It's Friday once again, which means it’s time for another round of my Five For Friday: Five Thoughts about the Auto Industry for January 10, 2014. Mazda pulls back from its American turbodiesel offering, Chevrolet provides a data recorder for Corvette Stingray buyers, Hyundai and Google team up, the Acura ZDX goes out with a whimper, and SRT expands its Viper racing effort. Let’s look at my take on the most noteworthy and interesting automotive stories from the past week.
01. Mazda Delays Diesel Engine - Again - For MAZDA6
The all-new Mazda Mazda6 was resoundingly praised by media and buyers alike when it debuted earlier this year, but there was also considerable salivation over the prospect of the Skyactiv turbodiesel engine that Mazda had initially promised for the car. Already available in Europe, Mazda promised U.S. delivery by spring of 2014, but sadly, this week the company informed us that we'd be waiting an indeterminate amount of time before being able to order a turbodiesel MAZDA6 in North America. The crux of the issue is emissions: Mazda had been confident that its turbodiesel four-cylinder design would be able to pass U.S. sniff tests without the additional weight and complexity of a urea-injection system, but now says that it is 'more open' to having to redesign the engine to make use of this environmentally-friendly feature.
02. Chevrolet Offers Dash Cam For 2015 Corvette
Knowing that at least a portion of 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray buyers will take their coupes to the track, the domestic brand has unveiled a dash cam and data recording system that can be installed as a factory option. The Performance Data Recorder feature not only captures high definition video of a track session, but it also uses GPS data to overlay a car's progress on a map of the road course in question for later analysis. Telemetry further includes vehicle and engine speed, full sound, gear selection, brake use, steering angle, and a timing system. Chevrolet buyers will able to order the Performance Data Recorder starting next fall.
03. Hyundai Teams With Google Glass On 2015 Genesis Sedan
We haven't seen the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan yet - it's being unveiled at the Detroit auto show next week - but the Korean automaker has already announced a partnership with Google that links the tech company's Google Glass wearable information system with the luxury car. Owners of both will be able to use Google Glass to access what Hyundai calls 'pre-drive' features, indicating that Glass won't be connected to the car's Blue Link infotainment system while it's actually out on the road. These 'pre-drive' commands include remote starting and certain navigation commands.
04. Acura Takes Home Worst-Selling Vehicle Award For 2013
It's the car that no one seems to love, and in its final year of production the Acura ZDX was once again notable for its inability to connect with buyers. The compact premium 'crossover coupe' sold only 361 units in 2013, which is slightly more than half the numbers posted by the next-most-futile model, the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. In a world where Mitsubishi's ill-fated electric car, the i-MiEV, is able to sell over three times as many vehicles as a mainstream crossover like the ZDX, it's easy to understand why the model is about to be put out to pasture. What isn't clear is why so many other car companies - including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda - are embracing the 'crossover coupe' body style despite years of tepid interest from buyers.
05. SRT Expands Viper Racing Team For 2014.
2013 marked the return of the Viper to international racing competition, and 2014 will see the SRT-backed effort expand from four snake wranglers to six. Joining Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito in the 93 car and Dominik Farbacker and Marc Goossens in the 91 car will be Ryan Hunter-Reay and Rob Bell. Hunter-Reay is known for his extensive racing experience, particularly in the American open wheel bastions of CART and IndyCar, while Bell has enjoyed success in European Le Mans competition. Each driver will serve as a complement to SRT's endurance racing entries in the IMSA Tudor United Sportscar Championship, including the 24-hour race at Daytona this month.
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