Tag Archives: Aston Martin

Official: Zagato unveils two Aston Martin Centennial editions

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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Creating custom Aston Martin cars has become a specialty for Italian coachbuilder Zagato. It’s no surprise then that Zagato is getting in on the 100-year celebration of the British sports car maker with a pair of one-off models for two very dedicated – and presumably wealthy – automotive connoisseurs. Both rebodied Astons ditch the iconic designs of the DBS and DB9 in favor of a “more Mediterranean” appearance that adds a whole new level of sexiness to these cars, with squared-off edges and wider rear haunches.

The DBS Coupe Zagato Centennial is heading to an unnamed Japanese entrepreneur, while the DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial (based on the DB9 Volante) will wind up here in America in the possession of Aston Martin collector Peter Read. The wide, flat grille is somewhat recognizable as an Aston Martin, but it looks like the only visual parts carried over from the production cars to these Zagatos are the door handles. Scroll down for a brief press release covering both cars, which points out that the Coupe’s double-bubble roof pays homage to Zagato models from the19’50s.

Continue reading Zagato unveils two Aston Martin Centennial editions

Zagato unveils two Aston Martin Centennial editions originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Aston Martin Vanquish Volante to bow at Pebble Beach

By Brandon Turkus

2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Front Three-Quarter

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Aston Martin is one of the featured marque’s at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. With events set for August 14 through 17 and the show itself on August 18, the British brand is going all out in showing its sleek, powerful GT cars to the throngs of well-heeled attendees.

The star of the show will be the Vanquish Volante, which will be receiving its global debut. It will be joined by the CC100 Speedster Concept, Aston Martin’s centenary birthday present to itself, and the new V12 Vantage S, which is also getting its first live showing here.

All three cars feature the brand’s excellent 6.0-liter V12. With that under hood, the Vanquish Volante and V12 Vantage S deliver 565 horsepower and top speeds of 183 and 205 miles per hour, respectively.

The Autoblog team will be on hand at this year’s show, so be sure to check back to see all the high-dollar metal on the California coast.

Continue reading Aston Martin Vanquish Volante to bow at Pebble Beach

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante to bow at Pebble Beach originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aston Martin's hybrid hydrogen car set for 24-hour race

(Phys.org) —Aston Martin is to race a hybrid hydrogen car next month at the ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring. This makes Aston Martin a standout, in attempting to race a car of this kind at a grueling international racing event. The Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S is powered by a twin turbocharged 6.0 liter V12 engine. Aston Martin engineered the car to run on gasoline, pure gaseous hydrogen, or a mix of both. The hybrid car’s features include a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tanks and engine-management system. Specifically, this system includes four carbon fiber tanks holding a total of 3.5kg of hydrogen stored at a pressure of 350 bar. Two of the tanks are next to the driver and two are in the boot.

From: http://phys.org/news285226006.html

Aston Martin Blows Some Steam—Or At Least Vapor—With Hydrogen-Powered Rapide S Race Car

By Alexander Stoklosa

shell eco-marathon mater dei

Aston Martin is known for many things—beautiful styling, sonorous V-12 engines, an “in” with James Bond, to name a few—but advanced alternative powertrain research and development isn’t exactly one of them. Well, at least until now. Aston has announced that it is fielding a hydrogen-powered Rapide S race car in the 2013 24 Hours of Nürburgring contest in Germany. Never mind that many automakers’ focus on alternative powertrains has, of late, drifted from hydrogen—Aston Martin appears to have a legitimate prototype in hand.



Intriguingly, the special Rapide S race car can run on gasoline, hydrogen, or a mixture of both. Aston thus is dubbing the car the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S, to reflect the twin-turbocharged, 5.9-liter V-12 engine’s hybrid fuel-taking nature. (It’s worth noting that this race car probably is a lot more powerful than the turbo-less civilian Rapide S, which makes 550 horsepower.) The car’s hydrogen fuel is stored in four carbon-fiber tanks—two are located where the front passenger seat normally would be, and two are in the trunk—and together hold 7.7 pounds of hydrogen at a little over 5000 psi. During the grueling Nürburgring endurance race, the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S will run using a mixture of gasoline and hydrogen, but Aston Martin will run the pace lap using only hydrogen power.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/caranddriver/blog/~3/V3CxleN5p1c/

Official: Hydrogen-powered Aston Martin Rapide S headed to the 24 Hours of Nürburgring

By Zach Bowman

Aston Martin Hydrogen Rapide S Race Car

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Aston Martin has announced it will both debut and campaign a hydrogen-powered Rapide S at this year’s ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring. The company wants to be the first to manage a zero carbon dioxide emission lap in mainstream racing, and the racecar should be the first hydrogen-powered machine to compete in an international event. The Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S will continue to use a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine for propulsion, though the prototype engine can be fed on either pure gasoline, pure hydrogen or any combination of the two.

In order to do so, Aston Martin had to install a hydrogen fuel rail, tanks and an entirely separate engine management system. The tanks themselves are hewn from ultra-high-strength carbon fiber. The four vessels can hold around 7.7 pounds of hydrogen at 5,076 pounds per square inch of pressure. Two get stashed next to the driver while the other two reside in the car’s trunk. Check out the full press release below for more information.

Continue reading Hydrogen-powered Aston Martin Rapide S headed to the 24 Hours of Nürburgring

Hydrogen-powered Aston Martin Rapide S headed to the 24 Hours of Nürburgring originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Will This Tiny Technology Mean the End of China's Manufacturing Dominance?

By Alex Planes, The Motley Fool

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In the 1970s, PARC, a Xerox company (formerly the Palo Alto Research Center), helped usher in an era of modern computing, as it built a graphical mouse-based operating system atop the foundations laid by Douglas Englebart’s NLS. The PARC Alto would inspire both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to develop the earliest consumer graphical operating systems, which continue to influence interface design today.

In the 2010s, PARC might again transform the world through technology. This time, the big step forward is “chiplets,” a minuscule form of printed electronic circuitry that can be created with modified laser printers, another PARC innovation from the 1970s. Each little chiplet is no larger than a grain of sand:

Source: PARC.

A New York Times feature published earlier this week highlights the potential this advance has in the field of printed flexible electronics, which PARC estimates will explode from a $1 billion global industry today to one worth $45 billion by 2016. Some possible applications:

  • Flexible and nearly unbreakable smartphones
  • Pressure-sensitive robotic skin
  • Sensor-enabled electronic (but disposable) medical bandages
  • Large digital screens you can roll up, fold, and put in your pocket
  • Low-cost durable circuit boards for a wide range of uses

These are just some of the ways in which printed circuitry might be used. As The New York Times feature points out, PARC‘s development represents a radical departure from the current chip-making model, in which a large wafer of silicon is processed, cut up into individual chips, and then reassembled into the various parts of a circuit board. Times writer John Markoff says: “The emerging printing technology poses a heretical idea: Rather than squeezing more transistors into the same small space, why not smear the transistors across a much larger surface?” The PARC laser-printing format (it’s not exactly a laser printer, but it’s quite similar) proposes to place sand-sized chiplets by the thousands onto the surface of flexible substrates, and these chiplets can be assembled to perform any of the diverse jobs undertaken in today’s dizzying array of electronics by an increasingly specialized array of components.

The opportunity to upend chip-making is clear. Where does manufacturing come in?


Source: Stratasys on Flickr.

This is a 3-D printer, one of the largest Stratasys models available. It can print just about anything you can think of (within the limits of its print area), including a scale-model Aston Martin. One thing it can’t do — the single most important thing it can’t do — is print electronic circuitry. It’s not designed for that.

Stratasys could print a plastic-based robot with articulated joints. Other printers, particularly the largest variants from 3D Systems and most of ExOne‘s small product line, can print in metal, rubber, ceramic, and an increasingly diverse range of materials — enough variety to create a functional robot. These companies may not even be necessary, as iRobot recently filed a patent for

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/will-this-tiny-technology-mean-the-end-of-chinas-m/

Can Ford's New Fusion Knock off the Camry?

By John Rosevear, The Motley Fool

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Photo credit: Ford Motor Company

Ford‘s new Fusion sedan has been turning heads since its launch late last year. It’s easy to see why: With its sleek flanks, Aston Martin-inspired grille, and luxury-car-like interior, it really stands out in a sea of blander-looking competitors.

And lately, it’s been drawing quite a few customers. For the year to date through March, sales were up 26% over the first three months of 2012, as the new Fusion continues to outshine its well-regarded predecessor.

But will the Fusion have what it takes to overcome America’s best-selling car, Toyota‘s ever-popular Camry?

Rapidly rising on the U.S. sales charts
Ford already has America’s best-selling vehicle, of course. Its F-Series pickup trucks have been the best-seller for decades, followed by the perennial runner-up, General Motors‘ Chevy Silverado pickup.

That’s unlikely to change, because pickups are big business here in America. But it’s after those two that the sales race gets interesting. So far in 2013, the next four biggest sellers are all midsized sedans: the Camry, Honda‘s Accord, Nissan‘s Altima – and Ford’s new Fusion.

The Fusion isn’t far behind the Altima, with 80,558 sales through March to the Nissan’s 86,952. But it has a ways to go to catch up to the Camry, which sold 100,830 through the first three months of the year.

Camry sales look strong, but they have been down 4% so far in 2013, thanks in part to the strength of the new Fusion. Does Ford‘s hot-looking sedan have a chance of catching up and dethroning the Camry?

Probably not, at least in the near term. Here’s why.

Why Ford can’t (yet) beat the Camry
Here’s the problem: Ford’s can’t (yet) make enough Fusions to outsell the Camry. The company cut its North American production facilities way back during its painful restructuring last decade. That was a good move, one that has led to strong profits now that many of its factories are working overtime.

But it has a downside. With plants already running around the clock, Ford can’t make many more Fusions than it is already making – at least, not easily. Ford U.S. sales chief Ken Czubay told reporters last week that strong sales and strong continuing demand for the Fusion in places like California and Florida could mean short supplies of the hot sedan in coming months.

Adding production means expensive investments in additional production lines, investments that Ford has been reluctant to make until it’s sure it can sell the extra cars (and until it’s sure that its suppliers will be able to keep up).

The good news is, with the Fusion, Ford is already preparing to step up production.

A $555 million investment to close the gap
Ford has already announced that it is adding a production line to build the Fusion at its Flat Rock, Mich., plant, where the Mustang is currently built. That isn’t a cheap move: Ford is spending $555 million to install …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Another Green-Car Startup Hits the Wall

By John Rosevear, The Motley Fool

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Another green-car dream appears to be biting the dust. Fisker Automotive said this week that it will lay off 75% of its workforce, as the maker of the hybrid Karma luxury sedan appears to be running out of cash.

In recent months, Fisker had been seeking a major automaker to partner with in an effort to fund continued operations. But after talks with a Chinese automaker collapsed in March, it became clear that Fisker was running short of options.

A promising debut, followed by a streak of challenges
Fisker, based in Anaheim, Calif., drew global headlines when it launched the Karma, one of the first “plug-in” hybrids, way back in 2008. The sedan drew raves for its sharp styling, created by company founder Henrik Fisker, who had previously worked as a designer for BMW and Aston Martin.

The Karma also helped launch the idea of a luxury “green” car segment, a market that several global automakers — as well as another California green-car start-up, Tesla Motors — have since entered.

But that was arguably the high point in the company’s history. Years of delays in getting the car certified for U.S. sale — a complex and expensive process that has undone many prior auto start-ups — meant that Fisker didn’t actually start delivering Karmas to customers until late 2011.

Production cars lead to even more troubles for Fisker
But even then, things didn’t go well. A Texas house fire in early 2012 was blamed on a malfunctioning Karma, which fueled concerns about electric-car batteries that had arisen after a crash-tested Chevrolet Volt had caught fire the year before.

The fact that the Volt was eventually declared safe didn’t help Fisker much, especially after 16 more Karmas caught fire in New Jersey after being submerged in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Nor did the collapse of Fisker’s battery supplier, A123 Systems — a collapse that had a lot to do with Fisker’s struggles — and its subsequent acquisition by a Chinese firm do much to help matters.

By then, it was too late. Fisker had run through much of its capital, including $193 million in loans from the U.S. government. No more loans were likely, as the feds had halted further financing in 2011 after Fisker had failed to meet a series of milestones.

Its only hope was to seek a partner, but after talks with China’s Dongfeng Motor Group collapsed last month, hopes faded.

The upshot: Tesla notwithstanding, sarting a car business is really, really hard
Fisker’s experience points to just how hard it is to launch a new automaker from scratch. While Tesla Motors is on the verge of a profitable quarter, thanks to near-flawless execution on an audacious business plan, Tesla is really the exception that proves the rule.

The last automaker to be started from scratch and become an enduring presence on the global stage before Tesla was tiny supercar maker Lamborghini, way back in …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Ford's Stylish 2013 Fusion Is Changing Attitudes

By Daniel Miller, The Motley Fool

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The midsize sedan segment is filled with competition, but if Ford or General Motors wants to regain market share lost to the Japanese, that is where it will be done. The majority of Detroit’s automakers’ profits come from trucks, but market share is driven by high volume vehicles such as Ford’s Fusion, Focus, and a couple others. The Fusion has had tremendous success, and is beginning to change consumers’ minds about the quality of Ford’s vehicles. Let’s take a look at how it’s selling and what critics are saying. One thing is clear: If Ford continues to have success with other vehicles as it has had with the Fusion, it will be a stock you want to own.

Sales success
Let’s first look at how tremendously well the Fusion has been doing this year. In January it topped its prior year by 65%, a very impressive increase. February was another strong month, topping last year’s record February by 28%. On Monday Ford released March sales information, and the Fusion – for the first time in history – delivered sales figures over 30,000 for the month and over 80,000 total for the quarter. Consumers are giving Ford’s Fusion a chance, and they’re driving them off the lot in a hurry.

Awards
The Fusion continues to add to its collection of trophies, locking up this year’s “Green Car of the Year” award at the auto show in Los Angeles. The Fusion beat five other models from Toyota, Mazda, Dodge, and wouldn’t you know it – another Ford model. One reason it won was due to the sheer number of fuel-efficient options it delivers to consumers. It has the conventional vehicle, a hybrid, plug-in hybrids, and multiple EcoBoost engines that offer increased gas mileage. 

Kelley Blue Book named the 2013 Fusion the “Best Redesigned Vehicle” of the year, describing the new ride as “gorgeous”. Its styling definitely takes on hints from Ford’s previously owned Aston-Martin brand, and has been a hit in a midsize segment that can sometimes lack innovative styling to appease the mass market

Looking at the U.S. News & World Report 2013 “Best Cars for Families” award, the Fusion won in the best midsize car category for three straight years now. In addition to that accolade, the hybrid version has won the top spot in its category for two years in a row. This award is based on quality, features, and space for families. Aside from family vehicles, the U.S. News also named the Fusion the best midsize car for your money. Ford’s brought home other awards, too, as it won “Best Cars for the Money” awards with six vehicles taking home first place – the most of any brand. I could go on, but that should be enough to emphasize that the Fusion is changing consumers’ minds. What’s all this mean for Ford investors, though? 

Bottom line
For investors it’s all about profits and market share, both …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Ford's New Fusion Drives Big Gains

By John Rosevear, The Motley Fool

Carbon Motors E7 police car prototype - front three-quarter view

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Ford Fusion Hybrid. Photo Source: Ford Motor Company

There’s no question that it’s a striking car, with its sleek flanks and Aston Martin-inspired nose. And its interior is a pleasant surprise, well-trimmed and loaded with luxury-car touches.

But for Ford , and for more and more new Ford customers, the beauty of the company’s new Fusion sedan is much more than skin-deep.

The new Fusion is another big hit for Ford
The old Fusion was a very good car, and a strong seller for Ford. But the new car, introduced late last year, has taken things to a different level. So far in 2013, Ford’s new midsized sedan is one of the top five models in U.S. sales – a trend that looks set to continue when Ford reports its March sales numbers on Tuesday, say analysts.

The Fusion still has a long way to go to displace Toyota‘s Camry from the top of the U.S. sales chart. In the first two months of 2013, the Camry outsold the Fusion by almost 13,000 cars in the U.S. Ford isn’t likely to catch up soon: Its factories are already running at full capacity, and then some.

Adding more production capacity will require a big investment from Ford. But meanwhile, the company has to be pretty happy with the model’s success so far. The Fusion’s “turn rate”, or the amount of time individual cars spend on dealer lots before they’re sold, is shorter – meaning, it’s selling faster – than both the Camry and Honda‘s Accord, the Fusion’s other big rival. And the handsome Ford is commanding higher prices than either of its major Japanese rivals, according to a Bloomberg report.

Incentives are still higher than rivals’
That’s not to say that there are no concerns. Ford’s “incentives”, those cash-back or cheap-financing deals that automakers often tout in TV commercials, are still higher than the company (and its investors) would like. Ford’s offers on the Fusion are higher than Toyota’s on the Camry; Toyota’s incentives are regularly among the lowest in the industry. That’s an artifact of lingering customer (and dealer) expectations from Ford’s bad old days, when discounts were needed to keep so-so products moving.

Ford’s products are much improved now, but those discounts are still part of the business. The company would surely like to get its per-vehicle incentives down closer to Toyota’s levels to improve its already-strong U.S. profit margins, but that will take time.

Ford has made progress in lowering its incentives relative to competitors over the last couple of years. Its overall per-vehicle spending on incentives has been considerably lower than both General Motors and Chrysler over the last several quarters.

Lowering incentives further will require time, discipline, and continued close attention to product quality. But as the success of the Fusion is already showing, Ford seems to be on the right track.

<p …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

First Drive: 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S [w/video]

By Michael Harley

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

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Fresh Styling, More Power And New Confidence

Three years ago, almost to the day, we slid behind the wheel of the all-new Aston Martin Rapide for the very first time.

After unabashedly calling it “the world’s best-looking four-door sedan” – a statement that is as accurate today as it was in 2010 – we piloted the Aston Martin on a meandering route from Miami to our final destination in Palm Beach.

Our conclusion, at the end of a very long day, was that British automaker had built a peerless sedan cleverly disguised as a coupe, and it offered more accommodation and utility than anything else in the automaker’s two-door lineup. With that as its primary mission objective, it excelled. However, in terms of overall performance, our realization was that it fell short.

Enter the Aston Martin Rapide S, a thoroughly refreshed sedan that appears, at first glance, to have addressed our very frustrated concern.

Continue reading 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S [w/video]

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Mar 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S Tested: More Oomph to Back Up Its Visual Sizzle

By John Pearley Huffman

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

Fall through the looking glass, pass through the wardrobe, hit all the buttons in the Wonkavator, or take the Hogwarts Express one stop past the wizard school and there’s Aston Martin’s updated, five-door Rapide S sports car. It’s engineered for an alternate reality where up is left, down is sideways, rabbits wear top hats, and four-door exotic sports cars are the norm. READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Daniel Craig Celebrates His Birthday 007 Style

By Kurt Ernst

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster - image: Aston Martin

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster – image: Aston Martin

Daniel Craig may be the best James Bond in the history of the franchise. His 007 is far darker than any portrayed in the past, taking every bond movie filmed since 2002 in an entirely new (and welcome) direction.

With three Bond films on his resume, Craig appears to have developed a taste for some of the finer things in 007’s life. We don’t know if he prefers his martinis shaken, not stirred (or if Craig even drinks martinis), but we now know that the British actor has a thing for Aston Martin automobiles.

As The Daily Mail reports, Craig recently marked his 45th birthday by acquiring a limited-production Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster. We say “acquired,” since it isn’t clear if the car was self-purchased, a gift from Craig’s wife (actress Rachel Weisz) or a thank-you from Aston Martin for being its brand ambassador.

We’re surprised that Craig waited this long to park an Aston Martin in his garage, since the British automaker essentially offered him a car following the completion of 2008’s Quantum of Solace. Craig begged off at the time, saying that his residence in London was far too crowded and congestion-prone for a car like an Aston Martin. Call us superficial, but we’d find a way to work around that, even if we lived in Beijing (or worse, Washington D.C.).

If you need a reminder, Aston Martin is only building 101 V12 Vantage Roadsters. Each comes with a 6.0-liter V-12 engine, good for 510 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque. Though more of an open-air grand tourer than a hardcore sports car, it’s still capable of running from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, on its way to a 190 mph top speed.

We’re happy for Craig and think the car is a good fit, at least for his on-screen persona. Like Aston Martin, Craig strikes us as British to the core, and we can’t picture him behind the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia or a Corvette ZR1.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Automotive Addicts

Why Ford's CEO Is Worth Every Cent

By Daniel Miller, The Motley Fool

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This month, when Ford releases its documents and reveals Alan Mulally‘s compensation, two things are guaranteed. One is that Mulally makes a lot of money, and the other is that people will complain that it’s too much money for one executive to earn.

My response to the complainers? Get over it.

In fact, let me show you why Mulally’s worth every single dollar as we review Ford under Mulally’s reign over the past six years.


History lesson
When Mulally first took over in September 2006, he had quite a hill to climb. Ford had long since deteriorated from the company that invented the assembly line and envisioned an automotive industry far ahead of its time. In 2006, Ford reported a $12.6 billion loss, almost $2,000 for every car or truck sold that year. That’s a staggering amount, and it was the worst loss in more than 100 years of Ford’s history. From 2006 to 2008, the company managed to lose a whopping $30 billion.

Now, take a look at how things have changed under Mulally.

The spike in 2011 was due to a one-time write-off, but you can clearly see the incredible turnaround. The stock price has reacted as well, gaining more than 50% since 2006.

From red to black
At the end of 2008, in the midst of a recession, Ford announced that it was confident it would return to profitability by 2011. It was hard to believe Ford at the time, since GM and Chrysler had asked Uncle Sam for billions to stay afloat, and Detroit’s Big Three could barely give cars away. Yet a mere year later, Ford was able to report its first annual profit – for the full year 2009 — in four years. It was two years ahead of schedule because of $5 billion saved in manufacturing and advertising cuts. It also benefited from a $1.3 billing profit from Ford Credit, which is now helping offset losses in Europe.

Let’s see why Mulally is responsible for those $5 billion in cuts and how it’s linked to his bonuses.

Mulally’s vision
Mulally put together a plan to unite the company under one mission and named the initiative “One Ford.” Here are two points from that plan, the first of which directly helped the company save billions.

1. Aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix.
After the recession, Ford sold off slacking brands, helping it return to its core vehicle portfolio. In 2007, when Ford owned Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin, its market share was 15.8%. After it went on a diet and cut all those brands, its share today sits at 15.5%. It saved a lot of operating costs and didn’t lose market share or net income.

In addition to trimming fat from the top-level brands, it also created efficiency at the most basic level. By the end of 2013, …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

World’s Burliest Camera Car: The World of Director Tim Damon and His F-150 SVT Raptor

By Andrew Wendler

“Why put nitrous on a V-12 Vanquish? Why not? I mean come on, you have to.” That statement alone should give you a pretty good idea of the delightfully skewed perspective with which Tim Damon views the automotive world. If you still need convincing, consider that, in addition to a fogged Aston Martin, the Detroit native and automotive photographer’s personal collection also includes a 1966 Lincoln Continental, a Porsche Cayenne, a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible, and,just for kicks, a 730-hp Lingenfelter prepped Cadillac CTS-V. “I just love cars,” he says unapologetically.

But the latest vehicle to catch Damon’s attention is Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor pickup, and it’s a company car. As a driving force behind Camera Car Systems, which specializes in providing high-tech, high-speed still and live-action photo and video services to Hollywood and the advertising world, he’s perpetually looking for vehicles to serve as stout yet agile foundations for his cameras and rigging. Although the company’s current roster of fully prepped camera vehicles includes Porsches, Mercedes, a Hummer, and even a Ferrari F360 Modena, the nearly box-stock Ford Raptor is quickly becoming the boss’s favorite. In fact, the company just used it on the recently launched Project Fusion campaign, the first clip from which you can watch here:

As for the Raptor, Damon says, “We needed a robust platform for the next generation of off-road stuff, and, compared to where we are with the Cayenne Turbo, the Raptor is a huge leap forward for us.” With the exception of some minor reinforcements to the rear of the frame, the Raptor’s chassis is essentially unchanged. The Fox shocks and 4.10 axles remain, and, only some minor software tuning from Banks engineering keeps the engine from retaining a stock designation. With its flat-black paint—specially concocted to keep glare and reflection to a minimum—and huge roof-mounted crane, the Raptor’s look is nice blend of paramilitary chic and post-apocalyptic trendiness. At first glance, it’s not entirely clear which side of the camera its supposed to be on, and you can see some beauty footage of the Raptor in action at the bottom of this story.

According to Damon, one of the keys to the Raptor’s success is its comparatively primitive body-on-frame construction. The other cars are all very capable, but their unibodies tend to transmit the energy from harsh impacts and directional changes directly to the crane, and ultimately to the camera. By attaching the Raptor’s camera crane to a custom-built exoskeleton mounted only to the cab, the simplistic isolation solution between the Ford’s cab and chassis somewhat paradoxically delivers high levels of stability. This holds true even at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

The crane arm sprouting from the Raptor’s roof and its attendant stabilized head—the part on the end that holds the camera—is supplied by Filmotechnic, a company run by Damon’s Ukraine-based partner Anatoliy Kokush. A two-time Academy Award winner for technical achievement, Kokush designs …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Aston Martin Celebrates 100 Years With A Pair Of CC100 Roadsters

By Kurt Ernst

Aston Martin DBR1 - image: Brian Snelson

Aston Martin DBR1 – image: Brian Snelson

If you have a passion for British luxury sports cars, chances are you already know that 2013 marks 100 years of Aston Martin. The storied brand is celebrating with a series of events throughout the year, and it’s launching centenary editions of its current product line, aimed at a lucky few buyers.

You’ll need to be even luckier to put one of two planned CC100 roadsters in your garage. As Autocar tells us, Aston Martin will build each of the ultra-exclusive open-air cars, based on the V12 Vantage mechanicals, for a slightly different purpose. One of the cars will honor 100 years of Aston Martin, while the second will recognize Sir Stirling Moss’ 1959 Nürburgring 1000km victory, which he achieved behind the wheel of a DBR1.

Though the CC100 will be modern in terms of construction, expect to see retro styling influenced by the graceful lines of the DBR1 sports racer. Don’t expect the usual levels of Aston Martin luxury, however; like the DBR1, the CC100 will come with no doors and no roof, leaving the cockpit open to the elements.

Expect the CC100 to debut at this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours, with Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez behind the wheel. Pricing hasn’t been officially set, but Bez has gone on record saying the CC100 will cost more than the V12 Zagato and less than the One-77. That puts it somewhere between $492,000 and $2.1 million, which is a pretty broad range to work with. Pricing aside, we’re fairly certain that demand will far exceed supply, meaning that only the most connected Aston Martin collectors will have a chance of obtaining a CC100.

Image credit: Brian Snelson, CC 2.0

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Automotive Addicts

Geneva: Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition sparkles in silver

By Jeremy Korzeniewski

Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition

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The traditional gift, if someone has the longevity to celebrate a 100th anniversary of… well, anything, really, is a 10-carat diamond. In lieu of that, we’re going to recommend one of these Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition machines. After all, it’s nearly as sparkly as a diamond, and it’s probably a fair bit cheaper than a 10-carat diamond that’s got all four of its C’s in proper order.

The car’s exterior jewelry includes a graduated paint finish and solid sterling silver badges inlaid with enamel. Inside you’ll find Deep Soft Black leather (the same spec as used in the One-77) with contrasting silver stitching, embroidered headrests, and sterling silver sill plaques that are individually numbered (1-100, as only 100 models will be made).

If that’s not enough bling for your bucks, each car also comes with “a unique presentation box containing a number of exclusive gifts to mark the first 100 years of the company,” including “two glass keys, two bespoke key pouches made from leather matching the car’s interior trim, solid silver cufflinks featuring the Aston Martin script, solid silver Rollerball pen and high quality Bang & Olufsen headphones.”

Check out the complete press release below, but not before browsing our high-res image gallery above. Pricing is available by request, and remember, if you miss out on one of these, the automaker will also be offering Centenary Editions of its V8 Vantage, DB9 and Rapide.

Continue reading Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition sparkles in silver

Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition sparkles in silver originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 06 Mar 2013 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Geneva: Bertone Jet 2+2 is a family-style Aston Martin Rapide

By Zach Bowman

Bertone Jet 2+2 - front three-quarter view, Geneva Motor Show premiere

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Leave it to Bertone to take a stab at improving the look of the Aston Martin Rapide. The coachbuilder may have done just that with its Jet 2+2 shooting brake unveiled here at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Using the sexy Aston four-door as a basis, the coachbuilder worked the Aston’s rear quarters and lifted the roof into a proper hatch, resulting in a machine with plenty of cargo space out back (though rear seat room doesn’t appear to be much better than the production sedan). An LED span joins the vehicle’s two taillights, and the design looks far more cohesive than the original renderings led us to believe.

An unnamed collector commissioned the one-off build, and Bertone is using the longroof to mark the 60th anniversary of the company’s first partnership with Aston Martin. We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate the date. The stock 6.0-liter V12 remains unsullied, cranking out 476 horsepower, though Bertone has given the interior a once-over with unique wood, glazed aluminum and two leather colors specified by the individual who commissioned the car. Check out the full press release below for more information.

Continue reading Bertone Jet 2+2 is a family-style Aston Martin Rapide

Bertone Jet 2+2 is a family-style Aston Martin Rapide originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 06 Mar 2013 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Geneva: We obsessively covered Day One of the 2013 Geneva Motor Show

By Steven J. Ewing

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When it comes to sheer number of vehicle debuts, the Geneva Motor Show is by far one of the largest automotive expos we cover each year. Because of that, it’s easy to get lost in the madness and lose track of all the new metal that’s shown off here in Switzerland.

Never fear, for we’ve got you covered with our usual roundup. Have a glance at the table below to see everything that we’ve been able to capture on Day One of our Geneva coverage, and stay tuned for plenty more goodness tomorrow after we try to kill off some jet lag. Enjoy!

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Aston Martin enhances Rapide with new S model

Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo offers Europeans a pre-M3 performance 3er

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD is our favorite oil-burning GTI

The Mansory Speranza proves that money can buy taste and good sense…

Pininfarina Sergio Concept ditches windshield for crash helmets [w/video]

Toyota RAV4 “Adventure” brings the butch

Volkswagen Golf Variant will make a lovely Jetta SportWagen

Audi A3 G-Tron offers big range, few emissions

Audi A3 E-Tron is a look at battery-operated things to come

ItalDesign Giugiaro Parcour loses its lid

Toyota i-Road is no less strange in the flesh

Wiesmann GT MF4-CS offers track-ready forbidden fruit, par excellence

Audi RS Q3 is funky, chunky, spunky forbidden fruit [w/videos]

2013 Alfa Romeo 4C is pretty, just don’t look it in the eyes

Ferrari LaFerrari is so nice, we say it twice [w/poll]

Spyker B6 Venator Concept shows the brand still has a beating heart

Mitsubishi debuts Concept CA-MiEV, a new suburban EV with a 186-mile range

Volkswagen hatches hotter GTI in Geneva

Touring Superleggera Disco Volante is a stunning labor of love

Toyota FT-86 Open Concept would make a mighty fine droptop FR-S

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo fills a void we didn’t know existed

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is Affalterbach’s first big leap into the little pond

Mitsubishi Concept GR-HEV brings diesel hybrid efficiency to the pickup game

Kia Provo Concept is the hybrid bruiser we’ve always wanted

McLaren P1 proves yellow doesn’t have to be mellow

Subaru Viziv is a diesel hybrid crossover we could learn to love

Chevrolet Captiva looks mildly refreshed and ready for family duty

Koenigsegg Agera …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Geneva: Aston Martin enhances Rapide with new S model

By Steven J. Ewing

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

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We’ve never really thought of the Aston Martin Rapide as being an old car in need of an update, but since the gorgeous sedan has, in fact, been around since 2010, we suppose a tidy freshening is in order. Here at the Geneva Motor Show, Aston is showing off the new Rapide S, which adds minor styling tweaks and a bit more oomph to the rakish four-door package. But don’t be fooled, the S isn’t just a trim-and-tape up-do – it wholly replaces the outgoing Rapide.

That’s fine with us, since the new car improves upon an already exceptional package. The big sedan’s V12 gets a power injection to the tune of 80 horsepower and 14 pound-feet of torque, bringing the totals up to 550 and 457, respectively. This means the Rapide S can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds compared to the outgoing car’s 5.1, on its way to a top speed of 190 mph. Woosh.

Visual changes for the new S model include a reworked front fascia with a one-piece grille, new 20-inch wheels, a slightly redesigned rear fascia, and a carbon fiber exterior pack that adds a bit of design differentiation to some of the car’s outside details. Pricing hasn’t been announced just yet, but expect this Aston to come in around the $200,000 mark. Scroll down for the full details in the press blast.

Continue reading Aston Martin enhances Rapide with new S model

Aston Martin enhances Rapide with new S model originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Mar 2013 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog