Drive Type: REAR WHEEL
Turlock, California, United States
We've been on the fence with NASCAR for some time now. On one hand, it's some of the closest racing anywhere in motorsports, with actual passing and door-handle-to-door-handle action as a matter of course. But on the other, it's become template racing - a personality-driven sport more about the drivers than any sort of loyalty to a particular automaker. The Car Of Tomorrow format really rammed that message home, with a racecar's identity coming down to little more than headlamp stickers slapped on the nose. That's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but we've wondered for some time what's in it for the automakers, who pay big money to stay in a series that has had little increasingly little do with street car sales, let alone innovation.
Apparently General Motors was beginning to wonder the same thing. In a new ESPN report, Rick Hendrick, team owner of Hendrick Motorsports, suggests that GM would have seriously considered leaving NASCAR if it wasn't for the move away from the COT to the new Gen 6 racer. According to Hendrick, GM North America boss Mark Reuss spearheaded the charge away from the 2007 COT and toward a racecar with clearer automaker ties - cars like the new Chevrolet SS racer shown above. Learn more about the fight for a closer-to-production look in the ESPN story at the link.
Now, if we could just get more rear-wheel drive V8 coupes into showrooms....
Ward's Auto has taken an interesting look at the renewed focus General Motors is showing towards Cadillac in Europe. Susan Docherty, president and managing director of Chevrolet and Cadillac in Europe (pictured), says in order for the luxury brand to thrive in China, it first needs to succeed in the old country. The reason? Chinese buyers look to Europe for cues as to what's deemed worthy of the term "luxury." There are hurdles to the plan, however. In addition to the fact that the EU is flooded with high-end nameplates, GM doesn't necessarily have the distribution network in place to put buyers behind the wheel.
Combine that with persistent economic woes and Cadillac's checkered past marred by a lack of diesel engine options and a bankrupt distributor, and the road ahead for the brand looks like less of an uphill climb and more like a straight-up cliff face. But Docherty is optimistic and says she has a plan for the brand. We recommend heading over to Ward's for a closer look at the full read.
The next Chevrolet Cruze isn't set to go into production for about another year, and we're just now seeing prototypes of the new compact running around here in the States. Not much more has been revealed since we saw the car blasting through the snow in Europe, but we can still clearly see new design elements like the larger grille, slimmer headlamps and redesigned taillamps.
Our spy photographers worked up a composite image of this Cruze prototype alongside the current model, and here, we can clearly see some big visual changes are in store for the new model. The 2015 Cruze's hood slopes downward more dramatically, the windshield is more heavily raked, and the roofline looks more fluid overall. The next-generation Cruze will ride on the new global Delta platform that will also underpin other General Motors vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Equinox.
As for what's under the hood, we expect the normal range of gasoline four-cylinder engines (both naturally aspirated and turbocharged), and the compact's new turbodiesel four should carry over, as well. Have a look at the full brace of spy photos in the gallery above.