Podcast: Submit Your Questions for Autoblog Podcast #407 LIVE!

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We’re set to record Autoblog Podcast #407 this evening. Check out the topics below or drop us your questions and comments via the Q&A module. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven’t already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics For Autoblog Podcast Episode #407

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Submit Your Questions for Autoblog Podcast #407 LIVE! originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Maybach Pullman, S550 4Matic coming next

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Mercedes-Maybach S600

Mercedes-Benz officially revived the Maybach name as a sub-brand with the reveal of the luxed-up S600 at the LA Auto Show last week, but that’s only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the German automaker’s new plans for its uber-prestige marque.

Motor Trend reports that Mercedes is planning two additional Maybach variants to launch in the near future, both of them also based on the S-Class. First up, we’re told to expect the even longer Pullman limousine to launch, complete with Maybach treatment, at the Geneva Motor Show next March – although this model won’t necessarily be offered in America. Whether it will or not, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman will be even bigger, more luxurious and more expensive than the one just unveiled.

What is being planned for US customers, however, is an Maybach S550 4Matic. Mating the 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 to all-wheel drive would be a boon for wintery upscale markets, and is reportedly a more feasible option than trying to pair the V12 to the 4Matic system.

As for other model lines, we’ve heard rumors of a Maybach GL-Class utility in the pipeline, but have yet to receive any such confirmation. Car confirms, however, that we shouldn’t expect to see AMG versions of Maybach models. The two are being cultivated as separate pillars atop the Mercedes range – one focused on performance, the other on luxury – and never the twain shall meet. The previous model line did breed a sportier Maybach 57 S, however, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar treatment applied to one of the new models should Daimler find there’s demand.

In related news, MT also reports that a new S-Class Cabriolet is coming around the corner, and that the G550 is preparing to drop its aging 5.5-liter V8 in favor of the GL’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6.

Maybach Pullman, S550 4Matic coming next originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Behind the scenes of Lotus’ spectacular truck-over-F1 jump

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A Lotus F1 car and the truck in which it’s transported may both be powered by Renault and share a common JPS livery, but as far as size and performance are concerned, they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum. So if you had to jump one over the other, you’d think it’d be a no-brainer to skip the single-seater over the tractor-trailer. Right? Well that may be the more logical conclusion, but it’s not the way the Lotus team and its technology partner EMC decided to go for this latest promo. Instead they jumped the semi over the grand prix car.

The stunt was obviously geared towards publicity, but while they were at it, they set a Guinness World Record for the longest truck jump at 83 feet, 7 inches. The previous record, according to Guinness, stood at 50 feet, 6 inches, and was set on MTV’s Nitro Circus on November 17, 2008, by Gregg Godfrey at Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City. That record stood for six years, but (as best we can tell) was set without the trailer attached, or the F1 car tracking underneath – which only makes this latest stunt that much more impressive.

You may have seen the promo clip circulating the interwebs late last week, but we’ve included a making-of video below as well to show how the stunt team managed to pull it all off.

Continue reading Behind the scenes of Lotus’ spectacular truck-over-F1 jump

Behind the scenes of Lotus’ spectacular truck-over-F1 jump originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Parts shortage could mean airbag inflator replacement takes two years

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US-TRANSPORTATION-TAKATA

Drivers in the US might be stuck with quite a wait to get their vehicles repaired under the Takata airbag inflator recall. As things stand now, the Japanese supplier could need as long as two years to produce enough replacement parts to service every affected model in America. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is successful in making the campaign nationwide, then that timeline could grow even longer.

Mounting government pressure, including a recent Senate hearing (pictured above), is attempting to push a solution. Takata is currently building about 300,000 replacement inflators a month at its Monclova, Mexico, factory, and the company plans to boost that to around 450,000 by January, according to Automotive News. The business is also moving some production to Freiburg, Germany.

Because Takata isn’t the only player in the world producing airbags, it might seem that the affected automakers could simply switch companies. However, that likely isn’t going to work either. “We have been advised by suppliers that the development and production of a replacement inflator for a particular model by a supplier other than Takata could take a minimum of one year, and could take longer,” said Dino Triantafyllos, Toyota chief quality officer in North America to Automotive News.

Actually getting people to bring their vehicle to dealers for the recall is an issue, as well. It only takes about an hour to switch out inflators. However, despite national publicity, documents submitted to NHTSA from eight of the affected automakers indicate only 437,936 vehicles are fixed out of a pool of about 7.5 million, according to Automotive News. With models going back as far as 2000 potentially needing the new parts, tracking down the current owner can be difficult. Just look at the similar problems Jeep is facing over its campaign to protect fuel tanks on older SUVs.

Parts shortage could mean airbag inflator replacement takes two years originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Cadillac’s de Nysschen takes aim at Porsche 911, Cayenne

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2009 Cadillac XLR

Johan de Nysschen has big plans for Cadillac. He’s moved the brand from Detroit to New York, revamped its model nomenclature, and planning a raft of new models for the near future – including a $250,000 luxury sedan to take on the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. But the veteran executive of luxury automakers has some more performance-oriented machinery in mind, too.

Speaking with Car and Driver at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, de Nysschen suggested Cadillac could be ready to launch a flagship sports car sometime in the next decade. The halo model would take aim at the Porsche 911 and do for Cadillac what Audi did with the R8, Mercedes is doing with the AMG GT and Acura once did (and is aiming to do again) with the NSX.

Just what form it would take remains a big unknown, but de Nysschen indicated that the brand would need to be built up further before the sports car would be launched, lest it emerge too detached from Cadillac’s image. The last time Cadillac delved into that territory was with the Corvette-based XLR, of which it sold only 15,000 or so examples – far below initial targets.

The 911 rival isn’t the only performance model de Nysschen has in mind, however. He plans to further expand the V series into a more substantial sub-brand to include a crossover to take on the likes of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5 M and all those many AMG-tuned Mercedes utilities.

The idea of an entry-level model to slot in below the ATS was mooted as well. A range of diesel engines are slated to help Cadillac break into overseas markets in similar fashion to how Maserati has expanded its market reach with oil-burning versions of the Ghibli and Quattroporte. And we wouldn’t be surprised to see Cadillac get in on a new flagship SUV being launched by Opel in Europe, either.

Cadillac’s de Nysschen takes aim at Porsche 911, Cayenne originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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