Hyundai Chairman sentenced to 3 years in jail

Filed under: ,



Most consumers and car enthusiasts in the U.S. have had no idea that the turmoil atop Hyundai's executive ladder had gotten this bad. Today, the chairman of Hyundai Motor, Chung Mong-koo, 68, was convicted and sentenced to three years in a South Korean prison for embezzling $67 million USD and spending it on himself and bribes for politicians and lobbyists. He was also charged with financially damaging other companies through deals that benefiited the financial standing of him and his son, Eui-son, the head of Kia Motors.

Chung was arrested last April, spent a couple months in jail, and returned to work at Hyundai in July. In his absence, Hyundai workers went on strike in South Korea and Kia's new manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia didn't get built. He is expected to appeal the three-year sentencing and may get off with a suspended sentence and no jail time, as just-auto reports the appeal courts in South Korea often hand out more lenient sentences to business tycoons. Chung will remain free while appealing his sentence, which could take up to a year, so no disruptions are expected at Hyundai on account of the ruling at least in the near future.

[Source: Just-auto]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler's "Project X" calls for 10,000 jobs cuts, two closed plants

Filed under: ,



We have more details on the rumored restructuring plan that the Chrysler Group is expected to announce on February 14th. First, it's dubbed internally as "Project X", which must mean it involves chimpanzees and large doses of radiation. In addition to radiated chimps (we're kidding, click the link for the punchline), Automotive News is reporting that the plan will likely involve cutting 10,000 factory jobs and closing the Newark Assembly Plant that builds the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen, as well as the an engine plant in Detroit that we believe makes the 4.7L V8 motor for Jeep and Dodge. T he ultimate goal is reportedly to make the Chrysler Group smaller, more efficient and more closely alligned with Daimler-Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz. The restructuring plan sounds similar to those currently being implemented by General Motors and Ford, though smaller in scale. For its part, Ford learned a valuable lesson not cutting deep enough the first time around, so we're eager to see if the Chrysler Group comes back for a second round of cuts, as well.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Autoblog at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show

Filed under:



Press days for the 2007 Chicago Auto Show are Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Tomorrow we'll be mobilizing the Autoblog crew and meeting up in the Windy City to prepare for our all-encompassing coverage of the show. You should expect the same amount of detail that went into our excellent coverage of the Detroit Auto Show in early January, including tons of posts, galleries of official images and live shots, and we may have some new video features from the show floor, as well.

In order to keep up with our coverage, you can subscribe to our Chicago Auto Show RSS feed using this URL: http://www.autoblog.com/category/chicago-auto-show/rss.xml... or clicking th is link.

You'll also be able to bookmark a single post like we had for the Detroit show in which we'll keep all our show coverage material up-to-date by the minute. That post will be up on the site tomorrow and we'll repost its contents each night as a wrap-up for that day's coverage.

The Chicago Auto Show usually lives in the shadow of Detroit, but we never count it out when it comes to big surprises. So be ready to refresh your browser a lot come Wednesday morning when the Autoblog show coverage machine kicks into high gear.

PS: If you want to see or know something in particular, let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to comply.

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

eBay find of the day: Lost sketches of Delorean super luxury sedan

Filed under: ,

A few months back we told you about 10 pages of sketches done by John Delorean in 1980 that wound up on eBay. Well, this time 24 more pages of Delorean notes are up for auction dating all the way back to 1976. The sketches show details of a still-born DMC super luxury sedan that could easily be on the market today. Delorean's scribbles suggest air bags, a $49,999 price tag, front-wheel drive, carbon fiber door reinforcements, and a turbocharged rotary engine, among other ideas. Some of the notations like "special tires" are kind of funny, but how cool is it to have the doodles of what some consider to be an automoti ve visionary on a couple dozen pages of college ruled? The sedan would have used a Citroen CX chassis and could have been assembled with Bricklin or Jensen.

The sketches in the notes do expose Delorean as a lousy drawer, but the ideas are very fresh. A Gucci interior or promotional deals with famous athletes are thoughts that pop up today. Since the vehicle never saw the light of day, we can only speculate on where the Flux Capacitor would have been located. The trunk seems logical.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Mercedes-Benz Poland serves up some Chablis

Filed under: , ,


Click for photo gallery

We'd seen this kicking around a couple of foreign-language sites last week, but we've only just received English-language press materials from the folks at Mercedes. MB Poland is selling a special-edition E-Class Chablis. It's a market-exclusive paint & trim package that's limited to just 30 cars.

Poland-only E-Class ChablisOutside, the E is covered in Chablis designo metallic paint. Open the door and you'll see that the interior gets a luxe two-tone leather treatment (black with tan highlights), alacantara headliner, and dark maple trim inlays. The leather selection process is said to take around a month for each car. Motivation comes from Mercedes' 224-horse 3.0L diesel that's hooked up to a 7-speed automatic.

Follow the jump for the full press release and check out the interior and a side/rear view in our gallery.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz Poland]

Continue reading Mercedes-Benz Poland serves up some Chablis

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

Toyota puts first incentives on the Prius

Filed under: , , ,



Though not many noticed, Toyota employed the use of incentives to increase sales of its Prius hybrid for the first time ever in January. The incentives varied around the country and included low lease payments, cheap financing and cash back to dealers for each unit sold. Automotive News reports that in New York state, customers could order up a Prius lease for just $249 month. In Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky, shoppers could finance the little guy for 3.9% for 36 months.

Toyota's goal is to reach 150,000 Prius sales in 2007, which is a large jump by any measure considering that only 106,971 units were sold in 2006, down from 107,897 in 2005. We remember a time when the line for a Prius was out the door and interested parties waited months for delivery of one a them shiny, new Priuses. It's interesting that in just the first month of 2007, Toyota has already resorted to incentives to ensure that its goal of 150,000 sold remains in sight. For its effort, the company was rewarded with the best January for Prius sales yet. Sales were up 8.4% with 8,299 units sold. There's still a long way to go, however, to hit 150,000.

If you were hoping to get a sweet deal on a Prius after reading this - sorry, the incentives reportedly ended on January 31st.

Thanks Aaron for the tip!

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Aw, Snap! Pontiac G8 revealed by Chicago Auto Show webcams



Sorry Pontiac, but who could've guessed that your big unveiling at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show would've been foiled by a simple webcam? We had our money on Car and Driver spilling the beans, but an eagle-eyed member of the G8board.com forum managed to grab these screen shots of the jumbotron erected in Pontiac's display at the Chicago Auto Show. The huge screen was running through its video of the Aussie-sourced, rear-wheel drive G8 sedan right in front of a webcam that is set up to capture images of the South Hall at McCormick Place. There are more than a few pics, most showing little bits here and there of this most highly anticipated Pontiac sedan... except for the one above, which shows the car in all its glory. Other pics, including one of the car's rear that show taillights creeping up onto the decklid, confirm that the G8 is a rebadged version of the Commodore SS-V wearing wheels from the ultra high-performance HSV GTS model. Enjoy, and thank to the boys and girls at G8board.com for the sneak peek.

Check out the rest of the pics in this gallery. Thanks to everyone who sent in a tip for this!

[Source: G8board.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Future Classic: Dodge Colt

Filed under: , ,



With the rise of the import trend, we're seeing Musclecar-era Japanese rides attain some of the same cachet as domestic iron from the same time. Funny, they didn't strike us this way at the time, but looking at them now, they're like three-quarter scale models of the Big Three's offerings. There seems to be a soft spot for early Celicas and of course, the Datsun 510 makes one hell of a half-price 2002. Somewhat overlooked, in our opinion, are the Mitsubishi models imported by Chrysler in the early 1970s, a.k.a. the Dodge Colt.

Check out more after the jump, including a really campy Dodge spot that was the only video we could dig up with two seconds of the Colt in it.

This post is dedicated to the Indianapolis Colts, winners of SuperBowl XLI, in case you haven't heard.

Continue reading Future Classic: Dodge Colt

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

eBay Find of the Day II: Bone stock 1992 GMC Typhoon

Filed under: , , ,

Produced for only two years, 1992-1993, the GMC Typhoon is still a relative unknown to those outside of the high performance community, but if you own or have ever raced one of the 4,697 unleashed on the street, you will remember what to watch out for.

This example found on eBay looks like one of the few that was not modified and driven to within an inch of it's life; a survivor if you will. The turbocharged and intercooled 4.3 liter V6, probably underrated at 280 horsepower, appears to be unmolested save for the requisite K&N air filter. Many of these trucks have topped 300 horsepower when dyno'd in stock configuration, and acceleration numbers vary from the high 4's to the low 5's in runs to 60 mph, continuing on to a high 13-second quarter-mile.

Check out what a Typhoon does to a C4 Corvette in the video after the jump!

[Source: eBay]

Continue reading eBay Find of the Day II: Bone stock 1992 GMC Typhoon

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford earns two IIHS Top Safety Picks for Edge and MKX

Filed under: , ,



The Ford Edge is off to a strong start in sales, at least stronger than the Fusion's first full month of sales, and word has come from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that the CUV and its platform mate, the Lincoln MKX, has earned a Top Safety Pick, which should help move a few more units. Not only must a vehicle earn a top crash test rating of "good" for front, side and rear crash tests to become a Top Safety Pick, but this year the guidelines were further beefed up to mandate that honorees also offer Electronic Stability Control.

The Ford Fusion, meanwhile, didn't come close to earning a Top Safety Pick last year when 2006 models and pre-production 2007 were tested, but Ford asked the IIHS to test the car again after a few changes were made includin g side airbags becoming standard equipment and alterations to the door trim and floorpan. This time the Fusion earned a "good" rating for both front and side impacts, but only earned a marginal rating for rear impacts. Since ESC isn't even an option on the Fusion, a Top Safety Pick was out of the question anyway. The same front impact rating also apply to the Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ, but the MKZ won't share the same side impact rating since it uses different door trim than the other two models. .

[Source: IIHS]

 

[via] Autoblog

Why did Mazda axe the MPV with this in the wings?

Filed under: , ,



Despite the protestation of General Motors and Ford, we believed the Chrysler Group's take on the minivan market's current state given at the Detroit Auto Show. According to the boys and girls from Auburn Hills, the market for Soccer Mom-mobiles will likely hold steady, and they hope to enjoy an even larger piece of the pie with their new Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. But many automakers are picking up their ball and leaving the minivan market, and this interview with Robert Davis, Mazda North America's senior VP lays out the reasons why most automakers aren't willing to fight Chrysler in the segment.

Davis cites the fact that domestic automakers market minivans in such a way that it puts downward pressure on prices, which in turn hurts resale value and decreases the amount of money they can make for a company. CUVs like the CX-9, however, can command premium prices, retain their resale value better and are able to be sold with fewer incentives. Despite the fact that a new Mazda MPV was being developed for the Japanese domestic market (see the new model above, which happens to look great), Mazda officials decided against engineering a version for the U.S. market in favor of the CX-9, which is largely built using components shared with the Ford Edge CUV. The fact that Davis reveals the Edge and CX-9 have so much in common yet look nothing alike gives us hope that Ford can indeed produce two cars using the same mechanicals that aren't badge-engineered versions of each other.

[Source: AutoWeek]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Volvo gives a new rear end to the customer

Filed under: , ,



In designing the new V70, Volvo spent a lot of time focusing on its hindquarters. The tailgate and rear lamp styling are such that they increase interior volume and offer a nice, clean shut line. This video leads you through some eye candy of the EUCD V70. The quick overview gets the wagon freaks among us pumped up for the new Volvo estate. Still shots of the car don't do the styling justice, as the vertical and horizontal elements really come together nicely and shots of the car pulling away from the camera show off the inherent motion in the taut lines.

There are also those among us who yawn and ask what's changed. We'll give them that, it's still a Volvo wagon, so you won't wet yourself like an excited puppy (until the R gets here, that is), b ut for those who love wagons, there's not too many cars that are as versatile and well thought out as a Volvo five-door. The current P2-based V70s are nice enough drivers, but they're on the brink of being dynamically obsolete, so we're hoping the EUCD platform makes the driving experience that much better. You can be certain that the interior will be a comfortable, well appointed place to spend time, all wrapped in a clean Scandinavian design ethos. Follow the jump for your viewing pleasure.

[Source: Carscoop]

Continue reading VIDEO: Volvo gives a new rear end to the customer

 

[via] Autoblog

Cobra Technology & Lifestyle gears up the Suzuki SX4

Filed under: , , ,


Click image for mini-gallery

We last saw Cobra Technology & Lifestyle when they introduced a set of accessories for the Nissan Qashquai, and the next ride they've decided to focus their attention on is the Suzuki SX4. The SX4 is a nifty-looking little hatchback, and it offers AWD and rugged-ish, allroad-y looks at a reasonable price. Despite the fact that the car's power drives all four of its wheels, we never really looked at it as a vehicle that called for SUV-style accessorization. Other people may have a different opinion though, and for them, Cobra has the gear to make it happen.

They now offer a front grille guard that meets European pedestrian safety standards. As odd as it may look on the hatchback, it's probably easier to rationalize than the available tubular side steps, which are not necessary. We're talking about a car here, not Bigfoot.

Follow the jump for Cobra's press release. High-res shots are in the 2-photo mini-gallery as well. We'll be keeping an eye for the possible appearance of the SX-4 sedan at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show this week.

[Source: Cobra Technology & Lifestyle]


Continue reading Cobra Technology & Lifestyle gears up the Suzuki SX4

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

F1ce-capades! BMW Sauber's F1 car on frozen lake

Filed under: , ,

F1 on iceI

In the course of my career, I've spent plenty of time driving all kinds of vehicles on frozen lakes and snow fields, the most powerful being an all wheel drive Lamborghini Diablo that I flung around on a lake in Northern Sweden some years ago.

I've also tested some race cars on pavement, but I've never experienced anything quite like the video included after the jump. In it, a BMW-Sauber driver takes his F1 car onto a frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland for a little on-ice demo. Now that looks like fun.

Follow the jump to watch.

Thanks to Derek for the tip!

[Source: Automotoportal.com]

Continue reading F1ce-capades! BMW Sauber's F1 car on frozen lake

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 02.06.07

Filed under: ,

When you've got connections, use 'em. AutoblogGreen (and Autoblog) writer Sam Abuelsamid got a chance to take the HySeries Ford Edge and fuel cell Explorer for a quick spin near Ford's Sustainable Mobility Test Lab in Dearborn, MI. What was it like? Check AutoblogGreen for the details.

 

[via] Autoblog

We can't all make $39.4 billion: Chevron earns only $3.77 billion last quarter

Filed under: ,

The nation's No. 2 oil producer Chevron had a "disappointing" 4th quarter, earning only $3.77 billion dollars in the closing months of 2006. You may be thinking that $3.77 billion can't be all that bad, but No. 1 oil producer ExxonMobil ended the same quarter with $10.25 billion in profits, nearly tripling its closest rival. Chevron's profit drop of 9% was expected by analysts after total revenue fell from $47.75 billion to $53.79 billion during the same period in 2005. In fact, Chevron actually beat analysts expectations by a penny per share, so the quarter wasn't that bad, it just looks that way in comparison to the record profits of ExxonMobil.

[Source: Reuters]

 

[via] Autoblog

Cadillac rated best customer experience by luxury owners

Filed under: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cadillac bested Lexus and Acura for first place in customer experience by the New York-based Luxury Institute. Only those earning more than $150,000 per year can take the Luxury Institutes survey, which gages brand tastes of the wealthiest Americans. Among the reasons Cadillac came out on top was the overall dealership experience, looks, and performance. Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lincoln, Mercedes, and Volvo were also eligible for the award. If you've never heard of the Luxury Institute, you're not alone. We didn't want to take their survey anyway.

Thanks for the tip, CTGentleman!

View the press release after the jump

[Source: Luxury Institute]

Continue reading Cadillac rated best customer experience by luxury owners

 

[via] Autoblog

Where's the R? Volvo's R-badged offerings dwindle

Filed under: , ,



When Volvo releases their new V70 sedan and wagon, customers won't get the choice of a hotted-up version sporting an 'R' on the boot lid. Volvo decided that the T6 provides adequate thrust for the Swedish saloon and, contrary to rumors, won't be equipping the V70 with the Yamaha-developed 325 HP V8, found in the XC90.

However, since Volvo normally limits its R-badged offerings to two, the lack of a V70R and the discontinuation of the S60R will allow other vehicles to benefit from some of the power and handling tweaks associated with the moniker.

The first on the list is a C30R, likely equipped with all-wheel-drive and 250 HP, so it can bring the pain to the A3s and GTIs that populate that hot hatch segment. The second offering may be an S40R, who se engine bay was specifically designed to fit the 281 HP, T6 engine.

The last possibility is a S80R, which may come equipped with a 4.4-liter V8, however the transmission currently available might not be up to the task of handling close to 400 HP.

One dark spot in the Autocar article is the idea that the R badge may be nixed altogether. We doubt it, but time will tell.

[Source: Autocar]

 

[via] Autoblog

The Taurus reborrn! Ford may dump Five Hundred name

Filed under: ,


Click on the image for a gallery of images of the Five Hundred/Taurus?

Ameritech/SBC/AT&T/BellSouth spent the better part of a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars marketing the Cingular brand and dumping the AT&T Wireless name only to turn around and drop the new name and return to AT&T. Ford dropped the Taurus name after more than twenty years when they introduced the Fusion and Five Hundred.

Now hot on the heels of a post here about whether car names really matter much, comes a story from Dow Jones Newswire that Ford may reverse course again and rename the facelifted 2008 Five Hundred to Taurus. Sudden name changes are not new to Ford. Consider how the Lincoln Zephyr became the MKZ after just one year on the market and the Aviator became the MKX only months before its introduction. So far, Ford is not publicly commenting, but it seems doubtful that any name change will affect the fortunes of the big Ford sedan.

The official name change is reportedly going to take place tomorrow at the Chicago Auto Show. Stay tuned.

[Source: Dow Jones Newswire via Smartmoney.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Beater of the Day: 1986 Fiat X1/9

Filed under:



What do you do when you want to experience the joys of mid-ship motoring, but can't afford exotic iron and don't want the reliability of an MR2? Well, have we got a Fiat for you.

The Fiat X1/9 was produced in conjunction with Bertone and deep within the tight confines of the engine bay, beats a heart as athletic as Dick Cheney's. For the U.S. market, the X1/9 came equipped with a 1.5-liter mill, producing around 85 HP, which was a considerable upgrade when compared to its 75 HP European counterpart. Although the Fiat tipped the scales at just over 2,200 pounds, the little motor barely provided enough power to get out of its own way.

This 1986 model is proudly owned by Flickr member Desl, and comes complete with luxurious items like power windows and air conditionin g. With 200k on the clock and an engine rebuild at 193k, Desl still manages to get his little runabout to a few track days and autocross meets, and describes it as "a Ferrari 308, scaled back by 95% of the purchase price."

We've posted a few more pics after the jump, including a mildly disastrous encounter with a downed tree that caused us to blurt out a few expletives before chuckling on and off for the better part of ten minutes.

The addition of Desl's Fiat has upped the ante in our Beater of the Week contest, so if you think you can out do either one of our featured rides so far, submit them to our Flickr pool by following the directions after the jump.

Continue reading Beater of the Day: 1986 Fiat X1/9

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

LVMH says Aston purchase is pure rumor

Filed under: , , , ,

It looks like you won't be getting any custom luggage or wallet with your new Aston-Martin anytime soon. The rumors that LVMH, the $14 billion dollar conglomerate that owns such notable brands as Moet & Chandon champagne, Glenmorangie scotch, TAG Heuer watches and the Louis Vitton fashion label, will purchase Ford's Aston-Martin are in the company's words, "pure rubbish."

A company spokesman states that LVMH will not be the name announced when Ford finishes assessing the four serious bids for the automaker that are currently on the table. When the price was announced, nearly $800 million US, LVMH felt that was way too high and ended any serious consideration to purchase Aston-Martin.

The denial by LVMH is confirmation of part of the Motor Trend report that was published on the magazine's blog last Friday. MT's sources say that the buyer is a private investment firm.

Rumors are also circulating that the real reason is that current Aston-Martin boss Ulrich Bez was not interested in selling the company to a party without any automotive background. Couldn't he provide the automotive direction required to continue the resurgence at AM? We were really looking forward to AM-branded accessories, champagne, scotch and DB9-edition Tag Heuer.

[Source: Autocar}

 

[via] Autoblog

Super-rare Lamborghini finds a new home

Filed under: , , , , , ,


For the 1968 Brussels Motor Show, legendary design house Bertone took the wraps off of the Lamborghini Miura Roadster. The Miura, one of the earliest exotic supercars, was first unveiled at Turin in 1965 with a body designed by Nuccio Bertone, so who better than him to chop off the roof? Like other Lambo roadsters since, the Bertone Miura was really more of a targa, only while the modern-day Murcielago Roadster's roof might be a pain and a half to put up, at least it has a roof. Bertone's Miura Roadster never had one at all.

While the design was copied by many, only one authentic example was ever produced. The roadster version of the Miura never saw production, and the prototype was sold to a metal consortium as a publicity showcase. It changed hands several times since then, at one time joining the collection at the Boston Museum of Transportation. Now it's fallen into the hands of one lucky collector by the name of Adam Gordon, who recently purchased the prototype raging bull for an undisclosed sum. The New York real estate developer is undertaking a two-year restoration project to bring it back up to original spec.

You can bet Gordon paid big for this car, hailed as the rarest Lamborghini of all time, and will have spent even more by the time the restoration is complete.

[Source: Lamborghini Cars via German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen drives the Ford HySeries Drive Edge

Filed under: ,


Click the image above to view ABG's all-access tour of SMT lab at Ford


AutoBlogGreen was invited to Dearborn last Friday to visit the Sustainable Mobility Test Lab at Ford. The SMT lab is where Ford engineers create the advanced alternative fuel test vehicles and powertrains that will eventually help define the future of transportation. ABG got to drive not only the hydrogen fuel cell Explorer that was unveiled at the LA Auto Show, but also the hot-looking and clean-driving HySeri es Drive Edge that turned up at the DC Auto Show. Click on the Read link for driving impressions of each vehicle, a gallery of high-resolution images and video from Ford's SMT lab.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

 

[via] Autoblog