December 2009 Archives

Kia Cancels 2010 Borrego, Model Could be Dead...


Kia released the body-on-frame Borrego SUV in late 2008 as a 2009 model right when the economy started to go in the crapper. To make matters worse the summer of 2008 saw some of the highest gas prices on record, so buyers were still shying away from large SUVs. After only being on the market one year the sales of the Borrego have failed to meet expectations and Kia has announced that there will not be a Borrego for the 2010 model year.

Kia originally hoped to sell 20,000 units per year, but through the end of November, Kia has only sold 9,510 Borregos. Although there is no Borrego for 2010, Kia hasn't announced if the model is being completely killed.

GM Extends Saab Bid Deadline and Production Expected to Restart


GM originally had a deadline of December 31st to find a buyer for Saab, but on December 18th GM announced that talks with Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars had failed and the brand would be killed. Two days later Spyker submitted a new offer to buy Saab, which has yet to be decided upon. Spyker Cars Chief Executive Victor Muller has now stated that GM has extended the deadline until January 7th.

Saab spokesman Eric Geers said "We have the orders and we have to deliver them as usual. We also have the orders for the 9-3 and others. The factory has to continue again." He also stated "We are preparing the wind-down process. At the same time we are open to options, to bids that come in. Therefore the deadline has also been dropped."

If Saab does eventually die 3,400 workers in Sweden will lose their jobs.

For the most part badge engineering is pretty lame and rarely is it entirely successful. Well Aston Martin is moving forward with its rebadged Toyota iQ, the Cygnet. Were all used to Aston Martin's beautiful super cars with pricing that many of us could only hope to achieve one day, well the Cygnet is priced many thousands less than anything in Aston martin's current lineup, something that is sure to piss off many Aston Martin owners.

When Aston Martin unveiled the Cygnet concept car many of us thought it was a joke, but sadly it's not and the automaker plans on introducing the rebadged Toyota sometime in 2010.

Ulrich Bez, chief executive of Aston Martin descibed the Cygnet as "This concept is akin to an exclusive tender for a luxury yacht." Pricing is expected to be around £20,000 (about $35,000). But just in case some of you thought it would be cool to own it, you better also have another Aston Martin your garage. The Cygnet is only available to current Aston Martin owners. It's also not expected to come to the U.S.

Detroit's automakers have been focusing more on fuel-efficient small cars lately, but more than 20 percent of their sales still come from full-size trucks. Additionally even with competition from Toyota and Nissan, Detroit's Big 3 hold 91 percent of the market.

"There is still that one stronghold left over," said Jesse Toprak, auto analyst for "It is important -- at least in the interim -- that the domestics experience strong truck sales because it generates cash."

Full-size trucks could help play a role in the recovery of Detroit's Big 3, especially once the housing market rebounds, thanks to the construction industry. Although full-size trucks account for 20 percent of their sales, sales have dropped 31.2 percent this year. The automakers and dealers are hoping for a rebound next year.

GM Offering Big Incentives on Remaining Saturns and Pontiacs


Now that GM has officially killed Saturn and Pontiac there is a good chance that you can get a good deal on the few remaining models at your local dealer. According to The Wall Street Journal GM is offering dealers incentives to speed up the sale of the remaining vehicles.

The latest reports claim that GM sent a letter to Saturn and Pontiac dealers offering them up to $7,000 per vehicle that is moved to rental-vehicle or service-vehicle fleets. This means that the remaining vehicles would first be owned by the dealer making them "used", but then the dealer could then sell them at a deeper discount.

The deal has an expiration date of January 4th, the last last day of the December car sales month.

2011 sees the return of the 5.0L V8 in the Mustang GT. After a series of embargo leaks, Ford has officially unveiled the changes to the 2011 Mustang GT.

First off the 2011 Mustang GT is now powered by an all-new 412 horsepower 5.0L V8 wth 390 lb-ft. of torque that is mated to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy is expected to be better than the old engine with 25 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission.

"This all-new 5.0-liter engine is the next chapter in the development of the world-class Mustang powertrain portfolio," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "It's a thoroughly modern engine for the times, delivering the performance and fun-to-drive factor that enthusiasts want, while improving fuel economy."

The other changes to the 2011 GT include new 5.0 fender badges and three new colors.Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red and Ingot Silver. A Brembo brake package is also available which includes 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500 Mustang, unique 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires.

Ford has announced this morning that all terms with relating to the sale of Volvo Cars to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited have been settled. There is still more work to be done to complete the sale though. Ford anticipates that the final agreement will be signed by both parties in the first quarter of 2010 and the sale should be complete by the second quarter.

Although Ford will officially be selling Volvo, Ford still intends on working closely with Volvo in the future.

Expect more details soon...

Aston Martin One-77 Exceeds Expectations by Reaching 220 MPH


Aston Martin has announced that the One-77 has surpassed expectations by breaking the 200 mph mark. In fact it actually reached 220 mph moving it closer to setting an all-time record for Aston Martin. Aston Martin is going to continue testing it into the new year.

The One-77 is powered by a 7.3-liter V12 with over 700 horsepower mated to a six-speed transmission. Aston Martin expects deliveries of the 77 units to start in mid-2010.

Acura NSX May be Dead but it Lives on as the HSV-10 GT Racecar


Sadly the Honda/ Acura NSX is dead, but it's going to live on as a front-engined race car, the HSV-10 GT in Japan's SuperGT championship.

The HSV-10 GT has been built to the 2010 GT500 regulations and is powered by a 500+ HP 3.4L V8 mated to a Ricardo sequential manual gearbox. Fortunately Honda had been working on the basis for this race car for two years. It's just sad that we won't ever see the actual NSX version.

Honda has yet to release the official specs for the HSV-10 GT (Velocity Sports Honda.)

Spyker Extends its Offer for Saab "Until Further Notice"


Over the weekend Spyker submitted a new proposal that addressed 11 of the issues that made the earlier discussions fail, ultimately leading to GM's announcement to kill Saab. It's new proposal had an expiration date of today at 5 pm ET, but Spyker has released a short press release stating that the offer has been extended until further notice.

GM has been in discussions with Spyker, but no details have been released.

Saab lovers there might still be hope...

480-HP BMW Z4 GT3 Coming in the 2nd Quarter of 2010


BMW Motorsport has announced the the BMW Z4 GT3, which joins its lineup of racing vehicles.

The BMW Z4 GT3 will be powered by a more powerful version of the M3's 4.0L V8 mated to a sequential six-speed transmission. It's expected to put out approximately 480 horsepower. The BMW Z4 GT3 also features wheels with locking and safety clips, as well as racing ABS and optional air conditioning.

The BMW Z4 GT3 in its racing version is available from the second quarter of 2010 at an estimated price of 298,000 Euro.

2011 Toyota Sienna Starts at $24,260


Toyota has announced the pricing for the 2011 Toyota Sienna, which will be in dealerships in February. The base Sienna powered by the 2.7L four-cyl starts at $24,260.

The 2011 Sienna is available with either a 187-hp 2.7L four-cylinder or 266-hp 3.5L V6. The V6 powered models will be available in February, with the four-cyl equipped models showing up in April. Pricing ranges from $24,260 to $39,770 for the Sienna Limited all-wheel-drive (AWD) V6. The new "sporty" SE model starts at $30,550. All-wheel-drive continues to be available even though only a very small percentage of buyers actually opt for it.

BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Concept Could be Unveiled in Geneva


Now that BMW has officially launched the ActiveHybrid 7 and the ActiveHybrid X6, the next model to receive a hybrid powertrain is the new 5 Series. According to BMWBlog, BMW is going to unveil a concept version of the ActiveHybrid 5 at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

The ActiveHybrid 5 will not use the same V8 powered system as the ActiveHybrid X6, instead it's expected to be powered by a 218 horsepower six-cylinder engine mated to a 40 horsepower electric motor.

A production version is due by the end of next year.

On Friday GM announced that it would be winding down the Saab brand in January after talks with both Spyker and Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg failed. Now Spyker has announced today that the car maker has submitted another bid for Saab.

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller stated that the company submitted a new proposal to GM that addressed the issues that were holding up the deal. "Despite our collective 11th-hour set-back, we are returning to the table with a renewed offer, that addresses every known issue brought to light during the initial negotiations and that has the full backing of the Saab management," Muller said in a statement.

If the Saab brand does die approximately 3,400 jobs will be lost. After Friday's announcement it was also reported that the Swedish government was holding emergency meetings to address the issue.

The new proposal from Spyker has an expiration date of Monday at 5pm ET.

Rather than unveil another Toyota in Aston Martin digs (see Cygnet), Aston Martin has released limited-edition versions of the V12 Vantage and DBS. The Carbon Black V12 Vantage and DBS are painted in a Carbon Black metallic paint especially formulated with a subtle metallic twist to create a deep rich patina. Each car requires 50 man-hours of paint time.

Inside the seats are made from carbon fiber and Kevlar saving 17 kg over the standard seat. The seats are covered in Obsidian Black leather with silver stitching and the dashboard and center console trims are finished in piano black.

The Carbon Black Editions of the V12 Vantage and DBS are expected to cost 5% more than the regular versions.

2011 Ford Mustang GT to be Powered by 412-HP 5.0L V8


Ford already unveiled the changes to the V6 powered Mustang for 2011, but Mustang fans have been eagerly awaiting the news of what's in store for the Mustang GT. Ford is going to unveil the 2011 Mustang GT in Detroit next month, but according to Inside Line the Mustang GT is going to be powered by a 412 horsepower 5.0L V8. In comparison the Camaro SS puts out 421 horsepower and the Challenger STR8 puts out 425 horses.

Stay tuned for more details from the show next month.

Breaking News: Saab Sell Falls Through, Brand to Wind Down


GM has officially announced the death of the Saab brand. In what is going to be a sad day for all the Saab lovers out there, GM has announced that the talks with Spyker to acquire the brand have ended, leaving no other suitors. Last month Koenigsegg unexpectedly withdrew its bid for the brand.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution," said GM Europe President Nick Reilly. "We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers."

Four-Cyl 2010 Buick LaCross CX Starts at $26,995


GM has announced the pricing for the 2010 Buick LaCrosse that is equipped with the direct-injection 2.4L four-cylinder engine. The 2010 LaCrosse CX starts at $26,995.

"We're pleased to announce a competitive price for this new engine," says Craig Bierley, Buick's product marketing director. "New customers have been attracted to the LaCrosse by its sculpted design and luxurious interior, and now the new 4-cylinder engine gives fuel-conscious customers a new choice not even offered by our competitors."

The 2.4L four-cylinder puts out 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft. of torque. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is expected to get 30 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in the city.

Buick expects about 25 percent of customers will opt for 2.4L-equipped models.

Back in September Volvo unveiled a C30 prototype with an electric powertrain. Next month at the Detroit Auto Show Volvo is going to unveil complete electric powered C30. It features both a complete interior and full instrumentation, as well as enhanced battery packaging.

"The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues. We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30's cool and fun-to-drive personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product," says Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

The next step in the process is to build 50 of the electric C30s in 2010 that will be driven over the next two years.

Land Rover Releases the 2010 Freelander 2 Sport for the UK

If you live in the UK and like the Land Rover Freelander, Land Rover has just unveiled the 2010 Freelander 2 Sport.

The "sport" version of the Freelander features an exterior that comes in either Santorini Black or Lago Grey with color keyed trim, a rear spoiler and 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside there is a two-tone interior trim in contrasting Ebony and Storm. You can choose between a full leather interior or a cloth/leather setup.

The Freelander 2 Sport is powered by a 2.2L TD4 diesel power unit. It goes on sale in January 2010 with a starting price of £26,695.

GM Unveils the 2011 GMC Acadia Denali


GM has unveiled the first ever GMC Denali crossover, the 2011 GMC Acadia Denali.

The 2011 GMC Acadia Denali stands out from the rest of the Acadia lineup with a mono-color exterior and chrome honeycomb grille, a feature on all GMC Denali models. The exterior also features unique lower front and rear fascias, HID headlamps, Denali badges and 20-inch chrome wheels and dual chrome exhausts.

Inside there are perforated leather seats, heated and cooled driver and passenger seats, the Dual SkyScape sunroof system, Tri-zone automatic climate control, Rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a rear view camera, etc.

The Acadia Denali is powered by a 3.6L direct injection V-6 engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2011 GMC Acadia Denali will be available in the third quarter of 2010.

BMW has announced the return of the 740i and 740Li models for the 2011 model year.

The 2011 740i and 740Li will be powered by BMW's twin-turbocharged inline-six with 315 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 330 lb-ft of torque from 1600-4500 rpm. The six-cylinder is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Both models will be available in the spring of 2010.

VW unveiled the Amarok pickup truck earlier this month. The body-on-frame truck is powered by a 2.0L turbo diesel with 163-hp and 295 lb-ft. of torque that helps it tow 5,600 pounds. There has been a lively debate about if the car should be sold in the US, since right now VW only plans on selling it in in South America, Australia, South Africa and Europe.

Well VW President and CEO, Stefan Jacoby has stated how many units VW would have to sell in the US to make it worthwhile.

"We'd have to sell at least 100,000 Amarok pickups to make it feasible," said Jacoby.

That basically means that the Amarok has no chances of coming here. The best-selling Toyota Tacoma is the only truck in that segment to sell over 100,000 units. Through November, 102,327 Tacomas have been sold. The next best-seller the Ford Ranger has sold only 51,097 units year-to-date.

The compact pickup segment is declining," said Jacoby. "Consumers are going to big pickups, which is a very traditional conservative segment. A lot of our competitors have burned their fingers in it as late entries."

"Before we could bring [the Amarok] here we'd have to do a lot of homework," said Jacoby. "But we have other vehicles to bring into this market first. Once we do that, we can talk about the Amarok."

Justin Timberlake Becomes Audi's Brand Ambassador


Audi has just announced that ex-N'SYNC member, Justin Timberlake is going to become the brand ambassador for Audi in 2010.

Justin Timberlake is expected to play a key role in the launch of the Audi A1 next spring.

"Audi has always been at the forefront of engineering and technology", says Timberlake, "and I am very excited to be a part of the next evolution conscience with Audi and the A1".

The latest reports are claiming that the US will not be receiving the new A1, but who knows...

Aston Martin Releases the First Official Photos of the Cygnet


It's not a joke. Aston Martin has taken a Toyota iQ and modified it to create the Cygnet.

To create the Cygnet concept, Aston Martin took the familiar styling cues from the other Aston Martin models like the DBS and upcoming Rapide and applied them to Toyota's tiny iQ. For now the car remains purely a concept, but Aston Martin hopes to have a production version ready for European customers in 2010.

BMW and Audi are both ditching their large displacement engines for small more efficient engines with turbos, well it looks like Mercedes-Benz is also about to follow the trend. The latest reports are claiming that Mercedes-Benz is going to replace the 6.2L V8 it currently offers in its AMG models with a turbo-charged 5.5L.

Daimler AG Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development board member Dr. Thomas Weber recently revealed to Inside Line that the 5.5L V8 will replace the 6.2L by the end of next year. Weber didn't provide any specifications of the new engine. He also stated that other all 2011 V8 powered Mercedes-Benz models will use smaller turbocharged V8s.

Detroit 10' Preview: MINI Beachcomber Concept Unveiled


We're still waiting for the upcoming MINI crossover, but in the mean time MINI is set to unveil the Beachcomber concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The Beachcomber concept is based on the new crossover, but features styling that is similar to a Jeep Wrangler with its missing doors and open top design.

If you can think all the back to 1964, for those of us that were alive back then, MINI did have an open air vehicle dubbed the Mini Moke. That original open air vehicle which consisted of only a floorpan, wide sills at the side, the engine compartment lid and the windscreen serves as the inspiration for the Beachcomber concept.

It is very unlikely that this concept will ever be produced, but the all-wheel-drive system and turbocharged four-cylinder featured in the concept are likely to be part of the upcoming MINI crossover.

It's going to be freezing in Detroit next month for the Detroit Auto Show, but Mercedes-Benz has chosen the show as the official unveiling of the 2011 E-Class Cabriolet.

The replacement for the CLK Cabriolet is based on the E-Class coupe and can be powered by either a 268-hp 3.5L V6 in the E350 or a 382-hp 5.5L V8 in the E550. Although the trend has been for new convertibles to feature folding hardtops, the E-Class Cabriolet sticks to the soft top. The soft top only takes 20 seconds to open or close and it can be operated at speeds up to 25 mph. One of the benefits of a soft top is that it takes up less truck space. With the top up the cabriolet has 13.8 cu. ft. of space and with it down truck space is only decreased by 3.17 cu. ft.

The cool feature of the new cabriolet is a new AIRCAP system which consists of a wind deflector that can be extended by around 2.4 inches with a net in the windscreen frame and a draft-stop between the rear seats. According to Mercedes-Benz the system reduces interior noise and can be activated at speeds up to 100 mph. The AIRSCARF system acts like an invisible scarf by keeping passengers head and neck warm when the top is down. The system is in the back of the front headrests and provides warm air through air outlets.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet will be available in May 2010.

Volvo has announced the pricing for the refreshed 2011 C30 T5 and the sportier C30 R-Design. The 2011 Volvo C30 T5 starts at $24,600, while the C30 R-Design starts at $26,950.

The 2011 C30 gets a new front end including a new nose, front fenders, grille, headlights and lower front spoiler. The rear of the C30 gets a facelift as well. Both models are powered by the same turbocharged 227 horsepower inline 5-cylinder engine. The R-Design model gets a stiffer suspension thanks to stiffer bushings, roll stabilizers and springs. The R-Design model also gets a full body kit that is body colored to give the impression that the car has actually been lowered more than the actual 10 mm.

Detroit 10' Preview: Toyota to Debut Dedicated Hybrid Concept


Toyota has just announced that the automaker is going to unveil a new dedicated hybrid concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Toyota didn't release any details about the concept, but since its being labeled as a "dedicated hybrid concept" it will not be a hybrid version of anything currently in Toyota's lineup. It could however be a concept version of the upcoming Prius coupe or a wagon that has been rumored.

Porsche Produces its 10,000th Panamera


It's only been available for three months, but Porsche has already produced the 10,000th Panamera at its Leipzig plant.

Porsche has already received 9,000 orders for the four-door Panamera and the automaker is planning on producing 20,000 units per year. The 10,000th Panamera was a platinum silver metallic Panamera Turbo headed to Singapore.

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid to be Released in 2011


At the LA Auto Show earlier this month Toyota officially unveiled a plug-in hybrid version of its popular Prius. Toyota's Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamad recently stated that Toyota is going to start selling plug-in hybrids to consumers in 2011.

Before they are released to the buying public, Toyota is going to deliver 600 Prius plug-in hybrids to government agencies, corporations, universities and research agencies. The Prius plug-in is Toyota's first application of a lithium-ion battery. Thanks to the stronger battery, the car can travel up to 13 miles on electricity alone and reach speeds up to 60 mph using only the electric motor.

When BMW introduced the new Z4 roadster this year, the automaker stated that unlike the last generations, there would not be an M version of the new Z4. At launch Z4 buyers could choose between the sDrive30i or sDrive35i models. Well BMW has just announced the addition of the new sDrive35is model for the 2011 model year.

The 2011 Z4 sDrive35is is based on the sDrive35i with its twin turbocharged 3.0l inline six-cyl engine. But in the sDrive35is the engine features increased air intake flow and increased boost pressure to release more power. The horsepower rating has been bumped up to 335 and torque is now at 332 lb-ft. The Z4 sDrive35is can reach 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. The more powerful engine is mated to a standard 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The Z4 sDrive35is also comes standard with the M Sports Package including the M Aerodynamics Package and adaptive M Suspension, which lowers the ride height by almost 0.4 inches.

The 2011 Z4 sDrive35is will arrive in spring 2010.

Refreshed 2010 Acura MDX Starts at $42,230


Acura has announced the pricing for the refreshed 2010 MDX.

The 2010 Acura MDX, which is now available has a starting price of $42,230. At first glance the 2010 MDX doesn't look much different from the 09' model. But Acura has changed the front and rear to give it a more aggressive stance. It's immediately noticeable that the front now has a grille that is similar to the rest of the Acura lineup. In addition to the changes to the front grille, tailpipes and taillights, there are also new wheels. Under the hood the MDX benefits from a new 6-speed automatic transmission. The MDX is still powered by the same 300 horsepower 3.7L V6.

Inside there's a new sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, new gauges, and upgraded trim.

The 2010 MDX is available in five trim levels starting at $42,230 and topping out at $53,755.

2011 Mazda MX-5 to Get SKY-G Engine and 50 MPG


According to the guys over at Inside Line, Mazda has some big changes in store for the next generation MX-5.

The 2011 MX-5 roadster is expected to be smaller than the current model and only weigh around 2,200 pounds. Mazda introduced its new SKY-G engine at the Tokyo Motor Show anda version of that engine is expected to be under the hood of the next MX-5. The engine unveiled in Tokyo was a small 1.3L engine is expected to get over 50 mpg without the use of hybrid or diesel technology. It's not known if the MX-5 will get a 1.3L or 1.5L version of the SKY-G engine.

Volkswagen and Suzuki Announce Partnership


Volkswagen and Suzuki have announced a new partnership which sees VW buying 19.9% of Suzuki. Suzuki will then take half the money it receives from VW and return the favor by buying VW shares.

Although the new partnership involves VW buying almost 20 percent of Suzuki, both automakers will remain independent. The partnership will allow both automakers to collaborate on smaller vehicles.

2011 Honda CR-Z JDM-Spec Brochure Leaked


The guys over at Temple of VTEC have received some photos of a JDM-spec 2011 Honda CR-Z brochure. The photos give us our first look of the Honda CR-Z hybrid, which is expected to go on sale in the US in the second quarter of 2010.

The 2011 Honda CR-Z in JDM-spec will be powered by a 1.5L with 112 horsepower that is mated to a 14 hp electric motor for a total of 128 horsepower. The engine also puts out 107 lb-ft of torque with the electric motor contributing another 57 lb-ft. The engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or CVT transmission. The small hybrid is expected to reach 0-62 mph in 9.7 seconds.

The exterior dimensions have not changed much from the concept version at 160.6 inches long, 68.5 inches wide, 54.9 inches tall.

2010 Hyundai Tucson Starts at $18,995


The all-new 2010 Hyundai Tucson is about to start appearing in dealer showrooms and Hyundai has now officially announced its pricing. The 2010 Tucson has a starting price of $18,995.

For $18,995 you will get the base GLS model with a manual transmission and front wheel drive. There are only two trims available, GLS and Limited. The Limited model starts at $24,435. The top of the line Tucson Limited with Premium Package and all-wheel-drive lists for $28,695.

The 2010 Tucson will initially only be available with a 2.4L four-cylinder, a smaller 2.0L will join the lineup later. The 2.4L can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

"The 2010 Tucson truly delivers unprecedented value by raising the bar on performance, fuel economy and design while maintaining a very affordable price," said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "For 2010, the most popular Tucson offers 26 percent more horsepower, about 20 percent better combined fuel economy, standard six-speed transmission and the list goes on - all at the same price point as the previous generation Tucson."

2011 Aston Martin Rapide Starts at $199,950


Aston Martin has announced the starting price for the 2011 Rapide four-door, which will hit dealerships next spring.

The 2011 Rapide has a starting price of $199,950. It will be the first sports car to be hand-built at the Aston Martin Rapide Plant in Graz, Austria. Aston Martin is predicting that about 2,000 Rapides will be produced in its first year.

2010 Hyundai Tucson Impresses


In addition to the striking new 2011 Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai has unveiled the next-generation 2010 Tucson.

The 2010 Hyundai Tucson is a welcome departure from the current generation. The new Tucson, which was designed by Hyundai's Frankfurt-based European design studio is a much better looking crossover than the one it replaces. The 2010 Tucson is only marginally bigger than the last-generation. Its 3.3 inches longer and one inch wider but manages to weight 61 pounds less. It is now the lightest crossover in its class.

The Tucson is powered by Hyundai's Theta II 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine. It puts out 176-hp and 168 lb-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The Tucson has a 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway fuel economy rating when mated to the six-speed automatic.

The 2010 Tucson will be arriving in dealer showrooms in the next few weeks.

2011 Ford Fiesta Starts at $13,320, Ford is Taking Orders Now


Ford officially unveiled the 2011 Ford Fiesta at the LA Auto Show yesterday and now all the pricing details have been posted on Ford's website.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta starts at $13,320 and is available in four and five-door body styles. It's powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder that gets up to 40 mpg on the highway.

Now the Fiesta is listed on Ford's website you can build the Fiesta to your personal tastes. The cheapest Fiesta is the four-door sedan at $13,320. If you want the five-door hatchback it starts at $15,120. The hatchback equipped with Ford's new dual-clutch automatic transmission starts at $16,190 and the SES model starts at $17,120. A fully loaded Fiesta will cost you over $20k.

If you decide to reserve your Fiesta before it goes on sale Ford will throw in no charge SYNC with navigation, premium sound and a VIP customer service experience.

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that some of the production of the next generation C-Class will be shifted to its Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant.

Partial production of the next C-Class, due in 2014 will take place at the plant in Alabama that also currently produces the M-Class, R-Class and GL-Class models. The shift will only account for one-fifth of global C-Class production, but it will help Mercedes-Benz offset currency rates and increase profitability. It will also enable Mercedes to fulfill regional customer requirements even faster and more flexibly.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars stated, "This decision will also help to protect employment at our sites in Germany over the long term. Germany is and will remain at the heart of our production network."

Mitsubishi Unveils RVR Crossover, Headed to the US Soon


Mitsubishi has unveiled a new small crossover, dubbed the RVR that is set to go on sale in Japan in the spring of 2010.

The RVR will be powered by a 1.8L MIVEC 4-cyl. It is smaller than the midsize Outlander, but shares Mitsubishi's distinct nose. The RVR is set to be released in the North America as well, but a date has not been given. It's also not known what the crossover will be called here.

The small car segment is getting much more interesting with the introduction of the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Cruze and now the Mazda2. Mazda officially unveiled the 2011 Mazda2 today at the LA Auto Show.

The Mazda2 shares its platform with the Ford Fiesta, which is a good thing considering that the Fiesta is the best-selling car in Europe. The Mazda2 was originally launched in Europe and Japan a few years ago and at the time the media wished that Mazda would bring it to the US. Well our prayers have been answered. The Mazda2 will officially be available in the summer of 2010.

Mazda has unveiled what the Mazda2 will look like when it is released next year, but the automaker did not provide any details of what lies beneath the hood or the interior.

LA 2009: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Throws out the Bland


We've already seen photos of the new Hyundai Sonata mainly in Korean-spec. Hyundai has officially unveiled the 2011 Sonata at the LA Auto Show.

Right off its clear that the new Sonata is a huge departure from the last generation. The new Sonata features a new, much sexier exterior that draws inspiration from the Volkswagen CC and Mercedes CLS. The three-box design of the fifth-generation Sonata has been replaced by a car with a more coupe-like roofline.

Under the hood the big change is that a V6 engine will not be offered. At launch the only engine that will be offered is the recently announced 2.4-liter direct injected four-cylinder. 90% of the previous Sonatas were sold with four-cylinder engines, so it makes some sense that Hyundai has decided to fore go the V6 with this generation. In GLS and Limited trims the four-cylinder puts out 198 hp and 184 lb-ft. or torque. The SE model gets dual tailpipes and an extra two horsepower and 2 lb-ft. of torque. Hyundai estimates that the 2011 Sonata will get 23 mpg city and 35 mpg compared to 22/32 mpg for the 2010 model.

LA 2009: 2011 Toyota Sienna Tries to be Sportier


Here it is...the all-new 2011 Toyota Sienna. Before you just dismiss it as another boring minivan, take a closer look. Toyota has gone to great lengths to make the third-generation Sienna "sportier". Just take one look at the SE model with its body kit, 19-inch wheels, and tighter suspension.

The 2011 Sienna looks like Toyota fused the last generation Sienna with the Venza. The non-SE Sienna now features a front grille that is very similar to the Venza's. Under the hood there are now two option choices: the 3.5L V6 remains with 266 hp, but now there is an available 2.7L four-cylinder with 187 horsepower. The 2.7L gets 19/26 mpg compared to 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the V6. All-wheel-drive is still available, but only with the V6 engine.

Inside the Sienna can seat up to eight passengers. Second row passengers will now be able to relax thanks to the integrated retractable leg rests. There's also an available 16-inch dual-view LCD screen for the rear seat entertainment system.

The 2011 Sienna will come in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. It will be available in February 2010.

GM Has No Plans for a Cadillac CTS Convertible

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GM has officially unveiled the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe, the third model of the CTS lineup. The CTS Coupe is going to also be offered in the CTS-V variant as well, but the latest reports are claiming that GM has no plans for a convertible.

Inside Line is reporting that they received an inside scoop that GM has no plans for a convertible and that the introduction of the coupe will complete the CTS lineup.

2011 Bentley Mulsanne Starts at $285,000


Bentley has announced the pricing for the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne that will go on sale in Fall 2010.

Bentley's newest flaghship, the Mulsanne has a starting price of $285,000. Of course once you start selecting options it will be over $300K. It is powered by a 6.75-liter V8 engine with 505 horsepower and 725 lb-ft of torque that is mated to an eight speed automatic transmission.

"Even at this very early stage, the expression of interest we've received easily exceeds our 2010 production targets. Mulsanne's credentials are a pure expression of Bentley design and craftsmanship, and that's struck a chord with Bentley enthusiasts as well as many of the potential customers we have welcomed for tours in Crewe this year. We've been encouraged by the positive commentary, notably from our American customers as the Mulsanne was privately previewed in seven metro markets across the country."

LA 2009: 2010 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Debuts

Toyota has taken the wraps off the 2010 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which is debuting at the LA Auto Show. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is based on the third-generation Prius and features the introduction of a first generation lithium-ion battery. When the battery is fully charged the vehicle is capable of going up to 13 miles on battery power alone and reaching up to 60 mph in electric-only mode. On longer trips the Prius PHV reverts to "hybrid mode" and operates like a regular Prius.

Beginning this month 350 Prius Plug-in hybrids will begin delivery in Japan and Europe in support of model programs with business and government partners aimed at raising societal awareness of, and preparedness for, this important new technology. Early next year 150 vehicles will arrive in the U.S. where they will be given to select partners for analysis and demonstrations.

"This program is a necessary first step in societal preparation, in that it allows us the unique opportunity to inform, educate and prepare customers for the introduction of plug-in hybrid technology," said Irv Miller, TMS group vice president, environmental and public affairs. "When these vehicles come to market, customers must understand what to expect and if this technology is the right fit for them."

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars in November 2009 Were....


November 2009 is officially over and luckily for most automakers the huge declines that were experienced earlier in the year leveled off with a pretty flat month in sales. Hyundai, Subaru and Nissan all saw gains with 46 percent, 24 percent and 21 percent respectively.

It's no surprise that the top two vehicles are the Ford F-Series followed by the Toyota Camry. Overall the list of top ten best selling vehicles last month is pretty much the same as its been most of the year, with the order just changing a little bit. Note that the Honda Civic dropped all the way to the number 10 spot last month.

Check out the full list after the jump.

GM has just confirmed this morning that the launch of the upcoming Chevy Volt will commence in California, late next year.

"It is natural that California is the lead market for Volt. Not only is it the largest automotive market, Californians are known to be leaders in adopting groundbreaking new technologies," said Brent Dewar, GM vice president, Global Chevrolet Brand.

GM is also partnering with three California utilities (Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and Sacramento Municipal Utility District) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as part of the roll out. The partnership will provide an extended, real-world demonstration and research program to introduce customers to electric vehicles. GM is going to supply 100 Volts to program participants to use in their fleets for two years.

LA 2009: 2010 Infiniti G37 Gets a Refresh

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Infiniti has unveiled the changes to the 2010 G37, which has gotten a midlife facelift.

The changes for the 2010 G37 include a new front grille, fog light clusters and a restyled rear bumper in addition to new 17-inch wheels. Inside there are a few tweaks as well, which include new white gauges, center console, aluminum trim and leather seats. The navigation system gets a new display screen and now also features NavWeather with Real-Time Weather and 3-day forecast, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth and Zagat Restaurant Guide.

The G37 is powered by a 3.7L V6 with 328 horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

2011 Ford Fiesta for the US Finally Unveiled


It's finally here, Ford has officially unveiled the US-spec version of the 2011 Fiesta.

As expected the US version of the Fiesta is pretty much identical to the version our friends in Europe get. The main distinction between the two is noticeable from the front where the body color grille of the Euro version has been replaced by the chrome three bar grille. Personally I think the Euro grille looks better, but I guess Ford knows better. In addition to the new grille are new LED light strips that are where the fog lights are on the Euro version. The fact that the lights are surrounded by a large chrome backdrop is off putting. Also what if buyers want fog lights? There were also some changes on the inside to the dashboard and seats.

Once you get past the few cosmetic changes, the US-spec Fiesta is pretty much the same as the Euro version, which is a good thing. The Fiesta is powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder with 119 horsepower and 109 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a five-speed manual or a new six-speed PowerShift electronic dual clutch automatic transmission. Unfortunately Ford isn't going to offer paddle shifters with the dual clutch transmission. On the plus side Ford claims that the Fiesta will get 40 mpg on the highway when its equipped with the dual clutch transmission. Ford also claims that the US-Spec Fiesta will be just as fun to drive as the Euro version and will best the Honda Fit.

The 2011 Fiesta will be offered in four and five-door body styles when it is released next year.

Breaking News: GM's CEO Fritz Henderson Steps Down


Wow that was fast! GM's CEO Fritz Henderson has stepped down. This has been quite a year for GM, since this is now the second CEO that GM has lost this year.

It's not exactly known why Henderson has stepped down, but the past few months GM has had a rough time offloading Opel, Saab and Saturn. All three deals that were expected to conclude fell through. It's also being reported that there was some clashing between Henderson and Chairman Ed Whitacre.

Chairman Ed Whitacre is going to act as the interim CEO until a replacement is found.

Volkswagen Amarok Pickup Officially Unveiled


It's been thirty years since VW released its first and only pickup in 1980 and now VW is set to enter the market again with the Amarok.

The Amarok is a real truck with a body-on-frame design. It can haul 2,300 pounds and tow up to 5,600 pounds when it is powered by VW's 2.0L turbo diesel with 163-hp and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Another smaller diesel will join the lineup in mid-2010 in addition to a direct-injected gasoline engine. The Amarok is available with three different drive configurations: rear-wheel-drive, full time AWD and part time AWD. At launch the Amarok will only be offered as a four door "double cab", but a "single cab" will be available in the first half of 2011.

Of course we aren't getting the Amarok in the US, but our friends in South America, Australia, South Africa and Europe are....

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