Official: Ferrari exec to lead Jaguar North America

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Jaguar, Land Rover

Jaguar has announced that Jeff Curry will be serving as the brand’s new North American vice president, effective August 13. The move is a coup for Jag, which lured Curry away from his previous posting as VP of marketing for Ferrari North America, and is further evidence of just how strong Jaguar’s comeback has gotten.

Curry has spent over 20 years in the auto industry, and has worked with Audi, SiriusXM and Land Rover, where he made his start in the industry. His primary responsibilities with Jaguar will cover marketing communications, customer relationship management, and product planning.

Jaguar Land Rover’s North American president, Andy Goss, heaped praise on the brand’s newest addition saying, “Jeff brings with him extensive automotive and luxury marketing experience, critical expertise in leading-edge technologies and a personal passion for automobiles.”

Scroll down for the official press release from Jaguar.

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Ferrari exec to lead Jaguar North America originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Volkswagen WRC program to lead to street-legal Polo R?

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Rumormill

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Volkswagen Polo R WRC – Click above for high-res image gallery

It’s been an on-again, off-again affair with rumors of a possible R version of the Volkswagen Polo. But according to the latest from the Old World, things are looking up for the prospective pocket rocket.

The change in fortunes come down, according to Autocar, to the launch of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, the car with which the German automaker is preparing to mount its assault on the World Rally Championship. As you can see, the rally machine carries R branding, prompting the British publication to press VW board member Ulrich Hackenberg on the renewed possibility of a production Polo R hot hatch.

Hackenberg admitted such a vehicle is more likely with the launch of the WRC Polo, but that it wouldn’t arrive before 2013. As for specs, that’s all up to speculation. Autocar figures on a version of the Polo GTI’s 1.4-liter twin-charger four with over 200 horsepower, with or without the all-wheel-drive system being developed by Audi for the A1 built on the same platform. One way or another, we’ll be watching this development as it unfolds (or doesn’t).

Volkswagen WRC program to lead to street-legal Polo R? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 May 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Citroen to follow Fiat’s lead with DS3 Airflow convertible [w/poll]

Filed under: Convertible, Europe, Citroën

Citroen DS3

Citroën DS3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Citroën has come a long way with its revived DS line of premium offerings. What started with the basic DS3 hatchback has since grown to include the DS3 Racing hot hatch, the DS3 R3 and DS3 WRC rally machines; the DS4 crossover, and the new DS5. Now it seems a convertible is on the way as well.

Tentatively dubbed as the DS3 Airflow, the rumored convertible will apparently follow a similar approach to that taken by Fiat with the 500C. Look for a retractable fabric roof panel that will retain the pillars and door frames, in effect bridging the gap between a full convertible and a large sunroof. The advantage is a more cost-effective development cycle and superior handling, retaining much of the body’s rigidity while offering open-air driving. For our part, we’re interested to see what Citroën’s designers do with the car’s slick B-pillar treatment once the top drops. (Ben Walsh, we’re looking at you.)

European reports say the DS3 Airflow will launch in the spring of 2013. Of course, unlike Fiat, which has finally made a splashy return to North America, Citroën seems content to stay on its side of the Atlantic. Think it’s time for the French automaker to come back so we can sample cars like the reborn DS range? Cast your vote in the poll after the jump.

Continue reading Citroen to follow Fiat’s lead with DS3 Airflow convertible [w/poll]

Citroen to follow Fiat’s lead with DS3 Airflow convertible [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 15 May 2011 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Alfa Romeo 4C to lead new SUV, Giulia sedan on journey to America… when they’re ready [w/video]

Filed under: Coupe, Sedan, SUV, Videos, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept – Click above to watch the video after the jump

If this story sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve seen it before: Alfa Romeo will arrive in the United States with a sportscar that will spearhead the arrival of a broader range of models. That was the line with the 8C Competizione, but that model has come and gone without its junior stablemates. And when Alfa unveiled the 4C Concept in Geneva a couple of months ago, that was the story once again: not only would it see production, but it would headline the marque’s return to the North American market.

Now we’ve got a few more details, though. Rather than bringing over existing models like the MiTo and Giulietta, Alfa Romeo is hard at work preparing new models specifically for American tastes. One model is expected to be an SUV based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee – leaving us to wonder if this will come instead of, or in addition to Maserati’s rumored version. But beyond that is the new Giulia sedan that will replace the 159.

The project was reportedly well under way until the design landed on Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s desk, prompting him to order a full redesign. Apparently the styling was rather derivative and lackluster. For his part, the company’s experienced styling chief Lorenzo Ramaciotti says he and his team are doing the best they can with what they’re given: the company’s Compact Wide architecture based on the Giulietta’s platform, which Ramaciotti says is like designing a suit for a fat lady instead of a model.

The literal “back to the drawing board” order from Marchionne’s office may lead to further setbacks, so to keep your interest piqued we’ve dug up this rather intriguing video of the 4C Concept heading from the studio to the show floor in high speed. At this point, we thought we’d seen concept cars from just about every angle, but this is something different, so why not click past the jump to watch the brief clip for yourself.

Continue reading Alfa Romeo 4C to lead new SUV, Giulia sedan on journey to America… when they’re ready [w/video]

Alfa Romeo 4C to lead new SUV, Giulia sedan on journey to America… when they’re ready [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 May 2011 14:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Close games lead to higher motorist fatalities

Filed under: Safety

Geo Metro at USC-UCLA football game

For die-hard sports fans, a home-team win can make the whole week better. But according to a study by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina, winning can also be deadly-at least for motorists.

The schools focused on fatal accident rates the cities involved in 271 significant (i.e. playoff, rivalry, etc.) pro and college football and basketball games from 2001 to 2008. Fans were then asked to rank close games, and the results were compared against National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data for those game days. The results were startling; in areas where the winning team team won a close game and had a high number of fans on site (whether at the actual game venue or in the team’s hometown if it was playing on the road), road fatalities increase significantly.

The results don’t show that those involved in these accidents actually watch the games, but they illustrate a pattern of more aggressive road behavior following close games. In fact, prior studies found that fans’ testosterone levels of fans increase with a close win, while the losing team sees no rise. The research shows that alcohol also plays a factor, which comes as no surprise. It’s interesting to note, however, that while some fans on both sides are obviously to partake in a drink (or several) while watching the game, the cities of losing teams didn’t show an increase in fatalities.

The moral of the study might be to stay off the road after your team wins.

[Source: USA Today | Image: Maveric2003/Flickr via CC 2.0]

Close games lead to higher motorist fatalities originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Apr 2011 12:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Final laps of 2011 Daytona 200 lead to controversy, Ducati’s first victory [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Motorcycle, Racing

Jason DiSalvo, 2011 Daytona 200

Jason DiSalvo wins the 2011 Daytona 200 – Click above for high-res image gallery

While this year’s Daytona 200 was a great day for Ducati and its 848 EVO, it left something to be desired for everyone else. The race was blighted by tire issues, a bad final-lap crash that the riders were lucky to walk away from and a controversy stemming from Ducati’s win.

The controversy started with a red flag late in the race and a mandatory tire change for all riders. On the same lap, Ducati rider Jason DiSalvo blew a cylinder on his machine. Eventually, race officials decided to re-start around 3:30 and run the rest of the 200 as a 15-lap sprint to the finish. Besides angering fans who paid to see a 200-mile single race and would end up with 147 miles over two races, the delay allowed DiSalvo’s team time to change his blown engine.

With permission from the AMA, DiSalvo was back in the race. In the final seconds of the all-out 15-lap sprint to the finish, DiSalvo passed Cory West on a draft to take the win. That wasn’t the end, though. Since there had been a red flag, there was some confusion as to who should be crowned the victor.

There was talk of letting the results from the lap before the red flag stand. That would have meant the race ended with Josh Herrin out front, JD Beach in second and Jake Zemke third. Officials decided, however, that since the top six riders had crossed the line before the red flag fell and everyone else was still on the previous lap, the results from the 15-lap sprint would decide the winner.

That meant that Jason Di Salvo, who before the red flag was out of the race, was crowned race winner, followed by Cory West and Jake Zemke. The result was no doubt a great moment for Ducati and DiSalvo, but left the guys who were ahead before the red flag and the fans who saw a shortened race feeling understandably spurned.

Click past the jump for a press release from Ducati celebrating the victory and a video of the closing laps of the 2011 Daytona 200.

Gallery: Jason DiSalvo wins the 2011 Daytona 200

Jason DiSalvo leads the Daytona 200Jason DiSalvo leads the Daytona 200Jason DiSalvo wins the Daytona 200Jason DiSalvo wins the Daytona 200Jason DiSalvo wins the Daytona 200

[Source: Motorcycle USA, Axis Of Oversteer, Ducati]

Continue reading Final laps of 2011 Daytona 200 lead to controversy, Ducati’s first victory [w/video]

Final laps of 2011 Daytona 200 lead to controversy, Ducati’s first victory [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Mar 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Barrett-Jackson 2011: Chevrolet offers up a drop-top Camaro set to lead the Indy 500 field *Update: w/video

Filed under: Convertible, Auctions, Videos, Chevrolet, GM

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car at Barrett-Jackson 2011

2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car at Barrett-Jackson – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chevrolet is taking to the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale stage to auction off a special drop-top. The first of 50 limited-edition cars, this 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car will cross the stage before heading to lead the field at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The orange and white color combination matches that of the Indy-fied 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, which has since become a collectors item of its own. As far as we know, the Camaro ‘Vert will be a 2012 model, but everything here at Barrett-Jackson is listing this as a 2011.

Proceeds from the sale of this limited-edition Camaro will go the David Foster Foundation, which supports families with children in need of live-saving organ transplants. Charity cars have gone through the roof at the 2011 Barrett-Jackson auction and we would expect nothing different from this one.

The Camaro Convertible doesn’t have an official listing page, as it was something of a surprise for bidders, but you can watch Speed’s live online coverage here. Are you playing Speed’s Online Fantasy Bid Game? If not, test your auction pricing mettle by guessing what a series of featured vehicles will end up bringing at the auction block – you could end up winning a prize, like an Apple iPad. Enjoy!

*Update: The final gavel price? $225,000. Click past the jump to watch this Camaro cross the auction block.

Gallery: Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car at Barrett-Jackson 2011

Photos copyright 2011 Jeff Glucker and Jeremy Korzeniewski/AOL

Continue reading Barrett-Jackson 2011: Chevrolet offers up a drop-top Camaro set to lead the Indy 500 field *Update: w/video

Barrett-Jackson 2011: Chevrolet offers up a drop-top Camaro set to lead the Indy 500 field *Update: w/video originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jan 2011 20:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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McLaren recruits Audi’s Greg Levine to lead sales and marketing

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Marketing/Advertising, MISC

Greg Levine, McLaren Sales and Marketing Director

You can have a great product on your hands, but if you don’t sell it right, it ain’t worth jack. That’s why McLaren has hired Greg Levine.

A 15-year industry veteran, Levine comes to McLaren from his position as head of operations for Audi in the UK. Prior to that, he served as head of sales and marketing for Audi in South Africa, where Levine was credited with ushering the R8 to market – critical experience on which McLaren is keen to capitalize.

In his new position as head of global sales and marketing, Levine is responsible for bringing the new McLaren MP4-12C to market and overseeing an upstart network of 35 dealers in 19 countries. Sales are projected to be 1,000 units in the first full year, of which the United States is expected to account for 400 units. Details of the announcement are in the press release after the jump.

[Source: McLaren]

Continue reading McLaren recruits Audi’s Greg Levine to lead sales and marketing

McLaren recruits Audi’s Greg Levine to lead sales and marketing originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jan 2011 16:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Carlos Sainz and VW lead Dakar through two stages

Filed under: Motorsports, Volkswagen

Carlos Sainz leads the 2011 Dakar in his VW Touareg race truck

The 2011 Dakar Rally is only two stages old, but there’s already a big-time force at the top of the leader board. CNN reports that defending Dakar champion and Volkswagen driver Carlos Sainz has put the pedal to the metal to win the first two events and is leading BMW driver Stephane Peterhansel by a substantial three minutes, five seconds. Sainz’s Touareg race truck whooped on the competition in the 324 kilometer second stage with a one minute, three second lead over teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah. Sainz managed the impressive stage despite consistent issues with his windscreen wiper blades. Sainz claims the problem forced him to slow down for 12 kilometers since his vision was so compromised. In total, the Dakar rally stretches 13 stages and 9,500 kilometers. Today’s stage is 500 kilometers from San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy.

Sainz isn’t the only former champ faring well at Dakar. Three-time motorcycle champ Cyril Despres is having his way with the two-wheeled competition, as the talented pro took his second straight stage. Despres leads Marc Coma of Spain by two minutes 35 seconds.

[Source: CNN | Image: Stephane Mantey/Associated Press]

Report: Carlos Sainz and VW lead Dakar through two stages originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford, Honda lead latest J.D. Power owner loyalty survey

Filed under: Car Buying, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Toyota

J.D. Power 2010 Customer Retention Study

Customer loyalty is incredibly important to automakers and something earned by providing both good products and service. J.D. Power has just put out its 2010 Customer Retention Study to show how well each automaker is doing at keeping existing car buyers coming back for more. Leading the way are Ford and Honda who tie each other with a 62 percent rate of customer retention. Hyundai, Lexus and Toyota are right on their heels however with a rate of 60 percent each.

Overall, import manufacturers have the edge on the domestics but that gap has slimmed down due to customers realizing that American automakers are producing a greater number of good products. Of the top 10 automakers in the study, nine are imports.

One of those imports is Kia, which has climbed the most compared to the 2009 study. Rising 21 percentage points, the Korean automaker now sees a rate of retention of 58 percent. That’s 10 points above the industry average.

Be sure to click past the jump to take a look at the full press release for more information on this study.

[Source: J.D. Power]

Continue reading Ford, Honda lead latest J.D. Power owner loyalty survey

Ford, Honda lead latest J.D. Power owner loyalty survey originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Dec 2010 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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