Official: Monza concept opens its wings and lets us in on Opel’s future

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Coupe, Hybrid, Europe, Opel, Design/Style

Opel Monza Concept

Opel has done a lot to revitalize itself over the past few years, developing a solid product portfolio with hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, minivans and crossovers. What it’s missing, though, is a sports coupe – because, let’s face it, the Cascada cabrio hardly fits the bill.

Hopes were raised when Opel revealed it was working on a new Monza concept, reviving a nameplate borrowed from an Italian racetrack and previously used on a six-cylinder fastback version of the Senator sedan. Opel has now revealed the Monza in full, but it’s neither the sportscar we expected nor the harbinger of a new production model – much less one we could look forward to General Motors porting over as a Buick coupe, for that matter.

What you’re looking at instead is a design study that hints at the way Opel will style its cars moving forward. Sized in between the Astra and Insignia, the Monza concept has two giant gullwing doors to give access to both front and rear seats, which is probably your first clue that this is more of a show car than a pre-production prototype. Inside, the futuristic cabin features an LED projection dashboard with 3D graphics, new social interactive systems and a lot of swoopy forms and curved wood.

The concept is powered by a CNG version of the hybrid powertrain you’d find in the Opel Ampera or Chevrolet Volt, propelling a form that is more sedan than sports coupe, even if it does technically only have two doors. A successor to the original Monza it is not – let alone a replacement for the Lotus Elise-based Speedster or Pontiac Solstice-based GT that followed – but as an indicator of where Opel is heading, it looks promising. But we’ll reserve final judgement for when we see it at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks. For more details, check out our gallery and the official press release below.

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Monza concept opens its wings and lets us in on Opel’s future originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 13:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla loan payoff opens up takeover scenario, is Google interested? [w/video]

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors

tesla model s logo

‘Tesla needs to prove success is sustainable and that it is based on a solid financial foundation. If they do, they should be an appealing takeover target.’

Buried in the loan agreement text between Tesla Motors and the US Department of Energy were restrictions on the automaker’s ability to offer itself for sale. Now that the loan has been paid back early, speculation is ramping up that the company will get snagged by a bigger fish through a sale or a takeover. Bloomberg, in fact, is wondering aloud if Google will take the bait.

Now, before anyone gets all excited that the giant touchscreen in the Model S will get a clever logo redesign every holiday, we’ve heard unlikely rumors about other companies buying Tesla before (for example, Google’s competition, Apple) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said repeatedly that he isn’t going to step down any time soon. In fact, he told Bloomberg last month, “I’ve said from the very beginning, from the creation of Tesla, that our goal is to create a compelling mass-market car. I would not consider stepping away from Tesla until we’re there. We’re several years away obviously.”

Right now might be a bad time to buy the company anyway, given TSLA stock’s high value (over $100 today). In fact, Bloomberg has calculated that Tesla is trading for 816 times(!) its estimated 2013 earnings. If things continue to go well, money-laden companies like Google or another automaker might be interested in the EV builder. The former deputy CEO of Chrysler and onetime Toyota dealer body guru, Jim Press, told Bloomberg that, “Tesla has developed an appealing and credible product with game-changing technology. They need to prove their success is sustainable for the long term and that it is based on a solid financial foundation. If they do, they should be an appealing takeover target.”

Currently, Musk controls about 24-percent of Tesla shares. There are more details in the Bloomberg article here and there’s a video bit of speculation below.

Continue reading Tesla loan payoff opens up takeover scenario, is Google interested? [w/video]

Tesla loan payoff opens up takeover scenario, is Google interested? [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee season 2 opens with Sarah Silverman and Jag E-Type

Filed under: Classics, Convertible, Performance, Videos, Jaguar, Celebrities, Humor

Season Two of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee kicked this week in style. How much more style is there to be had than in a 1969 Jaguar XKE, after all? This time around, Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman spend some time driving around in the “slinky, sexy” Jag, talking comedy and then grabbing breakfast.

In addition to the kickoff of the show’s second season, this episode also represents the start of a 24-episode sponsorship with Acura. The original deal promised short ads at the beginning and end of each episode, but this time around, Seinfeld “stumbles upon” a 2014 Acura RLX, which is obviously – and admittedly – the work of product integration. Scroll down to watch Seinfeld and Silverman exchange banter with the Jag’s beauty as a happy backdrop.

Continue reading Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee season 2 opens with Sarah Silverman and Jag E-Type

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee season 2 opens with Sarah Silverman and Jag E-Type originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 15 Jun 2013 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NHTSA opens investigation into Jeep Liberty over rust-related suspension failures

Filed under: SUV, Safety, Crossover, Chrysler, Jeep

2005 jeep liberty

Does the Jeep Liberty have an addiction to rust? Back in 2003, approximately 326,000 2002-2003 Liberty SUVs were recalled because their lower control arm ball joints could corrode excessively. Just three years later in 2006, the issue popped up again, which prompted a recall of 826,000 potentially rust-happy 2002-2006 Jeep models. Another three years passed when, in 2009, Chrysler sent out a recall notice to 42,469 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty owners located in cold-weather states. This time, the problem was related to the upper ball joints.

Now it seems the Jeep Liberty is ready to jump the gun on its next every-three-years recall because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 370,000 vehicles… for the same issue. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA has opened up an investigation that involves 2002-2005 Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles. It’s still just an investigation at this point, but given the round-eyed CUV’s track record, we’ll be keeping an eye out for more on this situation.

[Source: The Detroit News]

Report: NHTSA opens investigation into Jeep Liberty over rust-related suspension failures originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Audi A3 sedan concept opens the show in style

Filed under: Concept Cars, Sedan, Geneva Motor Show, Audi

Audi A3 sedan concept

Audi A3 sedan concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

As promised, Audi trotted out its A3 sedan concept at the Geneva Motor Show, and it’s a lovely bit of compact, Teutonic hotness. A ton of carbon fiber bits and pieces litter the shapely sheetmetal, all enclosing a very Germanic four-seat interior.

Naturally, we’re just as interested in the five-cylinder engine that uses turbocharging and FSI to pump out 408 horsepower. Peak torque measures 368 pound feet, and all that power is available between 1,600 and 5,300 rpm. Audi claims its A3 concept can hit 62 mph in 4.1 seconds and is electronically governed to a top speed of 155 mph. Impressively fuel mileage is estimated at 25.85 U.S. miles per gallon.

A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox handles shifting duties, and naturally, is naturally sent to all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel-drive. We’re rather intrigued by the 20-inch wheels that are molded from carbon fiber and aluminum, which should save weight in the most crucial area. Full details can be found in the press release after the break, and you can check out live images from the floor in our high-res gallery below.

Gallery: Audi A3 sedan concept: Geneva 2011

Audi A3 sedan concept: Geneva 2011Audi A3 sedan concept: Geneva 2011Audi A3 sedan concept: Geneva 2011Audi A3 sedan concept: Geneva 2011Audi A3 sedan concept: Geneva 2011

Gallery: Audi A3 sedan concept

Audi A3 sedan conceptAudi A3 sedan conceptAudi A3 sedan conceptAudi A3 sedan conceptAudi A3 sedan concept

Photos copyright (C)2011 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL

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Geneva 2011: Audi A3 sedan concept opens the show in style originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Mar 2011 03:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford opens its archive of images to the world

Filed under: Etc., Ford

1966 Ford GT Mk II

Ford opens up its image archive – Click above for high-res image gallery

The year 2011 marks Ford’s 108th year in business. Over the course of its long history, the automaker has collected millions of images. Most of these images are stored in boxes, away from prying eyes… but that is about to change. Ford is launching a brand new site that will give users access to thousands of these archival images.

FordImages.com currently has over 5,000 images available to be licensed. The site adds hundreds more every week and is shooting to have 10,000 available by January of 2012. The seemingly endless galleries of images cover everything from key products and personnel to historic motorsports shots and all Ford vehicles through the ages.

The site offers more than just images, however, with a wide range of signs and artwork also offered. Limited-edition photos of cars like the Ford GT and Shelby GT500 are available and signed by Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby respectively.

If you’re a Blue Oval fan, this may become your new favorite web site. There’s enough material here to decorate your office, home and garage. All those boxes of stored photos mean there’s plenty more where these came from. Check out the gallery below for a few examples of what Ford will offer and be sure to read the full press-release waiting after the jump.

Gallery: Ford opens up its image archive

[Source: Ford]

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Ford opens its archive of images to the world originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Feb 2011 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ferrari opens hunting season with the new F150

Filed under: Motorsports, Ferrari, Racing

2011 Ferrari F150

2011 Scuderia Ferrari F150 – Click above for high-res image gallery

With the first of four preseason tests scheduled at the Spain’s Valencia circuit this week, Scuderia Ferrari became the first team to unveil its 2011 Formula One World Championship challenger. Over two million fans signed on to the team’s website to watch its debut before the new monoposto took to Fiorano for a promotional run.

That the car bears the name F150 is no dig against the best-selling pickup truck from Ford (though the histories of the two companies are riddled with enough cutthroat competition). It’s a celebration of a century and a half of Italian unification. The back of the rear spoiler carries the Italian flag, and the Scuderia also devised a new logo that features prominently on the engine cover where the banned Marlboro logo once stood.

Livery tweaks aside, the Ferrari F150 reflects a number of changes to the formula for 2011. A new hydraulically-actuated rear wing is in place, the air intakes are smaller, and KERS is back. Ferrari opted to place its kinetic energy recovery system – co-developed with MTS and Magneti Marelli – inside the redesigned fuel cell, and with the engine freeze still in place, its installation represents the only substantial change to the drivetrain.

The only other major update is the switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli tires, which the entire grid makes this year. Tire calibration will be crucial for all teams during the Valencia test and the three more scheduled to follow before the march 13 season kickoff in Bahrain. When it does, Ferrari hopes the new F150 will help them put last year’s blunders behind them in what’s shaping up to be an even more exciting campaign than last year’s championship, which went down as the most competitive season in F1 history.

Both the Lotus-Renault teams as well as Sauber are scheduled to unveil their cars on Monday, January 31, followed by Mercedes GP, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Williams on Tuesday, February 1. McLaren shows its 2011 car on February 4, and Virgin on the 7th. Force India and HRT have yet to confirm when their cars will be revealed. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest, and check out the of the Ferrari F150 in the high-resolution image gallery below and the press release after the jump.

Gallery: 2011 Scuderia Ferrari F150

[Source: Ferrari]

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Ferrari opens hunting season with the new F150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 30 Jan 2011 09:51:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mt. Washington’s 2011 Climb to the Clouds announces classes, opens registration

Filed under: Motorsports

2011 Climb to the Clouds

In September 2010, Travis Pastrana turned our attention to the Mt. Washington Auto Road. While it wasn’t an official crack at Frank Sprongl’s record six minute and 41.99 second blast, Pastrana climbed Mt. Washington in six minutes and 20.47 seconds with his rally-prepped 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The purpose of the run was to evaluate the course for the upcoming 2011 Climb to the Clouds event. The evaluation run was a success and race organizers have announced the classes and opened up registration for the hill climb competition.

Carroll Shelby in 1956 driving a Ferrari up the Mt Washington Auto RoadThe first Climb to the Clouds was run in 1904 but the event went dormant in 2000. Now, after a ten-year hiatus, it’s back and the 2011 run will mark the Mt. Washington Auto Road’s 150th anniversary. The 7.6-mile route begins at 1,527 feet and then climbs to 6,288 feet above sea level. Our Editor in Chief was able to “blast” through the 100+ turns in about 25 minutes.

For the 2011 Climb to the Clouds, organizers have created five classes: Open, Rally, Hillclimb, Vintage and Electric. The Vintage Class is an invitation-only category for vehicles from 1961 and older. The Electric Class is for full EVs only – no hybrids allowed. The Rally and Hillclimb classes are broken out according to the standard of Rally America and the New England Hillclimb Association respectively. Finally, the Open Class is just what it sounds like but places restrictions on engine size based on the wheels driving the vehicle and whether it’s naturally aspirated or turbocharged.

The Mt. Washington hill climb competition scheduled to take place June 22nd through the 26th and organizers hope to host a field of 70 cars. With any luck, someone, will be able to arrange for Sprongl and Pastrana to duke it out on the Auto Road.

[Source: Climb to the Clouds]

Continue reading Mt. Washington’s 2011 Climb to the Clouds announces classes, opens registration

Mt. Washington’s 2011 Climb to the Clouds announces classes, opens registration originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:38:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Top Gear UK opens new season with drive-by Stig shooting session

Filed under: Celebrities

Stig

If we didn’t know any better, we’d think there was still some bad blood between Ben Collins and the hosts of Top Gear. Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond all took a few pot shots at cardboard cutouts of the Stig during this week’s episode while trying their respective hands at the art of drive-by shooting. According to The First Post, Captain Slow was the initial one to bust a few caps with a handgun from the passenger side of a Ferrari, followed by Hammond gunning from a Porsche. Not to be outdone, Clarkson took on his target with an automatic rifle from the window of a Mercedes-Benz.

Collins infamously riled both the producers and the hosts of Top Gear by publishing a memoir of his time as the Stig called The Man in the White Suit. With the mystery of the Stig’s identity dissipated, Collins was canned from the show. He quickly found work with the rival gang over at Fifth Gear, but Top Gear has yet to replace its tame racing driver. Still, there is some word that the show has found a new driver and its only a matter of time before he shows his face helmet. Thanks for the tip, Gooner!

[Source: The First Post]

Top Gear UK opens new season with drive-by Stig shooting session originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NHTSA opens safety probes into older Honda CR-V, Kia Optima models

Filed under: Sedan, SUV, Recalls, Safety, Honda, Kia

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is looking into issues with 2006 Honda CR-V models and 2007 Kia Optimas. According to The Detroit News, both vehicles have garnered a fairly small number of complaints – just three each – for separate problems. In the case of the CR-V models, owners have experienced electrical failures that led to fires in the driver’s side door. Owners claim that the master window switch overheated, causing the damage. NHTSA is looking into around 150,000 of the Honda models.

Meanwhile, the agency is investigating 41,000 Kia Optimas for faulty transmission shift cables. Owners have reported problems with the cables becoming detached from the transmission, effectively locking the vehicle into or out of gear. In one case, a vehicle rolled away after being shut off. The Detroit News reports that Kia has issued a service bulletin concerning improperly-installed shift cables that may detach over time.

[Source: The Detroit News]

Report: NHTSA opens safety probes into older Honda CR-V, Kia Optima models originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Nov 2010 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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