Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Honour For The Nissan GTR just conferred another great honour on Godzilla, the Nissan GTR. According to their research, the GTR is the most expensive car to insure (apart from the super-expensive supercars, of course).

Here's the list:

Most Expensive Cars to Insure

No. 1 Most Expensive: Nissan GT-R
Sports car

No. 2 Most Expensive: Dodge Viper
Sports car

No. 3 Most Expensive: BMW M6
Sports car

No. 4 Most Expensive: Ford Shelby GT500
Sports Car

No. 5 Most Expensive: Mercedes-Benz G-Class

And here are the losers:

Least Expensive Cars to Insure

No. 1 Least Expensive: Hyundai Santa Fe

No. 2 Least Expensive: Kia Sportage

No. 3 Least Expensive: Hyundai Entourage

No. 4 Least Expensive: Kia Sedona

No. 5 Least Expensive: Kia Rio5

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Saw My Second Nissan GTR!

I just saw my second, live, honest to goodness Nissan GTR.  This one was black, and this time I had my iPhone handy. 

The photos aren't the best, since I took them while driving behind the GTR, but I'll take what I can get.

Oh yeah, it looked very, very nasty and nice!

nissan gtr supercarnissan gtr bay area

nissan gtr

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nissan GTR - Cool Fact

I learnt a new cool fact about the Nissan GTR. 

nissan gtr grill

In Japan, road cars are electronically governed to a maximum speed of 112 mph.   The Nissan GTR is meant to act as a sane road car, when needed, and it follows this rule.

However, if you drive up to a race track in Japan, the GTR's sat nav system figures this out, and switches the governor off, so you can thrash the car around the track to your heart's content.

That's cool!

nissan gtr

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fifth Gear Video Of The Week - Lamborghini Gallardo

This week, instead of a Top Gear video, I'm putting up a Fifth Gear video.  Why?  Because its awesome, that's why!

In particular, check out the sideways action half of the way through.  Makes me feel I wouldn't mind switching my rear-wheel BMW 335i convertible for the LP560-4

GM's Pains Continue

GM continues its downward spiral, with an announcement for another 10,000 job cuts. 

Depressing.  But they still gainfully employ 80,000 - 85,000 people, so hopefully their strategies make sense.

I'm expecting more job cuts by the end of April, however.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Bad News From Nissan

Just like Toyota, Nissan also fell to a full-year loss.  This was its first in almost 10 years.

As a result, about 20,000 employees (just under 9% of its workforce) are being let go. 

Directors will not get bonuses, and will have salaries reduced by 10%.

Managers will have their salaries reduced by 5%.

Not the best news from the makers of Godzilla, the awesome GTR.

nissan gtr

Friday, February 6, 2009

Auto Makers' Gold Standard, Toyota, With Net Loss

As Cheech and Chong said, "Things are tough all over".  Automobile's beacon of operational efficiency, Toyota, has tumbled to its first annual net loss ($3.85 Billion,  or 350 Billion Yen).  It's fiscal year ends in March.

toyota logo

At a broad level, there are only two main strategies Toyota can adopt to fix 2009-

a) Increase revenues.  Not easy in this economy.  But with a leadership in hybrid/ economical cars, as well as TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) cars, Toyota has a good chance here. 

b) Reduce costs.  Yes, Toyota is good at this.  And I'm afraid this is where most of their efforts will probably end up.  They are very good to their employees - which of course means contract employees are up a creek without a paddle.  I'm hoping this does not make them cut their R&D budgets for hybrid/ eco-friendly cars.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Green Shelby Super Car - Ultimate Aero EV

Thanks to Sri (VP of Engineering at Kosmix) for sending me this one:

Shelby SuperCars, or SSC, is launching their Ultimate Aero EV in 2009.  The second quarter of 2009 should see the first car roll off the lot, and we can expect (per SSC) to have full availability before the end of the year.

And check out the photos - it looks sweeeeet!  In my humble opinion, gull-wing doors are a must for any super/hyper-car.

shelby supercar photo

Why is this so special?  Well, The Ultimate Aero EV is supposed to get to a Veyron-esque 1,000 hp, and 800 lb-ft of torque. 

green supercar

And how fast does that make it?  How about a planned top speed of almost 210 mph, and a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds?  Wow!  (These are planned, of course.  But we've seen these types of numbers from another Green supercar - the Koeniggsegg CCXR, so we know it can be done.  Whether you get killed on the way or not is a separate question).

shelby ultimate aero ev

Other relevant info includes the car's range on a single charge - 150 - 200 miles.  And something called the "Charge on the Run" system, which enables a 10-minute full battery recharge.  That's quite a feat, given that the Tesla takes 3.5 hours... conservatively - looking forward to getting more data on that.

ultimate aero ev

ultimate aero ev photo 

I have to say, I haven't seen any new announcements from Shelby on this since July 2008, so I'm ready to accept delays, and reductions in specifications.  Would love to see something soon, though!

aero ev interior

ultimate aero supercar photo

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BMW 335i - A Complaint

This is a complaint about all BMW's, specially all the 3-series cars. 

BMW can do so many thing so well.  And they've kindly given BMW owners dual-climate control for the two front-seat people.  But lets be reasonable and assume that most of the time, you want one temperature throughout your car.  And most of the time, specially in the western world, people are driving alone (to/ from work, in particular).

Given these conditions, one would reasonably expect that the driver could control both temperature gauges through his/ her own gauge, if needed. But no, this isn't possible. 

How retarded!  How freaking retarded!  Honda has been giving this (basic!) ability to drivers since the last 5 years at the least.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Top Gear Video Of The Week - Porsche Cayenne

How do you know Jeremy Clarkson and James May aren't objective?  Well, when they take the Porsche Cayenne, rave about its off-road capabilities, its road-handling, its speed (0-60 in 5 seconds),  its electronics and gadgets..... and then end by saying its ugly, and hence they would rather walk than drive it.

I agree, when it first came out, I too thought the Cayenne was really ugly.  But it has grown on me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A New Era In Detroit - Italian Control

Chrysler has a new dance partner.  Fiat, which makes Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo (alfaa!) is taking a 35% stake in the Detroit, USA company. 

fiat logo   chrysler logo

Two important points:

a) Fiat is also cash-strapped. 

b) Fiat has the option to get more (full) control of Chrysler, if it so chooses

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Top Gear Video Of The Week - Pagani Zonda

The Pagani Zonda is truly an amazing engineering achievement. 

As usual, the top Gear boys have a hilarious review, this time led by Richard Hammond


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Top Gear Video Of The Week

This week's Top Gear video - the Ariel Atom, manufactured by a small <10 person company in Somerset.  This car is amazing.  Or is it even a car?

It has a supercharged Honda civic type R engine, with 300 hp , but due to the Atom's low weight (500 kg), it effectively generates 600 bhp/tonne. 600 bhp/tonne.  Let me say that another way - more than a ferrari enzo.

The Atom was quicker than the Porsche Carrera GT around the Top Gear track!


Take a look at the way it beat up on Jeremy Clarkson's face

ariel atom speed

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Auto Sector Slowdown Affecting Commodities

The Automobile sector is hurting badly, even as some of the best lineups of cars are becoming available.  The Auto companies' woes are passing all the way down the supply chain to the commodities folks too, something that was only a matter of time.

Aluminium producer Alcoa is cutting down drastically on people and costs (my detailed coverage is on my Business blog).  Of course, this isn't purely because of the automotive sector.  But given that 2008 was a record bad year, and 2009 is shaping up to be a bruiser, the sector's effects are pretty clear.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Increased Page Rank

My cover-all blog,  Capoeirista,  now has a Page Rank of 2, a bump-up of +1 

Darn Google, you better give me more respect!

vikram blog