Official: VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video]

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, MISC

Vuhl 05

If we had a nickel for every independent sportscar project started by people we’d never heard of and that never came to fruition, well… we might actually have enough money to put one of them into production. But every once in a while we end up pleasantly surprised. And we just might be by the VŪHL 05.

The project, as you may recall, is the brainchild of a pair of Mexican brothers based in Detroit, and calls for a lightweight track car along the lines of the Ariel Atom, KTM X-Bow or BAC Mono. VŪHL Automotive launched the 05 just last month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was driven up Lord March’s lawn by F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez. Its featherlike 1,500-pound curb weight is motivated by a 2.0-liter turbo four sourced from Ford and mounted amidships, driving 285 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed manual to the rear wheels for a claimed 0-62 time of 3.7 seconds.

The numbers sound impressive enough, and have apparently impressed enough customers that VŪHL is putting it into production as planned. The initial run will consist of twenty Edition One models, which VŪHL will start building in November for delivery next spring. In the meantime, the Echeverria brothers will be taking their creation to London to rub shoulders with supercars at the Salon Privé. Scroll down to watch the video below, where you’ll also find a press release.

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VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: BMW working with Dainese to put airbags in motorcycle suits [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Safety, Technology, BMW, Motorcycle

BMW Motorrad racing suit jointly developed with Dainese features airbag protection.Addressing the safety concerns of its customers, BMW Motorrad is co-developing a rider suit with Dainese to feature something that’s much more common in automobiles: airbags.

Starting with Dainese’s D-air Protect System, which is made up of inflatable protectors that deploy in 15 milliseconds, the two companies will integrate the technology into a BMW Motorrad brand, one-piece racing suit, the DoubleR RaceAir. Later a different, street-oriented airbag system that can be retrofitted to bikes will be offered to Beemer riders.

The DoubleR RaceAir is expected to be presented at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in November, after all required crash testing has been completed.

In addition to the new racing suit, BMW Motorrad and Dainese have agreed to long-term cooperation to develop more safety gear.

Having proper safety gear equipped while riding a motorcycle is crucial, but the rider is the most important piece of the safety puzzle, so ride safely! Scroll down for the press release and to watch a video of the D-air airbag system in action.

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BMW working with Dainese to put airbags in motorcycle suits [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 19:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: GM planning to put its fullsize pickups on a big diet, too

Filed under: Truck, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

2014 GMC Sierra pickup - silver - front three-quarter view with mountains

General Motors is just coming off a complete redesign of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra for 2014, but in the US fullsize truck market, there is no rest for the weary. According to Reuters, plans are already unfurling for both trucks to drop pounds from their curb weight over the next few years, but this will unlikely be able to keep pace with the 700-pound diet targeted for the next-generation Ford F-150, a truck expected to debut late next year.

The biggest weight reduction for these trucks might not be available until the next full redesign, which will likely happen around 2019, but the article says that smaller updates could shave pounds in the meantime. Two examples given include an “aluminum-intensive” version of the Silverado that could shed 250 pounds and debut around the same time as the lighter-weight, aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford, and there is also talk of reducing weight for driveline components such as axles and driveshafts. These changes are all part of an attempt to meet strict new fuel economy standards coming in 2017, targets which will get even tougher in 2025.

GM planning to put its fullsize pickups on a big diet, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Red-light camera company exec put on leave after internet misrepresentation

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal

red light camera

Bill Kroske, vice president of American Traffic Solutions, Inc., has been suspended after misrepresenting himself on two newspaper websites in western Washington. Kroske claimed to be a citizen in comments he made on both the Everett, Wash. Herald and the Spokane, Wash. Spokesman-Review.

In those comments, Kroske promoted American Traffic Solutions’ red light camera systems, which bust impatient travelers even when cops aren’t available. A reporter at the Herald found Kroske out after tracing comments he made back to Scottsdale, Arizona, where the company is based. That wasn’t the only clue, however.

It seems that Kroske used his work email address and real name to set up commenting accounts on both websites. He then proceeded to extol the benefits of red light camera systems on both newspapers’ sites. Evidently Kroske was ignorant of the fact that comments are moderated, and administrators can track their origins. For all the gory details on Koske’s online bumbling, head over to the Spokesman-Review’s website.

Red-light camera company exec put on leave after internet misrepresentation originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM’s Mark Reuss says Nissan Leaf is a “single-purpose” car that he wouldn’t put in the hands of his three kids

Filed under: Hatchback, Nissan, Electric

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, recently voiced his opinions on a slew of issues with the Nashville Business Journal. Reuss spoke of GM’s future, the role of the Chevrolet Volt and more. But when the discussion turned to the Nissan Leaf, it became obvious that Reuss is not a fan of the electric hatch.

Reuss explained what he believes to be the most significant drawbacks of electric-only vehicles like the Leaf, stating:

[The Leaf] has a finite range and requires infrastructure and charging to run it, where the Volt is really an extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt can really be the only car you own. You better be living within a certain range for the Leaf. … It’s a lot different market, a lot different car and a completely different driver.

While we think that Reuss should’ve stopped at that, he didn’t. Reuss continued to rag on the Leaf, boldly stating that:

I’m not sure if I’d put the Leaf in the hands of my three kids. Say, what if they can’t charge it? What if they get to school and can’t charge it? The Leaf is a single-purpose car.

Did Reuss’ statements to a little too far? Let us know what you think by voicing your thoughts in ‘Comments’ below.

GM’s Mark Reuss says Nissan Leaf is a “single-purpose” car that he wouldn’t put in the hands of his three kids originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 May 2011 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Mulally put the Ford Explorer on a crash diet

Filed under: SUV, Etc., Technology, Crossover, Ford

2011 Ford Explorer

2011 Ford Explorer – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to Bloomberg, the Ford Explorer can thank Alan Mulally for its stay of execution. When the former Boeing executive took the helm at FoMoCo, the powers that be urged him to make a decision on the then-ancient SUV. Mulally said that the nameplate could live on, but only if the company’s engineers could find a way to seriously cut weight and increase fuel economy at the same time. The new vehicle was not only able to meet those demands, but was able to offer a larger package with much of the same off-road ability as well.

That meant sacrificing the body-on-frame blue print for a unibody design and exploring alternative engine solutions – engines like the upcoming Ecoboost four-cylinder. In the end, the Blue Oval boys were able to shed 100 pounds off the platform.

Ford has since interpreted that same quest for svelteness into a company-wide strategy, and Bloomberg says that the Dearborn automaker is now on par with automakers like BMW when it comes down to aggressively stripping weight from a vehicle. You can read the full story on how Mulally’s obsession with reducing weight changed Ford for the better here. Thanks for the tip, Andrew!

Gallery: 2011 Ford Explorer: First Drive

2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer2011 Ford Explorer

Photos copyright (C)2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Bloomberg]

How Mulally put the Ford Explorer on a crash diet originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Feb 2011 18:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Ferrari Four put through the paces at Bolocco in the dark

Filed under: Performance, Wagon, Videos, Hatchback, Ferrari

Ferrari Four testing at Bolocco

Ferrari Four testing at Bolocco – Click above to watch the video after the jump

You can bet dollars to donuts that when Ferrari brings a new car to market, it’s undergone a ridiculously thorough testing regimen. That applies whether it’s developing a coupe, a convertible or even a station wagon shooting brake, as we saw with the release of the new FF.

Especially the FF, as it turns out, as the new four-seater from Maranello represented a number of firsts for Ferrari. It has an all-new engine, incorporating the HELE system for the first time, coupled with a completely new kind of all-wheel drive system, and mounted into a body-style that was previously the exclusive purview of custom coachbuilders.

In short, the Ferrari Four is nothing like they’ve ever made before, and so – as you can see from the video after the jump – thorough testing was required. Which is exactly what was carried out at a number of race tracks, test tracks and proving grounds. In this case, it’s the Centro Sperimentale Bolocco in Italy. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Gallery: 2012 Ferrari FF

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Video: Ferrari Four put through the paces at Bolocco in the dark originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: GM high performance division put back to work, focus on small cars

Filed under: Performance, GM

Chevrolet Aveo RS concept

Chevrolet Aveo RS concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

In early 2009, General Motors announced it would be putting all high-performance vehicle projects on indefinite hold, citing that the engineering team responsible for these power-happy cars would be moved to different areas within the company. Since then, the only new performance models to come out of GM have been the CTS-V Coupe and Sport Wagon, leaving a huge void in the General’s affordable small performance portfolio. The Chevrolet Cobalt SS and HHR SS were discontinued, and the demise of Pontiac and Saturn did away with any GXP and Red Line products.

However, all of this may change in the not-too-distant future. Automotive News reports that Jim Campbell, GM’s vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, has said his company has a tremendous opportunity for new performance entries in the small and compact car markets. This means we should expect higher-output versions of the new Chevrolet Cruze, as well as the upcoming redesigned Aveo – and not just trims that look quick, but go quick too.

We already got a taste of a hotter Aveo in concept form (pictured), and we certainly wouldn’t mind a more enthusiastic Cruze, especially since GM still has that 260-horsepower 2.0-liter Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine laying around. We certainly didn’t hate the Cobalt SS (far from it), and we think this mill could do wonders in the larger Cruze. What’s your vision of the next small performance car from GM? Let us know in the comments.

Gallery: Chevrolet Aveo RS concept

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Report: GM high performance division put back to work, focus on small cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 Aug 2010 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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