Cadillac’s hush-hush customer tracking deal, Hot Wheels’ exclusive Countach, Jag trio for sale

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Cadillac

Sign GM’s NDA and save $5500 on a Lyriq

Intake: Buy or lease Cadillac’s first all-electric SUV between now and the end of August, and your dealer may offer you a strange proposition: Agree to let GM track how you use the EV, and you’ll get $5500 off. (The single-motor, rear-drive model with 340 hp, dubbed the 450e, starts at $62,990 including destination; the yet-to-be-named 500-hp, dual-motor, AWD version is $2K more.) You just can’t talk to anyone about what the car is like. Seriously: GM makes you sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to get the discount. GM is the first automaker, as Cadillac’s Michael Albano told the Detroit Free Press, to bargain with customers for real-time data. Since all 2023 model year Lyriqs are spoken for, this strange offer is moot for most … unless Caddy gets a positive response and decides to offer it for the 2024 model year as well, which is available to pre-order. We’re unsure, given the full 2023 order books, whether Cadillac set aside some early-production Lyriqs for this program; if so, the NDA would make a bit more sense. If you’re getting the car at the same time as everyone else, why the secrecy?

Exhaust: It’s difficult to evaluate the “weirdness factor” here without knowing the exact nature or extent of the data GM’s gathering from participants. Is it more or less intimate than the data (location and otherwise) harvested from your phone (which you’d have in the car anyway) by Apple or Google? If less, Cadillac may actually be doing the honorable thing here. — Grace Houghton

Acura’s ARX-06 prototype hits the track ahead of 2023 debut

Intake: Testing is hot and heavy among IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams in the new GTP class, which debuts in January at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Acura is the latest to take to the test track, with run-time at several facilities, most notably Magny-Cours in France. “Of course, it is still early days, but I would have to say we’re quite pleased with the results of both the initial shake-down runs last week at Paul Ricard, followed by two days this weekend, which ran into the night both on Saturday and Sunday,” said David Salters, HPD President and Technical Director. “Everyone on our team from ORECA, HPD, the Wayne Taylor and Meyer Shank organizations worked together extraordinarily well in preparing for and conducting these initial runs. Now the truly hard work begins!” Acura is among four manufacturers—along with Cadillac, BMW and Porsche—set to compete in the WeatherTech Championship, with Lamborghini joining in 2024. Chip Ganassi Racing driver Earl Bamber turned laps last week in the Cadillac GTP that features an all-new Cadillac 5.5-liter, dual-overhead cam V-8 engine developed by GM’s Performance and Racing propulsion team and paired to the LMDh common hybrid system. Together with the spec energy recovery system, the powertrain pumps out about 680 horsepower.

Exhaust: The central reason for the new Prototype class is that the World Endurance Championship, which sanctions the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will use the exact same car, so don’t be surprised if some of the cars that plan a European-only campaign show up at Daytona and Sebring to benchmark their models. —Steven Cole Smith

This gorgeous Countach is Hot Wheels’ newest exclusive die-cast

Intake: Ciao, bella! Hot Wheels just revealed its newest Red Line Club sELECTIONS die-cast vehicle, a 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP 500 S. Wearing a coat of ice blue Spectraflame and rubber Real Riders, Mattel’s miniature supercar is the product of the company’s annual contest that implores club members to vote their desired 1/64-scale Hot Wheel into existence. Members vote online, using a ballot that features a slew of predetermined castings, paint colors, and wheels. This year, the Lambo beat out a 1969 Camaro, a 1971 Datsun 510, a 1991 BMW M3, and the VW T1 Rockster. Sorry grocery store shoppers, this is a Red Line Club exclusive. Members have until July 25 to purchase the Countach online. Those who plunk down the $30 will have to hold out “several months” for their made-to-order car to be delivered, according to the firm. If you voted for the Italian candidate, congratulations. Winning is easy. Waiting is the hardest part.

Exhaust: Dating back to 2004, the Red Line Club sELECTIONS promotion has served up cool customs for nearly two decades. In addition to creating some of the more iconic releases, from a star-spangled semi to a lime Spectraflame Gremlin, the sweepstakes serve as a barometer for the Club’s collective tastes. Typically, more traditional castings of vintage Hot Wheels, muscle cars, or street rods reign supreme in this election. Does the Lambo’s victory signal that older members are no longing voting? Perhaps. Then again, the Countach is a rather underutilized casting compared to its election adversary, the 1969 Camaro. Either way, we applaud Mattel for continuing to put at least one choice per year in the hands of the collector. — Cameron Neveu

The first Lotus Eletre has been built in a billion-dollar Chinese factory

eletre
Lotus

Intake: Lotus Cars’ $1.2 billion dollar electric car factory in Wuhan, China is now complete, and the first pre-production Eletre hyper SUV has been assembled. The 250-acre plant will eventually have a production capacity of 150,000 units, which shows the ambition of the Chinese majority-owned British legend. The 600-hp Eletre will be the first of several “lifestyle” vehicles built in China, with a sedan next in line in 2023, followed by a more compact SUV in 2025. The brand’s ancestral home in Norfolk, U.K. will continue to focus on sports cars, with the first electric Lotus sportster (aside from the limited-run the Evija hypercar) arriving in 2026.

Exhaust: Since Geely bought a majority stake in Lotus, it has invested well over $2 billion into Lotus facilities China, Britain, and Germany, and has its sights set on accelerating from selling fewer than 2000 cars a year to 100,000 by 2026. Some die-hard enthusiasts may not approve, but without this investment and new direction, Lotus itself would die. — Nik Berg

A trio of Jaguar XK continuations is headed to auction…again

Intake: Up for sale at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions during Monterey Car Week are examples of three big cat continuation models, produced in very limited numbers by Jaguar Classics.

First on the list is one of just six 1963 Lightweight E-Type Continuations which was actually built in 2014. Jaguar had planned to build 18 of these aluminum-bodied race-ready XKEs but only assembled 12 in the ’60s. Fifty years later, the company decided to finish the job and the first of Jaguar’s Continuation models was born. It was followed in 2017 by nine new versions of the XKSS—essentially the road-going version of the D-Type, and then 25 more versions of the D-Type itself in 2018. All three are going under the hammer between August 18–21.

Exhaust: It’s not the first time that a trio like this has been gathered for sale. At RM Sotheby’s in November 2020 the gavel dropped on their stablemates, with a Lightweight E-Type Continuation selling for $1.7 million, an XKSS Continuation fetching $1.985 million, and a D-Type Continuation achieving $1.325 million. All of them improved upon their “new” sales price, but still fell far short what originals would reach. How far has the continuation market moved since? — NB

FBI raids North American arm of world’s largest wheel manufacturer

Ford Explorer King Ranch edition alloy wheel
Ford

Intake: According to the Detroit Free Press, the FBI just carried out a search warrant for the North American subsidiary of the world’s largest aluminum alloy wheel manufacturer. OEM supplier Dicastal North America, based in just 30 miles outside of Grand Rapids in Greenville, Michigan, belongs to CITIC Dicastal Co., which accounts for 17 percent of the global market for alloy wheels. CITIC Dicastal Col. is in turn is part of CITIC Fund, one of China’s largest state-owned conglomerates. Ford, GM, Stellantis, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan all source wheels from Dicastal, though the first two, speaking to the Free Press, don’t anticipate any effect on production. The investigation is ongoing, and all we know for now, thanks to the Freep, is that yesterday the FBI seized computers and sent everyone at the Greenville location home.

Exhaust: China is anything but a team player in the auto industry, as Stellantis’ termination of its joint venture showed yesterday, but the FBI works in mysterious ways. Dicastal could be under the microscope for any number of reasons; for now, we simply don’t know much. — GH

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