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April 2009 Archives

April 1, 2009

New York 09' Preview: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Unveiled with 518 HP

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The 2009 New York Auto Show is almost upon us and the news is starting to trickle in about what we can expect to see next week. Mercedes is going to unveil the E63 AMG version of the all-new E-Class.

The 2010 E63 AMG is powered by a 6.3L V8 that puts out 518 horsepower and 465 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a 7-speed dual clutch Speedshift transmission. The E63 AMG reaches 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited).

The optional AMG Performance Package raises the top speed to 186 mph and also comes with a performance suspension with stiffer springs rates, ightweight 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels, AMG rear axle locking differential with 40 percent locking action, and a performance steering wheel.

Continue reading "New York 09' Preview: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Unveiled with 518 HP" »

New York 09' Preview: Hyundai Nuvis Concept Hints at a New Crossover

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Hyundai is remaining very tight lipped on the Nuvis concept that is going to be shown at the New York Auto Show next week. Besides showcasing the brand's cutting-edge capabilities it also hints at a possible design direction of a future crossover...

The Nuvis concept is the 11th concept car designed at the Hyundai's California Design Center in Irvine, California.

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2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Puts Out More Power and Gets Better MPG

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Ford has released the official specs for the 2010 Shelby GT500.

The 2010 Shelby GT500 now puts out an additional 40 horsepower and 30 lb-ft. of torque from its 5.4L DOHC V8 (540 HP and 510 lb-ft.). In addition the new Shelby GT500 now gets an additional 2 mpg on the highway compared to the old model (14 mpg city, 22 mpg highway). Ford made the top gears taller in order to squeeze out more mpg.

Ford also points out that there were improvements to the twin-disk clutch system on the 6-speed manual transmission. Basically the twin disks are now larger and made of copper and fiberglass.


"If you went with one disk, the torque output of the 2010 Shelby GT500 would require that disk to be very large," said Baldori. "The twin-disk system allows us to get the required surface area in a smaller package. Having two disks also lowers the inertia compared with one large disk, which improves drivability."

All these improvements allow the Shelby GT500 to reach 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and 0-100 mph in 9.4 seconds.

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Honda Cuts North American Production and Salaries

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Hard times aren't only hitting GM and Chrysler, even Honda is being hit hard during this economic downturn.

Honda has announced that it will cut production in North America by 62,000 units by shutting down factories for 13 days starting in May. In addition the automaker is going to cut pay for salaried and factory workers. Honda has also offered buyouts and early retirement incentives to most of its 32,400 workers in the United States and Canada.

Previously Honda, just like Toyota would pay its workers even when it shut down its factories to reduce inventories. This time Honda claims that hourly workers will not be paid for 6 of the 13 days. Salaried workers are also going to see their paychecks reduced. Bonuses to both hourly and salaried workers are also being reduced or eliminated.

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What Were the Top 10 Best-Selling Vehicles in March 2009?

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Of course March sales were down last month compared to March 2008 with GM down 45 percent. For the most part most of the major automakers posted a better month than February, but the sales were still dismal.

Here's the list of the top ten best-selling vehicles last month. Of course most of the same models are listed:

-Ford F-Series: 32,728
-Toyota Camry: 25,783
-Chevy Silverado: 23,508
-Honda Accord: 22,722
-Toyota Corolla: 22,257
-Honda Civic: 20,645
-Nissan Altima: 19,521
-Dodge Ram: 19,328
-Chevy Malibu: 14,772
-Honda CR-V: 12,959

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Acura Becomes the First Brand to Receive Top Safety Ratings from NHTSA and IIHS for its Whole Lineup

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For the first time ever, an automotive brand has received top safety ratings from the NHTSA and IIHS for every vehicle in its lineup and that title goes to the Acura brand.

"No other automotive brand has accomplished what Acura has, nor can make the safety claims that Acura can," said John Mendel, executive vice president of automobile sales. "When consumers think safety, they really should think Acura."

Acura's safety scores are a direct result of Acura's "Safety Through Innovation" initiative that is based on the brand's commitment to leadership in safety.

Continue reading "Acura Becomes the First Brand to Receive Top Safety Ratings from NHTSA and IIHS for its Whole Lineup" »

April 2, 2009

2010 Chevy Equinox Starts at $23,185

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Chevy has announced the pricing for the all-new 2010 Chevy Equinox.

The 2010 Chevy Equinox will start at $23,185, which is $1,800 less than the outgoing model. The new Equinox can be powered by either a 2.4L Ecotec 4-cylinder with 182 horsepower and an estimated 30 mpg highway or a 3.0L DOHC V6 engine with 264 horsepower and an estimated 25 mpg highway.

Although the 2010 Equinox has a lower starting price than the 2009 model, it will have more standard features when it goes on sale in June.

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GM Asks The US Government for $2.6 Billion in Loans to Produce New Hybrids

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GM has asked the U.S. government for an additional $2.6 billion in loans to support the development of new hybrid vehicles.

The loan request would help the development of two spinoffs of the upcoming Chevy Volt. This is the first time that GM has confirmed plans to produce spinoffs of the Volt. In January, GM unveiled the Cadillac Converj concept which was based on the mechanicals of the Volt. GM executives have stated that GM plans on using the Volt system in other models to raise volume and reduce costs.

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New York 09' Preview: BMW X6 M to Debut

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BMW has announced what models we can expect to see at the New York Auto Show next week.

The BMW X6 M will officially be unveiled alongside the new Z4 roadster, the 2009 7 Series, and the BMW Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance models.

The 2010 BMW 5 Series and 6 Series will also debut at the show with updated navigation systems from the new 7 Series and the availability of an M Sport package.

There is still no word on the X5 M.

Continue reading "New York 09' Preview: BMW X6 M to Debut" »

2010 Kia Sorento Officially Debuts in Seoul

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After many of photo leaks, Kia has officially unveiled the all-new 2010 Kia Sorento at the Seoul Motor Show.

The 2010 Kia Sorento officially moves from a body-on-frame design to a more popular unit body platform. The new body is longer to make room for a new third row seat. Headroom and legroom have also been increased.

There are a range of engines offered in the new Sorento for the Korean market. A 2.7L V6 that runs on (liquefied petroleum gas), a 2.4L four-cylinder and a 2.2L diesel engine. In the US it is expected that the Sorento will have the option of the 2.4L four-cylinder and a 3.8L V6. The engines will be paired with a range of five and six-speed transmissions.

The all-new Sorento is expected to have its US debut at the New York Auto Show next week.

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Tesla Takes 520 Reservations for the Model S Electric Family Sedan

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Last week Tesla unveiled the Model S all-electric family sedan that seats up to seven passengers and travels up to 300 miles per charge. Since its unveiling on March 26th, Tesla has received 520 reservations for the car.

“Frankly the number of cars reserved in the first week has exceeded our optimistic internal projections,” said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. “Enthusiasm surrounding the Model S is proof that there’s pent-up demand for more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles - including those made in America.”

The Model S can be recharged from any 120V, 208V or 240V outlet. The Model S reaches 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph.

The expected base price for the Model S is $49,900 after a federal tax credit of $7,500. There is a reservation fee of $5,000 that is refundable.

Production is scheduled to begin in late 2011.

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Toyota Reportedly Cutting the Price of the Prius to Compete with the Insight in Japan...US Next?

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Toyota is reportedly cutting the price of the new Prius in Japan to be more competitive with its newest competitor the Honda Insight.

According to reports, Toyota has told its dealerships that Prius would be set at 2.05 million yen, which translates to about $20,750 U.S. In the U.S. the Honda Insight starts at $20,450, but the Prius has more room and better fuel economy, but a fully-loaded Prius goes for over $30K. Additionally Toyota is going to keep selling the current generation Prius alongside the new generation in Japan. The outgoing Prius starts even lower at 1.89 million yen ($19,130 US).

U.S. pricing for the Prius has yet to be announced, but if Toyota lowers the price here as well the hybrid wars could get even more crazy.

Continue reading "Toyota Reportedly Cutting the Price of the Prius to Compete with the Insight in Japan...US Next?" »

Majority of Voters Feel that the Economy Can Survive Without GM

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A new poll shows that a majority of U.S. voters feel that the U.S. economy can recover even if GM goes out of business.

The Rasmussen Reports’ poll found that 76% of U.S. voters surveyed believe that the U.S. economy could recover even if GM were to go out of business. Fifteen percent weren't sure and nine percent disagreed.

Further 77 percent of investors and 74 percent of investors feel that the economy will bounce back even if GM does not.

Additionally 62 percent of voters oppose the U.S. government giving GM and Chrysler further loans to stay in business. Lastly 59 percent believed that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely" that GM or Chrysler will go out of business in the next few years.

What do you think?

The poll consisted of 1,000 voters and had a margin of error of three percent.

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April 3, 2009

New York 09' Preview: Mitsubishi Outlander GT Prototype Gets an EVO-like Front End

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Mitsubishi is set to unveil the Outlander GT Prototype at the New York Auto Show next week.

The Outlander GT Prototype features a "Jet Fighter" grille that is very similar to that of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It also features a host of new technologies like Idle Neutral Logic, which automatically shifts the transmission into neutral when the vehicle is stopped. The 3.0L MIVEC V6 is also more powerful and has improved fuel economy and is mated to the Super-All-Wheel-Control System.

Continue reading "New York 09' Preview: Mitsubishi Outlander GT Prototype Gets an EVO-like Front End" »

April 5, 2009

New York 09' Preview: 2010 GMC Terrain Takes Bold Styling to New Levels

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Although the new 2010 GMC Terrain shares its basic platform with the equally new Chevy Equinox, its obvious that GM finally tried to make them look different...although the Terrain definitely has the more controversial design.

"We wanted to carve the GMC Terrain away from the pack and establish its identity as a powerful, fresh crossover SUV with a confident and strong stance," said John Cafaro Jr., director of exterior design, Global Crossover Vehicles. "Everything about the Terrain communicates a sense of tailored toughness and passionate craftsmanship."

After you move past the bold design, the Terrain is powered by the same 182 hp, 2.4L 4-cyl and 264 hp, 3.0L V6 as the Equinox. GM expects the 4-cylinder Terrain to achieve 30 mpg on the highway.

The 2.4L equipped Terrain also sees GM's first use of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology to counteract noise inside the vehicle. Th Terrain also features a standard MultiFlex rear sliding seat that can be fore or aft nearly eight inches.

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New York 09' Preview: 2010 BMW X6 M and X5 M Debut with 555 HP

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BMW has officially unveiled the M versions of the X5 and X6 Sports Activity Vehicles.

The 2010 BMW X5 M and X6 M are powered by a twin turbocharged 4.4L V8 that puts out 555 hp and 500 lb-ft. of torque that is mated to a 6-speed M Sports Automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The M versions of the X5 and X6 are the first all-wheel-drive BMW M models. All that power returns a 4.5 second 0-60 mph time.

As expected there are some changes to the exterior of the two models to differentiate them from their lesser powered brothers. The hood, front air dam and headlights are nearly identical on the two models. Both models feature special gills in the front fenders and 20-inch alloy wheels are also standard. Out back there are quad tailpipes.

For those of you that want the the 555 horsepower, but in a sedan or coupe package, you'll have to wait for the next M5 and M6, which will feature the same turbocharged 4.4L V8.

Continue reading "New York 09' Preview: 2010 BMW X6 M and X5 M Debut with 555 HP" »

April 6, 2009

VIDEO: 2010 GMC Terrain In-Depth

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GM officially unveiled the 2010 GMC Terrain over the weekend and now we have a video that goes in-depth to explain the car’s styling and design from some of the designers and engineers that worked on it.

The 2010 GMC Terrain will be officially unveiled at the 2009 New York Auto Show this week.

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VW Officially NOT Bringing the Scirocco to the US

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Last week word leaked that VW had officially decided to not bring the Scirocco to the US, via a dealer communication, but no official word had been stated to the press..until now.

Tom Wegehaupt, Volkswagen' of America's public relations coordinator, officially told Autoblog that the VW has decided to not bring the Scirocco to the US due to fears of the model cannibalizing sales of the new GTI and the sad state of the auto market.

It looks like fans that were eagerly awaiting the return of the Scirocco in the US will have to move across the Atlantic if they ever want to own the new one.

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April 8, 2009

New York 09': 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Officially Unveiled

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Chrysler has officially unveiled the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee at the 2009 New York Auto Show.

The new Grand Cherokee features a more sculpted crossover-like exterior. Although the Grand Cherokee has been a unibody SUV, just like the new crossovers, it has been lumped in with the aging body-on-frame SUVs in terms of popularity. Chrysler is attempting to appeal to the crossover fans with a sleeker, more athletic exterior. The wheelbase has also been stretched 5.3 inches, its 3 inches wider and the overall length has been increased 1.8 inches.

The 2011 Grand Cherokee gets the first application of Chrysler's new flexible fuel 3.6L V6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy has also been improved 11 percent over the previous V6 engine. If you need more power the 5.7L HEMI V8 is available with 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft. of torque. The 4x2 Grand Cherokee with the HEMI V8 can tow up to 7,400 lbs.

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New York 09': Acura ZDX Takes on the BMW X6

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Acura officially unveiled the ZDX prototype at the New York Auto Show today. The new four-door sports coupe is obviously aimed squarely at the BMW X6.

Acura hasn't released the official details of the production ZDX that will be in showrooms this fall. It will be powered by a V6 engine that will be mated to a new 6-speed automatic transmission. The ZDX will also feature Acura's SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) system.

The ZDX that will be in showrooms this fall will look basically the same as this prototype.

Continue reading "New York 09': Acura ZDX Takes on the BMW X6" »

2010 Buick LaCrosse Starts at $27,835

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Buick has announced the pricing for the all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse.

The 2010 LaCrosse CX starts at $27,835 and that includes a new 255 hp 3.0L direct-injection V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and standard 17-inch wheels.

The CXL FWD at $30,395 adds heated leather seats, automatic climate control, fog lamps and 18-inch wheels. The CXL AWD starts at $32,570. The top of the line CXS starts at $33,765 and includes a 280 horsepower 3.6L V6, leather heated and cooled seats, and chrome-plated 18-inch wheels.

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April 9, 2009

New York 09': 2010 Subaru Outback Unveiled

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Following the unveiling of the all-new 2010 Subaru Legacy, Subaru has also taken the wraps off the equally new 2010 Subaru Outback.

The all-new Outback gets pretty much the same changes as the Legacy, which means a larger exterior that is 2 inches wider with a 2.8 inch longer wheelbase. Interior volume is up 8 cubic feet and there is almost an extra 4 inches of rear legroom.

The new Outback is available with either a 170-hp 2.5L 4-cyl that can be mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or Subaru's Lineartronic CVT or a new 256-hp 3.6L 6-cyl that is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.


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New York 09': 2010 Kia Forte Koup Adds a New Sporty Coupe to the Lineup

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Kia has chosen the 2009 New York Auto Show to unveil the 2-door variant of the new Forte.

The 2010 Kia Forte Koup draws many styling cues from the KOUP Concept that was unveiled last year. The 2-door version of the Forte gets sportier styling out front with a more aggressive lower intake and outback the taillights are wider and thinner with a larger rear fascia and dual exhaust tips.

The powertrain options are the same as the sedan with the base model being powered by a 156-hp 2.0L mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic and the SX model being powered by a 173-hp 2.4L engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Continue reading "New York 09': 2010 Kia Forte Koup Adds a New Sporty Coupe to the Lineup" »

New York 09': Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid Has 335 HP and Gets 24 MPG

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Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the hybrid version of the ML SUV, dubbed the ML 450 Hybrid in New York.

The ML 450 Hybrid is powered by 3.5L Atkinson V6 mated to a two-mode hybrid system that results in a final output of 335 horsepower and 381 lf-ft of torque. The system manages to get 21 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway and is classified as a SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emisssion Vehicle).

The two-mode hybrid system is Mercedes first application of the system that it co-developed with GM and Chrysler.

Continue reading "New York 09': Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid Has 335 HP and Gets 24 MPG" »

April 13, 2009

GM is Recalling Almost 1.5 Million Vehicles Due to Potential Car Fires

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NHTSA has just announced that GM is recalling 1,497,516 vehicles due to potential engine fires.

The vehicles being recalled are powered by GM's 3.8L V6. In some of these vehicles engine oil may drop from the engine onto the exhaust manifold. If the manifold is hot enough the oil could ignite and a fire could spread to the plastic spark plug wire channel, thereby causing an even bigger fire under the hood.

GM dealers are going to remove the existing spark wire retention channel on effected vehicles and install two new spark plug wire retainers.

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Toyota A-BAT Concept to Remain a Concept...At Least for Now

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Toyota unveiled the A-BAT Concept last year and according to sources it had been given the green light, but thanks to the current state of the auto industry, plans have been put on hold.

The Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck "A-BAT" featured a unibody platform and hybrid powertrain in a small compact pickup truck. The concept also featured a cab forward design to maximize rear cargo space.

“We have a lot of top priorities right now, and A-BAT isn’t one of them,” Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales USA vice president and general manager, said at the New York auto show. “The market has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. We always keep reprioritizing – under good economic or recessionary times – what our planning is. [For now], it’s on the shelf.”

One of the main factors for the reason to put the model on hold probably has to do with the decline in new truck sales.

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IIHS Tests Subcompacts Against Midsize Sedans and the Results Are Not Great

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The IIHS has released the crash test results involving three subcompact/ minicars into a midsize sedan from the same automaker and the results are not pretty.

Normally crash test results involve a vehicle crashing into a deformable barrier, which most of the time is not accurate in the real world. Most crashes involve two vehicles crashing into each other. In these three tests the IIHS chose pairs of vehicles from Daimler, Honda and Toyota due to their subcompact models earning good frontal crashworthiness ratings. The Honda Fit, Smart Fortwo and Toyota Yaris all earned good ratings in the Institute's offset test into a deformable barrier, but all three performed poorly in the frontal collisions with midsize cars.

Continue reading "IIHS Tests Subcompacts Against Midsize Sedans and the Results Are Not Great" »

April 14, 2009

Aston Martin Rapide Four-Door Officially Puts Out 470 HP

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Aston Martin has officially uncovered the upcoming four-door Rapide with the release of a single side image.

From the single photo, its apparent that the production version remains very close to the original show car that first appeared in 2006. One noteworthy design element is what Aston Martin refers to as "swan wing" doors. The two rear doors rise upwards and outwards as they swing open.

Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “The Rapide will be the most elegant four-door sports car in the world. It completes the Aston Martin range conveying our established attributes of Power, Beauty and Soul.

When the Rapide is finally released it will be powered by 470 horsepower 6.0L V12 engine that is mated to a Touchtronic transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels.

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Mercedes-Benz Says No to an AMG E-Class Coupe

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Mercedes has decided to not replace the CLK63 AMG.

The CLK is officially being replaced by the larger E-Class coupe in Mercedes lineup and Mercedes has stated that it has no plans to release an AMG version of the new coupe. The apparent reason has to do with the positioning of the new coupe. The E-Class coupe moves up a class from the old CLK and Mercedes feels that an E-Class AMG coupe would be too close CLS63 both in positioning and price.

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GM Reportedly Has Almost a Two Year Supply of the Pontiac G3 on Dealer Lots

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Late last year when GM announced plans to sell a Pontiac-badged version (G3) of the Korean made Chevy Aveo, many of us asked why. Well apparently car buyers have asked the same question or have at least ignored the thinky revised Chevy Aveo that is now also sitting in Pontiac showrooms as the Pontiac G3.

Last month Pontiac only sold 141 units, which means that roughly only 1 in every 19 of GM's approximately 2,700 Pontiac dealers sold a G3. To make matters worse at the end of March Pontiac dealers had 3,479 G3's in stock, which based on the current selling rate would mean that it would take 617 days to move them...almost two years!

Of course the G3 was just launched in February and sometimes it takes new models a few months to ramp up, but the news doesn't look good.

Continue reading "GM Reportedly Has Almost a Two Year Supply of the Pontiac G3 on Dealer Lots" »

April 15, 2009

Cadillac Converj Concept Given the Green Light?

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According to Motor Trend, GM has approved the Cadillac Converj Concept for production. The extended-range electric coupe is based on the same architecture that powers the Chevy Volt.

GM execs want the car on the market by 2011 as a 2012 model. In addition a source claims that GM is also working on a crossover that will use the same technology.

A GM spokesperson claims that the Converj has still not been given the green light, but sources that have talked to Motor Trend have given many details that provide more proof that it is likely to be approved.

Of course all of this could change if GM's finances don't improve.

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Opel Insignia OPC and Vauxhall Insignia VXR Unveiled with 325 HP

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Although Opel and Vauxhaull's parent company GM may be having some financial problems, Opel and Vauxhall are still moving ahead with the unveiling of the 325 horsepower Insignia.

The Vauxhall version of the hot Insignia is dubbed the Insignia VXR and the Opel version is dubbed the Insignia OPC. No matter which name the Insignia receives, both models feature the same turbocharged V6 and Nurburgring-proven chassis.

Under the hood there is a turbocharged 2.8L V6 that puts out 325 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. That's 25 more horsepower than in the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X, which uses the same engine. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual that puts the power to the ground via all four wheels. According to the automaker the car reaches 0-62 mph in 6 seconds.

Deliveries are expected to start this fall.


Continue reading "Opel Insignia OPC and Vauxhall Insignia VXR Unveiled with 325 HP" »

Fiat Could Cancel Deal With Chrysler if Labor Costs Aren't Cut

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Fiat's CEO, Sergio Marchionne has told the Globe and Mail and mail that the possible partnership with Chrysler will succeed if the automaker cannot cut labor costs.

Marchionne told the newspaper that the partnership only has a 50-50 chance because of the lack of progress in talks with union leaders. He also stated that Canadian unions have been especially resistant.

"Absolutely we are prepared to walk. There is no doubt in my mind," Marchionne said in an interview posted on the Toronto newspaper's website.

In order for the partnership to work, Chrysler's unions need to agree to labor costs that are equal to that of Japanese and German automakers.

The latest version of the proposed partnership between Fiat and Chrysler states that Fiat would take a 20 percent stake in Chrysler in exchange for the technology to make small cars and access to foreign markets. Fiat would also gain access to the US market.

Fiat and Chrysler have until the April 30th deadline to finalize the deal. If a deal is not reached Chrysler will be forced into bankruptcy. If a deal is reached the U.S. government will provide an additional $6 billion in funding.

Continue reading "Fiat Could Cancel Deal With Chrysler if Labor Costs Aren't Cut" »

April 16, 2009

GM May Kill Pontiac and GMC in an Effort to Cut Costs

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GM may be close to a June 1st bankruptcy filing if the automaker can't restructure. In an effort to show that the automaker is serious GM may kill Pontiac and GMC in an effort to further cut costs.

Killing Pontiac and GMC would eventually mean that GM would only have three brands: Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac. The Saturn, Saab and HUMMER brands are either going to be sold off or closed.

According to some sources GMC has a better chance of surviving than Pontiac.

Currently the two brands are being studied as GM tries to find a way to avoid bankruptcy.

Continue reading "GM May Kill Pontiac and GMC in an Effort to Cut Costs" »

2010 Nissan GT-R Sets New Record Lap Time of 7:27:56

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Apparently a time of 7:29 wasn't fast enough around the famed Nurburgring for the Nissan GT-R, so Nissan engineers went to work on the 2010 model to make it even faster.

The engineers returned with a 2010 GT-R which features five extra horsepower, a revised dual-clutch transmission with updated launch control, a bigger fuel tank, retuned suspension and new tires. The updates were enough to lower the time to an astonishing 7min 27.56 secs.

Nissan claims that the time was posted using a 2010 GT-R with V-spec wheels and tires. The time is still slower than the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s 7:26.40.

Continue reading "2010 Nissan GT-R Sets New Record Lap Time of 7:27:56" »

April 17, 2009

Ford Surpasses Honda In Initial Quality and Ties Toyota

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Ford has released a new study today that claims that the automaker's initial quality is better than Honda and that it is now in a tie with Toyota.

According to the 2009 U.S. Global Quality Research System (GQRS) survey conducted quarterly for Ford by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Ford is now statistically tied with Toyota at the top of the industry in initial vehicle quality.

The survey measured two things, the number of things gone wrong and customer satisfaction with vehicle quality over the first three months of ownership.

Ford's initial quality has improved five percent over last year.

Continue reading "Ford Surpasses Honda In Initial Quality and Ties Toyota" »

April 20, 2009

VW Routan Fails to Meet Sales Expectations...RIP?

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VW and Chrysler thought it would be a cool idea to take the Dodge Caravan and stick a VW front end on it and an interesting name, but apparently no one else does. Sales of the VW Routan have been so slow that it hasn't been produced since December at Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario plant.

Production isn't expected to restart since of the 22,037 Routans produced, only 5,582 have been sold.

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2010 Jaguar XF Details and Teaser Released

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Jaguar has released a teaser image of the upcoming 2010 XJ sedan that will officially be unveiled on July 9th.

The next-generation Xj will feature an aerospace-inspired aluminum body and will be available in standard and long wheelbase versions. The XJ will be powered by a series of V6 and V8 engines, including the 510-hp supercharged, direct-injection, 5.0-liter V8.

The XJ will also feature the same JaguarDrive gear selector as the XF with paddle shifters.

The 2010 Jaguar XF is expected to hit showrooms in early 2010.

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April 22, 2009

2010 Toyota Prius Starts at $21,000

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Toyota has announced the pricing for the all-new 2010 Toyota Prius that will hit showrooms late next month.

The third-generation Prius starts at $21,000 and will be offered in five trim levels.

The 2010 Prius is powered by a 1.8L Atkinson-cycle, four cylinder engine that puts out 98 horsepower. Combined with the electric motor, the new Prius puts out a combined 134 horsepower, which is 24 more than the old model. Fuel economy ratings are 51 city/ 48 highway and 50 mpg combined.

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Buick Unveils the Business Concept MPV in Shanghai

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Buick chose the Shanghai Auto Show to unveil the Buick Business Concept MPV.

The Buick Business Concept is meant to showcase Buick's future vision of "business class on the road." The MPV was developed in China by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center. Designers started with the design language that was established by the Riviera concept car and applied it to an MPV architecture.

"The Business Concept Vehicle has a grand presence and makes a strong statement when it pulls up to the front of any establishment," said Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design. "The Chinese market and business person have some unique requirements. Our team has responded with an elegant solution to their business and personal needs."

The Business Concept is powered by a 2.4L four-cylinder with direct-injection mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The concept has also been designed to accommodate the next-generation GM Hybrid system. The new system builds upon the belt-alternator-starter hybrid technology and improves fuel-economy by 20 percent.

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Ford Team Tries to Drive 1,000 Miles in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid on a Single Tank of Gas

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Ford has announced a team of drivers that will attempt to drive more than 1,000 miles in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid on a single tank of gas.

The team will drive more than 1,000 miles for more than 43 continuous hours on a single tank to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The drivers consist of Ford engineers, Wayne Gerdes and the NASCAR star Carl Edwards. The drivers will have to average at least 57 mpg in order to reach their goal. During preliminary testing engineers reached as much as 70 mpg in the Fusion Hybrid.

The 1,000-Mile Challenge starts at around 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, from Mount Vernon, Va., and ends the morning of Monday, April 27, in Washington, D.C.

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Audi Drops the 3.2L V6 from the 2010 A3, A4, and TT

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Audi has decided to not offer the 3.2L V6 in many of its models for the 2010 model year. The 2010 A3, A4 and TT will have to make due with the four-cylinder 2.0T engine.

Most A4s that currently leave dealer lots are usually equipped with the 2.0T, so its not a big surprise that Audi has decided to not offer the 250-hp V6 anymore. If you want something more powerful than the 2.0T in the A4 you will have to move up to the upcoming S4, which will be powered by same supercharged 3.0L V6 as the A6.

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April 23, 2009

Mercedes-Benz Celebrates 100 Years with a Special Edition CL550

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Mercedes-Benz unlike many other automakers hasn't changed its emblem, And to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the three-pointed star emblem, the automaker is releasing a special anniversary edition of the Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe.

Mercedes chose the CL-Class because "it has been acknowledged as a masterpiece of automobile engineering since its inception." The 382-hp special CL550 4MATIC "100 Years of Mercedes-Benz Edition" features a paint finish from the designo collection, he AMG Sports package, premium leather, black piano lacquer trim and beautifully executed emblems of the original trademarks inset into the center console.

A limited number of the special edition coupes will go on sale this summer.

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BREAKING NEWS: Pontiac Could be Dead by Monday!

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Last week it was rumored that GM could eventually kill Pontiac and GMC to cut costs. Now according to Inside Line, GM could kill Pontiac as early as this coming Monday.

Inside Line called Tom Wilkinson, news relations PR man for General Motors, who said: "There's nothing I can share with you at this time. Keep your eyes on our media site. Officially, nothing has changed with Pontiac's niche-brand status, until you hear differently."

Pontiac was officially labeled as a "niche" brand in GM's first viability plan that was released last December. According to a source GM is going to announce a "faster, deeper" reorganization plan that will likely include a death sentence for the brand that brought us the GTO, Firebird and most recently the G8.

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April 24, 2009

Lexus Announces the Pricing for the 2010 Lexus RX450h and the IS Convertible

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Lexus has announced the pricing for the 2010 Lexus RX450h and Lexus IS250C and IS350C.

The RX450h hybrid starts at $41,660 for the FWD model and the AWD starts at $43,250. The RX 450h is powered by a 3.5L Atkinson V6 engine mated to a hybrid system that puts out a total 295 horsepower. The FWD model achieves 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway while the AWD achieves 30 mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The convertible version of the IS is powered by the same 204-hp 2.5L V6 and 306-hp 3.5L V6 as the sedan. It features a three-panel roof that opens in 20 seconds. The IS250C starts at $38,490 with the six-speed manual, the IS250C with the six-speed automatic transmission starts at $39,660 and the IS350C starts at $43,940.

The IS250C and IS350C will be available in late May and the RX450h will be available in mid-summer.

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April 27, 2009

BMW and Mercedes-Benz Considering 4-Cylinders for the US

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We've been hearing rumors for a while that BMW and Mercedes-Benz are considering bringing back 4-cylinders to the US to cut their brand's overall fuel economy.

BMW is currently working on a turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder that will likely be used in the 1 and 3 Series sometime around 2012. The new four-cylinder is expected to have the similar horsepower numbers as the current in-line sixes, but with better gas mileage and lower emissions. The engine is also slated for the X1 and new X3. BMW is waiting to decide on the engine for the U.S. until Washington releases what the new fuel economy standards will be.

Mercedes-Benz hasn't released any details on what the possible 4-cylinder engines could be, although a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel was shown in the E250 Bluetech concept. A four-cylinder will most likely be offered in the C-Class and GLK within the next few years.

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GM Officially Kills Pontiac...To be Phased Out by the End of 2010!

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As was rumored last week, GM has officially announced the death of the Pontiac brand this morning.

General Motors released an updated Viability Plan this morning that focuses on speeding up the reinvention of GM's U.S. operations. GM hopes to become more leaner, more customer focused and a more cost-competitive automaker.

GM is going to continue to focus on its four core brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, which unfortunately for G8 fans means the death of Pontiac. Pontiac is going to be phased out by the end of 2010. In 2010 GM plans on offering a total of 34 nameplates, which is a reduction of 29 percent from 48 nameplates in 2008.

The updated plan also moves up the resolution of Saab, Saturn and Hummer to the end of 2009, at the latest, which is two years earlier than expected for Saturn.

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GM Launches Plan to Exchange Debt for Stock in the Struggling Automaker

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In addition to announcing the death of Pontiac, GM is launching an exchange offer with its bondholders in exchange for equity in the automaker.

GM has announced that it is offering common stock plus accrued interest in cash for $27 billion of outstanding public debt. Bond holders would own 10 percent of GM. If GM does not get enough enough tenders of notes to consummate the exchange offers by June 1, 2009, GM will seek "bankruptcy relief."

If the plan does go through bondholders will own 10 percent of GM, while the U.S. government and VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) would then own around 89 percent of GM's stock post- debt-for-equity swap. The remaining 1 percent would be owned by GM's current common shareholders.

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Spy Shots: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Gets More Coupe-Like Styling

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Over the weekend some of the best spy photos to date of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata surfaced and now today we have our first shot of the interior.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is going to feature a coupe-like roofline and more curvaceous styling than the current generation. The interior has a dual cockpit design that is similar to the Genesis Coupe. Obviously this photo of the interior is of a pre-production model. The production Sonata will have higher quality materials.

Although the new Sonata will officially be a 2011 model, you can expect an unveiling soon.

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2012 Volkswagen Mid-Sized Sedan to Start Around $20K

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VW's North American CEO, Stefan Jacoby recently revealed more info about VW's upcoming mid-sized sedan.

In an interview with Automotive News, Jacoby discussed the upcoming sedan that will be built at VW's new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The un-named sedan will hit the market in the spring of 2012 with a price tag around $20,000. It will be powered by VW's current 2.0L and 2.5L engines. No official photos are renderings of the car have been released, but the styling was finalized a few weeks ago. The car is expected to be larger and sleeker than the current Passat.

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April 28, 2009

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Manages to Get 81.5 MPG

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This past weekend a team of Ford drivers sought out to drive 1,000 miles in a 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid on a single tank of gas. Well it looks like they succeeded.

The drivers passed the 1,000 mile marker Monday morning and still managed to have more than a third of a tank of gas left. In total the drivers managed to get 1445.7 miles on a single tank, which averaged 81.5 mpg.

The event also raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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April 30, 2009

2010 Subaru Legacy Starts at $19,995

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Subaru has announced the pricing for the all-new 2010 Subaru Legacy.

The 2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5i equipped with the 6-speed manual starts at $19,995 plus a destination charge of $695, which according to Subaru is $800 less than the last year's model.

The new Legacy is larger than the outgoing model with a longer wheelbase that adds an extra four inches of rear seat legroom.

The Legacy 2.5GT that is powered by a 265-hp turbocharged engine starts at 28,690 (including dest.) For those that would rather have six-cylinders under the hood, the 265-hp Legacy 3.6R starts at $25,690, which is a $1,600 reduction over the 09' model.

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2010 Subaru Outback Starts at $22,995

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Subaru has announced the pricing for the 2010 Subaru Outback.

The 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i starts at $22,995, which is the same price as the outgoing model plus destination charges.

Just like the equally new Legacy, the new Outback is roomier with seven percent more interior volume. Rear legroom increases almost four inches and total cargo capacity is now 71.3 cubic feet, which is an increase of six cubic feet.

The Outback 2.5i is powered by a 170-hp 2.5L boxer engine that is mated to either a six-speed manual or a CVT. The Outback 2.5i equipped with the CVT starts at $23,995.

The 2010 Outback 3.6R replaces the Outback 3.0R model and features a 256-hp 3.6L boxer engine that is mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. The Outback 3.6R starts at $27,995, which is $4,000 cheaper than the old 3.0R.

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Chrysler Files for Chapter 11, but Comes to an Agreement with Fiat

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President Obama has officially announced that Chrysler will enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and on a more positive note the automaker has finally reached an agreement with Fiat and will enter into a partnership. The Chrysler and Fiat partnership will provide each automaker with access to additional markets. Additionally Fiat powertrains and technology will be produced at Chrysler plants.

"This partnership transforms Chrysler into a vibrant new company with a wealth of strategic advantages," said Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler. "It enables us to better serve our customers and dealers with a broader and more competitive line-up of environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient high-quality vehicles. Benefits to the new company include access to exciting products that complement our current portfolio, technology cooperation and stronger global distribution."

The restructuring plan is expected to last 30-60 days. Also part of the announcement is that Chrysler CEO, Nardelli is going to step down once the restructuring process is complete. Nardelli claims that leaving is his choice and that he was not asked to leave.

"Now is an appropriate time to let others take the lead in the transformation of Chrysler with Fiat," said Nardelli. "I will work closely with all of our stakeholders to see that this new company swiftly emerges with a successful closing of the alliance."

Part of the restructuring process states that most manufacturing processes will be temporarily idled starting on May 4, 2009. Production will not restart until the restructuring is complete.

Also part of the plan states that Fiat can not become a majority owner until all the government loans are repaid.

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Audi R8 Convertible Confirmed for 2011

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Audi insiders have confirmed that the automaker is working on a convertible version of the R8 supercar that will be released in 2011.

The details are scarce, but the R8 convertible is expected to have a full length convertible roof that will likely be a made of fabric since the R8's mid-engine layout leaves no room for a retractable hardtop. Audi also has a preference for soft tops.

There has been no confirmation if the R8 convertible will be powered by the R8's V8 or V10 engines.

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Now That Pontiac is Dead...Will Pontiacs Become a Collectors Item?

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The news that GM has killed Pontiac may make some of you want to rush out and buy a G8 or Solstice in the hope that it may one day become a collectors item, but you may want to rethink that.

According to General Manager Rob Huting of AutoTrader Classic, the current Pontiacs are unlikely to become significant to collectors. GM has already produced 12,000 units of the G8, which has only been on the market for a short time. Although it represents a good performance value, it is unlikely to become as collectible as say a Corvette. The same will likely go for the Solstice or any other car currently in the Pontiac lineup.

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