A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird:
Acura takes NSX to the track in Ohio Oh good, more teasers about Acura's resurrected legend. But wait - it's actually driving around this time!
Acura's not being coy about it at all, releasing their mid-engined hybrid supercar to blitz around the curves at the Mid-Ohio racetrack in southern Germany. Just kidding, it's in Ohio.
The factory where the car will eventually be built is just down the road, and given the way the prototype seemed to perform, it looks like production models are actually ready to roll.
Even more exciting, the NSX debuted not covered in camouflage, but liveried up in racing gear, as though ready to be entered into a competitive racing series. Given that the old car was touched by the likes of Ayrton Senna and Alex Zanardi, we can only hope that the new high-tech modern machine carries some of this heritage forward.
Hyundai sells millionth Santa Fe
In many ways, the Hyundai Pony is like a really bad yearbook photo belonging to someone who's now extremely successful and handsome. Every time Hyundai does anything of note, there is the slight temptation to trundle it out and say, "And just look how far you've come!" A temptation which, sad to say, I've just given in to. But hey, 30th anniversary of the Pony and all that.
Here's the latest bragging point from the once homely Hyundai: they've just built their millionth Santa Fe crossover. Now sold in two sizes as the Sport or XL, the Santa Fe is actually one heck of a good car/truck/thing, nice and smooth, good on gas, looks like it should cost $10,000 more than it does.
Hyundai introduced the first Santa Fe in 2000 as a sort of RAV4 lookalike that was cheap and cheerful, and actually sold rather well.
These days you can spend up to $45,000 on one of the long-wheelbase ones, crammed with leather and gizmos, and outfitted with 19-inch alloys.
Infiniti to still sell the G37
Much of the automotive press has been scratching their heads over Infiniti's new naming scheme of late. Basically, they've done away with the well-established G and FX nomenclature in favour of calling everything either Q or QX.
Apparently, this is supposed to make people hearken back to the old Q45, a well-received luxury sedan that hasn't been sold for a full half decade. The first such-badged model will be the new Q50 compact sedan, leaving plenty of room for two models below it in size.
Naturally, people who've been driving one of Infiniti's excellent G sedans for years are a bit miffed, but fret not. Nissan's luxury arm has just announced that they're going to keep selling the G37 sedan alongside the Q50 for the next two years.
This is starting to smell like that whole "Datsun by Nissan" thing of the early 1980s again. Maybe a single year of overlap might make sense, but two years of selling an old car at a discount? Hardly the move of a luxury brand who knows what they're up to.
Toyota donates efficiency to charity
Many automakers are involved in charitable works - not only does this somewhat improve the image of the company, but most of the folks who work building and selling cars also have a somewhat philanthropic bent, and would like their places of work to be good corporate citizens. Plus, you know, tax breaks.
Most of the time, this takes the form of cash infusions to recognized institutions, or raffling off low availability sportscars and donating all the proceeds. However, Toyota had a different idea, and it's a great one.
Instead of just funds, Toyota sent over a team of their engineers to help the New York Food Bank, one of the largest such organizations in the world. At first, workers at the Food Bank were a bit bemused by the move. How can people whose job it is to design cars be any help in getting the homeless and hungry fed?
Simple. Toyota's engineers are steeped in the concept of kaizen every single day of their working lives - it's a straight-forward way of looking at things that praises efficiency over all else. When they walked into a soup kitchen in Harlem, the wait time to get a seat at a table was an hour and a half. When they left, it was just 18 minutes.
Other simple changes in streamlining helped the Food Bank maximize the use of its volunteer services, and cut down on waste such that every dollar they use goes just that little bit further. Toyota, of course, offers their consultancy for a fee to other companies, but the idea of donating time and expertise to a charity is just plain smart.
Watch this space for all the best and worst of automotive news, or submit your own auto oddities to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendan_mcaleer.