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Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Indicted in Japan for Underreporting Compensation

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 6:10pm

The auto industry reeled in shock last month when former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested on suspicion of financial misconduct. Now, the executive credited with saving Nissan in the early 2000s has been indicted by prosecutors in Tokyo, Japan, for misstating his compensation over the course of several years. Former board member Greg Kelly and Nissan itself have also been indicted.

According to a statement released yesterday in Japan, Nissan says the two executives were indicted for violating the Japan Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, specifically the section involving false disclosures in annual securities reports. Nissan acknowledged that it was also indicted for the same violation.

“Nissan takes this situation extremely seriously,” the company said in its statement. “Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret. Nissan will continue its efforts to strengthen its governance and compliance, including making accurate disclosures of corporate information.”

According to Japanese media, prosecutors are accusing the indicted parties of underreporting Ghosn’s compensation by about 5 billion yen (roughly $44 million at current exchange rates) from fiscal years 2010-2014. New allegations contend that Ghosn and Kelly also underreported compensation from 2015-2017, which led to the two men being re-arrested. According to Automotive News, Japan’s legal system allows suspects to be arrested multiple times—even if already in custody—on different grounds. This process resets the detention clock and extends jail time by up to 20 days. Ghosn has been detained since his initial arrest on November 19 and continues to deny any wrongdoing. The re-arrest means he could be jailed until December 30.

But prosecutors may have a hard time getting a conviction to stick, former Tokyo prosecutor special investigation deputy Masaru Wakasa suggested to AN. You see, the 9 billion yen Ghosn is accused of underreporting over eight years is said to be deferred compensation that would have been paid out after he retired. Prosecutors need to prove that both the amount and timing of future payments are certain, and that Nissan was obligated to report the payments in its financial statements. The prosecution believes Nissan should have reported the deferred payments even though they had not yet been paid because they represent a future liability that stakeholders should know about. Sources familiar with the investigation say Ghosn and Kelly have admitted that the deferred payments were not fully disclosed in financial reports, but they believe it was unnecessary because the amount wasn’t finalized.

A panel of three judges will ultimately decide if Ghosn, Kelly, and Nissan committed crimes, though a trial date has not yet been set. Automotive News reports Ghosn will likely be re-arrested (again) on different charges, potentially keeping him detained through the beginning of 2019.

Source: Nissan, Automotive News (Subscription required)

The post Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Indicted in Japan for Underreporting Compensation appeared first on MotorTrend.

2019 Porsche Macan S First Drive: The Quiet Achiever

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 6:01pm

Think Porsche, and you think 911. Or Cayman/Boxster. Maybe Cayenne. Perhaps Panamera. What you almost certainly don’t think is Macan. But Porsche’s compact SUV is quite the quiet achiever. More than 385,000 have been sold worldwide since the Macan made its debut in 2014. (It took Porsche more than 30 years to sell that many 911s.) Two in five new Porsches sold in the U.S. are Macans, making it easily the company’s most popular model. In short, it’s a success. And the 2019 Porsche Macan proves the old adage, “Don’t mess with success.”

Porsche has given the Macan a midlife makeover, a mix of cosmetic tweaks and technology upgrades designed to carry the car through to the arrival of an all-new replacement in 2022 or 2023. Visual changes include a new front fascia with gaping vents on either side of the grille to give the car a broader stance on the road. There’s a new rear fascia, too, along with a version of the full-width taillight graphic that’s now a Porsche family design signature. Porsche has made 21-inch wheels available on the Macan for the first time, and there are four new exterior colors, including the high-impact Miami Blue and the subversively hip Chalk (a soft, warm gray) straight from the 911 palette.

The 2019 Macan and Macan S now come standard with LED headlights, but new technology makes the biggest splash inside, courtesy of the 10.9-inch high-definition touchscreen in the center of the dash. The new screen provides the user interface for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system. The PCM system, which made its debut in the Panamera, features beautifully rendered graphics and fast reaction times, and the screen layout can be customized several ways. PCM also features voice control and can process swarm data from similarly equipped vehicles to warn of slippery roads, fog, or other hazards ahead when the navigation system is active.

The 2019 Macan arrives in the U.S. in late spring/early summer in two variants. The base Macan is powered by a 248-hp, 273-lb-ft longitudinally mounted version of VW Group’s versatile 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine fitted with a new direct-injection cylinder head with centrally located injectors. Price is $50,950, a $2,100 bump over the outgoing model. The Macan S, historically the best-selling Macan variant in the U.S., now has a 348-hp version of the Audi-designed 3.0-liter single-turbo V-6 under the hood. (This is the same engine as the 440-hp 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 that powers the Panamera 4S. The difference in displacement is due to a shorter stroke to reduce the static compression ratio so it can run higher boost pressures and make more power.) Price is $59,650, a $3,200 increase.

With 14 hp more on tap, the 2019 Macan S is about 0.1 second quicker to 60 mph, Porsche says, and has a top speed of 157 mph. The twin-scroll turbocharger, mounted in the V, helps deliver a torque plateau that peaks at 354 lb-ft and runs flatter than Kansas from 1,360 to 4,800 rpm. Just one transmission is available, a seven-speed PDK that distributes drive to all four wheels. The all-wheel-drive system’s torque split is biased to the rear wheels in the interest of sporty handling but can funnel 100 percent of the drive to the front wheels if needed.

The chassis concept is fundamentally unchanged, with multilink suspension front and rear and the choice of conventional steel springs or a height-adjustable two-chamber air suspension. But the 2019 Macan features a number of key tweaks aimed at improving ride quality and comfort while simultaneously improving the little SUV’s already formidable on-road dynamics.

The front suspension components are now made of aluminum, replacing the steel hardware used on the previous model. Porsche says the new front axle assembly reduces unsprung mass by 3.3 pounds and is considerably stiffer. The optional air suspension system has optimized rolling pistons and new damping hydraulics. The stabilizer bars have been recalibrated to deliver more neutral handling. And to tie it all together, the Macan now rolls on asymmetric tires, the fronts slightly narrower than the rears.

You notice the improvements in ride quality and steering precision within the first few miles. Where the previous Macan crashed and thumped over lumps and bumps in the road, the new model is quieter and more composed. The steering is as clear and deftly weighted a helm as you’ll find on any SUV, allowing you to place the little Porsche accurately in corners with little more than a roll of the wrists.

Porsche’s launch fleet was lavishly equipped—some of the cars we drove on the island of Mallorca, just off the coast of Spain, had almost $25,000 worth of options. But after driving steel-spring and air-suspended cars back to back, we’d say paying $2,750 for the optional air suspension is worth the money, and not just because it gives you an extra 1.6 inches of ground clearance in off-road mode. The air-suspended cars were all on the most aggressive 21-inch wheel/tire combination, compared with the 20-inch setup on the steel-spring cars, but even so the recalibrated air suspension system added a syrupy layer of compliance over sharper impacts and also reduced head toss.

The hot setup, in terms of the best compromise between comfort and handling, would be to pair the air suspension with the 20-inch wheels and tires. The extra half inch of sidewall would further reduce impact harshness and noise and offer additional protection against pothole damage. Oh, and unless you were planning to go with the base 21-inch wheels, the money you’d save by going with 20s over the fancier 21s would effectively knock $240 to $1,060 off the cost of ordering the air suspension in the first place.

Sandpapery at times, the 3.0-liter V-6 doesn’t feel as refined in the Macan as it does in the bigger Panamera or Cayenne. That may be a result of new dynamic engine mounts designed to stop the V-6 twisting in its moorings as you come on and off the throttle and upsetting the chassis balance. But the occasional tingle through the steering column is a worthwhile trade-off for the punchy midrange throttle response. Peak power arrives at 5,400 rpm, and although the output then remains consistent over the next 1,000 revs, there’s really not much point letting the tach needle swing much farther around the dial if you’re running in Sport+ and snicking the paddles. Short-shift and surf the torque, and the Macan S pinballs down a twisting two-lane like a hot hatch, alert and light on its feet.

As with all Porsches, the Macan S options list is long. It needs to be, as it’s a surprisingly spartan ride in base trim, lacking even heated front seats, automatically dimming mirrors, or lane keeping assist as standard equipment. In addition to those items and the aforementioned air suspension and 20-inch wheels, we’d recommend opting for the Sport Chrono package, as it delivers the steering wheel–mounted mode switch with its “push to pass” button. Other options worth considering include the $990 thermal and noise-insulated glass, which makes the Macan quieter on the freeway, and the $990 Bose surround-sound system, which is better quality than the base audio and better value than the $5,700 Burmester setup.

The 2019 Porsche Macan S builds on the previous model’s strengths (good performance, great dynamics), addresses its weaknesses (flinty ride, noisy tires and suspension), and adds a state-of-the-art communications and navigation system into the mix, along with simple but effective styling tweaks. It’s more engaging, more desirable, more of a Macan. You don’t mess with success.

The post 2019 Porsche Macan S First Drive: The Quiet Achiever appeared first on MotorTrend.

Chevrolet Will Not Launch the 2020 Mid-Engine Corvette at NAIAS

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 5:31pm

For well over a year the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit has been the hands-down favorite as the location to launch the C8 mid-engine Corvette. But according to this new report from GM Authority, Chevrolet has other plans.

When the website reached out to the Chevrolet car and crossover team regarding an official comment on NAIAS, they were told that “there’s nothing planned”.

Continue reading Chevrolet Will Not Launch the 2020 Mid-Engine Corvette at NAIAS at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Corvette Racing To Continue With Corvette C7.R In 2019

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 5:12pm

We like the burly ol' C7.R, anyway.

2019 McLaren 720S Spider Revealed With 202-MPH Top Speed

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 3:20pm

How do you improve on the McLaren 720S experience? A tall task to be sure, but we’d say offering a drop-top version is a good place to start. Enter the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider, the second of a staggering 18 models the marque plans to roll out by 2025 as part of its Track 25 plan.

Creating a convertible model of a car typically has meant a huge weight penalty over its fixed-roof counterpart. But McLaren says its latest Super Series offering is just 108 pounds heavier than the 720S coupe, thanks in large part to its super-stiff carbon-fiber tub that required little to no additional bracing. Having weighed the coupe at 3,167 pounds here at MotorTrend, that means the Spider should slide in under the 3,300-pound mark.

The job of sending that mass to stupefying speeds falls to the same mid-mounted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine found in the coupe. As in that car, it delivers 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

We recently drove the 720S coupe with Track Pack, and as you might expect, found it to be “a shockingly, disturbingly quick car.” We feel confident saying the same is true of the Spider. McLaren claims this new version can zip from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds, which is the same amount of time it cites for the coupe. However, MT rocketed the coupe to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, so expect the Spider to outpace its official estimate. If that isn’t enough ludicrousness, the Spider has a maximum speed of 212 mph with the top up and 202 mph with its top down.

If you have friends that are more impressed with tech than speed, order the optional electrochromic glass roof panel that changes from tinted to transparent at the press of a button. It incorporates into a carbon-fiber roof that can be dropped in 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

As mentioned, the Monocage II-S structure didn’t require additional strengthening to create the Spider, and thus the new car offers the same rigidity as the coupe. The Spider also incorporates what McLaren is calling “glazed” flying buttresses that guide airflow over the rear deck and which have clear portions to enhance visibility of all the cars you will invariably leave in the dust.

The Spider features a new 10-spoke wheel design and rolls on Pirelli P Zero rubber. It also offers two new color options—Belize Blue and Aztec Gold—to go along with the 23 other available hues. If none of those strike your fancy, McLaren will paint it any color you like—for an additional sum, of course.

Deliveries are expected to start next March, with U.S. pricing opening at $315,000. The order books are now open if you’d like one; just remember the 720S coupe sold out quickly last year and the Spider is sure to do the same, so act fast.

Source: McLaren

The post 2019 McLaren 720S Spider Revealed With 202-MPH Top Speed appeared first on MotorTrend.

Poll: Will 2019 Blazer Production In Mexico Prevent You From Buying One?

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 2:50pm

Cast your vote in our poll right here.

Former 1960 Le Mans Racer Back in Legal Limbo Following Closure of Dealership

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 2:26pm

Legendary Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay again finds himself in the middle of a seemingly never-ending legal battle over a historic 1960 Corvette.

The fate of the car remains in question after it made history nearly 60 years ago when it became one of the first Corvettes to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.

Continue reading Former 1960 Le Mans Racer Back in Legal Limbo Following Closure of Dealership at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

2020 Buick LaCrosse Refresh Not Coming To America

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 2:19pm

Rather than being available for a few months, the updated model simply won't be available.

Spied! Face-Lifted Audi A4 Caught Testing in the Snow

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 1:21pm

You had to know it was coming. The Audi A4’s been on sale in Europe for about three years now, so it’s time for a refresh. Plus, while the A6, A7, and A8 all have the new corporate fascia, the A4 and A5 still don’t. Clearly, that’s a problem that must be corrected.

Of course, it’s not like the current A4 has major flaws that need correcting. Even though it lacks the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s personality, the A4 nearly won a recent eight-car comparison test. And by the end of our long-term test of the A4, our complaints were more about minor annoyances than big problems.

Up front, you can see a tweaked A8-like grille, as well as similarly A8-inspired headlights. Around back, it appears the bumper has been tweaked even though the taillights look unchanged. It’s possible that as the updated A4 gets closer to production, we could see different taillights, but you never know. The fenders also look a little more sculpted, perhaps to emphasize Audi’s popular all-wheel-drive system.

Our spy photographer says to also expect the A4 to receive some significant cabin updates. That most likely means giving the A4 the A6’s dual-screen dash and perhaps its new steering wheel. Don’t be surprised if Audi changes up its powertrain offerings, either.

Audi hasn’t said when it plans to reveal the refreshed A4, but we expect to see it toward the end of next year as a 2020 model. Look for it to make it to the U.S. about a year later.

Photo source: CarPix

The post Spied! Face-Lifted Audi A4 Caught Testing in the Snow appeared first on MotorTrend.

Corvette Customization: Is There Life After The Chop Saw?

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 1:20pm
Corvettes have been the foundation of customizers for decades and we've wondered how deep one can cut into a Corvette and still have a Corvette.

PRI 2018: Cooling Off With Flex-A-Lite’s Flex Wave Electric Fans

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 1:14pm
Flex-A-Lite is a big name in automotive cooling. We stopped by thier booth at the 2018 PRI Show to check out their all-new Flex Wave line of fans.

PRI 2018: Cooling Off With Flex-A-Lite’s Flex Wave Electric Fans

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 1:14pm
Flex-A-Lite is a big name in automotive cooling. We stopped by thier booth at the 2018 PRI Show to check out their all-new Flex Wave line of fans.

Chevrolet Camaro SS/ZL1 Gets Throaty Flowmaster Upgrade

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 1:00pm

Cue the neighborhood complaints in three…two…one….

King Of The Heap Is A Racing Series For Those On A Budget

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:36pm

The perfect opportunity to trash that 20-year-old Camaro rusting in the garage.

GM Canada: New Hires Coming, But Not At Oshawa Plant

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:11pm

It will be hiring for skilled positions in Markham and Toronto

PRI 2018: Crane Cams Camshaft & An Extreme Application Lifters

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:10pm
Crane Cams brought back a popular camshaft to this year's PRI Show - the Fireball. Robert walks us through some of the design significance that gives these camshafts their notorious fireball sound.

Electric Vehicle Viability Could Be Delayed By Cobalt Price

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:57am

The Democratic Republic of Congo has nearly tripled the royalty rate for the material integral to the production of batteries.

Detroit-Hamtramck Employees Could Find New Jobs At FCA

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:34am

A strange dichotomy.

PRI 2018: JMS Pedal Max For 2008-2019 GM Vehicles

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:25am
If your GM vehicle suffers from a slow reacting pedal, JMS has what you need. The Pedal Max offers instant throttle response and tunability.

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