2021 Nissan Rogue aces IIHS crash testing after faltering in NHTSA tests

It’s been a minute since a single model has caused this much attention to be cast on it due to crash test scores, but here we are with more news on how safe the 2021 Nissan Rogue is.

Nissan just announced its intention to retrofit 2021 Rogues made before January 28 with new equipment to better protect the passenger in a crash on account of a two-star front passenger-side NHTSA crash test rating. Nissan told us that “the changes include updating the passenger air bag module, replacing the front passenger seat belt and updating related software.” A second test will be run with these updates in May.

Mere hours after this announcement, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released its crash test findings for the new Rogue. It received the highest possible honors, as the IIHS awarded it with a Top Safety Pick+ rating.

We queried Nissan to find out if the Rogue used for IIHS testing had the fix applied to it, and a company spokesperson informed us that it did not. That would mean the IIHS and the NHTSA were testing the same spec of car, but came to different conclusions.

Following this, we reached out to the IIHS for a more detailed report. We then learned that the IIHS used crash data provided by Nissan (a common practice) for almost all of the 2021 Rogue’s tests: moderate overlap front, side, driver-side small overlap front and passenger-side small overlap front. Nissan submitted two sets of data for the passenger-side small overlap front test (one for a Rogue made in the Kyushu, Japan plant and one from the U.S. factory), but the results were “nearly identical” and performed well by IIHS metrics.

Varied results from crash test scores between the IIHS and NHTSA are not unusual — different methods and strategies are used by both organizations — but the large gulf between the two is still enough to raise our eyebrows. Joe Young, an IIHS spokesperson, pointed out that the tests it performs are not equivalent (and observe different outcomes) than what the NHTSA tests do. For example, the IIHS front crash test ratings are based on “structural intrusion, dummy injury measures and dummy kinematics,” while the NHTSA test focuses only on restraints and injury measures taken from the crash dummies.

“I don’t know exactly what led to NHTSA downgrading the passenger rating, but I can say that we didn’t observe any deficiencies in the passenger-side small overlap front test,” Young told us.

Every test the IIHS observed returned the maximum “Good” rating, including all frontal crash tests, which is the area that tripped up the Rogue in the NHTSA test. Not only did the Rogue ace all IIHS crash tests, but it also received a Good rating for its standard (and only option) LED headlights. Full marks were given for front crash prevention testing and ease of use for the child seat anchors, too.

We’ll update this post as we learn more. According to the IIHS, though, the 2021 Nissan Rogue is as safe a vehicle as its testing can measure.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Volkswagen CEO tweets, Musk-style, on market-cap milestone

LONDON/FRANKFURT — When the market value of Germany’s Volkswagen briefly rose above the 100-billion-euro mark on Wednesday for the first time since 2015, the boss of the normally staid carmaker took to Twitter, Elon Musk-style, to crow about it.

VW shares soared as much as 6% after investment bank UBS raised its price target on the stock by 50% and said the company’s new electric vehicle platform was set to challenge Tesla’s dominance in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market.

Herbert Diess, chief executive of VW Group, highlighted the UBS note on Twitter and shared the market capitalisation milestone.

“The market has been waiting for our #BEV-ramp-up and wanted to see some proof points,” Diess posted.

Traders reacted with comparisons to Tesla chief Elon Musk who frequently uses Twitter to talk up products developed by his companies, cryptocurrencies or other buzzing technologies.

The comparison, at least for now, must end there.

Diess sent his first tweet using the “@Herbert_Diess” handle less than two months ago and has since tweeted 51 times. While he has managed to amass almost 25,000 followers in this time, Musk can boast of 48.3 million.

“The sheer fact that he started his own account apart from the official VW account tells me, that between the lines he wants to express: We are here,” a Germany-based trader said.

Though unrelated and more a market-moving tweet, another trader highlighted instances of a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision on Musk’s tweet in 2018 that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share.

EV RACE VS. MARKET CAP RACE

But despite recent share price gains — up 20% this year — VW’s market capitalization is just one-sixth that of Tesla. Shares trade 7.5 times 12-month forward earnings; possibly its role in the EV transition is not fully priced.

Tesla meanwhile trades at 160 times 12-month forward earnings, levels many consider bubble-like.

On the market capitalization gap, UBS said VW’s only takes into account its EV business out to 2025, and doesn’t price its cash flow-rich legacy business, indicating there is room for the share price to rise.

It added that VW would likely “master” the transition to close the volume gap with Tesla in 2022.

At 300 euros, UBS has the most bullish price target on VW. Analysts’ median price target on its shares was 191 euros, according to Refinitiv data.

Preferred shares, which are listed in Germany’s benchmark DAX index, hit January 2018 highs on Wednesday, while ordinary shares rose as much as 5.6% to their highest since July 2015, two months before the diesel scandal broke.

VW closed 4.7% higher at 185.18 euros per share on the day, taking its market value to 99 billion euros.

Tesla vs VW https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzz/ygdvzellrpw/Pasted%20image%201614767907811.png

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Christoph Seitz in Frankfurt; Editing by Sujata Rao and Jonathan Oatis)

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‘No dinosaur’ — Carmaker Stellantis steps up electric ambitions

MILAN/PARIS — Newly-formed Stellantis, a combination of Peugeot-maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler (FCA), wants to use its clout to take on rivals racing to produce more electric vehicles, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday.

Stellantis is now the world’s fourth largest carmaker, with 14 brands including Opel, Jeep, Ram and Maserati, and like its peers, it is grappling with a shortage of semiconductors and investments in electric vehicles.

Low global car inventories and cost cuts should help boost profit margins this year, though the carmaker is also looking beyond savings, Tavares said.

“This is not a crisis merger,” he told an analyst conference, after Stellantis forecast higher profitability for 2021 and PSA and Fiat which merged in January reported better-than-expected results for 2020.

“This is a merger that is going to open new opportunities for a company that is sound, with talented people … who do not want to be cornered in a legacy or a dinosaur position.”

Stellantis aims to deliver over 5 billion euros a year in savings through the merger, as well as bulking up to face industry challenges.

Automakers are racing to develop electric vehicles to meet tighter CO2 emissions targets in Europe and this week Volvo joined a growing number of carmakers aiming for a fully-electric line-up by 2030.

Stellantis plans to have fully-electric or hybrid versions of all of its vehicles available in Europe by 2025, broadly in line with plans at top rivals such as Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan, although Stellantis has further to go to meet that goal.

The group said 2021 results should be helped by three new high-margin Jeep vehicles in North America and a strong pricing environment there. The U.S. market has driven profits for years at FCA and starts off as the strongest part of Stellantis.

The carmaker is targeting an adjusted operating profit margin of 5.5%-7.5% this year.

That compares with a 5.3% aggregated margin last year: 4.3% at FCA and 7.1% at PSA excluding a controlling stake in parts maker Faurecia, which is set to be spun-off from Stellantis shortly.

Tavares said he did not consider the guidance to be cautious. It assumes no more significant lockdowns caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, but the executive warned of other headwinds including the rising price of raw materials.

The industry is being squeezed by a COVID-19-related global shortage of semiconductors, used for everything from maximising engine fuel economy to driver-assistance features.

Tavares said the problems might not be fully resolved by the second half of 2021, as some auto rivals have flagged, describing supplies as the “big unknown” for revenues in 2021.

COST CUTS

The group is now working through reorganizing some of its factory set-ups, though it has pledged to close no plants, and finalizing new management teams.

Priorities for 2021 will also include defining a strategy for China, Tavares said, where some Stellantis brands have struggled more than rivals.

Tavares, who previously ran PSA, achieved an improvement in margins at the French carmaker by cutting costs, simplifying its vehicle line-up and delivering synergies on its purchase of Opel/Vauxhall, a strategy investors hope he can replicate.

Combined adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to 7.1 billion euros ($8.6 billion) at the group last year. At the end of 2020, combined liquidity stood at 57.4 billion euros and free cash flow at 3.3 billion euros.

Stellantis is planning a capital markets day for late 2021 or early 2022. The group’s shares closed flat on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari in Milan, Nick Carey in London and Gilles Guillaume in Paris. Additional reporting by Giancarlo Navach and Sarah White. Editing by Mark Potter and Elaine Hardcastle)

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Ford offering some Mustang Mach-E buyers $1,000 cash, 250 kWh free charging due to delivery delays

Buyers who have ordered a Ford Mustang Mach-E are experiencing delivery delays, as the automaker works to address quality issues. Now, in a goodwill gesture, Ford is offering some buyers of the Mustang Mach-E additional free charging or even $1,000 cash to compensate for delivery delays.

An email sent out over the signature of Ford vice president of sales, Andrew Frick, went to some 4,500 Mach-E buyers. The email says:

“Thank you for putting your trust in Ford Motor Company and for taking the first step toward an electrified future, with the order of your Mustang Mach-E. We are all so excited to have you as a customer and believe you deserve an excellent shopping and ownership experience.

This is why we want to take a moment to update you on some of the challenges we’ve faced in meeting demand and delivery timing for the Mustang Mach-E. We continue to build and ship vehicles every day, but we’re doing so with a meticulous attention to detail and dedication to quality. Your vehicle timing was impacted by more than one of these quality checks.

We know you are anxious to get driving and experience the 0-60 thrills, zero emissions and more from the Mustang Mach-E. Because we believe that customers should be treated like family, we are providing you a $1000 private offer on your Mustang Mach-E at time of delivery at your Ford dealership. Your dealer is aware of this unique offer. If you have already taken delivery, you can contact Ford at the number listed below to claim this offer. We are also providing you an additional 250 kWh of complementary DC fast charging on us. 

Your Mustang Mach-E comes with 250 kWh and you have an additional 250 kWh for a total of 500 kWh of complimentary charging at Electrify America fast charging stations on the FordPass Charging Network.

Please download the FordPass app, activate your vehicle’s modem and also go online to www.ford.com/connectedservices to activate your two years of complimentary access to the FordPass Charging Network and 500 kWh of fast charging. Once enrolled, your complimentary charging will show up in your account.

Thank you for choosing the Mustang Mach-E. We know you can hardly wait to get on the road, and we are excited to have you as part of our Mustang family. If you have questions or need help, please call our dedicated call center team at 1-833-385-0523 to learn more.

Andrew Frick

Vice President of Sales, US and Canada”

Some buyers, however, got a similar email but without mention of any $1,000 offer. They only got the additional free charging.

Quoted in torquenews.com, Ford spokesperson Emma Bergg explained that the difference in the offers is related to the length of the delay in delivery. Ford has not revealed what the quality issues are with the Mach-E, however.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

California startup touts battery-swapping to juice demand for electric vehicles

Ample, a seven-year-old San Francisco startup, wants to skirt one of the big hurdles to widespread adoption of electric vehicles by reviving the idea of quick, automated battery swaps for owners concerned about running out of juice while driving.

The main benefits, according to co-founders Khaled Hassounah and John de Souza, are time and cost savings. EV owners would no longer face long lines and wait times at charging stations. And the cost of the modular batteries that Ample has developed could be amortized over longer periods of time, which in turn could lower the initial cost of an electric vehicle, much of which currently is tied to the battery pack.

Hassounah, Ample’s chief executive, and de Souza, president, said their system can replace a depleted battery with a fully charged one in less than 10 minutes, using an automated process that “works with any electric vehicle,” at a cost “as cheap as gasoline.”

Despite Ample’s bold business model, the road blocks to success are many.

The concept of battery swapping was tried more than 10 years ago, with great fanfare and lots of funding, by Israeli startup Better Place. The company raised — and eventually burned through — more than $800 million before closing its doors in 2013 after failing to convince enough vehicle manufacturers to embrace its concept.

Ample, which faces competition from at least six startups with similar strategies, has raised $55 million from such backers as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Spain’s Repsol SA, according to investor website PitchBook.

Although Tesla Inc initially tested, then withdrew, a plan to offer battery swapping to customers, EV maker Nio Inc lets customers swap batteries at some 200 locations in China. Honda Motor Co Ltd has partnered with Yamaha Motor Co Ltd and scooter maker Piaggio to develop swappable batteries for light electric vehicles.

Automakers also are rolling out vehicles with improved battery packs that provide longer range between charges, as well as shorter charge times, which could make battery swapping obsolete.

A greater impediment may be that automakers including Tesla and General Motors Co already have or are working on proprietary battery systems, and are likely uninterested in redesigning their vehicles to accommodate Ample’s modular batteries.

Hassounah said Ample is working with four of the world’s 10 largest automakers, but declined to identify them. The company also has partnered with Uber Technologies Inc in San Francisco, swapping batteries in Nissan Leafs.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Matthew Lewis.

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Alpine team launches its F1 car, says Alonso is ‘fully operational’

LONDON — Fernando Alonso is fit and ‘fully operational’ after jaw surgery and will be fine for Formula One’s pre-season testing in Bahrain, his Alpine team boss said on Tuesday.

The double world champion fractured his jaw in a collision with a car while cycling on a road near his home in Switzerland last month.

“Fernando is doing very well,” Alpine chief executive Laurent Rossi told reporters at the online launch of the team’s new A521 car, with the Spaniard absent.

“He had a bad incident. A bike accident is rarely something that goes easy, but he was lucky, and he ended up only suffering from his jaw… the rest is totally fine. Fernando is completely fit. He is totally operational.

“We are even surprised that he’s recovered so quickly. He confirmed to us immediately almost after the incident that he will be in Bahrain, which has been confirmed with his doctors,” added Rossi.

“It looks like he was right because he’s absolutely fit, and we are looking forward to seeing him next week in the car.”

Formula One’s only pre-season test is in Bahrain from March 12-14. The season starts there on March 28.

Davide Brivio, the team’s new sporting director, said Alonso was extremely motivated for his comeback after two years out of the sport and at the age of 39.

“I can feel chatting with him, you can see how hard he’s working, how strong is his desire to be back,” said the Italian.

Brivio, who has joined from MotoGP champions Suzuki, said the Spaniard was not returning just for the sake of it but wanted success.

“He’s quite demanding but that’s what I like,” he added. “We need this type of driver that’s really keen to put everything together, to try the maximum.”

Russian Daniil Kvyat will be Alpine F1 reserve driver this season, the Renault-owned team said.

Kvyat lost his race seat at Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri to Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda at the end of last season. The 26-year-old also served as Ferrari reserve in 2018 when he was also dropped by Red Bull.

He has made 110 race starts to date, with three podium finishes.

“In a year of pandemic, it is important for us to have a strong backup, and Daniil has proven that he’s a very quick and reliable driver under very difficult conditions,” said Rossi.

“He has already scored three podiums at the age of 26, so we are very, very happy to have someone who is going to be able to step up if the need arises and score the points, take the car where it should be at the end of the line.”

Alpine have Frenchman Esteban Ocon, 24, and Alonso as their race lineup.

Their reserve last year, as the Renault team, was Russian Sergey Sirotkin. Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou will be the test driver.

Six of the 20 Formula One drivers have contracted COVID-19 so far, with three including Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton missing races last season and requiring a replacement.

The 2021 season starts in Bahrain on March 28.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Cobra Daytona Coupe was Carroll Shelby’s own, and now could be yours

What is being billed as Carroll Shelby’s personal Daytona Coupe is being offered for sale. Known as chassis number CSX 2469, it shares a body with the famous Shelby race cars that won numerous races around across the globe in the mid-1960s.

The Shelby Daytona was an evolution of the Shelby Cobra roadster, developed to run in the GT classes in some of the world’s toughest endurance races. With a streamlined design penned by a young Peter Brock and a Ford V8 under the clamshell hood, it won its category in prestigious races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring, Nürburgring 1000km, and its namesake event, the 24 Hours of Daytona (for a history of Shelby, the documentary Shelby American on Netflix is a very good time).

In recent months, several Shelby-owned cars have come up for sale, including a 1986 Dodge Omni GLHS, a twin-supercharged 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, and a restored 1965 Cobra 427 that sold for $5.94 million.

The six original Daytona Coupes range in price depending on the racing provenance. The one driven by Bob Bondurant to win the GT class of the 1965 World Manufacturers Championship sold for $7.25 million in 2009, setting a world record price for the auction of an American car at the time. That record has since been broken, but the reigning champion is now the first Shelby Cobra ever built, sold in 2016 for a cool $13.75 million.

This car, however, is not one of those six. It was built as a Cobra roadster and then converted to a Daytona Coupe during Shelby’s ownership. It includes an Oregon title showing the car was titled under Carroll Shelby Enterprises, and has FIA paperwork approving it for vintage racing. Technically, only cars with racing history qualify for vintage races like the Monterey Historics.

This chassis has vintage raced at Laguna Seca and Goodwood, and the list of famous butts in its driver’s seat include Phil Hill, Derek Bell, and John Morton, to name a few.

So, while it’s not one of the legend-making originals, it’s still got the Carroll Shelby connection. It seems whoever owns the Shelby cars is liquidating the collection, and it’ll be interesting to see how this one does compared to other recent sales. For more photos, check out the listing at Worldwide Auctioneers.

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These best-selling car sun shades could end up saving your interior

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

We’ve finally made it to the part of the year when the sun is beginning to come around more and more each day. With more sunlight, that means more potential for harmful rays to fade or even crack and damage your interior when your car is sitting outside in the sun. If you’re worried about keeping your interior pristine, or just want to keep things cooler, it’s probably a good time of year to start thinking about protecting your car with a windshield sun shade. Here are some of the best that Amazon has to offer. Before making a purchase, please be sure that whichever sun shade you choose will fit your vehicle correctly!

Hundred Dollar Bill Front Windshield Sun Shade – $16.90 at Amazon.com

This BDK brand sun shade comes in all kinds of awesome designs, from leopard print to an American flag and everything in between. It’s got a 58-inch width x 28-inch height that’s mean to fit “most personal vehicles,” but we still recommend using the Amazon “Select Your Vehicle” tool to make sure this will be compatible with your ride if you’re planning on picking one up. According to the item description, this sun shade can reduce your interior’s temperature by 30 to 50 degrees on a hot day, and of course, it blocks those harmful UV rays from beating down onto your interior. This one is a foldable “accordion” design that makes it easy to compress down and store. The shade has more than 6,000 Amazon ratings with a total score of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Reviewer Debbie K. said this about the sun shade in her five-star review:

I am strangely picky about sun shades, so to say I am thrilled with this sun shade is something. I love the ease of this sun shade, I love the look of this sun shade, I love how functional it is and how it easily folds and stores. It [even] has a velcro strap to keep it folded nicely. It’s quick and easy to use. The flag is a bonus, [it] looks amazing in my car! Love everything about it. #USA

Want to learn more about the BDK offering and check out more of their designs? You can do so right here. 

A1 Shades – From $12.99 at Amazon.com

This A1 shade comes in several different sizes from XS to 3XL. Like all of the options in this list, the shade is made to protect your interior from harmful sun rays. The A1 shade was designed by an automotive engineer to ensure the shade was created to the highest standards. According to the product description, “the support structures fully adapt to the front window of your SUV or car, and always have the best fit.” This brand also has a size chart that makes it easy to select which size you’ll need for your vehicle. With more than 10,000 ratings in the Amazon store it’s sitting at a cumulative score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Reviewer Paula J. had this to say in her five-star review of the shade:

I had just asked my two grown sons why NO ONE was capable of making a car sun shade that would actually work. Summer after summer I would spend money on shades that would melt as soon as the temperature went past 75 degrees – which it always does in Southern California. I haunted the big box/home improvement/auto stores and even ordered some from Amazon. Epic failures, all! I LOVE THESE! The size chart in the description is easy to read and both shades fit our cars perfectly – a small 4-door Kia Forte and my husband’s Kia Sportage. They’re easy to unfold and stay up even without using the sun visors but I used them anyway. It’s really pitiful how thrilled I am with these but I always tell my boys that it’s not the big things in life that will bring you down it’s the constant irritation from the little things. Thank you A1! I’m gifting these to all my friends and family.

Want to learn more? Check out the A1 shades right here.

Magnelex Windshield Sunshade – From $12.90 at Amazon.com

This Magnelex sun shade is available in three sizes: medium, large, and extra large. This brand offers a size chart as well to make sure you get the perfect sized shade for your vehicle. The Magnelex shade is made of “premium quality reflective polyester material” and it comes with a storage bag as well as a bonus “steering wheel cover sun shade” to keep your steering wheel extra cool on those hot summer days. After nearly 23,000 reviews, this sun shade has a total score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Amazon reviewer This Guy had some entertaining advice for anyone planning on picking this product up in his five-star review:

If you’re too lazy to go out to your car with a tape measure, this what you do:
-Buy the extra large for any full size pickup(fits my F-150 perfectly).
-Buy the large if your car is a boat (think Cadillac, Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 series, etc.)
-Everything else(most cars) get the medium!
Don’t be like me and buy the large for your BMW 5 series (not a small car by any means). It will not fit! It’s very awkward and a pain to try to use.
PS: This is a good product and I do recommend it.

Interested? Learn more right here. 

EcoNour Windshield Sun Shade – From $13.99 at Amazon.com

Last but not least, the best-selling sun shade on Amazon right now is this EcoNour shade. It comes in six different sizes, is designed for easy set-up and tear-down, and its even made to fit conveniently in the door pockets of your vehicle when not in use. Like many of the other sun shades on Amazon, this brand offers its very own size chart to help customers correctly choose which size will work best with their car or truck. Amazingly, this shade has nearly 50,000 ratings on Amazon and it’s still sitting at an overall score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Amazon reviewer Sharon said this about the shade in her five-star review:

This is super easy to use. [Just] open and put [it] in [your] window, can’t get any easier than that. My GMC Denali sits outside in the Southeastern NC sun all day and this really made a difference. When I get into my truck I can actually sit on the leather seats without being burned. It also keeps the sun [off] my dash which is important down here in the Southeast. I would definitely recommend it.” 

Want to learn more about the EcoNour shade? You can do that right here. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Doctor challenges traffic ticket in Zoom court while performing surgery

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Medical Board of California said it would investigate a plastic surgeon who appeared in a videoconference for his traffic violation trial while operating.

The Sacramento Bee reports Dr. Scott Green appeared Thursday for his Sacramento Superior Court trial, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, from an operating room. He was dressed in surgical scrubs with a patient undergoing the procedure just out of view; the beeps of medical machinery can be heard in the background.

“Hello, Mr. Green? Hi. Are you available for trial?” asked a courtroom clerk as an officer summoned to appear in trial raised her eyebrows. “It kind of looks like you’re in an operating room right now?”

“I am, sir,” Green replied. “Yes, I’m in an operating room right now. Yes, I’m available for trial. Go right ahead.”

The clerk reminded Green the proceedings were being livestreamed because traffic trials are required by law to be open to the public, and Green said he understood. He appeared to continue working with his head down while waiting for Court Commissioner Gary Link to enter the chamber.

When Link appeared and saw the doctor on the screen, the judge hesitated to proceed with the trial out of concern for the welfare of the patient.

“I have another surgeon right here who’s doing the surgery with me, so I can stand here and allow them to do the surgery also,” Green said.

The judge said he didn’t think it was appropriate to conduct trial under the circumstances. He told Green he’d rather set a new date for trial “when you’re not actively involved or participating and attending to the needs of a patient.”

Green apologized.

“Sometimes, surgery doesn’t always go as …” he said before the judge interrupted him.

“It happens. We want to keep people healthy, we want to keep them alive. That’s important,” Link said.

The board said it would look into the incident, saying it “expects physicians to follow the standard of care when treating their patients.”

A call seeking comment from Green has not been returned.

Source: AutoBlog.com

See the resemblance? This sneaker is inspired by the 2021 Lexus IS

We can all rest easy at night, now that one of the world’s great questions — What would a Lexus IS look like if it were a shoe? — has been answered. Lexus has collaborated with streetwear brand RTFKT to make a sneaker inspired by the 2021 Lexus IS.

The project is part of a Lexus campaign called “All In” that celebrates people who are passionate about their craft. For the cynical, you can read this as a campaign that uses influencers in non-automotive fields to put the IS in front of a new audience and attract younger customers to the Lexus brand.

 

RTFKT calls themselves the first sneaker company to spring from the world of gaming. Their footwear leans towards the fanciful and futuristic styles typically found in video games, and a quick glance at their website presents the shoes as digital items of varying rarity that you might find in a game. RTFKT’s creative director Chris Le said, “We wanted to make sure when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it is the IS.”

We’re not so sure about that, though. If it weren’t for the Lexus F Sport logo on the side, Lexus badge on the Velcro strap and the model name embossed across on the back, we’d have a hard time guessing it had anything to do with a now-472 hp Japanese sports sedan.

RTFKT explains that certain design elements inspired by the car. The chunky sole in black evolved from a tire, for example. The front of the shoe is said to be a version of Lexus’s trademark spindle grille (though we’re not really seeing it). A 3D-printed carbon fiber-pattern “spoiler” on the back of the sneaker gets closer to the Lexus’s actual decklid wing. 

The sneaker’s sides use the Black NuLuxe material of the car’s interior with light gray stitching from the seats. The middle silver stripe was “inspired by the details of the headlights,” though given the “L” shape of the “L” DRLs on past Lexus IS sedans we’re surprised the collab isn’t with Nike. To be fair, the new IS’s DRL integration is much more pleasant to look at. Lastly, the Grecian Water blue color, one of the signature paints on the new IS, features throughout the shoe.

“All the intricate design elements come together, and at a first glance it’s a neckbreaker,” said RTFKT CEO Steven Zaptio. We are probably in no place to comment the veracity of that statement, but then neither is anyone else. As it turns out, no one will ever wear it, because it’s a one-off that will never go on sale.

Source: AutoBlog.com