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Saab Shows Its First Electric Vehicle Prototype

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 3:03PM | By: Chris Weiss

Saab Shows Its First Electric Vehicle Prototype  test 1-1

A short eight months ago, Saab was on the brink of extinction. GM didn't want it. The greater auto market wasn't exactly rolling in dough and financing deals to take it off of GM's hands. And proposed bids were falling through like finely shaved sawdust in a large collander. In fact, Saab straits were so dire that GM even began to wind the company down.

Then an unlikely hero emerged and swept Saab from the arms of the reaper. Spyker, a Dutch company known for aero-inspired supercars, succeeded in its bid to take Saab off of GM's hands. Usually, it's an established, mainstream brand name buying up an exotic supercar brand, but in this case it was the reverse.

Now that production on Saab 9-5 models is underway, and life is back to normal in Trollhattan, Saab is ready to look toward the future. The company announced an electric vehicle that it's calling "‘the first practical family estate with all-electric propulsion."

Porsche To Return to Detroit Auto Show

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 3:02PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche To Return to Detroit Auto Show test 1-1

In a move that some are using to infer that the North American and global auto industries are officially on the rebound, Porsche will make a return to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January. The Stuttgart-based automaker has missed the past three shows, opting to focus on less conventional ways of reaching customers here in the States and zeroing in on larger markets.

Bill Perkins, co-chairman of the 2011 North American International Auto Show, told the Detroit Free Press:  “We’re very excited about it. The demand for space is very strong. People see the market coming back.”

It's too early to tell what Porsche will be displaying at the show, but those that will be there can hope that Detroit marks the North American auto show debut of the 918 Spyder Hybrid. Porsche confirmed the hybrid for production earlier this summer, so it would make sense to show it off. The 918 made its world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Just this week, Porsche also unveiled the 2011 911 Carrera GTS, a 408-hp Carrera distinguished by exhaust modifications, a widened stance and new body work. That model goes on sale early next year for $103,100 for the coupe and $112,900 for the Cabriolet.

Toyota Settles Fatal Accident Suit That Triggered Recalls

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 11:36AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Settles Fatal Accident Suit That Triggered Recalls test 1-1

The newest development in the Toyota Unintended Acceleration Saga is that Toyota Motor Corporation has settled the original lawsuit brought against the Japanese automaker regarding an accident that resulted from alleged sudden acceleration.

The suit pertains to the death of four people killed in a San Diego accident, which was the impetus for Toyota to initiate the recall of millions of vehicles pertaining to sudden acceleration.

Toyota was quoted in an email statement: “Through mutual respect and cooperation we were able to resolve this matter without the need for litigation.” Toyota refused to disclose details regarding the terms of the settlement.

In February, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Co., apologized in a statement to Congress. Toyoda also apologized to Mark Saylor’s family, the California Highway Patrol officer who was killed along with his family-wife, daughter, and brother-in-law. The accident resulted from a Lexus that reportedly sped out of control. When federal investigators examined the Lexus they discovered that misplaced floor mats were the most likely cause of the accident.

Senate Passes Bill to Guarantee $5 Million SBA Loans

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:07AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Senate Passes Bill to Guarantee $5 Million SBA Loans test 1-1

In automotive news, the Obama Administration has agreed to guarantee loans for small auto dealerships of up to $5 million with a bill that passed the Senate last Thursday. The federally guaranteed loan amount was only $2 million in the past and the bill raised the limit to $5 million.

The stipulation resulted from a new jobs bill for small businesses. It was intended to increase lending. Federal tax cuts of $12 billion were also offered to small businesses in hopes that the result will be an increase in hiring for many companies that have been in dire financial distress. The legislation plans to assist small businesses in being approved for loans by increasing the maximum federal guaranteed loan amount that small dealerships will qualify for, which will in turn cause credit requirements to be lowered by the Small Business Association (SBA). This new bill will improve last year’s “floorplan” financing program offered by SBA, which was not very effective in gaining participation by lending institutions.


Toyota Launches Eco Sensitive Smart Village

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:03AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Launches Eco Sensitive Smart Village test 1-1

Last Thursday, Toyota took a lead in demonstrating how green vehicles and renewable energy can work together to cut environmental impact. The company launched a tiny 'smart' village in Rokkasho, Japan to test and demonstrate how consumers can use renewable energy and green vehicles toward cutting their carbon footprint.

One of the biggest knocks against hybrids and electric vehicles is that electricity still runs largely on fossil fuels. While the end user feels better about pumping electricity and not gas into his car, that electricity is still polluting the environment. In other words, EVs and hybrids are simply masking the problem not solving it. That argument seems to get a whole lot of use by status-quo lovers that want to look more forward-thinking and informed than they really are. As if the notion never occurred to anyone else.

Scion tC, Version 2.0

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:03AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Scion tC, Version 2.0 test 1-1


In the time Scion has taken to redesign the tC, a lot has changed in the world. The country has had the biggest peak in real estate, followed by the biggest crash in the economy since the Great Depression. The city of New Orleans has been destroyed and rebuilt. We had our first African-American president. Being on Myspace went from making you cool to making you a social outcast. Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, and Tiger Woods all went from being sports icons to pariahs, and Brett Favre retired at least 50 or 60 times. 

Needless to say Scion, and parent company Toyota, have taken their time (And about seven years to be exact) recreating their very popular sport coupe. So what do we get for all this waiting? Some unbelievable Ferrari-fighter? No, sorry. A hugely over-hyped disappointment? Nope, not that either. What we get with the newly redesigned 2011 Scion tC is simply what should have been expected all along:  A better car than the one we had. And better in just about every way possible. Almost all of the car’s major aspects have been improved upon in some way, shape, or form. 

New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012 test 1-1

Back in early July, a rather sickly looking yellowish-brown mess of a Dodge Viper rolled off production lines. That was the last Dodge Viper that we'll see from this generation, and it left a rather bitter taste in the mouth. The official idea was to make it an earth-toned Viper--for what reason we don't know--but the thing came off looking like some large animal had taken a squatter directly over it. It was that bad.

Luckily, that Viper will be long forgotten when the next-generation model makes its debut. Reports of the new Viper have been heating up, and according to Autocar, Dodge has already shown the new supercar to a group of dealers at Chrysler's dealer conference in Orlando earlier this week.

New Chinese Policy May Force Foreign Automakers to Share Technology

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 New Chinese Policy May Force Foreign Automakers to Share Technology test 1-1

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, China is creating a plan that may force foreign automakers to disclose their secrets regarding new electric vehicle technology. How? China is attempting to be the world’s leader in the growing light vehicle market. China's Ministry of Industry is writing a 10-year plan designed to enable the country to be a leader in hybrid and electric-car technology.

China’s proposition demands that foreign auto manufacturers become involved in affiliations with Chinese companies that hold majority stakes. China is currently the world’s largest automotive market, the most profitable market for many automakers across the globe.  According to a recent automotive news report, “under China industrial policy, foreign automakers typically have to establish joint ventures with Chinese automakers to gain access to the market.”

While it’s true that China has the biggest automotive market, as far as imported sales are concerned, the country has not produced enough of their own vehicles to compete with companies like Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company, or General Motors.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “Chinese government officials see the electric and hybrid initiative as an opportunity to create such an automaker.”

Excel Energy Receives First Ford Transit Connect Electric Van

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:55AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Excel Energy Receives First Ford Transit Connect Electric Van  test 1-1

Xcel Energy is the first company to receive the electric-powered Ford Transit Connect Van for commercial use. Azure Dynamics Corp., a hybrid electric power train innovator for commercial trucks, chose Xcel Energy as a lead customer program to receive 13 electric Ford Transit Connect vans.

The first electric van is scheduled to be delivered to Xcel Energy this year, with the remaining 12 EVs to be complete by 2011. The Ford Transit Connect Electric vehicle is a joint project between Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics Corp. with a common goal to create electric vehicles for the commercial sector.

Xcel, a major U.S. electricity and gas company, will not only add 13 electric vans to its fleet, the utility company also plans to put up $20,000 in grants to support the purchase of 11 additional Ford Transit Connect Electric vans for its project partners. These partners will agree to invest the remaining cost to take delivery of each van.

Ford to EcoBoost Its Entire Line

On: Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 4:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford to EcoBoost Its Entire Line  test 1-1

In an effort to revamp its image and sales, Ford has been expanding EcoBoost options across its line over the past year, most recently with the addition of the 2.0-liter V4 Ecoboost in the all-new 2011 Explorer. According to a Detroit News report, this will be a part of Ford's greater strategy to offer EcoBoost options in all of its vehicles over the coming years.

Production-Ready Fisker Karma to Debut in Paris

On: Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 4:13PM | By: Chris Weiss

Production-Ready Fisker Karma to Debut in Paris  test 1-1

Long teetering between promising luxury plug-in hybrid and vaporware, the Fisker Karma finally appears to be ready for production. Fisker announced today that it will debut a full-fledged, production version of the Karma at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, which begins in about two weeks. The car combines flowing, sporty looks with an economic hybrid powertrain delivering up to 100 mpg.