Auto News for Aug. 31 – Want to buy an elephant?

General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) will reveal a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle on October 3 at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in Washington, D.C. The collaboration enables TARDEC to access consumer-driven automotive technology for use in military applications while providing GM with feedback on non-standard fuel cell-technology applications.

Hard to believe that August is almost over!

GM and the Army will reveal a Chevrolet Colorado based fuel cell electric vehicle in October. The vehicle is being developed with the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. The Army was drawn in by the quiet operation of fuel cell vehicles, along with their low end torque. “We expect the vehicle to be quiet in operation and ready to provide electricity generation for needs away from the vehicle. With fuel cell technology advancing, it’s an ideal time to investigate its viability in extreme military-use conditions,” said TARDEC Director Paul Rogers.

There is a heightened public awareness of automotive recalls, but recall repairs remain comparatively low. In an effort to increase recall completions, Mazda has launched a Recall Information Center that you can find at:

It will help customers easily confirm if their vehicle is affected by a recall, and provide a convenient way to schedule an appointment for recall repairs.

mechanical elephant

A life-size mechanical elephant that once called Detroit home and made an appearance at the 1980 Republican Convention, may steal the spotlight at Auctions America’s Auburn Fall weekend, August 31 – September 4. A Labor Day weekend tradition spanning 45+ years, the annual event in Indiana coincides with the world-famous Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, an event that attracts thousands of enthusiasts. Okay, the link to the auto world is thin, but how many times do you get a chance to bid on a life-size mechanical elephant? Wendell the elephant is set to make a big splash at this weekend’s sale where he is expected to fetch more than $250,000. The word is the cost of operation is just peanuts.





Auto News for August 30 – Get Ready to Bolt!

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet, countering some speculation to the contrary, said it is on track to introduce the electric compact car, the Bolt, later this year. To back that up, Automotive News produced a picture of a “production intent” Bolt at a recent event just north of Detroit. Years ago those were called prototypes. GM has said the Bolt will have a range of more than 200 miles.

Allstate has concluded that when population density is part of the equation, Madison, Wisconsin has the safest drivers. Brownsville, Texas came in second in Allstate’s 12th annual “Best Drivers Report.” Boise, Idaho was third and in a bit of a surprise, New York City was fourth. Milwaukee came in fifth.


BMW has ended production of its Z4 sports car that has been a slow seller here in the states. Motor Trend speculates that this could pave the way for a new sports car coming from the Toyota/BMW joint venture. It may be named the Z5 – “logical” said Mr. Spock.

About 400 engineers will be added to Volvo’s roster to boost development in the areas of safety, autonomous driving and electric vehicles.

A new survey concludes that Mercedes and Infiniti owners are more willing than most to make the switch to self-driving cars, when that technology finally makes it to the marketplace. Jeep and Ram pickup owners are the least likely to make the switch according to MaritzCX study.





Auto News for Aug. 29

Cxperience 1 cxperience

A look at tomorrow from an automaker that has, at times, shocked the world with out of the box thinking. Citroen decided it could not wait for next month’s Paris Auto Show to show its concept luxury car called the CXPERIENCE. (Enter your pronunciation here.)

“Citroen is expressing its ambitions in upmarket territory, deploying its ‘Be Different, Feel Good’ promise in this segment,’” the company said.

There are rear-hinged autoclave doors rising to the top of the roof and opening to a 90 degree perpendicular angle.  Inside there is a single-spoke steering wheel, a nod to the brand’s history, and a “floating dashboard” with a three-dimensional appearance.

Rear seat passengers get a mobile tablet that will allow them to adjust the seats and air conditioning while sharing media files with those up front.

There are no outside rear view mirrors that function being given to two discreet side cameras that send images to a dashboard screen. Inside a wide angle HD connected camera records whatever the driver sees, for better or worse.

“The openwork front and rear headrests feature two loudspeakers with integrated bass sound and microphones. These sound bubbles let everybody choose who they want to communicate with. Or simply sit and listen to their own audio program. Each journey can set the scene for either lively discussion or individual relaxation,” said the maker.

A 19-inch screen replaces all of the buttons, switches, and dials typically found on the center console.

The CXPERIENCE is a plug-in hybrid good for 300 hp with an 8-speed electric automatic gearbox. It has an all-electric range of about 40 miles.

Well I could go on, but do check out the video of this amazing new concept, at:

It is well worth a look, including seats that can be removed for outside use hopefully on a better day than the one depicted. Also, did those two people kiss?


VW will cut prices it an effort to revive sagging sales here in the U.S. from the emissions scandal. Autodata said sales are off 14 percent this year.

ChargePoint has opened its 30,000th charging spot on its network, this one in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Charging stations can be found using the company’s app. “The milestone comes as gas stations continue to decline markedly,” said the company.

New vehicle sales are expected to decrease two percent year-over-year when the August figures are released shortly before the Labor Day weekend. GM sales are expected to fall five percent as it continues to reduce rental sales, which are less profitable. KBB said Hyundai/Kia could gain the most market share this month of all major manufacturers.


A Saturday Special – Powerball Cars!!!!!

Powerball Cars

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – You have overcome overwhelming odds and struck it rich in the Powerball or Mega Millions lottery and are anxious to go automobile shopping.

You want a head turning, rubber burning, luxurious super car to drive through the gates and over the moat of your long dreamed of mansion.

For the rest, well not one enthusiast can tell me they have never, ever, day dreamed about what they would buy if overnight they started comparing bank accounts with Warren Buffet. Thus, may I offer the following?


McLaren P1

The P1 should probably not be included in the “Powerball Car” series, but then again it is the Gisele Bunchen of the entire auto industry. McLaren has already sold all 900 of the 903 hp gas/electric P1’s that it will produce.

The lucky owners will enjoy a 3.8-liter, 727 horsepower V8 paired with a 177 horsepower electric motor. 0-60 in a blood pressure raising 2.7 seconds and a top speed, probably best enjoyed in the Arabian Desert, of 217 mph.

Autocar, the world’s oldest auto enthusiast magazine, summed things up this way, “A scintillating triumph.”

La Ferrai

Ferrari LaFerrai

You would climb out of the driver’s seat at a fine Italian restaurant after a long trip and scream to the heavens, “LaFerrari!”

Regretfully, only 499 customers will be able to own one of sexist supercars on the world’s roads. “It boasts the most extreme performance ever,” said Ferrari in one of its more modest modes.

That is backed up by a 6.3-liter V12 with 789 horsepower, and 516 lb-ft of torque. Not to forget the AC permanent magnet synchronous electric motor at 161 additional horsepower and 199 lb-ft of ever lovin’ torque. 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds and just 9.8 seconds to 150. A top speed of 218 mph on a fine track.

Autocar called it, “very possibly the world’s fastest, most exciting hypercar.” Hypercar – that is a term so much more exciting than “crossover.”

The price cracks seven figures.



Lamborghini Huracan Spyder

“Designed to cut through the air and become one with the sky,” says Lamborghini of its Huracan based convertible.

A wonderful 602 horsepower V-10 is the power and what power there is – 0-60 in just 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 201 miles per. Wind buffeting might be an issue at that speed and you probably would not care.

Torque? Oh Yes! How’s about 413 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm. And the top folds in just 17 rain cheating seconds.

This is one great car and a bargain compared to the Ferrari and the McLaren at $267,545 to start. That should clear out some dough to get a slightly bigger moat with your Powerball winnings.


Bugatti Chiron

And if those Powerball payoffs ever approach the $1 billion mark again, and only the fastest of the fast will do, then there is only the Bugatti Chiron. Almost 1,500 horsepower from a quad-turbocharged V16 as its maker again strives to produce the fastest ride in the world, some 261 miles per hour. Too much? Nope!

Bugatti said it has already received 200 orders out of the 500 it will build. No small thing for a car that will set you back $2.7 million. That is the base price by the way.

“Ettore Bugatti, whose motto was ‘nothing is too beautiful and nothing is too expensive,’ would certainly have taken pleasure in this example of sheer craftsmanship,” says the company.

And, “for the first time, it is possible to stow a suitcase with the size of a cabin trolley approved for air travel in the luggage space of a Bugatti.” That is what we would term a carry-on bag. Look for a formal release date early next year.

And did I mention the 1,181 lb-ft or torque?

Auto News for Aug. 26 – Auto Sales Expected to Slip Again

Total new-vehicle sales are expected to slip 5.2% this month, according to a forecast by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. John Humphrey, senior vice president at J.D. Power, said: “Following 66 consecutive months of retail sales growth that began in September 2010, we’ve seen four declines in the past six months, and this much of a pullback in August will be a disappointment for the industry.” Analysts said the industry will face “an uphill struggle to match last year’s (sales) performance.”

A Houston jury has decided that GM’s controversial ignition switches were not to blame for a fatal accident back in 2011. GM maintained the accident was caused by reckless driving on a rain slicked road. A family was seeking more than $14.5 million.

Ford is offering a free app that will ease your search for a parking place in metropolitan areas. It will display available slots as you leave home and you can reserve a spot where applicable and pay for that parking on your smart phone. See more at:

Volkswagen said it has reached an agreement in principle to compensate its dealers in the U.S. for losses incurred in the diesel engine scandal. But many details remain to be worked out in ongoing negotiations that VW hopes to conclude by the end of September.

Police in Tyler, Texas are searching for the thieves who stole the tires and wheels off 48 new vehicles at the local Chevy dealer. The loss was estimated at about $250,000. The vehicles were left up on blocks.





Color does matter when it comes to a car’s retained value. While the average car depreciated 29.8 percent over the first three years of ownership, orange and yellow color cars depreciated the least of any color – 27.4 percent and 26.2 percent less than the average car respectively, according to’s analysis of 1.6 million vehicles. These colors topped the list for the least depreciation across virtually all body styles and market segments. Gold cars depreciated the most according to the survey.

California lawmakers have passed a measure that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that is 40 percent below the standard set in 1990. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill. An earlier measure that would have mandated a 50 percent reduction was defeated. Opponents said earlier measures have added 12 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline in the state.

You might have second thoughts about taking your classic car on a wintertime drive between Boston and Detroit, but … the America’s Car Museum and the North American International Auto Show have announced that Boston will be the starting point of “The Drive Home II: The Heritage Run” – an 11-day, 2,150 mile winter road rally, from December 28 to January 7, concluding at the opening of the North American International Auto Show.


The Drive Home II will feature ACM’s 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, 1961 Chrysler 300G and 1966 Ford Mustang, all of which completed the first “The Drive Home” in early 2016, from the Museum’s headquarters in Tacoma, Washington to Detroit.

America’s Car Museum is an international destination for families and auto enthusiasts to celebrate their love affair with the automobile and learn how it shaped our society. Based in Tacoma, Wash., the stunning 165,000-sq.-ft. facility has been recognized as one of MSN’s 10 Best Automotive Museums worldwide.

Auto News for Aug. 24 – 300 miles on a charge!


Tesla has unveiled a new battery that will extend the range of its Model S P100D to 315 miles on the EPA cycle, “making it the first to go beyond 300 miles and the longest range production electric vehicle by far.” Further, the bigger battery makes the Model S the world’s third fastest accelerating production car ever with a 0-60 time of just 2.5 seconds following two limited production sports cars. The larger battery pack will also be available on the Model X with a range of 289 miles and a 0-60 of 2.9 seconds. Tesla customers who have ordered a P90D Ludicrous, but not taken delivery, can upgrade to the 100 kWh pack for $10,000.

It should be noted that Porsche, Mercedes and Audi are all working on vehicles that will meet or exceed the 300 mile range.

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate motor vehicle deaths were 9 percent higher through the first six months of 2016 than in 2015, and 18 percent higher than two years ago at the six month mark. An estimated 19,100 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January – enough to fill 382 school buses – and 2.2 million were seriously injured. The continued rise in fatalities is prompting the Council to predict the deadliest Labor Day holiday period since 2008. NSC estimates 438 people will be killed during the three-day holiday weekend. So be careful out there.


Here’s the latest from Aston Martin, the Vanquish Zagato Volante, the convertible model of the earlier announced coupe. The drop top will be a very limited production model with just 99 produced. It carries a V12 with 592 horsepower and a 0-60 of 3.7 seconds. Interior features include herringbone carbon-fiber, anodized bronze detailing and the finest Bridge of Weir leather. Customer deliveries begin in 2017.

Like Corvettes? Well, that is a silly question! Then you want to be in Carlisle, Pa., Aug 25-28 where more than 5,000 Corvettes will be on display. All generations of the car will be represented at “Corvettes at Carlisle.”






Auto News for Aug., 23 – Good News for Ford’s Luxury Brand


Lincoln has topped the latest report on customer satisfaction in a survey of 3,776 people who have purchased or leased a new car within the last six months. Just slightly behind Lincoln were Honda, BMW, Toyota, and General Motors. Acura finished last in the latest survey released early this morning by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And here is a trend: “Increasingly, customers see little differentiation between luxury cars and regular ones. If there is little difference, why pay more? Exclusivity may not be enough,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder.


The Concours of Elegance that will take place at Windsor Castle even has an official champagne. Tattinger has been named this year’s winner, a company with origins dating back 1743. It was established even before the oldest horse-drawn Royal Carriages that will be displayed at the event scheduled for Sept. 2-4.

Consumers change their car more often than they change their mattress and bedding. Due to short lease deals, the length of time motorists keep a car has plummeted, creating a world where consumers are likely to change their car more often than they change their mobile phone or their bedding. “What we are seeing is the ‘iphonification’ of the car industry as consumers increasingly pay to drive rather than pay to own their vehicles. It’s the same model as the mobile phone industry where people are comfortable paying a monthly fee – only they are now doing this with their vehicles as well as their mobiles,” said Philip Nothard, retail and consumer specialist at Britain’s cap hpi.

VW has reached agreements with two parts suppliers that had withheld shipments in a contract dispute. Details of the agreements were not disclosed, according to Automotive News.



Auto News for Aug. 22 – Lancia Tops the Big Show – Dawn is a Robb Best of the Best


A 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet owned by Richard Mattei of Arizona was named Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend. The car also was named the Most Elegant Convertible. “I was just happy to be an entrant at Pebble Beach,” said the winning owner. It is a graceful set of wheels to be sure.


The Robb Report has named the Rolls-Royce Dawn the “Best of the Best” and the top convertible offered to luxury car owners in 2016. “Inspired by the postwar Silver Dawn convertible, the car is more glamorous and more contemporary looking than other Rolls-Royce models,” the Robb Report said. The interior is said to offer “a cosseting private haven and uplifting spaciousness.” And it is not slow with a 6.6-liter V12 under the hood producing 563 very refined horsepower. Car and Driver’s test car listed for just $402,300.

Paul Simon said, “… just jump on the bus, Gus” but some Americans are saying “Board the boat, Bill.” AAA says river cruise bookings in the U.S. are up more than 16 percent in just the past year.

Volkswagen is involved in a dispute with some parts suppliers in Germany that has slowed production lines for the Golf and Passat and will result in a shorter work week for thousands of assembly line workers. The dispute appears to center around the cancellation of a contract with one of the parts firms that has halted delivery of its products to VW. The two sides are scheduled to resume talks today.

Opel is trimming work weeks for some as demand slows for its Insignia sedan and Corsa subcompact, tied to the Brexit vote. The two cars are popular in the U.K. but automakers are concerned over a drop in value of the British pound following the decision to leave the European Union. There have been rumblings that GM may have to close some U.K. plants.



Auto News for Aug. 19 Concept Car Friday!!!

 Auto News for Aug. 19  Concept Car Friday!!!


 It’s Friday so let’s start off with some good news. Ford will extend production of the GT for an additional two years. “While we can’t build enough Ford GTs for everyone who has applied, we are going to produce additional vehicles in an effort to satisfy more of our most loyal Ford ambassadors,” says Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. Ford has received more than 6,000 applications for the first 500 high performance GTs that will appear as 2017 and 2018 models. Ford did not disclose a final production date, but it seems fair to assume there will now be 2020 models.

 Now on to “Concept Car Friday”

New Cady

 Cadillac took the wraps off the Escala Concept that will be displayed this weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Escala Concept previews the design and technical ideas driving the next phase of Cadillac’s ongoing expansion. Officials said it is a potential addition to the Cadillac lineup. The name, by the way, is Spanish for “scale.” This is no compact and would be the largest car in the Cadillac lineup at 210 inches long. Escala uses a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, a prototype of a new system in development for future Cadillac models. It has a most interesting interior!

Acura Precision Concept

 Not to be outdone, Acura will present the “Precision Concept” at the Pebble Beach affair that features a “supercar-like stance, performance-minded proportions and alluring design details,” the company said. It is a product of Acura’s Design Studio in California. “More than a concept, the Acura Precision Concept is the blueprint for Acura’s future styling direction and manifests our commitment to delivering Precision Crafted Performance in every element of the Acura experience,” said Jon Ikea, vice president and GM of the Acura Division. A key design theme, dubbed “quantum continuum,” is seen in the seamless transition of materials and structure from the exterior to the interior of the vehicle. The driver’s space is highlighted by a compact, race-inspired, sports steering wheel with paddle shifters and Integrated Dynamics System controls, a floating center meter, a driver’s head-up display, a cantilevered center stack and an ultra-wide, thin and curved center display screen. At 204 inches long it is eight inches longer than the Acura RLX.

P90230171_highRes_bmw-2002-hommage-08- P90230174_highRes_bmw-2002-hommage-08-

  Also at the Concours d’Elegance, the BMW Group is presenting the BMW 2002 Hommage to shine the spotlight back over its successful history with turbocharged engines. In 1973 the BMW 2002 turbo became the first series-produced vehicle in Europe to feature turbo technology. “With its iconic orange/black paintwork, the car has a colour scheme and livery synonymous in the minds of many motor sport fans with the triumphs of the 1970s,” said Karim Habib, Head of Design BMW Automobiles. The company said it is a “confident statement of unadulterated driving joy” From the pictures that certainly appears to be the case.

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

 Mercedes decided it wanted to play at Pebble Beach also so say hello to the “Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6” concept. The 2+2-seater pays homage to the glorious age of the aero coupes and consciously carries this tradition forward into the future, Mercedes said. If you get the idea from the pictures that this too is a big car you would be right – over 18.5 feet long. Since the Olympics are still on I will mention that is nearly six meters. Like the classic Mercedes of the past, this one sports gull wing doors. And does that split rear window and boat tail style to the rear end remind you of another classic car? It is an electric with all-wheel drive with a total output of 738 horsepower, 0-62 in less than four seconds and a range of over 200 miles. If Mercedes ever decided to offer this car on the market, it certainly would keep Elon Musk awake nights!