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  1. Born with 'gasoline in his blood,' GM's Reuss adds president to long list of duties https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/03/gms-reuss-adds-president-keeps-other-assignments.html General Motors named company insider Mark Reuss as president Thursday. The 55-year-old's father also served as GM president nearly three decades ago. Reuss was once seen as a contender for CEO before Mary Barra got the job. Mark Reuss, the global head of General Motors' product development operations, will add "president" to his already expansive list of duties — the latest in a series of management tweaks under CEO Mary Barra. The 55-year-old Reuss – whose father also served as GM president nearly three decades ago – replaces Dan Ammann. Ammann moved over to the company's autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise Automation, last November. But Reuss will assume only some of Ammann's former duties in a paired down role as president, allowing him to retain his current focus on product. Saying that Reuss has played a "critical role" at GM in his current assignment, GM Chairman and CEO Barra added, "Mark's global operational experience, deep product knowledge and strong leadership will serve us well as we continue to strengthen our current business, take advantage of growth opportunities and further define the future of personal mobility." Gasoline in his veins Reuss is wont to say he has "gasoline in his blood." Having trained as an engineer, his duties as product development chief have been as much passion as avocation. It is a job that frequently lets him shed his suit and tie for a helmet and fireproof racing suit while testing new products at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan, an hour northwest of its corporate headquarters along the Detroit riverfront. He joined the automaker in 1983 as a student intern. It was a period of massive change under then-Chairman and CEO Jack Smith. In 1990, as the controversial chairman retired, Mark Reuss's father Lloyd was named GM president, but he held that post only two years before being ousted in the first in a series of activist investor-led revolts. The younger Reuss remained with GM and, over the next two decades served in a broad mix of posts testing his business acumen as well as his engineering skills. That included a run as head of the automaker's long-struggling Australian subsidiary, Holden, which recently shuttered its manufacturing operations. Big break Reuss got his big break in 2001 when he was tasked with creating a new performance division where he got the chance to oversee development of a variety of vehicles, including the Chevrolet Corvette, as well as the reborn Chevy Camaro. While never generating significant volume, those products helped shine GM's star, tarnished by some of the poorly reviewed products it had produced during the 1980s and 1990s, an era when it was sometimes dismissed as "Malaise Motors." But things continued to go from bad to worse for the company saddled with debt and facing ever tougher competition from European and Asian imports. By 2010, GM was forced to enter a carefully managed bankruptcy, surviving only with the help of a massive federal bailout. Most of its top management team, starting with then-Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, were unceremoniously booted, much as Lloyd Reuss had been nearly two decades earlier. Son Mark was, however, one of the survivors. Plum assignment And he landed a plum assignment that would test both the business and product side of his skills as the new head of North American Operations. By mid-decade, Reuss was seen as a potential contender for CEO. But as Dan Akerson, an industry outsider who joined GM post-bankruptcy, announced his retirement, the job instead went to another top lieutenant. Like Reuss, Mary Barra had also started at GM as a college co-op student and also came from a GM family – though her father was a factory "shop rat." For his part, Reuss got a major consolation prize, heading global product development – a job that frequently leds him shed his suit and tie for a helmet and fireproof racing suit. Last June, he was also named head of Cadillac and has been heavily involved in the development of a stream of new vehicles expected to roll out of the luxury brand every six months through 2021. Too many hats Under his new assignment as president, Reuss will retain those roles, a decision that analyst Joe Phillippi, head of AutoTrends Consulting, questions. Though Reuss is "very talented," Phillippi said, "he had too many hats to start with. There should be someone running product development and that's all they do all day." Whether Reuss might eventually shed some of his duties remains to be seen, but observers say that GM's upper management ranks appear to be in a bit of a flux. If anything, the company had indicated it wasn't going to name a new president when Ammann moved over to Cruise Automation as CEO of the San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle development company last November. For those worried that Reuss may find his time spread thin, a GM spokesman told CNBC that the company's new president won't take over all of the duties that had been on Ammann's plate. Full speed When the former president was reassigned, CEO Barra took over responsibility for managing both the automaker's global regions, as well as its "captive" finance subsidiary, GM Financial. Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara, meanwhile, assumed control over GM's corporate development operations. Reuss will take on one new role, overseeing GM's quality control operations which, the automaker noted, dovetails well with his product development duties. Long faulted for reliability issues, GM has, in recent years, made rapid gains, particularly with its Buick and Chevrolet brands, according to studies by outside arbiters such as J.D. Power and Associates. "I am very proud to have spent my entire career at General Motors, and to now take on this new role is truly a great honor," Reuss said in a statement Thursday. "With our current lineup of outstanding cars, trucks and crossovers around the world, I'm looking forward to keeping our momentum going at full speed."
  2. Lady who helped Amos Yee get asylum in US now wants him deported from US He was recently deplatformed after he was banned on Facebook and Twitter, and had his Patreon page disabled. This was after content he was uploading was reported. These included videos and Facebook posts that served to legitimise and legalise paedophilia. One former Yee supporter, Melissa Chen, is the latest, and probably the most relevant advocate to speak out against Yee. Basically, she’s a human rights activist originally from Singapore, who played a huge part in securing Yee’s political asylum in America. Change in perspective But for a while now, she has been strongly against Yee’s choice of content and speech. In perhaps the strongest statement yet, Chen made a nearly 10-minute video discussing her thoughts on Yee.(video at URL) Key points If you don’t have 10 minutes to spare, here are some of the key points she made. She had handed Yee some documents that kickstarted the entire asylum process while he was still in jail in Singapore. Yee had cut all ties with her since February 2017. He had apparently done this as he felt she was being too authoritarian in her advice to him to ensure his success in gaining asylum in the US. She rarely even thought about what he was up to, or kept up to date with him. Now, she feels Yee has to be deported from America, because of his views on paedophilia. She also volunteered to escort him on his one-way ticket back.While a free-speech advocate, she insists there are some ideas that are unacceptable: She did acknowledge the irony of a free-speech warrior like her advocating for shutting down Yee’s avenues for his free speech.Chen explained how she feels responsible, due to her role in getting him asylum. She reiterated her call to get Yee out of America, stating “being in America is a privilege, not a right”. Hindsight Chen then gave a succinct summary of the entire Amos Yee fiasco in Singapore, as well as highlight some of the international media’s glowing praise of Yee. After summarising the timeline, Chen talked about the blindspots and biases some activists, including herself, might have suffered from: One of those biases being his much lauded intelligence. She further stated that Yee was a narcissist and had “zero redeeming qualities”.Chen did reiterate her opposition to the measures taken against Yee in Singapore. She also blamed those actions, and Singapore’s general culture, on not nourishing his “neurodivergent idiosyncrasies”. Despite that, Chen also acknowledged Yee was no longer a child and had to be held accountable for his actions as an adult. Chen said she was personally sorry for how this turned out, and how this might affect future activists in Singapore. She also had this to say about Yee.
  3. DACH

    Honda Passport, reborn

    The Honda Passport is a rugged, US-born SUVhttps://www.topgear.com/car-news/la-motor-show-2018/honda-passport-rugged-us-born-suv This is the Honda Passport. And if you’re sick of SUVs forgetting about the U (for utility), it could be the answer to your woes. Honda says it “can tackle the kind of tough terrain normally reserved for less refined body-on-frame or off-road focused SUVs”, and has thusly provided lots of pictures of it being flung through mud and towing heavy things. It sits above the CR-V in size, though carries just five people. And – betraying the fact it’s a US-only car – comes with a 276bhp 3.5-litre V6 engine as its only option. Fans of JDM cars or Gran Turismo will remember when that was the golden horsepower figure for an NSX, Nissan Skyline, Mitsubishi Evo and many other performance heroes… That engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox – no divisive CVT here – and a host of off-road systems including all-wheel drive, torque-vectoring and a traction system with Snow, Sand and Mud modes. You can have a front-drive version, but it really wouldn’t be in keeping with what the Passport’s about. Spec AWD and you also get the full 2.7-tonne towing capacity. Mind, there’s more than a nod to the S (for sport) of SUV, too, with 20in rims as standard, and inside you can have 4G-fed wifi and a banging stereo controlled via Apple CarPlay. A full Defender wannabe this ain’t. It’s been designed in the US, and will be built there, too. And not sold on European shores. Does that make you sad?
  4. SEC settles charges with Tesla's Elon Musk, will remain as CEO but relinquish chairman role and pay stiff finehttps://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/29/sec-settles-charges-with-teslas-elon-musk-will-remain-as-ceo.html The SEC settled charges with Tesla over Elon Musk's bid to take the company private on Saturday. As part of the settlement, Musk and Tesla will pay $20 million each, and the billionaire will step down as chairman of the board. The Securities and Exchange Commission settled charges withTesla CEO Elon Musk over his aborted bid to take the company private, with the billionaire remaining as the helm of the company but relinquishing his chairman title and getting slapped with a hefty fine. The SEC's enforcement action brings to a conclusion a saga which began in early August, when Musk announced via Twitter that he had secured enough funding for a massive private buyout of Tesla. The SEC complaint alleged that in doing so, Musk issued "false and misleading" statements, and failed to properly notify regulators of material company events. Under the deal's terms, Musk and Tesla neither admit or deny wrongdoing alleged by regulators. "This matter reaffirms an important principle embodied in our disclosure-based federal securities laws," SEC chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement. "Specifically, when companies and corporate insiders make statements, they must act responsibly, including endeavoring to ensure the statements are not false or misleading and do not omit information a reasonable investor would consider important in making an investment decision," Clayton added. As part of the settlement, which is still subject to court approval, Musk will also pay a civil penalty of $20 million and give up his role as chairman of the board for at least three years. Additionally, the SEC imposed a $20 million fine on Tesla itself, which will also be expected to appoint two new independent directors to the board, and institute sweeping governance changes. "Musk tweeted on August 7, 2018 that he could take Tesla private at $420 per share — a substantial premium to its trading price at the time — that funding for the transaction had been secured, and that the only remaining uncertainty was a shareholder vote," regulators said on Saturday. However, "in truth, Musk knew that the potential transaction was uncertain and subject to numerous contingencies. Musk had not discussed specific deal terms, including price, with any potential financing partners, and his statements about the possible transaction lacked an adequate basis in fact," they added. On the day Musk made the surprise announcement, Tesla's stock surged by over six percent — catching off guard the bearish class of investors with whom the billionaire has crossed swords in the past. 'The quickest settlement in history' The swiftness with which a deal was announced on Saturday was striking. A provisional settlement between the SEC and Tesla reportedly fell apart on Thursday, which led to regulators summarily filing suit. Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said it may very well be "the quickest SEC settlement in history," and one that allows both sides to claim a semblance of victory. According to Tobias, it appeard that "it was better for each to compromise and not drag out this dispute. All secured something they wanted and gave up something." With securities regulators frequently criticized for not imposing tighter regulation on companies, a Tesla settlement allows the SEC to look like "a strict enforcer that is protecting shareholders," Tobias said to CNBC in an email. "Musk/Tesla continue to operate a successful company and perhaps behave better in the future. All are spared litigation costs and the bad publicity that could flow from prolonged litigation." Indeed, in recent days, some investors — many of whom have been wiling to discount Musk's unconventional style in favor of his perceived vision — had begun to bail on the stock. Tesla's shares, traded on the Nasdaq, closed down around 14 percent on Friday at $264, as Wall Street begun to fret over the company's ability to raise needed capital. Meanwhile, the company bonds had been falling recently, with $1.3 billion in debt coming due by March 2019. A widely circulated New York Times interview last month, in which Musk detailed the "excruciating" personal toll of running the company, set off alarm bells and led to talk of Tesla's directors getting him a second-in-command. Meanwhile, a steady stream of staff and executive departures have added to the sense of internal turmoil. Musk's prolific use of Twitter has created several high-profile headaches for him personally, as well as the company he founded. In settling the charges, regulators faulted Tesla for not exerting more control over Musk's tweeting. "The SEC also today charged Tesla with failing to have required disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk's tweets, a charge that Tesla has agreed to settle," the agency said in a statement. "The settlements, which are subject to court approval, will result in comprehensive corporate governance and other reforms at Tesla — including Musk's removal as Chairman of the Tesla board—and the payment by Musk and Tesla of financial penalties," it added. Musk's fierce war of words against short-sellers, or investors betting on the company's stock to fall, was one of the reasons he cited when he first floated the idea of Tesla going dark. In settling with Musk, the SEC said Tesla's board would be expected to "oversee" its founder's communications with investors. "The resolution is intended to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla's shareholders," added Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, in a statement.
  5. FaezClutchless

    Worst car names

    [extract] A name is something that we use to distinguish or designate one item from another. For example, in the automotive world, an auto company will give different names for their models to distinguish one model from another. So that when we see a Camry, we know it
  6. The fifth-generation 2019 Toyota Avalon looks to deliver comfort, style and innovation http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/news/2019-toyota-avalon-preview-article-1.3758122 https://www.motor1.com/news/226265/2019-toyota-avalon-teaser/ There is nothing wrong with being solid and comfortable. Heck. Just think about it: a nice cardigan, a comfortable pair of slippers. A pair of sweatpants. Am I right? Comfortable is also the Toyota Avalon. Has been for four – now five – generations. With every passing model year, the Avalon chases a dream of being all things to its buyers: safe, quiet, roomy, an overall premium experience. With new technology and better mechanicals, the Avalon is gently updated every few years, adding more refinement with each reiteration. All of it without ostentatiousness. Avalon drivers don’t care if you think they’re special. They are special, and they know it. Same goes for the 2019 Avalon. It’s been thoroughly updated in the right places this time, (except for no Android Auto), made better through technology, and with an added investment in the finery of automotive interiors. It’s a worthy fifth interpretation of a car built to be comfortable and consistent. Innovative infotainment features, including Apple CarPlay and Entune 3.0 The last time I checked, Android owns 86.2 percent of the smartphone operating system market. And I’m betting that a fair slice of the full-size, near luxury sedan market is included in that percentage, which makes me wonder why Toyota would opt to offer only Apple CarPlay in the new 2019 Avalon. Hmm. According to Automotive News and a handful of mobile nerd sites, the reason is over legal wrangling about privacy, the control of data, and the simple fact that Toyota wants to own the experience. No matter. Toyota says the Avalon will work with Alexa connectivity, which handles Apple and Android, so there’s that. And the fact that it has Apple CarPlay available is a first and notable move toward making the use of technology easier and more convenient for drivers. That includes Toyota’s Entune 3.0, same system that currently sits in the Camry. For the Avalon, it offers a 9-inch touchscreen, app connections and a whole host of goodies, including standard wireless charging, connected services and an available Wi-Fi hot spot. Otherwise, what you get for the most part with the 2019 Avalon is some notable new technology throughout the vehicle, an updated design, more expansive dimensions, and similar mechanicals to the Camry. That’s no surprise, as the Avalon sits on the same TNGA platform (and others). So like the Camry, it’s safe to assume that the drivability and the power of the car will improve. New technology, new style and a more comfortable, quiet interior Safety-wise, Toyota has added an optional panoramic parking camera, and cross-traffic emergency braking system. Also new (on Touring and Limited) is adaptive LED cornering lights, and what Toyota calls dynamic auxiliary turn signals. The cornering lights enhance visibility when changing lanes or reversing, and the nifty turn signals provide added visibility by operating in a sequential fashion. The automaker also claims additional sound deadening materials (the Avalon was noisy?), as well as an engine sound enhancement feature. Looks and comfort-wise, the Avalon gets an impressive update. True, the grille area resembles a massive black hole to another vortex, but for the most part, the sedan is longer, lower, wider and more muscular in the way it presents itself. Historically, the Avalon has been known more for what’s on the inside than out. With this fifth generation, the styling matters – and passengers will appreciate it. Inside, the cabin is as you’d expect. It’s all luxury, with premium features and materials that would feel at home in a Lexus. There’s the available Yamaha-sourced wood-trim, and soft-touch materials throughout, with a gorgeous center console that seems to flow into the car, trimmed in piano black. Performance-wise, the Avalon will benefit in many of the same ways the Camry did. And that’s swell. For power, the Avalon gets the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the Camry, and is mated to Toyota’s 8-speed automatic transmission, will likely producing 301 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque. The hybrid variant gets the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, connected to a CVT, also the same powerplant found in the Camry hybrid. What’s also notable in terms of performance is the vehicle’s active variable suspension with adaptive damping. The outgoing rear suspension been replaced by a multilink setup, which provides for a wider track, lower center of gravity, and updated mechanicals. All trims get Eco, Normal, and Sport modes, while the Touring gets a Sport+ setting. The fun is in the plus! What you expect, generation after generation Truly, there’s nothing wrong with being solid and comfortable. In fact, for four generations, the Toyota Avalon has been a cushy ride, a predictable car, and a winner for owners. Regardless of the trend of the day, no matter how many crossovers are sold, there will always be a sizable market for a solid, comfortable and predictable sedan that gets the job done right. That’s the Avalon’s game. And frankly few, if any, can do it better. With this fifth and newest generation, Toyota continues to focus on those things that matter most: convenient technology, safety, comfort and a predicable ride that gets a splash of fun. When you have a busy life and you expect a consistent return with every commute and errand, there’s not much more you can ask for.
  7. We aim at constant expansion of range of services we render to our customers and at enhancement of our Customer Service quality. Guided by this principle, we provide visa issuance, Residence Permit, Driver License, id card, medical insurance services and documents to our customers. Applying for a visa may entangle complicated procedures, but our company staff will guarantee you all-round assistance in completing these procedures and documents. Visa support service includes completing 2-years multiple entry visa application which requires the customer to provide the minimal package of documents. In case of property purchase, we also assist our customers in applying for a Residence Permit. Another vital service we offer our clients is providing them with medical insurance required for visiting a particular country. Visa support service and registered documents along with other aspects of our business operations ensures highest quality and shortest time of service and guarantees best results. email: (weuniontrack at gmail dot com) or via telegram::....... registered12
  8. Now's your chance to win a pair of Marvel's Captain America Movie Ticket & Liqui Moly prizes - Simply join the discussion at 'Win Captain America Movie Tickets & Liqui Moly Products!!' Simply share your Liqui Moly experience in this format. For those who have yet to try any Liqui Moly products, head down to any of our authorized dealer to maintain & service your car with Liqui Moly! Example: I am using Liqui Moly Top Tech 4100 Engine Oil (The product that you have used) on 08' Suzuki Swift Sport (Year and Car make and model) The engine oil gives the car a better acceleration and this is a premium oil. I will definitely recommend my friends to try this oil! Prizes: 1st to 5th: A pair of Marvel's Captain America Movie Tickets & Liqui Moly CeraTec + Liqui Moly Octane Plus (Total worth $103 each) 6th to 15th: A pair of Marvel's Captain America Movie Tickets & Liqui Moly CeraTec (Total worth $78 each) Giveaway clsoed at 13 April 16 - 11.45 PM Yes, it's that easy - Share your Liqui Moly Experience below and stand a chance to win these fantastic prizes.
  9. Finally! But Garfield may not be playing Spiderman anymore. Who do you think is a suitable replacement? https://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/spidey-appear-captain-america-3-civil-war-054900946.html
  10. Porker

    The Petrostate of America

    “RISE early, work hard, strike oil.” The late oil baron J. Paul Getty’s formula for success is working rather well for America, which may already have surpassed Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas (see article). By 2020 it should have overtaken Saudi Arabia as the largest pumper of oil, the more valuable fuel. By then the “fracking” revolution—a clever way of extracting oil and gas from shale deposits—should have added 2-4% to American GDP and created twice as many jobs than carmaking provides today. All this is a credit to American ingenuity. Commodities have been a mixed blessing for other countries (see our leader on Argentina). But this oil boom is earned: it owes less to geological luck than enterprise, ready finance and dazzling technology. America’s energy firms have invested in new ways of pumping out hydrocarbons that everyone knew were there but could not extract economically. The new oilfields in Texas and North Dakota resemble high-tech factories. “Directional” drills guided by satellite technology bore miles down, turn, bore miles to the side and hit a target no bigger than a truck wheel. Thousands of gallons of water are then injected to open hairline cracks in the rock, and the oil and gas are sucked out. From the point of view of the rest of the world, the new American petrostate is useful. Fracking provides a source of energy that is not only new but also relatively clean, cheap and without political strings. It should reduce the dependence on dirty fuels, such as coal, and extortionate suppliers, such as Russia. Moreover, fracking is unusually flexible. Setting up an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico can take years. But America’s frackers can sink wells and start pumping within weeks. So if the oil price spikes, they drill more wells. If it falls, they let old ones run down. In theory, fracking should make future oil shocks less severe, because American producers can respond quickly. Fracking all over the world Some foreign-policy wonks argue that this dramatic change in America’s fortunes argues for a fundamental change in the country’s foreign policy. If America can produce its own oil, they argue, why waste so much blood and treasure policing the Middle East? Yet even if it were politically sensible for America to disengage from the world—which this newspaper does not believe it is—the economic logic is flawed. The price of oil depends on global supply and demand, so Middle Eastern producers will remain vital for the foreseeable future. It is in the superpower’s interest to keep Gulf sea lanes open (and not to invite China to do the job instead). Although America’s foreign policy should not change, its energy policy should. Its ban on the export of crude oil, for instance, dating from the 1970s, was intended to secure supplies for American consumers. But its main effect is to hand a windfall to refiners, who buy oil cheaply and sell petrol at the global price. Barack Obama should lift it so that newly fracked oil can be sold wherever it makes the most cash. And he should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to American refineries; an exhaustive official study has deemed the project environmentally sound. America does not ban the export of natural gas, but it makes getting permits insanely slow. Fracking has made gas extraordinarily cheap in America. In Asia it sells for more than triple the price; in Europe, double. Even allowing for the hefty cost of liquefying it and shipping it, there are huge profits to be made from this spread. The main beneficiaries of the complicated export-permit regime are American petrochemical firms, which love cheap gas and lobby for it. Mr Obama should ignore them. Gas exports could generate tankerloads of cash. To the extent that they displace coal, they would be good for the environment. And they could pay foreign-policy dividends, such as offering Europeans an alternative to Russian gas and so reducing Vladimir Putin’s power to bully his neighbours. Allowing exports might cause America’s domestic gas prices to rise a little, but it would also make American frackers pump more of it, cushioning the blow. A world in which the leading petrostate is a liberal democracy has much to recommend it. But perhaps the biggest potential benefit of America’s energy boom is its example. Shale oil and gas deposits are common in many countries. In some they may be inaccessible, either because of geology or because of environmental fears: but in most they go unexploited because governments have not followed America’s example in granting mineral rights to individual landowners, so that the communities most disrupted by fracking are also enriched by it. Become a champion of a global fracking revolution, Mr Obama, and the world could look on America very differently.
  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydtGew7bWuw Avid car collector and self-confessed automotive gear head, Jay Leno, recently had the opportunity to test drive a really unique and bespoke vehicle - which most could only dream of. Anyone who wasn't born a minute ago would be familiar with a vehicle that has made several appearances in various films - the Batmobile. The 'Keaton' Batmobile from the hit film, Batman and Batman Returns, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton was what got me into cars. To me it is still the most iconic vehicle of Hollywood, even ahead of the Austin Mini’s from The Italian Job, the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style endloader or the DeLorean from Back to The Future, among others. I was four and I still have a faint memory of watching it at the Capitol Theatre and till date, it is still my favourite. It was unlike anything I have seen before. It was futuristic, sleek and to be honest I find it sexier than Michelle Pfeiffer in latex. It barely had lights, had a fictional aircraft engine, an afterburner and that tail which pretty much look like angle wings but in a more gothic fashion a symbolism for silent guardian angel maybe? Thankfully I had an opportunity to see it in its entirety when I visited Warner Bros theme park in Brisbane. When Joel Schumacher took over, there were two different Batmobiles for Batman Returns and Batman & Robin. While the 'Kilmer' Batmobile was still bearable the fins looked ridiculous it had a stupid face and it had a skeleton like design. It looks like a piranha on wheels. The Batmobile from Batman & Robin's looks so bad, I don’t even want to talk about it. After an absence of eight years in the silver screen, Batman was rebooted in the hands of Christopher Nolan - and among things we got a new Batmobile, and even a backstory. I have to admit, my initial reaction to first teaser picture of The Tumbler was not very positive. It looked funny, had no front axle, didn't look as sleek as anything as the previous ones and wasn't really flashy or attractive. Then I thought why it would work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJB3hqUsHDE Batman is not about a fashion statement, he is a vigilante, a guy in an outfit fighting crime. He needs the muscle, firepower and speed to get things done quickly and it doesn't have to look pretty. And it does have to look a little provoking – to announce his arrival – and to pancake cop cars in the evening news. Function over fashion.
  12. Akram_saheed

    My take on the movie 'Rush'

    While cars and automobiles can be considered a hobby turned obsession, films have always been a more passion-driven interest for me. I wanted to become a cinematographer but decided against it due to personal reasons, and somehow ended up with a job within the automotive industry. I'm not complaining though. Occasionally a movie blends the best of both worlds - like Fast and the Furious or Death Race. And then there is the movie Rush, where it is a cocktail of three of my favourite interests cinema, cars and Formula One. Seldom have you walked out of a movie theatre where you get disturbed, enlightened or inspired. Rush added a high dose of high octane fuel to my already burning interest for cars and the sport and despite watching it three times, I'm still craving for more. The plot should be familiar by now. It tells the classic tale of rivalry between two men, two exceptional men in this case. Niki Lauda - a triple world champion, a perfectionist and a no nonsense guy vs James Hunt - a man with no fear, a playboy and a rockstar. While the main focus is on the 1976 Formula One Season, we do get a little back story for both characters portrayed by Daniel Bruhl, a Spanish born German actor and Chris 'Thor' Hemsworth. I have to applaud the production crew efforts for bringing 1976 back in 2013. The cars looked ancient, they sounded monstrous, and F1 looked so fragile. No high-tech machinery, radio or computer systems. No flamboyance, safety and the persistent threat of death loomed around the drivers. I'm not sure how true this is but Hunt apparently broke his gear shifter at the Japanese GP. The portrayal of Niki Lauda seemed near perfect while I couldn't really see Hemsworth as Hunt. I guess they just needed someone familiar to get the crowds coming in. There were some really good dialogues - especially between Lauda and Hunt. It was a love-hate relationship from the start - according to the movie at least. At times the movie felt like a free advertising campaign for Ferrari, with the score and camera angles seem to glorify an already holy team in the sport. But sadly the cars looked slower than they should be, even slower than the television telecast. Of course the highlight is the infamous crash at the Nurburgring, which personally seemed to be a spot on re-enactment of the actual event. The prosthetic burnt make-up makes you empathise with Lauda although he passes of as an arrogant, talented prick in the first half of the movie. The problem I had with the movie was it was struggling to tell a balanced story. I feel like I've learnt more about Hunt than I learnt about Lauda. But after watching it the third time, I can probably understand why. Lauda is a teetotaller in comparison to the wreck and damaged persona of Hunt but honestly who wants to watch a boring monotonous strict guy when we have Hunt who parties late into the night, has character issues and is a rebel in a car (and apparently a god in bed)? But as soon as the accident occurs, the movie is all about Lauda. It has to be, I mean that man got back to racing just 40 days after blowing half himself to hell. A classic tale of rivalry between two of the finest men, the world of Formula One has ever seen directed by a credible Ron Howard. Why should you miss it? If you like movies, you should watch it. If you like F1 cars and racing, you should watch it. And ladies, if you adore Chris Hemsworth, there is a particular scene early in the movie you might just appreciate. Rush is to F1 what Top Gun was for the Navy or Act of Valor, Special Forces, is to the Army. F1 is a dangerous sport and the movie addresses it but the rewards are endless. So long as you stay at the top, of course.
  13. With a long standing tradition of building compact, open top sports cars that started with the S600 and ending with the S2000, Honda seems intent to get back into the game. After seeing the success Toyota/Subaru has had with the 86/BRZ, Honda is primed to one-up its rivals. According to a source within Honda, a new affordable sports car is being seriously considered, but don't expect something as high-end as the S2000 - think small, quick and light. The car would be small, probably even smaller than the Mazda MX-5, and come equipped with either a 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre in-line four with i-VTEC. Keep your expectations low on its power output, but thanks to its light weight which is rumored to sit around 900kg, the car should have adequate acceleration along with good handling and an overall agile driving experience. There's even talk that the "S1500" may come with a mid-engine layout, in the style of the Honda Beat. As for the car's design direction, Honda would either use the Japan-only N-ONE or make it look more like the current Civic. We reckon the N-ONE's styling would do justice because it pays homage to the iconic S600. Rumours of a new Honda roadster have appeared and disappeared with tide-like regularity since the moment the S2000 died, and none of them have come to pass. The NSX revival was followed by nearly a decade of will-they, won't-they rumours and telephone-game whispers before Honda actually buckled down and built something. It seems like the same thing could be happening here. Either way, let's wait for Honda to come up with this answer to the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 in 2015 or 2016.
  14. ST_Opinion

    Driving towards a driverless commute

    It is the 15th of June 2030, and for Sam and Sue of Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is going to be a busy day. Their daughter Sophia has a 9:00am karate match. At noon, her older sister Sally's high school graduation will begin. And, by 3:00pm, the house must be ready for Sally's graduation party. At 8:40am, Sam uses a smartphone app to order a ride from Maghicle, Ann Arbor's mobility service, which uses self-driving robotic vehicles. Within minutes, Sam, Sue, and Sophia are headed for the karate club. En route, Sophia studies videos of her opponent's past matches, while Sue catches up on e-mail and Sam orders appetisers and flowers for the party. They arrive at the club on time, and the robot proceeds to pick up someone else nearby. Sally, who must arrive at school by 10:30am, has already ordered a Maghicle ride. When she boards at 10:15am, she receives a text message from her best friend Amanda, who wants to ride with her. Sally enters Amanda's address in the Maghicle app, and the robot chooses the best route. At 11:30am, as a victorious Sophia trades her karate uniform for something better suited for her sister's graduation, Sam receives a text message confirming that a small temperature-controlled pod has delivered the appetisers for Sally's party in the secure, refrigerated drop-box at the house. When Sophia is ready, the family orders another Maghicle ride, this time to Sally's school. They take their seats and, as Sam waves to Sally sitting with her classmates, he is struck by how quickly 17 years have passed. In 2013, Sam's day would have been far more difficult, stressful, and expensive. He would have wasted far too much time in his petrol guzzling Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), stuck in traffic jams or searching for parking. Now, because he does not need to own a car, he spends far less on transportation and has more time to do as he pleases. With services like Maghicle enabling people to get around safely, affordably, conveniently and sustainably, Sam does not have to worry about his family getting into car accidents, as his parents worried about him. By contrast, today's road transportation system is inconvenient, unsustainable and dangerous. Of the nearly one billion motor vehicles worldwide - enough to circle the planet 100 times if parked end to end - some 95 percent depend on oil for energy, making car travel subject to resource geopolitics and price volatility. Furthermore, combustion engines account for more than one-fifth of the world's carbon emissions, contributing significantly to climate change. And, with more than 1.2 million people dying on the road each year, car travel remains a proven killer. Sam's world of 2030 is not mere fantasy. But achieving it will require a thorough overhaul of the existing road transportation system - and that means overcoming the complex combination of public and private elements, vested interests, ingrained business models and massive inertia that has so far impeded its development. Indeed, with certain institutions and industries benefiting when all of the system's components - vehicles, roads, fuel stations, traffic laws, regulations, vehicle standards and licensed drivers - work together, no transformational development has occurred in road transportation since Karl Benz invented the car and Henry Ford popularised it. A narrow focus on, say, developing better batteries, improving fuel efficiency or making car production more sustainable is inadequate to catalyse the needed transformation. A genuinely transformational solution is needed - one that meets the needs of consumers, businesses, and governments. An integrated network of driverless, electric vehicles that are connected, coordinated and shared should form the core of that solution. Such vehicles would be programmed to avoid crashes, leading to fewer deaths and injuries and less property damage. In order to minimise the excessive resource consumption associated with driving, the vehicles would be tailored to trip characteristics, such as the number of passengers. For example, lightweight, two passenger vehicles can be up to 10 times more energy efficient than a typical car. In the United States, where 90 percent of cars carry one or two people, reliance on such vehicles would result in a dramatic decline in carbon emissions, which would fall even further as a result of less road congestion and smoother traffic flows. Moreover, the land and infrastructure needed for parking would be significantly reduced. Under such a system, personal mobility could cost up to 80 percent less than owning and operating a car, with time efficiencies augmenting those savings further. For Americans earning a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (S$9.25), time spent driving at a speed of 30 miles (48km) an hour costs $0.24 cents a mile (S$0.31 per 1.61km). At the U.S. median hourly wage of US$25 (S$31.89), each mile costs $0.83 (S$1.06). Given that Americans drive roughly three trillion miles annually, saving just one US cent a mile implies $30 billion (S$38 billion) in annual savings. The technology needed to advance such a scheme exists. The task now is to introduce prototype systems in representative communities, in order to prove what is possible, discover consumers' preferences, determine the most attractive business models and identify and avert unexpected consequences. Once the prototypes have proved effective and practical, they should scale quickly without public incentives. As with other innovations - such as mobile phones, e-books, digital photography and music, and flat-screen televisions - large-scale deployment will occur when the new technologies reach the market tipping point, when their value to consumers exceeds the costs to businesses of supplying them. Policy makers would be responsible only for guaranteeing the expanding system's safety. A cleaner, safer, more convenient road transportation system is possible - and closer to being realised than many believe. It needs only the chance to prove itself. Picture credit: Agence France-Presse
  15. Regan_ong

    Ram's 1500 Rumble Bee Concept

    Following a teaser released earlier, Ram has introduced the 1500 Rumble Bee Concept. The concept marks the 10th anniversary of the Rumble Bee, a popular model inspired by the Super Bee muscle car of the late 1960s. This muscle truck is based on a 2013 Ram 1500 Road/Track (R/T) and has a two-door, two-wheel drive setup with a matte 'Drone Yellow' paint. Both sides of the truck feature a new 'Speed Bee' design within a glossy black stripe which fades into the honeycomb. It sits on glossy 24-inch Vellano VRH alloys and has a two-inch lowered suspension courtesy of King Suspension. The dual-exhaust tailpipes, fuel door, badging, hood vents and front grille are in glossy black, adding on to the car's aggression. Traditional Rumble/Super Bee colours and graphics spread throughout the vehicle, including the Ram R/T-based interior that features black and 'Drone Yellow' leather sport mesh seats with two-tone yellow/light-grey stitching. 'Rumble Bee' lettering and Ram logos adorn chairs, floor mats and door bolsters. Now if you look closer - there is a real amber-encased bee mounted into the rotary gear knob, which will light up to expose a honeycomb pattern background. Is that weird or cool? There are also two buttons positioned below, which make the cat-back Mopar dual-exhaust system go from loud to louder. The unique honeycomb pattern is shared with the door trim and the dash, where a milled aluminum '10th Anniversary' commemorative badge serves as the truck's ID. Powering the 2013 Ram 1500 Rumble Bee Concept is a HEMI 5.7-litre engine mated to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission delivering 395bhp and a peak torque of 551Nm. Talk about a huge-ass rumbling bee ramming your way..
  16. Regan_ong

    What a good deal this Miata is, BUT..

    The Mazda MX-5 Miata was regarded as one of the best-driving, most influential sports cars of the past two decades. And believe it or not, one of these iconic sports cars from Mazda has been lying around in the garage, never driven for 23 years. Recently, on auction site eBay, an owner, from Kingman, Arizona, has listed his 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale. In the description, the seller said the car, which was never registered, didn't come with a set of keys, so he had to have a set made. Though the paint is clean and shiny, the Miata didn't escape minor cosmetic damage over the years, with scratches on the hood, the trunk and the factory hardtop that is included with the car. The front, right fender has a small dent as well. The seller also added that the car was stored in a building with windows, so the paint is faded in some places. It's antenna and battery is missing, and the only non-original parts on the car are the windshield wipers. The clear-title car comes with all paperwork, according to the seller, but, besides the owners' manual, he didn't specify what other documentation would be included. But more impressively, the car has only clocked 44km on its odometer! According to the seller, he bought the car with 32km on it, and explained that 11km were added when the car was towed home. Frankly speaking, it's getting hard to find ones that haven't been beaten to hell. If this is accurate, it is about the cleanest and nicest Miata we have ever seen, and it looks like it just came off the showroom floor more than 20 years ago. Though its story is a bit strange, this barn find appears to be in excellent shape and looks like a really good deal not to be missed. As of this writing, the auction has one day to go, and the current bid is just USD$10,500 (S$13,335). Unfortunately, it's a left-hand drive and if someone were to ship it over to Singapore, it would most probably lay around in the garage too, till its next owner ships it back overseas. Note: Photos shown are not of actual vehicle.
  17. Point a kid or teenager to the Chevrolet Camaro and they will probably just scream "Bumblebee!" Thanks to GM's association with the billion dollar Transformers trilogy (S$3.38 Billion in box office receipts to be exact), the retro Beetle was replaced with the fifth generation Camaro concept, and modified versions of it appeared in the sequels - much to the hatred of hardcore Transformers fans. But hey at least the sfx was awesome. The Camaro was envisioned as a competitor to the legendary Ford Mustang. But compared to the American stallion, the bowtie did not fare well in sales or recognition as a muscle car in its first year. Production commenced in September 1966, and the Camaro survived four generations until the model went out of production in 2002. After eight years of hibernation, the Camaro name was revived with the fifth generation (or post Transformers generation) armed with a new design and platform. I have to admit after years of viewing the mustangs, corvettes and challengers - it was refreshing to see the sharp and striking looking Camaro. Not to mention the larger than life heroic portrayal in the live-action Transformers trilogy aided the nameplate, especially with the younger audience. I am no expert in muscle cars, but if there is anyone out there who knows his muscle cars more than anyone else - it could be is none other than the self-confessed auto nut, Jay Leno. Frequent visitors of the blog might be familiar with his web series
  18. If you live in China (or plan to go there in the near future) and you have extra amount of money to spend, you may want to consider buying yourself a luxury coupe from German automaker BMW. Introduced for the first time back at this year's Detroit Motor Show, BMW is planning to start selling the M6 Gran Coupe in a wide range of countries, including China where the model has already made its debut. Let me remind you, to me, the BMW M6 Gran Coupe is nothing less than a very luxurious four-door coupe that will not hesitate to take you to the century sprint in only 4.2 seconds. Under its hood, the coupe packs a 4.4-litre twin-turbo engine which has the capability of delivering the power of no less than 560 horses in addition to 680Nm of torque in total. In order to sell the model in the origin country of pandas, the German automaker has teamed up with Brilliance, a local company, and they both have planned big things for the said coupe. Well, last but not least, as far as the price tag is concerned, BMW is demanding 2,390,000 yuan (around S$493,000) in exchange for a M6 Gran Coupe. Well, are you interested?
  19. It's only natural for today's children, even toddlers, to play with their parents' smartphones, at least so it seems. Even my 2-year old niece is used to playing her mother's iPad. Well, most of the time, nothing of a big deal would actually happen as she would only play games or watch some videos on the tablet. However, it seems that this toddler seen in the video is just one step ahead of other kids of her age in terms of being tech savvy. While playing with his Dad's smartphone, Sorella Stoute (a 13-month old toddler living in Portland, Oregon, America) happened to successfully place a bid - which she finally won - on eBay for a 1962 Austin Healey Sprite! When eBay sent the car to Paul Stoute, the toddler's father, he was all shocked as he had never even placed any bid on the '62 Austin. He also wrote to eBay mentioning that it was his daughter who accidentally placed that bid, which later caused the auction site to consider the previous highest bidder. However, when eBay mentioned that Paul's daughter had such an eye for a nice car, he changed his mind and borrowed some money from his family to pay for the car. Now, what Paul has in mind is to place the car as a gift for her daughter's 16th birthday. He has also set up a website from which people can donate some money to help him fix the car before her daughter finally reaches 16. One great thing about the car I'll have to say is that despite it being made back in 1962, it has almost no rust on it, at least that's what Paul noted on his website. For your information, though, the car would need its roof, brakes, transmission, and engine replaced if Paul really wants to give his daughter a working car on her 16th birthday. The car costs $225 in total and Stoute mentioned that it was lucky for him that his daughter didn't happen to buy the Porsche he was also looking at on the auction site before his daughter tampered with his smartphone. Had the 13-month old bought the Porsche instead, Stoute would have had to pay a total of $38,000! It seems that this is really going to be a good lesson to remind us never to leave our smartphones unattended. As for Stoute, he has now secured his smartphone with a new PIN and also a face recognition application. Seriously, how many toddlers can share their pride of having actually carried out online shopping successfully?! Photo credit: CBS News
  20. Nickelodeon and Toyota have collaborated together for the first SpongeBob SquarePants-inspired vehicle. The SpongeBob 2014 Toyota Highlander will feature a custom SpongeBob-themed exterior and an interior design that captures the character's high-octane energy and his eye-blinding yellow colour. While I used to be a fan of the show in my younger days, I would not go to the extent of wrapping my vehicle with his square jawed face. Especially the headrests. They look freaky and I have no idea what kind of a kid would enjoy a ride in a yellow car with a face on the headrest. The one-of-a-kind (thankfully) concept is based on the new highlander and was unveiled on July 13th, during Nickelodeon's SpongeBob Day at the Padres vs. Giants game in California. The car will embark on a tour for a "Happy Driving!" promotional tour throughout the U.S.A, bringing SpongeBob's special brand of fun to seven locations across the country. As part of the "Happy Driving!" campaign, the SpongeBob Toyota Highlander will visit seven locations, from July 19th to December 9th. These events will feature character meet-and-greets and photo opportunities and a prize wheel where kids and families can win exclusive prizes. Fans can go to the Nickelodeon, SpongeBob and Patrick Facebook pages to see photos of the SpongeBob Highlander's road trip and the intricate design details of the vehicle. The redesigned 2014 Highlander made its global debut on late March at the New York Auto Show this year. Toyota claims the 2014 Highlander has plenty of cargo room, enhanced safety features and a sophisticated interior
  21. RchLuvSlly

    Do you own a Toyota? Get ready for a recall

    It seems that neither is there a perfect automaker or a perfect car. As the saying goes, "Nobody is perfect". You see, even such a huge and highly reputable automaker as Toyota can sometime overlook things while manufacturing its cars. The Japanese automaker has made an announcement in which it states its plan to recall 185,000 cars in total globally. Yes, that means that some of the Toyota cars on our shores will be affected by the recall as well. The recall is said to involve the Toyota Yaris (also known as the Vitz in some regions) from the 2010 to 2012 model years. In addition to those, the Ractis and Verso-S from the 2010 to 2011 model years will also be recalled. It is said that this global recall is due to a power steering failure. Toyota mentions that in case water happens to reach the inside of the power steering module, a short circuit could take place and the power steering will fail, forcing the driver to give more efforts while trying to turn the steering wheel. The Japanese automaker also mentions that when the failure emerges, the cars in question will switch on the Electronic Power Steering warning indicator as well as give out a buzzing sound. The recall affects 130,000 Toyota cars in Japan itself, 22,450 cars in Europe, 74 cars in the U.S., and the remaining 32476 cars in other parts of the world. So, if you own a Toyota, prepare yourself for the recall as the Japanese automaker will mail you (besides other Toyota owners, of course) and your dealer will be more than happy (well, they should, anyway) to replace your power steering module. While most automakers will normally recall their cars due to some safety issues, it's nice to see that Toyota recalls its cars due to some issues that are more likely comfort-oriented, as a power steering system is not absolutely needed to drive a car. You see, in the old days, cars didn't have this particular feature at all. But of course, most of us will feel like something's missing if we drive a car without a power steering feature these days.
  22. It seems that ignorant - or, more appropriately, dumb - people are just everywhere in this world, even at the recent Pikes Peak motorsport event. Some people just figured that it was best for them to cross the road while racer Sebastien Loeb was approaching when they were actually supposed to be standing calmly on the sides of the road. Well, taking a look at the image, what comes to your mind? An image represents a thousand words, they say. However, to me, there's only one possible word to come to my mind, which is, dumb, and it echoes, like, a thousand times. You see, Loeb was cruising in a Peugeot bearing an engine with a total power output of 875bhp and the people in question just thought it was okay to cross the Pikes Peak International Highway when such a super powered car was coming. Moreover, they were crossing the road at a turn and Loeb couldn't have possibly seen them at such an angle. Oh geez, how dumber can they be? Nonetheless, I believe those people must have been blessed as they got away unharmed. Fortunately, Loeb was unharmed, too, as he didn't seem to have to avoid those people and he could continue with his quest for victory.
  23. SYF77

    All new Mazda3 officially unveiled

    After all the spy photos, the guessing game has come to an end as Mazda unveils the 2014 Mazda3. Sporting the brand's 'KODO' design language, the new "3" has a similar fascia as its bigger brother, the Mazda6. The bulging wheel arches, dual exhaust pipes and black insert at the rear bumper add an aggressive touch. The Mazda3 hatchback measures 4,465mm by 1,795mm by 1,450mm (L x W x H) with a wheelbase that spans 2,700mm. This makes the car longer than class rivals such as the Toyota Auris, Ford Focus and VW Golf. A sedan version would be launched at a later date. In the U.S., the new Mazda 3 is available with a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G that produces 155bhp and 203Nm of torque or a 2.5-litre SKYACTIV-G developing 184bhp and 250Nm of torque. Both models can be chosen with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. In other parts of the world, the new Mazda3 will be offered with an initial choice of three petrol engines and a diesel power plant. These include a 99bhp 1.5-litres petrol, two 2.0-litre petrol with 118bhp or 163bhp and the 148bhp 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D. The 1.5-litre and higher-powered 2.0-litre units are only available with a six-speed manual transmission. The Mazda3 has an array of safety systems which include High Beam Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Obstruction Warning, Smart City Brake Support and Radar Cruise Control. Stopping power is provided by ventilated front and solid rear discs. The new model is supported by a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear setup.
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