Thursday, March 29, 2012

GM updates Chevy Traverse

 General Motors is rolling an updated version of Chevrolet Traverse for the 2013 model year. The new 2013 Traverse offers families greater style, refinement and safety. It goes into production later this year, building on the space, comfort and efficiency that have made Traverse popular. according to Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Global Marketing and Strategy.
“The new Traverse is a family vehicle without compromise,” Perry said  “It is more capable than many sport-utility vehicles, with as much room as a minivan and better functionality than both. The Traverse is clever, capable and confident – and there when you need it most.”

The front features a new shape supported by a powerdome hood, a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design, new lamps, chrome accents around the grille and fog lamps, and sculpted front corners similar to the Malibu sedan. The new design captures the overall character of Chevy’s new car lineup, for a consistent family resemblance. The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse has a new, athletic exterior design, complemented by a more expressive front end that introduces a new face for Chevrolet crossover utilities.
“We have injected a stronger presence into the Traverse exterior by focusing on the details,” said Phillip Zak, GM director of exterior design. “The small but important changes give it a more vibrant personality that more closely reflects the lifestyles of the families who rely on the Traverse to get them through their busy lives, he said. At the rear, redesigned lamps and the license plate pocket are positioned in the new liftgate for a sportier look, he added.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ford to offer diesel option on new commerical van

 Ford Motor Co.s  industry-leading lineup of fuel-efficient engines and alternative-fuel technologies for fleet customers willexpand next year when the all-new Ford Transit commercial van comes to market with a new clean diesel or an Ecoboost V6 engine. The new Transit will achieve at least 25 percent better fuel economy than current E-Series vans.
"With fleet operators facing skyrocketing fuel prices and constant pressure to reduce costs, Ford continues to expand its range," said Kevin Koswick, director, North American Fleet, Lease and Remarketing Operations for Ford. "By offering multiple options to help solve these challenges, Ford is giving fleet customers true power of choice in finding solutions that best meet their specific needs."
Speaking to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit , Koswick said Ford is committed to continuing to provide customers a range of options to reduce their operating costs through a lineup of industry-leading fuel-efficient engines and alternative-fuel technologies, including EcoBoost, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, biodiesel and CNG/LPG.
 To meet diverse needs in the full-size van segment, Ford has confirmed it will offer an all-new North American diesel engine option for the new Ford Transit cargo and passenger vans when production starts in Kansas City in 2013. This will be in addition to the fuel-efficient, powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 gasoline engine that is already winning raves from Ford F-150 customers.
Beyond providing fleet customers with a range of fuel-efficient engine choices for vans and other vehicles, Ford also has developed a specialized new tool to help optimize fleet purchases based on specific fuel types and operating locations.
The Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Cost Calculator utilizes such information as vehicle type, fuel type and traffic conditions (stop-and-go city traffic or on the highway, for instance), along with the geographic region in which the car will be used to generate information about the efficiency of a fleet. The proprietary program, which must be used in conjunction with the support of a Ford representative, will create customized scenarios for customers by using special formulas and variables to determine the environmental impact and fuel costs of specific vehicles.
"This tool will help our customers make the most informed purchase decision possible - one that will meet their business needs, help promote energy security and help protect the environment," said Sandy Winkler, senior researcher with Ford Research and Innovation and developer of the tool.
For example, the tool can demonstrate how operating an electric vehicle in Portland, Ore., has different environmental ramifications from operating one in Philadelphia, he said. By Joseph Szczesny

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chevy Sonic Turbo matched up with automatic transmission

 General Motors says the Chevrolet Sonic’s fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine will now be available in either manual or automatic transmission, providing increased torque of turbocharging to drivers of automatic.  The Sonic is built at GM's assembly plant in Orion Township.  “Providing the option of a turbocharged engine to our non-stick driving Chevy customers allows us to offer everyone the thrill and power of a fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.4L powerplant,” said Jim Danahy, vehicle line director and vehicle chief engineer for North American small cars. “Both in the Sonic and Cruze, the engine enables better fuel economy without sacrificing power or performance. It’s really a winning combination,” he said.
 Sonic’s Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission achieved a 0-to-60 mph time of 7.8 seconds, according to independent AMCI testing – faster than the comparable 2012 Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent. The Sonic with the turbo-automatic combination went from 0 to 60 in about eight seconds. “Traditionally, turbocharging was used to enhance the performance of engines, but today it is as much about fuel economy as a 0-to-60 time,” said Bob Benedict, assistant chief engineer for the Ecotec 1.4L engine. “The turbocharger provides high-pressure airflow for high torque to boost the vehicle and give the driver a fun driving experience with improved fuel efficiency.” The 2012 Chevy Sonic Ecotec 1.4L turbo six-speed automatic delivers an EPA-estimated 37 mpg highway and 27 mpg in the city, while the manual gets 40 mpg on the highway and 29 in the city.  By Joseph Szczesny

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Ford police car boasts better fuel economy

 Ford engineers tuned the all-new Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicle models to save fuel even when they are standing still, with no sacrifice to pursuit performance. Working with Ford’s Police Advisory Board, which consists of law enforcement professionals from the United States and Canada who contributed to the development of these vehicles on attributes such as safety, performance, durability, driver comfort and functionality, the new Police Interceptor vehicles are purpose-built to meet the requirements of this demanding industry.  The City of Chicago has already ordered 500 of the the new police interceptors from Ford.
 With experts predicting fuel prices are headed for record highs this year, the fuel efficiency of the new Ford Police Interceptors has the potential to help America’s cash-strapped cities reduce their fuel bills.The city and highway fuel economy ratings for the new Police Interceptors have increased by an impressive 25 percent over the retired Crown Victoria. But many law enforcement vehicles spend the majority of their lives idling, and that is where the new models can provide even more fuel savings. 
 “Our latest fuel-efficient V6 engines deliver on our promise for increased performance and improved economy, while providing government agencies with a money-saving solution,” said The base 3.5-liter V6 in the Police Interceptor sedan delivers 288 horsepower and EPA-certified fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway. Compared to the Crown Victoria – America’s top-selling law enforcement vehicle for the past 15 years – the Police Interceptor sedan offers an improvement of 4 mpg city and 5 mpg highway, and 38 more horsepower“Our extensive experience with the Crown Victoria and feedback from our Police Advisory Board helped us develop the next-generation Police Interceptor to be a no-compromise vehicle that can easily be outfitted to meet the needs of individual agencies,” said Lisa Teed, Ford marketing manager for Police Interceptor.
All three Police Interceptor engines feature double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and Ti-VCT, or twin independent variable camshaft timing, plus several other high-tech features that improve fuel economy at idle and at speed without sacrificing the performance that is required by law enforcement.
An example of how Ford engineers improved the fuel economy of both Police Interceptor models, beyond the powertrain changes, is outfitting the vehicles with EPAS, or electric power-assisted steering. The old-style hydraulic power steering system found on competitive police vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Dodge Charger, forces the engine to work harder – and waste fuel – at idle because the pump runs whenever the engine does.
 When a Ford Police Interceptor is idling, no energy is consumed by the steering system until an officer turns the steering wheel. Other fuel improvements come from optimizing the energy consumed by the air conditioning compressor and alternator. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chevrolet to debut new lmpala in New York

General Motors plans to show off the next step in transformation of Chevrolet’s  passenger car l with the debut of the all-new 2014 Impala sedan at the New York International Auto Show the week before Easter.  Chevrolet will also showcase the updated  version of the family-friendly 2013 Chevrolet Traverse.
Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing, noted the Impala nameplate was introduced in 1958 and has been one of Chevrolet’s best-selling passenger cars for decades. The all-new version of the Impala builds on that strong heritage.
“The momentum at Chevrolet continues to build with the debut of the 10th generation of the Impala, one of the brand’s most enduring and cherished nameplates,” Perry said. “The new Impala further strengthens Chevrolet’s passenger car lineup by giving consumers a full-size sedan that balances the desire for distinction with engaging driving dynamics.”
With the introduction of the new Impala, Chevrolet has revamped nearly every passenger car in the lineup in the past 24 months. The new cars helped Chevrolet become the top-selling passenger car brand in the United States in 2011.
The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse was designed to give families a new gathering space with elements of style and refinement inside and out, as well as new and industry-exclusive safety features.
Traverse is among the safest vehicles on the road today, previously earning top marks from leading third-party organizations and in government crash testing. For the 2013 model, the Traverse adds the industry’s first front center air bag. It is engineered to protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes. The air bag deploys in milliseconds and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants.
“The new Traverse builds on the success of the current model offering a wide variety of improvements to ride and handling, interior materials and exterior styling without compromising the functionality and capability families need to support their busy lives,” Perry added. By Joseph Szczesny

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Mazda cross over named iIHS pick

 Mazda’s new crossover sport utility vehicle, the completely revamped 2013 Mazda CX-l5 has been named a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  The CX-5 received the institute’s highest possible crash safety rating of "Good" in all four tests conducted.

"The 2013 CX-5 is Mazda's first production vehicle to receive the full suite of
SKYACTIV®[1] technologies, which focuses not only on fuel efficiency but also on
safety and stability," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North
American Operations (MNAO).  "Earning a 'Top Safety Pick' distinction from the
IIHS further exemplifies Mazda's dedication for creating products that offer the
best of everything that consumers want: fuel economy, performance, handling and,
most importantly, safety."

Vehicles receive ratings based on results from the Institute's evaluations on
front, side and rear impact crash tests as well as a roof strength test
(implemented in 2010), which measures occupant protection in the event of a
rollover.  Each vehicle's overall evaluation is based on measurements of
intrusion specific to each crash angle and the injury impact on crash test
dummies positioned within the vehicles at the time of collision, according to IIHS.

  The entry-level version of the CX-5, the CX-5 Sport, is equipped with high-level standard
amenities such as 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, daytime running lights (DRL),
push-button start, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, steering-wheel-mounted
audio and cruise controls as well as auxiliary and USB connection ports.  CX-5
Sport also boasts best-in-class fuel economy with an EPA rating of 26 city and
35 highway. By Joseph Szczesny

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Escape boosts towing capacity

The all-new 2013 Ford Escape,  with the optional 2-liter EcoBoost engine, packing 237 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque, will enables the vehicle to tow 3,500 pounds – best in class among small SUVs with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The next closest competitor, the Volkswagen Tiguan, has a tow rating of just 2,200 pounds, while turbocharged versions of Kia Sportage and Acura RDX have tow ratings of 2,000 pounds and 1,500 pounds respectively.
Escape’s greater towing capability is roughly equal to two jet skis or a snowmobile and the trailer they ride on. The ability to carry greater loads will save Escape drivers both time and fuel by reducing the number of trips needed. Travel is also made safer with trailer sway control, a class-exclusive feature among small SUVs with turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
The 2-liter EcoBoost engine replaces the 3-liter V6 engine in the current Escape with no loss of performance and with fuel economy to be higher than the V6’s 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway EPA rating. “Smaller-displacement engines have a fundamental efficiency advantage,” said Roger Maynard, Powertrain supervisor for the 2013 Ford Escape. “These inherent efficiencies are improved with the EcoBoost technology of direct fuel injection and turbocharging.” By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rising gas prices boost prius sales

With help  from rising gasoline prices and an improving economy, Toyota's subcompact Prius c five-door hatchback, which is the newest member and least expensive member of the Prius family of hybrid vehicles has gotten off to a quick start since going on sale March 12. In its first three days on the market, it sold 1,201 units, making it one Toyota's fastest-selling vehicles and eclipsing Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf sales for the entire month of February,  Toyota executive noted.
"A number of factors drive the auto market, and fuel prices is one of them," said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division.  "With 53 miles-per-gallon in the city and priced under $19,000, the timing for Prius c couldn't be better."   During the first half of March, the four-member Prius Family, including the new Prius c, roomy v, third-generation Liftback and new Plug-in Hybrid, accounted for sales of 9,821.  Last month Prius sales totaled 20,593 and 32,593 year-to-date. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, March 15, 2012

GM extends Denali sub-brand

 The Denali bade is being shrunk to fit on smaller vehicles. GMC is expanding its exclusive Denali sub-brand with the debut of the 2013 Terrain Denali, which brings a new level of style and power to the luxury small sport utility.  Up until now, the Denali name had been associated almost exclusively with GM’s largest and most powerful SUVs. “Denali is growing fast,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of GMC Marketing. “With seven different models, sales for this brand within a brand increased 79 percent from 2010 to 2011. With this in mind, the decision to create a more-upscale Terrain was an easy one.”
With the introduction of the Terrain Denali, GMC also announced a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine with direct injection and continuously variable valve timing will replace the current 3-liter V-6 engine in Terrain lineup for the 2013 model year.  Certified at 301 horsepower  and 272-foot pounds of torque, this engine makes more power and torque, but is expected to deliver fuel economy equal to its predecessor.
 The Terrain’s standard Ecotec 2.4-liter I-4 with direct injection and continuously variable valve timing is also available for buyers looking to combine Denali’s high-end appointments with a best-in-class 32 miles per gallon in highway driving. Front-wheel drive is standard on Terrain Denali, with all-wheel drive available for both engines.  
Inside and out, the 2013 Terrain Denali features high-end details. Models with the 2.4L engine feature 18-inch wheels, while the V-6 engine is paired with 19-inch wheels. Other Denali-specific exterior features include, signature chrome grille, satin chrome accents, body color front and rear fascias, body color rocker panels with satin chrome molding, new headlamp and taillamp designs
Terrain Denali’s cabin updates are highlighted by soft-touch Jet Black leather, which lines the seats and door inserts. Contrast stitching and red accent lighting contribute to an inviting interior.
 The Denali aloo features Terrain Denali comes standard with many of GMC’s leading technologies, including a color touch radio with the IntelliLiink infotainment system features a reconfigurable home screen; intuitive voice commands; Bluetooth smartphone integration; control of streaming internet radio apps such as Pandora and Stitcher; and iPod controls with Gracenote music database technology.
Forward collision alert and lane departure warning are standard on Terrain Denali. They use the industry’s first single-camera crash-avoidance system to visually and audibly warn drivers when a collision is imminent or the vehicle crosses a lane marker. In addition, side blind zone and rear cross traffic alert help avoid collisions by using radar to watch spots the driver may not be able to see – and provide visible and audible warnings. By Joseph Szczesny

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chrysler pumps up Dodge Avenger

Chrysler Group is offering a 2012  Dodge Avenger SE V6 package, which was developed to be America's most affordable and powerful mid-size car, delivering  performance and value for driving enthusiasts. The new Avenger SE V6 model has a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price  of  $21,495, excluding destination,  and is powered by a standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6-liter Pentastar engine produces a best-in-class 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque while achieving an EPA estimated 29 miles per gallon highway, best-in-class for a V-6-powered mid-size sedan.
"The Dodge Avenger is one of the fastest growing mid-size cars in America, with sales up 112 percent this year," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO - Dodge Brand. "We're building off this momentum with the introduction of the new SE V6 package,”  Bigland said., adding the Avenger SE V6 provides customers the most desirable features, including 18-inch aluminum wheels, rear decklid spoiler, and dual exhaust with bright tips. SE V-6 models also include the rest of the comprehensive equipment list standard on all Avenger SE models, including: LED taillamps, premium interior with soft-touch surfaces, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control with traction control and electronic roll mitigation, advanced multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags, side-curtain and front seat-mounted side airbags, laminated front windshield and front-row side glass, power locks, power mirrors, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, premium cloth seats, speed control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio and speed controls, outside temperature display in gauge cluster, CD with four speakers, 60/40 rear seat with trunk pass through, fold flat front passenger seat and a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The goal was to position 2012 Dodge Avenger as an alternative for consumers looking for a sedan with more style, personality and performance as well as with value for their dollar, Bigland said. By Joseph Szczesny

Monday, March 12, 2012

Volkswagen expecting another good year in 2012

 The Volkswagen Group recoreded record vehicle sales, sales revenue and earnings in 2011 and is confident about its prospects for 2012. "The Volkswagen Group has extended its string of unbroken successes in 2011. We are making steady progress on our way to pole position in the automotive industry," said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of VW's Board of Management of Volkswagen  Winterkorn said the The Volkswagen Group clearly beat its ambitious goals in fiscal year 2011, setting new records doe  sales and earnings while selling more than 8 million units for the first time. The company's diverse model portfolio also continued to expand.
 Winterkorn also said he was convinced that Volkswagen's broad global positioning and unique diversity of brands, vehicles and services mean that the Company has what it takes to outperform its competitors. "Our Strategy 2018 is working. We remain on track on our way to the top of the automotive industry," said Winterkorn.
 CFO Hans Dieter Potsch added, "We have further increased our profitability and impressively demonstrated the robustness of our Group." The Volkswagen Group has established a strong position and its sound finances mean that it is well prepared for the future: "Expanding our production capacity in growth markets will help to reinforce our position there and improve the quality of our earnings." Given the volatile global economic environment, VW , plans to follow a stratgy of disciplined cost and investment management with a view to further increasing its profitability and competitiveness. By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hyunda tops EPA fuel economy list

Hyundai Motor America, which has made a conscious effort to establish itself as the fuel economy leader in the US market, has bee cited by the US Environmental Protection Agency for its effort, In a new report a fuel economy trends, ,Hyundai was named tops in fuel economy and limiting CO2 emissions as it topped  the EPA's fuel economy rankings for the 2010 model year, beating out traditional leaders Honda and Toyota. No make scored higher than Hyundai. This is the second time Hyundai has led in both categories, having achieved this distinction previously for the 2008 model year.
  The EPA 2011 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report identified Hyundai as the top 2010 brand with an adjusted(1) fuel economy rating of 27.0 miles per gallon. In addition to being named the most fuel efficient brand, Hyundai also had the lowest fleet-wide adjusted composite CO2( )emissions performance (329 g/mi) for the 2010 model year.  The EPA 2011 Trends Report also indicates that preliminary 2011 model year values suggest that Hyundai will maintain its fuel economy leadership. Forecasts show that Hyundai will achieve an adjusted fuel economy rating of 27.5 miles per gallon in the 2011 model year. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ford to use reality tv to help launch Escape

Ford is teaming up with NBC and an eight-time Emmy Award-winning reality
producer to create "Escape Routes," a prime-time reality TV show that will air on Saturday nights on NBC, beginning March 31 to help promote the brand new 2013 Ford Escape. "Escape Routes" is a new interactive reality series that will feature a cast of six teams of two participating in a unique road-trip competition with real-world challenges featuring the all-new Ford Escape.
"This is the first time an automaker has used prime-time television to launch a new vehicle and it is a great showcase for the all-new Escape," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president for Global Marketing, Sales and Service. "'Escape Routes' builds on the success of Ford's previous social engagement programs and takes it to the next level with TV. This is another example of the innovative ways Ford is reaching consumers."

The show six episodes are hosted by reality TV show personality Rossi Morreale who has hosted a variety of network and cable TV programs. The show airs Saturday evenings at 8 pm/ET on NBC and will also air on mun2,a bicultural cable network for young Latino Americans, Saturday nights at 11 pm/ET. This is the first time Ford will air a series using both a general market broadcast and bilingual cable network. 
"At NBC, we continue to look for breakthrough ways to work with our partners and the 'Escape Routes' program was a unique opportunity that we hadn't seen
before," said James Hoffman, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, NBC
"Escape Routes" will be produced by eight-time Emmy Award-winning producer Elise Doganieri in addition to David Leener from the Profiles Television team. "We are excited to be partnering with Ford on this groundbreaking series," said Doganieri. "There are two key elements to this series: first, the interactive element, which is designed to engage viewers throughout the show and encourage them to participate in the challenges; and second, the real-time twist where consumers have the ability to follow their favorite team in the digital space. By Joseph Szczesny