Saturday, April 18, 2015

This Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona is a family heirloom.

Is the Cadillac ELR headed for the ax?

Is the Cadillac​ ELR about to be axed? According to AutoGuide. According to Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen, there are no future plans for the ELR beyond it's current life cycle. Since launched in 2014, Cadillac ELR has sold less than 2000 units. To be more precise, 1,310 in 2014 and only 311 so far in 2015. “I don’t’ think we will create a next-generation, compact, two-door, gorgeously styled alternative powertrain successor to ELR.” says Nysschen.

With the ELR sharing many components with the outgoing, 1st generation Chevrolet​ Volt. One would have to assume that the ELR will end production soon. With the end of the ELR, this does not mean the end of alternative powertrains for Cadillac. Nysschen also said that  “will continue to offer alternative powertrain technologies in our cars.” One already in the works is a plug in hybid version of the the all new Cadillac CT6.

Source: AutoGuide, Photo: Cadillac

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Legendary racer Warren Agor passes away at 72.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of driver Warren Agor. Warren Agor was one of a kind. He was one of the few very successful privateer drivers in the glory days of TransAm, Can-Am and IMSA racing. So if you have followed any of those series, you know his name. Born in 1942 in Rochester, New York. Agor earned a degree from Cornell University before joining the U.S. Army, ultimately reaching the rank of Captain.

Racing came naturally to Agor, growing up in Rochester placed him not far from Watkins Glen, NY. Watching races there led him towards road racing rather than circle track. Agor eventually became a mechanic for Penske Racing and was a crew member for Mark Donahue.

When Agor branched out on his own as a driver, he gravitated towards Chevrolet powered machines. Driving a series of 1st and 2nd generation Camaros in the TransAm series. Agor was the subject of the book Sunday Driver by Brock Yates documenting their exploits in the early Trans Am days. Agor then moved to the Can-Am series driving an ex Bruce McLaren  1969 M8B, and later a Dekon Monza in the IMSA series.

Agor was also successful off the track. In 1971 he founded Agor Enterprises, which to this day specialized in the conversion of vans for the disabled. Warren Agor remained active in vintage racing, even after his retirement, racing recently at Watkins Glen in September. The Agor family has asked that donations in Warren Agor's honor be made to the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, NY.

Rest in Peace and God Speed Warren W. Agor.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cadillac making it on Broadway. Iconic brand breaking off from GM and moving headquarters moving from Detroit to NYC!

In a major upturn in the revitalization of Cadillac. Today General Motors announced that the iconic Cadillac brand which has stood for luxury for the better part of 112 years will be spun off from parent GM to be a stand alone business unit. With this new re-alignment will also come a move of Cadillac world headquarters from Detroit to New York City.

Johan de Nysschen, who became the new President of Cadillac in August, will be responsible for the brand’s overall operational performance. He is certainly up to the job. He was formerly North American CEO for Audi and CEO of Infiniti.

While Cadillac's current line up has a few flat spots in terms of sales, the all new Escalade, and a new flagship sedan that was teased to the world as the El Miraj concept give a clear view of where Cadillac plans to go to differentiate itself. The move to become a separate entity from parent GM rather than remaining a division as it has for the majority of its life at GM, will allow Cadillac more freedom to pursue growing areas of the luxury car market with more clarity and focus moving forward.

A move like this can only make one wonder what Ford's direction with Lincoln will be moving forward.

Source: General Motors

Press Release:

NEW YORK – As part of the continued expansion of Cadillac, General Motors today announced a strategic realignment that will establish the flagship brand as a separate business unit. In addition, the new Cadillac organization will expand to New York with a new global headquarters opening in 2015.
The realignment affirms Cadillac’s importance to GM’s strategy. Creating a new Cadillac business unit enables it to pursue growing opportunities in the luxury automotive market with more focus and clarity.

“With the relentless upward repositioning of successive new-generation Cadillac products, the next logical step is to provide Cadillac more freedom to cultivate the brand in pursuit of further global growth,” said GM President Dan Ammann.

“Cadillac’s mission is to reinstate the brand to a pre-eminent position among global luxury brands, a bold challenge requiring a distinct and focused new organization,” Ammann said. “More than a division or brand, Cadillac is becoming a center of excellence for our company.”
Johan de Nysschen, who joined Cadillac as its new president in August, will be responsible for the brand’s overall operational performance.

Cadillac’s leadership council is headed by de Nysschen, and consists of Jim Bunnell, vice president of sales and service; Uwe Ellinghaus, chief marketing officer; David Colasinski, chief financial officer; David Leone, executive chief engineer, and Andrew Smith, executive director of design. Further expansion of the Cadillac leadership team will be announced later.

Expansion Includes New York Headquarters
The plan includes expansion to New York City in the form of a multipurpose brand and event space in conjunction with modern loft offices located in the heart of a city renowned for establishing trends and setting standards for the global luxury market.

While the majority of functions with oversight and responsibility for both global and U.S. operations will be located at the new global headquarters, there will be no change to technical product development teams located in Michigan, nor does the plan impact manufacturing or assembly operations. Cadillac management is reviewing options for which specific staffs will be based in New York and which will remain in current locations in the Detroit-area or elsewhere.

Cadillac has operations in more than 40 countries. The brand’s ongoing growth has been driven by an expanded product portfolio, leading to 28 percent global growth in 2013 and an increase of about 10 percent so far this year. Cadillac sales in China have grown 75 percent year to date.

“We are very proud of our Detroit roots and heritage, and the majority of the Cadillac workforce will remain in Michigan," de Nysschen said. "But there is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York. Establishing our new global headquarters in Soho places Cadillac at the epicenter of sophisticated living. It allows our team to share experiences with premium-brand consumers and develop attitudes in common with our audience."
Company officials thanked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his active support of and involvement in establishing the creation of Cadillac NYC.

"As the media and advertising capital of the world, New York is the ideal location for Cadillac to move its marketing operations to enhance their brand and spur future growth," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

"From Day One, our administration has been creating a more business-friendly environment that encourages new investments and job creation, and today is another example of how that approach is delivering results for New Yorkers. I welcome Cadillac's marketing team to New York and commend them on their decision to invest personnel and resources alongside our world-class workforce."
Said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer:  “To have an iconic American brand like Cadillac choose Manhattan for its global headquarters is another example that this city is a growing hub of innovation. New York continues to be a magnet for the best and the brightest companies and workers alike, and as Cadillac continues on its impressive growth trajectory as a global brand, I’m thrilled it will do so based in New York City."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Breaking News! Sinkhole opens inside of the National Corvette Museum

Some very sad breaking news out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. A sinkhole has opened up underneath the Skydome of the National Corvette Museum. Currently, 8 cars in the museum have been affected. And it's heart breaking because it affects several of the most significant Corvettes built. It sounds like a very bad April Fools joke started by some Corvette haters, but it's very real and very scary. We have even included a picture broadcasted out to Twitter. This is a very sad day for the automotive world. Below is the media release from the museum.

We received a call at 5:44am from our security company alerting us of our motion detectors going off in our Skydome area of the Museum.  Upon arrival it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum.  No one was in or around the Museum at the time.  The Bowling Green Fire Department arrived on the scene and secured the area.  The Fire Department has estimated the size of the hole is 40 feet across and 25-30 feet deep.

It is with heavy hearts that we report that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident.  Those cars include:

    1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
    2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors

The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:

    1962 Black Corvette
    1984 PPG Pace Car
    1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
    1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
    2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
    2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

None of the cars affected were on loan from individuals.  The Skydome exhibit area of the Museum is a separate structure connected to the main Museum.  A structural engineer is now on-site to assess the existing damage and stability of the surrounding areas.  The Museum is closed to the public for the day to allow us to carefully assess the situation.  We will keep everyone informed as we know more.

Source: National Corvette Museum.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

VW's Jonathan Browning out, Michael Horn named President & CEO

Lots of top job shake ups this week. In a surprising turn over at Volkswagen of America, President and CEO Jonathan Browning has announced that he is leaving the company and will be replaced by Michael Horn. Horn will assume the President and CEO position effective January 1st.

Browning came to Volkswagen in 2010 after a distinguished career at both Ford and General Motors. During his time at VW, he oversaw 23 percent gain in 2011 and an additional 30 percent rise for 2012. This year,  sales of Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi and Bentley models are up 1 percent in a market that’s risen 8 percent. Sales at VW  have been falling for the last 8 months.

Michael Horn who will replace Browning, has been with Volkswagen since 1990. And is currently head of Volkswagen Global After Sales. A position he has been in since 2009.

Browning says that he is leaving the company for personal reasons and is planning to return to England.

Source: Automotive News.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

GM's Akerson to retire in 2014. Mary Barra named as CEO

General Motors has announced that chairman and CEO Dan Akerson will step down from his post effective January 15th, 2014.

Akerson joined General Motors in 2009 as a member of the Board of Directors and was named Chairman and CEO in 2010. He successfully led General Motors through it's difficult bankruptcy and restructuring.

Mary T. Barra, Executive Vice President, Global Product Development & Global Purchasing & Supply Chain will replace Dan Akerson as CEO of GM. She has been responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of General Motors vehicles around the world. She has 33 years of experience with GM and began her career in 1980 as an intern at Pontiac.She becomes not only the first female CEO of GM, but also the first female CEO of a global
car company.

The Board also named Theodore (Tim) Solso to succeed Akerson as Chairman.  Solso, was formerly chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc., and has been a member of the GM Board since June 2012.

Source: General Motors

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oficially official, the 2015 Ford Mustang

As promised, here's the all new 2015 Ford Mustang. The first completely new Mustang with inspiration from 50 years of production (yes even the Mustang II years). What can I say about the 2015 Mustang? Well for one, it looks fantastic. While overall the car is just a tad larger than the current Mustang. The new car actually looks smaller than it is. Which I really like. It gives the look of a sporty European sports car. The design is fresh and crisp, and when you get in to GT trim, it's very aggressive. The styling was critical when it came to the new Mustang as this is the first Mustang to be designed for global distribution. Believe it or not, all previous Mustangs were not made for global sales. And because of this new focus for the Mustang. Ford is pulling out all the stops to make a truly world class product. The new car is lower and wider with a wider rear track. And for the first time in a number of years, a true fastback body that leads to three dimensional LED, sequential tail lamps. You may notice the lack of the faux gas cap that had become a staple of the previous Mustang is absent in the photos. We have been reassured by a source that there will be a faux cap offered on some trim levels of the new car, however not all of them. Up front, we find LED running lamps, and a design treatment heavy on Ford Design DNA that still captures the Mustang's grille and shark bite design we have come to love on the GT 500.

The big news for the new Mustang lie in the performance and suspension. The traditional V6 and 5.0 liter V8 engines remain. But they are now joined by an optional 2.3 liter Ecoboost 4 cylinder. A first for the Mustang for nearly 30 years. And don't think this will just be a fuel sipping Focus in a new body. The Ecoboost Mustang is expected to pony out 305 Hp with 300 lb.-ft of torque. So you'll still get all the performance while saving some gas. The Ecoboost features a cast aluminum cylinder block with forged steel crankshafts and connecting rods. It also includes a newly designed high flow cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold and a new twin scroll turbo charger that will make its debut on the Mustang.

The 5.0 liter will have in the neighborhood of 420 hp on tap while the standard 3.7 liter V6 will be at 300 hp. The V8 features larger valves, revised and re-balanced camshafts, and forged connecting rods and valve springs, for optimum high RPM performance. The engines will be backed by an updated 6 speed manual trans or a new select shift 6 sped automatic that will offer for the first time in a Mustang, paddle shifters. Very European no? The Getrag manual trans has had the shifter location moved closer to the drive and away from the cupholders (a complaint in the outgoing car). The new output shaft has been designed with a new ball bearing that will allow the GT to have a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

Flipping the shiny side over is where the Mustang is going to get really exciting. The Mustang is setting new benchmarks in terms of handling. The suspension has been redesigned from the ground up. The outgoing Boss 302 was the benchmark which has now been exceeded. A new perimeter subframe reduces the overall mass of the car while also making it stiffer. Thus allowing for more predictable wheel control to allow for better ride quality, handling, and steering. This new front suspension also allows for larger brakes to be utilized. And for 2015, there will be three different brake packages available. One will likely be Brembos.

In back where the rubber meets the road, a new integral-link independent rear suspension, again designed for the ultimate in ride quality and handling. This marks the first time the Mustang has ever had an independent rear end. Though I'm sure many diehards will miss the old live real axle, we're sure they'll take to this one.

Like all new Fords, the 2015 Mustang will feature the SYNC system and the new My Key system. The drive will also have different drive modes available (not sure if available on every model) allowing the driver to adjust engine, suspension, and steering settings at the touch of a button. A new advanced stability control system and the GT's standard launch control round out a powerful performance punch.

Looking at the interior pictures, I'm seeing a lot of new, and more upscale additions. First, a source at Ford confirmed that the material quality will definitely be far better than what we have seen on the previous Mustang. Better quality materials and leathers for a more quality feel. For instance, a leather covered dash top and center console, memory power seats, and it looks like the GT will have two additional gauges in the center of the dash. All 2015 Mustangs will also wear a special badge on the dashboard saying "Since 1964" In honor of the Mustang's 50th anniversary April 17th, 1964. An interesting fact, even though the Mustang's launch considered the car a 1964 1/2. Most states did not recognize a half year for title and registration purposes, thus making all 64 1/2s really 1965 Mustangs.

Pricing hasn't been released yet, though I wouldn't expect it to be far off from the current Mustang's base price. Ford is expecting the 2015 Mustang to hit showrooms in late 2014.

Source & Photos: Ford Motor Co.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

This is it! The 2015 Ford Mustang

It was bound to happen. Ford's plan was to reveal the 2015 Ford Mustang on Thursday. But as usual, things don't always go to plan. An adept reader of AutoWeek magazine received their December 9th issue and smack on the cover is the completely new Mustang.

It's a very tasteful mix of American Muscle meets European Tuning. I was worried that the car would be too much Ford Design DNA (i.e. Fusion, Taurus, etc). But this car isn't. You look at it, and instantly think Mustang. I won't go in to too much detail now, that is until I get my hands on the official photos and specs from Ford on Thursday, so stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Arrivederci Gallardo!

After ten years and 14,022 cars, the Lamborghini Gallardo has come to the end of the road. The Gallardo was the first Lamborghini to really break the mold so to speak. Prior to the car's production, the company would average around 250 or so cars a year, The Gallardo brought a whole new way of thinking at the company in terms of volume by jumping to 2000+ per year. Since Lamborghini was founded in 1963, nearly half of all the cars produced are Gallardos.

Like all Lamborghini's, the Gallardo name was derived from bullfighting. The Gallardo bloodline was known for its exceptional courage and undaunted nature. ans was bred during the 18th century. When the Gallardo was introduced in 2003, it also brought many new advancements for Lamborghini. Including an all new aluminum space frame, the first ever Lamborghini to have full time all wheel drive, and a robotized electronic shifting system (e-gear). The Gallardo also set records with 32 different variants of the car over it's 10 year run. My particular favorite was the Superleggera. It was also the first Lamborghini to have a special service record with 2 cars built for the Italian State Police.

The 2013 Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse boasts a dry weight of 1340 kilograms, 70 less than the already lean Gallardo LP 560-4. With a stunning power-toweight ratio of 2.35 kilograms per hp it delivers breathtaking performance: from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, from 0 to 200 km/h in just 10.4 seconds.

Now, the final car produced? It is a Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante in Rosso
Mars (red) and it is destined for a private collector.

Source: Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.