Tidbits for Today

Tidbits for today…

I read this article earlier in the week about the GT-R. He was making decent sense…until, “I want the GT-R to be more like an NSX…” …WHAT?! Um, the GT-R should NEVER be like the NSX. It was never supposed to be like the NSX, nor is it, nor shall it ever be. Then to say “Think 560-horsepower AWD FR-S and you’re most of the way there.”  In what world is the FR-S like the NSX?! You don’t even make sense in your trippy logic! To my fellow car blogger, you are a few cylinders short of a GT-R.

I read this article about Lincoln the other day and how this author feels the company just needs to be laid to rest. I do agree. I see the whole Ford Motor Company as Apple; in a league of their own, I will leave it at that (although I’m not a big fan of Apple, so you can assume my feelings about Ford). However, with that said, I would love to take a shot at marketing a revival for Lincoln. They need to associate themselves with comebacks. Comebacks that a younger and well established customer would recognize and think to themselves, I want to be a part of that. That is just the surface of ideas that I would use to market a comeback for Lincoln. I would go so far to say that they don’t even need to do any restyling, they just need much better marketing. Image consulting is more the concept.

I was very happy that Kyle Busch swept the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway! I am a huge Joe Gibbs Racing fan and Kyle Busch fan! Super excited for all parties!

In relation to the NASCAR, I did not see any problem with the NRA sponsoring the race. It makes complete sense to me from exactly what this article states, “Eddie Gossage, the president of the Texas Motor Speedway, told CBS Sports he actually hasn’t heard much in the way of controversy over the race. He said the NRA’s sponsorship is “not about politics. It’s about sports marketing.” ITS ABOUT SPORTS MARKETING. Perfect sense in my book.

There are certainly more tidbits I have spinning around in my head, and hopefully I will be able to get more out later this week. But these ones have been swirling for a few days now and I want to make sure I am staying current and relevant. It’s what you deserve. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments below!

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Retool for the New School

Reading Autoblog today, stirred up some thoughts I have been mulling over for a while…the matter of automobile production. What really does it take to produce an automobile? If it is just like anything else in life, the willingness, passion, desire, and devotion to get it done are the ingredients to success. Why that doesn’t seem to work, or at least it was never popular up until this point I just don’t know. But I see a shift coming. A shift that will change the way automobiles are conceived, made, bought, and driven. More importantly there will be a shift to a unique connection between company, machine, and consumer.

I think the turn around time for creating a concept vehicle by a company, and either not producing it, or saying that it will be produced 3-5 years down the road…is absolutely stupid. That’s a lie. If you want to make something, you will make it, end of story. Sure it takes time to reset production plants and assembly lines, gather the materials and resources, create new machines that can make the new parts…yes I get that. But really, where has that gotten us? It has gotten us to this point, where new ideas are being generated faster than that old process can keep up.

Three stories on Autoblog today relate to this topic. The first is that Nissan is planning to build a new vehicle every 6 weeks until 2016. I say that is the most brilliant plan of any company to date. That kind of diversity will make their vehicles more exclusive and personal for consumers. In this day in age, consumers want to be part of a whole, but they want to stick out in that whole. This plan that Nissan has will provide that. Creating that type of momentum for niche audiences will also start creating a desire for people to own something that has the ability to become rare, which instead of seeing an automobile, particularly a grocery getter, as a expense, it is seen as an investment.

Second story is that Lamborghini is undecided on whether to create the four dour Estoque (Which has been around for what I think is a while and it is dumb they haven’t made it yet. It’s a great vehicle with would serve a purpose.) or an SUV. My opinion, BUILD THEM BOTH! Lamborghini shocked the world a few months ago with talk that they might start creating an “everyday” line-up of vehicles. People think that it might tarnish their image. I don’t. Lamborghini will never be a second rate company. If they want to build the most powerful exotic SUV, let them. It just goes to show that others can’t do what Lamborghini can do.

Lastly; the Jeep story. Just emerging from bankruptcy and paying off their debt, Chrysler has got some major catching up to do. They had an epic super bowl commercial, but I don’t think they are being wise on riding that success. Jeep has been considering producing a pick up Wrangler for a while, aka the Gladiator. Why they have not built it yet has made sense, paying back loans and all. But the decision to yet again put it on the back burner because cash is tied up in other places; like making small cars…REALLY? The Jeep has global sales capability, it already does, and it could add to it with the pickup model. To retool the assembly line to make a pick up Jeep Wrangler is much easier I think than to retool it to create a whole new car! Chrysler, I don’t know what you’re thinking but I don’t think it is very wise on this one. Try to remember your super bowl commercial and make the right decision to do something brilliant.

Ford might not be able to Dodge this Ram

Mopar also planning high lift Ram 1500 for Jeep Safari, Raptor put on notice

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Mar 16th 2010 at 1:58PM


Answering the question of whether Mopar’s Ram Power Wagon concept is meant to be a competitor to the awe-inspiring Ford SVT Raptor (that’d be a ‘no,’ it would seem) is a report courtesy of our friends at PickupTrucks.com that Chrysler‘s go-fast division is also planning to release a long-travel version of the Ram 1500 at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.

Adding credibility to Mopar’s off-road-ready Ram “research project” is the presence of veteran Baja racer Kent Kroeker, who’s KORE company is already the go-to expert for aftermarket Dodge truck goodies (see photo above of his Ram 2500 racer). Being based on the Ram 1500 means that Chrysler’s Raptor-fighter will feature independent suspension at all four corners. We should also expect plenty of suspension travel. Oh, and could this be a hint at the future?

While it’s not necessarily expected that the Ram brand will offer such a high-lift, long-travel model in dealerships right off the factory floor, there is a decent chance that the components developed for this concept could end up in a Mopar accessory or KORE catalog (or both?) sometime soon. And you can count us firmly among those looking forward to that.

 Autoblog

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I wrote about the Ford Raptor a few months ago on a separate blog, before I began this one. Here is the link to that blog.

 Here is what I think about the Dodge Ram in general. Back in the mid 90’s early 2000’s when Dodge trucks got a face lift and Chuck Norris drove his beastly Ram in “Walker Texas Ranger,” I being about 10, instantly wanted one. It was my favorite truck up until a few years ago when the Silverado became my more preferred pickup of choice.

 All that aside, there has been talk that Chrysler will make the Ram a separate model from the other models in the company. I relate this to the simple illustration that Corvette has with Chevy. People think “Corvette” they don’t think “Chevy” because the car is in a league of its own. I have a feeling, and am an advocate that Chrysler separate the Ram. They should put their focus into making it the most versatile pickup on the market.

 When I heard the rumors that the Ram might be building a Power Wagon to compete with the Ford Raptor, I couldn’t have been happier. I think that with the design the truck has, it should be built leaner and meaner in engine and off road capability, although I do think the design needs a little more refinement to match.

 If the Ram Power Wagon goes through, I would support it thoroughly, and I think it has major potential in competing with the Raptor and beating it.

Maybach may not be back

Report: Maybach to get facelift in Beijing before brand gets the axe

If a recent report out of the UK is to be believed, Maybach is set to get the axe in the very near future. However, as a last hurrah, all three models from the ultra-luxury division of Mercedes-Benz (57, 62 and Landaulet) will receive facelifts this year. The last round of top-zoot Maybachs will debut in late April at the Beijing Motor Show. Expect the changes to the lineup to be very minor – new grilles and LED lights should be about the only differences from the sedans currently on sale.

So, why kill off Maybach? Ever since the brand was resurrected in 2002, it has suffered from very slow sales. Not surprising, considering the high price tags, comparatively low content levels and the hard financial times the world has fallen on in recent years. Furthermore, parent company Mercedes-Benz has big plans to expand the S-Class range, which includes adding more upmarket versions which should fill the void of Maybach’s current offerings. Look for the new S-Class to arrive in 2014, along with a fully updated version of the R-Class people-mover, as well.

Steven J. Ewing article found on Autoblog

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I first came across Maybach around my sophomore year of high school when I found one for sale on Ebay motors in the miscellaneous cars category. I thought initially, “holy crap! Why is this thing so expensive?!” After some brief reading and browsing of photos of this massive land luxury vehicle on a golf course, I found out why.

I instantly had an inclination that it was Mercedes related, simply by design. Finding out I was correct on that, I was now pleased to be exposed to a new vehicle!

So, over the past few years, I have stopped browsing Ebay motors, and realized that Maybach is not in the news much. Until I come across an article like this.

Hmmm…will I be sad that Maybach is gone? To be honest, yes. Especially with Bugatti coming out with their new exotic luxury sedan, even though technically, Bugatti and Maybach are nowhere near in comparison except possibly in price.

I do think that the “exotic” part of Maybach is possibly part of the reason of why it will not continue within the next few years. With Aston Martin, Porsche, and soon to be Lamborghini and Bugatti all playing around with exotic sports sedans, Maybach has no performance as much to match what these vehicles can do.

But even if you put it in a realm that it would compete in. Rolls Royce and Bentley have long set the standard for ultra luxury sedans. With such a limited number of vehicles and a less known name plate, Maybach has had an uphill battle since its rebirth. However, it will be sad to see it go, simply because it was one more vehicle that added to the finer things of life.

A Corvette Conceptualized

 

So I came across this article on Autoblog about how GM is looking to European design studios to design the next generation Corvette. The article talks about how statistically the average age of Corvette buyers has gone up to 54 years of age. It also emphasizes that people think the Corvette is a “big” car compared to its target competitor, the Porsche 911. They say that the design needs to display the power that is under the hood, and currently, it just isn’t doing that.

Well…here is what I think.  The average age of the buyer is rising because those who can truly afford a Corvette, would be those people who are 54 and above. Seriously, it’s a $48,930 base price car! And who really gets the base model? Not to mention, it’s not a practical family vehicle, so there would be no actual need for a younger buyer to purchase a Corvette. Although I would if I could. I’m single and 21, but I’m a poor college kid who is a car freak.

In regards to the size…the wheel base is the only thing larger on the Corvette than the Porsche. (unless, the Corvette is counting mirrors into the overall width, which Porsche is not. See what I mean by clicking on these links. Porsche 911Corvette) In either case, this is no excuse. Why people think the Corvette is bigger than a Porsche is beyond me.

Finally, I think that if they want to display in design what is under the hood, than they need to do something radical to the Corvette. Similar to what was done in 1963 when they came out with the “Stingray.” Now, what I am about to purpose to you however might shock you, but hear me out.

They need to make the Corvette mid engine.

No, I am not anti American, and please don’t call me a Corvette hater, or some radical against American car ingenuity. Seriously. If GM is going to European design studios to come up with a fresh new design to capture the true performance of the car, then why not just take a simple European hint, leave, and tweak it the way we Americans would like it? Do what we do best…and innovate!

The Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Lamborghini Murcielago, are all iconic European mid engine cars. For goodness sake, the Porsche 911 is a rear engine car! And that’s their target competitor? Take that and run with it.

As far as design, yeah, they need to go with a radical new look…and a mid engine design would be perfect to resurrect a new style of “Stingray.” The use of a back window on a mid engine Vette would be little to none, which would provide perfect styling elements to create a “split window” as they did in 1963. That was a bold and radical design which no one saw the Corvette going and it produced some of the most iconic Corvettes that are still highly regarded to this day. I just wish GM would think outside the box and go for it today.

In the time of XTS

After a stunning debut of the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept, the brand has fully emerged itself into my daily talk of world changing automobiles (it had been before, this car just helped it brew over), and more importantly, American iconic automobiles. While some reviews were mixed about the unveiling of the XTS,

“And yesterday Cadillac pulled the wraps of a concept car of heroic proportions; this is the XTS”                                      John McElroy- Autoline Detroit

 “The XTS is easily more elegant than the new A8 from Audi and the 7 Series from BMW in the flesh, and its interior is equal to if not better than any mainstream premium luxury car in the world today. It’s that good.”                                Peter DeLorenzo- The Autoextremist

“We also thought the XTS was significantly better looking in person than in the preview pictures that broke last night.” Jonny Lieberman- Autoblog

“We can’t quite say that we like it — it’s a bit too large and a lot too bland — but it looks significantly better in person than it does in pictures.”                                                                                                                                                                                         Sam Smith- Jalopnik

I say it is a phenomenal step for Cadillac. This vehicle, along with the CTS-V sedan and coupe, are going to put America back on the world stage for superior automobiles. The XTS is not a vehicle that will replace the old peoples generation of vehicles, like the STS and DTS. No, honestly, the times are changing, and the younger generation is beginning to take note on what a fine automobile is. I am 21, and I find the XTS awfully appealing, and why not? It’s American for one. Two, it’s got an aura about it, screaming large and in charge, and what young adult now days doesn’t want to have that space, that object that tells their peers that they are a force to be reckoned with? Three, it’s a car that has the best of both worlds. While I am not a huge hybrid fan, putting it in this car doesn’t phase me. I want this car to get the fuel economy, it’s HUGE! If I want a car for performance, I’ll go buy the CTS-V! But that’s not the goal of the XTS and I’m ok with that. Still, it has power. More than my 1998 Regal, and any power more than that is a step up for me.

I tend to agree with McElroy and DeLorenzo. The Cadillac XTS is a look into the future of what fine American automobiles will be and who will buy them. Once GM decides to build it, then it will be what fine American automobiles are. I wouldn’t want to wait till I’m 50 to own this thing. It appeals to me now and I’d get it if I could!