Riding along in Ford’s bonkers Fiesta ST Global RallyCross car [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Performance, Videos, Hatchback, Ford, Racing

The Mountune-worked Fiesta ST GRC does 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds.

On any given day, and every single weekend, there’s at least one parking in the country invaded by manufacturer and team trucks. The be-chromed beasts and their 53-foot trailers are slotted into rows, men and women decorate the lot with orange cones to mark the invisible tracery of a temporary track, cars get unloaded, crews fret over them. The ritual can be as beautiful as the sunrise to those with enthusiast hearts, but it’s just as common.

Unless you happened to be in the parking lot in Fontana, California where Ford, OlsbergsMSE and Mountune were showing off the Fiesta ST built for Global RallyCross. Ford’s latest global performance car is an experiment on our shores that aims to find out if we – Americans – are ready to support a B-segment hot hatch with a European pedigree.

The Fiesta ST GRC, though, isn’t an experiment. It is proof that you can frappe your brain and cudgel your internal organs with nothing more than a few orange cones and a 90-second ride-along with a GRC champion.

Continue reading Riding along in Ford’s bonkers Fiesta ST Global RallyCross car [w/video]

Riding along in Ford’s bonkers Fiesta ST Global RallyCross car [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: US and EU negotiating free trade pact to unify global auto safety regulations

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Read This

Safety and emissions regulations have long been touchy subjects in the auto industry, because they can dictate the legality of automobiles and are not the same from country to country. Fragmented regulations add costs to vehicle sales, and they inhibit the ability of automakers to offer the same products around the globe.

The US and EU are attempting to improve the situation with Free Trade Agreement negotiations that started this month in Washington, D.C., Wards Auto reports, which are expected to result in a deal that pushes the global auto industry toward a world vehicle-regulatory system, with an emphasis on safety requirements.

Thoughts of mandatory sealed-beam headlights and 100+pound impact bumpers – both of which were products of fragmented global vehicle-regulatory systems – still give us headaches decades later, so here’s to hoping the FTA negotiations help unify safety regulations to some degree.

Be sure to read the article for all the details on the trade negotiations, and feel free to comment below.

US and EU negotiating free trade pact to unify global auto safety regulations originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 26 Jul 2013 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: GM sales chief Batey to be named global head of Chevrolet

Filed under: Europe, Chevrolet, GM, Middle East, Russia, South America

Alan Batey, General Motors executiveThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that General Motors is on the verge of naming current US sales chief, Alan Batey, as the new global head of the Chevrolet brand. Batey has been accruing relevant international experience with GM for quite some time now, holding executive management positions in Europe, Korea, the Middle East and the US before getting this latest nod as Chevy’s global leader.

It was Batey who helped to launch the automaker’s “Find New Roads” campaign in February during his stint as Chevy’s interim marketing chief. That tag line, chosen in part for its ease of translation into multiple languages, is currently being rolled out globally.

Batey’s appointment also comes in front of a major product offensive for Chevy, both at home and abroad. The automaker has plans to launch some 13 new or updated vehicles in the US this year, along with 12 more in global markets. Escalating sales in China, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America have helped to cement a need for Batey’s new gig. According to the WSJ, Batey has decried the regional-based strategy that Chevy has used across the world so far, saying, “That’s over. From now on we will operate as one.”

Bringing cohesion to Chevy models, technology and dealers across the world will be no mean feat, we’re certain. High on the list of Batey’s tasks will be right-sizing the relationship between Chevy and the slightly upmarket Opel brand in Europe, as well as expanding the company’s reach in booming markets like China, Russia and Thailand.

GM sales chief Batey to be named global head of Chevrolet originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saab to celebrate Chinese and Russian partnerships with global tour

Filed under: Saab, Earnings/Financials

Saab emblem

So far in 2011, Saab has been riding a ragged roller-coaster filled with major ups and downs. Just recently, however, things have been trending more positively. Saab inked a deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai that will pump in millions of dollars, and open up major inroads to the vastly expanding auto industry in China. The Swedish automaker is understandably excited by this new deal, and has decided to embark on a global tour to highlight its new partnerships.

Besides discussing its new manufacturing teammate Hawtai, Saab will also bring Russian investor Vladimir Antonov along for the ride, once his deals have gone through. Victor Muller, Saab Chairman, wants the world to meet Saab’s newest partners. All involved parties will be hitting the road to reach out to the world-wide media, once all respective deals have been finalized and approved.

Saab to celebrate Chinese and Russian partnerships with global tour originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 May 2011 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Subaru WRX flips end-over-end at Global RallyCross Championship

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos

Jimmy Keeney's Subaru WRX crash at the Global RallyCross Championship

Jimmy Keeney’s crash at the Global RallyCross Championship – Click above for high-res image gallery

Marcus Grönholm put on an impressive display at the inaugural Global RallyCross Championship by winning both races, but one of the more talked about happenings of the weekend was a spectacular crash by Jimmy Keeney in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

Matched up with Hyundai driver Marcus Dodd in the Friday elimination rounds, Keeney had lost ground and was trying to make up time when he came up short for the 70-foot jump. The result was that the back end of the Subaru catapulted over the front, flipping end-over-end twice before finally landing on its side with smoke pouring from under the hood. Fortunately, Keeney climbed out of the wreckage unhurt, but the same couldn’t be said for the car.

With ESPN covering the event and plenty of photographers on hand, there was bound to be some good footage of the event. Sharp shooter John Rettie has been kind enough to let us publish his photos of the wreck, and we’ve also embedded a video of the crash after the jump.

Gallery: Subaru WRX crash at Global Rallycross Championship

Photos copyright (C)2011 John Rettie

[Source: Youtube]

Continue reading Video: Subaru WRX flips end-over-end at Global RallyCross Championship

Video: Subaru WRX flips end-over-end at Global RallyCross Championship originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Mar 2011 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Two-time WRC champ Gronholm takes day one victory at Global Rally Cross

Filed under: Motorsports, Hatchback, Ford, Racing

Global Rallyy Cross
Global Rally Cross at Irwindale Speedway – Click above to watch video after the jump

Global Rally Cross kicked off its inaugural even yesterday at Irwindale Speedway. Drivers raced in bracket-style competition on a mixture of dirt and gravel stages. Competitors each ran events in two and four-wheel-drive cars.

Marcus Gronholm sealed victory at the wheel of a 550-horsepower Ford Fiesta in the all-wheel-drive round, beating out Swedish star Michael Jernberg in second and Formula Drift superstar (and U.S. Top Gear host) Tanner Faust in third.

Gronholm’s victory shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who watched him drive WRC cars in the early 2000s. For his part, Gronholm wasn’t too shocked either, and attributed his victory in part to experience with motocross. Check out video of the event after the jump.

[Source: Rally Buzz via Jalopnik]

Continue reading Video: Two-time WRC champ Gronholm takes day one victory at Global Rally Cross

Video: Two-time WRC champ Gronholm takes day one victory at Global Rally Cross originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Mar 2011 09:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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UAW creates Global Organizing Institute to organize transplants

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal, UAW/Unions

United Auto Workers president Bob King

It sounds ominous. The United Auto Workers union has imported interns from other automaking countries like China, Germany, South Korea and India to teach them the organizing techniques the union uses in the United States. The UAW’s Global Organizing Institute will give interns from other car building countries an indoctrination into the practices the union uses for collective bargaining, which they will then take back to their home countries and act as homegrown advocates for the UAW’s organizing efforts at non-unionized transplant facilities in the United States.

Bob King, UAW president, has a goal of bringing his union to one of the currently non-unionized transplant auto factories in the American south. With agents arguing for the UAW on the homefront and the union doing its best to get a transplant automaker on board, the union hopes it can not only help workers organize in other countries, but also help its own causes.

The UAW has asked for no interference from the leaders of those car companies and has threatened to use protests and other attention-grabbing practices should any automaker try to strongarm its workers into staying non-union. The interns will be given six weeks of training and field experience before they’re sent back to their home countries packing a new arsenal of skills.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

UAW creates Global Organizing Institute to organize transplants originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Mar 2011 17:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: ESPN teases Global Rallycross Championship

Filed under: Motorsports, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Off-Road, Racing

Global Rally Cross

ESPN Global Rally Cross – Click above to watch video after the jump

Taking a break from its endless stream of SportsCenter, followed by SportsCenter, followed by NFL Draft analysis, followed by SportsCenter, ESPN will be running the Global Rally Championship this Spring and Summer.

The Global Rally Championship will be a series of sprint-style races like the ones featured at last year’s Summer X-Games, only spread out over an entire season, and utilizing tracks other than the L.A. Coliseum.

The courses will combine dirt, gravel and pavement stages to keep everything as unpredictable as possible. The cars will be the same mix of Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Mitsubishi Lancer and Ford Fiesta compacts that ran at X-Games, which means they sport ludicrous power figures and should hit 60 in just over two seconds. That said, we can’t help but doubt the claims of street legality made by ESPN’s announcer in the ad after the jump. Check it out, then head over to the Global Rallycross website for more info.

Gallery: X Games 16 SuperRally

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: ESPN via YouTube]

Continue reading Video: ESPN teases Global Rallycross Championship

Video: ESPN teases Global Rallycross Championship originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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AdSpotting: Ford goes global with Focus, but will it entice?

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchback, Ford

Ford’s global Focus campaign – Click above to watch commercials

Company: Ford Motor Co.

Brand: Ford

Medium: TV

Ad Agency: Team Detroit/WPP Global

Product: Focus

Campaign: Global Focus Launch

What We Like: The all-new Focus is a moonshot better than the Focus we’ve had in the U.S. for the last decade. While Europe got a new Focus during the Bush Administration, the U.S. got an insufficiently upgraded model with a pretty low-rent interior and no hatchback version. These new ads do a slick job of conveying that the new Focus is, in fact, new and possessing features people wouldn’t expect in an economy-priced car. The seriousness of the orchestral soundtrack and the messaging may elevate the Focus above the riff-raff of the sub-compact segment. One recent Hyundai Elantra ad, for example, had a sheep driving. Kia likes Hamsters to push its cars.

What We Don’t Like: To make these ads work globally and achieve the cost savings Ford was seeking, there is a lowest common denominator look and feeling to the ads Ford previewed for us. The visuals were specifically shot so they could be edited to run any place in the world with some easy editing to adapt to local needs and language. But the ads – while conveying useful information about what is, let’s face it, a very rational new-car selection – aren’t all that interesting. They certainly aren’t entertaining – at least not the first batch we got to see. The question is whether the features spotlighted in the ads will be engaging to viewers, and make them curious enough to investigate the new Focus on the Internet.

Strategy: Ford is launching the Ford Focus, it’s first truly global car under the Mulally regime, with an ambitious global ad campaign. The agency has produced some 50 TV ads to run in Ford’s markets across the world, all highlighting technology and innovation like self-closing grille vents (active grille shutters), stop-start fuel saving technology (for Europe) and the like. The Focus is a critically important car for Ford, both financially and for credibility worldwide, and Ford officials say they saved tens of millions of dollars, perhaps in excess of 100 million, by getting all the markets across the world to pool their thinking and draw from a common bank of video, photography and soundtracks. That savings is being plowed back into media buys, helping each market better hit its sales targets.

Grade: B

Watch the commercials after the jump and take our poll below.

View Poll

Continue reading AdSpotting: Ford goes global with Focus, but will it entice?

AdSpotting: Ford goes global with Focus, but will it entice? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Mar 2011 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Next-gen Ford Mustang will have global design input

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Etc., Ford, Design/Style

2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GT Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Automotive News is reporting that Ford will turn to its global team of designers for the look of the next Mustang. Styling themes will be served up from studios in Australia and Europe as well as other places around the world. Ford says that the practice is now standard operating procedure for most of the automaker’s new products, and that the global design approach was taken on board three years ago. J Mays, the company’s global design chief, and the rest of the vehicle’s design team will then select amongst the proposals for the design that best fits the next-generation Pony Car.

In the past, the company’s U.S. design studio was solely responsible for the vehicle’s image, but Ford has seen plenty of success from soliciting ideas from all over the world. The design of the global Ranger, for example, was submitted by artists in Australia with pointers from the company’s designers in Europe.

Right now, Ford is keeping its lips sealed about when we can expect to see the next-gen Mustang touch down, though Automotive News reports that there’s some indication that the vehicle may be as far off as 2014 or 2015.

Gallery: Review: 2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium

2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Photos copyright (C)2011 John Neff / AOL

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Report: Next-gen Ford Mustang will have global design input originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Mar 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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