Auto Industry News: Heartbreaking Hellcat Crash, Danica OUT, and Lambo Urus

Hellcat Crash Kills Two, Leaves Questions

Last week two men, both in their seventies, died while speed testing a Dodge Challenger Hellcat. While tragic, we’d like to be able to say that this could have been prevented. But when Mama tells you not to touch the hot stove and ya still do, what happens? Ya get burned. And when the need for true speed and thrill becomes that insatiable, nothing provides quite like the Hellcat. The mega horsepower muscle machine can hit 60 in 3.6 seconds and reach just about 200 mph. So when a tragedy such as this strikes, it’s natural for people to question how it’s so easily accessible right off the lot. The jury is still out if the Hellcat should even be street legal. Not to mention, the ethical implications of OE’s putting this car in the public’s hands are murky as well. What the law can’t eradicate, however, is our desire to punch the gas.

Lamborghini Urus Set for Debut

Speaking of traveling at unfathomable speeds, last week Lamborghini announced that its first SUV, the Urus, will debut December 4th. Don’t be fooled by the acronym, folks. It’s not for taking the kids to soccer practice. The Urus has a twin V8 producing 650 horsepower. It can exceed 200 mph, looks as badass as it sounds, and has a Batmobile-like stance with a little bit of lift.

This entire platform has us questioning what it means to buy  a sport utility vehicle. Are we getting robbed of something more? Just because we need room for the kids, the dog, and god knows what else for family vacation, should we have to sacrifice our souls? Our youthful spirit? The answer is no. But if you want the Urus, then you must be willing to sacrifice $200K. Yeah, never mind.

Front Seat Driving

The autonomous market is not a short-term fix nor a drop in the bucket for automakers. The process of trying to perfect safety and precision takes time and as we know, time is money. And where is a lot of that money going? Future R&D. Check out this recent experiment where Ford disguised a driver as a seat to test the public’s perception and reaction to driverless vehicles.

Ford and Virginia Tech researchers paired up with the goal of establishing formal communication between a pedestrian and driverless car. Because as ideal as the autonomous future sounds, many are still skeptical of its overreaching promises. How does that saying go again? Oh yah, under promise and over deliver… Removing the human element for some appears a possibility to increase danger on the roadways. So, the scientists stepped to give us peace of mind. Check back each week for updates in autonomous road testing.

Honda Urban EV Concept

Honda released its concept for the Urban EV at the Frankford Motor Show last week. Folks were happy to see the boxy, almost toaster-like vehicle because of its resemblance to the much beloved Honda City. The ’81 City’s influence is all over the Urban EV’s sleek, but still lovably square (in the literal sense) design.

And of course, as the name suggests, it will be electric. There are no set specifications for this progressive call to the past regarding its mileage and battery life just yet. But it has been confirmed that it will see production in 2019. And for the Honda freaks, that’s a beautiful thing.

Honda and McLaren Split, So Does Danica

After three relatively fruitless seasons, Honda and McLaren having decided to end their Formula One partnership. There were rumblings around the racing world of the imminent split. And it was set in stone when McLaren immediately partnered with Renault after the breakup. All is fair in love, war, and racing, right?  

In other news, NASCAR also had its share of heartbreak. Danica Patrick was recently released from Stewart-Haas Racing. And as it stands right now, the popular driver does not have a team for the 2018 season. Danica Patrick has been criticized over the years for only performing in qualifiers by Richard Petty and simultaneously and backhandedly complimented for being a marketing machine. Though many fear she will never race in NASCAR again, it’s hard to imagine a team won’t throw their name in the hat.

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