Monday, June 18, 2012

Kia sportage on AAA list for teens

Automobile Association of America has selected the  2012 Kia Sportage compact CUV as one of the "Top Cars for Teens."  The Sportage was praised for its dynamics, dependability,  pong list of standard safety features and impressive performance in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's  crash safety tests, including a "no tip" evaluation during the tests.

"We are honored that AAA, one of the most respected authorities on travel and transportation, is recognizing the Kia Sportage as a top car for teenage drivers," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America. "Knowing that the Sportage, our longest-running nameplate, has been chosen not only for its attractive design that appeals to all ages, but more importantly, for its safety features, reliability and value is evidence that consumers do not have to sacrifice curb appeal for dependability."

AAA top picks are selected by AAA Auto Buying experts that test-drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year. The "Top Cars for Teens" list focuses on vehicles that appease both parents and teens by combining attractive looks and performance with reliability, safety and a budget-friendly price.  By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ford engines wins honors

Ford Motor Co.’s new 1-liter EcoBoost engine – which launched to acclaim this year in the Focus in Europe – today was named 2012 “International Engine of the Year” based on votes cast by 76 journalists from 35 countries around the world.

The small, high-tech three-cylinder engine also hauled in two other awards – “Best New Engine” and “Best Engine Under 1.0-Liter.” The awards were presented by Engine Technology International magazine.

This marks the first time Ford has won International Engine of the Year in the 13-year history of the awards. Moreover, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost garnered the highest score in the history of the awards.

“We set the bar incredibly high when we set out to design this engine,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president, Global Powertrain. “We wanted to deliver eye-popping fuel economy, surprising performance, quietness and refinement – and all from a very small three-cylinder engine.

“The team responded to this seemingly impossible challenge with some really exciting innovation,” Bakaj added. “The result is a game changer for gas engines globally.”

Said Dean Slavnich, chairman of the International Engine of the Year awards and editor of Engine Technology International: “This is a fitting victory for a truly remarkable engine.”

The engine was designed at Ford’s technical centers in Dunton, U.K., and Merkenich, Germany. The engine is built in Ford’s plants in Craiova, Romania, and Cologne, Germany. By Joseph Szczesny

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lexus isn't counting on luxury sales leadership

 Lexus, does not expect to win back luxury car slaes crown in the United States this year, a key Lexux official said Wednesday.
 Timothy Morrison Lexus vice president of said during a press conference in Detroit Toyota’s luxury expects its sales to increase 20 percent to around 250,000 units  this year. But it probably won’t be able to over take its arch ruvaks for the affections of American luxury buyers, the German and BMW.
 “It’s not in our plans to become the luxury sales leader,” said Morrison who was in Detroit to show off new models, including the  Lexus ES 350 and ES300h hybrid.
 “The Germns have an extensive global product line. I don’t think you are going to see us match them any time soon,” he said.
  Last year, Lexus relinquished it title as the top selling luxury vehicle brand in the U.S. for the first time in 11 years as it was surpassed by both Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Lexus sales also were hurt by product shortages that followed the sunami, which derailed Japan’s industrial production.
 Morrison also acknowledged that some of the zing  has gone out of luxury car slaes sales. “The were 12.5 percent of the market last year. This year they’re about 11.6 percent but they have grown because the entire market has grown,” he said.
 Toyota estimate U.S car sales will grow to an estimated 14.4 million units this year from 12.8 million units  in 2011.
  “Car sales are doing very well,” he said. But a significant number of buyers have become more cautious because their financial situation has deteriorated since the start of the financial crisis. “People are finally beginning to see the bottom,” he said.
The median net worth of the American family fell by 38 percent between 2007 and 2010, from an average of $126,400 to $77,3000. Median income fell by 7.7 percent. It was the worst decline in both categories since the survey started in 1989 according to a report released this week by the Federal Reserve Board. By Joseph Szczesny

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A123 reports advances in EV batteries

 A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium iron phosphate batteries , has unveiled,, a new lithium ion battery technology capable of operating at extreme temperatures without requiring thermal management.
 Nanophosphate EXT is designed to significantly reduce or
eliminate the need for heating or cooling systems, which is expected to
create sizeable new opportunities within the transportation and
telecommunications markets, among others, company officials said.
"We believe Nanophosphate EXT is a game-changing breakthrough that
overcomes one of the key limitations of lead acid, standard lithium ion
and other advanced batteries. By delivering high power, energy and
cycle life capabilities over a wider temperature range, we believe
Nanophosphate EXT can reduce or even eliminate the need for costly
thermal management systems, which we expect will dramatically enhance
the business case for deploying A123's lithium ion battery solutions
for a significant number of applications," said David Vieau, CEO of
A123 Systems.
 Unlike lead acid or other advanced battery technologies, Nanophosphate
EXT is designed to maintain long cycle life at extreme high
temperatures and deliver high power at extreme low temperatures.
According to the testing performed to date at the Ohio State
University's Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and the very low
observed rate of aging, cells built with A123's Nanophosphate EXT are
expected to be capable of retaining more than 90 percent of initial
capacity after 2,000 full charge-discharge cycles at 45 degrees
In addition, Nanophosphate EXT is expected to enable automakers to
significantly reduce or completely eliminate active cooling systems in
electric vehicle battery packs. A123 expects this to lower cost, reduce
weight and improve reliability, providing automakers with a
cost-effective solution that A123 believes will increases efficiency
and minimize system complexity without sacrificing vehicle performance,
battery life or driving range. Strategy consultancy Roland Berger
forecasts that the global automotive lithium ion battery market will
reach more than $9 billion by 2015. By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fuel-economy index dips in May

With gasoline prices falling in much of he counry, the average fuel economy or window-sticker value of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in May was 23.7 miles per gallon or  down 0.2 miles per gallon from April, according to statistics compiled by the University Of Michigan.
The drop in the figure reflected a shift towards more fuel-efficient vehicles that had prevailed over the previous six months. Nonetheless, interest in small cars remains strong, according to  J.D.Power & Associates.
The 23.7 miles per gallon figure up 3.6 miles per gallon or or 18 percent from the value in October 2007, which is baseline for the U-M Index and the first month for the university’s monitoring.  
The drop in May Index likely reflectedg the slight reduction in the price of gasoline, U-M officials said.
The Eco-Driving Index or EDI --an index that estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver--stood at 0.83 in March 2012, an improvement of 17 percent since October 2007.  The EDI takes into account both vehicle fuel economy and distance driven, which rlelies on data that are published with a two-month lag. 
The unadjusted CAFE performance in May was 29.1 miles per gallon, an improvement of 4.4 miles per gallon or 18 percent since October 2007.  (This index is based on a different set of EPA ratings than the window-sticker values. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Edmunds puts Sonic, Cruze among best family cars and Parents magazine  the Chevrolet Sonic built in Orion Township are Cruze Eco as two of the Best Family Cars for 2012.  Both the Cruze Eco and Sonic deliver fuel economy of 40 mpg or more on the highway.
“With every new Chevrolet, we are able to deliver the technology and powertrain solutions that offer consumers the best fuel economy, performance and safety, making vehicles like the Sonic and Cruze Eco ideal choices for families,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Global Marketing.
“The Cruze Eco and Sonic are the best small Chevys ever built,” said Scott Oldham, editor-in-chief.  “They are fun to drive, attractive, well-built and extremely fuel efficient, making them excellent choices for anyone shopping for a compact of subcompact car.”
 Dana Points Parents editor-in-chief, said “At Parents, we know that buying a new car is a big family decision, so we want our guide to make the process easier. The Cruze Eco and the Sonic scored high safety marks, and parents using the vehicles were impressed with the responsiveness and the family friendly features.”
Sonic is proving to be a popular choice among consumers with sales steadily rising to place it among the leaders in the subcompact segment.  It delivers an EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway with class-leading acceleration when paired with the 1.4L Turbo and six-speed manual transmission. The Sonic is offered in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Each is designed to deliver outstanding rear-seat roominess and cargo space.
The Cruze – Chevrolet’s best-selling car around the world – provides the amenities, quietness, safety features, infotainment and roominess expected of a larger, more expensive sedan, but with the efficiency of a compact car. The first car in its class with 10 standard air bags, the Cruze received an overall five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the highest score possible. The Cruze is available in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, as well as the Eco model that achieves an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway.
Cruze Eco achieves its hybrid-like highway fuel economy using a 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine, six-speed manual transmission and features that improve its aerodynamics, minimize weight and reduce rolling resistance. By Joseph Szczesny

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ford shows off 2013 F-150

  Ford Motor Co. has unveiled the 2013 F-150, featuring updated
design and all-new driver controls technology for a gathering of the Future Farmer of Ameria event in Texas.
The 2013, F-150 includes front-end styling MyFord Touch voice-activated driver controls as well as high-intensity discharge headlamp.s
"Farm families have always represented an important F-Series truck constituency," said Doug Scott, Ford Truck group marketing manager and FFA sponsor board member.
 "For these multitasking customers, a Ford pickup means family transportation, economic livelihood, rugged capability and reliability. Like FFA, Ford pickups are an enduring agricultural tradition, and we are delighted to join forces with them to reveal the new F-150 models," Scott said.  By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, June 1, 2012

Public gets to see new Mercedes-Benz models

 Mercedes-Benz USA is show the redesigned SL at the Annual Greenwich Concours d'Elegance this seekend.  Mercedes-Benz celebrates 60 years of the iconic SL-Class by featuring the all-new 2013 SL, which evokes the design and performance attributes from the past 60 years including an innovative aluminum bodyshell that weighs nearly 300 pounds less than its predecessor, hitting home its SL "Super Light" designation that was set forth in 1952 with the W194 300SL racecar. Unveiled in 1954 at the "International Motor Sports Show" in New York was the 300 SL "Gullwing"Coupe, a road version of the 300 SL competition car. Production started late in 1954 and over the course of three years only 1400 examples were built.  The 300 SL continues to be sought after by collectors for its iconic design and technical innovation.
Packed with innovative technology, the 2013 SL550 is powered by an efficient and refined new V8 engine that delivers up to 14 percent better fuel economy while producing more power.
In addition to the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, two models from the Mercedes-Benz family of SUVs will be on display, including  restyled 2013 GLK with new interior, which is headed for showrooms in the US this summer and the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is the leading luxury full-size SUV, which the automaker says offers the comfort of a full-sized sedan. By Joseph Szczesny