Aston Martin forced to scale down Rapide production

June 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

While some experts will say the worst of the global recession is over, it’s still doing damage in many key areas – supercars included. The latest injury to this exclusive car market is Aston Martin’s Rapide sports sedan which is struggling to achieve the sales that were expected.

According to recent reports, production of the Rapide is being slashed to 25 cars per week, that’s 1,250 per year. When the four-door was released it was expected to sell at least 2,000 units a year. Considering that the British carmakers annual production load is around 8,000 cars a year total, the Rapide’s poor sales are having an affect on Aston Martin. Continue reading “Aston Martin forced to scale down Rapide production” »

Chevrolet sells five million Camaro muscle cars

June 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Once it was reintroduced into the American market in 2009 the latest-generation Chevrolet Camaro began selling faster than party pills. Now the Camaro model line can celebrate a milestone that spans all the way back to its original 1967 version.

General Motors has just built the five-millionth example of its Camaro, but surprisingly few of the total amount of cars produced are the current generation. Only 225,844 of the total 5 million sales come from the 2010-2011 model. The remaining 4,774,156 models arrived in the years between 1967 and 2002.

As for the landmark five millionth vehicle, it’s a fairly modest example. Built at GM’s Oshawa plant the Camaro is a 1LS Coupe in black with the 3.6-litre V6 engine, a six-speed manual trans and steel wheels. The owner of this special machine is located in Kentucky, USA and paid $24,700 USD for the car.

Aston Martin puts stunning V12 Zagato on show (+video)

May 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Aston Martin announced it was working in with Italian design house Zagato on a new project it got car fans everywhere excited. Now that the end result has been unveiled we can confirm that the new machine is a dead set stunner.

Named the Aston Martin V12 Zagato, this elegantly-curved beauty has been debuted at Italy’s Lake Como on the way to last weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. Built in celebration of a 50-year long working relationship between Aston Martin and Zagato, the new model draws inspiration from its classic 1961 DB4 GT ancestor.

Apparently, the V12 Zagato takes design cues from not just the DB4GT, but also the other collaborations including DB7 Zagato and V8 Vantage Zagato cars. Finished with a subtle double-bubble roof the hand-crafted aluminum body is painted in a deep shade of blood orange.

“The V12 Zagato is an elegant yet brutal design which reflects the great balance between race performance and pure Aston Martin style,” said Aston Martin director of design Marek Reichmann. “The original DB4GT Zagato was a true icon, powerful and graceful; the new design is a true representation of the spirit of DB4GT Zagato,” he continued. Continue reading “Aston Martin puts stunning V12 Zagato on show (+video)” »

New Lotus Esprit on track for 2013 but Elan is delayed

May 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus sure came out swinging at last year’s Paris Motor Show, it revealed a gang of five different concept cars and spoke of grand ambitious for the coming years. The five concept vehicles that were revealed include the striking new Elan (pictured), Elise, Elite, Esprit and Eterne. Not much has been heard since until fresh news out of Lotus with updates on two of them.

Of all the concepts it is the new Esprit halo car which is receiving Lotus’ main attention. The new flagship model is still on track to arrive in production form by 2013. By comparison, the new Elan has been severely postponed and may not be seen before the end of 2016. Why? The fault may lay with the Lotus Evora.

Lotus had planned to shut down Evora production so that it could give way to the Elan but now, company management has decided that the Evora will receive a longer “traditional model cycle” with the possibility of a second-generation. If the Evora does continue into its next generation, it will put the Elan’s entire existence into question. Continue reading “New Lotus Esprit on track for 2013 but Elan is delayed” »

Perena Z-One by Zagato to finally enter production

May 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Zagato has been one busy Italian design house in recent times with new and upcoming models like its smoking hot TZ3 Stradale, and the much anticipated work it’s doing with Aston Martin.

Now, it would appear that another sexy Zagato-bodied sports car can is set to join the party. If the reports are to be believed the Perena Z-One concept is now ready for production and UK delivers will commence later this year.

The Z-One is a dead set stunner and car enthusiasts may recall it debuted back in March 2009 at the Geneva Motor Show. It was a stand out concept at the show, but has since fallen off the radar. Apparently, the custom chassis on the Z-One has been set up by Lee Noble – the man behind a variety of cottage-industry sportscars wearing names like Ultima, Ascari, Rosion, Fenix and, naturally, the Noble brand itself. The Perena Z-One will be powered by a 442-hp GM LS3 V8 and with that sort of motor, performance will be brisk.

Expect more details to be released shortly.

Toyota’s profits drop 77% after Japan earthquake

May 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Like all Japanese carmakers, Toyota has been severely affected by the March 11 earthquake that saw huge damage and loss of life in Japan.

Despite plant shutdowns the world’s largest carmaker still announced profits of $314 million USD for the first three months of 2011, down 77 percent versus the same period in 2010. The $314 million profit is only a fourth of what analysts were expecting Toyota to make. With very low sales through the quarter, profits have been affected as a result.

While the announcement is disappointing for Toyota, things are set to get worse with even lower numbers expected for the period through to June. Supply issues are still hurting Toyota, with many plants running at only 50-percent capacity and some not running at all. These supply issues will see less stock being shipped to big markets like the U.S. and China which will lead to much lower revenue.

Toyota is fighting hard and says that production should ramp up to 70 percent of capacity by June, which is ahead of previous estimates. Continue reading “Toyota’s profits drop 77% after Japan earthquake” »

Jaguar sending C-X75 hybrid supercar into production

May 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar has officially confirmed that its striking and environmentally friendly C-X75 supercar prototype will be taken into production.

The hybrid model first debuted as a concept at the Paris Motor Show last year and many thought that’s as far as it would go, but Jaguar have other ideas. The C-X75 is a hybrid supercar that produces less than 99g/km of CO2 emissions but for performance can rival the best supercars in the world and boasts a top speed of over 322 km/h (200mph).

The C-X75 will be an all-wheel drive machine with a “downsized, highly-boosted petrol engine coupled with two powerful electric motors,” says Jaguar, although the automaker is staying tight-lipped with any more details than that.

Jaguar will team up with the Williams F1 team to build the C-X75 and with Formula 1 preparing to switch to four-cylinder engines by 2013, it is possible that the C-X75’s powertrain will use similar or the same technology being developed for the Williams F1 team.

As a concept car the C-X75 used four 145-kW electric motors (one at each wheel) with two small turbine engines to create electrical current. But the production C-X75 will likely opt for a more conventional setup. Continue reading “Jaguar sending C-X75 hybrid supercar into production” »

New Viper to have stability control and 2012 production

April 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge has just released a teaser image of its next generation, 2013 Viper, pictured above.

Looks just like the old Viper? Well, sadly it is, the car in the photo is actually a test mule for the 2013 Dodge Viper, built on a 2010 chassis. This teaser image was taken during a cold weather testing session for the Viper’s new stability control system. Along with the image came the announcement that Dodge will equip the next-gen Viper with stability control, which should be one of many advancements for the long-serving model.

Few other details have been released so far on the much anticipated Viper but word is that it will come out with between 600 and 700 horsepower but engine size and induction remains unknown.

The car manufacturer announced that the future Dodge Viper will come on the market towards the end of 2012, when it will compete in the “Super Car Olympics”. Continue reading “New Viper to have stability control and 2012 production” »