Bob King, UAW. Editor-in-Chief's Note: To the UAW apologists who are pointing to the slim margin of victory for the anti-UAW vote in Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant (712-626) as something to build on, I hate to break it to you but it's all over but the whimpering and the whining. Bob King and his minions mustered everything they had over the last two years to get the UAW in that plant. And after all of that muscling and cajoling they still came up short. It was not only a referendum on the future of the UAW - now officially classified as "toast" - it was a stinging rebuke to the reputation of "Detroit" and the denizens of the domestic automobile industry, because it should be a sobering reminder that outside of this region there are still lingering attitudes that suggest that the domestic automobile business and the UAW are inextricably linked. And that is as far away from being a good thing as you can possibly get. If the domestic automobile industry - aka "Detroit" - ever wants to be a positive part of the discussion, it will have to jettison its conjoined legacy with the UAW once and for all. And the UAW needs to be relegated to the dustbin of automotive history posthaste. - PMD
The new McLaren 650S will join McLaren's product line consisting of the 12C and already sold-out McLaren P1™. The new machine will be available as a fixed-head coupé or as a Spider, with a retractable folding hard top. The McLaren 650S "promises to redefine the high performance supercar segment, and has been designed and developed to provide the ultimate in driver engagement on the road and on the race track," according to McLaren PR operatives. The 650S is so named for the power output – 650PS (641 bhp) – of its British-built McLaren M838T twin turbo V8 engine. "S" stands for "Sport" in case you were wondering.
The McLaren 650S is designed to be "the best and most engaging driver’s car in its class, yet it is not a stripped out road racer," according to McLaren. Ride comfort and refinement are to executive sedan standards. (Hmmm, we kind of doubt that, but hey, it's their press release.) The McLaren 650S models are equipped with IRIS satellite navigation with Bluetooth telephony, DAB digital radio (SIRIUS satellite radio in North America), wireless tethering, audio streaming and voice control as standard, while also offering enhanced levels of optional specification than previously offered. Options include fixed-back carbon racing seats, based on the lightweight design found in the McLaren P1™, an electric steering column adjustment assisting ingress and egress, a rear parking camera and extended carbon fiber throughout the interior.
McLaren says that the aerodynamic performance of the McLaren 650S is as efficient as the 12C, boasting the same drag coefficient figure, "yet the air is being worked harder and more efficiently as it flows over, and through, the functional bodywork." At 150 mph, downforce levels are increased by 24 percent, according to the manufacturer. "As always with McLaren, the new design is there for good engineering reasons," says McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. "The newly designed front bumper improves downforce and steering turn-in. The high speed handling balance is now even better. The LED lights use less power and last longer." The McLaren Airbrake, originally fitted to the 12C and 12C Spider and designed to offer optimized levels of down force on the rear of the car, now operates with a greater level of functionality providing increased stability. The newly developed system means the Airbrake deploys whenever the car senses extra down force is advisable – rather than simply under braking or when manually operated in "Aero" mode. Below the Airbrake, a distinctive rear three-piece bumper, similar to the GT3 racing version of the 12C, compliments the aerodynamic shaping of the McLaren 650S.
The unique side intakes behind the dihedral doors feed large, efficiently packaged radiators, which help provide the cooling requirements of the mid-mounted, compact engine. A new design five-spoke lightweight forged "650S" alloy wheel is unique to the model, and is fitted with Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa tires to offer optimized road holding, handling and driver feedback, says McLaren. The bespoke ‘MC1’ branded tires have been developed alongside the McLaren 650S by McLaren technology partner Pirelli.The global reveal of the McLaren 650S Coupé and Spider will take place on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at the 84th International Geneva Motor Show.
The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is one serious piece of high-performance hardware. Designed for road racing - just like the original - the new Z/28 has a number of features and details that make it the most potent Camaro ever built, including: A 505HP 7.0L LS7 V8 engine with 481 lb-ft of torque and a dry sump oiling system; a close-ratio TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter; a zero-preload limited-slip differential featuring a limited-slip differential with a helical gear set rather than traditional clutch packs; a rear differential cooler; a curb weight of 3,820 pounds - which is 300 pounds less than the ZL1 and about 55 pounds less than the 1LE - giving the Z/28 a power-to-weight ratio of 7.6:1 – or one horsepower for every 7.6 pounds of the car’s mass, which compares favorably to other performance coupes, including Audi RS 5 (8.9:1), BMW M3 (8.9:1) and Porsche 911 Carrera (8.7:1); a unique front fascia, front splitter, hood air extractor, rocker moldings and wheel flare moldings and a rear spoiler "wickerbill"; front wheelhouse liners and a belly pan for enhanced aero performance; thinner rear glass; a lightweight rear seat; lightweight 19" alloy wheels with Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires; Brembo carbon ceramic brake rotors; air conditioning delete (you can have it as an option); an open air box intake system; a track-capable fuel system; active dual-mode exhaust system; a front strut tower brace; uprated front and rear suspension bits and trick dampers supplied by Multimatic and advanced Performance Traction Management. GM says the new Z/28 is capable of 1.08 g in cornering acceleration and1.5 g in deceleration. “Like the first-generation Z/28, the new model is a road racer first and foremost. It features a wide range of state-of-the-art exterior performance modifications, and weight-reduction measures. It was bred for the track, pure and simple,” said Mark Stielow, Camaro Z/28 engineering manager.
(Images courtesy of Ford)
The new 2015 Ford Expedition will utilize the Ford 3.5-liter, direct-injected, twin-turbo EcoBoost® V6 as the only engine available, feature advanced technology like Blind Spot Information System® with cross-traffic alert, electric power-assisted steering, SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, available suspension damping to improve passenger comfort; and a new high-trim Platinum series. A King Ranch edition will be offered later. The new Expedition will launch later this year.
Audi is introducing the S3 Cabriolet at the Geneva International Motor Show. The Audi S3 Cabriolet is powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine delivering 221 kW (300 hp) between 5,500 rpm and 6,200 rpm and produces 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm. With S tronic the open-top four-seater accelerates to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.4 seconds, according to Audi. The top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) is limited electronically. The new Audi will arrive in dealerships in Germany this summer.
(Aston Martin The Americas/newspressUSA)
Aston Martin is unveiling two new special editions in Geneva. The first is the V8 Vantage N430. Available in coupe or roadster configuration, the N430 is powered by a front mid-mounted, 4.7-liter, all-alloy, quad overhead cam, dry-sumped V8 engine, which delivers 436 PS at 7,300 rpm. That power feeds the rear wheels through a sporty six-speed manual gearbox. A close-ratio seven-speed Sportshift™ II automated manual transmission with short final-drive ratio is optional. Other goodies? A sport exhaust and a competition-derived braking system, as well as carbon fiber and Kevlar® seats and ten-spoke forged alloy wheels in a new graphite painted finish. Priced from £89,995 RRP, first deliveries of the new N430 are expected to begin in the fall.
(Aston Martin The Americas/newspressUSA)
Also to be unveiled in Geneva are the Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Black and Carbon White special editions. Both packages have lightweight carbon fiber features including carbon fiber side strakes, and black window surrounds, because, you know, you just can't get enough of that. Both packages also include sill plaques with the Carbon Black or Carbon White logo on them so you can be reminded that you were suckered into paying for a special edition that really isn't all that special every time you get in the car.
Letter from L.A.
By Tom Pease
Beverly Hills. One of the problems plaguing the auto Industry is the same one that's plaguing every industry out there: the fact that they have to go up against "the street" that expects them to have quarter-over-quarter growth and goes nuts downgrading the stock if they don't. For instance, if Apple doesn't hit what "the street" thinks it should, they downgrade. What these people don't seem to realize is that once you've bought one of these "durable goods" you don't NEED to buy one for a long period of time, and the better made the product is the longer that period is. For instance, in the past 15 years I had 5 work computers (unnamed PC), but 2 personal Apple Laptops, and the only reason I got rid of the first was that it had a 20 gig hard drive (which a coworker said was a waste of money since I'd "never fill it" - then iTunes came out.) Having written that, it's exactly that quality that keeps me buying Apple and not that other PC maker my employer kept purchasing over and over.
The days when cars dissolved into salt rust in two years are long gone. You can keep a car for a very long time these days, only getting rid of it either when you A.) feel like a change, B.) absolutely fall in love with a new model, C.) go off lease or D.) have kept it so long that the repairs and maintenance don't make economic sense. Cars and computers are not milk or hamburgers. They don't have an expiration date and they don't get digested. People might get a new iPhone when their contract is up and their carrier is offering them one for $99 with a new one. They're probably not going to do that with a 2 year-old car that cost the better part of the average American's yearly income.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the car companies have to realize that they can't start doing the incentive dance the minute their cars don't hit the numbers they thought they might. They might want to stop telling people the numbers they think they will sell. It's the automotive equivalent of flop sweat. As you pointed out, it says to the buyer that they're shopping cars at Filene's Bargain Basement - come back next week and it'll be an extra 10% off if it's still in stock.
It's also like chum in the waters for those sharks from "the street" who are just waiting to downgrade your stock.