Driving is expensive, and it’s getting worse according to a new study released today by AAA suggesting annual cost of ownership increased two percent this year.
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Consumer Reports announced its automotive Top Picks for 2013 today, a list that excluded all domestic automakers.
According to Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller, the idea remains actively discussed. Dubbed internally as the “550″ project, only last month did Porsche hold a focus group to get a feel for the timing of an A-segment roadster. While Mueller declined to reveal the findings, he did acknowledge that an entry-level Porsche isn’t so much a question of “if”, but “when is the right time? Now? Three years from now? Six or Seven?”
Porsche’s main concern for the entry spyder isn’t a matter of technical ability but a concern over brand image when entering a lower-priced segment. Also, if the “550″ project is given the green light, then it will take another three years to reach production. In any case, Porsche’s sales and marketing member Bernhard Maier explained, “We’re in no hurry. We have the freshest and youngest model line we’ve had in our history.”
In the meantime, Porsche will create more variants for its current model line-up. Regarding the redesigned 2013 Boxster, Porsche made a point that the Boxster hasn’t moved upmarket to make room for an entry sports car. Rather, the new refinements are intended for Boxster’s natural product trajectory. In fact, Porsche plans to provide a turbocharged flat-4 powered Boxster offering in the future.
This looks to be the perfect interim solution as Porsche could test the waters with a new engine without having to risk an all-new model. Bernhard Maier believes that “a lot of opportunities” remain for Boxster variants. However, it is important for Porsche that each “must be profitable, which means a certain amount of sales volume.”
GALLERY: 2013 Porsche Boxster
[Source: Motor Authority]
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, is looking forward to 2013 for being a big year for the Italian-American brand. Marchionne is looking ahead to a collection of new Chrysler products, the reintroduction of Alfa Romeo back to America and have a chance to fully combine Fiat and Chrysler into one company.
Fiat, who now owns more than 50-percent of Chrysler, is waiting quietly for Europe’s currency crisis to clear up before deciding on future vehicle investments in the country. And with five money-losing plants in Italy, Chrysler has ironically become Fiat’s strong point in their portfolio. Chrysler made up two-thirds of Fiat’s third-quarter profits thanks to the rebounding US auto industry. On the other hand, Fiat has had to deal with the euro crisis and rigid Italian labor laws.
Looking towards the future however, Chrysler will be launching the Dodge Dart next year which is their compact car built on a Fiat platform to compete with Toyota‘s Corolla and Honda‘s Civic. But 2013 is when everything will be coming together for Fiat-Chrysler, with several refreshed Jeep models making their debuts, and the relaunch of Alfa Romeo into the United States.
We’re not sure how well received Alfa Romeo will be in the US, considering Fiat sales hasn’t exactly gone well in America. Chrysler has sold less than 18,000 500s this year, well shy of their original 50,000 target. We just hope they get a little more clever this time around with Alfa Romeo and avoid any sort of collaboration with J. Lo. Seriously Chrysler, more Fiats would sell if you didn’t associate it with J. Lo.
[Source: Automotive News]
Since the A4 is Audi’s best selling model, it is important to be evolutionary, rather than too revolutionary, in design. While Audi has made updates to every surface including the headlight and taillight treatment, front fascia, bumpers, and hood, the A4 remains readily familiar.
As for the interior, trim pieces are further refined and Audi has also improved user-friendliness on their MMI infotainment system.
Perhaps the greatest change for the new A4 is the addition of the A4 Allroad wagon. Available for the European market will be a selection of six turbodiesels and four petrol engines. For the North American market, we expect the 211-hp 2.0 liter turbocharged four as well as the Audi S4 spec 333 horsepower 3.0 liter supercharged six.
Quattro continues to be available across the line. Transmission options include the six speed manual, a dual clutch auto, as well as a CVT available for A4′s in front wheel drive trim.
Audi will release the new A4 and S4 in North America during the summer of 2012 as a 2013 model.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi A4 line-up
Alfa Romeo debuted another version of its 4C sports car concept and announced it will be available worldwide, including North America. In 2013.
That’s a year later than we previous thought. We had previously reported Alfa Romeo would offer the 4C in North America in 2012 with other models to follow in 2013.
The Fiat and Chrysler product osmosis continues. Chrysler first revealed its plan for a Fiat collaborated small commercial van for the North American market back in November 2009. Finally, here it is. Tofas Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi, Fiat’s Turkish joint venture, announced that it will supply Ram with 190,000 units of the Fiat Doblo small panel van over the course of seven years.
Launched in Europe early 2010, the Doblo is already proving to be very popular amongst businesses. But in North America, expect the upcoming Ram van to compete against the segment leader Ford Transit Connect. In the past year, Transit Connect sold 20,496 units in the United states, a 31 percent increase.
In addition, as the Ram Sprinter was discontinued in 2009, expect Fiat to fill in the gap by providing a larger commercial van for the North American market.
There has been no word yet regarding pricing.
GALLERY: Fiat Doblo
Lexus has just released a promo clip for the all-new 2013 GS350, highlighting the car’s power and agility. With details provided on the new suspension setup as well as the 306-hp 3.5-liter V6, there are also plenty of stunning visuals.
Recently unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, get full details on the new GS here.
GALLERY: 2013 GS350
Check out the video after the jump!
Hyundai is continuing to enter new product segments, including upscale niche markets, but will continue to update lower priced models over the next three years. Three vehicles the Korean automaker wants to launch sometime soon include a dedicated plug-in hybrid sedan (a Prius rival), a sporty sedan to compete with the BMW 3-Series and more luxurious Veracruz SUV.
The Veracruz has become long-in-the-tooth and its sales are lacking. The mid-sized SUV will disappear after the 2012 model year but will return soon after in more luxurious and upscale form for 2014 model year, and will launch in early 2013.
Work is already underway on a sporty sedan to compete with the BMW 3-Series. Hyundai plans to use the rear-wheel drive platform seen in the Genesis and exterior styling is also expected to employ aggressive lines similar to the Gensis Coupe. Hyundai will likely launch this vehicle after 2013.
The plug-in sedan is expected to arrive either in the 2013 or 2014 model year but unfortunately details on this vehicle are insufficient. What is known, is that the hybrid will be an entirely new vehicle all together and will not be a variant of an existing model.
After a 27 year absence, Fiat has had a very successful launch in North America. Currently, the 500 is available in three trim levels, but the model range is set to expand next year with the introduction of the sporty Abarth version and an all-electric 500. Fiat will also launch a fifth vehicle in 2013, a four-door, five-seat, taller subcompact. This vehicle will be built on a larger platform but will still use the 500 in its nameplate. It will be marketed as a more family-oriented car within the Fiat lineup.
The 500 Abarth will use an imported version of the 1.4-liter engine equipped with a turbocharger producing 160-hp. The Abarth will also have a stiffer suspension, wider tires and a tweaked exterior and interior design. Fiat feels this vehicle will be a serious competitor to the Mini Cooper S.
Lexus hopes to change this in the coming years as a diesel option becomes available for the next-gen GS model. Lexus will remain focused on its hybrid offerings, but recognizes the importance of diesel engines in the European market. Lexus currently offers a diesel engine on the IS to the European market, but this will change with the launch of the new GS sedan in 2013.
Lexus will continue to offer the GS with a 3.5-liter gas-electric hybrid and an entry level 2.5-liter V6 but the diesel will help the company compete with BMW’s 520d. The next-gen GS is expected to debut this September at the Frankfurt auto show.
The Shelby has recently undergone testing at the Nürburgring featuring a very large intercooler, leading us to believe the car has been given even more power. However, nothing is official as of yet. Previous reports have suggested that the Shelby may adopt a new supercharged 5.8-liter V8 engine. The engine can easily produce 620-hp which means the 2013 model will have a 70-hp gain over the current model.
Styling changes look to be quite limited at this point. Since the new model is still very early in production more may change.
Stay tuned for more info!
[Source: World Car Fans]
General Motors has recently revealed plans of a shift in production for the next-generation Chevrolet Impala. The new Impala will soon be produced in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, rather than the Oshawa, Canada facility that currently builds the car.
The next Impala will be based on Cadillac’s upcoming XTS sedan meaning the Impala will grow in size compared to the current model. The XTS will receive the GM 3.6-liter direct-injected V6 likely to appear in the Impala. The XTS was shown with available all-wheel-drive meaing there is a possibility the Impala may receive a similar system, as well as a hybrid drivetrain.
The next Impala will likely see production in late 2012, with sales beginning in early 2013 featured as a 2014 model.
[Source: Left Lane News]