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?

robot

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.

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

NH Auto Show

BY GERRY MILES

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)

 

 

 

VW/Google SmileDrive app tries to put fun into your drive

SmileDrive screen

SmileDrive screen

BY GERRY MILES

Do we really want need a happy automotive app?

VW of American and Google think so.
The two have launched an Android-device enabled app alleged to promote fun and more smiles on every trip. Hey, I didn’t write that, they did. In its beta version, SmileDrive™ is ready for download exclusively in the Google Play store (www.play.google.com/store).“A lot of time is spent in the car today, whether it is for the daily commute to work or setting off with friends and family on a weekend camping trip,” said Kevin Mayer, Vice President of Marketing at Volkswagen of America. “We wanted to provide a way for consumers to add a little more flare to their road trips and a way to share the good times in their VW’s with their friends.”

SmileDrive connects to a user’s car—any kind of car—through Bluetooth® wireless technology, and runs in the background to track data for both everyday commutes and road trips. After a drive is complete, the app uses factors like location, distance, time and weather to deliver users their Smile Score and with “virtual stickers,” for unique accomplishments.

The app has re-imagined the classic “PunchDub” game, allowing people to collect “punches” each time they see a V-Dub, using the app. Drivers cannot interact with the app, or get notifications, while the car is in motion.
Roadtrips using SmileDrive can be catalogued via photos, maps, status updates on to what is called a Smilecast: think Facebook for a VW trip with a VW app and you’re on the right page. The travels are collected on a single URL that be later be shared with friends or family.SmileDrive was conceived as part of Google’s ongoing Art, Copy & Code project, which focuses on reimagining brand experiences for the connected world. “We’re exploring how brands can connect to consumers through a whole range of digital tools, whether that’s through ads, mobile apps, or experiences,” said Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead at Google.

SmileDrive Features

SmileDrive: Where's My Car

SmileDrive: Where’s My Car

• Seamless Sharing – The app is linked to the user’s Google+ account and friends can be invited to follow these trips online, commenting on photos and posts along the way. Everything recorded is shareable, should the user choose.

• Smilecast – Friends can either be invited to join along in the car via Google+, or watch the journey on the web. At the end of the trip, the driver receives a brief video compiling the highlights of their trip, which can then be shared with friends and family.

• Stickers – Users can earn fun, virtual bumper stickers when they unlock special achievements, such as the “Night Owl” sticker for late night drives. These can be shared on any social network.

• Punches
 – Users can play a re-imagined version of the classic “PunchDub” game. When two Volkswagen SmileDrive users encounter each other en route, the app will register a “virtual punch”.

• Smile Score – At the end of each drive, SmileDrive calculates the number of points earned while on the road. Points are a function of the number of punches, stickers earned, traffic conditions, weather, and more.

• Find My Car – By logging the vehicle’s last position, SmileDrive can help users find their car via Google Maps, and receive corresponding walking directions when available.

• Bluetooth® wireless technology – Through pairing the app with the car, drives are automatically recorded when the user starts and stops the vehicle. If the car doesn’t have Bluetooth technology, the app can be manually started and stopped before driving begins.

The app requires compatible Android device. Standard data rates apply.

Happy Birthday (150th) Henry Ford

The Henry Ford 150th SealsGERRY MILES

Today is an historic day in Dearborn, marking the 150th anniversary of Henry Ford’s birthday whose ideas of mass industrialization and work-force pay changed the way business was done previously and going forward.

of Henry Ford, whose innovative ideas revolutionized transportation and brought mobility to the masses. Henry Ford’s enduring impact is being recognized through events and declarations across the United States and around the world.

Today was also declared “Henry Ford Day” in Michigan.
The anniversary of his birth is being commemorated in countries around the world throughout 2013. Some of the events include:
  • Dealers in 21 Asia Pacific markets have launched Ford Heritage month, transforming showrooms into exhibitions on Ford’s rich history
  • Ford of Germany marked the occasion with a series of five road rallies that celebrated Ford’s numerous automotive breakthroughs over the last 110 years
  • More than 4,000 people attended community events held by Ford in Romania
  • In Great Britain, celebrations were capped by the reveal of a restored statue of Henry Ford at the company’s UK Tech Centre
In coming months, celebrations will continue with additional events across the United States, Europe and South America.
Contributions to a better world
Henry Ford’s introduction of the automobile into the mass market transformed agricultural economies in the United States and around the world into prosperous industrial and urban markets. Many historians credit him with creating a middle class in America.
Jan. 5, 1914: To reduce high turnover rates among workers, Henry Ford more than doubled their pay from .34 for a nine-hour day to .00 for an eight-hour day. The next day, thousands swamped the Highland Park Ford Plant to apply for jobs.

Jan. 5, 1914: To reduce high turnover rates among workers, Henry Ford more than doubled their pay from .34 for a nine-hour day to .00 for an eight-hour day. The next day, thousands swamped the Highland Park Ford Plant to apply for jobs.  (Ford Motor photo)

His high minimum wage – revolutionary at the time – set a precedent for fair distribution of company wealth that influenced later management practices.

Along with his minimum wage, his Model T debuted and put mass transport in the realm of possibility for millions, selling more than 15 million copies – as long as you wanted them in black.
Other forms of success included:

1913: At the Highland Park Plant in 1913, Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for cars. Within 18 months it took only 1.5 man-hours to build a Model T. The modern auto industry was born. (7/24/13)

  • 1913: At the Highland Park Plant in 1913, Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for cars. Within 18 months it took only 1.5 man-hours to build a Model T. The modern auto industry was born. (7/24/13)Moving assembly line: In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for cars. Within 18 months, the amount of time needed to build a Model T was reduced from 12 ½ man-hours to 1 ½ man-hours, ushering in the modern auto industry
  • $5 work day: To reduce high turnover rates among workers, Henry Ford more than doubled their pay in 1914, from $2.34 for a nine-hour day to $5 for an eight-hour day
  • Vertical integration: To improve quality, Ford sought to own, operate and coordinate all the resources needed to produce complete automobiles. This principle, known as vertical integration, was realized in 1927 with the Model A
June 4, 1896: With the help of friends, Henry Ford assembles his first car. In June he drives the Quadricycle through the streets of Detroit.

June 4, 1896: With the help of friends, Henry Ford assembles his first car. In June he drives the Quadricycle through the streets of Detroit.

“What my great-grandfather established, especially his legacy of innovation, continues to inspire our commitment to a strong business, great products and a better world,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “We are putting unexpected levels of technology within reach of millions of people, accelerating the development of new products that customers want and value, and driving growth by creating jobs and bringing the freedom of mobility to the world.”

Spirit of innovation guides Ford today
Henry Ford’s spirit of innovation continues to guide Ford Motor Company today, reflected in a lineup of vehicles as diverse as the F-150 pickup, Mustang sports car and Fusion Hybrid sedan. It lives on in technologies such as Ford SYNC, the company’s in-vehicle infotainment system, and fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines. And it echoes through employees serving customers across six continents.
Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947, at 83. More than 50 years after his death, in 1999, Forbes magazine named him “Businessman of the Century,” and in 2012 a History Channel documentary highlighted him as one of “The Men Who Built America.”
“My great-grandfather’s vision was to improve people’s lives by making cars affordable for the average family,” said Bill Ford. “His vision to build cars that are reasonably priced, reliable and efficient still resonates and defines our vision today.”
Ford family members, Elena Ford, Bill Ford and Henry Ford III, along wiith Ford employees from around Dearborn celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Henry Ford's birthday. Over 500 employees crowded the Ford World Headquarters building lobby to celebrate Henry Ford's commitment to innovation. Bill Ford shared little-known stories about his grandfather. Employees viewed special displays, participated in a special Q&A session from Ford Historian Bob Kreipke, and got a taste from a 580 cupcake display of the Ford Oval. Photo: Sam VarnHagen /Ford Motor Co.

Ford family members, Elena Ford, Bill Ford and Henry Ford III, along with Ford employees from around Dearborn celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Henry Ford’s birthday. Bill Ford shared little-known stories about his grandfather. Employees viewed special displays, participated in a special Q&A session from Ford Historian Bob Kreipke, and got a taste from a 580 cupcake display of the Ford Oval.                                                                   Photo: Sam VarnHagen /Ford Motor Co.

Toyota adds 200 jobs to meet Highlander demand

2014 Toyota Highlander

2014 Toyota Highlander

BY GERRY MILES

If you’re Toyota, it’s a nice problem to have…not enough workers to build your popular product to meet sales demands.

As a result, Toyota has announced it make a $30M investment in the Princeon, Ind. plant that produces its Highlander, resulting in 200 more jobs, to 4,700 total, in late 2014. The added manpower will increase production volume by 15,000 units.

The announcement is Toyota’s 10th production increase announcement in the past 20 months, with a cumulate investment of approximately $2 billion, and more than 4,000 new jobs.

“This capacity increaseis to meet growing demand for the Highlander and is a part of our strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said TMMI President Norm Bafunno. “We appreciate our loyal customers who value the quality products our dedicated team members build in Princeton, and we’re excited to build even more Highlanders.”

Toyota’s Indiana plant builds a gas version of the popular Highlander and will begin producing the hybrid version before year-end.  The new production volume added will be the gas model version.  Soon, Highlanders born in Indiana will find new homes with drivers in Russia and Australia as TMMI is set to begin exporting to those countries later this year.

TMMI currently employs 4,500 team members and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan.  Current production capacity is 300,000 vehicles and will increase to 350,000 later this year as announced in February 2012.  Today’s news raises TMMI’s annual capacity to 365,000 vehicles by late 2014.

BMW prices i3 at $41,350

P90108315

i3 will arrive in US showrooms in the second quarter of 2014.

BY GERRY MILES

BMW announced its ground-breaking BMW i3 electric vehicle will carry an MSRP of $41,350. Delivery charges add another $925 to the tab.

BMW i3 Concept

BMW i3 Concept

“The BMW i3 heralds the dawn of a new era for individual mobility and for the BMW Group. True to a genuine BMW, the BMW i3 has strong emotional appeal, outstanding product substance and a guarantee of sheer driving pleasure,” said Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW. “With this leading-edge vehicle and attractive price, we will provide customers with a compelling offer for electromobility.”

BMW i3 profile shot

BMW i3 profile shot

The BMW i3’s 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque hybrid-synchronous electric motor, developed and produced by BMW, is electrified by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, good for 80-100 miles of emission-free driving.

The i3 uses the Industry’s first mass produced carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell mounted on an aluminum chassis.

201307_P90127387-zoom-origThe BMW i3 will offer interior space comparable to the legendary BMW 3 Series on a shorter overall body. Its 32.3-foot turning circle and a relatively long wheelbase make it agile and engaging to drive, yet ideally suited to driving in dense urban areas.

Quick and convenient charging is possible either with the home charging station supplied by BMW i or at any public charging station that uses a Level 2 SAE J1772 charging system. DC fast charging, using the SAE DC Combo-Fast Charger, will be available as an option. From a public fast-charging station, it will provide an 80 percent charge from a fully depleted battery in just 20 minutes.

BMW i’s commitment to sustainable urban mobility encompasses the i3 production facilities, where hydro-electric, wind and solar power are used to power the CFRP production facilities in Moses Lake, Washington and the Leipzig, Germany assembly line. Sustainable materials are also used for the BMW i3 interior upholstery and trim.

P90127388The BMW i3 will make its world debut at three simultaneous events in New York, London and Beijing on Monday, July 29.