Daily Edition: Dec. 6, 2005

December 5, 2005

Mitsu Has Eclipse Spyder, Concept-CT for Detroit

The Mitsu Eclipse coupe is being joined by a convertible version set to show up at the Detroit auto show in four weeks. Mitsubishi confirmed the appearance by issuing this sketch of the new ragtop, which it will sell as a 2007 model. The convertible will offer 2+2 seating and a choice of GS or GT trim levels; four- and six-cylinder engines are expected, and a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system will be an option.

Alongside the Eclipse Spyder on the show floor will be a new concept from Mitsubishi, the Concept-CT. A B-car concept conceived as a city vehicle with green technology, the vehicle will sport a hybrid powertrain that uses electric motors at each wheel to deliver all-wheel drive. The concept was penned at the company's Cypress, Calif., design studio.

2006 Detroit Auto Show Preview by TCC Team (12/5/2005)
More sheetmetal than your average showroom.

GM Closing Okla. City in Feb.

General Motors confirmed on Monday that the first plant closure of those announced recently by the company would be that in Oklahoma City, Okla. The plant, which builds versions of the company's mid-size SUVs, was extensively repaired just two years ago in the wake of tornadoes that struck the city. The plant employs about 2000 people and will close in the first week of February, 2006, according to a letter sent to those workers. GM says it will cut 30,000 jobs and close eight assembly and parts plants by 2008 in its latest turnaround effort.

GM Cutting 30,000 Jobs, Eight Plants by TCC Team (11/28/2005)
"Tough medicine," but no guarantees, says Wagoner.

IIHS Rates Best with "Gold" Award

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says its new "gold" award will clarify to consumers which vehicles achieve the group's best ratings in all crash tests it performs - thus making it simpler to see which vehicles are the best overall in crash performance. The insurance industry-funded research group named five vehicles to its newly minted "gold" designation. Those cars include the Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego, outfitted with optional side airbags and considered the same car for the IIHS' purposes; the Saab 9-3; the Subaru Legacy; and the Honda Civic four-door. It also named vehicles to a "silver" list, including the Audi A6, A3, and A4; the Chevrolet Malibu with optional side airbags; and the VW Jetta and Passat. "Gold" vehicles earned the group's best scores in front, side, and rear-impact protection; while the silver vehicles earned top rankings in front and side impacts, and the second-best ranking in rear-impact head protection.

Jaguar, Land Rover Dropping Ads in Gay Pubs

Jaguar and Land Rover will no longer advertise in gay publications, a Ford spokesman told a prominent gay magazine, in the wake of a boycott by the American Family Association. A report in The Advocate says the brands have stopped advertising in gay publications due to pressure from the AFA, a staunchly anti-gay rights group led by Rev. Donald Wildmon. Earlier this year the AFA had threatened to boycott Ford over the company's advertising in gay publications through its Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo brands, the Advocate reports. A Ford spokesman told the magazine's Web site that the company would stop running ads for Jaguar and Land Rover in gay publications but that the decision was made strictly for business reasons. The Volvo brand, a prominent advertiser in the niche, is expected to continue to advertise as in the past. Ford Motor Company, the Advocate says, has been a strong supporter of gay causes and has made contributions to groups like the Human Rights Campaign. The AFA had insisted that Ford stop donating cash and vehicles to gay causes and stop endorsing activities such as gay pride celebrations. Those donations might continue, the magazine says, but the AFA warns it could reinstate its boycott if its demands are not met.

Daily Edition: Nov. 8, 2005 by TCC Team (11/7/2005)
Saab 9-5 gets a facelift, Jaguar goes Gorgeous.

Ferrari Offers Ultimate Rich Man's Toy

The Bologna Motor Show in Italy brought two world launches - of cars at the extreme opposite ends of the motoring spectrum. Citroën's C-Air Play, described on TCC on Monday, is a miniature sedan designed to offer driving enjoyment without too much speed. The other newcomer alla Bolognese is the Ferrari FXX, designed to offer driving enjoyment with the ultimate in speed. The FXX could bid to be the ultimate zillionaire's toy: just 29 have been built and they will be sold - at a price of $1.8 million a piece - to what the company describes as "a selected group of its most dedicated and passionate Clients."

The FXX owes much to the Enzo, Ferrari's limited-production super car, but it is even more advanced in its conception and is the culmination of Ferrari's expertise in building special limited-series sports cars combined with its racing experience. The FXX, Ferrari says, will provide the basic framework on which the specifics of future extreme models will be developed. The car delivers extreme performance: it is powered by an imposing 6262-cc V-12 engine that develops over 800 hp at 8500 rpm. The gearbox is the result of the transfer of F1 technology and delivers gear-change times of less than 100 milliseconds - almost as fast as the F1 cars, the pinnacle of current technology. The FXX has a dry weight of 2546 pounds, with a power-to-weight ratio of 3.18 pounds per horsepower, and has completed a lap of Ferrari's own Fiorano test track in under 1'18''00 - a time that gives an indication of the sheer power and performance of the car.

The FXX's aerodynamic design gives a 40 percent increase in downforce compared to the already impressive Enzo. Ferrari's F1 tire partner, Bridgestone, developed a specific 19" slick tire for the FXX, and Italian brake specialists Brembo created a special brake pad and cooling system for the 398 x 36 mm Composite Ceramic Material rotors. Another unique feature of the FXX is its sophisticated telemetry system, which monitors and provides feedback in real time. The instrument panel, supplied by Magneti Marelli, is specifically designed for the FXX and incorporates a new data acquisition system. A video camera is also installed on the roof of each of the cars, pointing towards the rear, with a special TFT display on the dash removing the need for rearview mirrors.

The fact that the FXX uses slick tires and has an inbuilt telemetry system provides a further hint as to its credentials as a folly for the rich - it cannot legally be used on the road, neither can it compete in any form of officially-sanctioned racing. It has not been submitted for approval by the bodies that approve motor vehicles for road or race use, but purchasers can use it on the Fiorano track, where they will be taught how to handle the beast, and on a selection of international race tracks, where races open only to the FXX and its selected ownership will be held. The $1.8 million package includes participation in a series of 14 events organized by Ferrari on various international-level circuits over the coming two years in Europe, North America, and Japan (meetings at Spa in Belgium and the Nürburgring in Germany have already been confirmed for 2006).

On these occasions, an official team of technicians will be on hand to provide any assistance and support required by what Ferrari refers to as "the Client Test Drivers." In addition to these unique official events, Clients (for this much money, Ferrari calls them Clients with a capital 'C') will also be able to take their cars out on the track independently during private sessions. If Clients wish to leave their car at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters while not in use, they will be transported directly by Ferrari to the various European circuits for the scheduled events.

After the seat and the pedals have been individually molded for each driver, there will be a traditional "shakedown" followed by the training session to introduce the Client Test Drivers to test-driving methodologies. The first FXXs were delivered in mid-November and the last will be with their owners by the end of April next year. -Ian Norris

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

PRNewswire

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2006 Charity Preview marks a special anniversary: 30 years of providing essential financial support to metro Detroit's children's charities. Collectively, these charities provide metro Detroit children and their families with health care, improved quality of life, and opportunities to learn vital life skills. The NAIAS Charity Preview is one of the top single-night fundraising events in the nation, raising over $7 million in 2005 for children's charities. In the last five years alone, the NAIAS Charity Preview has raised over $32 million. Since its inception in 1976, the star-studded event has raised more than $58 million. Ninety-two percent of the cost of each Charity Preview ticket is delivered in donations to the benefiting children's charities.



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