Official Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 images leaked

June 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 fq

The covers appear to have been pulled off early for the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2, as what certainly look to be official photos of the newest bull have just reached the Internet.

Details are sketchy at best but the Gallardo LP550-2 is thought to be returned to RWD-only and will sport a 550hp version of the 5.2L V10 that powers its brothers.

Instead of an e-Gear transmission, the driver’s Lambo gets a gated manual, helping to cut weight to help meet the 66lb (30kg) weight reduction goal. Only about 250 units of the LP550-2 are expected to be built, though, so if this is the sort of thing that your into save your coin and start making enquiries now.

Check out the leaked photos in the gallery below.

Honda’s new hybrid sports car set for Tokyo debut

June 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

hONDA'S NEW HYBRID SPORTS CAR

Honda’s recent financial turbulence meant the end to the NSX-replacement and the automaker’s F1 team, but it’s not going to kill all the fun. Honda is making plans to launch a new hybrid sports car next year based on the 2007 CR-Z concept car. The new model is currently being designed and engineered in Europe, its expected key market, and a debut at this October’s Tokyo Motor Show has been suggested by recent reports.

Designed with a retro-connection to the original Honda CRX, the production version of the CR-Z should be powered by a compact four-cylinder engine smaller than 1.5L and mated to an electric motor. The combined output for the car is expected to be around 140hp (105kW), with power sent to the front wheels.

Some other reports suggest that Honda may use a 1.8L engine. It may turn out that more than one engine is used offering the U.S. market a higher torque engine and equipping Japanese and European models with a more efficient motor.

The original CR-Z concept was described as a next-generation lightweight sports car. It features a new-look grill and aggressive wedged stance, plus a centrally mounted muffler, a rear glass hatch and LED headlights.

Fiat shows green credentials with unique advertising campaign

June 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Fiat eco ad campaign 1

Car companies are known for bringing out clever advertising, but a new European marketing campaign from Fiat is surely one of the more memorable efforts from an automaker. In an effort to highlight the safety of its small 500 model to both to its occupants and the wild animals we share our planet with Fiat has released a new series of images depicting the retro hatchback in fictitious crash test scenarios.

The interesting part is that test dummies are replaced with animals including a panda bear, a walrus and a couple of penguins. The attached tagline is smart too, “Engineered for a lower impact on the environment,” after which the ad reminds the viewer that Fiat — with 133.7 grams of C02 per kilometer on average — is the brand with the lowest carbon emissions in all of Europe.

Only thing missing is a disclaimer that no actual endangered species were harmed during the ad’s production. Check out the images in the gallery below.

Huge demand for 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

June 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

2010 Chevrolet Camaro fq

A report that is bound to make GM’s new owners happy is that Camaro supply cant match demand, and buyers are paying more than the list price to get their hands on one. Dealers have placed orders for 25000 cars, so far only half have been supplied, no doubt due to interruptions relating to GM’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

On average buyers are paying $500 USD above the recommended retail price to get the keys to one. When you consider the current state of the US economy, this is a fantastic sign. With Transformers 2 currently in cinemas, demand is bound to get even stronger.

First Great Wall models go on sale in NZ

June 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Great Wall ute1

Great Wall Motors is the first Chinese car manufacturer to debut in the New Zealand and Australian markets after its dealer launch in Sydney last week.

Two twin-cab utilities, the V240 in both 4×2 and 4×4 configurations and the SA220 in 4×2 only, are the first Great Wall models to be released onto the New Zealand market.

The V240 4×2 will sell in New Zealand for $26,990 plus on road costs with the 4×4 option costing $3,000 extra, while the SA220 will sell for $21,990 plus on road costs. Both vehicles offer buyers equipment levels that include electric windows, alloy wheels, leather trimmed seats and air conditioning and a new car at a second-hand price.

Great Wall vehicles will be sold and supported initially in New Zealand by a network of six dealers and have a three year/100,000km warranty. Ateco Automotive, the Auckland and Sydney-based importer, has been negotiating to bring Great Wall to New Zealand for over three years. According to the Managing Director of Ateco Australia, Ric Hull, “Great Wall is one of ChinaŸs leading car makers and it has been consistently at the top of its domestic car market with its Ute and SUV models. “This year China will make and sell more vehicles than any other country in the world. Every mainstream car and component manufacturer is represented there. Access to technology is virtually unlimited. ChinaŸs car industry has come a long way in a very short time,” he said. “From day one we have been thoroughly impressed with Great Wall.

Great WallŸs New Zealand consumer website, www.greatwallauto.co.nz will be live from next Wednesday July 1.

Jaguar/Land Rover costs Tata Motors billions

June 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover Discovery4 fq

India’s Tata Motors has recently reported a net loss of $520 million USD (25.05 billion rupees) for the fiscal year ending in March of 2009. Over the same period one year earlier, Tata managed to earn 21.68 billion rupees in profit. Why the big change? Naturally, the global economic crisis has struck the automaker, but the main problem is the relatively poor performance of Jaguar and Land Rover, purchased from Ford last year with the help of a $3 billion USD bridge loan.

The fact that Jaguar Land Rover was responsible for $504 million of that $520 million total loss means that more job cuts and plant shutdowns are in store for the struggling British pair. Tata’s Vice Chairman Ravi Kant said, “We have sent people on sabbatical, gone for cheaper low-cost country sourcing and tight control in cash flows, and are assisting JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) for a major belt tightening.”

Earlier this month, reports suggested that Tata was in search of some $1.5 billion USD in cash and underwriting to pump straight into its JLR operations.

Toyota Supra replacement still alive

June 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

TOYOTA FT-HS 1

Despite the downturn the automotive industry has experienced lately, recent reports suggest that Toyota’s Supra replacement the FT-HS Hybrid Sports Car Concept is taking shape. While the concept debuted back in 2007, it has laid low since. That was until recently, when word came out that the FT-HS might see production in 2011.

Likely to be available in two versions, it is rumoured that one will be powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine, while the other will receive the Lexus GS450h’s 3.5-litre V6 and Toyota Crown hybrid electric drive system, with power figures around the 400hp mark. With the performance arm of Toyota staying relatively quiet of late, we hope news of the iconic Supra replacement beginning to take a production shape is more than just talk.

Lewis Hamilton vs Steve McQueen ‘Duel’ – video conclusion

June 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

hamilton vs mcqueen

The concluding video in ‘The Duel’ from watch company Tag Heuer sees F1 champion Lewis Hamilton taking on racer and actor Steve McQueen on the Le Mans track that made McQueen famous. Using editing techniques and camera tricks the pair are put together on the screen for an impossible race.

As a shrewd marketing ploy the first video invited the viewer to guess whether the ‘icon’, Steve McQueen, or the ‘virtuoso’, Lewis Hamilton would win (click here to see video). Now, this follow up video answers the question, but considering that McQueen is driving his 1970 Porsche 908 and Lewis Hamilton is in his modern-day Formula 1 car, you might think that the winner is obvious. But thanks to movie magic, McQueen and Hamilton slug it out in a tight battle.

Three lucky winners who guessed the right outcome at TAG Heuer’s site each received their choice of a Monaco watch, a signed Lewis Hamilton helmet or a test drive in a Formula 1 race car. Check out the video below to see who won the fictitious race.

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