Detroit Electric SP:01 launch delayed by at least a month

006-detroit-electric-sp01-liveStartup EV-maker Detroit Electric is having a little trouble getting out of the gate, according to a report in The Detroit News. The (obviously) Detroit-based automaker says production of its SP:01 sports car (pictured) will be delayed by at least a month, citing problems with securing a manufacturing facility.

When the SP:01 debuted in early April, Detroit Electric executives told members of the media that a facility in the metro Detroit area would be used to produce the SP:01. The Detroit News reports that the company is currently in talks with a partially occupied space in Plymouth Township and that it hopes to reach an agreement soon. Production is now scheduled to begin in September, with an annual production capacity of 2,500 units. The facility will also employ more than 100 new workers.

Detroit Electric is hoping to sell 999 of its SP:01 sports cars at $135,000 a pop. The company, which has largely been funded by private investors, also plans to launch sedan and hatchback models in the coming years, thanks to a partnership with China’s Geely.

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2013 Ford models hit with trio of recalls, 465k for fire risk

01a-2013-ford-fusion-fdAccording to The Detroit News, Ford is issuing three separate recalls on new 2013 models, one of which affects 465,000 vehicles. That largest recall comes as the result of 600 complaints of fuel leaks, which could lead to a fire risk, the report indicates. Included in the 465k-unit recall are the 2013 Explorer, Flex, Fusion, Taurus and Police Interceptor sedan, as well as the Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ.

According to Ford, in a statement obtained by the Detroit News, “The condition could result in customers detecting a fuel odor, or in some cases, observe evidence of a fuel leak on the ground.” Ford continues, “While a fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire, there have been no reports of fires. We are not aware of any accidents or injuries attributed to this condition.”

In addition to all of this, Ford is recalling 500 examples of its 2013 Lincoln MKZ equipped with engine block heaters. The Detroit News states that, according to Ford, the insulation on the engine block heater’s electrical cord may crack in cold temperatures. read more »

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eBay Find of the Day: Viper Defender from ’90s TV show

628x410xviper-defender.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Z42E0XkFQiAs car lovers, it’s always hard to find a good television show with decent cars, but what the 1990s show Viper lacked in acting, scripting and plot, it more than made up for with cool cars. For starters, the lead car was a Dodge Viper RT/10, but, on screen, it was able to morph into its “Defender” mode making it an armored coupe with a full arsenal of weapons.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a fan of the bad show to love its lead car, and if you really want one, a Defender is up for auction right now on eBay. According to the listing, this car is the real deal – not a clone – and it comes with a V8 engine (not sure what happened to the V10?) and plenty of swag and memorbilia.

No word on its actual asking price, but with a day left and 42 bids already, the reserve has not been met at $133,400. The listing does add that this same car was listed at Mecum back in 2010, but did not get sold, even with a bid of $270,000.

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2014 Fiat 500L to start at $19,100

628x410x2014-fiat-500l-1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.0RZJvL135YWe’ve already driven the decidedly weird-looking 500L in its European-spec form, and now the folks at Fiat have just released US-specific pricing, which means that our US media drive is coming up soon. If you want to get your hands on the biggest of the little Fiats, you’ll need at least $19,100 (*plus $800 for destination).

That base price gets you the 500L Pop spec, powered by a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (the only powerplant on offer), mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This base model comes equipped with 16-inch chrome-plated wheel covers (sexy!) and the usual list of standard features that pretty much every new car comes with. (You know, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, etc.)

Next up in the range is the 500L Easy, which adds aluminum wheels, tinted rear glass, body-colored mirror caps, uplevel seat fabric and a premium audio system. The price of entry for this better-equipped model is $20,195. read more »

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BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé bows at Villa d’Este

628x457xbmw-pininfarina-gran-lusso-coupe.jpg.pagespeed.ic.RWVFqkPNobThe first collaboration between BMW and Pininfarina is this blunt-force two-door called the BMW Pininfarini Gran Lusso Coupe revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Said to be the “interpretation of a luxurious BMW Coupé as seen through the eyes of Pininfarina,” once you get past all of the design-speak, you can focus on the full-bodied and keen-edged missile sitting on 21-inch wheels.

The long wheelbase makes for short overhangs. Up front, BMW’s design language gets scraped across a whetstone, everything getting sharper, including the usually round cat’s eye headlights that have gone dihedral. Under the hood is a V12, behind the twin-kidney grille in matte-sheen aluminium and high-gloss black. The same aluminum treatment also backs the taillights, the lenses designed to let air flow through them.

Inside is room for four, a cockpit canted toward the driver, Foglizzo leather in black and Tobacco Brown, 48,000-year-old kauri wood from New Zealand, deep pile carpet on the floors, a patterned virgin wool headliner and an “oblong aperture in the roof liner” set off by white LEDs. read more »

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2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

628x418x000-2014-chevy-cruze-turbo-diesel-opt.png.pagespeed.ic.Ohplt_esFTVolkswagen has gotten pretty comfortable hogging the – admittedly small – non-premium diesel car market in the US. With Golf and Jetta, the German automaker has been the one and only choice for those interested in the torquey, high-mpg merits of turbocharged diesel power.

However, US customers seem to be growing more interested in the technology that has been the primary mode of propulsion in most of Europe for many years now. Mazda is quite close to bringing its Skyactiv-D diesel engines to our shores, and Chevrolet has finally maneuvered to repurpose its European 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine for US specification, which means it’s cleaner here than overseas.

The first application of this rather impressive diesel engine is in the compact Chevy Cruze, which I spent a recent morning testing out. General Motors as a whole has high expectations for its new TDI-buster. Here’s why: read more »

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Aston Martin teases something very fast

aston-martin-vantage-teaseAston Martin has released a short teaser video entitled Coming Soon that features the image above near its close.

Based on the profile and the hood intakes, the short money is on this being the V12 Vantage S, since the standard model has yet to earn the addition of the 19th letter of the alphabet.

It looks like there might also be a new roof treatment on the car in the video, but that could merely be a trick of the light.

It probably won’t be long before we get another teaser or the genuine article revealed. For now, there’s the video below provided for your sleuthing. read more »

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BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle debuts at Villa d’Este

628x459xbmw-concept-90.jpg.pagespeed.ic.3-UcACD1lEThe Concept 90 is one of two new vehicles BMW is showing off at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the tony shores of Lake Como in Italy.

This year is the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad and the 40th anniversary of the R 90 S (inset) – the first production motorcycle to come with a front fairing – and BMW has worked with custom bike builder Roland Sands Design to craft a homage to the Daytona Orange boxer from the Seventies.

While following the line of its forbearer, obviously the Concept 90 has been sexed and sleeked up. The bodywork is of hand-worked aluminum, the giant halogen lamp of the 1975 model (which is when Daytona Orange was introduced) has gone LED, and the front engine cover, valve covers, exhaust and wheels have been made with a contrast-cut milling process. read more »

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Top ten cars bought by people who probably can’t afford a car

2013-dodge-avenger-006-optSub-prime borrowers are buying completely different cars than everyone else, at least according to data gathered by Carfinance.com. This financing company that specializes in helping “below-prime” borrowers finance their car purchases looked at data gathered from between October 2012 and March 2013. According to their numbers, the top 10 new cars bought by sub-prime borrowers during that time are as follows.

Dodge Avenger
Kia Forte
Kia Optima
Chrysler 200
Dodge Journey
Ford Focus
Ram 1500
Nissan Sentra
Nissan Versa
Kia Sorento read more »

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Toyota recalling FJ Cruiser due to excessively bright headlights

004-toyota-fj-cruiserNow, hold on. This recall isn’t quite as serious as it sounds. Yes, Toyota is recalling 11,489 FJ Cruiser models from the 2007 to 2013 model years, and yes, it’s because the vehicles, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states, “fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, ‘Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment.'” But read the fine print and you’ll see the catch: This recall is only for vehicles fitted with the automaker’s auxiliary lighting kit that can be mounted to the front bumper.

Basically, the auxiliary lamp assemblies use 55-watt bulbs, and when these are turned on in conjunction with the upper beam headlamps, it’s a pretty blinding sight. NHTSA states that excessively bright lights can blind other drivers, increasing the risk for a crash.

To remedy the situation, Toyota will replace the 55-watt bulbs with cooler 35-watt units. The recall is expected to begin later this month. Scroll down for the full details in the NHTSA report. read more »

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