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  1. For something a bit surprising. This morning, Toyota has announced that the Scion brand will be shuttered and the current lineup will transition over to the Toyota brand for the 2017 model year. News of this was first reported by CarBuzzard where a meeting was held yesterday with Scion employees notified of the decision. “This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America and the founding vice president of Scion in a statement. Scion was first introduced back in 2002 as a brand that was very different from Toyota as it was aimed at young buyers. It was fun and offered unique vehicles (the xA and xB at launch). The brand also did things a bit differently with a unique marketing campaign and a no haggle policy. Toyota hoped customers who bought Scions would transition into Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the future. But a number of issues plagued Scion which ultimately led to its downfall, The average age of Scion buyer was around 49 years old, not the young crowd Scion was hoping for (some reports put it at 15 percent of Scion customers were under the age of 35). Scion not updating their lineup at a decent rate and letting models languish Massive sales decline from 175,000 vehicles in 2006 (their best year) to 56,167 vehicles for 2015 But it seemed last year Toyota was going to give the brand so much needed attention with the launch of the iA (Mazda2 sedan) and iM (Toyota Auris). There was also a new subcompact crossover that would be joining the lineup for 2017, the C-HR. But sadly, it was a little too late. The damage was done and Toyota realized there wasn't any way to save the brand. The twenty-two dedicated team members for Scion will be able to transition into positions at Toyota. “Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices. It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. Source: CarBuzzard.com, Motor Trend, Road & Track, Scion Picture: William Maley for Cheers & Gears Press Release is on Page 2 Scion Brand to Transition to Toyota Valuable Insights Will Aid Toyota in Attracting New, Young Customers TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 3, 2016 – Scion, established as a separate brand in 2003 as a laboratory to explore new products and processes to attract youth customers, is now transitioning back to the Toyota brand. Scion achieved its goals of developing unique products and processes, and bringing in new, younger customers to Toyota. With more than a million cars sold, 70 percent of Scions were purchased by customers new to Toyota and 50 percent were under 35 years old. “This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, founding vice president of Scion and now CEO, Toyota Motor North America. “I was there when we established Scion and our goal was to make Toyota and our dealers stronger by learning how to better attract and engage young customers. I’m very proud because that’s exactly what we have accomplished. “We could not have achieved the success we have had without the incredible support of Scion’s customers, dealers and team members, so supporting them throughout this transition process will be one of our top priorities,” said Lentz. Toyota’s decision was made in response to customers’ needs. Today’s younger buyers still want fun-to-drive vehicles that look good, but they are also more practical. They, like their parents, have come to appreciate the Toyota brand and its traditional attributes of quality, dependability and reliability. At the same time, new Toyota vehicles have evolved to feature the dynamic styling and handling young people desire. Scion has consistently been the youngest brand in the auto industry with an average age of 36 years old. At 29, the tC sports coupe has the lowest-average age buyer in the industry. The most recent additions to the line-up, the iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback, are bringing in new buyers with 70 percent being first-time new car purchasers. Additionally, more than 50 percent of iM and iA buyers are under 35 years old. As part of the brand transition, beginning in August 2016, MY17 Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyotas. The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family. The tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. The C-HR, which recently debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, will be a part of the Toyota line-up. The service and repair process for Scion customers will be unaffected by this change as customers will continue to visit Toyota dealerships’ service departments. “We appreciate our 1,004 Scion dealers and the support they’ve given the brand,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “We believe our dealers have gained valuable insights and have received a strong return on their investment. During this time of transition, we will work closely with them to support this process and help communicate this change to customers.” Scion’s 22 dedicated team members, who represent sales, marketing, distribution, strategy, and product and accessories planning, will have the opportunity to take on new jobs at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in Torrance. Scion regional representatives will assume different responsibilities in their respective Toyota sales offices. “Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. “It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network.” Scion Accomplishments: Scion Processes - Scion served as a laboratory for products and key sales and marketing processes that have provided valuable lessons for other Toyota brands: Pure Pricing – dealers set a price for a car and customers did not need to negotiate Mono-Spec cars – providing cars with only two options: transmission and color Personalization – offering a large array of accessories to help customers customize their vehicles Pure Process – transparent financing process Pure Process Plus – an online system so much of the car-purchase process could be completed online Scion Service Boost – pre-paid maintenance plan Release Series – dynamic life cycle management through special features and options Grassroots marketing – initial Scion brand was “discovered” by customers through unique events Scion Products -- Scion has had some outstanding products that have made an impact in the industry including the original “box,” the xB and the FR-S affordable sports car. The tC sports coupe has consistently attracted the youngest buyer in the industry. Scion Executives -- Scion served as an important training ground for Toyota vice presidents, many of whom have been promoted to other roles: Jim Lentz -- Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Motor North America Mark Templin – Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation, Executive Vice President, Lexus International Jack Hollis – Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing Doug Murtha – Group Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Planning, Toyota Motor North America Andrew Gilleland – current Vice President, Scion
  2. As many of us suspected for a while, Cadillac has decided to not go forth with a second-generation ELR plug-in hybrid. "I plan to continue admiring it as one of the most beautiful cars on four wheels. But we don't plan further investment" in the coupe, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen told reporters at a media event for the CT6. de Nysschen went on to say the ELR will still be sold as long as people want to buy it. Previously, Automotive News reported the ELR would stick around till 2018. The ELR was a victim of bad decisions. A key one pointed out by dealers was the starting price of $75,995 caused demand to drop sharply. For the 2016 model year, Cadillac slashed the price by $10,000. Cadillac's marketing chief, Uwe Ellinghaus called the ELR a 'big disappointment' in an interview with Automobile Magazine, causing many to think the ELR's days were numbered. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. The Dodge Viper's future is uncertain after 2017. Allpar got their hands on the proposed UAW contract for FCA and looked at the production changes. According to the contact, the current Viper will end production in 2017 and leave the Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit without a vehicle to take its place. The current Viper has been languishing since its introduction in 2013 due to a combination of a high pricetag and competitors stepping up. Through September, Dodge only moved 503 Vipers, a decrease of 7.9 percent when compared to the year before. Source: Allpar
  4. After eight months of rumor and speculation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has made it official; the Dodge Viper will be no more after the 2017 model year. To mark the end of a 25-year life, Dodge has announced five limited edition models. They are as followed, Viper 1:28 Edition ACR: Pays tribute to the current production car lap record (1:28.65) set at Laguna Seca Raceway last October. Comes finished in black with red ACR stripes and a 1:28 Edition exterior sill decal. The Viper's optional extreme aero package and carbon-ceramic brakes come standard. Dodge is planning to build as many as 28 models. Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR: Honors the Viper GTS-R GT2 race car from the late nineties. Painted in Pearl White with Blue Pearl GTS stripes. Comes equipped with the extreme aero package, exterior carbon package, and carbon-ceramic brakes. 100 models are expected to be built. Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR: Modeled from the 2010 VoooDoo Edition with black exterior and gray stripe and VoooDoo II exterior sill decals. Follows other ACR models with the extreme aero package and carbon-ceramic brakes. 31 models are expected to be produced. Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC: Only special edition model not be based on the ACR trim. Features a Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin patterned stripe. About 25 models are expected to be built. Dodge Dealer Edition ACR: Only available at the two highest volume Viper dealers - Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Illinois. Finished in white with a blue center stripe. Gets the extreme aero package and carbon-ceramic brakes as standard equipment. About 33 models are expected to be built. “The Dodge Viper has had a great run, and 25 years after it was first introduced, it leaves the supercar world reaching for the records it continues to set. With more track records than any production car in the world, the Dodge Viper ACR will live on as the fastest street-legal Viper track car ever, the car that has set the benchmark for all that follows in its tracks,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat – FCA, North America in a statement. Source: Dodge Press Release is on Page 2 Dodge Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Final Year of Viper Production with Five Exclusive Limited-edition Models New 25th anniversary limited-edition models feature exclusive content to commemorate the final year of Viper production 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer) – Celebrating the current Laguna Seca single-lap record of 1:28.65 GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR – One of the most iconic Viper liveries of all-time VoooDoo II Edition ACR – Rebirth of the VooDoo ACR Snakeskin Edition GTC – Inspired by the original Snakeskin, now with unique snakeskin stripe Dodge Dealer Edition – Viper ACR special edition available through Tomball and Roanoke Dodge dealers [*]Each limited-edition Viper model features a serialized instrument panel badge with the model name that can be customized with the customer’s name [*]Customers can begin ordering special edition Vipers on June 24, 2016 [*]The 2017 Viper is available in more than 50 million unique build configurations, including the ACR package, through the “1 of 1” customization program for a truly one-of-a-kind snake American hand-built supercar June 21, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Dodge brand is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dodge Viper with five limited-edition models that commemorate the final year of Viper production and highlight several of the most iconic special edition Vipers of the past. “The Dodge Viper has had a great run, and 25 years after it was first introduced, it leaves the supercar world reaching for the records it continues to set,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat – FCA, North America. “With more track records than any production car in the world, the Dodge Viper ACR will live on as the fastest street-legal Viper track car ever, the car that has set the benchmark for all that follows in its tracks.” One of the most unique and exotic high-performance machines on the road today, Dodge is honoring the Viper’s rich, colorful and exceptional performance heritage on and off the track by paying tribute to some of the most iconic Vipers in its history. Beginning on June 24 and new for 2017 model year, customers can order their special snake in the following exclusive special edition configurations: Viper 1:28 Edition ACR Pays tribute to the current production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by champion driver Randy Pobst in a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., in October 2015 Features black exterior and painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, 1:28 Edition exterior sill decal, ACR interior with red accent stitching, serialized instrument panel 1:28 Edition badge, along with a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 28 units of this new special edition configuration will be built for the 2017 model year Looking back in Viper history: Using the same track record theme, Dodge previously produced 33 units of the 2010 Viper ACR 1:33 Edition to tout its previous track record of 1:33.915 set by SRT dynamics engineer Chris Winkler at Laguna Seca Raceway in November 2009 Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR Designed to pay tribute to one of the most distinguishable and iconic Viper paint schemes of all time – the white and blue combination of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition Features Pearl White exterior with Blue Pearl GTS stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Exterior Carbon Package, unique red Stryker badge decal, GTS-R exterior sill decals, USA flag B-pillar decals, ACR interior with red accent stitching, Header Red seat belts, serialized instrument panel GTS-R badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 100 units of this new special edition configuration will be built for 2017 Looking back in Viper history: 100 units of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GTS Championship Edition were produced to commemorate the Viper winning the 1997 FIA GT2 championship Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR Modeled after the original 2010 Viper VooDoo edition Features black exterior and graphite metallic ACR driver’s stripe with red tracer outline, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, VoooDoo II exterior sill decals, ACR interior with silver accent stitching, serialized instrument panel VoooDoo II badge and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 31 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017 Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original VooDoo Viper ACR were built in 2010 Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC Color was inspired by the original 2010 Snakeskin ACR Features new Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin patterned SRT stripe, Advanced Aerodynamics Package, GT black interior, serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 25 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017 Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original Snakeskin Viper ACR were built in 2010 Dodge Dealer Edition ACR Available exclusively through Dodge’s highest sales volume Viper dealers, Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Ill. Features Viper White exterior with Competition Blue center stripe, Adrenaline Red driver stripe, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Extreme Aero Package, ACR interior with red accent stitching and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door Serialized instrument panel ACR badge As many as 33 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017 Industry-first ‘1 of 1’ Viper customization program continues Continuing for the 2017 model year is the exclusive Viper “1 of 1” customization program that enables buyers to create their one-of-a-kind “Snake” from the ground up. With 16,000 exterior color options, including matte exterior finishes, 24,000 custom stripe colors, 11 wheel options, 16 interior trims and seven aero packages, three brake packages and four suspension options, there are more than 50 million ways for buyers to customize their one-of-a-kind Dodge Viper. Each “1 of 1” model Viper features a personalized instrument panel badge with customer’s chosen name to commemorate their exclusive design. No two customers can order the same configuration, including color, in the same model year ACR model returns as ultimate street-legal racer The Dodge Viper ACR returns in 2017 as the indisputable “ultimate street-legal race car” with significant aerodynamic and suspension upgrades. Relaunched in 2016, the third edition (1999-2002, 2008-2010) of the Viper ACR has taken the performance car world by storm with more track records than any production car in the world — a total of 13 road course lap records as certified by the Sports Car Club of America.
  5. Earlier this month, we reported that the Buick Verano would be leaving at the end of the 2017 model year. This is due to the sales sliding down due in part to the success of crossovers such as the Encore. At the time, General Motors declined to comment on the story. Today, they have made it official. In a statement provided to Automotive News, General Motors said Verano production would wind down at its Lake Orion plant in October. The model will have an abbreviated 2017 model year. The decision as to why comes down to crossovers. “When we’re thinking about where we’re investing for the future, with the whole market moving toward SUVs, that’s where we want to put our investment,” said Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle to The Detroit News. Workers at Lake Orion were notified about the decision on Wednesday. Dealers were told about it during national meetings in Austin, Texas this week. The writing on the wall for the Verano's departure has been on the wall for a while. Last year, Buick sold 31,886 Veranos while the similarly priced Encore crossover moved 67,549 units. Also, Buick's chief Duncan Aldred said that 70 percent of Buick's sales will be made up of crossovers once the Envision hits dealers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News
  6. Very few engines have a long history of powering various vehicles - the small-block Chevrolet V8 and the Buick 3.5L V8 that would be used in a number of British vehicles. Another one can be found under the hood of the Bentley Mulsanne, the 6.75L (6 and 3/4 in Bentley parlance) twin-turbo V8 can trace its roots back to 1959. But the final curtain call for this engine is coming. Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer told Car and Driver that the V8 has found its “final home” in the Mulsanne. The next-generation Bentley flagship would switch to a 12-Cylinder (most likely a W12 one). Keep in mind this isn't likely going to happen until the next decade as the Mulsanne recently underwent a refresh. This isn't the first time the V8 - known as the L-Series - has been shown the door. Back when BMW owned Bentley in the mid-nineties, the automaker dropped the L-Series V8 and replaced it with one of their own with the new Arnage. Volkswagen would snap Bentley up in 1998 and would bring back the L-Series for the Arnage in the Red Label. The BMW V8 would stick around in the Arnage Green Label. However due to poor sales of the Green Label, Bentley dropped it - engine and all. Source: Car and Driver
  7. Toyota and Subaru's partnership on the GT 86/Scion FR-S/BRZ is well known, but it could be a one time thing. Toyota has turned to BMW for help on a new flagship sports car, rumored to be a spiritual successor to the Supra. Because of this, the speculation has been flowing of whether this partnership could expand to other sports cars. Drive.com.au had the chance to speak with Tetsuya Tada, the chief engineer for the GT 86 family. Tada said the next-generation GT 86 could be part of the BMW partnership. However when asked if Subaru will be a part of this, Tada said "Maybe, but this is not decided at the moment." When asked if BMW could take the place of Subaru in the partnership, Tada said "That is one possibility." Source: Drive.com.au 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.
  8. The tough life of the Honda Insight will come to a close. Bloomberg reports that Honda told dealers back in November to not place any more orders for the model as production would come to a close at the end of the February. This news comes a week after Honda announced sales of the Insight and CR-Z would end Europe. The Insight was the first hybrid vehicle to be sold in the U.S. just before the start of the millennium and paved the way for many more vehicles down the road. Honda ended production of the first-generation model in 2006. Three years later, Honda introduced the second-generation Insight. However the new model wasn't able to keep up with the Toyota Prius, which would become the best selling hybrid vehicle ever. At the moment in the U.S., Honda dealers are currently sitting on a 237 day supply of Insights. It isn't clear whether or not Honda will replace the Insight or not at this current time. Source: Bloomberg 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.
  9. After eight months of rumor and speculation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has made it official; the Dodge Viper will be no more after the 2017 model year. To mark the end of a 25-year life, Dodge has announced five limited edition models. They are as followed, Viper 1:28 Edition ACR: Pays tribute to the current production car lap record (1:28.65) set at Laguna Seca Raceway last October. Comes finished in black with red ACR stripes and a 1:28 Edition exterior sill decal. The Viper's optional extreme aero package and carbon-ceramic brakes come standard. Dodge is planning to build as many as 28 models. Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR: Honors the Viper GTS-R GT2 race car from the late nineties. Painted in Pearl White with Blue Pearl GTS stripes. Comes equipped with the extreme aero package, exterior carbon package, and carbon-ceramic brakes. 100 models are expected to be built. Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR: Modeled from the 2010 VoooDoo Edition with black exterior and gray stripe and VoooDoo II exterior sill decals. Follows other ACR models with the extreme aero package and carbon-ceramic brakes. 31 models are expected to be produced. Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC: Only special edition model not be based on the ACR trim. Features a Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin patterned stripe. About 25 models are expected to be built. Dodge Dealer Edition ACR: Only available at the two highest volume Viper dealers - Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Illinois. Finished in white with a blue center stripe. Gets the extreme aero package and carbon-ceramic brakes as standard equipment. About 33 models are expected to be built. “The Dodge Viper has had a great run, and 25 years after it was first introduced, it leaves the supercar world reaching for the records it continues to set. With more track records than any production car in the world, the Dodge Viper ACR will live on as the fastest street-legal Viper track car ever, the car that has set the benchmark for all that follows in its tracks,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat – FCA, North America in a statement. Source: Dodge Press Release is on Page 2 Dodge Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Final Year of Viper Production with Five Exclusive Limited-edition Models New 25th anniversary limited-edition models feature exclusive content to commemorate the final year of Viper production 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer) – Celebrating the current Laguna Seca single-lap record of 1:28.65 GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR – One of the most iconic Viper liveries of all-time VoooDoo II Edition ACR – Rebirth of the VooDoo ACR Snakeskin Edition GTC – Inspired by the original Snakeskin, now with unique snakeskin stripe Dodge Dealer Edition – Viper ACR special edition available through Tomball and Roanoke Dodge dealers [*]Each limited-edition Viper model features a serialized instrument panel badge with the model name that can be customized with the customer’s name [*]Customers can begin ordering special edition Vipers on June 24, 2016 [*]The 2017 Viper is available in more than 50 million unique build configurations, including the ACR package, through the “1 of 1” customization program for a truly one-of-a-kind snake American hand-built supercar June 21, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Dodge brand is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dodge Viper with five limited-edition models that commemorate the final year of Viper production and highlight several of the most iconic special edition Vipers of the past. “The Dodge Viper has had a great run, and 25 years after it was first introduced, it leaves the supercar world reaching for the records it continues to set,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat – FCA, North America. “With more track records than any production car in the world, the Dodge Viper ACR will live on as the fastest street-legal Viper track car ever, the car that has set the benchmark for all that follows in its tracks.” One of the most unique and exotic high-performance machines on the road today, Dodge is honoring the Viper’s rich, colorful and exceptional performance heritage on and off the track by paying tribute to some of the most iconic Vipers in its history. Beginning on June 24 and new for 2017 model year, customers can order their special snake in the following exclusive special edition configurations: Viper 1:28 Edition ACR Pays tribute to the current production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by champion driver Randy Pobst in a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., in October 2015 Features black exterior and painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, 1:28 Edition exterior sill decal, ACR interior with red accent stitching, serialized instrument panel 1:28 Edition badge, along with a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 28 units of this new special edition configuration will be built for the 2017 model year Looking back in Viper history: Using the same track record theme, Dodge previously produced 33 units of the 2010 Viper ACR 1:33 Edition to tout its previous track record of 1:33.915 set by SRT dynamics engineer Chris Winkler at Laguna Seca Raceway in November 2009 Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR Designed to pay tribute to one of the most distinguishable and iconic Viper paint schemes of all time – the white and blue combination of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition Features Pearl White exterior with Blue Pearl GTS stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Exterior Carbon Package, unique red Stryker badge decal, GTS-R exterior sill decals, USA flag B-pillar decals, ACR interior with red accent stitching, Header Red seat belts, serialized instrument panel GTS-R badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 100 units of this new special edition configuration will be built for 2017 Looking back in Viper history: 100 units of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GTS Championship Edition were produced to commemorate the Viper winning the 1997 FIA GT2 championship Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR Modeled after the original 2010 Viper VooDoo edition Features black exterior and graphite metallic ACR driver’s stripe with red tracer outline, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, VoooDoo II exterior sill decals, ACR interior with silver accent stitching, serialized instrument panel VoooDoo II badge and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 31 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017 Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original VooDoo Viper ACR were built in 2010 Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC Color was inspired by the original 2010 Snakeskin ACR Features new Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin patterned SRT stripe, Advanced Aerodynamics Package, GT black interior, serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door As many as 25 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017 Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original Snakeskin Viper ACR were built in 2010 Dodge Dealer Edition ACR Available exclusively through Dodge’s highest sales volume Viper dealers, Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Ill. Features Viper White exterior with Competition Blue center stripe, Adrenaline Red driver stripe, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Extreme Aero Package, ACR interior with red accent stitching and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door Serialized instrument panel ACR badge As many as 33 units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017 Industry-first ‘1 of 1’ Viper customization program continues Continuing for the 2017 model year is the exclusive Viper “1 of 1” customization program that enables buyers to create their one-of-a-kind “Snake” from the ground up. With 16,000 exterior color options, including matte exterior finishes, 24,000 custom stripe colors, 11 wheel options, 16 interior trims and seven aero packages, three brake packages and four suspension options, there are more than 50 million ways for buyers to customize their one-of-a-kind Dodge Viper. Each “1 of 1” model Viper features a personalized instrument panel badge with customer’s chosen name to commemorate their exclusive design. No two customers can order the same configuration, including color, in the same model year ACR model returns as ultimate street-legal racer The Dodge Viper ACR returns in 2017 as the indisputable “ultimate street-legal race car” with significant aerodynamic and suspension upgrades. Relaunched in 2016, the third edition (1999-2002, 2008-2010) of the Viper ACR has taken the performance car world by storm with more track records than any production car in the world — a total of 13 road course lap records as certified by the Sports Car Club of America. View full article
  10. Earlier this month, we reported that the Buick Verano would be leaving at the end of the 2017 model year. This is due to the sales sliding down due in part to the success of crossovers such as the Encore. At the time, General Motors declined to comment on the story. Today, they have made it official. In a statement provided to Automotive News, General Motors said Verano production would wind down at its Lake Orion plant in October. The model will have an abbreviated 2017 model year. The decision as to why comes down to crossovers. “When we’re thinking about where we’re investing for the future, with the whole market moving toward SUVs, that’s where we want to put our investment,” said Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle to The Detroit News. Workers at Lake Orion were notified about the decision on Wednesday. Dealers were told about it during national meetings in Austin, Texas this week. The writing on the wall for the Verano's departure has been on the wall for a while. Last year, Buick sold 31,886 Veranos while the similarly priced Encore crossover moved 67,549 units. Also, Buick's chief Duncan Aldred said that 70 percent of Buick's sales will be made up of crossovers once the Envision hits dealers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News View full article
  11. Very few engines have a long history of powering various vehicles - the small-block Chevrolet V8 and the Buick 3.5L V8 that would be used in a number of British vehicles. Another one can be found under the hood of the Bentley Mulsanne, the 6.75L (6 and 3/4 in Bentley parlance) twin-turbo V8 can trace its roots back to 1959. But the final curtain call for this engine is coming. Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer told Car and Driver that the V8 has found its “final home” in the Mulsanne. The next-generation Bentley flagship would switch to a 12-Cylinder (most likely a W12 one). Keep in mind this isn't likely going to happen until the next decade as the Mulsanne recently underwent a refresh. This isn't the first time the V8 - known as the L-Series - has been shown the door. Back when BMW owned Bentley in the mid-nineties, the automaker dropped the L-Series V8 and replaced it with one of their own with the new Arnage. Volkswagen would snap Bentley up in 1998 and would bring back the L-Series for the Arnage in the Red Label. The BMW V8 would stick around in the Arnage Green Label. However due to poor sales of the Green Label, Bentley dropped it - engine and all. Source: Car and Driver View full article
  12. The Dodge Viper's future is uncertain after 2017. Allpar got their hands on the proposed UAW contract for FCA and looked at the production changes. According to the contact, the current Viper will end production in 2017 and leave the Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit without a vehicle to take its place. The current Viper has been languishing since its introduction in 2013 due to a combination of a high pricetag and competitors stepping up. Through September, Dodge only moved 503 Vipers, a decrease of 7.9 percent when compared to the year before. Source: Allpar View full article
  13. For something a bit surprising. This morning, Toyota has announced that the Scion brand will be shuttered and the current lineup will transition over to the Toyota brand for the 2017 model year. News of this was first reported by CarBuzzard where a meeting was held yesterday with Scion employees notified of the decision. “This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America and the founding vice president of Scion in a statement. Scion was first introduced back in 2002 as a brand that was very different from Toyota as it was aimed at young buyers. It was fun and offered unique vehicles (the xA and xB at launch). The brand also did things a bit differently with a unique marketing campaign and a no haggle policy. Toyota hoped customers who bought Scions would transition into Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the future. But a number of issues plagued Scion which ultimately led to its downfall, The average age of Scion buyer was around 49 years old, not the young crowd Scion was hoping for (some reports put it at 15 percent of Scion customers were under the age of 35). Scion not updating their lineup at a decent rate and letting models languish Massive sales decline from 175,000 vehicles in 2006 (their best year) to 56,167 vehicles for 2015 But it seemed last year Toyota was going to give the brand so much needed attention with the launch of the iA (Mazda2 sedan) and iM (Toyota Auris). There was also a new subcompact crossover that would be joining the lineup for 2017, the C-HR. But sadly, it was a little too late. The damage was done and Toyota realized there wasn't any way to save the brand. The twenty-two dedicated team members for Scion will be able to transition into positions at Toyota. “Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices. It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. Source: CarBuzzard.com, Motor Trend, Road & Track, Scion Picture: William Maley for Cheers & Gears Press Release is on Page 2 Scion Brand to Transition to Toyota Valuable Insights Will Aid Toyota in Attracting New, Young Customers TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 3, 2016 – Scion, established as a separate brand in 2003 as a laboratory to explore new products and processes to attract youth customers, is now transitioning back to the Toyota brand. Scion achieved its goals of developing unique products and processes, and bringing in new, younger customers to Toyota. With more than a million cars sold, 70 percent of Scions were purchased by customers new to Toyota and 50 percent were under 35 years old. “This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, founding vice president of Scion and now CEO, Toyota Motor North America. “I was there when we established Scion and our goal was to make Toyota and our dealers stronger by learning how to better attract and engage young customers. I’m very proud because that’s exactly what we have accomplished. “We could not have achieved the success we have had without the incredible support of Scion’s customers, dealers and team members, so supporting them throughout this transition process will be one of our top priorities,” said Lentz. Toyota’s decision was made in response to customers’ needs. Today’s younger buyers still want fun-to-drive vehicles that look good, but they are also more practical. They, like their parents, have come to appreciate the Toyota brand and its traditional attributes of quality, dependability and reliability. At the same time, new Toyota vehicles have evolved to feature the dynamic styling and handling young people desire. Scion has consistently been the youngest brand in the auto industry with an average age of 36 years old. At 29, the tC sports coupe has the lowest-average age buyer in the industry. The most recent additions to the line-up, the iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback, are bringing in new buyers with 70 percent being first-time new car purchasers. Additionally, more than 50 percent of iM and iA buyers are under 35 years old. As part of the brand transition, beginning in August 2016, MY17 Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyotas. The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family. The tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. The C-HR, which recently debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, will be a part of the Toyota line-up. The service and repair process for Scion customers will be unaffected by this change as customers will continue to visit Toyota dealerships’ service departments. “We appreciate our 1,004 Scion dealers and the support they’ve given the brand,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “We believe our dealers have gained valuable insights and have received a strong return on their investment. During this time of transition, we will work closely with them to support this process and help communicate this change to customers.” Scion’s 22 dedicated team members, who represent sales, marketing, distribution, strategy, and product and accessories planning, will have the opportunity to take on new jobs at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in Torrance. Scion regional representatives will assume different responsibilities in their respective Toyota sales offices. “Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. “It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network.” Scion Accomplishments: Scion Processes - Scion served as a laboratory for products and key sales and marketing processes that have provided valuable lessons for other Toyota brands: Pure Pricing – dealers set a price for a car and customers did not need to negotiate Mono-Spec cars – providing cars with only two options: transmission and color Personalization – offering a large array of accessories to help customers customize their vehicles Pure Process – transparent financing process Pure Process Plus – an online system so much of the car-purchase process could be completed online Scion Service Boost – pre-paid maintenance plan Release Series – dynamic life cycle management through special features and options Grassroots marketing – initial Scion brand was “discovered” by customers through unique events Scion Products -- Scion has had some outstanding products that have made an impact in the industry including the original “box,” the xB and the FR-S affordable sports car. The tC sports coupe has consistently attracted the youngest buyer in the industry. Scion Executives -- Scion served as an important training ground for Toyota vice presidents, many of whom have been promoted to other roles: Jim Lentz -- Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Motor North America Mark Templin – Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation, Executive Vice President, Lexus International Jack Hollis – Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing Doug Murtha – Group Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Planning, Toyota Motor North America Andrew Gilleland – current Vice President, Scion View full article
  14. As many of us suspected for a while, Cadillac has decided to not go forth with a second-generation ELR plug-in hybrid. "I plan to continue admiring it as one of the most beautiful cars on four wheels. But we don't plan further investment" in the coupe, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen told reporters at a media event for the CT6. de Nysschen went on to say the ELR will still be sold as long as people want to buy it. Previously, Automotive News reported the ELR would stick around till 2018. The ELR was a victim of bad decisions. A key one pointed out by dealers was the starting price of $75,995 caused demand to drop sharply. For the 2016 model year, Cadillac slashed the price by $10,000. Cadillac's marketing chief, Uwe Ellinghaus called the ELR a 'big disappointment' in an interview with Automobile Magazine, causing many to think the ELR's days were numbered. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  15. Toyota and Subaru's partnership on the GT 86/Scion FR-S/BRZ is well known, but it could be a one time thing. Toyota has turned to BMW for help on a new flagship sports car, rumored to be a spiritual successor to the Supra. Because of this, the speculation has been flowing of whether this partnership could expand to other sports cars. Drive.com.au had the chance to speak with Tetsuya Tada, the chief engineer for the GT 86 family. Tada said the next-generation GT 86 could be part of the BMW partnership. However when asked if Subaru will be a part of this, Tada said "Maybe, but this is not decided at the moment." When asked if BMW could take the place of Subaru in the partnership, Tada said "That is one possibility." Source: Drive.com.au 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. View full article
  16. The tough life of the Honda Insight will come to a close. Bloomberg reports that Honda told dealers back in November to not place any more orders for the model as production would come to a close at the end of the February. This news comes a week after Honda announced sales of the Insight and CR-Z would end Europe. The Insight was the first hybrid vehicle to be sold in the U.S. just before the start of the millennium and paved the way for many more vehicles down the road. Honda ended production of the first-generation model in 2006. Three years later, Honda introduced the second-generation Insight. However the new model wasn't able to keep up with the Toyota Prius, which would become the best selling hybrid vehicle ever. At the moment in the U.S., Honda dealers are currently sitting on a 237 day supply of Insights. It isn't clear whether or not Honda will replace the Insight or not at this current time. Source: Bloomberg 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. View full article

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