Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Report: Lexus expects to sell 1,000 CTs a month despite HS flop

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2011 Lexus CT 200h driving
2011 Lexus CT 200h - Click above for high-res image gallery

Lexus is pinning rather high the expectations on its new CT 200h, billed as "The Dark Side of Green." According to Brian Bolain, the automaker's national advertising and marketing manager, Lexus expects to sell about 1,000 CTs here in the U.S. each month. We wish them the best of luck, but have some serious reservations.

Consider that the combined sales of the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Volvo C30 (which represent the vehicles most likely to be cross-shopped with the CT) tally up about 1,500 sales per month, according to Ward's Automotive. For what it's worth, the 1 Series, which is the only non-dedicated hatchback and easily the sportiest of the bunch, makes up the vast majority of the segment's sales.

As you're surely aware, the CT 200h is indeed a dedicated hatchback and it offers up a comparatively paltry 98 horsepower from its Prius-derived Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter four-cylinder, aided by another 36 ponies from its two electric motors and 28 NiMH batteries. As we said in our First Drive of the CT, that power level, particularly when coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission, doesn't exactly incite driving excitement.

Also factor in the sales flop that is the dedicated-hybrid Lexus HS 250h, a model whose yearly sales will struggle to hit half the 20,000 units Lexus had counted on, and you can see why we're a tad skeptical that Toyota's luxury division will manage to move a thousand CTs per calendar flip. In any case, we figure the CT is at least as attractive as the HS, and we look forward to spending some quality time with the hybrid hatchback in day-to-day driving scenarios where it should become much more clear how the machine stacks up against its competitors.

What do you think, will the CT 200h be a hit in America? Have your say in Comments.

Photos copyright (C)2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Ward's Automotive]

Report: Lexus expects to sell 1,000 CTs a month despite HS flop originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Nov 2010 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nationwide/Truck banquet | The 2010 NASCAR Prize Money & Decal Program year-end special award winners for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series were announced during Monday night's awards banquet. Check out the link below to see if your favorite drivers went home a winner.

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Jimmie Johnson wins 5th Cup title

Jimmie Johnson celebrates as he holds the trophy after winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the Ford 400.Jimmie Johnson celebrates after running a steady race in Miami on Sunday to edge Denny Hamlin for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship for a record-setting fifth consecutive title.

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Vettel wins Formula One title

McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, and his teammate McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain unseen in the picture , sprays rose water to Formula One 2010 World Champion Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany after he wins the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina racetrack, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov.14, 2010. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)Sebastian Vettel�clinches the F-1 title after winning in Abu Dhabi to become the youngest-ever champion.

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Range Rover Sport by Startech

Fresh off of their tuning package for the venerable Land Rover Defender, celebrated tuning firm Startech has released yet another program for the British SUV brand, this time for the Range Rover Sport. The vehicle was recently revealed at the 2010 Essen Motor Show.

The styling program includes a bevy of new features, turning the Range Rover Sport into a stunning piece of black machinery. Among the exterior features are an aggressive front fascia, a revised rear apron with a new and integrated exhaust ports, a removable section on the rear that allows easy access to the SUV?s trailer hitch. Startech also added LED daytime running lights on the vehicle and outfitted it with a new set of 22? light allow wheels.

In the interior, Startech also went nuts with the upgrades, putting front and rear inside door panels in all factory leather colors, a new sports steering wheel, stainless-steel scuff plates that have illuminated Startech logos, aluminum pedals, and high-quality floor mats with color-coordinated leather borders. On top of that, the aftermarket tuning firm is also offering a bespoke customization upgrade for those who want their SUVs upgraded to the brim. Included in the bespoke program are items like premium-grade leather upholstery, exclusive and exotic wood trim sets, and rear tray tables, among other things.

Press Release after the jump

Range Rover Sport by Startech originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 09:00 EST.

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Rossi will be ready for Sepang Test

Alessandro Castagna, one of the two specialists who performed the Italian?s shoulder operation on Sunday, believes he will be fit in time for the MotoGP Test in Malaysia on February 1st.

Rossi will be ready for Sepang Test
February 1st 2011, the date of the next Official MotoGP Test, is firmly fixed in Valentino Rossi?s mind as the Italian begins his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery which took place on Sunday. The normal recovery period following a procedure such as the one undergone by Rossi is 90 days, but with 79 until the Sepang Test the schedule is tight.
In an interview with Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport Doctor Alessandro Castagna of the Milan Humanitas Institute, who along with Doctor Giuseppe Porcellini performed the operation, explained his view on the chances of Rossi being fit to ride the Ducati in Malaysia.
?It usually takes 90 days and he has 79 until the first Test. I?m sure that if everything goes smoothly and there are no complications he can be ready for it,? said Dr Castagna.
The nine-time World Champion will require a splint to support the shoulder for three weeks, and his recovery programme will consist of three important stages.
?The inflammatory phase (immediately after surgery) usually lasts for between three to five days,? continued Dr Castagna. ?The second phase usually a month and a half or two during which the capillaries in the area will aid the production of fresh cells that will help the healing process. The final stage will be the re-strengthening of the joint. In the middle of the second stage Valentino will start the rehabilitation with the first steps being in the pool, followed by gym activity.?
Discussing the surgery Dr Castagna said: ?The operation itself had no particular problems, but we encountered a situation like at the supermarket: pay for one, get three. To give an idea of the situation it normally takes 35 minutes to stabilise a shoulder, and with Valentino it took us an hour and 50 minutes.?
?In simple terms the supraspinatus tendon and the glenoid ligament were both very damaged. We had to clean the area to prepare it for its natural healing process, and then close it with 12 stitches. The fibrocartilage surrounding the humerus was displaced so we put it back and fixed it with bio-absorbable staples. All of this was done in an area which measured a maximum of 2-3 centimetres.?

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Audi A6

Audi?s got a new car in the pipeline but in typical fashion, the company?s going to squeeze out every ounce of curiosity from all of us before unveiling their new ride.

The folks from Ingolstadt even released a couple of photos showing off their fleet of new cars with one car intriguingly draped in a white blanket. Apparently, that car is Audi?s answer to the BMW 5-Series, the 2012 Audi A6 sedan. .

Not many details have been released for Audi’s refreshed sedan, but a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words and, although these pictures are disguised to say the least, information can still be gathered.

Hit the jump to get the 411 on the 2012 Audi A6.

UPDATE 11/29/2010: Audi has released the first teaser video for the 2012 A6, along with a date. Circle December 1st on your calendars folks, as this is the day the A6 will be showcased for the world to see.

Updated 11/30/2010: While the first official details will not be revealed until tomorrow, Autoblog.nl revealed today the first official images of the future Audi A6.

Audi A6 originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 11:00 EST.

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Stoner Honda - Best Honda Team in MotoGP 2011?

Stoner Honda : this seems to be a word that can make everyone interested to watch MotoGP next year. after rossi ducati make a deal to be together, now stoner honda follow them, but whether they could make a surprise? we will see the battle next year, actually, I see there are 3 major force that will fight, Lorenzo Yamaha, Rossi Ducati, and also the new Stoner Honda. Who will be the best partner? and will Stoner Honda be the best Honda Team in MotoGP 2011?

Stoner Honda
Stoner Honda from MotoGp.com
in fact, Stoner was riding a Honda, now, the moment it happen again, however, whether the stoner will be able to be the best? if you look at the characteristics of Ducati motorcycles, Honda motor bike in MotoGP is more easy to drive, ducati is known for its wild character, this is be a lesson meant for stoner, I'm sure Stoner can control Honda motorcycle engine with a very good.
Stoner Honda MotoGP
stoner honda motogp.com
If Stoner and Honda wants to be champion in 2011 MotoGP, Honda should be able to provide the best motorcycle for Stoner, Yamaha and Lorenzo has become the strongest competitor, of course, Honda should be alert the Ducati team, after Rossi moved to Ducati team, fight in the high class will be more interesting.
Good look for Stoner and Honda !!

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Jimmie Johnson wins 5th Cup title

Jimmie Johnson celebrates as he holds the trophy after winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the Ford 400.Jimmie Johnson celebrates after running a steady race in Miami on Sunday to edge Denny Hamlin for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship for a record-setting fifth consecutive title.

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Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition Galleries
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition1
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition2
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition3
Aprilia Performance Ride Ascendancy is a self-adjusting absorption ascendancy arrangement able of adapting to altered types of tires and additionally includes wheelie control, barrage ascendancy and a quick shifter; it?s basically Max Biaggi?s SBK system. The 2011 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE additionally includes a appropriate kinda-Alitalia acrylic job, a new, abate exhaust, afterpiece accessory ratios, a hardly revised agent with bigger lubrication (Aprilia claims no ability boost) and proprietary dual-compound Pirelli tires developed accurately for this model.

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition has been revealed at the 2010 Intermot show. The special edition RSV4 Factory taps into Aprilia?s racing heritage, especially after Max Biaggi?s WSBK championship win this year and Aprilia having earned the manufacturer?s title. The RSV4 APRC applies track technology and experience to Aprilia?s supersports road bike, creating what Aprilia likes to call a benchmark in this segment.

The new RSV4 APRC special edition is fitted with features such as adjustable traction control, wheelie control, launch control and quick shift transmission. It includes some of the features of the electronic engine management system of the SBK Aprilia bike with APRC standing for ?Aprilia Performance Ride Control?. The package has improved lubrication and closer gears on the V4 engine, a lighter exhaust and an improved butterfly valve management system which is more closely matched to the Ride by Wire system.

The RSV4 APRC special edition is designed both for those wanting a more serious track bike, and for hobby riders who love this kind of superbike technology. The bike is even fitted with new dual blend 200/55 tyres which have been specifically developed with Pirelli for WSBK circuits. More details after the jump include spec sheets.

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Kasey Kahne Wins Pole for NASCAR Finale, Jimmie Johnson Leads Contenders

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Kasey Kahne won the pole position for Sunday's Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while four-time defending Cup champ Jimmie Johnson's sixth-place effort was best of the three drivers vying for the season championship.

Kahne's No. 83 Red Bull Toyota turned a lap of 176.904 mph around the 1.5-mile oval, bettering Carl Edwards' Ford and Jamie McMurray's Chevrolet. (Kahne is shown at right checking times during qualifying).

But as significant as who will be starting up front is who won't be. Championship points leader Denny Hamlin, who holds a tenuous 15-point edge over Johnson, will start 37th in the 43-car field. Kevin Harvick, who trails Hamlin by 46 points, will roll off 28th.

"It was tough ... but our car is gonna be fine tomorrow,'' Hamlin said. "We know that. This is a track you can pass (at). We're looking forward to that part of it. Friday has just never been our strong suit and so we gotta battle back again."

Harvick, who has started better then 20th only one time since August, didn't appear overly concerned with his starting position. He finished third at Martinsville, Va., last month after starting 36th and was runner-up at Las Vegas despite starting 34th.

"I thought we might have been a little better, but not much,'' said Harvick, who drives the No.. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy. "Everybody on the car did a really good job. ... We've been talking about where we want to pit here, the same thing we do every week.

"Our car was very comfortable in race trim and we are ready to go.''


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Video: Lamborghini Murcielago production end honored with V12 parade

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Lamborghini Parade
Click above to watch video after the jump

After nine years and 4,099 examples produced, the Lamborghini Murciélago has reached the end of its production cycle. A new V12-equipped Lambo is on the horizon, but before that beast roars to life the Italian automaker decided to take its resident raging bull for one more lap through Sant'Agata Bolognese.

Not content to trot the Murciélago out alone, Lamborghini also lined up a 350 GT, Miura, Countach and Diablo to escort the Super Veloce. Baby-brother Gallardo also gets in on the parade action by means of the local polizia. The whole affair was captured on video and, while it might not be action packed, it is packed with beautiful and exotic examples of Lamborghini's history.
Hop the jump to watch the Murciélago take on final victory lap through its hometown.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Lamborghini Murcielago production end honored with V12 parade

Video: Lamborghini Murcielago production end honored with V12 parade originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Nov 2010 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Valentino Rossi makes his first outing with Ducati

On Tuesday morning at the Valencia circuit, Valentino Rossi made his eagery awaited debut on the Ducati Desmosedici. More exclusive footage available on motogp.com
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Harvick finally comfortable with Earnhardt legacy

FILE - From left are 2010, file photos showing NASCAR's three title contenders from left, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. The season finale is Sunday, Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (AP Photo/File)Now that the ordeal has been in his rearview mirror for nearly a decade, Kevin Harvick acknowledges there was a time when he didn't want anything to do with Dale Earnhardt's legacy.

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Radar guns adapted to detect suicide bombers?

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Researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School and the University of California, Santa Cruz may have found a new use for most drivers' worst nightmare. William Fox and John Vesecky have discovered that with a little tweaking, a run-of-the-mill radar gun can become an instrument for detecting suicide bombers. The duo found that at a specific frequency, the gun can pick up on patterns of looped wire typically used in bomber suicide vests. Testing is in the beginning stages right now, but thus far, the gun has been able to accurately pick out volunteers dressed in replica suicide vests 85 percent of the time at a distance of around 33 feet.

There are some hang-ups, though. Most noticeably, the gun yields a high rate of false alarms, with things like underwire bras and jewelry yielding the similar radar cross sections as a suicide vest. Both Fox and Vesecky are hoping that the U.S. Military will invest in their research, allowing them to fine-tune the device moving forward.

[Source: New Scientist via Engadget | Image: Matt Carty/Getty]

Radar guns adapted to detect suicide bombers? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Nov 2010 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Valentino Rossi Make Debut Motogp with Ducati Desmosedici ?Big Bang? [Picture - Video]

Ducati Desmosedici ?Big Bang? Valentino Rossi Make Debut Motogp with Ducati Desmosedici ?Big Bang? [Picture   Video]
Valentino Rossi made his much anticipated debut on board the Ducati Desmosedici on Tuesday. The Italian turned laps at the Valencia circuit as part of a two-day MotoGP test along with 16 other riders (view the results in our 2010 MotoGP Valencia Day 1 Test Results). The 31-year-old hopped aboard the Ducati wearing plain black leathers, contrasted strongly by his neon Number 46 written across his back.
Rossi?s first trip lasted just eight laps so he could get an initial feel for the bike. The team first utlilized the big bang engine for much of the first day, and worked on additional items such as geometry. Rossi then set out on the screamer version, making one final pass before calling it a day. Overall, the Italian set a best time of 1?35.134, and finished the first day of testing in 10th directly behind his Ducati teammate, Nicky Hayden. For Ducati the stated goal of this test is to determine whether to go with a screamer or big bang engine for the upcoming season.
Ducati Desmosedici ?Big Bang? Test at Valencia:

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Another Earnhardt quietly building career

Bobby Dale Earnhardt has a name that could be an anchor around the neck of a race-car driver, expectations hanging like a career-crushing weight.

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Testing date looming for Aprilia and Yamaha teams

Marco MelandriThe most recent World Championship winning squads, Aprilia Alitalia and Yamaha Sterilgarda begin testing at Phillip Island on Tuesday next week, as they continue development of their 2011 spec machines.

The three day test, from 30 November until 2 December, will be of particular interest back in Italy, as current World Champion Max Biaggi will share track time with his old GP sparring partner Marco Melandri (Yamaha) for the first time since Marco joined the WSBK circus. It will be Melandri’s second WSBK test per se, having ridden the works R1 at Valencia earlier this month (photo).

Eugene Laverty will partner his fellow new Yamaha signing, and after a fabulous first ride on the official R1 at the immediate post-season tests at Magny-Cours, before a further encouraging test at Valencia, much is expected of him as he tries the 2011 spec machine for size once again.

Alongside Biaggi will be his regular team-mate Leon Camier, who has now recovered well from a wrist injury that spoiled the end of what was a more than promising rookie season in WSBK. Phillip Island As the Phillip Island track presented some difficulties for Aprilia at the start of this season, the team will most probably be working to resolve the set-up issues at this particular track.

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