October 2008 Archives

Earlier this week GM approached the U.S. government for $10 billion to support a merger between GM and Chrysler.

It's now being reported that the U.S. Treasury has denied the request due to the fact that the merger could result in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs. Since the U.S. Treasury denied the request the merger talks have been put on hold.

2009 Audi TT-S Starts at $45,500


Audi has announced the pricing for the 2009 Audi TT-S that begins at $45,500 for the coupe and $47,500 for the roadster.

The Audi TT-S is powered by a 2.0L TFSI engine that puts out 265 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque, which is more powerful than the 3.2L V6. The TT-S coupe reaches 0-60 mph in a very short 4.9 seconds and still manages to get 29 mpg on the highway. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The economy is bad, so Nissan has just announced that the new Nissan Versa 1.6 is the cheapest car sold in the U.S. at a starting price of $9,990.

The Nissan Versa 1.6 is powered by a new 107 horsepower 1.6L engine, which is obviously smaller than the Versa's other 1.8L engine. The 1.6L also gets better gas mileage than the 1.8L at 26/34 for the 5-speed manual and 26/ 33 for the 4-speed automatic transmission.

GM Releases Chevy Cruze in South Korea as Daewoo Lacetti


The U.S. isn't getting the Chevy Cruze until 2011, but GM has recently introduced the car in South Korea as the Daewoo Lacetti.

The launch of the Lacetti in South Korea is the first market that one of GM's most important new cars has been launched in.

Spy Shots: Porsche Panamera Interior and Key Exposed


The guys over at Xcar.com recently got some photos of the interior of the upcoming Porsche Panamera four-door and the guys over at TeamSpeed have kindly posted them.

Until now we've only seen several spy photos of the exterior of the Porsche Panamera. Also note how the key fob is in the shape of the Panamera.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Named 2009 European Car of the Year


The small Alfa Romeo MiTo has been named 2009 European Car of the Year.

The MiTo scored 462 points by automotive journalists in Europe and it beat out the Lancia Delta and new Ford Fiesta. The Ford Fiesta will be sold in the U.S. in 2010 and it's widely rumored that Alfa Romeo will make a U.S. return by 2011.

Yesterday Ford officially unveiled the new 2010 Ford Fusion with a new face and new engines. Today we have more information about the hybrid versions of the Fusion and Mercury Milan.

The biggest news about the new hybrids is that they will have the ability to reach speeds up to 47 mph on the electric motor alone. The hybrids will also be able to travel up to 8 miles before the gas motor kicks in. Ford calls the two hybrids their most technologically advanced production vehicles ever made.

Restyled 2009 Honda Element Starts at $20,175


Honda has announced the pricing for the restyled 2009 Honda Element. The 2009 Element 2WD LX starts at $20,175.

For 2009 the Element receives a new front end that is similar to the larger Pilot. There are also new taillights.

In addition to the styling changes on the outside there are a bunch of new options such as a removable/ cooler storage box on the EX. A new overhead console provides even more storage and a navigation system is also optional.

The 2.4L i-VTEC 4-cylinder remains the sole engine in the Element. It can be mated to either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Real Time 4WD is available on the Element LX and EX. Fuel economy ranges from 20/25 to 18/23.

Ford has officially taken the wraps off the new 2010 Ford Fusion sedan.

The new Fusion gets new styling with a much more appealing front end and new more powerful engines.

First the 2010 Ford Fusion gets new and upgraded engines. The base engine is now the same 2.5L 4-cyl that is in the Escape. It puts out 175 horsepower and is expected to return better mpg on the highway than the Accord and Camry. The 3.0L V6 has been upgraded and now puts out 19 more horsepower (240 hp) and the top of the line new 3.5L V6 puts out 263 horsepower in the Fusion Sport model. All of the engines are mated to six-speed transmissions.

As is typical these days, photos of new models always seem to show up somewhere before the car is officially unveiled. Well this time we have our first look at the all-new 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h before its official unveiling at the LA Auto Show next month.

These photos scanned from a Japanese brochure show what lies in store for Lexus' most popular SUV. The 2010 RX is going to keep its same basic shape but with some new creases and angles to keep it looking fresh. Inside there is a new dash that is more stylish than the current gen.

Chrysler Kills the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hybrids


It's only been a few months since Chrysler introduced the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hybrids, but Chrysler has announced that it is going to stop producing the hybrid SUVs.

Last week Chrysler reported that it is closing its Newark, Delaware factory that produces the Durango and Aspen. Originally Chrysler planned on closing the factory at the end of 2009, but plans have been pushed up to the end of 2008.

LA Preview: 2009 Nissan 370Z Unveiled!


Nissan has officially unveiled the 2009 Nissan 370Z ahead of its official unveiling at the LA Auto Show in a few weeks.

Although Nissan has released three photos of the new Z, official specs have not been released. All that we know right now is that it is powered by the same 3.7L V6 as the Infiniti G37.

Stay tuned.

Acura TSX Diesel Killed?...But TSX V6 is On the Way


Earlier this year Honda's CEO, Takeo Fukui announced that Honda was going to introduce its first four-cylinder diesel in the U.S. in 2009. Many speculated that the Acura TSX would be the first recipient of the new engine. Well now it looks like those plans have been put on hold "indefinitely."

Apparently Honda's 2.2L i-DTEC engine can't pass the strict emission standards in the U.S. when it is mated to an automatic transmission. Honda doesn't use the urea injection system that Mercedes and other automakers use to pass the standards. The 2.2L i-DTEC mated to a manual transmission does pass the emission standards, but Honda does not see a market for a manual only diesel in the U.S.

2010 Pontiac G8 ST Expected to Start in the Low $30,000 Range


Although rumors are circulating that the Pontiac G8 may be dead in five years (Pontiac has denied these rumors), Pontiac still has two new versions of the G8 to introduce. The G8 GXP will be in dealerships by the end of the year and the "truck" of the G8, the G8 ST will be released mid-2009.

According to Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson, the 6.0L V8 equipped G8 ST will be priced in the low $30,000 range when it hits dealerships next year. Hopson also hinted that there is a good chance that the G8 ST will also be available with a V6.

Leaked photos of the upcoming Aston Martin One-77 supercar have leaked onto the web.

Once production begins Aston Martin's newest flagship will go for around £1.2 million (roughly $2 million) and production will be limited to 77 units. Surprisingly Aston Martin has already received 100 orders for the car, which means the car is already sold out.

The One-77 will be powered by a 7.3L V12 engine with more than 700 horsepower, which will propel the car up to speeds over 200 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. The engine will be mated to a rear-mounted transmission. Left and right hand drive versions will also be available.

GM's LS9 6.2L supercharged V8 makes the 2009 Corvette ZR1 the fastest production GM car ever. GM Performance Parts has announced that the 638 horsepower engine will be available as a complete crate engine package.

The LS9 crate engine is ideal for enthusiasts that want to add even more power to their vintage Corvettes and project cars. The crate engine comes with the ignition system, supercharger assembly, exhaust manifolds, etc. Those that are interested in the crate engine will need to also get an external oil tank, external coolant tank (for the charge cooler) and an ECU/wire harness.

No 2009 Volkswagen R32 for the U.S...Better Go Grab a 2008!


Bad News! The U.S. isn't getting the VW R32 for the 2009 model year. Thomas Wegehaupt, spokesman for Volkswagen, has confirmed the bad news.

The R32 has only been on the market in the U.S. for less than a year, but that doesn't matter because we won't get a new one for at least a year or two. The most logical answer to VW's decision is that a redesigned Golf/ Rabbit was recently unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and the U.S. should receive it sometime next year.

According to KickingTires there are currently 276 VW R32s still for sale in the U.S. at a starting price of $32,990. There is also a $2,000 cash rebate until Oct 31st on the car if you can find one near you.

Ford recently launched its "box on wheels" crossover the Flex, but sales have fallen short of expectations.

Of course much of the blame for the slow sales can be blamed on the horrible economy, but Ford also feels that its current marketing for the Flex has failed to spark any interest in the vehicle. Ford Motor Co.'s new sales and marketing chief, Jim Farley devised an unorthodox marketing campaign for the new Flex, but Ford execs feel a more mainstream approach would work better.

Sales of the Flex have been averaging a very low 2,000 per month, which if this trend continues will only amount to 24,000 units. Ford originally planned on selling 100,000 units per year.

According to analyst Jim Hossack of AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, Calif., "The market is part of it, but it's more than the market," he said. "There is a problem. The amount of marketing is part of it -- there's too little of it -- and the execution is part of it."

Farley defended his ads by claiming that the Flex is winning over converts from other brands at a higher rate than Ford expected.

What about the styling of the Flex is it too polarizing?

BMW to Launch a "Green" Supercar by 2012


BMW is working on a new "green" supercar that will be launched by the end of 2012. The new BMW supercar would rival the Audi R8 and upcoming Mercedes SLC.

The new supercar will showcase BMW's EfficientDynamics system, which combines fuel-saving technology such as direct injection, brake energy regeneration and stop-start.

Sources claim that the two-seater will be a modern day M1, which may draw cues from the M1 Hommage Concept that was unveiled earlier this year.

It's rumored that the yet to be named supercar will be powered by BMW's twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter straight six and will get gas mileage that is equivalent to the 5 Series.

GM Asks U.S. Government for $10 Billion to Buy Chrysler


General Motors has reportedly asked the U.S. government for $10 billion in aid to support its acquisition of Chrysler LLC from Cerberus Capital Management. Roughly $3 billion of the proposed aid would be in exchange for preferred stock in a merged automaker.

GM has been in talks with Cerberus since last month, but the talks have stalled due to difficulty in securing the funds, which is where the U.S. government would come in.

"The automakers are facing a maelstrom and that's why I think an unprecedented government infusion could happen," said Efraim Levy, an automotive equity analyst with S&P.

According to an undisclosed source the U.S. Treasury Department is considering a request for direct aid to facilitate the merger and a decision could come this week.

Both automakers feel that the merger would help save American jobs, but how exactly is unknown. If both automakers merge its expected that many models/ brands could be killed, which would result in factory closures, layoffs, etc.

Dodge Trazo C1.8 aka Nissan Versa Unveiled in Sao Paulo


Chrysler and Nissan announced earlier this year plans to share some vehicles in the future. At the time most of the press surrounded the replacement for the Nissan Titan, which would be built off the new Ram 1500. Now Chrysler has unveiled a Dodge version of the Nissan Versa subcompact, dubbed the Dodge Trazo C1.8.

The Dodge Trazo C1.8, which will be built by Nissan gives Dodge an entry in the subcompact market in Latin America, specifically in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The Trazo C1.8 is powered by an E-100 ethanol-capable 16-valve 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine that can be mated to either a manual or automatic transmission.

Overall the Trazo C1.8 is essentially the same thing that we get here in the U.S. as the Nissan Versa, although there have been a few, very small styling changes. Even though the Versa is available as a sedan and a five-door hatchback, Dodge only plans on selling the sedan version.

Sales of the Trazo C1.8 will start in mid-2009. Chrysler hasn't announced any plans to sell the rebadged Versa in the U.S.

GM Reveals the Chevy GPiX Crossover Coupe Concept in Sao Paulo


GM has officially unveiled the Chevy GPiX Crossover Coupe Concept at the Sao Paulo International Auto Show.

The 2-door crossover concept was developed by GM in Brazil. GM claims that its 2-door body with high ground clearance makes it ideal for the roads in emerging markets around the world.

"It offers the sporty design and versatility necessary for a country with the continental dimensions of Brazil," said Carlos Barba, General Director of Design for GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East.

The GPix Concept features Chevy's traditional grille highlighted with LED headlights. Inside the concept seats four and all seats are able to fold forward for increased versatility.

The name GPiX is a pseudonym for Global Image. "G" for global and "Pix" meaning "picture" or "image".

Pontiac Claims that the G8 and Solstice are not Dead


Last week it was reported that GM was going to cancel the next-generation Pontiac G8 and Solstice models.

Well now Pontiac has responded to those rumors by saying that those rumors are not true. It's true that the G8 just launched earlier this year and is one of GM's best products sold in the US, so it does seem a little crazy to speculate that the GM is going to kill the model in a short five years. Especially considering that the G8 GXP will be in showrooms by the end of the year and the G8 ST is going to be released next summer, but who knows. Crazier things have happened considering the state of the current market. A stronger case could be made about the fate of the Solstice considering its much lower sales. It would make more sense for GM to cut the Solstice than the G8 if the automaker is trying to cut costs/ models.

But who knows. Everything is speculation. Either way enjoy the next five years...

6,000 2010 Chevy Camaros Have Been Ordered...84% are V8 models


Chevy has already taken 6,000 orders and counting for the 2010 Camaro that is set to be released early next spring.

It's only expected that Chevy would already have that many orders considering how long consumers have been waiting for it to be released. What is interesting is that most of the orders are for the V8 SS Camaros. 84 percent of the orders are for the SS Camaros, while the lesser powered V6 Camaros have received significantly less orders. The base Camaro LS has only received 2 percent of all the orders. Of course most of the initial orders are from enthusiasts that definitely wouldn't settle for the lesser powered model. It's not known how long it will take GM to fill the orders once production starts since GM may end up producing more V6 Camaros and V8 powered models.

Audi has released official sketch photos of the upcoming 2010 A5 Sportback and Cabrio, 2010 A7 four-door coupe and the next-generation 2011 Audi A8.

The A5 Sportback and Cabrio will be powered by the same engines as the A5 coupe and will likely come in S and RS versions as well. After the addition of the new A5 models, the A7 will be released to compete with Mercedes' CLS. The A7 four-door coupe will be powered by three engines ranging from a 204hp 2.8L model up to a 394hp 4.2L V8. An RS7 is expected and will be powered by a 600hp twin-turbocharged 5.2L V10.

The next-generation Audi A8 will be released in late 2010 as a 2011 model. The sketch shows a much more aggressively styled sedan than the current generation.

VW May Finally Bring the Scirocco to the U.S.!


Earlier this year VW execs stated that the Scirocco was not going to make it to the U.S. due to the declining dollar and the fact that it could cannibalize sales of the GTI. Well now it looks like the automaker is reconsidering it.

Apparently the outcry from Scirocco enthusiasts and the popularity of the car in Europe has forced VW to reconsider bringing the Scirocco to the U.S.

A final decision has not been made, but if VW can figure out how to position it so that it doesn't steal GTI sales they should bring it!

It was already reported that GM had postponed the replacements for the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade SUVs, but now according to Bob Lutz there will not be replacement at all.

Lutz told the New York Times, “It would have been very difficult in today’s environment to spend a couple of billion dollars to do a replacement.”

The next-generation Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade were set to arrive in 2011 as 2012 models. It is not known if the current models will continue past 2011.

GM announced plans earlier this month to kill the Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7x due to slow sales. GM also announced plans to close its plant in Janesville, Wisconsin that currently produces the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban.

Honda is Offering New Incentives on the Refreshed 2009 Civic


Honda has announced new incentives on the refreshed 2009 Civic models.

Buyers that haven't been hurt by the housing crisis can get 0.9 percent financing for up to 36 months and 3.9 percent for up to 60 months. Buyers can also opt to lease a Civic for 36 months for $189 a month with $1,999 down. The Civic hybrid is also included in the new sales promotions.

According to Honda, the new incentives being used to keep Civic demand high. Honda recently opened a new plant in Indiana for the Civic. Gas prices have also been declining, which may decrease some demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.

GM May Delay Chevy Cruze and Next-Gen Malibu


GM is definitely going through some hard times with the declining US market and still managing to blow through $1 billion bucks a month.

GM is trying to cut costs across the board, which may lead to a delay in the introduction date of the new Chevy Cruze and the next-generation Chevy Malibu. Last week it was announced that the upcoming Cadillac CTS Coupe and next-gen Buick LaCrosse are being delayed. Now BusinessWeek is reporting that the Chevy Cruze is going to be delayed a year until 2011 (2012 model) and the next-generation Chevy Malibu is going to be delayed 6 months until 2013.

The delays are expected to help GM save some money, but is it smart to delay the introduction of the Cruze? GM needs more quality small cars in its lineup and 2011 is not soon enough.

Is Ford Trying to Sell Volvo to BMW?


Earlier this year there were rumors that Ford was thinking about selling Volvo, but those rumors were quickly denied. Now rumors are circulating again that Ford is now talking to BMW about Volvo.

TimesOnline is claiming that Ford is in preliminary talks with BMW to sell its stake in Volvo. Of course sources are claiming that there were talks even though both automakers are denying it.

It was also rumored two years ago that Ford was in talks with BMW about Jaguar and Land Rover although both brands were eventually sold to Tata of India.

Pontiac launched the G8 earlier this year and received positive reviews from the automotive media, but it looks like Pontiac's most exciting model in a long time is going to be short lived.

According to sources the rear-wheel-drive Pontiac G8 will be dead in five years. InsideLine is reporting that Pontiac will not receive the next-generation platform that underpins the Australian Holden Commodore. GM is going to reposition the Pontiac brand due to the rise in fuel economy standards and consumers' increasing demand for fuel efficient vehicles.

There will also not be a new Pontiac Solstice/ Saturn Sky. This means that Pontiac will no longer have any rear wheel drive vehicles in its lineup. What's left is the boring G6, G5 (rebadged Cobalt) and G3 (rebadged Aveo), none of which are particularly sporty. The G6 is also not going to receive a full redo for about another five years.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI 20th Anniversary Edition Unveiled


Subaru has unveiled the very limited Impreza WRX STI 20th Anniversary Edition in Japan.

Although it would be easy to assume that this 20th Anniversary Edition has been built to celebrate 20 years of the STI, but the original STI was only released in 1994. Instead the 20th Anniversary Edition STI celebrates the 20th anniversary of the founding of Subaru Tecnica International, Subaru's performance division in Mitaka, Tokyo.

A few days ago it was rumored that Chrysler had stopped development of its upcoming Phoenix V6 engine further fueling rumors that a Chrysler merger was eminent.

Although its still a big possibility that Chrysler may merge with GM or Renault/ Nissan, Chrysler claims that the engine is still being developed. According to Jim Press, Chrysler is still moving ahead with the fuel-efficient V-6 engine program.

"The Phoenix engine program is going forward full steam," Chrysler President Jim Press told reporters. "It's a great engine. We're driving the prototypes today."

Spy Shots: 2010 MazdaSpeed3 Caught Testing in Germany


Mazda is going to officially unveil the all-new 2010 Mazda3 at the LA Auto Show next month and now we have the first spy photos of the 2010 MazdaSpeed3, also known as Mazda3 MPS in Europe.

The MazdaSpeed3, which is based on the five-door version of the Mazda3 gets bigger air intakes, new grille and an air scoop, larger brakes and of course a more powerful engine. The current MazdaSpeed3 is powered by a 263 horsepower turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. It's not yet known what will power this all-new version.

Chrysler's sales have dropped 25 percent this year, so the automaker is looking for creative ways to boost its sales. Starting on Nov 1st, Chrysler will offer employee discount pricing to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers.

All US-based Wal-Mart employees are eligible for the program. According to Curtrise Garner, a Chrysler spokeswoman, "Wal-Mart is one of our largest fleet customers." The savings will range from 4% to 6% off invoice or 8% to 14% off MSRP, which is identical to the discount that Chrysler employees and their families currently receive.

Wal-Mart currently has 1.4 million employees.

In addition to the Wal-Mart employee discount, Chrysler also announced that Chrysler employees can now get employee discount pricing on some Dodge Viper models.

Lexus is Planning a BMW 1 Series Competitor


Lexus managing director Tadashi Arashima recently confirmed that the automaker is currently working on a BMW 1 Series competitor that is smaller than the current IS sedan. Although Arashima didn't give any expected launch dates or technical specs for the new baby Lexus, it is expected that it will be rear wheel drive and offer both 4-cyl and V6 engines.

In addition to the new baby Lexus, Lexus is also going to unveil a concept version of a new small hybrid that will be built off the same platform as the next-generation Prius. The new Lexus hybrid will be released by the end of 2009 and will likely feature a larger gas engine than the Prius, either a 2.0L or 2.5L 4-cylinder.

Spy Shots: Acura's Answer to the BMW X6 Spotted in Germany


Many of asked "why?" when BMW unveiled the X6, which is basically an X5 with more coupe like styling and one less seat, but now Acura seems to think there is a market for another "coupe" crossover.

Sales of the BMW X6 haven't really taken off, which is probably partly due to the economy and high gas prices, but judging by these spy photos it looks like Acura is planning a similar vehicle. This is the second time that we've seen spy photos of Acura's upcoming crossover, but this is the first time we're seeing it in the light. Acura has tried hard to hide the shape of the rear half of the un-named crossover, but its obvious that it as the same similar shape as the X6.

It is expected that the new crossover will hit the market by 2011 or maybe even sooner, judging by the prototype shown here. It's being rumored that the crossover could be dubbed the"MSX" and that it will offer Acura's new V8 that will first be offered in the next RL.

VIDEO: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V Hits the Track


Here's a video of the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V at the Milford Proving Ground, at the Monticello Raceway in New York and at the Nurburgring track, where John Heinricy completed a lap in 7:59.32.

The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a 556 horsepower supercharged 6.2L V8 mated to either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. Cadillac has announced that the uber-fast CTS-V will start at $59,995.

Has Chrysler Killed Development of its Phoenix V6 Engines?


There has been so much Chrysler news this week with the possibility of a GM/ Chrysler merger in the headlines. Now there are rumors that Chrysler has killed the development of its new $3 billion Phoenix V6 engine program.

The killing of its new V6 engine program makes sense if Chrysler is about to merge with GM or even Renault/ Nissan. Both GM and Nissan have their own V6 engines that are definitely better than anything currently under the hood of a Chrysler. Last week Chrysler also killed the development of dual-clutch automatic transmissions. According to analysts a Chrysler merger is expected and Chrysler doesn't need to spend money on engine and transmission programs if GM and Renault/Nissan already have them.

Nissan to Cut Infiniti, Murano and Rogue Production


Nissan announced today that the automaker is going to cut production at two of its plants in Japan due to slow sales in the U.S

Ikue Matsuura, a spokeswoman for Nissan said today that production will be cut from November through March of next year on some of its Infiniti models and the Nissan Murano and Rogue.

Nissan's sales dropped 37 percent in September.

Chrysler Kills AWD Sebring, Avenger and Caliber Models for 09'


Chrysler is going to drop the all-wheel-drive option on the 2009 Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger and Caliber models.

According to spokesman Jiyan Cadiz, the AWD was first offered on the models in 2007, but sales never took off.

“For the Avenger, the take rate was 1.5% for 2008, and for the Sebring it was at 0.7%.” Cadiz tells Ward’s. “So obviously the bottom line is people want fuel economy, and the AWD modules are not profitable for us. That’s something we can get rid of as we’re consolidating products and finding what’s profitable.”

Spy Shots: 2010 Ford Mustang Caught in a Parking Lot


We only have a few weeks left to go until Ford officially unveils the 2010 Ford Mustang at the LA Auto Show next month. Ford has released numerous teaser photos of the new car, which we're all tired of, but now we have the best spy photos yet of the car.

Enjoy the pics and stay tuned for the official unveiling in a few weeks...the show is actually on November 19th.

2009 Cadillac CTS-V Starts at $59,995


Cadillac has announced the pricing for the 556 horsepower Cadillac CTS-V.

The 2009 CTS-V will start at $59,995. The car is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 mated to either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The CTS-V also comes standard with a Bose audio system with a 40-gig hard drive. 14-way adjustable Recaro performance seats, "Ultra-View" sunroof and automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted shift buttons are optional.

Acura Finally Commits to Putting a V8 in the RL


Acura has scoffed at the idea of adding a V8 to its lineup for years, but it looks like things are finally changing.

Honda’s CEO Takeo Fukui has confirmed that Honda is finally going to launch its first V8 engine for the Acura brand. Although gas prices have killed vehicles that don't get great gas mileage, luxury buyers still demand it. Acura's sales are down 15.3 percent so far this year, so Acura needs something to bring in new buyers.

"I don’t think that the Acura RL 3.7-liter is sufficient. We can’t compete with other premium brands,” said Fukui.

2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan and Coupe Pricing Announced


Infiniti has announced the pricing for the 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan and Coupe.

The 2009 G37 sedan gets a new 328 horsepower 3.7L V6. The G37 coupe gets the addition of an all-wheel-drive model, the Infiniti G37x. Both the G37 coupe and sedan get a new 7-speed automatic transmission.

The starting price for the 2009 Infiniti G37 sedan is $33,250 and the G37 coupe starts at $35,900 with the 7-speed automatic. The G37x coupe starts at $38,900.

In addition to the changes under the hood the G37 sedan gets new sport 18-inch wheels, available sport brakes and standard Scratch Shield paint.

2009 Subaru Forester Named Motor Trend's SUV of the Year


Motor Trend has awarded the 2009 Subaru Forester with its Sport/Utility of the Year award.

There were 13 finalists, which included the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Flex, Infiniti Ex, Honda Pilot, Dodge Journey, Infiniti FX, Nissan Murano, Toyota Sequoia, Lexus LX570, Kia Borrego, BMW X6 and the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Subaru Forester 2.5XT posted the best fuel-economy rating of any all-wheel-drive SUV in the tests, which definitely helped it receive the award. In addition to the best fuel-economy out of the contenders, the editors called out the Forester's humble powertrain:

St. Antoine said, "I'm amazed at how well the powertrain works with only a four-speed. The turbo four is torquey enough not to feel like it needs more ratios, and at cruising speed it's not revving overly hard."

In addition to its powertrain that is borrowed from the Impreza, the Forester also stood out due to its best-in-class interior and cargo volume.

Must be the sign of the times that this year's award SUV of the year winner is only powered by a 4-cylinder engine and shares most of its mechanicals with a compact sedan.

2010 Toyota Prius Exposed or Just a Good Photoshop?


Toyota is going to officially unveil the all-new 2010 Toyota Prius at the Detroit Auto Show this coming January, but PriusChat has put up some photos that may or may not be of the next generation.

Overall the styling of the car seems more evolutionary and takes some of the cues from the newer Toyota models. The headlights also seem to mimic the shape of Nissan's headlights on the Maxima and soon to be unveiled 370Z. Inside there is a new raised center console, but overall the interior is loaded with plastic.

What do you think? Is this what we can expect to see next January?

Dodge Challenger SRT10 Concept Headed to SEMA


Not to be overshadowed by the Camaro, Dodge is planning on unveiling the Dodge Challenger SRT10 Concept at the SEMA show this year.

The Dodge Challenger SRT10 Concept is powered by the Viper's 8.4L V10 engine with 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft. of torque. In addition to the upgraded engine, the concept also receives upgraded brakes and shocks. Tornado Red paint with a carbon-fiber decklid and "shaker hood" round out the other additions to the Challenger SRT10 Concept.

We've already seen several spy photos of the new 2010 Nissan 370Z, but now we have some un-camouflaged shots of the car thanks to the promo site for Need for Speed Undercover.

The 330 horsepower 2010 Nissan 370Z is going to be officially unveiled next month at the 2009 LA Auto Show.

GM has announced the pricing for the 2010 Chevy Camaro that will be in dealerships next spring.

The 2010 Camaro LS starts at $22,995 and the V8-powered Camaro SS starts at $30,995.

The 2010 Camaro will come in three versions, the V6-powered LS and LT models and the V8-powered SS. The V6 Camaros feature a 300 horsepower 3.6L engine. The V8 SS is powered by a 6.2L V8 when it is mated to the six-speed manual it puts out 422 horsepower. The automatic equipped SS puts out 400 horsepower.

2010 Infiniti EX to Get More Rear Legroom


The 2009 Infiniti EX35 has been a sales disappointment for Nissan.

Potential buyers have complained about the fact that the rear seat has very little legroom and that the cargo area is somewhat limited. To address these concerns in an effort to boost sales, Nissan has announced that the 2010 Infiniti EX will get more rear legroom.

According to Nissan North America’s vice president, Larry Dominique, the EX grabbed a lot of attention when it was unveiled, but has failed to move off dealer lots. Through September, Nissan sold 10,289 units of the EX, an annual rate of approximately 15,000 units.

GM Closing Wisconsin SUV Plant Early...By the End of the Year


GM has announced that it's going to close its Janesville, Wisconsin SUV plant by the end of the year due to poor SUV sales.

The plant currently produces the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban. GM originally planned on closing down the plant sometime in 2010, but the scary automotive market has sped up the process. The plant employs 1,200 workers and will close right before Christmas on December 23rd.

Earlier this month GM also announced plans to close another SUV plant in Moraine, Ohio that currently produces the Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X.

Toyota iQ is Coming to the LA Auto Show as a Scion


According to sources over at Motor Trend, Toyota is going to bring the iQ minicar to the LA Auto Show, but as a Scion instead of a Toyota badged iQ.

Next month Toyota is going to show off the iQ minicar at the Scion stand next to the xB, xD, and tC models. Toyota desperately needs to bring more traffic and focus to the Scion brand, which the small iQ will do. Toyota also didn't want the small iQ to steal the spotlight from the next-gen Prius that will be unveiled early next year.

The "Scion iQ" is expected to start under $15,000 and will likely be powered by the same 1.5L engine that powers the Toyota Yaris.

Mazda unveiled the changes to the 2009 MX-5 at the Paris Motor Show. Although the changes were only to the exterior and inside of the roadster, Mazda has some big changes in store for the next-generation MX-5.

According to MX-5 program manager Takao Kijima, Mazda is looking at alternative powertrains for the next model and mazda hopes to cut its overall weight by 10 percent. By alternative powertrains, Kijima is referring to either a diesel or hybrid powered MX-5.

“I would say the chance of a diesel or hybrid engine is more than 50 per cent,” Kijima told Drive.com.au.

The main issue is that a hybrid powertrain would add a lot weight to the MX-5 courtesy of the battery pack. A diesel powertrain would make more sense, since diesels are more fuel efficient than gas powered engines and don't have the significant weight disadvantage that hybrids do. Kijima also stated that the next-generation must have a 50/50 weight distribution, which would be even harder with a hybrid powertrain.

GM and Ford Have a Horrible Day on Wall St.


Today the Dow dropped below 9,000 points, its lowest point in five years.

Just as the rest of the market, GM and Ford have been hit hard by the decline. GM's dropped 31 percent and ended the day at $4.76, while Ford dropped 22 percent to $2.08. Yes that means that a single share of Ford stock is currently cheaper than a gallon of gas. Also GM's shares haven't been this low since the 1950's.

When will it all end?

Porsche's upcoming "4-door coupe" the Panamera is scheduled to hit the market sometime next year and rumors are circulating that Porsche is considering diesel and targa top versions.

The Porsche Panamera will be officially unveiled early next year and will finally hit the market late in the fall. It will be powered by either a 300 horsepower 3.6L V6, 400 horsepower 4.8L V8 or a turbocharged 500 horsepower engine. In 2010 a hybrid version of the Panamera will also join the lineup.

2010 BMW X1 to Get Rear-Wheel-Drive "sDrive" Version


BMW unveiled the concept version of the BMW X1 SUV at the Paris Motor Show last week. Many of us were not too positive about the overall styling of BMW's newest SUV, which doesn't really matter since the X1 will enter production next year.

Currently BMW's two SUVs, the X3 and X5 are only available with all-wheel-drive, but BMW is reportedly thinking about offering a rear-wheel-drive version of the upcoming X1. BMW feels that the savings on weight and fuel economy gains with a RWD version will make the vehicle more appealing. BMW currently labels its AWD system "xDrive" if the X1 gets the RWD option BMW is going to introduce a new label, "sDrive" for the system.

A hybrid X1 is expected for 2011.

All-New 2010 Mazda3 Unveiled Before the LA Auto Show!


Mazda has officially taken the wraps off the all-new 2010 Mazda3 before its official unveiling at the LA Auto Show next month.

The all-new Mazda3 continues Mazda's current design theme that is also the basis for the new Mazda6 (Sustainable Zoom-Zoom).

Mazda hasn't released the final details except for the fact that the car will be powered by either a 2.3L or 2.5L four-cylinder engines when it is released sometime next year. Those engines seem kind of big for this class. Let's hope Mazda finally decides to bring the Mazda2 here to appeal to the fuel conscious folks.

Spy Photos: 2010 BMW Z4 Caught Driving Around in LA


Today on my way into my day job, I happened to come across a 2010 BMW Z4 being driven around Santa Monica.

Unfortunately as many of you know, LA traffic is horrible so these are the best shots I could get before I slammed into the other cars in front of me. They were also taken with my iPhone..so of course they aren't the best quality.

The next-gen Z4 is definitely bigger than the current generation, most likely to make room for an even smaller BMW roadster built off the 1 Series platform. Other than the bigger exterior and possible retractable hardtop, the car sounded great.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling of the 2010 BMW Z4..whenever that is. :)

Chrysler has No Plans for a Dodge Challenger Convertible


Both Ford and Chevy will have convertible versions of their new muscle cars (Mustang and Camaro) next year, but Chrysler will not.

Originally Chrysler planned on producing a Challenger convertible that would have been introduced for the 2010 model year, but according to Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge brand marketing those plans have been cancelled.

“We considered a convertible when we were developing Challenger, but the extra weight needed to beef up the car when the top was removed was too much of a penalty,” Accavitti told KickingTires in an interview. “And that was with a manual soft-top. A power-retractable hardtop would add even more weight.”

Accavitti also stated, "We didn't see a huge market for a convertible that would justify the vehicle."

Yesterday DigitalCorvettes started a rumor that GM had stopped production of the Corvette ZR1 and that the car had been killed. Well today those rumors have been put to rest by Terry Rhadigan ), Chevrolet’s manager for global communications.

Rhadigan recently told Autoblog that the rumors were "Not True." GM still has orders for the ZR1 and production is going to start up again next week.

In just over a month Ford is going to officially unveil the 2010 Ford Mustang, but for now Ford has released another teaser photo of the dashboard.

The overall shape of the dashboard is similar to that of the 2009 model. We're still waiting to see what changes have been made to the center console.

Stay tuned.

BMW and Neiman Marcus have announced that the all-new 2009 BMW 7 Series will be offered in this year's Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.

The limited edition 7 Series is going to be offered at $160,000 and only 31 of them will be offered. What is special is that 31 Neiman Marcus customers will be able to purchase the car before its official launch date next year.

Iridescent Diopside Black metallic paintwork and exquisite BMW Individual Champagne Merino full leather are part of the limited edition package.

We've already seen countless photos of Ferrari's newest model, the California. But these newest photos were actually taken in California (note the pics of the car on the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge).

The Ferrari California is powered by a 460 horsepower 4.3L V8 that is mated to 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The car reaches 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Oh also just in case you're actually one of the few not effected by the current economic crisis, the Ferrari California is supposedly sold out through 2010.

Ford has announced the MyKey system that helps parents ensure that teens drive safer.

Ford's new MyKey system allows parents to limit the speed and audio volume of their teen's car to make them drive safer. The system will debut as standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and will eventually be added to other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.

Yesterday Ford announced that the slow-selling 2009 Ford Flex would have an available $2,500 rebate to help move them off the lots. The Mazda CX-9 has also failed to reach the top in sales either, but Consumer Reports has announced that both vehicles are one of the top five three-row SUVs they tested.

“Ford’s new Flex wraps a versatile, cavernous interior in a distinctly boxy styling,” the magazine writes. “It is also lower and more wagon-like than the others in this class.”

Toyota and Audi recently showed off their iQ and A1 small cars at the Paris Motor Show last week. Originally both automakers had not planned on introducing either car to the US market, but as everyone is now witnessing...small cars are in.

Audi's worldwide sales and marketing boss, Peter Schwarzenbauer recently stated, " A year ago, I would have said no. I did not see any trend in the US which showed me that small cars could have a lasting, sustainable chance. I think this has changed. Therefore we definitely have to reconsider the A1." The hybrid A1 concept is powered by a 1.4L four-cylinder mated to an electric motor.

Ford May Bring the Ka Subcompact to the US


Ford introduced the world to the all-new Ka subcompact at the 2008 Paris Motor Show last week. At first Ford said that there were no plans to bring the Ka to the US, but the increased demand for small cars has forced Ford to rethink that decision.

The all-new Ka features Ford's European Kinetic Design that is similar to the larger Fiesta and Focus. This morning CEO Alan Mulally told a Detroit radio station that Ford is rethinking the original decision to not bring the Ka to the US.

The Ka goes on sale in Europe in early 2009. If Ford does decide to bring the small car here, don't count on it before 2011.

Mercedes-Benz Hybrids Headed to the US


Mercedes-Benz has already unveiled the S 400 BlueHYBRID, but now comes word that Mercedes is also working on hybrid version of its E and C-Class sedans.

After the S-Class hybrid arrives, the E-Class hybrid will be released in 2010 based on the next-gen sedan. By 2011 a C-Class hybrid will also be released based on the refreshed model.

"We have decided on hybridization on all our cares in the future and so far we have had a lot of questions and excitement, but I don't know how that will translate into a take rate," CEO Dieter Zetxche said at the Paris Motor Show.

Infiniti has released a seconds teaser photo of the 2009 G37 Convertible that is going to be officially unveiled at the LA Auto Show next month.

The G37 Convertible features a retractable hardtop and is powered by a 328 horsepower 3.7L V6.

Stay tuned until next month for all the details from the show.

Honda Releases More Details About the New Insight Hybrid


Honda has officially unveiled the Honda Insight Concept at the Paris Motor Show. The concept is supposed to give a strong indication of what the production version will look like when it hits showrooms next spring.

Honda has announced that the new hybrid will be powered by a 1.3L engine that will be mated to an electric motor. It's not known how good the gas mileage will be although it is rumored that it will get close to 60 mpg.

The Insight will also feature ultra-light aluminum 18" wheels.

2010 Lexus IS 250C Unveiled in Paris


Lexus has unveiled the 2010 Lexus IS 250C at the Paris Motor Show.

Lexus took its popular IS sedan and chopped off the roof and two doors to create the IS 250C. The newest Lexus convertible features an aluminum folding roof that takes just 20 seconds to open. The IS 250C is powered by the same 2.5L V6 as the sedan.

Europe will get the new IS 250C first in the summer of 2009 and the US will get it shortly thereafter.

GM has officially unveiled the Chevy Orlando Concept at the Paris Motor Show.

The Orlando Concept hints at a new production MPV for the Chevy brand. The 7-passenger Orlando Concept is based on a modified Delta II platform, the same platform that the Cruze is built on.

GM is going to officially debut the new Chevy Cruze at the Paris Motor Show tomorrow, but GM has released official photos a little early.

We've already seen photos of the Chevy Cruze compact that will hit our shores in 2010, but this is the first time that we are seeing official photos of the interior of the car. The overall interior design is aligned with GM's new design theme and draws cues from the Malibu. It looks far better than the current Cobalt interior!

The Cruze is going to launch in Europe first next spring, but we will not see it until the spring of 2010 as a 2011 model.

Audi A1 Sportback Concept Photos Hit the Web a Little Early


Photos of Audi's newest concept the Audi A1 Sportback Concept have hit the web a day before its official unveiling in Europe.

The A1, which is smaller than the current A3 in Audi's lineup is going to go head to head with the MINI when it is released in Europe next year. The production model is expected to look very close to this concept. The A1 Sportback Concept is powered by a 150-horsepower 1.4L TSI engine mated up to a 27-horsepower electric motor. The engine is mated to Audi's S-Tronic dual clutch transmission. The concept also gets an estimated 60.3 mpg.

BMW X1 Concept Officially Unveiled


Following last night's photo leaks of the X1 Concept, BMW has officially unveiled the Concept in Paris.

The X1 Concept, which is very similar to the production version that will go on sale next year features a front end that is very similar to the new 7 Series. In terms of size BMW's newest small SUV looks very close in size to the current X3. It remains to be seen if the next X3 which is also due out sometime next year will move up in size. Overall the styling looks like a combination of the new 7 Series and the current X3 and X5.

Lamborghini Estoque 4-Door Concept Revealed


For the past few weeks Lamborghini has been teasing us with teaser images of its four door concept, but now we have our first look at the full car thanks to AutoJournal.

The Estoque Concept borrows a few design elements from the Reventon supercar like the huge air intakes in the front bumper. It's now being rumored that the concept is going to have the same 5.5L V10 engine as the Gallardo LP 560-4 mated to an all-wheel-drive system.

Stay tuned for the actual press release from Lamborghini.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced the S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY which gets up to 31 mpg.

The most fuel-efficient S Class is powered by a 3.0L diesel engine that is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The S 320 gets almost 31 US mpg, which is a little better than the S 400 BlueHYBRID which gets up to 28 mpg.

Mercedes has announced the pricing for the S 320 CDI in Germany, but there is no word if the car is going to end up on our shores as well.

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