Published on March 2nd, 2012 | by John O'Neil0
This week in the Automotive Industry – 3/2/2012
10. Kinetic: turning Kias into killers?
Kia’s rise from econobox also-ran into world-class passenger car builder has been impressive to say the least, though many enthusiasts still whine about Kia’s lack of sportiness. Addressing these concerns is Kias new impromptu performance wing, Kinetic motorsports, which will be offering a range of performance bolt-ons for most new Kia models. Will Kias finally perform as well as they look like they do?
9. Parts Bin engineering
Nope, we don’t mean for cars, we’re talking executives here. Fisker has reached into its collection of suits and pulled up a former Chrysler CEO to replace Fisker’s creator, Henrik Fisker, as CEO of the start up electric car company. Will this move help Fisker turn their amazingly stylish machines into sale’s successes?
8. Not quite a Geo
Remember the Metro? That was one of the last 3-cylinder passenger cars offered in the ‘States, and it wasn’t exactly an enthusiast icon, or even an economy icon, or even tolerable by many individuals’ automotive standards. Now, ford has developed an Ecoboost 3-banger that it may bring to our shores in the Focus, promising quite a bit more than the Metro’s 50hp. Can Ford’s new Economy engine prove that micro power plants can succeed here?
7. Assertiveness 101
Demonstrating a newfound confidence not seen since well before the bailout, GM has taken a direct jab at its performance competition in citing the success of the newest Corvette and Camaro models. GM says that, combined, the sales for these models are more than half the total performance car sales in the U.S. and that no one can come close to their mph per dollar ratio. Some bold statements indeed, but do the figures support GM’s bragging?
6. A solution to the EV dilemma?
Envia systems, a small start-up battery producer, has reportedly developed a breakthrough in Lithium Ion battery packs, upping storage capacity by more than double while slashing cost by more than half. These are some truly impressive figures, and if this technology were applied to cars, it could finally silence the remaining critics of the technology who harp on about weight and limited battery life. Is this the golden ticket to a more efficient future?
5. The next fastest Ferrari, for 12 minutes
Ferrari is one of those carmakers that seems to release a new model every few years so comprehensively better than it’s predecessor that it makes the previous car obsolete. Well, the folks at Marenelo have done it again, releasing the official specs of the F12, a car they promise will be their fastest ever. Stop us if you’ve heard that line before, though when you see what the F12 has in store, you may want to hear the rest.
4. Another Euro brand gets GM’d
In a desperate search for profitability in Europe, American automotive giant GM has partnered with Peugeot for use of platforms and other technology in an effort to aid its ailing Euro brand Opel. However, the deal works both ways, as Peugeot has also been suffering lately and could definitely use some American manufacturing might. Sound familiar? This is nearly the same set of circumstances that lead to the takeover of a quirky Swedish brand. Speaking for all enthusiasts: Please, GM, don’t pull a Saab with this one.
3. Brace yourselves
You might want to trade in the SUV, quick, as analysts are predicting that gas could sore to European costs this summer, and remain there for a while. Though gas usually spikes a bit around this time of year, world turmoil threatens to create some decidedly more local turmoil with the possibility of gas prices doubling. Just what exactly is threatening such a dramatic rise in cost, and how should you prepare for the ensuing riot?
2. A triumphant return?
With the recent and highly successful revival of the MINI brand, BMW has demonstrated that it is possible to re-launch an old English name and do a smashingly good job of it. Rumors have swirled for years the Bavarians would re-launch Triumph -another English name they hold the rights to- after the success of MINI, though hype has since died down. Now though, recent patents from BMW using the Triumph name indicate they may be serious about it this time. Jolly gud!
1. The fate of a legend
The WRX, as a performance icon for the last decade, has developed quite a loyal following. These fans are keen to demonstrate the ferocity of the Subie’s launches, the rumble of its exhaust, and all 1001 ways the STI is superior to the Evo. The only way these fanboys would ever break their love affair with Subaru is if they somehow adulterated their beloved rally car. However, recent talk at Subaru indicates they may do just that. Here’s one three-letter acronym sure to scare them: CVT