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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.
The past 20 years were pretty stable in the automotive industry. Mostly predictable releases with a steady rate for manufacturers to introduce new models that seemed like a consistant recipe for success.
Then, suddenly with the start of the current model year, things changed. In fact, it looks like this is just the start of a serious upswing in new releases. According to a story published on CNN Money, the auto industry replaced 16 percent of its fleet annually between 1991 and 2011.
That figure jumped to 23 percent with the 2012 model year, which started in October. Apparently keeping this fresh is the snake oil for successful car companies, because next year that number will grow to 32 percent, effectively doubling the rate new models hit the market. Given this manufacturer mayhem, we decided to round up the new cars you should expect to see soon.
Honda is an interesting case as they’ve recognized that their luxury brand, Acura, is simply being outdone by the competition at every turn. They decided to completely redesign their line to quell complaints that their cars are little more than rebadged Hondas. The first to look for: their new ILX compact sedan. As for Honda, they are already planning to release a new generation Civic after the media chastised them for an uninspired release.
Next up, Nissan. While they don’t hold a big market share in the U.S., Carlos Ghosn, their CEO is making plans to expand the 8.2 percent they have now to ten by 2015. In order to do that, they are revamping half of their entire line. Nissan is targeting the burgeoning EV market with their Leaf, which first became available last year. Look for updated Altimas, Sentras and Pathfinders in the near future.
Toyota suffered after the tsunami, but is coming back with a fury. The automaker is releasing a brand-new sports car, the FR-S, developed in partnership with Subaru and set to sell with a Scion badge. The RAV-4 and Lexus ES sedan will also get updates.
Chrysler will move toward smaller cars, something the brand has historically struggled with. The shrinkage can be attributed to Fiat, their new owners, and how their new 40 mpg Dodge Dart borrows heavily from the Italian engineers.
Ford and GM are trying to hang on to their chunky market shares, 17 and 19.7 percent respectively. Both companies are following the industry strategy: refreshing their popular sellers and releasing redesigned cars in their luxury brands. Look for a re-engineered Lincoln MKZ from Ford and Cadillac‘s new compact ATS and larger XTS sedans from GM.
Finally, there are some changes in the pipeline for German luxury cars. Audi just confirmed that their compact Q3 SUV will be sold in the U.S., along with the re-release of the compact A2 sedan. Mercedes-Benz is opting to offer their smaller B-Series and A-Series cars to remain competitive in the Yankee market.
[Source: CNN Money]
Audi‘s answer to BMW‘s i3 EV will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but they just couldn’t wait until then to show off what we can expect to see. Despite these photos being mostly computer generated renderings they give a good idea of Audi’s direction with their A2 Concept, which currently is rumored to arrive around 2015. Chances are, Audi’s electric subcompact will focus more on luxury and fuel economy than BMW’s i3, and its styling definitely takes on Audi’s traditional cues.
Currently the A2 Concept is powered by an electric drivetrain featuring an 85kW engine with lithium ion batteries to shoot 199 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. It will be able to travel around 125-miles on a single charge and will take around four hours to charge back up. Rumor has it that it’ll have a top speed of 93-mph and a 0-60 time in 9 seconds. Not too shabby for a high-tech EV.
The grand debut will happen next week, so stay tuned for real, genuine photos of Audi’s A2 Concept at AutoGuide’s Frankfurt Auto Show page here.
GALLERY: Audi A2 Concept
Lately it seems like auto shows have become just another venue for another automaker to unveil another electric vehicle concept. The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will be no different, as Audi is set to display its new electric A2 concept alongside the introduction of the new Audi S6, S7, and S8.
Now this might come as a bit of a surprise, but from the electric A2 concept’s press release, there were no numbers on efficiency, range, or charge duration provided. Instead, Audi has been using the electric A2 concept as a platform to advance innovations in materials use. Pioneers and trendsetters of the LED lighting movement, Audi’s A2 will bring an even more advanced light design. According to Audi’s release, LED headlights will feature hi-res, non-glare high beams as well as efficient low beam light modules. Taillights get even more interesting as Audi studies the use of laser lighting. Brake lights are given special treatment as well, designed to vary in illumination depending on the amount of force applied during braking.
We fully expect the new generation of automotive lighting to be available and make their way across the entire Audi line-up once the technology matures.
GALLERY: Audi electric A2 Concept