Read This: Toyota donates engineers, not money, to country’s largest anti-hunger charity

Filed under: Etc., Toyota

The Food Bank of New York City

Key to production of any kind is efficiency – the ability to achieve maximum productivity with minimal effort or waste. Toyota has become a master of efficiency, with streamlined manufacturing operations around the world. In fact, the Japanese brand has become so well known for efficient operations that it now offers consulting services for organizations and companies outside the auto industry.

It also offers the same consulting for non-profits, free of charge. The New York Times took an in-depth look at the transformative impact that Toyota’s engineers had on the city’s charities, including The Food Bank, the country’s largest anti-hunger charity. The auto manufacturer helped revolutionize the way these organizations served the community, showing that there’s more to corporate philanthropy than just donating money.

Head on over to the Times‘ website and give the story a read.

Toyota donates engineers, not money, to country’s largest anti-hunger charity originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Razor Crazy Cart may be the coolest kid-size drift car money can buy

Filed under: Videos, Toys/Games, Humor

It might as well be a fact that if you want to get ahead in the world of motorsports, you need to start young. And since most toddlers can’t see over the wheel or reach the pedals in an actual car, karts are the most logical option. Unfortunately, big league karts are not cheap.

Enter the Crazy Cart, from Razor. Somehow, we doubt there’s ever been a better way of teaching a small child about car control. With four corner-mounted castors and a single electrically powered wheel below the steering column, the Crazy Cart can make any pre-schooler a drifting master. That central wheel can turn 360 degrees, which blesses the Crazy Cart with sublime agility and ease of control. A tiny handbrake is also available, for even more lurid sliding.

Of course, there are concerns. One Autoblog staffer called it “a pediatrician’s nightmare,” and while it does look stable, we’d be inclined to agree. And then there’s the $400 asking price. While it’s expensive, it’s probably a lot cheaper than dropping money on a kart, only to find out that your kid isn’t all that into it. And besides, as the video shows, it can handle an adult.

In that case, we’ll take seven. Check out the video below for the full rundown of the Crazy Cart’s abilities.

Continue reading Razor Crazy Cart may be the coolest kid-size drift car money can buy

Razor Crazy Cart may be the coolest kid-size drift car money can buy originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saab on the money hunt, still in discussions with Great Wall Motor?

Filed under: China, Europe, Government/Legal, Saab, Earnings/Financials, Spyker

Saab factory sign in Trollhatten, Sweden

Earlier this morning came word that Saab’s deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai had fallen apart. While in discussions with Hawtai, parent company Spyker was evidently also talking with another automaker located in China – Great Wall Motors. According to Reuters, those talks have apparently never ended, and, in light of today’s news, we’re going to speculate that it’s time to escalate the discussion or officially turn off the lights at Saab assembly plants.

Great Wall has cash and Saab has cars, technology and a dealer network. The two companies could be mutually beneficial, but there are hurdles to overcome before anything can actually happen. The Chinese government must approve a foreign joint venture before it moves forward. Still, it’s a good sign that companies are still interested in working with Spyker, and that could keep Saab alive.

Spyker isn’t simply pinning all of its hopes on Great Wall, as other Chinese companies are also on its radar. Besides a potential Chinese investor, however, Spyker and Saab are still hoping to see their European Investment Bank drawdown approved. Once either scenario plays out favorably, Saab can resume producing automobiles.

Saab on the money hunt, still in discussions with Great Wall Motor? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 May 2011 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Lotus unable to secure local government money

Filed under: Coupe, Government/Legal, Lincoln

lotus esprit concept

Lotus Esprit Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Lotus ushered out a plethora of new concept vehicles at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, we were more than a bit surprised. Sure, many of the designs had no chance of making it to production, but even a new Elan or Esprit would cost the boutique automaker millions to build – money Lotus simply doesn’t have.

Auto Express reports that the English Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has turned down the automaker’s application for a £27.5 million loan ($50 million U.S.). The money was reportedly sought in order to build a new plant in Hethel, Norfolk, that would have produced some of new models while also employing another 1,200 Brits. The BIS turned down Lotus in spite of the fact that the government body had already approved £450 million in loans to automakers like Jaguar and General Motors.

The automaker is no doubt disappointed with the decision not to allow the loan, but Team Lotus isn’t going down without a fight. Lotus released a statement saying that the automaker was exploring all options, adding that a next step could be “submitting an updated bid for round two of the RGF (government loan), which is set to close on July 1.”

What does this latest setback mean to Lotus? We’re not privy to the automaker’s financial statements, but we’re guessing Lotus really needs this money to build any and all of its new products. If it doesn’t get the proper financing, we’re thinking that there may not be any new Lotus models anytime soon.

Gallery: Paris 2010: Lotus Esprit Concept

[Source: Auto Express]

Report: Lotus unable to secure local government money originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 19:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Carlsson C25 Royale makes large quantities of money magically disappear

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz, MISC

Carlsson C25 Royale premier in Geneva

Carlsson C25 Royale – Click above for high-res image gallery

Customized Mercedes-Benz cars have been in the spotlight at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Mansory, Fab Design and Brabus have all fallen in love with the SLS AMG, but Carlsson continues its affair with the SL65 AMG. At last year’s show, Carlsson unveiled its C25 super grand tourer. For 2011, Carlsson has come back with another iteration of the frighteningly fast two-door, this time called the C25 Royale.

What’s the difference between last year’s C25 and the 2011 C25 Royale? Both pack the same bone-crushingly powerful V12 under the hood, here producing 753 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque. The C25 Royale goes for a few extra steps in the weight savings department by utilizing a carbon fiber roof.

Just like last year, however, the C25 Royale will be limited to just 25 units. Also, to further increase the likelyhood that your neighbor will never have the same car as you, Carlsson says it will sell just one per country. Starting price on a Carlsson C25 Royale is €429,000, or just shy of $600,000 USD. Add in German VAT and the price rises to €510,510 (around $713,000 USD). As we said, that is the starting price. The options list is packed with further piggy bank busting features, which you see for yourself by reading the press release waiting after the jump.

Gallery: Carlsson C25 Royale: Geneva 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Carlsson]

Continue reading Geneva 2011: Carlsson C25 Royale makes large quantities of money magically disappear

Geneva 2011: Carlsson C25 Royale makes large quantities of money magically disappear originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Mar 2011 17:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Suzuki Swift S-Concept puts its money where its name is

Filed under: Concept Cars, Performance, Geneva Motor Show, Hatchback, Suzuki

Suzuki Swift S-Concept - Geneva debut

Suzuki Swift S-Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Suzuki Swift is a genuinely good car, standing as something of an exception in Suzuki’s lineup until recent additions like the SX4 and Kizashi came along. But calling it “swift” might be a bit of wishful thinking, if not a huge exaggeration. Enter the Swift S-Concept, which Suzuki has just presented at the Geneva Motor Show.

Few details have been released as to what has gone into the S-Concept and where it’s going, but anyone can tell straight off the bat that it’s a Swift taken to the extreme. In fact, it looks as close to an S2000-spec racer for the street as we’ve seen in some time, sporting 18-inch wheels, aerodynamic upgrades, Recaro racing buckets… the works.

The result looks good. Seriously good. Which is sadly probably more than we can say for its production prospects. But for the company behind such an eclipsing Pikes Peak campaign, with the right mechanical upgrades to match the sporting pretensions of its own styling, a hotter Swift could be just the ticket to inject some much-needed excitement into its range.

Check it out in the gallery of live images from the show floor below, and the stock shots in the gallery below that.

Gallery: Suzuki Swift S-Concept: Geneva 2011

Gallery: Suzuki Swift S-Concept

Photos copyright (C)2011 Noah Joseph / AOL

Continue reading Geneva 2011: Suzuki Swift S-Concept puts its money where its name is

Geneva 2011: Suzuki Swift S-Concept puts its money where its name is originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Mar 2011 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Army wins fight to keep spending money on NASCAR sponsorship [w/poll]

Filed under: Motorsports, Government/Legal, Marketing/Advertising

Ryan Newman Army NASCAR

Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum is a Democrat looking at areas where the budget can be cut. Her current target is military spending. More specifically, she is focused on banning the military from spending money advertising in NASCAR. She introduced a measure to this effect, and it was shot down by a vote of 241-148.

The US Army spent $7 million in 2010 to sponsor a car in NASCAR and has a signed contract with Stewart-Haas racing to put its logo on a car for 2011. In contrast, the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard all ended NASCAR sponsorships back in 2006.

McCollum feels that spending money in this arena is an inappropriate use of military funds. Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s Managing Director for Corporate Communications, sees things a little differently. According to 2009 data gathered by Experian, one in five NASCAR fans have served in the military, while one in three active service members are fans of the sport. Also, the Army states that it received 46,000 recruiting leads in 2010 thanks to the racing team.

And so, we ask you: Should the United States Army sponsor a NASCAR team?

View Poll

[Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Inside Line | Image: John Harrelson/Getty]

Report: Army wins fight to keep spending money on NASCAR sponsorship [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Forza Motorsport 4 trailer released, coming for GT5’s lunch money in Fall 2011 [w/poll]

Filed under: Technology, Toys/Games

Forza Motorsport 4 trailer teaser

Click above to watch the video after the jump

November 2010 was a big month for driving simulator-loving PlayStation 3 owners. Gran Turismo 5 finally hit store shelves nearly six years after GT4 set the gaming world aflame. GT5 is a PS3-only affair, though, so xBox fans have little to get excited about. But then again, most xBox champions probably feel they already have a hyper-realistic driving simulator courtesy of the Forza series. And according to the official Forza Motorsport website next Fall will see the debut of Forza 4.

That’s right; just one year after GT5 finally graced our presence and only two years after Forza 3 was minted, an all-new Forza is waiting in the wings. We’re a little shy on details at at this point, but we’re guessing the game will build upon the 500 cars in the Forza 3 Ultimate Collection, with more tracks, more racing styles and, hopefully, even more stunning graphics. Hit the jump to watch the Forza Motorsport 4 teaser, and chime in on the battle of Forza versus Gran Turismo in our poll below. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

View Poll

Gallery: Forza Motorsports 4 Trailer Screen Shots

Forza Motorsports 4 Screen ShotForza Motorsports 4 Screen ShotForza Motorsports 4 Screen ShotForza Motorsports 4 Screen Shot

[Source: Forza Motorsport]

Continue reading Video: Forza Motorsport 4 trailer released, coming for GT5’s lunch money in Fall 2011 [w/poll]

Video: Forza Motorsport 4 trailer released, coming for GT5’s lunch money in Fall 2011 [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Followup: Did Uwe Gemballa die because of a money laundering scheme?

Uwe Gemballa disappeared in February, 2010. His body wasn’t discovered until early October with telltale signs of the foulest play, during which time his eponymous tuning shop had closed and reopened with a new director. Police in South Africa and Germany have the task of piecing together what happened and, if possible, bringing someone to trial.

A report in the South African Mail & Guardian suggests that Gemballa was executed because of a dispute with Radovan Krejcir, a billionaire and Czech national wanted in his home country to face charges including murder, counterfeiting, abduction and tax evasion. According to the report, Krejcir was allegedly bringing money into South Africa in Gemballa cars, but one car arrived without its cargo.

At least one former associate of Krejcir, who fears for his life due to unrelated dealings with the Czech, told police that Krejcir planned to get rid of Gemballa. The purported reason for his visit was to open a Gemballa branch in the country in partnership with Jerome Safi, who claims to have been backed by Krejcir and a strip club owner named Lolly Jackson. Jackson, coincidentally, was shot and killed in May of this year by a man said to be a former employee of Krejcir.

It’s a story more than strange enough to be completely true. For the moment, however, all the police know for certain now is that Gemballa met a man at OR Tambo airport near Johannesberg, after which he was never seen alive again.

[Source: Mail & Guardian]

Followup: Did Uwe Gemballa die because of a money laundering scheme? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Oct 2010 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Quick Spin: 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic is proof that money really can buy happiness

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Porsche, Specialty, Quick Spin

2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Porsche 911 Sport Classic, introduced late last year, never made it into North American showrooms. The Feds wanted it certified, and with a production run of just a couple hundred units, the German automaker couldn’t accomplish the task in a financially feasible manner. That’s a cryin’ shame, as the gray 911 sporting retro-styled Fuchs wheels and a ducktail is likely one of the best street vehicles to ever come out of Stuttgart.

As good fortune would have it, we crossed paths with a 911 Sport Classic factory prototype in France at the 2010 Le Mans Classic earlier this month. Not only were we able to spend three days with the ultra-limited-edition Porsche, but we had the opportunity to take her out for several hot laps of the complete Le Mans circuit. What differentiates the Sport Classic from the Carrera S, and what’s the story behind those retro-styled touches? How does the Sport Classic drive, and can it be compared to a track-ready GT3? Lastly, what’s the justification for such a high sticker price? Find these answers, and more, after the jump.

Gallery: 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic: Quick Spin

Photos by Michael Harley / Copyright (C)2010 AOL

Continue reading Quick Spin: 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic is proof that money really can buy happiness

Quick Spin: 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic is proof that money really can buy happiness originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Jul 2010 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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