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Honda Performance Development Unveils CR-V Hybrid Racer

Honda Performance Development Unveils CR-V Hybrid Racer

HondaWhile hybrid power units officially debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2024, race fans and car enthusiasts alike will get to preview the incoming technology with the debut of the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer at next month's season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The CR-V Hybrid Racer was conceived and designed by the engineers at Honda Performance Development (HPD) in California and designers from the North America Auto Design Division (NAAD) of American Honda, then built at Honda Automotive Development Center (ADC) in Ohio by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART). It places a 2.2L twin-turbocharged, electrified Honda V6 INDYCAR power unit and transmission under ’23 Honda CR-V Hybrid bodywork to create the “rolling laboratory” for the continued development of electrified technology by Honda and HPD. The CR-V Hybrid Racer runs on Shell's 100% renewable race fuel and features Skeleton Supercapacitors and Empel MGU hybrid motor technology.

The Chromoly steel tube chassis of the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer is clothed in suitably hybrid bodywork designed by NAAD. From the beltline up, the Hybrid Racer utilized a standard production sixth-generation CR-V steel body, including the glass windshield, windows and even the sunroof. The lower half is of carbon-composite construction, incorporating a front splitter and louvered, flared fenders. An equally large rear wing and butterfly half-cut doors on either side for the driver and passenger complete the bodywork.

The finished Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer is wrapped by Lili Melikian, senior exterior designer. 

“The graphics were inspired by the hybrid powertrain, radiating from Honda Hybrid Blue to Honda Racing Red to symbolize the duality of the drivetrain,” Melikian explained. “While the speed squirkles add a dynamic fun layer and showcase the playful side of Power of Dreams. Throughout the wrap, we have also sprinkled Easter eggs like ghosted outlines of Honda-sponsored tracks and an overhead view of the engine that powers the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer.”

Stertil-Koni Hires Steve Plomin as Director of National Accounts

Steve Plomin
Steve Plomin

Stertil-Koni has announced that Steve Plomin, a seasoned sales professional with extensive experience in the heavy-duty OEM and aftermarket parts industry, has joined the company as director of national accounts. Most recently, Plomin served as national account manager for Continental Battery Systems where he was responsible for sales strategy, program development, pricing and marketing for the commercial vehicle markets that included truck, bus, agricultural, waste and aftermarkets parts.

Hot Shot’s Secret Supports the Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Truck Convoy

Hot Shot’s Secret has announced its support for the Make-A-Wish chapter that serves Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna Valley. Make-A-Wish grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The Mother’s Day Truck Convoy financially supports 75% of wishes granted in communities located in the Susquehanna Valley. This year, the goal is to raise $700,000 through the fundraising efforts of individuals and teams through the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy and Carnival that takes place on the grounds of the Manheim Pennsylvania Auto Auction, held May 14.

Independent drivers and trucking companies also raise funds to help reach the goals set by this chapter with their Mother’s Day convoy. Last year, close to 500 drivers and companies participated and Hot Shot’s Secret came in second in the amount of money raised. This year, Hot Shot’s Secret is once again pledging $5,000 in matching funds to support this cause. Anyone interested in donating funds for the Hot Shot’s Secret driver and fundraising team, should visit here to donate.

BAJA FORGED Announces New Partnership

Baja ForgedBAJA FORGED has announced a strategic partnership with Forged Authority.

“BAJA FORGED has been looking for someone as a one-stop shop, from helping with CAD designs, to a finished product that is kitted and ready to ship within the U.S.,” said Theresa Contreras (second, left), CEO/co-founder/designer, BAJA FORGED. Contreras has produced award-winning SEMA Show vehicles and made a name for the BAJA FORGED brand globally along with COO Jason Contreras.

“As we are still a boutique brand, we love having a niche that speaks to our customers,” Theresa said. “Our products are fully off-road-capable, but you’ll notice the ‘look first’ as our contoured lines and compound rolls and bends enhance the vehicle’s appearance as if it were a concept vehicle from the factory.”

The goal is to supply product to customers more efficiently and on a larger scale while remaining committed to quality. This newly announced joint venture with Wesley Poole (left), president/founder of Forged Authority and 2019 SEMA Launch Pad finalist, is more than fitting for the manufacturing veteran, according to Theresa.

Forged Authority is currently expanding its manufacturing capabilities to produce BAJA FORGED products and deliver them to the masses. Along with the announcement of BAJA FORGED and Forged Authority coming together, Ian Lehn (right), CEO/founder of BOOSTane and 2014 SEMA Launch Pad winner, will join the Forged Authority team as vice president. An engineer by trade but an entrepreneur at heart, Lehn will help facilitate the growth of this collaboration.

“Building businesses through innovation and great people is something near and dear to me. I am really excited to come on board at Forged Authority and help drive these brands to new heights,” Lehn said.

Stellantis Announces $155 Million Investment in Three Indiana Plants to Support North American Electrification Goals

StellantisStellantis has announced that it will invest a total of $155 million in three Kokomo, Indiana, plants to produce new electric drive modules (EDM) that will help power future electric vehicles assembled in North America and to support the goal of 50% battery-electric sales in the U.S. by 2030.

With more than 25 battery-electric vehicle (BEV) launches planned in the United States between now and 2030, the Kokomo-built EDM will be integrated into vehicles designed on the STLA Large and STLA Frame platforms. Offering an all-in-one solution for electric-vehicle powertrains, the EDM consists of three main components—the electric motor, power electronics and transmission—that are combined into a single module to deliver improved performance and range at a competitive cost. The optimized efficiency of the new EDM will help each platform achieve driving range up to 500 miles (800 km).

“While we continue our successful transition to a decarbonized future in our European operations, we are now setting those same foundational elements for the North American market,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “By combining the benefits of the EDM with our new BEV-centric platforms and innovative battery technologies, we will offer our customers a variety of electric vehicles with unparalleled performance and range at more affordable prices. And with our in-house manufacturing capabilities and expertise, we will do it with greater flexibility and efficiency.”

Investments will be made at the Indiana Transmission, Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting plants. The gearbox cover will be cast at Kokomo Casting and machined at Kokomo Transmission. Gear machining and final assembly will be at the Indiana Transmission Plant. Production is expected to start in the third quarter of 2024, following retooling.

Since 2020, Stellantis has invested nearly $3.3 billion in Indiana to support its transition to electrification. This includes recent announcements of $643 million to produce a new engine for conventional and PHEV applications, a next-generation eight-speed transmission and a gigafactory joint venture with Samsung SDI. In total, these investments support Stellantis’ ambition to achieve net-zero carbon by 2038, as set out in its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan.

Piston Foundation Partners With Bring a Trailer to Benefit “Sponsor a Piston Scholar” Initiative         

Piston Foundation
’73 Datsun 240Z

The Piston Foundation, whose mission is to bring more young people into the trades of the collector-car industry, in particular with its “Sponsor a Piston Scholar” initiative, is partnering with Bring a Trailer (BaT) to auction off a ’73 Datsun 240Z at

Bidding on the Datsun, which commemorates BaT’s 100,000th listing, is now live and will end on March 7. One hundred percent of the proceeds, including the 5% BaT buyer’s fee, will be donated to the Piston Foundation.

One hundred percent of the donations to the “Sponsor a Piston Scholar” initiative at goes to fund scholarships. The Piston Foundation awarded 10 scholarships in its inaugural campaign in 2022. “Our goal is to reach 50 scholarships in 2023,” said Jeff Mason, president and COO of the Piston Foundation, “and every dollar we receive will help provide a scholarship for a deserving automotive student.”

The Datsun 240Z was first introduced in 1970 and continues to gain popularity among enthusiasts and collectors. This model was acquired by Bring a Trailer in 2018 and has since been used for cross-country road trips, BaT alumni gatherings, and rallies. The car has become well known among the enthusiast community and is part of the BaT brand.

Repainted in lime green, the 240Z has been modified with a Rebello Racing 2.7L straight-six engine, triple Weber carburetors and a five-speed manual transmission. Other features include a limited-slip differential, four-wheel disc brakes, a lowered suspension and 16-in. Panasport wheels with new Michelin tires.

Covercraft’s Molina Honored by The Manufacturing Institute

Justina Molina
Justina Molina

The Manufacturing Institute (MI)—the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—announced that Covercraft General Manager Justina Molina has been recognized as a 2023 Women MAKE Awards Honoree. This annual national awards program honors women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.

The Women MAKE Awards are part of the MI’s Women MAKE America initiative, which is the nation’s marquee program to close the gender gap in manufacturing. Women account for about half of the U.S. labor force but represent less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce. Women MAKE America aims to create a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the industry.

The Women MAKE Awards honor exceptional women in manufacturing and motivate them to mentor the next generation through an annual awards gala and associated leadership training program. The stories of these women and the leadership they exemplify will help inspire the next generation of women leaders in manufacturing and support talent already within the industry.

On April 20, the MI will recognize 130 recipients of the Women MAKE Awards in Washington, D.C. The evening will highlight each Honoree and Emerging Leader’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

Fox Factory Enters Agreement to Acquire Custom Wheel House

Fox Factory has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Custom Wheel House from Thompson Street Capital Partners and other sellers. Subject to customary closing agreements, the transaction is valued at $131.6 million. Custom Wheel House—based out of Rancho Dominguez, California—designs, markets and distributes high-performance wheels, performance off-road tires and accessories. Its family of brands includes its flagship brand Method Race Wheels, along with Tensor Tire and GMZ Race Products. For more information, see the announcement here.

FordPassFordPass Rewards Points Now Redeemable Toward Online Accessories Purchases

FordPass Rewards members now can redeem their points toward accessories purchases online, making it easier for Ford owners to personalize their vehicles. Customers can visit to shop for a wide variety of accessories from roof tents and superchargers to trailer hitches, floor mats and pet harnesses. Members can visit the site to shop for interior, exterior, electronic, wheel accessories and more. Members can use their points, pay with a credit card or use a combination of both on the site. Accessories can be shipped to a customer’s home or to the dealer for installation. Also, returned purchases are credited back to the customer based on the original form of payment.

To become a FordPass Rewards member, Ford owners must download the FordPass App to their phone and accept terms and conditions. Members earn points for things they already do with Ford, including routine maintenance and service visits at dealerships or purchasing a new Ford vehicle. To learn more about FordPass Rewards, visit

Autoblog Announces Launch of Autoblog Electric

Autoblog has announced the launch of Autoblog Electric, a hub dedicated to electric vehicle news and research. Powered by Autoblog, Autoblog Electric delivers the latest news from the EV world, shopping tools for owners to research their next electric vehicle and videos of the latest electric vehicles. Autoblog Electric is also home to a charging station finder, which allows users to search for EV chargers in their area by inputting their zip code into a mapping tool.

Autoblog Electric's editorial mission is to cover all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, the charging network, sustainability issues, EV industry personalities and battery technology. Alfa Romeo is the launch sponsor of Autoblog Electric.

’23 Kia Telluride Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick

KiaThe ’23 Kia Telluride has been awarded the 2023 Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) rating. Previously a Top Safety Pick for 2022, 2021 and 2020 when equipped with specific headlights, the Telluride’s upgraded award comes following the IIHS’ enactment of strengthened requirements for its 2023 TSP and TSP+ awards, with tougher criteria for side crash protection, pedestrian crash prevention systems, and headlight ratings. Under the more stringent requirements, the Telluride earned ratings of “good” in all four 2023 IIHS crashworthiness evaluations.

The IIHS reports the biggest change to the criteria for both TSP and TSP+ awards is the replacement of the original IIHS side crash test with the updated evaluation launched in 2021, which involves 82% more energy than the original test. The TSP+ criteria includes another new evaluation, the nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test. Advanced or superior performance is required in both the nighttime and daytime pedestrian tests for TSP+ designation. The roof strength, head restraint and vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention evaluations are no longer part of the award criteria.

The ’23 Telluride sports fresh design elements inside and out, along with an expanded list of technology. Two new trims, X-Line and X-Pro, have also been added to the lineup to promote more adventures for owners who enjoy the outdoors.

Arrow McLaren and Lucas Oil Announce Multi-Year Partnership Extension

McLarenMcLaren Racing has announced a multi-year extension to its long-standing partnership with Lucas Oil, continuing as an official partner of the Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Lucas Oil has been a partner of the Arrow McLaren team for nearly 20 years, starting its relationship with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2004. With the season opener, 2023 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 3–5, Lucas Oil branding will continue to be represented on all three Arrow McLaren Chevrolets, and on the driver suits of Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi for the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season and beyond.

BorgWarner Completes Acquisition of Hubei Surpass Sun Electric Charging Business

BorgWarner Inc. has announced it has completed its acquisition of Hubei Surpass Sun Electric's (SSE's) electric vehicle charging solution, smart grid and smart energy businesses. The acquisition is an important move for BorgWarner's electrification business in Asia and is expected to complement the company's existing charging footprint in Europe and North America.

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