly around 300 pounds.

Don't worry about noting the big reveal in your calendars, though. Not only will Autoblog be in attendance in Monterey to hear Simon Le Bon belt out Rio, we will also publish another post linking to the livestream before the unveiling. In the meantime, scroll down to read Mazda's announcement and check out the link to the stream, which just shows a countdown at the moment.

News Source: Mazda, Mazda USA via YouTube

Watch this 800-hp Nissan Juke-R savage the 'Ring

Posted Aug 29th 2014 12:45PM

Nissan Juke-R Shpili Villi

The concept of the 545-horsepower Nissan Juke-R that stuffs the drivetrain of a GT-R into a subcompact crossover is already insane, but Russian company Shpilli Villi Engineering has taken things even further with their own crazy riff on the idea. Its version tunes the engine up to a claimed 800 horsepower, plus a shot of nitrous for an extra 200 hp to put it (way) over the top. Naturally, a number of other upgrades have been exacted in an effort to try and keep the custom Juke's shiny side up and the driveline internals from spontaneously rearranging themselves. Those changes include a beefed-up switchable all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive layout and revised suspension.

Last year, you may recall that we saw an earlier version of Shpilli Villi Engineering's insanity testing with a mere 700 hp in a one-mile, standing drag race against a Bugatti Veyron. In that state of tune, the Juke-R lost, but by less than a hundredth of a second. Now, owner and racer Vladimir Ulanov has brought his madness to the Nürburgring Nordschleife to see how it does around a damp lap of the famous track.

It looks like 800 hp and a moist track might be almost too much for this Juke to handle, because Ulanov gets very loose at several points during the lap. Understandably, his passenger seems suitably impressed and possibly a little freaked out at the end. See what you think of this craziness by watching the video.

News Source: BridgeToGantry via YouTube

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Flying High In Caddy's First-Class SUV

Posted Aug 29th 2014 12:00PM

2015 Cadillac Escalade

I have never liked traveling to Monterey, CA. The picturesque coastal city is about 300 miles from my home in Los Angeles, which means cramped and uncomfortable regional aircraft are part of the equation when the turnaround is only one night. Over the years, I have cursed the LA Basin's bumper-to-bumper traffic en route to the airport, argued with TSA personnel over carry-on baggage and waited countless hours for the fog to lift just for the anguish of being packed into a small regional jet for the flight. Of course, the process repeats on the trip home with equal misery.

Yet this time I am not suffering.

Cadillac has dropped its all-new 2015 Escalade in my driveway. Instead of battling city congestion, attempting to reason with misinformed government agents, snacking on a too-small bag of pretzels and physically rubbing shoulders with a dubious stranger for 90-plus minutes within the confines of a bumpy aircraft, I have chosen to forgo air travel and drive myself door-to-door in a fullsize luxury sport utility vehicle.

The trip should be less expensive, less stressful and it may even be quicker. Most importantly, if what Cadillac is saying about its all-new Escalade holds true, my drive will be more comfortable and unquestionably more enjoyable.

Vital Stats

Engine:
6.2L V8
Power:
420 HP / 460 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Base Price:
$78,295
As-Tested Price:
$79,290

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Kia confirms $1B factory in Mexico to be completed in 2016

Posted Aug 29th 2014 11:29AM

Kia signs deal for factory in Mexico

Kia is the latest in a string of automakers to announce plans to build new or expanded factories in Mexico. The Korean company has signed a $1 billion deal to establish a plant in Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León, with construction starting in late September. If everything proceeds on schedule, the facility should be complete in the first half of 2016 and be able to produce 300,000 vehicles a year.

The $1-billion investment will create a "new, highly automated manufacturing plant," according to Kia's announcement, a facility covering 1,235 acres of land. Confirming earlier rumors, Kia will produce compact models there, but the company won't reveal specific model names, just yet. When complete, the factory in Mexico will boost the automaker's annual capacity to 3.37 million vehicles a year with 1.69 million of those in Korea and 1.68 million abroad. It will also join Kia's plant in Georgia (where the Optima and Sorento are made) as the business' other North American location.

Kia hasn't kept plans for the Mexican factory a very close secret and openly admitted it was "being considered as a possible location" to Autoblog. The country was chosen partially because of its free-trade agreements (read: NAFTA), that make it less costly to move models elsewhere, not to mention its easy access to the North, Central and South American markets. The new plant should also alleviate some of the tight supply issues Kia has had in the US.

Mexico has become a hotbed of auto manufacturing as of late. Just this year, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti announced a joint-venture plant there, and BMW revealed its own plans for a $1-billion factory. Scroll down to read Kia's full announcement of its $1-billion investment south of the border.

News Source: Kia

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro priced from $41,285*

Posted Aug 29th 2014 10:59AM

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Just a few weeks after announcing pricing for the first two members of its TRD Pro Series, Toyota has finally dropped the final pricing details on its new Tundra TRD Pro. Like the Tacoma TRD Pro, the Tundra will be available in two different body styles, with a more affordable Double Cab and a roomier Crew Cab.

Prices start at $41,285 for the former and $43,900 for the latter – not counting a hefty $1,100 destination charge – effectively slotting Toyota's off-road-ready model between the $41,730, Double Cab Limited and $46,465, Crew Cab-only 1794 Edition trucks.

As we've covered previously, the TRD Pro models come with a raft of off-road gear that should help combat just about any terrain a driver may stumble across. TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD-tuned front springs add two inches to the big truck's ride height while the black, 18-inch TRD wheels and available Inferno Orange paint add a bit of visual sass. A new TRD dual exhaust system is also standard, which can confirm sounds great (review coming soon!).

Scroll down for the full press blast from Toyota.

Aston Martin Lagonda supersaloon gets official with first delivery

Posted Aug 29th 2014 10:15AM

Aston Martin Lagonda sedan in Oman

Over the past 67 years since Aston Martin acquired the Lagonda marque, the name has come and gone, but now it's back again. After an aborted attempt at reviving the brand with a much-criticized SUV concept at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, Aston is building a new high-end sedan exclusively for the Middle Eastern market, and this is our best look at it yet.

We first caught glimpse of the upcoming new Lagonda a few months ago when it was spotted undergoing testing, and Aston released preliminary details and a couple of teaser images just last month. But now it's shipping the first example for testing to the Sultanate of Oman on the Persian Gulf coast, and it has evidently allowed Oman Air and the Aston Martin Oman dealership to release a handful of photos.

What we can see is a pretty handsome sedan that borrows stylistically from the original Aston Martin Zagato sedan that shocked the world in the mid-'70s, not to mention cues from the Zagato Centennial concepts revealed last year. It's possible this is Aston's new design direction, a bid to finally take it away from the gorgeous but overfamiliar styling of its current crop. The fresh look is more squared off, with narrower head- and taillights. It's also possible, of course, that this new look will remain specific to future Zagato-branded vehicles. Look close enough and you'll notice that the handsome sedan is wearing the Lagonda badge, not those of Aston Martin.

News Source: Oman Air via World Car Fans

Buick Envision CUV launches in China, is America next?

Posted Aug 29th 2014 9:28AM

Buick Envision

Buick Envision rear three-quarter view Buick is launching its new midsize Envision crossover in China at the Chengdu Motor Show, where it will slot between the subcompact Encore and larger Enclave. While it might be hard to muster too much excitement about a Chinese-market crossover, don't completely ignore this one. There's a very good chance it could be on sale in North America to fill the same hole in the brand's lineup over here, possibly as a 2016 model.

We recently spied the Envision completely undisguised as it was arriving at the Chengdu show for its debut. The CUV still looks like a stretched Encore from some front angles, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's got a similar oversized grille, hood vents (presumably faux) and large greenhouse as its little brother. Where the midsize CUV differs is its prominent crease running down the side and the different rear treatment, with wing-shaped trim cutting into the taillights.

The interior looks like a pretty nice place to spend time, too, with a predictable mix of leather, wood and metal, and it should be quiet in there with its active noise cancelation system. Infotainment is provided by an eight-inch touchscreen with a touchpad and voice controls.

In China, this CUV is propelled by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque with standard stop/start and a six-speed automatic. That setup lets it run to 62 miles per hour in a claimed 8.4 seconds. The Envision also gets a standard all-wheel drive system that can send 100-percent of the engine's power to the front or rear wheels as necessary and route power side-to-side at the back, too.

We tried to pin down Buick spokesperson Nick Richards about the Envision's chances here, but all we would tell us was, "Our current focus is on continuing the Encore launch and the successful sales growth of these models." We'd be shocked if it didn't come to the States, but for now, it looks like we just need to wait and see for official word. Scroll down to read all of he details about the new middle child in Buick's Chinese crossover family.
Related GalleryBuick Envision
Buick EnvisionBuick EnvisionBuick EnvisionBuick EnvisionBuick EnvisionBuick EnvisionBuick EnvisionBuick Envision

News Source: Buick

Cadillac SRX production moving to TN, next-gen Equinox going to Mexico

Posted Aug 29th 2014 8:45AM

General Motors Spring Hill Factory

It's a good week for the town of Spring Hill, TN, as General Motors has announced that its factory in the city of 31,000 will receive a $185 million contract to produce engines. On top of that, the next-generation Cadillac SRX crossover will be built at the factory (NA models are presently built in Ramos, Arizpe Mexico), which was once famous for being the home of GM's now-defunct Saturn brand.

The factory is one of GM's six facilities around the globe that will screw together the company's new line of three- and four-cylinder Ecotec engines. Spring Hill currently builds the 2.0-liter, turbocharged Ecotec, as well as the naturally aspirated 2.4 and 2.5-liter variants.

Spring Hill's vehicle assembly lines were idled in 2009, but were reactivated in 2011. The SRX is just one of the products meant to benefit from last year's $350-million investment, and should have a positive impact, creating or retaining around 1,800 positions at the factory.

How big that impact will be, though, is open for debate. According to a new report from Reuters, some of the production of Spring Hill's current vehicle, the Chevrolet Equinox, will move to GM's Ramos Arizpe, Mexico factory when that vehicle is redesigned in 2017, Reuters reports. Neither GM nor the UAW offered any comment to Reuters, although an unnamed GM spokesman did add that it's "fair to say" there will be a net increase in jobs at the factory.

Scroll down for the official press release announcing the new engine and SRX production venues from GM.

News Source: General Motors, Reuters

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