Report: Ford making Fusion production moves to challenge Camry on volume

Filed under: Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Ford

2013 Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion may already beat the Toyota Camry in terms of models offered, transaction price and sales increase so far this year, but if the Fusion wants to make a run at the title of best-selling car in the US, Bloomberg reminds us that volume is key. Opening a second production line at the Flat Rock, MI assembly plant will reportedly allow Ford to produce around 350,000 Fusions annually, which compares Toyota’s ability to crank out 475,000 Camrys and Honda’s capacity to build around 450,000 Accords.

For the Fusion, that’s an extra 100,000 units compared to the car’s current pace, and the article adds that the Fusion is “Ford’s best shot” to regain the passenger car sales crown – a title it (or any other US automaker, for that matter) hasn’t held since the mid-1990s. Despite hiccups with recalls and fuel economy numbers, the Ford Fusion is still red hot when it comes to sales. Fusion sales are up 13 percent so far this year (compared to a 0.6 percent decrease for Camry), and its average transaction price of $26,343 is about $2,300 more than its rival from Toyota.

The Fusion’s popularity has helped Ford improve its sales in California; the Dearborn-based automaker has a market share of 18 percent in the state, which is just a fraction of a percentage behind Honda. And this popularity should continue as Ford ups Fusion production and expands the model lineup even further for 2014 with a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine soon to become an option.

Ford making Fusion production moves to challenge Camry on volume originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge demonstrates evolution of the breed on Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew

Filed under: Motorsports, Ferrari, Racing

Ferrari 458 Challenge at Laguna Seca

Ferrari 458 Challenge at Laguna Seca – Click above to watch video after the jump

The Ferrari 458 Challenge made its racing debut last month at Monza, and the spec race car appeared for the first time here in the U.S. a few weeks later at California’s Infineon Raceway. While we couldn’t make it out to Sonoma for the latter, we did get our first look at the 458 Challenge this past weekend at the Ferrari Racing Days at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

As with its road cars, Ferrari somehow manages to vastly improve the performance of each generation of race cars, and the 458 Challenge is no exception. Ferrari says that the 458 Challenge can lap the Fiorano race track about two seconds faster than its predecessor, and that difference translated to Laguna Seca. The fastest 458 Challenge cars were turning in times more than three seconds quicker than the top 430 Challenge cars. Even the fastest 430 driver, who set a new class qualifying lap record of 1:31.630, was half a second behind the slowest 458.

You can see our photos of the 458 Challenge at the Ferrari Racing Days in the high-res gallery below, and follow the jump to watch a video of the cars tackle Laguna Seca’s famous Corkscrew.

Continue reading Ferrari 458 Challenge demonstrates evolution of the breed on Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew

Ferrari 458 Challenge demonstrates evolution of the breed on Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why Cadillac hasn’t found success yet in World Challenge Series, and why it’s not giving up

Filed under: Motorsports, Cadillac

Cadillac CTS-V SCCA race car

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA race car takes on all comers – Click above for high-res image gallery

The last time Cadillac lined up for the World Challenge Series from 2004 to 2007, it was competing with the CTS-V sedan. As put by an understated Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac’s global head of marketing, “We’ve been here before and had some success.”

The CTS-V Coupe race cars were plucked from the same line as cars headed to dealerships.

By “some success,” he means that the four-door roared off with the championship in its second and fourth years. The team has a steep road to climb if they’re going to relive that kind of winning percentage with its new CTS-V Coupe, but, having watched the package shred the Long Beach circuit last weekend, there’s no doubt they have a car that will be able to do it… eventually.

With just six months to prepare for the racing season, the two CTS-V Coupes piloted by Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim were built at the Lansing, Michigan plant, plucked from the same line as cars headed to dealerships. They were then taken to Pratt & Miller, the same firm that prepped the championship-winning CTS-V sedans, to be overhauled.

Continue Reading Why Cadillac hasn’t found success yet in World Challenge Series, and why it’s not giving up…

Gallery: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe at the Long Beach World Challenge Series race

Continue reading Why Cadillac hasn’t found success yet in World Challenge Series, and why it’s not giving up

Why Cadillac hasn’t found success yet in World Challenge Series, and why it’s not giving up originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Apr 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ferrari 458 Challenge and GT3 racers debut at Monza [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Europe, Videos, Ferrari, Racing

Ferrari 458 Italia GT3

Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

There’s no shortage of race tracks in Italy and around the world that are commonly associated with Ferrari. The factory has its own Fiorano circuit on premises, and the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola – former host of the San Marino Grand Prix – is just fifty miles away. But the spiritual home of the Tifosi, Ferrari’s legions of fans, is at Monza. A fitting location, then, to launch the latest Ferrari sports racers.

This past weekend, Monza hosted a number of production-based races including the first rounds of both the European and Italian leagues of the Ferrari Challenge series. After launching the new 458 Challenge spec racer at the Bologna Motor Show several months ago, this was the first time the car was actually being raced. And what would you know, it actually won its first outing! (Okay, it is a spec racing series, but the new 458 Italia racers did beat out the older F430 models that are still being used by some teams.)

The Challenge, however, wasn’t the only version of the 458 that made its debut this past weekend at Monza. So did the 458 Italia GT3, which slots in between the GT2-spec 458 GTC and the aforementioned Challenge racer. The GT3 car was prepared by Michelotto Automobili – the same factory-endorsed racing garage responsible for countless racing Ferraris as well as the development of the 288 GTO and F40 – and campaigned by AF Corse in two races of the GT Sprint International Series that supports the Superstars touring car series, where it finished second and third overall on its race debuts – second only to the F430 GTC it replaces.

Want to see what it’s like to lap Monza in a 458 racer? To coincide with the launch of the new machinery, Ferrari has released on-board video footage of the 458 Challenge with Stefano Gai, the defending champion who dominated this weekend’s national series race from start to finish. Follow the jump to watch and check out the pair of press releases.

Gallery: Ferrari 458 Challenge

[Source: Ferrari]

Continue reading Ferrari 458 Challenge and GT3 racers debut at Monza [w/video]

Ferrari 458 Challenge and GT3 racers debut at Monza [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SCCA World Challenge Grand Prix of St. Petersburg live stream

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Cadillac, Racing

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Racecar

The SCCA World Challenge series is some seriously exciting stuff that doesn’t get nearly enough television exposure. With actual street cars duking it out on tight courses, it’s door-to-door racing at its finest.

Catching the races live on TV can be impossible, particularly on basic cable. To stem that problem, World Challenge TV streams each race live on its website. Today’s race starts at 4:20 PM EDT, and will be available for live viewing at WorldChallengeTV.com.

There’s a 49-car field vying for the top spot, including two factory-backed Cadillac CTS-V Coupes.

[Source: WorldChallengeTV]

SCCA World Challenge Grand Prix of St. Petersburg live stream originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Mar 2011 12:38:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2011 Volvo S60R returns to World Challenge with K-Pax Racing

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Volvo, Racing

K-Pax Racing Volvo S60R

Over the past few years, the Volvo S60 has achieved considerable success in touring car racing around the world. The factory-supported Polestar team took the title in the Swedish Touring Car Championship a few years back before switching to the C30, and K-Pax Racing took the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ trophies in the World Challenge GT Championship with the car last year.

Thing is, the touring car taking the honors is still wearing the bodywork of the old Volvo S60, so it was only a matter of time before its successor would be revealed. And here it is.

Although K-Pax will still use the old S60R in the first few rounds of the 2011 World Challenge, the new all-wheel-drive racer will be rolled out for the fourth round at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, in late April.

[Source: K-Pax Racing via CarScoop]

2011 Volvo S60R returns to World Challenge with K-Pax Racing originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Feb 2011 07:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spectre 341 Challenge is back and open to everyone

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos

spectre 341 challenge corvette on the course

Corvette ZR1 tackling the Spectre 341 Challenge – Click above to watch video after the jump

In June 1972, Hans Tanner and other members of the Southern California Ferrari Owners Club set out to the road that’s known today as Nevada Highway 341. Tanner sought to emulate the great hill climb events in which he participated in Europe, and the Virginia City Hill Clmb was the perfect opportunity to take a shot at recapturing that glory. The event ran until 2002, when tragedy struck and organizers decided to discontinue the event.

In 2010, new organizers rebooted the Virginia City Hill Climb, rechristened as the first annual Spectre 341 Challenge. The second running is scheduled for June 17-20, 2011. Unlike last year’s invitation-only event, the 2011 Spectre 341 Challenge is open to everyone.

Are you ready to take on 5.2-miles of twisty Nevada blacktop? The road features multiple blind corners, near-constant elevation changes and some spots are still waiting on attention from the Nevada Department of Transportation (read: no guardrails). If yyou feel you and your car are up to the task, you need to do two things: have the $341 entry fee ready, and get your butt to Nevada to try and get into the 3:41 club. If ham-fisted automotive journalists like Ezra Dyer have made the list there may be room for you as well. Click past the jump to watch some highlights from the 2010 Spectre 341 Challenge.

[Source: Spectre 341 Challenge]

Continue reading Spectre 341 Challenge is back and open to everyone

Spectre 341 Challenge is back and open to everyone originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 19 Feb 2011 18:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge caught in its natural habitat

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Ferrari, Racing

Ferrari 458 Challenge at Firoano

Ferrari 458 Challenge lapping Fiorano – Click above to watch the video after the break

Know how irritating it is when an automotive video hits the interwebs and its creator decided that the glorious music of sweet internal combustion just weren’t enough of a soundtrack? Good news: This is not one of those videos. Instead, we’re treated to a beautiful 562-horsepower swan song from 4.5 liters of undeniable Prancing Horse goodness.

Ferrari’s 458 Challenge was released last month at the Bologna Motor Show as the replacement for the outgoing F430 GT2. In other words, fans of endurance racing ought to get mighty used to hearing this particular bellow on tracks all around the world. For what it’s worth, this video was taken near the Ferrari headquarters at the Fiorano track, and the 458 Challenge did the deed in 1 minute, 16.5 seconds. Check out the video after the break. FYI, actual track footage begins around the 3:50 mark.

[Source: YouTube via World Car Fans]

Continue reading Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge caught in its natural habitat

Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge caught in its natural habitat originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Jan 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge in its natural environment

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Ferrari, Racing

Ferrari 458 Challenge

Ferrari 458 Challenge gets hustled around the Circuit of Valencia – Click above to watch video after the jump

“Faster than the 430 Challenge… yet easier to drive at the limit,” are the words of Ferrari 458 Challenge Test Driver Raffaele De Simone. “Now, the shifting time is like zero…” states De Simone’s counterpart, Maurizio Mediani. The two recently got the change to spend some time behind the wheel of Ferrari’s latest track-focused weapon. The drivers, along with a few other Ferrari speed merchants, and the 458 Challenge took a few laps around the Circuit of Valencia.

Most of the clip, which is available after the jump, is spent praising every aspect of the new Ferrari 458 Challenge, however, there are also some great shots (and sounds) of the car in action.

Gallery: Ferrari 458 Challenge makes its world debut at the Bologna Motor Show

Ferrari 458 Challenge makes its world debut at the Bologna Motor ShowFerrari 458 Challenge makes its world debut at the Bologna Motor ShowFerrari 458 Challenge makes its world debut at the Bologna Motor ShowFerrari 458 Challenge makes its world debut at the Bologna Motor ShowFerrari 458 Challenge makes its world debut at the Bologna Motor Show

[Source: FerrariWorld via YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge in its natural environment

Video: Ferrari 458 Challenge in its natural environment originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cadillac returning to SCCA World Challenge with CTS-V Coupe

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Performance, Cadillac, Racing

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Race Car

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Race Car – Click above for high-res image gallery

Sure enough, The Crest is headed back to the race track, this time with its menacing CTS-V Coupe. Cadillac last took to the field of battle in 2007, when it campaigned in the Sports Car Club of America World Challenge, and according to General Motors, the company will once again race in that series with a two-car team next season. Pratt & Miller, the shop responsible for the wicked American Le Mans Series Chevrolet Corvettes we all know and love, has been tasked with developing the racier version of the CTS-V Coupe. While the cars are largely production-based in the World Challenge GT class, some of the vehicle’s systems will need to be upgraded to meet SCCA specifications.

The two CTS-V Coupe race cars will compete for the first time on March 25 in St. Petersburg, Florida with Johnny O’Connel and Andy Pilgram behind the wheel. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait that long to see these machine in the metal. Cadillac is planning to show the vehicle off at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Hit the jump for the full press release.

Gallery: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA Race Car

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA Race Car2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA Race Car2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA Race Car2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA Race Car2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA Race Car

[Source: General Motors]

Continue reading Cadillac returning to SCCA World Challenge with CTS-V Coupe

Cadillac returning to SCCA World Challenge with CTS-V Coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 12:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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