Mitsubishi UK releases pair of 'Black Hawk' Colts

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Click image for gallery of the Colt Black Hawk CZT

When we hear the words "Black Hawk," we immediately think of helicopters being built at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, CT. In the UK, however, that moniker is being applied to a pair of special edition Mitsubishi Colt 3-door hatchbacks with sporting pretensions. Both cars get decked out in black paint with double racing stripes plus privacy glass.

The lower-end Colt Black Hawk is more of a show pony. It wears 16" alloys and is powered by an economical 1.1L 74-horsepower 3-cylinder that gets over 41mpg in the combined cycle. Higher performance is available in the better-equipped Colt Black Hawk CZT, which sports a 147-horsepower 1.5L turbo four capable of delivering a 0-60 time of around seven seconds and a 132 mph top speed. There's not much of a penalty in terms of fuel consumption, either. The CZT, despite its larger engine and additional power, still gets a respectable 34.5 mpg combined.

In addition to the bigger engine, the CZT sports features like exclusive 17" alloys, fog lamps, sport seats, 4-wheel disc brakes, and a CD player. The Black Hawk is limited to 400 cars, and the Black Hawk CZT will be rarer still, with just 200 cars being offered. UK pricing can be found in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Mitsubishi Motors UK]


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Cerberus could align GMAC and Chrysler Financial

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No one knows yet what Cerberus is going to do with Chrysler. However, the possibilities probably include quite a few things that wouldn't be normally expected in the car business -- such as GMAC and Chrysler Financial working closely together.

Cerberus hasn't made any mention of such, yet -- that comes from GM CEO Rick Wagoner in his first public comments since Cerberus was announced as the winning Chrysler bidder. Cerberus bought 51% of GMAC last year, and now runs Chrysler Financial. Wagoner's comments, however, were very open and non-committal -- specifically, he said "I think it's possible you could see opportunities for Cerberus-owned Chrysler Financial and Cerberus-owned GMAC to seek out opportunities to work together." GM isn't looking for such a tie-up, it is simply open to "potential synergies" should such cooperation be shown to be in everyone's interests. He did appear sure that such a proposal -- for working together -- would be coming in time. If Cerberus did combine the two, it would rule the auto loan market, taking the number one spot from Ford Motor Credit.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]


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Tell us what you really think: Lee Iacocca slams Daimler

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There aren't that many people in the world who have a stronger emotional connection to Chrysler Corp. than Lee Iacocca, father of the minivan and savior for Chrysler during the early '80s. In an article featured in BusinessWeek, Iacocca reveals his feelings and thoughts about Daimler AG's sale of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Managment, a private equity firm.

In no uncertain terms, Iacocca comes right out and says, "Daimler screwed Chrysler royally." He argues that Chrysler was healthy, even powerful, before the merger, and has been left half dead by Daimler, which retreats back across the Atlantic to Germany as we speak (our eloquent prose, not his). Nevertheless, Chrysler's ex-CEO is optimistic about his old employer's fate, and makes a case for Cerberus being exactly the right kind of private equity firm to buy Chrysler.

Thanks for the tip, Alison!

[Source: BusinessWeek]

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Continue reading Tell us what you really think: Lee Iacocca slams Daimler


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Nasty Fit: Honda calls out Ottawa government over federal rebate

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The Canadian province of Ottawa government is learning the hard way that one does not mess with Honda Canada. We reported last month that the automaker was irritated its Fit just missed qualifying for a federal ecoAUTO rebate of $1,000 CDN that was established to promote the purchase of fuel efficient cars. The rebate applies to new cars that use less than 6.5 liters of gas for every 100 kilometers driven. The Honda Fit uses 6.6 liters/100km, which means shoppers who purchase a Fit aren't eligible for the $1,000 rebate. Honda claims it designed the Fit to be both safe and environmentally responsible, and refuses to sacrifice one attribute for the other.

One of the Fit's direct competitors, the Toyota Yaris, consumes 6.4 liters/100km, and is thus eligible for the rebate. As such, according to this report, Toyota is practically the only automaker in Canada not upset about the federal rebate program that officially began on March 19th. Perhaps that's because sales of the Yaris in Canada grew by 15% in April, the first full month the rebate was offered. Sales of most its competitors that weren't eligible for the rebate reportedly fell, some by double digits.

Though it has voiced its concerns to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Honda is stepping out and fighting back. The company has bought ad space in newspapers across Canada and is publishing an open letter that criticizes the Canadian government's rebate program. If any Canadian reader finds the ad, we'd love to know everything that's said, but one quote from Honda president Hiroshi Kobayashi will be, "At Honda, we offer pride of ownership because we do not sacrifice safety for the environment." Honda is also offering its own $1,000 rebate on the Fit to match the government's offer, even making it retroactive for those who purchased a Fit all the way back to March 19th.

You hear that? It's Honda's Kobayashi saying, "Eat it, Flaherty!"

Thanks for the tip, Rob!

[Souce: The Globe and Mail]


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Spyker experiences CEO shakeup

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Victor Muller and Maartin de Bruijn (re)founded Spyker cars on January 1, 2000. De Bruijn, who was head designer, left in 2005, and ever since, Muller has played the role of designer in addition to his position as CEO and marketing chief. After seven years at the head of the company, Muller is stepping down from the role of CEO and will focus on the design and branding of Spyker Cars. His replacement will be interim CEO Michiel Mol, currently the director of racing for the Spyker Formula 1 Team.

[Source: Spyker]


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Spy Shots: 2008 Honda Accord EX sedan

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It appears Honda had a whole hoard of 2008 Accords out on the roads the other day for spy photogs to catch. The first shots we brough you were of the base four-cylinder 2008 Honda Accord sedan. The latest batch of pics reveals the 2008 Honda Accord EX, the sedan's most uplevel trim. Painted in a deep (and dirty) black sporting alloy wheels that Temple of VTEC believes emulate the BMW 5-Series, this Accord EX is a more interesting sight to behold than its base model brother that was wearing a dull silver paint. It appears that despite being an EX model, however, this particular mule is also a four-cylinder model since it's only sporting one tailpipe out back.

One interesting styling note a few commenters pointed out on our original spy shots that is even more evident in this new batch is how far out the new Accord's headlights protrude from the body. Looking at the car head on they're not very noticeable, but from a 3/4 perspective one can see how the surface of the front fenders is interrupted by these bug-eye headlights.

It appears that only the V6 models have yet to be snapped, but knowing Priddy and crew, it's only a matter of time.

[Source: Temple of VTEC]


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In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Toyota Tundra Limited

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Click photo above to view a gallery of Tundra shots

I wanted to hate this thing. Toyota? Taking on the last bastion of red blooded American pickups? Yeah, right! The domestic manufacturers have kept cranking up quality, capability and refinement levels - who's this upstart think it is, anyway? Not only has the Tundra garnered a metric crapload of commentary, it's ugly. Okay, not to everyone, but it reminds me of that time I got sand in my eyelids. When a Tundra Limited Double Cab unexpectedly arrived wearing a rather appropriate shade of Herman Melville white, I was primed to register severe intestinal discomfort. Dang.

Continue reading In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Toyota Tundra Limited


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Bike Break: Insanity on a Hayabusa

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Suzuki GSX 1300R HayabusaThere's really nothing else to say here, except that the apparent supremacy of the Suzuki Hayabusa is pretty much cemented in our minds forever after watching the video after the jump. This particular bike's turbocharged, and yes, the numbers on the speedo represent miles per hour. Note the speed at which the front wheel finally comes down. Ridiculous.

It's all after the jump. Thanks to commenter nhl012003 for the tip!

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Bike Break: Insanity on a Hayabusa


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VW Passat being investigated for fires

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Boy, that's one hot car, that Passat. But is it so hot, in fact, that it self-immolates? The NHTSA seems to think that the ignition coil packs are prone to faults that can lead to fires underhood, in the instrument panel, or underneath the vehicle. Passats from 2000 to 2003 are currently under investigation by the NHTSA after 19 reports of spontaneous Teutonic combustion (hey!). Lucky owners who opted for the frugal TDI or spendy W8 can motor along blissfully, while gas-fueled four and six-pot drivers should start parking at the curb. No recall has been issued, but preliminary investigations such as this often end with the manufacturer issuing a recall. If it comes to that, VW's looking at fixing about 350,000 cars.

[Source: Bloomberg via Winding Road]


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Will the Prodrive P2 help form Aston Martin's F430 killer?

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When Aston Martin was purchased by a group of investors led by Prodrive founder Dave Richards, news of future production Astons began to fly. The rumored product that has garnered the most attention is the mid-engined Ferrari F430 fighter we told you about recently. We loved the idea last week, and we're still squarely in the corner of "hurry up and build it now." Some of you will remember that Prodrive actually built a one-off sports/rally coupe called the P2 before their acquisition of Aston. It boasted blistering speed, good looks, and catlike agility.

The P2 was built to showcase the company's race-inspired technology as applied to a road car, but production was never really an option, and for good reason. At the time, Prodrive didn't have a factory, and factories are expensive. Now that it owns Aston Martin, however, the factory is there, and Aston's desire for a supercar jibes perfectly with what Prodrive is highly adept at: building fast, highly capable race-bred vehicles.

Now, no one's saying the P2 itself would be the basis of any Aston Martin. After all, it's based on the itty-bitty Subaru R1 (a JDM city car), which has no business being mentioned in the same breath as a $300,000 supercar. Similarly, the turbo four driving the P2 is around 8 cylinders short of what a proper Aston Martin should have sitting in the engine compartment. The lessons learned and the technologies employed in building the P2, however, could certainly be leveraged on future Astons, including a supercar destined to fight the exotics. That's where the rally-inspired coupe could leave its mark on the superluxury brand's future portfolio.

If you've never heard of the Prodrive P2, hit the jump to watch video of Top Gear's review of the concept car. It's handling is so good that Clarkson actually tossed his cookies after an extremely impressive cone maneuver (if you don't believe us, watch the video).

[Source: eGM CarTech]

Continue reading Will the Prodrive P2 help form Aston Martin's F430 killer?


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VIDEO: VW's autonomous 53+1 kicking ass on autocross course

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Autocrossers beware! You may remember the Volkswagen GTI 53+1 we told you about a year ago. VW engineers have outfitted this Golf with an array of computers and sensors that give the car the ability to traverse autocross courses better than most human drivers could. While the 53+1 isn't as autonomous as a Darpa Urban Challenge entrant, this video shows just exactly how far it can go without your input.

Just like flesh and blood amateur racers, the GTI 53+1 needs to slowly "walk" the course, downloading GPS points to a computer in the trunk. It then takes a few moments to analyze the course route and devise the fastest line possible. Back between the cones, the car zips through the tight curves with amazing dexterity.

The video says the car was not developed to promote future autonomous VWs (Stanford's got that covered), but instead as a way to test the company's hardware without a human driver. Eliminating a driver insures every test will be performed exactly as the one before and give consistent results each time.

The Daily Mail covered the story in 2006 and spoke to a VW engineer who said, "We called it '53' because it is reminiscent of the cinematic Volkswagen bug Herbie, which made history as the first self-driving Volkswagen. This time we've done it for real." Here's hoping this doesn't encourage another Love Bug sequel.

So, wanna see it? Follow the jump for the vid!

[Sources: Street Fire Video, Daily Mail]

Continue reading VIDEO: VW's autonomous 53+1 kicking ass on autocross course


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VIDEO: Transformers final theatrical trailer debuts

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The final theatrical trailer for Michael Bay's Transformers hit the web today. It's lean on plot, and we don't care, because the action sequences are enough to make your eyes melt. We have Bumblebee dishing it out (and taking it on the chin, it appears). There's Starscream performing trick midair transformation acrobatics. And as you see above, there's Optimus Prime getting ready to go kung-fu all over your candy asses. And that's not even the half of it. After all, there's Megan Fox, too.

Best line: "It's probably Japanese."

47 days, kids...

The trailer's embedded after the jump.

[Sources: Jalopnik,, Yahoo!]

Continue reading VIDEO: Transformers final theatrical trailer debuts


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AutoblogGreen for 05.18.07

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The AutoblogGreen that was. Yesterday we looked into the future, with a will they or won't they question on the future of the Chevy Volt. Then we looked a little into the past, with a story on the engineering work that is now finished on the Chevy Sequel. Then - bam - it's back to the future, as we learn that many of the Sequel engineers are now working on the Chevy Volt, or whatever it becomes in the future.


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Latest UAW proposal could hold the key to Delphi's restructuring

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UAWThe UAW is walking a few tightropes right now, and it can't afford to fall off of any of them. In talks with bankrupt auto supplier Delphi Corp. and its private equity partners, at stake for the UAW is coming to an agreement that benefits both sides, but one that does not put the UAW at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating new labor agreements with other automakers this summer.

Delphi had given the UAW two different proposals, neither of which the UAW felt it could take to its membership. The UAW's counterproposal on wages and benefits was only ten pages long, but is so complicated that it will take a while yet for Delphi to really sort out what it really means. Coming to an agreement with the UAW is essential for Delphi to emerge from bankruptcy as a recapitalized company. However, the UAW knows that if it gives any more concessions to Delphi, the big three automakers will want the same thing during their contact talks this summer. With the Delphi situation also involving legacy issues for GM, Cerberus exiting the deal and other private equity companies having to restructure, and the UAW needing to get its next move right, it is a thick plot for all involved.

[Source: Detroit News]


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Spy Shots: Corvette Z07 suspension testing with Ferrari 599

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When we first saw the KGP Photography spy photos of a 2009 Corvette Z07 (or whatever the moniker di jour is) testing side by side with a Ferrari 599 GTB, our first thought was that a lightweight 'Vette with nearly 700hp could actually hold its own against a 599 in a strait line, but in the twisties, the competition would be tougher. Well, not so fast. These two vehicles have similar weight and length, both vehicles boast more than 600hp, front-engine layouts, and both companies employ the same magnetic damping from the embattled Delphi corporation.

In fact, the folks over at Straightline think Z07 engineers are testing their configuration of the magnetic shock absorbers against the best the world has to offer. Hey, if you want to make a world-beater, the 599 GTB Fiorano is a hell of a measuring stick

[Source: Straightline]
Thanks for the tip, Drew!


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VIDEO: Fifth Gear drives the Continental GTC... right off the runway

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The Bentley Continental GTC is a rare and beautiful car with style and grace, 552hp, and the cachet that can only come from something wearing the binged B. We actually drove a GTC briefly last year, and you can rest assured that it didn't suck.

Tiff Needell and the Fifth Gear video crew were able to take out the droptop Conti for a full video feature, and the high-dollar production (they shoot test drives with a helicopter) is as good as you'd expect. In the video, Tiff took some pretty ladies for a 150mph stroll down the runway with the top down. The reason? He had a theory that the faster you go with the roof stowed, the less wind enters the cabin. The female passengers were there to see if their hair blew at high speed (so says Tiff). Well, that hypothesis didn't hold water, but Mr. Needell did manage to run out of runway. Amazingly, the AWD Continental GTC didn't give the first hint of losing control, and neither Tiff nor his companions looked the least bit frightened. Check out the video after the jump, it's worth a look.

[Source: Carscoop]

Continue reading VIDEO: Fifth Gear drives the Continental GTC... right off the runway


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Recreate a Rolls 100EX Concept with your Chrysler 300C

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Click image for gallery

We can't quite decide if this is right up there with spinner hubcaps or if it's genius bordering madness. It's certainly frugal, we'll give them that. California-based LuxuryKit made this knock off of the 2004 Rolls-Royce 100EX concept using a Chrysler 300C sedan as its basis. We'll call it the 300CX, since that seems to fit the bill. The front and rear seem to be all that's done up about the vehicle, but it's enough to notice. A big fat grille, a new fascia that incorporates the squinty headliamps, and amended taillights seem to be the biggest modifications. At any rate, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we're not so sure that Rolls-Royce would appreciate the sentiment. We're not sure LuxuryKit's "Phantom SUV" GMT800 conversion would win many people over in Goodwood, either.

[Source: LuxuryKit via Carscoop]


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Wörthersee 2007: VW Golf GTI Pirelli unveiled

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Click image for a high-res gallery of the new Golf GTI Pirelli

With all the excitement surrounding Volkswagen's and Audi's Wörthersee debuts of the GTI W12 650 and Audi TT clubsport concepts, it's probably worth pointing out that VW actually pulled the wraps off a car that people (European people, specifically) are actually gonna be able to buy.

That car is the VW Golf GTI Pirelli, which was made in conjunction with the Italian tire manufacturer. The original Pirelli GTI appeared back in 1983, with its signature wheels incorporating the "P" cutouts along the rim, and the car unveiled yesterday is its spiritual successor.

Like the GTI Edition 30, the Pirelli is prepared by Volkswagen Individual and is powered by the 230-horsepower version of the 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder. Bespoke touches include an embossed tread pattern on the microfiber-covered primary seating surfaces, contrast stitching on the leather trim adorning the seats, steering wheel, and shift boot, Pirelli badging, and exclusive rolling stock. In addition, the Sunflower finish seen above is exclusive to the Pirelli.

Our favorite touch has to be the design of the GTI's P-Zero-shod 18" wheels. Each of the five spokes is actually an exaggerated letter "P" as seen in Pirelli's logo. The Pirelli GTI goes into production this September and will be patrolling European roads in the Fall.

UPDATE: VW released a couple of live shots from Wörthersee, which have been added to the gallery. We also added a close-up of the wheel design.

[Source: Volkswagen]

Continue reading Wörthersee 2007: VW Golf GTI Pirelli unveiled


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GM may sell medium-duty truck unit to Navistar

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In a move billed as potentially assisting Navistar with "life after Ford," the company is talking to GM about buying the General's medium-duty truck unit. Navistar already makes trucks and engines, and talks are only just beginning, but buying the GM unit would allow it to enlarge its market share and remove a competitor. Navistar, if you'll remember, is locked in a legal tussle with Ford to the tune of $2 billion. Navistar says that Ford is looking at introducing its own engines before 2012, in breach of contract; Ford says it's paying far too much for Navistar's 6-liter PowerStroke Super Duty engine issues.

Were GM to sell its medium-duty truck unit, assuming the price were right, GM would shed a non-core division, make a profit, and be able to focus on making cars. GM's medium-duty trucks are sold as the Chevy Kodiak, GM Topkick (aka "Ironhide"), and Isuzu T-Series, which together account for almost 12% of the medium-duty truck market. And apparently the medium-duties aren't the only ones on the block: GM is in talks to let Allison Transmissions go as well.

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

Related posts:
Navistar Slaps Ford with $2 Billion Lawsuit
Ford Developing New Diesel Engine, Quickly
Ford Supplier Stops Production of Super Duty's PowerStroke


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Jim Cramer says Toyota stock good bet. Big 3? Not so much.

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If you've got some cash tucked away somewhere not doing anything (and not already invested in AAPL), Jim Cramer said Tuesday that Toyota is his favorite automotive pick. Actually he said, " BUY! BUY! BUY!"

Cramer says that while General Motors and Ford are busy cutting staff and production, Toyota is spending to ensure future growth. He expects Cerberus to take Chrysler down a similar path as GM and Ford, which will make Chrysler "a teeny-tiny little auto company."

"Do you want to buy Ford? Or maybe GM? What, are you nuts!?" Cramer said. "There is only one large car company that will be left in the United States when this is through, and that company is Toyota." He went on to say Toyota stock is in a downturn currently only because of a conservative forecast. But Cramer says the company is underpromising so it can overdeliver. "GM may be the largest single buyer of Viagra for its workers, but Toyota may soon be the largest buyer of cold-rolled steel. To actually make cars!" Ouch.

Watch the video (free subscription) to hear more of the TV show host's insight and to see him slap a Toyota logo to his forehead. Oh, and he suggests Toyota could sell more Tundras if they just made it "one large gunrack."

Toyota closed Thursday at $121.50, down $1.01; Ford closed down 1 cent at $8.75 and DaimlerChrysler down $.68 at $86; and General Motors closed down $.15 to $31.59. Honda was unchanged at $34.45.

[Source: CNBC's "Mad Money" via The Street]


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