The News for August 4th, 2017

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Aston Martin shows off new Vantage (sort of)

  • Toyota and Mazda enter new business and capital alliance

  • BMW confirms Z4 concept will debut at Pebble Beach

  • Nissan gives us another early glimpse at the LEAF

  • What’s your automotive news?

Aston Martin previews new Vantage

Aston Martin is finally getting around to replacing the Vantage lineup, only twelve years since it debuted. It’s been getting cooler and more powerful by the year, but there’s no denying it’s quite dated compared to every other $100,000+ luxury sports car it competes with. A new Vantage is due by the end of the year with sales likely starting in 2018, so Aston Martin is giving us a little glimpse into the future.
Despite the camouflage, it’s easy to tell that this car draws heavily from the super-limited DB10 that was built for the last James Bond film. The general proportions, roof line, grille, headlights, rear haunches, and rear fascia/diffuser area all seem to be borrowed or at least inspired by the movie car. I can’t say I’m surprised since Aston said from day one that the DB10 could preview forthcoming models.

It’s still too early for any confirmed specs, but we can always speculate. Given their relationship with Mercedes-AMG, we can safely assume the Vantage will use the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 as found in the AMG GT/GTS and other AMG cars. Aston Martin is already familiar with that engine too now that they’re offering it in the DB11 as well.
As Road & Track points out, the stickers on the side could indicate a gearbox sourced from Oerlikon Graziano, an Italian company who supplied Aston’s old automated manuals and now produces McLaren’s gearboxes. Even though the bigger Astons are automatic only, I’d be surprised if the smaller and sportier Vantage didn’t come with a manual.
But of course, this is all speculation until they officially reveal it later this year. We may see it as early as the Frankfurt Motor Show in September or the Los Angeles Auto Show in December.
[Source: Road & Track]

Toyota and Mazda enter business and capital alliance

Today, Toyota and Mazda signed an agreement to enter a business and capital alliance to strengthen their partnership and promote sustainable growth, which seems to have been two years in the making.
Specifically, they’ve agreed to: 1) establish a joint venture that produces vehicles in the United States, 2) jointly develop technologies for electric vehicles, 3) jointly develop connected-car technology, 4) collaborate on advanced safety technologies and 5) expand complementary products.
While there is money changing hands to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, this arrangement preserves independence and equality for both companies. It’s not a takeover, but a true partnership. Toyota will acquire 31,928,500 shares of common stock newly issued by Mazda (representing 5% of Mazda and 50 billion Yen / $451 million). Mazda will, through a disposition of treasury stock through a third-party allotment to be implemented by Toyota, acquire Toyota shares that are equivalent in value to the Mazda shares (shareholding ratio of 0.25% on an issued share basis).
All this new capital will be directly reinvested into both companies, primarily as it relates to building vehicles in the US – and if they go through with doing so jointly (under the same roof), Mazda expects to build crossovers while Toyota builds the new Corolla.
To expand a little on point 5 (complementary products), Mazda is currently supplying a compact sedan to Toyota in the North American market, and Toyota will supply a compact commercial “two-box” van to Mazda in Japan. This agreement means they’ll also explore other complementary products on a global level.
For Mazda especially, this is a huge deal. They make some great cars but they just aren’t selling as well as their competition. So partnering with Toyota who sells lots of everything means they can get substantial support when they start building cars together. Right now, Mazda doesn’t have any hybrids or EVs in the lineup, so who better to get that from than Toyota? Same thing goes for the connected car tech and safety features – Mazda could develop that on their own eventually, but working with someone as big and powerful as Toyota will make that happen much quicker. Future Mazdas just might become competitive again.
As for Toyota, maybe they have their eye on Mazda’s SkyActiv engines? Or probably the rotary. Definitely the rotary.
[Source: Toyota]

BMW Z4 concept coming to Pebble Beach

Last weekend, BMW sent out a cryptic tweet along with a teaser image for a new car making its debut in the coming weeks. “Find out what is hiding in the dark on August 17th at Pebble Beach”, it says.
What’s hiding in the dark is almost certainly a preview of the new Z4 in the form of a concept car. BMW almost always brings some concept(s) to Pebble Beach instead of debuting production models, but this would be our first look at the upcoming Z4 which is built on a new chassis co-developed by BMW and Toyota (for the Supra). There aren’t any other details shared by BMW at this time, so we’ll just have to wait another couple weeks.
[Source: BMW]

Nissan’s more revealing LEAF teaser

We’re about a month away from the world debut of the new Nissan LEAF, so as is tradition, have another teaser image. However, this one is much more revealing than the last one we got and actually shows off more of the car’s styling. A few words accompany this release to emphasize its efficient new profile which I’ll paraphrase below.
The new LEAF will be able to travel farther per charge thanks to less drag in its new design. But they also promise more stability at speed by making it lower to the ground and getting creative with a few other surfaces. They say the designers were inspired by airplane wings to “recreate the ideal shape for the new LEAF, enabling a symmetric air flow that helps it slice through the air for a smoother, more efficient journey”. Yes, wings are designed to produce lift which is typically a no-no in cars, but I’ll let them have this.
The 2018 Nissan LEAF makes its debut on September 5th. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see a teaser before then.
[Source: Nissan]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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23 responses to “The News for August 4th, 2017”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    I hope the Toyota lead designers do an internship at Mazda. Cars can grab attention not just by being shockingly incoherent and sharp-edged, but also by being sexy. Please pay attention, Toyota.

    1. kogashiwa Avatar

      I do absolutely love the LC500 but I have to wonder what a new Cosmo would look like.
      Gratuitous pic of last Cosmo:

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Unfortunately I can’t see another car being so low in the main body, especially if shared with a Lexus

  2. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    Scratching my head….I understand what Mazda gains in partnering with Toyota, but I don’t understand why Toyota would do it.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Agreed, Toyota must have raided the petty cash tin to fund their part, this is pretty small potatoes for them. Dare I say it, MX5/86?

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I guess Toyota doesn’t feel threatened by Mazda, and especially Mazda’s situation in the US is heartbreaking: Develop gorgeous, well-to-drive, test winning cars, that have good fuel economy and excellent reliability…then lose market share? Beyond my understanding. But the Japanese might just be inspired by the Germans again; ABM have started to work together more (e.g. map making/digitalization of driving) and I have no doubt cooperation can provide a significant edge for all involved in the condensed car industry.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Quite the contrast to Australia where Mazda is no. 2 in the market selling just over 50% of what Toyota does. They sell about 50% more here than in Canada.
          Of course it helps that they sell pickups here! Just over 10% of their volume.

  3. kogashiwa Avatar

    I don’t want a Toyota re-(de-)styled Mazda 2, I just want the Mazda 2 🙁
    Seems to be good news overall though. Maybe the RX-9 can share the Supra/Z4 platform? One step away from the prophecies of the oracle and toward reality?

  4. theskitter Avatar

    I remember the first time I saw bzr in print.
    And now, another One Of Our Own.
    He of boost, legos, and wagons.
    Has this month’s Road And Track Cover Story.
    I remember like it was ten years ago.
    When Hooniverse was a twinkle in the Jalopnik commentariat’s eye.
    Talking about, oh please, next you’ll tell me they’ll make Four Fastings And A Furious.
    That’ll be the day.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Shift happens

  5. ptschett Avatar

    I’ve commenced a garage destuffening as part of the preparation toward obtaining my very own Project House Hell. I hauled nearly a full pickup box (mostly recyclables but also pretty much all my used oil, old filters & other old auto fluids) to the city household hazardous waste site & recycling dropoff place today; finally got rid of an old motorcycle battery and an old laptop battery too. I think I gave the guy who helped unload his weird item of the day with the gallon jug of 10% nitro R/C plane fuel.
    Next up is separating the KLR650’s plastics and fluids from the metals with the goal of taking it to a local ferrous & nonferrous metal recycler.
    The end goal is reshuffling my garage layout to attempt having the storage shelves in the left front corner, with the Challenger backed in on the left side, and the Ram driven into the right side; and to free up enough of the shelving that I can easily reshuffle again. I know the Ram’s going to be tight in the garage, but I know there are people with nominally the same garage that are living with the same issue (though I’m not going to put up with it indefinitely like they seem to be) and I think the nose-first parking is helping them (I assume they’re getting the furthest-forward part of the nose into a gap between the 2′-on center studs.) I actually had that garage layout for about a week when I first moved in, with the Dakota and the Thunderbird; the problem I had then was that I was worried I was going to hit the storage rack with the car’s back bumper or get the pickup’s back end run into by a crossing car I couldn’t see, but now I have backup sensors and a rear view camera on both vehicles.

  6. salguod Avatar

    Was planning on doing the exhaust on the RSX this weekend, but it turns out that the gaskets and fasteners are unobtainable locally. So, ordered they will be and I’ll be doing it later.
    Sunny and mild means that I should get the BMW cleaned up and photographed for sale. Thinking of using BAT to sell it. Given the documentation I have back to new, it seems they might bring the kind of audience who will appreciate it. Not sure it’ll bring another $100 there vs. Craigslist to justify the price of listing. Thoughts?

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      yo, fuck Craigslist. i dealt with flakes and tire-kickers for months trying to sell my 240D on CL. worst story: one guy pretended to be a shop teacher and strung me along for a week with stories of the school board not wanting to pay the price we’d agreed upon for the car. after he abandoned that story, i called the school district. he did not work there and they got all their cars donated. he claimed he was on his way, but i called him and told him to go back to houston.
      counterpoint: i live in Waco, TX, a pretty small place, and the Mercedes was a weird car. when i was selling my Miata, a buyer came down from Dallas within a week of the listing going up, was super-straightforward with me, and drove it away within an hour.
      in the end the Benz sold for a fair price to someone i liked, but CL can be a very frustrating experience. if your car is truly BaT-worthy, go for it. i also think car forums are a really good place to sell finicky cars like BMWs. enthusiasts will often pay above market value for an enthusiast-owned car with good documentation. i paid probably 1.5-2x book value for my Volvo from a Volvo forum nerd, and four years later i don’t regret it.

      1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

        The problem with selling a car through an enthusiast forum is that fact that forums seem to be going the way of the dodo. Forum members seem to be flocking over to Facebook and the like, which I find rather annoying since it tends to be a less efficient way of communicating.

        1. salguod Avatar

          I was just reading this on Hemmings and the young guy at work says that everything car related is on FB now. I can’t fathom it. FB is a decent way of keeping up with folks I’ve known forever, but would suck at car info sharing. If we’d been using FB for years for that and someone came up with a forum, we’d rejoice.

        2. nanoop Avatar

          You need an archive, the “lexicon” corner of each forum. Searchable by any search engine, optimally.
          Not to bark “Use the search function!”, but to welcome the new member and show them where they might find their info.
          When I went to school, I was told “you don’t have to know everything all the time, but have to know where it’s written”.
          Then, everything seems to be written on the interwebs, so the advice turned into “You have to know where to ask”.
          Today, it’s “Just ask.”

      2. salguod Avatar

        That’s the question, is it BAT worthy? It’s a well used (263K), but well maintained and documented, example of a not well loved model (318ti). It cleans up fairly well, but the the front seats are worn and cracked, the headliner’s a mess and the driver’s door panel needs repair. The body undercarriage is quite clean, but there is significant rust in the quarters. It was my daily up until a month ago and runs and drives great, although it needs a clutch (noisy throwout bearing), a stabilizer mount and a fan. A very honest, original car not without issues. I’d hope for $1500 or so in it’s current condition locally.
        A BAT listing is $99, but I figure I’m more likely to reach the guy like me who loves the maintenance records back to new, complete original owner’s manual & documents, both factory alarm remotes, etc. I suppose if I crest $1600 on BAT, I’m ahead, right?

        1. wunno sev Avatar
          wunno sev

          hmm. tbh, i don’t know. rust is the one thing you can’t unbolt and replace. i really shouldn’t speak for anyone past myself, but from what i’ve seen, enthusiasts tend to think of cars with significant rust as parts cars.

          1. salguod Avatar

            Yeah. I really like it and am certainly over selling its strengths and minimizing its weaknesses. The quarter rust is not trivial.
            I get really excited about a car with a known history, but I’m not sure that many people feel the same.
            It turns out that you have to submit your car and they decide if it’s BAT worthy. Plus, there’s a 5%, $250 min, buyer’s premium. Who’s going to pay $250 to buy a $1600 car? I’ll probably try the forums first, then Craigslist.

  7. Scoutdude Avatar

    I added to the fleet today. 02 F150 XL 4×4 Supercab 6.5′ bed. It is the cleanest and nicest ex gov’t fleet truck I have every seen. For what ever reason, possibly the hotter than average temps currently in our area everything at that auction was going cheap. So when the bidding stalled at $3500 I couldn’t not bid the $3600 that brought it home. Surprisingly my wife didn’t throw a fit though she certainly reminded me that I still haven’t got rid of the vehicles that my recent purchases were supposed to replace.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Congrats! Do you buy at auctions often? Sounds like a great deal.

  8. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    So my roommate was looking at an ’82 Honda CBX for a fun weekend project to eventually flip. It was in Virginia (we’re in Georgia) and his normal tow vehicle wasn’t available, so he asked to use my truck. I went with him and got to tow a (small) trailer for the first time. The truck handled it like it was nothing and I even managed to back up a few times without destroying anything.
    10 hours later, we get to this rural part of Virginia and he starts looking over it. All is okay minus some more cracks and rust spots than he was expecting, but then he finds the fuel tank is almost completely rusted on the inside. Like, bad. The guy was firm on the asking price, so not wanting to buy into a money pit, we walked away. 21 hours total on the road, a thousand miles, a day with a U-Haul bike trailer, and a shit load of gas (which he covered) only to come back empty handed. I think he made a good call, though we probably should have never gone that far for it in the first place.
    New rule: we only travel within one state away from now on.

    1. Alff Avatar

      After feeling compelled to buy a car I would not otherwise have considered but for the sunk investment in time and money, I am no longer willing to travel to purchase a vehicle unless it’s really special.