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Auto Blog

Cadillac tipped to call flagship something other than LTS

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:35:00 EST

Cadillac wouldn't be Cadillac without large sedans in its lineup, and while the XTS has had to hold down that end of the fort all on its own, it won't have to for too long. That's because the luxury brand in the General Motors portfolio is preparing to roll out its new LTS, stylistically previewed by the Elmiraj concept pictured above. Only now, the latest thinking is that the upcoming flagship model may not be called LTS at all.
As Automotive News points out, Cadillac's naming scheme is all over the place at the moment. The ATS slotting below the CTS makes sense (alphabetically), but where do the ELR, SRX and especially the Escalade fit into that naming hierarchy? And how would LTS - as the project has been known until now - sit above the XTS?
Fortunately, Cadillac may be on the case, as two of the division's most recent senior appointments seem keen to rationalize the naming scheme. One is Uwe Ellinghaus, who joined Cadillac as chief marketing officer late last year. Speaking of the brand's nomenclature last spring, Ellinghaus was quoted as saying, "We are aware that this is currently a weakness of the Cadillac brand." And his new boss is bound to agree.

Toyota C-HR hybrid crossover coupe concept leak ahead of Paris

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:43:00 EST

Last week, Toyota previewed an upcoming concept called the C-HR and promised it would debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. It didn't say much more or give us anything beyond a silhouette and the shape of the lights, but here we have the first images of the finalized form.
The C-HR envisions a hybrid crossover coupe with angular styling that looks ready to take on the Nissan Juke. It's far sportier than a RAV4, and looks closer to how we'd imagine the next-generation Scion FR-S would look like if it were riding on a jacked-up suspension - with some show car elements thrown in for good measure, like a gloating roof, radical lighting and the usual absence of door handles and usable wing mirrors.
Of course, this being a Toyota concept, it packs a hybrid powertrain, although specifications did not leak out along with the images. Overall the form looks pretty striking, if decidedly unsubtle. We'll look forward to bringing you more as the Paris show rapidly approaches.

Toyota to ramp up Tacoma production in Mexico by 41%

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 11:04:00 EST

The Toyota Tacoma may be getting on in age, but that isn't stopping the Japanese manufacturer from ramping up production at the pickup's Baja California factory. The Mexican plant will soon be home to another 300 jobs as it increases total capacity by 41 percent. The increase is slated for April 2015.
The move is a curious one, considering the Tacoma's age and the fact that General Motors is preparing what, on the surface, appear to be two very competent challengers. The factory increase could be in preparation for the 2016 Taco (spy photos shown above), which is expected to represent a significant overhaul of the long-serving truck.
Toyota's decision to increase capacity could also be due to the factory building freeze implemented by President Akio Toyoda, according to Automotive News. Toyoda put a hold on new factories until 2016, asking executives to squeeze as much production as possible out of remaining factories before bringing any additional facilities online.

Scion sketches SEMA spread starring Slayer, skateboarder

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:00:00 EST

I was in Nashville last weekend for a friend's bachelor party. It's all rather fuzzy, but I do recall that my friends and I found it hilarious to request Slayer every time one of the country groups on the Broadway strip asked for a specific song to be played. While there were a few good sports, most didn't find it too funny, largely because country music and Slayer don't mix all that well. Actually, Slayer and a lot of things don't mix too well. Like Slayer and Scion, Toyota's slowly withering youth brand.
This mish-mash hasn't prevented the Japanese budget brand from teaming with the metal group for a concept vehicle based on the tC coupe (shown above). If the Slayer link is a bit too extreme, Scion has a more mainstream xB, styled by skateboarder Riley Hawk on the way. Both new vehicles will be shown at the upcoming SEMA show, but Scion has opted to release a pair of sketches of both aftermarket creations ahead of the Las Vegas expo.
It's hard to tell what kind of exterior changes have been made to the tC, although Scion says the cabin now boasts a 32-inch monitor, as well as a heavily revamped stereo. As you can see, it will say "Slayer" on the door, in the band's stylized script.

Fiat Chrysler interested in Piaggio; Mahindra considering Peugeot Motorcycles?

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EST

We're not yet ready to call it a trend, but rumors have been flying that a couple more major automakers have set their sights on motorcycle manufacturers to add to their portfolios. If they do, they'll be following in the footsteps of the Volkswagen Group, which gobbled up Ducati and put it under the Audi brand in its ever-growing stable of nameplates.
According to rumors floating in from Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering bringing the Piaggio , which would likely include Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa, brand under its umbrella. While the automaker is currently denying such rumors, a tie-up wouldn't be without merit. In the eyes of certain financial or some-such experts, since BMW is well-known for both cars and motorcycles, a brand that competes could conceivably add in some two-wheeled flavor in order to truly rival the Bavarian firm on all levels, both on paper and in the minds of consumers.
We've also heard rumors that Daimler has more than a passing interest in MV Agusta, a storied Italian marque that has seen a number of ups and downs over the last several decades, and could conceivably market it as a sub-brand under Mercedes-Benz. And then there's Mahindra, which is said to be taking a long, hard look at Peugeot Motorcycles, the scooter-heavy brand that has been losing money for parent company PSA Peugeot Citroën for the last decade, according to Bloomberg.

Nissan wants an American driver for its Le Mans team

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:01:00 EST



"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up." - Darren Cox
Nissan is aiming to put an American behind the wheel of one of its LMP1 racecars in 2016 as part of plans to grow its motorsports program in the United States.

Weekly Recap: NHTSA searches for answers after Congressional grilling

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:02:00 EST



By the end of the lengthy session, senators had painted the unflattering portrait of a toothless agency in disarray.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a brutal one-two punch from Congress this week for its response to the General Motors ignition-switch scandal.

BMW X5 driver repeatedly fails to understand big rig braking distances

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:00:00 EST

Nobody should be shocked that a big, heavy vehicle like a semi truck takes a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car; it's just basic physics. However, this BMW X5 driver seemingly has a major problem grasping the concept, and it results in some serious damage to the back of his SUV.
The whole incident is very confusing to watch. The BMW doesn't even seem to have a reason to slow down before the semi slams into the back of it at fairly high speed. But to make the situation even weirder, the crashes just keep happening again and again.
To give the BMW driver a little credit, he appears amazingly calm when surveying the damage afterward. But you have to wonder what this guy was thinking when trying a harebrained move like this. Check out the video to watch the carnage unfold.

What you missed on 9.19.14

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:32:00 EST

2015 Ford Mustang first drive
Finally. After drooling over the 2015 Ford Mustang since it first drove onto our screens last year, we've now had the chance to drive Ford's pony car in and around Los Angeles. Jonathon Ramsey focuses on what's most important here, the actual driving dynamics, in his full review. Give it a read, here.
New Cadillac flagship will be built in Detroit

Is Lamborghini readying a hybrid for Paris?

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:58:00 EST

Lamborghini had us seriously stumped when it released its teaser (above) for a new vehicle that'll debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. The image seemed to depict a fastback GT somewhat reminiscent of Lambo's earlier 2+2 models like the Espada, and was accompanied by the sentence, "Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it." We're still not entirely sure what the means, but a possible leaked logo for the car might offer some big hints about its powertrain.
According to the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market in Europe, Lamborghini applied for a trademark on the name Asterion on September 15 to cover vehicles, clothing, toys and video games. The logo (right) included a lightning bolt slashing through the 'O' in the word. That could suggest this forthcoming vehicle is a hybrid, but it's also not clear whether we're going to be hearing about a pure concept, or a production model.
The name itself might also be a tell. Asterion is one of the names for the Minotaur in Greek mythology, which is a creature that is part bull and part man. This could be another indication that the concept combines the traditional Lamborghini style with something else.