May 2007 Archives
It seems like everyday an automaker announces plans for a new crossover vehicle. Well now we can add Chevrolet to the list. Due to slipping Trailblazer sales, Chevy is hard at work on a crossover replacement for its aging SUV. The new vehicle, will be built on the same platform as the new Saturn Outlook (shown above), GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave crossovers.
According to the Goteborgs Posten, a Swedish newspaper, Ford is thinking about selling Volvo. Ford who has been in financial distress the past few years lost $327 million from their luxury nameplates, which includes Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln and Volvo (Ford does not disclose the revenue totals for each of its luxury brands).
BMW has finally confirmed the production of the crossover BMW F3. Crossovers are quickly becoming one of the hottest segments in the US and Europe. BMW is planning on building the small people mover on the upcoming X3 platform that will be here in 2009.
There has been a lot of buzz lately about the future of Honda's luxury/ performance brand, Acura. Their current lineup is somewhat bland and uninspiring. The TSX and TL were great when they were first released in 2003 and 2004, but now they lag behind the competition. The RL had issues from the beginning, mainly due to a lack of a V8 engine. That leaves the new MDX and RDX, which are new and are doing well, although the styling of the RDX has been some what controversial.
Fifth Gear has done another awesome video and this time it is on the VW GTI.
Spy photos of the upcoming 2009 Mercedes-Benz GLK SUV have been captured. The new SUV is based on the C-Class and will compete against the BMW X3 and Land Rover LR2 SUVs.
Everyday there are news stories about record gas prices in the U.S. Consumers are constantly complaining and overall consumer spending has been hurt by the high gas prices. Analysts and politicians continue to debate on possible solutions to the problem. Lately it seems that arguments for extra taxes are consistently on the table. Now comes an argument that the US should raise gas taxes to the same as Europeans, which would possibly help American consumers.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced plans to have all taxis in NYC powered by hybrid powertrains. There are currently 13,000 taxis running up and down the streets of NYC. The first step is to increase the current 400 hybrid taxis to 1,000 by October 2008. In addition by October 2008 all taxis in NYC must get 25mpg and by 2009 they must get 30mpg.
Kia has announced that they are going to use "XR" to badge their upcoming performance models. Kia unveiled the Cee'd XR in South Korea last week. The five-door hatchback had larger wheels and various body refinements. Kia is still working on possible turbocharged engines for the Euro market and a supercharged engine for the U.S. market.
Spy photographers spotted an interesting Honda S2000 in a workshop next to the Nurburgring. They managed to catch a few shots of the car, although it has remained in the workshop all day. What is interesting about the S2000 is that it has been heavily modified with riveted panels to add length and width to the car.
The hood line has been beefed up and the passenger compartment is also bigger. This test mule is very close to the new 2009/2010 NSX and Honda could be using this heavily modified S2000 to test the upcoming powertrain and platform for the next NSX. Notice the four tailpipes in back, the huge B Pillar and the heavy-duty double wishbone suspension.
PickupTruck.com has posted new spy photos of the upcoming 2009 Dodge Ram. These pictures show a new front end that is been welded to the current truck. The new styling of the Ram pickup is going to move away from its "big rig" looks so that it is more aerodynamic, thereby improving fuel economy.
Apparently Bob Lutz (Vice Chairman of GM) admires what Porsche has done with their lineup. They have managed to make the jump from sports cars to SUVs and now they have the upcoming 2009 Porsche Panamera sedan. Lutz has spoken candidly about the fact that Chevy could do something similar with the Corvette (Which means he isn't opposed to it).
For years everyone has suggested that Ford kill of its Mercury division. The division simply sells rebadged versions of Ford products, that don't usually have higher levels of performance or luxury. The brand has been seen as a waste of valuable resources and a severe drain on the parent company. Lately Mercury has had somewhat of a revitalization.
It has been reported several times that the new BMW 335i actually produces more power than is stated on paper. BMW states that the 335i coupe and sedan have 300 horsepower at the flywheel, although according to several dyno tests the car actually puts out between 275-300 horsepower at the wheels. Using simple math it is estimated that the actual horsepower at the flywheel is 350-375 horsepower. Those are exciting numbers!
Last month I reported that the Canadian goverment had inacted new legislation that gave buyers of fuel-efficient vehicles a $1,000 rebate. If the vehicle falls below the fuel-economy threshold of 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers, the car is eligible for the rebate. Well that basically meant that the Honda Fit did not qualify because it only acheives 6.6L, but the Toyota Yaris does qualify. That did not sit well with Honda.
Temple of VTEC has posted more photos of the upcoming 2008 Honda Accord Sedan in black. Last week the first photos of the car, in silver were exposed.
Chrysler has approved the large luxury Imperial sedan for production. The official announcement will be on June 11th. Chrysler will invest $700 million for the new sedan, which will be built at the Brampton, Ontario plant. This announcement follows the sale of the Chrysler Group that took place earlier this week. Chrysler has had a rough year due to lower sales and recalls, is this sedan what the company needs right now?
Yesterday was a historic day for General Motors, their Chevy Sequel was the first fuel-cell vehicle to travel 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen. The 300 mile trip traveled in and out of cities in New York. The drive began at GM’s Fuel Cell Activity Center in Honeoye Falls and ended in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Larry Burns, GM Vice President of research and development and strategic planning announced that GM will likely have a fuel-cell vehicle in showrooms by 2012.
According to an Automotive News story, Cadilac is going drop either the STS or DTS from their lineup. Cadillac's future lineup will include three sedans, one larger than the current CTS and one smaller than it. According to Trey Clarke, President of GM North America, that means that either the STS or DTS will be dropped.
Today as I was driving through the over crowded streets of LA and I came across a small caravan of three Toyota vehicles. The first vehicle was a camouflaged Scion xD and the third car was the Lexus ES350. The car in the middle is what caught my attention. I assume that the car was the upcoming replacement for the Toyota Matrix, which is rumored to be named the Toyota Blade when it is released next spring.
For months there have been rumors and internal statements about the possible sale of Chrysler, which would result in the end of the current relationship with Daimler-Benz. The partnership that was announced in 1998 has now come to an end. Cerberus Capital Management has won the bid to take over the Chrysler group for $7.45 billion.
The Ford Explorer has been the best selling SUV for years. In 2000 Ford sold 445,157 Explorers. Although recently sales of the current generation have continued to drop significantly with each new year, mainly due to high fuel prices. At the same time sales of more fuel-efficient crossovers have continued to rise. In the first 4 months of this year Honda sold 64,951 of the all-new Honda CR-V vs. the 47,553 Explorers that Ford sold. For the first time ever the Honda CR-V is now the best selling SUV in the U.S.
PC Magazine has listed what they feel are the vehicles with the best technology. For the second year the BMW X5 was listed as their top vehicle and took home the magazine's "Digital Drive Car of the Year" award. The X5 was picked because of its adaptive drive, spilt-screen navigation, real-time traffic reports and front and rear sonar.
The new 2008 Ford Focus has been spotted and as you can tell from the pics, it doesn't look much better than the current version. Ford unveiled the new 2008 Focus sedan and coupe at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. It is nice that they finally decided to freshen their aging U.S. Focus, but why won't Ford bring over the Focus that is sold in Europe?
The 2009 Audi A4 is still more than a year away, but spy photographers have caught their first images of the new 3-Series fighter. Audi is determined to be one of the top, if not the top luxury automakers. The new 2009 A4 is crucial to Audi's success.
Toyota is currently the leader in hybrid sales and they intend to stay that way. Last year the automaker sold 313,000 hybrids and this year they are expected to sell 430,000. Increased pressure from competitors and new diesel technology is forcing the automaker to find ways to cut costs. Toyota hopes to make as much money on hybrids as they do from conventional cars by the end of the decade.
Brenda Priddy and Co. have finally caught a thinly disguised 2008 Honda Accord Sedan during testing. Thanks to Autoblog and Temple of VTEC we now can see what the much anticipated car will look like. The new Accord looks very close to the coupe that was also caught testing a few weeks ago. The car pictured here is most likely a 4-cylinder version of the new car.
New images of the upcoming Nissan GT-R have surfaced in an unknown Japanese magazine. The images shown here do look like they may have been photoshopped, since the car in these pics differs somewhat from the test models that have been caught testing in Germany. There are extra vents around the rear wheels and the spoiler is a bit larger as well.
Spy Photographers have caught what appears to be Hyundai's new 2009 RWD Coupe in South Korea. It has been reported that the automaker plans on releasing numerous vehicles that will be built on the BH platform. That includes the new Genesis sedan, this coupe and a possible truck.
Toyota recently unveiled the Hybrid X Concept at the Geneva Auto Show. The familiar shape of the concept car lead many people to believe that it was a preview of the next generation Prius. According to Automobile Magazine and Toyota insiders Toyota is going to offer three versions of the next generation Prius.
In the past month GM has announced that their sales were down due to the slowing housing market and increasing gas prices. The automaker also stated that the sales of their new full-size pickups are not doing as well as they had hoped. Now comes word that the automaker is offering incentives to move the large trucks, since sales dropped 7% last month.
Fifth Gear has posted a review of the all-new 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Spy photos of the upcoming Opel Vectra have surfaced. Most people know that the Opel Vectra is essentially the same thing as the Saturn Aura that we have here in the U.S. This is likely to continue with the next generation Vectra, which is due for 2010.
In order to spark interest in the slow selling SLR McLaren, Mercedes-Benz has announced that they are going to offer a roadster version of the SLR McLaren supercar. The car is powered by supercharged 5.5L 615 horsepower AMG V8. The roadster can achieve a top speed of 207 miles per hour and 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds.
Airbags have been in our cars for two decades. Recently automakers are trying to put as many airbags as they can into their new vehicles. But is it merely for added safety or another marketing tactic? Airbags are popping up in every area of the car from the side air bags to knee airbags. Are automakers going a little overboard or are the new airbags a welcome addition?
The Car Connection has posted several images of the new 2009 Ford F-150 during testing outside of Detroit. Spy photographers managed to capture photos of the different configurations of the popular truck.
Recently I had the chance to drive the 2007 Nissan Altima S for the day. When given the choice at the rental car counter between a Ford Taurus, Chevy Impala, Pontiac Grand Prix or a brand new 2007 Nissan Altima, I immediately jumped at the chance to drive Nissan's popular mid-size sedan. With the ever-increasing gas prices, more economical sedans are becoming increasingly popular. The version I was given was a 2007 Altima S, which is the base 4-cylinder.
Although Bob Lutz, Vice-Chaiman of GM, recently reported that GM RWD vehicles were being put on hold, it looks as though the Corvette SS managed to slip through. The Car Connection has posted spy photos of the new 2009 Corvette SS "Blue Devil". This uber Corvette will go against the Porsche Carerra GT and Ferrari.
Spy photographers have caught a Lamborghini Murcielago with carbon fiber body panels and a super large wing on the back, during testing. The supercar has been rumored to be a Superleggera version of the Murcielago.
Braman MINI Palm Beach placed this photo of the yet to be released new MINI convertible on their website in the "New Car Specials" section. What is interesting is the fact that MINI has yet to release info and specs on the upcoming convertible. The current MINI convertible is still based on the last generation MINI and not the all-new 2007 version that was released two months ago.
Honda's Jazz/ Fit has been a great success for the company. The car known as the Fit in the U.S. had been on the market in the rest of the world before it made it here in spring 2006. Currently the car is one of the fastest selling cars in the Honda lineup and is hampered by the fact that Honda can not build enough of them. How often do you see a Fit at a Honda dealership?
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