Week in Review: Leaks, Unveils, and Awards OH MY!
As the first full week of March comes to a close, we take a few minutes to reflect on everything that happened over the last five days in the automotive world. This past week brought a whole bunch of new or redesigned vehicles into the world, using the Geneva Motor Show as its springboard. While Geneva showcased a lot of exotic hardware from European brands—most of which won't come to the U.S.—it didn't help Geneva with everything that was scheduled to be unveiled was either shown off early or leaked online for all to see. Now that the Geneva Motor Show has come and gone we have a few minutes to catch our breath and collect our thoughts. The staff at Automotive.com has collaborated to find the top five most important automotive news stories of the week for your viewing pleasure all in one location. Now, without further adieu here are those five stories we thought paced the automotive world for the week. Monday, March 5 It's been a tough few weeks for the folks over at Chrysler's Street Racing Technology division. SRT has been tasked to revive Chrysler's super exotic car, the Viper, for the 2013 model year. The renamed SRT Viper is slated to officially bow at the New York Auto Show next month but prying eyes want to see SRT's rendition of the Viper now. For the second time in as many weeks, a leaked version of the 2013 SRT Viper in toy car form has found its way onto the internet. Spy shots of the actual Viper show the leaked toy car variant share similar exterior styling traits but luckily for SRT, the Hot Wheels version doesn't paint the clearest of pictures of what to expect. The toy car also has a die-cast body with a hood that doesn't open up. Chalk that up to a win for SRT as we'll have to wait to see what's officially under the hood unless something else leaks before next month's official unveil. Tuesday, March 6 Like the 2013 SRT Viper, the Chevrolet Volt has been through the gauntlet over the past few months. First accusations of defective batteries catching fire during government crash testing surfaced, and a high price, a drumbeat of (negative, politically driven, and largely uninformed) criticism has caused Volt sales continued to dwindle after lagging numbers plagued the hybrid throughout 2011. As a result, Chevrolet shelved Volt production for five weeks to even out its supply with the public's demand. Nevertheless, the European version of the Volt was awarded Europe's Car of the Year award at Geneva earlier this week. This isn't the first time the Volt has won a Car of the Year award as our colleague's over at Motor Trend bestowed the same honor onto it during its first year on the U.S. market. Wednesday, March 7 Toyota issued a massive recall as it needed to bring back 70,500 2009 model year Camrys, 116,000 Venzas assembled between 2009-2011, and a half million Tacoma mid-size pickup trucks produced from 2005 to 2009. The effected Camrys and Venzas are plagued with a faulty stop lamp switch, which proves problematic as the brake lights and dashboard may not illuminate. The vehicles also may not shift from "park" or start up all together. As for the recall concerning the Tacoma pickups, a steering wheel spiral cable is at the root of the problem. In short, the steering wheel cable is the medium that tells the airbag when to deploy in the event of a crash. A faulty steering wheel spiral cable may not make contact with the airbag, meaning it won't deploy in the event of an accident. Toyota says no accidents or fatalities have resulted from the affected parts; you can call (800) 331-4331 for questions concerning your vehicle. Thursday, March 8 Did we mention there was an auto show over in Switzerland this week? Because there was. We took the time to compile four videos that include the all-new Lamborghini Aventador J, Mercedes-Benz A-class, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque convertible (say that three times fast), and the Bentley EXP 9 F SUV. While the jury is still out on the Bentley SUV—actually, that's generous; the jury's not really swinging the Bentley's way—the other three were warmly received in Geneva. You can check out all the videos by clicking here. Friday, March 9 Chevrolet finally released its engine specs for the semi-highly anticipated 2013 Chevy Malibu this week. While we already know what waits for us under the hood of the Maibu Eco model, its less frugal-on-gas sibling will employ GM's Ecotec 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, all-new for the 2013 Malibu. Chevy estimates the Malibu's engine will churn out 197 horsepower, that's 27 more ponies than its cross-town rival Ford's Fusion. The all-new Toyota Camry also falls short of the Malibu's power as it too "only" serves up 178 horses. The turbo version of the Malibu's Ecotec engine is expected to be rated at a very respectable 260 horsepower, more than the turbo engine found under the hood of the Ford Fusion too. However, Chevy's turbo Malibu is still chasing the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima turbo versions as they both direct 274 ponies to the pavement.
Often those of us that cover the auto industry in the media and press wonder what just automakers are...