AutoKingdom of Saudi Arabia has invested $93 million and together with Xenatec and Daimler the group hopes to produce 100 units. How much does the Cruiserio cost? $894K Yikes!
December 2010 Archives
Ford is issuing a recall of 14,737 2011 F-Series pickups and Edge/MKX crossovers that were built during a 6-day production period. According to Ford, the supplier of the body control module manufactured modules that may have the potential for an internal short.
If the module does short out overheating could occur and lead to a possible vehicle fire.
Ford is going to replace the body control module, free of charge...
Chrysler has dominated the minivan segment since the first minivan rolled off the production line in the early 1980's, but the last two years Honda has had the best-selling minivan in the US with the Odyssey. It looks like that is about to change this year.
With only one more day left in 2010 sales of the Chrysler Town & Country are at 102,495, while Honda has only moved 98,035 Odysseys this year. Toyota has sold 89,509 Siennas and the other Chrysler minivan, the Dodge Grand Caravan has found 89,057 owners.
"Our goal is regaining leadership," said Olivier Francois, head of the Chrysler brand. "We consider we own it and we need to regain what once belonged to us."
GM showed off a near-production version of the upcoming Chevy Cruze hatchback at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and thankfully it looks like the production version is going to remain very close to what we saw in Paris.
GM recently registered trademark filings with the European patent office, which reveals the actual shape and design of the five-door hatchback. The most notable change is that the front bumper gets less snazzy fog lights instead of the LED strips. The alloy wheels are also smaller and the taillights are expected to more conventional.
As of right now there are no plans to bring the five-door Cruze to the US.
Although it looks like the exterior has been toned down a bit, we're more interested in what is underneath the hood. Mercedes hasn't officially announced what will power the 2012 C63 AMG, but there are rumors that it will ditch the current 6.2L V8 for a smaller new twin-turbo 5.5L. According to EvoCars, only the C63 Coupe will get the 5.5L, while the sedan will continue to use the 6.2L.
All of you should know by now that Ford has an all-new Focus for the 2012 model year, which will be on sale in early 2011. Before the new Focus officially hits dealers, Ford has been releasing little tidbits of information. Ford has just announced that the Focus will feature standard torque vectoring control to increase vehicle stability.
The torque vectoring control system provides slight braking force to the individual wheel in a similar way that a skier or board-rider would shift weight to carving edge when turning. The system provides an improved sense of stability and control.
"The new Focus is the first North American Ford vehicle to offer torque vectoring control," said Rick Bolt, program manager for the Ford Focus. "This is a technology that has been offered on high-end sports cars, yet Ford is making it standard on their new small car."
Large gas guzzling SUVs have fallen out of fashion with buyers now downsizing to smaller and more efficient vehicles and it looks like Paris hates them as well. Paris is planning on implementing restrictions on gas-guzzling vehicles, which will likely include SUVs.
Denis Baupin, an environmental official in the mayor's office recently stated that sport utility vehicles and old diesel cars will likely be the target of the upcoming restrictions. He even went on to say, " "I'm sorry, but having a sport utility vehicle in a city makes no sense."
Paris isn't the only city looking to ban the dinosaurs aka large SUVs. Lyon, Genolble and Aix-en-Provence are also planning restrictions in late 2011 or 2012. City officials are still deciding how the restrictions will work and what type of vehicles will be restricted.
The Dodge Journey is going to officially become a Fiat in Europe. According to Fiat sources, the current Dodge Journey is going to be replaced by a Fiat version of the Journey in Europe, which will be dubbed the Fiat Freemont.
The Fiat Freemont is part of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's to cut development costs. The Freemont will essentially be a rebadged version of the restyled Dodge Journey that was unveiled at the LA Auto Show last month.
The Freemont will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March with sales starting in June. It will also replace the slow selling Ulysse minivan in the Fiat lineup.
The Detroit Auto Show is only a few weeks away and we're starting to get more information about what we can expect to see at the show. Porsche has announced that a new model will have its world debut at the show.
Reports have also come out that Porsche is going to unveil something "spectacular" at the show and rumors are speculating that it could be a production version of the 918 Spyder Concept. Either way you can check out the debut as it's taking place on the Porsche website www.porsche.com/detroit.
We're still waiting, somewhat patiently for Toyota and Subaru to unveil the rear-wheel-drive FT-86 sports car. Car and Driver recently came across a logo for the Toyota version. It's been expected that the coupe will be powered by a Subaru 2.0L flat four-cyl engine and this logo provides more proof...
The logo is a cross section of a boxer engine with a highly stylized number 86 in the center. The fact that 86 is being used in the logo provides more evidence that Toyota is planning on using "86" in the production name of the coupe. The "86" pays homage to the AE86 Corolla of the 1980's.
The car is expected to officially debut late next year and go on sale in 2012 with pricing starting in the low-$20k range.
According to Ford start-stop technology can improve fuel economy numbers by up to 10 percent and further reduce tailpipe emissions, since the engine will be automatically shut off at stop lights or while the vehicle is not moving. Starting in 2012 Ford's auto start-stop technology will no longer only be offered on its hybrid models. 2012 will be the first year that Ford's conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America will be offered with the technology. Ford hasn't announced which models will get the technology first.
Hyundai has made great strides in the last few years and most importantly with its midsize Sonata. The all-new Sonata, which debuted earlier this year has been very well received and has set a new sales record for Hyundai.
"Sonata has delivered some pretty incredible results for us this year," says John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Sonata is the Hyundai brand and it's appropriate that it has led our best year ever. Sonata's innovation has reset the most hotly contested, largest segment in the U.S. car market, with Sonata delivering more year-over-year retail sales growth - about 90,000 units - than any other car in the entire industry."
The all-new Sonata also helped Hyundai sell more than 530,000 vehicles in the US this year. Hyundai currently sells three versions of the Sonata, the naturally aspirated 2.4L, the 274-hp 2.0L turbocharged Sonata and the Sonata hybrid.
In just a few weeks, Toyota is going to officially unveil the Prius MPV at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. In the meantime Toyota has released another teaser photo of the cargo area of the Prius MPV. According to Toyota the Prius MPV has 50 percent more cargo space than the traditional Prius.
This is the third teaser photo of the upcoming Prius MPV. Toyota has also released a video that features pro skartboarder, Bob Burnquist and that also has a sneak peak of the front of the new Prius.
Stay tuned for the unveiling next month...
Kia is going to debut the KV7 concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Kia hasn't released much detail about the new concept other than the sketch shown here. According to Kia the KV7 concept is going to make a dramatic design statement and by dramatic Kia is probably referring to the gullwing doors...
"A potential problem with the machinery used to tighten the spindle nuts on the front axles of both vehicles, as well as the damper attachment bracket bolts for the Pilot, may cause the front suspension of a small number of these vehicles to fail." Honda said in a statement. "A flaw in the software for the equipment used for this assembly process was identified at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC (HMA). This concern is isolated to vehicles produced at HMA."
Honda is going to start notifying owners and dealerships will inspect and fix the effected vehicles, for free.
Hyundai unveiled the Verna sedan in Beijing in April, which is essentially what we will get here as the all-new Accent. To follow up that release, Hyundai has now unveiled the five-door version at the 8th China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition.
In China the Verna will be offered with either a 105-hp 1.4L or a 121-hp 1.6L engine. It will be built by by Beijing Hyundai Motor Company, a 50-50 joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company. The new Verna will go on sale in China starting next month.
Both the sedan and five-door versions are expected to be sold in the US.
You may not be able to notice the changes, but this is our first look at the refreshed 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Mercedes' top selling sedan gets a very small facelift, which includes a new front bumper, aluminum hood, headlights and a restyled rear bumper.
The bigger changes to the C-Class lineup take place under the hood. The new base engine is a new direct-injected 1.8L turbocharged engine that puts out 201-hp and 229 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder C250 gets 24 mpg (combined). The V6 in the C350 has also been upgraded and now puts out 302-hp and 273 lb-ft. of torque compared to 268-hp and 258 lb-ft. in the previous version.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Buyers will have to wait until the summer to see the new C-Class in dealers.
New friction reducing ball bearings for the twin-scroll turbocharger and a reprogrammed ECU increases maximum torque and improves accelerating performance. An aluminum hood, laminar window glass and a downsized battery result in a lower body weight.
Sadly the spec C is only for Japan.
The 2012 Veloster will be powered by a direct-injected engine that can be mated to a dual-clutch transmission. It's also expected to get up to 40 mpg.
The new Vitz features sharper styling than the current generation. The length has been increased by 35 mm, which translates into more room on the inside. Inside the rear seats have 35 mm more legroom and the cargo space has been made deeper by 145 mm. The Vitz is also the first vehicle in the world to use UV-reducing glass in the front-door glass that reduces 99% of ultraviolet light. The windshield also only has one wiper with an integrated washer nozzle.
Engines range from 1.0L to 1.5L that are mated to either a CVT or 5-speed manual and front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
Stay tuned for the US spec. Yaris.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 retains the same shape as the last-generation but has been refined with a more tailored appearance. Dramatic front-fender forms rise above the sculpted hood and the windshield has been raked back three inches. Rolled-framed doors with thinner pillars improve outward visibility by 15 percent.
Interior upgrades on the all-new Chrysler 300 consist of soft touch materials, premium interior trim, available heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, and real wood appliques on the instrument panel, doors, center console and steering wheel.
We already know that the 300 can be equipped with either a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or the 5.7-liter V8 under the hood. The 2011 Chrysler 300 arrives in showrooms in the first quarter of 2011.
Prior to the economic collapse in 2008, Acura was working on an NSX successor that was front engined, but sadly those plans were shelved. Since then Acura has only been focusing on its current lineup and a controversial nose. Car and Driver recently sat down with some Acura execs to discuss the refreshed RL (above) and luckily the conversation moved past Acura's flagship...
According to Car and Driver, Acura is set to launch something "unconventional" around the same time that the next-generation RL is launched, which is supposed to be in the next 12 to 18 months. Details are scarce, but it will not be the front-engined supercar that was supposed to carry the NSX name. The good thing is that some of the technology that was developed for that car will make it to the new car.
Kia is going to replace its slow selling Amanti sedan this year with a model that is named the Cadenza. The Cadenza release was originally planned for April, but now Kia officials are saying that it will be sometime in the first half of 2011.
The Amanti replacement comes at the same time as the new Optima is being launched. The base Optima LX and midrange EX models have already begun to arrive in dealerships. Some are worried that launching two similarly sized sedans at the same time could create a problem, but Kia executives claim that the two sedans are aimed at different buyers. According to Orth Hedrick, director of product planning for Kia Motors America, the Optima is targeted more at mainstream buyers of midsize sedans, while the Cadenza is aimed at a different group. The Cadenza's look and size places it in the same category as the Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse.
Audi fans can celebrate the fact that the RS5 is going to come to the US, but at a sacrifice. It looks like the RS4 is not going to get a direct successor. Instead the RS5 is expected to fill the void left by the RS4.
If you really must have a RS with four-doors, Audi is going to release a new RS6 and the smaller RS3 was recently unveiled, although it's not known if the RS3 will make it to our shores.
The RS5 is expected to hit US dealerships by the summer of 2011. It's powered by a 450-hp 4.2L V8.
It seems like more and more automakers are jumping on the "free maintenance" bandwagon. Dodge is now the latest automaker to announce a "free maintenance" plan. But rather than applying it to is full lineup, Dodge has announced that it is only available on the 2011 Durango Citadel and Journey Lux.
The "No-cost Maintenance Plus" plan provides coverage up to 36 months or 36k miles. It covers all recommended maintenance, rental car coverage and roadside assistance.
This morning Ford released the official details for the 2012 C-Max MPV. As expected the C-Max shares its platform with the new Focus. One interesting new feature is the hands-free liftgate that allows owners to open the liftgate without having to pull a handle or insert a key.
"In the new C-MAX, customers no longer need to set their packages down or fumble to locate their keys to open the rear hatch, especially when their hands are full," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "The hands-free liftgate allows them to easily and quickly open the cargo area with one simple leg motion."
Nissan has unveiled its new global sedan at the 8th China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition. In China the sedan is referred to as the Nissan Sunny and built in China under the new Dongfeng Nissan partnership. It's set to go on sale first in China in January 2011 and then eventually across 170 countries worldwide under different vehicle brand names, like the Nissan Sentra.
The Sunny is expected to lead the class in fuel economy with its 1.5L four-cylinder that is mated to a continuously variable transmission.
Under the hood the 300 can now be powered by either the new Pentastar V6 with 292 horsepower or the 360-hp 5.7L V8.
Chrysler has yet to release any photos of the interior, expect to see those next month at the Detroit Auto Show.
Lexus is about to launch its newest hybrid, the CT200h, which starts just below $30k, but it looks like another hybrid is on its way. Lexus has recently trademarked the ES300h, which means that Lexus is planning on releasing a hybrid version of the next ES350.
It's not known if the ES300h, which use the same 187-hp hybrid setup from the Toyota Camry hybrid or something more powerful. There is no word yet when the hybrid version of the ES350 will be released. The ES300h will be Lexus' sixth hybrid.
The 2012 C-Max shares its platform with the new Focus and seats up to seven passengers. Of course the C-Max is not as big as an Odyssey or Grand Caravan, so those two rear seats aren't really meant for adults. But the C-Max is for buyers that don't need one of those big minivans. It's overall length is only 178 inches and it has a wheel base just under 110 inches long.
Mini continues to expand is lineup and it looks like it has another new model in the works. Mini has unveiled the Paceman concept, which will be officially unveiled next month at the Detroit Auto Show.
Mini is calling the Paceman the first Sports Activity Coupe in the premium small segment market. The Paceman is essentially a two-door Countryman. The Paceman Concept measures 4,110 millimeters in length, 1,789 millimeters in width and 1,541 millimeters in height.
The third Sonata model after the 2.4L and 2.0L Sonata Turbo, features Hyundai's Hybrid Blue Drive technology and lithium-polymer batteries. The hybrid mates a 2.4L Atkinson Cycle 4-cyl engine to an electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. The result is 35 city and 40 highway mpg rating.
The Tesla Model S electric sedan is set to go into production next year, with deliveries starting in 2012. Tesla has announced that more than 3,000 buyers have plopped down $5,000 to reserve the sedan.
It may take sometime for Tesla to build 3,000 units of the S sedan, since it has only delivered 1,400 roadsters since it was introduced in 2008.
The bill requires that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration establish "performance requirements for an alert sound that allows blind and other pedestrians to reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle operating" at low speeds.
For 2011 Nissan has made a few small changes to the Versa lineup. First up, power windows and locks are standard on all Versa models, including the 1.6 Base sedan. Since power windows and locks are now standard, Nissan has renamed the former Power Plus Package to the Plus Package, which adds cruise control and remote keyless entry for an extra $500.
For 2011 Chrysler heavily reworked the lame Sebring and slapped a new name on it, the Chrysler 200. For those that think the 200 is not very sporty (I raised my hand), Chrysler is working on a sportier S version of the sedan.
This single photo confirms that a sportier version is in the works, but it's not known what changes are in store. From this photo it's obvious that the S will get sportier wheels and tires, but hopefully there will be some upgrades to the suspension.
The Chrysler 200S is expected to be released in mid-2011.
The GMC Sierra All Terrain HD Concept is going to debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. GM started with the Sierra HD as the basis for the concept. It's powered by the 6.6L Duramax diesel V8 that puts out 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic and four-wheel-drive. From there the ground clearance has been increased by three inches and the width of the track is now 73 inches wide. It also gets specially constructed Fox off-road shocks and Custom front upper and lower control arms. The concept rides on 35-inch-tall BFGoodrich KM2 "mud terrain" tires mounted on 20-inch machined aluminum wheels.
GM insists that the Sierra All Terrain HD Concept is purely a concept.
"The design of the All Terrain HD is an expression of its capabilities - strong, functional and absolutely professional grade," said Carl Zipfel, design manager. "We're excited about the design elements and exploring how they could apply to future GMCs."
"The kbb.com editors praise the 2011 Honda Odyssey engineers and designers for successfully tackling the difficult task of improving and redesigning an already very-successful, hot-selling model that is widely regarded as the pinnacle of its class."
Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com said, "The 2011 Honda Odyssey improves on its predecessor in every way imaginable, offering a better-looking, more contemporary exterior design, a sumptuous interior stuffed with innovative features, and class-leading fuel economy. Its safety, refinement, resale value and trouble-free nature are combined with a surprising level of fun-to-drive, so it is not difficult to see why Honda refers to the 2011 Odyssey as the 'ultimate in family transportation.'"
Good news for Ford Mustang fans. Ford has announced the pricing for the 2012 Mustang and the Mustang GT now starts $500 less than the 2011 model. For $29,995 buyers can now get behind the wheel of the Mustang GT.
If you want to step up to the Mustang Premium GT model its price has increased by $200 and the Premium GT Convertible is $700 more than the 2011 model. If you want more power than the Mustang GT, the Shelby GT500 starts at $49,495 and the Boss 302 starts at $40,995.
The base V6 Mustang starts at $22,995.
Lotus originally planned on using a Toyota sourced V8 engine for the upcoming Esprit, but it looks like those plans may change. Lotus boss Dany Bahar recently told Autocar that the new Esprit will be powered by a Lotus designed V8 engine.
"We have done three engines for other manufacturers; why not do it ourselves?" he said. "The engine is the heart of a sports car; we should do our own product."
Bahar stated that the decision to design its own V8 rather than using a Toyota V8 was fueled by customer feedback to a Toyota V8.
"In the mind of sports-car enthusiasts, Toyota power might not be good enough," he said.
Of course the final decision will come down to cost. The decision is expected to be finalized at the end of January.
Fiat is planning on rebadging the new Chrysler 300 as the Lancia Thema in Europe. The Lancia flagship sedan will debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show this coming spring, with sales starting in late 2011.
Fiat's Sergio Marchionne wants to merge the Chrysler and Lancia brands, which will see future models sharing platforms and styling. The Lancia version of the Chrysler 300 will get a different grille and European-spec bumpers.
Both models will be produced at Chrysler's Brampton plant in Ontario, Canada.
The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and a production version is slated for 2013. BMW's Sales and Marketing Director Ian Robertson recently told Inside Line that the hybrid supercar will will "redefine how we look at high-performance sports cars."
The overall design of the production version is not expected to change much from the concept. BMW hasn't released any pricing details other than Robertson suggesting that the price would be less than £150,000 ($240,000).
The Vision EfficientDynamics is powered by a three-cylinder turbodiesel engine mated to a hybrid synchronous motor in the front and a full-hybrid engine in back for a total output of 328-hp.
Autocar is reporting that the AMG-badged A-Class will be powered by a 320-hp turbocharged 2.0L mated to a all-wheel-drive system. The AMG version of the A-Class is due to go on sale in the UK in September 2012. It will compete primarily with the Audi RS3, VW Golf R and the M Sport-badged version of the second-generation BMW 1 Series.
The next-generation A-Class is going to be based on Mercedes' MFA (Modularen Frontantriebs-Architektur) platform, which does away with the current heavy "sandwich floor." In terms of styling the next A-Class, codenamed W176 will sit lower than the current model and will adopt styling cues from the F800 Style concept car.
Expect to see a concept version of the next A-Class at the Shanghai Motor Show.
VW has taken its upcoming Up! city car and turned it into a London Black Taxi with the VW Taxi Concept. The VW Taxi Concept is built on the Up! platform and is powered by an electric motor with lithiuim-ion batteries.
The concept can travel up to 186 miles between charges and can be recharged up to 80 percent within about an hour. The overall length of the concept measures a short 3,730 millimeters, which is shorter than the VW Fox, VW's current smallest vehicle. It's long wheelbase and short overhangs give it ample room inside for two passengers in the back with extra room for their luggage.
The concept doesn't meet London's current taxi regulations, but it does provide a preview of what a small emission-free taxi could offer.
Just in case the 1 Series M Coupe is a bit too much for you, BMW still offers the lesser powered 128i and 135i coupe and convertible and the good news is that they both gets updates for the 2012 model year.
On the outside the 2012 1 Series gets some small changes. Models equipped with the xenon headlights get horizontal LEDs. Out back the taillights are revised with LEDs that are similar to the rest of the BMW lineup. On the 135i Coupe, an M Aerodynamic Kit is now standard.
Under the hood, the 128i is still powered by the same 3.0L inline-six that puts out 230 horsepower and 200 lb-ft. of torque. The 135i is now powered by the N55 3.0L inline-six cylinder with a single, twin-scroll turbocharger. It puts out 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft. of torque.
Pricing has not been announced, but the updated 1 Series will hit dealers in the spring of 2011.
"For just $1,000 more than the cost of a non-luxury hybrid, buyers can indulge in a CT 200h with our proven Lexus Hybrid Drive technology," said Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division. "Lexus hybrids currently make up 90 percent of all luxury hybrid sales in the U.S., so you can imagine how excited we are to continue our leadership in this market with the CT 200h."
The CT 200h is powered by a 1.8L engine that is mated to an electric motor that gets its juice from nickel-metal hydride batteries. It gets 43 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
Lexus' fifth hybrid model will hit dealerships in March.
Chrysler has announced that it is recalling 367,350 2008 model year Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans due to an issue with the airbags. It looks like the airbags may accidentally go off. Water leaks due to an improperly installed part in the heating and cooling system can drip into the airbag deployment module, causing it to malfunction.
Chrysler is going to begin notifying owners about the recall in February. A grommet in the air conditioning drainage system will be replaced at no cost.
Ford Australia has released the first official image of its next-generation Territory SUV that is going to be released next year. The preview launches a major refresh of 85 percent of Ford's models in Australia, which will occur over the next 18 months.
"The Ford Territory set a new benchmark when it was first released and it is set to achieve this again - and more," said Bob Graziano, President and CEO of Ford Australia.
"This is an exceptional SUV. It wears an exciting new look and will boast an extensive list of technical highlights. The Ford Australia team is taking the Territory to an all-new level of performance, refinement and quality, and customers will definitely experience these advancements when they drive it."
VW is recalling over 377k Jettas, Golfs, Rabbits and Beetles equipped with the 2.5L engine. According to NHTSA the Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Golf and Rabbit may have a small plastic tab located on the windshield reservoir that may chafe against an underhood fuel supply line. The Beetle and Beetle convertible may have a fastening clamp on a hydraulic hose of the power steering line that could chafe against the fuel supply line.
If the chafing does occur it could lead to a potential fuel leak, which could lead to a fire. To fix the issue dealers will inspect the affected vehicles and remedy the problem free of charge.
The recall is expected to begin by January 31, 2011.
The Nissan NV will be built at Nissan's Canton, MS facility and will go on sale in the spring. The NV is a body-on-frame construction and buyers can choose a standard roof or industry-exclusive high roof configurations. Models include the NV1500 with standard 4.0-liter V6 engine, the NV2500 HD with a choice of 4.0-liter V6 or 5.6-liter V8 and the NV3500 HD with standard 5.6-liter V8.
On the outside the front end has been updated with a softened (some say ugly) grille and new 18 inch wheels. Under the hood the RL is still powered by the same 300-hp 3.7L V6 and the SH-AWD system. But for 2011 the engine is now mated to a six-speed transmission that improves highway mileage by 2 mpg (17/24). A new polypropylene Helmholtz resonator that encircles the center portion of the inside of the wheel has been added to reduce road noise that is transmitted to the interior.
"With the new 2011 Jeep Compass, we've applied the premium design cues of our award-winning new Grand Cherokee," said Mike Manley, President and CEO - Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "Combined with new interior appointments, and refinements to the suspension and steering systems, Jeep Compass provides consumers the ultimate combination of styling, capability, fuel economy, efficiency, safety and value in the important compact-SUV segment."
The front of the 2011 Compass gets a new hood, front fenders, fascia, new grille and new headlamps that make the new Compass look far more attractive than the 2010 model. The rear end of the Compass is also updated with a new fascia and LED taillights.
Under the hood the 2011 Compass is available with either a 158-hp 2.0L or 172-hp 2.4L. The Compass now gets up to 29 mpg on the highway when it is equipped with the five-speed manual transmission.
For the first time, the Jeep Compass can be equipped with a Trail Rated package, the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package. The package includes four-wheel-drive, a second-generation continuously variable transaxle with low range, 17-inch all-terrain tires and aluminum wheels, and a one-inch raised ride height.
From this single sketch it looks like the coupe's design won't veer much from the current coupe. Honda's concepts usually are pretty close to the production version. The 2012 Civic will go on sale next spring. Stay tuned for the unveiling next month...
J.D. Power and Associates has released the results of its 2010 Customer Retention Study. This year Ford and Honda tied for the to spot by retaining 62 percent of its owners. Ford'sretention rate is primarily driven by the Edge, F-Series and Fusion models, while for Honda, retention is driven by the Accord, CR-V and Pilot.
"While import brands still have notably higher customer conquest rates than domestic brands, the gap is beginning to narrow," said Raffi Festekjian, director of automotive product research at J.D. Power and Associates. "In recent years, domestic brands have achieved parity or even surpassed the performance of import brands in initial quality and new-vehicle appeal, and customer perceptions of these nameplates seem to be evolving accordingly. It will be interesting to see how the performance gains by domestic brands affect retention and conquest rates in the coming years."
Hyundai, Lexus and Toyota all had a three way tie with 60 percent.
Currently Jaguar's lineup consists of the XJ, XF sedans and the XK coupe/ convertible. Unlike most other luxury automakers, Jaguar is missing a crossover in its lineup. According to sources within Jaguar, a crossover may soon get the green light.
Jaguar boss, Adrian Hallmark recently told Autocar, "We need a crossover and we need to stop being a saloon-based company."
In addition to a crossover, Jaguar's sedans will soon get all-wheel-drive and a wagon version of the XF is in the works.
Ford has already created a number of vehicles off of its C-segment platform, like the Focus, C-Max MPV and the upcoming Escape/ Kuga crossover. Ford is planning on doing the same thing with its smaller B-segment platform that is the basis for the Fiesta subcompact. At the Geneva Motor Show, Ford is going to unveil a small minivan concept that will be based off the same platform as the Fiesta. Although it is being unveiled in concept form next March, the production version will be on sale in early 2012.
The small minivan is likely to be named B-Max and there is no word yet if it will be sold in the US.
BMW spokesman Thomas Plucinsky stated, "As pricing went up in the current-generation M3, the demographics skewed higher in terms of age and income. With the 1 Series M Coupe, we're hoping to give younger people a chance to get into an M car -- people in their 30s."
Plucinsky said that the 1 Series M Coupe will only have two option packages. Although the content is still being finalized one will a navigation system and the other will be an entertainment package.
The 2011 1 Series M Coupe is powered by BMWs 3.0L inline six-cylinder and puts out 335 horsepower. The engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. The 1 Series M Coupe reaches 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
If you really want one of these you better run over to your dealer because only 1,000 or less are destined for the US market.
"Ford Racing is proud to build the 2012 Cobra Jet and continue the tradition of delivering turn-key competitive race cars to Ford drag racing enthusiasts," said George Goddu, Business Manager Ford Racing Performance Group. "With every Cobra Jet build we strive to carry the spirit of the original Cobra Jet while developing the next generation of drag racing icon. The enthusiast who races the 2012 Cobra Jet can be competitive at virtually any event, from their local track up through NHRA Stock or Super Stock classes."
The Cobra Jet is powered by the 5.4L supercharged engine from the 2011 SVT Mustang with two supercharger options, a 2.3 liter TVS unit or a 4.0 liter Ford Racing Whipple supercharger. Ford hasn't revealed the horsepower stats. There will be three color options: Race Red, Grabber Blue and Winner White and only 50 will be produced.
Pricing starts at $91,900 with a fully loaded Cobra Jet priced at $103,980.
The 2011 Explorer V6 is powered by a 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 that puts out 290 horsepower, 80 more than the last V6.
Want even better MPG? The 2011 Explorer is also going to be offered with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that is estimated to deliver a 30 percent increase in fuel economy.
Yesterday BMW released a video that showed off the styling of the 1 Series M Coupe, but we still didn't have confirmation of what was under the hood. Now we do... The 1 Series M Coupe officially puts out 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. Those are the same numbers as the Z4 sDrive35is and a little under the earlier estimates. The enhanced engine management system has an overboost function that allows for an additional 37 lb-ft. of torque at full throttle. The 3.0L engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission.
The 1 Series M Coupe will reach 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, reaches the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.
Compared to the 135i, the 1 Series M Coupe is is 0.2 inches longer, 2.1 inches wider and 0.5 inches taller. The track is 2.8 inches wider up front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear. The front and rear fenders have been widened to make room for the extra track and the moonroof has been deleted to lower the center of gravity.
Final pricing will be announced later...
We've been waiting anxiously for VW to announce that the hot 270-hp Golf R is going to come to the US and now according to CarandDriver, that announcement could be next month at the Detroit Auto Show.
During a recent trip to VW's Wolfsburg headquarters, CarandDriver was told with a wink and a nod that the official confirmation could happen next month and the Golf R would be on sale for the 2012 model year.
VW is also possibly going to release an R version of the Jetta.
It's been rumored that GM has been thinking about a new name for the next-generation Chevy Aveo, but GM has yet to officially confirm it. The current Aveo name has a lackluster image associated with it, so according to GM Inside News, GM has decided to rename the all-new subcompact that is scheduled to be released next year.
GM's new marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, has decided to rename the subcompact and sources are claiming that GM has chosen the name "Chevy Sonic."
US trademark records also show that GM filed for a trademark of the name on October 5th.
The 1 Series M Coupe will be powered by a 3.0L inline six-cylinder with approximately 340 horsepower that is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission.
Expect more details soon...
Earlier this week it was reported that Honda is working on a turbocharged version of the somewhat disappointing CR-Z hybrid. The turbocharged CR-Z would ditch all of the current hybrid components and hopefully be a true successor to the CRX. Now we have rumors that Honda is developing a convertible version of the CR-Z, which would be the world's first convertible hybrid.
Reportedly a hardtop and convertible version of the CR-Z were originally planned, but the convertible was dropped because engineers felt that the added weight of the convertible components wouldn't suit the "sporty" character of the CR-Z. It looks like the CR-Z convertible may eventually be released with a lengthened body and a canvas roof. Of course the convertible version would still be heavier than the coupe and wouldn't be very exciting with the existing 122-hp setup. Engineers have suggested a more powerful 200-hp gasoline-electric setup that was seen in the Hybrid R Concept.
The CR-Z convertible is said to take inspiration from the Honda Open Study Concept.
The production version of the concept will go on sale in 2012 and 2013 in the US. Ford has yet to decide if the new SUV will keep the Escape/ Kuga names or if only one name will be used. Ford's One Ford strategy calls for the SUV to only have one name on both sides of the Atlantic, like the Focus and Fiesta.
The Hyundai Genesis and upcoming Equus sedan have proved that Hyundai is capable of producing competitive luxury models that can compete with the best from BMW and Mercedes, but one problem is that buyers still have issues with the "Hyundai" name. Hyundai is still thought of as a budget brand, although that view is changing slowly. Hyundai is mulling the idea of creating a luxury brand that would be called Genesis and would compete with Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.
In addition to creating a separate brand, Hyundai may also release a new BMW 3 Series fighter and a luxury crossover that would compete with the Lexus RX.
Currently there are three possibilities for the Genesis brand: creating a subbrand called "Genesis", which would be sold in the same dealer network as Hyundai, but in a different area of the showroom; keeping the cars badged as Hyundais; or the most ambitious and expensive move would be to spin off the Genesis brand into separate dealer facilities like Lexus and Honda's Acura brand.
For now, Hyundai is going to see how well the $58k Equus does before it makes a decision...
Back in 2008 gas prices were insane and automakers were scrambling trying to release more fuel efficient models. Two years later, we have the much anticipated subcompact Ford Fiesta and the popular Honda Fit and Nissan Versa models, but sales aren't quite as strong as most expected.
The Ford Fiesta has been on sale for a few months, but sales have not been quite as high as most expected. Last month the Ford Fiesta was only the fourth best seller (3,473) in the segment behind the Nissan Versa (6,724), Honda Fit (4,180) and Hyundai Accent (4,052). Chevy's aged and soon to be replaced Aveo was only a few hundred units behind the Fit.
Although buyers have been drawn to smaller vehicles in the past two years, the compact segment is doing much better than the subcompact. Chevy sold 8,066 units of the new Cruze last month and VW's sales of the new Jetta increased 49 percent.
The 2012 Kia Picanto minicar is about the same size as the Toyota iQ and will go on sale shortly after the Geneva Motor Show with sales set to start in May. The Picanto shares its platform with the next-gen Hyundai i10, which is also due to be released next year.
The Kia Picanto could eventually be offered in the US.
Ford has announced that the all-new 2012 Ford Focus production has started at Ford's Saarlouis Assembly Plant in Germany. The Saarlouis plant is going to build all three bodystyles of the new Focus including the sedan, five-door hatchback and wagon.
In North America early production of the sedan and five-door models is already underway at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant.
Ford will start selling the all-new Focus early next year and the high-performance Focus ST will be released in early 2012.
The Focus will also be produced at Ford's plant in St. Petersburg, Russia in mid-2011 and in Ford's plants in Chongqing, China and Rayong, Thailand in 2012.
Aston Martin is only going to produce 77 units of the One-77 and Aston Martin has reportedly already sold 60 of the limited edition supercars. With a price tag of $1.87 million, the Aston Martin is not having a hard time finding buyers for the 750-hp coupe.
What's interesting is that most buyers are also opting for the Toyota IQ-based Aston Martin Cygnet, in the same color as their One-77. Aston Martin claims that most One-77 owners have already committed to buying the Cygnet or have shown serious interest in the small car. When you're already paying almost $2 million for the One-77, why not just get everything...
Infiniti's performance models could soon have Mercedes engines under the hood. Infiniti has yet to launch a full fledged performance line like BMW's M, but that could soon change thanks to help from Mercedes' AMG line.
According to the latest reports, Infiniti's Performance Line could eventually include simple styling add-ons to full-on performance upgrades. The upgraded models would be built on the same performance lines, but would be fitted with Mercedes AMG engines. One such engine is Mercedes' upcoming turbocharged 3.5L V6 that could produce up to 400 hp in the Infiniti G. The IPL version of the M could be powered by AMG's 6.2L V8.
The Honda Accord Crosstour debuted a year ago, but the model has failed to meet sales expectations. Honda originally hoped to sell 35,000 units a year, but then revised that number down to a goal of 30,000. Through November 2010 Honda has only sold 25,927 Crosstours and it's not expected to meet its yearly sales goal.
Although Honda recently announced the death of the slow selling Element, Honda is not ready to give up on the Crosstour. "It's still a work in progress," said Chuck Schifsky, a Honda spokesman. "We're not done yet in terms of building brand awareness."
Most of the slow sales momentum can be blamed on polarizing styling. Most of the automotive press and public have dinged the Crosstour for being unattractive.
Honda is currently developing a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder that will also be offered in the FIt, Civic and Accord. It's expected to offer the same performance of a typical 2.0L engine. According to sources the engine will come in two versions, a 160-hp and a 200-hp version. The 200-hp motor is expected to be offered in the CR-Z Type R. The 1.6L could be in production as early as next year.
Hopefully these reports are true...
Overall the new 300 has the same shape as the current model, although its more refined. The front end gets the new Chrysler grille that has been slapped on the Town & Country minivan and 200 sedan. The headlights also now have LEDs embedded in them. The slab sides and sharp creases of its predecessor have now been smoothed out given the car a softer look.
Under the hood the 2011 300 gets Chrysler's new Pentastar V6 that puts out 292-hp and 260 lb-ft. of torque. The HEMI 5.7L V8 is also available and puts out 360-hp and 390 lb-ft. of torque. The power is put to the ground through standard rear-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is optional.
According to Autoweek, in the first 11 months of this year Chevy has sold 75,685 Camaros, while Ford has only sold 68,264 Mustangs. If the sales numbers hold through Decmeber, Chevy will sell about 82,000 Camaros, while Ford will finish the year with about 74,500 Mustangs sold.
The Camaro has managed to pull ahead of the Mustang with only one model. Next year Chevy is going to release the Camaro Convertible and a Z28 is expected for 2012.
Ha! It seems so rare these days that we don't actually see a new model before an automaker officially reveals it. It looks like Mercedes-Benz is the latest victim with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK. A French promotional video has made its way on to the internet, which features the all-new SLK.
The 2012 SLK adopts the styling of the larger SL and will come with Mercedes' neck warming AirScarf system, Magic Sky Control roof and adaptive headlights.
Sales are expected to kick off in March 2011. Maybe we'll see it unveiled in Detroit next month...
Back in 2002 Honda released a funky little SUV based off the CR-V, called the Element. Nine years later Honda has managed to sell over 325,000 Elements. But nothing lasts forever and buyers have fallen more in love with the "more refined" CR-V, so Honda has announced that 2011 will be last year for the Element.
It's boxy styling was fun and the Element was praised for its multi-functional cargo area, innovative and versatile seating, a durable and dirt-friendly interior.
Element you will be missed...
The survey contains for possible configurations of the Verano, but it looks like the only engine offered will be the 2.4L Ecotec engine with 180-hp and 172 lb-ft. of torque. The four possible configurations range in pricing from $20,900 to $26,200.
GM has yet to officially unveil the 2012 Verano other than releasing the teaser photo you see here. We do know that the Verano will share much in common with the Chinese-market Excelle.
Well Ford has publicly announced on Facebook that there are no plans for a coupe version of the Focus:
"Wild speculation about a Focus coupe is making the rounds on websites in Europe, led by the attached link to Auto Express. I can tell you right now -- and the coupe lovers hate to hear this -- but there are no plans for this model. What do you think: Honestly, is there volume in the coupe market anymore, or is five-door hatchback the way to go? -- Mark Schirmer, Ford Communications"
For the 2011 model year the most frequently used climate control buttons are now positioned on the left side of the control stack, closer to the driver for ease-of-use. Less-frequently used buttons are now positioned on the right side. And that's the only change...
The Accord Crosstour is powered by a 271-hp 3.5L V6 that is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. 2WD models get 18/27, while 4WD models get 18/26 mpg.
Nissan unveiled the refreshed 2012 Nissan GT-R at the LA Auto Show last month. Although Nissan announced that the 2012 GT-R would put out 530 horsepower and 480 lb-ft. of torque, Nissan didn't announce its official 0-60 mph or 0-62 mph times.
Nissan has announced that the 2012 GT-R reaches 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.0 seconds and 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Nissan recently held a media event at the Sendai Hi-land Race Way on November 12th, Friday and 13th, Saturday. On both days the GT-R reached 0-100 km/h in 3.0 seconds.
The Widestar Wide Version of the Mercedes SLS AMG features a carbon fiber body kit and special wheels have widened the track by 20 millimeters. It rides on 20-inch wheels at the front and 21-inch wheels at the back. The Brabus suspension has lowered the car by 30 millimeters, is height-adjustable and was developed with Bilstein.
There are also four new colors available: Alabaster Silver Metallic, Polished Metal Metallic, Celestial Blue Metallic and Vortex Blue Pearl.
The Honda Fit is powered by a 117-hp 1.5L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The manual gets 27/33/29 mpg, while the automatic gets 28/35/31 mpg.
Pricing for the 2011 Honda Fit starts at $15,850 including the $750 destination charge.
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