Welcome to the Starting Grid, where we start your day off right with the biggest news in the auto industry, such as the resurgence of Toyota and much more on this Monday morning.
Pole Position – Toyota Back On Top: For a time, General Motors had managed to regain its position as the biggest automaker in the world. Now, though, it looks like Toyota has risen like a Phoenix from (allegedly) unintended acceleration ashes to take the title right back. [WSJ]
Front Row – Malibu Hybrid Struggling To Sell: American automakers were reluctant to build hybrid cars for so long, but now that they are, there is evidence that they may have been right to drag their feet. The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is not selling well, with customers complaining that it’s $3,000 more than the gasoline model. Maybe we should just chalk that up to lack of awareness, because hybrids typically do cost more – the public should know that by now. Besides, if Americans don’t like hybrids, how do you explain the Prius? Looks like a long road ahead for fuel efficiency in this country. [AutoNews]
Third Position – Alfa Romeo Still On Track For U.S. Return: Are you excited to see new Alfa Romeos back on American roads? You’re not the only one, as the 4C sports car concept has excited U.S. customers and the company is preparing several new models to reach domestic dealerships with help from parent Fiat. In this article, the New York Times takes an in-depth look at the promise and challenge facing the Italian icon. [NYT]
Fourth Position – Speed vs. Efficiency: It’s common knowledge that the faster you go, the less fuel-efficient you’re being. Finally, an official study has been conducted to determine exactly how fuel efficient you are at what speed, and the results may surprise you. Of course, this all varies based on what kind of engine you have, but it’s a great insight into the average speed that will return the most at the pump. [Freep]
Safety Car – Public Speed Record Set Today in 1938: Speed records of old rarely seem impressive these days, once speeds started to get over 500mph on the salt flats. However, 75 years ago today, Rudolph Caracciola set one that absolutely stands the test of time, traveling a remarkable 268mph on a public road in a Mercedes. [Motoramic]
Video of the Day – Quickest Arabian Drag Race Ever: Drag racing is insane. Arabian car culture is insane. The quickest Arabian drag race ever is one of the coolest things you’ll see today.