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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Thankfully the world didn’t end last month like Mayan soothsayers erroneously predicted centuries ago. Clearly prophecy wasn’t their major at Yucatan Community College. From an automotive perspective, the year-end news was quite good, with the Detroit Three each posting modest gains.
Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 140,310 model-year 2012 Ford Focus vehicles built through Oct. 18 in the Wayne, Michigan Assembly plant over a potential windshield wiper defect.
According to Ford, a seal plug on the passenger side windshield wiper motor electrical connector may be missing, causing water to fall into the motor and a short in the unit.
Ford’s recall entails the installation of a redesigned seal plug and dealers will re-coat grease for electrical connectors to ensure wipers are protected and functioning.
Ford told dealers to begin the recall on Tuesday and notified affected owners on Friday.
Every year in Spain, the biggest members of the telecommunications industry get together to show off the latest in technology. This year, Ford Motor Company executive chairman, Bill Ford spoke about his vision of mobile technology and how it fits in with Ford’s plans.
Ford mainly discussed an infrastructure of connected cars to help reduce traffic and gridlock. He said the number of cars on the road will likely quadruple by 2050 to reach 4 billion. He’s been working hard at trying to resolve the congestion issues that would arise with such an increase.
One of his ideas involves connecting cars, transport officials and mobile devices to create a global transportation solution.
“Now is the time for us all to be looking at vehicles on the road the same way we look at smartphones, laptops and tablets; as pieces of a much bigger, richer network.”
Ford’s plan, called “BluePrint for Mobility,” has ambitious short and long term goals.
The company aims to develop an intuitive in-car mobile platform that can warn drivers of traffic jams and accidents. There are also plans in plance to build on current technology like autonomous parking. Think of Ford’s latest technologies, like Active Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control, but enhanced to the next level.
Some more radical ideas from Ford include reserving parking spots for destinations before you leave the house, just imagine Christmas Eve without the murderous suburban mothers in mall parking lots.
“Cars are becoming mobile communications platforms and as such, they are a great untapped opportunity for the telecommunications industry. Right now, there are a billion computing devices in the form of individual vehicles out on our roads,” Ford said.
The European Union has just announced that it wants to improve emissions by 20% in 2015, and to achieve that goal, it is tightening emission regulations starting from 2012.
As of January 1st, all automobile manufacturer’s who produce more than 10,000 vehicles per-year, will need to sell 65% of their annual sales of cars that produce less than 130-grams of Co2/kilometer (0.621-miles).
Automakers who cannot comply with this regulation will pay a fine of $6.50 per-gram for each car that is over. This could add to millions by the end of the year, making survival in the auto industry even tougher than before.
Renault’s Romanian brand Dacia will be in trouble with these new regulations in 2012, and Daimler is expected to be in even more trouble, as it would have to pay a fine of $2500 per vehicle.
Not all car companies will be in trouble however. Toyota, Peugeot and Fiat produce vehicles that produce between 112 to 119 grams/km.
While this regulation favors companies that produce small cars, those who produce large SUV’s will either have to cut production or start offering a small commuter car to bring their average down.
[Source: Left Lane News]
In Maybach‘s last full year of sales before the hyper-luxury brand will be shuttered for 2013, Daimler has increased the MSRP of Maybach’s 2012 line-up.
According to the latest pricing updates released by Mercedes-Benz USA, the 2012 Maybach 57 will begin at $379,050, an extra $3,080 over the 2011 model year. The 2012 Maybach 57 S and Maybach 62 will be offered at $418,950 and $430,450 respectively, each a $4,200 premium over last year’s model. Next, a 2012 Maybach 62 S will be starting at $470,350, $4,600 more than the 2011 MSRP. Finally, the top-of-the-line Maybach Landaulet pricing will remain the same as last year at $1,382,750.
A strange move for the German automaker as common practice and conventional economics traditionally dictate lower prices amid waning demand. While Maybach is a made-to-order boutique marque, we suggest prospective customers to keep an eye on Maybach’s slightly more affordable 2011 inventory.
GALLERY: Maybach Line-up
The rally started back in 1978 and was originally called the Paris-Dakar rally due to its geographic location. However, due to safety concerns, the event was moved to South America in 2009, where it has remained to this day. The event is now simply called the Dakar rally, and for the 2012 event will cover 8000-kilometers (4968-miles). The route for the 2012 event will start from the Atlantic coast in Argentina to across South America and ending the event in Peru.
Each contestant will be required to cover 10% of the distance each day, and since the route will include vast desert landscapes, craggy canyons, impassable pebble plains and the Andes mountain, it will not be an easy trek. While only 50% of the competitors complete this grueling rally, it still attracts a vast array of trucks, bikes, quads and cars to this annual event.
One of the cars making its debut at the Dakar will be the Mini ALL4 Racing by the X-Raid team. They are entering five of these new rally cars which feature a 315-hp, 3.0-liter diesel engine. The all-wheel drive ALL4 is based on the new Mini Countryman.
Only time will tell if the Mini will prove victorious at the Dakar. The event starts on January 1, 2012.
The dark gray metallic beautifully compliments the CC’s refreshed facelift, receiving similar lines as the new Passat sedan, incorporating a new grill and lower fascia that is similar with VW’s corporate appearance. The CC will also feature new bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps as standard.
Tweaks to the CC’s interior will be minimal and the drivetrain will carry over unchanged from the current model. Likewise, we expect the new CC’s pricing not to receive any significant alterations either.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen CC
Produced at Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant, the Sienna has long been a top seller in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Now, scheduled early this November, South Korea will mark the Sienna’s first distribution outside of North America.
Toyota has been exporting U.S. built vehicles since 1988 and the addition of South Korea bumps the number of countries that will receive U.S. built Toyota vehicles to 19. Models that are currently exported included the Toyota Avalon sedan of Georgetown, Kentucky, the Sequoia SUV of Princeton, Indiana and the Tacoma/Tundra pickup of San Antonio, Texas.
Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. is optimistic of Sienna’s success in South Korea, “Toyota’s North American operations are constantly working to identify and expand new export opportunities for the vehicles we produce here, building on our extensive investments in auto production, research and development in the U.S. and helping to maintain a strong, stable base of jobs… With this development and other possible achievements in the future, we hope to continue boosting exports from our North American operations.”
Toyota North America has exported about 100,000 units for calendar year 2010. Initial sales of the Sienna in the South Korean market is a modest 600 units annually.
GALLERY: 2012 Sienna
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, requires all tire pressure monitoring systems to illuminate a warning signal when the tires are below 25 percent of the vehicle’s recommended psi. However, the sensors fitted into the 2012 Equinox and Terrain may not illuminate until it is even lower than that.
Improperly inflated tires will result to various unsafe situations including an overloaded and overheating tire that may blowout at speed, increasing the possibilities of a crash. Inconveniences such as irregular and premature wear, poor handling, as well as poor fuel economy can be a result of underinflated tires as well.
GALLERY: 2012 Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain
The only natural gas production car to be manufactured and sold in the United States, the all-new 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas will be available at 200 dealers across 38 states beginning on October 18th.
Prices for this one-of-a-kind alternative energy vehicle begins at $26,155. The Civic Natural Gas is powered by a modified version of the same 1.8-liter engine that’s found in the petrol Civics. While the Civic Natural Gas is significantly more efficient than the regular Civic at 27 city and 38 highway, it falls short of the 44 mpg achieved by the Honda Civic Hybrid. Starting at $24,800, the Civic Hybrid is cheaper than the Natural Gas variant as well.
Honda explained in their press release that the Civic Natural Gas significantly reduces operating costs and fuel costs, as natural gas at gas stations have historically cost approximately 30 percent less per gallon than gasoline. Furthermore, as the Civic Natural Gas’ engine produces almost zero smog-forming emissions and is the cleanest internal-combustion engine certified by EPA (Tier-II, Bin-2, ILEV certification), it earned a state-issued decal that allows for single-occupant access on the HOV lane in multiple states including California. While it is more expensive than the Honda Civic Hybrid, owning a Civic Natural Gas sure has its perks.
GALLERY: Honda Civic Natural Gas
Scion has revealed two new Release Series editions for the 2012 model year.
The Scion xD R.S. 4 will offer cosmetic upgrades including a unique Blizzard Pearl paint job finished with a sleek set of 16 inch alloy rims in a smoked platinum finish. Interior upgrades will feature colored trim pieces matching the paint scheme and white stitching. The limited run of 800 units will be priced at $16,980 for the manual or $17,780 for the automatic.
The Scion xB R.S. 9 will get an attention grabbing Hot Lava paint finish along with a color matching “SCION” text embossed across the face of a sport appearance honeycomb lower grill. An interesting feature exclusive for the Release Series 9 are its illuminating front and rear badges that will activate every time the remote locks or unlocks the car. The interior will feature synthetic suede seats and Hot Lava trim pieces. Only 1,500 R.S. 9 models will be built. Prices start at $18,840 for the manual and will reach $19,790 for the automatic.
The 2012 Scion line-up will all receive a new Pioneer audio system with Bluetooth and HD Radio.
GALLERY: 2012 Scion Release Series
The 2012 Honda CR-V Concept was just unveiled earlier this week at Anaheim, California’s Orange County International Auto Show.
Honda America’s Executive Vice President of Sales John Mendel proudly boasts, “As the best-selling SUV in each of the past four years, the 2012 CR-V promises to build on its highly successful formula with even more style, innovative features and higher fuel economy.”
While the press release raves on about the CR-V Concept’s bold new design, similarities in lines and proportions to the outgoing CR-V’s are obvious. Since the CR-V is one of Honda’s best selling products, it would make better sense for the CR-V to receive measured and incremental improvements so as to not alienate its loyal customers and long-time owners.
According to leaked details, look for a base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 180-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, while a new 2.5-liter will make 201-hp and 177 lb-ft.
The production version of the new Honda CR-V will debut in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
GALLERY: Honda CR-V Concept
Mercedes-Benz unveiled its second-generation B-Class at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show along with a concept for an E-Cell version of the front-wheel drive compact sport tourer.
The new B-Class is almost two inches shorter than the previous version yet has more leg room thanks to a lowered floor. The seats are also more upright but still offer a lot of head room.
European customers will have the choice of two new gasoline and two diesel options, all with ECO start/stop. The turbocharged 1.6 liter B 180 offers 122 hp while the B 200 version offers 156 hp. The 1.8 liter diesel options include the B 180 CDI with 109 hp and the B 200 CDI with 136 hp. B-class models will come with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a new 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
Porsche pulled the covers off its seventh generation 911 Carrera with nearly 90% newly redesigned or redeveloped components including a 7-speed manual transmission.
The new 911 has a longer wheelbase by 100mm yet the body is only 56mm longer. The new 911 is also about 7mm shorter than the previous version. At just under 176.91 inches in length and 71.18 inches in width, Porsche says the new 911 Carrera remains the most compact sports car in its class.
The standard 7-speed manual transmission is an all-new feature for any passenger car in the world, offering gears in close ratio with the seventh as a quasi-overdrive gear.
The 911 Carrera is also the first Porsche sports car equipped with auto start/stop for improved fuel economy.
Porsche will offer two versions, the 911 Carrera and the 911 Carrera S. The non-S version is powered by a 3.4 liter boxer engine claiming 350 hp. Porsche claims a 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) time of 4.8 seconds, 4.6 with the optional PDK 7-speed transmission, and an even quicker 4.4 seconds with the Sport Chrono package. Top speed is 179.6 mph for the standard version, 178.3 with PDK while fuel economy is about 26.1 mpg (28.6 mpg with PDK).
The Porsche 911 Carrera S is equipped with a 3.8 liter boxer pumping out 400 hp. Porsche claims a 0-100 kph time of 4.5 seconds (4.3 s with PDK, 4.1 with Sport Chrono Package). Top speed gets a boost to 188.9 mph for the standard model, 187.7 mph with PDK. Fuel economy takes a slight hit with the S getting 24.8 mpg, 27.0 mpg with PDK.
GALLERY: Porsche 911 Carrera
Watch video of the new 911 Carrera S from it’s debut in Frankurt after the jump:
There hasn’t been a lot of buzz generated around the new 2012 Nissan Versa since its unveiling back in April at the New York Auto Show, so it’s completely understandable if one were led to believe that the Versa will manage limited success. On the other hand, Versa’s biggest competitor Hyundai Accent set off to an early lead as Hyundai managed to move a thousand more units than any subcompact, including the Versa, in its first full month of sales.
Surprisingly, this has become the perfect example of the tortoise and the hare as numbers now show that as of August, the 2012 Nissan Versa is the new best-selling subcompact in the United States– trumping the Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris.
This isn’t necessarily to say that the Nissan Versa is a superior product, but as it is currently the least expensive car sold in North America at $10,990, individuals who buy the Versa won’t be too concerned about performance specs anyway. As for the numbers, the 2012 Versa comes with a 1.6 liter I-4, producing 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. The CVT helps to optimize the Versa’s efficiency, achieving 30/38-mpg city/highway.
GALLERY: 2012 Nissan Versa/Sunny
Toyota recently announced an updated version of its Tacoma pickup for 2012 and has now revealed pricing, with the top-selling truck starting at $16,875.
The 2012 Tacoma will emphasize driving comfort, usability, and convenience. Exterior enhancements include a facelift with new hood, headlamps and fog lights. Two new shades of paint, Spruce Mica and Nautical Blue Metallic, are new for 2012 as well. Tacoma’s interior gets an update too, providing a new steering wheel, new gauge cluster, a new center instrument panel, as well as several interior trim updates. TRD Sport and Off-Road models get to have extra water-resistant fabric seats while Access or Double Cab models benefit from heavy duty all-weather flooring.
But really, the nice surprise from the new Tacoma is that it will be one of the first Toyota vehicles to have the new Entune multimedia/infotainment system. Entune is designed as a collection of popular apps and data services including Bing, Pandora, movietickets.com, live traffic and weather, sports and stocks. Smartphone tethering is also available. Entune subscriptions will be free for the first three years.
Powertrains available for the 2012 Tacoma are the base 2.7 liter I4 and the premium 4.0 liter V6, pushing 159 hp/ 180 lb-ft and 236 hp/ 266 lb-ft respectively. Both engines will have Toyota’s variable valve timing VVT-i for better efficiency and stronger torque. Finally, selections for transmission are either six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.
The 2012 Tacoma maintains its regular cab, access cab, and four-door double cab in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations. Pricing will start from $16,875 and reach $27,835.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Tacoma
It’s difficult to remember when Ford last had as strong a line-up as it does today, but don’t believe for a second that the Blue Oval team are foolish enough to take a moment to relax. Rather, Ford is set to reveal the most efficient non-hybrid family vehicles, the Focus ECOnetic Technology and the Fiesta ECOnetic Technology, both of which are set for their debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
How efficient are they? The Focus ECOnetic Technology boasts an 1.6 liter TDCi diesel engine capable of an incredible 83.1 mpg, while CO2 seeps out a mere 89 g/km. The Fiesta ECOnetic Technology is an even more frugal 85.6 mpg, exhaling a negligible 87 g/km CO2. Certainly a bit far fetched, but Ford says these fuel economy figures are measured upon the European cycle and not the EPA rating – which would be somewhat irrelevant anyway as we’re not scheduled to get them here.
A slew of innovations are responsible for the ECOnetic Technology’s success, including engine and transmission components that are not only lighter, but cause less friction. The ECOnetic’s 1.6 liter TDCi diesel will come equipped with NOx absorbing technology to reduce CO2 coming out the exhaust. The 1.3 liter EcoBoost engine receives direct fuel injection and benefits from recent advances made in turbocharging. Finally, both the Fiesta and Focus will have a new generation of regenerative charging; an alternator that increases output during vehicle braking or deceleration, converting kinetic energy to electricity without use of additional fuel.
Moreover, Ford adopted innovations such as the active grille shutter previously found in the Chevrolet Cruze to improve frontal aerodynamics. Shift light indicators found in Formula 1 will now be used to alert eco minded drivers when shifting a gear up will continue to optimize their fuel economy.
Expect half of all Ford cars sold in Europe to carry the ECOnetic Technology badge by late next year.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford ECOnetic
The Honda Pilot mid-size SUV will be receiving some minor upgrades for the 2012 model year which includes exterior, interior and mechanical updates.
The most noticeable upgrade to the exterior includes a new grille and front fascia. The outgoing model’s six sided grille insert will be replaced with a distinctive three-bar horizontal design. The interior will feature upgraded materials and a revised instrument panel with new center stack layout. There have also been some minor changes to the audio and navigational systems. Fuel economy has also been improved by one mile per gallon overall to 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for a combined rating of 21 mpg. The Pilot will still use the 24 valve i-VTEC 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 250-hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. The engine features Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management system that allows the V6 to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four or three-cylinder modes for efficiency.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Pilot
BMW used this past weekend’s Indianapolis MotoGP to unveil its new F10 M5 safety car. The BMW was fitted with an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system that sounds amazing. Other goodies that set this safety vehicle aside from all other standard M5′s include high performance coilovers, new front and rear spoilers, Recaro bucket seats and 20-inch rims.
The M5 has been entirely redesigned but the biggest change is the switch from a high-revving V10 to a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The new engine will crank out 552 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The car is capable of achieving a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, not bad for a car weighs around 4,000 lbs. Pricing has not been announced but the M5 will probably sell for around $85,000.
Check out the video after the jump!
Toyota has already announced that it intends to set a new electric car lap record at the Nurburging, but now the automaker has some extra exciting news for EV performance enthusiasts – you’ll be able to buy one!
Just days ahead of the planned record breaking attempt, Toyota has said the electric SR9 racer will be available for retail sale, well, some if it will anyway. Consumers will be able to buy the car’s electric drivetrain, battery, twin electric motors and lithium-ceramic batteries. Buyers won’t, however, be able to purchase the body shell or lightweight chassis from Radical – although we suppose you could buy both individually and match them up yourself.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but the lucky few that do purchase these sophisticated items will likely have to shell out some serious coin.
GALLERY: Electric SR9 Race Car
[Source: Green Car Reports]
The new 2012 Jeep Wrangler will be getting a new engine that provides better fuel efficiency with more power and torque. The new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6 engine improves fuel efficiency up to 21 miles per gallon, while delivering 285-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The Wrangler will also receive a new five-speed automatic transmission to improve shifting and performance. The 3.6-liter Pentastar engine was the winner of the prestigious Ward’s 10 Best Engines award, and for the first time can be mated to a manual transmission. The new engine has 40 percent more horsepower and 10 percent more torque than the outgoing 3.8-liter V6.
“Jeep Wrangler – the most capable and iconic vehicle in the world – has a new heart but retains the same soul for 2012,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Our new 3.6-liter V6 engine gives the ever-capable Wrangler a completely new, more refined on-road driving experience – complete with more fuel efficiency, power and torque”.
New colors also join the Jeep color palette for 2012, including “Dozer” yellow, “Crush” orange, a “Black Forest” dark green, a bright green “Gecko” and a blue-gray “Winter Chill”. Plus, look for a Moparized Wrangler Renegade to follow.
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Wrangler
Maserati and luxury goods maker Fendi have teamed up to design a masterpiece of technology and craftsmanship, the Maserati GranCabrio Fendi.
The GranCabrio features a three-layered body color named Grigio Fiamma Fendi, and is a special dark grey with an iridescent golden finish on the surface. The Pergamena Fendi wood trim runs across the width of the dashboard, on the doors and on the gear shifter, while Fendi yellow can be found on the brake calipers and the embroidered yellow trident on the headrests. Fendi’s double F-logo is featured stitched into the headrests, and is on the center of the 20-inch Trident design alloy wheels, with Fendi logos along the rocker panel. Fendi’s most luxurious leather (from the Selleria line) can be found on the instrument cluster cover and on the floor mats. A specially crafted plaque adorns the dashboard showing the trident design with a Fendi logo and a five digit serial number.
Under the hood, the GranCabrio Fendi features a 4.7-liter V8 engine mated to an automatic transmission. Not only will the owner be cruising in style, but will have the power to back it up.
purse exotic sports car will be introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2011.