The team currently known as Lotus has had a long string of accomplished drivers behind the wheel, including world champions like Nelson Piquet, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. But Kimi is returning to Ferrari next season, leaving a big question mark over who would fill his seat. And now we have our answer.
Lotus has just announced that it has signed Pastor Maldonado to partner with Romain Grosjean for next season. The surprise winner of the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix has been driving for Williams for the past three seasons, signed after he won the GP2 title in 2010. Though lauded as an emerging talent, Maldonado is clearly not the accomplished champion Raikkonen is, however Lotus apparently needs the money which Maldonado brings with him in the form of sponsorship from the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean, also a former GP2 champion, has been with the team for some time now, starting as its test driver in 2008, promoted for one season to the race seat in 2009, and returning again in 2012. He's been the second driver at Lotus ever since, achieving career-best second-place finishes at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix and 2013 United States Grand Prix. Whether it will be Grosjean (who gets the higher number) or Maldonado that emerges as the dominant force at Lotus remains to be seen. Scroll down for the complete press release.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Last year General Motors not only sold more vehicles in China than it did in any other market, it also sold more vehicles in China than any other automaker. The company's Chinese operations were until now the responsibility of Bob Socia (pictured above at right), but after just a year on the job, Socia is already stepping aside and into retirement.
In his place, the company has announced the promotion of Matt Tsien (above, left) to the presidency of General Motors China. Tsien has until now served as a vice president at GM China, responsible for planning, program management, consolidated international operations and strategic alliances. In his new role, Tsien will also join the GM Executive Operations Committee and report directly to its chairman, Dan Akerson, apparently bypassing Tim Lee, the chairman of GM China whose name (as you can see below) is absent from the announcement.
Tsien takes the reins at a critical time for GM's operations in China, steering an $11 billion investment and fending off advancements from other foreign automakers like Volkswagen that are keen to muscle in on its territory.
GM China president Socia retires after year on the job, Tsien ascends originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Those close to Miami, Florida, next week have an opportunity to check out Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile. The exhibit of fourteen unique reimagined automobiles "will reflect art's longstanding relationship with the car as a cultural icon and fetish object replete with physical and symbolic possibilities." Attendees will see work by artists such as the late Keith Haring (his enamel-covered 1963 Buick Special is pictured above), Ron Arad, César, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Virginia Overton, Richard Prince (his 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T is in the gallery) and Franz West.
Even if steel cars aren't your thing, fans of Ferrari will be pleased to learn that the LaFerrari will make a rare North American appearance, with Los Angeles-based artist Joshua Callaghan creating a new signature 'rubbing' of the Italian automaker's hybrid supercar. The artist's process, which "engages the precious surfaces and sculpted form of the limited edition vehicle," will become part of the exhibition.
The show is open to the public starting on December 3, running in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach, an annual international cultural art fair. Check out the full press release below for details.
Piston Head show exhibits contemporary car art in Miami originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Dec 2013 08:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
You'd think that with former Ferrari principal Jean Todt running the FIA, the relationship between the motorsport governing body and the team he once called home would be a solid one. But his former boss expects more from the organization that oversees Formula One.
In a recent interview (excerpts from which you can read below), Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo pointed to some perceived inconsistencies in rulings made by FIA officials this season and called for "strong changes." Among those controversies was a drive-through penalty handed to Felipe Massa at the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend, his last for the Scuderia. Massa was reprimanded for cutting across the white line that marks the exit from the pit lane, the penalty for which dropped him from fourth place in the race to seventh, and cost Ferrari its second place in the final standings for the constructors' championship - and with it a good $10 million in prize money. Montezemolo characterized the penalty as "disproportionate and unjust".
The Ferrari chief also pointed to penalties handed to Mercedes as either too harsh or not harsh enough, calling for greater consistency in FIA rulings and implying that more permanent race stewards be appointed instead of alternating race to race.
As for his own team, Montezemolo is looking forward to Kimi Raikkonen's return and hopes his team can give both him and Fernando Alonso - who has finished second to Sebastian Vettel three out of the past four seasons - a better car that can beat the Red Bull next season.
Ferrari boss Montezemolo expects big changes from FIA originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Dec 2013 08:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Celebrities
It was with sad hearts that we reported on the death of Paul Walker, star of the hugely popular Fast and Furious movie franchise, but it is with admiration that we can look back upon his life and successful Hollywood career. To wit: Just prior to his untimely passing, Walker was attending an event put on by his very own charity, Reach Out WorldWide, which was created to help send first responders to disaster areas.
According to reports, the event was being held at Always Evolving Performance Motors, an automotive shop owned by Walker's friend Roger Rodas (pictured right). Walker and Rodas were apparently out for a quick spin around 3 PM in Rodas' bright-red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT when the single-car accident occurred. The Porsche burst into flames, and several passing motorists captured the crash scene on video. Police have yet to confirm reports that Walker was the passenger, not the driver, at the time of the accident, and dental records will be used to help identify the two bodies. Police have said that speed was a likely factor in the accident.
Walker died at the age of 40 and is survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow. Rodas, a former racing driver who competed in the Pirelli World Challenge, was 38 years old and is survived by his wife Kristine and two children.
Following news of Walker's passing, fans reportedly flocked to the location to pay their respects. Several of Walker's Fast and Furious costars took to Twitter to express their condolences, which you can read below. We have also included a few news reports.
Paul Walker remembered by friends and fans as details of death filter out [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The majority of consumers are more or less priced out of the market.Electric cars are gaining popularity with the general public, but are they still too expensive? According to a survey 1,084 consumers by Navigant Research, a consulting firm located in Boulder, CO, 71 percent want their next car to cost under $25,000, while 41 percent won't go a cent above $20K. Looks like people are even thriftier than we'd originally thought.
Meanwhile, Navigant's Electric Vehicle Survey found that 67 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion on hybrids while 61 percent thought positively of EVs, meaning that while consumers might be interested in purchasing an EV, the majority of consumers are more or less priced out of the market.
According to the project's principal research analyst, Dave Hurst, the EV will become more accessible, but it's going to take time. "Batteries make up half the cost of vehicles. We're anticipating that battery prices will come down by about a third by 2020," Hurst told Automotive News.
But that brings about another issue uncovered by the survey. People might be interested, but they don't know about any particular model. Only 44 percent of those surveyed were "somewhat familiar" with the Chevrolet Volt, while the Nissan Leaf sat at 31 percent. Only six and five percent, respectively, said they were "extremely familiar" with the plug-in hybrid and pure EV.
Ignoring the elephant in the room (range anxiety), we have to wonder what the price point is where an EV starts to make sense for most consumers. Will it ever make sense?Permalink | Email this | Comments
If you're one of the small cadre of Saab drivers, first of all, kudos to you. Because as Top Gear pointed out, Saab drivers are among the most intellectual drivers out there. Secondly, we've got good news for you, because the 9-3 will officially resume production at the marque's Trollhättan plant in Sweden on Monday.
For those of you who may not have followed the story, a quick refresher: Founded in 1947, Saab Automobile AB was an independent automaker until 1989 when General Motors began the decade-long process acquiring it. Unable to make it profitable, GM sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, but that Dutch automaker proved unable to make a go of it, either, and finally shut it down a year later. Much of Saab's assets were acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which in turn is partially owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao, which pledged to get production back online by the end of the year.
NEVS has apparently made good on its promise, bringing 600 workers back to the factory to resume production of the 9-3 much as it was when a workforce of 3,500 labored on it and its stablemates prior to the bankruptcy. The reborn 9-3 will be sold in Sweden and in China, with an electric version to bring some other updates sometime next year.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Ford F-Series is hands down the best-selling vehicle in the US, but as it turns out, there are plenty of states where the truck doesn't reign supreme. Business Insider compiled data from Kelley Blue Book based on 2013 sales figures from January through August to create a map of the top-selling vehicles in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Looking at the map, Ford's truck is the top vehicle in 34 states, but there are states - some surprising, some not - where other vehicles are more popular among consumers.
After Ford's pickup, it's a battle among midsize sedans, with the Honda Accord being the most popular in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, while the Toyota Camry (the reigning best-selling car in the US) is the favorite among Florida and Maryland owners; the Nissan Altima is one of the surprises on the list as the most popular car in Oklahoma. The Ford Fusion is the top-selling car in Michigan, and it is also the only American-branded car on the list. Rounding out the passenger cars, Massachusetts and Connecticut favor the Honda CR-V, California buyers flock to the Honda Civic and Washington, D.C. buyers prefer the Toyota Corolla.
Truck-loving buyers also reside in Maine and Indiana (choosing the Chevy Silverado), Vermont (GMC Sierra) and Hawaii (Toyota Tacoma). Regardless of what vehicle is most popular in which state, one interesting observation for all the models on this list is that they all have at least some US production. Head on over to Business Insider to see the whole map.
Best-selling vehicles by state show F-Series isn't king everywhere originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
As proof of just how quickly automotive technology can advance, just check out the Volvo V40. Developed with an external airbag aimed at better protecting pedestrians in the event of a collision, this innovative safety device could be phased out soon in place of more advanced active safety technologies like pedestrian detection and auto braking.
Go Auto had a chance to talk to Volvo senior VP Lex Kerssmakers at the Tokyo Motor Show, and he suggested that the V40's under-hood airbag will not be used on the next-gen XC90 and might not even be continued on non-SUV models. The passive airbag was designed to deploy at speeds of less than 31 miles per hour to help limit head injuries to pedestrians, but new active technologies are designed to prevent collisions in the first place.
The interview also reveals some details about the new XC90, such as the inclusion of a plug-in hybrid system and the debut of a new safety technology. Kerssmakers told Go Auto that a new Volvo concept will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January, but it won't be for the XC90.
Volvo's pedestrian airbags may already be on their way out originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Celebrities
Actor Paul Walker, 40, died Saturday afternoon in a car crash that occurred in Santa Clarita, CA, north of Los Angeles. The death has been confirmed on Walker's own Facebook page with the following message:
It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. - #TeamPWReports say the car Walker was riding in hit either a post or a tree before bursting into flames. The driver, who has not yet been identified, was also reportedly killed.
Walker, who had appeared in some 32 films throughout his 27-year career, is most well known for starring in The Fast and the Furious franchise of films as the character Brian O'Connor opposite Dominic Torreto, played by Vin Diesel. The two can be seen together in the above image that was taken earlier this year while they were promoting the release of Fast & Furious 6. The series' seventh film is scheduled to be released in 2014, and Walker himself had previously been reported as saying the studio had already guaranteed an eighth film. Sadly, the future of the franchise without Walker involved is unknown.
Our condolences go out to Walker's family and friends, as well as those of the driver.
UPDATE: An updated story is available here, with reactions from friends and fans, plus video.
Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker dies in car accident [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Nov 2013 22:38:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's not often that you'll find a Pagani Zonda and a Pagani Huayra in the same place, at the same time - much less on a racetrack. Pagani makes incredibly rare supercars. But Peter Read owns both a 2005 Zonda Roadster and a new Huayra, so he decided to bring them to Goodwood Circuit for a little comparison test. While the wet weather didn't allow too much wide open throttle, it's still an interesting comparison of two very different beasts.
Here are the particulars: the Zonda is packing a naturally aspirated 7.3-liter Mercedes-AMG V12 with 555 horsepower, while the Huayra gets a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 - also a Mercedes-AMG unit - with 730 hp. The Zonda's dry weight is 2,821 pounds, and the Huayra weighs in at 2,976 pounds empty. The Zonda has a six-speed manual transmission, the Huayra is equipped with a seven-speed sequential gearbox. You get the picture...
So head on down below to watch the video, and pay attention to the markedly different engine noises and exhaust notes that they emit. Enjoy!
Watch an owner compare his Pagani Huayra and Zonda at Goodwood originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Nov 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments