Wideman, Arkansas, United States
At present, over 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States today are equipped with event data recorders, more commonly known as black boxes. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way, that already high figure will swell to a full 100 percent in short order.
Such automotive black boxes have been in existence since the 1990s, and all current Ford, General Motors, Mazda and Toyota vehicles are so equipped. NHTSA has been attempting to make these data recorders mandatory for automakers, and according to The Detroit News, the White House Office of Management Budget has just finished reviewing the proposal, clearing the way. Now NHTSA is expected to draft new legislation to make the boxes a requirement.
One problem with current black boxes is that there's no set of standards for automakers to follow when creating what bits of data are recorded, and for how long or in what format it is stored. In other words, one automaker's box is probably not compatible with its competitors.
Despite the fact that the annual SEMA show is more of an exercise in what "could be" than what "will be," it gives automakers the chance to stretch the legs of some of its most important models. Take the 2014 Mazda6, for example - it's hardly new, having gone on sale early this year - but this year's SEMA expo marks the first time Mazda has been able to show off the customization possibilities for its sleek midsize sedan. To that end, the Japanese automaker has arrived in Las Vegas with two very different takes on its sexy Six.
First up is the Mazda6 Club Sport you see above, wearing a "motorsports-inspired" gray, black and red accent-color scheme that, as Mazda says, is "represented in not-so-subtle angular lines reminiscent of a car speeding past your line of sight." The whole car is done up in a base color of Composite Grey, and uses a Brilliant Black roof to match the similarly colored front, side and rear diffusers, as well as the rear spoiler. Mazda has fitted the Club Sport with Rays 57 Motorsport G07FXX 20-inch wheels, wrapped in Yokohama 245/35R20 tires. Powering the CS is Mazda's 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D diesel four-cylinder engine (that we'll get in the standard Six early next year), and other changes include an H&R spring kit, larger Brembo brakes and a Racing Beat exhaust.
And then there's the Ceramic 6 Concept, pictured right. The name comes from the car's Ceramic White paint, though we don't really get the Taupe Silver accent stripes. Mazda says they're meant to mimic "the linear frequency patterns found on the likes of couture dresses and flowing fabrics," but it just looks a bit overwrought to us. The Mazda6 already has so many clean lines, why add more?
Mazda made a big celebration of the MX-5 Miata at the 2014 New York Auto Show with a bunch of classic models on display. It capped off the model's 25th birthday with the announcement of the 2015 MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition and showed off the much-anticipated, next-generation version's chassis.
While we are still at least year away from the new Miata hitting the road, the anniversary edition is on its way and is limited to just 100 copies for the United States. The special cars start at $32,205, compared to $23,970 for the 2015 softtop model and $28,665 for the 2015 retractable hardtop version. There is an additional $795 destination charge for all of them.
To make sure everyone gets a chance to own the ceremonial convertible, Mazda has a countdown on its website until 10:25 AM PDT, May 20, 2014. When the day comes, 250 people can to register for the car, and the first 100 to be verified as buyers get the rare Miata. Those with multiple entries will be disqualified.