Sunday, November 01, 2015

Automotive Reporter Biz News for Wk of 11-2-15

Some days, I wished I worked for Mazda.
It would be so much easier to justify writing about their product line, extolling the virtues of their engineering, and praising the artistry of their designs.
By the way, I am still in search (cough, cough) of a full time job (ahem).

Over the weekend, the magicians from Mazda unveiled the new RX-7 Rotary Vision concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show. Think MX-5 with a sloping roofline and a zippy Skyactiv-R power plant. That's the code-name for Mazda's latest iteration of its famous rotary engine.
If this doesn’t make you go weak in the knees, you need your pulse checked.
Mazda’s mass-production of rotary engines is presently on hold, but this new design is evidence that one should never say, “never.”

Meanwhile, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, MX-5 Miata fans are being treated to two conceptual versions of the Gen-4 edition of the world’s most popular two-seater. 
The 2016 MX-5 Spyder exudes the character of a vintage roadster, while the MX-5 Speedster rendition harkens back to the stripped-down racers of yesteryear—even shedding its full-size windshield for a minimalist windscreen.
(How can you tell when an MX-5 driver is happy? Count the bugs in his teeth.)

The MX-5 has always inspired experimentation. predicts the ND Miata will become The Most-tuned Production Car ever, to which Portuguese designer Hugo Silva responded with this heart-stopping version.
I’ve got to get in to see my cardiologist.

FCA is working on a 2018 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that will be introduced in late 2017.

The larger luxury SUV will be a bigger-better version of the Grand Cherokee, although earlier renderings looked more like a bedazzled Jeep Commander.

Sources reveal the new Wagoneer will attack the Range Rover and Mercedes SUV market share with the Jeep’s 3.0L Eco-diesel V-6 currently featured in the Grand Cherokee. 

The Wagoneer will also be Jeep’s first full-sized three-row seating vehicle since the demise of the Jeep Commander.  What we don’t know is what it will look like, but a retro Wagoneer Woody would be sooo cool.

While we're in retro-mode, Volkswagen is teasing the idea of bringing back its iconic VW Hippie Van as an EV. What could be more hippie-fied than an electric VW Bus? A VW Board member reportedly leaked that an electrified version of the popular camper van is in the development stages.

VW Development Chief, Hans-Jakob Neusser, is quoted by Autocar as describing the three components needed in the return of the iconic bus: “The wide, solid D-Pillar; the boxy design of the center section,” and “the front end must have a very short overhang.”

Volkswagen comes close in the T-6 version of its mini van, but I prefer what I see from the conceptual designers for the VW Bulli (that’s the German approximation for “VW Bus”), which promise a new micro van version by 2018.

The original VW busses were made in Germany in the ‘50’s.
They featured the air-cooled, horizontally-opposed rear-engine configuration, but were woefully underpowered. 

My father bought a ’60 model bus, and took our family on vacation in it to the Texas Hill Country one hot July 4th. The engine blew a cylinder before we got there. The dealer replaced the engine, but it blew up again within a few months. Dad sold that bus and bought something more dependable—a '61 VW Beetle.

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