July 4, 2012
Editor-in-Chief's Note: We are taking a break this week in honor of this country's Independence Day. We'd like to thank all of the men and women in the military around the world who help keep this nation free, and we'll see you back here next week with a new issue of AE. You can find me on twitter (@PeterMDeLorenzo), however, as I occasionally provide 140-character bursts of commentary over the course of this week. - PMD
(Photos courtesy of McLaren Automotive)
McLaren Automotive has announced the launch of its second model in the MP4-12C family. The new 12C Spider starts with the same high-performance offered in the 3.8-liter, 616 bhp twin-turbo V8 MP4-12C and adds a unique folding roof system that may be operated while on the move up to 30kph (19mph). A clear view of the 12C Spider’s engine is available through a glass screen positioned behind the tonneau cover. Check out the McLaren 12C Spider configurator launched online at: www.configure.mclaren.com
American Drivers. The price of gas goes up, the price of gas goes down. We're now expecting to see the lowest gas prices in years due to struggling economies around the world and the fact that the U.S. has stepped-up its own production of oil. Will it last? It's anyone's guess, but we wouldn't bank on it.
Carlos Ghosn. He may wander away from his post in eighteen months or so, after juggling two huge global jobs at Renault and Nissan. But going from 24/7 to nothing? We're not so sure he's ready for that.
The Next Corvette. The rumblings from within are that GM designers have "hit one out of the park" with the seventh-generation Corvette. We shall see, but we'd be shocked if it sucked. The Corvette is one car GM Design definitely knows how to do.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Cadillac is pulling out all the stops to make its new ATS worthy of serious consideration in the sport sedan segment. Get their thinking about the new car here. - PMD
The baddest truck in captivity - the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor - gets juiced-up for 2013. Ford is offering industry-exclusive beadlock-capable wheels to help increase grip in low-traction conditions, which is a big deal because it marks the first application of a wheel that has both conventional and beadlock-mounting abilities – a solution so innovative that Ford has filed for a patent on the system. “Raptor’s exclusive beadlock wheels give the customer the best of both on- and off-road worlds,” said Adam Wirth, SVT chassis engineer. “Tire inflation can be dropped to a very low threshold for maximum traction under extreme conditions, yet holds tight – and stays tight – when returning to the road.” Other good stuff for the Raptor includes HID headlamps, SYNC® with MyFord Touch® and an funky new earth-toned color called Terrain. These new Raptor offerings build on the existing internal triple-bypass FOX Racing Shox™ dampers, Torsen® front differential and front-mounted camera technologies, adding even more high-performance off-road capability. The SVT Raptor is available exclusively with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, producing best-in-class 411 horsepower and 434 lb.-ft. of torque hooked up to an electronic six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode and SelectShift Automatic® functionality. The 4WD system features electronic shift-on-the-fly capability for the transfer case. The front axle features the Torsen differential with 4.10 to 1 gearing. The rear axle is also 4.10 to 1, with an electronic-locking differential. SVT Raptor sales are up 20 percent in 2012, breaking last year’s record in the January to May period.
Ford goes all-in with its new F-150 Limited for 2013. By far the most refined truck in the industry, the F-150 Limited offers standard SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, navigation with SiriusXM® Travel Link™, rain-sensing windshield wipers and high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. Featuring series-specific Limited details on the exterior like dimensional box-side lettering and unique 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, the big news with the F-150 Limited is its sumptuous interior with red and black full-grain leather and genuine aluminum and piano black finishes. “The F-150 Limited signifies the highest levels of design refinement, luxury and technology that we’ve ever offered in a Built Ford Tough pickup truck,” said Ford Group Vice President for Product Development, Raj Nair. The F-150 Limited will arrive at dealerships in the fall.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase is the Race Director’s car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Midnight Sapphire Rolls with a Silver Satin Bonnet features a direct-injected 563-hp V12 and eight-speed automatic transmission. Among the many luxurious highlights of the hand-built interior are hand-stitched leathers in light creme and navy blue, dark wenge wood veneers and a panoramic sunroof. A second Rolls-Royce press car, a Phantom Saloon Series II - which was introduced at this year's Geneva show - will also be at Goodwood, taking part in the Moving Motor Show on June 28.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Our northwest correspondent, David Guyette, reports in about a car sharing service in Portland, or "Portlandia," that has piqued his interest. Check it out. - PMD
By David Guyette
Portland. I read Dr. Bud's report that you are having difficulty obtaining a couple of test hot rods from Ford and GM. Perhaps I can offer a solution?
Introducing the latest evolution of the automobile driving experience. Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing. You've heard of Social Networking. You've heard of File Sharing. You've even heard of Auto Rental. Getaround is a mashup of all three. Hertz meets Napster, meets OkCupid.
Got a car? You can share! Kinda like Wife-Swapping, except you won't have to worry about Nicolas Cage taking a swing at you for suggesting it.
"I'm talkin' about CAR-swapping, HI! Take the monotony out of the monogamous relationship."
Need a car? Don't buy! Car ownership is OVER! How many of us have bought a car, only to find that it depreciated just like our house? Who wants the pain and expense of car repair we can't even attempt without a computer science degree? Instead, meet fun and happy people, and ... while you're at it, take THEIR car!
To be fair, Getaround, the company, promotes themselves differently. They started up earlier this year, and serve the Portland, OR, market. Their flyer is a simple 3-fold page. The centerfold section is entitled 'How it Works', and contains a simple workflow diagram for car owners and renters. Seems simple. On both side sections are factoids and graphic icons to emphasize the benefits of joining. According to literature, each car shared takes 13 cars off the road (how, I don't know). A car owner could offset up to 80% of his annual car ownership costs (but no mention of how many months of the year he must do without use of his own car). The average monthly earnings could be as high as $577.41, enough to buy a round trip ticket to Maui (where you'd presumably have to rent somebody else's car), 2 three-day passes to Disney World (everybody uses the MickeyTram there), or 583 songs from iTunes.
Cars available on Getaround include: classic, exotic, city, electric, pickup, and SUV. Really? I took a tour on their web page. I found a Prius, a Subaru, a Prius, an Explorer, a Prius, another Prius, a Tesla, and finally... a Prius. Yep, got all the automotive food groups there.
It should be pointed out that all the cars posted on the site look clean, desirable, and have been glamor-shot in scenic Portland, next to a forest. Their owners are all smiles and have at least 4 star ratings that beg you to give them a try. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the Tesla. I could drive it for only $50/hr?
Yes. and No. Drill down and note the disclaimers. Minimum rental times, must be mature adult w/ clean driving record. Alright, I can see that country from where I live, but here's what gets me: the technical specifications of such a car. Please note that, depending upon how/where you drive, you'll only go 120-200 miles on a single charge. After that, you'll have to hookup to a 30amp circuit (households are 20amp at best) and recharge for 8-10 hours. How's THAT supposed to work when I've rented the car for an afternoon, and burned thru my charge in 35 minutes? A guy could get stranded up Mt. Hood that way.
Finally, to help you feel more comfortable with renting from Getaround, you should know the people use their Getaround cars for a variety of purposes: weddings, sightseeing, shopping, road trips, and even music videos. Funny, they don't list: 'Bank Robbery', which was the first application that came to my mind.
They also fail to list 'Gonzo road trip to Vegas' as one possible reason to use Getaround. But you never know. These young social media enterprises have a way of growing organically. Perhaps a current or future member could help you and Dr. Bud out?