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Cheers and Gears Weekly Update 06/29/2012

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Farewell Rotary Engine.. For Now

Uploaded by mudmonster on Yesterday, 10:52 PM

William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 29, 2012

Last Friday was a sad day for Mazda. That was when the final 13B Renesis Rotary engine rolled off assembly line in Hiroshima, ending a forty year affair.

Mazda first licensed the design for the rotary engine (also known as a Wankel engine) in 1961, with the Cosmo sports car being the first model to use a rotary in 1967. From there, the rotary engine would be used in a series of cars, including the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars.

However, the times are changing. The RX-8 can’t hold a flame to the current crop of sports cars in fuel economy, and failed to meet the European Union’s Euro 5 emissions regulations, excluding it from sale in Europe. Also, sales of the RX-8 have been falling. In 2004, Mazda sold about 24,000 RX-8s. This past year, Mazda only sold 2,896 RX-8s.

There is some hope for those who are a fan of the rotary.

“While the majority of the company’s engineering resources are focused on the development of our revolutionary Sky Activ technology, work does continue on the next-generation rotary,” Mazda told Autocar. .“Additionally, work continues on the use of fuels other than gasoline, taking advantage of the rotary’s unique ability to operate on multiple fuels without extensive reengineering.”

Source: Bloomberg, Autocar

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


Saab's New Owner Seeks Permission To Name & Logo

Uploaded by mudmonster on Yesterday, 03:40 PM

William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 28, 2012

Earlier this month, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) bought up the assets of Saab, except for two key items; the name and logo of Saab.

The Saab name and logo are under control of defense company Saab AB and truck maker Scania, and National Electric Vehicle Sweden has to ask for permission to use it.

"Every use of the trademark had to be discussed. NEVS can't get hold of the Saab name until we've approved it. That is under discussion right now," Scania spokesman Hans-Ake Danielsson told Automotive News Europe this week. "We have to protect our good name and brand. We have to be sure the new owner will not jeopardize that name."

Scania explained the decision to protect the Saab name and logo came from when General Motors bought up 50% of the passenger-car division of the company that included Saab AB, Saab Autos and Scania.

NEVS spokesman Mikael Ostlund said: "All parties are looking for a solution as soon as possible."

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


Average Age Of Vehicles In U.S. Now 11 Years Old

Uploaded by mudmonster on Yesterday, 10:49 AM

William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 28, 2012

The average age of a vehicle in the U.S. has hit a record high. According to Experian Automotive, the average age of the 245 million vehicles registered in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2012 was 11 years. That's an increase of just over 2 months when compared to last year.

Experian Automotive goes onto say that more than 52 million cars and trucks in the U.S. are 16 years or older.

Experian Automotive's analysis also found that Ford has the most models on the road compared to any other automaker. That really shouldn't come as a surprise since the Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 30 straight years. The top four automakers with the oldest models on the road include;Ford: 17.2%Chevrolet: 15.8%Honda: 10.4%Toyota: 7.3%

The four most popular models are;Ford F-150: 3.4%Honda Accord: 2.6%Toyota Camry: 2.6%Chevrolet Sliverado: 2.0%

Why are there more old vehicles on the road? For one, the recession and sluggish recovery has caused people put off buying or trading-in for a new or used car. Also, vehicles are just better built. During the 90's, improvement in quality picked up serious momentum.

Source: CNBC

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster


Honda Pins Hopes On A Racing Enthusiast To Restore Its Reputation

Uploaded by mudmonster on 27 June 2012 - 10:10 PM

William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 28, 2012

If you were only to read the headlines about Honda, you might be wondering why a good amount of people are complaining. So far in 2012, Honda sales are up, has excellent relations with their suppliers, won this year’s Indy 500, and many other good stories that many a company wish they had.

However, those in the know see that Honda lost the magic that it once had during the eighties and nineties with its core group of fans. Honda has also began to realize this very fact and is taking some drastic steps to fix it.

For the first time in Honda’s history, they have promoted an American, Erik Berkman, to the position of North American Research and Development chief.

"What we expect him to do is, through this good knowledge and experience, fulfill his dream of making North America strong," said Tetsuo Iwamura, Executive Vice President of Honda North America.

Making Honda strong in North America will not be an easy feat. Berkman has to balance building cars that have the magic of old Honda vehicles while keeping keeping the brand profitable. Honda is the only automaker not to post an annual loss, despite a recession and the bad reviews on their cars.

However, Berkman has the reputation to possibly pull this off. A 30 year veteran of Honda, he has worked on the 1999 Honda Odyssey and 2001 Acura CL, his team designed the multiple-Indy 500-winning engine, and Berkman was the head of the 2004 Acura TL: a car that he had to fight for, and one that turn out for the best. In 2004, the TL was the best selling in its class.

Berkman’s first order of business is the Civic. The new Civic has been panned by the press and caused Honda to move up the refresh to this year. Berkman says the refreshed Civic will bring a few “tweaks” including upgraded interior materials and revised driving dynamics.

Berkman’s ultimate goal for Honda is this: "We want everybody to fall over and go: There it is again. There's that Honda we used to praise."

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


Infiniti Still Wants A Halo Car.. Which One Though?

Uploaded by mudmonster on 27 June 2012 - 02:18 PM

William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 27, 2012

The Infiniti lineup is pretty well filled. You have a variety of sedans in varying shapes and sizes, crossovers, a hybrid, coupe, convertible and even a SUV. But there is one hole in Infiniti's lineup, a halo car.

“A halo car would help us. It could bridge the gap between Infiniti and F1,” said Andreas Sigl, the head of Infiniti’s F1 operations.

So what could this Halo Infiniti look like? For awhile, rumors were flying of an Infiniti version of the Nissan GT-R, but that has ruled out completely.

The first option is the extended-range electric Emerge-E concept, shown in Geneva this year. However, people outside of Nissan say the Emerg-E may not deliver the performance that’s appropriate for a halo car.

The other option is the 2009 Infiniti Essence concept that used a twin-turbo V6 and electric motor producing 592 HP. Sources inside Nissan say that some form of the Essence, whether it come with a V6 or a V8 is still is on the table.

Source: Car & Driver

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.



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