Nissan Juke Ad: Crossovering to Cross-dressers?

I've watched this bizarre Nissan Juke ad about four times (that I'll admit to), and I still can't for the life of me get the point. For all intents and purposes, it's about dreaming, energy, and possibly angled at people who are emo/hip or worse; all this while the Juke is on your mind. Then your hair gets frizzy and washing machines blow their loads.

As some of you may remember, way back when I first started here my little bio picture appeared to be a gay pirate. That being said, one would think I was far enough outside the box - at least back then - to get this artsy ad, but...nope. I even tried to put myself in the mindset, but still nothing.

There's a nice, calming soundtrack by someone that sounds like Regina Spektor and a few different cross-dressers by my count, but what's the point? Is it just being weird to be weird?

Hand to God, I will deposit $5 US into the PayPal account of the first person to explain this ad in the comments to the point where it makes sense. Otherwise, I'll die thinking that the Juke is a crossover for cross-dressers or something back-alley poetic like that.

By Phil Alex

Via: Thetruthaboutcars

China Hopes to Bully Foreign Companies, Trade Market Access for Electric Vehicle Technology

The chips are finally hitting the fan. China has put the word out there that it may play a big power card in the near future: give us all the secrets to your tech, or we won't let you build and sell in our ever-growing Chinese market.

According to the Wall Street Journal, executives have been given a proposal that would provide China with a majority share in any joint venture involving foreign companies introducing "key new-energy components...such as advanced lithium-ion batteries and high-power electric motors". This would allow China to gain control of the technology that minority shareholders (i.e. anyone else) bring to the table.

In response to this, one anonymous executive said, "[This is] tantamount to China strong-arming foreign auto makers to give up battery, electric-motor, and control technology in exchange for market access. We don't like it." Another executive has claimed this sort of scheme simply "raises the hurdle" in building electric cars in China.

This technology-for-market access trade, in turn, would push China one step further toward its goal of being a world leader in electric vehicles; looks like they'll pass on improving their current vehicles and move straight onto electrics (because by now the Chinese have realized that their own cars are WAY off the mark). Another step in attaining its goal is to consolidate and concentrate its automotive manufacturer base.

Ultimately, China hopes to have three to five manufacturers building globally-competitive electric cars. According to non-Chinese execs, the investment could require up to $15 Billion (100 billion yuan) and no one seems to be sure where the money's coming from; that is, no one is sure how much cash foreign companies will need to invest and how much China's government will put up.

That money, however acquired, would go into manufacturing facilities, suppliers, and infrastructure for China's future electric/hybrid vehicles (estimated to be five million by 2020).

At the World Economic Forum, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said, "China is committed to creating an open and fair environment for foreign-invested enterprises...Foreign-invested enterprises in China on the whole enjoy a good environment and have reaped good returns."

Oh, and get this: the Industry Ministry has asked for opinions from state-owned automakers and its fellow ministries to see if anything needs to be postponed and reworked.

That's like asking your reflection if that next shot is a good idea (hint: it always agrees with you). What's worse is that this plan could go into effect NEXT MONTH. Looks like China is getting a little too big for its britches...

By Phil Alex

Source: WSJ

Paris Show Debut for Redesigned 2011 Volkswagen Passat Confirmed

The Paris Motor Show organizers have confirmed the world premiere of the facelifted Volkswagen Passat in both sedan and Estate body styles. Expect the first photos and intel on the revamped Passat to go up just before the grand opening of the show on September 30.

From what we've seen in the spy photos and videos, VW's offering in the mid-size segment will receive significant styling changes to the front and rear ends, including a new hood and grille, plus redesigned bumpers and head lamps / tail lights, for a crisper and more dynamic look.

A plusher cockpit with higher quality materials and a refreshed design is also in the cards. Other changes inside will include new audio and navigation systems as well as the introduction of new extras.

It is believed that for the most part, the current lineup of engines, including the four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline and diesel units, will be carried over to the facelifted model.

(Video via: Youtube/AMS)

Carscoop Asks: What’s Your Favourite TV or Movie Car?

Whether you're a fan of Adam West or Roger Moore, you have to admit: cars and television go together well.

The Saint had the Volvo P1800. The Dukes wreaked havoc with the General Lee. The Caped Crusader and his sidekick did the "vra-vra-vroom" in the Batmobile. The Hoff had the Knight Industries Two Thousand (a personal favorite, if only for Will Daniels' quips).

Heck, some of these cars are more loved and remembered than the stars that drove them. Except maybe for David Hasslehoff. I hear he's big in Germany.

Then there are movie cars:

The Aston Martin DB5 from the early Bond movies; the screaming Pontiac TransAm from Smokey and the Bandit (another favorite); the DeLorean from Back to the Future and Steve McQueen's Mustang in Bullitt.

So tell us, dear readers; what's your favorite movie or TV car? If you can't think of just one (heck, we couldn't), just tell us all.

By Tristan Hankins

Australia: The Pricey World of Right-Hand Drive Conversions

Car buyers in Australia and other RHD countries have long got the short end of the stick in terms of American muscle cars. The reason is quite simple: they drive on the "wrong" side of the road.

Most manufacturers are unwilling to do right-hand-drive conversions on what are essentially specialist models: cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang and the like. There just aren't enough buyers to rationalize the cost.

Fortunately, a cottage industry (or rather a man-in-a-shed industry) has popped up offering RHD conversions of American muscle cars for eager buyers in countries like Australia, the UK and Japan.

In Australia, for instance, you can get just about anything from a AU$359,990 Corvette ZR-1 (or around three times as much as it does in the U.S.) to a AU$139,000 Chevrolet Camaro (or the same as an Audi S5 Cabrio in Australia).

Want a 2011 Mustang GT convertible? Be prepared to pony up AU$142,500 (the same as brand new Porsche Boxster Spyder) for that Pony. And it becomes even more laughable when you look at the U.S. prices for these same cars:

We do not claim to know the full details involved with importing a car and converting it to RHD, but it can't be so difficult as to demand the of a new entry-level Porsche 911...

So the next time you harrumph at some foreign nobody, whining about, "How good you bleedin' Yanks have got it" – spare a thought for the poor, cash-strapped Aussie... selling his 911 to buy a RHD Corvette ZR-1.

By Tristan Hankins

Here's where we found pricing information for the RHD conversions:

Corvette Clinic - makers of the RHD ZR-1
Mustang Australia - builders of RHD Mustangs
Performax - makers of the RHD Camaro and other cars

And Top Gear Australia magazine's August 2010 issue.

How do You Say Boring in German? New Teaser Video of Mystery BMW

One more teaser like this and we will probably follow BMW's advice and never blog about this electric-thingamajig again... Now, let's see the Bavarians adding this quote on their "dontblogaboutthis" website... Those that don't mind wasting 34 seconds of their time to watch a black prototype with skinny wheels being loaded on a truck in slow motion may follow the jump for the video.

Arizona Trying to Replace "Km" Signs on I-19 With "Miles", Locals Want to Keep Metric System

About thirty years ago, America tried to go global by integrating the metric system and...we all know how that turned out. Oddly enough, there are still some American places out there that use metric measurements (not just those bad people dealing in kilos...).

One such zany region is the American southwest, where Interstate 19 measures its exit intervals in kilometers. After years of quirk, I-19's signs have gotten old and worn and now need to be replaced with new, more reflective units.

In a very American move, the Arizona Department of Transportation will likely replace the "Km" signs with ones labeled "miles", as well as reconfigure the interstate's exit numbers. But alas, there's a problem, as always. People who have been using I-19 for years have grown used to the exit numbers and think the rearrangement - said to cost approximately $1.5 million in stimulus money - will bring about some problems.

Jim Green, owner of the Inn at San Ignacio, explains: "You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal, but it is. Think about how much money my company has spent directing people to Exit 56. Think about the literature, the brochures, the tour books...I've been in the hotel business since 1997 and I've been asked by my guests thousands of times about the metric signs. They aren't complaining. They are intrigued."

While that argument at least makes sense, there are some people out there who, according to the New York Times, don't like the signs because "they look foreign". Christ. How about the fact that the metric system actually makes sense and uses measurable intervals (instead of an arbitrary number like 5,280 feet in a mile and 3 feet in a "yard"). I don't know, maybe I'm just an evil Commie...

Understandably, the signs may confuse some, but saying we want it out of here because the Amurrica "beat" the foreign metric system just makes people look like tools.

As for the project, "local opposition" has forced it to be put on hold for the time being until a new strategy can be planned out. However, officials think they have come up with a solution: new signs in "miles" to get I-19 up with the times, while the old exit number would be labeled on them as well (e.g. "Old Exit ##").

Seems like that should have been the plan from the get-go. Ah, politicians and their lack of clear thinking or decisiveness...

By Phil Alex

Source: NYT , Photo: Google Maps

VIDEOS: 2011 Chevrolet Aveo, Captiva Facelift, Orlando MPV and Cruze Hatchback

As promised, here are the respective promotional videos of Chevrolet's Paris Motor Show-bound Aveo sub-compact, Captiva 7-seater SUV, Orlando 7-seater MPV and the Cruze five-door hatchback. From these four cars, only the Aveo has been confirmed for the U.S market with sales of both the five-door variant and the yet-to-be-revealed sedan model to start sometime in 2011.

FAIL: Toyota Land Cruiser vs Puddle [Accident Content]

Nothing brings you back to driving-reality quite as effectively as good a ol' cold shower, or in this case, a puddle bath. The sinkhole incident involving this new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado reportedly happened during a test-drive event organized by a Prado fan club (we're assuming it occurred somewhere in Russia). Photos and a video of the accident after the break.

Spasiba to Alex V. for the tip!

Via: Carlifeblog , Source: Prado-club


2012 BMW F30 3-Series Spy Shots, Now With a Better View of the Interior

Here are some more spy shots of the upcoming next-gen BMW 3-Series with a closer look at the interior. Codenamed the F30, BMW is likely to play its next bread and butter 3-Series pretty safe with an evolutionary design. Even without looking at the pics, we all know it'll be the 3-Series version of the 5-Series.

As stated in our previous post (read here), power is likely to come from a series of inline-4 and -6 cylinder gasoline and diesel engines that'll see some boost from turbochargers. Also, with BMW downsizing and boost-raising, the next M3 could see either a turbo V8 or possibly even revert to a lighter but high-output 6-cylinder.

Inside, you'll see the newest bit: the car's center information stack is turned slightly toward the driver, harking back to the good old days of BMW. Also, this F30 seAlso, this F30 sedan is just the beginning. After it and the coupe/convertible debut, we could see a hybrid and even a GT variant joining the ranks. As soon as we got some spy pics of those two nasties, we'll let you know.

By Phil Alex

Chrysler / Fiat US Plans Laid Out, New Dodge Viper on the way in 2012

It turns out Sergio Marchionne brought a gift when he spoke with Chrysler dealers down in Florida earlier this week. Can we guess what it was? No, the rumored Jeep truck was a bonus (and a no-brainer). High fives all around if you said 2012 Dodge Viper. The company showed dealers an early prototype of the next Viper finished in a candy-apple red color. According to one dealer present at the meeting, the Viper concept "resembled the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione with a Viper face." We shall see.

According to sources, the next Viper will play the role of a proper halo car, not just a high-end racer. That means a more luxurious performance car to be the icing on Dodge's cake instead of the visceral attack on the senses that was the previous Viper.

Dodge's lineup is also going to get a "sportier" Caravan in yet another attempt to convince dads that mom didn't just talk them into a minivan. Ralph Gilles also confirmed a "Man Van" with an all black interior. Love the guy's work, but "Man Van"? Grow up. Also, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Dakota will be replaced with a "lifestyle" truck, whatever that means.

Chrysler, as we've recently shown you, will get the refreshed Sebring / 200 in order to fill the gap before a proper 200 is developed. Internet rumors indicate that the next mid-size Chrysler could be underpinned by a shortened RWD platform, so huzzah! Other than that, there's the revamped Town & Country that we told you about, as well as the redesigned 300.

As for Ram, there's not much going on right now. We could see a smaller pickup to fill the entry level gap once the Dakota disappears, but that's about it.

Jeep is about as lively as Ram. Other than the new Grand Cherokee, the rest of the lineup gets some updates before the new vehicles are revealed. Once all is said and done, we're probably going to see a Fiat-based small model (and say goodbye to the Patriot/Compass), the Wrangler, the Liberty, and the Grand Cherokee. Also, if dealers push for it, there could be a Gladiator-like Jeep truck coming; apparently Marchionne teased one at the dealer meeting.

Lastly, Fiat will drop the 500 Stateside in January after its US debut in L.A. We'll get Sport and Lounge versions of the little accessory car, as well as a ton of interior/exterior color combos. Bottom line on this one is that it's just too damn cute to pass up hopefully, Chrysler won't fumble it.

Chrysler and Fiat, both under the cost-cutting grandfatherly wing of Sergio Marchionne, working together to try to build world-class cars...who would have thought this would ever happen?

By Phil Alex

Source: WSJ and Autonews (sub. Req)

Saab Reveals its First-Ever Pure Electric Model: 9-3 ePower to Debut in Paris

This month's Paris International Motor Show will host the world premiere of Saab's first ever EV, the 9-3 ePower. Based on the SportWagon variant of the current 9-3, the prototype model will lead to a test fleet of 70 vehicles that will participate in field trials in Sweden early next year.

The car is motivated by a 184HP electric motor driving the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. Energy is provided by a compact 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in a modified floor-pan, in a space occupied by the exhaust system and fuel tank on the standard 9-3 SportWagon

The Swedish automaker says the EV can accelerate from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in a respectable 9.5 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 150km/h or 93mph.

The projected driving range on a full charge is approximately 200 kilometers or about 124 miles. Saab said the battery can be fully recharged from a domestic mains supply in three to six hours, depending on depletion status. However, the company claims charging times can be reduced significantly if the voltage of the electrical feed is raised.

The only noteworthy styling changes over the regular gasoline/diesel models concerns the new gearshift lever that provides selection of 'drive', 'neutral', 'park' and 'reverse', the revised instrument cluster that gains read-outs for battery status, power consumption and driving range, as well as the addition of an electric park brake.

Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile's CEO said: "By 2015, annual global sales of electric vehicles are expected to reach 500,000 units and Saab is determined to be represented in this important, growing segment."

"The 9-3 ePower programme is our first step towards developing a potential production vehicle that will deliver the sort of advanced performance our customers expect."

The 9-3 ePower is the result of a co-operation between Saab Automobile, Boston Power (batteries), Electroengine in Sweden AB (electric power trains), Innovatum (project management) and Power Circle (Sweden's electric power industry trade organization).

2011 Dodge Nitro offers New Heat 4.0 Lifestyle Package and Equipment Upgrades

We'll be hearing of more updated / refreshed Chrysler Group models within the next couple of months (if not weeks), but rounding up the changes on the first crop of 2011MYs, the Dodge Nitro gains a new trim level and some modest equipment upgrades on certain grades.

Joining the Detonator, Shock and Heat models that landed in the range in 2010, is the Heat 4.0 Lifestyle Package which comes with a 4.0-liter V6 engine delivering 260 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. (359 Nm) of torque, hooked up to a five-speed automatic transmission. Additional standard equipment over the Heat includes Uconnect Phone and an upgraded eight-speaker sound system.

In other news for the Nitro, all 2011MYs get standard 20-inch alloy wheels and monochromatic interiors, while select models feature upgraded cabins with new cloth and leather with premium colored stitching. Furthermore, the Detonator and Shock models now feature Dodge's new signature racing stripes on the hood and front fenders.

Finally, Dodge added several new colors to the 2011MY range including Bright White Clear Coat, Blackberry Pearl Coat, Toxic Orange Pearl Coat and Redline Two Coat.