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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Tesla Received $ 60 Million for RAV4 Production

On: Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 12:37PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Tesla Received $ 60 Million for RAV4 Production test 1-1

Tesla recently negotiated a $60 million dollar contract with Toyota to develop the drive-train and other parts of an all-electric version of the Toyota RAV 4 SUV. Tesla plans to modify its lithium-ion battery packs, motors, power electronics, software, and gearbox in order to adapt to Toyota’s RAV 4 compact sport utility vehicle.

According to Tesla, the California-based automaker: “The terms of the deal, initially announced in July, were completed Oct. 6."

"Its initial investment in Tesla shows Toyota has decided electric cars aren't going to be fringe vehicles,” said James Bell, executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, California. “Companies like Nissan and GM are heavily committed to electric car programs, and it looks like Toyota has decided to step up its efforts.”

GM Workers Strike Against Low Wages at Orion Plant

On: Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 10:30AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 GM Workers Strike Against Low Wages at Orion Plant test 1-1

Union workers at General Motors have gathered outside the UAW headquarters in Detroit to stage a new protest. The picketers comprise a group of approximately 100 retirees and union employees demonstrating against low wages that General Motors is paying for the assembly of a new compact car, the Aveo.

Just a few days after GM signed a contract to produce a new subcompact car for Chevrolet and the Buick Verano at Orion Township plant, the protest began when workers were told that they had to accept wages that were 50% less than union members had been making. Production is planned to begin in August and General Motors plans to employ over 1,300 workers at the “now-shuttered assembly plant.”

Toyota Acceleration Investigation Findings Will Be Released In Late Fall

On: Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 11:29AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Toyota Acceleration Investigation Findings Will Be Released In Late Fall  test 1-1

Federal Safety regulators expect to meet the deadline set for the investigation of recalled Toyota vehicles with unintended acceleration by late fall of this year. Toyota vehicles are being examined for problems with electronic systems and throttles to find out if defects can be linked to Toyota cars that were reported to speed out of control.

According to senior safety investigator Richard Boyd: "We're working hard to get this to you." Boyd, acting director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) defect investigations unit told the chair of a the Acadamy of Science panel,  "It will be sooner rather than later."

Ford to Sell Mazda?

On: Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 11:28AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Mazda Shinari Concept test 2

Ford Motor Company is the top stake holder in Mazda Corporation with 11% ownership. Nikkei Business Daily reported that the company plans to reduce its majority stake in Mazda Motor corporation selling all but 3% of its interest to other companies that have business associations with Mazda.

Ford called the report “speculation” in a statement.  "Ford's ownership stake in Mazda remains unchanged," the statement said. "Ford continues to have a close strategic relationship with Mazda and we cooperate in areas of mutual benefit. We have no further comment on the speculation." The business daily states that Mazda asked Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and other firms to buy shares from Ford. Ford’s shares amounted to195 million Mazda shares, worth around 42 billion yen ($515.6 million), as of today, the Nikkei said.


BMW and Porsche Plan New CUVs

On: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 5:04PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW and Porsche Plan New CUVs test 1-1

It seems that BMW and Porsche are set to lock horns in another segment: the high-end CUV segment. Reports are indicating that both German automakers have concept CUVs planned for 2011 that will foreshadow production models. BMW will show an X4 concept, a sportier crossover model to complement the X3, and Porsche will show the Cajun, a smaller, nimbler Cayenne.

Speculated production for the X4 indicates a start-up somewhere between 2013 and 2014. The X4 is reportedly being designed specifically with U.S. customers in mind. It will share much of the powertrain and platform of the  X3, but BMW will aim to make the new model sportier in terms of styling. It will be a four-seater with four- and six-cylinder engine options upon launch. Shifting will be offered in six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch and eight-speed automatic flavors. After the X4 launches, BMW will also launch a high-performance M version with a twin-turbo inline six and a seven-speed DCT dual-clutch transmission.

Over in Stuttgart, meanwhile, Porsche is currently developing the Cajun with a spring of 2012 production window in mind. Sure to ruffle a few feathers of Porsche traditionalists that despise models like the Cayenne and Panamera, the Cajun will basically be a smaller Cayenne. It will be based on the platform of the Audi Q5 and may get two doors instead of four to help differentiate it from both the Q5 and the Cayenne. The top trim level will be offered with a twin-turbo six cylinder. The hybrid powertrain from the Q5 is being considered as another option.

Fisker Moves One Step Closer To Production With Karma Configurator

On: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 9:24AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Moves One Step Closer To Production With Karma Configurator  test 1-1

The Fisker Karma was originally debuted as a concept at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. In the nearly three years that followed, production on the plug-in hybrid has been delayed several times. Despite Fisker's green but powerful design, it had looked at times like the Karma was going to be nothing more than a fancy concept.

Finally, Fisker appears ready for production. The company brought its final production Fisker Karma to the Paris Motor Show and now it's launched a configurator so that potential buyers—and those who just like to fiddle around with fancy cars—can see what their dream Karma will look like.

V8-Based Bentley Continental GT to Get Audi S Tronic Transmission

On: Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 4:59PM | By: Chris Weiss

V8-Based Bentley Continental GT to Get Audi S Tronic Transmission test 1-1

Audi and Bentley are known to be working jointly on a 4.0-liter V8 engine that will be used in the Continental GT and Audi models. The latest indications are that Bentley will also share a transmission with Audi for the V8 Continental GT. In an effort to appeal to the buyers it has in mind for the V8 Continental, Bentley will equip it with Audi's S Tronic transmission.

The S Tronic transmission is a sporty, dual-clutch transmission. The S Tronic set-up uses two wet clutches, one for odd-numbered gears and one for even numbers, to ensure seamless power flow, short, decisive gear shifts, and smooth acceleration. The S Tronic provides for both manual and automated shifts.

Bentley believes that the buyer for the V8 Continental GT will be a different breed than that of the W12 model. Sales and marketing chief Alasdair Stewart said: "The V8 will find a new audience for us. There are sports car enthusiasts out there, particularly in the US, who won’t buy a sports car unless it’s powered by a V8." 

The Crewe crew believes that the S Tronic gearbox will appeal to sports car fans over the ZF automatic transmission used in the current W12-based Continental. The company is currently assessing how the underbody of the car will need to be changed to fit the S Tronic hardware. A feasibility study will determine if the S Tronic is the right solution for Bentley.

Toyota Prius MPV Gets Big Teaser Photo

On: Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 9:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Prius MPV Gets Big Teaser Photo test 1-1

Just a few days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported about two new Prius models, a large and a small version to make the current model medium. Both models will launch by 2013, with the larger model offering 50 percent more interior space than the current-generation Prius. Toyota has officially teased the big boy of the Prius family, using a billboard to show what the Prius MPV will be all about.

Actually, there's little of the Prius MPV to see in the billboard, which was put up in celebration of the Prius' 10-year U.S. anniversary. In a smart teaser, Toyota plants the Prius MPV behind the standard Prius, so that all we can see is the added length and height.

The MPV model is expected to gain about 300 mm of length, which will help to accommodate an extra row of seats in the back, allowing for up to seven passengers. The billboard ad also demonstrates that the roof is higher and less sloped to provide more headroom and accommodate the rear-most passengers. Overall though, the Prius MPV's footprint isn't significantly larger than the current Prius', indicating that it shouldn't hurt fuel economy numbers too much.

New Auto Trade Agreement Between Korea And Europe May Be Detrimental To Ford And Fiat Exports

On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 4:35PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

New Auto Trade Agreement Between Korea And Europe May Be Detrimental To Ford And Fiat Exports test 1-1

Ford Motor Company and Fiat are among the automakers that fear the South Korean export agreement with Europe may allow for importing inexpensive imports from Korea into Europe. Ford and Fiat are concerned that the agreement may result in an influx of cheap Korean cars that would compete with compacts made by Ford Motor Company and Fiat.

At the Paris auto show last week, Ford CFO Lewis Booth felt that the agreement is "very one-sided in favor of Korea." Ford reported a profit of over $300 million for its European sales in the 2nd quarter this year.  

On the other hand, Hyundai, Kia, and Chevrolet all claim there will be benefits resulting from the agreement. According to Chevrolet Europe chief Wayne Brannon: "We are optimistic this will help us. It makes building cars in Korea for Europe more affordable." General Motors exports the Chevrolet Aveo and Spark from Korea to Europe and the agreement is projected to double its European sales in the next 6 years.

The European Automakers Association (ACEA) is not necessarily against the agreement, but feels that it gives Korea an unfair advantage in the marketplace, and may set a bad example for future contracts between Europe and other world trading organizations.

In the U.S., a free trade agreement with Korea is currently on hold as the Obama administration addresses reports an “alleged imbalance in car trade,” according to Auto News.com.

GM Gives Employees An Opportunity To Buy Stock At IPO

On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 1:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Gives Employees An Opportunity To Buy Stock At IPO test 1-1

GM announced that the company is planning to offer hourly and salaried employees as well as retirees in Canada and the U.S. an opportunity to purchase stock at in “the direct share program” as part of the initial public offering scheduled for November of this year.

The Detroit automaker sent a letter, dated September 30th, to each of its 600,000 employees and retirees inviting them to “pre-register” their intentions regarding the stock share purchase program offered online, by October 15th. Direct share programs are commonly offered as a way for employees to take advantage of stock options offered by their employers.

The maximum number of shares that an employee qualifies to purchase under the program has not yet been established by General Motors, but the minimum investment must be at least $1,000, according to the letter, which was acquired by Automotive News today.

Ohio Dealer Running for Congress Faces Two Lawsuits

On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 10:22AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ohio Dealer Running for Congress Faces Two Lawsuits test 1-1

Ohio auto dealer, Tom Ganley is running for Congress this year. Ganley is a 67-year-old Republican who is on the board of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and he faces two lawsuits pertaining to his professional conduct that is bringing unsolicited press to his political campaign.

Ganley Auto Group, located in Cleveland, is one of Ohio’s largest dealership groups with 28 franchises in 17 locations, including Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, and Volkswagen. Ganley has received criticism from other dealers for condemning the cash for clunkers program last year after selling a total of $20 million vehicles in the program.    
Russell Harris, former on-staff attorney for Ganley, claimed he was fired after he questioned Ganley about the dealer’s testimony during Chrysler arbitration hearings last year.

Ganley had stated in his testimony that Chysler delivered hundreds of inadequate vehicles, that had not been ordered, to his dealership, causing his sales to suffer. Those complaints were never substantiated by witnesses, and Harris concluded that he was unable to prove Ganley’s claims. Ganley maintains he fired Harris “on the spot for some of his conduct and performance at the arbitration,” Brent Buckley, Ganley’s current lawyer, said. Ganley’s claim was an attempt to win back reinstatement of 3 dealerships that Chrysler had closed, in the end he withdrew his claim and settled with Chrysler.