• Acura NSX to offer wide range of personalization, possible track option

    February 22, 2015

    The next Acura NSX supercar will have a wide range of personalization options, including a potential suite of track-oriented features.

    In an interview with Edmunds, Acura Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Accavitti revealed several details about the highly anticipated flagship. First is the plethora of personalization choices: “The car will offer more factory-installed options than any other vehicle that we have ever had,” said Accavitti. This is in direct response to Acura’s belief that Supercar customers want to make their cars more individual-tailored and unique than ever.

    Without going into specifics, Accavitti mentioned cited the example that some buyers may want carbon fiber rather than aluminum, while others may want “features designed specifically for the track.”

    With a launch scheduled for later this year, Acura is currently working with its dealer network to ensure proper training for sales staff, though Accavitti declined to say how many of Acura’s 273 US dealerships would sell the NSX. Model-specific tools and a specially designed lift may be required to service the supercar.

    “[Customers] will come in well equipped with knowledge,” said Accavitti, citing enthusiasts’ close following of the performance car’s launch. An online configurator will launch this summer, accompanied by a pricing announcement. Thus far, Acura has only revealed that its twin-turbo mid-engined V6 AWD hybrid supercar will come in near the $150,000 range.

    Live Images by Brian Williams.

  • Influential Nissan Exec Yutaka "Mr K" Katayama dies at 105

    February 22, 2015

    Yutaka Katayama, former President of Nissan USA and one of the most influential auto execs of all time has passed away.

    Known simply as Mr K to his fans, Katayama was born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1909. After a brief stint an merchant vessels in his teens, he graduated from Keio University and went to work for Nissan in 1935. The Japanese auto industry dealt primarily in commercial vehicles at the time, as the average citizen could not afford cars.

    Katayama was an auto enthusiast through and through. He loved sports cars, racing and believed that the automobile could be sold as a lifestyle, not just transportation. Working in the company’s marketing and advertising arm, he was hugely influential in not only Nissan’s growth, but that of the Japanese auto industry as a whole.

    Katayama reached out to the marketing heads of other automakers, and founded what is today the Tokyo Motor Show. He also established the Sports Car Club of Japan and was instrumental in launching Nissan’s motorsports program in 1958.

    However, Katayama often butted heads with his superiors over his unorthodox methods, and was re-assigned to become the president of Nissan’s nascent US arm in 1960. It was here that his life’s work flourished, wholeheartedly supporting young race teams like Brock Racing Enterprises, which won several Trans-Am Championships.

    Katayama was also instrumental in bringing the Datsun 240Z to market here. The niche he identified became the best selling sports car of all time and Mr K was bestowed by his fans the honor of being “Father of the Z Car.” Even after leaving his post as head of Nissan USA in 1977, Katayama continued to engage with his fans, routinely traveling to shows to meet Nissan and Datsun owners.

    Katayama was so beloved that Nissan used his likeness in a series of US advertisements in 1997 though he was played by an actor. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan in 1998 and the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2008. He remained active in enthusiast communities until his final days. He was 105 years old.

  • Geneva preview: 2015 DS 5

    February 22, 2015
    Peugeot – Citroën’s newly-emancipated DS division will travel to the Geneva Motor Show to introduce the updated 2015 5.
    Positioned at the very top of the DS lineup, the 5 falls in line with the premium automaker’s latest design language thanks to a new front fascia with a hexagonal radiator grille that is accented by a large strip of chrome trim and a bold DS emblem. The flagship also benefits from a cleaner-looking lower bumper and new headlights, while redrawn tail lamps round out the major exterior modifications.

    The cockpit has been upgraded with a seven-inch touch screen that runs the latest generation of DS’ infotainment system. New additions to the list of options include a high-end Denon sound system, keyless entry and start, front seats with a massage function and ambient lighting.

    Buyers can choose from a wide selection of gasoline- and diesel-burning four-cylinder engines with outputs ranging from 120 to 210 horsepower. The headline-grabber is a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain capable of propelling the DS 5 on electricity alone for short distances.

    The 2015 DS 5 will go on sale across Europe and in China shortly after the Geneva Motor Show. The hatchback won’t be sold in the United States but its successor could make its way over the pond if DS makes good on its promise to set up shop in the United States.

  • Geneva preview: Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car

    February 22, 2015
    Mercedes-Benz has announced that it’s going racing with its latest Mercedes-AMG GT sports car.
    Following the unveils of its road-going AMG GT and GT S sports car, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division has announced that it will display a racing version of the two-door at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The new model will be called the Mercedes-AMG GT3.

    As its name implies, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will comply with FIA’s GT3 race regulations. Specifications for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 haven’t been released, but look for the car to boast significant aero upgrades, a race-specific interior and a few more ponies from its 4.0L biturbo V8 engine.

    Like the Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 that came before it, sales of the AMG GT3 will be handled by AMG Customer Sports in Affalterbach, Germany. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the previous SLS GT3 was about double the cost of the road-going SLS. If that pricing structure holds true for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, it should carry a sticker price of about $260,000.

    Full details on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be announced in early March at the Geneva Motor Show.