Next-gen Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster EVs could pack 400 hp

Porsche hasn’t yet determined whether the next-gen 718 Cayman and Boxster will go all-electric. In April this year, Porsche boss Dr. Oliver Blume told Autocar, “We have prototypes of the 718 running in electric now, and a hybrid prototype is being built. If you look to the next generation of those cars it is possible, although it is not clear whether it would be plug-in hybrid or hybrid.”

In September, Porsche board member Lutz Meschke told Auto Express that engineers are testing “battery concepts” and “body styles” ahead of a final decision in 12 months. A new report in Car magazine affirms the decision timeline, but claims to have the gossip on what an electric 718 duo might deliver. The prime stats are two motors providing 400 horsepower in combined output and rear- or all-wheel drive.

Compared to today’s versions, that output would place an electric 718 Cayman above the 365-hp Cayman GTS model powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, below the 414-hp Cayman GT4 trim powered by a 4.0-liter atmospheric flat-six.  

While we wait for the decision about going down electric avenue, consensus is that Porsche will launch a hybrid version before 2023, when the electric 718s are meant to be due. Mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains developed for the flat-six in the new 911 are being evaluated for the boxer-four in the 718 twins. If Porsche does launch intermediate versions of the entry level sports cars with electric assistance, that would hew closely to the Macan crossover’s road map. The next generation of the small SUV will roll out a battery-electric powertrain in 2023, but Porsche will sell ICE-powered Macans for a few years alongside in order to ease the transition.

If and when the electric 718 Cayman and Boxster do show, expect them to share their platforms and drivetrain technology with the successor to the Audi TT and a potential rebirth of the Lamborghini Urraco as an electric GT. It’s expected that Porsche will utilize the benefits of its 15.5-percent stake in Rimac for assistance on both the EV Macan and 718.


Why Jamie Chadwick feels F1 is further away the closer she gets


LONDON — W Series champion Jamie Chadwick has taken a step closer to Formula One this year but her dream of one day competing at the pinnacle of motor racing feels further away than ever.

The Briton, who collected $500,000 for winning the inaugural all-female single-seater title, celebrated her 21st birthday in May with a new role as development driver for the Williams F1 team. She is also one of four finalists for the BRDC Young Driver of the Year award, which is co-sponsored by Red Bull’s title partners Aston Martin and whose main prize is a Formula One test.

The experience of being on the inside of the grand prix paddock has made her realize just how much more she has to do, however.

Asked whether she felt closer to becoming the first female Formula One driver since 1976, she replied: “To be completely honest, further away.

“Not in a bad way, in a really refreshing way, I feel I know what I need to now learn in the next few years. I’m not going to rush that. I’m not going to try and cheat it,” Chadwick added.

Those who enquire on social media whether she might replace departing Williams driver Robert Kubica were living in a fantasy world, not only because Chadwick lacks a super license but also because she is nowhere near ready.

Her world is very different to that of Mercedes’ six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, an admired compatriot she has yet to meet.

“I need the time to develop and if I get to Formula One I want to be the best possible driver to make the mark I need to make,” said Chadwick.


While the Williams role has been mostly simulator-based, her work has a direct correlation to what happens at the track.

Williams previously had Susie Wolff, now retired and a team principal in the all-electric Formula E series, in a similar role and gave the Scot track time in some Friday practice sessions.

Chadwick indicated she would be pushing for such an opportunity.

“In terms of getting in the car, that’s an ongoing discussion. We’re sort of pushing as hard as we can but we’ll see,” she said.

“If we can continue the relationship into next year, and if I can continue to do the best possible job in the sim, then that hopefully gives me justifiable reason to potentially test the car at a future date.”

Chadwick will be back to defend her W Series title next year, hoping to then join the men climbing the motorsport ladder.

“At the moment although the first year and the exposure has been absolutely incredible, I haven’t quite managed to secure the (financial) support to go to, say, FIA F3,” she said.

“Hopefully off the back of a strong second year’s campaign… that’s going to give me that opportunity.”


Mitsubishi Mirage hatch and sedan refresh teased

Almost every Mitsubishi model sold in the U.S. wears the automaker’s “Dynamic Shield” design. The corporate face combines a two-piece grille emphasizing the horizontal with slim, angled headlights supported by a thick, C-shaped trim piece that defines the fog lights and lower intakes. The only holdouts are the Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan, but that will soon change. Mitsubishi teased a dim image of two Mirages that had earned their Dynamic Shields, and promised a debut on November 18 in Thailand. The reveal location gives a shout-out to the Laem Chabang plant that, along with another facility in the Philippines, builds the siblings.

It’s easy to forget about Mitsu’s tiny twosome, but it’s hard to deny they’ve served the company well as global offerings. In the U.S., the duo has increased its annual sales every year since the car’s introduction in 2013. Around the world in fiscal 2018 the Japanese automaker sold 140,000 units, and sales through the end of October in the U.S. show the Mirage nearly 10 percent ahead of last year’s sales at the same period.

Assuming the cheap-as-chips price equation doesn’t get a heavy refresh, there’s every reason to think the facelift will aid sales. The hatch and sedan wear two different faces at the moment, both graduates of the most mediocre school of ambiguous econoboxes. The teased image puts a personality on economy, with large, single lenses peeking out from a narrow eyeline above the Dynamic Shield’s sculpted features. It appears designers have done a touch of reshaping in back as well, and there’s a wee spoiler hanging off the back of the decklid.

No word on what might be in store for the two three-cylinder engines sold in international markets, a 1.0-liter that makes 70 horsepower and 65 pound-feet of torque, and the 1.2-liter that’s our only choice here, making 78 hp and 74 lb-ft. The fuel filler cap has moved from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side, though, so there could be action under the skin, and we’d expect a few interior upgrades, too.


Junkyard Gem: 1992 Honda Accord Wagon

While Ford built Taurus station wagons all the way through the 2004 model year, Toyota gave up on the Camry wagon after 1996 while Honda sold the Accord wagon through 1997. We can blame the rise of the minivan and the SUV for the demise of the midsize station wagon, but enough of the long-roofed Accords have stayed on the roads to make them occasional residents of the self-service wrecking yards I frequent in search of interesting discarded vehicles. Here’s a ’92 with nearly 300,000 miles on the clock, spotted in a yard near the Colorado/Wyoming border.

Not quite 300,000 miles, and not as high an odometer reading as I’ve seen on other junkyard Hondas of the era, but still very impressive.

While very few US-market Camry wagons had manual transmissions (though they do exist), most of the Accord wagons I’ve seen have three pedals.

Someone installed an aftermarket tube header on this car, which may have added a few extra horsepower.

The large-diameter tailpipe, however, added exactly zero horsepower.

This car wouldn’t be considered particularly rusty for a 25-year-old Japanese car in Connecticut or Wisconsin, but this level of corrosion in Colorado leads to scrap-value-grade depreciation.

Honda took a good idea… and built on it.


Germans mark the fall of the Berlin Wall with a Trabant parade


BERLIN — Marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and defying the scorn of vehicle snobs around the world, hundreds of Germans on Saturday marked the historic event with a parade of historic Trabant cars at a former border crossing.

The revelers symbolically opened a gate at the former crossing between Thuringia and Bavaria, which used to divide East and West Germany, and allowed some 65 cars known affectionately as Trabis and other vehicles manufactured in the Communist-ruled German Democratic Republic to pass through.

Earlier, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel marked the anniversary by thanking Eastern European neighbors for spurring on the peaceful revolution.

The toppling of the wall, which separated the Communist-ruled East from the capitalist West in Berlin for nearly three decades and became a potent symbol of the Cold War, was followed a year later by the reunification of Germany in 1990.


‘Ford v. Ferrari’ hype prompts Ford to open its Le Mans GT40 vault


Ford v Ferrari,” the big-screen adaptation of a book about the famous rivalry over racing supremacy in the 1960s, opens next week, and the fevered anticipation has prompted Ford to revisit that period of its storied history by opening its GT40 Le Mans vault. Literally.

The Detroit Free Press reports that a group of Ford executives and staffers gathered this week at the Ford Engineering Laboratory in Dearborn to view vintage artifacts from the years-long duel between the intercontinental automakers and reminisce. Those archives contain an incredible 3 miles of shelving, a video vault maintained at 41 degrees and an actual safe. The archives manager reportedly wore protective white gloves and removed the only known copy of the original plans for the GT project.

Also shown was an exact replica of the GT40 driven by Bruce McLaren at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, the year Ford finally vanquished perennial winners Ferrari form the victory podium. It was created and used for the film, with more than 500 miles added to the odometer during filming.

Directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line,” “The Wolverine”) and produced by 20th Century Fox, the film hits theaters Thursday and opens wide Nov. 15. It’s based on A.J. Baime’s 2009 book “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans.”

The film predictably takes some liberties with the real-life story and characters. It focuses on the relationship between Carroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon), whom Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca charged with developing a Ferrari-beating GT, and maverick British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale).

The Blue Oval had no involvement in the making of the film, beyond offering up archival material for background research.

“It was, wow, especially if you had to go out and service a car during a pit stop,” Mose Nowland, a retired mechanic and sports car engineer who worked on the GT40 Le Mans program and spent 57 years with Ford, told the Freep. “Your hip pockets are only several inches away from cars going by at 160 mph.”

Read the full Freep story here.


Merged PSA and Fiat would retain all brands, Tavares says

By Elisa Anzolin and Gilles Guillaume

PARIS/TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Peugeot maker PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler would retain all of their car brands if their planned $50 billion merger goes ahead, the would-be chief executive of the combined group said on Friday.

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, seen as the architect of PSA’s turnaround and in line to take the operational helm in the Fiat tie-up, said in a TV interview that the companies complemented each other well geographically and in terms of technology and brands.

FCA derives 66% of its revenue from North America compared with only 5.7% for PSA, Refinitiv Eikon data shows. Europe remains the main revenue driver for PSA.

“There’s no doubt it’s a very good deal for both parties. It’s a win-win,” Tavares told France’s BFM Business, in his first interview since the French and Italian companies announced plans to create the world’s fourth-largest auto maker last week.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) Chairman John Elkann, who would chair the combined group, said on Friday at an event in Turin that the 50-50 share merger would help the Italian carmaker “seize great opportunities.”

The deal, which would help the firms pool resources to meet tough new emissions rules and investments in electric and self-driving vehicles, as well as counter a broader downturn in car markers, is still at an early stage.

PSA and Fiat have said they aim to reach a binding outline in the coming weeks, but still face questions over potential job losses, as well as scrutiny over whether the transaction favors one party more than the other.

Tavares said the brands that would come under the combined group’s umbrella — PSA’s five passenger car nameplates include Citroen, Vauxhall and Opel, while FCA has nine, including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep — were all likely to survive.

“As of today, I don’t see any need to scrap any of the brands if the deal came to pass. They all have their history and their strengths,” Tavares said.

Few carmakers have as large a portfolio, with German rival Volkswagen Group counting 10 passenger brands, if newer Chinese ones such as electric vehicle label Sihao are included.

The merger will also require approval from anti-trust authorities.

Tavares said he did not expect the companies to have to make major concessions to meet competition rules, but added they were ready to do so, without giving details.

One of thorniest aspects of the deal are the potential job losses at stake in a group with a combined workforce of around 400,000, with governments in Rome and Paris as well as unions poring over the implications.

Tavares reaffirmed that the firms could reach billions of euros in annual cost savings without closing factories. But he did not rule out job cuts when pressed, only stating: “That’s the car industry, it’s not about PSA.”

“Margins are continually under pressure and you have to permanently be looking for productivity gains,” he added, pointing to stricter regulations on everything from safety to pollution.

Answering a question on the merger being already a done deal, Elkann said a long time could pass between the announcement of a merger and getting it over the line.

Tavares, meanwhile, said the companies remained prudent, adding he’d seen transactions scuppered when parties got into the details, but that talks towards a binding agreement were evolving favorably.

“Given all the necessary regulatory approvals that need to be granted, such a deal cannot be closed in less than a year,” Tavares added.

FCA abandoned merger talks with PSA’s French rival Renault less than five months ago.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; writing by Matthieu Protard and Sarah White; editing by Jan Harvey and Jason Neely)


The name of this longboard stroller leaves a lot to be desired

Transcript: A longboard stroller. Longboardstroller was created by Quinny. They combined the fun of a longboard with the functionality of a stroller for an exciting way for parent and child to get around town. It comes with handle brakes and a safety leash in case there is an emergency stop. The stroller seat includes a harness and bumper bar. The foldable Longboardstroller can hold up to 220 pounds. The stroller can carry up to 33 pounds and children older than a year old.


Trump nominates former Ford executive to be U.S. energy secretary


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy said that President Donald Trump had formally nominated Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, a former vice president of Ford Motor Co and Louisiana state energy regulator, to head the department.

If confirmed by the Senate, Brouillette will replace Rick Perry, who said last month he would step down by the end of the year. He is expected to keep advancing Trump’s policy of maximizing oil, gas and coal output while slashing regulations on energy facilities.

“If confirmed, I will further Secretary Perry’s legacy of promoting energy independence, innovation, and security for the American people,” Brouillette said in a statement.

Brouillette, 57, has taken on increasing responsibilities at the Energy Department in recent months as Perry signaled he would resign. He went on international trips for the department and sat in for Perry during several cabinet meetings.

Brouillette was a vice president at Ford from 2004 to 2006. After that, he headed public policy for the United Service Automobile Association, which offers insurance and financial services to veterans.

A native of Louisiana, he was a member of the state’s Mineral and Energy Board from 2013 to 2016.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)


How the GM strike sent ripples across auto parts suppliers


Several auto parts makers and suppliers have lowered their full-year forecasts and disclosed hits to quarterly earnings from the 40-day strike at No.1 U.S. carmaker General Motors.

Last month, members of the United Auto Workers ratified a new four-year labor deal, ending the strike that began on Sept. 16 over higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of profit and protection of healthcare benefits.

Below are companies impacted by the strike:

The Canadian auto parts maker said the labor strike at General Motors, its biggest customer, will potentially hit full-year sales by about $500 million.

The strike will also hit consolidated margins by about 30 basis points, the company said.

The driveline and drivetrain systems maker said the strike reduced third-quarter sales by $57 million and also warned of an about $250 million hit to full-year revenue, prompting the company to lower its 2019 forecast.

The auto parts maker said the strike wiped off $70 million from the company’s revenue and reduced profit by 10 cents per share in the third quarter.

The company’s full-year forecast includes an estimated $250 million impact from the GM strike.

The auto parts maker expects the strike to have a negative impact of about $35 million on fourth-quarter EBITDA.

The company cut its forecast for full-year earnings and flat-rolled steel shipments, citing the strike.

It predicted a reduction of flat-rolled steel shipments to between 5.3 and 5.4 million tons for the full year, citing the strike.

The company said it had lower-than-expected automotive shipments in the third quarter, partly due to the GM strike, and flagged a potential $3 million to $6 million EBITDA impact.

The U.S. homebuilder said it saw an impact on demand in many of Midwest markets from the lengthy labor dispute.

The automatic-dimming rearview mirror maker said the GM strike hit third-quarter net sales by about 2%.

Gentex also lowered its full-year sales forecast, and said it expects about $7 million to $8 million in lost sales per week of the strike.

The U.S. truckload services provider said the GM-UAW strike impacted its quarterly earnings.

The Canadian auto parts maker said it estimated a profit impact of up to C$1 million ($761,035) per day due to a fall in orders from General Motors.