By Charles Riley and Yoko Wakatsuki @CNNMoneyApril 11, 2013: 4:26 PM ET
The recall puts another dent in Toyota's reputation for quality
HONG KONG (CNNMoney)
number of automakers -- including Japanese leaders Honda and Toyota --
are recalling around 3.4 million cars due to airbag defects.
Toyota(TM) said it was recalling 1.7 million cars around the world, including
some popular Corolla, Matrix and Tundra models. Nissan recalled around
480,000 cars, while Mazda added another 45,000 worldwide.
Honda(HMC), which is recalling more than 1.1 million autos, said the recall was necessary to replace passenger front airbag inflators.
"It is possible that the passenger front airbag inflators in affected
vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which may cause the inflator
casing to rupture and could result in injury," the company said in a
Most of the recalled cars appeared to be from the 2001, 2002 and 2003 model years.
Honda said it was aware of one crash in which a passenger front airbag
casing had ruptured after being deployed with too much pressure. The
automaker said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths that may have
resulted from the defect.
Honda has had previous recalls, beginning in 2008, for the same problem in driver's side airbags.
Toyota said it had reports of five airbag malfunctions, but no injuries.
Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada said the airbags in question were manufactured by Takata Corp., a Japan-based supplier.
Takata shares declined sharply after the recall was issued, at one
point falling more than 15% before recovering to close down 9%.
In the United States, the Honda vehicles involved in the recall include
2001 to 2003 Civics and CR-Vs and 2002 Odyssey minivans. Nissan is
recalling 2001 to 2003 Maximas, Pathfinders, Sentras, Infiniti I35s and
Infiniti QX4s in the U.S., while Mazda is recalling 147 2003 and 2004
Mazda6 sedans and two 2004 Mazda RX-8s. Toyota is recalling some 2001 to
2003 Corollas, Matrixes, Tundra pickups and Lexus CS430s. Toyota is
also recalling the Camry, among other models, but in markets outside the
Manufacturers will identify the specific cars involved and will notify owners.
General Motors(GM, Fortune 500)
is planning to recall an estimated 48,000 Pontiac Vibes. The Vibe was
made in the same factory as the Toyota Matrix, and the two vehicles are
BMW also used the same airbag inflators in
some of its cars, according to a document Takata sent to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration. BMW did not immediately respond
to requests for comment.
The recall, while large, is not
without precedent. The United States alone has had 13 recalls of more
than three million units, according to a list maintained by the
D.C.-based Center for Auto Safety.
For Toyota, the recall is another blow to its carefully cultivated reputation for quality.
The company announced in October a recall of 7.43 million cars due to a power window problem that posed a fire risk.
Toyota's largest recall came in 2009 and 2010, when more than 8 million units
were brought in for a potential problem involving sticky accelerator
pedals. In that case, dealers were told to suspend sales of eight
models, and production of those models stopped temporarily.
--CNNMoney's Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this story.
Welcome to the CAR NEWS Page from Stingraysstudios.com, Your #1 Source for No BS News on All the TRUE FACTS from the Auto World ...TRUST THESE FACTS :
FORD POSTS $1 BILLION PROFIT FOR 2009 OPERATIONS, Ford Fusion wins Car of the Year !!
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
FORD TO AXE MERCURY FROM THE COMPANY :
( THE SAD FACTS ILLUSTRATED BELOW )
BUICK DEBUTS TWO NEW MODELS...THE EXCELLE AND REGAL...& A REGAL GS !!! - SEE ARTICLE BELOW NOW.
NEW YORK CITY TAXICAB IS SET TO CHANGE, SEE THE COMING NEW DESIGNS FROM TOP 3 FINALISTS, FORD GETS OUR VOTE !!
ALL NEW SPORTS CARS FROM ACROSS THE POND ARE HERE :
THE PENSKE / GM SATURN DEAL WAS DONE IN BY RENAULT !!!....
^ The real losers here are the Dealers, So what will become of them without GM or Saturn ?
(Go read the full story below )
TOYOTA SHUTDOWN OF USA CAR PLANTS AND IS FACING COURT LAWSUITS...WITH CHARGES OF MURDER !!! & more proof of LIES & DECEPTION FROM TOYOTA
- STORY ON ALL THIS IS BELOW :
^ GM eats Toyota sales all up !!!
( Go read the full story below )
CHRYSLER / FIAT presents their "GOOD MIX" Of products !!...
DODGE & CHRYSLER HAVE PULLED A MIRACLE OFF...GAINING SALES AND PROFITABLE RETURNS, WELL DONE !
STINGRAYSSTUDIOS.COM IS A VERIFIED SOURCE OF CAR NEWS
FROM WITHIN THE INDUSTRY & WE HAVE SOME REAL SERIOUS "BOMBSHELLS" IN THE SECTION BELOW...GO READ THEM NOW !!.
Electric cars: Future of auto racing?
From Nina dos Santos, CNN
updated 3:12 PM EDT, Fri September 21, 2012
Electric cars to hit race tracks
Formula E races will be held in city centers rather than on race tracks to highlight practicality
Rio de Janeiro is first to have confirmed its willingness to host an Electric Grand Prix in 2014
The electric cars will be capable of speeds over 200km per hour and will seat one person
Editor's note: Watch
Quest Means Business on CNN International at 2pm ET and 6pm GMT Monday
to Friday. Presenter Richard Quest is CNN's foremost international
business correspondent. Follow him on Twitter.
London (CNN) -- The power of fuel will be overtaken by electric energy in a new global auto race being used to showcase eco-friendly cars.
Formula E chief executive
Alejandro Agag believes the future of the automotive industry,
particularly in cities, is electric. He hopes the auto race will help
promote the wider use of electric cars.
Agag wants the Formula E
series to take place in "the heart" of the world's leading towns. It
will be showcased in "cities committed to clean mobility and
sustainability," Agag told CNN's Quest Means Business. "We think we can
be of help to those cities that are promoting the use of the electric
car, by making it more popular."
He noted: "In Mexico we
are coordinating with key figures including Carlos Slim (Telmex's CEO
and the richest person in the world) and Federico Alaman (Mexico City
promoter), to identify the best locations in the country."
The Formula E cars will
be capable of speeds over 200 kilometers an hour, and rather than
substituting tire at a pit stop, the driver will change cars instead.
The plan for Formula E's inaugural season is to have 10 teams and 20
drivers, with the possibility of adding more teams in future.
Agag wants to use racing
to promote research into electric vehicles with a focus on younger
generations, in an effort to push the message of sustainable energy.
He added: "To make
people believe that they need an electric car and a more sustainable
lifestyle... We want to show everyone what these cars can do."
Auto Sales Report : Get the Real Facts, A month by month sales total :
SEE THE ARTICLES & SALES REPORT LINKS BELOW FOR THE MAJOR CAR COMPANIES, DETROIT IS SELLING MORE THAN ANYONE, GM IS WAY UP AND BOTH FORD & CHRYSLER ARE OUTSELLING THE IMPORT CARS !!
GM OUTSELLS TOYOTA PROVING THAT USA CARS CONTINUE TO LEAD THE WAY IN AUTO SALES, AND GAINING MORE MARKET SHARE IN THE PROCESS.
IF YOU CONSIDER A TOYOTA, YOU MUST BE AN IDIOT THEY JUST RECALLED ALMOST 12 MILLION MODELS AND ARE CUTTING OVER 6,000 JOBS IN AMERICA NOW !
STAY TUNED IN HERE FOR MONTHLY TOTALS EVERY 30 DAYS...THE REAL NUMBERS !
THOUGHT YOU KNEW WHAT THE FACTS REALLY WERE ?
WELL, .... NOW YOU DO !!!
^ THE CHEVY VOLT...
CLICK ABOVE FOR THE VOLT PAGE AND SEE THE FUTURE !
GET AN EYEBALL ON THE NEW FORD EXPLORER !
SEE THE PICTURE & ARTICLE
TRUST STINGRAYSSTUDIOS TO DELIVER THE NO BS FACT ON ALL OF THE INDUSTRY "GOSSIP".
...REGARDLESS OF WHO GETS OFFENDED, WE WILL SAY IT LIKE IT IS, COUNT ON THAT.
MR.DETROITMETAL - "NO COMMENT" :
CLICK BELOW & GET THE FULL STORY :
Jaguar reveals its 'quintessentially British' new model
By Max Foster, CNN
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
Exclusive look: Jaguar F-Type roadster
Jaguar has revealed its new sports car, which brand's boss calls quintessentially British
Footage of the F-Type is released exclusively on CNN's Quest Means Business
F-Type's release has already created extensive chatter from sports car fans on the web
Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth tells CNN car will likely have "very special demand"
Editor's note: Watch Quest Means Business
on CNN International, 0600pm GMT weekdays. Quest Means Business is
presented by CNN's foremost international business correspondent Richard Quest. Follow him and CNN anchor Max Foster on Twitter.
London (CNN) -- Jaguar has revealed its new sports car -- which the luxury brand's boss tells CNN showcases a "quintessential Britishness."
The Jaguar 2013 F-Type, the latest from the company's more than seven decades producing luxury cars, will debut at the Paris Auto Show this week.
Speth said he expects the
model, already creating extensive online chatter, to enjoy "very
special demand." The previous E-Type, Speth added, "was and still is a
very, very iconic car and nobody can build such a car anymore."
However the F-Type, is
"stuffed with DNA of all the Jaguar sports cars," Speth said. "So the
spirit, sportiness, design, quintessential Britishness is also in the
Jaguar cars over the years
Speth expects the car to
sell well both in emerging markets and in Europe. China, in particular,
is "growing very strongly," he said. The company has seen sales
increase, year-to-date, by more than 40%, he said.
The car was engineered
and designed in the UK by a team from the Royal College of Arts.
Jaguar's director of design Ian Callum told CNN: "We wanted the
experience of sitting in the F-Type to be exciting. A sports car cockpit
should be an intimate place and so we aimed to get a sense of the
surfaces falling towards and then wrapping around the driver."
Jaguar pioneered the use
of a touch screen for controlling the majority of its cars' functions
but with the F-Type, the company focused on more physical interfaces for
the driver. The F-Type also has a rigid aluminium structure intended to
improve responses for the steering, throttle and brakes.
The F-Type will go on sale in 2013.
Callaway to produce 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray AeroWagon
Callaway Cars released renderings today of the company’s design study
for a C7 Corvette-based shooting brake concept. Callaway plans to
manufacture the body package providing an openable hatch that would
result in a unique style and increased interior space, positioning the
Corvette in the elite class of two door shooting brakes.
Callaway’s AeroWagon body will be manufactured in their proprietary RTM
process for structural carbon parts. The KRTM (Krämer Resin Transfer
Molding) process produces load carrying carbon parts in one swift
Fitted to the Callaway version of the C7 Corvette, the Callaway
AeroWagon is projected to be a 200+ mph automobile while still returning
the highest mileage rating in the supercar segment.
Based on market reaction, Callaway plans to produce the conversions
coincident with the release of production C7 Corvettes this Fall. The
AeroWagon option is projected to be under $15,000 and available through
Callaway Dealers nationwide.
Reuss: Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT-86 Fighter From Chevrolet “On The List” With New Platform
The Chevrolet Code 130R concept car may not be rotating on a platform next to the 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray
at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, but it still
remains a passionate topic of conversation, even a year after it was
unveiled. This is because the little concept car features a
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (FR) layout, and is within inches of the
proportions found in the beloved Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ — and what
the rest of the world outside of America also knows as the Toyota GT-86.
To say the least, the idea of a production Code 130R is unshakably attractive, and GM North America President Mark Reuss feels the very same way.
“It’s on the list. It would be a great entry for us,” Reuss told CarSales.com.au. ”I
don’t know if they (Toyota) are making any money but it is a very
attractive car.” The vehicle the Australian publication referred to was
the rumored return of the Holden Torana, but the Code 130R concept nonetheless.
“We would do something with the knowledge of Alpha and the
background, but we wouldn’t take Alpha and try and shrink it,” said
Reuss, to our surprise. The original assumptions were that GM engineers
would utilize a shrunken Alpha platform for the design of such a
vehicle. Regardless, we hope that the Code 130R gets the green light, if
it hasn’t already.
There's nothing wrong with the Fisker Karma that a honkin' American V8 engine won't fix. At least according to Bob Lutz,
it seems. Called the VL Automotive Destino, this machine is the
brainchild of industrialist Gilbert Villereal and the aforementioned
Lutz, and is intended to compete with such well-regarded performance
sedans as the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.
As you can see, there are some significant styling changes made in the
conversion from Karma to Destino, notably in the front and rear fascias,
including exhaust tips out back and a new hood that's raised to
accommodate what lies underneath. The interior is also reskinned and can
be further customized by the buyer.
But it's the engineering work under that shapely skin that's truly
noteworthy. Replacing the electric motor, battery pack and turbocharged
range extender is one 638-horsepower supercharged LS9 V8 borrowed from
the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
driving the rear wheels through either a manual or automatic
transmission. Power numbers are identical to the ZR1 and while fuel
economy is not yet known, we can expect is to be a bit lower than the
Corvette's 15 city / 24 highway.
The Destino will be built at VL Automotive's headquarters in Auburn
Hills, Michigan, and it will be delivered through still-in-development
distribution network starting this summer. Pricing is expected to be
around $180,000, which is significantly more than the Karma's $102,000
base price. Check out our high-res image gallery live from the Detroit Auto Show above and the press release below.
Good news for car buyers is that almost all the entries are brand new, or at least newish.
And while there are styling and performance nuances among them, there
are no total dogs here. Because it is such an important category, we
thought it helpful to rank them based on our experience and driving
tests at both AOL Autos and Autoblog and help you choose.
The big changes in this usually ho-hum conservative category? There is a
battle between those cars that continue to try to appeal to
everyone--not taking any bold stands in styling--versus those whose
companies now believe that today's thirty-to-fifty year old parents and
50+ empty nesters are looking for a little pizazz even in their
Check out our ranking of the sedans from last to first, with the caveat
that some of the separation among these models can be measured by hairs
rather than rulers or scales.
GM Sales Rise 29 percent
DETROIT – General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM)
today reported its highest September U.S. sales since 2008: 210,245
vehicles, up 1.5 percent compared with a year ago. New products helped
drive a 29 percent increase in passenger car sales. Sales of GM’s mini,
small and compact cars alone were up a combined 97 percent, and all GM
brands increased their retail sales.
“Passenger cars have been the launch point for a broad and deep GM
product offensive,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales
operations. “Auto sales will continue to be a bright spot for the U.S.
economy, which is particularly good news for GM as we walk into an even
stronger cadence of new products in 2013 and 2014.”
GM has moved aggressively to replace existing vehicles with better
designs, more technology and improved fuel economy. At the same time,
GM is entering growth segments and offering new entry points for each
brand. Seventy percent of GM nameplates will be all new or redesigned
in 2012 and 2013.
September’s car sales increase reflected a strong start for the new
Chevrolet Spark and Cadillac XTS, continued strong sales of the Buick
Verano, Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Sonic, and a second consecutive
sales record for the Chevrolet Volt. September also marked the first
deliveries of the all-new Cadillac ATS.
The GMC Terrain and Acadia crossovers had strong months as well, with
sales up 8 percent and 16 percent, respectively. This helped drive a 3
percent increase for all GM crossovers versus a year ago.
Truck sales were down 20 percent due to a 46 percent year-over-year
reduction in fleet sales due to the timing of customer deliveries. In
the large pickup segment, GM’s total sales were down 12 percent and
fleet sales were down 56 percent. However, GM reduced its large pickup
inventories by approximately 8,600 units compared with August, and
earned average transaction prices more than $2,300 per unit above a year
ago with the lowest incentive spending in the industry, according to
J.D. Power PIN data.
new model, introduced at the New York Auto Show, is a little more
refined but still provides the outrageous levels of power the car is
known for. Gone, though, is the Dodge name.
(CNNMoney) -- The Dodge Viper has been out of production since 2010 but
Chrysler Group unveiled a new version, powered by a huge 8.4 liter V10
engine, at the New York Auto Show Wednesday.
The new car looks
like Vipers dating back to the car's introduction in the early 1990s. It
preserves the long hood and giant side air ducts. Gone, though, is the
Dodge name. Now it's just the SRT Viper.
new car also makes greater use of technology than past Vipers, in which
a very basic, low-tech driving experience was part of the image.
the first time, the Viper will have both traction control, which helps
prevent the tires from spinning under hard acceleration, and stability
control, which helps the driver during abrupt maneuvers.
control, which has been shown to significantly reduce fatal crashes, is
now required by law on all new cars. In the Viper, the stability can be
adjusted to allow the driver to push the car closer to its cornering
limits before the computers intervene.
"We strove to deliver a
supercar that continues to bring the driver as close as possible to the
machine," said Ralph Gilles, head of the SRT division for Chrysler
new car has "active suspension" that adjusts, moment by moment, to the
needs of the driver and terrain. It can also be adjusted by the driver
for street or track.
The 640-horsepower car will be available with a six-speed manual transmission.
hasn't announced pricing for the car yet, but announced that it will be
available in two prices, a base version and one with more luxury
February 29, 2012
By: CF staff
Long-term strategic pairing to leverage combined scale and strengths
NEW YORK – General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroën today announced the
creation of a long-term and broad-scale global strategic alliance that
will leverage the combined strengths and capabilities of the two
companies, contribute to the profitability of both partners and strongly
improve their competitiveness in Europe.
The alliance is structured around two main pillars: the sharing of
vehicle platforms, components and modules; and the creation of a global
purchasing joint venture for the sourcing of commodities, components and
other goods and services from suppliers with combined annual purchasing
volumes of approximately $125 billion. Each company will continue to
market and sell its vehicles independently and on a competitive basis.
Beyond these pillars, the alliance creates a flexible foundation that allows the companies to pursue other areas of cooperation.
In connection with the alliance, PSA Peugeot Citroën is expected to
raise approximately €1 billion through a capital increase with
preferential subscription rights for shareholders of PSA Peugeot
Citroën, underwritten by a syndicate of banks and including an
investment from the Peugeot Family Group, as a sign of its confidence in
the success of the alliance. As part of the agreement, which includes
no specific provision regarding the governance of PSA Peugeot Citroën,
GM plans to acquire a 7 percent equity stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën,
making it the second-largest shareholder behind the Peugeot Family
“This partnership brings tremendous opportunity for our two companies,”
said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “The alliance synergies, in
addition to our independent plans, position GM for long-term sustainable
profitability in Europe.”
Philippe Varin, chairman of the managing board of PSA Peugeot Citroën,
declared, “This alliance is a tremendously exciting moment for both
groups and this partnership is rich in its development potential. With
the strong support of our historical shareholder and the arrival of a
new and prestigious shareholder, the whole group is mobilized to reap
the full benefit of this agreement.”
Under the terms of the agreement, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroën will share
selected platforms, modules and components on a worldwide basis in order
to achieve cost savings, gain efficiencies, leverage volumes and
advanced technologies and reduce emissions. Sharing of platforms not
only enables global applications, it also permits both companies to
execute Europe-specific programs with scale and in a cost-effective
Initially, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroën intend to focus on small and
midsize passenger cars, MPVs and crossovers. The companies will also
consider developing a new common platform for low emission vehicles. The
first vehicle on a common platform is expected to launch by 2016.
This alliance enhances but does not replace either company’s ongoing
independent efforts to return their European operations to sustainable
The purchasing cooperation defined in the agreement allows the companies
to act as one global purchasing organization when it comes to sourcing
commodities, components and services from suppliers, taking full
advantage of the joint expertise, volume, platforms and standardized
parts. Combining GM’s robust global processes and organizational
structure with best practices from PSA Peugeot Citroën will bring
significant value and efficiencies to the purchasing operations at both
Additionally, the alliance is exploring areas for further cooperation,
such as integrated logistics and transportation. To this end, GM intends
to establish a strategic, commercial cooperation with Gefco, an
integrated logistics services company and subsidiary of PSA Peugeot
Citroën, whereby Gefco would provide logistics services to GM in Europe
The total synergies expected from the alliance are estimated at
approximately $2 billion USD annually within about five years. The
synergies will largely coincide with new vehicle programs, with limited
benefit expected in the first two years.
It is expected the synergies
will be shared evenly between companies.
GM Invests $68 million in Oshawa Assembly Plant to Build the Next Generation Chevrolet Impala
Quote:Oshawa, Ontario (December 16, 2011) —
General Motors will invest $68 million to prepare the Oshawa Assembly
Plant to build the next generation Chevrolet Impala, securing
approximately 350 jobs.
“With the investments for the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS, we are
taking big steps forward to ensure we maximize the flexible
manufacturing facility and high-quality workforce that exist in Oshawa,”
said Kevin Williams, president and managing director of General Motors
of Canada. “We are building on the recent capacity increases, product
launches and shift additions at our Canadian operations to affirm that
Canada will play an important role in the new GM as we continue to
transform our product lineup.”
Combined with the recent investment to support the launch of the
Cadillac XTS in 2012, GM is committing $185 million to Oshawa, which
will create or retain approximately 750 jobs. The next generation
Chevrolet Impala is GM’s fifth new product commitment to Canada since
“The Government of Canada made an important decision back in December
2008 to provide significant support to GM,” said the Honourable Jim
Flaherty, Minister of Finance. “Since then it has become clear this was
the right decision. Our support has helped preserve Canada’s place in
the automotive industry. It has helped protect jobs in communities
across Canada in automotive assembly and automotive parts production.”
“Our government supported GM as it restructured to respond to the global
economic downturn. That support saved thousands of jobs, and kept GM in
Ontario,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and
Innovation. “Today’s announcement shows that GM and Ontario’s auto
sector are on the right track — GM is securing hundreds of jobs for
Ontario families, and Ontario continues to be the top auto manufacturing
jurisdiction in North America.”
In order to meet customer demand and maximize the flexibility of GM’s
manufacturing operations, the next generation Chevrolet Impala will be
built at both the Oshawa Assembly Plant and the Detroit-Hamtramck
Oshawa has undergone many changes this past year, recently launching the
Buick Regal, Chevrolet Camaro Convertible and Chevrolet Equinox, adding
two new shifts and securing 1,300 jobs. The plant employs more than
4,400 people, and also builds the Chevrolet Camaro and Chevrolet Impala.
“Our workforce has always worked hard to exceed expectations and execute
exceptional product launches, and we’re happy to receive another vote
of confidence with this most recent investment,” said Dan Hermer, plant
manager at the Oshawa Assembly Plant.
“We have a strong track record of quality and productivity in Oshawa
where we will continue to build the world’s best vehicles,” added Chris
Buckley, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Local 222.
HELPS TO CREATE A NEW CAR COMPANY :
EGO AUTOS, LLC
CLICK BELOW TO GET THE FULL STORY NOW :
100 years in the making celebrate Chevrolet's 100 years with the
Chevrolet Centennial Special Edition Corvette. This racing-inspired
appearance package includes bold visual elements to signify a historic
milestone. This special edition includes red-painted brake calipers,
Centennial exterior badging, satin black Grand Sport fender badges and
the exclusive the Carbon Flash Metallic exterior color along with
5-spoke wheels, 18-inch front and 19-inch rear, in satin black aluminum. aggressive styling continues on the interior
with leather and sueded microfiber with contrasting, iconic red
stitching. The package also includes custom Centennial embroidery for
the console, seats and mats. each detail and individual touch comes
together in the Chevrolet Centennial Special Edition, creating an iconic
appearance that distinguishes Corvette on the road .
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ALL THE AUTOMAKERS NEXT ?...WELL CLICK BELOW FOR THE NEW CONCEPT CARS PAGE & GET AN EYEBALL FULL OF THE NEW CARS !
^ CHEVY Z-24 COUPE CONCEPT BY STINGRAYSSTUDIOS ! -
REPORT: Rossignolo buys De Tomaso, new models headed for Geneva in 2011
Panthera Rendering - Click above for high-res image gallery
We're working off a machine-translated web page, so bear with us, but it
looks like legendary Seventies marque De Tomaso is being resurrected
once again. This time by a wealthy Italian industrialist named Gian
Mario Rossingnolo. Looks like Signor Rossingnolo has already
purchased a Pininfarina factory in which to build the new De Tomaso, and
tried (unsuccessfully) to rescue Bertone earlier this year.
The big question is what are they going to build. Well, the
ambitious-sounding-to-our-ears plan is to build 8,000 aluminum-bodied
cars per year. And they are to be prestige cars, to better take
advantage of the De Tomaso brand. As for specifics, Rossingnolo is
planning on a luxury sedan, a coupe and an SUV. The cars should make an
appearance at the Geneva Motor Show the year after next. Here's hoping one named Pantera shows up with Ford's supercharged 5.4-liter V8 mounted behind the driver.
Biggest Winner - Manufacturer: General Motors
hard to beat a 49-percent year-over-year gain, but it's even harder to
post such an improvement in the first place. How'd GM do it?
Zero-percent financing might have something to do it. The General
managed to improve year-over-year sales for every single vehicle it
makes save three, the Escalade, Camaro and Savanna (yes, they still make
that). Though they both did well in their own right, neither Ford nor
Chrysler can say that. The nitty gritty: Buick is up 73 percent,
Cadillac is up 70 percent, Chevrolet is up 43 percent and GMC is up 59
Runner-Up Manufacturer: Ford
difference between Ford and Chrysler this month? Ford's only got one
brand holding them back. Lincoln continues to be a liability with sales
off 11 percent, but both Dodge and Chrysler had trouble with key new
model changeovers (300, Charger) that pulled the company's results down.
All told, Ford Motor Company finished February up 13.6 percent to
Chrysler Group's 13 percent.
Biggest Winner - Brand: Ram
particularly those from Ram, weren't especially popular last February.
Both Silverado and F-Series posted significant gains in February, but
the Ram brand as a whole took off and ended up the month up 81 percent.
Dakota rebounded nicely with an 85-percent gain and the flagship Ram
pickup climbed an impressive 82 percent.
Biggest Loser - Brand: Lincoln
you know, Lincoln sales overall were down 11 percent, but it gets
worse. Half of Lincoln's lineup was in the red by the end of February
with the MKS taking the biggest hit, down 52 percent. Despite that, it
was still outsold by the Town Car, which was off 14 percent. Completing
the triangle of trouble was the MKT, off 36 percent with half as many
copies sold as the Town Car. Good luck with that livery duty switcheroo,
Biggest Winner - Model: Dodge Durango
I'd totally discount an outlandish gain like 34,038 percent, but
there's a point to be made here. The new Durango's been out a few short
months and it's taking off like a rocket. It moved 2731 copies in
February and is on the fast-track to catch up with its twin at Jeep.
Funny enough, right behind the Durango was its archrival, the Ford
Explorer, which was up 139 percent. For the record, I am discounting the
Cadillac DTS' 148-percent gain because I'm pretty sure they were giving
them away free with AARP memberships.
Biggest Loser - Model: Lincoln MKS
I noted earlier, Chrysler had a lot of trouble with model changeovers.
New 200s, 300s and Chargers are on their way to dealers, but not in the
volume of their old models. Lincoln, though, has no such excuse. The MKS
has been on sale since before Chrysler went bankrupt and it's just
exciting the market. Sales fell 52 percent in February to just 568, well
below the Town Car's 943.
The Asian Automakers
Biggest Winner - Mitsubishi
Yeah, that's right, Mitsubishi. The brand many have been betting is on
its way out of the U.S. market posted the best monthly results for any
Asian brand in February. Sales climbed an amazing 71 percent from a year
ago to 6893 vehicles total, Mitsubishi's best monthly result since
October 2008. Outlander Sport is off to a strong start with 1290 sold
and Evo sales are up 18 percent, perhaps as fans try to snap them up
before rumors of the model's demise come true.
Biggest Loser - Lexus
a close call here, but Lexus' sales avoided the red ink by two tenths
of a percentage point, or 27 vehicles. While Lexus SUV sales were up 6.3
percent, car sales fell seven percent as several models faltered. LS
fell 12 percent while GS dropped 29 percent, but the real problems were
HS, which nose dived 74 percent to just 183 copies sold, and GX, which
fell 29 percent. Helping keep Lexus in the black was the LFA, which saw
five copies delivered in February.
The European Automakers
Biggest Winner - Saab
no hard to be number one when your number to beat is 97. That's 97
vehicles sold total nationwide in February 2010. In February 2011,
though, Saab moved 546 vehicles for a 463-percent gain. Sales will
likely increase significantly over the next few months as Saab dealers
finally get new product again. If that's a bit of an unfair advantage,
you can give it to Porsche for pulling off a 32-percent gain over the
same period thanks mostly to the Cayenne. Panamera sales finally cooled
off, barely outselling 911 and nowhere near Cayenne.
Biggest Loser - Jaguar
Chrysler and Lincoln in the small collection of brands that actually
lost sales in February is Jaguar. Things were looking good for Jaguar in
January when sales were up 48 percent and nearly cracked 1000 cars, but
February quickly reversed the trend. Sales were down nine percent to
The 2012 sales as they are ...
Top 30 Best-Selling Vehicles In America - February 2012
Chevrolet's Sonic was the 46th-best-selling
vehicle in America in February
of all new vehicles sold in the United States in February 2012 were
Ford F-Series pickups. Year-over-year, F-Series sales jumped 26%. The
overall market's growth was beyond decent - 15.7% to be precise - but
the F-Series far outpaced that figure, quite clearly. Through two
months, F-Series sales are up 17% compared with early 2011.
best-selling car, the Toyota Camry, reported 27% increases, enough to
take the midsize sedan to 34,542 sales and second place overall.
America's favourite SUV/CUV, the Honda CR-V, was up 30%, good for 24,759
sales and sixth spot on this list of the top 30 best-selling vehicles
in the USA. America's top-selling minivan, the Dodge Grand Caravan,
finished February 1110 sales ahead of the Kia Optima, thereby nabbing
24th spot. If they were one vehicle, which they will be, the Grand
Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country would have formed the
10th-best-selling vehicle in America last month.
of the top 30 vehicles wear Detroit badges. There is one German, the
Volkswagen Jetta. Jetta sedan sales, by the way, rose 11% in February.
Volkswagen Passat sales reached 8189 units, not enough for the top 30
(the Passat finished 41st), but more proof that the cheap...er
VeeDub approach is working. February 2012 was Volkswagen of America's
best February since 1973. Back to the subject, 12 Japanese cars made the
list. That leaves the four Koreans, none more popular than the
17th-ranked Hyundai Sonata.
These were America's 30 most popular vehicles in February 2012.
Below the table you'll find a market share pie chart and pertinent
links to other February best seller lists. The dropdown menu at the top
right of this page allows you to access detailed monthly and yearly
sales figures for these 30 nameplates and every other model currently on
sale in the United States. It's a great resource. And a fun way to
lights are back on and factory floors are buzzing. Hot metal is pouring
out of car companies that are leaner, greener, and meaner than ever.
We've driven many of their offerings and looked ahead a couple of years
for the rest. What's next? It all starts right here with our 2012 Future
Cars guide, an A-to-Z sampling of some of the most anticipated vehicles coming soon from the world's top automakers...
The future of taxi
transport in New York City could look a lot different by 2014 -- though
we can guarantee it will still be yellow.
In an unprecedented move, the city will be unifying its iconic
taxicab fleet, introducing the first-ever custom-built taxicab designed
through a competition dubbed the "Taxi of Tomorrow."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine
Commission (TLC) Chairman David Yassky unveiled the three finalists in
the search for the city's new cab in November. The announcement comes
three years after the TLC first made public its intention to standardize
the vehicle, and nearly a year since the agency issued a request for
proposals inviting auto manufacturers and designers to submit their best
concepts for the new design.
Ford, Nissan, and Who?
Three finalists -- from Ford, Nissan and newcomer Karsan -- were selected from proposals submitted by seven companies.
Ford's Taxi of Tomorrow (Ford).
Ford's design is based on the Transit Connect
van, which is available in the U.S. and was named 2010 North American
Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in
Detroit. Aside from the advantages of a vehicle that is already in
production and available domestically, Ford brings to the table an
unmatched wealth of experience in supplying the New York City taxi
industry, a TLC spokesperson said. Further, the Transit Connect was
approved for taxi use last spring by the city of Boston.
Nissan's Taxi of Tomorrow (Nissan).
Nissan's entry is a compact van
that offers the most passenger space of the three, and is based on
their NV200 model that was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009.
It is not currently available in the U.S., but unlike the other
finalists, Nissan has stated that it will build a fully electric version
of the vehicle, Yassky said.
Karsan's Taxi of Tomorrow (Karsan).
The third finalist is a wildcard. Proposed by Turkish automaker Karsan -- which manufactures cars for Fiat and Hyundai
-- the futuristic-looking V1 doesn't even exist yet. The smallest of
the three, the V1 offers a glass roof, a wheelchair ramp that can reach
the curb and a unique configuration where one passenger faces the
others, a flashback to the jump seats of the long-retired Checker Cab.
Though the V1 has its advantages, Yassky said the company will have to
overcome a lack of experience in producing and selling vehicles in the
All the designs are based on small vans rather than sedans,
and can fit more luggage than most of the existing fleet models. In
addition, some of them feature chargers for cell phones and laptops.
Want a New Jeep Pickup? Help Us Build the Business Case For One
One of the things most Jeep enthusiasts have been clamoring for is a new compact pickuptruck,
ready to tackle the Rubicon just like many of the seven-slotted brand's
offerings. There could be a new Jeep pickup on the way, with CEO Mike
Manley commenting that he would love to see such a model in the lineup.
Right now, according to Manley, what is standing between a new Jeep pickup for the United States is the need for a solid business case. According to a report on PickupTrucks.com, the cost of importing and exporting the new truck,
could prevent it from becoming a reality. The plan would be to build a
Wrangler-based pickup that could also help Chrysler's bottom line in
international markets -- such as Southeast Asia and Europe -where the
demand for compact pickups is still quite high.
haven't we heard this story before? Jeep previewed a Wrangler-based
pickup in 2005 at the Chicago auto show with the Gladiator Concept.
While looking almost production-ready, and with then-Chrysler management
telling the public it was getting the green light, the modern-day
Gladiator never made it past show car status. Jeep continued to tease us
over the years with the J8 Sarge and JT concept trucks
(and even made its J8 military-spec truck available as a kit car via
American Expedition Vehicles), but no production vehicle emerged.
Earlier this spring, Mopar
brought us one step closer to a JK pickup with the new JK8 conversion
kit. Take one current JK-series Wrangler Unlimited four-door, a dozen
power tools, and mix them with the Mopar kit, and voila -- owners can
build their own two-door Wrangler pickup. It may not be a factory-built
offering, but it is as close as you're going to get for now.
knows that the enthusiast customer base is there for a new Jeep pickup,
so we're asking you -- the enthusiasts -- to help build Jeep's business
case. What would get you to buy one? What would you want to see
offered, both in terms of content and powertrain? How much would you
pay? Would it have to be something totally bare bones, or should it have
more creature comforts (like a Sahara model)? Let us know your thoughts
what constitutes the perfect Jeep pickup in the comments section below.
YORK (CNNMoney) -- Toyota's U.S. manufacturing arm is preparing for a
possible shutdown because of parts shortages from Japan, a Toyota
In Japan, meanwhile, Toyota and Nissan have
announced some hybrid and electric car production has resumed, while
Honda said it is extending its factory shutdown there.
Word has gone out to all 13 of Toyota's factories in the United States,
Canada and Mexico. This does not mean that the plants will stop working,
Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said, but that they should be ready in case
the need arises.
Toyota employs 25,000 manufacturing and R&D workers in North America.
has a long-standing policy of continuing to pay its employees while
finding other work for them -- either within Toyota or even in the
communities where they are located doing volunteer work -- during
But Toyota's plans signal that this parts issue could be just the beginning of an industry-wide problem.
did resume parts production for overseas and for replacement parts,"
Goss said, "but that was just the suppliers that were capable of doing
Toyota is still in the process of assessing which suppliers are capable of full operation at this time, Goss said.
"We're not talking about just a few companies," he said.
suppliers based in North America may not be able to provide components
for cars because they, in turn, rely on parts suppliers in Japan with
"All automakers are just now figuring out who
supplies every little part." Said Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle
Krebs. "The shortage of any one could shut down an assembly line. Toyota
isn't the only one vulnerable; virtually all major automakers have some
Spokespeople for Nissan, Honda and Ford all said those automakers are making no plans to shut down their plants at this time.
announced Thursday that it expects to maintain normal production at its
U.S. factories until at least April 1. The automaker is also
considering exporting V6 engines from one of its Tennessee factories to
Japan to replace the output of a damaged engine plant there.
Thursday, Toyota announced that it would also resume production of the
Toyota Prius and two hybrid Lexus models starting next week.
Nissan announced it was restarting production of its Leaf plug-in electric car Thursday, as well.
the same time, however, Honda announced it was extending a production
shutdown at its Japanese factories. Honda had earlier announced a
production shutdown at its two Japanese final assembly plants --
factories at which finished cars are made -- through March 27. That has
now been extended through April 3.
TOYOTA CUTS OVER 6,000 AMERICAN JOBS !!
Watching its sales slide while almost everyone else consistently
improve, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., so accustomed to setting the pace
for domestic and import competitors alike, is swiping a tactic from the
domestic makers it's so long dominated: Toyota is going to reduce its
It's going to try, anyway. The automaker that's often boasted it doesn't
lay off workers, even during bad times, revealed this week that the
company is offering voluntary separation packages to white-collar
personnel in the Automotive Operations Group and customer-service
operations at its corporate headquarters in Torrance, CA.
Toyota stressed in a statement that the program is voluntary and there
are no specific reduction targets in the staff of about 6,100 employees.
The company reportedly offered the buyout to more than 600 eligible
Since the unintended-acceleration frenzy and the series of widespread
safety and quality recalls that followed beginning in early 2010,
Toyota's U.S. sales have slumped - but worse, its peerless reputation
for quality and reliability has simultaneously eroded. Toyota was the
only major automaker to suffer a sales decline in the U.S. last year -
although it was slight - while nearly every automaker was able to
improve sales in 2010 and sales for the overall industry gained about 11
Toyota reportedly had previously reduced staff during the recession, but
company executives also have witnessed the remarkable rebound domestic
rivals General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have
experienced, even through the recession, thanks to shuttering excess
manufacturing capacity and massive reductions of both white- and
Toyota's voluntary staff-reduction effort isn't anything approaching the
scale - or desperation - with which the restructuring domestic makers
parted with employees, but the parallels are apparent.
Toyota recalls 2.17 million more vehicles for floormat-related fixes
Posted 2/25/2011 3:27 PM
As part of its continuing dialog with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Toyota
has agreed to voluntarily recall an additional 2.17 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to address potential problems that could occur as the
result of improper or incorrectly installed floormats causing
interference with the accelerator pedal. Over 1.71 million of those are Toyota 4Runner, Highlander and RAV4
models produced between 2003-2009, 2004-2006 and 2006-2010,
respectively. Other models affected include the 2006-207 Lexus GS 300
and GS 350 AWD, 2008-2011 Lexus LX 570
and 2004-2007 Lexus RX 330/350/400h. Specific fixes will vary from
model to model, but as in the past, owners will be notified and
corrective actions will be made at no charge.
In commenting on
the recalls, NHTSA administrator David Strickland stated that the
organization had gone over more than 400,000 pages of information
provided by Toyota. "As a result of the agency's review, NHTSA asked
Toyota to recall these additional vehicles, and now that the company has
done so, our investigation is closed." Earlier this month, an extensive
NHTSA study completely cleared the automaker of any claims that
so-called uncommanded acceleration had been caused by a fault in its
electronic throttle control system.
MORE TRAGIC NEWS FROM TOYOTA DEATH CARS >>>>>>
DO NOT BUY ANY TOYOTA PRODUCT EVER AGAIN !!
Report: Keyless start systems blamed for CO-related fatalities
to WMGT Channel 41 of Georgia, automakers are facing increasing
scrutiny regarding the safety of their keyless start systems. According
to the NBC affiliate, there are at least three carbon-dioxide related
deaths – one in New York, and a pair in Florida – that are being blamed
on the technology.
In one case, the family of a Whitestone, New York man is suing Toyota for his wrongful death. According to an older report from the New York Daily News, the family alleges that on February 27, 2009, Mary Rivera parked her Lexus
in the attached garage of the home she shared with Ernest Codelia Jr.
and accidentally left the engine running. The next day, Codelia was
found dead in his bed of carbon monoxide poisoning while Rivera was
discovered unconscious on the bedroom floor. She survived the incident,
but suffers from brain damage as a result.
Codelia's family is alleging that that the keyless ignition system on
the Lexus is to blame for the tragedy and that Toyota should have
installed a shutdown switch to kill the engine if the vehicle is
unoccupied or unmoved after a certain period of time. The lawsuit says
that the keyless ignition system violates federal safety standards
because owners can leave the vehicle running even with the key fob in
It is at this point that we must note that in our experience, Toyota's
keyless ignition mechanism operates in essentially the same manner as
every other system used by other automakers, and that cars equipped with
the technology are programmed to deliver both audible and visual
warnings if the driver attempts to leave the car without first shutting
off the engine.
Combined EPA Rating of 42 MPG
A few months ago we started getting some info on the new Lexus CT 200h hybrid. At the time, there was some hope that this premium compact
would set a new fuel economy benchmark, and if not, at least match the
Prius. After all, this being a Lexus, cost is less of an issue. Better
and/or bigger batteries could have been used to boost overall MPG, more
aluminum could have been used to reduce weight, etc. But it seems like
Toyota thinks it's enough to have the MPG leader with the Prius, and
that it doesn't have to push the enveloppe with the rest of its lineup.
That's too bad.
Fuel Economy Could be Be Better
Lexus estimates that the CT 200h hybrid will get about 42 MPG combined
on the EPA test. That seems low for a compact car with a 1.8-liter
engine and a full hybrid drivetrain. And it's not like Toyota
sacrified fuel economy for power; the CT 200h is rated at 134 hp (100
kW) and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. The 3rd generation Prius hybrid also does 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds.
I think it's a missed opportunity for Toyota. The CT 200h might beat
the MPG of its "premium compact" competitors (for now), and its tailpipe
emissions will no doubt be very low, but it's been about 10 years since
the Prius was first introduced in North-America and that car got 41 MPG combined in the EPA test. I'm sure that Lexus can do better than that with modern technology.
Under the Hood
The Lexus CT 200h is powered by a lightweight, highly compact,
four-cylinder, 16-valve, DOHC, 1798 cc Atkinson Cycle gas engine with a
displacement of 1.8-liter. It generates 98 hp (73 kW) at 5,200 rpm. It
also has a 60kW high performance, permanent magnet, synchronous 60 kW
(80 hp) electric motor. The 202V NIMH battery pack allows it to drive up
to 28 mph in EV mode. Electric range is about 1 mile.
THE TRUE DEFINITION OF "JUNK" - TOYOTA RECALLS RECALLED CARS TO FIX THE REPAIRS DONE DURING THE FIRST RECALL !!!
Toyota has issued a Technical Service Bulletin, No. 0335-10, to fix
accelerator pedal assemblies in certain Avalons and Camrys that were
"damaged" in the company's massive recall for unintended acceleration
In that recall, dealers modified the gas pedals on millions of Toyotas
by sawing off three-quarters of an inch from the bottom to ensure floor
mats wouldn't interfere with them. Another recall involved replacing the
accelerator pedal assemblies in most Avalons and U.S.-built Camrys.
Now apparently as many as 500 owners of those cars have complained of
gas pedals that feel loose or have play side-to-side. The latest TSB
directs dealer service departments to repair the bracket to which the
accelerator assembly mounts, which it says "may have become damaged"
during the first recall.
Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons claims the repair does not affect any
vehicles on the road. "It is extremely rare that we have to repair these
weld nuts, and they must be repaired to reinstall the pedal prior to
returning the vehicle [to the customer. The pedal attachment bolts would
not thread in unless we repaired the nut," he says.
Technical service bulletins are directives to dealer service departments
about how to fix a common problems. It differs from a recall in that
consumers aren't notified, and the automaker is under no mandate from
the government to perform the repair.
This TSB applies to 2005-2010 Avalons and 2007-2010 Camrys and Camry
Hybrids that were subject to the original recall. The repair procedure
is extensive, and the TSB document states that the cost is covered under
the cars' original three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Lyons says
customers should not incur any expense from the TSB, although that is
not clear from the language in the bulletin.
If you have one of these Toyotas that had the earlier recall performed,
and the accelerator pedal now feels loose, we advise you to return the
car to the dealership to have the new TSB work performed. If the
dealership tries to charge you for the repair, you should resist. Tell
them to talk to Toyota.
Published Dec 9, 2010
TOYOTA FACES MURDER CHARGES IN U.S.A. COURT !
Just the Facts:
* Toyota's attempt to dismiss lawsuits claiming deaths and injuries
caused by unintended sudden acceleration of its vehicles was tentatively
rejected by a U.S. District judge.
* Another hearing in the case is scheduled for today, as lawyers plan to discuss the latest tentative ruling.
* Toyota is facing hundreds of lawsuits alleging decreased vehicle value
or injury or death from sudden acceleration, following the recall of
more than 8 million vehicles.
SANTA ANA, California — Toyota's attempt to dismiss lawsuits claiming
deaths and injuries caused by sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) of
its vehicles was tentatively rejected by U.S. District Judge James V.
Selna on Wednesday.
This means that Toyota continues to face a double whammy — grappling
with personal injury cases at the same time as a looming consumer class
action lawsuit on behalf of Toyota owners who may not have experienced
sudden acceleration, but who say that Toyota's massive recalls reduced
the value of their cars. Toyota did not comment on the latest ruling as
of Thursday morning.
"Rather than disclosing the SUA defects to consumers, Toyota often blamed consumers for SUA-related problems," Selna wrote.
In November, Selna turned aside Toyota's request to dismiss the economic
lawsuits. He said there is evidence that Toyota knew more about the
problems than it disclosed to the public and that Toyota's failure to
act swiftly decreased the value of cars that worked properly.
Toyota has said in court filings and in statements on its Web site that
the plaintiffs in the case haven't provided specific allegations of an
actual defect and that it hasn't hidden any problems.
Another hearing in the case is scheduled for today, as lawyers plan to
discuss the latest tentative ruling. Selna previously issued a tentative
ruling in the economic loss complaint and then quickly followed it up
with a final ruling. It is not known when or if the final ruling in the
personal injury side of the Toyota lawsuits will be filed.
Toyota is facing hundreds of lawsuits alleging decreased vehicle value
or injury or death from sudden acceleration, following the recall of
more than 8 million vehicles.
TOYOTA LOSES SUIT ON STEALING HYBRID TECHNOLOGY
Alex Severinsky is a Soviet engineer and immigrant to the United
States who once developed antitank-warfare instrumentation. In 1994, he
patented a system for powering gas-electric hybrid automobiles. Toyota
has been using his system since 1997 without permission or payment.
Toyota Motor has settled a patent-infringement case
that has dragged on for six years. The settlement, announced Monday,
came the same day the U.S. International Trade Commission was to launch a
hearing on Severinsky’s claims. Had the commission sided with the
engineer, it could have barred Toyota from importing the Prius and other hybrids.
No one’s discussing the settlement, but Toyota insists it developed
its Synergy Drive hybrid system independently of any work Severinsky had
done. Severinsky, of course, sees things a bit differently.
This is his story.
“We [were] met by a high degree of cynicism from the automakers.” — Severinsky, to Auto Field Guide, on the industry reception to his technology in the pre-Prius era.
a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland,
earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Kharkov College
of Radioelectronics, in Kharkov, Ukraine, in 1967. Eight years later, he
earned a doctorate in the same field from Moscow’s Institute for
Precision Measurements in Radioelectronics and Physics. He emigrated, as
a refugee, to the United States in 1978.
Alex J. Severinsky Photo: University of Maryland
Predictably, Severinsky’s interest in hybrid tech grew out of computing.
In the 1980s, Severinsky spent a great deal of time working on
uninterruptible power supplies for computer systems. Patents for
gasoline-electric vehicle technology had been awarded before, but the
seamless management of drive torque — the subtle transition that makes a
hybrid feel like a normal car and not an on-off switch — had long been
limited by computing power and component costs.
After years of inquiry, and encouraged by the evolution of high-voltage power semiconductors (needed, as the Innovation Hall of Fame notes,
to deliver “satisfactory energy efficiency and power for
acceleration”), Severinsky founded Power Assisted Internal Combustion
Engines in 1992.
On September 6, 1994, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted
Severinsky a patent for his high-voltage method of powering gas-electric
hybrid vehicles. He called it “Hyperdrive.” The filing followed years
of work and research, and it represented an early version of the
thinking that led to the drivetrain in most modern hybrid electric vehicles.
Inexpensive semiconductors, which became available in the late 1990s,
allowed Severinsky to build a working vehicle prototype. In October,
1999, he demonstrated his technology in a Cadillac Coupe de Ville and
pursued licensing agreements from automakers.
Make no mistake: Toyota is a juggernaut. It has experienced some
setbacks lately, but it dominates the market for consumer hybrid
vehicles. It also protects its technology aggressively. According to an
Australian study, Toyota has sought more than 4000 patents
related to hybrid technology in the United States. That’s roughly 43
percent of all hybrid vehicle patents filed. More than 1,000 were
claimed on the 2009 Prius alone.
Given the relatively narrow window provided by government regulations
and public demand, many prominent manufacturers — Ford, for example —
have opted to license Toyota’s technology rather than develop their own.
It is simply cheaper and faster than going it alone. (Though Ford did
develop the system in the 2010 Fusion Hybrid.)
It must be said that Severinsky’s patents are not for hybrid cars or hybrid systems in their entirety. Hybrid automobiles have been around almost as long as automobiles. Ferdinand Porsche built one
in 1898, for example. Severinsky’s patents focus on a problem of
implementation: The method by which torque from an electric motor is
seamlessly blended with that of a gasoline engine. In a nutshell, his
company owns the notion of back-and-forth cooperative management of an
internal-combustion engine and an electric motor.
Put another way, he developed the digital integration of countless
variables — engine speed, road speed, throttle position and air density,
to name a few — that dictate how the electric and gasoline components
interact moment to moment. The relevant patents can be found on Google:
Paice announced on July 15 that it had reached an agreement with Ford
— which licenses Toyota’s hybrid technology — to license Severinsky’s
patent 5,343,970. The deal came four days before the trade commission
was to investigate Paice’s infrigement claims against Toyota, an inquiry
that could have resulted in barring Toyota from importing the Prius and
On Monday, Toyota agreed to settle the dispute. By doing so, it
agreed to the dismissal of all pending lawsuits and appeals, effectively
bringing the entire saga to a close. The terms were not disclosed, but
Toyota and Paice, in separate statements, said:
The parties agree that, although certain Toyota vehicles
have been found to be equivalent to a Paice patent, Toyota invented,
designed and developed the Prius and Toyota’s hybrid technology
independent of any inventions of Dr. Severinsky and Paice as part of
Toyota’s long history of innovation.
Silverinsky, who left Paice in August, 2006, to become the CEO of a company exploring synthetic fuel, was more direct in his comments to Business Week.
“Finally people understand the merits of what I invented and give it
the proper value,” he said. “Toyota is the leading technology company
and finally appreciates the value of the invention.”
....AS TOYOTA CRUMBLES, DETROIT IS GOING FULL SPEED AHEAD: MEET THE 2011 DODGE CHARGER :
With its iconic character,
contemporary fastback four-door coupe proportions, world-class
performance, craftsmanship and refinement, and state-of-the-art
connectivity features, 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.
The efficient and aerodynamic exterior of the 2011 Dodge Charger
is spiritually inspired by the iconic second-generation Charger from
the late 1960s, featuring a design that is sure to strike an emotional
chord with Dodge performance enthusiasts of all generations.
its sinister "ready-to-attack-the-road" face, the all-new Dodge Charger
puts the world's best E-segment sedan competitors between its new
"split crosshair" signature grille. Its sculpted all-new body is a
conscious nod to its deep heritage and muscle-car roots. The Charger's
profile is also a modern affair, a result of countless hours in the wind
tunnel, from its lower hood line, faster windshield and radically raked
back light, to its tighter wheel openings, lower sill and race-car-like
flat underbody, the Charger effortlessly cuts thought the air with its
attitude intact. The aluminum hood features dual "scallops" that bring a
sculptured, performance look to the front end, while large body-side
scallops deliver a striking undulating A-line across the doors. Running
front to rear is the iconic horizontal "coke bottle" or "double-diamond"
body-side styling that creates a tapering silhouette accented with
muscular front and rear fenders and gives the Dodge Charger one of the
most distinct profiles on the road. Defining the fastback's wide stance
is an all-new 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.
The 2011 Dodge Charger's
interior cockpit is meant to be an enthusiast office. The all new
design feature premium materials throughout. Transmitting the
performance chassis' world-class feel of the road, the all-new Charger
features a new thick-rimmed three-spoke Dodge steering wheel for
enhanced performance feel and grip. Crafted in world-class materials,
Charger's passengers are surrounded with comfort, craftsmanship and
style, thanks to premium soft-touch materials and four available
distinct interior color combinations. The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger's
state-of-the-art Uconnect Touch integrates world-class infotainment and convenience technologies to keep passengers connected, comfortable and secure. From segment-leading Garmin navigation,
to dual-zone climate controls and the ability to check fuel prices with
the integration of available SIRIUS Travel Link, Uconnect Touch
delivers an excellent experience for Charger's driver and passengers.
its unibody's world-class structural stiffness, Dodge Charger engineers
were able to tune the cabin for sound quality (rather than sound level)
by isolating powertrain, road and wind noise. In addition, Charger's
unibody packages material and structural design improvements, including
dual-pane acoustic windshield and front-door side glass, body-cavity
silencing foam, under-flush roll-framed doors with triple seals and
acoustic wheel-well liners to absorb road noise and quiet the cabin.
Combined, these design improvements place the all-new Dodge Charger's
interior sound quality among the best in the E-segment.
Dodge brand's flagship, the chassis of the all-new 2011 Charger is
designed, engineered and fine-tuned to deliver a level of quality,
capability and refinement that rivals the very best European, Asian and
North American E-segment sedans. With its new second-generation
E-segment rear-wheel drive (RWD) architecture, Dodge Charger features
world-class suspension-tunings with re-designed geometry making for a
nimble, balanced chassis that will build the Charger's legend as one of
the best driving sedans in the world.
Engineered to perform
against the best E-segment sport sedans, the all-new 2011 Dodge Charger
SE and Charger Rallye feature the new 3.6-liter Pentastar engine for
world-class levels of power, refinement, technology and fuel efficiency.
For maximum thrills, efficiency and best-in-class power, the new Dodge
Charger R/T lineup features the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with
four-cylinder mode FuelSaver Technology.
The all-new 2011 Dodge
Charger R/T with all-wheel-drive (AWD) features a re-thought stance and
19-inch wheels to make it much more appealing than ever before. The AWD
preserves the Charger's character and deepens its performance envelope
in the most treacherous conditions. The Charger AWD features a
segment-exclusive active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system
to improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent. No other major automotive
manufacturer offers the combination of these two independent
technologies. Dodge Charger's innovative AWD system seamlessly
transitions between RWD and AWD with no driver intervention. When
all-wheel drive is not required, the system automatically disconnects
the front axle to maximize fuel economy while still providing the
outstanding performance and handling inherent in rear-wheel drive
The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger features more than 65
safety and security features, including standard Keyless Enter-N-Go and
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with segment-exclusive Ready-alert
Braking and Rainy Day Brake Support safety features to improve overall
vehicle handling and performance both on and off the track. Safety and
security features available for the first time on the Dodge Charger
include adaptive-cruise control (ACC) with forward-collision warning
(FCW), blind-spot monitoring (BSM) with rear cross path (RCP) detection
and ParkView rear back-up camera with grid lines, all designed to
provide the driver with added confidence while behind the wheel.
This menacing newsedan
marks the triumphant return of the SRT namesake to the Charger model,
and does so with a big 6.4-liter bang. The new mill adds 0.3-liters to
the top SRT offering, and along with that comes an estimated 465
horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque – that’s an 80 horsepower bump at
2,900 rpm compared to the outgoing range-topper.
also added some new tech to the 392, including an all-new active valve
exhaust system that provides for improved efficiency, as well as Fuel
Saver technology that drops the engine down to four cylinders for
improved fuel economy when cruising. An active intake manifold and
high-lift camshaft with cam phasing also provide improved low-end
But that’s not all!
Of course the
big engine is the big news for the new Charger SRT8, but Dodge has also
added other exciting tidbits and firsts, such as standard paddle-shift
technology for those who opt for the AutoStick five-speed automatic
Also new for 2012 is an adaptive damping suspension that measures a myriad of inputs such as vehicle
speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position
and lateral acceleration to automatically tune and adjust the suspension
for optimal handling on the fly. For added control, drivers can also
pre-select from either “Auto” or “Sport” modes, which quickly adjust the
vehicle to pre-set conditions based on driver demands.
The performance SRT-tuned, fully hydraulic steering system is also
improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give drivers
more direct feel and on-center response.
New, split five-spoke,
20-inch lightweight forged and polished aluminum wheels with black
painted pockets provide help get the power to ground while giving the
SRT8 a menacing style, along with available three- or four-season tires.
Of course with all that power the
Charger SRT8 is capable of some serious performance figures, such as:
zero-to-60 in under five seconds, quarter miles in under 13 seconds,
.88g skidpad performance and a top speed of 175 miles per hour.
Naturally, something capable of that much speed needs substantial
stopping power to keep from leaving the road, so Dodge’s SRT division
equipped this sedan with four-piston Brembo calipers and vented and slotted rotors measuring 14.2 inches up front and 13.8 inches in the rear.
Step inside this hot saloon
Inside the SRT8 the sporty style continues with a race-inspired
interior featuring a leather-wrapped, SRT-exclusive steering wheel with a
flat bottom design and SRT logo. The standard paddle shifters flank
both sides of the new steering wheel behind the new contoured palm
Continuing the high-performance look and feel are
carbon-weave, fiber aluminum interior trim pieces that are integrated
into the new instrument panel and shifter bezel.
The front seats
have aggressive bolstering and perforated suede insert fabric to help
keep the driver and passengers planted firmly in their (standard) heated
and ventilated seats during spirited driving.
seats also feature reactive headrests and an SRT logo that is
embroidered into the seat backs. Rear seats are also heated.
door trim panels have been modified from the standard Charger and
feature unique bolster material and accent stitching on arm rests to
match the seats. Also new for 2012, the Dodge Charger SRT8 features a 900-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harmon Kardon.
Controlling this high-power stereo is the state-of-the-art Uconnect
Touch system with the largest standard touchscreen display in the
segment at 8.4 inches.
SRT8 and Uconnect exclusives
Exclusive Performance Pages are new for 2012 and included within the
touchscreen display. The instrument panel display can be customized to
view driver preferences and expanded to include instant feedback on
steering input measurements, horsepower, torque, expanded engine
information, along with zero-to-60 times, 60-to-zero braking, g-forces
and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times. The color graphic Electronic
Vehicle Information Center also includes the Performance Pages timers
and added engine information.
Don’t forget the safety
With so much power and performance on hand, sooner or later someone is
bound to take things a little too far, and for such occasions dodge has
equipped the 2012 Charger with a slew of safety features. Included in
that list are standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard
full-length side-curtain air bags, driver’s knee airbag and standard
front seat-mounted side-thorax air bags.
Also included are
adaptive-cruise control with Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot
Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection. the Charger also features
three-mode electronic stability control with segment-exclusive Ready
Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features.
golden crest is gone, but the Chrysler name is still spelled out and
surrounded by a pair of wings atop the front-grille frame. The eggcrate
grille has been swapped for one composed of sculpted horizontal slats,
as seen on the Chrysler 200 and Town & Country (and, unfortunately,
the Hyundai Sonata). Projector-beam headlights have evolved to
incorporate must-mean-it's-luxury LEDs.
the windshield is more steeply raked, the upright proportions, boxy
roofline, and purposeful stance clearly recall the car that nabbed our
Golden Calipers back in 2005. But now it's more refined and less
cartoonish. Gone are the slab sides and sharp creases that hint at
Gotham City chase scenes and staccato tommy-gun fire. Though the
muscular wheel arches remain, softer lines and smoother arcs shape the
hood and trunklid, while chrome-trimmed taillights serve as a dramatic
flourish to this top-hat-to-spats reformulation. The LED daytime running
lights are arranged in the shape of a "C" in Chrysler's honor.
The cabin receives as compelling a treatment as the Charger,
including similar HVAC controls and the optional 8.4-inch infotainment
screen backed by Garmin's navigation software. Additional available
features include 20-inch wheels, heated and cooled seats and cupholders,
and a dual-pane sunroof. The soft-touch dash and higher-quality
plastics feel just as good as in the Charger, but are styled differently
and trimmed with classy, handsome wood and, of course, that analog
the cool, refined ride, engineers found it necessary to tune the
interior cabin noise -- not just for overall sound level, but for sound
quality as well. The 300 is fitted with two premium-composite underbody
panels that are responsible for over 8 feet of acoustic insulation and
smoothing lower airflow. Being a flagship has its perks, after all.
Like its predecessor, the 2011 Chrysler 300
will be offered in rear and all-wheel drive; the latter system employs
an active transfer case and seamless disconnecting front axle that
Chrysler claims improves fuel economy by 5 percent. Touring and Limited
models come with the corporate Pentastar V-6, which delivers 292
horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in full-size sedan guise.
Chrysler's ubiquitous HEMI 5.7-liter V-8 with Fuel Saver Technology will
continue to power the 300C and should deliver 360 horsepower and
390-pound-feet of torque.
geometry was altered in the pursuit of better handling and the
electro-hydraulic power steering is tweaked for the driver's touch.
it launched six years ago, the 300 was an immediate hit and went on to
become one of the brand's most valuable players. While times (and parent
companies) have changed in the intervening years, the importance of the
300 in the new lineup can't be overstated. Chrysler needs a grand
performance from its flagship now more than ever.
General Motors and SAIC to jointly develop small engine and dual clutch transmission
Motors has reached an agreement with one of its primary Chinese
partners, Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp. (SAIC), on the joint
development of powertrains for small vehicles.
GM and SAIC will
develop and produce a family of four-cylinder engines ranging from 1.0-
to 1.5-liters with direct injection and turbocharging. The GTDI engines
should cut fuel consumption by around 20 percent compared to
similarly-sized engines with equivalent output.
The engine will
be used in GM and SAIC vehicles in China and around the world, and to go
along with the new engine, the partners will also develop a small
dual-clutch transmission that should provide a 10 percent boost in
efficiency over current six-speed torque converter automatics. Work on
the engine and transmission will occur at GM's powertrain engineering
center in Pontiac, MI and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center in
GM has yet to announced when the new powertrains will debut in production, but mid-2011 is a safe bet.
A show car version of the new Cruze hatchback will be Chevrolet's star attraction at this year's edition of the Paris motorshow,
which kicks off on September 30. Even though GM uses the term 'show
car', the five-door hatchback version of the Cruze is virtually
production ready minus some show-floor bling such as the blue hue on the
headlamps, big wheels and the LED daytime running lights.
keeping the front end and taut body lines of the sedan model, the
refreshingly stylish hatch comes with a sweeping coupe-like roofline and
a unique rear end treatment. GM has not yet issued any photos of the
cabin, but don't expect any changes over the four-door saloon.
to the automaker, cargo capacity for the Cruze hatchback is close to
400 liters and will feature 60/40 split rear seating.
available engine range will most likely be identical to the sedan that
is currently offered in Europe with two petrol engines, a 113HP
1.6-liter and a 141HP 1.8-liter, plus a 123HP 2.0-liter turbo diesel.
new Cruze 5-door hatchback will go on sale across Europe mid 2011 with
prices announced nearer the launch date. More markets will get the car
shortly after, though GM has not said if North America will be one of
Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe, beleives
the addition of a hatchback version to the range will further bolster
the car's sales.
play a critical role in many markets," said Brannon. "The total compact
segment in Europe represents around 4.8 million units which is over a
quarter of the total market, with hatchbacks representing around 65% of
that volume. We therefore expect to see increased business in a number
of regions, while sending out a signal that Chevrolet is now a serious
mainstream player in Europe."
creating the 2011 Explorer, Ford engineers and designers had an
enormously difficult task set before them. Ford's President of the
Americas, Mark Fields, described the job as "Reinventing the SUV for the
21st century." Despite the near complete collapse of the traditional
mid-to-large SUV market over the last several years, Ford still sees a
substantial market for the capabilities of these vehicles. Customers
just don't want the traditional downsides that accompany these
body-on-frame beasties – specifically, their higher fuel consumption and
poor ride and handling.
Since its debut some 20 years ago, the
Explorer has sold over six million units, four million of which are
still traversing the world's roads. Through much of the late-1990s and
early part of the last decade, the Explorer was Ford's
second-best-selling vehicle behind its F-Series pickups, regularly
selling 400,000 units a year. Fast-forward to 2009, and that volume had
plummeted to just over 52,000. Even so, Ford believes it still has an
opportunity. According to the automaker's vice president of global
marketing, Jim Farley, at least 140,000 Explorer owners a year come back
to Blue Oval dealerships looking to purchase new vehicles, they just
aren't buying Explorers.
When word got out that Ford was
developing a new unibody Explorer off the same platform architecture
that underpins the Taurus and Flex – not to mention the Lincoln MKS and
MKT – many people wondered why Dearborn had elected to develop yet
another crossover, especially since the Taurus X/Freestyle had just been
killed for slow sales. This predicament was not lost on Ford's product
planners, and their four-wheeled response is a new Explorer that remains
squarely targeted at traditional SUV buyers – shoppers that Ford sees
as a distinct group from most crossover intenders. Jeep long ago proved
with its Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models that a unibody chassis isn't
necessarily an impediment to building a fully capable off-roader, and
Ford appears to have taken that lesson to heart, along with targeting
big improvements in fuel economy and driving dynamics.
DETROIT -- General Motors Co. will spend $202 million to renovate its
Flint Engine South factory to build 1.4-liter four-cylinder engines for
the highly anticipated Chevrolet Volt--and for a small
car that likely will be even more crucial to Chevy's future success, the Cruze.
The automaker also will spend about $28 million on three other plants
in the Flint, Mich., area to help build the 2011 Cruze compact and the
^ CLICK ABOVE FOR THE VOLT PAGE ^
A 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine will power a
generator to create electricity for the motor that propels the
Chevrolet Volt, above, and will drive the Chevy Cruze.
GM is scheduled to launch the Cruze next spring. Production of the
Volt, a plug-in hybrid sedan, is scheduled to start in November 2010.
The Flint engine plant will produce 40 engines per day when
production starts late next year. Output will rise to 800 engines a day
by fall 2011, GM officials said.
The engine for the Cruze will be turbocharged. The Volt's
engine, which will power a generator to create electricity for the
motor that propels the car, will not be turbocharged.
The initial batch of engines for the Chevy Volt will be
imported from a GM plant in Aspern, Austria, until the revamped Flint
plant begins production.
The other GM plants that will be updated and retooled are the
Flint Metal Center, Flint Tool and Die and Grand Blanc Weld Tool
GM says the key functions at the plants will include
development of automated equipment and tooling for the Cruze and Volt
assembly plants. The Cruze will be assembled at Lordstown, Ohio, and
the Volt at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
The operations will develop dies and stamp body panels and components for Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck.
GM is spending about $30 million on the Grand Blanc plant to
build robotic weld tool cells that will assemble the Volt body at
SAY "GOODBYE" TO MERCURY !!!...
FORD TO CUT THE BRAND FROM THE COMPANY !!!...:
Toyota Invests $50 Million in Tesla Venture Despite Project Contention
Joel West May 21, 2010
Thursday night, Palo Alto-based Tesla
Motors announced that its long-promised Model S electric sedan would be
built at the closed NUMMI plant in Fremont. The announcement came with a
$50 million investment from Toyota (TM).
Given this 25-year
joint venture between Toyota and GM had established infrastructure, and
its April 1 closing was a source of great embarrassment to Toyota, this
seems like a no-brainer. However, apparently it only dates to an April
meeting between the Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk,
who made the joint announcement Thursday.
When I heard this,
however, it reminded me of all the previous places that Tesla had
promised to build a factory:
* Albuquerque (promised 2007,
* San José (a greenfield site, promised 2008,
abandoned January 2009)
* Palo Alto (a former HP factory,
promised August 2009 — and apparently still on)
(Widescreen Edition)This reminded me of the Julia Roberts movie “Runaway
Bride,” about a woman who kept planning weddings but then abandoning
them at the last minute.
Most recently, the company had been
negotiating with Long Beach (the former Douglas Aircraft plant for
making DC-9s) and Downey (a former NASA site) in the LA area. Musk said:
It's gonna be a tough decision, because I think frankly both Long
Beach and Downey would be great locations.
Downey officials had
approved nearly $9 million in incentives to attract the factory. The
facility had been once listed in Tesla’s proposal for a $465 million
“advanced technology” federal loan. Needless to say, city officials were
upset. Downey City Councilman, Mario Guerra, said:
shocked, upset and betrayed. We can see why the public is so upset with
He adding that Tesla had told the city it
would sign the lease for the Downey plant on Friday.
proponents, the plant would create 1,000 jobs. The company has
cumulative losses exceeding $200 million on sales of about 1,000 cars
and total revenues around $100 million. For such a tiny car company —
selling a niche product — it had been tremendously successful getting
publicity and promises of subsidies from local governments.
a Councilman Mario Guerra said:
I couldn’t be more
disappointed. Ifeel like I was stabbed in the back. We were promised all
along that we weren’t being used and this is what happens. Elon Musk
personally gave me his word that we weren’t being used. Somebody is a
very good poker player and I guess that’s how you become a billionaire.
had also been promised as the salvation of the American auto industry,
which has lost 100,000s of jobs in the past three years. Now, with the
strategic investment by Toyota, there is the possibility that its exit
strategy will be to become a subsidiary of Japan’s (and the world’s)
largest auto company.
A new report suggests China’s Brilliance Automotive’s run
could be over in the European market. The news of Brilliance’s exit
from the European market comes just months after the automaker’s
European importer – HSO Motors – filed
for bankruptcy. Brilliance has been handling its own European
distribution since November.
poor sales, a Brilliance executive revealed to AutoWeek that
the company will halt all European sales. Brilliance was one of just a
handful of Chinese automakers that managed to crack in to the European
Brilliance’s presence in the European market seemed doomed
from the start, with the company’s first European offering – the BS6 –
receiving zero out of five stars in Germany’s ADAC crash test.
Brilliance’s pricing scheme didn’t do the company any favors, either.
didn’t want to lose any money per car,” former HSO boss Hans-Ulrich
Sachs revealed. “We told them that this is the entry fee you have to
pay to get established in Europe. They told us that we should make the
investment to cover the shortfall; that we would have to subsidize the
report, one Brilliance insider told the Global Times that the
Chinese automaker has no plans to exit the European market. “Brilliance
will never pull out of Germany and Europe, even though it is confronted
with bleak sales and thin profit margins,” the source said.
Brilliance’s lineup barely conforms to Europe’s current Euro IV
regulations, with the Chinese automaker admittedly struggling to comply
with Euro V regs. “They abandoned Europe IV in less than a year and a
half, and will put Europe V in place in the second half. We can hardly
meet the new standards with domestic auto
part suppliers. We have to use overseas ones, which will raise our
costs,” the source added.
Even if Brilliance does manage to limp
along in the European market in the short-term, its long term future
looks bleak. Those within BMW – Brilliance’s China partner – have revealed the
automaker has stopped work on meeting the new Euro V standards, with
sales well below expectations. Although reports vary, Brilliance has
sold no more than 4,000 units since entering the European market in
2006, with some reports as low as 502 units.
HYUNDAI: Joel Ewanick, Dave Zuchowski, Chris Hosford and Chris Perry stand with a Genesis.
DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Consider the state of affairs when viewers tuned
into the Super Bowl in February: Banks had failed, a stimulus package
still hadn't been announced, and unemployment was surging toward 8%, up
from 4.8% the year before. Escapism was the order of the day, and most
advertisers played right along, with brands like Coke and Pepsi
offering saccharine happy-happy joy-joy visions that jarred with the
There was one advertiser, however, that didn't. In the third
quarter, in an otherwise standard-issue cars-rolling-through-landscape
spot, a voice-over brought into the light of day something that ranks
up there with death and erectile dysfunction as something people don't
want to talk about. "Now finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if you
lose your income in the next year, you can return it with no impact on
of readers selected the carmarker as the top marketer
in 2009 in a vote on AdAge.com.
With that bold stroke, Hyundai -- yes, Hyundai -- an automaker not
historically known for fearless marketing, began in earnest a frontal
assault on a recession that was not dampening consumer enthusiasm but
drowning it. But while its Assurance Program received heavy support, it
wasn't the sole route of advance. Hyundai also took an upmarket route,
with its very successful efforts to push the Genesis, its entry into
the premium-car market that was also pushed during the Super Bowl as
well as during the game's female-skewing equivalent, the Academy
Awards, where the carmaker bought an eye-popping nine spots.
Engaging with both the broken dreams and the intact ones through
high-profile ad buys that garnered plenty of positive press was in
sharp contrast to the tail-between-the-legs mode of Hyundai's rivals,
many of whom had slashed budgets and retreated into retail-focused
advertising. An example of the opportunism: Those nine Oscar spots --
purchased when GM, then on the verge of bankruptcy, bailed out of the
show. For Hyundai, the overall results were clear: Sales and market
share were up, and its brand image overhauled.
Hyundai's market share jumped to 4.3% in the first ten months
of 2009 from 3.1% in the same year-ago period. In September, while the
industry overall suffered a 22% sales drop in a post-Cash for Clunkers
hangover, Hyundai managed to increase its new-vehicle tally by 27% to
Scott Fink, chairman of Hyundai's national dealer council, said
he has more showroom traffic today than two years ago. And while his
New Port Ritchie, Fla., dealership used to get mostly Detroit model
trade-ins, he's now seeing mostly Japanese nameplates. Mr. Fink said
he's getting "a lot of Acuras" traded in, along with BMWs and Mercedes
Benz cars, for the new Genesis. "We're really eroding other brands."
Before the recession, "these same people [that] never would
have been caught dead in a Hyundai" might have worried about what their
neighbors would think, said Mr. Fink. "Now people are very comfortable
because the brand has been elevated. We used to be a price player, but
now we're a mainstream player."
Searching for stability
A lot has been done to
change a very ingrained image of Hyundai in a very short time. Hyundai
entered the U.S. market in 1986 with small, affordable, entry-level
models that were often the butt of jokes by late-night TV hosts. After
early success with these cars, Hyundai hit a speed bump with quality.
The automaker started building momentum in late 1998 after introducing
the industry's first 100,000-mile warranty, repricing its lineup closer
to transaction prices and slashing build combinations. In the middle
part of this decade, Hyundai management ranks had a revolving door, and
there was a great deal of instability at the company. Ex-Chief
Operating Officer Steve Wilhite disbanded all regional dealer ad groups
shortly after he signed on in 2006. That angered many dealers and
slowed momentum, as the move eliminated some $300 million in regional
ad spending for uniform messages, though most groups have re-formed
In early 2007, things began to stabilize when Joel Ewanick,
Hyundai's VP-marketing, arrived from Richards Group, then Hyundai's
creative and media agency, where he had been director-brand planning.
In Chris Perry, the director-marketing communications who had been at
Hyundai since 2000, Mr. Ewanick found an ally who thought along the
same lines he did.
Mr. Ewanick said the two men "share the same mindset" when it comes to
marketing, so they don't need to be at all the same meetings. That's
why Mr. Perry has autonomy in many cases to make decisions for
fast-track online ad deals, and "he doesn't have to wait for me," Mr.
One major move came quickly. In April of that year, Mr. Ewanick
ditched his old shop and hired Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein
& Partners to handle advertising duties after a two-month review.
One of the team's most important challenges was helping Hyundai to get
into the driveways of more affluent drivers, something auto pundits
were skeptical of. The then-new Genesis sedan started in the $30,000
range and was the automaker's most ambitious and priciest product ever.
(It was the two-door coupe version that Hyundai launched during the
Super Bowl this year.)
Nevertheless, Hyundai Motor America was in a funk at the end of
2008. With the U.S. auto industry in a tailspin due to the economy, the
credit crunch and plummeting consumer confidence, the marketer's
fourth-quarter sales dropped by 41% -- more than the total industry's
34.7%. And the company's 2008 vehicle sales slid 14% from the prior
year's tally of 467,009 units -- the highest since the American arm of
the South Korean carmaker started selling here in 1986. The Genesis
launch, too, wasn't exactly a huge hit, as early sales targets were
missed and dealers became disenchanted with Goodby's "Think About It"
campaign. By fall, there were reports that the Hyundai-Goodby
relationship was about to fall apart.
The genesis of Assurance
This year, however, was a
different story. The automaker announced in the first week of January
it was launching the Hyundai Assurance program to let buyers or lessees
return their new vehicles for up to a year if they lost their jobs. The
program was launched with Goodby's high-profile commercial in the Super
Bowl and another in-game spot dubbed "Bosses" that touted the Genesis
win as North American car of the year at the Detroit Auto Show. Hyundai
scooped up sponsorship of the pre-game show, and a trio of 30-second
"This is a recession of fear," Mr. Ewanick told Advertising Age
back in February. "We realized that the elephant in the room was the
fear of losing your job. I feel the same way. We all do. The idea of
giving people the option to give the car back if they were struggling .
. . seemed a great way to make customers comfortable and increase our
market share in an economy like this."
In a recent interview, Mr. Ewanick said the Assurance program came
together in 37 days from concept to ads on the air. A relatively lean,
flat organization has been one of the automaker's core strengths, he
said. "One of the things that have served us well is our ability to
adapt quickly to the changing economy and competitive marketplace."
Hyundai's U.S. sales over the years
Nielsen's online post-game survey found 43% of
participants said Hyundai's Super Bowl ads improved their opinion of
the brand. Rebecca Lindland, research director of consultant IHS Global
Insight's automotive group, said the Assurance plan "made people feel
Hyundai cared about their situation -- that they were sympathetic, and
there's a lot of human emotion sort of selling there." She said Hyundai
is "certainly outpacing the market this year, gaining significant
Americans were apparently so wowed by the ads and press exposure of
the Assurance program that consideration for new Hyundai vehicles
jumped to 59% in the first two months of the year, CNW Marketing
Filling a void
Hyundai followed up its
Super Bowl gambit with an ad blitz in ABC's Academy Awards broadcast,
its first national play with the Oscars. The automaker's new media
agency, Initiative, Irvine, Calif., had alerted Hyundai to the void
left by financially ailing GM as exclusive auto sponsor of the program,
a vacuum Hyundai will be filling for three years after inking a deal
less than two months before the broadcast. Hyundai also signed a deal
with Fox to place its vehicles in "24" and advertise during the show
after Ford pulled out.
In April, the marketer dropped Goodby and moved its national
creative account, including digital, without a review, to Innocean
Worldwide Americas, a subsidiary of Korean parent's Hyundai Motor
Group. Innocean also provides media oversight, promotion and events
planning for both Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors America. Jim
Sanfilippo, exec VP and CEO of Innocean's Irvine, Calif., office, said
Goodby was "a tough act to follow." After reviewing all the metrics,
which Innocean had as media coordinator, Innocean opted to stick with
the "Think About It" theme.
"We love the brand voice that Joel [Ewanick] has achieved, and that's
rare in automotive these days," said Mr. Sanfilippo. Hyundai is "no
longer an alternative, we're a rival."
At the end of the half-year mark, Hyundai posted an all-time
high U.S. market share of 4.2% compared to 3.1% at the end of June
2008. Not only that, even though Hyundai's monthly June sales slid by
24% from the prior June, it outsold Chrysler Group's volume Dodge brand
for the first time, boosting the brand to the sixth biggest by sales in
the U.S. in the industry's worst climate in decades. June 2009 marked
Hyundai's best monthly sales tally ever, even with decreased sales.
June brought another accolade to the brand. Hyundai ranked fourth
behind Lexus, Porsche and Cadillac, respectively, in consultant J.D.
Power and Associates' annual Initial Quality Survey. In 2008, Hyundai
ranked thirteenth in that survey, in which consumers rate their new
vehicles at 90 days of ownership.
The Fountain Valley, Calif., automaker kept the pressure on
competitors in July. Rather than advertise vehicle incentives that can
damage brand image, Hyundai introduced Assurance Gas Lock, which
guaranteed summer-month buyers $1.49-per-gallon for a year. The feisty
marketer then jumped the gun in early July, weeks ahead of the Cash for
Clunkers' program, with an ad campaign saying it was already offering
the tax credits ahead of Uncle Sam's July 24 start date.
"We saw the [clunkers]
program coming, and we understood the [government's] rules, so we
mobilized the program and had ads running July Fourth weekend," said
Mr. Ewanick. Hyundai's messages of the early clunker rebates, along
with Assurance and the Gas Lock programs, gave the marketer "a better
and richer story to tell," he said.
In early October, the marketer started advertising the new HyundaiMomentum.com
microsite, a place for people to see what third parties are writing
about the brand's cars and trucks. Ads from Innocean will run online
and during NFL TV broadcasts through November.
"We have been receiving a lot of accolades, awards and positive
reinforcement from the press and consumers, and shoppers are noticing
this," said Mr. Perry. "We needed to find a way to harness this
momentum and offer it up in a way that is easy for the consumer to
access and understand."
"Hyundai is really ahead of the game," said CNW Marketing
Research President Art Spinella, and the brand has managed to capture a
lot of shoppers who had Toyota on their lists. He said Hyundai is
building its brand and consideration the same way Toyota did decades
ago -- "with a good car at a good price and a lot of exposure with a
lot of ads."
The marketer said 60% of Americans today are now aware of
Hyundai and willing to buy the brand, compared to just 40% two years
ago. Mr. Ewanick credited better products backed by the "Think about
it" campaign. "It's a proof campaign, and we are giving people evidence
about our cars and our quality and our styling, and we keep shoveling
on the facts and information."
Mr. Ewanick admitted
his budgets have been flat and will stay that way in 2010, give or take
a few percentage points. This year he shifted dollars from print to
online, buying more on newspaper and magazine sites. The automaker
spent nearly $115 million in U.S. measured media in the first half of
2009 vs. $107 million in the same six-month period of 2008, according
to TNS Media Intelligence. Both figures are without internet spending.
The marketer spent $348 million last year, including internet, TNS
"Hyundai has been very successful with their new-product launches,"
especially the Genesis line, said Alexander Edwards, president of
consultant Strategic Vision's auto group. The sedan and coupe models
attract buyers with median annual household incomes of $120,000 vs.
$75,000 across the rest of Hyundai, Strategic Vision data show.
"Clearly the Genesis has brought in a new kind of buyer to Hyundai,"
Mr. Edwards said.
As for what rivals make of Hyundai's innovation streak, he said
the "Bosses" Super Bowl spot showing German and Japanese-speaking car
execs screaming at underlings because of Genesis' car-of-the-year win,
isn't so farfetched. Competitors he wouldn't name, including mass and
premium makers, are asking Mr. Edwards, "What do we have to worry about
"Everybody wants to find out what Hyundai will do next," he said.
Dodge announced that it wouldn't be sharing its Ram platform with
Nissan, we just kind of assumed that the Titan was going to go the way
of the Do Do. Why? Because Titan sales are the suck. Nissan has only
sold 15,393 copies of its largest truck through the first 10 months of
the year. For perspective, Ford sold more F-150s in the first two weeks
of October than Nissan has sold in 43 weeks. Last year wasn't much
better either, as only 30,000 customers walked out of a Nissan dealer
with a new Titan.
But if a report from Inside Line is to be
believed, the Titan will live on. RenaultNissan CEO Carlos Ghosn
reportedly told IL that "Titan will have a replacement, we are staying
in the large pickup truck market." It makes a bit of sense that there
will be another Titan given the fact that Nissan also uses the basic
platform for the Infiniti QX56 and the Nissan Armada. But then again
those portly SUVs aren't exactly flying off the shelf, either.
is that Nissan could be looking for an outside partner (or already have
one) to collaborate on a new pickup. We're thinking one candidate could
be Toyota. The only other Japanese automaker competing directly with
the domestics in the U.S. half-ton pickup truck market, Toyota was
expecting to produce 200,000 units per year of the Tundra when the it
launched, but has sold only 66,000 through October. Teaming up with
Nissan would help bring costs down, soak up extra production capacity
and mitigate the risk inherent in competing against Ford, GM and
Chrysler at what they do best.
BUICK EXCELLE DEBUT IN CHINA
Excelle GT is based upon the Opel Astra sedan and will be launching in
both the USA and China under the Buick
guise, although it is likely to make it into certain sedan friendly Euro
markets towards the end of the year. This is the first time that the Buick
Excelle has been posted to CCT in such detail, and we can safely say
that this car is going to prove to be a popular model when it launches
in China later this year complete with the 1.6T engine and the 1.8
naturally aspirated model, and goes someway to show that Shanghai-GM
really understands what its consumers need, rather than what the
management think consumers needs:
BUICK BRINGS BACK THE "REGAL" NAME ;
^ FOR MORE NEWS ON THIS NEW GM CAR & OTHERS CLICK ABOVE
McLAREN MP4 - 12 C
MP4-12C was designed over a five year period almost exclusively on
McLaren's world class computers, which are also used for the
manufacturer's Formula 1 cars. This enabled the engineers to completely
develop and even test each element of the car before a single part was
constructed. The key word in the MP4-12C's design is packaging. The designers
achieved a fine balance between performance, functionality and driver
comfort through superb packaging. The radiators are for example mounted
longitudinally alongside the engine to free up space in the nose for
luggage and yet also keep the car narrow enough to remain practical.
The tight packaging also required every component of the MP4-12C to be
bespoke; from the engine and gearbox to the knobs in the interior.
1981 McLaren pioneered carbon fibre composite tubs in Formula 1 and
with the F1 supercar brought the aerospace derived material to the
road. For the MP4-12C a new, cost-effective construction method was
devised that allows McLaren to construct the entire tub in a single
piece instead of having to bond different parts together. Known
internally as the 'MonoCell', the hollow monocoque chassis is extremely
rigid yet only weighs 80 kg. In early crash-testing the same tub was
used for a front and side impacts. The MonoCell survived both crashes
completely unscathed and could be used again without a problem. A
chassis can be produced in just 4 hours, which is a fraction of the
time needed to build a conventional multi-piece carbon fibre tub. This
cut in production time and costs is what enabled McLaren to use a
carbon fibre tub in a market dominated by aluminium and steel
Squeezed into the very tight engine bay is McLaren's very first 'own' engine. Dubbed the M838T, it is twin-turbocharged V8
with a displacement of 3.8 litre. Although no exact performance figures
are known yet, it is expected to produce around 600 bhp and 600 Nm of torque,
80% of which is available as low down as 2000 rpm. The V8 is also
incredibly efficient as it emits less CO2 per bhp produced than any
other internal combustion engines available today, including the ones
used in 'green' hybrids. The engine is mated to a dual-clutch,
seven-speed gearbox. Although it may disappoint purists, there will be
no optional manual gearbox; the footwell is optimised to house just two
pedals. The paddles that operate the gearbox are mounted behind the
steering wheel and move with it. Much like the shutter button on a
camera can be partly pressed to enable autofocus, they can be partly
squeezed to 'pre-cog' a gear and speed up shifts.
lightweight, rigid chassis and the compact, powerful engine are backed
up by a highly advanced suspension system. Double wishbones and coil
springs are used all around but that's where the convention stops. The
dampers fitted on each corner are active and completely adaptable to
the road surface and conditions. They give the driver the best of both
worlds; on the straights they will soften up for comfort and in corners
stiffen up for superb road holding and control. The driver can also
pick three suspension modes on the 'Active Dynamics Panel'. The biggest
trick up the MP4-12C's sleeve is 'brake steer', which was first seen on
the 1997 MP4/12 Formula 1 car. This system helps cornering by squeezing
the brakes slightly on the inside rear wheel. The same trick also works
on acceleration out of a corner when the inside rear wheel can start to
Performance, functionality and comfort were also key for
the exterior design. Aerodynamics played a vital role in the very pure
design. As with all of today's sports car designs, a balance between
low drag and high downforce had to be found. The MP4-12C's very smooth
lines ensure the former while an active rear wing provides plenty of
the latter. With no radiators to clear, the nose is very low, which
lowers the frontal area and also gives the driver a very good view of
the road. The air-intakes behind the doors for the radiators feature
turning vanes that resemble the McLaren logo. Needless to say they are
also very functional as they direct the cooling air to the
longitudinally mounted radiators. The rear-end has the most character
with prominent exhausts surrounded by a big grille and black horizontal
bars that also house the LED lights. The engine compartment is visible
through a large window in the rear deck. Large glass surfaces all
around provide the driver with unparalleled levels of visibility.
to the comfortable interior is through large 'dihedral' doors that are
opened by swiping a hand underneath the broad shoulder running across
the top of the door. The dihedral design uses just one hinge and allows
for full access even in the tightest of spaces. Functionality is also
prevalent throughout the interior. All switches and buttons are mounted
within reach of the driver and are grouped according to application.
The most important information is presented to the driver in the
binnacle behind the steering wheel, which features a very prominent,
tachometer. Additional info is presented in a screen mounted on the
floating centre console. The grip of the steering wheel is modelled
after grips of the wheels used by McLaren's World Championship winning
Formula 1 drivers.
Functionality even played a role in the
deciding the name of the new McLaren. Except for the F1, MP4 has been
used for all McLaren built since the company was acquired by Ron
Dennis' Project 4 in 1980. It originally referred to 'Marlboro Project
4' but more recently it is short for 'McLaren Project 4'. The '12'
represents a level of performance as determined on McLaren's internal 'Vehicle Performance
Index'. Future models with different performance characteristics will
receive a number according their their position on the Index. Easiest
to explain is the 'C', which indicates that that MP4-12C uses a carbon
McLaren revealed the first details of the MP4-12C
in the fall of 2009 even though production is not expected to commence
in earnest in 2011. This gives McLaren ample of time to test the car in
all conditions and set up a dealer network. A fleet of 20 test cars has
already been constructed, which has already taught invaluable lessons
that will be used for the full scale production. They have been
dispatched around the world for round the clock testing duties. In the
first year McLaren plans to build around 1,000 examples in a new,
purpose-built factory. Over the following years McLaren plans to add
one new model to the line-up every year. The example pictured above is
one of the pre-production prototypes; the final version may differ in
The McLaren MP4-12C looks set to seriously shake up the
segment dominated by Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. Unlike any of
its rivals, the MP4-12C sports a carbon fibre chassis and the level of
quality boasted by the new McLaren should also be class leading.
Whether it will work as well on the road as it looks on paper remains
to be seen but there is no reason to doubt that. While the Italians may
still have it cornered for pure passion, the MP4-12C will above all
represent the most logical choice. It is a McLaren after all.
MERCEDES AMG SLS
fascination and high tech of the highest order: These are the traits
embodied by the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, which is making its world
premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt on 15
September 2009. The super sports car
boasts a purist design, the systematic incorporation of lightweight
engineering and superior handling dynamics. At the same time, the SLS
delivers the high everyday utility and exemplary safety that typifies
Mercedes-Benz, making the new gullwing the ideal synthesis of the
strengths of Mercedes-Benz and AMG.
The new super sports car
from Mercedes-Benz and AMG dazzles with its unparalleled technology
package which includes: an aluminium space frame body with gullwing
doors; an AMG 6.3-litre, front-mid V8 engine
with a top power of 571 hp, 650 Nm of torque, and dry sump lubrication;
seven-speed dual-clutch in a transaxle configuration; a sports chassis
with aluminium double-wishbone suspension; and a kerb weight of 1,620
kilograms. It's a combination that guarantees supreme handling
dynamics. The car's ideal weight distribution between the front and
rear axles (47 to 53 per cent respectively) and its low centre of
gravity emphasize the concept's pronounced sports car nature. The
gullwing accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and has a top
speed of 197 mph (electronically limited). The fuel consumption of 21.4
mpg (combined) is best-in-class (all figures are provisional).
distinctive design of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG dazzles with its
passionate sportiness and reinterprets the breathtaking design of the
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, one of the most recognised design icons of the
Mercedes-Benz brand. With its purist design, the new SLS AMG reflects
the teachings of modern sports car design: The nearly two-metre
long-bonnet, the low, far back positioned cabin, and the short rear
with the extendable rear spoiler symbolize dynamism, as do the long
wheelbase, the wide track, and the large wheels. The proportions are
determined by the short overhangs and the design of the super sports
car, with a low-slung, front-mid engine mounted well back and a
dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle configuration. The stylistic
highlight is without a doubt the gullwing doors, which impart the SLS
AMG with incomparable charisma and make a unique statement in this
It is not just the gullwing doors that awaken
reminiscences of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The characteristic wide
radiator grille with the large Mercedes-Benz star and the wing-like fin
are also reminiscent of the face of the legendary sports car. The
three-dimensional, sculptured front with the low, v-shaped front skirt
with lateral indentations gives the gullwing a powerful stance on the
road. The car's dominance is underscored by six large air intakes and
the wideset, vertical headlamps with intriguing internals: The central
bixenon low-beam headlamps with metallic wing element are framed by two
LED indicators above and two LED daytime running lights below.
who raise the gullwing doors of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and sit down
in the sports seats will experience a very special interior. In its
conception, the Mercedes-Benz designers took their cue from aircraft
construction to create an ambience that immediately evokes associations
with plane cockpits. The defining stylistic element is the dashboard,
whose powerfully extended wing-like profile creates the impression of
great width. The dashboard incorporates "silver shadow" electroplated
air vents with adjustable nozzles, which simulate the look of jet
engines. The instrument cluster with its shift-up LED display and two
white illuminated circular instruments also appears very sporty in the
metallic silver shadow look. The silver dials have red pointers and a
225 mph scale. The main feature between the dashboard's two centre air
vents is the COMAND multi-media system with its 7-inch screen.
Despite the low seating position typical of sports cars,
which means the seats are located only 369 millimetres above the road
surface, the wide opening gullwing doors ensure easy entry and exit.
The designers made sure that the doors had as large an opening angle as
possible, which is why they swing up by 70 degrees. Another
consideration that was just as important was that the distance between
the opened doors and the road surface is an ample 1.50 metres, while
the size of the passage between the opened doors and the upper edge of
the side skirts is a generous 1.08 metres. By contrast, the entry
height (the distance between the road surface and the upper edge of the
side skirts) is a low 45 centimetres. Another important criterion for
ensuring an elegant entry and exit is that the opening and closing of
the doors requires little effort even when it's very cold, because of
two gas-dampers next to the door hinges.
The gullwing doors
require less room to open than conventional coupe doors and can be
completely opened in standard sized garages. The gullwing doors can be
opened from the interior by means of a "silver shadow" opening handle.
Thanks to the linkage system in the door's armrest, the door is easy to
handle when closing. The buttons for the power windows, the central
locking system and the exterior mirror adjustment are also easily
accessible in the interior trim. The interior has a spacious feeling,
due primarily to the large shoulder room of 1483 millimetres and the
wide elbow width of 1606 millimetres. In conjunction with the generous
headroom of 990 millimetres and the driver's effective legroom of 1058
millimetres, the deep seating position is also relaxing. The passengers
benefit from a relatively steep windscreen that provides a good view.
SLS is also taking a new approach in its body concept. For the first
time ever, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are presenting an automobile, where
both chassis and body are made of aluminium. This leads to significant
weight savings compared to the traditional steel construction, as shown
by the car's kerb weight of just 1,620 kilograms.
all-new body consists of an aluminium space frame, which combines
intelligent, lightweight design with the highest strength and thus
further boosts the SLS' excellent handling properties. Light aluminium
profiles combine the force nodes to create a stable structure. The
large, low-lying cross-sections of these aluminium profiles exhibit
high resistance torques, thereby ensuring the desired direct transfer
of drive, braking and chassis forces. Undesired flexibility is reduced
by the structure; the vehicle responds rigidly, directly and as if it
was almost free of torsion.
The intelligent aluminium space
frame, which has been optimized in terms of weight, is 45 per cent
aluminium profiles, 31 per cent aluminium panelling, 20 per cent cast
aluminium and four per cent steel. Ultra high-tensile, hot-rolled steel
is used in the A-pillars to further improve occupant protection. The
body-in-white weight is 241 kilograms - and given that the maximum
power is 571 hp, represents a top value in the super sports car segment.
The heart of the new SLS is a high-powered eight-cylinder engine manufactured by Mercedes-AMG. The advanced 6.3-litre V-8 engine,
which has an output of 571 hp at 6,800 rpm, makes the gullwing vehicle
one of the most powerful sports cars in its segment. In conjunction
with the low vehicle weight, this results in a weight-power ratio of
2.84 kg/hp. The naturally aspirated engine provides its maximum torque
of 650 Nm at 4,750 rpm. The gullwing vehicle accelerates from 0 to 62
mph in 3.8 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 197
mph (all figures are preliminary). The high-torque V8 engine, which is
called the M159 within the company, has a displacement of 6,208 cc. It
has been completely restructured compared to the basic M156 engine, and
it displays the typical characteristics of high-performance racing
The most important measures taken to boost its
performance were the development of a completely new intake manifold
system, the restructuring of the valve gear and the camshaft, the use
of streamlined steel-pipe fan-type exhaust pipes and a dethrottling of
the exhaust system. As a result, the designers have achieved
significantly improved cylinder charging that boosts performance by
almost nine per cent. The eight-cylinder engine reacts nimbly to
movements of the accelerator pedal and in general responds extremely
well. Thanks to the change to dry sump lubrication, it has been
possible to achieve a much lower installation position for the engine.
The consequent lowering of the vehicle's centre of gravity enables high
transverse acceleration, which results in handling dynamics that
solution that was chosen, a front-mid engine plus transaxle
configuration, ensures an ideal weight distribution of 47 per cent in
the front and 53 per cent in the rear. Mounting the engine behind the
front axle provided optimal conditions for perfect handling dynamics
with precise steering behaviour, top class agility, low inertia during
sudden changes of direction and outstanding traction. The aim of
Mercedes-Benz and AMG - to build a desirable super sports car and
combine flawless race circuit performance with the long distance
comfort typical of Mercedes-Benz - led to this sophisticated chassis
layout. All four wheels are guided on dual A-arms with track rod, a
technique that has proven itself in motor racing up to Formula 1 level.
In a double wishbone suspension, the wheel location and suspension
function are separated from each other, and the spring struts/damper
struts are supported on the lower transverse link. With its high
shatter strength and directional stability, the double wishbone concept
decisively controls the wheel, with minimal springy movements, and
gives the driver optimal contact with the road surface even in extreme
The A-arms, steering knuckles and hub carriers at
the front and rear axles are made entirely of forged aluminium - which
helps to substantially reduce the unsprung masses; and this in turn
improves the responsiveness of the suspension. At 2,680 millimetres,
the long wheelbase results in not only a stable straight-line
stability, but also a low dynamic wheel load shift which significantly
reduces the vehicle's tendency to roll during acceleration and
deceleration. The wide tread - 1,682 millimetres in the front, and
1,653 millimetres in the rear - ensures a lower dynamic wheel load
transfer from the inside wheel to the outside wheel on bends, which
gives the tyres more grip. When driving around bends, the big castor
angle of 11.5 degrees results in a large increase in the negative
camber, in addition to improving the tyres' grip - and lending high
stability when braking suddenly in bends.
Company press release, last updated on 09 / 10 / 2009
TOYOTA IS SET TO GO BANKRUPT...
CLICK BELOW FOR MORE ON THIS :
LIKE THE PROVERBIAL "BURN OUT"...TOYODA THE COMPANY, WHICH STARTED OUT AS A SEWING MACHINE MANUFACTURER, THEN TURNED "CAR COMPANY" DURING JAPAN'S WAR WITH CHINA BY GOVERNMENT DECREE & FUNDING.....IS ABOUT TO RUN IT'S COURSE INTO A DISMAL & FITTING END. NOW TOYOTA THE SUPPOSED WORLD'S SECOND LARGEST CAR COMPANY IS FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR HAVING BUILT DEFECTIVE CARS & TRUCKS FROM AS EARLY AS 1998 TO THE PRESENT DAY AND KNOWINGLY SELLING THEM TO THE CONSUMER...LEADING TO DEATHS & INJURY OF THE PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT THEIR PRODUCTS.
NHTSA studies unintended-acceleration complaints in 'repaired' Toyotas
U.S. regulators are investigating 10 recent cases in which owners of recalled Toyota vehicles say they brought their cars in for repair and yet still experienced unintended acceleration.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started contacting consumers about these complaints “to make sure Toyota is doing everything possible to make its vehicles safe,” agency chief David Strickland said in an e-mailed statement.
recurrence of unintended acceleration, even after sticky gas pedals and
obtrusive floor mats have been addressed by dealers, would suggest
there may be other causes of the loss of speed control in Toyota
“We are confident that Toyota vehicles are safe, and
we're doing everything we can to ensure that our customers are
satisfied with the repairs we are making,” Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons
said in an e-mail.
Lyons said Toyota has asked NHTSA for the information needed to contact customers with post-repair complaints.
top executives have repeatedly denied that electronic throttle-control
systems may interfere with acceleration, most recently at a Senate
Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday. The company has hired the Exponent
consulting firm to look into the matter further.
Toyota has recalled more than 6 million U.S. vehicles for unintended
acceleration. The causes were attributed either to sticky gas pedals or
to floor mats that entrap pedals.
The Safety Research &
Strategies consulting firm reported this week that four Toyota
customers complained to NHTSA last month of recurring unintended
acceleration, even after their vehicles were recalled and repaired.
In one case, the owner of a 2008 Toyota Avalon
reported Feb. 25 that a few days after a recall, the driver had the car
in reverse and was slowly backing out of a residential carport when it
accelerated on its own, the Safety Research report said.
did about three loops around the garage area of the home, causing
damage to the car, benches, tree, bushes, lamp post, etc.” the report
The owner of a 2010 Camry reported that within a week of
its Feb. 12 acceleration fix, the car sped up as the driver was
entering a parking space.
“I was pressing the brake,” the
complainant said, according to Safety Research. “I jammed both feet
into the brake. After three seconds, as my car was climbing up a snow
bank, it stopped.”
The complainant added: “The fix done by Toyota is not the fix for the acceleration problem.”
Toyota's Lyons: “We have rigorously tested the solutions that Toyota
engineers have developed, and are aggressively investigating any
"Toyota has become too big and distant from its customers," the chief executive said.
In the U.S., the automaker's sales are down 13% in September from a year ago. Globally, sales are down 28% for the brand.
have mentioned that much of the company's financial turmoil still has
to do with a weak U.S. economy, as well as a poor dollar-to-yen
exchange rate. At one point earlier this year, analysts expected sales
of 10 million units for the 2009 calendar year, but have now revised
the estimate down to 7.34 million. Last year, the company sold 8.97
million units worldwide.
Given a stable exchange rate of $1 to 92 yen, a loss of $8.4 billion is said to occur for the financial year ending next March.
"When you get to this level, it makes it difficult to return to profit on sales growth alone," Akio said to reporters.
would like to pay our deepest condolences for the loss of four precious
lives,” Toyoda announced. “Customers who chose Toyota and Lexus cars because those brands are safe and secure are now beset with anxiety. I regret and apologize for this development."
Source: Reuters, Automotive News (Subscription required)
UNABLE TO COMPETE WITH GENERAL MOTORS OR FORD IN THE USA ANY LONGER & LOSING SALES EVERY DAY TO THOSE DETROIT AUTO MAKERS, THE "TOYOTA" CAR COMPANY IS BLEEDING RED !!! The company is expecting its first full-year operating loss since
1937 — 350 billion yen ($3.9 billion) — more than double its previous
The company’s 2008 fiscal year ends on March 31.
widened its forecast for an operating loss on its main automotive
business to 450 billion yen, or $5 billion, attributing the larger loss
to both steep declines in global auto sales and strong gains by the
Japanese currency, the yen, which lowers the yen-denominated value of overseas earnings.
The global downturn has pummeled global auto sales, but Toyota had appeared somewhat resistant. No longer.
last time Toyota posted a net loss was 59 years ago, when it operated
under different accounting rules. Then, Toyota was in a financial
crisis that led to the departure of its founder, Kiichiro Toyoda. ( New York Times)
AS GM'S BOB LUTZ HAS COMMENTATED & WE PARAPHRASE HERE : "TOYOTA IS LOSING MORE MONEY EVERY DAY THAN WE DID BEFORE OUR CHAPTER 11 FILING, THEY JUST STARTED WITH A BIGGER PILE OF CASH, BUT THIS CAN'T WORK FOR THEM AT ALL... AS THEY ARE LOSING MORE THAN ANYONE "
TOYOTA HAS IN OUR OPINION EARNED THIS DISGRACE, BY OFFERING PRODUCTS THAT ARE INFERIOR & DERIVATIVE IN NATURE. THE CAMRY HAS EARNED THE DUBIOUS REPUTATION AS NOT ONLY THE CAR THAT CONSUMER REPORTS HAD TO "APOLOGIZE" FOR RECOMMENDING AFTER A SERIES OF RECALLS, BUT NOW OWNS THE SINGLE LARGEST RECALL IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY, FOR "FLOOR MATS" THAT CAUSE THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL TO STICK ON FULL THROTTLE !!!...EVERY CAMRY MADE RECENTLY HAS BEEN RECALLED TO FIX THIS DEADLY CONDITION, FOLLOWING SEVERAL DEATHS ALREADY ATTRIBUTED TO THIS FLAW IN THE CAR'S DESIGN !!!...and NOW TOYOTA HAS A FULL RECALL ON THE TRUCK LINE AS WELL FOR RUSTED OUT FRAMES :
^ CLICK ABOVE FOR MORE TRUE STORIES ON TOYOTA CARS, TRUCKS & THE TOYOTA MOTOR COMPANY.
The disclosure comes a week after Toyota announced it will recall
3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to replace a floor mat that could
cause the accelerator to stick. The recall prompted a public apology
from Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda.
Toyota faced a similar frame-rust problem last year involving about 750,000 Tacoma pickups.
In March 2008, the company agreed to buy back 1995 to 2000 model year Tacomas at 150 percent of the high Kelly Blue Book value.
in November 2008, the company issued a recall on 2001 to 2004 model
year Tacomas. If there was no rust, Toyota automatically extended the
warranty to 15 years with unlimited mileage. If there was rust, the
frames were replaced at no cost to the consumer.
Lyons did not say why the company did not issue a recall for the Tundra at the same time as the Tacoma.
two trucks did not share the same frame, but there were similarities,”
he said. Lyons said both trucks had the same supplier.
“But it's our responsibility, not the supplier's responsibility,” Lyons said. - (autoweek.com)
IT IS "HIGH TIME" THAT TOYOTA PAYS THE PRICE FOR CRAPPY CARS SOLD TO UNAWARE BUYERS.
IF YOU OWN A TOYOTA, ...DON'T SELL IT, ....DO THE WORLD A FAVOR....PLEASE JUST SEND IT TO THE JUNKYARD SCRAP PILE, WHERE IT BELONGS. IT WILL COME BACK AS A .......NEW SEWING MACHINE !
STINGRAYSSTUDIOS.COM ^ CLICK ON THE CUSTOM CAMARO ABOVE TO SEE HOW YOU CAN DRIVE IT HOME !! ^
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USE THE BUTTON ABOVE TO ORDER YOUR SET OF ART MY CAR PICTURES
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combines a powerfully poignant razor-honed
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like the rest of your tracks, is a signpost at the corner of Funk Avenue
and Groove boulevard
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