Monday, March 16, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News Wk of 3-16-15

You may find this difficult to believe, but General Motors has sold nearly a half-million of its fifth-generation Camaro coupe. Chevrolet is set to deliver its 500,000th Gen-5 Camaro sometime this month. The newest edition of the popular car went on sale in August 2009, and by 2010 had surpassed the Mustang in car sales, selling well over 80-thousand vehicles a year.2015 is the final production year for the Gen-5 Camaro. One can only guess at how Gen-6 may perform!

While the 2015 Ford Mustang is considered by many the "prettiest" body style yet, some are still hankering for the original pony car of yesteryear. Now you can purchase a newly-built 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang with modern-day upgrades.

The first true replica of the Mustang was revealed over the weekend at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance by Revology Cars, a manufacturer based in Winter Park, Florida. 

The new-and-improved 'Stangs feature modernized powertrains and technology, including an improved suspension system, four-wheel disc brakes, LED headlights and tail lights, and a 5.0-L V-8.

The resurrected Mustang isn't cheap--base price is $119,500 FOB Winter Park, FL. It is available in both convertible and fastback body styles. Revology Cars is accepting orders now for delivery in Spring 2016. 

General Motors is taking notes from Ford's recent success with the Aluminum F-150 pickup truck, and is announcing new alchemy for its Cadillac CT-6. GM will use an "advanced mixed-material approach for the lightweight body structure," which will be aluminum intensive. Cadillac says it will use 13 different materials specifically made for each area of the car to enhance performance, economy and cabin quietness.

Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen says, "We used high-strength aluminum and high-strength steels; lightweight chassis components; we integrate aluminum and steel where it makes sense; we eliminate every gram of mass possible." de Nysschen calls the process "the rocket science of automobile construction and manufacturing today.”

Cadillac in January revealed a series of high-technology material joining techniques that create a new methodology for assembling the CT6. These enabled engineers to design a completely new structure for which 21 patents are pending. Thirteen complex high-pressure die cast components make up the lower structure of the CT6 body, along with aluminum sheets and extrusions. Engineers boast the car's cabin will have "bank vault quiet" in its interior.

While we're talking about building cars, Mazda announced in the past week the start of production for its all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata in Japan. If you're frothing at the mouth to get your hands on one of these, Mazda and Microsoft have come up with a virtual solution for you.  

Beginning March 17, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is giving Forza Horizon 2 players the exclusive opportunity to drive the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata on Xbox One, months before the physical car goes on sale to the public. Attendees at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin over the weekend were treated to two interactive driving simulators preloaded with the 2016 MX-5 software.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra is betting on three areas of innovation that will help shatter the glass ceiling for women in the automotive industry. Barra predicts more dramatic change in the next decade than the car building business has seen in the past 50 years, thanks to women engineers leading the way in some key technological advances: Electrified vehicles, infotainment and software development, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. She says these are critical to changing the way we drive. 

Mecum Auctions returns to Houston’s NRG Park April 9-11 with 1,000 American muscle cars, Corvettes, classics, hot rods, Resto Mods and more set to cross the auction block. Last year's auction was capped by the historic sale of the 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype for $7 million. This year's event will feature three private collections, including 45 cars offered by Houston’s Charlie Thomas.

Thomas operated more than 40 car dealerships, one of the largest dealership networks in the United States. His most visible activity outside the car business was as the managing partner of the Houston Rockets, which he owned from 1982 through 1993.

Going on the block will be a 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona (Lot S100) and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird (Lot S105), both featuring the 426-horsepower Hemi V8 engine and four-speed transmission. 

The 1969 Dodge is one of only 20 built combining the dual four-barrel Hemi engine with the Hurst Pistol Grip-shifted heavy-duty four-speed manual transmission, and the 1970 Plymouth is one of only 58 Hemi four-speed versions produced.

Mecum Auctions founder, Dana Mecum, says “Houston and the state of Texas have enormous passion for quality collector cars, and that’s precisely what we’ll have crossing the auction block throughout the three-day event.”

Other featured consignments include a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Phaeton (Lot S92.1) from the Tom Goodlett Estate Collection, a rare factory supercharged F-Code 1957 Ford Thunderbird (Lot S173) from the Charlie Thomas Collection and a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition with only 13 miles on the odometer (Lot S115.1).

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