HomeThe MarketiPhone maker planning to launch Pininfarina-designed car

iPhone maker planning to launch Pininfarina-designed car


Foxconn might be best known for producing everything from BlackBerry to iPhone, Nintendo and PlayStation and other such electronic devices, but the Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer officially known as the Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. also has an automotive division.

Hon Hai recently made its automotive debut with three electric vehicles developed in-house, including the Model E designed by Pininfarina. The other vehicles are the Model C, a recreational vehicle, and the Model T, an electric bus.

In a news release from Pininfarina, the Italian design company calls the Model E “a technologically innovative luxury flagship sedan that can meet the needs of middle- and high-end consumers.

“At the same time, it is also the high-quality first choice for businesses. The rear seat space can transform into a dedicated mobile office, with personal mobile devices seamlessly connected to the passenger car, enabling a series of smart applications such as face recognition door opening, smart windows and vehicle and environment interfaces.”

Pininfarina notes that the electric propulsion system provides around 750 horsepower, propelling the sedan to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds. 

“The Model E also has a 750km range (465 miles) to address the range anxiety of most electric car users,” Pininfarina adds.

The Model E prototype vehicle was built by Pininfarina in Cambiano, Italy.

“Our design team was responsible for defining the style of both the exteriors and the interiors of the Model E, including the experience that the user will live inside the car,” Kevin Rice, Pininfarina’s chief creative officer, is quoted. 

“One of the main features are the smart surfaces on the front, side and the rear of the vehicle which demonstrate the way the vehicle communicates with the outside world. This smart surfaces are contained within a beautiful vehicle showing its power, its sportivity and at the same time the elegance that you’d expect from Pininfarina. 

“Also in the interior you see a combination of classic, advanced, state of the art technology to create something absolutely unique.”

Lexus takes flight in air-race series

Since 2016, Lexus has worked with air-racing pilot Yoshihide Muroya on an exchange of technologies that might be applied to automobiles and aircraft. For example, the control-column grip on Muroya’s airplane incorporates Lexus sensitivity technologies. 

Lexus engineering analysis also improved the way the aircraft turns, and in some regions, the Lexus LC sedan is equipped with a rear spoiler made from aircraft-derived materials.

The partnership takes another step in 2022 when the Lexus/Pathfinder Air Racing team competes in the new Air Race World Championship series.

Not only will the technology transfer continue, but Muroya and Fukushima Prefecture will establish a new airfield for training students on light-sports aircraft flying and manufacturing.

Renault 4 made over a rolling hotel suite

The designer’s sketch

Ah, the places designers find their inspiration! To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4L, the automaker recruited designer Mathieu Lehanneur to give the car a makeover. The result is the Suite No. 4, inspired, we’re told, by a nomad hotel room.

Renault introduced the 4 vehicle decades ago, and it has been produced in 28 countries with more than 8 million units sold. Since October 8, more than 30 Renault 4 vehicles of various generations have been on display at the Atelier Renault on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

“We asked him (Lehanneur) to come up with a concept car showcasing his vision for the 4L,” Renault global marketing director Arnaud Belloni is quoted in the automaker’s news release. “The finished product was extraordinary. A car which really encapsulates everything the brand has set out to achieve through the Renaulution strategic plan: create modern and innovative cars that provoke emotions.”

Renault said Lehanneurs vision was “influenced by the parallel worlds of automobile and architecture. Renault Suite N°4 is a tribute to the 4L, channeling the same pure, understated and simple spirit while prioritizing efficiency and spontaneity.”

Said Lehanneur: “Suite N°4 opens the door to a new kind of mobility that strives to make people live experiences. I wanted to merge the worlds of cars and architecture to create an open-air hotel room. Even better than the finest palatial suite, the car is exactly where you want it to be, whether that’s by the sea, in the middle of a field or driving around the city you’ve always dreamed of.”

The car’s rear section has large polycarbonate windows and there are transparent solar panels on the roof of the car, which has been retrofitted with an electric powertrain.

The car’s grille has been treated with polished aluminum and the car is covered with three coats of paint designed to make it look as though it was covered in cement, a feature of modern building architecture.

Classic Range Rover redone for London regulations

With new restrictions going into effect October 25 regarding vehicle emissions in London, Kingsley Cars has announced its modification of classic Range Rovers to meet the new standards.

For more than 20 years, Kingsley Cars has specialized in restoring more than 400 vintage Range Rover and Land Rover models. Its new project allows the “reborn” Range Rover classics to be driven into London’s expanded ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone) without facing special emission tolls. 

Prices of the reborn SUVs start at £125,000 ($172,125). Engines available include a 4.0-liter 220 horsepower or 4.6-liter 270 horsepower V8 with upgraded ZF transmission. Updates including Apple CarPly, “fast road” suspension, and big-brake kits are available.

Next-gen Range Rover unveiled

While Kingsley is updating vintage Range Rovers, Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled the next-generation model built on a new chassis with 4-wheel steering and a choice of a 530-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 or a choice of two hybrid powertrains — and with a full-electric version in 2024. Also available in some markets will be an inline 6-cylinder engine.

The British SUV is redone inside and out, with the interior featuring new Ultrafabrics and Kvadrat, a wool blend, fabrics.

The new Range Rover will be available in several versions, with another coming sometime in 2022 from the company’s Special Vehicles Operations team.

Mark Fields making headlines again

Mark Fields

I first encountered Mark Fields, the 30-something head of Mazda where, as the youngest head ever of Japanese car company, he revived the brand. It was immediately clear much more was to come of the young automotive executive.

And it did. In 2002, he became chairman of Ford’s luxury division, the Premier Automotive Group, and Ford’s European operations. Three years later, he was back in the US as chief operating officer of the Ford Motor Company, and in 2014 became Ford president and chief executive.

Three years later, he retired and moved to Florida.

But this week he was back in the news in a big way as interim chief executive of Hertz, which not only has emerged from bankruptcy but has ordered 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles for its rental car fleet.

“Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we’ve only just begun to see rising global demand and interest,” Fields said in announcing the largest purchase ever of EVs. “The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world.”

Analysts already are suggesting that the deal and the availability of EVs for rent provide a major push for acceptance among those hesitant about buying an electric vehicle. 

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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