Miata Gets Retractable Hardtop

June 21, 2006

Miata Gets Retractable Hardtop

The hardtop convertible trend has struck Mazda, and years of speculation will come to a head at the British International Motor Show next month as the Japanese automaker shows off the new hardtop convertible Miata. The third-generation car will get a specific name along with its multi-piece origami act: inNorth America, it will be known as the Mazda MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top. Always available with a removable hardtop, the Miata's new retractable lid is a first for the rear-drive roadster. The British auto show begins on July 18.

CarGirl: What Real Women Drive

Our battle of the sexes takes place on wheels.

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Spy Shots: 2008 BMW X5

2008 BMW X5

2008 BMW X5

BMW will replace the X5 sport-ute in the 2008 model year with a new model that will offer seven-passenger seating.

At first sight the second-generation X5 looks much like its predecessor. However, a closer look shows that the new car is about 6.3 inches longer and 2.4 inches wider than the current vehicle. The extra room enables BMW to install a third-row seat in the X5.

The size boost will be met by more powerful engines, including diesels for Europe and a range of U.S.-bound engines, including a 3.0-liter six with about 250 hp and a 5.0-liter V-8 with about 367 hp.

The new off-roader will incorporate many new technical gadgets, like a radar cruise control and night vision. An evolution of BMW's xDrive system is in place, as is advanced wheel-by-wheel traction control.

The new X5 will be shown this fall, and should go on sale early next year in the U.S. -Hans G. Lehmann/Hidden Image

VW Scirocco Coming - from Portugal

Will it have a grown-in-Vigo cork floor? Doubtful, but the revived Volkswagen Scirocco coupe will come from Portugal, according to Reuters. The news agency says that the two-door coupe is set for a rebirth later in the decade, and is expected to share its mechanicals with the new Golf/Rabbit range. A German newspaper says production will begin in 2008 and that VW will build about 100,000 copies each year for worldwide sale. The same plant in Portugal that will build the Scirocco is already building the Eos hardtop convertible.

Volkswagen at a Crossroads by Marty Padgett (6/19/2006)
New small SUV and diesels coming, but comprehensive U.S. strategy still in the works.

GM Takes Another Credit Hit

Standard & Poor's and Moody's, two of Wall Street's most influential ratings services, have trimmed their grades on General Motors Corp.'s outstanding debt.

Both services cut GM's credit rating again after the automaker announced it had revised the terms on a $5.6-billion line of credit. Under the proposed terms announced Tuesday the unsecured line of credit has been transformed into a secured line of credit. All existing lenders will get a chance at a 20-percent reduction in their commitments, and will have the opportunity to extend to 2011 in return for collateral, pricing and other structural enhancements, GM said in statement.

The announcement was a setback for GM's recent campaign aimed at building investor confidence in its turnaround effort. GM vice chairman Robert Lutz had said in an interview in the Toronto Globe and Mail this week that the turnaround was picking up momentum. GM, however, also has been hurt by the need for an extensive restatement of financial results, which has raised questions about the integrity of the company's financial reporting.

GM spokeswoman Gina Proia said the new credit facility should be complete next month. GM, though, had no estimates on the additional cost of switching from an unsecured line to a line of credit secured by GM assets, she said. Proia said a majority of GM's lending banks have agreed to amend and extend. -Joe Szczesny

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WJR Auto Report: Interstates Turn 50

As a young Baby Boomer, I loved joining my father in the family station wagon as we'd explore the winding, country lanes that connected much of the country back in the 1950s and early '60s. But there was nothing more exciting than discovering one of the new super-highways that were carving their way across the countryside. Nearly a half century later, there are interstates everywhere - a network of nearly 43,000 miles, according to federal records, which cost the country $114 billion to build. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the interstate highway system. On June 26th, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the bill that made it all possible. Initially, they were sold as defense highways, necessary to move around the Minutemen missiles protecting us against attack by the Soviet Union. The missiles now have their own silos, but the interstates remain, and but the roll-out of the first Model T Ford, it's hard to think of anything that has had a more profound impact on our country. The interstates literally rewrote the map of America.

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

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Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 3.00 0.00 (0.00%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 54.28 -0.14 (-0.26%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 20.60 -0.22 (-1.06%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 15.64 -0.17 (-1.08%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 15.80 -0.20 (-1.25%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 5.78 -0.06 (-1.03%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 62.05 +0.03 (+0.05%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 108.95 +1.95 (+1.82%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 47.47 +0.57 (+1.22%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 1.80 0.00 (0.00%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 72.45 +0.60 (+0.84%)
Ford Motor Company F 6.40 -0.34 (-5.04%)
General Motors Corporation GM 25.65 -0.70 (-2.66%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 13.90 -0.01 (-0.07%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 11.13 -0.16 (-1.42%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 31.35 +0.33 (+1.06%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 78.38 -1.15 (-1.45%)
Lear Corporation LEA 20.29 0.00 (0.00%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 70.88 -0.59 (-0.83%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 19.83 -0.19 (-0.95%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 21.76 +0.30 (+1.40%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 22.15 -0.09 (-0.40%)
Siemens AG SI 85.55 +1.65 (+1.97%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 4.01 +0.03 (+0.75%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 100.64 +0.04 (+0.04%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 26.43 +0.11 (+0.42%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.107 -0.003 (-2.73%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 20.11 -0.27 (-1.32%)
Visteon Corporation VC 7.05 +0.08 (+1.15%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 13.40 +0.17 (+1.28%)

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