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DB9, Vantage To Be Dropped From Aston Martin’s US Lineup?

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With all the rules and regulations in play, it’s tough being a standalone carmaker these days; just ask Aston Martin which is facing a crisis in the U.S. due to new crash standards.

According to James Walker, chairman of the Aston’s U.S. dealer advisory panel, two of firm’s best-selling models, the DB9 and Vantage, do not comply with the new side-impact crash rule that comes into effect this September.

Walker, who represents Aston Martin Washington D.C., petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get an exemption for the two cars, stating that if dealers were to lose them, a number of stores would be forced to shut down their operations.

“[The] loss of V8/V12 Coupe and DB9 Coupe would reduce new car gross profit by approximately 25 percent, which would drive the average dealership to negative profitability,” wrote Walker. “Loss of convertibles would reduce new car gross profit by approximately 40 percent and all dealers would be in the red.”

According to Bloomberg, last year, upon learning about the new crash tests for protecting passengers from side collisions into narrow fixed objects such as poles and trees, Aston Martin had requested exemptions for the DB9 through August 2016 and for the Vantage through August 2017.

“The financial viability of Aston Martin dealers is very much in question with the loss of volume represented by the petition,” said Walker. “If dealers make the decision to shutter the franchise, a very likely outcome, the impact on employment is significant.”

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MKC Crossover Working Wonders For Lincoln’s US Sales

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Ford has embarked on a comprehensive turnaround of its luxury brand Lincoln, which was once Cadillac’s main rival.

Sure, Lincoln has a very long way to go before it can boast with that rivalry again, but it appears that it is finally on the right track. The luxury automaker said it had the best July sales since 2008, with 7,863 vehicles being delivered to customers last month – 14 percent more than in July 2013.

A significant part of this growth is due to the brand’s latest product, the MKC crossover. Lincoln sold over 1,500 units in July, the model’s third month on the market. The company says the MKC has an average turn of just 11 days on dealer lots, a testimony to strong customer demand.

“The rest of the year should bring really good results for Lincoln. As dealer lots continue to get more MKC’s I expect sales to continue to grow, said Erich Merkle, Ford Motor Company U.S. Sales analyst. “Lincoln will see benefits from the MKC because the small premium utility segment is the fastest growing in the luxury space,” the executive added.

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Lamborghini Mulls Rear-wheel Drive Huracan

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Lamborghinis have been almost exclusively all-wheel driven for over two decades now, and it’s only been certain special variants that ended up being sold with just the one powered axle.

The last one you could buy was the Gallardo Valentino Balboni edition, named in honor of Lamborghini’s most notorious test driver.

Apparently now, they’re set to do it again, this time basing it on the new Huracan. The tip was dropped at Pebble beach last week, when CEO Stephan Winkelmann was quoted as saying: “We did it with the Gallardo so it might be an option. We are a four-wheel-drive super-sports car [manufacturer] but why should we not do a rear-drive option?”

He added that “lots of derivatives” would be desirable for them, because “customers expect it and we always need something new to talk about.”

Processing this for a second, he’s actually quite right, since the people who buy these cars want to feel like they stand out, that their choice shows individuality. Having a plethora of differing variants could give future owners a sense of driving something really unique.

Additionally, a rear-wheel drive Huracan would be a good idea as it would also bring down the price (and weight), resulting in what will probably be the most different proposition to what the standard car offers. Before it, though, Lamborghini will be launching the Huracan drop-top.

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How Successful Is GM’s Chevrolet Corvette Commercially?

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General Motors announced that it built 37,288 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray models during the 2014 model year, yet another a testimony of the latest Vette’s commercial success.

Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles revealed at the Corvettes at Carlisle show that the figure includes exports and captured fleet cars that were sellable units. While 37,288 Corvettes built during one model year is not an all-time record, it’s still an impressive result.

 It’s the third best production number in the new millennium, exceeded only by the 37,372 Corvettes build during the 2005 model year and the 40,561 units build during the 2007 model year, right before the onset of the financial crisis.

 GM’s bankruptcy even led some voices to talk about the Corvette’s demise after the C6’s end of production, but fortunately for car enthusiasts that wasn’t the case. The Corvette is now as strong as it has ever been, and that’s a good thing.

 GM also released some data about 2014 Corvettes, which include customers’ preferences such as colors and options. For example, the most popular model was the Z51, accounting for 56 percent of Corvettes ordered. Of all Z51s sold, 36 percent had the Magnetic Selective Ride Control system.

 Another interesting statistic is that 65 percent of all Stingrays were fitted with the 6-speed automatic, with the rest of 35 percent featuring the 7-speed manual. The most popular color was Torch Red (19 percent), followed by Arctic White (17 percent) and Black (16 percent).

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