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According to some recent reports, the Japanese giant Toyota is planning on building a $5,000 car aimed at emerging markets. While Tata was in the center of attention with its Nano, its problems with the plants in India significantly delayed the project. Toyota wants to take advantage of that, and even though the car’s pricing is much higher than the $2,000 Nano, the ultra cheap car from Toyota will probably be a lot better. According to Japanese newspaper Asahi, the car will be co-developed with Daihatsu and will be built in Bangalore, India, where Toyota already has a plant and plans on opening another one in 2010. The bad news is that the car won’t make it into production until at least 2015.

Toyota is not the only one carmaker trying to explore the emerging markets, with Renault-Nissan group already reaching an agreement with Indian company Bajaj Auto regarding a $2,500 car which is scheduled to be released by 2011.

Read More: “Toyota to build a $5,000 car for emerging markets?”

The Nissan 370Z will make its debut at next week’s LA Auto Show and though no official information was released so far, if you check the show’s website, you’ll see that there are a few details about the upcoming coupe, conforming the rumors that showed up some time ago.

Nearly every piece and component of the 370Z has been rethought and redesigned, including a shorter wheelbase, greater use of lightweight body materials, larger engine with 26 more hp, a new 7-speed automatic transmission and the world’s first synchronized downshift rev matching system for the 6-speed manual transmission. Performance has been enhanced with a more rigid body structure, better power-to-weight ratio and a new 332 horsepower 3.7 liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control.

Read More: “New details about the upcoming Nissan 370Z”

Planet’s most beautiful road trips for driving nirvana!

Every motorhead dreams of taking his most priceless set of wheels (two or four) on that one magical drive which is an amalgamation of both driving pleasure and scenic beauty. The perfect combination of man and machine with the elements around him makes for that perfect ride which remains in our heads for a lifetime. With the wind in your hair, the magnificence of nature around you and the seemingly unending tarmac ahead; it is all about being one with the moment. So we’re starting a series of posts with some of the most beautiful roads in the world, which have provided countless such snapshots for many riders, tourists and the auto-maniacs over the years. So lets take a trip down some of the best spots where man made in-roads into nature’s heart! Read More: “World’s most beautiful roads [part 1]”

Ford has announced that the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2010 Ford Fusion Sport, which will make their debuts next week, at the LA Auto Show, have been chosen to be the official pace cars of the Ford 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale and the final race of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. The 2010 Fusion Hybrid will be the first hybrid electric vehicle ever to pace a NASCAR Sprint Cup event.

“The new Ford Fusion ups the ante in the mid-size sedan segment with outstanding fuel economy but retains what made it standout from the competition from the beginning – the fun-to-drive factor,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, who will wave the green flag at the start of Sunday’s Ford 400. “The Fusion Hybrid pacing the Ford 400 showcases exactly what our customers want, fuel economy and fun – and we’re pleased to be able to offer racing fans a glimpse of what’s to come at Sunday’s race.”

We find a little ironic that a hybrid car will be involved in a motorsport event, where fuel economy is not exactly the main attraction. But then again, who are we to judge?

Read More: “2010 Ford Fusion, the first hybrid pace in NASCAR Sprint Cup”

Nissan North America has released a photo of the NV2500 concept, which will make its world debut at next year’s Detroit Motor Show in January. The light commercial truck concept, beside being one of Nissan’s largest concepts ever presented, will also preview the Japanese carmaker’s entry into the North American Commercial Vehicle market, which will happen sometime in 2010. This comes after Nissan has already announced plans to invest $118 million at its Canton, Miss., plant to build the trucks. That’s about all we have so far on the concept, because Nissan didn’t give too many details, more info coming at the concept’s official launch in January.

Read More: “Nissan NV2500 light commercial truck concept to debut in Detroit”

It looks like for some people buying an Aston Martin is not enough and they want more exclusivity for their car. For those people, Project Kahn has announced a new hand-built custom interior for the Aston Martin Vanquish S, which includes a Bespoke dashboard, centre piece, front and back seats, doors, steering wheel, roof lining and a mixture of nappa and alcantara leather. According to the press release, the package is aimed at “individuals that cannot submit to a life of monotonous uniformity and will only accept perfection”…damn, I’m so bored by my monotonous Aston Martin, that I would like something else for it.

Photo Gallery: Aston Martin Vanquish S custom interior

Read More: “Custom Project Kahn interior for the Aston Martin Vanquish S”

Usually a train wreck is an awful accident. But how about a train wreck that damages at least 20 brand new Porsches 997? A pain to watch for every petrol head, I’m sure. Fortunately, no lifes were lost in this trains collision that happened last Wednesday outside Dillenberg, Germany. Not to mention that one of the trains was carrying tanker with flammable liquids, so a real tragedy could’ve happened. The other train was transporting an unknown number of luxury brand vehicles, including at least 20 Porsche 997s.

Photo Gallery: Train wreck destroys 20 Porsches

Read More: “At least 20 brand new Porsches damaged in train wreck”

With winter almost here, Mercedes thought about GLK owners and has decided to release a range of genuine accessories for their latest SUV. The range includes a 450 liters easy-fit roof box XL that matches the original GLK paintwork shade, lockable New Alustyle ski and snowboard rack that holds up to six pairs of skis or four snowboards, New Alustyle bicycle rack, over 50 different mobile-phone holders (including the Apple iPhone and iPhone 3G), iPod Interface Kit that integrates the Apple iPod fully into the on-board audio system, high-sheen chromed styling products (chrome strips for the front bumper, fog lamp surrounds, exterior mirror housings and door handle), plus individual light-alloy wheels, such as the two 5-twin-spoke models. There are a lot of other accessories for the GLK, so if you’re interested, you can ask for more details from your local dealer or from Mercedes partners.

Photo Gallery: Mercedes Benz GLK genuine accessories

Read More: “Genuine accessories for the Mercedes Benz GLK”

It looks like the recently launched California is not the only new convertible Ferrari has been working on, because yesterday the Italian carmaker introduced the new Ferrari F430 Scuderia 16M Spider, the convertible version of the Scuderia. This has been rumored before and there were quite a few voices saying that this model has no point at all. Still, Ferrari has decided to build the car, in celebration of its recent victory in the Formula 1 Constructor’s World Championship 2008. Weighting 1340 kg (2954 lbs), the convertible Scuderia is 80 kg (176 lbs) lighter than the F430 Spider, which means that, powered by the 510 hp V8 it sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds and goes up to a top speed of 315 km/h (195 mph). According to Ferrari, and we believe them, this is the fastest convertible they’ve ever built.

The Ferrari F430 Scuderia 16M Spider will be built in only 499 units, which will go to their “most passionate clients”, whatever that means. Check out more photos after the jump. Read More: “Ferrari F430 Scuderia 16M Spider unveiled in Italy”

Though the new Chevrolet Cruze is still a few months away from its official launch in Europe and the United States, GM’s global car has officially gone on sale in Korea. Badged as the new Daewoo Lacetti, the car will be power by a 1.6-liter engine delivering 114 hp, mated to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The Cruze is scheduled to go on sale next March in Europe and in 2010 in the United States. At least for now, becausing with GM’s financial crisis, the car’s launch might be delayed.

Photo Gallery: The new Daewoo Lacetti

Read More: “The new Cruze…uhm, Daewoo Lacetti launched in Korea”

We took quite a few cars for test drives and we had a lot of fun doing that. However, sometimes test drives go wrong and there’s no fun in that. After some time ago we saw a Dutch journalist wrecking an Audi R8, this time we have a Tesla Roadster crashed by one of their own. Apparently, a Tesla sales director took a passenger for a demonstration in southern France last Wednesday, when he lost control of the car and crashed it. Beside the fact that the car was going around 100 mph (160km/h), the road was also wet and the visibility was poor. Though the car looks pretty banged up, both passengers survived: the driver suffered a broken hand an minor bruises, while the passenger was released from hospital after some investigations.

Photo Gallery: Tesla Roadster crash in France

Read More: “Tesla Roadster crashed in France”

Auto Express published some info about the next generation Ford Focus along with one rendering of the car and wow, it looks awesome. Quite a change from Ford. In order to compete with Opel’s upcoming new Astra, the new Focus, beside the new aggressive look, will also be offered with a new EcoBoost engine range. The smallest engine will be a 1.0 liter turbo four-cylinder that will develop 89 or 108 hp, while Ford expects the bestseller to be a new 1.6 liter turbo with 148 and 178 hp form. Of course, diesel engines will also be available, a new 1.6 liter TDCi (delivering 89, 108 or 128 hp), and a 2.0 liter (168 hp or 197 hp). Manual gearboxes will come as standard, with Ford probably offering PowerShift twin-clutch transmission too. All engines are optimized for better fuel economy and lowered CO2 emissions.

But that’s not all, because it looks like Ford will start a powerful offensive in the hatchback market. According to Auto Bild, Ford’s European branch is also working on a Focus coupe, which will compete Volkswagen’s recently introduced Scirocco and Renault’s new Megane Coupe.

The next generation Ford Focus is scheduled to go on sale towards the end of 2010, with the coupe set to debut around the same date. Just like it did with the new Mondeo, Ford plans to head further upmarket with this car, setting the price tag higher than the current generation’s. Estate and coupé-cabriolet versions are also scheduled for 2011.

Read More: “Radical change for the next generation Ford Focus”

At this year’s SEMA Show in Vegas, R&B artist Nelly saw his brand new customized 2009 Ford Flex for the first time. For this vehicle, the artist worked with Usha Raghavachari, Ford’s Crossover Marketing Communications Manager, who helped Nelly “build” his own Flex. “I’m what they call a ‘premiere stuntastic stuntman,’ and so you know when it comes to cars, I’m pretty inclined to go overboard,” he said. “I wanted to really turn the vehicle into mine. You can do so much with it, and I think that’s the best thing about it.”

The Flex has a custom-color blue paint with a white roof, black Tuscany leather interior with Katzkin seats and contrast blue stitching, Ford SYNC technology and a CIM LIIV wireless Internet entertainment system and 22 inch NC Forged “6 Spoke” 3-piece aluminum wheels with NC floating center caps. The custom Flex also has a custom appliqué for the roof. “We created an art form that we feel reflects Nelly’s personality […] It’s a bird, which is a symbol of freedom — the ability to do whatever you want in life — and it has a very modern feel to it, which is very Flex,” said Ford Designer Melvin Betancourt.

Read More: “Nelly’s custom Ford Flex presented at SEMA”

Citroen has recently announced a facelift for their junior, the C1. However, they didn’t release too many details about the car, saying that further info and pricing will be announced closer to launch date. We did get some photos, where we can see the car’s front end got restyled and the French carmaker said the car will also get new wheels, new trims, new upholstery and materials for the interior, while the engines will also receive some upgrades for improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions. According to Citroen the 68 hp 1.0i petrol engine version will be the lowest CO2 emitting petrol powered car currently on sale in the UK, with just 106 g/km CO2 emissions and 62.8 mpg (combuned cycle) fuel consumption. The facelifted Citroen C1 is scheduled to go on sale in early 2009.

Check out more photos after the jump. Read More: “The Citroen C1 gets a facelift”

The Ford F-150, once America’s best selling vehicle, is not doing so great right now, so Ford tried to refresh it up a little, by announcing the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, created by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT). Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for Global Product Development said that, “like its fighter jet and dinosaur namesakes, the F-150 SVT Raptor is tough, fast, aggressive, and built with the off-road enthusiast in mind.” Might sound a little too optimistic, but looking at these “flying Ford” photos, it looks like Ford is really serious with this car.

Under the hood, the Raptor is powered by a 5.4-liter Triton V8 three-valve engine, which delivers 320 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, which benefits from a new open-valve fuel injection strategy that improves the air/fuel charge conditions in the combustion chamber, which means lower emissions and more efficient use of fuel. Ford has also announced that a 6.2 liter V8 will be available too after launch, with more details coming closer to launch date.

The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor also features a distinctive grille with the Ford name carved into it, functional hood extractors, fender extractors with ‘SVT’ bored out, visible FOX Racing Shox and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels. To make it a must for off-roaders, the Raptor is equipped with AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control), Trailer Sway Control, Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Hill Descent Control, Off-Road Mode and Auxiliary Switch Board.

Enjoy more photos of the car after the jump. Read More: “2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor unveiled”