Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 45

Germany has no shortage of tuning companies, but one of the most popular was definitely Gemballa, with a history of over 30 years in customizing mainly Porsche models but also dabbling in Ferrari work.

As you might have heard, at the beginning of the year, the company’s founder and CEO, Uwe Gemballa, had gone missing in South Africa. It seems that he went there in search of new investors for his future projects, and also visited Abu Dhabi before going to the African nation.

After quite a few months of searching, local police have found nothing to indicate his whereabouts. Sadly, it now seems he might not have anything to come back to, as the Gemballa company has been closed down by German authorities after becoming incapable of paying its own employees, effectively going bankrupt.

We still can’t say for sure if Mr. Gemballa’s disappearance was premeditated or not, but we will certainly miss the great tuning and customization projects his company released over the years.

Read More: “Tuning company Gemballa shuts down, founder still missing”

The rumor mill has started spinning once more, this time with details about the next upgrade for the Nissan GT-R model.

It seems that the guys at Autoblog have it on good authority that the 2012 model year will pack an upgraded version of the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, capable of around 500 HP and 450 lb-ft of torque. The current GT-R is ‘only’ capable of 475 HP and 414 lb-ft.

More power isn’t the only goal for the 2012 Nissan GT-R as a host of aerodynamic improvements are also quite likely. From a new front splitter to a rear diffuser or an optimized wing, all of these components will aim at making it faster and handle even better.

Plus, as an added treat, after the preliminary Nurburgring testing that occurred sometime last month, the 2012 GT-R lapped the famous circuit much faster than the original GT-R’s 7:26 run.

Stay tuned for more details on this optimized Godzilla as soon as they appear.

Read More: “2012 Nissan GT-R might upgrade to 500 HP”

At the beginning of 2009, Toyota looked untouchable and reigned over the rest of the car industry as the most profitable and popular carmaker in the world.

Fast forward to 2010, after two huge recall scandals, a big fine and many other disputes, and the Japanese company isn’t looking so fresh. According to various studies, it was overtaken in brand value by BMW and in customer loyalty by Hyundai.

A new survey has just appeared, this time from Consumer Reports, which charted brand loyalty (about the same thing as customer loyalty). The findings still put Toyota in a bad light. It seems that the company recorded a 13% drop in loyalty as opposed to 2009.

The new king is Honda, surprisingly, as 68% of current owners have declared that they are ‘highly likely’ to buy another car from the Japanese company. Ford is runner up with 61% and Toyota rounds off the podium with 58%.

While many deemed this period to be the end of the company, financial results show Toyota to be doing quite good, so we won’t mourn its passing anytime soon. Still, the large carmaker will have to work hard in order to gain back customer trust and increase in brand value.

Read More: “Toyota brand loyalty still declining, Honda and Ford overtake it, survey says”

General Motors has one more reason to celebrate this year, as the US carmaker has posted a net profit of $865 million for the first quarter of 2010. What’s even more impressive is that this is the first profit posted by GM since 2007.

The car manufacturer, which was bailed out last year by the US and Canadian governments, highlighted the fact that sales have improved, both domestically and abroad. With the improving economy, the company is expressing high hopes about its future.

“We’re pleased with our first-quarter performance, in particular achieving profitability,” Chris Liddell, GM vice chairman and chief financial officer, said in a statement. “In North America we are adding production to keep up with strong demand for new products in our four brands. We’re also steadily growing in emerging markets, keeping our costs under control, generating positive cash flow and maintaining a strong balance sheet. These are all important steps as we lay the foundation for a successful GM.”

Since it was bailed out on July 10 and until the end of 2009, GM lost around $4.3 billion. In 2010, the company has pushed new vehicles out the door and also managed to pay back the cash loans it received from the North American governments.

The next goal on GM’s agenda is to go public at the stock exchange, around late 2010 or early 2011, and to further repay the taxpayer dollars it received last year.

Read More: “GM posts $865 million first quarter profit, the first since 2007”

Without a doubt one of the most promising young drivers in Formula 1 is Sebastian Vettel, who makes a great team with Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing.

As you could imagine, bigger F1 teams have noticed this and are already expressing an interest in the German driver. But what does Vettel prefer? In order to find out, Spain’s El Pais newspaper interviewed the Red Bull driver about his future in F1.

“I am very happy with Red Bull,” Vettel said. “I am not going anywhere else, but in the future, I don’t know. I want to fight for the world championship, and if you look at the past, Ferrari has always designed very competitive cars. Why not go there in a few years? Ferrari is unlike any other team, it’s a legend. There are other brands that achieve great success, but Ferrari is special.”

Red Bull knows how important Vettel is, and signed him on for quite a few years, so he won’t be able to switch teams that easily. On the other hand, reports indicate that Ferrari might be interested in Vettel’s teammate, Webber, who showed impressive form by winning the last two F1 races in Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

The year-to-year contract the Australian pilot has with Red Bull isn’t the most secure, so we might get to see Felipe Massa replaced in 2011. Nothing is set in stone though, so until something is announced, there will be a lot of backstage fighting taking place in the motorsport competition.

Read More: “Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel expresses interest in Ferrari”

The partnership between Volkswagen and Suzuki is already spawning its first rumors and renders, with a sketch of a compact city crossover, the VW Rocktan, appearing on the Internet.

As you can see above, the Rocktan is heavily based on the SX4 crossover, a popular model from the Suzuki range. According to rumors, this new car will bridge the gap between the plastic-heavy CrossPolo and the Tiguan crossover. Voices say that this will eliminate the other plastic-clad VW model, the CrossGolf.

Expect the Volkswagen Rocktan to use many of the popular German engines, from the 1.4-liter TSI to a 1.6 or 2.0-liter TDI. According to sources, the SX4-based crossover will be priced at under €20,000 ($25,000), in order to compete with other compact crossovers like the Toyota Urban Cruiser or the Nissan Juke.

No word on when we will get to see the Rocktan, but you can expect it to hit around late 2011 or early 2012.

Read More: “Suzuki SX4-based Volkswagen Rocktan rendered”

Seeing as how carmakers like Honda stick to five-year life cycles for their bread and butter models, you would think that the current generation Civic, launched in 2005, would receive its replacement in the next few months right?

Not so fast, says American Honda executive vice president John Mendel, as a few key problems have appeared, meaning that we won’t get to see the next Japanese compact sedan for at least another year or so.

Why the delay? Tougher emissions and fuel average laws plus an increase in competition on the compact sedan segment (*cough* 2012 Ford Focus sedan). As such, the Japanese company has been forced to modify the size of the next Civic, in order to keep it as light and as compact as possible, as well as its equipment levels, in order to keep it competitive against its rivals.

While the current model is still managing to move quite a lot of units, Honda needs to be extra careful with the next generation, especially considering the stiff competition heading onto the market segment.

Read More: “Next generation Honda Civic arriving around 2011”

Last week, we revealed that Hollywood actress Uma Thurman will be lending her talents to Alfa Romeo in order to promote the new Giulietta hatchback model.

Now, the first ad, which currently airs on Italian TV, has been revealed, showcasing a few sides of both miss Thurman and the stylish hatch.

Our Italian may be a bit rusty, but the tag line is that ‘without hearts, we would be only machines’. Still, even if it’s in a foreign language, the beauty of both Uma Thurman and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is universal. Hit the jump to check out this new ad.
Read More: “Video: First Uma Thurman Alfa Romeo Giulietta ad appears”

Yes, the title is correct. Mr. Bean, or rather Rowan Atkinson, the actor who depicted the much loved British character, will try his hand at a bit of racing, in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 series that was announced earlier this year.

The famous actor will partner up with Aston Martin chairman David Richards, for the Silverstone stage counting for the one-make series. Both Atkinson and Richards have racing credentials, with the latter winning the 1981 World Rally Championship as a co-driver.

Mr. Bean, on the other hand, has shown us multiple times what he can do in an old Mini on the popular TV show, but what we didn’t know is that Atkinson has also tried his hand at racing Aston Martin models in the past.

Now, the two drivers will take turn on May 22, when the Silverstone race of the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 series will take place. Hopefully a Reliant Regal Supervan won’t be spotted around the track.

Read More: “Mr. Bean to race an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 at Silverstone”

Just after we revealed our special on the most awesome YouTube car videos, another batch of supercar footage appeared, this time depicting a Switzer Performance P800 Nissan GT-R drag racing against a Koenigsegg CCR Evolution.

For those that forgot, the P800 GT-R develops 800 HP (duh!) while the CCR Evo has 806 HP on tap. The video has not one but two races, the first where the CCR starts in second gear, while the second has the Swedish supercar starting in first gear.

Still, even with all those Scandinavian horses behind it, the Koenigsegg had a few problems with the GT-R. Check this fantastic drag race after the jump.
Read More: “Video: Switzer-tuned P800 Nissan GT-R takes on the Koenigsegg CCR”

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne is set to be another best seller for the Stuttgart brand and we all know most units will be sold in Eastern Europe.

As such, Russian tuner TopCar has already revealed the three packages it will sell for the new Cayenne model. These kits will have in common a power increase of 35%, up to 750 HP being squeezed from the performance SUV. Besides that, a wide array of accessories like new mirrors, LED lights and special wheels will also be found on all of the customization packs.

The first will be the Porsche Cayenne Advantage 2, which sees the addition of 911 headlights, instead of the Cayenne’s own set, as well as a new body kit consisting of front and rear bumpers, a new bonnet, a rear diffuser plus enlarged wheel arches.

The second pack is the Porsche Cayenne Vantage GTR 2 (pictured above), which keeps the original SUV’s healights but also features wider air intakes, a new front bumper and all of the other additions from the Advantage 2 pack. Both these packages will only be offered in a limited run of 25 units each.

For those who won’t move quick enough, an unlimited number of Porsche Cayenne Vantage 2 packages will be offered by TopCar. This kit boasts new body panels made from carbon fiber or even kevlar, as well as a complete body kit.

If you want to check out these tuning packages for the 2011 Porsche Cayenne before you place your order, the Russian customizer will feature them at the upcoming Moscow Motor Show.

Read More: “2011 Porsche Cayenne gets tuning packages from Russia’s TopCar”

Today, the world’s most popular video site, YouTube, is celebrating its fifth birthday. It’s a bit hard to believe, but way back in 2005, this website has begun offering us an outlet for our wacky, insane, awesome or downright stupid videos.

But while showing yourself off is all fine and dandy, quite a lot of people also opted to showcase their cars. From your average Joe to professional race drivers like Ken Block, YouTube hosted all sorts of videos with cars, trucks, bikes and everything in between.

That’s why we decided to celebrate YouTube’s fifth birthday by rounding up some of the most awesome car videos we could find on the popular website. Curious to feast your eyes on this two/three/four-wheel goodness? Then hit the jump and check 15 of the best YouTube car videos ever!
Read More: “YouTube’s most awesome car videos ever”

Welcome to a new edition of Motorsport Weekend, our own feature where we take a look at the results of the most important motorsport races that took place in the last three days.

We were treated to some memorable events in Europe, the Formula 1 Monaco GP and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring Nordschleife, plus the Nascar races that took place at the Dover International Speedway, in the USA.

Curious to see how your favorite drivers and teams faired in their respective events? Then hit the jump and find out!
Read More: “Motorsport Weekend: F1 Monaco GP, 24 hours of Nurburgring and Nascar Dover races results”

What we love the most about cars is speed. Exhilarating, exciting, devastating speed. The kind of speed that bends power polls and uproots trees. But in order to achieve that kind of speed, you must know every inch of your car. You must know your car as well as you know yourself or even better. And you need mad skills and a big pair of…gloves to handle the steering wheel. And an overdose of courage. And a track, because the roads are not safe enough for bravery acts. You know that and you need to spread the knowledge. This hoodie‘s what you should get in this here case.

For more automotive philosophy, check out the Revvnation store!

Alfa Romeo celebrates its centenary this year, and has already seen beautiful concepts like the Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa by Zagato, the Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta by Pininfarina or the Alfa Romeo Pandion by Bertone and will also hold a large meeting of Alfa fans (Alfisti) in Milan, during this summer.

But according to a new report, the cherry on its anniversary cake will be an even more powerful version of the 8C Competizione supercar, which will receive the GTA badge. Besides the special name, the 8C GTA will also get 50 more HP, taking the total output from the 4.7-liter V8 to 500 HP. The special edition will also be put on a diet, which will shave off around 300 lbs from the curb weight.

According to the same report, the Alfa Romeo 8C GTA will be announced in the following months and will boast a more hardcore experience. 100 models might be made, celebrating the 100 years of Alfa’s existence.

While it is just a rumor, you might keep you checkbook handy for when the official word eventually hits.

Read More: “Alfa Romeo set to launch 8C Competizione GTA: more power, less weight”