Chrysler 300C wagon faces extinction

October 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Some said it looks like a hearse others said it was the ugliest thing they’ve seen since Paul Holmes went on Dancing with the Stars – it’s the Chrysler 300C wagon. Although it never appealed to all tastes it did gain a substantial following and there will be some that are sad to hear that a wagon variant won’t be offered with the new 300C model.

Chrysler-Lancia CEO Saad Chebab said in a recent interview that the 300C wagon’s sales in the States weren’t enough to justify the development costs of a five-door version of the platform. Apparently the 300C Touring had proved more popular in the U.K and Europe than it did in the States. Continue reading “Chrysler 300C wagon faces extinction” »

Mazda ends production of RX-8 sports car

August 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has ended the manufacture of its RX-8 sports car and subsequently finished mass production of the rotary engine. While the news may come as a shock to rotary fans it may not be the end of the road for the hard-spinning motor.

Unofficial reports are stating that the final RX-8 rolled off the production line last month and the remaining stock should be sold by the end of this year.

The RX-8’s demise into extinction didn’t happen suddenly and has been on the cards since Mazda stopped offering the car in Europe last year. The RX-8 couldn’t make the grade with the stricter EU emission standards and was sent packing. Over in the States, Mazda sold just 1,134 of the models last year and 2011 has been even slower.

It’s a tough end for a car that was coveted and admired when it launched back in 2003. The best sales year for the RX-8 was 2004 when it sold 23,690 units. It’s hung on as the last in the long line of rotary-powered sports machines that started back in 1971 with the RX-2, continued through the years with the successful RX-7, which lasted for three generations, and ultimately ended with the sharp-handling RX-8. Continue reading “Mazda ends production of RX-8 sports car” »

Toyota’s Top to Bottom NZ off-road adventure reaches the Bluff

June 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota NZ’s FJ Cruiser ‘Top to Bottom’ off-road adventure reached the Bluff on Monday, concluding the adventure for Marc Ellis and his support crew. The special journey was part of 60th Anniversary celebrations for Toyota’s iconic Land Rover and included two weeks trawling over 4,980 kilometres of rugged off road country.

In typical Land Cruiser fashion the new, retro-inspired vehicle survived in good nick, except for a healthy caking of mud, a cracked windscreen, one blown tyre, and a some dog wee where the farm dogs from Molesworth Station got a bit over excited as they checked out the inside of the FJ Cruiser.

The off-road challenge, with Marc Ellis at the helm of a specially fitted-out new FJ Cruiser, restarted on 15 May at Puhoi, north of Auckland, and journeyed through Waikato, King Country, Taranaki, Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago. Continue reading “Toyota’s Top to Bottom NZ off-road adventure reaches the Bluff” »