VIDEO: Polly Wheels to spark auto-interest for the gals

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Click the image above to view Polly Wheels in action

Most of the Autoblog readers have been fostering a love for the automobile since a very early stage in life. We collected Hot Wheels and Matchboxes, and we had model cars and remote-controlled hot rods. The one thing those toys have in common is that they're marketed almost exclusively to boys.

Mattel has decided to give the girls what they've wanted all along: race tracks, pink cars that go shopping, and a great way to compete. Earlier we gave you an extensive debriefing on Polly Wheels, complete with an Autoblog Gallery, and now we're adding video, too. Check out the Autoblog interview with Stephanie Cota, Vice President of girls marketing at Mattel. There is also some exclusive footage of a prototype Polly Wheels Race Track in action. Check it out!

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

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Audi, Mitsubishi making Sirius standard on some models

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Radio is on a roll. While BMW and Jaguar have allied themselves with HD Radio and Infiniti's gotten in bed with XM Satellite Radio, Audi and and Mitsubishi have taken sides with SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Audi will offer SIRIUS as standard equipment on the S4, RS 4, A6, A8, R8, and specific Q7 variants. Mitsubishi will make SIRIUS standard on the new Eclipse Spyder, and make it part of the premium sound system on the 2008 Galant, Raider, Endeavor, Outlander, Lancer, Eclipse and Lancer Evolution. For some reason, the Montero appears to have been left out of the party.

The fact that automakers are taking continuous steps to offer customers more and better choices is a good thing, and having the radio installed as standard means buyers don't have to check any costly option boxes. If there is any downside, it's that until (and only if) the merger of SIRIUS and XM is completed, carmakers have made your choice for you about which satellite service you'll receive, and you still have to pay for the subscription. Mitsubishi will at least pay for the first six months of the subscription, a move that should greatly increase uptake. If you're an XM listener in the market for an Audi, though, prepare to keep lugging your portable receiver around.

Increasing choice means customers win, and for radio -- a medium drowning in broadcasts about its demise -- the news is two more steps in the right direction.

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Lotus introduces collector's edition Elise Type 72D

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The 35th anniversary of the Lotus Type 72D's Formula 1 championship is approaching and to commemorate Emerson Fittipaldi's 16-point spanking of Sir Jackie Stewart, Lotus is creating a limited edition Elise to celebrate.

The Type 72D Collectible Edition will be limited to 50 cars world wide, with only 20 said to be slated for US delivery. In addition to the prerequisite badging, the L.E. Elise will come with gold wheels and gold pinstriping, along with numbered documentation and a decorative helmet (i.e. not Snell/DOT approved).

Lotus claims that the 72D Edition Elise will come in under $60-large, but no information was available about how to order your own. Best to consult your local Lotus dealer for details.

Press release after the jump.

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

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New York Auto Show: VW forbidden fruit on the floor

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Click for one more floor shot plus VW press photos of the Polo BlueMotion

On Thursday afternoon, a group of us ventured out onto the floor to check out this alleged New York Auto Show we'd heard was going on all around us. Those of you familiar with the Jacob Javits Center know that the lower level is reserved for trucks, with a sprinkling of other automakers thrown in (Subaru, Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, and VW). After checking out Suzuki's concept-ized SX4 sedans, we headed back toward the entrance so we could hoof it upstairs to the main show floor.

As we passed through the Nissan trucks section, I noticed a small blue covered hatchback parked against the wall. A big VW logo on the front and www.volkswagen.de labels on the side clearly stated who it belonged to. Neff and Roth, oblivious, walked right by. I stopped and yelled at them, "Hey, I think this is a Polo."

They walked back while I pulled up the front of the cover to confirm, and sure enough, it was a Polo BlueMotion. John then puts the puzzle pieces together, saying, "Oh, this makes sense. It was a nominee for the World Green Car of the Year award. Volkswagen had to have one on hand in case it won."

It didn't win. That honor went to the Bluetec-equipped Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Still, VeeDub needed to stash the car somewhere, and that somewhere wound up being this innocuous spot in the basement. Too bad. The Polo's a cool little hatch, and the BlueMotion version is good for around 60 MPG, too. That combo makes for a car that'd get its fair share of attention from potential buyers at the real VW stand, which was around 50 feet away from this impromptu parking place. Unfortunately, buying one is simply not an option in the United States. Oh well. At least we got to take a peek at it.

UPDATE: Word comes from a commenter that the Polo BlueMotion has been added to the VW display.

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

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VIDEO: BMW drops M3 spot on suspecting enthusiasts

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2008 BMW M3 Coupe

We've already given you production pictures and specs of the all-new 2008 BMW M3 Coupe, and now we present to you the first commercial. The 30 second spot shows the Bavarian badass using its very existence to transform regular road twisties into a race-track. The best part of the video is the wicked-mad growl of the of the M3's 4.0L V8. We're marking our calenders for our first drive of the M3, and we're hoping it drives even better than it sounds. Take a jump, look at the ad, and let us know what you think.

[Source: luxvelocity.com via Jalopnik]

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Seoul Motor Show: GM Daewoo shows off L4X sedan

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Click image for photo gallery

Many thousands of miles away from New York, another auto show is getting into full swing. We're talking about the Seoul Motor Show, where the Koreans are getting an eyeful of some pretty nifty stuff. Like what, you ask? Well, like this rebadged Holden Caprice/Statesman, which bowed as the Daewoo L4X sedan. The car on display is the "concept" version of the vehicle that'll go on sale in Korea at a later date.

GM's ubiquitous 3.6-liter V6 provides 258 horses with which to propel the rear-wheel-drive long-wheelbase sedan. It's being positioned as a luxury/executive vehicle complete with niceties such as navigation with TV functionality, heated rear seats with massage, and privacy rollers and blinds for the backseat passengers. We're all for having a variation of the Caprice and/or Statesman show up on these shores badged as a Buick. Unfortunately, Buick dealers, in their infinite wisdom, appear to disagree. We will see a Buick version of the car in China (we're guessing it'll debut at Shanghai later this month), at which point we'll complain loudly about it not being here.

[Source: GM Daewoo]

Gallery: GM Daewoo L4X

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

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Winding Road's photogs are lens-wielding gods, and here's why

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Over the past year, we like to think that the quality of Autoblog's photography has increased considerably. We've learned a few new tricks, played around with settings and finally understood that lighting is a black art. But, before we could get cocky, something like this comes around and puts up right back in our place.

Winding Road put together its favorite 25 images of the last year (or so) and anyone that can appreciate the collaboration between stunning settings and sensual sheet metal should feel compelled to check it out. Each image is available in desktop-size format (we've got one on our screen now) and it's well worth the time to read through the short descriptions, detailing the who and the how. The only negative is finding only one to grace your screen.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

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Porsche Splashlight fortells the future of limited edition Boxster

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How do you make the Boxster better? First, make sure there's an "S" badge on the boot and second, let Stuttgart's finest loose with some GT3 RS orange, acres of Alcantara and some time in the wind tunnel.

The result was displayed across the street from the Javits Center in New York City, but for some reason, we missed its atomic orange hue from a distance.

Regardless, the people at Porsche decided to tweak the Boxster in all the right places, beginning with the exterior. The aforementioned paint job is complemented by a set of black wheels with a polished lip, along with blacked-out wing mirrors and air intakes. The SportDesign package adds an integrated rear diffuser, front lip spoiler and the automatically deploying aerofoil to reduce lift and look trick. The only significant piece of go-fast goodness is the custom exhaust that sports a duo of "unique" tips.

On the inside, occupants are greeted with Alcantara seat inserts, while the driver gets to engage both a steering wheel and a park brake lever swathed in the sexy suede-like material. The exterior's color finds its way inside, lining the dash-mounted cup holder's cover, the door lever recesses and the layout of the shift pattern on the gear lever.

While this is all well and good, what does it portend for the future? Expected a limited edition Boxster at your local Porsche dealers this summer.

[Source: Paddocktalk via the German Car Blog]

 

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Seoul Motor Show: Hyundai Veloster Concept swoops in

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Click image for photo gallery

Hyundai unveiled three new vehicles at the Seoul Motor Show, and the first we'll talk about is the sporty-looking Veloster coupe concept. According to the PR materials, the Veloster has potential Gen-Y shoppers in its sights, and to be sure, it's an attractive little coupe. The trapezoidal grille opening reminds us a lot of the new Mitsubishi Lancer / Evo X, and the overall shape is similar to a number of other vehicles in this class. The roof is mostly glass, with a metal, bodywork-colored "mohawk" running through the middle. The CHMSL that's integrated into the tail end of the "mohawk" behind the rear glass is a slick touch. The triangular, shoulder-mounted taillamps and single, center exhaust outlet add some flair to the car's posterior.

Inside, a terrific-looking retro/modern interior incorporates neat features such as an iPod dock in the center console and an Engine Start button on the top of the shift knob. Power comes from a 2.0L four-cylinder that drives the front wheels via a 5-speed manual. Whether or not the study will eventually amount to anything on the consumer side is anyone's guess, but as concepts go, it's fun without being totally outlandish.

[Source: Hyundai]

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

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What's $104,750 buy you? The Lexus LS 600h L

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If you're a high-level executive and an environmentalist at heart who just can't give up the leather, wood, and most importantly, big-car power for a Spartan-interior, gas-sipping Prius, the Lexus LS 600h L is the solution to your quandry. Toyota's luxury arm combines a 5.0 liter V8 with an electric motor and a CVT to produce 430 hp. Lexus says the car's sticker price will start at $104,750. On top of all the geeky hybrid bits, that money gets you the world's first production-car LED headlights, full-time all-wheel-drive, 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with an 8GB hard drive, Intuitive Parking Assist, and loads of luxury. Options include 4-zone climate control, a power-reclining rear seat with massage, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Lexus doesn't give fuel economy estimates for the 600h, but expects the car to receive the Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle rating and says the car will have the best-in-class V8 fuel efficiency that's roughly equal to the numbers achieved by other V6 AWD luxury sedans.

Click through to the jump for Lexus' press release and be sure to check out our high-res gallery.

[Source: Lexus]

Gallery: Lexus 600hL


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Good things come to those who wait: Ferrari to end 18-month waiting list

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If you're like us you've been waiting for your new Ferrari for what seems like forever. If instead you actually put down a deposit and signed physical paperwork at a Ferrari dealer, you might have been waiting for as long as 18 months for your new Italian steed. That's the typical lag time between order and delivery from Maranello. If it's a 599 GTB you want, you're looking at around two years' wait.

But Ferrari hopes to get their well-heeled customers behind leather-wrapped wheels sooner, by increasing output by five-percent. At first that doesn't sound like much, but considering Ferrari sold 5,671 cars last year, a five-percent boost in production will mean about 283 (283.55 to be exact) more Italian supercars on the world's roads.

One reason for the extended wait and therefore the increase in output is Ferrari's booming popularity worldwide, especially in China. Ferrari hopes to sell 170 cars there this year and is looking at even bigger numbers after opening a Ferrari technical center and high-performance driving school for Chinese customers.

More Ferraris on the road can only be a good thing, in our opinion. (Especially since they keep getting run into walls and trees.) We dream of a day when prancing horses are as ubiquitous in rush-hour traffic as Mustangs, when we routinely get cut off by screaming red blurs of speed and every home has a a chicken in every pot and a V-12 in every garage. Our dream also usually has beer volcanoes and is cut short by an alarm clock just asking to be smashed against the wall.

[Source: El Mundo via MotorAuthority]

 

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Chrysler's savior? Kerkorian stresses his desire to partner with the UAW

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As 4,312 hourly Chrysler workers in Canada and the US accepted early retirement and buyout plans, Kirk Kerkorian released a statement again asserting his desire for a "true partnership" with the UAW and Chrysler management that would entail "equal sharing in the 'risks and rewards'" of a sale to his company, Tracinda. While acknowledging that a successful purchase by Tracinda couldn't (or at least, shouldn't) happen without all parties involved welcoming the deal, Kerkorian calls his plan for the company a "transformation" and claims that it takes everyone's best interests into account.

As expected, his public jump into the foray has flushed more details out from other bidders. Magna International, the parts supplier, had apparently registered a bid of $4.7 billion, and according to UAW President Ron Gettelfinger the other bidders have already approached the UAW about equity partnership. The UAW has not yet talked to Tracinda, and he made no comment about whether the union even wants to be an equity partner. With respect to all of the bidders, it is unclear how much the union would be expected to give up in wages and health care in return for just how many board seats and just much equity ownership. With new labor contract negotiations coming up, the UAW has quite a number of possible outcomes to consider.

DaimlerChrysler and its investment adviser, J.P. Morgan, will open deeper discussions with bidders next week.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Kia to enter pickup fray, too?

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Kia pickup

Kia Motors is investigating the feasibility of introducing a pickup truck in the US market. Kia Motors president Cho Nam-hong fueled the speculation when he was quoted as saying "Isn't it time for Kia Motors to make inroads into the (U.S.) pickup truck market?" Cho's answer was in response to questions surrounding the recently-announced free trade deal between the US and S. Korea. Within 10 years, the deal eradicates the hefty 25% tariff placed on trucks entering the US.

There is no word at this time regarding the size of the truck being studied, but we think it would be wise if a mid-size pickup were to come first. If one uses Toyota as a benchmark (doesn't everybody?), a Tacoma-sized pickup is best suited as an automaker's first stab into the ultra-competitive truck segment. Toyota has also shown that as well as they've done with the Tacoma, the full-size Tundra is still having trouble competing in the large truck market.

[Source: PickupTruck.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bronx Bash: Ferrari 60 Relay stops at Yankee Stadium

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Click image to enlarge

Ferrari's intercontinental, 10,000-car 60th Anniversary traveling show paid a visit to that iconic edifice on River Ave. in the Bronx yesterday. I refer, of course, to Yankee Stadium, home of the 26-time World Champions, and for today, at least, the latest rest stop for the Ferrari 60 Relay. Car 1492, a red 599 GTB Fiorano, made an appearance on the field prior to yesterday's contest between the Yanks and Orioles, and manager Joe Torre was presented with the baton unveiled in Abu Dhabi back in January at the Relay kickoff. Outfielders Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu (left to right above) also posed with the car and baton.

Apparently, the Ferrari brought some good luck along with it, as the game, which was very much in question for the Bombers, ended with Alex Rodriguez crushing a 2-out walk-off grand slam into the black seats in center field.

[Source: Ferrari North America]

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

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GM's Kappa platform spawns GM Daewoo G2X in Seoul

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The cross-pollination among General Motors worldwide operations continues. The Seoul Motor Show features the fourth variant of General Motors' Kappa platform and the third based on the Saturn Sky. The new GM Daewoo G2X is a rebadged edition of the Sky and Opel Speedster. The car being shown in Seoul uses the turbocharged 2.0L direct injected engine from the Sky Red Line. So far, there's no word from GM on when the G2X will be available in South Korean showrooms.

[Source: GM Daewoo]

Gallery: GM Daewoo G2X

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

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Spyker begins selling its body! Your name on an F1 car.

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In what could be seen as a brilliant publicity gambit by a hip, young team, a desperate marketing ploy by struggling backmarkers, or something else we haven't thought of yet, the Spyker F1 Team (officially the Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team) is auctioning four logo spaces on its current championship contender on eBay UK. Opening bids range from €500,000 (that's euros!) for the upper nose to €3,000,000 for the engine cover.

It is the first time in the history of Formula 1 that a team sponsorship opportunity is up for auction. For any of you who've been looking for a rapidly moving orange car to paste your name or corporate logo on, here's your chance. In the words of Bas Verhart, a rep from Dutch agency Media Republic, "We think that this is a unique opportunity for all those eccentrics and philanthropists out there who want to propose marriage in style, support their chosen charity or highlight just causes." Buyer beware, however: the Spykers are starting in 20th and 21st position for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, so your prospective fiancee might not see them.

[Source: eBay via Motor Authority]

 

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Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera has West Coast debut

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Big gallery of pics from the party available by clicking the images.

Lamborghini of Orange County (LOC), which accounted for 15% of Lamborghini sales in the U.S. last year, has a little clout. While the rest of the automotive world was looking to Geneva and New York to see the new Superleggera, LOC had one of its own to display. Well, for one night at least. It was unveiled during a VIP reception so that the dealership's customers could see it for themselves. While it looked pretty hot in its searing Aranco Borealis finish, the new Lambo seemed to be missing something. When one customer asked where the window sticker was, another said, "It doesn't really matter anymore, they're all gone. The lucky bastards." This limited edition, track-friendly Gallardo is limited to 350 units for 2007, all of which are already spoken for.

Weighing about 200 pounds less than the regular Gallardo, the carbon fiber diet is readily apparent. Just like Ferrari did with the CS version of their 360, the carbon fiber mirrors are the easiest tipoff that this is the sportiest variant. Lamborghini goes one better with an unpainted carbon fiber rear decklid as well, though, and carries that theme through with an oddly proportioned, but functional, optional rear spoiler. We might pass on that bit if we were doing the buying. The black side strip is a bit odd-looking, too, but we have no complaints about the Alcantara interior with racing seats and harnesses.

With a slight bump in power and a modest reduction in weight for a whole lot more cash, some might see this as much ado about nothing. But the devil is in the details, as they say. A not-insignificant 12 pounds has been shaved from each corner resulting in less unsprung weight and sharper reflexes for this somewhat hefty awd machine. That, coupled with a switch to Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber, means sharper turn-in and overall quicker responses to inputs. The powerband is said to have been remapped for more immediate reaction to stabs at the loud pedal. We begged and pleaded to get one for our garage, but this Superleggera was headed out for another stop the next morning.

 

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

[via] Autoblog