What time is it? Time to slow down at the apex. NISMO smartwatch drives telematics to driver

NISMO concept watch

NISMO concept watch


One part Dick Tracy comic book wrist watch and another of the rumored iWatch from Apple, and another for motor sports, Nissan’s sports division – NISMO – debuted its concept watch at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show that connects the driver to the car.

This wearable technology is alleged to provide biometric data that helps driver performance and efficiency. While that sounds cool, I was wondering if a tried and true “heads up” display on the windshield wouldn’t be better since anyone driving a NISMO has the need for speed. If it’s not safe to glance at your radio or smartphone, what then of a similar time frame to check your biometric feedback on your wrist at a high rate of speed?

Nissan will become the first car manufacturer to create a smartwatch designed specifically for drivers of Nissan NISMO cars. The Nissan NISMO Concept Watch will be the first smartwatch to connect a driver to the car and will provide drivers with real-time biometric data.

Nissan will become the first car manufacturer to create a smartwatch designed specifically for drivers of Nissan NISMO cars. The Nissan NISMO Concept Watch will be the first smartwatch to connect a driver to the car and will provide drivers with real-time biometric data.

Nissan says the NISMO Watch will allow drivers to:

  • Monitor the efficiency of their vehicle with average speed and fuel consumption readings
  • Access vehicle telematics and performance data while on track
  • Capture biometric data via a heart rate monitor
  • Connect to the car using a smartphone app via Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Receive tailored car messages from Nissan

Gareth Dunsmore, Marketing Communications General Manager, Nissan in Europe, commented: “Wearable technology is fast becoming the next big thing, and we want to take advantage of this innovative technology to make our NISMO Brand more accessible. On track, Nissan uses the latest biometric training technologies to improve the performance of our Nissan NISMO Athletes, and it is this technology we want to bring to our fans to enhance their driving experience and NISMO ownership.”

Research at the NISMO performance lab has identified three key technologies have already been identified for future development and wearable technology:

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram) to measure the intervals of the R-R rhythm of the heart and identify early fatigue
  • EEG (Electroencephalogram) Brainwave to monitor the drivers’ levels of concentration and emotions, and help athletes to get “In the Zone”
  • Skin Temperature to record core body temperature and hydration levels

The NISMO Watch will also track and rate the user’s social performance across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram via Nissan’s proprietary Social Speed software.

The sleek NISMO Watch will be available in three colors – black, white and the flagship black and red.

Lithium battery life is pegged at seven days, and yes, you’ll need another USB cord to recharge it.

Hyundai books 2 Super Bowl ads for 7th straight year


If you need to know how big a first impression is in the marketing world, one might watch the red carpet arrival for the Oscars as Hollywood shows off to itself and the world.

There are numerous other award shows with their outrageous costume arrivals and acts, such as Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus who seems to have upstaged even Madonna in her prime.

In the world of TV commercials, the National Football League’s Super Bowl is king.

For the seventh straight year, Hyundai is betting (hypothetically of course) that the two 30-second spots it has booked for the Feb. 2, 2014 extravaganza will pay big dividends.

“The Super Bowl is the ultimate stage for showcasing the Hyundai brand and our vehicles,” said Steve Shannon, vice president, Marketing, Hyundai Motor America. “We look forward to being a part of advertising’s biggest day again and we can’t wait to show off our new ads and industry-leading products.”

Advertising strategies and treatments are still being developed the company reported. “We’re not quite ready to discuss which vehicles we’ll be featuring,” said Shannon. “But as football fever begins again across the country, we couldn’t wait any longer to let everyone know that we’ll be back for Super Bowl XLVIII.”

Tesla S gets best safety mark of any car ever tested

Tesla S

Tesla S


Broke Test Machine in Crush Test above 4 G’s


The folks at Tesla must be beyond happy to learn that their S received the highest ever 5-star test rating after independent testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in every subcategory without exception. If they awarded a 6-star rating, they’ve had likely got a 10. However, Tesla notes that in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars. The score takes into account the probability of injury from front, side, rear and rollover accidents.

The S, which is a sedan, also topped the safety score of all SUVs and minivans.

For the side pole intrusion test, considered one of the most difficult to pass, the Model S was the only car in the “good” category among the other top one percent of vehicles tested. Compared to the Volvo S60, which is also 5-star rated in all categories, the Model S preserved 63.5 percent of driver residual space vs. 7.8 percent for the Volvo. Tesla says it achieved this by nesting multiple deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the car that absorb the impact energy (a similar approach was used by the Apollo Lunar Lander) and transfer load to the rest of the vehicle.

The Model S was also substantially better in rollover risk. During testing, Tesla proudly notes that the S refused to turn over via the normal methods. Unspecified special means were needed to make the car roll. Helping the car remain in place was the S’s large battery pack under the floor pan, providing a very low center of gravity.

Most incredible is the crush resistance of the S: it broke the testing machine when crush strength went above 4 g’s.  Tesla again crows that this means at least four additional fully loaded Model S vehicles could be placed on top of an owner’s car without the roof caving in. This is achieved primarily through a center (B) pillar reinforcement attached via aerospace grade bolts.

After verifying through internal testing that the Model S would achieve a NHTSA 5-star rating, Tesla then analyzed the Model S to determine the weakest points in the car and retested at those locations until the car achieved 5 stars no matter how the test equipment was configured.

The Model S lithium-ion battery did not catch fire at any time before, during or after the NHTSA testing, nor has any production Tesla lithium-ion battery has ever caught fire in the Model S or Roadster, despite several high speed impacts. While acknowledging this is an unlikely long-term outcome, Tesla is unaware of any Model S or Roadster occupant fatalities in any car ever.

The graphic below shows the statistical Relative Risk Score (RSS) of Model S compared with all other vehicles tested against the exceptionally difficult NHTSA 2011 standards. In 2011, the standards were revised upward to make it more difficult to achieve a high safety rating.

Model S Five Star Safety Rating Chart

Ford: Kermit was right, it ain’t easy bein’ green

Ford Escape Plastic Bottles



Sure, Kermit the Frog of “The Muppets” sang about it years ago, but the phrase and commitment to the environment has been taken seriously by many companies, especially n the automotive industry.

The main culprit – so heinous that it was even outlawed in Concord, Mass. within a year or so: plastic beverage bottles.

Reversing the trend to dislike when they’re discarded, Ford instead uses 25 20-ounce plastic bottles to produce the carpeting in its Escape. It’s the first time that Ford has used this type of carpeting in an SUV.

“It’s a good use of recycled product and keeps it out of landfills,” said Laura Sinclair, Ford engineer and mother of two young boys whose job is to make sure all materials meet Ford durability standards.

Other important facts, according to Ford:

  • Total all-time sales of the next-generation Escape through June of this year were about 277,000. Multiply that number by 25, the number of bottles used in the carpeting, and you get 6,925,200 bottles potentially diverted from landfills. That’s right: nearly 7 million
  • The environmental news potentially gets even better because Escape is one of Ford’s best-selling vehicles. In fact, 156,626 Escapes had been sold this year alone through the end of June.
  • If that rate continues, that means nearly an additional 1.5 million bottles potentially could be diverted from landfills, bringing the total to more than 8 million bottles

All materials have to pass extensive durability tests. Sinclair and her team look for “chalking,” which appears if the fibers degrade and mash themselves into a white residue as they break apart. Chalking is a precursor to a hole forming in the carpet. “The discoloration is one of the first signs of wear, and of course something the customer will see right away,” said Sinclair.

Adding more plastic bottles to the mix reduces wear on the carpet. “The polyester fibers created from beverage bottles make up a nonwoven carpet material,” said Sinclair.

Further reducing wear is a new cast foam that backs the carpeting. This also contributes to NVH, reducing road noise while filling in ridges for a smoother backing and overall customer perception.


Inflatable Rear Safety Belt offered in 2014 Fusion

The inflatable rear safety belt as seen on test dummies in the Ford Fusion.

The inflatable rear safety belt as seen on test dummies in the Ford Fusion.

  • The 2014 Ford Fusion is the only vehicle in its class to offer rear inflatable safety belts, which combine the attributes of safety belts and airbags
  • Rear inflatable safety belts provide further protection for rear seat passengers, who often are children or older adults more vulnerable to head, neck and chest injuries


When you think of it, the rear seat inflatable safety belt just seems like another logical extension of the safety systems proliferating through the auto industry today.

Then, after some research, it’s discovered that this technology did arrive earlier, on the 2011 Ford Explorer. (It’s also available – which is auto speak for optional – on the Ford Explorer, Fusion, Flex, Taurus and Lincoln MKT and MKZ models.)

Ford Fusion owners benefit from a number of available driver-assist technologies, with 72 percent of Fusions sold equipped with Ford’s cross-traffic alert rear sensing technology and 58 percent equipped with a rear-view camera

The new 2014 Ford Fusion is the only car in the midsize segment to offer rear inflatable safety belts. This option is also available in the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi.

Rear inflatable safety belts best blend the safety combination of seat belts and airbags. In a crash or collision, sensors determine if the belt should deploy inflate the belt’s airbag with compressed gas.

“The inflatable belt is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries,” said Srinivasan Sundararajan, safety technical leader with Ford’s research and advanced engineering group. “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership.”

In regular use, the inflatable belts look, work and feel like a standard safety belt while still working with car seats and booster seats.

Ford Fusion owners benefit from a number of available driver-assist technologies. Seventy-two percent of vehicles sold are equipped with Ford’s cross-traffic alert rear sensing technology and 58 percent are equipped with a rear view camera.

Strong demand for Fusion is driving national share gains for Ford, especially in the western and southeastern areas of the United States. In the first half of 2013, Fusion sales rose 17.8 percent to 161,146 vehicles, compared with the same period in 2012.

Ford builds Fusion at the company’s Hermosillo, Mexico, manufacturing facility, and will soon add production at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Mich.

Honda’s big picture: Save drive-in movies across USA

Honda Project Drive-In


In a move to save part of the American culture that may be eliminated by digital technology, Honda’s “Project Drive-In” is hoping to give at least 5 drive-ins digital projectors to keep the cinema and car culture alive.

The end of 35 mm (millimeter) film projectors will come about at the end of the year. The switch to a digital format is cost-prohibitive for many theaters, and is estimated at $75,000 per screen Honda said.

By web surfing to http://www.projectdrivein.com, voters can determine the five drive-ins that will receive a new digital projector from Honda. Voting began Aug. 9 and runs through Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. PT.  The winning theaters will get a special screening of Sony’s “Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs 2”.

“Cars and drive-in theaters go hand-in-hand, and it’s our mission to save this decades-old slice of Americana that holds such nostalgia for so many of us,” said Alicia Jones, Manager of Honda & Acura Social Marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Drive-ins first opened in 1933 to mass popularity and reached their peak after World War II during the 1950s and ’60s when there were more than 4,000 across the country. Jones continued, “We’re committed to helping the remaining drive-in theaters flourish with the move to digital projection.”

To help build awareness and give folks the big picture of how drive-ins may go dark,   Honda will launch pop-up drive-ins at its dealerships across the country.

Veloster Zombie Survival Machine: Can you build a better zombie-mobile?

hyundai-zombie-survival-machine-unveiledBY GERRY MILES

There have been plenty of times that we’ve all wished for an irreverent kind of in-your-face vehicle that can take on and repel all manner of intersection interlopers – the ones who will always pull through on a yellow light and leave the backside blocking traffic while silently thinking “you don’t see me, you don’t see me” while they stare intently straight ahead to not see the seering glares of those who either can’t squeeze by or just make it through.

Mad Max

Mad Max

Perhaps something like a Mad Max Thunderdome vehicle would do. Who would ever mess at a New England rotary – or roundabout if you’re elsewhere in the lower 48 – or if you wanted to change lanes in Boston at the drop of a hat, just slide stage right, right?


And there’s the zombies or whatever the odd-looking white covered things were called in Will Smith’s movie “iRobot,” bouncing off his autonomous Audi, which was known officially as the QSR I believe at auto shows.

To fight off further zombie attacks, Hyundai’s denizens at the recent San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) provided a wheeled rebellious roadster in the modified shape of a 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Hyundai Veloster Zombie Survival Machine (ZSM)

Hyundai Veloster Zombie Survival Machine (ZSM)

Designed and built by Galpin Auto Sports (GAS), the ZSM was unveiled by Future US as a result of their partnership with Skybound, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s publishing company.

The Veloster Zombie Survival Machine is the second undead-fighting Hyundai to be unveiled by Future US at Comic-Con, preceded by the Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine shown last year. Veloster ZSM is armed with a more aggressive arsenal of weaponry designed to inflict serious damage upon flesh-eating zombies standing in the way:

  • Hand-fabricated armored exterior
  • .50 cal fully-articulating machine gun
  • Hood-mounted sub-machine guns
  • Flamethrowers
  • Trunk-mounted baseball bat with spikes
  • Front bumper chainsaws
  • All-terrain tires
  • Wrought iron and barbed wire window coverings
  • Samurai sword
  • Flood lights
  • PA system

Think you can design your own zombie demolisher? Check out: walkingdeadchopshop.com to build your own Veloster, Santa Fe or Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine.

The winning design will be build and shown at New York Comic Con in the fall.

New Hampshire Auto Dealers to host state’s first Auto Show in Bedford, Oct. 18-20

NH Auto Show


I’ve often wondered why the Granite State, New Hampshire, never had its own auto show if a smaller state such as Rhode Island can have one.

Perhaps the proximity to Boston and the New England International Auto Show, which was always the biggest game in town and but a short one-hour drive south for Granite Staters was the reason. That, and not having a venue large enough to host a multitude of cars, manufacturer exhibits and the like. Heck, the old Boston show was jammed to the gills with the automakers’ C and D exhibits due to a lack of space.

The answer is the NH Sportsplex in Bedford, NH will host brand new models during a 3-day October run from the 18-20. The show be produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows, LLC, the nation’s largest auto show producer and part of the Source Interlink Companies, Inc.

“An auto show has been in the planning stages for years and we are looking forward to seeing our state’s very first new-model auto show go from the idea stage to full production,” said Pete McNamara, president of the NHADA. “Auto shows generate excitement for the automotive industry. The show is already drawing enthusiasm from dealers across New Hampshire, and we can’t wait to open the doors to the public this October.”

Officials are expecting to exhibit over 150 exciting new vehicle models, alternative fuel vehicles, in-car technology and alternative fuels. Guests will be encouraged to sit in the cars, check under the hood and take select models for test drives in a non-selling, no pressure environment.

“The interactive ride and drive experience is always a big hit at an auto show,” said Lisa Gelb, vice president, sales and marketing for Motor Trend Auto Shows. “Test driving vehicles in a relaxed environment is an important part of the car buying process. It helps attendees narrow down their final purchase decisions, without having to drive from dealership to dealership.”

The Oct. 18-23 show will open to the public from 12 noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information please visit www.NHAutoShow.com.

A Charity Night Preview on Oct. 17, from 6-9 p.m. will kick off the first-ever show with three NH charities benefiting from the night’s proceeds.

The Fiat 500 is swimmingly wonderful :)

ugust 6, 2013, Auburn Hills, Mich. - This past weekend in Chicago, four specially constructed Fiat 500 models, including the all-new Fiat 500L, built on top of high-powered personal watercraft, entertained the audiences along the iconic Chicago waterfront. The Fiat 500 personal watercraft will continue to make appearances throughout the summer in cities across America. The Italians keep on coming.

Aug. 6, 2013 – This past weekend in Chicago, four specially constructed Fiat 500 models, including the all-new Fiat 500L, built on top of high-powered personal watercraft, entertained the audiences along the iconic Chicago waterfront. The Fiat 500 personal watercraft will continue to make appearances throughout the summer in cities across America. The Italians keep on coming.


A stream of water is sprayed to welcome the Fiat 500 "boats" into Chicago Aug. 6, 2013.

A stream of water is sprayed to welcome the Fiat 500 “boats” into Chicago Aug. 6, 2013.

Under full power, a Fiat 500 motors past a sail boat in Chicago Aug. 6.

Under full power, a Fiat 500 motors past a sail boat in Chicago Aug. 6.


A Fiat 500 "boat" shows its stark contrast and silhouette to a ship recently in Chicago. (Fiat photos)

A Fiat 500 “boat” shows its stark contrast and silhouette to a ship recently in Chicago. (All photos by Fiat)




Envisioning Mini in the future

mini_visionMunich. At today’s MINI Design@Home event Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design, previews a sampling of visionary design and innovative ideas. The MINI Vision, for example, showcases various elements of future MINI design. Here, MINI has developed a vehicle design laced with new creative impulses that advance the cause of premium quality in the compact class.

In customary MINI fashion, the MINI Vision seizes the limelight with creativity, individuality and a generous helping of versatility. Interactive gadgets such as the Driving Experience Control switch offer a glimpse of the future. This particular feature allows the whole of the car’s interior to be transformed into a variety of different colour and experience worlds in the blink of an eye.

The presentation of the MINI Vision is based around a virtual 3D hologram. This form of expression provides a window into how the MINI designers go about their business. Complementing their familiar toolset of sketches and 1:1 clay models, virtual reality allows them to test and fine-tune creative ideas quickly and under realistic conditions.

The exterior: a perfect balance between old and new.

The design of the MINI Vision reaches pointedly into the brand’s past and combines the underlying features and values of MINI with future-focused aesthetic and technical innovations. The hexagonal radiator grille is inspired by the classic Mini, for example, and the MINI Vision integrates both the bumper and auxiliary lights into the grille.

The traditional and unmistakable rounded MINI forms are reflected in the exterior through elements such as the elliptical full-LED headlights. Their outer ring emits a consistent light and fulfils a daytime driving light function.

Among the stand-out signature features of the MINI brand are the clear separation of the roof, glasshouse and body. The chrome strip wrapped around the top of the body, the distinctive side indicator element and the black band framing the lower edge of the car are all hallmark MINI styling elements.

The MINI Vision presents these three defining design elements as a flowing, interconnected unit – conjured from innovative and lightweight “organo metal”. This extremely mouldable but also very strong material is produced by pressing various fibres into a composite. Organo sheets have a unique texture comparable to that of fabrics.

Alongside lightweight construction techniques, aerodynamics also play a frontline role in the conceptual ideas behind the MINI Vision. The car’s body includes an aerodynamic air intake and outlet around each front wheel arch, airflow-optimised wheel rims and exterior mirrors, and an integral, air-channelling roof spoiler.



At the rear, muscular shoulders lend the MINI Vision extremely sporty and compact proportions. The finely drawn and clearly defined edging in the car’s bodywork is central to the exterior design language of the MINI Vision and underlines the concept’s precision and sporting intent.


The interior: originality and creativity packed into a very small space .  



Mini Vision Cockpit

Mini Vision Cockpit

The interior of the MINI Vision stands out with its individual style, variability, functionality and aesthetic appeal. The fundamental idea behind the MINI brand – of providing maximum comfort within minimal exterior dimensions – filters through every detail of the interior.

A transparent and open cockpit, sweeping doors and a “floating” centre console allow the driver and passengers to experience the sensation of a wide open space coupled with the benefits of a space-saving small car. Lounge seats featuring dynamic piping add the finishing touch to the unique interior ambience.

The creative design solutions have been brought together with established pillars of MINI design. For example, the elastic fabric straps on the insides of the doors – arranged like the stripes of the Union Jack flag – are a nod to the brand’s British heritage. However, the stretchable straps have a functional as well as stylistic role: these flexible retaining devices are designed to hold a magazine, mobile phone or drinks bottle within easy reach.

The fresh layer of variability added by the MINI click system offers additional scope for customizing the interior. Smartphone holders, a storage box, cup holder or small safe can be attached and removed in a single movement as and when required.

The interior of the MINI Vision as a whole can also be adapted to a variety of interaction requirements with similar flexibility and immediacy. The

Driving Experience Control switch allows the driver to choose between a pure and focused or fully-interconnected mode. The two modes are expressed in different colours using calm, clear light and dynamic, energy-charged shades. Another highlight of the fully-interconnected mode is the “MINI Disco” floor. Here, an expressive interplay of colours, light and forms transforms the footwells as the MINI Vision appears to come vibrantly to life. As well as turning the ambient colour scheme of the interior on its head, the Driving Experience Control switch also changes the face of the familiar MINI circular central display. Depending on their selection, drivers will be met by either a classic, analogue-style view or an impressive 3D look, which gives the full suite of display elements an unaccustomed depth.

Colors and materials: structures form characters.

The Glamorous Gold paint finish – a shimmering gold-tinged orange tone – has never been seen before in the history of MINI design. And the use of organo metal creates an intriguing contrast to this gleaming metallic shade. The organo metal adds highlights not only to the outside of the car, but also to the interior, its unique structure lending the MINI Vision a cutting-edge character.

A tough, dark-blue fabric recalling the properties of a high-quality suit is employed for the seats and sections of interior trim. The seamless transitions of the various materials between the interior and exterior bring consistency to the MINI Vision despite the use of different materials and textures.

Its unbeatable scope for personalisation and an extremely sporty and precise design make the MINI Vision the perfect partner for the road, tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual driver. This design vision demonstrates that MINI will continue to use intelligent variability, imagination-capturing technology and a compact sporting presence to deliver unrivalled driving fun over the years to come.