Report: Mini considering sports car replacement for Coupe and Roadster?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Budget, Performance, Crossover, Hatchback, Mini, Luxury

Mini Coupe

The next-generation Mini lineup could see some big changes, according to a report from Australian site CarSales. Starting with the debut of the third-generation Mini Hardtop at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we could see a regular string of Minis on the stages of the world. But the bodystyles we see might not be what we’ve grown used to.

A four-door sedan could eventually arrive, while the polarizing Mini Coupe and Roadster are likely to be replaced by a dedicated sports car with unique sheetmetal and uprated engines. While the rest of the line is switching to three-cylinder, turbocharged engines, the new sports car, which will be available in both soft- and hardtop variants, will use some version of BMW’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. The Aussie site also claims that the interior treatment could take inspiration from the Mini Vision concept car, while showing off the know-how BMW gained when working carbon fiber into the i3. The new model(s) would likely arrive in late 2015 or early 2016.

According to CarSales, we’ll see the three-door Hardtop at the 2013 LA Show, along with a five-door hatch that is different from the Clubman at the 2014 Paris show. The Clubman, meanwhile, will arrive in Geneva in 2015, while the Convertible is slated for later that same year. The current Countryman and Paceman are expected to be around for some time, before being joined by an MPV. Eventually, the larger Minis will share their architecture with the BMW X1.

Mini considering sports car replacement for Coupe and Roadster? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll]

Filed under: TV/Movies, Read This

Drive-in movie theaters turn 80 years old this summer, and, soon, they might die of old age. There are only 360 drive-in theaters left in the US – down from 4,000 at their peak in 1958 – and the 35-millimeter film projectors that they use to screen movies are quickly losing support from studios, which have switched to digital methods of capturing pictures.

Remember the four-foot poles with speakers built in? You’d pull your car up to it, park, and open your windows to listen to the movie. Well, there’s only one company left that makes parts for those speakers, and they don’t support surround sound. And the cost to upgrade the projectors to digital systems is prohibitively expensive. James Kopp, manager at the Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City, Virginia, says he was quoted nearly $140,000 to make the switch to digital, The Washington Post reports.

Pennsauken, New Jersey, was the first US city to build a drive-in, yet there are no more of them in the state. As gloomy as it looks, there are drive-ins trying to make the switch to digital projection systems, and there are ones that already have. But as drive-ins fall further from our minds, the question is, do people care?

Read The Washington Post article, and tell us what you think in the poll below.

View Poll

Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan Leaf battery replacement will cost $100/month, offers new pack at any time

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Nissan

2013 nissan leaf

Perhaps this is where some of that excess battery manufacturing capacity in Smyrna, TN will be used. Nissan announced a new battery replacement program for the all-electric Leaf today at a cost of “approximately $100 per month.” The offer is in addition to the standard Leaf battery warranty that already covers the battery for against defects for eight years or 100,000 miles (and was upgraded late last year to cover capacity loss for five years or 60,000 miles).

Even after the warranty ends, a Nissan Leaf owner can sign up for the battery replacement program.

Here’s how it works. At any time, like when the warranty is about to end – so, at 4 years, 11 months or 59,999 miles – or even after the warranty ends, a Nissan Leaf owner can sign up for the battery replacement program. At that point, you start paying $100 a month (or whatever the final cost will be) and immediately get a new battery pack that has a full 12 bars of capacity.

Nissan’s senior manager of corporate communications, Brian Brockman, told AutoblogGreen that “Owners can opt in at any time. When they opt into the program, they will receive a new battery pack with the latest available technology that is compatible with their vehicle. Then, Nissan provides assurance that the replacement pack will maintain 9 bars or more capacity for the time that they own their car and make monthly payments. If their battery drops below 9 bars, we will repair or replace the battery pack.”

So, basically, the new program provides a reasonably priced piece of mind to Leaf owners. On top of that, anyone with an older Leaf who wants to take advantage of newer technology (as long as it’s compatible) can get a newer pack using this program. So, if you buy a used 2012 Leaf today but want a 2015 battery pack in a few years (should it fit in the car) you can get one for $100 a month. This cost is transferable to the new owner if you later sell the car.

Which brings up the questions about what happens If you stop paying after, say, six months. Brockman said the situation would be similar to what happens to anyone who stops paying their car loan and Nissan is currently trying to determine “if there is an end point” to the payments. We’ll know even more when Nissan releases more information “later this year,” including how the program will work outside the US, and there are also more details below.

Continue reading Nissan Leaf battery replacement will cost $100/month, offers new pack at any time

Nissan Leaf battery replacement will cost $100/month, offers new pack at any time originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 20 Jun 2013 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Lamborghini to show Gallardo replacement concept in Frankfurt

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Coupe, Performance, Lamborghini, Luxury

Lamborghini will give us a big clue as to the look and feel of the impending replacement for its Gallardo model at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. According to a report by Autocar, the Italian supercar maker will have a concept car in Frankfurt that will preview a 2015 replacement for the current Gallardo (pictured above).

While nothing is set in stone, the word is that Lamborghini is still considering “Cabrera” as the Gallardo-successor’s name. We didn’t know the company had so many Tigers fans, but the Autoblog Detroit office is stoked.

The same report tells us that the new Lamborghini, currently going by the internal designation LP724, will be based on the same platform as the second-generation Audi R8, rather than on the more exotic Aventador underpinnings. That means a modular spaceframe, aluminum and carbon fiber construction and a reduction in curb weight as a result – the target is less than 3,300 pounds. Even with the diet, the next Gallardo will be slightly longer than the current car, but about the same height and width.

The svelte Lamborghini will draw power from an updated version of the current 5.2-liter V10, which should be good for more than 600 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Autocar also indicates that both a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be optional on the new Gallardo, replacing the existing six-speed E-gear automated manual. Standard cars will offer all-wheel drive, but rear-drive models will be available at some point as well. Bring on Frankfurt, we’re ready to see this one in the metal.

Lamborghini to show Gallardo replacement concept in Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PSA: Using an armchair as a replacement seat is a bad idea

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal, Canada, Humor

passenger armchair

Ottawa police were conducting roadside seatbelt checks as part of the Spring Seatbelt Campaign, when one of their stops brought an unexpected surprise. A green Chevrolet minivan’s driver got into some trouble thanks to the aftermarket passenger seat he installed. This was no Sparco or Recaro, mind you – the driver went with something more akin to a La-Z-Boy.

You see, an armchair resided where the passenger seat was once bolted down. An unrestrained armchair with a thought-deficient passenger riding shotgun. The 33-year-old driver was cited for operating an unsafe vehicle, and he was also charged with driving on a suspended license. The cops scored a two-for-one, and the passenger was lucky he didn’t have to pick windshield out of his face.

[Source: CBC.ca | Image: Ontario Provincial Police]

PSA: Using an armchair as a replacement seat is a bad idea originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 17 Apr 2011 17:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: CFO Liddell leaving GM, Treasurer Dan Ammann named replacement

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, GM

GM Executives

General Motors has announced that Chris Liddell (above left), the company’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, is leaving the automaker. Liddell joined GM in January 2010 and was instrumental in guiding the manufacturer through its recent initial public offering. At this point, the reasons for Liddell’s departure remain unclear.

According to Automotive News, Liddell was initially viewed as one possible successor to Ed Whitacre as CEO of GM, though that changed when Whitacre unexpectedly announced his plans to retire.

Since then, Dan Akerson has been picked to lead GM.

Dan Ammann (above right), who currently serves as the automaker’s treasurer, will succeed Liddell. Ammann has been with GM for less than a year, having joined the company in March of 2010. Before joining the automotive industry, he served as the managing director and head of industrials investment banking at Morgan Stanley for four years. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Sources: General Motors, Automotive News – sub. req.]

Continue reading Report: CFO Liddell leaving GM, Treasurer Dan Ammann named replacement

Report: CFO Liddell leaving GM, Treasurer Dan Ammann named replacement originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Mar 2011 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2012 Chevy Impala to soldier on with new V6, replacement delayed until 2014

Filed under: Sedan, Chevrolet, GM

2011 Chevrolet Impala

2011 Chevrolet Impala – Click above for high-res image gallery

When discussing the current W-body Chevrolet Impala, the phrase “long-in-the tooth” is an understatement. And while Chevrolet’s biggest retail sedan was scheduled to get a complete overhaul in 2013, a report from GMInsideNews states that the next Impala has now rescheduled for the 2014 model year.

In an effort to keep the elderly Impala passably fresh until its new Epsilon-based replacement arrives, General Motors is reportedly ready to outfit the big sedan with its 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both the current 3.5- and 3.9-liter V6 engines have been canned, and because of the W-body architecture, adding a six-speed automatic transmission to the existing engines would not have been feasible.

No other updates are scheduled for the 2012 model year as of this writing, but we’re sure that the Impala will continue to be a fleet queen until a more consumer-worthy replacement arrives.

Gallery: 2011 Chevrolet Impala

2011 Chevrolet Impala2011 Chevrolet Impala2011 Chevrolet Impala2011 Chevrolet Impala2011 Chevrolet Impala

[Sources: GMInsideNews, Motor Authority]

2012 Chevy Impala to soldier on with new V6, replacement delayed until 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Feb 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mr. Goodwrench replacement launches at GM dealerships

Filed under: Etc., Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

General Motors Certified Service

General Motors has officially launched its replacement for its recently deceased GM Goodwrench service division. The automaker has pulled the sheets back on new Certified Service programs for Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac. The company is hoping that the new service strategy will help strengthen brand loyalty throughout the ownership cycle by offering top-quality service and parts at newly competitive prices. The General also says that each of the four brands’ service departments will carry a new “look and feel,” though there’s no indication as to what kind of aesthetic changes buyers can expect to see on their next trip to the service department.

Fortunately, GM has detailed exactly what it plans to do in order to keep prices in check. Along with routinely benchmarking its price tags against those of the competition, the automaker says that the new Certified Service programs will now include a wide range of price options to allow a greater level of flexibility than before. Additionally, rebates and tire-price matching will also be part of the strategy. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Source: General Motors]

Continue reading Mr. Goodwrench replacement launches at GM dealerships

Mr. Goodwrench replacement launches at GM dealerships originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Feb 2011 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Lamborghini Murciélago replacement caught wearing only camo

Filed under: Spy Photos, Coupe, Lamborghini

Lamborghini Murcielago replacement spy shots

Lamborghini Murciélago replacement spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

We won’t necessarily argue with an automaker (especially Lamborghini) unwrapping its new hotness from the inside out. Recently, we received a photo of the Murciélago replacement’s new pushrod suspension – something we were first discovered during our talks with the Lamborghini’s CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Now, our intrepid spy photographers have snapped Lamborghni’s new flagship, tentatively dubbed Aventador, wearing nothing but swirly camouflage over its newly redesigned body.

The new Lamborghini’s gorgeous bodywork takes many of its cues from the Sesto Elemento concept that debuted at the Paris Motor Show last year. Underneath the sexy exterior is the automaker’s new V12 heart of gold, and we should see the finished product in the flesh at this year’s Geneva Motor Show in March. In the meantime, continue the striptease for yourself in our high-res gallery below.

Gallery: Spy Shots: Lamborghini Murcielago Replacement

Spy Shots: Lamborghini Murcielago ReplacementSpy Shots: Lamborghini Murcielago ReplacementSpy Shots: Lamborghini Murcielago ReplacementSpy Shots: Lamborghini Murcielago ReplacementSpy Shots: Lamborghini Murcielago Replacement

[Source: KGP Photography]

Spy Shots: Lamborghini Murciélago replacement caught wearing only camo originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lamborghini reveals images of Murcielago replacement’s suspension

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Geneva Motor Show, Technology, Lamborghini

Lamborghini Aventador pushrod suspension

Lamborghini Aventador pushrod suspension – Click above for high-res image gallery

While attending the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, we took a moment to stop by the Lamborghini display to have a word with Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann and head of R&D Maurizio Reggiani. At that time, we learned the Lamborghini 834, the Murciélago replacement otherwise known as the Aventador (probably), would have a new suspension system.

Lamborghini revealed that its next supercar would have a pushrod suspension with horizontal dampers – the first time such a system will appear on a production car, according to the automaker. The setup will keep the wheel in perfect alignment throughout the range of suspension travel and a high-end set of Ohlins shocks should keep the tire on the pavement.

Now, Lamborghini has release the first set of images showing off its new suspenders, along with a press release (find it after the break) with a slew of technical details explaining why the new design is superior to others. See for yourself in the image gallery below, and hold tight until the official unveiling of Lambo’s next great supercar at the Geneva Motor Show.

Gallery: Lamborghini Aventador suspension

Lamborghini Aventador suspensionLamborghini Aventador suspension

[Source: Lamborghini]

Continue reading Lamborghini reveals images of Murcielago replacement’s suspension

Lamborghini reveals images of Murcielago replacement’s suspension originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jan 2011 14:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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