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Mitsubishi will stop making cars in Europe

Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

We have some bad news coming from Mitsubishi as the Japanese automaker announced this week that they will be closing their only European assembly plant. This decision has been taken after a very slow last year in terms of sales in Europe where the company managed to sell only 218,000 units which is considerably less then what they did in 2007 when they sold 340,000 cars.

This decision means that the NedCar factory located in Netherlands will be closing down its facilities. The assembly plant was constructed back in 1991 as a joint venture between Mitsubishi, Volvo and the local government. This was the place where cars like the Mitsubishi Carisma, the Volvo S40/V40 and the Mitsubishi Space Star were built.

In March 2001, Mitsubishi became the sole owner of the plant and nowadays it is the place where they make the Outlander SUV and the Colt supermini. In the last month of 2010 Mitsubishi decided that the Colt production will stop at the end of 2012.

Last year at the NedCar factory where 1,500 people work, Mitsubishi rolled out only 50,000 units which is only 1/4 of the factory’s annual capacity of 200,000 cars.

Source: Mitsubishi via Carscoop

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Nelson Racing Engines unveils 1400 HP unit

At the SEMA show this year, the engineers from Nelson Racing Engines have unveiled their twin-turbo V8 10.4-liter engine that develops 1400 hp (1420 PS / 1044 kW) and a maximum torque of 1400 lb.-ft (1896 Nm).

Taking into consideration that Tom Nelson is specialized in manufacturing racing engines, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this one is able to run on racing fuel. When it does, the output of this power unit is an incredible 2300 hp (2332 PS / 1715 kW) and 2100 lb.-ft (2844 Nm) of torque.

This monster engine can be yours if you are willing to spend $52,000.

Source: Nelson Racing Engines via Car & Driver via WCF

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SEMA 2011 – Mopar introduces V10 8.4-liter crate engine

Mopar V10 8.4-liter engine

At SEMA 2011 this week, Mopar has introduced a brand new V10 8.4-liter crate engine that has been specifically developed for drag racing. The power unit is hand assembled and has an aluminum block, a JTEC controller and a forged steel crankshaft. It manages to develop 800 hp (811 PS / 597 kW) and a peak torque of 695 lb.-ft (941 Nm).

If this is a little too much for your tastes, Mopar has also brought a high output version of the Gen III 426 Hemi V8 that unleashes “only” 590 hp (598 PS / 440 kW). This power unit weighs 45 kg (100 lbs) less than its predecessor and features billet fuel rails, cast aluminum valve covers, along with an updated windage tray in order to “provide excellent oil dispersion.”

Source: Mopar via WCF

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2012 European Car Of The Year Award Candidates Announced

For this year’s award for the “European Car of the Year”, 35 candidates are eligible and will participate in the voting process. Just like in the last editions of this award, in order to become eligible the car has to be available now or before the end of the year in at least 5 European countries. Each of these vehicles must have a prospect of at least 5,000 annual sales.

The votes will be casted in two stages by 59 journalists that come from 23 European countries and on January 9th next year they will reveal the short list which will consist of only 7 nominees. The winner will be announced in March.

The organizers of this event have decided to modify the procedure in which they make the announcement of the winner as instead of revealing the results in the last part of November, the organizers have reach an agreement with the people who are in charge of the Geneva Motor Show to reveal the winner in Palexpo each Monday, before the first press day, at 2 PM.

If you remember, the winner last year was the highly acclaimed Nissan Leaf while for this year’s edition, the 35 cars that will battle to grab the award are:

Audi A6
Audi Q3
BMW 1-Series
BMW 6-Series
Chevrolet Aveo
Chevrolet Orlando
Citroen DS4
Citroen DS5
Fiat Panda
Ford Focus
Honda Civic
Hyundai i40
Hyundai Veloster
Kia Picanto
Kia Rio
Lancia Ypsilon
Lexus GS
Mazda CX-5
Mercedes-Benz B-Class
Mercedes-Benz ML-Class
Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt
Opel Zafira Tourer
Peugeot 508
Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4
Porsche 911
Ranger Rover Evoque
Renault Kangoo Z.E.
Renault Fluence Z.E.
Ssangyong Korando
Toyota Verso S/Subaru Trezia
Toyota Yaris
Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen up!

Source: caroftheyear.org

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Russian Yo-Auto company brings a concept to Frankfurt

Yo Auto Yo concept car

So maybe you haven’t pictured Russians as the creative type, but we should go beyond stereotypes. Here’s proof that something potentially interesting may be coming from the distant country: the Yo concept car.

Maybe the naming for the Russian auto company is not the best (someone may have seen to many rap videos), but this aerodynamic and eye popping concept by Yo-Auto will catch someone’s eye in Frankfurt.

The unconventionality of the car is, as with all concepts, just a design direction, but maybe something good will come out of it. The sliding of the doors is quite peculiar, as is the rear. Of course, this concept couldn’t be powered by anything else than a hybrid system equipped with a gasoline engine

The Russian auto maker plans to roll out some more projects, such as Yo-Hatchback, Yo-Cross-coupe and Yo-Microvan.

What do you think: can Russians makes well designed, well engineered cars?

You can see more pictures of this concept on our Facebook page.

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No more nighttime speed limits in Texas!

Good news everyone!

Texas is on its way to eliminating the nighttime speed limit and raising the potential maximum speed limit to 85 mph. Still, don’t jump up and down yet, because you’ll only be able to do 85 mph in rural areas, as most roads will be labeled with a 75 mph speed limit.

But passing the law won’t be easy, because a study needs to be conducted beforehand, in order to assess if it’s safe or not to proceed. While the law might make getting across Texas faster, we can’t help but ask you:

Do you think that raising the speed limit will make highways more dangerous?

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Euro NCAP Gets Tougher

It seems that starting with 2012; the Euro NCAP requirements are going to be tougher by implementing more stringent measures regarding pedestrian safety. From next year, 5-star cars will have to achieve at least a 60% score in pedestrian safety, up by 20% in comparison to this year.

As a consequence, none of the cars that they’ve tested in August would qualify for next year’s change; both the Audi A6 and the Vauxhall Ampera got a 41% score, while the Citroen DS5 obtained only 40%. The best car as far as pedestrian safety is concerned would have to be the VW Jetta, with 56%, but even this one fails to meet next year’s requirements by 4%.

All of the cars that Euro NCAP has tested this month received five starts overall, except for Kia’s Picanto model that got only four because of the fact that the Electronic Stability Control isn’t a standard feature on all the variants in all the European markets. However, the Picanto comes as standard with ESP.

The Chevrolet Orlando and the Aveo managed to show good whiplash as well as adult-occupation protection socres (95% for both of them), while the VW Golf Cabriolet, VW Jetta and the Hyundai i40 did a great job as far as child-occupation protection is concerned, obtaining 86%.

Source: Euro NCAP via Autocar

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Germans Will Wait Less To Get Their Cars

2011 VW Tiguan

Good news for all you people who leave in Germany. At the moment the average car buyer there has to wait about 3.6 months to get behind his brand new car, lower from the previous 3.8 months. According to a study conducted by the CAR Institute of the University of Duisburg-Essen, the waiting times have started to fall and this can only be a good thing if we look for how long a buyer has to wait for a VW, BMW, Audi or other car.

Let’s take for example Volkswagen where at the moment the waiting time is 5.2 months while those who order an Audi will have to wait 4.9 months. Don’t think that this situation is applicable only to the domestic brands as even for import cars the waiting time is just about the same. For a Hyundai it takes 5.3 months while for a Kia you’ll have to wait 4.9 months.

The situation is even worse when ordering an SUV as the average waiting time is 5.4 months. If you live in Germany and you order a Volkswagen Tiguan, you will have to wait about 7.1 months, while for an Audi Q5 it takes an agonizing 7 months. If you order today a BMW X3, in about 6.5 months you’ll see it parked in front of your home. The record belongs to the Hyundai ix35 for which you’ll have to wait 10 months.

One of the reasons for these long waiting times would have to be that a lot of the cars which are sold in Germany as well as other European markets are built-to-order. The advantage here is that you get exactly what you order. However, you’ll end up pay a little bit more and as you can see, you need to be very patient until you get the car.

Source: Auto, Motor und Sport (German) via WCF

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General Motors Overtakes Toyota, Becomes Largest Automaker

2011 Chevrolet Equinox

General Motors filed for bankruptcy two years ago and now they are back on top, regaining the first spot as the largest car manufacturer in the world. They managed to sell 4.53 million cars in the first six months of this year, while in second place came Volkswagen AG with 4.13 million and in third Toyota with only 3.71 million units sold so far.

Compared to 2010, the Japanese automaker’s sales plummeted by a whopping 23% and according to experts in the domain, the main reasons for this decline is due to the natural calamities that struck Japan back in March this year.

General Motors proudly posted a 2nd quarter net income of $2.5 billion on revenues of $39.4 billion.

Source: General Motors & The Detroit News via WCF

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Electric Bus Catches Fire On Road In China

According to the Chinese media, an electric bus caught fire in Shanghai this Monday and it appears that unfortunately this isn’t the first incident of this type. A report revealed by Reuters indicates that at least one earlier incident has been reported in the last three months. We don’t know if the bus you see in this photo was stationary, in service or parked by the roadside but what we do know (and what really matters) is that nobody got hurt after this incident.

The bus that caught fire was a part of a test fleet that uses ultra-capacitors in order to store energy from a network of charging points. These buses are almost entirely different from the regular EVs sold in the United States, including here the Volt and the Leaf, which store the energy in lithium-ion batteries that as you already know, charge at very slower rates. These cars do not use ultra-capacitors so these cannot store a lot of energy but can provide a high level of power very fast.

If we do a little bit of math, these ultra-capacitors may recharge at 182 kilowatts which is a lot faster than any EV on sale today. At a 65% efficiency rate, 60 kW (or more) of heat may be shed during the recharging process, which is a lot if you think about it.

EVs charge either at 3.3 or 6.6 kW on dedicated 240V Level 2 charging stations or a maximum of 50 kW on the Level 3 DC Quick-Charge stations.

Source: Reuters, Shanghaiist via Green Car Reports | Photo: Eastday

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UK Road Deaths Reach Lowest Level In History

We have extremely good news coming from the UK Department of Transport. It seems that the number of people who were killed last year in road accidents dropped by 16% from 2222 casualties to 1857, which is the lowest rate ever recorded since 1926.

There were 842 less casualties last year, which is 20% lower than in 2009. As far as motorcyclists are concerned, 403 people died last year, 15% less than in 2009 while the number of pedestrians that perished was 405, 19% less than in 2009.

The bad news is that the number of casualties among cyclists went up by 7% to 111 people, despite the fact that the cyclist traffic went up by only 0.5%.

Overall, a total of 208,655 people were considered to be casualties in road accidents last year in United Kingdom.

Source: Autocar.co.uk

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Popemobile Goes Hybrid

1930 Mercedes-Benz Nurburg 460 Pullman

No wonder that Pope Bendict XVI is also known as the “green pope” for his support of eco-friendly causes. He will get the very first green popemobile in the form of a hybrid Mercedes-Benz M-Class. If we were to believe Wirtschaftswoche, a German business paper, the hybrid crossover will feature lithium-ion batteries and will have an electric driving range of up to 20 miles.

In 2010, Benedict had his thoughts on getting a pure-electric solar-powered Popemobile, but his closest advisors said that a hybrid would be more suitable, mostly because it would eliminate potentially threatening situations.

The car will be delivered towards the end of this year or even in early 2012 and will join six or seven Mercedes-Benz heavily armored vehicles, including a modified S-Class model and two customized Gelandewagens.

Mercedes-Benz has been supplying Popemobiles to the Vatican for more than 8 decades. The very first one was delivered to Pope Pius XI and was a Nurburg 460 Pullman limousine from 1930. The current fleet includes a M430 that was delivered in 2002 for John Paul II, the previous pontiff, along with a G500 cabriolet from 2007 and a G500 hardtop from 2008. These two last models are wearing a Vatican Mystic White livery.

Source: Inside Line

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Electric GreenGT LMPH2 Set To Race At 2012 LeMans

Electric GreenGT LMPH2

In the experimental race class of next year’s Le Mans endurance race we’ll get to see this new GreenGT LMPH2 racer. In this video we catch a glimpse of the car doing a demonstration lap at the famous circuit, being driven by Christian Pescatori, who is part of the team responsible for the development of the racer. The announcement was made last week at a press conference by the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), who is the association in charge of the Le Mans race.
GreenGT, the Swiss-based team, will continue with the development of the car until the 2012 edition of the LeMans where we shall see this hydrogen-fueled car racing among other competitors in the experimental class. The car will hold 12 kg of hydrogen in 700 bar high-pressure tanks and the power output is expected to be around 402 hp (408 PS / 300 kW).

Source: GreenGT via WCF

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Lotus Will Build Its Own Engines

Lotus Elan

We have some great news if you are a fan of Lotus. Dany Bahar, the company’s boss recently affirmed that they will develop their very own lineup of V6 and V8 engines, after deciding to postpone the launch of the all-new Elan model. The first prototype V8 “will fire up in July”, a year after the company has started working on new engines. According to insiders, this power unit will produce approximately 550-570 hp.

Lotus decided to develop its own lineup of engines after their Internet survey which was carried out after presenting the six concept cars at last year’s Paris Motor Show. The 10,000 responses they got suggested that the British company should start making their own engines, instead of borrowing them from Toyota.

Source: Lotus via Autocar.co.uk

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Ford Reveals Tiny 1.0-liter EcoBoost Engine

A few days ago, Ford announced a new engine in its lineup, the 3-cylinder 1.0-liter EcoBoost power unit, which will be the smallest one available and it will be offered on a global scale. This new small power unit will benefit from a turbocharger, twin independent variable camshaft timing (aka Ti-VCT) and direct injection.

We don’t know the exact output of this engine but Ford says that it will offer similar performances in comparison to the bigger, 4-cylinder 1.6-liter unit that they use in the Fiesta, which means that power output should be around the 120 hp (122 PS / 89 kW) and 112 lb.-ft (152 Nm) mark.

We’ll have more information in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

PS: The engine in this photo is a 4-cylinder EcoBoost gasoline unit from Ford.

Source: Ford via WCF

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