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Smartphones to drive future cars

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New York: Hold on to that steering. Cars of the future are set to get rid of traditional controls like buttons and switches and have a touchscreen smartphone for your driving comfort and overall safety.

Back-seat passengers will have the touchscreen to control automotive accessories such as air-conditioning, infotainment and navigation.

This will not distract drivers, media reports said.

Towards this, luxury car maker Bentley has come up with a slick remote control which whirrs up from the rear of the centre console.

The device, the size of a cigarette packet, is fitted with a touch-screen.

It manages audio-visual equipments like twin TV screens, a navigation system, a stereo and even a fridge.

The remote also allows passengers to configure the seats and adjust interior temperature.

This kind of control will soon pass on to cheaper cars, reports added.

For example, the new Volkswagen Passat will have an app that owners can download on a tablet.

Using the car’s Wi-Fi, the tablet will let passengers surf the internet as well as interact with the infotainment system.

Audi has gone a step further.

It has come up with an Audi-brand tablet: a 10.2-inch display introduced as a remote control for a range of vehicle functions.

The tablet gives occupants access to the web, media and navigation systems as well as control over the radio, reports added.

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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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