January 2009 Archives

Mitsubishi has officially confirmed that the five-door Lancer Sportback will be available in the U.S. this summer as a 2010 model.

The five-door Lancer Sportback shares everything with the sedan variant from the C-pillar forward. Behind the C-pillar the Sportback gets a unique rear end. The overall length is slightly longer than the sedan and offers more cargo carrying capacity.

The version to have is the Sportback Ralliart that is powered by a 237 horsepower 2.0L turbocharged MIVEC engine. All-wheel-drive is standard as well as the six-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST).

Pricing will be announced closer to the Sportback's on sale date.

Well it looks like VW's attempt at a badge engineered Chrysler minivan is not going over so well. According to The Windsor Star, Chrysler workers are going to stop building the Volkswagen Routan, which is based on the Chrysler Town & Country.

VW has asked Chrysler Canada to stop producing the Routan due to inventory build up for the month of February. Currently Chrysler has been producing 300 Routans a day with about 29,000 already shipped to dealerships.

VW has only managed to sell a few thousand Routans.

Volvo Announces Pricing for the 2010 Volvo XC60 T6 at $37,200


Volvo has announced the pricing for the 2010 Volvo XC60 T6.

The 2010 Volvo XC60 T6 has a starting price of $37,200, which includes standard features like, leather seats, power driver's seat, SIRIUS satellite radio, Bluetooth ad HD Radio. The Panorama moonroof is also offered for no extra charge.

The XC60 T6 is powered by a 3.0L turbocharged engine that puts out 281 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. All-wheel-drive is also standard.

2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Officially Unveiled


Porsche has officially unveiled the 2010 911 GT3 that will make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The 911 GT3 is powered by a 3.8L naturally-aspirated six-cylinder that puts out 435 horsepower, which is up 20. The increased horsepower and mid-range torque help the GT3 reach 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 194 mph.

For the first time ever the 911 GT3 comes with a variant of PSM Porsche Stability Management, which offers the driver the option to deactivate the stability and traction control. Both systems will not turn back on either, until the driver decides to do so, even in the most extreme conditions.

The 2010 911 GT3 will be available in U.S. showrooms this October with a starting price of $112,000.

Ford has announced that the new 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrids are now eligible for a $3,400 tax credit.

The $3,400 tax credit is the highest credit amount offered for a hybrid since the end of 2005.

The Fusion and Milan Hybrids have been rated at 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is better than its closest competitor, the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

If you are planning on buying one of Ford's newest hybrids you better do it before March 31, 2009 because after that the tax credit will be cut in half.

VIDEO: MINI Convertible Hits the Car Wash With its Top Down


We all know that you're supposed to put the top up on your convertible before you take it to the car wash. Nonetheless here's a video of four guys in a new MINI Cooper Convertible hitting the car wash with the top down.

We don't recommend trying this at home...

GM Reportedly Cancels Plans for Engine Plant in Flint, MI


It is being reported that contracts for GM's new engine plant in Flint, Michigan have been canceled.

The $370 million plant was supposed to produce the 1.4L engine for the upcoming Chevy Volt and Cruze in turbocharged and naturally-aspirated forms. GM spokesperson Sharon Basel, confirmed the news to the Flint News. Basel also stated that GM remains committed to the area and could possibly build the engines at one of the existing plants in the future.

The plant would have created 300 new jobs for the suffering town of Flint.

For now the engines will be produced by one of GM's European plants that already builds variants of the "Family Zero" engines, which range from 1.0-1.4L in size.

Spy Shots: Chevy Camaro Convertible Caught Testing Down Under


The 2010 Chevy Camaro finally enters production this March, but GM has yet to officially unveil the convertible version. We've seen countless photos of the new Camaro, but here are two more of the convertible testing in Australia.

According to Bob Lutz, GM has reportedly pushed back the release date of the Camaro Convertible until sometime in 2011.

Geneva 2009 Preview: Bentley Teases with a Biofuel Car


Bentley has released a single teaser image of its upcoming biofuel car that will be officially unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.

Bentley hasn't released the official name of the car or any specs. According to Bentley the car will be Bentley's fastest, most powerful production car to date that also happens to run on biofuel.

Currently the most powerful car in the Bentley lineup is the Continental GT Speed with 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque. So you can expect even higher numbers for this car.

Land Rover Celebrates 500,000 Sales in the U.S.


Land Rover has announced that the automaker has officially sold 500,000 vehicles in the U.S.

Although gas prices and the economy have hurt Land Rover's sales recently, Land Rover sold 100,000 vehicles since July 2006. In contrast it took Land Rover 10 years to sell its first 100,000 vehicles.

Land Rover first entered the U.S. in 1987 and is also celebrating its 60th anniversary.

It's Official! Honda S2000 Dead at the End of this Year


Honda has officially announced that 2009 will be the final model year for the Honda S2000.

The S2000 was originally introduced in 1999 as a 2000 model.

"The S2000 is a sports car designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "It raised the bar for all future roadsters, and it's already considered a classic by many Honda fans."

So sad....

Chrysler and Fiat's newest agreement, which involves Fiat buying a 35 percent stake in Chrysler is going to lead to seven new fiat based cars making their way to the US.

According to unnamed sources four of the vehicles will be sold under the Chrysler brand and three will either be Alfa Romeos or Fiats. The official plan that will be announced on April 30th involves four Fiat platforms, a minicar, a subcompact, a compact and a mid-sized sedan. Chrysler's plants in the US are being tasked with producing the vehicles. Chrysler's Toluca, Mexico plant, which currently builds the soon to be killed PT Cruiser is going to produce the Fiat 500.

According to the Automotive News, under the plan its expected that Chrysler dealers will get two minicars, the Fiat 500 and a Dodge or Chrysler branded vehicle based on the Fiat Panda.

The subcompact segment will see the introduction of the Alfa Romeo MiTo and another Chrysler or Dodge branded vehicle.

A new compact car based Fiat’s C-Evo platform will likely replace the Dodge Caliber.

Lastly a replacement for the under performing Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger will be based on a stretched version of the C-Evo platform.

In case you are wondering what Fiat is going to get out of this deal, besides entry into the North American market, Fiat is going to sell the Dodge Journey and Dakota pickup in South America. In addition Fiat is going to use Chrysler's new Phoenix V6 engine in its own products.

Spy Shots: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe Caught Naked


Last week a few photos leaked of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe. It wasn't known how real they were or if they were just a good photoshop, well it looks like they are pretty accurate.

The first photos of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe with barely and camouflage have surfaced, giving us our first clear idea of what the new coupe will look like.

The car was caught at a company presentation in Mallorca.

Cadillac CTS Coupe Delayed Until Summer of 2010


GM was supposed to release the much anticipated Cadillac CTS Coupe this summer, but it looks like the coupe has been delayed a year until the summer of 2010.

The change is plans is most likely due to GM's current economic condition. Cadillac's director of communications cited "changes to the overall portfolio" as the reason for the delay.

Cadillac is still moving forward with the launch of the CTS wagon this spring and the new SRX crossover this summer.

GM Funds Saturn Through 2012...The Brand Could Still Die


The fate of GM's Saturn brand has been unknown ever since the automaker sought assistance from the federal government. Seeking to become more profitable it made since that GM would figure out a way to do away with its "less profitable" brands like HUMMER and Saturn.

Well now comes word that GM has funded the Saturn brand through 2012. Which is good news for Saturn dealers, since the brand should be around for at least another 3-4 years. But since GM is hard up for money any further Saturn product development has been put on hold until the fate of the brand is certain. According to Saturn's General Manager, the fate of Saturn should be known in the next three to four weeks.

So at this point the brand could still eventually die.

Honda is Working on a New Accord Based Crossover for 2010


Honda currently has the Pilot, CR-V and Element crossovers in its lineup, none of which are more stylish like the Nissan Murano or new Toyota Venza. Well that will change this fall with the introduction of a new crossover to Honda's lineup.

Development vehicles wearing the US Accord front end mated to the European Honda Accord Tourer have been caught testing. The ride height has been increased and its obvious that the car has a rear differential, which means the car will be available with Honda's VTM-4 AWD system. The body also has new fender flares that indicate that the track has been widened slightly from that of the Accord.

It's not known what will power the new Accord based CUV, but its expected that the 4-cyl and V6 engines from the Accord will be available. Maybe even the 2.3L turbo from the Acura RDX.

Honda's newest crossover will start production in the 4th quarter of this year and will slot between the CR-V and Pilot in Honda's lineup.

2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe Photos Leaked?


The guys over at Autoblog.nl have posted a few photos of what may be the 2010 Mercedes Benz E500 Coupe.

It's not known if these photos are official photos of the 2010 E-Class Coupe, but if they aren't they are a good photoshop. The front end of the coupe in these photos is very similar to the recently unveiled E-Class sedan. The roofline is similar to that of the current CLK and it also features a B-pillarless design like the CLK. Outback the coupe features large taillights that are similar to the sedan and a short rear deck.

Stay tuned to see if these are actual photos of the 2010 E-Class Coupe.

Hybrid Sales Down Almost 10% in 2008


Hybrid sales dropped 9.9 percent in 2008, which is mainly due to the declining U.S. auto market and the drastic drop in gas prices.

When gas prices reached well over $4 bucks a gallon in the first half of 2008, automakers and consumers cried for more hybrid vehicles. But with gas prices dropping below $2 a gallon by the end of the year many consumers could not justify paying the premium for a hybrid. Couple that with the fact that car sales as a whole were way off last year. For the first time ever Toyota has started to offer rebates on its popular Prius hybrid.

As gas prices remain low, many consumers will continue to flock to less fuel-efficient vehicles and forget about how painful it was last year to spend $100 bucks or more to fill up their gas guzzling SUVs.

Toyota officially unveiled the all-new 2010 Prius at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. Japan’s Nikkei is now claiming that Toyota is going to keep the current Prius in production even when the next-gen is launched later this year.

The main reason for possibly keeping the current Prius alive is because Honda also unveiled their new hybrid, the Insight and its going to start at a lower price point than even the current Prius. The next-gen Prius is expected to go up in price and if Toyota were to continue producing the current Prius, the automaker could remain competitive. Toyota plans gutting the interior of the current Prius to make it even cheaper.

Toyota's press office in Tokyo refused to respond to the Nikkei story. "We don't comment on future models."

Times are tough..Chrysler has announced the new "Employee Pricing Plus Plus" program on 2008 and 2009 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.

Customers can now receive up to $6,000 in rebates on remaining 2008 models and up to $3,500 on 2009 models. Zero percent financing for up to 48 months is also being offered. In addition an extra $1,000 bonus cash is also offered to those customers that finance through Chrysler Financial.

The new program starts on Jan 26th.

Cadillac Not Heading to Australia


GM Holden chairman and managing director, Mark Reuss announced Thursday that plans to offer the Cadillac brand in Australia have been indefinitely delayed.

“With the downturn of the Australian automotive market and the broader global financial situation, we have made a common-sense, commercially responsible decision to not introduce a new brand into the exceptionally challenging Australian market at this time. GM Holden was faced with making a significant investment to launch a new, niche brand into a tough market.” Reuss said

The plans are not completely dead because once the economy improves, the plans to launch Cadillac in Australia will be re-considered.

Fiat 500 May Make it to the U.S. in 2010...Thanks to Chrysler


This week Chrysler and Fiat announced a partnership that involves Fiat buying 35 percent of the U.S. automaker, which will give both automakers access to each other product lines and markets. The good news for Chrysler is that the automaker now has access to a whole new line of fuel-efficient small cars. According to Motor Trend the first fruit of the new partnership will be the Fiat 500.

Motor Trend editor Todd Lassa claims that the Fiat 500 is being fast tracked to U.S. showrooms within the next 18 months. The Fiat 500 would be sold in Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep showrooms.

VW Confirms that the VW Polo is Headed to the US


Volkswagen Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby has confirmed that VW is going to sell the small Polo in the US.

VW feels that following last summer's record gas prices, US consumers are more open to smaller more fuel efficient vehicles. Eventually gas prices are going to rise again, which would increase demand for a vehicle like the Polo.

The Polo fits in between the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit in terms of size.

Volkswagen development chief Ulrich Hackenberg recently told the Automotive News that "The small-car segment is the fastest growing segment in the U.S. and that Oil prices will rise again and that will drive small car sales up further.”

It's not known when the Polo will go on sale in the US, but production could take place at Volkswagen’s Puebla, Mexico plant.

Chrysler has unveiled the Dodge Challenger R/T Classic, which pays homage to the original Challengers.

The Challenger R/T Classic is based on the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T and is powered by the 5.7L V8 mated to either a Tremec six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. A performance tuned exhaust provides even more "throatiness". The dual hood scoops are also functional.

The exterior of the R/T Classic features dual throwback A-line body-side R/T stripes, 'Challenger' fender badging in classic script, large 20-inch polished-chrome heritage wheels with all-season performance tires, classic egg-crate grille with heritage 'R/T' badge, body-color rear spoiler and chromed fuel-filler door.

The Dodge Challenger R/T Classic starts at $34,005 and is available now.

Honda Announces More Job and Production Cuts in Japan


Japan's number 2 automaker has announced plans to cut its workforce in Japan and to further reduce production.

Honda is cutting all of its remaining temporary workforce, which is approximately 3,100 workers. The automaker had already cut 1,200 temporary jobs.

In addition Honda has announced plans to reduce production in demand by another 56,000 units. Honda now plans on producing 1.168 million vehicles in Japan for the fiscal year ending March, down from its initial plan of 1.31 million vehicles.

Nissan has also announced plans to reduce its temporary workforce to zero by March and Toyota is going to cut its numbers by half.

Toyota to Cut More North American Production


Toyota has announced plans to further cut its production in order to bring its inventory levels under control. The automaker wants to reduce its current inventory by half.

“This is a tough environment, and it may continue for a while,” said Jim Wiseman, vice president of external affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America.

Toyota's Jim Lentz recently told the Automotive News that inventory levels should be in line with demand by May.

Toyota announced plans earlier this month to idle its plants in Japan for 11 days in February and March due to the declining U.S. demand.

Is Ford Going to Unveil a Taurus SHO Successor Next Month?


Ford officially unveiled the all-new 2010 Taurus at the Detroit Auto Show this week and now we have a new clue that a "performance" version is next to be unveiled.

Ford launched a brand new Taurus website. On the gallery page there is a small amount of text that says "Coming February 2009...Performance Series." Could this be a more powerful version of the Taurus with the new EcoBoost V6? It remains to be seen, but since the Chicago Auto Show is next month, we expect to see something there.

VIDEO: Second Trailer for Fast and the Furious 4 Released


Do we really need a 4th Fast and the Furious?

RIP: Chrysler PT Cruiser Dead After this Summer


Chrysler LLC President Tom LaSorda, recently spoke with Bloomberg and announced the death of the PT Cruiser this summer.

It's not much of a surprise since sales of the PT Cruiser were down 49 percent last year for a total of 50,910 units. The PT Cruiser's most successful year was 2001 with 144,717 units sold.

Chrysler is also actively pursuing the sale of the equipment that is used to produce the PT Cruiser in Toluca, Mexico.

The death of the PT Cruiser leaves the Chrysler brand with only three models, the 300C, Sebring and Town & Country minivan.

2010 Lincoln MKT Starts at $44,995


Ford has announced the pricing for the 2010 Lincoln MKT, which was officially unveiled a few days ago at the Detroit Auto Show.

The 2010 Lincoln MKT starts at $44,995 for the base V6 with front-wheel-drive. Add $5k to the base MKT for the EcoBoost V6 and all-wheel-drive. If you don't want the EcoBoost engine, but all-wheel-drive and the base 3.7L V6 it will cost you $46,990.

If you want even more from your MKT there is the Elite Package for an extra $5k, which includes: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Warning with Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS™), Cross Traffic Alert, Voice-activated Navigation, Power-opening Panoramic Vista Roof.

A fully optioned MKT with the 355 horsepower EcoBoost engine and all-wheel-drive will cost around $55,000.

The 2010 Lincoln MKT will be in dealer showrooms in late summer 2009.

VW unveiled the BlueSport Roadster Concept at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this week and according to VW engineers there will be a production version in three years.

The BlueSport concept was intentionally designed to be a production ready vehicle, but the reason we have to wait three years is because the concept is constructed of a mix of bespoke and production parts. The production parts are borrowed from VW’s new transverse, front-engined MQB platform, which isnt due in production until 2012. So since those parts wont be available until 2012, the BlueSport has to wait.

When the car is released it's going to go head to head with the Mazda MX-5 and Lotus Elise.

Ford Giving Away 100 Fiestas For 6 Months


Ford is eager to launch its new Fiesta subcompact in the US and to get the ball rolling, Ford has announced the "Fiesta Movement."

What is the Fiesta Movement? To launch the Fiesta in the US, Ford is going to be giving away 100 Fiestas to 100 lucky people. Each tech savvy person will have the car for six months and will be able to share their experiences with the car on social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

Toyota Set to Launch 10 New Hybrid Models by 2010


Toyota, not to be outdone by Honda unveiled the third-generation Prius and Lexus' first dedicated hybrid the HS 250h at the Detroit Auto Show this week.

During the unveiling of the 2010 Prius, Toyota provided more details about its current hybrid plans. Toyota plans on selling 1 million hybrids per year sometime in 2010. In order to reach its lofty goal, Toyota is planning on introducing 10 new hybrid models by 2010. Two of them are the new Prius and HS 250h.

In addition to launching 10 new hybrids, Toyota also announced the introduction of 500 Prius plug-in hybrids that will be globally leased later this year. The plan was originally planned for 2010. Out of the 500 lithium-ion powered plug-ins 150 are destined for the U.S.

The 500 plug-in Prius will be used for market and engineering analysis.

Tesla Roadster Sport Starts at $128,500...0-60 MPH in 3.7 Secs


Tesla has announced the new Tesla Roadster Sport, which is a "high-performance" version of the Tesla Roadster.

The Roadster Sport gets an upgraded suspension, adjustable dampers, anti-roll bars and Yokohama’s Ultra High Performance tires. Additionally the Sport comes with an hand-wound stator and increased winding density for lower resistance and higher peak torque.

The upgrades help shave off .2 seconds off the car's 0-60 time from 3.9 to 3.7 seconds.

The Tesla Roadster Sport will be available this summer starting at $128,500.

2010 Lexus HS 250h Not Headed to Europe


Lexus officially unveiled its first dedicated hybrid, the 2010 HS 250h at the Detroit Auto Show this month.

The HS 250h is expected in U.S. showrooms this summer, but it looks like Europe is not going to be getting the new hybrid.

“The HS 250h is intended mainly for North America and Japan, sales are not currently planned for Europe,” said Serge Gachot, head of Toyota Motor Europe marketing communications.

Other sources are saying that one of the main reasons for not selling the car in Europe is because its CO2 emissions are very close to the IS 220d.

The 2010 Lexus HS 250h shares some of its mechanicals with the new Prius and is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, mated to a 187-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Overall the HS 250h is slightly longer than the IS and a little wider than the ES.

2009 Tokyo Motor Show May be Cancelled


The Japan Automobile Manufacturers' Association (JAMA) is in the middle of discussions about the fate of this year's Tokyo Motor Show.

The current state of the global economy and the fact that some automakers have not signed on for the show have forced JAMA to reconsider the show this year.

“A couple companies are not in favor of organizing the show under these conditions, but that is not JAMA’s opinion,” Toshihiro Iwatake, JAMA’s executive director and secretary general, told Automotive News.

Ford has announced the 2010 Lincoln MKS with the much anticipated 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine.

The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 officially puts out 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Even with those numbers it is estimated to get 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. With the EcoBoost engine, the MKS has more power and better fuel economy than the Lexus GS460 and Infiniti M45.

Detroit 09': 2010 Ford Taurus Starts at $25,995


Ford has officially announced the pricing for the all-new 2010 Taurus that will be in showrooms by this summer.

The 2010 Taurus starts at $25,995, which is the same price as the 2009 model.

Ford likes to point out that although the new Taurus starts at the same price as the outgoing model, it now has more standard features and new technologies.

The 2010 Taurus comes standard with Ford's 3.5L V6 that can be mated to two different six-speed transmissions.

The Taurus SEL series will begin at $27,995 and the Taurus Limited series will begin at $31,995.

Ford Kills Plans for Rear Wheel Drive Sedans


Ford has officially announced that plans for rear wheel drive Ford and Lincoln sedans have been shelved.

Ford design chief J Mays told Automotive News on Sunday, "It's out of the cycle plan."

"We've got other priorities at the moment," Mays said. "We're going down a path right now that is all about fuel efficiency, and we've got a lot to do about that. So we're not talking about rear-wheel drive."

A year ago Ford announced plans to work with Ford's Australian arm to develop a new, large RWD platform that would yield sedans in the US. The first sedans were expected by 2013.

Ford has debuted the 2010 Lincoln MKT, which is Lincoln's version of the Ford Flex.

The three-row MKT is available with either a 268 horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 or Ford's new 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine that puts out 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmission. AWD is available on the 3.7L and standard with the EcoBoost engine.

The MKT can fit either six or seven passengers with two different seating configurations.

The 2010 Lincoln MKT will be available this summer.

Toyota officially unveiled the 2010 Toyota Prius at the Detroit Auto Show today.

The third-generation Prius is larger, more powerful and gets better gas mileage than the last generation. For starters the Prius engine has been enlarged from 1.5L to 1.8L. It's also notable that the engine is the first Toyota powerplant to not use any belts (the water pump is now electric). Although the engine has been enlarged, the Prius now gets a combined mpg rating of 50 mpg, which is up from the 46 mpg rating of the last generation.

The overall styling of the new Prius is easily recognizable as a Prius, but with slightly more aggressive styling than the last generation. The new Prius also has the world's lowest coefficient of drag (Cd) at .25.

For the first time a moonroof is available with roof mounted solar panels that power the ventilation system. The system helps keep the car cool even when it is off, which helps reduce the stress on the air conditioning system once the car is in use.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but the 2010 Prius will be in showrooms this spring.

GM has unveiled a new Cadillac concept, the Converj, which is based on the Chevy Volt's "Voltec" drivetrain.

The Converj Concept combines GM's new electric technology with styling that is distinctly Cadillac. Since it uses the same technology as the more pedestrian-looking Volt.

Let's hope they make something like this in the future....

Detroit 09': Chevy Spark and Orlando Headed to the US


GM originally stated that the production version of the Chevy Beat and Chevy Orlando would not be coming to the US, but things change. With a lack of small cars in the US, it makes sense to bring the two vehicles to the US.

The production version of the Beat, officially now dubbed the Spark and the Orlando will come to the US in 2011. The Chevy Spark is going to have its official debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Sales of the Spark in Europe will begin in the first-quarter of 2010.

The one photo we have of the Spark was apparently leaked. Expect more details soon.

The Kia Soul'ster concept immediately recalls such fun "open-air" cars like the old Isuzu Amigo and Jeep Wrangler (although this concept could never hit the trail like a Jeep).

The Kia Soul'ster concept is based on the new Kia Soul, but with only two doors and a two-piece canvas roof. There are no frills in this concept either, which means no power windows and a manual gearbox.

Kia describes the concept as a “fun, affordable convertible for active people who like to share good times with friends.”

The concept is powered by either a 120 horsepower 1.6L or a 140 horsepower 2.0L engine. Fuel economy for both engines is estimated at 30 mpg.

The Kia Soul will be in dealerships this spring, it's not known if Kia is actually going to produce the Soul'ster. It could be just what Kia needs to make the brand more appealing to 20-somethings.

Honda has officially took the wraps off the 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show.

In addition to finally seeing the production version of the Insight, we now also know what kind of gas mileage its going to get. The EPA has officially certified the Insight at 40/43 mpg (city/highway). The Insight is powered by a 1.3L 4-cylinder engine mated to a 13 horsepower electric motor.

The Insight will reach showrooms in April and have a starting price lower than the Civic Hybrid.

Detroit 09': VW Concept BlueSport Hits the Stage


The VW Concept BlueSport represents VW's idea of what a fun, but environmentally conscious roadster should be like.

The VW Concept BlueSport is powered by a 180 horsepower clean diesel engine mated to 6-speed DSG dual clutch transmission that sits behind the driver. It accelerates from 0-62 in 6.6 seconds while getting about 35 mpg on the European cycle.

Detroit 09': Audi Sportback Concept Unveiled...Hints at the A7


Audi has unveiled the Sportback Concept at the Detroit Auto Show. The Sportback Concept is supposed to be a preview of the upcoming A7.

The Sportback Concept and eventual A7 is Audi's version of a four-door coupe, like the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes CLS. In addition to providing a preview of the A7, the Sportback Concept previews Audi's future design vocabulary.

The Concept is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 TDI clean diesel. The diesel engine already meets the emissions limits of all 50 U.S. states and the EU6 standard scheduled to take effect in 2014. In addition it manages to get 39.87 US mpg.

Detroit 09': 2010 Toyota Camry Makes its Debut


Toyota has unveiled the revised the 2010 Toyota Camry in Detroit.

For 2010 the standard engine in the Camry is a new 2.5L engine. The Camry LE and XLE equipped with the 2.5L puts out 169 horsepower and in the SE it puts out 179. The 2.5L can be mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

The exterior changes to the gas powered Camry include a new grille, front bumper, lager headlights and revised taillights. The Camry Hybrid gets a new unique hybrid grille, a distinct front bumper, a wider lower intake, restyled fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The revised (boring) 2010 Camry will be available this March.

Detroit 09': 2010 Lexus HS250h...Lexus First Dedicated Hybrid


Lexus has officially unveiled its first dedicated hybrid, the Lexus HS250h. The compact sedan shares many of its mechanicals with the third-generation Prius that is also being unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show.

The 2010 Lexus HS250h is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, mated to a 187-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Overall the HS250h is slightly longer than the IS and a little wider than the ES.

Inside Lexus newest hybrid comes equipped with leather seats, moonroof, Lexus premium audio systems, and a new standard multi-media package. A new Hard Disk Navigation system is also available a retractable navigation screen. There is also a new wide-view front monitor that uses a camera mounted in the front of the car to provide a 190-degree front view via the navigation screen.

The 2010 HS250h will be in dealerships by late summer.

Detroit 09': 2010 Ford Taurus Officially Unveiled!


Ford has officially unveiled the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus that makes its debut at the Detroit Auto Show.

The 2010 Ford Taurus receives all-new styling inside and out that is far more interesting to look at than the current generation. Ford describes the styling of the new Taurus as a combination of style with substance, just like the original Taurus back in 1986.

The new Taurus is powered by a 263 horsepower 3.5L V6 that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. FWD is standard and all-wheel-drive is optional. The 3.5 EcoBoost engine is also planned at a later date for the Taurus. A two-speed fuel pump and Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off technology help the Taurus achieve best in class gas mileage.

There are also many new technological features available on the new Taurus such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start,
SecuriCode™ Keyless Entry Keypad and MyKey.

The all-new Taurus will be available this summer at starting price of $25,995, which is the same starting price as the 2009 model.

Detroit 09' Preview: 2010 Jaguar XFR Photos Leaked


Thanks to a few sites breaking the embargo, we now have an early look at the 2010 Jaguar XFR that will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show.

The 2010 Jaguar XFR is powered by 510 horsepower 5.0L AJ-V8 GEN III engine that features with a 6-generation Roots-type twin vortex (TVS) supercharger. That power propels the car from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

The XFR also features 20-inch Nevis alloy wheels and comes in eight colors: Botanical Green, Indigo, Kyanite Blue, Liquid Silver, Lunar Grey, Porcelain and Salsa.

Production of the 2010 Chevy Camaro was supposed to start next month, but now it looks like production has been delayed a month until March 16th.

The one month delay is not due to supplier issues, since the issues with supplier Cadence Innovation have been solved with secondary suppliers.

The Camaro convertible had been put on hold but now it will be released at a later date as a 2011 model.

Acura Claims the RWD V8 Program is Still Alive!


Who can we believe anymore? Reports surface that certain vehicle programs are dead and then days later differing reports come out. Earlier this week, Autocar claimed that Honda had killed the V8 engine program and RWD Acura's. Now Jeff Conrad, Vice President of Acura as informed dealers that the Acura "tier 1" program is still in the works.

According to Conrad the NSX program is officially dead, but the much needed V8 engine and RWD programs are still moving forward. It's rumored that Acura is working on a large RWD, V8 powered sedan to go head to head with the Germans.

It's still not known if the other reports about the death of the S2000 are in fact true.

2010 Ford Fusion 4-Cyl Beats the Class with the Best MPG!


Ford is on a roll with the new Fusion. The new Fusion Hybrid gets better gas mileage than the Camry Hybrid and now the 4-cylinder Fusion officially gets the highest mpg in its class.

The EPA has officially certified the four-cylinder Fusion at 34 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city. Those numbers beat all the Fusion's competitors (Camry, Accord, Altima, Malibu, etc.).

The Fusion S is powered by a 175 horsepower 2.5L engine that is mated to a six-speed transmission.

The 2010 Ford Fusion will be on sale this spring.

VIDEO: 2010 Buick LaCrosse Hits the Track


Yesterday GM officially took the wraps off the all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse.

Here are two videos of the new LaCrosse. One is of the designers and engineers discussing the new LaCrosse and the other shows the LaCrosse in action.

The 2010 LaCrosse is powered by either a 255 horsepower 3.0L V6 or a 280 horsepower 3.6L V6. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive is available.

The LaCrosse will be officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in a few days.

2009 Ford F-150 is Now the Safest Full-Size Pickup


The 2009 Ford F-150 has just received the government's highest crash test rating, 5-stars making it the only full size truck to recieve top ratings by NHTSA and the IIHS.

The new F-150 features more standard safety features such as Safety Canopy® side curtain air bags, AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™) and a patented "K-bag" seat-mounted air bag, which helped the truck receive 5-stars in front and side impact testing.

In addition to holding the title of the safest full-size pickup, the 2009 F-150 is also Motor Trend's Truck of the Year.

Nissan GT-R SpecV Finally Unveiled!


Nissan has finally unveiled the GT-R SpecV after months of speculation.

The special edition GT-R SpecV features a carbon fiber rear spoiler, a carbon fiber grille, and carbon fiber brake ducts. The SpecV is available exclusively in Ultimate Black Opal (RP) body color and the inside features a unique two-seat interior that has Recaro carbon fiber bucket seats.

There is only one main engine modification, a new high gear boost controller that increases the amount of compressed oxygen entering the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 to deliver more torque in the intermediate-to-high speed ranges.

Sales begin in Japan at seven pre-selected dealers, with pricing set at 15,750,000 yen. There is no word yet on if the car is headed to our shores.

Detroit 09' Preview: 2010 Buick LaCrosse Unveiled


GM has officially unveiled the all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse, which will be officially unveiled in a few days at the Detroit Auto Show.

The all-new LaCrosse further defines Buick's current global design theme, which was previewed with the Invicta Concept at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show.

For 2010 the LaCrosse is available with either of two V6 engines, a 255 horsepower 3.0L V6 or a 280 horsepower 3.6L V6. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive is available.

Inside there is a new two-tone interior that features an in-dash navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an auxiliary audio input and a USB port. A DVD entertainment system for the rear seat passengers is also available.

Notable safety features are the Side Blind Zone alert that notifies the driver if there is another vehicle in the driver's blind spots, an available head-up display in the windshield, and an available adaptive lighting package.

Production of the new LaCrosse starts this summer.

Finally a Buick that isn't incredibly boring.

Consumer Reports has announced that the 2009 Hyundai Genesis has managed to take the top score in its list of upscale sedans.

The Genesis managed to beat out 4 other new sedans this year, the Pontiac G8, Acura TL, Nissan Maxima and Lincoln MKS in addition to just outscoring the Lexus ES350.

Consumer Reports had this to say about the V6-powered Genesis:

"Spacious and well appointed, the rear-wheel-drive Genesis offers good value and is a compelling alternative to luxury vehicles costing thousands more. "

More good news for Hyundai!

Scion has announced the next edition of its "Release Series" models, the xB Release Series 6.0 that will be displayed at the Detroit Auto Show next week.

The 2009 xB Release Series 6.0 comes only in one color, Absolutely Red. The exterior features a unique front grille and Release Series wheel covers. A rear spoiler is optional.

Inside the special edition xB features a touch screen Pioneer Audio Visual Navigation (AVN) unit that features voice recognition, MSN Direct, Bluetooth and the expected USB and iPod connectivity. The interior also features color-tuned seats and illuminated door sills.

Only 2,500 are going to built with a starting price of $15,570.

2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Brochure Leaked


We've already seen several leaked photos of the all-new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but now we have the leaked brochure and if you can read German you can read all the details.

In Europe the new E-Class will be powered by a series of 4 and 6-cylinder engines in both gas and turbo diesel formats:

The gas powered lineup:
184-hp E200 CGI, 204-hp E250CGI, 292-hp E350 CGI and the 388-hp E500.
The diesel lineup:
136-hp E200 CDI, a 170-hp E220 CDI, a 204-hp E250 CDI and the 3.0L liter 231-hp E350 CDI

Although the E-Class AMG is in the pictures we do not know the final specs on that model.

The 2010 E-Class will be officially unveiled in a few days at the Detroit Auto Show.

Honda Reveals its 2009 Tokyo Auto Salon Lineup


Honda has unveiled its lineup for the 2009 Tokyo Auto Salon, which is basically similar to SEMA. The show kicks off at the same time as the Detroit Auto Show, this Sunday.

The two main vehicles at the show will be the Sports Modulo S2000 and Fit Concepts, but check out the gallery to see the other models.

Rumors are False... Suzuki Kizashi is Not Dead


Earlier this week reports surfaced that Suzuki had killed the Kizashi midsize sedan that was supposed to be released later this year. Now Suzuki has answered those reports by stating that they are false.

“The production version will debut at this year’s New York auto show in April,” Jeff Holland, spokesman for American Suzuki Motor Corp., told Automotive News.

The car and all its official details will be unveiled at that time.

At least one of the vehicles that were rumored to being killed is untrue. Now if only those reports that came out yesterday from Honda were only untrue as well...

It was already reported that Honda has killed the next-gen Acura NSX, but it looks like the economic downturn is causing Honda to cut even more programs.

Autocar is now reporting that in addition to the death of the NSX, Honda has also killed the next-gen S2000. 2009 is reportedly going to be the last model year for the S2000 with no replacement in the works. Honda was also planning on producing a droptop version of the CR-Z that is going to be released next year, but those plans have been shelved as well.

Hyundai has Killed Rumors of a Genesis Convertible


Hyundai has killed any speculation or rumors that a convertible version of the upcoming Genesis Coupe is in the works. Hyundai officially unveiled the Genesis Coupe last March and sales are expected to start this spring.

According to Miles Johnson, manager of product public relations, a Genesis Convertible was never in the works.

“It’s never been in the plan,” Johnson told Inside Line. “There was some internal discussion early on, but since we unveiled the coupe in New York, there’s been no talk.”

Johnson stated that the Genesis Coupe was never designed with a convertible in mind. Instead it was designed as a global car. In addition Koreans are not really into "the wind in your hair" and Hyundai doesn't have enough traction in the U.S. for a convertible.

He also stated that there are no plans for Hyundai convertibles in the future, although sources are saying otherwise. There are rumors that the use of retractable hardtops are in the works.

GM Reportedly Kills the 2010 Pontiac G8 ST!


Pickuptruck.com is reporting that GM has quietly decided to kill plans for the 2010 Pontiac G8 ST.

GM unveiled the Pontiac G8 ST last year at the New York Auto show. The unibody pickup version of the G8 sedan was expected to be V8 powered, feature a 74-inch cargo bed and be able to tow up to 3,500 pounds. The vehicle immediately recalled previous vehicles like the Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero.

Last month, Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC stated that GM was going to pare down the number of Pontiac vehicles and that the G8 ST was under review to see if it made sense.

The G8 ST was expected to be launched as a 2010 model with prices starting in the low $30,000's. It was also rumored that GM was going to introduce a V6 version of the vehicle with the same direct-injection V6 as the upcoming Camaro.

Should we be sad?

Toyota has announced plans to idle its plants in Japan for 11 days in February and March due to declining sales in the U.S.

Last month Toyota reported a 37 percent sales decline and now vehicles are beginning to pile up. Last month was Toyota's sharpest decline in more than a quarter of a century. Toyota even performed worse than GM and Ford.

"I never expected the crisis to spread this fast and leave this deep a scar," Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters at a Tokyo event hosted by Japan's top business lobbies.

Nissan and Honda have also announced to cut production by at least 200,000 vehicles for the year ending in March.

What Were the Top Ten Best-Selling Vehicles in 2008?


2008 is finally over and with it ends one of the worst years for the automotive industry in recent history. Most of 2008 was plagued by high fuel prices, which forced buyers to look for more fuel efficient vehicles. Even with this trend the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado pickups managed to remain at the top of the list for 2008.

In addition, even though buyers continued to ask for more fuel-efficient vehicles, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic were the only "small" cars to make the list.

Nissan has previously announced that the automaker is not planning on attending the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, which means that no Nissan or Infiniti vehicles will be present on the show floor. Last month Nissan and Infiniti dealers stepped up and said they would donate their own vehicles to be displayed at the show. Nissan has now reportedly asked the dealers to not participate in the show.

"The dealers were going to support a presence and had all stepped forward,” Doug Fox, auto show co-chairman and owner of Ann Arbor Nissan said in an interview with Detroit Free Press. “But the week before Christmas we received a request from Nissan to please respect their decision to not have a presence at the North American International Auto Show.”

That means Detroit show goers will not be able to see the new 370Z or even the Nissan Cube.

2009 Honda Insight Euro-Spec Photos Leaked


Honda is going to officially unveil the 2009 Honda Insight at the Detroit Auto Show this month, but photos of the euro-spec Insight have already leaked onto the web.

The euro-spec and U.S.-spec versions of the Insight are not expected to differ much. What you can tell from these photos is how little the production version differs from the concept. The front-end remains largely the same sans the LED headlights. There are also more production friendly fog lamps and lower air intakes, which are slightly different than the U.S.-spec version. The side mirrors have been enlarged as well as the door handles. The C-pillar is also larger and the rear end gets a few minor tweaks.

We still have to wait to see what changes are in store for the interior.

Sales of the 2009 Insight will begin this spring with a starting price somewhere around $20,000.

Cadillac has officially unveiled the 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover.

The next-generation SRX ditches the wagon-like styling from the last-generation for something more "crossover" like. It's styling was previewed by the Provoq concept. The 2010 SRX builds on Cadillac's Art and Science design theme with its multi-piece shield grille and iconic vertical headlamps.

The SRX is powered by a new, 260 horsepower 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine, standard and a new, 300 horsepower 2.8L turbocharged V-6 is optional. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front and all-wheel-drive will be offered. It's not known if GM is planning a hybrid version of the SRX to help it go head to head with its closest competitor, the Lexus RX.

VIDEO: BMW Provides a Glimpse of the X6 M

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The BMW X6 may be something that very few of us asked for from BMW, but it isn't stopping BMW from releasing two new variants of it. Later this year BMW is going to release a two-mode hybrid and M version of the X6.

2010 Hyundai Equus Sketches Unveiled


Hyundai has released two official sketches of its 2010 Equus sedan. The Equus is a large luxury sedan that is sold in South Korea, Europe, China and the Middle East.

The 2010 Equus is expected to be powered by either a 420 horsepower 5.0L Tau V8 or a 4.6L Tau V8. Both engines will put the power to the ground via the rear wheels. Hyundai's new eight-speed automatic transmission is also expected to be offered.

The next-generation Equus is expected to also feature a Lane Departure Warning System, Pre-Safety Seatbelt System, and LED-equipped headlights and taillights.

The 2010 Hyundai Equus is expected in South Korean dealerships next month. Don't expect it to hit U.S. shores anytime soon, since it could cannibalize Genesis sales.

Suzuki Reportedly Kills Plans for the Kizashi Sedan


I guess we're going to have to get used to hearing that automakers are ditching certain new vehicle programs. Suzuki has reportedly shelved plans for the Kizashi sedan. Suzuki unveiled the Kizashi 3 Concept earlier this year and the vehicle was supposed to hint at a new midsize Suzuki sedan.

The Kizashi sedan was expected by the middle of this year as a 2010 model, but according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei those plans have been killed. According to the Automotive News, the decision is due to the suffering global auto market. Suzuki’s CEO Osamu Suzuki stated that the project is likely to be canceled due to the declining sales of the segment.

2010 Porsche Panamera to be Officially Unveiled in China


Porsche has announced that the four-door 2010 Porsche Panamera will have its official world debut at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show on April 19th.

Porsche hasn't released the final specs about the Panamera, but instead has stated that the Panamera will be powered by modern V-engines with either six or eight cylinders. Horsepower numbers will range from 300-500 bhp. There will be two V8 engines, one normally aspirated and one with bi-turbocharger technology.

The engines are mated to either a six-speed manual or the new seven-speed double-clutch transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is standard and the top model with the turbocharged V8 will feature all-wheel-drive.

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