June 18, 2010

Chrysler Sebring convertible to survive

Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Much to our collective surprise, Chrysler's new Italian overlords have reportedly decided to keep the Sebring convertible alive and even give it a major refresh early next year. The Sebring and Dodge Avenger sedans are due to get their updates before the end of this year, and the Sebring could yet receive a new name. Most of those changes including reworked suspensions and improved interiors, and the company's new Pentastar V6 will migrate into the droptop in the new year.

As you may recall, back in the 1990s, the Sebring was consistently the top-selling convertible in America thanks to its reasonable price, relatively attractive styling and seating for four. The current model completely squandered that advantage by combining all the negative aspects of its sedan counterpart with a highly compromised design that includes three different tops including vinyl and canvas soft tops and a very finicky folding hardtop. So why keep the Sebring convertible around? According to AllPar, it's because they remain a favorite of rental fleets in warm weather states thanks to "move-em-out" pricing from Chrysler and demand for four-seat convertibles from vacationers.

[Source: AllPar]

World's largest car collection closer to being under one roof

Rendering of the main hall at the LeMay America's Car Museum

If you've ever wondered who has the largest private car collection in the world, wonder no more. Until his death in 2000, Harold E. LeMay had the distinction of laying claim to that title with over 3,000 classic vehicles in his possession. His gems included everything from a 1916 Abadal Buick to a 1983 DeLorean DMC 12 and pretty much everything in between. Just before LeMay passed away, he formed a non-profit group with the goal of building a massive museum to house his collection and educate the public on the impact and evolution of the automobile.

LeMay's vision for the garage to end all garages was no less grand than his collection – a massive steel and arched glass structure designed by Alan Grant of Grant Architects. After a decade of fundraising by LeMay's widow and a number of grants from state and local governments, the LeMay America's Car Museum officially broke ground this week. The project is expected to cost a total of $100 million when completed, and will feature complete educational exhibits in addition to showcasing the collection. For more information on the cars and the museum, be sure to check out the LeMay Museum site.

[Source: The New York Times]

Best Wedding Grown


June 17, 2010

Mahindra sued by U.S. distributor over pickup delays

Mahindra Pik-Up

According to the Hindustan Times, Global Vehicles, the Atlanta-based company that is slated to be the exclusive U.S. distributor for Mahindra & Mahindra vehicles, alleges that more than $95 million has been spent on getting the country ready to buy the Indian Pik-Ups. The problem is, and has been, that Mahindra still hasn't provided any vehicles to sell. The Indian company is waiting on paperwork and testing for EPA approval to sell the trucks here.

GV is tired of waiting idly, and has brought a lawsuit against Mahindra for having missed two soft deadlines and two hard ones. GV claims the delay has been "inordinate," Mahindra says the lawsuit is "without merit." We say that no matter who's right, this is not the way to bring a truck to market.

[Source: Hindustan Times]

Best Wedding Dress


June 16, 2010

Toyota FT-86 to be called FR-S when it reaches production?

Toyota FT-86 Concept

It's been awhile since we've heard anything on the tasty little Toyota FT-86 Concept, but it looks like we may finally have an idea of what the car will be called when it hits showrooms. If the rumors buzzing around the Toyobaru forums are to be believed, the Japanese manufacturer won't resurrect any of its fabled names from the company's past. Instead, it's possible that the sportscar may carry an FR-S badge. Toyota just filed a trademark application for the name, so there's a good chance that this particular internet whisper may have some meat to it.

We haven't completely decided where we stand on the FR-S name, partly because we had become so accustomed to calling the front-engine, rear-wheel drive heathen the FT-86. In the end, though, we don't really care what's on the car's badges so long as it makes it to production as an affordable, strong-performing coupe. Toyota could use something with a pulse in a big way, and a spiritual successor to the AE-86 Corolla would be just the ticket.

[Source: Toyobaru.net]

Volkswagen goes soft-roading with new CrossPolo

2012 Volkswagen CrossPolo

Smaller cars may be taking over from larger SUVs around the world, but that hardly means that the go-anywhere, rough-and-tumble image of the sport-ute has disappeared from buyers' minds. That's where softroaders come in. Vehicles like the Volkswagen CrossPolo blend off-road styling with a small form factor.

VW gave us a sneak peek at the new CrossPolo back in Geneva, but is only officially revealing the full range now. Based on the new Polo hatchback, the CrossPolo gets a boost in ride height and some tasteful body cladding to give it that backcountry appeal. A new front end – treated in dark gray and blending into the wheel arches, quarter panels and rear bumper – plus 17-inch alloys and roof rails complete the package, which can be ordered by non-U.S. types with six engine options – three gasoline and three diesels – in any of six exterior shades, including two colors unique to the CrossPolo.

June 14, 2010

Minor updates to Mini Cooper leaked

2011 Mini Cooper

If loose lips truly sank ships, the interwebs would be at the bottom of the Pacific. A few shots of the 2011 Mini Cooper and Cooper S have hit the web courtesy of the keen-eyed crew at MotoringFile. As you might expect, Mini isn't exactly walking away from the iconic shape that has dominated the brand since it hit the scene a few short years ago. Instead, it looks like we'll be seeing (very) slightly reworked front fascias with something of a smiley face treatment and a host of LED lighting.

From what we can tell from these few leaked brochure photos, it looks like we can expect a few new colors to hit the Cooper pallete as well. The base Cooper will be available dipped in Spice Orange and the Cooper S will boast a powder blue hue in addition to the spectrum already available for the car. So far, we're not quite sure what to expect in terms of power or drivetrain additions, but our guess is things will continue to stay pretty much the same for 2011.

[Source: MotoringFile]
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