Monday, November 09, 2015

Automotive Reporter Biz News for Wk of 11-9-15

This week’s column can be posted on your refrigerator as a hint for Santa this Christmas.
If you don’t get what you want this year, perhaps you can just print up a 3-D version of anything your heart desires.
It’s coming to that.

On display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, the Local Motors’ LM3D Swim—which the company touts as the “latest rapid vehicle iteration leading to a fully homologated 3D-printed vehicle…”
Say what?

That’s a fancy way of saying the 3D-printed car will be approved for sale, and you can purchase one as early as next year. The LM3D-Swim is the first of a series of vehicles to be built using the Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) process, which includes 3D printing. 

The design for the car by Local Motors’ community member, Kevin Lo, was selected by a judging panel that included Jay Leno and SEMA VP of Vehicle Technology, John Waraniak. Local Motors is now entering the car into the testing phase, including trials for highway safety and federal crash tests.  The company is constructing a microfactory in Knoxville, Tennessee, to produce the vehicles starting next year. MRSP will be around $53,000.
Colored ink is optional.

A few months ago I wrote about a problem created by trying to put the wrong tires on my MX-5 Miata. I learned the chassis for the Mazda utilizes the same geometry and design as a Lotus, and was in fact told that the Mazda two-seater is essentially a Japanese Lotus.

Pretty sure Lotus doesn’t tell everyone it’s a British Miata, but the similarities in proportional performance still exist. Behold, Lotus is now offering the 2017 Evora 400, which boasts 55-hp more oomph, 92-pounds less weight, and a plethora of advancements.  The company produced this promotional
video to show how much fun you can buy for $91,375.

The newest Evora is fitted with a mid-mounted supercharged 400-hp 3.5-Litre V-6 on a new aluminum chassis wrapped in a composite body.
Are you reading this, Santa?

If yon’t have $91k to plunk down on a Lotus, there’s always the Mazda Miata or Toyota’s Scion FR-S. Evo’s “Deadly Rivals” series pits the pair on a racetrack with Dan Prosser at the controls. He’s partial to one car, but cannot deny the superiority of the other. The video tells the tale of the tape.
This clip is also great for sharing with Santa.

We teased this news last week on the Automotive Reporter Radio Show: Hyundai is creating a separate division with its ‘Genesis’ brand to compete with the world’s leading luxury car nameplates. The company’s press release touts “human-centered” luxury with a half-dozen new models. 

Genesis will change its model designations to an alpha system, combining “G” with the numbers 90, 80, 0r 70. In your face, M-Series.

Hyundai is also retooling the Genesis winged badge emblem to create a more luxurious look. Back atcha, Bentley

This makes perfect business sense.
For a long time I have believed the Genesis series of automobiles to be among the best values on the road, blending manufacturing excellence with sexy design cues, and backed by Hyundai’s nearly interminable 100,000k warranty.

Dodge SRT is adopting the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving as the “official” driving school of the brand. When you purchase a new 2015 or ’16 SRT model, you receive one full-day session of high-performance driving, including track time and professional instruction.
Hotel and airfare not included.

The entire fleet of Bondurant trainers is being converted to Dodge SRT’sChargers, Challengers, and Vipers.

Bondurant says he’s been waiting for the right circumstances to launch the school and capitalize on his racing championship legacy. “The Dodge/SRT muscle cars provide me the perfect platform needed to thoroughly teach road racing,” he says.

The classes combine advanced street driving skills with proven racing techniques, plus hours of track time for vital hands-on experience behind the wheel. The course includes skid control, accident avoidance, line technique and a lead-and-follow session.
This would make a great stocking stuffer. Just sayin...

Following the legacy of its founder, Ford Motor Company is sharing the intellectual wealth by licensing robotic vehicle testing technology to other car makers. Working with Autonomous Solutions Inc, Ford has developed a turnkey test kit available directly from ASI. The package can save time and spare human drivers from the tedium of driving over curbs and through potholes in automobile endurance testing. Or they could just slap a GoPro on some of the bluehair drivers in Houston for that test.

The robotically driven vehicles will perform repetitive tests on torturous surfaces with names like Silver Creek, Power Hop Hill and Curb Your Enthusiasm, compressing ten years of daily driving abuse into courses just a few hundred yards long. 

They should come tryout Houston’s Monroe Drive near the Hobby Airport.
Same thing.

Listen to the Automotive Reporter Radio Show every weekend on, or from our webpage.

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