Friday 31 December 2010

Volvo to employ 200 more workers to meet demand

Volvo is increasing its recruiting an additional 200 employees in Sweden, to meet likely demand in the New Year.

The assembly plant that’s receiving the boost in employment will be Volvo’s Gothenburg factory, which employs around 3,200 people. The additional 200 workers will increase the current production rate from 48 units to 52 units per hour.

BAIC bidding for Pininfarina

BAIC (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp.) is allegedly making a bid to acquire Italian design company Pininfarina, which has been on the market for a few months now.

BAIC formerly brought the tooling, powertrain technology and intellectual property associated with the outgoing Saab 9-3. The Chinese car manufacture is developing new models centred on the 9-3 that it plans to sell under the Beijing Auto brand name, and Pininfarina is apparently caught up in the design of that car.

Four-wheel-drive Fiat 500 spied in Italy

Here’s prove that Fiat is developing a 4x4 variant of the 500. Spied by an eagle-eyed reader in Catania, Sicily, Italy, this mule was attracting attention left, right and centre.

The 500 4x4 will target those who want a compact, fashionable 4x4 without the associated running costs and price-tag. The newcomer will likely to be sold with 5-doors and will underpin the current Panda 4x4, giving the 500 4x4 genuine off-road ability.

Ford recalls 2011 F-Series, Edge and Lincoln MKX (U.S)

Ford is recalling 14,737 F-Series, Edge and Lincoln MKX vehicles due to a faulty body control module. The glitch might cause to an electrical short, resulting to overheating and a fire, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The module, assembled by Lear Corporation in Mexico, is faulty on some vehicles manufactured in late October to mid-November.

Ford reportedly informed the NHTSA that two 2011 F-150s caught fire outside its Dearborn, Michigan, manufacturing plant.

Thursday 30 December 2010

Vauxhall Astra the most seized car in 2009 (UK)

Around 500 uninsured vehicles are apprehended on a daily basis, with the Vauxhall Astra taking the top spot.
The second most seized car is the BMW 3 Series according to the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) police helpline.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Honda gets attacked by cyber criminals (U.S)

Honda has contacted millions of customers after cyber criminals stolen a database enclosing names, email addresses, and VINs (the Vehicle Identification Number).

Around 2.2m Honda customers have been affected by the security breach. One theory suggests hackers sent out e-mails on behalf of Honda, tricking the end user into clicking on malicious attachments or links, thus handing over personal information.

Rising fuel prices threaten SUV sales (U.S)

Recently, sales of SUV’s and pick-up trucks have risen, but at late so have fuel prices, which may hinder sales and residual values of large SUV’s and pick-ups.

With fuel prices across the States averaging around $3 a gallon, it’s signing the highest levels observed since October 2008. An additional ¢50 may see customers purchasing smaller vehicles.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Paris may ban SUVs from the city (FR)

If you’re living in France and want to take your SUV into Paris, you might want to think again. According to reports, environmental official, Denis Baupin has proposed a new set of limitations that could potentially ban old diesel car and SUV’s.

Baupin is a hardcore SUV-hater and has even suggested that current sport utility owners should “sell it and buy a vehicle that’s compatible with city life.” He then added, “I’m sorry, but having a sport utility vehicle in a city makes no sense,” when exclamation to local radio station.

Cadillac debuts 4-cylinder 2.0T SIDI in SLS sedan (CN)

GM has unwrapped the new SLS 2.0T SIDI at the 2010 Guangzhou motor show. While the car hasn’t changes cosmetically, it sports a new petrol engine.

A Cadillac and large executive sedan first, the 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine SIDI signs the first usage of a turbocharged four-cylinder in a Cadillac. This engine gives Cadillac a workable competitor into the Chinese premium large sedan market, which is dominated by 2.0 litre – 2.5 litre cars.

Monday 27 December 2010

Dodge Journey to replace Fiat Ulysse (EU)

The Dodge Journey will be the first Dodge vehicle to bare the Fiat emblem. The revised Journey, dubbed Freemont will arrive in dealerships across Europe from June 2011. Historically, large Fiat models haven’t been successful in the UK, so Fiat has its work cut out.

The Freemont will obtain minor revisions inside and out, as well as receiving suspension adjustments that are better match European tastes.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Chelsea tops 4x4 popularity chart (UK)

According to a survey conducted by Diamond Insurance, almost 20% of vehicles in Chelsea are SUV’s.
Kensington is following in at 17.4% while the rural areas of Banchory and Turriff in Scotland come third and fourth.

Ford offers custom graphics for 2012 Focus (U.S)

Ford is extending their well-liked vinyl graphics program to the 2012 Focus. On a side note, did you know that shows 40% of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) posses a tattoo.

Produced from 3M Scotchprint film, the graphics will be available in 200 designs, starting from $120, rising to $470. While that sounds expensive, Ford dealerships will be fitting them and will include a three-year/36,000 mile restricted warranty.

New Car: 2011 Mercedes C-Class facelift

Mercedes has launched its revised C-Class facelift. Set to debut at the forthcoming Geneva motor show, the revised C-Class will go on sale in March with very little changes to its pricing structure.

The facelifted C-Class has obtained over 2,000 individual updates, including new headlights, a start/stop system, revised engines that are 31% more economical, and new LED rear lights. Visually, new headlamps and tail-lights, reworked bumpers, and new alloy wheels complete the external look.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Audi A1 sales slow

Audi dealerships are anxious about lethargic sales of the firms A1 premium supermini, and are blaming the models high list-price.

Since its launch in August, Audi has sold 20,000 units. Audi firmly believes deliveries will total 30,000 units by the end of 2010. Compare that to Mini, which has sold 42,000 units within the last three months.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Nissan delivers first LEAF EV in Japan (JP)

The Kanagawa Prefectural Government is the first to receive a Japanese specified Nissan LEAF EV. Despite the LEAF being assembled in Japan, the very first car was delivered to a 31 year old male customer in California, U.S.

The black LEAF was delivered this morning to several representatives by Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga. The Kanagawa Government will ultimately own 10 LEAFs as both government transportation and rental cars.

New Car: 2011 Toyota Yaris/Vitz

Toyota has taken the wraps of the newly designed Yaris/Vitz supermini. While these images show the Japanese domestic market (JDM) model, the European Yaris will look identical.

The refreshed supermini now sports a wheelbase that is 50mm longer with the rear cabin receiving an additional 35mm of legroom. The car is 100mm longer, at 3,885mm but is 30mm shorter while retaining the same width as its predecessor. Toyota claims to have made many weight saving measures, which has taken off 30kg (66lbs), with the car weighting at 1,000kg (2,204lbs) (model dependent). Check out the photos and videos after the jump.

MG axes TF Roadster (UK)

MG has axed the TF roadster after 15 years.

Production of the TF roadster at Longbridge, West Midlands has been erratic since it resumed in 2008. But the final production cars might have been shipped to dealers.

Toyota Land Cruiser sales soar (UK)

Toyota UK has seen sales of its flagship SUV’s, Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser V8 rise 120% and 77% over the same period from last year. On the whole, SUV's sales in the UK have been rising. The rocketing sales are most probably due to recent Scandinavian style winter that has battered the UK.

It’s unsurprising to see most buyers choosing the 3.0 litre D-4D, 4-cylinder diesel engine over the 282bhp 4.5 litre D-4D V8 diesel, since the latter returns 27mpg and emits 270g/km.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

New Car: 2011 Ford C-Max (U.S)

Ford has revealed the U.S spec C-Max compact MPV. Designed in Europe and underpinning the Focus platform, the C-Max will premier at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

Designed for young families, the long-wheelbase C-Max has an expressive, dynamic exterior that shuns conventional people-carrier styling. Optional equipment will include a hands-free bootlid (you put your leg under the bumper and it opens), panoramic glass roof, park assist, keyless entry & start, front & rear parking sensors, leather interior w/heated front seats, rear-view camera w/satellite navigation system, and keyless entry.

Think! launches four-seat City in Europe

Norwegian electric car manufacture, Think!, is now offering its City model with four seats, for the very first time.

The minute EV is equipped with air-conditioning and comes with a five-year warranty (or 60,000 miles/100,000km – whichever occurs first).

Honda stops Accord and CR-V sales (U.S)

Honda has stopped sales of the 2011 Accord and CR-V and asked its dealerships to examine 9,322 vehicles for possible engine oil leaks.

Honda described this as "a product update, not a recall," and said an official statement was given to dealerships in early December. Customers have been notified of this problem.

Concept Car: Mini Paceman

Mini will debut a new concept crossover at the forthcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on 10th January, marking the 10th anniversary of the brand’s relaunch in the U.S.

The Paceman concept is an upmarket, compact coupe and centres on the 5dr Countryman. Although the go-ahead for production is yet to be given, expect the Paceman to go into production in 2012. The Paceman use the same floor structure, inner structure, including the bulkhead and windscreen as the Countryman. Despite this, it’s had 20mm knocked off its height. From the screen rearwards, the Paceman gets a totally new exterior. At 4,110mm long, the front bumper is 20mm shorter than that of the Countryman.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Kia Sorento passes 100,000th mark (U.S)

Kia has celebrated the sale of its 100,000th Sorento SUV, the first American built vehicle from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) in West Point, Georgia.

Since launch, the Sorento has been Kia’s best-selling vehicle for eleven successive months and is the first Kia model to eclipse the 100,000 unit mark in the U.S in one year.

Two Saab 9-5 sedans randomly catch fire (SE)

According to a daily Swedish newspaper, two new-shape Saab 9-5 sedans have caught fire, in the same area and within a short time frame.

The image on the left showing a 2011 9-5 with a huge hole in the bonnet happened just last week.

Friday 17 December 2010

Tata to offer loans on the Nano (IN)

Tata has said that it’ll offer 90% loans for Nano customers in India, in bid to combat tumbling sales. Last month saw the Indian car manufacture sell 509 units, compared to 9,000 in Nov 2009. The firm will also allow customers to take immediate delivery of their Nano from the showroom and opening new locations in smaller cities.

The loans can be fast-tracked within 48 hours, in which Tata hopes will enhance sales. Last month’s figures were caused by customers unable to obtain loans.

Silver most popular car colour

According to research from paint manufacture DuPont, silver and black are the world’s most popular colours for cars.

Silver takes 26% of the global market, with black taking second place with 24%. Least popular were yellow/gold, nabbing a mere 1% of the market.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Hyundai previews i40 sports wagon

Hyundai has previewed the Sonata replacement, which is exclusively designed for Europe. Ahead of its official world debut at next year’s Geneva motor show, the i40 will be available in both sports wagon and sedan bodystyles.

The i40 sports wagon was designed at Hyundai's design studios in Germany.

Rolls-Royce sales soar globally

Sales of Rolls-Royce vehicles have more than double in the first 10 months of 2010, to in excess of 2,000 units since the brand launched the Ghost, said CEO Torsten Muller-Otovos.

The “baby” Ghost now takes over three/quarters of Rolls-Royce sales. Customers are on average 10 years younger than that of Phantom consumers and 80% of customers are new to the company.

Monday 13 December 2010

Nissan delivers first LEAF (U.S)

Saturday will see Nissan hand over the first LEAF EV to Olivier Chalouhi of San Francisco, who placed the very first order.

Chalouhi will take delivery at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma, California, tomorrow, after which Nissan says it will conduct a press conference. Chalouhi is a 31 year old entrepreneur who commuted to work on a bicycle.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Kia asking dealerships to inspect 2011 Optima accelerator pedal (U.S)

Kia is asking its dealerships to carefully examine the 2011 Optima’s accelerator pedal as it could be faulty.

According to Kia, the root of the issue comes from the spring intended to keep the pedal in position while driving. Kia’s repair notice states the pedal may be “noisy” and that there is “unsatisfactory… responsiveness while driving.”

Kia to produce bespoke model for Russia (RU)

Kia is looking to introduce a bespoke B-segment vehicle for the Russian market. The sub-compact car will be manufactured at Hyundai’s St. Petersburg factory in the Autumn 2011.

According to Vladimir Dukelsky, MD of Kia Motors Russia, it will be a totally new model that will be "a key product for the Russia market."

Friday 10 December 2010

Renault launches Fluence sedan (BR)

Renault has released the Megane-based Fluence sedan in Brazil.

Renault has already started production of the Fluence in South Korea, and will then in Turkey and is now also being built in Cordoba, Argentina.

Range Rover rules out Evoque hybrid

JLR has ruled out that the Range Rover Evoque will not have a hybrid system, in spite of the LRX concept featuring electrically driven rear wheels as part of an ultra green 4x4 set-up.

The hybrid technology will instead be featuring in JLR’s forthcoming Discovery and Range Rover's, John Edwards, Land River’s global brand executive said in a statement.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Toyota Corolla and Matrix pricing announced (U.S)

Toyota has revealed prices of its extremely popular Corolla and fairly well-liked Matrix models.

Three trim-levels will be offered for the Corolla; base, LE, and S. Entry-level Base will start at $15,600, while the entry-level Matrix will start from $18,545.

Rolls-Royce expanding Ghost model

Rolls-Royce is expanding the Ghost line-up with three new variants. The variants; a coupe, drophead coupe, and long-wheelbase will all launch within the next three years and will take the Rolls-Royce vehicle line-up to a total of eight models.

The first to arrive out of the three variants will be the long-wheelbase. The engine will remain intact but the extra length will be added behind the B-pillar, needing a new roof and extended rear doors. The wheelbase is likely to grow by 5” or 6”.

Ford Focus production launched (EU)

Ford has now begun production of the all-new Focus at the firm’s Saarlouis factory.

The German factory will supply Focus’ for the European market, producing the 4dr, 5dr, and estate variants. The Focus ST production starts in 2012.

Infiniti IPL to use Mercedes AMG engines

Japanese sources have implied that high performance Infiniti models may carry a ‘Powered by AMG’ badge as part of Nissan’s recent alliance with the DaimlerChrysler.

Infiniti, Nissan luxury brand, is mulling over all options for Infiniti Performance Line, from simple styling embellishments to complete hot models assembled on the main production line. The latter is said to be more in harmony with Infiniti’s known aim to be recognised for its dynamics and performance.

Honda developing turbo-charged petrol engine

Honda is looking to provide its CR-Z hybrid sports car with an all-new petrol engine. The turbo-charged, 4-cylinder engine will be offered in selected market – like the UK, U.S, Japan and Germany – as part of plans to expand the compact coupé’s appeal.

The CR-Z is currently available with a 1.5 litre 112bhp i-VTEC petrol engine, mated to a 14bhp electric motor. The 1.6 turbo engine is currently undergoing development at Honda’s Tochigi R&D centre.

Specs of 2012 Buick Verano leak onto the web (U.S)

A dealer survey has leaked information on the 2012 Buick Verano.

Produced to see what dealerships would order, the Verano is likely to arrive in four trim-levels. Entry-level ‘1SB’ will be available from $20,900 - $21,500. This base model will feature electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors, air-conditioning, urethane steering wheel, steel wheels, x6 airbags and remote central locking.

Honda to kill-off Element (U.S)

Honda will axe the Element after the 2011MY after sales of the quirky MPV started plunging. Honda explained that "utility-seeking customers have more recently embraced other vehicles in the Honda line-up," such as the Honda CR-V.

In November, sales of the Element fell 11.5% year-over-year, to 939 units vs. 1.107 units in November 2009. So far in 2010, Honda sold 12,960 Elements, a slip of 3.4% vs. 2009.

NHTSA want rear-view cameras to be made mandatory (U.S)

The NHTSA have proposed a new vehicle safety regulation for standard rear-view cameras and in-vehicle displays to avoid rear-end accidents.

The plan would require all passenger cars, pickup trucks, MPVs, buses and low-speed vehicles to have a standard rear-view camera so drivers can see precisely behind the vehicle when the transmission is in reverse. "NHTSA believes automobile manufacturers will install rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the proposed standards".

Next Vauxhall/Opel Combo to centre on Fiat Doblò

The next Vauxhall/Opel Combo will centre on the outgoing Fiat Doblò and will be produced on the same assembly line at Fiat's Tofas factory in Bursa, Turkey.

The current model has been on sale since 2002 and underpins the 2001 Vauxhall/Opel Corsa C platform. GM has no intention of selling the Combo Stateside, despite the success of Ford’s Transit Connect.

Ford rules out Focus coupé

Ford is adamant that the firm isn’t going to produce a Focus coupé.

The statement comes after Internet gossip suggested the Focus coupé will premier as a concept at the forthcoming Detroit motor show, before going on sale in 2012.

Kia releases first sketches of forthcoming Picanto city-car

Kia has exposed official drawings of the 2011 Picanto, ahead of its world debut at the Geneva motor show next March.

Unlike its predecessor, the newcomer features substantially more masculine styling and Kia’s signature nose, the ‘tiger’ grille, styled by Peter Schreyer, head of design.

Tata Nano sales nose-dive (IN)

November saw sales of the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, plunge 85% year-on-year, Tata has said.

In contrast with 2009’s figure, Tata is holding customer’s responsible, since they have difficulty obtaining loans.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Motorshow: 2010 LA Auto Show

At the recent LA motor show, there were several global debuts of numerous news cars, new concept cars like the Cadillac ULS and more.

Toyota revealed the revised Corolla sedan and the RAV4 EV. Hyundai debuted the all-new Elantra and Sonata Hybrid sedans. Check out the pictures after the jump.

Saturday 4 December 2010

NHTSA probes '07 Optima over transmission defect (U.S)

The feds are probing the 2007 Kia Optima after receiving three complaints stating that the automatic transmission cable could disengage. The investigation involves around 41,000 Optima sedan.

NHTSA "has received three complaints concerning automatic transmission shift cable detachment and inability to select and engage the gears (Park, Drive and Reverse) in model-year 2007 Kia Optima vehicles," it said. "One of the complaints also reported a rollaway incident after parking the vehicle."

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Land Rover recalls 2010 - '11 LR2 (U.S)

Land Rover will recall 2,956 LR2’s due to a faulty front airbag, which may not deploy.

"The shorting bar in the clock spring may become disconnected when the driver's airbag module connector is installed," said the NHTSA. "The driver's frontal airbag may not deploy as intended or at all and therefore will not be able to properly protect the driver, increasing the risk of injury."

Toyota working on turbos and direct injections to improve mpg

Toyota is working on more ways to improve fuel economy. While hybrid technology is all good and well, the Japanese car maker will start to use turbo charging and direct injection in the future as it looks to boost its overall fuel economy.

Toyota is developing turbocharged and direct injected petrol engines for its small and mid-size models.

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