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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Carlos Ghosn Shots Back at Nissan and Mitsubishi in Dutch Court

carlos ghosn

The saga of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn continues. Eight months after his arrest by Japanese authorities and three months after his ouster from his company, he is now returning the favor to his rivals through a lawsuit filed in the Netherlands.

According to the Asia Times, the former Nissan CEO is currently under house arrest in Tokyo as he awaits trial over alleged financial misconduct. In November last year, Ghosn was arrested for under-reporting compensation. He was released on bail in March but he was rearrested the following month, and since then, he remained under detention.

The 65-year old is presently facing multiple charges in Japan. His allegations include breach of trust, understatement of income, transferring his personal financial losses to Nissan, and misappropriation of company money from a business partner in Oman for personal use.

In the ensuing lawsuit that Ghosn filed, he claimed that his former employers improperly terminated his contract. His lawyers accused that the termination of their client’s contract was “not sufficiently substantiated.”

As a result, his legal team is claiming damages amounting 15 million euros ($13.4 million). The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, thus, the case went under the jurisdiction of a Dutch court.

Both Nissan Motor CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko has taken the helm as directors of the alliance after the subsequent absence and termination of Ghosn.

So far, that’s all there is to the drama surrounding Ghosn’s life, but we will surely keep an eye on updates and post them here right away.

Hennessey Provides 1139 HP to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

hpe chevrolet corvette zr1

While everyone’s attention at the moment is focused on the new 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray, another Chevy, the Corvette ZR1, just made the headlines too because Hennessey Performance Engineering revealed its new tuning package for it.

HPE just gave us a preview of the most powerful Corvette ZR1 to date by giving it a boost to bring its total output to a whopping 1,139 hp while its torque going to the rear wheels reached 994 lb-ft.  An E85 fuel was used for the car during the dyno testing.

In comparison, the stock configuration of the Corvette ZR1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine is 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque. HPE’s tune raised the figured by a mindblowing 384 hp and 279 lb-ft of torque. The difference is already nearly the power of a high-performance car like the new Mercedes-AMG CLA45 with 387 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque.

When the Corvette ZR1 made its debut, HPE promised that it would be working on models of the car to raise its bar to up to 1,200 hp. Being true to its word, the unit we are looking at here is only 61 hp below that target.

HPE didn’t reveal the full details surrounding the performance upgrades of the Corvette ZR1. The description of the video mentioned though that its supercharger was tweaked to deliver 13 psi.

The sweet sound of the vehicle’s V8 unit can be heard as its pedal was put to the metal. It’s also worth noting that due to the enormous power of the car, it’s digital speedometer was already going nuts and hitting the numbers by tens.

Watch the video showing the dyno testing of the HPE-enhanced Corvette ZR1 below:

2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray Officially Unveiled

2020 chevrolet corvette stingray (1)

The 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray was just unveiled. The car features a mid-engine setup, which is a first for the Corvette series.

The mid-engine configuration for the Corvette is not entirely a new idea from Chevrolet. More than half a century ago, Zora Arkus-Duntov already conceived such, and it spawned several prototypes along the way. It’s only now that his vision has been realized for the range.

Power

2020 chevrolet corvette stingray (73)

The C8 is equipped with its maker’s new LT2 6.2-liter V8 engine. It is derived from the LT1 unit found in the C7 but it features an all-new architecture because of the new engine placement in the C8.

The power unit produces 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. With Chevy’s optional Z51 Performance Package, the numbers are subtly raised at 495 hp and 470 lb-ft torque. The output is distributed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with an option to switch towards manual using the paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.

Chevy promises a 0-60 mph sprint from the C8 in under three seconds. In comparison, the C7 does that in 2.8 seconds, so that’s a good start for the C8, which is expected to spawn more powerful trims.

Styling

2020 chevrolet corvette stingray (67)

Traces of the C7 can be seen in the design of the C8. However, the C8 distinguishes itself from its predecessor with its cleaner but sportier look showcasing huge side intakes. Like the older models, this one also offers an open-air driving experience through its detachable roof. The front end of the vehicle can be elevated too in order to provide some ground clearance when passing through those pesky speed bumps.

Interior

2020 chevrolet corvette stingray (26)

The C8 has an aeronautical-themed interior inspired by the F22 and F35 jets, and it also draws inspiration from the layout of Formula 1 cars. Two digital displays adorn its cockpit but it ditches the popular approach of automakers nowadays that prefer touchscreen controls over the physical ones. Instead, the Chevy still uses a lot of buttons to control its key functions such as climate control, suspension, and drive mode, among others.

Availability and Pricing

2020 chevrolet corvette stingray (18)

The Chevy will start the production of the new C8 in the late part of 2019. It is expected to arrive in dealerships next year. The company said that the car will have a starting price less than the $60,000 mark.

Volkswagen to Discontinue the Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack in the US

golf sportwagen alltrack

The Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack are the only two remaining wagons of Volkswagen in the US. The automaker recently confirmed that both will be discontinued in 2020.

According to USA Today, the German automaker cited the very low demand for wagons in the country. It should be noted that even compact cars are suffering the same fate, which resulted in the phase-out of the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus as well as the entire lineup of the Scion brand Daimler’s Smart division. The trend is a result of the ever-growing slice of sport utility vehicles and crossovers in the market.

The streamlining effort aims to let the brand put more focus on its SUV models. The current best-sellers of the automaker in this department are the Atlas and the Tiguan.

Scott Keogh, CEO of VW America, acknowledged the shift of preference of buyers from wagons and minivans to SUVs. He said that the latter has assumed the role of “family haulers”.

The exec revealed that they are expanding their SUV lineup. He is looking forward to a warm reception in their upcoming five-seater Atlas Cross Sport and ID. electric vehicles.

Car review site Edmunds noted that wagons only took a 0.6% market share when it comes to the overall vehicles sales in the US. It dived by 0.3% compared to sales in 2014.

The sales of the Golf range contributed to the decision of VW too. From January to June, only 18,958 Golf units were delivered to customers. That’s a 22 dip from the same period of last year. Meanwhile, the total sales of the vehicle in 2018 were only 42,271, which was down by 39% compared to its performance in 2017.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Spied in Full Camo

bmw 2 series gran coupe

Capitalizing on the success of its rival in introducing the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the market, BMW is getting its 2 Series Gran Coupe ready. Recently, the car was spied while making its rounds.

The prototype spied by Motor1 appears in a heavy camouflage so it is still hard to make out its features. However, we can confirm that it is indeed a BMW because of its distinctive kidney grille in front. We can also see some traces of the 1 Series in the design of the auto, but with a sportier stance plus some differences in the layout of the air intakes located at the bumper, lightings, and dimensions. Furthermore, the images hint that we might be looking at the high-performance trim of the car due to the blue brake calipers found on its wheels.

All we have right now are exterior shots of the 2 Series Gran Coupe but we expect that some of the tech found in the 1 Series will be carried over to the car. Meanwhile, it is likely that it will get the same engine found in the X2 crossover.

With that, the car might come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with at least 302 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission will be responsible for distributing its power to BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Since BMW has no plans to ever introduce the new 1 Series in the US market, the 2 Series Gran Coupe might fill the void it created. The vehicle will go head-to-head with the CLA when it comes out next year.

Daimler Plans to Drop the Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup from the Production Line

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS / Artipelag / Stockholm 2016

Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, earlier warned investors about a slump in its profits in 2019. As a way to prevent further losses, the company is planning to focus on its key products and drop some of its underperforming models in the market. With the low sales of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, it has become a target in the automaker’s streamlining efforts.

The future of the X-Class now looks bleak despite the warm welcome it received from critics during its unveiling. Based on a report by Automotive News Europe, the Mercedes pickup truck has been struggling in the market. Only 16,700 units were delivered to customers since its rollout in dealerships. The figures also failed to generate enough income for the luxury brand. As a result, insiders revealed that the production of the model might be halted by its maker soon.

Another key issue in the X-Class is its pricing. The pickup’s starting price is at €37,294, and the V6-equipped variant begins at €48,790. The numbers are way too steep compared to its competitors such as the Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Ranger and even the Nissan Navara, which it shares a platform with.

The X-Class recalls plaguing Mercedes could play a role in the axing of the pickup too. The first was a software problem in the tire monitoring system of the auto. The next involved the braking system of the vehicle.

Although the information is yet to be confirmed, the problems surrounding the Renault Nissan Alliance partnership with Daimler could also be put into the table during the evaluation process. Previously, the same source claimed that Ola Källenius, the new CEO of Daimler, no longer plans to renew the said cooperation. Instead, he plans on focusing on the company’s partnership with rival BMW.

Mercedes was keen on expanding the X-Class range by introducing a V6-powered version of the unit. A V8-engined variant was put into consideration as well. However, with the unfortunate developments surrounding the product, all plans might be scrapped for good.

2020 Lotus Evija to Rival the Fastest Cars in the World

Lotus just gave us a preview of an all-new supercar called the Evija. The Lotus Evija is set to equal, or even surpass, the records of the fastest production cars in the world with its mind-blowing features. We were told that it will have an all-electric powertrain with nearly 2,000 hp.

The released specs of the upcoming Evija are just too good to be true. However, the recent advancements in automotive technology and the feats achieved by its competitors may just turn Lotus’ claims into a reality.

Power

lotus evija 4

Lotus said that the Evija will be powered by four electric motors distributed to each wheel in an all-wheel-drive system. The total output of the units is targeted to reach 1,973 hp with 1,700 Nm torque.

The setup promises acceleration from 0-62 mph in less than three seconds while a 0-186 mph run can be achieved in under nine seconds. Meanwhile, the top speed of the vehicle is estimated to go over 200 mph. The numbers make the supercar a worthy adversary to the likes of the Koenigsegg Agera RS, Bugatti Chiron, Ferrari SF90, Tesla Model S P100D, and the Porsche 918 Spyder.

The Evija uses a 2,000 kW battery that can be charged using a 350 kW charger in just 18 minutes. That is enough for a 250-mile drive in its fully-charged state.

Design

lotus evija1

The Evija follows the sharp design of modern hypercars. It features sculpted side panels, huge air intakes, sharp nose, and large rear wing to enable smooth airflow. The concept car shows a two-tone design with metallic/silver paint finish as well as blacked-out roofing and glass. In addition, it has vertical headlamps and unique trapezoidal taillights.

lotus evija 2

Upon entering its doors that open upwards, the interior reveals racing-inspired bucket seats, race car steering wheel complete with buttons and switches, digital display on the driver’s direct line of sight, and a central instrument cluster rigged with buttons.

Pricing and Availability

lotus evija 3

The Lotus Evija’s pricing starts at £1.5 million ($1.86 million). The production of the car will begin in 2020, and only 130 samples of it will be available in the market. Buyers who wish to reserve a production slot will have to shell out a £250,000 ($310,000) refundable deposit.

Suzuki Jimny Transformed Into a Baby Mercedes G-Class

mercedes-amg g63 replica using suzuki Jimny (7)

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class mashes the old school design of sport utility vehicles with the modern day’s premium automotive technology. However, is very pricey. The cost of the iconic Mercedes sport utility vehicle starts at $124,500 for its base G550 model while its Mercedes-AMG G63 trim is at least $147,500. Luckily, we have the new Suzuki Jimny with an introductory price of $23,990 that’s unofficially referred to as the “Baby G-Class”.

The cheaper price tag of the Jimny makes its platform a favorite of tuners who are looking to make a G-Class replica. Recently, the Dubai-based Fast Car Service Center did just that. They turned the compact SUV into a smaller, two-door version of the Mercedes-AMG G63.

mercedes-amg g63 replica using suzuki Jimny (6)

The Middle Eastern tuner certainly did a great job in customizing the Jimny that one might easily mistake it as the high-performance model of G-Class at a glance. Then again, the two door frame and smaller dimensions of the Suzuki baby SUV would tell otherwise.

The Jimny was given a Panamericana grille design with vertical slats similar to the signature look of the latest AMG cars. Next, it was equipped with huge air intakes, LED lights, side steps, exhausts, mirror caps, and spare wheel cover resembling the ones found in the AMG G63 SUV. Even the contrasting body line of the G-Class was carried over to the Jimny.

Despite the badass changes to the Jimny, it seems the tuner did nothing to increase its output since there was no mention of it. With that, we assume that the small 1.3-liter engine of the compact SUV with 100 hp was retained by the specialist.

Limited Edition Toyota Supra Gets Double Mark Up Pricing From Dealership

toyota supra launch edition (1)

The new Toyota Supra is one of the hottest things arriving in US dealerships this year. It comes with a Launch Edition model that’s only limited to 1,500 units globally. Some merchants are taking advantage of its rarity by offering it with a mark up nearly double its price for a quick profit.

toyota supra launch edition

In a posting at Jerry’s Toyota in Baltimore, Maryland, the dealership was seen selling the Toyota Supra Launch Edition under a $100,000 price tag. That’s nearly double the MSRP of the car at $57,975.

Jerry’s Toyota is yet to comment on the matter. However, Toyota’s Senior Manager of Product Communications Nancy Hubbel revealed that dealers are free to set the final price on their products. She said that their company can only monitor the sales prices and consult their dealers when necessary. For short, they have little or no control at all on the massive markups.

2020 Toyota Supra Launch Edition at a Glance

There’s a lot to be desired in the new Supra. The sporty design of the car features an angular nose, faux air inlets, aggressive creases, false cooling ducts, triple grille look, LED lights, rear spoiler, wide wheel arches, huge brake light, and twin exhaust tips. The Launch Edition ups the ante with unique trim elements like red mirror caps.

Inside, the car is rigged with components found in the cockpit of the BMW Z4 like the iDrive controller, digital instrument cluster, and 6.5-inch screen (with an optional 8.8-inch touchscreen replacement). In addition, it is fitted with adjustable bucket seats, optional 12-speaker audio system plus high-quality leather and carbon fiber insert on the dashboard and central console.

Beneath the Supra’s hood is a 3.0-liter inline-six engine with 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The setup pushes the car from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds while its max speed is capped at 155 mph.

Ford and Volkswagen Partner for EV Platform and AI Sharing

ford and volkswagen

Various automakers have established alliances amid the narrowing profit margins to pool their resources and save on production costs. The latest major partnership to emerge is the one between Ford and Volkswagen.

The agreement of the companies covers many areas including platform sharing for electric vehicle production. The EV tie-up deal allows Ford to use VW’s MEB platform.

meb platform

The MEB platform has a modular and flexible architecture that can be used in various vehicle types. Ford plans to utilize it in the production of over 600,000 cars intended for European customers in the span of more than six years. The American automaker is currently thinking about developing two vehicle models based on the platform.

In addition, the partnership also covers VW’s investment in Argo AI, which is a Pittsburg-based autonomous vehicle startup initially backed by Ford. The backing of the two big names in the automotive industry would certainly launch Argo AI into a global company with operations in both the US and Europe. The support is estimated to increase the staff of the startup by 40% too.

It should be noted though that Argo AI still identifies itself as a private company separate from Ford and VW. The German carmaker committed an investment amounting $1 billion into the startup. They are looking into buying more Argo AI from Ford for $500 million in the next three years. Meanwhile, Ford promised an investment of $1 billion into the AI developer. The American automaker is already on its way of putting the remaining $600 million of its commitment to Argo AI.

The move of the two key players in the automotive scene effectively makes them a formidable challenger in the race to produce a fully self-driving car. Just a few days ago, bitter rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW announced their partnership to develop technologies to be used in their future autonomous vehicles.

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