Auto News for Sept. 30

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It is the oldest Ford dealer in the United States continuously operating in the same location and building. Marshall Ford, in the small town of Marshall, Virginia, west of Washington, D.C., has survived The Great Depression, 18 recessions and 25 presidential elections over its 100 years. The Model T was the first car offered by Marshall back in 1915. Ford would ship them by train to the local depot where Marshall would pick them up and complete final assembly using the wooden shipping crates as floor boards. Current owners David Baird and Thomas O’Brien are holding an open house this weekend to mark the anniversary. They say they are looking forward to another century in the biz housed in a two story building that looks more like a dwelling than a place that sells aluminum bodied F-150’s.

Mazda concept

Mazda will hold the world premiere of a new sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show on Oct. 30. It also released a teaser photo that seems to show a hatchback design. Mazda said the car “maintains a sense of lineage and authenticity, appearing almost to condense Mazda’s entire history of sports car development into a single model.” And that’s all we know at this point. Wonder if it might sport a rotary engine?

Model X

After a two year delay Tesla has unveiled its Model X sport utility at its plant in Fremont, California. Featuring what have been called “Falcon Doors”, the X can carry up to seven passengers, is said to have a range of 257 miles with all wheel drive and a 0-60 run of just 3.2 seconds in its best performance mode. Sensors will keep the doors from striking cars, garage walls, even people. The X will take on luxury and sporty SUV’s from Porsche, BMW and Mercedes. If you are interested, be aware of the 20,000 pre-orders that are already on the books. Tesla said the estimated delivery for new reservations for the only all-electric SUV on the market is the latter half of 2016. Prices can hit $142,000 for the upscale version. Base prices were not released. Next up? The Model 3, a lower cost sedan that may hit showrooms in 2017.

The United Auto Workers has sent Ford a five day strike notice over local issues at the Kansas City Assembly plant in Missouri. It produces the nation’s best-selling vehicle, the F-150. A company spokesman said he is confident the automaker will be able to reach a “fair and competitive” agreement with the union.

Green Car Journal is rescinding the “Green Car of the Year” awards given the 2009 VW Jetta TDI and the 2010 Audi A3 TDI. The journal said rescinding the awards was “unfortunate but appropriate.”

The head of Volkswagen’s China and Skoda operations is taking over as CEO of the newly created North American Region. Dr. Winfried Vahland will assume his new duties on November first. Job One should be restoring customer confidence in the brand.






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