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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Reports

Jaguar/Land Rover to Hit the Market With 13 New Models Over Five Years

On: Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 10:59AM | By: Chris Weiss


Jaguar/Land Rover to Hit the Market With 13 New Models Over Five Years  test 1-1

A new Motor Trend report indicates that Jaguar and sister company Land Rover plan to remain very busy over the next half-decade. The companies will combine to bring no less than 13 new models to market between now and 2015.

After being sold from Ford to Indian company Tata Motors in 2008, Jaguar and Land Rover are ready to hit the market with a surge of new models. The 13-model barrage is actually already underway and began with the 2012 Rover Evoque, which Land Rover introduced over the summer and recently debuted at the Paris Motor Show. That three-door is billed as the smallest, lightest, most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever and features 2.0-liter turbocharged four and 2.2-liter turbodiesel options under the hood. It will be offered with both front- and all-wheel drive configurations.

After the Evoque debuts next year, Land Rover will follow up with an all-new Range Rover in 2012, followed by a new Range Rover Sport. Both those models will be seated on the same platform. Those models will get choices of V6-, V8- and hybrid-based powertrains.

The final piece of the Land Rover puzzle mentioned by Motor Trend is a new Defender coming for 2015. That model will be offered in three different wheelbases and up to six different body styles.


Jaguar Doing Production Evaluation On C-X75 Hybrid SuperCar

On: Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Jaguar Doing Production Evaluation On C-X75 Hybrid SuperCar test 1-1

We fell in love with it the minute we saw it. Autoweek gave it the "Best of Show" for the Paris Motor Show. And I think every car journalist, fan, and show-goer has been quietly thinking the same thing: "Please, please, please consider producing the Jaguar C-X75." Porsche did it with the 918 Spyder Hybrid, so crossing fingers doesn't seem like an entirely futile effort, despite the official line that the C-X75 is a concept with no plans for production.

Well, it looks like Jaguar will follow in Porsche's lead in running a production feasibility study of the C-X75, as told to Autocar by anonymous sources. The company will consider the viability of producing between 1,000 and 2,000 models.


Denny Hamlin Boosts Toyota's Sprint Cup Hopes

On: Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Denny Hamlin Boosts Toyota's Sprint Cup Hopes  test 1-1

Denny Hamlin has reportedly signed through 2011 with Joe Gibbs Racing; although no official contract details are available, but it is widely believed Hamlin's contract looks like it is through at least 2011.

That the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup isn’t surprising—he’s qualified for the 10-race playoff for five consecutive years. That he’s leading the point standings? Well, that’s another matter. “It is a little different position than we’ve been in,” Hamlin admitted Friday. “Usually I’m at least 80 or 90 points behind when we get to this race right here.”

“And I’ve always felt like I had to make up points and then I would get even more frustrated if we lost more points to whoever the championship leader was at the time.” Toyota is seeking its first championship at NASCAR’s highest level and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are the only two Toyota representatives in the 12-driver Chase. After Sunday's race at Kansas, Hamlin who finished 12th, is currently second in the standings, eight points behind Jimmy Johnson. Busch, who finished 21st, is 80 points out.


Chevy Volt Gets New $500 Charger and Tax Breaks

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 3:41PM | By: Chris Weiss


Chevy Volt Gets New $500 Charger and Tax Breaks  test 1-1

The Chevy Volt has just gotten a whole lot cheaper. In Lansing, Michigan. The Lansing Board of Water and Light announced this week that it will offer Lansing residents a matching grant of up to $7,500, which will double the tax break offered by the federal government, cutting up to a full $15 grand off the Volt's base price. That means Lansing Volt buyers will have the opportunity to walk away from the Chevy dealership with a $26,000 Volt. Not only does Lansing's program double the overall incentive to buy a Volt, it pays right on the spot rather than in the form of a tax credit.

In other Volt news, Chevy announced a new 240-volt charger that will cost $490 and will cut charging time to four hours.

Lansing's program is limited to the first 25 plug-in buyers, so if you live in the city and want to buy a plug-in at some point in the near future, you'd best act fast. While the program applies to plug-ins in general, the Chevy Volt will hit the market long before the Nissan Leaf, so all 25 spots are likely to go to Volt buyers. However, the program allows for people buying Volts or other federally eligible plug-ins elsewhere and then moving them to the Lansing area for coverage under the program.

There are already at least 29 people signed up for the grant, confirming that it will be highly competitive. Lansing hopes to allocate more money to the program to expand it to more consumers.


 

Saab Returns to Mexico, China, and Russia in 2011

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 3:27PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Saab Returns to Mexico, China, and Russia in 2011 test 1-1

Saab Automobile, the Swedish carmaker owned by Spyker Cars NV, plans to start selling cars in China, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico in the first half of next year, according to SAAB sales chief, Adrian Hallmark. Saab is negotiating with potential distributers in the four countries and has set a goal to reach agreements by the end of the year, Hallmark said late yesterday.

"In the next two years the new markets will not materially change our performance volume-wise, but in the next five years I believe they will fundamentally change our performance,” Hallmark said. The export of Saab to China and Russia was put on hold during the economic crisis in 2008 and recently Saab has decided to revisit plans for exporting its vehicels to foriegn markets again.

Hallmark stated that Saab “intends to become profitable by 2012. While the company is now focusing on re-establishing itself in the U.S. and Europe, growth markets such as China will be key to its long-term success.”


2011 Hyundai Sonata and BMW 5 Series Get 5-Star Crash Ratings Under NHTSA's Stricter Testing

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 4:47PM | By: Chris Weiss


2011 Hyundai Sonata and BMW 5 Series Get 5-Star Crash Ratings Under NHTSA's Stricter Testing test 1-1

Over the summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was implementing stricter crash testing procedures for the 2011 model year. The new system includes a single, multi-star rating for the first time, and initial test results indicate that only two cars will occupy the top, 5-star slot: the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and the 2011 BMW 5 Series.

The 5-star rating reflects the newly implemented "Overall Vehicle Score," which combines frontal crash testing, side crash testing, and rollover resistance testing. The testing procedures are more rigorous under the NHTSA's revised procedures. In addition to the new overall score, NHTSA's rating procedure now incorporates a new side pole crash test, includes weighting based upon crash-prevention technologies like electronic stability control, and uses female crash test dummies for the first time.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said of the new procedures: “With our upgraded Five-Star Safety Ratings System, we’re raising the bar on safety. Through new tests, better crash data, and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers.”

Initially, the BMW 5 Series stood alone in the 5-star category, but Hyundai asked that the NHTSA retest the Sonata, which was originally given a 4-star rating. Upon the second testing, the NHTSA agreed with Hyundai that the Sonata is 5-star material.


Lamborghini Partners With Callaway Golf On Composites

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 4:23PM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Partners With Callaway Golf On Composites test 1-1

At the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Lamborghini announced a new partnership with Callaway Golf. Much deeper than a series of Lambo-branded golf clubs, the new partnership will work toward development of a composite material at the forefront of Lamborghini's goal of lightening its future models.

When I initially read the headline pairing Lamborghini and Callaway Golf, I immediately thought that the latter was licensing the Lamborghini name for a pair of clubs or series of golf equipment, similar to the lawn tool partnership with IKRA Mogatec. In fact, I didn't even bother reading it at first because golf ain't really my thing, and it seemed like a sad way for Lambo to whore itself out.

Turns out the partnership is actually a lot more substantial. The two companies will work to develop of a material called Forged Composite. Basically a type of carbon fiber, Forged Composite is stitched from 500,000 individual fibers. Lamborghini debuted the material on its new Sesto Elemento, a car that weighs a super-light 2,200 pounds, thanks to minimalist design and innovative composites like this one. Callaway will use the material to lighten its golf line.

According to Lamborghini, Forged Composite is a third as dense as titanium but still plenty impact resistant, making it ideal for automotive applications. They credit the material for helping to make the Sesto the spry, capable, lightweight bullet that it is.


Auto Tuner Uwe Gemballa Found Dead in South Africa

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 4:09PM | By: Chris Weiss


Auto Tuner Uwe Gemballa Found Dead in South Africa test 1-1

Those that follow all forms of automotive news on a daily basis probably remember that Uwe Gemballa, founder and owner of the Gemballa tuning house, disappeared in Africa back in early February. The company bearing his name briefly shut down in the spring, only to be reopened under a new corporate structure headed by Andreas Schwarz. Meanwhile, Uwe Gemballa has remained missing in action.

Well, Uwe Gemballa has been found, and as many probably feared, the worst has been realized. The German tuner was murdered.


Allstate Brings Lawsuit Against Toyota For Unintended Acceleration

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 9:38AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Allstate Brings Lawsuit Against Toyota For Unintended Acceleration test 1-1

Just as it seems that the Toyota saga is over, another lawsuit is brought against the Japanese automaker, this time by Allstate Insurance Company. The lawsuit involves all of the claims paid out for past accidents that were linked to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. A total of $3 million was reportedly paid out by Allstate insurance company.

The lawsuit was filed last Friday in California Supreme Court. Some project that this is just the beginning of “a relatively new front in the wave of U.S. civil litigation piling up against the Japanese automaker for economic losses resulting from complaints about Toyotas that have sped out of control and crashed,” according to Auto News.com.

According to Chirstina Loznicka, Allstate spokeswoman: "We are expected to be one of several insurance companies that are taking this action." Allstate claims that Toyota could have taken action that would have prevented the accidents by installing brake override systems in vehicles.

The law suit that Allstate has filed against Toyota claims that the acceleration defects were caused by a problem with the electronic throttle systems in recalled Toyota vehicles and that Toyota “essentially hid the problem.”  The suit claims, "This has resulted in numerous claims of instances of property damage and injuries, including, in some instances, fatalities.”

The claims paid that Allstate attributes to Toyota vehicles total over $3 million which may be the beginning of additional suits brought by other insurance companies.

Toyota spokesperson Steven Curtis stated: "Based on reports we believe the unfounded allegations in this suit have no basis."  Toyota continues to stick to its claim that no electronic defects were found even after examination of thousands of vehicles involved in the recent recall and so far in the NHTSA investigation. Federal regulators' findings agree but the investigation of 89 deaths resulting from crashes that were linked to unintended acceleration in Toyota cars continues.


Paris Motor Show All About Sexy Cars, Less About Sexy Gals

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 9:05AM | By: Chris Weiss


Paris Motor Show All About Sexy Cars, Less About Sexy Gals  test 1-1

The Paris Motor Show has been one of the hottest shows of the year in terms of sexy car and concept debuts. Just look at what we've seen so far: the lightest Lamborghini we've ever had the pleasure to meet, an all-new Jaguar plug-in supercar, six Lotus concepts, a funky Peugeot electric racer and a new BMW 6-Series, just to name a few that immediately come to mind. While all attention has been on these sexy vehicles, there's been an interesting side story going on in the background: less sexy ladies—or more accurately, less sexily dressed ladies.

Sexy women and cars have been a peanut-butter-and-jelly combination for as long as we can remember. In fact, I'd like to think that when Karl Benz finished up with his automobile back in the 1880s, he immediately called the sexiest girl in town over to lie across the hood in her best girdle to spice the design up for onlookers.

Never is the connection between eye candy of aluminum/carbon fiber and that of flesh more acute than in the auto-show circuit. Companies always employ models and hot PR folks to prance around their cars, pose for the cameras, and make the entire scene look a little more attractive. And these women aren't typically wearing long dresses and loose sweaters: skin and curves are the names of the game. In fact, take a look at any auto blog around show time and you'll usually find a post or two in some derivative of "Babes of show."


Dodge Releases 2011 Charger, Uses Up Every Adjective Available In The Process

On: Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 2:46PM | By: John Welch


Dodge Releases 2011 Charger, Uses Up Every Adjective Available In The Process test 1-1

Some samples from a Chrysler-supplied press kit regarding the 2011 Dodge Charger:

sinister “ready to attack the road” face

iconic character

puts the world’s best E-segment sedan competitors between its new “split crosshair” signature grille

radically raked back headlights

iconic horizontal “coke bottle” or “double-diamond” body-side styling

signature taillamp design that incorporates 164 illuminating LEDs to form its signature “racetrack” graphic and gives the new Charger its unmistakable character from blocks away.

and finally . . .

the all-new 2011 Charger is the Dodge brand’s flagship that proudly delivers premium, world-class E-segment sedan precision at an incredible value.

Chrysler seems to have made a mistake. They keep saying "E-segment" but I'm pretty sure they mean "formerly E-Class". See, this Charger is still based on the underpinnings of the '96 to 2000 Mercedes E-Class, so it has a little catching up to do. It certainly looks the part, the sheet metal is less gaudy and more aggressive than that which it replaces, but it is still slightly behind the times. Also, I must applaud Dodge for sticking with a rear-drive chassis, as another Dodge Intrepid might just cause Mopar fanatics to violently raze any number of executive domiciles located throughout Metro Detroit. So, no matter how the car is or isn't, one thing is for sure: it is rear drive. Someone pass that memo on to Acura, please . . .