Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
These shots are fresh from someone inside Mercedes. They were able to snap these two pictures of the upcoming facelift for the ultra sexy Mercedes Benz CLS 4 door coupe. And to make this eye candy even better. The pictures are of the top of the line CLS 63 AMG.
At the 2008 auction in a few weeks. We will see not one, but three first production future classics be made available. Shelby will of course off the first 2008 GT 500KR(King of the Road). But new comers Chevrolet and Dodge will auction the first production Corvette ZR1 and Challenger SRT-8s to roll off the assembly lines. Both the Vette and the Challenger will/should be fresh off their introductions at Detroit. Just before the auction begins.
Friday, December 28, 2007
"The Department of Homeland Security is in favor of the program, promoting it under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Said a DHS fact sheet, "Multiple cards can be read at a distance and simultaneously with vicinity RFID technology, allowing an entire car full of people to be processed at once." Motorists won't be compelled to use an enhanced ID, however -- in the beginning, it will be by voluntary issue only."
On a plus side, it will eliminate the need to have a passport to cross the border starting January 2009. Now as to which border, we don't know. More than likely it would be for Canada and Mexico.
Remember, Big Brother is watching......
Source: The Newspaper via Autoblog.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Shanghai – General Motors became the first global automaker to sell 1 million vehicles in China in a single year today when GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale handed the keys to a Buick Park Avenue to Mr. Zhang Jianping at Shanghai GM's corporate showroom in Shanghai.
"Becoming the first global manufacturer to sell 1 million vehicles in China is a demonstration of the strength of our product, our people and our partnerships," said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. "China is a very important market, and we're extremely proud of the contribution we have been able to make to the growth and development of its automotive industry. It's been an extremely beneficial relationship for both sides."
GM sales in China first surpassed 100,000 units annually back in 2002. Since then, GM sales have enjoyed steady growth, topping 500,000 annual sales in 2005, thanks to its growing lineup of brands and vehicles. The milestone million mark featured GM's best-known and strongest brand in China, Buick.
"I'm extremely honored to be the one millionth customer in 2007 for General Motors," Mr. Zhang said. "This is my second Buick and I appreciate the performance, safety and durability of Buick. In addition, I was very satisfied with the fuel economy of my first car. After comparing other products in the premium segment for my next car, it made perfect sense to choose the Park Avenue."
"From day one, GM and our partners have been committed to continually rolling out new and upgraded models, with specific engineering done in China for China to satisfy the needs of Chinese vehicle buyers across the country," Wagoner added.
This year, GM and its joint venture partners have begun offering several new products, including the Cadillac SLS luxury business sedan, Buick Park Avenue premium sedan, Chevrolet Captiva SUV, all-new Chevrolet Epica intermediate sedan and Wuling Hong Tu minivan.
According to Wagoner, reaching the new sales mark in 2007 is especially significant as it is taking place in a year in which GM has celebrated several milestones in China. Both Shanghai GM, the automaker's flagship manufacturing joint venture, and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), GM's engineering and design joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), marked their 10th anniversaries earlier this year. SAIC-GM-Wuling, GM's mini-vehicle joint venture, also celebrated its fifth anniversary.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and U.S. private equity firm One Equity Partners are all bidders, but as reported, Tata, looks to be the most likely candidate to take home Jaguar and Land Rover. All for a cool $2 Billion.
Stay tuned for more news as this develops.
Source: Automotive News
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted minor collision tests on 6 2008 minivans. The test is designed to simulate a minor collision at 3-6mph. The same as a typical setting in traffic or a parking lot. In each instance each van sustained an average of $5,000 damage. "In the Institute's bumper tests, each vehicle is run into a barrier designed to mimic the design of a car bumper. The steel barrier's plastic absorber and flexible cover simulate cars' energy absorbers and plastic bumper covers. The series of 4 tests includes front and rear full-width impacts at 6 mph and front and rear corner impacts at 3 mph. The bottom of the barrier is 18 inches off the ground in the full-width tests and 16 inches from the ground in the corner impacts. These heights are designed to drive bumper improvements and lead to better protection from damage in a range of real-world crashes."
The worst of the bunch, the redesigned Nissan Quest. Had more than $8,000 damage!
The press release is lengthy, but a worthwhile read. Makes you want to avoid the soccer moms in their minivans in the mall parking lot even more.
For a full gallery of all cars tested, visit this link at Autoblog.com http://www.autoblog.com/photos/iihs-bumper-crashes/
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Minivan bumper test results: Nissan Quest is by far the worst performer
ARLINGTON, VA - None of 6 minivans, all 2008 models, is designed to resist vehicle damage in many low-speed collisions. The front and rear bumper systems on these minivans allowed $5,000 or more damage in a series of 4 crash tests conducted at 3 and 6 mph. The Nissan Quest was the worst, sustaining damage that cost more than $8,000 to repair. These are the results of recent crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to assess and compare how well vehicle bumper systems resist damage in the kinds of low-speed collisions that frequently occur in commuter traffic and parking lots.
"These minivans don't have the worst bumpers we've tested, but they still allow way too much damage in minor impacts. It's damage that consumers shouldn't have to pay for or put up with the aggravation of having to get their vehicles repaired," says Institute senior vice president Joe Nolan.
In the Institute's bumper tests, each vehicle is run into a barrier designed to mimic the design of a car bumper. The steel barrier's plastic absorber and flexible cover simulate cars' energy absorbers and plastic bumper covers. The series of 4 tests includes front and rear full-width impacts at 6 mph and front and rear corner impacts at 3 mph. The bottom of the barrier is 18 inches off the ground in the full-width tests and 16 inches from the ground in the corner impacts. These heights are designed to drive bumper improvements and lead to better protection from damage in a range of real-world crashes.
Minivan designs help in bumper tests: The minivans performed somewhat better in the 4 bumper tests than the midsize cars the Institute tested earlier this year. This is in part because the minivans' front bumpers are an inch or so higher off the ground, compared with car bumpers (about 17 inches versus 16). The extra height means the minivans' front bumpers usually didn't underride the test barrier, which exacerbates the damage.
Another important design aspect is that most of the minivans the Institute tested have third-row seats that fold into the floor, which requires pushing the vehicles' frame rails out wider. Because the bumper systems attach to the ends of the rails, the rear bumpers (but not the front ones) also are wider. This means they do a better job of protecting the rear corners of the minivans from damage in low-speed collisions. For example, the taillights on the minivans weren't damaged in any of the rear corner tests while the headlights were damaged in 4 of the 6 corresponding front corner tests.
Nissan Quest failed 'miserably:' The worst performer overall, the Nissan Quest, "miserably failed the rear full-width test, sustaining more than twice as much damage as the best performer, the Honda Odyssey," Nolan points out. "This is disappointing because full-width tests are the easiest ones. They spread the energy of an impact across a vehicle's whole back or front. But the Quest's rear bumper system failed when its reinforcement bar cracked and was driven into the rear body of the vehicle, resulting in expensive repairs. The tailgate was so badly damaged that it had to be replaced."
The tailgates on 5 of the 6 minivans the Institute tested - all but the Chevrolet Uplander - sustained damage in the rear full-width test. Only the Quest and Toyota Sienna required tailgate replacement. Those on the other minivans could be repaired at less cost.
The Quest's performance wasn't much better in the two frontal tests. It was the worst performer in the corner test and second to worst in the front full-width test, during which it slid under the bumper barrier and sustained damage to the hood and grille. This was the only minivan with hood damage in the front full-width test.
"Quest owners can expect huge damage repair bills after all kinds of low-speed collisions. This isn't a good vehicle choice for consumers looking for a minivan with reasonable repair costs," Nolan says. Nor are a couple of other Nissans. The Maxima racked up more damage in an earlier series of the same bumper tests than 16 other moderately priced midsize cars, and the Infiniti G35 was worst among 11 luxury midsize cars.
Honda Odyssey performs best overall: Damage to the Odyssey in the two frontal tests, full-width and corner, was in line with damage to the other minivans, but this vehicle performed better in the rear tests. It was the best performer in the rear full-width configuration, sustaining damage costing half as much to repair as the damage to the Quest. In the rear corner test, the Odyssey was the second best performer. Damage was largely confined to the bumper system - the plastic cover, reinforcement bar, and the energy-absorbing foam. The Dodge Grand Caravan was the best performer in this test, sustaining the least amount of damage ($483) in any of the 24 individual tests in this round of bumper evaluations. Damage to the Grand Caravan, as well as the Odyssey and Sienna, was limited to the bumpers.
The Toyota Sienna sustained the least amount of damage in the front corner test. But if the crash configuration had differed slightly, the outcome could have been very different because there's little underneath the Sienna's bumper cover to absorb crash energy. The Sienna and Chevrolet Uplander were the only minivans to withstand the front corner test without headlight damage."There are good examples in these results," Nolan says. "Although neither the Odyssey nor the Grand Caravan performed particularly well in the frontal tests and the Sienna didn't do particularly well in the rear tests, all three of these vehicles did turn in good performances in one or two tests apiece. What we want is for all passenger vehicles to perform as well or better than the best minivan examples in each test."
All parts don't cost the same: Besides the amount of damage sustained in a low-speed impact, repair costs are influenced by both the price of replacement parts and the complexity of the necessary repairs. For example, the one-piece plastic radiator supports on both the Quest and the Grand Caravan had to be replaced after the front corner impact. Although the repairs were essentially the same, the price of the jobs differed a lot - $347 for the Grand Caravan compared with almost twice as much ($674) for the Quest.
"Because minivans and other passenger vehicles allow so much damage in low-speed collisions, we have to pay attention to comparative repair and replacement costs," Nolan concludes. "The best way to avoid these costs is for automakers to equip their vehicles with bumper systems that resist damage in the first place. Until manufacturers do this, consumers will have to study our crash test results and shop accordingly."
RENNtech will be organizing several on-track events (to be announced) throughout the US, beginning in 2008.
Feyhl explained that the concept is to deliver to SLR McLaren customers a true and authentic motorsports experience in a competitive and reasonably safe environment.
If it is RENNtech and Mercedes' goal to deliver "an authentic experience", the SLR McLaren 722 GT is a great place to start - compared to the road-going SLR, the 722 GT gets the full FIA GT treatment from RML: more than 400 redesigned components, FIA spec.
Safety equipment, fully adjustable suspension, full-on competition brake hardware, a no-nonsense interior, and a track-only exhaust system that bumps the 722 GT's output to well over 670 hp. The real game-changers, however, are the 722 GT's towering rear wing and drastically reduced weight. At 1390 kg, the 722 GT weighs some six- hundred pounds less (!) than the stock 722, and the rear wing (in conjunction with the car's front splitter) provide more than enough aerodynamic downforce to tackle the fastest turns with confidence.The 722 GT also benefits from years of wind-tunnel and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) experience at RML and McLaren, making the wings and body mods much more than an aesthetic package. Everything on the car, every vent and louvre, is fully functional - a terrific enhancement to on-track performance.
During its five year lifespan, the American coupe/roadster built in Germany sold 80,000 units. 2006 US sales accounted for only 8,216. Down over 50% from 14,665 units in 2005. The Crossfire was offspring of the now ended partnership between Chrysler and Mercedes, and shared its platform with the original Mercedes Benz SLK roadster.
The Crossfire is the first of four models that Chrysler is giving the axe under its new ownership, and since production of the car and many of its components are so closely tied to Mercedes, it's only natural that it's the first to go. Next to be cut are the Dodge Magnum, Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible.
Source: Motor Authority.
Source: Automotive News.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
As many of you already know. The main importance of this bill was the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to rise to 35 mpg by the year 2020. Below we have attached official response from both Ford and Chrysler.
Source: Associated Press.
FORD COMMENT ON CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF NEW CAFE STANDARDS AND THE ENERGY BILL
The following is a statement from Ford Motor Company on the final passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by Congress:
WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2007 -- "Ford has worked with lawmakers to enact nationwide requirements that provide a significant increase in fuel economy while protecting consumers' choices of cars, SUVs and light trucks. We are working to do our part to help reduce greenhouse gases and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
This legislation will provide one clear requirement for increasing fuel economy and provide greater certainty for our product planning. Ford is committed to providing safer, more fuel efficient, quality products – in high volume – that customers want and value."
Statement from Robert Nardelli, Chairman and CEO, Chrysler LLC, Regarding New, Nationwide U.S. Fuel Economy Standards:
"We commend the Congress for passing an energy bill today and we fully support it being signed into law. Chrysler is committed to meeting the fuel economy standards of the bill and doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our country's reliance on foreign oil. We continue to devote significant resources to develop quality, fuel efficient products that our customers expect. This year alone, we offer six vehicles that get 28 miles per gallon or better, and more are on the way."
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix was started in 1983 and has grown from being a weekend race to being a 2 week long festival of cars. Starting with a kick off rally leading a mystery course around Pittsburgh, to the historic races at BeaveRun raceway the first week to invitational car shows, black tie events, charity concerts, Downtown Pittsburgh car show displays and car cruises. All leading up to the vintage weekend in Schenley Park. Since 1983, the PVGP has given all of the proceeds to charity. Yes ALL proceeds, all money from the car shows, vendors, racing fees, memorabilia sales, and donations are given to benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School. So not only is the event an absolute blast for the car enthusiast, but it all goes to a worthy cause. For 2007, the PVGP raised $170,000 for charity. Since 1983 the PVGP has raised $2.25 Million dollars. Proceeds from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix provide residential care, treatment and support for developmentally disabled individuals at the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.
For more information on the Marque program or these events, please email our new Marque of the Year Chairperson Bernie Martin.
The Marque of the Year Car Show at Schenley Park on July 19/20 is open to any Italian car owner, all clubs welcome, any year car is eligible. Join us for one of the best Italian parties of the year.
$125 per car entitles you to:
- A parking spot on the fairway alongside the Marque of the Year Tent
- Italian style lunch for two on both Saturday and Sunday
- Complimentary dash plaque and race program
- Parade lap of the racetrack in our Marque of the Year Parade on Sunday at 10:30 AM
- Optional dinner on Saturday night at Start/Finish with drivers & volunteers - $25 per person
- Optional reception with the vintage drivers and their crews at Carnegie Museum on Friday, July 18.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
When she took the car in for servicing was when she was notified of the damage to the front end of the car. The car was blatantly damaged and repaired. The owner of Thorson Pontiac GMC is of course stating that he knows nothing about this. Of course being the good dealer that he is, is trying to cover his rear. There's a good chance that he didn't in fact know anything about the car being damaged. Though the odds are also highly favorable that he did know. And used selling the car to CBS as a way to make the "problem" go away. We may never though. But this is certainly an interesting article.
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES -- The price was right but the car was wrong, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court. In June 2004, a contestant on "The Price is Right" guessed that a sports car was worth $33,495 and left the stage thinking she had just won a new 2004 Pontiac GTO Coupe.
Donna Tillman on Thursday filed suit against the game show, CBS Broadcasting, the auto dealership that provided the vehicle and the transportation company that delivered it. Tillman alleges the GTO Coupe she received was not new, as she had been promised, and had been in an accident.
Tillman competed on the popular game show on June 28, 2004. Thorson GMC Pontiac and Precise Auto Transport delivered the car to her home in Washington state on September 13, 2004, according to the lawsuit.
When Tillman took the car in for service the next year, she was told that it had suffered structural damage to the frame and front end, "but the repair work was such that an obvious effort had been made to conceal or hide the damage," the suit alleges.
Tillman is suing for breach of contract and negligence, and is seeking damages of more than $25,000, plus attorneys fees.
Tom George, the owner of Thorson GMC Pontiac in Pasadena, Calif., said that according to his dealership's records, the car was not in any accident and was sent to Tillman brand new.
"I don't know what this lady is talking about," George said Friday. "I certainly wouldn't sell a car with prior damage."
A spokeswoman for CBS declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Friday, December 14, 2007
* Eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (replaces six-way adjustability)
The car has not been officialy unveiled yet, though is expected to bow at the Geneva auto show this year. The CC is rumored to have up to 5 different engine choices, including a diesel option. Initial specs list the wheelbase at 106 inches and the overall length at 190 inches.
The Passat CC is going right for the jugular of the Mercedes CLS 4 door coupe. And was originally planed as a replacement for the Phaeton after it's dismal at best try at the U.S. Market. Though it should still play a part as an upscale jump for VW.
This spy phot was taken in Finland doing some winter testing. Complete with a CLS in tow. So we can definately understand the market VW is after. The Passat CC in the is sans any kind of camoflage, though it is disguised to looke like a Lexus. Note the dummy lights in the grille and the imitation badge.
The bill is now back on to the House to be voted on again since it had been changed. Though this should not prove to be be a problem. The White House has also agreed to sign this bill in to law once the House has approved it.
The core part of the bill is to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy(CAFE) to 35 mpg by 2020, and this remains. This means that we will start to see the first changes to CAFE standards since the mid-'80s.
There are already a number of automakers on board that can and will meet these new laws. GM, Chrysler, and VW are three of the largest. And are already developing new vehicles to meet these standards, along with exciting new Hybrids.
DETROIT – Corvette Racing, the most successful team in the history of the American Le Mans Series, will compete in the GT1 class in all 12 events on the ALMS schedule in 2008. Chevrolet's two-car factory road racing team will also return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in pursuit of a sixth GT1 title in the world's most famous sports car race.
Corvette Racing has won seven consecutive GT1 manufacturers and team championships and six straight drivers championships in ALMS competition. The team holds the series' records for class victories (57) and 1-2 finishes (40).
Corvette Racing will test two new Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars in February in preparation for the season-opening round of the ALMS series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 15, 2008.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Executives feel that this name better suits the fact that there are five automotive brands under the umbrella of Volkswagen in the United States.
Seems to be more fitting. It's just going to take some time to get used to VGoA from now on. And historically speaking, VWoA will continue to exist.
AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (Dec. 12, 2007) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it has changed its name to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. The change will be fully effective January 1.
The new name better reflects the fact that the Volkswagen Group of America includes five distinct brands: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen, as well as the related financial services functions of Audi Financial Services, Bentley Financial Services and Volkswagen Credit.
“Our company, like the entire Volkswagen Group, has grown dramatically since our formation in the United States in 1955. Our new corporate name allows our individual brands to flourish, while recognizing that we have a common support structure that gives us great strength as we face our competitors,” said Stefan Jacoby, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new name Volkswagen Group of America reflects the much wider array of goods and services we now offer, and prepares us for even more activities in the future.”
Operating under the umbrella of Volkswagen Group of America, the Volkswagen and Audi brands will continue to provide sales and service under their names, Volkswagen of America and Audi of America.
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. remains a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, which together with its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide is now the fourth largest automobile company in the world.
"We will" cooperate rather than fight the anticipated increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard," Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli told TheCarConnection.com Wednesday. "We'll have to obviously accelerate significantly our investment in technology to get there," said Nardelli.
Some of the technology being used is a new two mode hybrid system that was jointly developed and engineered by BMW, General Motors, and Daimler. Chrysler's former German parent company.
Chrysler is looking to recent help from the United Auto Workers(UAW) and their agreement to take over Chryslers heft healthcare costs. This helped to free up a large amount of cash. This will allow for Chrysler to invest $500 million dollars in product development.
Source. The Car Connection.
The Warren plant that assembles the Dodge Ram and Dakota pickup trucks will be closed the longest, from December 21 to February 4. Jefferson North, home of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs, will close for three weeks starting January 4, 2008. That plant will also lose 911 workers, and will lose its second shift as of February 4. The Windsor plant, in Ontario, Canada, which builds the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, will close January 14 for two weeks.
Source: Automotive News.
The major revision is the removal of $21.8 billion dollars in new taxes. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has confirmed that House would pass a new version of the bill sans the tax hike. The Detroit News reports that the revised bill will not include $1 billion in consumer tax credits for buying plug-in hybrids, and will cut a 20% tax credit for people who convert their vehicles into plug-in hybrids(we want more info on this). What will remain is the core piece of legislation that will raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards(CAFE) to 35 mpg by 2020. The White House has repeatedly stated, however, that it plans to veto the bill if it passes both houses of Congress.
Source: The Detroit News.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Since 2004 the 4.6 liter V8 has accounted for 52% of the sales mix. In the past it has usually been right around a 70% V6 to 30% V8 mix. 2005 saw a greater demand and Ford responded with increased output.
For 2008 Ford has announced that they will be cutting back production on the 2008 V8 powered Mustang. Ford cites higher fuel costs, and the fact that the performance oriented buyers have already purchased their Mustangs.
This brings us to another interesting article out of Automotive News. Since 2005 Ford has steadily produced a number of low volume, hopped up Mustangs to eager buyers. And according to Ford, has not has as many special edition stangs in the stable as they do now. Despite this, Mustang enthusiasts are still nagging for more cars. Mustang Chief Designer Doug Gaffka says "They want Mach1, they want Boss,".
For promises not to disappoint. So we may see even more special Mustangs being produced in the next few years.
The current stable is made up of:
- Shelby GT500 (coupe & convertible)
- Shelby GT500 KR (coupe only)
- Shelby GT (coupe & convertible)
- Bullitt(coupe only, 2008 production)
- GT California Special (coupe & convertible)
- Warriors in Pink (coupe & convertible. Portion of sales go to fund breast cancer research).
And this doesn't even include the special Mustangs produced by Saleen, Roush, Steeda and others.It would be nice to see another Mach1 Mustang. Especially if equipped with a true shaker hood scoop though.
Source: Automotive News
Sales of both models have continued to fall this year. F150 sales are 12.4% below 2006 figures. The Explorer is at 23.5% vs. 2006. The closings give ford a combine 10,450 units per week lost for the F150 and Explorer.
Ford exec Mark Fields said in a related article in the Detroit News that the Ford Motor Company is expecting a rough 2008 as car sales in the U.S. continue to decline. Fields asked and answered his own question, saying, "Do I think it's going to be Armageddon? No." He continued by saying that Ford will take the coming year on a month-to-month basis in order to "manage the business appropriately."
Source: Automotive News, Detroit News.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Source: Shelby American.
Carroll Shelby, CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing Inc., (CSL) has issued a statement in response to allegations made by the owners of the organization formerly known as the Shelby American Automobile Club.
"I wanted to explain my concerns to the members of the Shelby American Automobile Club directly, but couldn't because SAAC has refused to give me a list of its members, even though the licensee agreement with SAAC requires them to allow me access to their books and records. So I am being forced to share the facts through a news release.
Rick Kopec and Ken Eber, two of the individuals who run the for-profit business called SAAC, have said that they don't know why we didn't renew their annual license. That's not true. We've sent e-mails, made phone calls and mailed letters explaining our concerns for quite some time. Except for the message noted at http://www.shelbylicensing.com/press.htm , they went unanswered. For the past several years, I've repeatedly told them that I was unhappy with their disregard of the reporting requirements of their license agreement and the way they managed the club. And, for the past eight years, their business hasn't kept the terms of its extremely favorable agreement with my licensing company, Carroll Shelby Licensing.
Here are the primary reasons that we did not renew the license for this business:
Kopec and Eber say SAAC has 5,000 members who pay almost a quarter-million dollars in dues each year. Then there are advertising revenues, sponsorships and money made at the SAAC national convention. In return, from what I can tell, members receive just one mediocre publication and a couple of classified advertising newsletters.
And where is the Registry that has been promised year after year? The last one was published 10 years ago. I have received many calls from people who have paid hundreds of dollars for a Registry; they have threatened lawsuits against me and my companies because they have not received their book. The basic information in the Registry about colors, how many cars were built, etc., should be regularly updated and available online for instant access by members.
Kopec and Eber recently offered sponsorship of the club to a kit car maker. I have no issue with the individuals who buy kit cars and love the Shelby brand. But, would GM let Chrysler sponsor the Corvette Club? Would Harley Davidson ignore an attempt by Kawasaki to sponsor the Harley Owners Group?
I tried for years to address changes that should be made, but my requests fell on deaf ears. Some of the correspondence concerning this matter can be found at http://www.shelbylicensing.com/ . So my licensing company and I asked Eber and Kopec to return the 1960s records and items they originally promised to give back to me, as well as those they have collected over the years using my name under license. And I told them that they can't use my name or the name of my company anymore, and to dispose of their inventory as required by the license agreement.
Now they want club members to give them hard-earned money to defend their business interests. Eber and Kopec are asking people to help sue me when they won't even tell anyone, much less my licensing company, how much money the club has made over the years collecting member dues and selling 'Shelby' memorabilia and merchandise for a royalty fee of only $1.00. Are they fighting me because they're really afraid for the Registry or do they fear giving us financials, which they've been required to do, but refused?
Shelby enthusiasts, as well as SAAC club members and registrars deserve better. They should have a club that provides good value and benefits everyone who is involved. They deserve a club that leverages technology to share information and runs events that encourage people to enjoy their cars. They deserve to be treated with class and respect. To say that Team Shelby will negatively impact the value of Shelby cars is ridiculous.
I've received probably 250 telephone calls from people asking me to check on whether a particular Cobra or Mustang they wanted to buy is authentic. The next thing I hear from them is that Ken Eber has bought it. Where I come from, when there's that much smoke there's usually some sort of fire!
Also, I've been told many times by members that Ken Eber has said that he doesn't need Carroll Shelby. Well, now he won't have to bother with me and I won't have to bother with him. And, it seems to me that they make enough money that they don't need to go around poor-mouthing to the Club members to finance their legal defense fund against me. Shame on both of them! And, as far as Ken and Rick's associate, Mr. Pardee, the Club members should ask him how much of my personal memorabilia is being stored in his garage that, by all rights, should come back to me. Even though the three of them have slandered me by making public statements that I am 'evil,' I'm still entitled to get my personal belongings back. Who can disagree with that?
The bottom line is my legacy should be left in the hands of my family and real enthusiasts. I want to extend an offer to the local clubs to contact my office and arrange for a license to use the Shelby and Cobra name at the same base cost that we offered SAAC of $1. This will allow them to continue their great work.
It's my right to stop letting someone use my name and the name of my legacy company, Shelby American, when they won't listen to me or keep the terms of the licensing agreement they signed many years ago. Team Shelby won't be run that way. You have my word on it."
GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz vowed at the Los Angeles Auto Show that the Volt project is working at full steam ahead. This is all in order to have the Volt in production by the end of the decade. He also announced that we will start seeing driveable prototypes on the road as early as spring of 08.
I like what I'm seeing from this teaser shot. The styling follows along the lines of Chevrolet's current line up. The grille work reminds me of the new Malibu. You can also make out the low sleek roofline carried over from the concept Volt.
More info as it becomes available.
Should be interesting to see the finished project next month.
While sketching and sculpting together in the HUMMER studio, these recent graduates drew upon the creative energy of each other, further improving their individual designs, as well as that of the final concept.