2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio$80,000+!

AutoInformed.com on Alfa Romeo Stelvia Quadrifoglio

The history of the Quadrifoglio dates back to the 1923 Targa Florio, one of the oldest and most famous racing events of all time – a dangerous open road endurance race held in the mountains of Sicily.

What’s claimed to be the world’s fastest “buyable” SUV starts at $80,000 for a 505 horsepower V6 in a bland two-box truck wrapper with a  0-60 mph time  in an estimated 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 176 mph. With the most powerful Alfa Romeo production engine ever, Stelvio Quadrifoglio** is the “halo” model in the truck lineup lineup.

This high-performance SUV (or is that a crossover truck?) has an all-aluminum, direct-injection 2.9-liter 24-valve bi-turbo intercooled V6 engine, rated at a best-in-class 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque, and a standard Q4 all-wheel-drive system. A Stelvio Quadrifoglio lapped Nürburgring in a record 7 minutes 51.7 seconds, fastest time ever posted by a production SUV, according to Alfa.(Take that Porsche Cayenne.) Continue reading

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Ford Motor Shakes Up Senior Management During Sexual Harassment Debacle


Not a Word from Bill Ford?

Ford Motor Company today announced changes to its senior management team as it struggles with numerous sexual harassment charges, electrification and mobility business shifts and Silicon Valley competitors that threaten its future.

With a couple of  exceptions, the management team is y-chromosome male as is the norm at automakers. Notable was the lack of Bill Ford comments in the release? (Ford Dropping Car Business – Reallocating $7B in Capital, Ford Places $1B Bet in Argo AI on Autonomous Vehicles)

  • Kumar Galhotra named group vice president and president, Ford North America
  • Joy Falotico named group vice president, Lincoln and Chief Marketing Officer
  • David McClelland named vice president of Ford, CEO of Ford Motor Credit Company
  • Stuart Rowley named vice president and chief operating officer, Ford North America
  • John Lawler named vice president, Strategy, Ford Motor Company
  • Cathy O’Callaghan named vice president and corporate controller, CFO, Global Markets

Continue reading

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Me Too? Raj Nair, President North America, Fired by Ford

AutoInformed.com on Ford Sexual Harrassment

Ford in the mud up to its axles.

Ford Motor Company said late yesterday that Raj Nair, executive vice president and president, North America, is leaving Ford now. The firing came after what appears to be a hastily conducted internal investigation into stories of “inappropriate behavior” by the senior executive. This likely is a Ford smoke/word-screen for the latest revelations that its Blue Oval run “me too” assembly lines abuse women, and condones or tolerates actions that are of course in full view in the Red Zone White House. Ford claimed that certain behavior by Nair was “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”

The latest Ford problem follows an ongoing scandal at its two Chicago assembly plants that saw three black women testify Tuesday in front of Chicago alderman about loutish Ford supervisor behaviors with sexual harassment and intimidation they say claimed they endured while working at Ford, which claims it has a program in place to address such concerns. The UAW also appears to be complicit in the criminal behavior, even though it has a phantom “no tolerance policy” that it invokes in such situations. It’s not clear if Nair was involved either directly or ind erectly.

Job One at Ford appears to include masturbating on the assembly line, showing off pictures of penises, molesting and propositioning women and retaliating against those who refused to “go along with the program,” thereby providing an expanded definition of “tit for tat.” Continue reading

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Gutting Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Hurts Auto Biz

You can forget the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that was aimed at protecting people from predatory lending and  to stop other rampant abuses promulgated by the wealthy and politically connected firms. The White House, according to real, not fake news reports, will make changes in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau now run by White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who is demonstrably no friend of the working class.

As a congressman, Mulvaney sponsored legislation to abolish the CFPB. Now a White House budget proposal that will add billions to the national debt cuts funding for the CFPB by ~$150 million – 25% of its total budget. Mulvaney has already frozen hiring and put a temporary hold on payments to victims of illegal banking practices. Three to 5 million American households turn to payday loan companies whose storefronts in working class neighborhoods often outnumber McDonalds and Starbucks. Continue reading

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Cigarette Racing 515 Project ONE Debuts with Mercedes-AMG


A floating Mercedes-AMG Project ONE.

Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing are showing the latest iteration of toys for the rich from the Miami-based boat manufacturer at the Miami Boat (Boast?) show that just opened. Designed from the sea bottom up using the “latest technology,” the Cigarette Racing 515 Project ONE is a brand extension of the highly promoted Mercedes-AMG Project ONE two-seat concept show car. Continue reading

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BMW 320D Meets German Emissions Regulations


Road testing with civilian drivers can stop the cheating.

The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has published the findings of tests conducted on the BMW 320d (Fuel Consumption Combined liter/100 km 4.3–3.9 (4.1–3.8), CO2 g/km 113–102 (109–99)) and confirmed that the vehicle examined complies with all legal requirements.

The tests were carried out following criticism of the car’s emissions’ performance in December 2017 by an environmental lobby group “Deutsche Umwelthilfe” (Environmental Action Germany). Continue reading

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Artificial Intelligence Next Big Thing in Autos?

As just the latest example of the growing use of sophisticated computer programming, some of it quite invasive and reckless in customer privacy issues, Mercedes-Benz is presenting what it calls “innovations and initiatives” from a variety of fields as part of its digitization strategy at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month. Continue reading

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Largest US Auto Exporter – BMW Manufacturing


BMW Spartanburg 8 years ago.

BMW Manufacturing has exported 272,346 BMW X models from the Spartanburg plant during 2017. Nearly 87% of these “Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes” were exported through the Port of Charleston with a value of approximately ~$8.76 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

BMW confirms the South Carolina factory is the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value. Continue reading

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Porsche Classic Supplies Parts from a 3D Printer

AutoInformed.com on 3D Printing of Porsche 959 Parts

Porsche Classic has some 52,000 parts.

Let’s hope that this catches on – not only for collectors of rare classic cars – but for older vehicle or airplane owners of whatever ilk. It is not fake news that the absence of replacement items (or, ahem, ethics) leads to problems. Worst auto case, the car may be scrapped.

Now Porsche Classic, the division of Porsche dedicated to – what else – classic vehicles, has a solution by producing extremely rare parts that are admittedly only needed in small quantities using 3D printers. All parts that are produced using the 3D printing process meet the requirements with conformity to original specifications – both from a technical and a visual perspective. Continue reading

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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Didi Chuxing Sign Chinese Car-Sharing MoU

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, a leading automotive alliance, says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with DiDi Chuxing (‘DiDi’), the leading Chinese mobile transportation platform, to explore future business cooperation on a new electric vehicle car-sharing program in the People’s Republic of China.

The MoU with DiDi – it’s claimed – accentuates a commitment to new mobility services at the Alliance, including the launch of robo-vehicle ride-hailing services, as part of the Alliance 2022 strategic mid-term plan launched last year. Continue reading

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Room for More Recycling

The EPA estimates that the U.S. generates more than 250 million tons of municipal waste, of which approximately 34% was recycled or composted.

This means that the U.S. disposes enough waste each day to fill 50,000 garbage trucks with 18,000 pounds of trash in each. The auto industry with its market-based predisposition to cutting costs and it’s expertise in large scale material handling is well on its way to achieving 100% recycling in the U.S.  (See GM Recycles 2 Million Flint Water Bottles from Toxic Crisis) Continue reading

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GM on Flat Sales Reports Record 2017 EPS

GM set an EBIT-adjusted record for the fourth quarter of 2017. This result was attributed to sales of GM’s latest crossovers, along with strong   pricing and cost control — which more than offset a wholesale volume decline during Q4. Fourth-quarter income (loss) of $(4.9) billion includes anon-cash charge of $7.3 billion related to the re-measurement of deferred tax assets due to U.S. tax reform. Fourth-quarter 2016 income was $1.9 billion. This resulted in a Diluted Earnings of $0.22 and Record EPS Diluted adjusted of $6.62.

GM returned $6.7 billion to shareholders in 2017 through share buybacks of $4.5 billion and dividends of $2.2 billion. Since 2012, GM has returned more than $25 billion, which represents more than 90 percent of available free cash flow generated over that time. Nonetheless, GM stock price has languished. Continue reading

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Corvette ZR1 Sets Lap Record at VIR

A Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway with a time of 2:37.25. This is small consolation to the beating that Corvette took at the 24 Hours of Daytona against the Ford GT in real checkered flag endurance racing.

Along with a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses, the basically stock ZR1 coupe was equipped with the optional paddle-shift eight-speed automatic and ZTK Performance Package, which includes an adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning. Continue reading

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California Air Resources Board Fines JEGS Automotive $1.7m

JEGS sold modified performance parts.

The California Air Resources Board today announced that JEGS Automotive Inc. will pay $1,700,500 to resolve violations of anti-pollution laws related to the sales and marketing of illegal aftermarket performance parts in California.

The penalty is the largest in CARB history for a case involving aftermarket parts.

CARB staff started the investigation of JEGS because of a complaint from a consumer.  CARB said that from 2011 to 2014, JEGS advertised and sold in California modified aftermarket performance parts such as engine programmers, air intake systems and throttle bodies that were not approved by CARB for use on highway vehicles. These products can reduce fuel economy and increase emissions. Continue reading

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Automotive Hall of Fame Honors Roy Lunn and GT40

AutoInformed.com on Roy Lunn

Ford GT40s at Le Mans in 1967.

The Automotive Hall of Fame has opened a new display celebrating the accomplishments of Roy Lunn (1925-2017), the engineer who led the creation of the original Le Mans-winning Ford GT40.

According to Martyn L. Schorr, Editor of Car Guy Chronicles, “Roy was born in Richmond, England in 1925, one of three children. He earned degrees in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at Kingston Technical College and was a pilot in the RAF. When World War II ended, he transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough and worked on the design and development of gas turbine generators for the first Turbo-Jet aircraft. Continue reading

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