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By AutoWeek Sep 2, 2010 7:59AM

This photo of a Ferrari 458 Italia owner walking away from his burning car in Paris has been posted on several Internet sites. (Photo courtesy of AutoWeek.)




Ferrari is recalling 1,248 copies of the 458 Italia to replace an adhesive prone to catching fire.


The adhesive is used in the wheel-arch assemblies. If it overheats, it can ignite.


Ferrari says it has received five reports of 458s catching fire; some of those burning cars have become Internet stars.


The Italian automaker began looking into the situation in August after five 458s caught fire in California, Paris, Switzerland, China and one other unnamed location.

 

Mazda, others aim to beat fuel-economy standards without hybrid vehicles.

By James Tate Sep 2, 2010 6:57AM
MazdaIn the eyes of today’s collective automotive consciousness, there’s only one way to quickly raise the average fuel efficiency of a fleet of vehicles by the time the new government fuel-economy standards come around: shove a hybrid drivetrain into existing platforms. Nearly every manufacturer has jumped into the hybrid game, either to produce additional horsepower and torque in their high-performance models in place of large-displacement engines, or to boost fuel economy by a few miles per gallon.

Consumers have come to think that anything with a hybrid badge is bound to be cleaner and more efficient than its nonelectrified counterpart, even though that’s not always the case. Mazda is one manufacturer that has struck off in a different direction. The company has just announced that its new generation of Sky engines will increase the company’s average fuel economy by a staggering 30 percent -- all without the added weight, cost or complexity of a hybrid battery and electric motor. 

New clip shows the potential.

By Joshua Condon Sep 1, 2010 3:46PM
Finally, a preview clip for the new "Top Gear USA" show that lives up to the fit and finish, as it were, of its established cousin (sorry, but the moonshiner run bit was just too hokey and forced).

From the visual cues (three cars barreling down a heat-hazed track and blowing by a stationary camera) to the tongue-in-cheek lead-in (a matador squaring off with a Lamborghini, whose mascot is the bull) to the general concept (pitting three Lambos against one another in a rubber-burning match), the clip is everything we want to see from a TV show bearing the "Top Gear" logo on this side of the pond.

Except for the hosts' banter. Sorry, boys, but your dry British wit still needs some work.

Enjoy. 

You say your Pontiac Solstice isn't electric? It can be.

By Joshua Condon Sep 1, 2010 2:33PM
We know various players in the auto industry are excited by, and pinning more than a few hopes on, the electrical revolution -- anyone hear about this so-called Nissan Leaf? -- but there's a side industry cropping up around electric vehicles' expected popularity: conversion.

Conversion companies like Amp Electric, profiled today in The New York Times "Wheels" blog, will take certain existing vehicles and customize them to electric power. Amp, for example, converted a 2010 Chevy Equinox LX to batteries, gutting the gasoline drivetrain and adding a 37-kilowatt-hour air-cooled lithium-ion-phosphate battery pack imported from China and two rear-mounted Remy electric motors -- the same used by General Motors for its dual-mode hybrids -- to put out 214 horsepower. The results? The company claims a top speed of about 90 mph, a zero-to-60 mph time of less than eight seconds. 

By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News

By AutoWeek Sep 1, 2010 10:55AM

Jaguar executives say the redesigned XJ could boost the brand's global sales by as much as half this year, to 75,000 cars. (Photo courtesy of Jaguar.)




India's Tata Motors, which bought Jaguar from Ford Motor Co. two years ago, recently approved a product plan that gives Jaguar three new models: a small sports car, an entry-level sedan and a station wagon.


They will be the first new vehicles to be fully developed under Tata, but they are all several years away.


For now, Jaguar is pushing its recently redesigned XJ. Jaguar executives think it could boost the brand's global sales by as much as a half this year to 75,000 cars.


To improve its quality image in the United States, Jaguar is offering 5-year/50,000-mile scheduled free maintenance on its 2011 models.


Here is a rundown of Jaguar's product plans for 2010-13:

 

Where that line starts and how it works, though, is less clear

By Lawrence Ulrich Sep 1, 2010 9:46AM

The Nissan Leaf. (Photo courtesy of Nissan.)After decades of false starts, electric vehicles are about to hit the American road in serious numbers. While EVs and plug-in hybrids must still prove themselves, this is still an exciting, watershed moment in automotive history. But while cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are sparking early-adopter love, these aren’t iPods cranked out by the tens of millions; initial demand for Leafs and Volts will surely outstrip early supply. Some would-be buyers are bound to be disappointed, especially since independent car dealers -- only too aware of supply and demand in their now dusty showrooms -- aren’t bound to play by any of the rules set by automakers.

 

To wit: A new Nissan press release says that owners are “one step closer” to owning the Leaf, the electric hatchback that will never visit a gas station or emit a whiff of tailpipe pollution. On a new Nissan website, buyers in California, Arizona, Tennessee, Washington and Oregon -- where, beginning in December, Leafs are set to arrive first -- can pick out colors and select options for their Leaf. So far, 18,600 people have put down $99 to “reserve” a Leaf online, nearing Nissan’s target of 25,000 by December.

 

I’ll reserve final judgment, but I’m increasingly nervous that that the Leaf’s “reservation” system is like seeking a ticket for a Beatles reunion: You might have a place in line, but when or whether you’ll be hearing “Ticket to Ride” is another issue.

 

By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News

By AutoWeek Sep 1, 2010 7:08AM

Volvo's only scheduled unveiling in the States in the next few years is the S60 sedan, which goes on sale in September. (Photo from Volvo.)




Ford Motor Co.'s sale of Volvo to Geely in August leaves doubt about the Swedish company's product plans.


For example, all of Volvo's current range except the 9-year-old XC90 crossover makes use of Ford vehicles and components. The XC90 is based on Volvo's P2 platform and was developed before Ford ownership.


But small cars--the S40, V50, S70 and C30--use the C1 platform, engineered by Ford, Mazda and Volvo. The S60/XC60, XC70 and S80 use Ford's EUCD large-car platform. Volvo's 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine was developed with Land Rover when both were owned by Ford.


The only new vehicle Volvo is scheduled to unveil in the next few years in the United States is the S60 sedan, which goes on sale in September. Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, expects annual sales of 15,000 to 25,000. Last year Volvo sold 5,895 S60s, down from 8,966 in 2008.


Speck said the S60 has "trendsetting" design and "the best interior package we have ever had in a sedan, with better height and legroom."


Here is a rundown of Volvo's plans.

 

An updated version of the automaker family tree

By Joshua Condon Aug 31, 2010 2:48PM
Keeping track of the auto industry can be confusing -- so let Jalopnik do it for you!

After the jump, check out the site's updated -- and very detailed -- automaker family tree. Or, for a extra-large version, click on the image in its original post

Contributors

  • Cliff Atiyeh

    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

    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

    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

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