Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ferrari's IPO: Bullish about the Prancing Horse?

Ferrari 458 Spider
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy


Car collectors enjoy no only the thrill of owning a vehicle but the culture surrounding the popular brands that have driven our passions and emotions. When collecting Ferrari, the love can be enjoyed with the possession of a multimillion dollar classic like a highly rare 250 GTO or something as little as a one dollar die-cast car. Ferrari aficionados also take pleasure the in full range of merchandise surrounding the ‘Prancing Horse’ brand. Hats, jackets, sunglasses, watches and picture frames are just a few officially licensed items offered to collectors of the Ferrari brand. Ferrari is one of the most coveted brands when it comes to merchandising. Now, for the latest collectible item, why not own a piece of the company ambitious founded by the legendary motorsport figure Enzo Ferrari?

Selling 10 percent of the Ferrari company in an IPO (Initial Public Offering) release on the New York Stock Exchange, the first shares will be offered at $52 a share starting Wednesday morning. Listed on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) under the RACE stock symbol, Ferrari’s IPO appeared to have been concealed under the issuer name New Business Netherlands N.V. (NYSE still lists the stock under that title).

After initial estimates that the evaluation of Ferrari would be appraised between 5 and 7 billion dollars, the value of the auto manufacturer has been rated near 10 billion dollars with the share price. The stock sale is estimated to bring close to a billion dollars to Ferrari’s parent company FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles). While the Ferrari brand has been part of Fiat and most recently the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) conglomerate, the sports car brand had been permitted to remain a mostly autonomous corporate function.

The initial stock price for Ferrari is one of the richest of any automaker in recent memory. In comparison, FCA’s IPO last year priced a volume of 87 million shares at only for $11. It’s also interesting to note Tesla Motors’ IPO was priced at $17 per share.

In order to sell investors on Ferrari, the Italian sports car builder provided a bullish pledge. By 2019, Ferrari plans to sell 9,000 vehicles per year that equates to a 30 percent increase over current model numbers. The additional sales volume can increase revenue but some purists to the brand are concerned of saturation of the market with Ferrari vehicles. A fine balance will obviously need to exist between meeting demands for the popular sports cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB and insuring the storied brand maintains exclusivity. At 9,000 vehicles, Ferrari will still be well under Porsche and is only one-quarter the volume of vehicle compared to 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray production.

Toyota Goes 'Back to the Future' to Launch Sales for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Mirai




Great Scott! We've reached October 21st 2015. Where are the flying cars? Why can't I drink a Pepsi Perfect? Why haven't lawyers been abolished? The movie Back to the Future II certainly gave us a wacky prediction of what this day would look like. In late 2015, automobiles are still grounded but that doesn't mean technology has remained trapped in 1985 either.

Electrified automobiles existing in many forms is providing a futuristic reality. Even in the movie's version of 2015, Back to the Future II didn't tout alternative vehicle powertrains (Mr Fusion powered by the time circuits of the Doc Brown's modified DeLorean but gasoline was apparently still a mode of propulsion). Hybrid and fully-electric cars are driving the cause but visions of hydrogen being an automotive power source have also given birth to fuel cell research. Toyota has become the latest automaker demonstrating the possibilities of hydrogen fuel cell technology creating the Mirai as a real-world test bed. Officially launch the availability of the 2016 Toyota Mirai on October 21st 2015, the car company reunited two of film history's most popular time travellers.

Called "Fueled by the Future", Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox appear together as themselves in the Toyota video. Lloyd and Fox are introduced to a real-life scientist named Misha who informs the two actors of at least one far-out idea from Back to the Future II's 2015 that has come true. Mr Fusion, the device that began powering the time circuits of the DeLorean after Plutonium scarcity caused problems with time travel, turned garbage and waste into an energy source. Misha explains how modern know-how can replicate the procedure of turning trash into hydrogen fuel.

Powered by hydrogen, the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle is introduced to the Back to the Future stars in a cinematic manner. Toyota credits October 21st as the date the Mirai goes on-sale to the public. A vehicle associated with more than 5,600 patents, the Mirai can go as far as 300 miles without emitting any harmful emissions. At a price of $57,500 initially in the California area, the Toyota Mirai is also available through a 36-month lease for $499 per month. Up to 3,000 Toyota Mirais are planned to be offered in the United States.

The 2016 Toyota Mirai is not the only vehicle to appear prominently in the short film. A 2016 Tundra, styled after Marty McFly's dream Toyota 4x4 pickup in 1985, appears in "Fueled by the Future" as Misha's personal ride. Also look for the time-travelling DeLorean's cameo.

Toyota's Fuel by the Future video is provided below:


Production Starts for Tenth Generation Civic at Honda's Alliston Plant

Photo Credit: Honda of Canada Manufacturing

For the tenth generation model of their staple Civic compact car, Honda has made monumental strides insuring the new vehicle's successful 2016 model year release.

After getting chastised by the automotive press and some previous owners for being too conservative with the creation of the ninth generation Civic, Honda has now been forced to make a riskier move for 2016. Seeking to regain some of the Honda Civic's lustre as a segment leader in direct tune with the demands of the consumer, the larger vehicle offers a turbocharged engine option, high-tech interior features and last but not least a bold, cutting-edge styling. This week at Alliston's Honda of Canada Manufacturing plant, the all-new 2016 Civic Sedan begins the trek towards new car customers bracing to find a receptive audience.

Rolling off the Canadian assembly line on Tuesday, the first production examples of the four-door 2016 Civic came together with celebrated fare among Honda of Canada Manufacturing. President of Honda's manufacturing arm Dan Smith as well as the president and CEO of Honda Canada Jerry Chenkin were present in Alliston, Ontario to welcome global production of the car. "Our team also set a new benchmark, taking on the incredible challenge of being the lead plant for the global launch of this new Civic, and we're committed to delivering world-class Civic quality for our customers here in North America and around the world," said Honda of Canada Manufacturing's president Dan Smith. 



Photo Credit: Honda of Canada Manufacturing



The best-selling brand in Canada 17 years consecutively, the Honda Civic has made a cozy home in the country. Complying to the demands of drivers, Civic's Canadian connection is aided by the fact the vehicle contributes to employment. Honda's Alliston, Ontario based operations is entering into its 30th anniversary where 4,000 employees (classified as associates by the auto company). When the first 2016 Honda Civic Sedan left the assembly line of the Alliston facility on Tuesday, it was the first time a North American production plant led the construction of an all-new generation of the car. Production of the new Honda Civic was made possible thanks to a $857-million dollar investment made into the Alliston manufacturing complex (a contribution of ten percent of that investment value was also made by the provincial government of Ontario). Globally, the 2016 Honda Civic will be built at a total of 11 manufacturing facilities.

On the North American continent, more than 9 million Honda Civics has been produced split relatively evenly with the Canadian Alliston plant and American production factories. Currently, Greensburg, Indiana serves as the home of Civic production in the United States. Boasting a immense North American manufacturing presence created over an extended period of time, Honda has been building vehicles stateside since 1982 as well as in Canada since 1986.

Leading tenth generation Honda Civic production with the sedan variant, the automaker promises the imminent arrival of the two-door coupe, Si models, a five-door and the Civic Type-R are also being promised for the North American driving public in the near future.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Castrol Pledges 90-Second Oil Changes with Nexcel


Photo Credit: Castrol Ltd.

Since the first revolution of an automotive gasoline engine was accomplished, there has been a need for support systems to insure a second, third or, in the case of the vehicles we drive today, several thousand revolutions for minute can be completed. Providing the necessary lubrication for an engine to operate consistently, engine oil remains one of the most important ingredients of a vehicle.

Often referred to as the life blood of a car, engine oil routinely needs the automotive equivalent to a transfusion better known as an oil change. For a century, new engine oil had to be poured from a can or plastic container. Oil changes are a simple form of maintenance complicated by the extraction of older oil and the replenishment with new fluid. Recent years, an added wrinkle to older oil has been in adhering to the proper, environmentally-conscious method for disposal. All and all, the typical oil change including the replacement of an oil filter averages about 20 minutes. Thanks to new, ground-breaking technology introduced by engine oil giant Castrol, the 20-minute task could be performed in a mere 90 seconds.

Technology that will turn an oil change into experience as brief as a fuel stop, Castrol introduces Nexcel. Roughly resembling the size of a small cooler, the Nexcel oil containment cell compresses the entire basic oil change into a single assembly. Depicted as being located within the engine compartment, the Nexcel can be easily removed and replaced in a manner described as 13 times faster than conventional oil changes.


Photo Credit: Castrol Ltd.



The Nexcel system functions similarly to the dry sump oiling system where a reservoir located away from the engine stores engine oil. Installation and removal of the Nexcel are not the only place where the system touts high performance. Castrol claims Nexcel opens the door to a new generation of advanced engineered engine oils. Vehicles connected to a Nexcel system are said to be tested at oil flows of 600 liters per minute (up to 20 times greater than what is present with the oiling system of conventional vehicles). Nexcel has also been evaluated in performance applications of extreme braking. In fact, one of the first applications of the Nexcel system will be in the high-performance, track-only Aston Martin Vulcan.

The Nexcel system touts several advantages in addition to the speedier oil change routine. Nexcel provides cleaner, greener oil changes. Eliminating the mess associated with emptying old oil and pouring in new engine oil, the cell technique also provides more efficient recycling of fluids. Oil is contained in the Nexcel can be repurposed with little risk of misdirection into more environmentally hazardous locations.


Photo Credit: Castrol Ltd.



Castrol CEO Paul Waterman greatly champions the potential of the Nexcel system saying, “We believe this is the biggest leap forward in oil change technology in the history of the combustion engine. Castrol’s engineers are leaders in their field and have come up with a really innovative piece of technology.” Supported by quick unit changes, better engine performance and improved environmental impact with more than 200,000 road tankers less virgin oil needed, the chairman of the Nexcel advisory board Richard Parry-Jones also strongly sells the advantages of the system.  “Nexcel represents one of its most significant innovations. It offers a solution to a problem that is increasing on the radar scope of manufacturers and when the Nexcel technology becomes standardised, people will wonder why we did it any other way,” said Parry-Jones.  

Nexcel’s first use on the Aston Martin Vulcan (featuring a chassis tub created by Canadian company Multimatic) is definitely an extreme field test for a new oil system. Working alongside a 7.0-liter V12 engine generating more than 800 horsepower, Nexcel wants to ambitiously become the new standard in oil containment.  










Monday, October 5, 2015

Canadian Pricing for 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Coupe Announced



As the Chevrolet Camaro nears it 50th anniversary since introduction, there is excitement created by an all-new version of the vehicle that restated the bowtie’s sports car performance reputation. In the previous two generations of the Camaro, Canada had a major part in bringing the affordable, rear-wheel drive pony car to life.

Canadian pricing for the new generation Chevrolet Camaro clearly expresses the cost of pony car aggression for north of the border performance seekers. MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) for the 2016 Camaro will start at $28,245 in Canada. For those interested to know the difference between the Canadian and United States price, there is a $1,550 separation. The base model of the 2016 Camaro is  $2,575 lower than its 2015 counterpart. The addition of a standard turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a main contributor to the reduced vehicle price tag. The 275-horsepower powerplant replaces the still-available 335-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 as the Camaro’s base engine. At the higher side of the performance spectrum, the 2016 Camaro SS powered by an all-new 455-horsepower 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 engine comes as a pricier indulgence. For 2016, the Camaro coupe in 1SS  trim will retail for $42,150. Compared to the 2015 model, the new generation vehicle is roughly $1,000 more.

From 1993 to 2002, Sainte-Therese, Quebec was the home for the last generation F-body platform version of Camaro. Resurrection of Chevrolet’s pony car drew upon the expert labour of General Motors of Canada’s historic Oshawa Assembly Plant. From 2009 to 2015, the Chevrolet Camaro and all high-performance variants such as the Z/28 and 580-horsepower ZL1 were made in Canada.

It’s already been reported that Chevrolet Camaro production has been yanked from Canada for the first time since 1992. However, there remains some consolation for hard-working Canadian manufacturing relating to the sixth-generation Camaro. During an event that brought the 2016 Camaro north of the border for the first time and attended by GM Canada President Steve Carlisle, it was announced the LT1 V-8 powerplant will be built at the company’s St Catharines Powertrain facility. In recent years, the 3.6-liter V-6 LFX engine used in the Chevrolet Camaro has been produced at the St. Catharines plant.