Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 41

Believe it or not, starting your own car company, especially one dedicated to selling electric vehicles, isn’t that easy.

If you need an example, here’s Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who used part of his money from selling PayPal to EBay to start the electric carmaker, as well as a few other companies. Now, the rich guy isn’t so rich, as he revealed in court documents for his divorce from his wife, Jennifer, that he is almost broke.

According to the statements, Musk now relies on personal loans from friends and has monthly expenses of around $200,000. His only income is “just” $8,255, probably his salary as Tesla CEO. As such, his only remaining liquid assets are worth $650,000.

Musk did reveal that he hopes to get some cash incoming after Tesla goes public in the near future, but until then, he is just making ends meet. So, if you thought of getting your own electric Roadster, help Musk out and buy one now.

Read More: “Tesla boss Elon Musk says he’s broke”

Ford has just announced its biggest recall ever in the Chinese market, affecting 237,000 Focus models.

According to the report, the vehicles in question, all sedans, suffer from an ignition problem, with several owners experiencing stalling, after traveling at low speed for a certain amount of time. A new engine calibration software will be installed free of charge and the cars will be as good as new.

The problems are present with Ford Focus sedan models manufactured between August 18, 2008 and May 28, 2010. The vehicles are produced in China by the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. joint venture between Ford (35%), Mazda (15%) and Changan Auto (50%).

Read More: “Ford issues its largest Chinese recall for 237,000 Focus models”

Last week, we talked about a new car safety bill which is currently up for discussion at the House of Representatives. If it will get passed, it will mandate that all new cars should have Event Data Recorders (or simply put automotive black boxes), which need to record events for a longer period of time, not for just five seconds, as is the case now.

But while some may already praise the bill as a future triumph of safety, the new regulations will have an impact on the actual price of the EDR device. According to sources, if the devices will become more resistance (fire and water proof, according to the new bill) and will see their storage capacity increased, the price for an actual device will reach somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000.

Besides the increase in cost, the size of the device will also be augmented, in order to store more data. As such, from the dimensions of a bulky phone, reports indicate that it will become as big as a shoe box. This will raise even more problems for carmakers that need to fit the device into their cars.

Official data shows that around 85% of current vehicles sold in the US have EDRs, but if the new ruling will enforce stronger and better devices, you can be sure that it will have a big impact on the price of new cars in the future.

What do you think? Is the trade off between cost and safety a valid one? Share your thoughts below.

Read More: “Automotive black box (EDR) price to reach $5,000 if US safety bill gets passed”

General Motors is slowly getting back on its feet and, judging from the fact that it is pumping out new models and that it has paid back the cash loans it received from the US and Canadian governments, things are looking pretty good.

That is why a new report shows that the US Treasury Department, even though it wanted to refrain from messing around with the internal affairs of GM, has appointed investment bank Lazard Frères & Co. as a consultant on the upcoming public offering of GM stock.

As you all know, after the company was bailed out, the US government still owns 61% of all shares. GM’s executives have been planning for an IPO (Initial Public Offering) around the end of the year and this bank should definitely help them out.

While GM is definitely on its road to recovery, people still have their doubts about the carmaker. As such, Lazard Frères & Co. will provide advice and consult GM on when is the right time to go public. For its services, according to a report, the bank will get $500,000 a month for the first year and $250,000 per month after that if the IPO doesn’t occur.

Read More: “US Treasury already hires bank to handle GM’s IPO”

McLaren has just joined other carmakers like BMW or Mercedes-Benz who have partnered up with specialized carbon fiber companies to produce materials set to be used on current road-going cars.

While BMW or Mercedes want to use carbon fiber components on everyday cars, McLaren’s new partnership with Salzburg-based Carbo Tech will see the material used on all future supercars, including the upcoming MP4-12C.

McLaren invested a total of around $185 million and will help Carbo Tech build a new plant dedicated to supplying carbon fiber monocoque to the carmaker.

“Carbon monocoques are particularly light and thus reduce the CO2 emissions of the vehicles while at the same time offering improved strength, structural rigidity and engineering predictability, resulting in better driving dynamics,” said McLaren in a statement.

As we’ve mentioned before, the first car to enjoy the new component is the MP4-12C, whose monocoque body weighs just 176 pounds (80 kg) while still meeting crash standards.

Read More: “McLaren invests in carbon fiber technology for its supercars”

The Kia Soul is one funky little compact MPV, a fact which hasn’t eluded German tuning company Irmscher.

As such, the group decided to put its Opel or Chevrolet programs on hold and revealed the Kia Soul Edition Irmscher 001 project. While some (including us) might have wanted a power increase, you’ll find just cosmetic enhancements and interior upgrades.

Among the new features boasted by the tuned Soul are things like a black finish on the roof, side mirrors, front bumper and on the new 18-inch wheels. Special graphics were also added on top of the special white paint scheme.

For the inside, customers can choose from two color combinations: either red and black or graphite and black. A black carbon fiber material was also used on the dashboard, as well as on the steering wheel and gear knob.

All regular engines from the Kia Soul are available for the Edition Irmscher 001, so there are plenty of choices.

Read More: “Tuned Kia Soul Edition Irmscher 001 revealed”

Welcome to a new edition of Motorsport Weekend, our own feature where we take a look at some of the most interesting races from the past three days and share the results with you.

We were treated to several exciting races this weekend, with the Formula 1 Turkish GP in Istanbul, the WRC Rally of Portugal and the Nascar Charlotte races, the Coca-Cola 600 and the TECH-NET Auto Service 300, taking place in Concord, North Carolina.

Curious to see how Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Loeb or Kyle Busch faired in their respective races? Then hit the jump and find out.
Read More: “Motorsport Weekend: F1 Turkish GP, WRC Rally of Portugal and Nascar Charlotte races results”

Even though it didn’t achieve record sales, Daimler’s Maybach luxury brand really got the media talking with the stunning Exelero concept model (pictured above), commissioned by tire manufacturer Fulda.

Only one was made, so when it came to auctioning it off, it fetched around $8 million, presumably from an African diamond tycoon.

Now, for those who were bummed about not getting their hands on a Maybach coupe and who don’t want to order Xenatech’s 57S coupe version, are in luck. A company in Switzerland is now offering to create replica Maybach Exelero models, based on the Dodge Viper sportscar, of all things.

It will be powered by an 800HP turbocharged 8.3-liter V10 engine and boast 23-inch wheels. Interior and exterior options can be catered to the customer’s desire, but the starting price is around $680,000 (€550,000, to be exact). Interested in the offer? Then check out the official ad on JamesList.

Read More: “Dodge Viper-based Maybach Exelero replica can be yours for $680,000”

Audi has been revealing refreshed models left and right at the beginning of the year.

Among them was the 2011 TT facelift, which was revealed for both the roadster and coupe models at the Leipzig Motor Show. Bringing a revised design, a new engine option (2.0-liter TFSI) plus various other options, including the LED daytime running lights, the new Audis was well received.

Now, the Ingolstadt company has revealed a video with the 2011 Audi TT, both in coupe and roadster form, in action. Peter Hirschfeld, product marketing representative for the TT also weighs in on the important changes suffered by the facelifted models. Hit the jump to check out the video.
Read More: “Video: Audi showcases the new 2011 TT”

The 2011 Buick Regal is quickly becoming the turning point for the Tri-Shield brand and a bold experiment for General Motors.

It seems that the badge-engineered Opel Insignia will share a lot of things with its European cousin. We’ve seen the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and the six-speed manual confirmed for the upcoming Regal, but some even bigger news have now been revealed by Car and Driver.

According to the magazine, the Regal will also receive the two other body styles of the Insignia, a slightly shorter five door hatchback form and a full pledged wagon version. While both are rumored to join the sedan at one point in time, we don’t know how much customers are going to have to wait.

Besides the new body forms, a special treat is prepared to US diesel fans, as such a unit will make its way onto the Regal in the future. No figures were given, but it will certainly boost the green credentials, alongside the flex-fuel capable gasoline engines.

Factor in the performance oriented Regal GS, and the new Buick model is set to really blow away the competition. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Read More: “2011 Buick Regal might get wagon and hatchback variants plus diesel engine”

Jaguar is getting better and better, largely thanks to its new corporate overlord, Indian car company Tata.

Seeing as how costs have been cut and beautiful models like the new XJ are being sent into public success, room (and money) for growth is guaranteed.

According to the new Jaguar Land Rover boss, Carl-Peter Forster, new products are being developed for the two brands. Among the new Jaguar models, according to the executive, we might see a fresh sportscar, derived from the old F-Type concept we saw in 2000.

We still don’t know anything concrete, but rumors have been flying around about a resemblance with the iconic E-Type, and it might go against other more affordable sportscars like the Porsche 911 or the Audi R8.

Still, even though it’s a bit murky, the promise of a dedicated Jaguar sportscar is quite enticing. What do you think?

Read More: “Jaguar F-Type sportscar set to be produced, to rival 911 or R8”

Toyota has learned from its previous mistakes and is now treating every recall with the upmost respect.

Among the measures it is taking with each new defect is releasing videos of the problems and, subsequently, with the fixes implemented to resolve the problems.

We’ve seen it done with the recent 2010 Lexus GX460 SUV and its drift-inclined side and now with the latest Lexus recall, for the 2010 LS 460 and LS 600h limousines.

As you know, the steering system has a defect where if you turn the wheel full tilt to one side, and then rapidly turn it back, the wheel will be off centered. The system eventually centers the wheel, but it does take some time.

Hit the jump to check out the video of the 2010 Lexus LS steering defect.
Read More: “Video: Lexus LS steering wheel defect showcased by Toyota”

Chalk another partnership for German company Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, as the group has just signed a contract with China’s Build Your Dreams (BYD).

The new 50:50 joint venture between the two companies, called Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd., will specialize in manufacturing all new electric vehicles for the already booming Chinese market.

Daimler has long been interested in expanding its electric endeavors, and partnering up with BYD, the leading battery technology developer from China, is a huge step in that direction. Wang Chuanfu, BYD boss, revealed that the first car in this new partnership will arrive as soon as possible. No concrete date was given though.

Daimler has partnered up with the Renault Nissan alliance a few months ago, in terms of small car development and platform sharing. It is also rumored to be preparing a deal with Toyota, that will see the two groups collaborate in terms of fuel cell technologies and future vehicles.

Read More: “Mercedes-Benz plans new electric cars with China’s BYD”

It may come as a surprise for quite some people, but it seems that besides the ever present Elise sportscar and the new Evora, British company Lotus also kept on selling the Europa model since 2006, when it first launched the car as a bigger brother to the Elise.

Since then, the Europa didn’t really tug any heart strings, largely due to the brutish design, nor attracted any performance enthusiasts with its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, capable of 200 HP and 200 lb-ft of torque.

Now, the Europa is getting ready to be axed from the lineup, as many European dealers aren’t taking anymore orders. The Evora will receive a bigger marketing effort and occupy the place soon to be left empty by the older model.

Will you miss the Europa? Share your Lotus opinions below.

Read More: “Lotus preparing to axe the Europa”

Even though it dropped out of the media spotlight after being rescued in the nick of time by Spyker from GM, Swedish carmaker Saab is still going ahead full steam with its revival plans.

A big part of the Saab renaissance will be a completely new 92 successor, a compact hatch designed to take on other premium city car rivals like the Mini or the newly revealed Audi A1.

According to Victor Muller, the company’s CEO, the new 92 will be reminiscent of the teardrop-shaped Saabs of yesteryear and the brand is already in talks with quite a few carmakers to share the future platform of the 92. This would achieve a much needed reduction in developments costs, given Saab’s still rocky financial situation.

Muller revealed that he is checking in with designers every day for updates on the future 92, and that when he’s not talking with his team, he’s reaching out to manufacturers for the platform development.

Given the already popular Mini, the Fiat 500 or the new Audi A1, plus other premium city cars from the likes of Mercedes-Benz or BMW, is Saab making the right choice to dive into this segment? Pitch in your two cents below.

Read More: “Saab’s future 92 going ahead as planned, will target Mini”