By Greg Migliore
Using provocative words such as “guilty” and “fearful,” Nissan Design America chief Bruce Campbell was blunt in his assessment of the current state of car styling: There's too much sameness.
Speaking at the AW Design Forum on Thursday morning in Detroit, Campbell pulled no punches, pointing to the bad economy, global design--and fear--as reasons for blandness in sheetmetal.
“We are guilty of this sameness. . . . There is an atmosphere that leads to sameness in design,” he said.
Toyota exec throws some cold water on the viability of plug-in electrics
Even if it isn't a surprise, it's the case: As The New York Times Wheels blog reports, Toyota has a history of outspokenness regarding the limitations of plug-in hybrids. And at Detroit this week, Koei Saga -- who is in charge of advanced technology and battery development for the company -- cited the limited range of plug-ins as a factor that relegated them to a small market of urban commuter cars.
By Rick Kranz, Automotive News
Striking bright colors are part of the Chevrolet Camaro's history--orange, yellow and what some might label Kelly green from the '60s.
Chevrolet is trying to generate a buzz for the 2010 Camaro with the Synergy Special Edition, a mouthful that means it is a limited-edition coupe with over-the-top green paint.
Count on this being the official pace car of any St. Paddy's Day parade.
Manufacturers showcased beautiful female models at the Detroit auto show to attract the mostly male media hordes; we think the fair sex deserves some eye candy, too
The most hotly discussed subject at the 2010 North American International Auto Show wasn’t whether Detroit’s Big Three seem to be on the mend (they do), or if small cars are set to make a comeback in this country (they are). Instead, it was the conspicuous return of “booth babes”: attractive female models hired by automakers to act as window dressing for the vehicles they are trying to promote. That automakers had so overtly returned to employing sex appeal sparked frequent discussion among the pear-shaped, addle-minded and mostly male press corps in the Motor City.
As a card-carrying member of that fraternity, I applauded the efforts of the automobile manufacturers -- especially Chrysler/Fiat. I can’t tell you how many of my fellow journalists asked (all with big grins on their pudgy little faces, might I add) if I had seen the “Fiat twins,” and they weren't referring to the pair of 500s sitting on the floor (though also not a euphemism -- they were referring to, literally, a set of twins acting as models).
Upgraded Chrysler Sebring may get a new name
Frank Fillipponio reported that the upgraded Sebring may not be a Sebring at all: The slow-selling, oft-abused Sebring had become a symbol of all that was staid, old and unsuccessful within the company, and therefore the company figures it might be better off giving the model's replacement a brand-new identity altogether.
By Greg Migliore
Chrysler Group is known for its rough and tough trucks and menacing muscle cars, but its design boss said technology is going to be the game-changer for car designers going forward.
Ralph Gilles, who is also CEO of the Dodge brand, said cars must be able to adapt to evolving technologies while remaining striking and pleasing to the eye. Smartphones, touch screens and colorful interfaces are all becoming common inside cars.
Yet another plug-in concept -- though this one should look familiar
Swedish luxury badge Volvo -- now betrothed (from Ford) to China's Geely Automotive -- is testing a plug-in all-electric version of its C30 hatchback in Sweden.
The current testing phase will help the company determine how, exactly, it will fit all-electrics into its strategy, in combination with regular hybrids already planned.
Tiger Woods' PR nightmare means no more free rides from GM
For those of you unaware of Tiger Woods' recent, er, difficulties, we'll leave it up to you to figure out the background for this story. Also: Welcome back from deep space / that cold, dark cave / your time under that rock. We hope it was a pleasant stay.
After the tawdry allegations surfaced, Woods quickly found that his ties to advertisers who paid him major bucks for his likeness and representation -- companies such as AT&T, Gillette, Accenture and Tag Heuer -- had been severely damaged or limited altogether. And although his contract to endorse Buick vehicles expired back in 2008, he was still given free General Motors vehicles for the prestige associated with having one of the world's most famous and successful athletes drive them.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5