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August 2009 Archives

August 2, 2009

BMW Celebrates MINI's 50th Anniversary at Frankfurt

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It's MINI's 50th anniversary and BMW is set to show off two special edition models to celebrate the the event, the MINI 50 Mayfair and 50 Camden at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

In addition to the birthday editions over at the MINI stand, BMW is set to have the official world premiere of the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Additionally the full fleet of the BMW EfficientDynamics models will be shown off over at the BMW stand. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and BMW ActiveHybrid X6 will also premiere.

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Upcoming Toyota/ Subaru Coupe Loses 40 HP

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There have been so many rumors about Toyota/ Subaru's upcoming RWD coupes. The latest reports are claiming that the 086A coupe is going to get a significant power drop to make it more economical with lower emissions and to be be branded as an "eco car" in Japan.

The 2.0L boxer four-cylinder is now expected to put out around 160 hp, which is 40 less than earlier reports. Even though the engine's power is being downgraded, Toyota and Subaru have managed to cut the vehicle's weight, boosting the power-to-weight ratio. Subaru no longer sells the 2.0L boxer engine in any of its US-spec models, so hopefully the US-spec 086A will also be powered by the 2.5L instead of the de-powered 2.0L.

The coupe is expected to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this fall, but these latest reports now make it seem like the "green" movement has stepped in and the overall buyer demographic is now going to be older than originally planned. Toyota and Subaru have reportedly revised their marketing plans to target the 30-50 year old target market. Many people in this age range will probably remember the old AE86 Corolla.

The production version is expected to be released by the end of 2011.

Continue reading "Upcoming Toyota/ Subaru Coupe Loses 40 HP" »

August 3, 2009

Imrscher and GM Team Up to Create the Bumblebee Chevy Cruze

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German tuning house Irmscher has teamed up with GM to create a tribute to Transformers Bumblebee by creating a Bumblebee version of the Chevy Cruze.

The changes are only cosmetic with the body being lowered 30 mm with orange 18-inch Imscher-designed Turbo Stars wheels. There's also the orange stripes and mirrors and fog lamps. Under the hood the car is powered by the stock 1.8L mated to an automatic transmission.

The car wil make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Continue reading "Imrscher and GM Team Up to Create the Bumblebee Chevy Cruze" »

Cash for Clunkers Causes Chrysler to Run Out of Cars, Cancels Double Rebate Incentives

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Chrysler has announced that the automaker is dropping its double rebate incentive campaign, effective Tuesday. In July Chrysler announced that it would double the Cash for Clunkers rebate of up to $4,500 on eligible vehicles, which meant that on some vehicles buyers could get up to $9,000 in rebates. Of course this drove lots of traffic into Chrysler dealers and now the automaker is running out of cars.

Chrysler is changing the message "to focus less on the deal but more on the products," said Jodi Tinson, a spokeswoman for the company. The double your cash campaign "did what it needed to do" in terms of driving traffic to Chrysler dealerships, she said.

Chrysler's inventory levels are low due to long factory shutdowns, which means popular vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler Town & Country minivan are in short supply. Many Chrysler dealers are now left only with the vehicles that didn't qualify for the government's program.

Continue reading "Cash for Clunkers Causes Chrysler to Run Out of Cars, Cancels Double Rebate Incentives" »

Ford's Sales Improved 9 Percent in July Due to Cash for Clunkers

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Just as Chrysler's sales improved last month and is now running out of vehicles, Ford's sales also improved due to the Cash for Clunkers gov't program.

Ford has announced that its retail sales improved 9 percent in July thanks to the Cars Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers).

The Ford Fusion saw a 66 percent increase with the Milan up 60 percent. Ford Escape sales were up 94 percent and the Mercury Mariner saw an increase of 71 percent. Focus sales were up 44 percent as well. Ford's hybrid sales were up by 323 percent, which can largely be attributed to the new Fusion hybrid.

"We had another strong month in progress before the 'Cash for Clunkers' program started," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

"Our products, our dealers and our advance preparation enabled us to leverage the program and drive traffic and sales to another level," he added. "In addition, we achieved a sales increase even though we decreased incentive spending in an increasingly competitive environment."

Continue reading "Ford's Sales Improved 9 Percent in July Due to Cash for Clunkers" »

Domestic Automakers Nab 47 Percent of Cash for Clunkers Sales, Ford Focus Best Seller

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The government's Cash for Clunkers program has definitely given a slight jolt to the automotive industry. In less than a week the program reportedly ran out of funding that was supposed to last until November, but fortunately the government has added more money although who knows how long that will last. In the last week, 47 percent of the sales attributed to the program have gone to the Big 3. Through Saturday afternoon 80,500 transactions had taken place.

In addition to nabbing almost half of the sales, Ford can also be happy knowing that the Ford Focus was the most popular vehicle in the program.

Continue reading "Domestic Automakers Nab 47 Percent of Cash for Clunkers Sales, Ford Focus Best Seller" »

August 4, 2009

Top Ten Best-Selling Cars in July 2009 Were...

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The sales numbers for last month are just coming in and now we have the list of the top ten best-selling cars.

As expected the Ford F-150 and Toyota Camry are at the top of the list, but the surprises this time can partly be attributed to "Cash for Clunkers." The Ford Focus was the top vehicle chosen by buyers that traded in their old cars, which added it to July's top ten list. The Toyota Prius also makes an appearance at the number 10 spot.

* Ford F-Series: 36,327
* Toyota Camry: 33,974
* Honda Civic: 30,037
* Honda Accord: 29,774
* Toyota Corolla: 29,593
* Chevy Silverado: 27,617
* Ford Focus: 21,830
* Ford Escape: 20,241
* Nissan Altima: 19,252
* Toyota Prius: 19,173

Continue reading "Top Ten Best-Selling Cars in July 2009 Were..." »

August 5, 2009

GM to Move up New Model Introductions

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GM's new chairman, Ed Whitacre has announced that the automaker will release some new models sooner than originally planned to regain some of the market share that its lost.

GM is fresh out of bankruptcy, but received $50 billion in federal aid, which will help it regain some of its losses. GM's market share dropped to 18.9 percent last month down from 20.5, which was more that 50 percent decades ago.

"Our cash position is good," Whitacre said. "We have some flexibility."

Whitacre did not announce which models we can expect to see sooner, but GM's market share is expected to further erode since it is selling or phasing out the Saturn, Saab, Hummer and Pontiac brands.

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Infiniti Releases Teaser Image of 2011 M

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Inifiniti has released a single teaser image of the 2011 Infiniti M that will debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on August 14th.

The image doesn't reveal much about the next-generation M other than a more swooping design that will most likely be in line with the current G and FX vehicles.

Expect more details soon...

Continue reading "Infiniti Releases Teaser Image of 2011 M" »

BMW to Create Sub-Brand for Electric Vehicles

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BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer recently told Reuters that BMW is going to launch a series of electric vehicles under its own brand, which kills reports of a stand alone fourth brand being created.

Instead of creating a fourth brand, BMW's board has decided to create a sub-brand for the new vehicles, kind of like the M sub-brand that is used for BMW's performance vehicles.

Continue reading "BMW to Create Sub-Brand for Electric Vehicles" »

2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate Officially Unveiled

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Following yesterday's photo leakage of the 2010 E-Class Estate, Mercedes has officially unveiled more images and info about the E-Class wagon, which officially joins the sedan and coupe variants.

The 2010 E-Class Estate gets a plethora of diesel and gas powered engines for Europe, while the US reportedly must make due only with the the E350 4matic variant. An E63 Estate is reportedly in the works, but who knows if it will come to the US. Especially since most car buyers in the US aren't fond of wagons...

The interior is largely carried over from the sedan, but there is a very retro-feeling rear-facing third seat that brings up not so fond memories of 70s and 80s station wagons.

The E-Class Estate (wagon) will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Continue reading "2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate Officially Unveiled" »

August 6, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Sales Top 180,000 and Toyota Corolla Tops the List

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Sales attributed to the government's Cash for Clunkers program have topped 180,000 units. The program's existence was put in jeopardy when it blew through most of its cash within in the first week, but now it looks like another $2 billion is going to be added to the vote after a successful Senate vote. Lawmakers agreed to add additional funding to the program which should give buyers until labor day to trade in their older vehicles for new more fuel-efficient ones.

More than 80 percent of the vehicles traded in have been trucks, SUVs and vans, while 59 percent of the vehicles purchased have been passenger cars. The Toyota Corolla recently overtook the Ford Focus as the best-selling vehicle in the program. The Ford Focus holds the number two spot, while the Honda Civic comes in third.

Continue reading "Cash for Clunkers Sales Top 180,000 and Toyota Corolla Tops the List" »

August 11, 2009

2011 Chevy Volt Officially Gets 230 MPG!

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GM's CEO Fritz Henderson officially revealed the details surrounding the "230" mystery and to our surprise the marketing campaign was related to the Chevy Volt.

The EPA has developed a new methodology for determining fuel economy numbers for extended-range electric vehicles and under this new method the Volt is expected to have a urban fuel economy rating of 230 mpg. According to GM the Volt consumes 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles in a city cycle.

Production of the Volt is expected to start at the end of 2010.

Continue reading "2011 Chevy Volt Officially Gets 230 MPG!" »

GM to Release 25 New Models by 2011

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In addition to the announcement about the Chevy Volt, GM has also announced plans to introduce 25 new models between now and 2011.

Chevy is going to introduce 10 new models; Buick and GMC will also introduce 10 new models, including a a Buick plug-in hybrid compact crossover in 2011; Cadillac is introducing five new models through 2011.

One of Cadillac's new models will be a new entry-level sedan that will slot below the CTS in the lineup. The new sport sedan will be offered in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions.

"We are determined to repeat what CTS has already achieved in design, quality, driving dynamics, performance and fuel economy to grow our presence in this high-volume and highly competitive segment," Henderson said.

Continue reading "GM to Release 25 New Models by 2011" »

Toyota Boosts Production of the 2010 Lexus HS 250h

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Toyota has boosted production of the Lexus HS 250h hybrid due to strong sales in Japan. The Lexus hybrid was launched on July 14 and the automaker had only hoped to sell 500 a month, but has already received over 9,000 orders. Toyota produced 2,000 units in July, but expects to triple that number by October.

The HS 250h will launch in the US in late August or early September with a starting price of $34,200.

Continue reading "Toyota Boosts Production of the 2010 Lexus HS 250h" »

GM Unveils Bare Necessity Car and Truck Concepts with Videos

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In addition to the announcement about the Volt and the 25 new models that GM is planning on releasing, the automaker also announced the launch of "The Lab," a microsite featuring future projects by GM's Advanced Design team. The microsite currently features two new concepts that are being developed, the Bare Necessities Truck and the Bare Necessities Car.

The theme of the two concepts is to offer buyers what they want and nothing more, hence "bare necessities."

Continue reading "GM Unveils Bare Necessity Car and Truck Concepts with Videos" »

Nissan Trumps the Volt with Leaf's 367 MPG Post on Twitter

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Haha... GM announced this morning that the Volt is going to get 230 mpg and now Nissan posts that its upcoming Leaf EV is going to get 367 mpg.

"Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it'll be affordable too!"

Nissan claims its 367 mpg figure was derived by using a Department of Energy formula.

We'll have to wait and see when both vehicles are actually released.

Continue reading "Nissan Trumps the Volt with Leaf's 367 MPG Post on Twitter" »

Chevy Malibu Update Set for 2012

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The GM news just keeps rolling in.

Quite possibly one of GM's best sedans, the Chevy Malibu is set for an update in 2012. The midsize sedan is set for an update inside and out. The new Malibu will feature new powertrains and better fuel economy.

GM previewed the design of the next Malibu at its event today in Detroit. According to one on looker it has a look that is reminiscent of the Kia Forte.

The next Malibu is set to be released in 2012, likely as a 2013 model.

Continue reading "Chevy Malibu Update Set for 2012" »

August 12, 2009

2010 Nissan Sentra Gets a Facelift and New Tech Features

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Nissan has updated the Sentra for 2010 with a revised front fascia, new headlights and taillights and new wheels. Inside the stereo has been updated with a 4.3-inch screen and navigation is now a $400 option.

Although Nissan made some changes and additions to the 2010 model, the price has been lowered by as much as $1,080 on the SE-R models.

Continue reading "2010 Nissan Sentra Gets a Facelift and New Tech Features" »

Hyundai Equus Officially Headed to the US in 2010

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Hyundai has announced plans to sell its flagship sedan, the Equus in the US next year.

"We showed the car at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, and the response was fantastic," says John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Since then, we've had a fleet travelling around the country, capturing input from our dealers and consumers. Here, too, the response was extraordinarily positive, and similar to the market reaction to the award-winning Genesis, so we've decided to bring it to the U.S."

The Equus shares its platform with the Genesis and will be powered by the same 4.6L V8 when it comes to the US in late 2010.

Continue reading "Hyundai Equus Officially Headed to the US in 2010" »

August 17, 2009

Acura Releases More Info and Pics of the 2010 ZDX

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Acura has released more photos and info about the upcoming ZDX crossover.

The ZDX is powered by a 300-hp 3.7L V6 that is mated to a new 6-speed auto transmission and Acura's SH-AWD system. It gets 16/22 mpg.

The four-door sports coupe was designed in California and has interesting details such as hidden rear door handles and a panoramic glass roof with automatic sunshades. Although the ZDX has a sloping rear roof line it still manages to have 26.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat and 55.3 cubic feet with the seat folded. An integrated under-floor storage area adds an extra 2.2 cubic feet.

The ZDX is going to hit dealers this coming winter. Acura has yet to release the pricing for its newest crossover.

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Lexus Releases Teaser Sketch of Upcoming Hatchback

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Lexus has released a single teaser sketch of its upcoming hatchback that is set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The new Lexus hatch, which is expected to use the CT name, will go head to head with the BMW 1 Series, Volvo C30 and Audi A3 in Europe. It's not known if the CT will make it to the US, especially since hatchbacks don't normally sell that well here.

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August 18, 2009

Hyundai Releases Teasers of the New Tucson

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Hyundai is set to unveil the ix35 aka Tucson and a revised Santa Fe at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. We've seen spy photos of the new Tucson, but now Hyundai has officially released two renderings of it before its official unveiling.

The new Tucson was designed at Hyundai's design center in Frankfurt and embodies Hyundai's new design language "fluidic sculpture." Although the Tucson is officially being dubbed the ix35 in Europe, the Tucson name will continue in the US when the next-gen launches early next year.

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Chevy Camaro Reportedly Sells Out in Japan

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The Camaro isn't even on sale in Japan yet, but apparently it's already sold out. General Motors Asia Pacific has already received 120 orders for the new Camaro, which is the quota for the year.

Pricing has yet to be released, but its expected to range from $45,325 to $56,390. Both the V6 and V8 versions will be offered.

The Camaro is selling well in the US as well, with it outselling the Mustang the past two months.

Continue reading "Chevy Camaro Reportedly Sells Out in Japan" »

GM and Koenigsegg Come to an Agreement Over Saab Sale

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GM and Koenigsegg have announced that a deal has been finalized between the two over the sale of Saab. The deal involves a 100 percent sale of Saab to Koenigsegg by the end of the year. The final piece of the deal involves funding from the European Investment Bank in the amount of 4.3 billion kronor, which is dependent on the Swedish government.

The exact price that Koenigsegg is paying for Saab has not been disclosed, but according to sources it is very low.

Continue reading "GM and Koenigsegg Come to an Agreement Over Saab Sale" »

August 19, 2009

2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Officially Unveiled

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Porsche has unveiled the 2010 911 GT3 RS ahead of its official unveiling in Frankfurt.

The racing version of the 911 GT3 is powered by the same naturally aspirated 3.8L six-cylinder as the the regular GT3, but it has 450 horsepower, compared to 435. It also features an 8,500 rpm redline. The six-speed manual transmission has shorter ratios to give it even more speed on the track. A new option is a lithium ion battery that replaces the the conventional lead-acid battery and reduces the vehicles weight by 22 lbs.

Handling has been improved with a purpose-built PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) suspension and a wider front and rear track.

The 2010 911 GT3 RS goes on sale next spring with a starting price of $132,800.

Continue reading "2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Officially Unveiled" »

GM Kills Recently Announced Buick Crossover

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In a surprising move, GM has canceled the upcoming Buick crossover that was announced last week.

The Buick crossover would have simply been a rebadged Saturn Vue, but negative feedback from the media, GM employees and dealerships has caused GM to rethink the idea. According to Michelle Bunker, Manager of Buick Communications, the vehicle did not fit with the direction the automaker said it was taking the Buick brand.

Although the rebadged Vue is no longer headed to the Buick brand, the Vue's plug-in hybrid powertrain will continue on in another vehicle and is still on track for 2011.

At least GM is finally responding to feedback and killing vehicles that we simply don't want or need...

Continue reading "GM Kills Recently Announced Buick Crossover" »

August 20, 2009

Chrysler Changes Lifetime Powertrain Warranty to 5yr/100k Miles

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Chrysler's Lifetime Powertrain Warranty was the best warranty in the industry, but Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau has confirmed that the automaker is ditching this warranty for more conventional five-year/100,000 warranty. The main issue with the lifetime warranty was that it only applied to the original owner, once it had been sold the warranty changed to 3yr/ 36k.

Deneau stated, "The issue of transferability was something people found very appealing," he said. The lifetime powertrain warranty "wasn't as valuable to consumers as we might have hoped."

The new warranty applies to all 2010 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models (except the Sprinter van and diesel powered trucks).

Continue reading "Chrysler Changes Lifetime Powertrain Warranty to 5yr/100k Miles" »

August 21, 2009

Cash for Clunkers to End on Monday

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The government's Cash for Clunkers program is set to end on Monday.

"It's been a thrill to be part of the best economic news story in America," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Now we are working toward an orderly wind down of this very popular program."

The program is ending on Monday due to the fact that it will soon run out of money. Over 457,000 cars have been moved thanks to Cash for Clunkers with over $1.9 billion in rebates being issued.

"We expect there will be a flurry of activity over the weekend as the program comes to a close," Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of the automotive Web site Edmunds.com, said in a statement.

The Department of Transportation remains confident that the program will have enough money to survive until Monday night.

Better get out there if you plan on trading in your clunker!

Continue reading "Cash for Clunkers to End on Monday" »

Spy Shots: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Caught at a Photo Shoot?

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These spy shots may be our first look at the undisguised 2011 Hyundai Sonata. These photos were obviously taken from a photo shoot (note the cutaway).

The 2011 Sonata is definitely going after more market share in the midsize sedan segment with its new more expressive style and coupe-like roofline.

Stay tuned for the first official photos..soon.

Continue reading "Spy Shots: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Caught at a Photo Shoot?" »

August 24, 2009

Frankfurt 09' Preview: Maserati GranCabrio Unveiled

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Maserati has unveiled the Maserati GranCabrio ahead of its official unveiling at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show next month. The GranCabrio is the Maserati's first ever four-seat convertible.

Unlike most new luxury convertibles, the GranCabrio features a folding cloth top. It is powered by the 4.7L V8 with 433 horsepower from the GranTurismo S. Maserati also boasts that the GranCabrio is the convertible with the longest wheelbase on the market.

The Maserati GranCabrio will hit showrooms next spring, but stay tuned for more details next month.

Continue reading "Frankfurt 09' Preview: Maserati GranCabrio Unveiled" »

Honda to Unveil Electric Vehicle in Tokyo...On Sale in US by 2015

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Honda is reportedly working on a new electric vehicle to battle the Nissan LEAF and future Toyota EV. Although Honda has mainly focused on hydrogen powered models like the FCX Clarity, future tighter emissions standards and more demand for zero emissions vehicles may be forcing Honda to produce an EV.

Japan's Nikkei business daily claims that Honda's new EV is set for a debut in 2015, but a prototype is expected to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this October. The EV is expected to be about the size of a minicar.

Continue reading "Honda to Unveil Electric Vehicle in Tokyo...On Sale in US by 2015" »

GM Fails to Announce Winning Bidder for Opel

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GM's board declined to name a winning bidder for the Open brand last Friday as was expected. Instead the automaker decided to ask the German government more information about state financing for the buyers.

The German government has been pressuring GM to announce the sale of Opel to Magna and its Russian partners, since it would mean that more jobs would stay in Germany. Although it seems that GM is preferring a sale to Brussels-based financial investor RHJ International. So rather than announce the sale on Friday, GM's board wanted to find out how much money RHJ would get from the government if they were chosen. It's also being reported that the reason that GM is keen on selling Opel to RHJ is because it would include a buy-back option.

Either way the German government is not happy about the delay and Opel's labor leader Klaus Franz has threatened "spectacular measures" if a decision is not made this week.

Continue reading "GM Fails to Announce Winning Bidder for Opel" »

Refreshed 2010 Honda CR-V to Debut on Sept. 17th

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The current generation Honda CR-V has been a huge success for Honda and for the 2010 model year the CR-V is set to get a mild facelift. Honda's Japanese website confirms that the new CR-V will be unveiled on September 17th, which just happens to be the first day of the Frankfurt Motor Show, but it't not known if it will debut there.

From the single photo of the new CR-V on the website its obvious that the 2010 CR-V is going to get subtle tweaks to its grille and front bumper. There are also new alloy wheels, but other than that it's not known what the other changes, if any, are.

Stay tuned...

Continue reading "Refreshed 2010 Honda CR-V to Debut on Sept. 17th" »

August 25, 2009

2010 KDM Hyundai Tucson Unveiled

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Hyundai has taken the wraps off the 2010 Hyundai Tucson ix for the Korean market.

The new Tucson, which although it is dubbed the Tucson ix in Korea (ix35 in Europe), will still be named simply Tucson in the US, features all new, more upscale styling than the last gen. The Korean market has the choice of 2.0L gasoline and diesel engines that are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel engine puts out 184-hp, while the gasoline powered engine only puts out 166-hp. All-wheel-drive is only available with the diesel engine. It's not yet known what will power the US-spec Tucson.

The new more upscale styling also includes more upscale features like a panoramic sunroof, rear backup camera, Hill-Start assist.

Expect more details when the Tucson aka ix35 is unveiled in Frankfurt. The new Tucson is expected in the US sometime next year as a 2011 model.

Continue reading "2010 KDM Hyundai Tucson Unveiled" »

MINI to Unveil Crossman Crossover and Speedster This Week?

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According to sources over at MotoringFile, BMW is set to unveil two new MINI models in Frankfurt next month. The MINI Speedster concept, which is a sportier alternative to the convertible Cooper is set to be unveiled at the show. In addition, the Crossman R60 crossover is also going to be at the show.

If the guys over at MotoringFile are correct, we should expect to see an online unveiling of the two models sometime this week.

Continue reading "MINI to Unveil Crossman Crossover and Speedster This Week?" »

GM to Stop Using Corporate Logo in its Vehicles

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In a surprise move, GM has decided to stop putting the silver corporate logo on its vehicles in an attempt to emphasize the four brands that survived GM's bankruptcy.

The decision was made earlier this month and will start with the 2010 model year.

"We are just really focused on the four core brands and this provided us with another opportunity to make sure they were at the forefront," GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan said.

According to Rhadigan people outside the midwest do not always link Cadillac or Chevy with GM.

Continue reading "GM to Stop Using Corporate Logo in its Vehicles" »

Overwhelming Demand for the Lexus HS 250h May Affect US Launch

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Toyota recently launched the new Prius, which has been such a success that the automaker has run into a shortage of batteries. Now it looks like Toyota's next new hybrid the Lexus HS 250h is also running into issues due to high demand. The Lexus HS 250h is in very high demand in Japan, which may affect the supply in the US when it is launched according to Automotive News.

Toyota had originally set a goal of selling 500 units a month of the HS 250h in Japan, but due to government-backed tax breaks and sales incentives 10,000 units were ordered in the first month. Customers in Japan are now seeing a 6 month wait for the HS 250h.

The Lexus HS 250h is scheduled to hit US dealerships next month (hopefully) with a starting price of $35,075.

Continue reading "Overwhelming Demand for the Lexus HS 250h May Affect US Launch" »

Cadillac Converj May See the Light of Day

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GM showed off the Cadillac Converj concept at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, which showcased GM's plug-in technology in a luxury vehicle. Although it was designed in such a way to give way to a production version, there was opposition from the US government and within GM. The U.S. Treasury Department was opposed to the Converj due to its high costs when GM was in bankruptcy. Additionally then GM North America President Troy Clarke and Mark McNabb, who headed Cadillac, Hummer, and Saab were also against it, but both of those guys are no longer with GM.

Now that GM has emerged from bankruptcy there has been a renewed interest in the Converj, mainly thanks to Bob Lutz. The new marketing chief is reportedly trying to find a way to get the car into production. It could potentially act as a technology halo vehicle for Cadillac. If it does receive the green light it wouldn't see the light of day until around 2014.

Continue reading "Cadillac Converj May See the Light of Day" »

August 26, 2009

MINI Celebrates 50 Years...Unveils MINI Coupe Concept

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Mini is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the the public debut of the original Mini. To celebrate 50 years, Mini has unveiled the MINI Coupe Concept, which takes the Mini style even further. The MINI Coupe Concept features only two seats, but as a more speedster style than the current Mini convertible. It has a more swept back windshield and a roof design that cuts out the rear seats. The concept is 146.2" long, 66.3" wide and 53.4" tall.

The MINI Coupe Concept is designed to accommodate even the most powerful of the Mini engines, the the 1.6L twin-scroll turbocharged unit from Mini John Cooper Works. It puts out 211-hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, which can be increased to 206 lb-ft for a short period.

At this point it's not known if the MINI Coupe Concept will enter production, but it will have its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, in addition to the production version of the Mini crossover.

Continue reading "MINI Celebrates 50 Years...Unveils MINI Coupe Concept" »

Production Version of the Land Rover LRX Expected Next June

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Land Rover showed off the LRX concept at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. The two-door concept was based on the same platform as the current Freelander/ LR2. It's expected that this coming June Land Rover is going to unveil the production version to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original unveiling of the first Land Rover. The actual date is June 17th and the LRX could be positioned as the new more environmentally friendly face of Range Rover.

Sources are claiming that the small SUV will enter production in 2011 as a 2012 model. Production would take place at at Land Rover's Halewood facility in the UK, which currently produces the LR2. In addition to gasoline and diesel powered models, a hybrid may also be in the works.

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Frankfurt 09' Preview: Porsche Unveils 911 GT3 Cup

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Porsche has unveiled the new 911 GT3 Cup ahead of its official unveiling in Frankfurt.

The 911 GT3 Cup racing car is based on the 911 GT3 RS for the first time ever. It features a body that is now 1.73" wider at the rear, which provides more space for larger wheels in addition to wider wheel arches at the front. The front spoiler lip is almost 0.6" lower to provide significantly more downforce on the front axle. Downforce on the rear axle is also increased due to an enlarged rear wing.

The 450-hp 3.8L engine is borrowed from the 911 GT3 RS, which is more powerful than the previous 3.6L engine.

The 911 GT3 Cup is only available in Carrera White and will set you back 150,000 euros.

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Upcoming Prius Coupe to be Designed in Italy

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In response to the upcoming Honda CRZ hybrid, Toyota has decided to develop a coupe version of its popular Prius. According to the latest rumors the Prius coupe is being designed in Italy, by an Italian coachbuilder. The final design is expected to be very close to the current Prius.

The production version of the Honda CRZ is expected to be unveiled this fall, with sales starting early next year. Rumors are suggesting that the Prius coupe will be unveiled sometime next year.

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Cash for Clunkers Officially Ends with Nearly 700,000 Cars Traded In

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Cash for Clunkers officially ended Monday night and dealers had until Tuesday evening to file all the paperwork. This morning the Department of Transportation stated that 690,114 vehicles were traded in for new ones, which totals $2.877 billion, just under the $3 billion set aside for the program.

According to the Obama administration the program either created or saved a total of 21,000 jobs this year.

"American consumers and workers were the clear winners thanks to the cash-for-clunkers program," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

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2010 VW Polo Three-Door Diesel Gets 71 MPG (U.S.)

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VW has unveiled the three-door version of its popular Polo. For fuel conscious buyers VW is offering a new BlueMotion model, which only burns 3.3L of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers (71 mpg U.S.) The BlueMotion Polo will be available in either the three or five-door variants.

The three-door features an almost invisible B-pillar and more slender C-pillar than the five-door to give it a sportier appearance. The exterior, interior and cargo dimensions are identical to the five-door.

In total VW is offering the Polo with six engines, three gas and three diesel. An automatic 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) is also being offered for the first time.

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Spy Shots: Pre-Production Chevy Camaro Convertibles Caught in Australia

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Eight pre-production Chevy Camaro Convertibles were spotted outside of GM's Holden plant in Fisherman's Bend, Australia. Seven out of the eight convertibles are silver with tan roofs...an interesting color combination that hopefully isn't destined for the production line.

The Camaro Convertible is currently scheduled to enter production in early 2011.

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August 27, 2009

Toyota Recalls 95,700 Vehicles Due to Braking Issue in Cold Weather

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Toyota has issued a recall of 95,700 vehicles to fix an issue with the braking system that could fail in extremely cold temperatures.

The effected vehicles are the 2009 and 2010 Corolla and Matrix and 2008-2009 Scion xD models. Toyota claims that in very low temperatures condensed moisture from the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) port may seep into the brake system vacuum port and freeze. If the moisture continues to build up ice could form on the brake system vacuum port and eventually plug the vacuum port. The accumulation of ice could eventually reduce braking performance leading to longer braking distances.

Toyota dealers will install a newly designed intake air connector which relocates the brake system vacuum port. Owners in 19 of the coldest states will begin receiving the recall notices next month.

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VW Lays Out Strategy to Sell 800k Vehicles in the US by 2018

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VW's executives have laid out an extensive plan to improve its sales in the US and to eventually surpass Toyota in terms of both sales and profitability.

VW's goal is to sell 800,000 vehicles in the US per year by 2018, which is three times as much as the automaker is selling now. To do so VW is planning on introducing several new models that will be designed specifically for the US market. This includes a new 7-seater SUV, sedan and an updated version of the Beetle.

In order to improve profits, VW is going to start building more models in the US or Mexico. VW is currently spending $1 billion on a new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. that will produce a new midsize sedan in 2011. The new sedan will reportedly be larger than the current Passat, but will be priced competitively to go against the Accord and Camry.

"We want to be the No. 1 automaker globally," Stefan Jacoby, VW's North American chief said during a briefing at VW's U.S. headquarters in Virginia. "Not everybody believes in this goal. We believe in this vision we have, and we are working very hard on its realization.

VW plans to refresh its entire lineup by 2011. Additionally VW is making efforts to improve its quality.

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MINI Releases More Shots of the Coupe Concept

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Yesterday Mini released the first official images of the Coupe Concept and now we have more shots of the concept that is going to be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

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Toyota Releases Single Teaser Photo of the 2010 4Runner

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Toyota is set to release an all-new 4Runner for the 2010 model year. It's official unveiling is a month away at the State Fair of Texas on Sept 24th, but the automaker has released a single teaser photo of the new SUV.

The body-on-frame SUV is going to get all-new styling, which is more squared off than the current generation (at least what is visible from this shot). According to Toyota the fifth generation 4Runner will be "more rugged than ever." Toyota also claims that the new 4Runner will have more comfort and added roominess.

Expect more details next month.

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August 31, 2009

VIDEO: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Previewed in New Cadillac Commercial

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Cadillac has started airing a new commercial that shows off the new CTS wagon, SRX and the upcoming CTS Coupe. The CTS Coupe is currently slated for a summer 2010 release.

Enjoy...

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2009 Hyundai Genesis... Most Awarded Car of 2009

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Hyundai's newest flagship, the 2009 Genesis sedan has brought a lot of attention to the Hyundai since its launch. Much of the attention has been in the form of awards, which started with the 2009 North American Car of the Year. That was the first time a Korean brand ever received that award. After receiving the car of the year award, the Genesis has gone on to receive more than 20 top honors from publications and automotive organizations.

According to Hyundai the Genesis is "the most decorated new car launch of the 2009 model year."

"Genesis was developed to rival the world's best luxury sedans so we knew it would be a great car, but we didn't know how it would be received by the automotive community," said Scott Margason, director of Product & Strategic Planning for Hyundai. "As the awards accumulated, we realized not only how well designed the Genesis was, but how far the Hyundai brand had come. Consumers and automotive industry influencers really embraced the idea of Hyundai producing a luxury product."

Check out the full list of awards after the jump.

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