The Car Geek: April 2007

The Car Geek

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Automakers Reluctant to Use HD Radio

HD Radio has so far been unsuccessful with its plight for providing car manufacturers communication devices. It did not win over automaker clients. And the reason? It’s much too costly.

Among those who considered hooking up with the HD Radio are Hyundai, BMW and Jaguar. GM and Chrysler bigwigs claimed that they were not rushing to commit to the devices which would cost the struggling Big Three U.S. automakers as much as an estimated $600 million annually to install. It’s pretty sturdy price that some automakers aren’t willing to compromise. The radios are approximated to reap in $150 million to $200 million annually to each of the three automakers.

That said, HD affirms to distribute better sound quality than conventional analog radio and facilitates stations to transmit multiple channels. More than a tenth of the estimated 12,000-plus U.S. radio stations have upgraded to the technology which comprises of many in the country’s top 100 markets.

"I don't think there are too many American carmakers jumping on this. It's a fairly expensive proposition to put that technology in a vehicle and there's no certainty around the revenues associated with it," said Rick Lee, executive director of competing satellite radio services for GM unit OnStar.

Whatever the case, HD Radio should come up a strategic technique to cave in more clients especially major automakers that seem hesitant in wedding their vehicles’ car parts’ with HD products and doodads.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ovonic Solutions for the Road User

Here comes a new hydrogen innovation which pertains to a fuel dispenser. Oh yes, the Ovonic hydrogen fuel dispenser is the latest series of refueling systems which is projected for stable installation and has been developed particularly for refueling vehicles equipped with Ovonic on-board metal hydride storage systems.

The fuel dispenser includes all the essential connections, pressure-specific hydrogen, cooling in/out and electrical ground. Don’t fret if you don’t know how it works since it requires little user experience. It also integrates infrared communications for that proper fill assurance. It can accept hydrogen from a range of sources which includes on-site generation. When blended with bulk metal hydride storage, the system could be constructed to spawn hydrogen on-site through water electrolysis utilizing renewable power.

The heart of the storage system is the patented Ovonic on-board storage vessels. These vessels safely amass hydrogen as a solid-state metal hydride at very low pressures. Each vessel is able to hold almost four times the fuel of a similarly sized 50000psig compressed hydrogen tank.

It does sound complicated but these storage vessels is accomplished through thermal integration with the vehicle’s engine cooling parts incorporating Ovonic hydrogen storage into hybrid vehicles is an ideal solution for environmentally cognizant fleet operators. These hydrogen vehicles can be made available today and offer a bridge to the loner-term widespread hydrogen economy. The same technology can be useful for fuel cell vehicles too.

The integrated hydrogen storage system utilizes a proprietary internal heat exchanger for thermal management which uses waste heat from the vehicle engine to protract hydrogen aspects while road driving and an external coolant to reduce refueling time.

These solutions guarantee hassle-free tweaks, significant reduction in CO2 emissions is achieved and convenient driving hours while on the road thanks to Ovonic. It also delivers environmental benefits (to suit all that green-schemed bandwagon) and paves the way toward the hydrogen economy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Ford Outlet Adds Mazda and Kia

Both Kia and Mazda will be seen on the newest site of Ford. Yes, you heard that right. The HENRY GROUP, the maker of the multi-franchise site located at Eastleigh, confirms the mentioned piece of very interesting news. The new site will soon open its doors in July and new dealerships would be opening as well. The new outlet shall display and sell 200 used cars and 20 new cars. There would also be spacious car parks as well as a workshop having 20 service bays.

According to the news, this is one among the largest outlets you can find in the South.

Aside from its outlet in Eastleigh, the HENRY GROUP also opens a new auto body parts shop in Segworth as well as a new warehouse located at the Hedge End to bring service to all the group dealerships of the costumers located at the South.

Paul Hendy, the managing ,director said, "By focusing our attention on separate sales, body shops and parts we can ensure the very best service for our customers. Those buying a car are looking for sleek, clean and easy to access showrooms and a pleasant buying experience while having body shop and parts departments on different sites means that we can install the very latest in terms of equipment to cater for very different markets.''

The new outlet will spend £200 million per year and will hire over 900 employees to make its cars, vans, trucks and Iveco products throughout the entire south. Of course, Mazda parts as well as Kia ,parts will also be made on the said location.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Castagna Aznom

Italian coachbuilder Castagna has exposed a custom-bodied two-seater that’s built on a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 chassis. The Aznom supercar made its debut at the 2007 Top Marques Monaco Show. The custom-made car benefits from the Castagna’s refinement and attention to detail, sprinkling elements that blend with the vehicle’s body construction.

Castagna designed the Aznom as one hell of a car, despite the fact that the tooled wheels wouldn’t fit and the brake discs were taped over. Just don’t mind the rough edges that come along with it and the Aznom delivers one fine piece of eye candy.

The Aznom’s exterior car parts features exposed carbon fiber bodywork which stresses the Castagna’s performance. It has an extremely low weight distribution measuring 3,000 pounds all the way. The chassis is the base that frees them from any performance engineering which can largely be upgraded through aftermarket shops. The lines of the car have a more aggressive expression, treating with two fully extended headlights and the rear has gotten the same treatment.

The interior cabin emphasizes an Italian fastback profile (yes, it’s all about the Milanese heritage thanks to Castagna) though it suffers from lack of visibility to the back. It contains snugly heated seats, a communication center with everything from SatNav to full internet access and revamped fighter-jet styling cues. It appears that the roof comes with a removable double-bubble canopy that fits comfortable in the 420-liter boot so practicality becomes top priority. So there you go, just like a convertible this supercar is extremely versatile.

Aznom delivers a top acceleration of 218 mph and projects a zero to 60 mph time zooming to less than 3.4 seconds. The 7.0-liter LS7 has been churned to run on 750 horses and 723 pound-feet of torque and utilizes the Corvette’s six-speed manual transmission.

The custom supercar is announced to be released this May. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

Rear Seating has Never Been this Fun

These days, it’s not just what kind of engine that’s under the hood of your car, or how fierce your performance parts are. These days, it’s also all about what’s happening in your car, read: how fun will it be to ride your car?

Take for example, Audi. Audi is set to reveal an innovative entertainment system for rear-seat passengers in the A6L at the Shanghai Auto Show (20 - 27 April 2007). And just what is this entertainment exactly? Think two 10.2-inch monitors fitted on the backs of the front seats, plus a DVD player integrated in the centre armrest which also happens to have connections to a games console, your iPod and your digital camera. That’s not all. Together with the TV tuner, the system transforms the luxury-class saloon into a what else, a mobile film theatre, from which sound can be relayed via either the on-board speakers or headphones. Now how fun is that?

The system is available in the A6L, the long-wheelbase version of the Audi A6. But sorry folks, because this one’s built exclusively for the Chinese market where it is frequently used as a chauffeur-driven saloon.

The Audi A6L has set the standard among its competitors in terms of ride comfort and luxury, spaciousness and design since its launch in 2005. The chassis, designed specifically for the road conditions in China, offers outstanding suspension comfort, particularly in conjunction with adaptive air suspension, which is optional. The wheelbase is ten centimetres longer than that of the A6 saloon and gives rear-seat passengers the luxury of a spacious legroom that is exemplary in this vehicle segment. The vehicle’s MMI operating concept also enables straightforward operation of a wide array of functions such as a telephone and audio and navigation systems, as well as a host of other vehicle settings.

Friday, April 20, 2007

TMC Building More Production Plant In Mississippi

Toyota plant

The Toyota Motor Corporation was planning to build a total of 15 production plants in the US by the year 2010. Just recently, a production plant opened in Mississippi and this new facility is still a part of its plan. Now, another production plant will be opening in order to pursue its 2010 plan.

Toyota is proud to open its 8th production plant in the US. It is based in Blue Springs, Mississippi. The new plant is costing 1.3 billion dollars. According to Katsuaki Watanabe, the president of the company, "Our goal is to make a positive contribution to the community while beginning a new partnership with local citizens. We will make every effort to be the best business partner in Mississippi and thank Governor (Harley) Barbour and all citizens for their warm welcome."

The Blue Springs Toyota plant will be producing 2.2 million cars and trucks per year. Toyota parts and other car parts like automatic transmissions, fuel parts and engines will also be made on the new Toyota plant.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Autodelta GT Super Evo

Alfa tuner Autodelta is tapping on Middle Eastern countries with hot cars straight from its tuning house, the first edition of the GT Super Evo. Autodelta declared that it is planning on crafting tailored high-performance variants of the Alfa Spider, the 159 and the 159 Sportwagon for introduction later this year.

Autodelta has commenced in placing a local distribution network in the Persian Gulf region. The GT Super Evo is actually designed for a buyer in Dubai. The vehicle is commissioned by brothers Walid and Wissam Shihabi and is the first fully customized Autodelta program to be finished in the United Arab Emirates. The entire configuration was achieved by Autodelta’s engineering team at Gargash Motors, the official Alfa importer in Dubai.

I guess the GT Super Evo came about as a direct response to customer pressure, pushing the GT Super’s performance envelope further forward while building on supercharging applications.

The new Autodelta GT Super Evo offers increased levels of high-peak prowess. The GT Super Evo’s powertrain parts runs on a Rotrex supercharger to boost output to 341 horsepower and maximum torque to 287 pound-feet. Its top speed is blasts off from zero to 60 mph in a matter of 5.2 seconds. The main change evident to the driver is in the substantial improvement in both mid- and high-range acceleration.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Another Chery Sporty Concept Released

The China automaker Chery will be releasing the Shooting Sport Concept at the Shanghai auto show early this week but just before they reveal the new car concept, the company have released the official first photos of the said car model.

The new model is a three door vehicle with its front looks exactly like the Japanese auto maker’s Toyota Prius. Although a concept, the car looks like it will soon be a production vehicle. Well, we just hope to catch the latest news about it to know whether it will be sent on the showrooms.

Well aside from the Prius like exterior, what else is there at the new model? Start it off with abundant white leather found inside the cabin matched on the fancy gauges, yellow mood lighting and green trims complete the whole new look.

The car’s interior is also filled with car parts like the DVD navigation system, some power 8-way seats and 60/40 split back seat are just few among the new parts which, as according to the maker, will be available on its production model.

The car also resembles something that can be European with its hood and badges. Anyway, these are the only specs we got on the new Chery Shooting Sport Concept we all have to watch over for it on the said show I guess. Well, see you there.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ruf CTR-3 Roughin’ It in Bahrain

The new Porsche 911-based supercoupe from the German Porsche Tuning specialist Ruf Automobile is called CTR-3. The vehicle is unveiled in Bahrain, a Persian Gulf Kingdom where the German tuning firm is setting up a new production facility. The first Ruf-ME car will roll out from the new facility later this year.

Bahrain has been the prominent host for the Formula One Grand Prix events for four years now. Obviously, the country is trying to branch out its activities and steer away from being just an oil producer. With a high-profile automobile tuner in tow, the internationally renowned motorsports event looks like a good frontline for the country. Alois Ruf (head of the tuner company) is delighted to find new customers in the Middle East.

The coupe’s shape may be a bit bizarre but it certainly has that futuristic expression. Its outline is mildly evocative of the 1930s German racing cars. It guns a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that’s competent of unleashing 700 ponies and 656 pound-feet of maximum torque. Its acceleration blasts off from zero to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 235 mph. It has an impressive take on its throttle power in just a few seconds’ tops.

The Ruf’s bodywork is made from alloy and others from a Kevlar/carbon-fiber composite material which results in a weight that measures 3,086 pounds. Even though the Ruf flagship is based on the Porsche 911 edition, most of its exterior car parts have been revamped. It does have an intriguing interior cabin rolling out its 47.2-inch tall two-seater rides on 255/35ZR-19 wheels and ventilated and cross drilled ceramic composite brakes allotting 6-piston fixed light alloy calipers at the front and stout 20-inch wheels at the back. It has a rollover protection in A-pillar and in birdcage. The birdcage forms a torsion resistant unit with the front chassis by combining to the sill beam and the A-pillar.

Other features include: front doors and bonnets are caved in an aluminum shell, multi-disc locking differential, Bosch Motronic with OBD-2 engine control unit, two KKK turbo chargers, two air-air intercoolers and power assisted rack and pinion steering.

Basic pricing for the Ruf CTR-3 is estimated to be $500,000.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Roush F150 Pickup Powered With Propane

Roush F150 pickup truck

This is going to be the very first F150 pickup that is going to come using propane. And yes, this Roush F150 pickup is going to use the advanced liquid propane injection (or the LPI) system for an even better performance. This vehicle also does use a 5.4 liter V8 engine with three valves that gets power from gasoline.

According to the manufacturer, they are already taking in orders. That is if you are interested in this one. I believe once you do order for the vehicle right now, you can have it delivered straight right out to your doorstep. And when the vehicles does need some services from a qualified Ford technician, the company’s various dealers could do that for you.

Tom Arnold is the director for Roush’s alternative fuel products and he shares, “Aside from its superb engineering, this vehicle is right here, right now! It is an alternative fuel vehicle that has an established refueling infrastructure to support it. This vehicle will have a positive impact on reducing emissions and our dependency on foreign oil.”

You can choose different trim levels for this Roush F150 and the list includes the Regular Cab, the Super Crew cab, and the Super Cab.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An Off Beamed Lamborghini Alar 777

The supposed car concept of the Lamborghini Alar 777 from the Italian supercar maker’s Argentina distributor is unleashed. Critics and auto analysts have been repressing its guffaw since the styling elements of the Alar 777 exterior parts have gone wide of the mark.

One look at the Lamborghini Alar 777 and it expresses an awe of surprise, and somewhat disdain. Whether its horribly pimped, a fuzzy view on targeting individualists will not get the Alar 777 from point A to Z. The local press in Argentina has ensured the public that the local Lamborghini distributor has indeed launched its own specially tailored kit car of sorts.

The Lamborghini Alar 777 is a rebodied version of the already out-of-date Diablo. The Alar was styled by Joan Ferci whose previous Diablo-based creations involve the Coatl and the Eros GT-1. Under the odd surface style comes the Diablo V12 engine which churns out 700 horses. Ferci claims the Alar blasts off its top acceleration rating 223 miles per hour.

Lamborghini Alar 777 is available at three quarters of a million dollars per production unit. Insiders stated that Alar will be droned out for only a few hundred copies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Goodbye Chrysler Crossfire…

Chrysler Crossfire

Do you know that the Chrysler Crossfire exists? Well, I didn’t know about it either, maybe because it was not that famous. Well, is it?

Well, anyway, I was looking for a Chrysler part for my old Dodge car when I suddenly found this piece of interesting news.

The DMX will soon stop the production of its non-profitable Chrysler Crossfire. According to the domestic car company, the production of the sport coupe was only an attempt. It was not making good profits, so the domestic car maker decided to end its production this summer and this is according to AutoTelegraaf. Slow sales and the five year contract with Karmann will soon be over as well.

The sport coupe was based on its Mercedes SLK which was a hardtop convertible that continued its production ever since it was introduced. But the SRT-6 productions have been stopped a year now. However, ending the production of the sporty coupe will surely leave a vacant space for the domestic car maker. But I guess they should focus more on building a new car vehicle that will sure be a hit in the US car market.

Now, if you plan to replace you old Borla exhaust with new one, online stores are aplenty and are very much available. Even other original Chrysler parts also exist.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sets New Altitude World Record

Two Jeep Wrangler Unlimited editions broke through the world record by climbing 6,646 meters to the volcano’s tip. Its one impressive feat since the achievement is one not likely to be beaten easily, as Guinness World Records have claimed. The two Wrangler Unlimited vehicles were standard equipment Rubicon models. Both vehicles are also equipped with electronic altitude measuring technology and winches. The two editions were also fitted with an open-air design, allotting five passengers on the cabin (a Wrangler first).

Ojos del Salado in the Chilean Andes (the second highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and now called as the “highest parking lot in the world”) is where the two daring Jeeps scampered about for over five exhausting days last March. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited vehicles hauled a team from Extrem Events (Germany) led by Mattias Jeschke from the base of the menacing crater of the volcano.

The volcano is actually the highest point that a four-wheeled vehicle has traveled and that’s something Jeep should be proud of. During the entire excursion, the team endured unpleasant weather conditions such as strong winds, cold temperatures that reached minus 30 degrees Centigrade as the two Jeeps maneuvered over curved terrains, fissured rock cliffs, volcanic sand and rigid glaciers. It took several bold moves to accomplish the trip in which the team took credit for high-peak performance parts of the two Jeep Wranglers. The last stretch of the climb was the most grueling task. Both Wrangler Unlimited vehicles had to cross a glacier. At the far end of the glacier field, an ice crevice strewn with razor sharp snow penitents has made it more arduous for the team. It was here that the vehicle’s 3.8-liter V6 engine and Goodyear’s MT/R tires proved their true capability and made the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited the first vehicle to ever cross the Ojos del Salado glacier. Just beyond the glacier, the team continued to carry on and pushed forward until there was nowhere left to turn to. Descriptions uttered by Jescke were “unbelievable, tremendous, phenomenal”. The realization hit them like a ton of bricks as the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited editions were totally unbeatable and almost invincible.

George Murphy, Chrysler Group Senior Vice President of Global Marketing enthused proudly, “This was exactly the challenge to separate the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from all other 4x4 vehicles. A climb like this is not just off-road, but extreme conditions, is a testament to the performance of the vehicle’s powertrain, suspension and overall quality. We are very proud that Wrangler Unlimited was the first vehicle to be able to complete such a rigorous challenge and believe that it really does set the vehicle apart from its competition.”

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A More Royal Upgrade

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Who says that the Royals are dumb when it comes to cars? Kate Middleton proved them all wrong. A girl doesn’t only need shimmering diamonds, luxurious jewelries, fabulous shoes nor get-so-glamorous outfits to be fabulous and fashionable. If the Beverly Hills heiress Paris Hilton needs a Jaguar, well I guess the U.K. prince’s girlfriend needs an Audi.

Prince Williams' fiancée Kate Middleton gets a new 1.9 liter Audi A3 to replace her old outdated VW Golf. Definitely, she has a good taste. Prince Charles and Harry both have German cars including the handsome William who owns an Audi S4 saloon. The prince’s love interest may be joining the royals who are quite in love with German cars.

Well, not everyone can afford the Audi A3 for a unit costs more or less $50,000. However, the amount was a little too high according to the British-born babe that she even had doubts on getting one. But according to sources, the prince’s fiancée only paid a nominal amount because of the deal she made with the manufacturer.

The Audi A3 is one among the Audi’s finest. Installed are world class Audi parts that will suit the needs of a high maintenance lifestyle. The new car is just right for her. It is quite a catch, isn’t it?