By   October 7, 2016

VOLKSWAGEN RED BULL GRC

Volkswagen Red Bull GRC

Today we are starting something new. Each day we will try to have an article with all of the automotive news items that hit our inbox. We’ll include links so you can jump to each story that interests you quickly.

Today’s headlines are:

VOLKSWAGEN HOPES FOR REPEAT RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP FOR ITS DRIVERS IN LOS ANGELES

SUBARU DICONTINUES CROSSTREK HYBRID

INFINITI ANNOUNCES U.S. PRICING FOR 2017 QX60

MAZDA RACERS READY FOR PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE FINALE

NISSAN ONCE AGAIN RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP BRANDS

VOLKSWAGEN HOPES FOR REPEAT RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP FOR ITS DRIVERS IN LOS ANGELES

VOLKSWAGEN RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
06/10/16 from Volkswagen

After wrapping up the Manufacturer’s Championship for Volkswagen in Seattle, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross turns its attention to the Red Bull GRC Driver’s Championship at the season finale doubleheader in Los Angeles this weekend. With four and three wins on the season respectively, Tanner Foust and Scott Speed sit atop the championship standings before the last two races of 2016. Foust hopes to capture his third Red Bull GRC title this weekend, while Speed aims to drive his Beetle GRC to a second consecutive crown.
Foust reclaimed the championship lead he had held for most of the season with a victory at Red Bull GRC’s last round in Seattle. The two-time series champion has had a dominant year, winning every one of his 25 Heat and Semifinal Races along with a career-best four victories in 2016. “There’s no question that we’ve been in a great place all season long, but from a behind-the-scenes perspective, things have really been a roller coaster,” said Foust. “We’ve worked our tails off to be at the front of the pack and I know that if we keep that effort up I’ll be in a great position to earn another title—my first with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross.”

Foust’s teammate Scott Speed linked together a remarkable string of results in the middle of the season, taking the points lead after Atlantic City with three consecutive race victories. Speed finished just off the podium in Seattle, allowing Foust to recapture the championship lead heading into LA. “We’ve been strong all year and as long as we stay clean in LA, I’m confident that the team can grab some more great results to wrap up the season,” said Speed. “It’s always exciting to come out to LA and I’m looking forward to putting on a great show for some passionate rallycross fans.”

Both Beetle GRCs will be wearing special colors this weekend as Volkswagen celebrates the launch of the new, special edition #PinkBeetle. Speed will drive the No. 41 #PinkBeetle Beetle GRC in the season-ending doubleheader, while Foust will pilot the No. 34 Rockstar Perfectberry Rockstar Beetle GRC to raise visibility for The Pink Agenda—a charity dedicated to improving breast cancer care and research.

“It’s going to be very easy to spot our cars this weekend,” joked Foust. “I’m glad to be raising awareness for a great charity with Rockstar and we’ll be working extra hard to get some strong finishes for them.”

“As if this weekend needed more excitement, I’m happy to be driving the first race car version of the #PinkBeetle,” said Speed. “Mine may have a few more ponies under the hood, but it’s no more eye-catching than what you can get in dealer showrooms this month. I’ll have a blast racing it around the track.”

The final rounds of the 2016 Red Bull GRC season will air on NBC—Sunday, October 9 at 3:00PM (ET).

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SUBARU DICONTINUES CROSSTREK HYBRID

Subaru of America, Inc. today announced that it would discontinue sales of the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid for the 2017 model year. Unveiled at 2013 New York International Auto Show, the Crosstrek Hybrid was the brand’s first-ever production hybrid vehicle. The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid was based on the company’s highly successful Crosstrek model, and differentiated itself in the market as the first hybrid to incorporate Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and deliver excellent on and off-road performance.

“It is important to note that we are not leaving the hybrid market permanently,” said Jeff Walters, executive vice president of sales, Subaru of America, Inc. “We are currently working on a new hybrid vehicle, although it is too early to discuss specifics.”

Subaru has previously announced that it will utilize its new Subaru Global Platform as the basis for its next generation hybrid vehicle. The new Global Platform is designed to incorporate PHEV and full electric vehicles. The new chassis architecture increases rigidity of the unitized body structure by over 70 percent and crash energy absorption improved by 40 percent. The new Subaru Global Platform, together with the Boxer engine, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and EyeSight®, represent Subaru’s core technologies and constitute the basic foundation of the next generation of Subaru vehicles.

INFINITI ANNOUNCES U.S. PRICING FOR 2017 QX60

2017 QX60

INFINITI today announced pricing for the 2017 QX60, which is available now at INFINITI retailers nationwide. The 7-passenger QX60 continues to offer both luxury and function and serves as a core model in the INFINITI line-up. It is again offered in a choice of front-wheel drive or with INFINITI Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.
For 2017, new features include a more powerful engine and INFINITI InTouchTM, which integrates, navigation, convenience, security, and entertainment into an instrument panel-mounted control system.

The updated QX60 powertrain’s new 3.5-liter DOHC V6 adds Direct Injection GasolineTM (DIG) technology, a revised air intake system, electronic variable timing control (e-VTC) and mirror bore coating. The engine is rated at 295 horsepower (an increase of 30 hp from 2016) and 270 lb-ft of torque (an increase of 22 lb-ft from 2016). It is matched to an advanced continuously variable transmission.

The Infiniti InTouchTM with Navigation and Infiniti InTouchTMServices, now available in the Premium Plus package, add Vehicle Health Report and Voice Recognition for audio, Bluetooth® and vehicle information.

The Deluxe Technology Package adds a new Motion Activated Liftgate, High Beam Assist and auto side dimming mirrors, while the Drivers Assistance Package also includes auto side dimming mirrors.

For 2017, the Theater Package now offers dual 8-inch color monitors (1-inch larger than 2016), along with the addition of a 12V power point, USB port (audio/video capable) and an HDMI port. Additionally, Wi-Fi is offered in conjunction with the Theater Package and includes 2GB with a 3-month complimentary trial.

The 2017 QX60 continues to offer a combination of dramatic exterior styling – including INFINITI signature double-arch grille, LED Daytime Running Lights and crescent-cut D-pillars – and comfortable 7-passenger interior with unique 2nd row flexibility. Available convenience features range from available Bose® Cabin Surround sound system with 15 speakers to leather-appointed seating and a sequential welcome lighting illumination system.

The QX60 also offers advanced safety and driving technologies, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Backup Collision Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention, Blind Spot Warning, Distance Control Assist and Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection.

More information on the 2017 INFINITI QX60, along with the full 2017 INFINITI lineup, is available at www.InfinitiNews.com

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 INFINITI QX60 start at $43,100 USD.

MAZDA RACERS READY FOR PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE FINALE

MAZDA PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE FINALE

It is fitting that the final professional sports car race-weekend of 2016, the Pirelli World Challenge season finale, will take place at iconic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. There are 21 Mazda racers entered in three Touring Car classes, competing for multiple driver, team, and manufacturer championships. Entering the weekend, Mazda has already clinched the Touring Car A (TCA) manufacturer championship, but that is just one of eight possible championships. Due to a mid-season schedule change, and an optional race at Lime Rock, some drivers will double-count their Mazda Raceway scores. Most of the championships will likely be determined during the final race on Sunday morning.
John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations, said, “Our success in the Pirelli World Challenge is due in part to the many great customer teams that have chosen to race with Mazda. With 15 wins, we’ve had outstanding performances by the Atlanta Motorsports Group, BERG Racing, Black Armor Helmets, Breathless Racing, Doghouse Performance, Hale Motorsports, S.A.C. Racing and Tech Sport Racing. To close out the year at our home track makes it even more special.”

BMW PRIVATEER DRIVERS RACE FOR PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT LAGUNA SECA

BMW

BMW privateer drivers currently lead and will be racing to secure titles in two classes at this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season finale races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif.
Toby Grahovec, driving the Classic BMW Motorsports No. 26 BMW M235i Racing, has a commanding lead of 195 points in TC class driver points standings after 10 rounds of competition. The final two rounds will decide the championship this weekend. Classic BMW Motorsports teammate Gino Carini stands 16th in driver points, sharing the distinction with Grahovec of being the very first M235i Racing drivers in Pirelli World Challenge competition. Three additional M235i Racing cars are entered this weekend and BMW now represents 20% of the TC class entries in only its first season of competition.

In the Sprint X GT class, Michael Mills and BMW of North America driver Kuno Wittmer have raced the No. 46 Mills Racing BMW Z4 GT3 to the class lead after four of six rounds of competition in PWC’s endurance series. This weekend’s final two rounds will decide the Sportsman driver title for Mills. Wittmer, who has responsibilities for BMW this weekend in Germany, will have BMW of North America driver John Edwards stand in for him. Wittmer holds a commanding lead in the Professional driver points standings.

“We are extremely pleased with the success we’ve had during BMW’s return season in Pirelli World Challenge,” said Victor Leleu, BMW NA Motorsport Manager. “We’ve doubled the number of BMWs competing in PWC in our first season back in many years and look to increasing our support of BMW customer racing teams in Pirelli World Challenge in the future. There’s a lot at stake this weekend with the TC and Sprint X GT titles within reach for Toby and Michael respectively and I look forward to celebrating with them on Sunday.”

NISSAN ONCE AGAIN RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP BRANDS

Nissan

For the fifth straight year, Nissan has been recognized as one of the world’s most valuable brands according to the prestigious Best Global Brands Study by Interbrand, the world-leading brand consultancy. This year, Nissan was ranked as the 43rd most valuable brand in the world – an increase over last year’s ranking of 49th. Nissan now has a brand value of over $11 billion. This year’s ranking puts Nissan as the 4th fastest growing brand in the world.
“Brand Power has been a consistent focus across the company for the last five years and it is very encouraging that all our efforts continue to be recognized by this influential brand ranking,” said Roel de Vries, corporate vice president and the global head of marketing and brand strategy for Nissan. “The fact that we remain the fastest growing automotive brand is also further proof that the story around our products and our vision for the future of driving is continuing to resonate.”

This recognition reflects Nissan’s continuing efforts to drive solid business results by increasing brand visibility. Nissan has become more proactive in building excitement for the brand in part by telling the story of the company’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint for making driving safer, more exciting, and more sustainable. During the past year, Nissan has also raised brand awareness through several high-profile sponsorships, from the 2016 Rio Olympics to the UEFA Champions League.

The report cited several reasons for this year’s jump in brand rankings, including:

Nissan’s long-term vision for increasing brand awareness through strategic use of digital platforms and technologies;
Forging new partnerships such as the recent global agreement with Microsoft, focused on vehicle connectivity and connected services;
Launching innovative new products from the Serena with ProPilot technology to the GT-R NISMO;
Maintaining a strong commitment to customer satisfaction; and
Nissan’s success in creating modern new expressions of the brand, as seen through the recent opening of Nissan Crossing in the Ginza district of Tokyo.
The Best Global Brands study is Interbrand’s annual report on the world’s most valuable brands. Interbrand’s method looks at the ongoing investment and management of the brand as a business asset, taking into account financial performance, the role of brand in the purchase decision process and the strength of the brand.

For more information about Interbrand’s 2016 Best Global Brand Study, please visit BestGlobalBrands.com.