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OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

 

Automaker

Oct. 2014

Oct. 2013

Pct. chng.

10 month
2014

10 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

BMW division

30,602

27,574

11%

267,193

240,139

11%

Mini

5,300

5,700

–7%

44,488

55,335

–20%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

750

710

6%

  BMW Group

35,977

33,345

8%

312,431

296,184

6%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

30,733

32,109

–4%

281,729

262,119

8%

Smart USA

585

513

14%

8,665

7,450

16%

  Daimler AG

31,318

32,622

–4%

290,394

269,575

8%

Chrysler Division

27,546

23,452

18%

250,612

261,198

–4%

Dodge

41,512

45,314

–8%

485,469

507,148

–4%

Fiat

3,725

3,674

1%

39,226

36,416

8%

Jeep

55,198

36,379

52%

571,585

391,764

46%

Ram

42,499

31,264

36%

379,647

300,560

26%

  Chrysler Group

170,480

140,083

22%

1,726,539

1,497,086

15%

Alfa Romeo

–%

–%

Ferrari

175

171

2%

1,750

1,710

2%

Maserati

1,203

587

105%

10,328

2,828

265%

  Fiat Group

1,378

758

82%

12,078

4,538

166%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

171,858

140,841

22%

1,738,617

1,501,624

16%

Ford division

179,014

184,136

–3%

1,988,941

2,011,956

–1%

Lincoln

8,883

7,131

25%

76,671

66,983

15%

  Ford Motor Co.

187,897

191,267

–2%

2,065,612

2,078,939

–1%

Buick

18,699

17,555

7%

189,463

175,058

8%

Cadillac

13,615

14,792

–8%

141,452

148,206

–5%

Chevrolet

155,965

155,214

1%

1,698,831

1,648,543

3%

GMC

38,540

38,841

–1%

404,961

372,054

9%

  General Motors

226,819

226,402

0%

2,434,707

2,343,861

4%

Acura

15,427

14,296

8%

135,177

135,126

0%

Honda Division

105,745

100,242

6%

1,146,600

1,138,424

1%

  Honda (American)

121,172

114,538

6%

1,281,777

1,273,550

1%

Hyundai division

50,081

53,555

–7%

607,539

601,773

1%

Kia

44,694

39,754

12%

489,711

456,137

7%

  Hyundai Group

94,775

93,309

2%

1,097,250

1,057,910

4%

Jaguar

1,007

1,515

–34%

12,837

13,962

–8%

Land Rover

3,643

4,286

–15%

42,067

39,645

6%

  Jaguar Land Rover

4,650

5,801

–20%

54,904

53,607

2%

  Mazda

18,798

19,737

–5%

259,751

240,228

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,199

4,752

31%

64,564

49,733

30%

Infiniti

9,045

9,152

–1%

93,925

90,071

4%

Nissan Division

94,072

81,866

15%

1,072,464

942,063

14%

  Nissan

103,117

91,018

13%

1,166,389

1,032,134

13%

  Subaru

43,012

34,483

25%

418,497

347,890

20%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

1,400

1,302

8%

19,530

18,024

8%

Lexus

23,355

22,719

3%

244,038

213,479

14%

Scion

4,182

4,940

–15%

50,285

59,030

–15%

Toyota Division

153,043

141,317

8%

1,681,045

1,594,646

5%

Toyota/Scion

157,225

146,257

8%

1,731,330

1,653,676

5%

  Toyota

180,580

168,976

7%

1,975,368

1,867,155

6%

Audi

15,150

13,001

17%

146,133

127,412

15%

Bentley

282

340

–17%

2,268

2,199

3%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

590

574

3%

Porsche

3,667

3,562

3%

39,033

35,111

11%

VW division

30,313

28,129

8%

301,187

342,962

–12%

  Volkswagen

49,471

45,090

10%

489,211

508,258

–4%

  Volvo Cars NA

3,972

3,919

1%

47,823

52,112

–8%

Other**

117

114

3%

1,162

1,132

3%

TOTAL

1,281,132

1,207,516

6%

13,717,987

12,997,862

6%

 

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat completed the merger with Chrysler Group under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014; Fiat Group and Chrysler Group sales totals for 2013 and 2014 are combined under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

OCTOBER U.S. SALES

SAAR remains healthy at 16.5 million; GM volume up 0.2% but Ford deliveries slip

 

DETROIT — U.S. light-vehicle sales, led by double-digit increases at Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor Corp., rose 6 percent to 1.28 million in October, matching forecasts, with crossovers and light trucks fueling much of the industry’s gains.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate, a broad measure of the industry’s health, hit 16.5 million, slightly above projections and up 7 percent from 15.4 million a year earlier.

The SAAR has now topped 16 million every month beginning with March. In August, the SAAR surged to 17.5 million, the highest since January 2006.

“The U.S. economy has steadily improved all year and now we are poised for a stronger expansion backed by an improved job market, higher consumer confidence and lower fuel prices,” said Kurt McNeil, General Motors’ head of U.S. sales.

Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales rose 22 percent while Nissan group sales were up 13 percent.

Toyota Motor Sales sold 180,580 Toyota, Scion and Lexus models last month, an increase of 7 percent. The results reflected record October demand for the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander, strong Camry shipments, as well as robust SUV volume.

“October vehicle sales were the best for the month in 10 years as an improving economy and lower gas prices drove strong SUV sales,” Bill Fay, Toyota division general manager, said in a statement. Lexus volume rose for the 12th consecutive month.

Sales edged up 0.2 percent at General Motors, with Buick volume rising 7 percent and Chevrolet deliveries up 1 percent. Sales slipped 1 percent at GMC and 8 percent at Cadillac. The company’s retail volume dropped 2 percent, on lower consumer incentives, while fleet shipments rose 6 percent.

GM’s car deliveries slipped 1 percent while truck volume rose 6 percent. GM said its crossover deliveries declined 8 percent on the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport which has been sold to only rental and fleet operators.

At Ford Motor Co., volume declined 2 percent as the company retools U.S. plants to build the redesigned F-150 pickup. The F series is Ford’s top-selling nameplate. Sales fell 3 percent at the Ford division but climbed 25 percent at Lincoln.

55 consecutive monthly gains

Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales continue to be buttressed by strong demand for the Jeep lineup and Ram pickups. The latest results extended the company’s streak of year-on-year U.S. sales increases to 55 consecutive months.

Volume surged 52 percent at Jeep and 36 percent at Ram, with Ram pickup deliveries advancing 33 percent to nearly 40,000.

Sales rose 1 percent at Fiat and 18 percent at Chrysler Division but slipped 8 percent at Dodge. Overall, Fiat Chrysler’s light-truck deliveries rose 28 percent and car demand edged up 4 percent.

“Chrysler is on a streak of growth that’s virtually unheard of for American auto manufacturers,” Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said. “The company’s renewed focus on SUVs comes at a perfect time when gas prices are plummeting and shoppers are falling back in love with large vehicles.”

The strategy is undeniably successful, she added, but it’s not invincible.

“If there is a spike in gas prices, Chrysler’s weak small-car lineup may not be able to fully absorb the blow,” Caldwell said.

Aided by strong crossover and small-car demand, sales at the Nissan division rose 15 percent to 94,072 — an October record — but volume slipped 1 percent at Infiniti, the company said today.

Overall, Nissan group’s car deliveries rose 15 percent and light-truck volume climbed 11 percent. Demand for the Nissan Rogue compact crossover increased 14 percent while sales of the Murano midsize crossover jumped 38 percent.

Nissan division’s U.S. sales have now set records in 13 consecutive months.

Fred Diaz, senior vice president for Nissan U.S. sales & marketing and operations, credited “high consumer confidence and low gas prices” for the company’s results and predicted those factors “will continue to boost auto sales for the last two months of 2014.”

Nissan said deliveries of the Versa subcompact and Leaf electric vehicle each rose 29 percent, and Sentra compact volume jumped 56 percent.

The Leaf set an October sales record of 2,589. Nissan said the Leaf has set a record for most U.S. sales in a year by an EV at 24,411 — with two months to go.

Core models lift Honda

American Honda posted sales of 121,172 vehicles, an increase of 6 percent vs. October of last year. Honda Division set an October record on volume of 105,745 vehicles, a gain of 6 percent for the month. At Acura, sales rose 8 percent to 15,427.

Honda cited higher demand for three core nameplates — the CR-V compact crossover, Accord midsize sedan and redesigned Fit subcompact — for the results, though deliveries of the Civic compact dropped 12 percent.

Sales of the Fit rose 83 percent to 6,851 — an October record for the nameplate.

“The success of the new Fit is an important step in re-establishing small cars as a pillar in the Honda lineup,” Jeff Conrad, Honda Division general manager, said in a statement.

Subaru’s sales jumped 25 percent to an October record of 43,012. The company has posted 35 consecutive months of year-over-year growth and is on track to produce its sixth successive annual sales record. Subaru said today it expects to surpass its 2013 annual volume record of 424,683 vehicles sold in the coming weeks.

VW ends losing streak

Volkswagen broke a string of 18 consecutive monthly sales declines with an 8 percent rise in October volume.

Mark McNabb, COO of Volkswagen of America, credited a refreshed Jetta and all-new 2015 Golf and Golf GTI for “attracting customers and enthusiasts” and driving “increased traffic in our showrooms.”

Audi posted its 46th consecutive month of record sales, with October volume rising 17 percent to 15,150. The company said strong demand for SUVs, despite lean stockpiles, and the revamped A3 spurred the gains.

“We can confidently predict that 2014 will end as the fifth-consecutive record year for Audi sales in the U.S.,” said Mark Del Rosso, COO of Audi of America. “Our annual Season of Audi year-end sales event will bring a strong finish” to the year.

Sales rose 31 percent at Mitsubishi, 12 percent at Kia — helping set an October record of 44,694 units sold — and 1 percent at Volvo.

“Declining gas prices are bringing a steady supply of customers into the market,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kia Motors America.

At the BMW Group, BMW brand sales rose 8 percent to 35,977 but Mini volume slipped 7 percent.

Land Rover posted sales of 3,643 units, down 15 percent, and Jaguar’s October volume slid 34 percent to 1,007 units. The company blamed low availability of three popular models — the Range Rover Sport and LR4, and Jaguar XF sedan — for the drop in volumes.

‘Crossover sales are booming’

Light-truck demand, which has propelled the market this year, received another boost from falling gasoline prices. Overall, light truck volume rose 9 percent last month, easily outpacing the 3 percent increase in car deliveries.

“Crossover sales are booming,” said Nissan’s Diaz.

In many parts of the country, average gasoline prices have dropped below $3 a gallon.

J.D. Power said last week that falling gasoline prices were prompting owners of big pickups to remain in the segment when it came time to trade in — a development that bodes especially well for the Detroit 3.

In March 2013, when gasoline prices averaged $3.71 a gallon, J.D. Power said nearly 32 percent of large-pickup owners trading in their vehicles decided to switch to another segment that offered higher fuel economy. In November and December 2013, when U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.26 a gallon, the defection rate among large pickup owners dropped to a low of 26.2 percent.

When gasoline prices have been high, J.D. Power said large-pickup owners tended to abandon the segment and choose a compact SUV, midsize SUV or midsize car instead.

“As large pickup owners experience these low fuel prices each time they fill their tank, fewer of them are defecting from the segment,” Thomas King, vice president of the Power Information Network, said in a statement.

Solid economic growth, expanding payrolls, pent-up demand, low-rate financing and higher incentives also continue to spur industry sales.

Strongest month in a decade

TrueCar estimated average incentives among major automakers edged up 2 percent from October 2013 to $2,629 last month, but fell 12 percent from September levels.

Larry Dominique, executive vice president of TrueCar, described the market in October as well-balanced. Incentives as a share of average transaction prices, he noted, were a “manageable” 8 percent.

The industry has to be pleased with the overall consumer shift to light trucks, he added, which means lower incentives and higher transaction prices.

Kelley Blue Book estimated the average transaction price for light vehicles in the U.S. was $33,361 in October 2014, an increase of $246, or 0.6 percent, from October 2013, and a gain of $185, or 0.7 percent, from September 2014.

“Car and truck sales have settled into a groove,” Caldwell of Edmunds.com said. “Dealers are welcoming a consistent flow of shoppers into their showrooms, and the pace will likely remain steady through the end of the year. With declining gas prices and strong truck and SUV sales, the industry is poised for a very busy holiday season.”

Lamborghini Huracán Hits 1,000 U.S. Sales – 3,000 Global

Lamborghini Huracán Hits 1,000 U.S. Sales – 3,000 Global

 

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If you had any questions about the success of Lamborghini’s Huracán as a replacement for the Gallardo—which you really wouldn’t have if you’d read our first drive review—you’ll have none now: the Huracán has officially racked up 1,000 U.S. sales and 3,000 global sales in just 10 months.

The result is enough for Lamborghini itself to crow about, and rightfully so—the 3,000 figure is one that brand hasn’t seen in the entire 2000-2012 period, making this Lamborghini’s best year this century. In 2013, Lamborghini marked the sale of just 2,121 cars, well short of its previous record mark of 2,406 units in 2008.

2015-lamborghini-huracn-first-drive_100466221_h

For 2014, the company is on pace to reach 3,600 total sales, though whether the supercar market will hold up—or rise—before year’s end is anyone’s guess. 

Lamborghini thinks this year’s success is about more than just a brutally handsome pair of cars in the Huracán and the Aventador, however.

2015-lamborghini-huracn-first-drive_100466225_h2015-lamborghini-huracn-first-drive_100466234_h2015-lamborghini-huracn-first-drive_100466221_h2015-lamborghini-huracn-first-drive_100466229_h

The company’s COO, Alessandro Farmeschi, said in a statement, “In the Americas we worked together with our dealer partners to outline their launch outreach strategy from a new perspective. How to make their events and communications bold yet welcoming. As a result, we are watching a success story unfold. As the Huracán arrives in-market, consumers are anxiously waiting to experience this vehicle which is a direct result of these targeted events.”

Whatever the reason, it’s hard to argue with the success in terms of cars sold—and for the enthusiast, it’s always a good thing to see supercar brands succeed.

Source: Motor Authority

Liberty Walk’s Road To SEMA Starts NowLiberty Walk’s Road To SEMA Starts Now

 

Liberty Walk’s Road To SEMA Starts Now

LB-Aventador-1wm

by Dino Dalle Carbonare

What’s next? I’m pretty sure that’s a question that Kato-san of Liberty Walk must be very tired of answering by now. Mind you, it comes with the territory, because there aren’t many workshops around the world that would even dare to do what the Japanese custom car builder has become known for. So if you’re wondering what car is next in line to receive the LB-Works treatment, well, here it is…

LB-Aventador-4wm

Liberty Walk has already worked on the Lamborghini Aventador, and if you recall back to last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon you might remember its creation that Sean and I took a look at in detail after the show ended. The body kit on that particular car could be considered an entry-level upgrade, but that was never going to cut it for Kato-san. So along with a tantalising line up of other cars planned for the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November, he also plans to bring a fiery-red LB-Works version of the Aventador with him too.

LB-Aventador-3wm

As you can see in these initial CG images, Liberty Walk’s take on Lamborghini’s flagship machine will be sporting front and rear Works fenders applied to the body with exposed bolts for the raw look that makes these conversions all the more special. A large GT wing will also be added at the rear, supported by a pair of stays fixed to the body through cut-outs in the center-section of the bumper.

Along with a front spoiler, the conversion will also feature more profiled side skirts and a rear diffuser section, and very aggressive wheel fitment. SEMA might still be months away, but Liberty Walk is wasting no time in ensuring that its display will be the talk of the show once again.

 

LB_Aventador-2wm

news source: Speedhunters.com

FAIL: Porsche 911 Turbo S – Crazy Expensive at $210,620

FAIL: Porsche 911 Turbo S – Crazy Expensive at $210,620

PORSCHE NEW PRICE FAIL

We think Porsche bit off their foot by expecting buyers to pay over 200k on a car that hasn’t been updated in 10 years or so.

They always exclude themselves but this time they are totally off base.

Oh yes, we love the look and feel of the Porsche but it was hard to look at over $150,000.00  and that’s just for the 911 Turbo.

When we compare apples with apples, the price doesn’t match up.

Consider what you could buy for that range – it doesn’t compare – if you just look at the technology in the Mercedes Benz SLS the Porsche can’t compete. 

· Ferrari 458 Speciale

· Ferrari California

· Lamborghini Hurricane

· McLaren 650S

· Rolls-Royce Wraith

· Bentley Continental GTC

· Any Aston Martin including the Vanquish

· Any Maserati

· Almost Qty 2 Audi R8

· Any BMW

· Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Please understand that we have nothing against Porsche, but we do believe in fairness and Porsche is crazy with what they believed their car is worth. It’s not the 80’s, you have to push out new and better things, not pull the wool over our eyes and try to sell us the same thing for more money. That’s just not right.

So I guess we won’t be buying a Porsche anytime soon. The Lamborghini Hurricane looks like a much better deal on our side. “Sorry Porsche”

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Daihatsu Copen Resurrected With Configurable

Daihatsu Copen Resurrected With Configurable

2015-diahatsu-copen-001-1

By Chris Bruce

It was a little bittersweet when the original Daihatsu Copen ended production in 2012. Granted, we never got the tiny roadster in the US, but knowing that it was out there somewhere just made the automotive landscape a little better. It didn’t take the Japanese automaker long to see the error of its ways, because concepts for a new version, now called Kopen, showed up at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Finally, the all-new generation of the only Diahatsu you’ve ever wanted (okay, okay – some of us really still want a Rocky) has been unveiled in Japan.

2015-diahatsu-copen-002-1

The new Copen (dropping the K from the concept) ditches the original’s Audi TT-inspired curves in favor of being a touch more angular and aggressive. The front and rear lights both dip way down towards the road to make the little convertible look like it has overgrown tusks. Its real party piece, though, is a two-piece folding hardtop that looks pretty slick on a car this size.

2015-diahatsu-copen-003-1

The front-wheel-drive Copen adheres to Japan’s kei class regulations, which means stated power is somewhat modest. It uses a 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 63 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of torque with the choice of either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission with seven ‘speeds.’ However, the roadster’s oddest feature is its chassis. It uses a monocoque that Daihatsu ‘D-Frame,’ an architecture that allows most of the car’s body panels to bolt up to it. It should make any damage easy to repair, though, and it ought to make it easy to customize as well.

Prices in Japan start at 1,798,200 yen ($17,613) for the basic CVT model or 1,819,800 yen ($17,825) for the five-speed. Scroll down to watch a video of the live unveiling, and if you want to learn more Diahatsu, has a dedicated page for the new Copen.

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News Source: Daihatsu Copen, Car@niftyTV via YouTube

Volkswagen Beetle GRC 544 bhp – 0-60 mph in just 2.1 seconds

Volkswagen Beetle GRC 544 bhp – 0-60 mph in just 2.1 seconds

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Volkswagen has unveiled the Beetle GRC, ahead of its debut at the Red Bull Global Rallycross race this weekend.
Set to be driven by Tanner Foust and Scott Speed, the rally car has been equipped with an aggressive front bumper and a ventilated hood. We can also see aerodynamic mirrors, side scoops and a massive rear wing. Other notable highlights include high-performance brakes, an upgraded suspension, limited-slip differentials and 17-inch alloy wheels with Yokohama competition tires.
Power is provided by a turbocharged 1.6-liter TSI four-cylinder engine that develops 544 bhp (405 kW). It is connected to a six-speed sequential transmission and an all-wheel-drive system which enables the car to rocket from 0-60 mph in just 2.1 seconds.
According to Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito, “After Volkswagen of America’s impressive start on the rallycross scene with the Polo, the launch of the new Beetle GRC rallycross car represents the next major milestone. The Beetle boasts a unique appearance and state-of-the-art technology. It will sweep fans off their feet.”
Source: Volkswagen USA

 

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News Source: http://www.worldcarfans.com/

Mercedes Gl Black Crystal By Larte Design – Moscow, Russia

Mercedes Gl Black Crystal By Larte Design – Moscow, Russia

 

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LARTE DESIGN MAKES U.S. INTRODUCTION WITH PREMIUM PERFORMANCE TUNING KIT FOR MERCEDES

European-Based Luxury Tuning Company Creates Bespoke Mercedes GL Dubbed “Black Crystal”

Moscow, Russia (June 9, 2014) — Larte Design, a European luxury tuning company specializing in the personalization of premium SUVs, is making its first foray into the U.S. market with the introduction of a specially-tuned performance package for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL. The company is introducing its new package with “Black Crystal,” a uniquely customized GL that serves as a perfect example of Larte’s high design and advanced performance.

mercedes-gl-larte-002-1

“Black Crystal” comes equipped with an aggressive body kit, attractive alloy wheels and a sonorous exhaust system. The Larte Design front bumper features crystalline accents, aggressive geometry and front guard that stretches over almost the entire height of the car. The front end also features striking LED daytime running lights, by German supplier Nolden, crystal shaped edges, exposed carbon-fiber inserts and a number of air inlets.

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To further enhance the GL’s muscular shape are Larte Design crafted front and rear end fender flares and side skirts. The sport design is further enhanced by elements such as a central Formula 1-type brake light. “Black Crystal” also sits on forged, alloy wheels in 11×22-inch, completing the aggressive look of the custom GL.

The custom SUV also comes equipped with a unique four-pipe stainless steel exhaust system designed by renowned exhaust manufacturer, Remus. The exhaust’s complex shape – steel on the inside and carbon on the outside – echoes the high-quality craftsmanship that goes into each component of Larte’s body kits. To make “Black Crystal” go fast, Wetterauer tuning company upgraded the V6 diesel engine, thanks to a chip, to 290 hp and 508 lb-ft of torque (for the European spec GL), compared to the stock GL coming in at 258 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque.

“Black Crystal” is the latest in a long lineup of offerings from Larte Design. The luxury tuning manufacturer also offers tuning kits geared to enhance other premium SUVs including the Infiniti QX60, QX70, and QX80 and the Range Rover Evoque. Each kit meets the highest technical standards and includes components from renowned manufacturers. Kits also come with attractively and aggressively designed alloy wheels that are equipped with high-end tires from technical partner Michelin.

U.S. customers interested in Larte’s personalization options can learn more by visiting www.larte-design.com

About Larte Design:
Larte Design is a luxury tuning company specializing in the customization of Infiniti, Range Rover, and Mercedes-Benz SUVs. The company’s tuning kit packages are designed to help auto aficionados express individuality and personal style to front bumpers, radiator grilles, and exhaust systems. For additional information about Larte Design, visit http://www.larte-design.com/. Like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter.

News Source: Larte Design

 

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THE FIRST ELECTRIC HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE / PROJECT LIVEWIRE

THE FIRST ELECTRIC HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE / PROJECT LIVEWIRE

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Harley is showing all sorts of photo and video of its EV bike, and the project appears fairly far along. Although, it’s not quite ready for dealers yet partially because H-D wants to get customers’ reaction to this big shift first. The company is taking the Livewire on a cross-country tour through 30 dealers along Route 66 starting next week, and some people actually get the chance to get on and ride this experimental hog. In 2015, the program goes international with stops in Canada and Europe.

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The Livewire has the cues of a naked sport bike with an exposed trellis frame and dual-sided rear swing arm suspension, but the engine is something very non-Harley, though. There’s no big V-twin here, instead the electric motor appears partially exposed in a polished case underneath.

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Harley is keeping technical details a tightly kept secret for the moment. It promises “tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound” in its press release but doesn’t back it up with any hard figures. From the teaser video, it definitely has the high-pitched whine associated with electric motors. Development appears to be moving ahead nicely, though. The stunt double for Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow was caught riding the Livewire during shooting for The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

 

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Press Release

 

HARLEY-DAVIDSON REVEALS PROJECT LIVEWIRE, THE FIRST ELECTRIC HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE

H-D Invites Consumers to Ride, React and Shape the Future of this New Bike

NEW YORK (June 19, 2014) – Innovation, meet heritage. Today, Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) reveals Project LiveWire – the first Harley-Davidson® electric motorcycle.

In keeping with the company’s customer-led product development approach, starting next week select consumers across the country will be able to ride and provide feedback on the bike, helping to shape the future of Harley-Davidson’s first-ever electric motorcycle.

While not for sale, Project LiveWire is specifically designed for the purpose of getting insight into rider expectations of an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.”
Spurred by this heritage, the Project LiveWire Experience invites customers to test ride, provide feedback and learn more about the story of the motorcycle. Even those who don’t yet ride will have the opportunity to feel the power of Project LiveWire through Jumpstart – a simulated riding experience.

A 2014 U.S. tour – kicking off with a journey down Route 66 – will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships now through the end of the year. In 2015, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the U.S. and expand into Canada and Europe.

“This builds on many recent reinvention successes for Harley-Davidson.” said Levatich. “In just the last few years, we’ve broadened our reach to serve an increasingly diverse society, as well as reinvented our approach to product development and manufacturing. This has resulted in cutting-edge products like the recently launched Project Rushmore touring bikes, Harley-Davidson Street 500 and 750 models and this reveal of Project LiveWire.”

An Innovative Approach to Advance the Possibilities of Personal Freedom
This exciting new ride blends the company’s styling heritage with the latest technology to deliver a new expression of the signature Harley-Davidson look, sound and feel.

“Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar – not an electric car,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “It’s an expression of individuality and iconic style that just happens to be electric. Project LiveWire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand.”

The bike offers a visceral riding experience with tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.

“The sound is a distinct part of the thrill,” said Richer. “Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”

Longer term plans for retail availability of Project LiveWire will be influenced by feedback from riders along the Project Livewire Experience tour.

“We offer a no excuses riding experience in everything we do and we are led by what our customers tell us matters most,” said Richer. “Because electric vehicle technology is evolving rapidly, we are excited to learn more from riders through the Project LiveWire Experience to fully understand the definition of success in this market as the technology continues to evolve.”

Helping Preserve and Renew the Freedom to Ride for Generations
As riding in the great outdoors is one of the best elements of motorcycling, sustainability remains a core strategic focus at Harley-Davidson.

“Preserving the riding environment is important to all of us,” said Levatich. “Project LiveWire is just one element in our efforts to preserve and renew the freedom to ride for generations to come. As a company that has seen success for 111 years, we think in generational terms about our great riding environments for the next 111 years.”

Fans can learn more about Project LiveWire, as well as specific dates and locations for Project LiveWire Experience stops at projectlivewire.com. Harley-Davidson also invites anyone who is interested in the possibilities of the future to follow and engage with the company on its social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website at www.h-d.com.

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News Source: Autoblog via Harley-Davidson, Asphalt and Rubber, Harley-Davidson via YouTube

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R / The Fastest Bentley Ever!

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R / The Fastest Bentley Ever!

Bentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

A factory-entered Bentley hadn’t won a top tier race in the UK for 84 years when the Continental GT3 recently took victory in the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone. It was an early success for a racer that only hit the track competitively for the first time late last year at the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi. To capitalize on the potent platform, Bentley is bringing it to the street with the limited-edition Continental GT3-R.

Bentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

Bentley Continental GT3-RLimited to just 300 units worldwide, this bruiser starts as any other Continental GT on the assembly line in Crewe, England, but then Bentley Motorsport get ahold of it to painstakingly improve its performance. Like the racer, GT3-R uses the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8, and here, power is cranked up to 572 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, 51 hp and 14 lb-ft better than the GT V8 S. The muscle is routed through an eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF with shortened gearing and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring for the rear wheels. The weight also comes down over 200 pounds from the V8 S to 4,839 pounds. Bentley claims all the tweaks are enough to hustle the GT3-R to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds, on to an estimated top speed of 170 mph.

Bentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

To handle all that power, an air suspension holds up all four corners, and the brakes use carbon silicon carbide discs for plentiful stopping power. A titanium exhaust saves an additional 15 pounds of weight, and Bentley promises that it gives the car a baritone growl.

Bentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

In the name of saving weight, the rear seats get thrown to the curb leaving just two racing buckets. Of course, this is still a Bentley, so the carbon fiber shells are covered in a combination of Alcantara and leather with green accents. The dashboard and center console are also replaced with carbon fiber pieces. The exterior wears a new carbon fiber front splitter and rear wing, and big cooling vents in the hood make sure the upgraded engine doesn’t get too hot. All 300 cars get Glacier White paint with green accents. Bentley is taking orders for the GT3-R now and deliveries start at the end of 2014.

Bentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

Press Release

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R DEFINES A NEW CHAPTER IN PERFORMANCE-FOCUSSED LUXURY

• Inspired by the Continental GT3, the ultimate GT: Two seats, 580 PS, 700 Nm and 100 kg lighter than a GT V8 S
• Limited to just 300 examples for guaranteed exclusivity
• Torque vectoring combines with shorter gearing for the most dynamic Bentley road car in history
• Hand built in Crewe and finished by Bentley Motorsport

(Crewe, 17th June 2014) Bentley announces the rarest and most dynamic member of the esteemed Continental family of Grand Tourers with the arrival of the new Continental GT3-R. It is inspired by the new Continental GT3 race car that stormed to victory at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone, the first UK race for Bentley for 84 years. Blending proven track and road credentials, the Continental GT3-R is a highly exclusive and unique interpretation of performance-focussed luxury, limited to just 300 examples.

All 300 examples of the Continental GT3-R will be hand-built in Crewe and finished in Bentley’s Motorsport division, while a range of exclusive experiences will be available to all customers of the GT3-R.

Bentley engineers have developed a retuned version of Bentley’s race-proven, high performance 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for this new two-seater GT. Developing 580 PS (572 bhp / 426 kW) and 700 Nm of torque, together with a 100 kg weight reduction and shorter gearing, the Continental GT3-R is the fastest-accelerating Bentley ever. Capable of reaching 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.8 secs), the GT3-R is a Grand Tourer with the performance of a racer.

Complementing the revised powertrain is a further development of Bentley’s renowned all-wheel drive system, which now features torque vectoring for the first time. Together with modified Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and a chassis tune optimised for outright cornering ability, the Continental GT3 R is the most dynamic, responsive and involving Bentley road car ever.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, comments:
“The experience of driving a Continental GT3-R is awe-inspiring, and takes the dynamic abilities of our Grand Tourer to new heights. We were inspired to create something extremely special for the road by the performance of our Continental GT3. It is a celebration of the Bentley passion for building outstanding drivers’ cars. To be a true Bentley, the GT3-R had to be the most luxurious track-inspired Grand Tourer ever, and this car pushes our trademark combination of luxury and performance to a new level.”

A Revised Powertrain Developed For Acceleration
For the GT3-R, Bentley’s powertrain division set about developing a special combination of engine, driveline and exhaust to create an evocative, powerful yet efficient system. Bentley’s popular and widely acclaimed 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine, now race proven by the Continental GT3, has been fitted with precision-honed high-boost turbochargers and developed with new engine control software to liberate 580 PS at 6,000 rpm and 700 Nm of torque from 1,700 rpm.

This increased power is fed through the Continental’s eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, now with shorter output gearing to enhance acceleration, to Bentley’s renowned all-wheel drive system. For the first time for a Bentley, the drivetrain has the ability to control the torque at each of the rear wheels through the use of torque vectoring. Recalibrated control software means that Drive and Sport modes are moved further apart, each with different characteristics and with Sport mode designed for more spirited driving. Maximum driver control is provided by completely recalibrated paddle shift functionality.

A soundtrack appropriate to the new levels of performance is provided by an all-new titanium exhaust, which not only provides a weight saving of 7 kg but also has allowed Bentley’s acoustic engineers to give the GT3-R a unique baritone roar.

A Chassis System For Ultimate Driver Engagement
To provide a dynamic capability unmatched in the Grand Touring sector, the GT3-R receives a chassis system focussed on performance whilst retaining a cossetting level of refinement for everyday use. Air springs and dampers use a development of the sports-tuned setup from the Continental V8 S, already recognised as the best-handling Bentley ever, while lightweight forged 21″ wheels and high-grip Pirelli tyres deploy the torque-vectored power output of the engine.

This combination, together with a sport-focussed Electronic Stability Control programme, offers a Continental with a new level of handling dynamics and turn-in agility, while both the chassis and powertrain respond immediately to throttle inputs.

Deceleration is via Bentley’s record-holding Carbon Silicon Carbide (CSiC) braking system. 420 mm front discs are slowed by 8-piston calipers finished in eye-catching green paint, while 356 mm discs are fitted to the rear axle. With the ability to absorb up to 10 megajoules of energy (enough to power a family home for six hours) in a single stop yet remain fade resistant, Bentley’s CSiC brakes are an engineering masterpiece in their own right.

Commenting on the performance of the new Continental GT3-R, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech, comments:
“We wanted to develop our powertrain and chassis systems further than ever before for the GT3-R project. The result is a Continental GT that is more dynamic than ever, with a torque vectoring system that neutralises understeer and a chassis tune that is both direct and forgiving. We’ve differentiated the Drive and Sport modes further to give the driver a choice between a relaxed and refined Grand Tourer and a sharp supercar with instant responses. The reflexes of the car are matched by the throttle response from our redeveloped V8 engine, and the new turbochargers eliminate turbo lag. Bentleys are rewarding drivers’ cars – but dynamically, the GT3-R is our finest hour yet.”

Delivering Luxury Together With Extreme Performance
All Bentleys are a combination of luxury and performance, and the Continental GT3-R is no exception. Featuring a unique two-seat cabin handcrafted from carbon fibre, Alcantara® and the finest leather, the GT3-R is as breathtaking in its approach to interior design as to its dynamic ability.

The two-seat configuration includes a pair of new bespoke sporting seats with additional side support through deeper bolsters, including newly designed foam layers for comfort and finished in Beluga black leather with diamond-quilted Alcantara®. This exquisite material is also hand-trimmed to the steering wheel and gear shifter, while the centre console and fascia panels are handcrafted in carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is also used to create beautifully sculpted door casings that also include diamond-quilted Alcantara® inner panels. In place of the rear seats is a new uniquely trimmed rear cabin, complete with a carbon fibre surround and finished in leather and Alcantara®.

Contrasting the Beluga leather and motorsport-inspired materials is a vivid accent green, used as a hide colour on the seats, instrument panel and door panels and in contrast stitching throughout the seats and diamond-quilted areas. GT3-R badging adorns the centre console, passenger-side fascia panel and sill treadplates, while the seats receive GT3-R stitching to the headrests in contrast-green thread.

Dramatic and Purposeful Exterior Style Statements
For the exterior of the GT3-R, Bentley’s Design team was tasked with creating a more purposeful stance than ever before. A new front splitter provides an assertive look to the front of the car, balanced by a new fixed rear wing fitted to the boot lid – both finished in exquisite carbon fibre. The bonnet incorporates two vents to improve the cooling capacity of the powertrain system for repeated accelerations while also invoking the shape of the Continental GT3 racer in a styling element where form follows function.

The gloss carbon fibre contrasts with the Glacier White paint that all 300 cars will be finished in, and the inspiration of the Continental GT3 race car is highlighted by the use of two-tone green graphics that trace the two power lines to the side profile of the car – one leading backwards from the front wheel, the other tracing the shape of the Continental GT’s iconic rear haunch.

Further inspiration from the Continental GT3 is reflected in the finishing touches to the exterior – the headlamp bezels, radiator shell and matrix grille, window surrounds and bumper strips – all finished in stylish gloss black.

The visual appeal of the Continental GT3-R is completed by an all-new lightweight 21″ wheel, machine-forged from high-strength alloy and finished in gloss black.

Purchase of the car also includes free standard servicing for four years (at the 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 mile marks). Order books for the Continental GT3-R are open now, with deliveries to start late in 2014.

Bentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.comBentley Continental GT3R

Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

News Source: Autoblog via Bentley

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe?– another 4 door Coupe?

2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe?–  another 4 door Coupe?

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It’s hard to say what a coupe is anymore. Is it merely a car with two doors? Does it have to have an arching roofline? Do frameless windows count for anything? Can a five-door hatchback or even an SUV be a coupe? At some point in the last few years, nearly everything we thought made a coupe a coupe has been challenged by something that calls itself a coupe, but to most people isn’t. Our friends at BMW have led most of this line of questioning.

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The new 2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is one of the latest Bimmers to challenge the moniker (which also challenges the idea of “Gran,” for that matter), and unlike some of its other “coupe” variations – we’re looking at you, X6 – this one is a pretty one. The 4 Series Gran Coupe is essentially a four-door version of the 4 Series, which is itself a two-door version of the 3 Series. Huh? Wouldn’t that simply make it another 3 Series? Of course, but this one is prettier, as it uses the 4’s sexier body styling, with its lower nose, wider-looking stance and edgier lighting graphics. It is also technically a five-door hatchback, not a sedan per se, and it utilizes frameless side door glass, which apparently does count for something in BMW coupe-land. Significantly, the 4 Gran Coupe’s wheelbase is identical to the two-door; if it was longer – as is the case with the 3 Series and 5 Series hatchbacks – that might make it a “Gran Turismo.” Confused yet?

We recently got our first chance to drive the 4 Series Gran Coupe at a press launch in Spain, and while the only version we were given was a rear-drive 428i Gran Coupe with the M Sport contents, the harrowing roads around Bilbao gave us a good idea of what this car is all about from a driving dynamics standpoint. Here’s some of what we found:

Driving Notes
The Gran Coupe will be available in base 428i, all-wheel-drive 428i xDrive, and 435i forms, starting at $41,225, $43,225, and 446,725, respectively, including $925 for destination. A Luxury Line package with elegant trimmings can be added for another $1,700 on the 428i models and $1,400 for the 435i, while a Sport Line brings larger wheels (18-inchers vs. 17s), sport seats, and various other sport-flavored bits for $2,100 on the 428 models or $1,700 for the 435i. And of course, an M Sport model builds on the Sport Line’s stuff with an aero kit, a sport steering wheel, and some blue trim pieces while adding $3,500 to the bottom line of the 428 models, or $3,100 to the 435. Of course, there are a many more a la carte options, and a suite of technology and convenience packages ready to bloat the final out-the-door price up over $60k if you’re really feeling spendy.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe looks longer than the two-door version, but in actuality, it’s identical in length and width. The roof is a half an inch taller, and the roofline stretches nearly all the way to the back of the car. It has an aggressive stance and excellent proportions. Incidentally, the 3 Series is also about the same length, about a half an inch narrower, and another inch and a half taller. The Gran Coupe may be the best-looking of the lot.

Alas, there is a catch, which comes in the form of more than 200 pounds of added weight due to structural reinforcement, including the weight of the standard power tailgate. Happily, BMW tuned the Gran Coupe to mimic the sporty feeling of the two-door 4 Series, changing only what it had to under the skin in order to accommodate the added mass and accompanying change in the center of gravity. To a large extent, it succeeded in keeping it quite the capable performance sedan. Or coupe. Or whatever it is.

Inside, the occupants sit a little lower in the 4 than in the 3, giving you a feeling of intimacy not found in any of the Threes. The black headliner also contributes to this sensation. We also expected to get more of a “sitting in a bathtub” feeling than we actually experienced. The M Sport’s seats are absolutely fantastic, as is the perfectly contoured steering wheel.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe is pure 3 Series inside, albeit with a one-inch lower seating position for both rows of seats. This makes the lower roofline less impactful on rear-seat headroom than you’d expect; indeed, this model’s longer roofline allows adults to ride back there more comfortably than in the regular 4 Series (non-Gran) coupe.

The lower seat height also helps the rear seat not feel as cramped as one might expect, with six-footers able to squeeze back there better than in the two-door. Legroom is also about the same as in the 3 and the two-door 4, which is to say decent. It’s not the limousine that the 3 Series GT is, but it’s pretty good by “coupe” standards.

The Gran Coupe’s hatchback body makes for a wide and deep cargo area, and the rear seats now fold 40/20/40 style. A power liftgate with programmable opening height is standard, and can be opened by waving your foot beneath the bumper. The drawback? Seeing out through the sliver-like rear window is a real challenge when you’re on the road.
The rear doors open quite wide, making it easy to load people and things back there despite their short length. You won’t bump your head on the roof as you get in, either, since the roofline doesn’t slope down until aft of the door.

The turbo four-cylinder is sufficiently powerful and sounds pretty awesome, though the Gran Coupe’s extra 100 kilos or so makes itself known. Speed demons are going to want to spring for the 435i, which we are looking forward to driving ourselves in the States soon.
The eight-speed automatic – the only available transmission – is as magical as ever in this installation, and the paddle shifters operate with a satisfyingly snickety action and are easy to find even with some lock dialed in.

High-speed stability is and always has been a 3 and 4 Series forte, and it is no less so in this case. We only wish we could select Sport mode on the Driving Dynamics Control-which adjusts shift points, throttle response, and steering effort-to get its better-weighted steering along with the top two gears on the highway, but unfortunately, Sport mode locks them out.
Grip levels are high during aggressive cornering, though as we’ve noticed in other 3s and 4s, the steering response is a little delayed at initial turn-in, resulting in a tendency toward understeer and early intervention of stability control. The lack of feedback through the wheel doesn’t help matters, but the car does go where you point it. We just wish it told us what was going on in the meantime.

BMW has long been a master of shock absorption, and as with so many other Bimmers, the 4 Series Gran Coupe takes the edge off bumps without floating over them. The 4 Series Gran Coupe we drove, with the M Sport equipment, is heavenly in this regard. The only demerit: tire noise on the highway can get loud, especially on grainy pavement.

The M Sport line is available with upgraded brakes that offer excellent pedal feel and crisp response; we would recommend the $500 upgrade (on top of the $3,500 you’ll pay for the M Sport pack) if you like to drive like we do, especially if hills happen to be part of your everyday commuting.

Given their similar interiors as well as the added practicality of the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s hatchback body, we can’t help but wonder why anyone would choose a 3 Series, which comes in about $3k less, similarly equipped. That would make a big difference if the MSRP was under $20k, but at this price point, the upgrade to something that looks and feels more special than a workaday 3er seems more than worth it.

 

Source: Autoblog
Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL

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