No. 743,
April 16, 2014

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On The Table



Mary Barra. Editor-in-Chief's Note: Okay, the "concerned Queen Mother" persona has run its course. Mary Barra had no business speaking at that Automotive Forum in New York yesterday. Why? Because the more she talks, while offering zero new information to the same questions, the worse it gets. I knew departed PR "Hack in Chief" Selim Bingol had absolutely nothing of value to offer Ms. Barra, but she's clearly getting the wrong advice at this juncture in this ignition interlock mess. She needs to sit down and stop talking, unless and until she has something substantive and enlightening to say. Please. - PMD

Editor-in-Chief's Note: The news that Selim Bingol is out as GM's PR Chief wasn't a huge surprise, in fact I predicted it would happen in "On The Table" back in January. Bingol was brought in by Ed Whitacre from AT&T (he was Whitacre's PR bag man there) and then when "Big Ed" pronounced GM "fixed" and took his leave, Bingol attached himself to Dan "Captain Queeg" Akerson and proceeded to do The Unctuous Prick's bidding from then on. Never known for his PR savvy, Bingol spent his entire tenure learning the nuances of the automotive PR profession while on the job. And it didn't work out well. Not that Bingol had it easy, what with Akerson regularly pissing off employees and the media alike with his relentless cluelessness and blunderbuss style, but Bingol didn't do himself any favors by taking his boss's belligerent style too close to heart and becoming an Unctuous Prick himself. Needless to say, he won't be missed. - PMD

Editor-in-Chief's Note: It's good to see that Mercedes-Benz has finally - finally - figured out that the company's impeccable and historic heritage counts for absolutely everything in differentiating the brand from everyone else. After years of wandering around the automotive desert trying to make the brand more approachable with a series of pathetic executions that were so far beneath the brand it was laughable, and after years of struggling to come up with something that could even approach "Engineered Like No Other car In The World" - let alone top it - this new commercial for the all- new 2014 S-Class - "Four Words" - nails their new theme "The Best Or Nothing" perfectly. Watch it here. - PMD

(Photos courtesys of Ford)
To commemorate five decades of Mustang heritage, Ford announced the Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition today at the New York Auto Show. Based on the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang GT fastback, the limited-edition Mustang will be available in either Wimbledon White (just like Mustang serial No. 0001) or Kona Blue - both of which are exclusive to this car. With nearly every available option standard, the only choice customers have to make is color, and either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Powered by the upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine delivering more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, every 50 Year Limited Edition will be equipped with the Mustang GT performance pack that includes six-piston Brembo front brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels with high-performance Y-speed-rated Pirelli P-Zero summer tires. “When Mustang was approved for development more than 50 years ago, I don’t think anyone imagined it would spawn such a dedicated base of fans around the world and still be in production today,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “We are thrilled to be here in New York – where Mustang was first shown to the public at the 1964 World’s Fair – to re-create that historic event for today’s Mustang enthusiasts.” Only 1,964 examples of the 50 Year Limited Edition will ever be built when it goes on sale this fall.

(Images courtesy of Chevrolet/newspressUSA)
Chevrolet will unveil the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible at the New York Auto Show. “The Z06 Convertible is a world-class supercar in every sense,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development. “Only a handful of convertibles in the world bring more than 600 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Even fewer can match the advanced technologies, aerodynamic design, and visceral driving experience of the Z06 Convertible.”

The aluminum structure is 20 percent stiffer than the previous, fixed-roof Z06 Corvette. And since there are no structural reinforcements needed for the Z06 Convertible, its curb weight is nearly identical to the Z06 Coupe. They Corvette Z06 Convertible also shares the same chassis tuning, powertrain output, driver technologies and equipment options – including the Z07 Performance Package - which adds Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and adjustable front and rear aerodynamic components.

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Porsche has made a killing selling 911 Turbo convertibles to the well-heeled for years. It's good to see that GM's True Believers have finally convinced marketing that they should be doing the same. Even in the incredibly dark days of the ignition switch fiasco, at least GM's Chevrolet division has the hottest sports car in the world to talk about. - PMD

The 2015 Corvette Z06 is powered by the all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8, which is expected to deliver at least 625 horsepower (466 kW) and 635 lb-ft of torque (861 Nm). The engine has Direct injection, Active Fuel Management - or cylinder deactivation - and continuously variable valve timing.

The Z06 Corvette Convertible comes with two seating choices: a GT seat for all-around comfort, and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering, which provides greater support on the track. A magnesium frame structure for both seats provides greater rigidity and strength compared with steel frames.

Compared to the Corvette Stingray, the Corvette Z06 fenders are 2.2 inches (56 mm) wider at the front, and 3.15 inches (80 mm) at the rear. It incorporates the same taillamp assemblies as the Stingray, but on the Z06 the taillamps are pushed approximately three inches farther apart, toward to edges of the body.

Speaking of other good news for the True Believers at GM, Chevrolet is touting that it has been America's best-selling performance car brand for four consecutive years. We don't care about vacuous, bullshit claims like that - as in really stupid - but the fact that you can buy the Chevrolet SS sedan, Corvette Z06 and Camaro Z/28 right now in Chevrolet showrooms is a very good thing.

introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows in concept form, the all-new Lexus NX crossover will be revealed at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on April 20. It is the brand’s first entry into the luxury compact crossover segment and it offers the first turbo in the Lexus lineup. The NX will also be offered in naturally aspirated and hybrid powertrains. Powertrains will vary by region. The U.S. market will offer the NX 200t turbo and NX 300h hybrid. The NX 200t F SPORT will also be available with unique exterior and interior features.

The 2015 Nissan Murano "Resets The Standard In The Midsize Crossover Segment With Breakthrough Design, Premium Interior And Purposeful Technology" according to Nissan. Wow, really? We'll see. They're showing it in New York this week.

(Aston Martin)

Aston Martin has unveiled a new package at the New York International Auto Show this week that, according to Aston Martin PR boffins, is "Making the Aston Martin brand more accessible to sports car enthusiasts than ever before..." (Meaning, we are desperate to get some of that ca$h going to Porsche because of the 911.) The new 2015 Vantage GT "combines race-honed dynamics and looks with a new sub-$100,000 price entry point" and comes in Coupe or Roadster form, both delivering 430HP and a top speed of 190 MPH. You can shift yourself with the six-speed manual, or go with a seven-speed Sportshift II automated manual transmission. New interior features and materials include machined carbon sill plaques, black magnesium paddle-shifts or carbon fiber gearshift surround; satin chrome rotaries; a leather (or Alcantara) steering wheel with contrasting on-center stitch feature; seat and door inserts in technical Plissè Alcantara and unique seat trim. Distinctive Aston Martin sports seats as first seen on the V12 Vantage S are also included. Priced from $99,900 RRP, first deliveries of the new Vantage GT will begin in quarter three to North American customers.
The Audi exclusive RS 7 dynamic edition makes its debut at the New York International Auto Show this week. The Audi exclusive RS 7 dynamic edition combines all of the performance of the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo, 560HP V8-powered RS 7, including the DRC suspension, along with elements of the exclusive customization program. The Black Valcona leather seats have the RS specific honeycomb stitch in Crimson Red matching the safety belts of the same color. Additional Crimson Red stitching can be found on the dashboard, gear shifter boot, center and door armrests as well as along the center console. The Crimson Red accents combine with carbon fiber inlays for even more of a custom look. The exterior is highlighted by Tornado Red brake calipers with RS 7 logo and 21-inch Gloss Black wheels, along with a carbon fiber splitter, diffuser and carbon fiber engine cover. Four exterior colors are available: Ibis White, Suzuka Gray metallic, Daytona Gray pearl and Phantom pearl. The RS 7 goes from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. MSRP including destination and delivery is $146,045 and it will be available at Audi dealers this summer.

(Photos courtesy of Infiniti)
Infiniti says that its new 2015 Q70 is "Sleeker, longer, smarter." Longer, lower, wider has been done before, apparently. "Its evocative design, class-leading rear space, invigorating performance, innovative technology and superior craftsmanship combine to make the new Q70 a strong offering in this category," say Infiniti's PR minions. They also say that it's "brimming with personality." Well, alrighty then! The bigger news here? Infiniti is introducing a long wheelbase variant, as well as the regular version, to the US and other markets. "The additional 5.9 inches in the wheelbase not only increases the knee and leg space in the back but also greatly augments the athletic presence of the sedan." Huh?
(Image courtesy of Audi)
The 2015 Audi A3 TDI Sportback will arrive in the U.S. In the summer of 2015. Why are they showing it at the New York International Auto Show this week? Well, probably because they basically got nothin' much to talk about at the show. At any rate, Audi says that, "The A3 TDI Sportback is a premium, compact hatchback that pairs fuel efficiency and coupe-like looks with the utility of a crossover. Its quality engineering and advanced features offer ideal performance and functionality along with advanced technology and driving dynamics." We're all pleased and proud.