This is the Motoramic Dash, a daily roundup of the most interesting news in the automotive world.
Cribbing style lines from Aston Martin has only made the 2013 Ford Fusion one of the more anticipated new cars of the year. This shot of the Ford Racing NASCAR entry in its first 2o13 livery colors shows that British looks and southern-fried racing go together like fish and chips. The revamp of NASCAR's Sprint Cup cars for 2013 may be one of the best things for American car enthusiasts in years.
Spend enough time around the car sites on the Internet, and you'll easily find a thick vein of disdain for all things NASCAR, which gets unfairly portrayed as yokels watching yester-tech turn left. Never mind that every race series from Formula 1 down limits technology to keep races close, or that a top-shelf NASCAR team has as much engineering acumen as a F1 entry, or that great NASCAR drivers tend to do well in other series while champions from around the world often struggle on a big oval. NASCAR's slavish adherence to its formula turns off those who want to care about the machines as much as the drivers.
For 2013, that's changing. The engines will get some upgrades, but the Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet cars will at least look like their road-going relatives -- in theory, increasing the number of people who want to root for a team as much as a driver. And Chevrolet will even bring in a rear-wheel-drive sedan from Australia for something to sell on Monday rather than keep the Impala name on the track every Sunday. These are all good things.
Other news this morning:
California Senate approves bill for self-driving car tests: The Google self-driving car has been in Washington recently on a lobbying trip as well. (Chicago Tribune)
GM breaking ground to expand Missouri plant for new midsize pickups: GM alone among Detroit automakers thinks there's a market for smaller pickups among American truck fans. Maybe GM should aim for non-truck people. ( Detroit News)
BMW replaces Toyota as world's most valuable car brand: How valuable? It's worth $24.7 billion, says a study -- although how you'd ever separate the brand from the cars remains an academic exercise. ( AutoNews)
Why a Jeep in China costs $189,750: Jeep wants to build in China. Chinese people want to buy Jeeps. Neither will happen for at least two years. A study in the world's most inefficient market. ( Bloomberg)
Chevy Volt owner says he hasn't filled up in 4,000 miles: On one hand, that's impressive. On the other hand, could he have been better off just buying an electric car? ( EV News)