Monday, March 30, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News Wk of 3-30-15

2015 Scion Tc 9.0 Limited Edition
I love Houston in the Spring.
New York is a close-second, and the first weekend in April is doubly-attractive in the Big Apple with the opening of the New York International Auto Show.  

Scion is staging an impressive display at this year's show, keyed to the evolution of the youth-oriented brand.

Forget that--I'm in my sixth decade of orbiting the sun, and I still get excited sitting behind the wheel of a Scion FRS.

Toyota is debuting the FRS 1.0 and Scion Tc 9.0 at the show, featuring all kinds of goodies from Toyota Racing Development (TRD). A special, limited-edition, two-tone version Tc sports coupe is also being released, designed in conjunction with Jeremy Lookofsky of Cartel Customs.

Among the goodies included:

  • a unique black and magma exterior
  • an aero kit designed by Cartel Customs
  • a center exhaust
  • a Smart Key with Push Button Start featuring the “Cartel Logo”
  • orange front seat belts
This is not your grandfather's Toyota...but he'd want one!

No Acronym Zone: We all know the difference between DST and CST--it's an hour's worth of sleep, as my part of the country switches from Central Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time.
I will refrain from further comment about that, but refer you to my annual diatribe here.
So what in the world is DTM?

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters is the German equivalent of NASCAR, which conjures up all kinds of questions: Do they all make right turns in Europe--you know, on the other side of the road? What's the German language sound like with a Southern drawl? "Guten tag, y'all?" Talk about conflicting culture stereotypes!  In an effort to shatter these and other myths about the sport, the DTM has adopted Queen's immortal rock anthem, "We Are the Champions," as it's own for the 2015 racing season.

Returning drivers for the defending Manufacturer's Cup Champion, Audi, are Mattias Ekström, Mike Rockenfeller, and Timo Scheider. Theirs is the only unchanged line-up in the series, and the trio is primed and loaded for the new season. These guys are as passionate about DTM--and Audi--as their American counterparts are about Ford's and Chevy's.

2015 Audi RS5 DTM
"For me as a race driver, the Audi RS 6 is the perfect combination of performance, comfort and dynamics," raves Scheider. "In everyday driving, it is quite simply the Audi model to have. I've been driving it as a company car for a very long time, and am going to order an RS 6 again," he says.

The 2015 Season gets underway in Hockenheim, in the Upper Rhine Valley, the first weekend in May.

Stateside, Audi continues its exposure  with the release of a new "Transporter" film, sans Jason Stratham, in June.
I can't wait.

There are some things that would seem to be a crime against nature:
Daylight Saving Time comes to mind (as I beat a dead horse), and allowing ungainly vehicles onto a race track. The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was recently allowed to run a couple of laps around the course at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca.

No words.
The tubesteak on wheels was being paced by Mazda Raceway CEO Gill Campbell in her MX-5. The real news, however, became the viral nature of the resulting photographs and videos. 

"In less than 48 hours, a Facebook posting of the event showing the Wienermobile traversing the world famous Corkscrew turns reached more than 850,000 people, and garnered 7,147 likes, 538 comments and 2,433 shares," boasted a release. Now put that thing back in the garage.

I don't understand it, but I'll tell you about it.
There's a new Smartcar coming.

2015 Smart Car for two
The new-and-improved edition is equipped with a turbocharged, 898-cc 3-cylinder engine, producing 89-hp. Hey, don't laugh--this baby goes zero-to-60mph in 4.8-seconds.

A standard crosswind-assist system is also in place for those situations in which a passing 18-wheeler can create a dangerous effect on the 1,808-lb. two-seater.

Mercedes Benz is offering the 2015 version in three trim lines: Passion, Prime, and Proxy. Hopefully it will come with parking instructions.
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