Hellcat-Powered Mazda Miata Crashes While Leaving Car Meet

Hellcat-Powered Mazda Miata Crashes While Leaving Car Meet

A well-known Mazda Miata powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 Hellcat engine has been damaged after the driver accelerated away from a car show and lost control.

The Miata, fondly known as ‘Hellkitty’ and featured on Hoonigan’s Donut Garage last year, is one truly wild ride with no less than 707 hp and a bright orange paint scheme that ensures the car turns heads wherever it goes.

Also Watch: Hellcat-Powered Mazda Miata Does Burnouts In Sixth Gear Without Breaking A Sweat

The driver of the car, Michael Kelly, purchased the Hellcat-powered Miata from the original builder last year and took to Facebook to explain the crash where he revealed a mechanical fault was to blame.

Today was a huge eye opener. We had a near death experience. Thank you everyone who’s asking if we are okay. Leaving a…

Posted by Michael Kelly on Sunday, February 9, 2020

“Today was a huge eye opener” he wrote. “We had a near death experience. Thank you everyone who’s asking if we are okay. Leaving a car show today, I did a small pull. When I hit the brakes to slow down I had a caliper lock up. Before I could get off the brakes, the car was already in the grass. I got sucked in and the car did a 180 in the ditch.”

Fortunately for Kelly, the car didn’t suffer any mechanical damage and only the body has suffered a “few dings and scratches” with the taillights and front bumper also damaged. No one was injured in the wreck.

Kelly paid $36,000 for the ultimate Mazda Miata last year when Barrett-Jackson auctioned it off during its Las Vegas sale. With a few new body panels, the car should be back on the road looking as good as new.

more photos…

Dealers prepared for looming obstacles

Rhett Ricart, incoming chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, says dealers face challenges related to vehicle affordability and the arrival of electric vehicles in their showrooms but are set up well to weather a financial downturn or slowdown in new-vehicle sales.

Ricart, 63, is CEO of Ricart Automotive Group, which sells seven brands at seven stores in Columbus, Ohio. He spoke with Staff Reporter Michael Martinez about the challenges and opportunities NADA will face in 2020. Here are edited excerpts.

Q: What’s your top priority as chairman?

A: I want every dealer at the end of this year to be happy that I’m chairman because their dealership is in a lot better position at the end of this year than it was last year. Last year, Charlie Gilchrist did a herculean job, a spectacular job, of building collaboration and building a very, very, very successful year. But in every organization, you’re only as successful as your latest decision. So hopefully we can continue this streak of successful decisions in the future.

What are NADA’s top challenges this year?

I find that most cases when you lead an organization, so many times you’re defined by whatever chaotic event happens beyond your control and your ability to manage through that. We saw that with some of our leaders in the past — Charlie Gilchrist, our current chairman, in dealing with the tariffs issue. Before that, we dealt with the [Military Lending Act] issue. Before that, we dealt with [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] issues.

So I don’t really know what the future has in store for me as far as surprise, chaotic events, but I have a pretty good handle on the things that we control and manage every day. So those challenges will be, obviously, the affordability of our automobiles for our customers, to have our dealers have a business model that’s sustainable.

I find that the car business has been real good to us the last 10 years. And hopefully dealers have learned to handle their expenses better and are right-sizing their businesses, whether they’re selling a dealership or buying a dealership or maybe just right-sizing the business they have.

Most analysts forecast a slight decrease in new-vehicle sales this year, and some say a recession is looming. Are dealers prepared for a recession?

The good thing is, I think they’re more than prepared. I think your new-car automobile dealers, quite frankly, they’ve had some pretty successful years here. Quite a few of them in a row. So they’ve been able to build up their training for their people, make their facilities better, invest in the digital world, which we are now entering. So their investments they’ve made makes them more than ready for this.

I think dealerships are going to have a spectacular next several years. We’re still gaining more vehicles on the road, and the vehicles are more complex. Every day a new car comes out, it’s more complex than the one before it, and we’re the go-to for customers to be able to have their cars worked on. So I think you’re going to see a shift from that reliance on the new-vehicle sales part of their business to shifting into their fixed operations. That’s how the business model is going to remain sustainable.

One of Gilchrist’s biggest concerns was the technician shortage. NADA took some steps to address it. Is a lack of service techs still a major issue?

As usual, Charlie was right. You know, this economy is on fire right now, so there’s choices that some of these younger kids have to come out and decide what kind of career they want to have.

They’re being pulled in many, many different directions. It’s up to the automobile dealers, and I think we’re doing a great job with the [NADA Foundation] and our tech program as well as local state organizations.

But we have to be vigilant on this one. We just can’t say, “Well, you know, we’ll be OK. We’re just going to have our local school make this happen for us.” I have seen recently more and more dealers take an active part in it to be able to attract these young technicians — future technicians — to our facilities.

This is an excellent career for all these young men and women because, quite frankly, in the future, whether they’re partially electrified or fully electrified or even an internal combustion engine, these technicians have to be smart, and they have to be trained. It’s just not like adjusting the carburetor on an old car.

These vehicles are very, very complex, and they are going to be high-paying jobs. I’m not talking about changing oil at a lube rack. These technicians are going to have extremely high-paying jobs, just like a technician does for hardware on computers and software on computers.

It’s a bright, bright future. More and more dealers are getting involved. I believe through all the efforts we’re making, we’re gonna make a lot more progress.

You cited affordability as a challenge. What can be done to offset rising prices?

It’s a many-headed monster. Since 90 percent of the people out there are financing their vehicles, you have to have affordable interest rates.

You have to have affordable lease programs. It starts with that. Also, it has to do with the actual vehicles as they come.

Obviously, OEMs make a higher margin the more products that are put on a vehicle, whether it be a safety product or convenience product or any kind of a feature they have. The manufacturers are the ones [setting the cost]. I think you’re going to see some pretty creative things out of these manufacturers in the future as far as building these new cars in different segments. They’re going to have to take a hard look at some of these technologies they’re putting into it and say, “How much are the customers really using them? Is it really a valuable thing for the customers? Or is it just something we’re putting on the vehicle to create profitability for the manufacturers?”

What is NADA’s take on subscription services?

We support any program that our customers want, that they’re going to be happy with. It’s obvious our customers out there have not been happy with the subscription services, or else they’d still have them.

The one thing I’ve always found since I’ve been here for the last five years at the NADA: so many times we take a look at what type of products and services we offer and how great they are and how they’re the new wave and how it’s where everyone’s headed. And yet, you know, if you talk to the typical customer on the street, we sometimes forget what they want. What do they really want? A problem with some of these subscription services, they’re kind of a good idea, but they’re very expensive. And when it comes down to people and how they live and the bills they have to pay, the cost of those type of things were very expensive.

We’ll support anything — the NADA does — that keeps vehicles affordable for customers to drive. We really do. And that keeps them, so the dealers ourselves can maintain and be that safety net for our customers when it comes to servicing their vehicles to keep them safe on the highways and affordable for them to be able to operate. So we’re in support of all those programs — if they work for the customer, and if the customer wants them.

Automakers are investing heavily in EVs, but demand is lagging. Is that a concern for dealers?

As automobile dealers, if someone wants an electric vehicle, a hybrid, an ICE, or if they want a Fred Flintstone-mobile, it’s no big deal to us. We’re just there to give our customers what they want. So if they want to paddle them with their feet, we’re all for that. We’ll have that.

But you have to remember these electric vehicles are complicated. Through electrification, there’s power grid issues and so many unanswered questions out there. And many of these manufacturers, like Tesla, seem to think they’ve figured it out.

But the fact is that there’s too many unanswered questions. But the dealers are ready. I mean, there’s 70-some models coming out the next few years.

Every dealer right now is excited to put them in their inventory and sell them. And they’re excited because they have customers who want them, like the Ford Mustang Mach-E. The [First Edition] preorders are all sold out. That’s great. I just need to find out how to make 17 million people excited about it. But we’re there to service them. And quite frankly, you know, I think there’s over 200,000 service facilities like Midas muffler shops that do oil changes on people’s cars. There’s not too many of them that can be able to work on electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are still going to be driven a lot, just like regular ICE cars. They’re going to be wrecked. They’re going to have damages; they’re going to have recalls. They’re going to need all those things. Auto dealers are perfectly suited for that.

Automobile dealers are the safety net for our customers. And that’s what makes us so important, because there is no other safety net, as we learned from Saturn and Pontiac and all the rest when they went out of business. If it wasn’t for the auto dealers still intact across the country, all those customers that bought those products would have them in their barn, and they couldn’t drive again.

EGEB: BP says it will be net zero by 2050 (but won’t drop fossil fuels)

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Fossil-fuel giant BP says it will become net zero by 2050.
  • One-third of the US Senate introduces the Clean Economy Act to launch climate action.
  • Virginia lawmakers pass major green energy legislation.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

BP will work to achieve net zero

Fossil-fuel giant BP today announced that it will become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. Their methods are a bit vague at this stage (i.e., the plan doesn’t state that they will move away from fossil fuels), but here are the five points the company lists that they say will help them achieve zero emissions:

  1. Net zero across BP’s operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.

  2. Net zero on carbon in BP’s oil and gas production on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.

  3. 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products BP sells by 2050 or sooner.

  4. Install methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50%.

  5. Increase the proportion of investment into non-oil and gas businesses over time.

The company also said it would restructure, and would also advocate for carbon pricing, as part of the five aims to help the world get to carbon zero. (You can see those here.) BP will host a capital markets day in September to set out its strategy and near-term plans.

BP’s brand-new CEO Bernard Looney said:

The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero. We all want energy that is reliable and affordable, but that is no longer enough. It must also be cleaner. To deliver that, trillions of dollars will need to be invested in replumbing and rewiring the world’s energy system. It will require nothing short of reimagining energy as we know it.

This will certainly be a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. It is clear to me, and to our stakeholders, that for BP to play our part and serve our purpose, we have to change. And we want to change — this is the right thing for the world and for BP.

Looney, according to BP, encouraged the company to lead the industry on methane detection methods as Upstream CEO. He was also responsible for all BP-operated oil and gas production worldwide and for all of BP’s drilling.

Senate’s Clean Economy Act

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the Clean Economy Act of 2020 yesterday. The act’s purpose is to put the US on a pathway to achieve net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. And according to Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) website:

The bill would also promote American competitiveness and healthier communities, while fostering a fair and growing economy.

The bill is co-sponsored by one-third of the Senate — all Democrats — with the exception of independent Angus King of Maine.

The bill aims to do this by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including (but not limited to):

  • Low- and zero-greenhouse gas electricity, transportation, and building technologies.

  • Methane capture and destruction technologies.

  • Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies and practices, including direct air capture to prevent domestic carbon leakage.

  • Maximize flexibility in reducing greenhouse gas emissions for entities subject to regulation under this section.

  • Minimize costs of greenhouse-gas emission reductions to consumers, particularly consumers from low-income households

Virginia embraces green energy

The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping green energy legislation yesterday that overhauls how Virginia’s utilities generate electricity moves the state to focus on sustainable energy policy.

Like the US Senate’s bill, it’s also called The Clean Economy Act. It lays out a plan to get Virginia to 100% green energy. The House version wants the deadline to be 2045, and the Senate wants 2050. They’ll have to resolve the deadline difference before it heads to Democratic Governor Jeremy Northam.

AP explains what the plan is:

The legislation paves the way for an enormous expansion of solar and offshore wind generation plus battery storage , and sets an energy efficiency standard that utilities must meet. It also includes language that would add Virginia to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon cap-and-trade program.

Both the House and Senate versions would effectively block new fossil fuel generation facilities in the short term while state officials study whether a permanent ban should be enacted.

The bill allows for the development of up to 5,200MW of offshore wind.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Jennifer McClellan, said:

We have got to do something to break our dependence on energy that is destroying our planet. Period.

Further, Dominion Energy, headquartered in Richmond, yesterday set a new goal of net zero emissions by 2050. They serve more than 7 million customers in 18 states.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Petrol and diesel car sales ban could start in 12 years, says Shapps

The UK’s planned ban on sales of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars could start as early as 2032, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

Last week, the government sparked industry concern after bringing the date forward from 2040 to 2035 in a bid to hit zero-carbon emission targets.

But Mr Shapps told BBC Radio 5 live it would happen by 2035, “or even 2032,” adding there would be consultation.

The SMMT car trade body had previously said the 2035 figure was “concerning”.

The government is setting out its proposals in the run-up to a United Nations climate summit in November.

The summit, known as COP26, is being hosted in Glasgow. It is an annual UN-led gathering set up to assess progress on tackling climate change.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced the 2035 date, said at the time that the ban would come even earlier if possible.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are consulting on a range of possible dates to bring forward the end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans.

“The consultation proposal for this is 2035 – or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible – as well as including hybrids for the first time.”

The UK has set a target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. Experts warned that the original target date of 2040 would still leave old conventional cars on the roads 10 years later.

Once the ban comes into effect, only electric or hydrogen cars and vans will be available.

Hybrid vehicles are now included in the proposals, which were originally announced in July 2017.

Despite this, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While the government appears to be constantly moving the goalposts forward for ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles, drivers should not be worried about opting for a plug-in hybrid now.

“They are potentially the perfect stepping stone for those who want to go electric, but who have concerns about range, as they aren’t as expensive as a battery electric vehicle. At the moment, they give drivers the best of both worlds.”

The Scottish government does not have the power to ban new petrol and diesel cars but has already pledged to “phase out the need” for them by 2032 with measures such as an expansion of the charging network for electric cars.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said it was not commenting for the moment. Last week, after the ban was brought forward to 2035, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the move was “extremely concerning”.

He said: “Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero emissions future… However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.”

News that the UK end date may shunt forward to 2032 comes as no surprise.

Norway has set a 2025 deadline for a ban on new petrol and diesel cars. Some Chinese cities are discussing a date around 2030.

At some point market dynamics will over-ride government policy anyway.

Bloomberg forecasts that the purchase price of electric vehicles will reach rough parity with fossil fuel cars by the middle of the decade.

That looks like a potential tipping point, as the costs for maintaining and running electric vehicles will be so much lower (until the chancellor finds a way of taxing electricity, that is).

But some experts are sounding a note of caution over the electric dream.

They say the only sure way of hitting the UK’s emissions targets is to actually reduce the need for driving in the first place. They say the best short-term policy is to stop so many drivers buying SUVs.

Genesis, Buick tops in vehicle dependability, J.D. Power survey says

Genesis, with two car models, ranked highest in J.D. Power’s survey of light-vehicle reliability after three years of ownership, while Buick placed highest among mass-market brands, and third overall.

The 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study marks the first year Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury arm, has been included in the survey.

For 2017, Genesis marketed just two models — the G80 and G90 sedans .

Lexus, the top brand in the study the last eight years, fell to second place overall. Genesis, Lexus and Buick were followed in the top ten by Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Lincoln, BMW, Chevrolet and Ford.

At the bottom of the study, with an average of around 2 problems reported per vehicle: Volvo, Jaguar, Chrysler and Land Rover.

Tesla was not a part of the study.

“For certain states J.D. Power needs the manufacturer’s permission to contact their customers,” Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in an emailed statement. “These states make up approximately 70 percent of Tesla’s sales volume and Tesla does not give J.D. Power approval in these states. (All other automakers do give permission.) Therefore J.D. Power only has responses from states which comprise about 30 percent of Tesla’s sales volume and J.D. Power’s current rules preclude the company from reporting publicly on what may be an unrepresentative sample of customers.”

The survey, conducted for 31 years, tracks problems per 100 vehicles during a 12-month period by owners of three-year old vehicles.

Overall, J.D. Power said 2017 models averaged 134 problems per 100 vehicles studied, a slight improvement over 2016 models tracked in the 2019 study.

In addition to the top 10 brands, Mazda, Cadillac, Hyundai and Kia also fared better than the industry average.

Across all brands, the reliability of 3-year-old vehicles improved 1.5 percent from last year, Power said in a statement. Overall, 18 brands saw improvement, while 13, including Toyota , BMW, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia, reported more problems. Brands with substantially more problems in the latest survey: Chrysler, Mini, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru.Cadillac, Acura, Mazda, Lincoln, Ford, Buick, and VW were the brands with the biggest improvement, Power said. Fiat, Dodge and Volvo also posted major improvements but still landed well below the industry average.

“Despite the increased adoption of complex vehicle technology, dependability continues to improve,” Sargent said in a statement.

“There’s no question that three-year-old vehicles today are better built and more dependable than same-age vehicles were in previous years. However, the rapid introduction of technology is putting increased pressure on dependability, so it would not be surprising to see problem levels plateau, or even increase, over the next few years.”

In-vehicle technology showed the greatest improvement, according to the study, “but still accounts for more problems than any other category,” Power said.

The Lexus ES sedan, with 52 problems reported per 100 vehicles surveyed, was the highest-ranked vehicle in the 2020 study, and the best model ever tracked, J.D. Power said.

The study is just the latest sign that Korea’s three leading brands continue to make major strides on the quality front. Genesis, Kia and Hyundai also topped J.D. Power’s annual Initial Quality Study for 2019 new-vehicle reliability.

Other findings: Crossovers and SUVs experience more problems than cars, (134 per 100 vs. 127 per 100) , “but the gap is narrowing,” from 2019 the study said.

The Nissan Leaf won the first all-electric model to receive a segment-level award for a compact car in the 2020 study.

Power said the 2020 survey is based on responses from 36,555 original owners of 2017 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study tracked 177 problems grouped into eight categories and was conducted from July through November 2019.