AutoblogGreen for 10.05.07

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Whether someone's smashing up a Tesla Roadster or beating up on Thomas "Flat World" Friedman, things haven't been dull over at AutoblogGreen. Yesterday, also we put up a lot of videos from AltWheels Boston, a wide-ranging green car show. Check them out below.

 

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Bus a Move: Abt T5 Sport Plus package for VW Multivan

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Click image to enlarge

To celebrate the 60th birthday of the VW Bus, Abt Sportsline has worked some of its black magic on the T5 Multivan's TDI powerplants. The Abt-enhanced 1.9 TDI produces either 110 or 130 horses, while the tuned 2.5 TDI offers up either 160 or 195 HP. Torque increases by an unspecified amount in all applications as well. To complete the package, Abt recommends you add its upgraded springs, new wheel/tire combo, full body kit, and sport muffler. Euro buyers who want to blow out the candles and salute the 60 years of the Bus in style can begin doing so on December 31.

[Source: Abt Sportsline via Carscoop]

 

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Pet PIVO: Nissan unveils Tokyo-bound PIVO 2 concept (w/ video)

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Click image for photo gallery

Nissan is following up its 2005 journey into weirdness, the Nissan PIVO concept, with an updated version that'll be on display in Tokyo. The innovatively-named, Isetta-doored PIVO 2 is a shaplier and more colorful take on its rotating-cabin predecessor, and this time around, the PIVO 2's driver gets some company in the form of the "Robotic Agent," a disembodied monkey head on the instrument panel that speaks English and Japanese and is able to help out with things like directions.

Compact Lithium Ion batteries power in-wheel motors, and the PIVO 2's wheels themselves rotate 90 degrees as well. Tight parking spot? Turn the passenger compartment sideways, turn the wheels, and slide right in or out. Then aim the cabin in the direction you want to go, straighten the wheels, and you're off, chatting with Robot Monkey Friend all the way. Welcome to Japan.

Our Tokyo team will attempt to befriend the Robotic Agent when they meet it in person next month. Hit the "Read" link for Nissan's public preview site.

UPDATE: Video after the jump!

[Source: NISSAN]

Gallery: Nissan PIVO2

Continue reading Pet PIVO: Nissan unveils Tokyo-bound PIVO 2 concept (w/ video)

 

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Sunday, Sunday, Sunday: Top Gear pits Bugatti Veyron against jet fighter

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The Bugatti Veyron is a technological tour de force, and racing the 16-cylinder, 1,001 HP supercar against just about any other car really isn't fair. Last year, the folks at Top Gear pitted the Bugatti against a couple of Cessna 182s, but the wheeled wonder won in a walk. The RAF thought it could put up a better fight with the help of a Eurofighter Typhoon jet, and Top Gear accepted the challenge. The good news is that we get to see the race with our own eyes this Sunday. The exhibition is two miles in total, but the runway is only a mile long. To get both miles in, the Veyron will need to perform a legal U-Turn, and the Typhoon will need to climb up one mile, flip, and head back the other way. Regardless of who wins, this should be just awesome to watch. Just for fun, hit the comments and let us know which machine you think will come out on top. We're going to go ahead and take the jet, but we wouldn't be surprised to, you know, be surprised. .

[Source: Top Gear via German Car Blog]

 

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Chinese coming on strong at 2008 Detroit Auto Show

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We remember back in 2005 2006 when the first Chinese automaker to exhibit at the Detroit Auto Show made history just by attending. That would be Geely, and though its display was relegated to the front lobby, the motoring press was impressed by its mere presence in the Motor City. Fast Forward to 2008 and the largest ever contingent of Chinese automakers has just been announced as confirmed for this year's Detroit Auto Show. They include Changfeng Motor Group, BYD Auto Co., China America Automotive Inc./ZXNA, Ls Shi Guang Ming Auto Design Co. and, of course, Geely International Group.

But where's the Nanjing Automobile Corporation, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), Brilliance Auto and Chery Automobile? We seem to hear more about those companies and their aspirations to enter the U.S. market than the ones attending the Detroit Auto Show this year, save for Geely. We'll of course be on hand to see what each has to offer, but while the number of Chinese automakers attending is a record this year, we still think a few of the more promising ones are missing.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 

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Chrysler to idle ComPatriot, Caliber plant for two weeks

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Having learned from the sales bank debacle of the past, Chrysler is now throttling back production to draw down inventory levels. Sales of the PM/MK platform cars - Dodge Caliber and Jeep ComPatriot twins - are down roughly 23 percent compared to last year. Part of that is due to a move away from fleet sales, but whatever the cause, the 3,400 workers at the Belvidere assembly plant will get a two week vacation starting Monday. It's a great time of year to take a trip, enjoy some of the last warm days before winter tightens its grip, or just get out and rake the yard. By the time the line starts back up again, the backlog of unsold vehicles will be reduced, and the looming catastrophe of UAW contract talks will be looming.

[Source: Auto News - sub req.]

 

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First plant rejects UAW-GM contract

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UPDATE: The Detroit News is reporting workers at the Romulus, MI engine plant have also rejected the UAW-GM contract by a narrow margin.


The Detroit Free Press is reporting that workers at GM Powertrain's Massena, New York engine plant are the first to have rejected the proposed four-year labor contract agreed upon by UAW officials and General Motors. The members of UAW Local 465 chose to shoot it down by a margin of 172 to 137. They have good reason, though. According to the contract, the plant in which they work is scheduled to close in 2008. We're actually surprised 137 voted for the contract at all considering the document seals their fate.

UAW workers under GM's employ have until October 10th, another five days, to approve the contract, though only 13,000 out of 73,454 employees have voted so far. The rejection by the engine plant in Massena is not surprising, though we expect the contract will still be approved by a majority of the UAW rank and file. After that, the UAW moves on to negotiations with Ford and Chrysler, both of which are in a weaker position than crosstown rival GM and able to offer the UAW less.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]

 

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NASCAR giving up beer; Busch Series to go Nationwide

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NASCAR was a drinker and a smoker for decades until it gave up the cigs in 2003, trading Winstons for Nextel as title sponsor of its premier race series. Now it gives up beer with the Busch Series changing its name next season.

Beginning in 2008, Anheuser-Busch will relinquish its title sponsorship of the Busch Series to Nationwide Insurance. No financial terms were released by either NASCAR or Nationwide, but the 7-year-deal is rumored to be similar to the beermaker's at about $10 million per. The second-tier race series will be known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series beginning with the Daytona race February 16.

And don't forget that the Nextel Cup will become the Sprint Cup in 2008. Looks like lots of new t-shirts and bumper stickers to buy.

[Sources: AdAge, NASCAR]

 

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Pics Aplenty: Best yet 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution images

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click above image to view new pics of the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Turns out that Mitsubishi has been hiding its best pics yet of the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution on its North American media site. These new images are by far the most dynamic, artsy pics of the EVO X released and perfect for use as desktop wallpapers. View them all in the gallery, and to download your favorite just right click on it and save it to your computer. The photographer did a great job of handling some oppressive sunshine on the day of shoot, as well. Normally shooting into the sun is considered a no-no in photography, but he went for it aided by some good lighting equipment to reveal the car in its own shadow. If he had shot the car with his back to the sun, the glare and starbursts reflecting off of the the car's body would've ruined each shot. Ok, Ok, this isn't Photoblog, I'll stop.

[Source: Mitsubishi via Fast-autos.net]

Gallery: 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X

 

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You spin me right round: Turntable driveways for your car

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Anybody that lives on a busy road or has a lot of cars knows that getting vehicles in and out of the driveway can be a logistical nightmare. Traditional options for curing this problem range from widening the driveway to creating one of those horseshoe-shaped driveways. Pouring concrete can get pricey too, but an old auto show staple, the turntable, is now available as a cure for parking problems.

Turntables aren't just for locomotives and auto show displays anymore. You can have an automobile-sized turntable installed in your garage or driveway for around $8,400 and up. There are some very expensive options, too, which need a foundation of poured concrete and can cost upwards of $40,000. For the same price as the car they're spinning, these Lazy Susans had better work as advertised. Apparently some folk, however, are willing to spend a lot of dough to forgo rearranging the driveway at 5 AM. The scribes at the Wall St. Journal even found compiled a list of companies that make and install turntables.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

 

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Autoblog Podcast #78

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Autoblog Podcast #78 is here! Our lead item is the UAW's strike during GM labor contract talks. It was a nice little picket. Two days, bing, bang, boom, we're back at the table and a deal is now pending. GM out of the way, now it's Ford and Chrysler's turn. That oughta be fun. Speaking of fun and GM, John, Sam, and Chris Shunk all went up to the "GM Collection" event and went round and round at the Milford Proving Grounds in all manner of 2008 GM vehicles. Some were great, some were not so great, though it was all fun and very informative. The guys drove a lot of cars, and thus, there's a lot to discuss. Wrapping up the 'cast, we marvel at the opulence of the $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom Alex wheeled around for a decadent couple days. 52 minutes, 39 seconds, and we're out.

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Feathers fly when peacock procreates with car

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You'd never guess that a bird could confuse something as big as a car for one of its sexual partners, but that's exactly what happened recently in England. A male peacock that lives in the grounds of an aristocrat's manor caused thousands of dollars of damage to a guest's Lexus when it attempted to procreate with it.

The car was left covered in scratches and will now require a full respray, with insurers, Lloyd's of London, left to foot the bill of £4,000 or $8,137.60 USD. The owner of the property, Benjamin Slade, revealed that insurers weren't happy with the situation, explaining "they've had claims for all sorts of things like lions biting people, but never have they heard of a peacock sexually attacking a car before."

The odd thing is that the car's paint color, coincidentally named Peacock Blue, matches the plumage of a male peacock (female peahens are brown), which has led some to speculate the culprit might in fact be gay. Though Gaywheels.com lists Lexus as being a gay friendly company, we can't comment on whether or not that extends to our gay avian friends.

[Source: IOL SA, WhatCar?]

 

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Sydney 2007: Holden Commodore Sportwagon and HSV Maloo break cover again

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Automakers go to great lengths preventing images and details of new cars being released prior to their official debut, but sometimes, well... often, they still fail. Holden is the latest automaker to suffer this fate, with images of its new VE Commodore wagon and high-performance HSV Maloo ute being leaked for the second time ahead of their debut at next week's Sydney Auto Show.

The pictures were published by local magazine Motor, the latest edition of which wasn't meant to go on sale until the official embargo date of the 11th of October. Subscribers of the magazine, however, received their new copies today in with full details of the two Holden show cars. These same cars were subject to another leak back in August.

The wagon Holden is presenting is being called a concept but it's an almost exact copy of the production model set to go on sale early next year. Previous versions of the car were normally sold to company fleets and accordingly were lacking in the style department. The new model is being touted as a more affordable alternative to sporty European estate models from the likes of Audi and BMW.

Holden's other model is the new Maloo ute, a hotted up version of the regular Holden VE Ute prepped by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV). It features a 411-hp 6.0L LS2 V8 and an equally powerful bodykit to match.

[Source: Drive]

 

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Official shots of BMW M3 sedan leaked

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click above image to both pics of the BMW M3 sedan

God bless forums, you have to love them. The occasional flame war aside (who are we to talk?), they're often the repository of choice material like this, what appears to be the first official images of the BMW M3 sedan scanned from a brochure. The main shot is large enough to appreciate how well the M3 style plays with the proportions of the 3-Series sedan, while the tiny pic gives us a profile comparison between the M3 coupe and sedan. What do you need to know about the M3 sedan that's different from the M3 coupe. Well, it's got two extra doors, but aside from that the same 420 HP V8 will be powering the rear wheels, which is all that's important to us. Any more details will have to wait until BMW officially takes the wraps off of its super sedan, which is expected to happen at an upcoming auto show, hopefully the L.A. Auto Show in mid-November.

Thanks for the tip, Mark!

[Source: M3post.com]

Gallery: BMW M3 sedan

 

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