Sunday, April 19, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News for Wk of 4-20-15

I finally got around to seeing “Furious-7,” the latest in the series of heavy-metal car chase thrillers. The movie lives up to the hype. It also ends with a touching tribute to the late Paul Walker, who was killed in a non-related car crash before filming had wrapped. I think I must’ve gotten popcorn salt in my eye, or something. 

In past episodes of the franchise, there was always a teaser at the end of the closing credits letting you know what was in store in the next edition. No such footage was included at the end of “7.”

The Wall Street Journal reports filmmakers destroyed 230 cars in the production of “Furious-7.”
That's nothing.

TV Producers ran through 300 Dodge Chargers filming seasons of “The Dukes of Hazard,” many of which were recycled into set pieces (no longer running) for additional scenes of the show.
Just some good ol’ boys…

Japanese engines in Alabama; American engines in Mexico: Oh, my!
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama is celebrating new production at its automated engine assembly plant in Lincoln, AL. The upgraded facility will manufacture 1,500 V-6 engines a day for Honda’s Odyssey, Pilot and Acura MDX luxury SUV’s.
Meanwhile in Chihuahua and Guanajuato, Mexico, Ford Motor Company is investing $2.5-Billion in new engine and transmission plants. The projects are part of the One Ford global competitiveness program. Ford is marking it’s 90th year of production in Mexico this year.

Viper. You know you want one. And now, Dodge will let you custom design your next Viper sports car online with the Viper GTC Customizer.

There are more than 25-Million unique combination possibilities for the ultra sports car. Dodge will send you a 1:18 scale replica of your customized car upon completion of your order. You know, just to whet your appetite before it’s delivered. The 2015 Custom Viper GTC can be yours for under $95,000…by about $5.
MSRP is $94,995. But who’s counting?

General Motors is upping the ante in the drop-top market by offering Buick’s first new convertible in North America in 25-years. 

The 2016 Cascada (rhymes with “cicada”) will feature a 2+2 configuration in a rigid-body structure. The soft-top coupe will be powered by a 1.6-liter 200-hp turbocharged engine driving the front wheels. Buick designed the Cascada from the ground-up as a convertible; this is no chopped coupe cousin from one of the other assembly lines!

The convertible top can be raised or lowered electrically in about 17-seconds…at speeds up to 31-mph. After that, it becomes a handy speed brake. Not.

GM is sensitive to leaks about the Cascada. Seriously.
See how they test each convertible before it leaves the plant.

How do you market your next, new introduction to the small SUV market? Hire a band. FCA and Jeep are teaming up with X Ambassadors to sing the praises of the new 2015 Jeep Renegade

The group taped a snappy :60-second ditty about topics and themes that resonate with the Renegade crowd. You know, things like adventure, exploration, rebels and skinny-dipping. All of those things are appealing to me, but who wants to watch a Gen-X’er cavorting about? X Ambassadors and Alex Da Kid are featured in the video short.  

In space, no one can hear you scream. But they can see large-font messages from the International Space Station
The 13-year old daughter of ISS Astronaut Terry Virts, Stephanie, was the impetus behind Hyundai’s epic love note in the sand. The feat was accomplished on a dry lake bed back in January. 

The car company not only got the message through, it also set a new Guiness World’s Record for the Largest Tire Track Message, carved by a team of stunt drivers piloting 11 Hyundai Genesis sedans. I don't know what Hyundai's market budget is for the rest of the year, but they could stop spending dollars now--they're never going to top this one!
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