Ferrari speeding up SF90, Montana a no-go for U.S. market despite the name, GM’s 825,000-vehicle recall


This Speciale Ferrari SF90 has been spied lapping Fiorano

Intake: Ferrari is preparing something Speciale based on the hybrid SF90. At this point we don’t know whether the car (expected to be released in 2023) will wear that tag, the Competizione badge or even Scuderia, but we do know that it will be hotter than the current SF90. Look closely at the spy video shot by YouTuber Varryx and you can see a new hood vent and some tweaks to the front aero, which are masked by camouflage. What you can’t see is the more free-flowing exhaust system, updated chassis software and weight-saving measures that are also likely to feature.

Exhaust: The SF90 is already the fastest Ferrari road car ever to lap the firm’s Fiorano circuit. The car in this video isn’t setting any new lap records at the moment, but the times are sure to tumble as soon as it’s ready. — NB

Jeep closes Chinese factory, dealers threaten to sue

Jeep Booth at Auto Guangzhou 2021
VCG/VCG/Getty Images

Intake: Jeep dealers in China are seeking “millions” in court filings from Stellantis, Jeep’s parent company, after Jeep and its Chinese partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group, agreed to file for bankruptcy, said Reuters. The decision to terminate the Jeep partnerships with its dealers has caused losses and layoffs, according to a letter signed by at least 26 dealers. Bloomberg quoted Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares as saying Stellantis closed the Jeep factory because, Bloomberg said, “local politicians are increasingly meddling in business in the world’s biggest new-vehicle market.”

Exhaust: Other analysts suggest the main reason Jeep bankrupted its partnership with the state-owned Guangzhou is that Jeeps didn’t sell as well as expected. “European luxury brands had the technology and cachet to command top dollar. Global giants such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota had established substantial followings, and fast-improving Chinese brands had a foothold at the low end of the market,” said Automotive News. But it appears that the biggest reason Jeep closed its factory in China: It just wasn’t worth the trouble. — Steven Cole Smith

Chevrolet Montana makes it to North America, but not the United States


Intake: Chevrolet recently launched an all-new generation of the Montana, which was previously a two-door coupe utility, as a four-door, unibody pickup. GM Authority has discovered that the little pickup, which is powered by a 133hp, 1.2-liter turbocharged engine, will also be offered in North America, as it appears on Chevrolet’s site for the Mexican market. The previous generation Chevrolet Montana, when sold in Mexico, was dubbed Tornado. This generation, like its predecessors, will be built in Brazil on the same platform used for the Chevrolet Tracker.

Exhaust: While we’re all for more competition in the market, and we’d love to see Ford, Chevy, Ram, Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda all in the minitruck game again, this Montana doesn’t seem like it would be a real competitor to the Ford Maverick, which is selling like hotcakes. While the Maverick was designed to look like a little pickup, the Montana looks more like a crossover with the top of its cargo area removed, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The Montana looks like it will occupy a niche in the market for an even more compact, more affordable vehicle than the Maverick, as the S10 Max, a body-on-frame truck imported from China, already covers the value-minded end of the compact truck market for Chevrolet in Mexico. — Brandan Gillogly

This Royal Rover is set to land a lavish price at auction

Queen Elizabeth's Land Rover 1953 2
Silverstone Auctions

Intake: A 1953 Land Rover delivered to Queen Elizabeth II for use on her Balmoral estate in Scotland will go under the hammer in February 2023. Wearing regal number plate NXN 1 the car was in regular use by the Queen, Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, and Prince (now King) Charles until 1966. “It’s not often that a vehicle with such impressive Royal provenance like this is offered publicly for sale,” explains Rob Hubbard, sales director of Silverstone Auctions. “Its special features and Royal connections make it exceptionally interesting. This Land Rover would doubtless have been used extensively on the Balmoral estate where we know the Royals loved to picnic. It would have been a familiar and much-loved part of Her Majesty and Prince Philip’s private lives.”

The car was purchased by the current owner in neighboring Ballater, re-registered, and kept in the family garage more-or-less ever since. This lovely Landie has previously undergone a detailed restoration which is claimed to have been paid for as a gift by King Charles. It led the Land Rover parade at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant and is reckoned to be the most photographed Land Rover in the world. The Royal Rover will be sale at Silverstone Auctions on February 25th, 2023.

Exhaust: Silverstone Auctions expects the classic 4×4 to sell for £100,000-£150,000 (approximately $123,000-$185,000) but the prices for cars driven by the Windsors can reach right royal heights. Silverstone Auctions sold a Ford Escort RS Turbo driven by Princess Diana for an astounding £730,000 or $900,000 earlier this year, so the final hammer price for this Land Rover is anybody’s guess. — Nik Berg

Speaking of China…

Zeekr lettering

Intake: China’s Geely Automobile Holdings said its electric car brand, Zeekr, had confidentially filed for a U.S. initial public offering, in what would be the first major Chinese listing in the country in nearly two years, according to Reuters. Zeekr filed with U.S. regulators last week. Zeekr aims to raise more than $1 billion in its U.S. IPO.

Exhaust: This filing comes on the heels of Vietnamese automaker VinFast, which filed to sell stock to help fund its planned EV plant in North Carolina. The company,  founded in just 2017, displayed several EV SUVs at the Los Angeles auto show and already has dealerships in California. — SCS

GM issues recall for more than 825,000 vehicles for lighting issue

Brandan Gillogly

Intake: General Motors is recalling upwards of 825,000 vehicles for an issue where the daytime running lights may not turn off when the headlights are on, according to a report from Automotive News. The vehicles affected by the recall include the 2021–23 Buick Envision, 2020–23 Cadillac CT4 and CT5, Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, Chevy Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon and Yukon XLs from the 2022–23 model years. In the U.S., the recall encompasses 740,148 vehicles, while in Canada, it includes 85,685. The issue in question falls afoul of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, which pertains to lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  GM says it is not aware of any injuries, crashes, or deaths related to the issue, but the combination of DRLs and the headlights both being on may result in a glare for oncoming traffic, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of a crash. The solution to the issue will involve the body control module software getting an over-the-air update. Owners will be notified starting on January 23.

Exhaust: According to NHTSA data, GM has issued 29 recalls affecting nearly 3.3 million vehicles year-to-date. We’ve seen a spell of recalls recently affecting all sorts of manufacturers, including SubaruRamHyundai, and even Tesla. Luckily, this one can be fixed via a software tweak, and won’t require much labor from dealer staff. — Nathan Petroelje

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    What’s new?
    GM trucks have had lighting issues for the past 20 years…it’s rare when you see a GM truck with all the lights working.

    It’s been attributed to bad bulbs or an inefficient alternator.
    But come on, it shouldn’t happen to an outfit with GMs resources….and over several years.
    I think they just don’t care.

    Around here, seeing a truck with a non working headlight or running light is called a “GM wink”.

    John you are a bit overly dramatic.

    GM trucks have had no such light issues more than anyone else. These bulbs are supplied by the same suppliers for most models.

    Now many import brands lose rear lights do to wire and grounding issues. That has gone on for years.

    How many GM LED tailights have we seen with non-functioning segments. It’s funny that I can spot the Cadillac by the missing taillights. It’s sad that GM can’t get some truly basic things done reliably. Oh and I’m supposed to trust their EV’s to go the distance? I’m going to take a hard pass.

    Any American, etc. company in China is getting it’s intellectual property stolen so good on Jeep pulling out, whatever the excuse.

    Too bad the GM recall will do nothing about the millions who happily drive around with their brights on at all times anyway.

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