Caterham lineup set to expand under Team Lotus ownership

Caterham Seven Team Lotus trio

Caterham Seven Team Lotus Special Edition – Click above for high-res image gallery

It was only a few months ago that we reported on Caterham’s plans to expand its lineup. But a lot has happened since then, particularly for an automaker whose core product range is anchored in a design that goes back nearly six decades.

Since the launch of the SP/300.R, Caterham was acquired by Tony Fernandes – the same Malaysian entrepreneur behind Team Lotus F1. The new ownership is intent to keep the same management in place, but the cash injection is expected to lead to a further broadening of the company’s lineup.

Just what that will entail remains to be seen, but Autocar reports that whatever comes next down the pipeline will (arguably unlike some of Lotus’ own new products) remain faithful to Colin Chapman’s less-is-more philosophy.

The report also indicates a two-way door between Caterham and Team Lotus, the latter’s F1 cars set to feature the former’s branding while F1-derived technologies are set to trickle down to Caterham’s products. A Caterham Seven with regenerative braking and adaptive aerodynamics? Too soon to say, but the sky’s the proverbial limit.

Caterham lineup set to expand under Team Lotus ownership originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 May 2011 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Feds expand F-150 fuel tank strap investigation to 2.7 million pickups

Filed under: Truck, Government/Legal, Safety, Ford

2001 ford f-150 fuel tank strap rust

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America for decades. That’s a very big feather in the Blue Oval’s cap, but when the truck line is bit by the recall bug, its massive volume can be a very bad thing.

The Detroit News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it has upgraded its investigation into 2.7 million 1997-2001 F-150 pickups for fuel tank straps that have rusted and failed. If the straps rust and fail, NHTSA says there is a chance that the tank could drop and hit the road, causing a fuel leak. Back in September, NHTSA’s initial investigation included 1.4 million vehicles.

Of the 339 complaints NHTSA and Ford have received so far, one has resulted in a brief fire that quickly flamed out, while a second complaint lead to a fire that actually destroyed the vehicle. According to the report, there have been a total of nine documented incidents in which fuel has leaked from the tank as a result of a failed tank strap, though there have no injuries linked to these incidents.

For its part, Ford says it is continuing to support NHTSA’s investigation. The government safety agency says its investigation has “yielded information that strongly suggests the subject defect as the cause of the reported problem,” suggesting a recall may be on the horizon.

Feds expand F-150 fuel tank strap investigation to 2.7 million pickups originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 May 2011 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rendered Speculation: Bentley looking to expand with entry coupe, crossover?

Filed under: Coupe, Sedan, Performance, Crossover, Bentley, Rumormill, Luxury

Bentley crossover renderingRumors continue to swirl that incoming Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer, who previously served as head of research and development at Porsche, is looking long and hard at how to expand the luxury marque’s product line. Considering Dürheimer’s experience making magic happen at Porsche, it seems likely that Bentley would tap into the platform used for the Panamera sedan, and that’s exactly what the blokes from Auto Express are suggesting.

The first new model may be an ultra-luxe machine that would fit into the burgeoning four-door-coupe segment. If so, expect a price tag in the mid-$250,000 range and engine choices ranging from the tried-and-true W12 to a new turbocharged 4.0-liter V8.

Those powertrains may also find their way into the engine bay of a Bentley crossover, says Auto Express. As much as some may protest, a Porsche Cayenne-based Bentley with a price near the $200K mark would seem a very real possibility… as would an optional diesel engine, which would be new territory for the brand.

Finally, the long-rumored entry-level (can anything with a $150,000 price tag be called entry-level?) Bentley coupe that would slot below the Continental GT is still a talking point. Branching out into any or all of these segments are seen as a way to get back to the 10,000-unit peak sales year of 2007, as compared to just 4,616 units in 2009.

Head on over to Auto Express to see some rendered speculation on what these vehicles could potentially look like.

[Source: Auto Express]

Rendered Speculation: Bentley looking to expand with entry coupe, crossover? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Feb 2011 16:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Caterham to expand lineup even further

Filed under: Performance, UK, MISC

Caterham SP/300R

Caterham SP/300R – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Caterham launched the new SP/300.R just last month, it was only the second time (following the short-lived 21 of 1994) the company had veered away from the Lotus 7 formula into new territory. But it won’t be the last. Not according to the latest reports.

Britain’s Autocar weekly cites Caterham chief Ansar Ali on plans to expand beyond the 7 and the SP/300.R with an additional range or even several new models. The inspiration apparently comes from companies like Porsche that have expanded beyond their traditional sportscar roots with great success.

There’s no word on what form the next offering from Caterham could take, but Ali promises it won’t be far off from the purist performance machines for which it is known. Nor will it be abandoning the 7, either: to the contrary, Ali insists that the Seven will always be at the heart of Caterham’s range.

Gallery: Caterham SP/300R

[Source: Autocar]

Report: Caterham to expand lineup even further originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Feb 2011 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rolls-Royce reportedly planning to expand Ghost family with coupe, cabrio, LWB sedan

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Rolls-Royce, Luxury

Rolls-Royce Ghost – Click above for high-res image gallery

The new Ghost has been a runaway success for Rolls-Royce, the (relatively) more accessible saloon more than doubling its sales figures and outselling the larger Phantom by order of magnitude. And as might be expected, the BMW subsidiary has every intention of cashing in its success with a family of new models.

Much as it has with the Phantom, Rolls-Royce is reportedly planning on spinning the Ghost sedan into a full range, including a long-wheelbase version, a coupe and convertible. The stretched limousine is expected to come first, with about half a foot of extra length added between the B and C pillars for more rear-seat space. The coupe and convertible versions are expected to follow.

Reports also indicate that Rolls-Royce is planning a green push by implementing more environmentally-friendly drivetrain options, although it has not yet decided exactly what form they’ll take. With sister-brands BMW and Mini taking the pressure of carbon emissions regulations off its back, the Spirit of Ecstasy is more concerned with pinpointing just what its customers want, and delivering it in a finely-crafted, leather-lined burlwood box.

Gallery: First Drive: 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Photos by Rex Roy / Copyright (C)2010 AOL
[Source: Inside Line]

Rolls-Royce reportedly planning to expand Ghost family with coupe, cabrio, LWB sedan originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 08 Dec 2010 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lotus to expand involvement in Indy, GP2, GP3, GT and Le Mans racing

Filed under: Motorsports, Lotus

To say that Lotus has its hands full would be a gross understatement. In addition to the five new concept cars which the British automaker and engineering firm unveiled in Paris this year, Lotus is also expanding its racing programs in a big way. The House that Colin Built expressed its intentions to do so nearly a year ago, but as with the complete revamp of its entire product range, we didn’t expect anything quite this drastic. Looks like we ought to be listening when the folks at Lotus speak.

In addition to the controversial licensing partnership that led to the marque’s return to Formula One, Lotus has announced a whole slew of racing programs upon which it is embarking on in the near future. First up is the expansion of its Indy racing team – operated in partnership with former Champ Car chief Kevin Kalkhoven’s KV Racing – from one car to two. Cosworth will undoubtedly be dropped from the effort as the F1 team switches to Renault power (the team also announcing a partnership with Red Bull Racing to use its gearboxes and other technologies for next season), and Lotus will be developing its own aerodynamics package on the new adaptable chassis that takes to the grid in 2012.

Moving beyond, Lotus is also teaming up with ART Grand Prix – champions of several single-seater feeder series – in both the GP2 and GP3 championships. (Lotus F1 chief Tony Fernandez meanwhile announced the launch of his own GP2 team running under the Air Asia banner.)

Not enough? Lotus isn’t stopping there. Based on the enthusiasm garnered by the Evora GT4, Lotus is working on both GT3 and GT2 versions of the car, as well as a GT2 racer based on the new generation of vehicles displayed in Paris, though they aren’t saying which one just yet. (That may be largely a marketing decision though, as the vehicles share a common architecture.) Last but not least, Lotus is also crafting a purpose-built, closed-cockpit Le Mans Prototype conforming to the ACO’s LMP2 formula. That’s a whole lot of racing goin’ on, and there’s yet more to read about in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Lotus]

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Lotus to expand involvement in Indy, GP2, GP3, GT and Le Mans racing originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Oct 2010 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Rolls-Royce to expand Ghost line

Filed under: Sedan, Rolls-Royce, UK, Luxury

Rolls-Royce Ghost

2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost – Click above for high-res image gallery

It sounds like Rolls-Royce is looking to pull a few more Ghosts out of its hat. According to Bloomberg, the company has its eyes on doubling sales figures in a hurry, and part of that plan may involve more variants of the Baby Roller. As the second model line in the company’s stable, the Ghost has done plenty to generate growth for the company, primarily due to its smaller size and (slightly) more accessible price tag. The Ghost starts at $245,000, while the next step up, the Phantom, hits luxury buyers for a less manageable $380,000.

Rolls-Royce is currently producing around three Ghosts for every Phantom, thanks largely to increased interest in the brand from China. China has already moved up to become the company’s second biggest market after the U.S. – a slot formerly occupied by the UK.

Bloomberg didn’t offer much in the way of details as to what to expect from any upcoming Ghost variants, so full-line Rolls collectors will want to keep their Dom Perignon on ice for the moment. Stay tuned.

Gallery: First Drive: 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Photos by Rex Roy / Copyright (C)2010 AOL

[Source: Bloomberg]

Report: Rolls-Royce to expand Ghost line originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 Sep 2010 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Buick to expand line with coupe, convertible and wagon?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Wagon, Buick, Rumormill

2008 Buick Regal Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Buick conducted another in its series of webchats and this time product marketing director Roger McCormack attended the party. One of the first real signs of the brand’s rebirth came three years ago with the debut of the Riviera concept. Since then, Buick has focused on launching its mainstream, higher volume products like the LaCrosse and Regal, and the Riviera coupe has languished on the sidelines.

However, McCormack says the coupe concept could live on as a production model. He acknowledged that a coupe is receiving “very strong consideration” and admitted that a convertible would help excite customers, but wasn’t prepared to make any announcements. Even a wagon was not ruled out and could be among the first to join the lineup. A be-hatched version of the Insignia already exists in Europe and a prototype with Regal badges has been spotted in Michigan in the past. No doubt Buick will be watching the sales of the Acura TSX Sportswagon when it arrives this fall in deciding what to do with the Regal. The full transcript of the chat is available here.

Gallery: Buick Riviera Concept – Studio Shots (new)

[Source: Buick]

Buick to expand line with coupe, convertible and wagon? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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