Report: 2012 Honda Civic output at half capacity until fall *UPDATE

Filed under: Coupe, Budget, Sedan, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Honda

2012 Honda Civic Si

2012 Honda Civic Si – Click above for high-res image gallery

The devastating earthquake in Japan couldn’t have come at a worse time for Honda. The Japanese automaker was just starting to launch its new Civic for 2012, and the compact car is a major part of the company’s portfolio. Any delays or hiccups in the Civic’s launch will surely send shockwaves reverberating through Honda’s balance sheets.

Sadly, supplies of electronics parts and raw materials from Japan are still hampering automobile production for Honda, even in plants outside its home market. That includes the new 2012 Civic, which is assembled in Greensburg, Indiana and Alliston, Ontario.

Speaking to Reuters, Honda spokesman Ed Miller admitted that Civic production will likely be stuck at around 50-percent capacity until the fall of 2011. Industry analysts predict that the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra will likely fill in any sales void left by a lack of available Civics.

*UPDATE: Honda has confirmed that Civic production will run at 50-percent capacity for the time being, likely until fall. The automaker expects all other models to be back up to normal production levels by August. See the official release after the break.

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2012 Honda Civic output at half capacity until fall *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 May 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dodge updates Attitude for Mexico with latest Hyundai Accent, forgets badges *UPDATE

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Dodge, Hyundai

2012 Dodge Attitude

What you’re looking at is not the 2012 Hyundai Accent, it’s the 2012 Dodge Attitude. Yes, we see the Hyundai badge. No, we aren’t kidding.

Dodge has, for quite some time now, sold a rebadged version of the Hyundai Accent in Mexico under the Attitude moniker. (Hyundai, as an automaker, is otherwise absent from the Mexican market). And while the previous-generation Attitude was simply a rebadged version of the old Accent sedan, it appears that the 2012 model doesn’t even go that far.

We got our first glimpse at the U.S.-spec Accent at the 2011 New York Auto Show earlier this year, and while our market will benefit from the functionality of the five-door hatchback configuration, the Dodge Attitude will only be available as a sedan. A 1.4-liter gasoline engine is standard, with a 1.6-liter powerplant available as an option.

Dodge N100UPDATE: Looks like the Accent isn’t the only Hyundai vehicle being given the Pentastar treatment in Mexico. The Korean automaker’s Starex van (known as the iLoad and iMax – seriously – in Australia) also wears a Dodge nameplate in Mexico, though like the Attitude, the Hyundai badges have remained intact. The Dodge H100 is available in both cargo van and passenger van configurations. (Hat tip to owenrec!)

Dodge updates Attitude for Mexico with latest Hyundai Accent, forgets badges *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 May 2011 11:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus LF-Gh Concept unveiled ahead of New York debut *UPDATE

Filed under: Concept Cars, New York Auto Show, Hybrid, Sedan, Lexus, Luxury

Lexus LF-Gh Concept

Lexus LF-Gh Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Lexus has decided to pull the wraps off its LF-Gh – which stands for Lexus Future Grand-Touring Hybrid – ahead of its official debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show. Interestingly, Lexus itself describes the styling of its latest conceptual hybrid sedan as something of a contradiction in terms. Says Kengo Matsumoto, general manager of Toyota’s Lexus Design Division:

For this concept, Lexus designers studied characteristics that are often considered contradictory and difficult to execute together. The captivating design of the LF-Gh concept examines the possibility of balancing what are normally opposing qualities, such as style and functionality.

Expect such offbeat styling details to make an appearance on future Lexus production models, including what the company is calling its “aggressive and bold spindle-shaped front grille.”

As a grand-touring sedan, Lexus says the rear-wheel-drive LF-Gh will offer plenty of room for “multiple occupants at higher speeds on long-distance drives.” We don’t have any real detailed photos of the car’s interior, but the automaker claims it hints at “an all-new, future Lexus interior” that incorporates a new three-dimensional analog clock, whatever that means.

As you’d expect from any new concept from the global leader in hybrids, the LF-Gh Concept features a hybridized powertrain of unknown specification. We do find it interesting, though, that Lexus is purposely trying to diminish the appearance of the car’s exhaust in an effort to “suggest that the flow of exhaust gas will be substantially reduced.”

Stay tuned for live images from the show floor in New York later this month. In the meantime, feel free to check out the official press release after the break and be sure to take a nice, long gander at the high-res image gallery below.

*UPDATE: Video added after the break. Enjoy!

Gallery: Lexus LF-Gh Hybrid Concept

Lexus LF-Gh Hybrid ConceptLexus LF-Gh Hybrid ConceptLexus LF-Gh Hybrid ConceptLexus LF-Gh Hybrid ConceptLexus LF-Gh Hybrid Concept

[Source: Lexus]

Continue reading Lexus LF-Gh Concept unveiled ahead of New York debut *UPDATE

Lexus LF-Gh Concept unveiled ahead of New York debut *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Apr 2011 12:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Runaway ghost-riding motorcycle wants to keep racing *Update

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Motorcycle

Ghost riding motorcycle at Daytona SuperSport race

Ghost-riding Daytona SuperSport motorcycle – Click above to watch the video after the break

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. We’re a little short on details – there’s no description provided and we didn’t watch the race live – but the video after the break appears to have been taken at the start of the second SuperSport race in Daytona, Florida, earlier in 2011.

Two riders collided in the middle of a turn, sending both to the ground, while a third bike was left riderless but with both wheels still on the ground. That happens often enough that there’s a term for it – ghost riding – but generally the machine only goes a few hundred feet before falling over or hitting something solid. Not so in this case.

Somehow, the ghost-ridden bike managed to stay upright long enough that it veered back onto the track, barely missing the race leader. Fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt in the incident… and it was all caught on tape.

Click past the break to watch the video… clearly, at least one bike was not ready to score a lowly DNF without putting up a proper fight. Thanks for the tip, Milan!

*UPDATE: Turns out this clip is from the 2011 World Superbike race at Donington Park in the UK.

[Source: Streetfire.net]

Continue reading Video: Runaway ghost-riding motorcycle wants to keep racing *Update

Video: Runaway ghost-riding motorcycle wants to keep racing *Update originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE

Filed under: Safety, Technology, Ford, Lincoln

Ford MyFord Touch dashboard

In 2010, Ford reinvented its SYNC system with the launch of the refreshed Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. But the new integrated system – MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch or what’s known as “SYNC generation 2” – has been plagued by more than a few bugs. And part of the problem is due to its design.

If one of its various functions trips up – navigation, phone or entertainment, among others – the system can restart. This can leave the driver faced with a blank display and a restart procedure that can take two to three minutes. Double bummer: It usually wipes out your paired phones and indexed music.

After talking with several colleagues who have experienced similar issues (including one where the volume was stuck on max while the A/C continued to blow cold air in 42-degree weather) and experiencing these issues first hand for ourselves, we called up Ford’s Head of Technology Communications, Alan Hall, and got on the phone with one of the Blue Oval’s engineers to see what’s causing the issues and how the automaker is addressing them.

Continue reading Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start

*UPDATE: Official statement from Ford added after the jump.

Continue reading Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE

Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New Media Strategies loses Chrysler contract after F-bomb tweet *Update

Filed under: Etc., Chrysler

On March 9, 2011, a now-former employee of New Media Strategies – the company responsible for managing Chrysler’s Twitter account – thought they were using their personal account to push out a message related to the less-than-stellar driving abilities of Detroit’s residents. It contained the F-word and, unfortunately, was accidentally sent out on Chrysler’s Twitter account. Whoops.

As a result, New Media Strategies was forced to terminate that employee, but now it seems that the company lost even more than one foul-mouthed worker. In a statement released today, Chrysler has announced that it will not renew its contract with NMS and that it will work with the social media company while a new agency is sought. There is no mention of exactly why Chrysler is choosing to sever the relationship but, in the wake of the F-bomb tweet, we’re pretty sure we have a good idea.

Is one errant tweet enough to torpedo an entire relationship? It seems to be the case for Chrysler. Click past the jump for the Pentastar’s brief statement.

*Update: Chrysler has posted a follow-up message on its corporate blog, where it is explained that Chrysler did not fire the employee who made the mistake. Further, Chrysler explains why it reacted the way it did in letting go of NMS. Check it out here.

[Source: Chrysler]

Continue reading New Media Strategies loses Chrysler contract after F-bomb tweet *Update

New Media Strategies loses Chrysler contract after F-bomb tweet *Update originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Mar 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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When Tweeting Goes Wrong: Chrysler accidentally throws out F-bomb *Update

Filed under: Etc., Chrysler

chrysler f-bomb tweet

chrysler f-bomb tweetFor those of you who don’t use Twitter, these next few sentences will be rather odd. Most companies maintain a Twitter account these days as a means of directly reaching out to potential customers and the public in general. The Chrysler account had an interesting message broadcast to the world this morning.

While we find it hilarious, it’s also rather unfortunate. Chrysler has deleted the tweet, stating its “account was compromised earlier today” and “We’re taking steps to resolve it.” The Twitter account was handled by third-party company New Media Strategies, and it seems highly likely that someone there thought they were tweeting on their personal account. Whoops.

*Update: Chrysler’s official response can be found after the break. Spoiler: the NMS employee responsible was terminated.

[Source: Twitter via Jalopnik]

Continue reading When Tweeting Goes Wrong: Chrysler accidentally throws out F-bomb *Update

When Tweeting Goes Wrong: Chrysler accidentally throws out F-bomb *Update originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Mar 2011 13:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ducati reveals Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition *UPDATE

Filed under: Europe, Motorcycle, Specialty

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak

2012 Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak Edition (U.S.) – Click above for high-res image gallery

To celebrate Greg Tracy’s win at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb last year, Ducati is releasing a commemorative special edition of its Multistrada 1200S for the U.S. and U.K.

Pikes Peak Edition bikes will get a custom paint scheme based on the Ducati Corse livery, along with an anodized black engine and black wheels with red pinstriping. To make things a little louder and introduce more carbon fiber, the bike will be delivered across the pond with an EU-approved carbon fiber silencer from Termignoni and a low profile carbon fiber windscreen.

*Update: Sadly, we won’t be getting the exhaust system here in the States, but we will get a unique numbered engine crankcase cover. We’ve added a U.S.-specific image gallery below and included both U.S. and UK press releases after the break.

To top it off, Ducati is throwing on a carbon fiber front fender and a special seat with custom commemorative stitching(!). Ducati will start hawking the Pikes Peak Edition Multistradas here in the States in June for $21,995 and in the UK in May, with a starting price of just over $27k.

Gallery: Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)

Gallery: Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special Edition

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special Edition

[Source: Ducati]

Continue reading Ducati reveals Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition *UPDATE

Ducati reveals Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Alan Mullaly, Bill Ford Jr. get huge bonuses from Blue Oval *Update

Filed under: Etc., Ford, Earnings/Financials

Bill Ford Jr. and Alan Mulally

Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. and Chief Executive Alan Mulally have reportedly been given big-time bonuses by the Blue Oval for keeping things moving when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Mulally received $56.5 million worth of Ford stock before taxes and Ford got stock worth $42.4 million.

Ford, Jr. hired Mulally from Boeing in 2006, before they went around to different banks to secure restructuring loans to stay solvent through the lending crisis and economic recession. In 2010, Ford saw its best year since 1999, clearing $6.6 billion in profits.

To add to their enormous bonuses, the Los Angeles Times says that Ford, Jr. and Mulally opted to purchase Ford stock at $14.76 a share. *Update: Ford tells us that Ford, Jr. and Mulally do indeed have stock options but have not cashed them in at this time. Market value of Ford stock rose three percent today to $14.46 a share.

[Source: Los Angeles Times | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]

Report: Alan Mullaly, Bill Ford Jr. get huge bonuses from Blue Oval *Update originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Mar 2011 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Playboy model demonstrates co-ed naked drifting *Update

Filed under: Motorsports, Etc., Videos

Playboy model naked drifting

Playboy model demonstrates co-ed naked drifting – Click above to watch the video after the break

To some, drifting is kinda sorta a non-sport. After all, the winning car isn’t necessarily the one that crosses the finish line ahead of all others, and the vehicles themselves were created on purpose to be ill-handling, tail-happy smoke generators.

Somehow, we have a feeling all those ills would be forgiven by the detractors if the cars were piloted by naked Playboy models.

And so we bring you the video after the break. We’ll go ahead and label this one not-safe-for-work-ish… while there technically isn’t any nudity shown on camera, the model clearly is performing these smoky antics sans clothing. Oh, and of course she doesn’t know how to drive a stick.

We’ll say no more, and we’ll leave all those rather obvious double entendres to you. Click past the break to see co-ed naked drifting’s first (completely non-sanctioned) clothing optional event.

One final note: This is the same car (repainted) we featured in a four-part web documentary that you can see here.

*Update: Now with bonus gallery!

Gallery: Drifting GSR Autosport Playboy Video Shoot

Drifting GSR Autosport Playboy Video ShootDrifting GSR Autosport Playboy Video ShootDrifting GSR Autosport Playboy Video ShootDrifting GSR Autosport Playboy Video ShootDrifting GSR Autosport Playboy Video Shoot

[Source: YouTube via Motor World Hype]

Continue reading Video: Playboy model demonstrates co-ed naked drifting *Update

Video: Playboy model demonstrates co-ed naked drifting *Update originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Mar 2011 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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