Tuesday, October 6, 2009

McLaren MP4-12C

Most of my readers are familiar with the McLaren racing cars in Formula 1...now they are bringing their racing technology to the street. McLaren plans on building 4000 road legal super cars per year with the McLaren MP4-12C(MP4). The MP4 is mid engine rear wheel drive two passenger super car.

The MP4 will have approximately 600 hp. and is expected to weight slightly over 3000 lbs.
The engine is 3.8 liter twin turbo V-8 with quad cams and four valves per cylinder. The transmission is a seven speed dual clutch transmission. The transmission has the ability to go from a full automatic to race mode. It also has a racing inspired dry sump and flat plane crankshaft.

The exterior design is by Frank Stephenson, who also designed the new Mini, the Fiat 500 as well as working as Ferrari's design chief. Note the functional air scoops on the side and the rear exhaust between the taillights.

It has a number of performance enhancing technologies brought over from Formula 1 racing. The basis is built with light carbon-fiber construction which weighs only 176 pounds. The body is made up of both aluminum and compose panels.


Another beautiful fast super car! The pricing is expected to be in the $225 - $250,000
USD range. Since McLaren has exceptional racing credentials.... the performance will be worthy of the price. The exterior styling is extremely attractive but I find the interior leaves me cold....reminds me of a soon to be extinct Pontiac interior


Friday, September 25, 2009

Volkswagon L1 Concept

Today's post is on the Volkswagen L1 Concept (L1) which was announced at the Frankfurt Auto Show. This is a car that Volkswagen plans on producing...the anticipated launch date would be 2013.

The L1 is an unusual two seat vehicle with a 1+1 configuration! It is probable that the 1+1 configuration may change since that would not be a popular seller.

It features a highly efficient engine, super aerodynamics, and extremely light weight. The new trend in German cars is small engines with a high horsepower rating per liter. The L1 comes with a two cylinder 39-hp turbo-diesel and a 14-hp electric motor.

The body is made of light weight carbon fiber and results in a extremely low weight of 838 lbs. The combination of a small turbo diesel and the low weight results in super gas mileage of approximately 240 mpg.


It is a great design exercise in developing a green vehicle with a small turbo diesel hybrid. The L1 was designed for a limited market since it can only carry two passengers. This appears to be a green commuter vehicle.

It is also another shot fired in the onslaught of German diesel hybrids!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BMW Vision Concept

Today's post is about BMW's vision of the future.....BMW's Vision Concept (Vision) which is BMW's 2 + 2 turbo diesel hybrid. As I mentioned in previous posts, the German manufacturers are developing a number of diesel hybrids which will get excellent mileage.

The Vision is a plug-in hybrid with a 1.5 liter 3-cylinder turbo diesel with 163 h.p. Additional power is provided by motors...the front and back electric motors provide additional power to a maximum of 356 h.p. and 590 lbs of torque.

The battery packs consist of 98 lithium-polymer cells which weight only 190 lbs and are housed in the center tunnel. The batteries can be recharged in 2.5 hours when connected to a 220 volt electric source.

The chassis is built with aluminum, and the roof and body panels are a polycarbonate material. Light weight was one of the major design objectives of the designers. The Vision is an all wheel drive vehicle in electric mode.

The Vision has some interesting features such as a three dimensional heads-up display and BMW night vision. Those are features that GM developed over ten years ago.

BMW has not announced anticipated mileage for the Vision! But a turbo diesel electric hybrid is anticipated to get substantially better mileage than a gasoline electric hybrid.


This is another step in the electric car revolution! This is one of many new hybrids and full electric cars on the drawing boards. The styling will never make production but many of the design elements will!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bugatti 16C Galibier Concept

Bugatti is an infamous name in the automobile world...building some of the most exotic and expensive automobiles ever built. The new Bugatti 16C Galibier Concept if produced will be the most exclusive and powerful four door production vehicle ever made. Bugatti anticipates that the Galibier will produce approximately 1000 pound feet of torque with a top speed of 240 mph.

The design is exceptional and done by Bugatti exterior designer Achim Anscheidt....accented by the polished aluminum. The rest of the bodywork is fabricated out of tinted carbon fiber. The chassis is constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber.

The interior is exceptional with the burled walnut console running between the front and rear of the interior. The dash has only two gauges visible the speedometer and the tachometer. The rest of the gauges are viewed thru an LCD screen.

The name Galibier comes from a French Alpine pass that typically has been used for Bugatti's four saloons (sedans). Pricing has not been determined but if produced will be approximately $1.8 million dollars.


A very beautiful exotic......with a price to match!

Friday, September 11, 2009

GM Offers Money Back Deal On New Cars

GM has survived via a government sponsored bankruptcy...with the government pouring over $50 billion dollars into the automobile giant. GM has accumulated a negative perception with the public that their cars are unreliable, poorly designed and built. Much of that reputation has been earned over the last several decades.

That is not true of the latest models that GM has introduced. In fact, they are highly competitive, well built vehicles and with good gas mileage. Since the public perceptions persist....GM has decided on a trial basis to offer a 60 day money back guarantee. The money back guarantee is a marketing method to get people to try GM vehicles.
  • Applies to 2009 and 2010 Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac or GMC vehicles purchased between September 14 and November 30th
  • Excludes Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn brands
  • Vehicles can be returned after 31 days up to 60 days after purchase
  • Buyers must be current on financing
  • Buyers will be reimbursed the cost of the vehicle less any dealer-installed items
  • Buyer who are upside down on the trade in will have that amount deducted from the refund
  • Trades will not be returned
GM is planning a media blitz....including ads with Ed Whitacre, Jr. the new chairman of GM. Whiteacre was responsible for rebuilding AT&T after it's fall from telephone supremacy.


GM has done this before with the introduction of the Saturn brand in 1990. Saturn would allow buyers to return the vehicle within the first 30 days. The buyer could return the car to exchange for another car or a refund. The 30 day refund policy was discontinued after a few years as the Saturn line aged and became less competitive with foreign brands.
This shows that the
NEW GM is going to pull out all the stops to rebuild their business back to profitability.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fuel Prices The Next Paradigm Shift

The automobile business is a difficult business at the current time due to paradigm shifts that are happening today. The world was shocked by the sky high oil prices in the summer of 2008 announced that a new paradigm shift was happening. The signs had been there before with the prior Oil Crisis of 1973 and 1979. It is projected that gasoline will cost $10 per gallon USD by the year 2015. A new Business Week article outlines our susceptibility to a new oil crisis.

Fuel saving technologies have been put on the front burner to get ahead of the increasing fuel prices. Automobile companies are spending billions of dollars on new technical developments to deal with expensive fuel costs. If they are caught with an inefficient fleet they may be doomed to obsolesce.

The current fuel saving technology that is currently being marketed is the gasoline-hybrid technology. Gasoline-hybrid technology uses electrical motors along with a combination of batteries to carry some of the load along with a fuel efficient gasoline engine. Toyota leads the world in production of gasoline-hybrids with sales of their Synergy Drive System.

The second fuel saving technology will be electric cars, which includes plug-in hybrid vehicles. GM was at the forefront of the electric battery powered car with its Saturn EV1, which is now called the GM EV1. GM did not produce the GM EV1 due to the limited battery technology at the time and the expense of producing the vehicles.

GM spent an amazing $1 billion dollars on the technology and then subsequently shelved the technology. GM had the label of one of the most progressive automobile companies with the GM EV1 in the U.S. If GM would have continued the battery development in coordination with other battery companies they would be the world leader in fuel efficient automobiles.

The third technology in development is hydrogen power either thru use in a fuel cell or using a standard gasoline engine converted to use hydrogen. Prime examples are the Honda Insight and the BMW Hydrogen 7. Honda is betting the bank that hydrogen will be the dominate technology.

GM picked up the development after they watched Toyota win the public relations war with the Toyota Prius and it's Synergy Drive Technology. The ability of Tesla Corporation to produce the Tesla Roadster and Model S was a major embarrassment for GM..... GM has subsequently developed the Chevrolet Volt, a plug in vehicle which will be able to go 40 miles on battery power before using a gasoline engine to recharge the batteries.

Toyota manufactured the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle the Toyota Prius. Their Synergy Drive system has been the leader in gasoline-hybrid technology. Toyota also was the first company to make money on their fuel saving technology Synergy Drive. Toyota started making a profit on the technology after starting development in the 1990's.Toyota introduced the first gasoline hybrid with its the Toyota Japan during 1997.....Toyota began world wide shipments in 2001...selling the Prius in more than 40 countries. The U.S. is the number one market for the Prius with 50% of 1.2 million units sold worldwide. The fuel economy of the 2010 Toyota Prius is 51 city and 48 highway.


Large corporations are like huge cargo ships that transverse the globe....the cargo ships hold a large value of goods....but the ships are hard to maneuver and changing direction is slow and time consuming process.

Toyota has decided to capitalize on it's major investment in gasoline-hybrid technology. Toyota has spent in excess of a billion dollars developing the technology....so they are looking for a return on their money.

I am of the opinion that gasoline-hybrids will continue to be popu
lar especially as fuel prices go up. If fuel prices skyrocket again.....people will be looking for the most fuel efficient vehicles available. Those vehicles in the short term will be electric cars!

Toyota has decided to focus on gasoline hybrids and virtually ignore electric cars for a number of reasons. But, Toyota's reasoning may leave them behind other manufacturers. GM is launching its Chevrolet Volt which has an announced fuel economy of 230 mpg. All the other major manufacturers are coming out with electric cars. The future belongs to the bold!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August Auto Sales

U.S. auto sales improved substantially in August due mainly to the Cash for Clunkers Program. Overall auto sales for August were up 1% over August of 2008. This is the first month that sales have exceeded 2008 numbers.

It appears that the Japanese and Korean companies have benefited most from the Cash for Clunkers program. Meanwhile sales of luxury cars are still in the dumps with sales down by 30% over last August.

Ford is the American manufacturer sales winner with a 17% increase in sales over last year. GM sales were down 20%, meanwhile Chrysler sales were down only 15%.
  • Kia up 60%
  • Subaru up 52%
  • Hyundai up 47%
  • Volvo up 25%
  • Ford up 17%
  • Mazda up 12%
  • Volkswagen up 11%
  • Honda up 10%
  • Porsche up 9%
  • Toyota up 6.4%
  • Nissan down 3%
  • Mercedes down 8%
  • Chrysler down 15%
  • General Motors down 20%
  • BMW down 25%
  • Mitsubishi down 26%
  • Jaguar down 33%
  • Saab down 68%
Ford seems to be the beneficiary of increased sales lately. It appears that the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies have sent a number of customers over to Ford. The following Ford models had material increases in sales Fusion up 132%, Focus up 56%, and the Escape was up 50%.

Other notable increases were posted by the Toyota Prius up 40%, Toyota RAV4 up 42%, Honda Civic up 44% Honda CR-V up 52%, Hyundai Elantra up 116% Nissan Versa up 131%, and the Nissan Sentra up 78%.

August sales were up at a great run rate of 15 million cars annually. So, it appears that consumers had more faith in the future to spend money on high ticket items.


This month the Cash For Clunkers program had a substantial impact on auto showroom traffic and sales. The Cash for Clunkers Program may have borrowed sales from future months. We will have to see what the next several months bring.

An interesting trend appears to be developing! Sales of U.S. built cars, both by domestic and foreign manufacturers, appears to be increasing. Even though Toyota sales increased 6%, sales of their domestic built cars increased by 52% meanwhile sales of their imported cars dropped 16%.

Friday, August 21, 2009

2010 Jaguar XJ

Today's post is on the new 2010 Jaguar XJ. The current XJ model has seen lackluster sales even though the model had been thoroughly redesigned in 2003 then updated for the 2008 model year. The problem was that the new model looked almost identical to the prior model built from 1997 -2003. The new 2010 Jaguar is a bold attempt to redefine the style of Jaguar. The new XJ will launch at one of the most difficult times for luxury manufacturers with sales down 28% versus the same period last year.

Like the current sedan, the new XJ is built of an aluminum and magnesium body that is rived and bonded together. Actually, the XJ is slightly lighter than an Jaguar XFR, which weighs 4400 lbs. Jaguar claims that using aluminum reduces the body weight by 300 lbs.

Power will be provided by three engine choices in the U.S., 385 hp, 5.0 liter V-8 and 470 hp and 510 hp 5.0 liter supercharged versions of the same engine. These engines correspond to the three models Base, Supercharged and Super Sport. Apparently, all models will be offered in standard and long wheelbase. The ZF six speed automatic is the only tranmission offered....with paddle shifters as standard equipment.

The interior is gorgeous but very different that prior Jaguar models. There is plenty of hand stitched leather, wood and chrome trip. The top of the line Super Sport model gets a leather headliner.... and the Supercharged model gets Alcantara as a headliner.

Here is an intersting feature the traditional guages have been replaced by thin film transistor screen. An optional 20-speaker, 1200-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo and available TV screens in the rears of the front-seat headrests.


Jaguar is positioning itself to be a serious competitor to the German luxury carmakers Mercedes, BMW and Audi. If the new XJ is anywhere near as good as the XF, it will win some hearts and minds. Personally, I like the new front styling....it is bold and agressive. Although, the rear styling is very conservative. I cannot wait to drive the car....especially in the XJR model.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

U.S. Automakers Improving Customer Satisfaction

The last year has been a tumultuous year in the automobile business. The bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler have highlighted a depression like period in the auto business with sales down by approximately 40%.

A recent survey indicated that the American automobile manufacturers were doing a better job with customer satisfaction than a year ago. That is surprising due to the problems that the automobile industry have been dealing with. Even mighty Toyota lost $5 billion dollars last year....so that shows you it was an extremely challenging year for most automobile manufacturers.

  • 1. Cadillac
  • 2. Lexus
  • 3. Buick
  • 4. Honda
  • 5. Lincoln/Mercury
  • 6. BMW
  • 7. Mercedes
  • 8. Toyota
  • 9. Volkswagen
  • 10. Hyundai
It is noteworthy in this survey that the American brands took three out of the top five spots. GM is generally viewed by the American public as having unreliable cars....but the rankings of Cadillac and Buick show that they are among the best. The Chevrolet and Saturn brands were middle of the pack....with Pontiac among the worst. The Pontiac brand will be discontinued next year.

Ford has been increasing their quality and customer satisfaction over the last few years. Chrysler did improve customer satisfaction over last year....they are still down at the bottom of the pack with Chrysler being the highest rated and Jeep at the bottom.

The Americans have a perception that the Japanese are the most reliable vehicles manufactured with good client satisfaction. Toyota is in eighth place in this survey.....Nissan is in 21st place.

has substantially improved moving up to 9th place...they have placed in last place in a number of prior year surveys

  • 11. Chrysler
  • 12. Saturn
  • 13. Chevrolet
  • 14. Ford
  • 15. GMC
  • 16. Dodge
  • 17. Kia
  • 18. Mazda
  • 19. Pontiac
  • 20. Jeep
  • 21. Nissan


The list did not include all manufacturers but should be viewed as a general gauge. Customer satisfaction is a good indicator of a manufacturers ability to build cars that satisfy the owners.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

James Bond's Aston Martin

I thought that a little bit of nostalgia was in order....especially after the Magnum P.I. Ferrari. These are the kind of cars that people really enjoy! They have such a persona built by the movies or television.

Today's post is about the most famous Bond car ever...the Aston Martin DB5. The DB5 was actually featured in five films
Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale. This DB5 is equipped with some of the most unusual options.
  • Bullet proof windscreen
  • Bullet proof windows side and rear
  • Revolving front license plates with Goldfinger, or JB007
  • Defensive smoke screen
  • Defensive oil slick
  • Rear bullet proof armour
  • Two machine guns that popped out of the turn indicators
  • Passenger ejection seat
My personal favorite option is the ejection seat....the roof falls off then the seat ejects the bad guy. The original cost is for the James Bond Aston Martin is unknown.


This is the most popular James Bond ride....but you can see the other James Bond automobiles via Wikipedia. The Aston Martin DB5 is a fine nostalgic ride!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Magnum P.I. Ferrari

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Ferrari builds some of the worlds most beautiful automobiles. The attention to style and design is exquisite! Most of you have seen the popular 1980's television series "Magnum P. I." at one time or another....the series is currently in syndication around the world.

The Magnum P.I. television series ran between 1980-1988. Tom Selleck played the roll of Thomas Magnum. He was a private investigator that handled security for the 200 acre beach front Hawaiian estate of the wealthy writer Robin Masters.

Magnum was an ex-Vietnam veteran with a background as a Naval Seal and Naval Intelligence. As one of his perks....he drove the red Ferrari 308 GTS that belongs to the elusive Robin Masters. The Ferrari 308 GTS then became known as the Magnum P.I. Ferrari due to the series popularity. The convertible Ferrari was the perfect pick against the lush backdrop of Hawaii....making the car extremely popular with fans and collectors.

The Ferrari 308 GTS added a lot to the television series....with a good looking private investigator driving the beautiful Ferrari supercar....just add some beautiful women and some action. As much as the car made the television series....the television series made Ferrari a household name in the U.S. and the rest of the world. This is a case where the art form television....helped to put Ferrari on the map.

Actually, there were a number of Ferrari's used ....the first season was a Ferrari 308 GTS. Magnum drove a Ferrari GTSi in seasons two and three......seasons four thru eight a Ferrari GTSQv was used. A number of cars were actually used during the filming of the series. The cars were sold at auction at the end of each season....several were crashed in stunt scenes.


Another Ferrari work of art! The Ferrari 308 GTS is not exactly a superstar in terms of performance but it sure looks good. A used Ferrari 308 GTS in good condition sells for approximately $28,000. USD.

Friday, August 14, 2009

GM Now Sells New Cars On Ebay

General Motors has just launched a new sales campaign on Ebay....GM will be selling new cars on the Ebay motors site. The campaign is a test program and limited to only California.

The program is designed to help GM recapture lost market share in California which has dropped substantially lately. The program is limited to California since GM would like to build its market share there. Currently, GM only has a 13.5 percent market share in the state, GM's national market share is 19 percent.

Ebay has listed only used automobiles for sale. GM is closing almost 40% of of their existing dealer network by the end of 2010....they are now looking for more cost effective sales channels.

Approximately 90% of the California GM dealers have signed on to the Ebay plan. The test runs thru September 8th......if the new marketing works GM plans to extend the program to other states.

The new site www.gm.ebay.com sells the Buick, Chevrolet,
GMC and Pontiac brands. I was somewhat surprised that Pontiac was listed since they are going to discontinue the brand next year. The former brands Hummer, Saturn and Saab are all brands that have been sold and will not be sold thru the site.

The website allows consumers to search for available models at existing local dealerships.
Some of the additional features of the site are that can do research, compare prices across models and dealerships, determine the value of their trade-in and check whether they qualify for the federal "Cash for Clunkers" program.

In addition, the site allows the customer to pay the discounted price shown or make an offer as to what they are willing to pay, then negotiate with the dealer online.


I am enthused that GM has decided to think outside of the box with the new
Ebay marketing. A car purchase is a major purchase decision for most consumers. I don't think that online car shopping will replace the dealership experience.

Generally, consumers have used the
Internet to gather information about the car and pricing. When someone is interested in buying a car that they have never driven....they need to touch the car and feel the car. It is difficult to tell whether your interested in a car until you have driven the car, see the available colors in person and examine the options.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2010 Nissan Leaf

As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts.....a number of companies are developing hybrids, plus-in hybrids, and electric cars. Today's post is on the 2010 Nissan Leaf which is scheduled to delivered to dealers in the fall of 2010. It is an electric car that is scheduled to be sold in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The Leaf uses a front mounted electric motor driving the front wheels....with 80 kws of power and 280 nm of torque. It is powered by a 23 kwh lithium ion battery. Nissan estimates that the crusing range if 100 miles before the batteries will need to be recharged.

The Leaf has no engine to recharge the batteries so after 100 miles the Leaf will need to stop at a recharging station. The somewhat similar Chevrolet Volt will travel 40 miles on battery only before the gasoline motor turns on to recharge the battery....but it has an estimated range of 300 miles before it will need to be refueled.

The Leaf has a top speed of approximately 90mph (145 kmh). A special quick charger option can recharge in battery up to 80% capacity in approximately 30 minutes.

Pricing has not been announced but it is anticipated that the Leaf will sell for approximately $30,000 USD plus options. Nissan will probably receive U.S. government approval for the $7500 income tax credit.

The Leaf has an interesting feature that will allow the owner to remotely turn on the air conditioning or heating.


It appears that electric revolution in automobiles has started....the first salvos are being fired.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can You Believe This Car Gets 230 Miles Per Gallon?

I have done a couple of posts on this ground breaking green vehicle! Unfortunately, it has been one of the least popular posts that I have done with this blog. GM announced today that the mileage estimate for the new 2011 Volt will be an estimated 230 mpg in the city. The mileage for the new Chevrolet Volt is 4.8 times the city mileage for the 2010 Toyota Prius which gets 48 mpg. This is truly a paradigm shift in fuel economy if this turns out to be correct!

The Volt is a true plug in vehicle......it is a totally different vehicle than the Toyota Prius which is a gasoline-hybrid. The Volt actually runs on electricity all the time.....the gasoline motor actually runs to recharge the batteries normally during highway driving conditions. The Toyota Prius does use electricity to run at lower speeds but the gasoline engine turns on to propel the car much of the time. GM also noted that the highway miles per gallon will also be in the triple digits.

The Volt was designed with an objective of running 40 miles on electric power without the engine turning on. According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 80 percent of U.S. drivers commute 40 miles or less daily.

GM estimates that the Chevy Volt will save about 500 gallons (1,892 liters) of gasoline based on 40 miles of daily driving and 15,000 miles annually. For drivers that commute 60 miles (96 km) per day or 21,000 miles annually, about 550 gallons (2,081 liters) of gasoline could be saved.

Pricing for the Volt is estimated at $40,000 USD plus options. The Volt would be eligible for a $7500 federal tax credit. It is anticipated that the price would drop for future generations of the Volt as GM when production ramps up.


The most technologically advanced car that GM has ever produced! The race will be on to see who comes to market first with the first plug in vehicle. Chrysler, Ford and Mercedes and Toyota are all developing plug-ins and electric cars.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Good..The Bad...and The Ugly of the GM & Chrysler Bankruptcies

The GM and Chrysler bankruptcies have been concluded and the ink is dry! Today, I am going to cover a number of points concerning the bankruptcies. Every major event that the country endures has good, bad and ugly sides to the event.


First, both bankruptcies were prepackaged by the government and the companies. The speed that they went thru the courts was incredible. The Obama administration had taken the mindset that the quicker this was done the better. The bankruptcies needed to be done quickly so not to hinder the already battered and fragile economy.

Basically, I agree with the administration that the bankruptcies were a necessary and unavoidable step. There was no other choice than a liquidation of the companies with the resulting loss of jobs in the automobile sector...then the job loses would continue into the other sectors....sending the fragile economy into a tail spin down.

It was projected that if the bankruptcy had not been quick and smooth, a protracted legal battle in court could have dire consequences that could be felt across the economy, with about 1.8 million jobs lost over the next 19 months, according to the CAR study.

A protracted legal battle could nearly destroy GM as a company and take down many of its suppliers, who also supply parts to Ford, Toyota and other automakers. It would take time to establish new supply chains if major parts suppliers failed.

So, a best car scenario for the economy was arranged thru a surgical bankruptcy...the impact to the economy was minimal. Several million jobs were saved along with saving the United States automobile industry from total collapse.


A number of people lost jobs and a number of people and organizations lost a lot of money.

1. Employees of GM, Chrysler and suppliers that will be laid off due to the bankrupcy.

2. Dealers that were closed due to the bankruptcies along with their employees.

3. Creditors that GM and Chrysler owed money. The bond holders which included individuals, pensions, various investment groups lost a great portion of their investment.

4. Shareholders - most lost a substantial amount of money.


The worst part of the bankrcupties are the legal claims by victems that were seriously injured or killed by mechanical or structural vehicle failures. This actually applies to all the vehicles that GM and Chrysler made prior to each respective bankrupcy.

So, if some driving a 2009 vehicle that was manufactured prior to June was injured due to a mechanical failure...they would not have any recourse against the manufacturer. One such example is 10 year old Amanda Dinniga, she was riding in a GMC vehicle that crashed and the seatbelt did not work as designed. Amanda was left a quadriplegic and her family will not receive any funds to cover treatment or recuperation.


GM and Chrysler were so mismanaged that it is an American tragedy! I thought that a government sponsored bankruptcy was the best solution.....nothing that has transpired has changed my mind.

But, the government and the auto companies involved could have done a better job. Some people have been bankrupted by the loss of their paycheck, or pensions. Other people had money now they have much less....especially the retired that depended on their pension checks.

It is inexcusable that the government and the courts can let some of the abuses of legal process take place. The worst were the people that were killed or severely injured due to car companies negligence.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ferrari California

The state of California is a beautiful scenic state......and the Ferrari California is a beautiful example of automotive art. Ferrari has built some of the most beautiful cars ever made...the only decision is which is the most attractive Ferrari ever built.

The Ferrari California is a grand touring sports car that was first launched in 2008. The California actually revives the name used for the late 1950's Ferrari 250GT.

The California is a two door 2+2 hard top convertible. Any Ferrari fan knows that the California is the first hard top convertible ever manufactured by Ferrari. An example of the hard top operating is shown in the photo below.

Power is provided by a Ferrari first 4.3 liter front-mid mounted gasoline direct injection V-8 with 453 h.p. The new motor can accelerate the California from 0-62 mph. in under 4. seconds. Even though the California is over six hundred pounds heavier than the Ferrari F430 and with 30 less h.p. it is just as fast as the F430.

Ferrari decided to increase Ferrari production by fifty percent with the introduction of the California. A separate production line has been build next to the existing factory at Maranello.
Ferrari planned on building 5000 cars during the first two years of production. It has been reported by motoring magazines that the California is sold out thru 2012.

Pricing starts at $192,000 USD plus options. In addition, the California will be subject to the gas guzzler tax.


One beautiful, fast and sexy car!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spyker C8 Aileron

Today's post is about an exotic super car the Spyker C8 Aileron. Ok, most of you are not familiar with this company or the car. Spyker is a Dutch sport-car manufacturer based in Zeewolde, the Netherlands. The first deliveries of the new C8Aileron started in May. Spyker is involved in Formula 1 racing flying the Dutch flag.

Note on the rear quarter panel a new air intakes for the motor. The Aileron uses a rear diffuser that helps keep the Aileron close to the ground without the use of a large wing.

Power is provided by an Audi-sourced 4.2 liter V-8 mounted midship. It turns out 400 h.p. and 354 lb-ft of torque. The Spyker estimates that the 3100 lb C8 Aileron can hit 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 187 mph. Two transmissions are offered, first is a Getrag 6-speed manual with a ZF automatic transmission optional.

Braking is provided by AP Racing, the discs measure 13.8 inches in the front and 13.1 in the rear. An optional upgrade to carbon-ceramic disks will be available later in the year.

Pricing for the Spyker C8 Aileron starts at $239,000 USD plus options for the manual transmission, the automatic starts at $246,000 USD plus options. The standard features are a Kharma audio system, Bluetooth and ipod connectivity, satellite navigation. The Aileron is available in 16 exterior and 14 interior colors.....with the option of any colors you desire for an additional price.

A Spyder variant with a fabric drop top is on the drawing boards and will launch at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance in Monterey, California.


This has to be the car for someone that has everything.....after all when money is no object....this exotic supercar will fit the bill. Personally, I prefer the styling of the Ferrari's....although both cars are ultra expensive.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cash For Clunkers Program To Be Extended

It appears that Senate Democrats have enough votes to win passage of the additional $2 billion dollars for the Cash For Clunkers program. The additional funds should take the program thru September.

The program appears to have motivated auto buyers into new car dealer showrooms. The Obama administration indicated that the program would end on August 7th without additional funding. The program appears to be a major success with increased sales and taken gas guzzlers off the road.

Here are the top ten cars purchased with the Cash for Clunkers program. The Ford Focus is shown above. The top ten cars sold are basically economy cars.

  • 1. Ford Focus
  • 2. Honda Civic
  • 3. Toyota Corolla
  • 4. Toyota Prius
  • 5. Ford Escape
  • 6. Toyota Camry
  • 7. Dodge Caliber
  • 8. Hyundai Elantra
  • 9. Honda Fit
  • 10. Chevrolet Cobalt

Listed below are the Cash For Clunkers trade-ins. The list is comprized of mainly SUV's and minivans.
  • 1. 1998 Ford Explorer
  • 2. 1997 Ford Explorer
  • 3. 1996 Ford Explorer
  • 4. 1999 Ford Explorer
  • 5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 6. Jeep Cherokee
  • 7. 1995 Ford Explorer
  • 8. 1994 Ford Explorer
  • 9. 1997 Ford Winstar
  • 10. 1999 Dodge Caravan


This is definitely a good deal for consumers! Most of the cars listed above are economy cars, so if a consumer buys a vehicle that costs $15000. Then take the $3500 or $4500 a federal rebate....in addition to the discount on the vehicle plus any incentives from the manufacturer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

July Auto Sales

U.S. auto sales appear to be improving substantially in July. Overall auto sales for July were down only 12% percent, with June down 28% and May down 39%. So, it appears that the sales trend is improving substantially.

It appears that the U.S. based automakers and some foreign manufacturers are having a rebound in sales....helped by the Cash For Clunkers program. Meanwhile sales of luxury cars are still in the dumps. ales were the best they have been since the summer of 2008....with a annual run rate of over 10 million cars.

Ford is the sales winner with a 2% increase in sales over last year. GM sales were down 19%, meanwhile Chrysler sales were down only 9.4%. An interesting fact is that GM and Chrysler sales were not impacted by the bankruptcies as much as anticipated.
  • Saab down 72%
  • Porsche down 51%
  • Mitsubishi down 50%
  • Jaguar down 45%
  • BMW down 32%
  • Nissan down 25%
  • Mercedes down 22%
  • Mazda down 15%
  • General Motors down 19%
  • Honda down 17%
  • Toyota down 11%
  • Chrysler down 9%
  • Volkswagen down 3%
  • Ford up 2%
  • Kia up 5%
  • Hyundai up 12%
  • Volvo up 26%
  • Subaru up 34%
Ford seems to be the beneficiary of increased sales lately. It appears that the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies have sent a number of customers over to Ford. The following Ford models had material increases in sales Focus up 44%, Escape up 94%, and the Fusion was up 66%.

Other notable increases were posted by the Toyota Prius up 30%, Toyota RAV4 up 33%, Hyundai Elantra up 30% and the Volkswagon Jetta up 31%.

July sales were up at a fairly decent run rate of 11 million cars annually. So, it appears that consumers had more faith in the future to spend money on high ticket items.


This month the Cash For Clunkers program had a substantial impact on auto showroom traffic and sales. Unfortunately, the government implemented a half way program. Increasing sales for the automobile manufacturers would do more than all the government loans available.

An interesting anomaly is that sales of U.S. built cars both by domestic and foreign manufacturers appears to be increasing. Meanwhile imported luxury cars continue with the steep declines over last year.