• Hennessey shows off 1200-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V Wagon [Video]

    April 4, 2014
    Hennessey Performance Engineering has developed a 1200-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, for the driver who must have over a thousand ponies at the rear wheels but with a bit more stowage space than the tuner’s VR1200 CTS-V Coupe.

    A YouTube video shows the wagon edition as it surpasses 1058 horsepower during a dyno test, after swapping its 556-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 for an even larger 7.0-liter mill boosted with dual turbochargers.

    Performance figures have yet to be published, though the coupe is claimed to reach 60 mph from a standstill in less than three seconds. It can complete a quarter mile in just over ten seconds before topping out around 242 mph.

    It is unclear if the wagon offers the same range of upgrades as Hennessey’s two-door monster, such as carbon ceramic brakes, 345/30-20 rear wheels and lowered suspension. In its current form, it does appear to lack the special hood and other eye-catching bodywork of the tuned coupe.

    Hennessey has yet to announce availability details and pricing. More than double the stock horsepower likely won’t come cheap; in contrast, the coupe fetches $295,000.

  • Texas judge to decide if recalled GM vehicles should be parked until fixed

    April 4, 2014
    A Texas judge is reportedly set to issue a decision that could force General Motors to warn customers against driving recalled vehicles until their defective ignition switches are replaced.

    The company has repeatedly claimed that the recalled vehicles are safe as long as drivers do not have any extra weight on the ignition key, however safety advocates and families of accident victims argue that all of the affected models should be taken off the road.

    US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos is currently considering the park-it request, which was filed by plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit that seeks to recover as much as $10 billion to compensate for reduced resale values for all of the recalled vehicles.

    While GM proposes partial fixes, additional incidents of ignition switch failures will certainly occur,” the plaintiffs wrote, as quoted by Bloomberg. “Injuries and fatalities are the inevitable consequence of such additional accidents.”

    The case in Corpus Christi is said to similar to more than a dozen other lawsuits filed by owners who accuse the company of hiding the defect for more than a decade. Other lawsuits focus on wrongful-death claims or accuse the company of securities fraud.

    GM has admitted that the issue was not properly addressed, though it suggests the problem was a lack of communication rather than a willful deception. Legislators have accused the company of establishing a “culture of cover-up,” however, that may warrant criminal prosecution.

    CEO Mary Barra yesterday promised to provide further details regarding the company’s internal tests that determined the switches are safe when used with just the key. Engineers overseeing the assessment are also expected to be made available for future Senate and House hearings.

  • Kia teases all-new MPV ahead of New York debut

    April 4, 2014
    Kia has released a teaser for its all-new multi-purpose vehicle, which will be formally introduced at the New York auto show.

    Recent reports have claimed the company is preparing to introduce a redesigned Sedona minivan at the show, however the teaser suggests the company is attempting to drop the “minivan” label by offering a midsize MPV that will likely be aimed at the same customers.

    Kia’s characteristic front grille has been significantly enlarged, while the headlights have been swept back with a more modern design. Handle placement suggests the redesigned model will still integrate a sliding rear door, though the rear windows appear to be much smaller.

    The interior is expected to be modernized as well, likely with Kia’s UVO infotainment system, however additional specs, such as engine options, remain unclear.

    This global debut will challenge the segment and will offer the functionality to transport as many as eight passengers and their belongings whilst also serving as a purposeful offering for adventure seekers,” the company notes.

    Full details will be announced at an event on April 16.

  • GM hires Clinton administration veteran to manage recall crisis

    April 4, 2014
    General Motors has reportedly continued to hire outside experts to help it manage its recall nightmare, retaining crisis-communications expert Jeff Eller as the debacle continues to unfold.

    Eller is chairman of Public Strategies, a consulting firm that specializes in campaign and crisis management. He worked as deputy assistant to the president and director of media affairs in the Clinton White House, and later handled public relations for Bridgestone/Firestone during the Ford recall controversy.

    Our proven ‘war room’ operating model helps companies rapidly respond to situations that threaten reputation and constrain their license to operate,” the firm boasts on its website. “Our experts have been forged in the heat of hard fought political campaigns, high profile litigation, natural disasters and product recalls.”

    GM spokesman Greg Martin confirmed the move, noting that the company is “drawing upon those who have deep experience and expertise in these matters,” according to a statement published by Bloomberg.

    The automaker’s new CEO, Mary Barra, was grilled by legislators earlier this week during Senate and House hearings. Officials have accused the company of maintaining a “culture of cover up” and criminal deception, potentially hiding the true scope of deaths that may have been caused by the faulty switches.

    Promising to do things differently and put safety as its highest priority, the company has regularly announced new recalls — citing defects in nearly seven million vehicles within the past month. The apparent crisis has yet to have a tangible negative effect on sales, however Eller’s addition to the team suggests the company is worried that its current actions may not be enough to prevent a public-relations disaster with long-term consequences.

    Other experts working on the situation include Kenneth Feinberg, architect of the 9/11 victim compensation fund, along with Lehman Brothers bankruptcy investigator Anton Valukas.

  • McLaren predicting boost in profit on P1 sales

    April 4, 2014
    McLaren Automotive, maker of the MP4-12C supercar, expects to increase its pre-tax profit by fourfold this year after breaking even for the first time in 2013.

    McLaren has been operating with just a single model line so far, the aforementioned MP4-12C, but 2014 will mark the first full year of sales for the company’s million-dollar P1 hypercar. That, combined with the launch of the all-new 650S Coupe and Spider, should help McLaren to a record-setting year.

    “It’s the main year in which we deliver McLaren P1s,” Paul Buddin, McLaren’s director of finance, told Bloomberg. “You can expect quite a strong impact on our turnover and profits.”

    McLaren is expected to release official financial information from 2013 within the next few weeks,

    McLaren is forecasting about 1,500 sales this year, essentially matching the company’s deliveries in 2013. That’s not too far off from Lamborghini’s 2,121 sales in 2013, but McLaren still trails Ferrari’s 6,922 worldwide deliveries. McLaren hopes to boost sales to 4,500 units by 2017.