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Chrysler registers Trackhawk trademark

Posted Oct 1st 2014 9:30AM

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

There may not be many ways to forecast what an automaker is planning for the future, but there are some. Trademark applications are one of them, and Chrysler has just applied with the US Patent and Trademark Office to protect the name "Trackhawk." The question is, what's it planning on using it for? We don't know for sure, but we can put together an educated guess or two. And one guess is that Jeep will use the name to replace the letters SRT on the performance version of the Grand Cherokee.

How do we figure, you ask? From a number of developments. For starters, the SRT division has been reintegrated into the Dodge brand. Those letters currently appear on only two vehicles from outside the Dodge lineup: one is the Grand Cherokee SRT, and the other is the Chrysler 300 SRT. We've heard ruminations (however unconfirmed) that the latter could be either discontinued or possibly relabeled, and if the same proves true of the GC, the Trackhawk name could serve as a on-road performance counterpart to the Trailhawk label applied to off-road versions of models like the Cherokee and Renegade.

Logical it may be, but it's hardly a foregone conclusion. The Trackhawk name could just as easily be used for a new concept (like the Trailhawk name was in 2007), for another kind of trim level or for something else entirely. In fact we don't even know for sure it'll be used by the Jeep brand specifically, or used at all for that matter. Automakers have been known, after all, to register names they don't end up using.

We've reached out to Jeep for comment, but whether we hear back with any useful information or not, we have a feeling we'll be finding out one way or another before too long, so watch this space.

News Source: allpar.com via World Car Fans

Image Credit: Jeep

Mazda mulling furniture, designer goods in bid to command higher prices

Posted Oct 1st 2014 8:44AM

Mazda Kodo Chair

Brands like Porsche and Ferrari make a mint every year by selling branded lifestyle goods like shoes, hats and even wilder items. Bugatti takes things to the extremes with things like its $84,000 belt buckle. These products not only make their respective companies some extra money, but they reaffirm their high-end design aspirations to wealthy buyers. However, the next firm possibly dipping its toe into this upscale pool is a bit more mass-market – Mazda.

That's right. The Japanese automaker best known among enthusiasts for its segment-defining Miata and rotary engines is considering its own line of luxury goods in the coming years called Mazda Design. The project is the brainchild of styling boss Ikuo Maeda, and according to Automotive News, he has backing from company CEO Masamichi Kogai. Although the green light isn't quite on yet, Maeda is already brainstorming. "Not only furniture, but I'd like to build a Mazda Design brand. That's my dream," he said to Automotive News.

The possible project is just one aspect of Mazda's move to become a near-premium brand. According to Automotive News, it wants to see higher transaction prices partially by offering more stylish design than its rivals. Launching a line of luxury goods is meant to communicate this new focus to customers.

The Mazda Design line was previewed with the Kodo Chair (pictured above) at last year's Milan Design Week. Named after the brand's current, swoopy styling language, the seat mixed metal and leather in a reclined position to conjure up something out of a futuristic racecar.

Still, the move could be a gamble. Bugatti, Porsche and Ferrari sell vehicles to a wealthy clientele for whom dropping a few grand on something frivolous doesn't matter match. Mazda buyers might not have that luxury.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Mazda

Here's why the most-ticketed cars story is junk

Posted Oct 1st 2014 7:59AM

US-TRANSPORTATION-PROTEST

A recent study from Insurance.com found that owners of the Subaru WRX were the most likely people in the US to be ticketed for traffic infractions, with 33.6 percent of them receiving a citation in the last three years. Coming in a close second and third were drivers of the Pontiac GTO at 32.7 percent and the Scion FR-S at 32.6 percent. At first glance, this report looks like just a mildly interesting anecdote to tell your friends during a lull in conversation, but there seems to be a serious problem with the methodology here that might be blowing these numbers way out of proportion.

Insurance.com explains that it based the study on 557,238 drivers who requested online insurance quotes from its service from January 1, 2013 to July 2014. To make it onto the list, a vehicle needed over 50 quotes, and in the end that left 526 models.

However, these facts are almost useless because the list isn't based on percentages from the whole pool. The study's ranking comes from owners of specific vehicles, and these numbers aren't mentioned anywhere in the company's press release. All we know about the sample size for each model is that it's higher than 50. Assuming that amount for the WRX means it would only take about 17 people with tickets using the site to put the sporty car in first place.

These unknown model sample sizes might explain some of the extremely odd entries on the list. For example, the long-discontinued Mercury Topaz is in seventh place with 28.8 percent of its drivers receiving tickets. The GTO and Toyota Supra are also in the top ten and out of production. Just a few people searching for these vehicles could be the reason for these strange results.

Obviously automotive studies have their place, but this one just appears to have gotten confused along the way. Scroll down to read the report to see what we mean.

News Source: Insurance.com via The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: Paul J. RIchards / AFP / Getty Images

Jay Leno's Mercedes 600 is dictator chic

Posted Sep 30th 2014 8:02PM

Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor

Here's a fun fact: certain classical songs double as excellent driving songs. Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is one such example. So, as soon as you here those iconic notes, be certain you're in for some seriously cool sheet metal. Any Mercedes-Benz 600 would qualify for such a musical treatment, but Jay Leno's example is doubly worth a look.

Fortunately, the car collector/comedian is all too willing to show off his brown beauty as part of the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage. Leno is just one of the, sometimes disturbing, list of owners of the big sedan, which includes a wide range of dictators and Jeremy Clarkson.

His example is truly pristine, restored by 600 expert Karl Middelhauve. The complex hydraulic system receives plenty of attention from Leno, as does the expansive and impressive craftsmanship in the cabin. Finally, Leno takes the boat of a car out for a ride.

Take a look at the full video on the legendary Mercedes 600.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

What you missed on 9.30.14

Posted Sep 30th 2014 7:30PM

uturn


First Drive: 2015 Honda CR-V

Still not much changed from the just-right size it was when it debuted in the late 1990s, the 2015 Honda CR-V is otherwise a better vehicle in almost every conceivable way. We get behind the wheel of the newly revised small crossover, and find it to be just as useful as ever, while also being more luxurious than ever before. Get the scoop on this family cute-ute, here.





Kawasaki Ninja H2R has 300 hp... we're sold

If only we could ride it on the street. Actually, check that. When we heard today that Kawasaki's Ninja H2R – essentially a technology demonstrator set to debut at the upcoming EICMA show – was going to stuff 300 hp into its carbon-fiber-clad confines, we were equal parts astonished and terrified. While official specs are yet to be revealed, you can see a new set of images and some video of the Goliath right now.





Ram can't build EcoDiesels fast enough

Have you heard the one about American's hating on diesels? Well, forget it. When the number crunchers at Ram were forecasting sales of the trucks with the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, they anticipated the engine would account for about 10% of the sales mix. On the back of strong orders and sales in 2014 that number is being doubled for next year.



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Aston Martin finally drops the veil on its new Lagonda sedan

Posted Sep 30th 2014 7:00PM

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin has finally released the floodgates, delivering official images of the all-new Lagonda sedan, the company's latest expression of its long-serving VH architecture and 6.0-liter V12.

Set for an extremely limited production, the hand-built Lagonda's William Towns-inspired, carbon-fiber exterior has been a point of conversation since the new sedan first crept in front of a camera's lens some four months ago. While that evolved exterior isn't exactly new, we are getting our very first look at the Lagonda's beautifully crafted cabin.

Aston Martin's Q branch had a big hand in the cabin work, adding wide swaths of leather and elaborate hand-stitching to the Rapide-based interior. Unlike the Rapide, though, those rear thrones look considerably more accommodating, particularly in regards to rear headroom.

From a performance perspective, we have it on good authority that the Lagonda is currently exceeding 175 miles per hour in testing and that this first production model weighs no more than the Rapide, which we're guessing is thanks to the aforementioned carbon-fiber body.

The first deliveries of the Lagonda are slated to begin during the first quarter of 2015. We're hoping we'll have much more info as that date approaches. Until then, we have ten images of the new Lagonda, several of which feature the beautiful, Q-spec interior. Have a look and then head down to Comments and let us know what you think.
Related GalleryAston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin Lagonda

Image Credit: Aston Martin

Ducati Scrambler finally makes its official debut

Posted Sep 30th 2014 6:30PM

Ducati Scrambler Icon

After months of teasing, Ducati is finally premiering the 2015 Scrambler at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany, but this reinterpreted retro bike doesn't actually hit the streets until January of 2015, so there's still some waiting to do. It will be offered in four trims that are each slightly tweaked to appeal to those looking for vintage style, modern usability or a mix of both.

Ducati Scrambler IconThe latest Scrambler harkens back to the simple, single-cylinder Ducati models of the '60s and '70s, before the brand absolutely cemented its focus on performance. Unlike a superbike, this is supposed to be very easy to ride with wide handle bars, a long seat and upright riding position. The company calls the new design "post-heritage" because it marries the original shape with modern execution. The styling features an exposed, trellis frame and intricately bundled exhaust pipes from Ducati's current range. However, the single big headlight (now LED powered) and teardrop fuel tank scream old-school.

Depending on how buyers want that styling, there are four trims to choose from. Icon is the basic layout mixing old and new cues. Urban Enduro goes for a dirt bike look with a big front fender over the tire. The Full Throttle is simple and unadorned, and the Classic goes fully towards the vintage.

Power for all of them comes from a fuel-injected, 803cc, oil- and air-cooled L-twin engine with two valves per cylinder rated at 74 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque. That's linked up to a six-speed gearbox and a chain drives the rear wheel. The whole bike weighs in at 375 pounds dry or 410 pounds with fluids and fuel. ABS is standard.

The Icon is launching first in January in red for $8,495 in the US (add an extra $100 for yellow). The Full Throttle, Urban Enduro and Classic trims will all go on sale later for $9,995. Scroll down to read the full release about the latest Ducati, and check out the gallery to see all of the models, including the complete specs.
Related Gallery2015 Ducati Scrambler
2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler2015 Ducati Scrambler

News Source: Ducati

Cadillac planning its own engines, halo cars

Posted Sep 30th 2014 6:00PM

Cadillac ATS Coupe

Cadillac is in the midst of some big changes. It's got a new chief executive. It's taking some distance from parent company General Motors and moving to a new headquarters in New York. And it's instituting a new naming scheme that will allow not only for a more clear progression in its lineup, but also for more models. But that's not the end of the story. Not by a long shot.

Speaking with Automobile magazine, Cadillac's new president Johan de Nysschen revealed his intention to develop several new models and powertrains. For starters, he does not want Cadillac to continue borrowing engines from the GM parts bin, but intends to develop a new range of engines specifically for the luxury automaker. The program will likely start with smaller-capacity engines but eventually lead to new V8s as well, taking the place of the long-serving Northstar engine that finally ended its lifespan a few years ago after some two decades of production. Along with other technologies, de Nysschen envisions possibly sharing these powertrains with other GM divisions, but developing them first and foremost for Cadillac.

The bigger question, however, is where those engines would go, and de Nysschen had some thoughts to share on that front as well. For starters, the former Infiniti and Audi exec sees room for an even bigger sedan above the upcoming new CT6 that will cap the current range. Maybe even two of them. But that's not all. Johan wants to see Cadillac get (back) into the sports car game with a new halo model or two – something it hasn't really done since the Corvette-based XLR roadster. A pair of new crossovers are also said to be in the works, flanking the SRX on both sides with smaller and larger models.

All of these plans de Nysschen hopes to get up and running within the next ten to fifteen years before he needs to retire. They're ambitious plans, to be certain, and paint a picture of a resurgent Cadillac that aims to once again become the world standard.
Related Gallery2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

News Source: Automobile via Car and Driver

2015 BMW S 1000 RR looks to retain sportbike supremacy

Posted Sep 30th 2014 5:29PM

2015 BMW S 1000 RR

The BMW S 1000 RR is already a pretty potent member of the superbike ranks, but BMW is revealing a host of upgrades for this two-wheeled lightning bolt at the Intermot 2014 motorcycle show that should make it even faster.

The biggest additions to the latest 1000 RR are its new cylinder head, lighter valves and different intake cam to tweak even more power from the bike's 1.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, and BMW now rates it at a claimed 196 horsepower (or 199 horses if you go with the European measurement, converted from 146 kilowatts), a boost over the first-gen's 193 ponies, and 83 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed gearbox. Those adjustments would probably be enough to make the cycle a tick faster alone, but the Bavarian engineers also cut 8.82 pounds (4 kg) to bring the motorcycle's weight with a full tank of fuel to a feather-light 450 pounds. Much of that diet comes from the redesigned exhaust that cuts about 6.6 pounds off the scales.

Cradling that tweaked engine is a redesigned, lighter frame with fully adjustable springs. The bike also comes standard with Race ABS, stability control, seven-step variable traction control and three riding modes. In terms of styling, all of these changes are communicated through an updated fairing with repositioned, though still asymmetric, headlights.

For buyers who want even more customization for their ride, BMW is happy to oblige. The company claims that the 1000 RR is the first model in the superbike class to offer optional cruise control. There's also an available dynamic traction control system that senses the cycle's lean angle and adjusts things accordingly. Those heading for the track can tick the box for Pro Riding mode that adds Slick and User settings, launch control and a programmable pitlane speed limiter. To shave a few more tenths off a lap, there's the HP Gear Shift Assist Pro system that allows for clutchless gear changes. Scroll down to read BMW's immense press release on the S 1000 RR for every detail you could ever want to know about this updated motorcycle.
Related GalleryBMW S 1000 RR
BMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RRBMW S 1000 RR

News Source: BMW

Autoblog Podcast #399

Cadillac Relocation And Naming, Paris Motor Show Preview, Tom Tjaarda Interview, Classic Cars For $3,000

Posted Sep 30th 2014 5:10PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #398 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Brandon Turkus, and Rob Sass of Hagerty Classic Cars Magazine talk about Cadillac's move to Manhattan and new naming convention, preview the Paris Motor Show, and finish up with the 3 Guys, 3 Grand Classic Car challenge. Also included is an interview with Tom Tjaarda, prolific designer of vehicles including the DeTomaso Pantera. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #399:

play


Topics:
In The Autoblog Garage:
2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
Jensen Interceptor

Hosts: Dan Roth, Michael Harley, Brandon Turkus
Runtime: 01:47:56

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Cadillac Move - 24:02
  • Paris Motor Show - 39:22
  • Tom Tjaarda - 52:12
  • Hagerty $3000 Classics - 01:15:43
  • Q&A - 01:27:45

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Pontiac Firebird in latest Generation Gap scrap

Posted Sep 30th 2014 4:45PM

Generation Gap looks at the Pontiac Firebird

Generation Gap is mining the Lingenfelter collection again this week to compare two very different interpretations of the Pontiac Firebird. An original 1968 example goes toe-to-toe with a 2010 Lingenfelter Trans Am to see whether the old man or the modern re-imagining takes the crown.

Being from the Lingenfelter collection, both cars are absolutely immaculate. The '68 packs a Pontiac 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 with a claimed 320 horsepower and some classic, muscular style with a hood-mounted tach. Plus, it's painted in an understated shade of green that you don't usually see.

In the other corner is Lingenfelter's pumped-up take on the classic shape based on the modern Camaro, and this is just one of six concept versions ever made. It wears an eye-catching, vintage-inspired livery of blue with a white stripe package. Under its shaker hood is a 455-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8 with a reported 655 hp and 610 pound-feet of torque.

Watch the hosts drive them both in the video to see which one you'd choose. Both choices certainly have their advantages.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

Walmart says Tracy Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt, responsible for his own injuries

Posted Sep 30th 2014 4:01PM

Tired Truck Drivers

There is such a thing as "bad public relations." We aren't fully sure Walmart understands this, considering that the retail giant is now blaming the injuries comedian Tracy Morgan suffered after his limo bus was hit by one of the company's trucks on his failure to wear a seatbelt, rather than, you know, getting hit by an allegedly speeding semi being driven by an, again allegedly, sleep-deprived, over-worked trucker.

According to recently released documents, Walmart claimed Morgan's injuries "were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs' failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device," and that the bus' passengers shouldn't be rewarded with damages because they "failed to mitigate their losses." The 45-year-old and others injured in the crash are suing Walmart in federal court following the June crash that left him severely injured and his friend, 62-year-old James "Jimmy Mac" MacNair, dead.

"Walmart filed its official response to the plaintiffs' lawsuit earlier today, and the company continues to stand willing to work with Mr. Morgan and the other plaintiffs to resolve this matter," spokesman Brooke Buchanan said in a statement, according to The Detroit Free Press.

News Source: The Detroit Free Press

Image Credit: Will Vaultz Photography / AP

Kawasaki Ninja H2R is a 300-hp supercharged carbon-fiber cruise missile [w/video]

Posted Sep 30th 2014 3:15PM



We don't get to cover the ins and outs of the motorcycle world as much as we'd like, but there was no way we could skip bringing you the latest announcement of the Kawasaki Ninja H2R.

Great Galloping Jesus, does this thing look incredible.

The Ninja nameplate has typically been synonymous with top-tier performance, and this carbon fiber-clad monster seeks to take that reputation to another level. Crouched inside of that green, tubular steel trellis frame is a 998cc inline-four engine that has been supercharged to the tune of 300 horsepower. That unprecedented figure is almost guaranteed to carry the H2R well past the 200-mile per-hour-mark, for any test-rider brave enough to keep the throttle pegged and skillful enough to keep the 17-inch slicks stuck to the Earth.

The new Ninja isn't a street-legal machine – as evidenced by its headlightless, bewinged face – but rather a showpiece for Kawasaki knowhow. A single-sided swingarm – a first for Kawasaki – holds the rear wheel in place, while the steel trellis takes up less space than would an aluminum twin-spar. The carbon-fiber work on the cowl was designed with assistance from the company's aerospace arm, while engineering of the centrifugal supercharger was aided by minds in the personal watercraft division. Teamwork makes the dream work, we always say.

And this particular dream is expected to be come a streetable reality, we're told, at this year's EICMA show. The new Ninja formula is expected to be shown on a street bike debut at the event. Don't expect the consumer version to be as wild, and as wildly powerful, but we do anticipate it'll be impressive.
Related GalleryKawasaki Ninja H2R
Kawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2RKawasaki Ninja H2R

News Source: Kawasaki via Asphalt & Rubber

Ford Mustang 50th anniversary edition brings in $170k

Posted Sep 30th 2014 2:15PM

Ford Mustang 50 Years Limited Edition

Just the other day, we reported on the first Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat selling for a whopping $825,000 at auction. But impressive as that sum was, the Challenger wasn't the only sought-after modern muscle car to cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Las Vegas this past weekend. So did this rare Ford Mustang.

The last of 1,964 special-edition 50 Years Limited Edition pony cars sold for a princely $170,000, with proceeds benefiting the Edith and Benson Ford Heart & Vascular Institute, a branch of the Henry Ford Health System.

The pony car in question is based on the 2015 Ford Mustang GT and upgrades with a performance package and nearly every option on the book, along with a unique appearance package to set it apart in celebration of the Mustang's 50th anniversary. It's available in two exclusive shades – Wimbledon white or Kona blue – with either a manual or automatic transmission. Only 1,964 highly symbolic examples were to be built, and this was the last of them.

News Source: Ford

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