Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What's the safest muscle car: the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger, or the Ford Mustang?

American muscle cars are all about performance, power, and speed--not necessarily in that order--so when you think about it, the safety of its occupants should be paramount as well. That's probably why the United States' Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently put three of the most popular muscle car models through a series of crash tests to determine which one is the safest.

Photo from

According to the organization, though it doesn't routinely conduct crash tests on sports cars since these only make up a small portion of the car-buying market, consumers often inquire as to how safe they are. As it is, insurance companies put a premium on collision coverage for sports car, which is how American muscle cars are classified as, since these incur the highest losses among passenger vehicles for crash damage repairs.

"Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it's especially important that they offer the best occupant protection possible in a crash," said IIHS president Adrian Lund.

For the crash tests, IIHS selected the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger, and the Ford Mustang. And while all three models generally performed well, none was able to secure the organization's Top Safety Pick award. To qualify, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint evaluations, and have a basic-rated front crash prevention system. As for IIHS's highest award, the Top Safety Pick+, vehicles must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests and an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

Based on the tests, the Ford Mustang missed out on earning the Top Safety Pick award only because it scored an "Acceptable" rating for its small overlap test ratings as its roof buckled and the A-pillar and instrument panel intruded into the driver's survival space under impact. Had it received a "Good" rating, it would have been eligible for the award, and had it been equipped with a more advanced forward collision warning system, it would be eligible for the Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Chevrolet Camaro, on the other hand, only earned an "Acceptable" rating for its roof strength and doesn't even come with an optional forward collision warning system.

Of the three muscle cars, the Dodge Challenger is the one that needs to be improved on. Although it's offered with an optional forward collision warning system, it only earned "Acceptable" ratings for its roof strength and head restraint tests while its small overlap front test was scored as "Marginal."

"Extensive intrusion into the lower occupant compartment limited the driver's survival space and resulted in a poor rating for structure and for leg/foot protection," IIHS noted in its statement. "Measures taken from the dummy indicate a high likelihood of serious lower leg injuries."

"During the crash, the Challenger's front wheel was forced rearward into the occupant compartment, and the footwell intrusion trapped the dummy's left foot and deformed its ankle," explained Lund. "Our technicians had to unbolt the dummy's foot from its leg in order to free it. Entrapment is pretty rare. That's only happened five other times in a small overlap test."

Such a shame, really, considering that, of the three, the exterior design of the Dodge Challenger was the one I liked the most.

The very first production-model Honda NSX has rolled out of the factory

The very first production model of the all-new Honda NSX (Acura NSX as it is known in the United States) has rolled out of Honda's Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio where it will be made exclusively for the global market.

"Today marks the realization of a big dream here at the PMC and the culmination of more than 30 years of manufacturing experience and expertise here in Ohio," said Clement D'Souza, engineering large project leader for the Acura NSX. "Our world class team of expert technicians, through their passion, has realized major innovations in the design and manufacturing of a next-generation Acura supercar that truly delivers incredible precision crafted performance."

Customer #1 of the all-new Honda NSX is Hendrick Motorsports owner and Hendrick Automotive chairman Rick Hendrick who won the opportunity to customer order the first production model by placing a winning bid for it for $1.2 million, with the proceeds going to charity. According to Honda, Hendrick spec'd the VIN 001 Honda NSX to have a Valencia Red Pearl exterior paint finish and fitted it with exclusive interwoven wheels, carbon ceramic brake rotors, leather and Alcantara interior trim, and carbon-fiber upgrades including the engine cover, roof, and rear decklid spoiler. To complete the experience, Hendrick himself drove the Honda NSX off the production line.

"Taking delivery of this first new Acura supercar and knowing the proceeds will benefit two remarkable organizations for children makes this a very special moment for me and everyone on our team," said Hendrick. "It's especially rewarding to see this incredible supercar coming to life in the United States, which is a real testament to the company's commitment to innovation and manufacturing here."

It isn't just the Honda NSX's platform that's produced in the United States. Its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 mill is also assembled by hand in Honda's Anna, Ohio engine plant before it is mated to its advanced nine-speed dual clutch transmission and rear direct drive electric motor. Each NSX powertrain is then machine-balanced, bench-tested and broken-in to the equivalent of 240km to ensure that it is track-ready upon customer delivery. The powertrain, along with its revolutionary front-mounted Twin Motor Unit which enables electrically-powered torque vectoring, is then installed at the Performance Manufacturing Center.

"The NSX is a pure expression of the Precision Crafted Performance DNA and challenging spirit that defines the Acura brand," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. "We can't wait to give our clients a chance to experience this dream product, and will carry this day's momentum forward as we continue to invest in and grow Acura."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Video: Daredevil Flies Hoverboard More Than 2,250 Metres to Smash World Record – With a Little Help From Ford

It had to be seen to be believed. Looking like something out of a Sci-Fi blockbuster, Flyboard Air inventor Franky Zapata piloted his creation 2,253m to smash the world record for the farthest distance traveled by hoverboard, which previously stood at 276m.

Zapata made the incredible flight over the harbour of Sausset-les-Pins, in the south of France, supported by two all-new Ford Ranger Wildtrak pickups. Taking four years to design, develop and perfect, the jet-propelled hoverboard flew at an average 55kph, and a top speed 70kph to cover the distance in three minutes.

"Ford is always looking for new ways of doing things so it's no surprise that we'd partner with Franky for his record attempt with the Ford Ranger. It's a really exciting time to be supporting innovations that explore different ways of getting around in future and it's great to see the record broken so convincingly," said Mark Truby, vice president, Communications & Public Affairs, Ford of Europe.

Check ou the video at the bottom.

Flyboard Air facts:

Top speed      
150 km/h
Maximum height       
3,000 metres
Maximum thrust         
160 N
Fuel consumption     
5.6 L/min (kerosene)
20 kg

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Girls of the 2016 Trans Sport Show

As we mentioned earlier, the 2016 Trans Sport Show is happening this weekend, and of course, no car show will be complete without the female models. As it is, it seems the biggest draw of most, if not ALL, car shows these days aren't the cars but the girls. How things have changed from the very first Trans Sport Show back in 1992 when, if I remember correctly, there were no girls at all, or if there were, they were there for the cars.

Also, it's during shows like the Trans Sport Show that the number of "photographers" in Metro Manila suddenly explode as they try to recruit girls for their "portfolio." Yeah, right.

Anyway, it's on the weekend shows that the show has the most number of models so be sure to drop by the Trans Sport Show either today or tomorrow--or even on both dates!

Photos taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP80 

Press Release: Filipino Commuters Lament the State of the Commute, Ford Survey Shows

From frustration with gridlock to distress over rising costs, to a sense of optimism about an improving daily commute, a new survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company reveals a wide range of perceptions around the state of the commute in Asia Pacific.

The survey painted a dim picture of the daily commute in the Philippines: 42% of respondents said their commute was worse than a year ago, and three in 10 said it was the worst part of their day. More traffic congestion and increasingly crowded public transportation were the two most common reasons cited for the decline in quality.

On the other end of the spectrum, Vietnamese respondents were the most likely to say their commute had improved over the last year, followed by commuters in India and Indonesia. The three countries also topped the podium for the most people who said they like their commute. In Taiwan and South Korea, more than half of respondents reported no change in the quality of their commute.

"Everywhere in the world, people face unique transportation issues that are local in nature, and the results of this survey echoed that reality," said John Larsen, director, Ford Smart Mobility, Ford Asia Pacific. "These challenges are what motivates Ford Smart Mobility, which aims to tackle global issues and provide local solutions that make a daily difference to people all over the world."

Ford Smart Mobility is the company's plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. This includes everything from Ford's in-car connectivity solution, SYNC, to the 30 global mobility experiments that have already been undertaken to gain insight into changing consumer transportation habits and preferences.

Filipinos Fret Over Increased Traffic, Rising Costs of Commute
The same survey saw a majority of Filipino commuters saying they are dissatisfied with the outlook of their commute, with 42% saying it was worse than it was a year earlier – the highest out of all 12 markets surveyed – and 70% reporting a rise in the time they spend in traffic. Thirty-seven percent said the quality of their commute had remained unchanged, but 21% reported that their commute had improved over the last year. Of the optimists, the most common reason cited was an improvement in public transportation, and the perception that services are less crowded, more comfortable and more convenient.

For those lamenting the declining quality of their commute, respondents cited the following reasons:

• More traffic congestion: 36%
• Public transportation is more crowded, uncomfortable and inconvenient: 23%
• More expensive: 12%
• More difficult to find a parking spot: 9%

More people said their commute was the worst part of their day (30%) than the combined total of those who like their commute or characterize it as "not bad" (4% and 23%, respectively). The remaining 43% reported that they simply find their commute inconvenient.

Filipino commuters also overwhelmingly said their commutes are getting more expensive (60%), with only 16% reporting declining costs. Twenty-three percent said costs had remained the same over the last year.

Price increases for public transportation and toll roads came out on top for the most commonly cited reason for the increased cost of commuting, at 42%. Fuel prices rankled Filipino commuters as well, with 28% them as a reason for the rise in costs. Personal mobility choices also played a role: Some said using taxis, taxi-hailing apps, and car sharing services over cheaper options was a factor for the change (12%, 9% and 9%, respectively).

"As the Philippine economy continues to thrive and the people remain to be one of the world's most confident consumers, challenges like these are bound to happen," said Joseph Ayllon, assistant vice president for communications, Ford Philippines. "Ford recognizes these issues and we are doing what we can to address them through ways that are not only convenient, but also smart."

Driving Change with Ford Smart Mobility
The driving forces behind Ford Smart Mobility are four global megatrends that are reshaping the world: explosive population growth, an expanding middle class, air quality and public health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities.

Ford Smart Mobility includes technologies already available in Ford vehicles worldwide, and long-term research projects including autonomous vehicles, flexible ownership and car-sharing models, and wearable technologies.

Ford has been a leader in in-car connectivity since it introduced the first generation of SYNC in 2007, which remains the most popular entertainment and communications system in the automotive industry. Coupled with SYNC AppLink, which enables drivers to control smartphone apps via voice controls, Ford vehicles help drivers stay connected to their world more than ever before – all while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Beyond in-car connectivity, Ford has the largest fleet of autonomous vehicles of any automaker, and is testing the technology across different climates in the United States, including recent industry-first tests in snowy conditions. Ford will also triple its engineering investment in its driver assist and semi-autonomous technologies over the next five years. Many of these technologies are already available in Ford vehicles, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Park Assist, Lane-Departure Warning and Lane-Keeping Aid, and Blind Spot Information System.

"Ford Smart Mobility is about ensuring the freedom of mobility for people all over the world," said Larsen. "That means thinking about the needs of tomorrow, and working to make a smarter, more efficient future a reality for everyone."

The Cars of the 2016 Trans Sport Show

The 2016 edition of the Trans Sport Show, the country's longest-running annual motorshow, is happening this weekend at the SMX Convention Center in the SM Mall of Asia complex.

Besides the usual plethora of cars on display, the Trans Sport Show also serves as a venue to market the latest brands and products carried by some of the major automotive aftermarket modification shops in the metro. For this year, the newest one we've spotted is Fifteen52, a brand of wheels that has actually been around since 1996 but only gained traction in the market once Ken Block began using its products in his popular Gymkhana videos, starting with Gymkhana 4 and all the way up to the latest one, Gymkhana 8. Unfortunately, the only Fifteen52 wheel you'll find on display at the show is mounted on the Subaru BRZ at the Wheel Gallery booth since the shop only began carrying the brand recently.

This year's show also happens to be a special one because, for the first time ever, Trans Sport Show organizer Tradeshow International accepted the recent Best of Show winner at the 2016 Manila International Auto Show--the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500--as an entry. If it bags the 2016 Trans Sport Show Best in Show award, it'll be the first-ever Best of Show winner of the country's two major car shows. 

So if you've got the time, drop by the 2016 Trans Sport Show. Tickets are at P100 each. And check out the gallery below of the some of the cars you'll find at the show.


Photos taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP80


Press Release: Honda surprises with refreshed Accord

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda's automobile business unit in the Philippines announces a major refresh for its executive sedan. The New Honda Accord is reengineered to carry a sportier and bolder look, sophisticated and premium finish, and dynamic driving performance to provide customers with exceptional ownership experience.

Exterior-wise, the New Accord gets a more aerodynamic styling with its sharply creased and contoured hood and more pronounced front grille. Seamlessly complementing its new look is Honda's Signature LED Lighting, which includes full LED headlights, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Active Cornering Light and LED Multi-Projector fog lights. The rear also receives updates with new bumper and LED guide tail lamp design. On the side, new and sportier alloy wheel designs complete the look. The 3.5 V6 variant gets 18-inch alloy wheels while the 2.4 variant gets 17-inch alloy wheels.

Under the hood, Honda retained its revolutionary Earth Dreams Technology engines in the New Accord for improved fuel efficiency without sacrificing its aerodynamic driving performance. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine on the Accord is capable to produce maximum power output of 281 ps at 6,200 rpm. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine is still accompanied by Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) and comes with 6-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters for enhanced fuel economy. The 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder model on the other hand, offers 175 ps at 6,200 rpm and comes with a 5-speed automatic transmission also with paddle shifters. For the New Accord, both variants are now equipped with cruise control and a Remote Engine Start Function that conveniently starts the vehicle engine and turn on its Intelligent Dual-Zone Climate Control System from the outside, which allows the cabin to cool even before entering the vehicle.

Inside, the New Accord features high level of luxury and craftsmanship with its ergonomic layout and comfortable seating matched with plush and high-quality materials. The New Accord’s center console and dashboard have been fitted with elegant piano black trimming for a more sophisticated finish.

For its infotainment, the New Accord retains the dual screen set-up. To allow for more versatility and utility, the top screen or the intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) with improved display resolution can now show several information simultaneously such as trip computer, audio and compass. The bottom screen has been updated with Honda's new advanced 7-inch touch screen display audio with navigation which is standard for both variants. These screens work hand-in-hand to operate the hands-free telephone function and audio streaming via Bluetooth connectivity which is now available in its 2.4 variant. The i-MID and advanced display audio can still be controlled easily via the controls mounted on the leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accent.

To provide uncompromised driver and passenger comfort, HCPI also retained in its latest Accord thoughtful features such as leather seats, power adjustable front seats, push start button, intelligent dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, sunroof (3.5 SV Navi only), rear air-con vents, a pair of pull-up rear window shades, power operated rear windshield sunshade, and rear center armrest audio controls. An auxiliary switch which was an exclusive feature to the 3.5 variant has been included in the 2.4 variant. This switch allows rear passenger has access to enable him to adjust the front passenger seat to his liking.

In terms of safety, six airbags are now standard in both variants of the New Accord to ensure utmost safety of its customers. The LaneWatch Technology has been included in the New Accord’s comprehensive safety features. The LaneWatch technology help improve visibility of the driver’s blind spot. This can be activated by engaging the right turn signal or by pressing the LaneWatch button on the turn signal switch to view a constant real-time display on the vehicle’s i-MID.

The New Accord’s wide array of passive and safety features include Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), multi-view reverse camera, front and rear sensors, and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS).

 The New Accord will be available from May 17, 2016 at all Honda car dealership nationwide with the following suggested retail prices:

2.4 S Navi (5-speed AT with Paddle Shifters) P1.788 million
3.5 SV Navi (6-speed AT with Paddle Shifters) P2.288 million

Available in five color options:
White Orchid Pearl (additional P20,000)
Modern Steel Metallic
Lunar Silver Metallic
Crystal Black Pearl
Carnelian Red Pearl (by order)

Check out the New Accord on display at Alabang Town Center Activity Area from May 20 – 22, 2016 (Friday to Sunday). For more details, visit any authorized Honda dealership or

Friday, May 20, 2016

Press Release: Ford Mustang Is Best-Selling Sports Coupe Globally; Customer Demand for Iconic Pony Car Continues to Rise

In its first year of global availability, the all-new Ford Mustang became the world's best-selling sports coupe. Demand for the iconic pony car remains insatiable.

According to company analysis of the most recent registration data from IHS Automotive, Ford sold around 110,000 Mustang Coupes globally in 2015 – topping all other sports coupe competitors.

That record was achieved despite limited availability for most of the year in such key markets like China and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Ford sold around 30,000 Mustang Convertibles, for total nameplate sales of 141,868 vehicles – making Mustang far and away the best-selling two-door sports car in the world.

"U.S. consumers have enjoyed interesting foreign sports cars for decades, so it was time for the Americans to return the favor with the worldwide launch of the new Mustang," says Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst. "Global markets have responded in a huge way. Ford Mustang was the only sports coupe in the world with more than 100,000 units registered last year."

Global data for 2015 suggests Mustang has room to grow overseas this year as many markets begin to take delivery of their full allotment. So far, Merkle notes, global customers are most interested in V8-equipped Mustangs.

"While much of the growth in Mustang demand in the United States has come from coastal markets – especially Southern California – and millennials opting for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, buyers in other countries prefer the V8," he says. "That unmistakable V8 warble is a hot commodity outside the U.S.”

Mustang in Europe, Middle East and Africa
To date, more than 16,600 customers in Europe have ordered a Ford Mustang, which went on sale there last summer. Shipments from Flat Rock Assembly Plant, exclusive production home to Mustang, began in the latter half of 2015. Of the 13,000 sold last year, 4,700 are now in customer hands.

Several significant markets, including United Kingdom, began selling Mustang in the fourth quarter. Total sales there top 3,500 cars, with the first 1,000 pony cars delivered to customers in March.

In Germany, the Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe in March, according to data published by German Federal Motor Transport Authority, KBA. Despite relatively high gas prices, the 5.0-liter V8 is the No. 1 engine choice in Germany. The country also has the highest international take-rate for the convertible model, with one in three sales.

The Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe last month in France, according to data from the Association Auxilliaire de l’Automobile. Ford sold 339 Mustangs in France in first-quarter 2016.

Incremental sales in South Africa, Cyprus and Malta are helping boost Mustang volume.

EcoBoost, V8 pony cars are big in Asia
In fourth-quarter 2015, the Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe in China as exports made their way to dealerships in volume, according to IHS registration data. Buyers in China favor EcoBoost versions.

In its first three months on sale in Australia, Mustang ranks as the best-selling sports coupe. Demand is so strong, the pony car was initially sold out through 2017, but an additional 2,000 Mustangs are slated to ship Down Under by the end of this year.

More than 90% of buyers in Australia and New Zealand are opting for the V8 version.

Mustang maintains leadership in North America
In March, Mustang sales of 12,563 cars in the United States outperformed sales of 12,248 for the new Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger combined, according to published figures. The Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe in the U.S. for all of 2015 and through the first quarter of 2016, according to industry-reported numbers.

In Canada, Mustang sales leadership is nothing new; it has outsold Camaro every year since 1985, according to data from the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association. Ford has the best-selling sports coupe in Canada.

And in Mexico, Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe last year, according to IHS registration data. Mustang sales were up 176% in Mexico in 2015 versus 2014.

Press Release: Catch the All-New Honda Civic Reborn Tour

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda's automobile business unit in the Philippines, conducts an All-New Honda Civic Reborn Tour around select malls and Honda dealerships to allow customers to check out Honda's newest icon from May 15, 2016 to June 12, 2016.

Since its official Philippine debut, customers may now see and experience the new features of the much anticipated All-New Honda Civic. For the official schedule of the All-New Honda Civic Tour, kindly refer to the table below:

Display Venue
Display Vehicle
Display Address
Honda Cars Manila
1.8 E
May 15 to 17, 2016
Paz M. Guanzon Ave., cor. Quirino Ave., Metro Manila
BPI Family Savings Bank
102 Paseo Showroom
RS Turbo
May 16 to 18, 2016
102 Paseo, Nieva st. corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
1.8 E
May 19 to 20, 2016
Alabang Town Center
RS Turbo
May 20 to 22, 2016
Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa
Honda Cars Pampanga
1.8 E
May 21 to 23, 2016
Barangay San Agustin, McArthur Highway, San Fernando Pampanga
Honda Cars San Pablo
RS Turbo
May 23 to 24, 2016
Brgy. San Nicolas San Pablo City, Laguna
Honda Cars Bulacan
1.8 E
May 24 to 25, 2016
720 McArthur Highway, Poblacion Guiguinto, Bulacan
Honda Cars Carmona
1.8 E
May 28 to 31, 2016
Tetra Trading, SLEX-Carmona Toll Plaza, Brgy. Maduya, Carmona, Cavite
Honda Cars Alabang
RS Turbo
May 31 to June 1, 2016
Madrigal Business Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Honda Cars Greenhills
1.8 E
June 2 to 5, 2016
Ortigas Avenue, cor. Columbia St., Brgy. Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong city
Honda Cars Marcos Highway
1.8 E
June 7 to 8, 2016
No. 64 Marcos Highway, Brgy. Dela Paz, Pasig City
Honda Cars Pasig
RS Turbo
June 7 to 9, 2016
E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave. Cor. Calle Industria, Libis, Quezon City
Honda Cars Makati
1.8 E
June 11 to 12, 2016
Magallanes Commercial Center, Makati City

The All-New Civic Reborn Tour gives customers the opportunity to see and experience the All-New Honda Civic's completely redesigned exterior, modern and expansive cockpit interior, new and advanced features, and Honda's first locally available VTEC Turbo engine.

What's more, customers who go and see the Civic even get the opportunity to win special prizes by simply taking a photo of the All-New Honda Civic and posting it on their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Customers who wish to enter their photo should simply tag Honda Cars Philippines' Facebook or Instagram account, and use the hashtag "#CivicReborn."

The "Civic Fantographer: Spot the Civic Photo Contest" will be raffling off a total of five MUGEN Power Caps as weekly prizes, while an Apple iWatch awaits the lucky individual who wins in the grand raffle draw. For the complete details, please see below:

Photo Upload Dates
Raffle Prizes
Draw Date
Deadline for Claiming
May 13 – 19, 2016
Weekly Prize
MUGEN Power Cap
May 20, 2016
July 20, 2016
May 20 – 26, 2016 Weekly Prize MUGEN Power Cap
May 27, 2016
July 27, 2016
May 27 – June 2, 2016 Weekly Prize MUGEN Power Cap
June 3, 2016
August 3, 2016
June 3 – 9, 2016 Weekly Prize MUGEN Power Cap
June 10, 2016
August 10, 2016
June 10 – 16, 2016 Weekly Prize MUGEN Power Cap
June 17, 2016
August 17, 2016
May 13 – June 16, 2016
Grand Prize
Apple iWatch
June 17, 2016
August 17, 2016

Honda dealerships nationwide are now accepting reservations for the All-New Honda Civic. Customer delivery will start by June 2016. The All-New Honda Civic is available in 1.8 E (P1.088 million) and RS Turbo (P1.398 million) variants.

For more information and updates on the All-New Honda Civic, the "Civic Reborn Tour" and the "Civic Fantographer: Spot the Civic Photo Contest," visit or any authorized Honda dealership nationwide.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

All-new Ford GT gets carbon-fiber wheel as option

Carbon-fiber is usually used for car bodies, specifically for sports cars and race cars, because the material is not only lighter than metal but it's just as strong--if not stronger--structurally.

Ford though has found a different use for the lightweight material and that's to create an all-new carbon-fiber wheel that's expected to further improve the drive and handling characteristics of the all-new Ford GT supercar.

While the all-new Ford GT is equipped with10-spoke forged aluminum wheels that are sized 8.5 x 20in in front and 11.5 x 20in at the back as standard, the carbon-fiber wheels are optional and come in the same size but are supposedly structurally stiffer, eliminates more than two pounds of unsprung weight per wheel, and reduces inertia by a claimed 25%.

The all-new Ford GT though isn't the first vehicle to be equipped with a mass-produced carbon-fiber wheel. The credit for that goes to the 2015 Shelby GT350R Mustang where it actually comes a a standard equipment.Unlike the Shelby GT350R’s black-painted carbon-fiber wheels though, the Ford GT wheels will be offered in two finishes: matte, or a glossy clearcoat to show off the carbon-fiber weave.

"Ford was the innovator as the first to offer a mass-produced carbon fiber wheels as a standard offering on Shelby GT350R Mustang," said Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak. "Now, Ford GT will offer the next generation in carbon-fiber wheels, with an advanced resin and fiber technology that gives our designers more freedom, while also showcasing the structure of the material's weave."

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Goodbye, Fuji Heavy Industries. Hello, Subaru.

Fuji Heavy Industries, the conglomerate behind the Subaru brand of vehicles, will effectively change its company name to Subaru Corporation from April 1, 2017, in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Nakajima Aircraft Company, from which Fuji Heavy Industries traces its origins.

Fuji Heavy Industries was established under its current name in 1953. In 1958, it entered the car manufacturing industry with the introduction of the Subaru 360 minicar. Today, the Subaru brand of vehicles can be found in more than 90 countries worldwide, with global vehicle sales expected to exceed one million units for the fiscal year ending in March 2017--a first for the brand.

According to Fuji Heavy Industries, the decision to shift from the long-familiar company name to the brand name is to further accelerate its efforts to enhance the Subaru brand "and achieve even greater growth for Subaru as a distinctive global brand in the automotive and aerospace industries."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Nissan acquires 34% controlling stake of Mitsubishi

Nissan Motor Company has acquired 34% of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation for ¥237 billion (nearly $2.2 billion) to effectively make it the latter's largest shareholder.

"This is a breakthrough transaction and a win-win for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors," said Nissan chief executive and president Carlos Ghosn. "It creates a dynamic new force in the automotive industry that will cooperate intensively, and generate sizeable synergies. We will be the largest shareholder of MMC, respecting their brand, their history and boosting their growth prospects. We will support MMC as they address their challenges and welcome them as the newest member of our enlarged Alliance family."

The newly-forged alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi extends an existing partnership between the two Japanese car brands which both have collaborated on for the past five years. Under the new alliance, both Nissan and Mitsubishi will cooperate in areas "including purchasing, common vehicle platforms, technology-sharing, joint plant utilization and growth markets."

"Through its long history of successful partnerships Nissan Motor has developed a deep knowledge of maximizing the benefits from alliance partnerships," added Mitsubishi board chairman and chief executive Osamu Masuko. "This agreement will create long term value needed for our two companies to progress towards the future. We will achieve long term value through deepening our strategic partnership including sharing resources such as development, as well as joint procurement."

Nissan's acquisition of Mitsubishi follows the recent revelation that the latter has been submitting "better fuel consumption rates than the actual rates" to Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Ironically, it was Nissan that discovered the discrepancy as it was developing its next-generation vehicles--two of which are rebadged Mitsubishi vehicles, the Nissan Dayz (Mitsubishi eK Wagon) and the Nissan Dayz Roox (Mitsubishi eK Space)--by examining the fuel consumption figures of its competitors. 

There's no word yet on how this latest development will affect Mitsubishi's operations overseas, including the Philippines.