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Apologies to our Readers
Jul01

Apologies to our Readers

07.01.2009

2007-pagani-zonda-fOur server went down around 2 AM GMT this morning, and didn’t come back up until after 8 AM GMT this morning in most parts of the world.

Our many readers in North America got the worst of it as 2 AM GMT falls during one of the many evening hours in the US and Canada, depending on the time zone.

We apologize to you if you tried to access the site during that time period and got nothing except an error message. We’re back up and hope the server has now recovered completely from its emotional breakdown – Techshake

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Fiat Shifts Gears, Says 500 Sold in North America will have Fiat Badge
Jun29

Fiat Shifts Gears, Says 500 Sold in North America will have Fiat Badge

By Brendan Moore

06.29.2009

2009-fiat-500Last week the people that work for Fiat, and, are stationed in Auburn Hills, Michigan, were saying that their main brand had too many negative connotations for US consumers, and that Alfa Romeo would be the brand that would represent the Italian might of Fiat Group.

And now?

Now Fiat is saying that four versions of the Fiat 500 will be sold in North America by 2011, and all of those cars will wear a Fiat badge, and the different iterations of the 500 will be the only Fiats sold in the US in the future.

Robert Giolito, the head of styling at Fiat, and, the designer of the 500, said so in Italy last week as the 500 cabriolet was launched.

Hmmm.

Last week a Fiat spokesman said the 500 would be sold in the US, but without the Fiat badge. The 500 would be sold simply as the “500”, and would be sold at select Chrysler dealers.

The recent statement about the Fiat badge does not clarify how the Fiats will be sold in North America, whether that’s at their own stand-alone dealers, Fiat-Chrysler dealers, or, sold as the Fiat 500 at a Chrysler dealer.

Giolito stated that the four versions of the Fiat 500 that will be retailed in the US are the standard 500, an Abarth 500, a cabriolet and an estate/combi/wagon.

Many people questioned the wisdom of Fiat’s apparent desire to go without their main brand in the North American market, but it appears those concerns are academic, given the most recent statement from Fiat.

COPYRIGHT Techshake – All Rights Reserved

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Fiat and Chrysler Now Focus on Product Integration
Jun25

Fiat and Chrysler Now Focus on Product Integration

By Brendan Moore

06.25.2009

fiat-group-logo-smallWhat is happening with the Fiat-Chrysler “merger” these days?

A tremendous amount actually, with Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne holed up in a small office at the Auburn Hills complex, receiving frequent visitors in the form of Chrysler managers. The activity centers around taking Fiat platforms and modifying those platforms to accommodate new Chrysler vehicles, plotting Alfa Romeo’s comeback in the US and deciding that the Fiat brand name will not appear in the US, despite Fiat’s cars appearing in the country.

This is the outline so far:

Fiat and Chrysler are seriously considering putting a Jeep badge on a version of the Fiat Panda, a small little box on wheels produced in Poland (with Ford) that gets excellent fuel economy. The vehicle would be sold in Europe first and perhaps North America later.

The decision has been reached to not bring the Fiat brand name back to North America since Fiat feels there are too many negative connotations to the Fiat name for Americans. The Alfa Romeo brand will be Fiat’s proxy in North America, selling whatever Fiats are deemed to be North American candidates.

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First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO
Jun23

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

By Brendan Moore

06.23.2009

There’s good news today!

The Ford Taurus SHO, a model that many people thought they would never see again, has been reborn. Even better, it is an over-achiever.

2010-ford-taurus-sho-blue1

The new Taurus SHO shows up again as a bigger, stronger, more agile vehicle. Of course, none of that comes for free, and the 2010 Taurus SHO starts at $37,995 USD. For that, you get a sports GT that has a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, a six-speed auto transmission that can also be shifted manually via steering wheel paddles, and, AWD.

I have included Ford’s official press release that glorifies and exalts the car at the end of this piece. I’ve also included a technical specifications sheet so that you see what the SHO is made of this time around.

But, I know the most pressing question is, “How does it drive”?

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First Impressions: 2010 Ford Taurus
Jun22

First Impressions: 2010 Ford Taurus

By Brendan Moore

06.22.2009

2010-ford-taurus-press-drie

Co-driver poses with the 2010 Taurus

Ford is inviting auto journalists to see and drive the new, completely redesigned 2010 Taurus and the born-again 2010 Taurus SHO. Luckily, Techshake was invited in the first wave, and so I am able to give you my impressions regarding the regular Taurus now, and the Taurus SHO tomorrow.

First, I have to say that the new Taurus is much better-looking in the metal than in the various photographs that have been shown on the web, particularly the front and the front ¾ view. The looks of the Taurus are not going to knock you out; rather it’s a fairly clean design with some interesting action here and there. It’s attractive. The looks will please most people, and that is of tremendous importance in the segment that the Taurus competes in.

I had a long talk with Earl Lucas, the man in charge of exterior design for the new Taurus, when I first saw the car and also was able to speak with him later for a short while. He told me almost immediately after I met him that the design of the Taurus was influenced considerably by different kinds of music, which the designers had playing all the time while they were working on the car. Our interests in music dovetailed somewhat, so I found it interesting to look at a car that was inspired in part by the stuff I listen to on a regular basis.

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