Saturday, 31 March 2007

2007 Toyota Tundra Sales (North America)

When Toyota Motor Corp. set the pricing for its new Tundra pickup, skeptics said $22,290 seemed steep for the base model. Toyota managers countered that the truck didn't cost more than comparably equipped rivals but the critics had a point.

Toyota is now offering dealers cash -- as much as $2,000 for a base two-door Tundra -- to help them sell the pickups amid reports of sluggish demand for the entry-level model. On the other hand, Toyota dealers report brisk sales of the four-door Tundra and strong orders for the top-of-the-line $41,850 CrewMax, with reclining second-row seats and a V-8 engine. "I'm selling double cabs, and I have almost 100 orders for CrewMaxes," which went on sale in mid-March, said Dianne Whitmire, director of fleet and Internet sales at Toyota of San Juan Capistrano in southern California but Whitmire has not sold a single two-door Tundra. "Those things are not selling," said Alex Rosten, an analyst at online auto research site "They're way too expensive."

Pickups from U.S. automakers -- Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram and Ford F-150 -- start in the mid-teens, although more powerful and lavishly equipped versions cost more than twice as much.

Dealers say entry-level pickup buyers, such as gardeners and contractors, aren't looking for stability control, multiple airbags and other features that are standard on the base Tundra.
"They overestimated what the market will bear," Whitmire said. "What they need to do with this vehicle is to de-content it."

Toyota executives say they are reviewing the two-door truck's pricing and equipment levels. "Unfortunately, we may have put a little too much content in it," said Ernest Bastien, vice-president of vehicle operations at Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, Calif. He said demand was weakest in southern states with warm climates, where customers tend to buy rear-wheel-drive versions. That segment of the pickup market is, "even for us, particularly price-sensitive," Bastien said. "I think there is a little bit of learning going on here." He noted, however, that the two-door Tundra was expected to generate only about 10 percent of total Tundra sales.

The Japanese automaker has invested heavily in the new truck in an effort to double its share of the full-size pickup market dominated by Detroit automakers. Domestic brands accounted for 90 percent of the 2.2 million full-size pickups sold last year in the United States. The new Tundra's arrival has heightened competition in the segment, pushing all automakers to jack up incentives.

This month, General Motors Corp. began offering zero-percent financing on its new trucks, which were well received by the market when they came out last fall. According to's latest estimates, incentives average $1,529 per vehicle on the Silverado and $1,893 on the GMC Sierra pickup, while Toyota was offering an average $1,647 on the Tundra. Ford's discounts are roughly twice as high, with $3,792 for the F-150 and $5,655 on the aging Dodge Ram.

Auto analysts and executives say the rising incentives also reflect higher gas prices, which dented demand last year for big pickups -- one of the most lucrative segments in the market.

2008 Kia Optima/Magentis

Despite going on sale last year, it looks like Kia will be opting for a facelift for the Optima/Magentis for 2008.
The Hyundai Sonata will be getting a facelift in 2008 but that has been on sale since 2005. Ford will be releasing the Mondeo later on this year but the Citroen C5, Renault Laguna, Hyundai Sonata and Mazda6 are all still under work.
Judging by the see-through white camoflague the rear lights will be slightly longer and more curvier. for the 2008 Optima/magentis expect re-vamped headlights/tail lights, front & rear bumpers, grillies and interior.
Although, the alloys seem unique and aren't on offer as an option for any Optima/Magentis across the world so Kia could be testing a sporty Optima/Magentis to rival with the Mazda6 MPS, Ford Mondeo ST and Citroen C5 VTR/VTS.
The photos was possibly taken in South Korea.

Chevrolet Trax the New York Motorshow

The Chevrolet Trax is one of three Chevrolet minicar global concepts that General Motors will unveil at the New York International Auto Show on April 4. Designed to appeal to young car buyers in urban markets, these concepts will prove that art needn’t take a back seat just because the canvas is small. The highly creative concepts drive the energy, diversity and excitement of urban life into cars that deliver good-looking fun, fuel economy and value.

After the April 4 unveiling, democracy lovers will get the chance to pick their favorite by visiting and cast their vote for the concept they prefer. The results will help Chevy determine U.S. market interest in the minicar segment, and which design resonates best with potential buyers.

All three concepts were designed at GM’ s Design Studio in Incheon, South Korea, one of GM’s 11 Global Design Studios. Built on GM’s global mini architecture, they demonstrate the flexibility, creativity and innovative focus of design in GM’s Asia Pacific region. “These concepts highlight the strength and diversity of GM’s Global Design capabilities, as well as the ability of our Global Product Development team to anticipate and quickly meet the evolving needs of our diverse markets around the world,” said Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design.

The four-door Trax is powered by a 1-liter gasoline engine. The upper part of the exterior is bathed in Blaze Orange, while lower corner panels sport a Burnt Orange matte finish. The paint combination provides a look that reinforces the notion this Chevrolet is all business despite its small size.

Ford Starts Mondeo Production

Production of the new Mondeo has started at Ford’s factory in Genk, Belgium.

The Mondeo is being made on the same line as the S-Max and Galaxy MPVs. Once up to speed the Genk plant will make up to 1200 cars a day.
All three different Mondeo bodies – saloon, hatch and estate – will be made at Genk.

The Mondeo goes on sale in the UK on 17 May, starting at £14,995 for the 1.6-litre hatch or saloon in base ‘Edge’ trim.
Caught sitting in a London car park is the Mondeo hatchback and caught in full production trim is the Mondeo estate/station wagon in the Mondeo plant in Belgium.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Czech This Out!

Autocar UK found this Skoda Fabia II in their car park. Production has recently started in Czech Republic. UK specification models will be announced nearer to May when it will be launched.

The Fabia has inherited the smiley/aggressive front face from its older brother the Roomster. Expected in Volkswagen's pipeline is the 2008 Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo on which it shares its platform with.

Skoda says this is the biggest Fabia they ever built but does that mean the next generation will be smaller? Numerous road tests were done and the feedback was positive. Spacious, stylish and economical.

Expect the 2008 Seat Ibiza and VW Polo to be as spacious and stylish as the Fabia.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

New Car: 2008 Fiat 500

Launch on July 4th 2007:

On July 4, 1957, in Turin, Fiat presented the Nuova Fiat 500, a real icon of our times, with which Fiat concluded a revival that had begun straight after the Second World War. On July 4, 2007*, exactly 50 years later, again in Turin, Fiat will present the new Fiat 500 which will be marketed immediately after the launch and the new car will conclude an equally important cycle of revival for Fiat Automobiles SpA.

Developed by the Fiat Style Centre and manufactured in the plant in Tychy (Poland), the new 500 is a 3-door model with very compact measurements: it is 355 cm long, 165 cm wide, 149 cm tall and has a wheelbase of 230 cm. The car is extremely entertaining to drive, due to its three engines: a 75 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet turbodiesel unit and two petrol engines, the 69 bhp 1.2 8v and the 100 bhp 1.4 16v, all of which are available with five or six speed mechanical gearboxes.

The model confirms Fiat Automobiles SpA’s undisputed leadership in this category - a result of its extraordinary heritage of technical, design and human experience accumulated in over a century - and it takes a quality leap forward in terms of comfort and safety, technology and equipment for this segment. The new 500 is the most up-to-date solution for the motorist who ‘enjoys’ his car in complete freedom, appreciates it for day-to-day use, but also wishes to drive a car that is entertaining and practical, environmentally-friendly and accessible, but also appealing and full of fun.

Although, the UK market will be given special higher spec models which will be available in right-hand drive form in 2008. More variants are expected in the pipeline.

* 4th July 2007 launch is for mainland Europe. The 500 will arrive in UK dealers in summer 2008 due to high demand

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Vauxhall/Opel Agila swings into view

Vauxhall/Opel is currently testing the next generation Agila. This prototype was caught testing in Germany with very heavy disguise.

The Wagon R and Agila share the same platform. Suzuki showed a concept car at the Paris motor show 2006 called the Splash which would hint at the next Wagon R.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Fiat 500 Caught Undisguised!

Well nearly undisguised. These pictures show a 2007 Fiat 500 with moderate disguise. This is the first time its ever been covered lightly with camoflague. Normal things that were covered were the rear window screen corners, roof, mirrors, lights, rear side windows, fuel cap, bumper and bonnet lines etc.
Most details can be seen like the front lights, door mirrors, indicator lights etc. After the prototype was caught in the Turin factory, it went for some testing in the mountains of Turin.
The 500 shares its underpinning with the 2008 Frod Ka. Interior pictures were also taken showing cream coulored steering wheel, gearbox and stick etc and cream coulored plastic interior air vents. Prices are expected to start around £6,500 and going upto £10,000 for the top of the range model.
One of the first photos of the 500 Abarth in Turin with heavy camoflague around the front end and rear side windows. Sporty front lower grille and alloy wheels indicate that this is a sports model.
Prices are yet to be rumoured or announced for this sports model but £12,000 sounds reasonable at the moment.
Upcoming models will include a Abarth, Cabrio, possibly a Abarth Cabrio and even a diesel.
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