Three Thoughts about the Auto Industry for June 10, 2011

It’s been a quiet week, so this Friday I am presenting you with only three thoughts about the auto industry, instead of my usual five.  Here are the stories that caught my eye over the past seven days.

01 – Next-Generation Mazda Miata to Lose Over 700 lbs

The Mazda Miata has always traded on its lightweight chassis as its strongest selling point, and Mazda appears to be willing to hammer home that point with the next generation Miata.  Reports are emerging that the roadster could lose as much as 30 percent of its current mass to come in at an eyebrow-raising 1,760 lbs.  This would be lighter than even my first-generation NA Miata, which tips the scales at just 2,200 lbs.

If Mazda can pull this off – and if they can maintain a solid power-to-weight ratio – then the future Miata could be a force to be reckoned with.  This is particularly true if the automobile gets a turbocharged engine to go with its diet.

02 – Stirling Moss Retires

Most of us would never consider heading out onto the track as an octogenarian, but then again, most of us were not gifted with the driving skill bestowed upon Stirling Moss.  The four-time F1 champion announced his retirement this week after admitting to himself that his abilities were no longer able to keep pace with the performance potential of the cars he was driving.  Moss cancelled his entry in the Le Mans Legends race, where he was scheduled to compete in same Porsche RS61 that he had previously had an on-track incident in while driving at Laguna Seca.

03 –Chevrolet Volt Now Nationwide

It is now possible to walk into any Chevrolet dealership in the United States and order a 2012 Chevrolet Volt.  Availability is still staggered, with the majority of the country not able to have those orders fulfilled until November, but GM is hoping to cash in on hype surrounding the vehicle and start moving units as quickly as possible.  There is still no word on when Canada will have access to the electric sedan.

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