VW says no to Defiant Motors: GX3 coffin nailed shut for good

Filed under: , ,

Click image for a gallery of the VW GX3 concept

Back in April, we reported on Defiant Motors' grassroots effort to resurrect the canceled Volkswagen GX3 program. The GX3, you'll remember, is a three-wheeler the German automaker debuted at the 2006 L.A. Auto show. Speculation that the GX3, technically a motorcycle, was on its way to production was fueled by spy photos showing prototypes undergoing testing. In the end, VW nixed the project, citing legal concerns over bringing the vehicle to market in a lawsuit-happy environment.

Enter Defiant Motors, which was formed in the hopes that it could partner with VW to market the GX3 under the Defiant moniker, allowing the startup to handle the task of educating consumers that the GX3 is, in fact, a motorcycle. In an update posted to DefiantMotors.com yesterday, founder Aaron Mady notified visitors that Volkswagen gave Defiant's proposal a full review but decided not to move forward with the effort. This effectively brings a close to the saga of the VW GX3, a vehicle that will likely go down as one of the great concepts to never come to fruition. Kudos to Aaron Mady and his supporters for their efforts to make the GX3 a reality.

[Source: Defiant Motors]


[via] Autoblog

Back in Black: Ferrari 430CS caught testing...again

Filed under: , , ,

We know, we know... you've already seen spy shots of the upcoming Ferrari F430 Challenge Stradale. But we can't help but get excited for what promises to be one of the most tantalizing applications of the more-power-less-weight battle cry. We've seen what an improvement the formula made to the F430's predecessor, the 360 Modena, so stripping weight off the already faster-than-spit F430, tightening it up and squeezing a few extra prancing horses out of its screaming powerplant should make for an even hotter ride.

To recap, the 430 CS is anticipated to strip an additional 100 kg or so off the curb weight of its "ordinary" sister by stripping out non-essentials and replacing some of the sheet-metal with carbon-fiber body panels, all while boosting output by an extra 20 horsepower or so thanks primarily to a freer-flowing exhaust system with tips placed higher in the rear panel, like on the previous 360 CS.

These latest shots of the 430 CS test mule, which you can see in all their glory by following the link, were snapped at the Nurburgring and show a revised front end with what look like flared nostrils and a track that has apparently been even further widened over the already broad-shouldered F430. Slight changes, to be sure, but the fine-tuning of perfection has us eagerly counting down to its anticipated debut at the Frankfurt show in September.

[Source: Autowereld via Motor Authority]


[via] Autoblog

Chinese automakers copy everything else, why not the Transformers?

Filed under: ,

click above image to view all the Chinese Transformers

Chinese automakers are known for making knockoffs off models sold elsewhere in the world, so does it surprise you one has taken to creating knockoffs of our beloved Transformers? To be fair, the Transformers franchise traces its roots back to Japanese culture (check out the current issue of Wired for a great lineage article), but considering the new movie based on the successful toy line was directed by America's biggest blow-em-up director, Michael Bay, one could argue the league of robots in disguise is as American as apple pie.

Great Wall has swiped the marketing campaign currently employed by General Motors and is showing off its "own" vehicles in robot mode, complete with ridiculous profiles that indicate each characters name, with what celebrity it most identifies, favorite movie, singer and motto. Florida (shown above), for instance, stands 3.91 meters tall when transformed from its four-wheel identity, which is a Toyota knock off. It identifies most with Paris Hilton, loves the movie "Mission Impossible", listening to Justin Timberlake and cries out "C'est la vie!" when entering battle. Whatever. Other characters include Perry, i7 and Coolbear, the latter of which is a dead ringer for the new Scion xB.

Considering the track record of Chinese cars when they encounter collisions on public roads, should we expect these Chinese Transformers to crumple under their own weight when erect and collapse into a mangled mess of steel and blown air bags? These Chinabots aren't worthy enough to carry one of Optimus Prime's spare tires.

Check out the crazy profiles by clicking the Read link, and view each character in our gallery below.

[Source: Autoblog Chinese]


[via] Autoblog

Chrysler recalling over 80,000 Wranglers and Nitros

Filed under: , , , ,

Chrysler is issuing a recall for 80,894 examples of its hot-selling Jeep Wrangler and not-so-hot Dodge Nitro. The recall will require the power module for each vehicle be reprogrammed to prevent a situation that could cause a brief interruption of electrical power to the engine and instrument panel. This interruption has been reported to cause stalling in 180 separate complaints that have been received by Chrysler. It's only a brief stall, however, and if the vehicles are moving at the time, their engines will reportedly immediately restart. Of course, owners will not be charged for the service to their vehicles, and Chrysler expects to get the world out to them all by the end of the week. Hopefully Greg, the winner of our Autoblog Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro, didn't get one of the 80,894 being called back.

Thanks for the tip, Barney!


[via] Autoblog

Brilliance to get a 2008 U.S. debut?

Filed under:

Businessweek reports that Brilliance (yes, that Brilliance) plans to have cars (possibly the Saibao, above) for sale in the U.S. next year for around $20,000. Phoenix, Arizona-based Autokam is behind the import plan and a Flash animation on their Web page says to expect Brilliance products this fall.

Digging around a bit on Autokam's Web site you'll find an Oct. 2006 article from "Dealer" magazine where Autokam founder David Shelburg talks about the status of crash and emissions tests and the difficulties of importing Chinese-made cars. Shelburg also shares his candid opinion of "Automotive News" publisher and editor in chief Keith Crain. "I'm not going to get along with that SOB if it kills me."

[Sources: Businessweek via China Car Times, Autokam, Dealer magazine, ChinaCar USA]

Continue reading Brilliance to get a 2008 U.S. debut?


[via] Autoblog

By the Numbers: June 2007

Filed under:

NOTE: Since there were 27 selling days in June 2007 versus 26 in June 2006, the percentages below represent the change in Daily Average Sales rate for each automaker and not the change in raw number of units sold.

The biggest news coming out of the sales reports for June 2007 is the -24% pummeling taken by General Motors and its brands. Only Saab sold more on average per day than it did in 2006, with every other GM brand, including the recently risign Saturn, dropping by double-digits. There are a number of factors for this, but we suspect that General Motors actually reduced the supply of cars to rental fleets this month instead of just giving the practice lip service. If that's the case, then GM's black eye in June is not bad news so much as a required readjustment in how its cars are sold.

Elsewhere, the Japanese 3 of Toyota, Honda and Nissan were all up, with Nissan North America posting an 18.2% improvement in its Daily Average Sales rate last month thanks to the new Altima and G-Sedan, among others.

We're sure you're wondering about Ford Motor Company. It continued its steady decline in sales, although Lincoln was a major bright spot, posting a 25.2% gain thanks to the MKX and MKZ. Chrysler, meanwhile, was again buoyed by Jeep, which rose about 15% last month and offset slower sales at Chrysler and Dodge.

The rest of the numbers for June 2007 have been compiled for you below. Enjoy.

Biggest Winner
Saab 27.5% at 4,361 (6/06: 3,295)

Biggest Loser
Jaguar -37% at 1,410 (6/06: 2,160)

Acura 6.9% at 16,766 (6/06: 15,107)
Audi -6.7% at 7,789 (6/06: 8,039)
BMW .5% at 25,220 (6/06: 24,179)
Buick -33% at 16,519 (6/06: 23,738)
Cadillac -31.1% at 16,647 (6/06: 23,265)
Chevrolet -26.2% at 186,474 (6/06: 243,353)
Chrysler -12% at 47,658 (6/06: 51,986)
Dodge -9% at 91,089 (6/06: 96,485)
Ford -13% at 204,303 (6/06: 226,250)
GMC -18.2% at 40,457 (6/06: 47,604)
Honda 7.4% at 124,169 (6/06: 111,342)
HUMMER -13.4% at 5,093 (6/06: 5,661)
Hyundai 6.8% at 49,368 (6/06: 44,508)
Infiniti 9.3% at 10,558 (6/06: 9,300)
Isuzu -19.6% at 1,380 (6/06: 1,652)
Jaguar -37% at 1,410 (6/06: 2,160)
Jeep 15% at 44,600 (6/06: 37,475)
Land Rover 4.1% at 4,160 (6/06: 3,847)
Lexus 0.4% at 28,869 (6/06: 27,686)
Lincoln 25.2% at 12,494 (6/06: 9,610)
Mazda 4.6% at 25,761 (6/06: 23,727)
Mercedes -9.3% at 19,589 (6/06: 20,802)
Mercury -9.5% at 15,660 (6/06: 16,670)
MINI 13% at 4,174 (6/06: 3,556)
Mitsubishi 25.3% at 13,014 (6/06: 10,004)
Nissan 19.4% at 81,655 (6/06: 65,854)
Pontiac -21.1% at 33,683 (6/06: 41,115)
Porsche 9.6% at 3,267 (6/06: 2,871)
Saab 27.5% at 4,361 (6/06: 3,295)
Saturn -12.2% at 21,686 (6/06: 23,790)
Subaru -10.8% at 17,108 (6/06: 18,476)
Suzuki 4.5% at 10,325 (6/06: 9,516)
Toyota 6.9% at 216,870 (6/06: 195,332)
Volkswagen 10.7% at 23,137 (6/06: 20,121)
Volvo -15.2% at 9,572 (6/06: 10,867)

Not Yet Reported

BMW Group 2.0% at 29,394 (6/06: 27,735)
Chrysler Group -5% at 183,347 (6/06: 185,946)
Ford Motor Co -11.5% at 247,599 (6/06: 269,404)
General Motors -24% at 326,300 (6/06: 413,473)
Honda America 7.3% at 140,935 (6/06: 126,449)
Nissan North America 18.2% at 92,213 (6/06: 75,154)
Toyota Motor Co. 6.1% at 245,739 (6/06: 223,018)


Permalink | Email this | Comments

[via] Autoblog