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Volkswagen To Offer 100-Model Production On Its Intriguing XL1 Concept

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 6:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen To Offer 100-Model Production On Its Intriguing XL1 Concept test 1-1

Last week, Volkswagen made a big splash with the plug-in diesel-electric hybrid concept that it calls the XL1. It introduced the concept, which looks straight out of a futuristic thriller, at the Qatar Motor Show. The XL1 is an updated version of the L1 concept that VW first showed in 2002. It promises incredible efficiency, thanks to its tiny diesel- and electric motor-based powertrain. And good news for green lovers: Volkswagen plans to put it in production by 2013. For now, however, production will be limited to just 100 units.

Automotive News quotes VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech from Qatar: "We want to go into series production with this car starting in 2013." Piech went on to indicate that production will be very limited, with no more than 100 units planned, but that the car will be sold to actual consumers as opposed to fleet customers. Sales will begin in Germany and will move to the U.S. and China.

BMW Plans to Ramp Up Mini Paceman

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 4:39PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW Plans to Ramp Up Mini Paceman  test 1-1

Now that all the glitz, glamour, and glad-handing of the Detroit Auto Show is over, it’s time to for the automakers to get back to the business of actually making all those cars. BMW is rolling up their sleeves to make sure their new sports activity coupe Mini Paceman will be rolling off the assembly line. They’ve awarded the Mini Paceman building contract to Magna Steyr, the Austria-based company which already is making their Mini Countryman. Think of this as keeping it all in the family.

BMW development head Klaus Draeger is the point man on this project and knows all the specs. “Yes, we will have the Paceman built in Graz too,” he recently told a local paper. “As the auto is technically based on the Countryman it makes sense to go to Graz for this as well.”

CARFAX and Experian Offer Vehicle History Apps

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 4:35PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

CARFAX and Experian Offer Vehicle History Apps  test 1-1

Every since the iPhone made its debut, companies, gamers, news outlets, and just about anyone with a new idea has gotten into the application business. Whether you need to look up recipes, find movie times, convert measurements, or get restaurant reviews delivered right to your phone, it seems there’s an app for everything. Now CARFAX Inc. and Experian Automotive have gotten into the app business by providing a way for car dealers to access their databases right from their cell phones.

When a potential car seller drives into a lot and wants to trade, a dealer can immediately access CARFAX and Experian from his computer (or iPhone) to get instant feedback on any potential trade. Before the internet, dealers had to rely on the  “kick the tire” method of checking out a car.

Live Teardown Of F-150 Ecoboost At Detroit Auto Show

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:00PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Live Teardown of F-150 EcoBoost test 2

A never before attempted “live teardown” of Ford’s F-150 EcoBoost engine was performed at this year’s North American International Auto Show. The teardown exhibited a truck engine prepared to perform optimally for many more miles (another 150,000) even after it had reached 160,000 miles of what Ford describes as “harsh dynamometer and real-world use.”

The proof was in the fact that the key internal components of the 2011 F-150 “hero” engine were found to fit into rigid factory specs during the live teardown. Engine parts such as the block, pistons, turbos, crankshaft, valves, and other internal parts of the 3.5-liter F-150 EcoBoost engine passed rigid factory specifications after enduring testing that simulated 10 years of wear or about 160,000 miles.


Detroit Auto Show: Thumbs up or Thumbs Down, Part II

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:29AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Detroit Auto Show: Thumbs up or Thumbs Down, Part II test 1-1

As we bid a fond farewell to the North American International Auto Show, we have a final chance to look back on the hits and misses of the annual presentation. A lot of the buzz around Detroit was “Could this be the year of the big auto comeback?” Many companies are poised to capitalize on positive economic indicators. They’re also feeding the consumer appetite for more fuel-efficient models that don’t skimp on the luxury. Here are some more thumbs up and thumbs down in no particular order.

BMW Group Aims For Lofty New Sales Record In 2011

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:05AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW Group Aims For Lofty New Sales Record In 2011 test 1-1

Although Christmas has been over for several weeks, that doesn’t mean folks can stop prepping their Christmas wish list for next year. You can tell a lot about a person by the items on his or her wish list. For the would-be adventurer, it might be some scuba gear. For the stay-at-home type, it might be a new big screen HD television. And for automakers, their wish list is the same every year: they want to be number one. Looks like BMW will win the race for putting that wish out first as they declare the desire for a record year in 2011 for all their brands all over the world.

Take it away BMW board member: “This year we plan to sell well over 1.5 million units, achieving all-time sales highs for all three brands—BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce,” Ian Robertson, the company's head of sales and marketing, said at the Detroit auto show recently.

Lamborghini Updates Its Other Car With The Gallardo Bicolore

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 10:42AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Updates Its Other Car With The Gallardo Bicolore test 1-1

The world's attention may be focused on the Lamborghini Aventador and the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, but there's another winter motor show going on right now, and there's another Lamborghini showing its stuff. Lamborghini presented a special edition it calls the 2011 Gallardo LP560-4 Bicolore at the Qatar Motor Show.

Lamborghini hasn't done anything to upgrade the LP560-4's capability; it leaves the 560-hp 5.2 liter engine, e-gear transmission, and AWD layout untouched. Instead, Lambo focuses on the look of the car, and predictably, considering the name, presents a two-colored car with a distinctive look all its own. The cabin exterior comes in one color: black, while the lower half of the body comes in a selection of colors including giallomidas (yellow), arancio borealis (orange), grigiotelesto (grey), biancomonocerus (white), and blucaelum (blue). 15-spoke aluminum-alloy titanium grey wheels round out the exterior.

Battery Loans Start Pulsing With Power

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 10:32AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Battery Loans Start Pulsing With Power test 1-1

The next time someone tells you that our government is spending too much of our money, remind them that sometimes they actually are pretty slow at spending our money. Such is the case with around sixteen billion in loan money that was set aside in 2008. Here we are in 2011 and those loans are now finally getting doled out. What are the loans for? Think batteries. These loans are brought to automakers courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy under their Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program and all the car makers are lining up for their piece of the pie.

Video: Ferrari FF Concept Takes The Track

On: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 10:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Video: Ferrari FF Concept Takes The Track test 1-1

Love it or hate it, the Ferrari FF concept is coming and it's replacing the 612 Scaglietti. Ferrari did an internet unveil of the concept FF last Friday and plans to bring it to the Geneva Motor Show. This week, we got our first look at the uncovered FF in action thanks to a testing video from the Circuito di Balocco in Italy. Though the video watches more like a teaser or commercial, it's the first live action we've seen of unmasked Ferrari shooting brake, and it looks pretty smooth taking the curves under the stars.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Gets Slight Upgrade With 'S' Model

On: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 6:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S test 2

The lil' Aston Martin Vantage has just gotten a little bigger. Aston Martin introduced the V8 Vantage S today, a model that is a little more powerful, agile, and quick, thanks to a few key upgrades. If you demand the utmost performance, the V8 Vantage S may be the Aston for you.

The S variant gets 10 extra horses over the standard V8 Vantage, pulling out of the garage with a 430-hp 4.7-liter V8 engine. That engine also benefits from a new Sportshift II seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission that Aston claims cuts shift times by 20 percent. While Aston didn't specify, the new transmission is expected to improve upon the V8 Vantage's 14/20 mpg EPA rating. It also cuts about 52 lbs. off the total weight of the car, contributing to the S model's 66-lb. loss.

Feds Tell California To Put On The Brakes Regarding Fuel Economy Standards

On: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 3:48PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Feds Tell California To Put On The Brakes Regarding Fuel Economy Standards test 1-1

Californians love to say, “So goes California, so goes the rest of the country.” This means that if something happens on the west coast then pretty soon everyone will be following suit. In reality, that attitude doesn’t actually travel well beyond the west coast! Such is the case with California’s race to lower fuel economy standards.

As the government has rushed to tell automakers how to improve fuel economy in new vehicles, automakers registered “displeasure.” Okay, they pitched a fit at the Obama administration for moving too fast. Something had to be done, said the automakers. California, being in a mellow mood, agreed.