Tag Archives: Cars

Analysis: Why Mercedes-Benz Is No Longer An ‘Aspirational Brand’

Mercedes-Benz is perhaps the biggest name in luxury cars globally, and for countless buyers around the world, it is a car brand to aspire to own. The German automaker has a reputation for superb build quality, excellent engineering, and the bragging rights that its founder Carl Benz invented the first production automobile.

Today, Mercedes-Benz faces a new class of challenges as Tesla has become the aspirational brand for younger consumers. There is a slew of other EV hopefuls vying for the next generation’s aspirational vehicle’s mantle. Automakers have had to sink billions into new technologies and contend with a new crop of competitors in the critical Chinese market and around the world.

Reviews: ‘Can Subaru Hold On To Its Recent Success?’

Subaru started as a small scrappy Japanese brand, brought to the states by a couple of American businessmen in the 1960s, and was quickly met with ridicule. But it persisted, and over the decades has gone from being a small niche player to one of the most successful brands in America.

Subaru has weathered economic recessions far better than much larger competitors, and it is positioned near the top of consumer satisfaction surveys. But the ever-changing auto market presents some challenges for them, and they need to adapt to keep up.

When Subaru entered the United States in the 1960s it was panned by critics, and actually advertised its own cheap ugliness. Over the next several decades it would become a highly successful brand through a combination of offbeat but practical cars and a relentless focus on understanding its own customers.

The scrappy brand enjoyed a 93-month sales increase streak that ended in 2019, and it has found ways to survive during the coronavirus pandemic. But it is not without challenges. The intense demand for its vehicles has at times brought growing pains — quality issues and recalls gave led to an unusual quarterly loss in 2018.

There is also pressure on the company, like all automakers, to develop some kind of electrification strategy. Subaru does have a partnership with the much larger Japanese automaker Toyota, which is expected to soon produce an electric vehicle jointly made by the two companies.

Analysis: ‘Why Tire Prices Are Rising’ (CNBC Video)

Along with the pandemic, big tire brands are facing unique challenges. While trends have increasingly shifted online due to Covid, the tire market has been more hesitant to growing its e-commerce presence. Trade tariffs and the growing popularity of SUV’s and electric vehicles are also driving up the price of tires, posing an issue with attracting focus-savings consumers. Existing in a competitive market, many of the world’s biggest tire brands are focused on standing out to customers.

Future Transportation: Top ‘Self-Driving Concept Cars’ Of 2021 (Video)

Fully autonomous cars are the future of transportation. And car makers have been releasing what they believe that future will look like one day. Here is a compilation of some of those visionary concepts.

Video timeline: 00:00​ Honda Augmented Driving Concept 00:23​ Toyota Concept-I 00:52​ Audi Aicon 01:28​ Volvo 360C 02:22​ Jaguar Future-Type 03:15​ Jaguar I Waymo I-Pace 03:45​ Zoox 04:28​ Nissan Intelligent Mobility 05:27​ BMW Next Vision 100 06:09​ Mercedes F 015 08:46​ Renault EZ-Ultimo 09:37​ Renault Float 11:00​ Volkswagen Sedric 12:09​ Nio Eve 13:16​ Hyundai Project Elevate 14:00​ Chrysler Portal Concept 16:36​ Tesla Full Self Driving Demo 18:28​ GM eVTOL

Art & Auto Racing: French Artist Yan Denes’ “Blur & Movement Of The 1960’s”

“My primary era is clearly the ’60s,” he says. “For these scenes, I use period photos with the agreement of their photographer and allow myself some freedom on the framing, for example. I like racing cars, and if they have flaws or imperfections, I represent them faithfully, of course.”

“My master is Leonardo da Vinci, who is the ultimate reference in drawing because of his mastery of blur and movement,” he says. “There’s an indeterminate aspect to these drawings that’s essential. It reminds me of Picasso’s famous phrase ‘finishing a drawing, what a horror’ – that’s exactly it, I always leave an area of blur and a part of emptiness. The viewer fills that space with their experience, their story. In this way, a drawing is simply an exchange – an encounter between two people.”

Few artists, like Yan Denes, understand how to make the thrill of speed tangible for the observer with pen and paper. Not only did he design Scuderia Ferrari’s anniversary helmets in Formula 1, but he is also inspired by historic motorsport.

While the vast majority of Denes’ commissions come from owners of modern Ferrari race cars such as the 360 Challenge, 430 GT2, 488 GT3 and FXX, Yan is actually better known for his passion for historic racing scenes.

It has to be said that Denes is a virtuoso when it comes to transcribing speed and movement.

Read more at Classic Driver

Classic Cars: The ‘1955 Chevrolet Bel Air’ (Video)

The 1955 Chevrolet (sometimes referred to as ‘55 Chevy) is an automobile which was introduced by Chevrolet in Autumn 1954 for the 1955 model year. It is considered a huge turning point for the manufacturer and a major success. It was available in three models: the 150, 210, and Bel Air.

The ’55’s top trim offering was the Bel-Air, which had more chrome than the 150 or 210. The Bel-Air, 210 and 150 model could be bought as a four-door, or could be bought as a two door with a post between the front and rear passenger windows, known as the two-door sedan.

The Bel-Air or 210 model could also be had as a two door with no post between the side windows. This was known as the sport coupe, or better known by collectors as “the two door hardtop”. Since this model had no post between the two side windows, it had a shorter roof and longer rear deck than the two door sedan had. Chevy also offered a convertible, with the same shorter roof and longer rear deck as the sport coupe, and it was offered in Bel-Air trim only.

1955 also saw the introduction of the Bel Air Nomad, a sporty two-door station wagon which featured frameless door glass and elongated side windows. The unique roof design of the Nomad came directly from the 1954 Corvette Nomad, a “dream car” designed to be shown at auto shows as a concept sport wagon. Although regarded as one of the most beautiful station wagon designs of Fifties, the Nomad sold poorly, partly due to its price tag (one of the most expensive models in the Bel Air lineup) as well as its lack of four doors. Also the Nomad’s two-piece tailgate design was prone to let excess rainwater leak through to the interior.

The ’55 offered a wide array of colors. One solid color, which was standard for the 150, could be had for the 210 or Bel Air…or nineteen different two-tone color combinations were also available.

Transportation: Why Cheap New Cars Are Disappearing (Video)

There are about 40 different car brands in the United States, but one kind of car that appears to be disappearing is the cheap car. Historically, about 20 percent of vehicle sales would have transacted below $20,000; however, they have completely dried up in the last few years. New cars are becoming more expensive, and it is unlikely those cheap cars will ever be back.

Technology: Dutch ‘PAL-V’ Is World’s First Certified Flying Car (Video)

The world’s first-ever commercial flying car was recently unveiled by Dutch vehicle manufacturer PAL-V. Here’s what that means for our roads (and our skies).

Starting with the undercarriage, which PAL-V credits as their main breakthrough. The company was looking for a three-wheeled design that could still be stable when turning at normal road-going speeds.

In 2005, they discovered the work of another Dutch company, Carver, which made 3-wheeled cars that tilted like motorcycles. A hydraulic tilting system like that could eliminate the need for a 4th wheel and also be useful to raise the whole vehicle up, giving it ground clearance for a rear-facing propeller. Then there was the matter of generating lift.

Fixed wing aircraft need air to move over their wings fast enough to stay aloft, otherwise they’ll stall. A fixed wing flying car has to compromise the size and shape of its wings in the name of practicality, meaning its risk of stalling is higher. So PAL-V chose a rotary wing design instead, but rather than make their flying car a helicopter, they decided it should be an autogyro.

This Flying Car Costs $599K—and It’s Now Street Legal in Holland https://singularityhub.com/2020/10/29…

“In driving mode the Liberty can go up to 99 miles per hour, and in flight mode its max speed is 112 miles per hour. For comparison’s sake, the average helicopter can go up to about 160 miles per hour.”

Tech: ‘2021 Toyota Mirai’ – Enhanced Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Car (Video)

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is the second generation of zero emission hydrogen fuel cell electric sedan.

One of the principal aims for the new 2021 Mirai has been to give the car a stronger emotional appeal, making it a car that people will be attracted to by its looks and the way it drives, as well its eco-performance. The new GA-L platform and Toyota’s advances in FCEV technologies have made this possible. Toyota’s new fuel cell stack and fuel cell power converter (FCPC) have been developed specifically for use with the GA-L platform.

The designers have been able to bring all the elements together in the stack frame (including the water pumps, intercooler, air conditioning and air compressors and the hydrogen recirculation pump) with each part made smaller and lighter, while at the same time improving performance. The stack case itself has been made smaller by using Friction Stir Welding, reducing the gap between the fuel cell and casing.

The new Mirai is equipped with lithium-ion high-voltage battery in place of the current model’s nickel-metal hydride unit. Although smaller in size, it is more energy-dense, giving higher output and superior environmental performance. Containing 84 cells, it has a 310.8 rated voltage compared to 244.8, and a 4.0 Ah capacity, versus 6.5 Ah. Overall weight has been reduced from 46.9 to 44.6 kg. The output has improved from 25.5 kW x 10 seconds to 31.5 kW x 10 seconds.

The battery’s smaller dimensions have allowed it to be positioned behind the rear seats, avoiding intrusion in the load compartment. An optimised air-cooling path has been designed, with discreet inlets either side of the rear seats. The environmental benefit of driving the Toyota Mirai go beyond zero emissions to “negative emissions” – the car effectively cleans the air as it moves. A Toyota innovation, a catalyst-type filter is incorporated in the air intake.

As air is drawn into the vehicle to supply the fuel cell, an electric charge on the non-woven fabric filter element captures microscopic particles of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx) and PM 2.5 particulates. The system is effective in removing 90 to 100% of particles between 0 and 2.5 microns in diameter from the air as it passes into the fuel cell system.