Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GM to expand Korean design center

 General Motors Co. has announced it wll expand its global design center in Incheon, Korea, doubling the size of the facility to include new modeling studios, display spaces and areas for creative work.
 GM officials said the main focus of the expanded design center will be on the smaller passenger cars sold by the Chevrolet brand.
 By 2013, the enhanced design center will provide a state-of-the-art work environment for more than 200 employees responsible for a range of GM global vehicle programs. It will support the organization’s expertise in exterior and interior vehicle styling, digital design and studio engineering, which have resulted in the successful Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Cruze models, GM said in a statement.
 “The GM Korea Design Center plays a very important role in GM’s Global Design organization,” said GM Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn.“Its expansion will create an environment for team members to dream, create and develop design strategies for GM’s future product portfolio.”
 GM Korea President and CEO Sergio Rocha added, “This significant investment is a reflection of GM’s strong design expertise in Korea and the vital work carried out here for the global General Motors family. Our extended facility will give us an edge over the competition as we continue developing exciting new vehicles for the world.”
GM Korea is one of seven fully integrated design, engineering and manufacturing operations within GM. It has invested an average of more than ($850 million annually in Korea over the last 10 years. It will invest an additional $1.27 billion in vehicle engineering and facilities this year. As a standalone company, it is Korea’s third largest auto company. By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, May 25, 2012

Escalade to carry on as Cadillac remakes line-up

 Cadillac is in the midst of rebuiliding its product line with launch of
the new XTS and ATS. A new version of the CTS and the Cadillac, which is 
built around the same technology as the Volt will follow. 
But General Motors also has quietly confirmed that it is preparing a 
replacement for the Cadillac Escalade. The new Escalade will be a body 
on frame vehicle built on the basic chassis that will be used for the 
new Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks. GM officials refused to discuss 
the timing of the new Escalade but the betting is it will emerge as a 
2015 model in early 2014. Meanwhile, G/m isn't talking about 
powertrains but hybrid and diesel are thought to be in the mix because 
of the tougher fuel economy standards that will prevail in the years to 
come. However, the bottom line was GM decided the Escalade was too 
profitable to let die as began rolling out the new trucks last this 
year and early next year. The truck, which has been delayed by the 
bankruptcy, represents one of GM's most important launches during the 
next several months.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2013 Shelby GT500 ready to roll

Carroll Shelby may be gone but  his name lives on.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is about to go on sale with a complete package for both everyday drivers and track-day enthusiasts,
“SVT keeps the Shelby GT500 on the cutting edge of technology and takes muscle car performance to new heights,” said Hermann Salenbauch, director of Advanced Product Creation.
“We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car – whether it’s 0-60 mph, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs,” he sad.
 The 5.8-liter V8 aluminum-block engine produces 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the highest-horsepower engine ever produced in North America. Nearly every part of the powertrain has been optimized for producing the additional horsepower, including a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, an all-forged engine rotating assembly, updated camshaft profiles, upgraded head gaskets, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle. The  top track speeds is more than 200 miles per hour.
The clutch has increased torque and rpm capacity and uses a dual-disc design. The diameter and clamp load have been increased and the clutch-facing material has been revised for additional resistance to burst and improved transfer of power.
 Another key piece of the driveline, the transmission, offers upgraded gears, bearings and housing so it can properly manage the torque. The final drive ratio has been changed to 3.31:1 for optimized overall vehicle gearing to complement the high-powered torque produced. Every gear besides fourth has been optimized for competing performance metrics.
The 2013 Shelby GT500 offers two new sets of forged-aluminum wheels, including a unique wheel for cars with the optional packages. The 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels are coupled with Goodyear Eagle® F1 SuperCar G: 2 tires on all configurations.
 Freshened with the dark finish and updated spoke designs, the wheels appear even more sinister and aggressive but offer the benefit of being extremely lightweight.
 To commemorate the 20th anniversary of SVT, badging will be used throughout the interior and exterior of the car to celebrate the many years of performance vehicles.
Significant work has been done in aerodynamics to ensure the Shelby GT500 has proper downforce for performance at all speeds. Using high-tech computational fluid dynamics (CFD), engineers were able to determine exactly where the air was going, to optimize cooling. The result is a car that tracks more securely and feels more planted to the road at higher speeds.
The new Shelby GT500 driving dynamics have been overhauled, now working in concert with Goodyear tires. New Brembo™ brakes with six-piston calipers in front and the new wheels also required unique suspension tuning to ensure everything works harmoniously.
 Enthusiasts can upgrade their Performance Package with an additional Track Package for all-out racetrack performance. The option comes with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability. The cooling package also circulates air from an area of high-pressure stagnation with a low impact to drag and lift. The coolers play an essential role in preventing crucial components from overheating under high-speed conditions. By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hertz, Chrysler team up on Fiat 500

The Hertz Corporationand the Chrysler group are teaming up tp add the   2012 Fiat 500 Sport cars to its fleet of Hertz On Demand vehicles. The little  Italian compact will be added to Hertz fleets in  Washington DC, San Antonio, San Francisco, New York and Miami Beach as well as onto 50 college campuses as part of the global car sharing club's university program and will cater to the company's younger renters aged over 18 years old. It will join Hertz On Demand's already robust range of cars - from electric vehicles, luxury cars and SUVs to compacts and sedans, Hertz officials said.
"As a company that's committed to celebrating our customer's diverse interests and needs, we're excited to offer the expanded service of Hertz On Demand through our new 500's. Our renters appreciate a fun, energetic ride, and that's exactly what they can expect from the Fiat  Sport," said Mark P. Frissora, chairman and chief executive officer of Hertz. "Hertz On Demand has made significant strides this year - from expansion in Washington DC, new launches in Miami and San Antonio, to expanding our fleet -- and we're not done yet. We look forward to expanding the Fiat 500 Sport program in the coming months." The Fiat 500 Sport features sport-tuned suspension, modified springs, shock tuning, steering calibration and exhaust tuning to deliver a more firm ride and responsive handling. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ford taking orders on new hybrid utility vehicle

Ford dealers around the US are now taking orders for the new C-MAX Hybrid. Ford says the new C-Max will be more affordable than Toyota Prius v and get better fuel economy. It will also come with other technology such as hands-free liftgate, active park assist for easier parallel parking and an EcoGuide to help customers improve their individual fuel economy. The C-MAX will launch this fall as part of Ford's “power of choice” strategy.  Ford officials describe the C-MAX a compact hybrid utility vehicle and the company's first dedicated line of hybrids. It will will be available this fall with a base price of $25,995 - approximately $500 lower than the Toyota Prius v's base price.
"C-MAX Hybrid offers better fuel economy, performance, technology and functionality than Prius v - and C-MAX Hybrid customers will pay less at the dealership and at the pump," said Ken Czubay, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Ford is delivering the power of choice for leading fuel economy across its lineup - from EcoBoost to electrified vehicles - because customers increasingly want to save money at the pump, even as gas prices rise over time," he said.
As part of the strategy, Ford also has elected to drop with Hybrid Escappe from its  line up with introduction of then new 2013 Ford Escape. By Joseph Szczesny

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nissan launches new Altima

 Nissan  has  begun  production of the fifth generation Altima at the Japanese automaker’s assembly complex in Smyrna, Tennessee. The new model builds on Altima’s reputation for quality and reliability and adds new levels of innovation, fuel-efficiency, dynamic performance and premium style, Nissan officials emphasized this week.
"The Nissan Altima ranks among the country's top-selling cars and best-known nameplates," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman, Nissan Americas. "This generation is not only the most innovative Altima ever, it also becomes the benchmark for quality in the midsize car segment. And there's no better plant to rise to the challenge than our top-quality manufacturing operations in Smyrna."
The Altima begins arriving at Nissan dealers nationwide in June with a manufacturer's suggested retail priceof $21,500.
Among the 2013 Altima's attributes are a targeted best-in-segment* fuel economy of 38 mpg highway with the standard 4-cylinder engine, new premium exterior styling with a strong presence, an upscale interior with premium materials, and a fun-to-drive demeanor with projected best-level acceleration.
 The new Altima offers standard Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System with Streaming Audio via Bluetooth. Also available are NissanConnect and NissanConnect  Navigation with a suite of Bluetooth phone connectivity features, including hands-free text message integration, Pandora playback, real-time GooglePOI search and more; along with Easy Fill Tire Alert, and next-generation Safety Shield Technologies, including Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and rear-facing Moving Object Detection systems. By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chrysler to serve as host for 2013 SAE Congress

 Chrysler Group will serve as the host for  for the Societ of Automotive Engineers  2013 World Congress, while  ZF will serve as Tier One Strategic Supplier for the event, the SAE has announced. Theme for the SAE 2013 World Congress will be "Achieving Efficiency." The three-day event will be held April 16-18, 2013 at Cobo Center in Detroit.
  Mircea Gradu, PhD, vice president of powertrain, Chrysler Group LLC and also vice president for automotive for SAE International, will serve as General Chair for the event.  "Concern for our planet triggers legislative mandates that significantly impact the automotive industry," Dr. Gradu said. "We must persevere because ultimately, the path toward sustainability is the right path. To do that, we must leverage best practices and manage the creative tension from which innovation is born. SAE International and the SAE World Congress do just that. I am proud to serve as chair for this important event and Chrysler is proud to offer its support."  By Joseph Szczesny

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cadilllac sets price for new ATS

 General Motors Co. has priced the all-new, rear-wheel-drive Cadillac ATS compact luxury sport sedan will be priced starting at $33,990, including destination charges.  The new small Caddy is expected to post fuel economy figures of well over 30 mpg.
 “The ATS enters a vehicle segment this year that’s one of the most competitive in the market, from both a price and performance standpoint,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. “ATS will bring a distinctive presence and compelling value while offering quick, nimble, fun-to-drive dynamics that will appeal to the lifestyles of modern luxury buyers and challenge the segment’s status quo.”
A mid-level model with a lightweight and powerful 2-liter turbocharged engine costs $35,795 including destination and will offer automatic and manual transmissions, and rear- or all-wheel drive.
Topping the engine range is a 3.6L V-6 with a preliminary rating of 320 horsepower, costing $42,090 including destination with an automatic transmission and standard content that includes CUE, leather 8-way power seats with memory, remote start and more. All-wheel drive will be available.
The ATS is schedule to go on sale this summer, but already the new sport sedan is positively impacting Lansing, Mich., where more than 410 new employees have been hired at Cadillac’s Lansing Grand River plant where the ATS will be assembled.
GM said a dedicated engineering team has traveled the globe refining and advancing the ATS to meet customer demands. The addition of advanced materials has reduced curb weight to less than 3,400 pounds, more than 100 pounds less than an Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C250.
Cadillac’s new CUE user interface, standard on most ATS models, offers the first automotive use of capacitive touch to create an intuitive, modern way for drivers to interact with the car. This technology, used for most smartphones and tablet computers, uses electrodes to sense the conductive properties of objects, such as a finger. By Joseph Szczesny

Monday, May 7, 2012

GM to build Cadillacs in China

General Motorrs is preparing to build three additional Cadillac models in China with the help of its principal Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. or SAIC. The cars are expected to compete for high-end Chinese buyers, particularly in major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, who are willing to spend lavishly on European luxury cars despite some of the world’s most expensive licensing fees.
   The new Cadillac  XTS will be the first Cadillac built in China since its longer and will have the spacious back seat that appeals to wealthy Chinese buyers and communist party functionaries.
 GM also expects to eventually build other Cadillacs in China the  upcoming ATS; and the Cadillac CTS, which GM currently exports to China from its assembly plant in lansing, Mi. Cina, however, changed the rules of the game last year as the volume of luxury car sales increased, demanding that more luxury cars be built in China. It also slapped duties on imports such as the CTS to make sure foreign carmakers got the message. Mercedes-Benz BMW and Audi are all expanding capacity in China to meet the rising demand for luxury vehicles.
  Being able to compete with German carmakers in a market such as China would be a major step in GM’s efforts to re-establish Cadillac as a genuine global luxury brand, observers have noted.
Meanwhile,  slowing car sales have not bothered General Motors and its joint ventures in China. GM reported it sold 257,944 vehicles in March and 745,152 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012, setting March and quarterly records.
 GM’s domestic sales in March were up 10.7 percent from the same month in 2011. They were the second highest for any month in GM’s history in China. For the first three months as a whole, its domestic sales increased 8.7 percent, the best quarter since GM began doing business in China, the auto giant reported.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Ford Escape boost fuel economy

 The Ford Motor co. reports the new 2013 Ford Escape was  certified by the U.S. EPA and can claim to be the most fuel efficient small SUV with an automatic transmission. The Escape’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is certified at 33 miles per gallon  – 2 mpg better than the Honda CR-V and 5 mpg better than Toyota RAV4 according to Ford representatives.
 In addition, all three engines used in the new Escape are EPA-certified at 30-plus mpg on the highway. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost, certified at 30 mpg on the highway, beats the Toyota RAV4 by 3 mpg and the Chevrolet Equinox by 6 mpg.“The fuel economy of the all-new Escape showcases the continued success of Ford’s development of smaller, yet more powerful engines, “ said Raj Nair, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development. 
  Escape’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine – offered for the first time in North America – delivers 33 mpg highway and 23 mpg city, produces 178 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, topping the Mazda CX-5 by more than 20 horsepower and 30 lb.-ft. of torque.
Motorists looking for maximum power coupled with solid fuel efficiency can opt for the 2-liter EcoBoost with 30 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. The 2-liter EcoBoost delivers 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. It is also rated at 3,500 pounds towing, which leads the pack for small, turbocharged SUVs.
 The Escape with a 2.5-liter engine offers 31 mpg on the highway – a 3 mpg improvement over the outgoing standard engine – and 22 mpg in the city.
One thing missing from the powertrain lineup for the 2013 Ford Escape is the hybrid version. Ford is broadening its hybrid lineup and will offer hybrid powertrains in other vehicles.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hyundai to add third assembly shift in US

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plans to add a third shift of production at its assembly plant in Montgomery Alabama next September. The new shift will add 877 positions to support the addition of the third shift bringing the total number of jobs created at the plant to more than 3,000. HMMA's 2012 production capacity will increase by approximately 20,000 units, Hyundai officials sadi.
"The continued success of Hyundai's Sonata and Elantra in North America is a direct reflection of the dedication to quality and craftsmanship by every HMMA team member," said Young Deuk Lim, HMMA president and chief executive officer. "This commitment is the key reason Hyundai Motor Company chose to continue to invest in the people of Alabama and increase vehicle production in Montgomery."
 The transition to three shifts will begin in September 2012. Job applications and pre-employment training will begin this summer. The hiring process will be facilitated by Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT). The increased volume at HMMA will also create more jobs at nearby suppliers. HMMA began producing current version of Sonata in December 2009, and the sedan has consistently been Hyundai's best-selling vehicle. By Joseph Szczesny