Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lexus shows off all new top of the line model

Toyota has taken the wraps of its new Lexus LS series as it unveiled the latest version of the Ls460 as well as a new hybrid version, the Lexus LS 600h and a sportier F-series model.
The exterior of the new LS has been comprehensively redesigned, according to Lexus offiicials, who emphasized the latest version can be equipped with all-LED exterior lighting, including vertical foglamps incorporating the world’s smallest PES lens, and unique, L-shaped, seamless light tube Daytime Running Lights.
Reflecting the direction next-generation Lexus models will take, the LS460 also features a new spindle grille frontal design awards the vehicle a
combination of enhanced elegance, greater road presence and stronger brand identity
entirely appropriate to a flagship model.The heightened perception of dynamism represented by the new spindle grille design heralds a significant improvement in driving dynamics, responsiveness and handling agility.
A new, laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques have increased overall
body rigidity. This not only enhances stability, but also allows for a more comfortable ride without undercutting the car’s handling agility.
The LS460 is also equipped with  a new 4-wheel interlock control evolution of the Adaptive Variable Suspension,  pitch and bounce control has been enhanced to give an even flatter, road-hugging
ride. The revised steering offers immediately noticeable improvements in accuracy and turn-in
response. And the braking system has been enhanced for more immediate power and
greater pedal feel.
A new Drive Mode Select system features up to five switchable driving modes – from  Eco,
to comfort, normal, Sport S and Sport S+, to optimise the driver’s preferred combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
The all-new LS F SPORT combines more sporting, aggressive exterior and interior design
with genuine dynamic enhancements, including the lowering of ride height by 10 mm,
Brembo® 6-pot calliper front brakes, and paddle shift controls.
Rear-wheel drive LS 460 models further benefit from the addition of a Torsen  limited
slip differential and paddle shift incorporating automatic throttle blipping on downshifts.
 The  LS 600h versions are equipped with an Active Stabiliser System.
 The LS 460 F SPORT also adds an intake sound creator to the engine, amplifying the
vibration of the intake pulse, which is also brought right into  the cabin. By Joseph Szczesny

Monday, July 30, 2012

FIAT launches new ads

The FIAT brand is using image of immigrants to help depictits arrival to the U.S. market with a new commercial that features vehicles joyously cliff-diving and leaping into the sea as they make their way from Italy to the U.S.
“’Immigrants, ’  which was created in partnership with The Richards Group of Dallas, tells the story ’FIAT’s resurgence in America in a manner that is smart, unexpected and stylish while introducing viewers to our product portfolio,” said Olivier Francois, President and Chief Executive Officer - Fiat Brand Worldwide.
 “We are proud and thankful to be back in this country and we wanted to capture the viewer’s attention in a way that is impactful, visually-appealing and entertaining, while reinforcing our distinctive Italian origin.”
The commercial was filmed in Italy and New York. The scenes in Italy were shot in Amalfi and Sorrento and features colorful landscapes and key landmarks to give consumers a flavor of the brand’s Italian heritage. As the vehicles arrive to the U.S. the commercial shifts to highlight quintessential areas in New York such as the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Madison Square Park and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Immigrants” is set to a popular Italian song, ‘Torna a Surriento,’(Come Back to Sorrento) sung by international artist, Arianna and composed by Flavio Ibba. As the vehicles make their way to the shores of New York, the music is remixed from the classic Italian tune to a contemporary sound featuring global superstar, Pitbull, capturing the passion and energy of America. By Joseph Szczesny

Friday, July 27, 2012

GM eyes Wii-Fi to help drivers avoid pedesrians, bicyclists

 General Motors researchers are working on what they describe as a  promising driver assistance feature potentially capable of detecting pedestrians and bicyclists on congested streets or in poor visibility conditions before the driver notices them.
“This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car’s blind spot,” said Nady Boules, GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab.
 The feature relies on Wi-Fi Direct, the peer-to-peer wireless standard that allows devices like some smartphones to communicate directly with each other rather than through a shared access point like a cell phone tower.
Wi-Fi Direct can be integrated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available on production vehicles to help detect pedestrians and bicyclists carrying smartphones equipped with Wi-Fi Direct, according to GM’s research.
The automaker also is looking to develop a complementary app for Wi-Fi Direct-capable smartphones that can be downloaded by frequent road users such as “bike messenger” or “construction worker” that will help Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicles identify them.
Wireless pedestrian detection is part of GM’s ongoing development of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems that could provide advance warning about hazards such as slowed or stalled vehicles, slippery roads or intersections and stop signs. By Joseph Szczesn

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mazda readies big introduction for Moscow

The  all-new 2014 Mazda6 will make its global debut during press preview days at  next month's Moscow International Automobile Salon.  The redesigned vehicle will be the second Mazda to be fully incorporated with the company's SkyActiv Technogy, which is the  proprietary name engineering focus on developing fuel-efficient, performance-oriented vehicles, featuring  lightweight and redesigned engine, transmission, chassis and body structures. 

On display in Moscow will be a Russian-specification sedan featuring a SkyActiveG  2 -liter gasoline engine matched  with a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission.  The vehicle also will feature "i-ELOOP," the world's first capacitor-based regenerative braking system.  In real-world driving conditions, which involve frequent acceleration and braking, i-ELOOP, a name derived from "Intelligent Energy Loop," will improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent, Mazda officials said. By Joseph Szczesny

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Honda expands Indiana plant

 Honda Motor expects to double its exports of finished vehicles from the United States  to other parts of the world by the middle of the decade, a senior Honda official said Wednesday.
 Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda of America Mfg., Inc., said during an appearance the Automotive Press Association honda will export about 100,000 units this year to market in Europe, South America and Asia. “That number will double in the next couple of years,” he said. Last year, Honda’s operations in the U.S. exported 53,000 units beyond North America, he said.
  In addition, 2011 was the first year since honda began building cars in North America  in 1982 that in actually built more cars  more cars in the U.S. than in Japan.
  Honda’s production surpassed  in the U.S was 823,000 units, compared with 710,000 Japan units where the tsunami had a major impact on production. In 2010, they were nearly even but Japan was slightly higher and Honda is expanding production in U.S. and North America, which is taking on a larger roll in Honda’s production plans.
 “Nine of the 10 Honda and Acura vehicles we sell in the U.S. will be built here,”  added Shostek, who said the company’s North American operations will also take on a larger role in the development of key models such as the mid-sized Honda Accord
 As part of the continuing expansion of capacity in the U.S. and North America, Honda  it was  investing $40 million to increase annual production capacity by 50,000 units to a total of 250,000 vehicles.  The plant will hire approximately 300 new production associates later this year in preparation for the increased production that will start early next year, Shostek said.
 As part of the expansion, will add production of the Civic Hybrid, Honda's most popular hybrid model in the United States. Indiana was the first Honda plant in North America to build a hybrid vehicle when it started Acura ILX Hybrid production in April.
These latest announcements follow the start of a second shift of production last fall at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana that added approximately 1,000 jobs.
 In addition, Honda announced last spring it planned to build a new assembly plant in central Mexico, which is slated to open in 2014. The expansion in Mexico and Indiana will raise Honda’s total production capacity in North America, including Mexico and Canada, to 1.92 million units by the middle of the decade. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Honda tops brand poll

Honda has been recognized as the  "Brand of the Year" in the "Full Line Automotive" 
category according to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study. 
Honda received the highest numerical Equity Score among full line automotive brands included
in the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study. 
 "This study offers strong evidence that the Honda brand continues to be 
well-regarded by American consumers," said Mike Accavitti, vice president of 
National Marketing Operations for American Honda. "The combination of strong 
brand equity and a fresh line-up of new models that resonate with customers will 
drive strong growth for us this year."
 Harris Poll EquiTrend is an annual brand health assessment from Harris 
Interactive that surveys thousands of U.S. consumers online about their brand 
perceptions, measuring key touchstones including familiarity, quality and 
purchase consideration.
The 2012 survey was based on opinions of 38,529 American consumers ages 15 and over surveyed 
online. EquiTrend is an annual brand health assessment from Harris 
Interactive that surveys thousands of U.S. consumers 
about their brand perceptions, measuring key touchstones including familiarity, quality and 
purchase consideration. By Joseph Szczesny

Thursday, July 5, 2012

C-Max to reach 47 miles per gallon, says Ford

Ford Motor Co.'s C-MAX Hybrid is expected  to get 47 mpg city, at least 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v with more performance and technology - all at a $1,300-lower base price. The C-MAX, which is due out this fall,  is Ford’s first entry in the largest hybrid segment and is expected to attract a large percentage of conquest and mainstream buyers with the segment’s lowest payback period of two years compared with leading small crossovers
The segment for small hybrids such as the C-MAX Hybrid and Prius accounts for 65 percent of all hybrid sales. Ford expects about half of C-MAX buyers to be conquest customers trading in competitive models.
Ford has simultaneously increased hybrid efficiency and performance while reducing cost. The result is an expected payback period of two years for the hybrid technology premium compared with leading small crossovers. This is about half of the four-year period Ford research shows could trigger more mainstream hybrid sales.
“The C-MAX Hybrid builds on Ford’s 20 years of hybrid innovation and fuel-efficient offerings to take on Prius v with better city fuel economy at 47 mpg and at better value - a great chance for us to shake up the hybrid market,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. “C-MAX Hybrid delivers 3 mpg more than Prius v with 50 more horsepower and exclusive technologies such as our hands-free liftgate - and the $1,300-lower base price means the payback period will be the smallest in the segment,”  he said. By Joseph Szczesny

Monday, July 2, 2012

PSA to take over GM logisitcs across Europe

 General Motors  and PSA Peugeot Citroen said Monday thet have reached a long-term, agreement to transfer the majority of GM’s logistics business in Europe to Gefco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PSA Peugeot Citroen.
 GM officials noted PSA Peugeot Citroen is an established leader in automotive and industrial logistics in Europe and beyon. “This marks the first step in realizing benefits from the larger Alliance with PSA. This logistics agreement will bring operational efficiency and costs savings to GM and allow us to fully utilize the proven expertise of Gefco,” said Steve Girsky, GM Vice Chairman.
Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroen, added: “This agreement is the first step in our long term strategic alliance with GM. It enables Gefco to continue its strategy of broadening its existing client base and growing its global business operations.”
This agreement , whichi goes into effect next year, represents one of the largest logistics agreements in the European automotive industry to date. It allows GM to gain cost savings and focus its internal resources more on GM’s core automotive business.
The agreement will impact the majority of the Opel/Vauxhall, Chevrolet and Cadillac logistics activities in Europe (including Russia) and includes services such as material and component deliveries to manufacturing plants, delivery of finished vehicles to dealerships and the transport of aftersales spare parts to distribution centers.
 GM and PSA Peugeot Citroen had announced last February a 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. By Joseph Szczesny