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With Settlement Approved, Elon Musk Has 45 Days to Vacate the Chairman’s Seat

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will soon be gone as company’s chairman, but a replacement — someone who’ll need to occupy the position for three years — has yet to be named.

The hourglass was flipped after U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan approved a settlement between Musk and his company and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. Musk has 45 days to step down as chairman. Double the amount of time is allowed for the automaker to name two independent board members, though Musk and Co. only have two weeks to pony up their $20 million fines.

The settlement, which stayed on track despite Musk’s attempt to screw the whole thing up, contains a punishment perhaps far greater than those listed already: Musk now requires a Twitter parent.

Yes, the social media portal that got him in deep trouble with the SEC and sparked a stock price plunge is being reined in, at least on Musk’s end. A company lawyer will have to oversee all Musk communications, including tweets. If it looks like a message sent into the social media ether might exert some sort of force on Tesla’s stock, that lawyer has the ability to say, “No, go to bed.”

While it was his declaration of “funding secured” (for his August go-private bid) that landed Musk in the crosshairs of the securities regulator, numerous other non-financial tweets have all served to depress the company’s share value. This issue became more, ahem, pronounced over the past few months. Regardless, word of the settlement’s approval clearly pleased investors and analysts; as of publication time, the stock’s up 6.2 percent in Tuesday trading.

As we’ve gone over the downright odd chain of events that precipitated this settlement before, there’s no need to cover every inch of past ground. Essentially, the 11th hour settlement kept Musk at the helm of Tesla and made an SEC fraud lawsuit disappear, but shortened the chief executive’s leash.

Between the August 7th (fateful tweet day) and now, Tesla’s market value shrunk from $65 billion to $46 billion.

[Source: Reuters, MarketWatch]


You Have To See To Believe This Hypercar Garage Actually Exists

We’ve reported a Ferrari collection in L.A. earlier wherein its owner David Lee has an F12tdf that matches his 250 Lusso Competizione. That was a cool acquisition, along with the businessman’s 11 other Prancing Horses.

However, we’ve found another garage in California that easily surpasses the former’s cool factor and presumably its total price tag, and it’s owned by none other than Manny Khoshbin of the real estate firm, the Khoshbin Company.

Unlike Lee’s Ferrari-filled barn, Khoshbin’s minimalist garage is full of one-off hypercars from different carmakers such as Koenigsegg, Bugatti, Pagani, and McLaren. We tried to get the total horsepower that Khoshbin’s garage makes, but honestly, we lost count. When your company owns 2,200,000 square feet of real estate portfolio in six USA states, this kind of car collection is natural, if not necessary.

Among the newest in Khoshbin’s collection is the Koenigsegg Agera RS Phoenix, which is a bespoke version of the hypercar with 24-karat gold linings in contrast to its black exposed carbon fiber body. Now, if that car looks familiar, it’s almost the same as the Agera RS Gryphon that got into an accident last year (and crashed again last May). Khoshbin mentioned before that Koenigsegg is working to replace his car entirely after the second crash, and it looks like it’s the aptly-named Agera RS Phoenix. Kudos to Swedish marque for keeping its promise.

While all the car’s in Khoshbin’s garage are noteworthy, there is one that stands out among the rest because of its extravagance – the Hermès Pagani Huayra, which is the only example of this car that’s designed and pimped up by the luxury leather brand. The details of the car are astonishing, including the Hermès-printed exterior parts of the car.

Khoshbin seems to adore his Hermès-fied hypercar so much, he’s currently working on another secret project with the brand and this time, it’s with a Bugatti Chiron. Hopefully, we’ll get to see that car on video, too.

Source: Shmee150 via Youtube


Matt Prior: the dilemma of modern motor shows

The short of it is that exhibitors will turn up to events if they think they’ll sell cars at them. Someone in Volvo’s UK management once told me – probably 15 years ago – that country fairs were better for selling cars than traditional motor shows, because they gave Volvo the chance to put relevant metal before the right kind of people.

And there are more relevant exhibitions than big, bland, stuffy show halls: the SEMA Show, Goodwood's various, the Consumer Electronics Show, or about a gazillion Concours des Pantalons Rouges.

If people want to stay away from some of those, though – and given the cost and time it takes to get there, I wouldn’t blame them – they don’t even need a real location to see cars up close, because car makers will gladly electronically visit their lap. And they can do that without the help of traditional media. They’ve got the money and time to make better- looking videos and presentations than editorial broadcasters.

And, crucially, in doing so they can present a potential customer only the information they choose.

And so car makers have the option: spend half a million pounds or more creating a show stand and crewing it for weeks, presenting a car to the (mostly local) several hundred thousand people who come through the door, who have an interest in cars, but not necessarily that particular one. Meanwhile, an independent media presents said car (on display, statically, beneath blinding lights and sitting on lino or tiles or carpet – a situation it’ll never be in in real life) however it chooses; almost certainly mentioned alongside its rivals.

Or manufacturers spend less money creating something slicker, precisely to their choosing, to reach the eyes and ears of many millions, targeting the right people, who don’t have to so much as get off the sofa.

Less effort; more potential reward. And they still don’t have to drive to Versailles and back.

Read more

All the news from Paris motor show

Opinion: how Bloodhound can survive

Matt Prior: why I dislike the new Porsche 935

Confession time – why I actually quite like hot SUVs


Aston Martin Valhalla – new name for Project 003?

Aston Martin has filed a trademark application with the World Intellectual Property Organisation for the name ‘Valhalla’ to be used on “passenger cars, racing cars, parts and fittings therefore,” according to Autoguide. While unconfirmed, indications point to it being the name of the car until now known as Project 003, with the Valhalla sitting below the Valkyrie in Aston Martin’s line-up.

The Valhalla will be powered by a hybrid powertrain featuring a turbocharged V6 petrol engine producing approximately 900 hp, and will have performance levels comparable to those of the Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder.

Why Valhalla? In Norse legend, a Valkyrie is a female figure that determined which warriors would be slain in battle and carry them to the afterlife in Valhalla. As such, the naming convention would effectively tie the cars in nicely.

The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

“The mythology behind the name is perfect, because you are chosen to come to Valhalla. For me, it is very much about being the chosen one, and everything tied into place as we knew we’d have to go through a choosing process too with our customers,” Aston Martin chief creative officer Marek Reichman had said to Australian publication Drive last year.

There’s more to come starting with the letter V, Reichman had also said, explaining that the company has a bunch more of V-based names that it has thought of and hasn’t used.

Indeed, a future Aston Martin model name is Varekai, which appears set to be used on an upcoming ultra-luxury SUV. This model will go up against the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. There will be a higher-volume mid-engined rival, added Reichman, though production for this likely won’t start until all road-going Valkyries and its track-only versions are built.

GALLERY: Aston Martin Valkyrie concept


Mitsuoka Rockstar


The Mazda MX-5 sits at the heart of the Mitsuoka Rock Star. You probably won’t notice it until you get to the interior, but the body is completely different. The doors and the windshield are from the MX-5, but other than that, you’re looking at a Chevrolet Corvette C2, or at least Mitsuoka’s interpretation of the Corvette C2. The panels are not exact replicas of the iconic Stingray, but they are enduringly correct.

That’s a by-product of Mitsuoka creating miniaturized versions of the ‘Vette’s overall design, right down to the chrome-happy front and rear ends, as well as the stylistically accurate hood, the bold front wings, and the sleek styling throughout the body.

The small round headlights are the only things that look out-of-place in the car. It’s a small detail, but the Rock Star would’ve been better off with sharper-looking lights. Even better, it could’ve adopted the automated headlights of the Corvette C2. That would’ve given this creation a different level of authenticity. It’s still not the Corvette C2, but it’d be pretty darn close to one.

The Rock Star is offered with a number of color choices, of which there are six options to choose from, including Los Angeles Blue, Chicago Red, New York Black, Cisco Orange, Washington White, and Arizona Yellow.

On the options front, the Japanese coachbuilder has notable options on the menu. You can get a colored soft-top and a choice between a Classic White or colored A-pillar and door mirror covers.


Maybe it’s a good thing that Mitsuoka didn’t scratch the itch of recreating the interior of the Corvette C2 on the Rock Star. It’d probably be a good idea from the standpoint of consistency, but it would come at the cost of getting rid of the MX-5’s modern tech features. In fact, that’s probably what Mitsuoka was thinking when it started this project.

The cabin retains the MX-5’s look, styling, and layout. It also has all the modern tech bits you’d expect to see from the Japanese roadster.

About the only change Mitsuoka made was to replace the Mazda logo with its own badge.

The coachbuilder also has a few options in this department, including an interior leather set made up of a leather-wrapped steering wheel and instrument panel. Leather trim on the door and shift boots are also included. Leather seats can also be added in place of the standard seats. These seats come with colored trim that includes colors like Sky Blue, Dark Red, Black, Orange, Off White, and Neon Yellow.

Granted, a lot of you probably wish that Mitsuoka went all the way here with the Corvette C2 influence. I’m not necessarily opposed to the garish leather, burnished chrome, and the classic Bakelite steering wheel. Those details would’ve looked cool on the Rock Star, though not necessarily consistent with the other interior details of the car. The good news is that if you are looking for a more Corvette-inspired cabin, there are plenty of ways to scratch that itch, none more obvious than the aftermarket world.


Sitting at the heart of this mini Corvette C2-looking roadster is Mazda’s 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine that produces 130 horsepower and 110 pound-feet of torque. The power numbers don’t necessarily reflect that of the Chevy Corvette Stingray, but you’re not exactly setting any top speed records with this engine anyway.

Mistake doesn’t say if the body panels contribute in any way in slowing down the Rock Star, but considering that the MX-5 is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, it’s hard to imagine the Rock Star posting a slower number than that.

Either way, the Rock Star is particularly nippy, which, in some ways, is all you can ask for a car with the kind of power and performance capabilities that the MX-5 has.

A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on the S and S Special Package trims of the Rock Star. That’s my preferred gearbox for a car that looks like the Corvette C2. Anything that isn’t manual isn’t for me. If you don’t share in that sentiment, you can opt for the range-topping version — yes, the Rock Star is offered in three trims — that’s equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. That might be easier to drive, but where’s the fun in that?


The entry-level Mitsuoka Rock Star starts at 4,688,220 yen. That converts to around $41,830 based on current exchange rates. The mid-trim S Special Package starts at 4,983,800 yen or just a shade under $44,500. Opt for the top-of-the-line S Special Package with the six-speed automatic transmission, and you’re looking at a bill that starts at 5,183,600 yen, or a little over $46,200.

The prices are pretty steep, if you think about it. With the amount Mitsuoka’s asking for the base Rock Star S, you’ll only need a little bit more than $10,000 to buy a base 2018 Chevrolet Corvette C7.

Final Thoughts

I love this car. It’s technically a build off of a car that I consider one of my favorites — Mazda MX-5 — but it’s a build that doesn’t taint the spirit of the MX-5; it just gives it a new identity in the form of one of the most iconic American cars in history. Sure, I have my quibbles here and there, but the Mitsuoka Rock Star is the antithesis of the God-awful Orichi sports car that has become lampooned as the most hideous-looking car in the history of this business. The Rock Star isn’t pretentious in the way other coach-built cars are.

The kit is well-designed to the point that it looks like a faithful nod to the OG Corvette.

We’ve come to learn not to expect a lot from Mitsuoka, in large part because the Japanese coachbuilder has fed into that status with a lot of zany creations in the past. But not this time. The Rock Star is a creation worthy of its billing, even if it’s priced a little too steep for us.

  • Leave it

    • A little on the expensive side
    • Niche car for a niche clientele
    • Others might frown on the Corvette C2 inspiration

Further reading

Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda MX-5.

Read our full review on the 1963-1968 Chevrolet Corvette.

Read our full review on the 2014 Mitsuoka Orochi Final Edition.


2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport Long-Term Update 1: The Personal Connection

I didn't plan it this way. I mean, I knew the Alfa would be arriving around the same time my previous long-term car was going away and I mounted a concerted lobbying campaign for the Giulia, but I didn't spec it out. When I saw it, though, there was an immediate personal connection.

Generally, we're assigned our long-term vehicles and it's almost always our fleet manager, Erick Ayapana, who picks the trim and options depending on what the automaker has available. For the Giulia, he went with Misano Blue paint and silver five-spoke wheels. I never told him what Dad's old car looked like, but I about did a double-take when I first saw the Giulia.

Dad had a number of cool cars over the years, starting with at '60s Mustang he bought in the '70s when no one wanted them anymore, then a Datsun 240Z when the Mustang proved unreliable. Around the time I showed up, he traded the Datsun for a Dodge Daytona Turbo. Red over silver with phone dial wheels, I loved that little coupe because I spent most of the time riding around in Mom's Caravan. I'm fairly sure the boost gauge at the top of the center console is at least partly responsible for my love of cars.

Dad kept the Daytona well into the first few years of my younger brother's life, but as we got bigger, climbing into the back seats became more and more of a hassle. The Daytona had to go, and despite my encouraging him to go for that new Mitsubishi 3000GT we looked at, a sedan was in order. Dad had seen the previews of the new-for-'92 Pontiac Grand Am and liked it enough to special-order one. See, Dad wanted a Grand Am GT with the high-output version of the Quad 4 engine and a five-speed manual, but he wanted it in a sedan and Pontiac just wasn't building those yet. In the meantime, the Daytona was sold and Dad picked up a used Renault Alliance convertible to tide him over, which was the biggest automotive mistake he ever made (though a used Ford Ranger came close).

I tell this story because Dad's Grand Am GT sedan was painted Bright Aqua Metallic with silver five-spoke alloy wheels. It's not the exact same shade as Alfa's Misano Blue, but it's not far off. Dad took meticulous care of that old Pontiac, and it was in showroom condition the day he finally let it go. He liked to drive it a little quick on a back road, something else I'm sure stoked my interest in cars. He daily drove his pickup truck and reserved the Grand Am for special occasions. When I learned to drive, it was a treat to drive Dad's car. He gave it to me a few years back when he retired and moved out of state, but I ended up selling it to pay some debts (plus, one of the shifter cables was going out and replacements are unobtainable).

Source: PACE 2018 – Jaguar E-Pace to make Malaysian preview; up to RM80k off on JLR models

We’re literally eight days away from the first ever Premium Auto Car Expo (PACE), powered by Petron Blaze 100 Euro 4M. As you would have known by now, Jaguar will be displaying the new E-Pace publicly for the first time in Malaysia.

That’s right, the ravishing premium SUV with a 2.0 litre Ingenium turbocharged petrol mill is set to be previewed at PACE 2018, which is scheduled to take place at the Setia City Convention Centre on November 3 and 4.

If you’re smitten by the other Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles also on display, there are plenty of offers in store for those as well. To start, there are complimentary vouchers for genuine Jaguar and Land Rover accessories, worth RM1,000 for the Jaguar XE and XF, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Velar, RM3,000 for the Land Rover Discovery and RM5,000 for the Range Rover and Jaguar F-Type.

Those eyeing the Jaguar XF will also enjoy an ongoing offer of an RM80,000 rebate* for the sedan, while customers wishing to trade in their Jaguar or Land Rover will be given a complimentary valuation by a team of experts who will be able to provide a trade-in value on the spot.

Jaguar and Land Rover join a good selection of other premium brands also to be present at PACE, including Audi, BMW, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Volkswagen and Volvo – all with their own irresistible year-end offers. Also available are attractive deals from us at, such as a 30% discount on all window tint packages from Llumar and a 15% discount on all car wrap packages by Wrapz63.

What’s more, every booking comes with a combined RM2,000 voucher***, including a RM500 Petron fuel voucher, RM500 Kuziq Glanz car detailing voucher, RM500 Stigo mini electric bike voucher and a RM500 voucher for Llumar’s new Self-Healing Paint Protection Film Door Cups.

If that’s not enough, the first five customers who secure a purchase (i.e. approved loans) each day (10 over both days) will receive a free Samsung Galaxy Note 9 worth RM3,699***, while one lucky customer (also confirmed) will be able to win a grand prize in the form of a free holiday for two worth RM25,000*** via our lucky draw.

Co-sponsor CIMB is also joining in with preferential financing rates as low as 2.34% p.a. for new hybrid cars**, competitive rates with repayment period of up to nine years, as well as on-the-spot approval with CIMB 1-Minute InstaApproval for salaried professionals. Just bring your identification card**, and you’re set!

Last but certainly not least, there’s even an extended meeting session with us, the writers! So be sure join us at PACE on November 3 and 4, 2018 at Setia City Convention Centre – you can click here for more details on PACE and to register your interest. And oh, make sure to bring your friends and family as well. Can’t wait to see you guys there!

* For selected units only.
** Terms and conditions apply.
*** Valid for new car registrations only. For Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia, valid for all models except the Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Vento and Volkswagen Jetta models. For Naza Kia, valid for the Kia Stinger and Kia Optima GT only.


#MeToo hits Tata as Jaguar owner sends executive on leave

Tata Motors Ltd. sent its chief of corporate communications on leave following allegations of inappropriate behavior with female employees, as the global #MeToo movement hit the Indian corporate world after first shaking up Bollywood and some local media houses.

The Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover, in a Twitter post, said it has asked Suresh Rangarajan “to proceed on leave in order to allow for an objective enquiry to be completed as swiftly as possible." Rangarajan declined to comment. 

On Thursday, an Indian journalist posted screenshots on her Twitter account of allegations against the Tata executive, leading to the move by the automaker. Prominent men in India are facing accusations of harassment, with the microblogging site being used to allege instances of wrongdoing by men in entertainment, politics and media. 

Tata Motors has always “striven to ensure a respectful and safe workplace for everyone,” the Mumbai-based company’s human resources department said in a Twitter post. “Any allegations are investigated and appropriate action is taken immediately.” The matter is being probed by an internal panel set up as per law, according to the post.


Dealership Creates Customer-Journey Campus

Park Avenue BMW in Rochelle Park, NJ, has created a luxury-car campus where each building is designed as a different part of the customer journey.

The family-run business has “seen a lot of changes over the past 40 years,” says dealer principal Roy Sommerhalter, Jr. “These days, people have less time than before. And they want that time to count even more. That’s why we created a campus of different destinations to maximize each moment. 

“We’ve tailored every part of our business around respecting our clients’ time and their needs at different parts of the BMW ownership journey.”

For example, when shoppers walk in they are asked how much time they have. Employees take care not exceed that. The store uses large, customer-facing computer screens to provide a level of real-time transparency during the buying process. (For better or worse, BMW owners are known as some of the most discriminating car shoppers.)

The facility and its grounds are three feet shy of a football field in length.

The dealership has a special way of giving new owners their vehicles. It’s not done in or around the showroom. The focus there is on shopping, and consequently the delivery experience can be interrupted by sales-focused activity, including staffers being called away to help other people, Sommerhalter says.

Instead, Park Avenue BMW has a dedicated delivery center in a quiet location where the vehicle is specially lit. Customers can get pictures and videos of the delivery.

A designated “BMW Genius, not a salesperson, explains vehicle features to new owners. Follow-up sessions are offered.

The service department has 60 service bays. Staffers with computer tablets greet customers to get information right at their cars.

The dealership’s client-centric philosophy is called Powered by You. “That’s more than just a tagline,” Sommerhalter says.


Tata Harrier diesel engine details teased

6th Oct 2018 5:41 pm

Upcoming Tata SUV’s diesel engine christened ‘Kryotec’; will feature a variable geometry turbocharger.

Another day and another set of details from Tata Motors on its upcoming Harrier SUV. The latest communication from Tata Motors is centred around the Harrier’s engine. The engine has been christened the Kryotec. Tata says the name is inspired from ‘the Cryogenic rocket engine known for its power and reliability’.

Tata Motors hasn’t revealed exact engine displacement or power and torque figures but as is widely known the engine is derived from Fiat’s four-cylinder Multijet 2.0 unit that powers the Jeep Compass. The engine will produce around 140hp on the Harrier though a larger seven seat version of the SUV that is due later will come with the 170hp version of the engine like that on the Jeep. On the Harrier, the engine will come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and will also be offered with the option of a Hyundai-sourced six-speed automatic.

Without delving into the finer points Tata Motors says the Harrier’s engine will feature an electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger, a low friction valve train and an advanced EGR system. The engine, says Tata Motors, is benchmarked against global standards for performance and refinement.   

Tata Motors has also confirmed the Harrier will comes with multiple drive modes that will work in conjunction with ‘Terrain Response Modes of the ESP’. The Harrier will be built on Tata’s Omega Arc platform that has its roots in Land Rover’s D8 architecture, so it’s safe to expect all-wheel drive-equipped Harriers to be competent off-road.

Tata Motors has already teased the design and styling of the new SUV and shared details of what to expect on the inside too. The production-spec Harrier itself has been caught testing repeatedly just about everywhere, in the Himalayas and even at the Kari Motor Speedway.

The Tata Harrier is set to go on sale in January 2019, and will take on the upcoming Kia SP-based SUV and Nissan Kicks, in addition to the Hyundai Creta and Renault Captur already on sale.

From what you’ve seen so far, do you think Tata’s Harrier has the right ingredients? Let us know in the comments section below.  


Tata Motors reveals Harrier development details

Tata Motors confirms harrier bookings yet to open

Tata Harrier: 5 things to know


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