Sunday, August 16, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News Wk of 8-17-2015

When is the best time to release bad news? Friday’s…after 5p.
That’s what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV did ahead of the weekend, announcing the recall of more than 85,000 new cars because their engines could stall.

At issue is the 2015 Chrysler 200 midsize sedan, where it’s been determined some electrical connectors were damaged. The discovery came during routine post-production testing. Chrysler says no crashes or injuries have been reported.

FCA has not yet announced an owner-notification schedule.
You can call the automaker at 800-853-1403, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to for more info.
That sounds like fun on a Monday.

Acura has been teasing us about three all-new NSX models, and finally showed off two of them at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, for the very first time last week. 

These are the first build-to-order vehicles for Acura. The NSX will feature plenty of factory-installed options, including carbon-fiber front, side and rear body elements, carbon-fiber engine covers, and a carbon roof.  If your model has a roof.

General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant has a achieved another milestone. The automaker’s newest factory just turned out its 2-millionth vehicle—a 2016 Buick Enclave large crossover.  
Since starting production on May 24, 2006, the Lansing Delta Township plant has manufactured the Saturn Outlook, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Acadia Denali and Buick Enclave

3,200 employees operate three shifts at the plant, into which GM has invested more than $580-million. It also doesn’t hurt that sales numbers for Enclave continue to swell. 2014 production was 39-percent higher than its first year of production. 

GM says it's already sold more than a half-million of the crossovers globally.

Baby, it’s hot outside.
That’s the perfect time to test Ford Motor Company’s fleet for extreme weather performance at the McKinley Climactic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Only they’re dialing-down the thermostat, and testing Ford’s global prototypes for extreme cold weather performance. 

The Air Force test chamber can produce temperatures as low as -40-degrees Fahrenheit in ten-hours. The chamber can accommodate up to 75 vehicles. The practical benefit of such testing is creating a Ford F-150 Pickup truck, for example, that can become a safety cocoon for an injured employee on the frozen slopes of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil field.

Ford also uses the facility to test fuel grades’ characteristics at temperatures as cold as -22 degrees. Know why Ford F-Series Super Duty engines have spark plugs with ceramic gold plugs? Not for the extra bling. Engineers discovered replacing the metallic plugs in the 6.7-liter engine enabled a quicker warm-up and more robust starts, a trick they learned in the super-cooled lab.

Speaking of cool…
How’d you like a ’55 Chevy Coupebrand new, factory fresh?
Woody’s Hot Rodz in Bright, Indiana, can build you one—or sell you the kit—for the Tri-Five’s of Chevrolet’s glory years, 1955, 1956, and 1957.

The cars are hand crafted by a team of ten workers in Woody’s shop. The cars are powered by a 2016 Cadillac CTS 680-hp V8, running through an 8-speed automatic, with adaptive suspension. Just because the cars look like they’re from the ‘50’s doesn’t mean they have to run like they’re 60-years old!

Chris Sondles is the man behind the machines, of which he’s already sold about 125 copies. He expects demand to increase as the Tri-Five’s reach their 60th anniversaries. 

Chris Sondles
Sondles' creations are licensed, and so come with a full warranty. He can build one for you in about six months’ time…but there’s a one-year waiting list now. Prices for the shop-built cars start at $75,000.
Back to the future…
Hyundai Motor America is giving the automotive press a sneak peek at its “Vision G" Concept Coupe, the automaker’s inspiration for future premium products…and it’s a dandy. 

Interestingly, Hyundai engineers centered their design around the concept of the word, “chivalry,” in crafting their dream car—meaning, the car doesn’t have to shout to be noticed.

Among the technology features in the Vision-G, a valet system that opens the car’s doors for you as you approach. 

The Vision-G would be powered by a 5.0-liter Tau V8 engine, producing 420 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 383 lb. ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm. The Tau V8 engine family has been named to Ward’s prestigious Ten Best Engines list three times.

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