AutoGuide News Blog
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.
We know you’re itching to get your hands on a new Subaru BRZ. Subaru does too, and today you can get your fill of BRZ-heaven by configuring your sports-coupe online.
Thanks to the configuration tool you can option out the rear-wheel-drive Subaru until you’re satisfied. You’ve got seven exterior colors to choose from, but for a real checklist frenzy take a look at the options list.
Between the decklid spoiler, and chrome bits are little details like custom colored battery holders and oil caps that true Subaru fans will surely appreciate.
The online configuration tool also has a section to figure out payments so you can start to budget in your perfect sports-coupe as soon as possible.
To talk about this with other BRZ-fans check out SubaruBRZForum.com
Imagine having a gadget in your car that could tell you how fast to go to avoid stopping at the next light. Well, now you can. A network of dashboard smartphones can monitor traffic lights and congestion helping drivers avoid idling, cutting fuel use by 20 percent.
SignalGuru collects and analyzes traffic data from images captured on dashboard smartphones, to inform drivers of the most efficient routes. The researchers installed iPhones on car dashboards in Cambridge, Massachusetts and in Singapore, where traffic lights have fixed schedules. SignalGuru can predict when lights will change with an error margin of two-thirds of a second.
The SignalGuru study won a best paper award at last month’s Association for Computing Machinery MobiSys conference, but the program would require many users to be a real solution for traffic congestion.
“If you can save even a small percentage of that, then you can have a large effect on the energy that the U.S. consumes,” Emmanouil Koukoumidis, a Princeton PhD candidate and visiting researcher at MIT, was quoted as saying.
Car buyers are choosing panorama roofs instead of convertibles. Ford has reported that sales of vehicles with panoramic roofs are increasing. Almost half of buyers purchasing the Explorer and Edge SUV are purchasing the option. About a third of Flex buyers are also buying the same skylight paneled cars.
Convertible sales have also decreased accordingly. Traditionally, drop top sales accounted for 1.8% to 2.0% of the automarket which is down to 1.2% to 1.4%, according to information firm R.L Polk & Co. For a comparison, the best selling convertible this year was the Chevrolet Camaro with 7,540 sales. The 2011 Explorer has already sold almost 25,000 vehicles equipped with the panoramic roofs. One reason for this success is that consumers are turning to more practical vehicles and finding that the panoramic roof is a good compromise.
Ford also has its own theory as to why the glass roofs are a hit. “We are seeing more buildings utilizing glass structures because letting natural light in is a popular architectural trend,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s manager of global trends and futuring. “This trend has crossed over to the automotive industry, and Ford’s Vista Roofs open the car to more sunlight which keeps drivers energized and gives the luxurious feel customers desire.”
[Source: LA Times]
‘Today, it was announced that Mopar will be offering more than 150 accessories including key covers, graphics, body kits, bike carriers, roof racks and seat covers for the new 2012 Fiat 500. Prices will range from $21 for a locking gas cap to $1,400 for a body kit.
“The FIAT 500 is one of the most accessorized vehicles in Europe,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “We expect that trend to continue here in North America and will offer more than 150 accessories for those looking to personalize their ride. Our all-new FIAT 500 is the perfect canvas for customization.”
One of the most interesting accessories is the UConnect Web option which allows each passenger to separately access the Web. The in-vehicle router receives broadband Internet. Passengers can access social media, maps, e-mail, online games and more. This option starts at $399.
The Fiat 500 is offered in three models including the Pop ($15,500), Sport ($17,500) and Lounge ($19,500). The Fiat 500 is powered by a 1.4-liter inline four cylinder engine featuring MultiAir technology. The engine is rated at 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for a 33 mpg combined number.
It’s not good enough to drive the flashy car – you need the keys to go along with it. And if you’re all about the bling, Ferrari now offers car keys studded with precious metals and gemstones to make you shine.
The Bespoke Ferrari Car Key was created by S.P.Green & Co, features 1160 diamonds (a total diamond weight of 7 carats) and available through Camaél London, bringing the luxe Ferrari experience to a whole new level. You can get it customized with precious metals and gemstones if diamonds aren’t your thing. Once you’ve made your pick, the diamonds and gemstones are polished and lovingly secured onto the key. If you have other ideas for your blingtastic key, Camaél is open to your suggestions – if you’ve got the cash to back them up.
The Bespoke Ferrari Car Key will run you around $23,147 (£14,500). When a key costs that much, you’re going to want to take extra pains not to lose it. We wonder if you can insure your car keys?
[Source: Born Rich]
Any car owner that has worked on their own vehicle knows what a Haynes manual is. The company has helped educate people working on their own cars for over fifty years. Now Haynes has stepped up to enter the digital age by uploading the manuals on the internet.
The Haynes Group took over Vivid Holding BV three years ago, a company specializing in digital publishing, that will help publish the manuals online. Haynes will upload its top 50 manuals by subscription on the Internet.
The online version will still include the print form, but the digital version will use audio and video to further improve instructions. The online version will be much easier to understand when compared to a print copy made of black and white images. Haynes hopes to make DIY car instruction much easier and also appeal to the internet generation.
Haynes has not put the guides online yet, but will do so soon.
[Source: Car Tech Blog]
The Japanese Earthquake disaster of March 11, 2011, has wreaked havoc all around the world and has affected Volkswagen by interrupting supply of their backup cameras. Consumers that want a rear view camera fitted to their VW may have to wait for shipments to resume.
The VW models affected include the CC Lux Plus, Lux Limited and VR6, all Touraeg models and the Tiguan SEL with premium navigation. On VW salesman said the German automaker is on the hunt for a new supplier. When Volkswagen was approached for an official statement, they said the matter was being investigated.
It was perhaps inevitable. With the Ram 1500 introducing the lockable Ram Box feature as an option for its 2009 update, it was probably only a matter of time before the feature became available on the division’s larger trucks.
According to sources, Ram is seriously considering the feature, though on the larger trucks the Ram Box would be part of a longer 6 foot 4-inch bed (it’s 5 feet 7 inches on the 1500 trucks). This would mean that storage capacity could reach almost 10 cubic feet each side, making the feature notably more useful, for everything from hunting and fishing gear to heavier tools for the jobsite.
If the HD Ram Box feature does make the cut, expect it to become an option during the 2012 model year. There are also rumors that the 1500 Ram Box might also receive larger capacity storage bins, as well as the possibility of a version for 1-ton dualie trucks.
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]
Everybody needs a little bling for their cuffs and key rings. And if you’re all about being stylish and subtle, try the Maserati Masterpiece and Circle collection on for size.
Teaming up with Italian jewelry company Damiani (the two companies have been working together since 2009), this line of accessories is the perfect balance of innovation and craftsmanship. For the new Masterpiece collection, key rings are made from 18-carat white gold and are adorned with signature Maserati trident crafted from 232 blue sapphires and 66 diamonds. You’ll also find the Maserati signature engraved on the back. Only eight of these key rings will be available for purchase.
The Circle collection features cufflinks as well as key rings and necklaces. These pieces are made from silver and feature a circular design with the Maserati Trident logo on the front. No word on price for any of these accessories, but we think that is they were made to complement Maserati car line, they are going to cost you a pretty penny.
For the ultimate Mini fan in the house, the car maker has just released some new gadgets to keep him/her entertained when working on their computer.
Mini has just released some new flash drives, a 4GB unit which is shaped like a British Bulldog and a 8GB unit shaped like an ignition key. The outer ring of the key glows when it’s in use.
Coolest of all is a dual-purpose computer mouse, which has a model of the Mini displayed in a clear casing section. So if you are a big Mini fan or know someone who is, then these might just be what you’ve been waiting for.
In response to launching it’s new 9-5, Saab has announced that it will be offering owners of older 9-5s a chance to upgrade their existing cars via an accessories promotion program through dealers.
The program, which covers models up until 1998, includes items such as engine tuning kits, alloy wheels, body upgrades, cargo items and other features. These are genuine Saab parts and available through dealers.
However, there is a catch. At present this offer is only open to UK Saab owners, but if it’s successful, then don’t be surprised to see something similar spread to other markets, including ours.
[Source: News Press]
As we ramp up towards the festive season, it’s time for us to think about those in need. This year, Scion is doing its part by offering a Holiday Mail Drop.
The program offers serving U.S. military personnel the chance to receive a sack full of Scion goodies, including clothing and accessories – a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the brave men and women who serve this country.
While supplies last, active duty military personnel can register for their ‘holiday’ packs by clicking on the link below this blog. This latest program is part of a larger initiative in which the Scion brand has put together to support U.S. troops. Other programs include working with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation arms of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps sponsorship units as well as on-base Auto Skill Centers.
Maserati is strutting its stuff on the catwalk with its new line of yachting and golf apparel, casual footwear, leather bags and accessory creations. They introduced their retail swag at the Pitti Uomo fashion show at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, a dynamic event that focuses on the men’s fashion scene.
Created with fashion houses Vuarnet, Suprem and Pellemoda, Maserati’s all-new merchandise collection falls right into the lifestyle that goes hand-in-hand with their luxury vehicles. In fact, the guest of honor in the Pitti Uomo booth is the Maserati GranCabrio, the first Maserati four-seater convertible. Designed by Pininfarina, the GranCabrio embodies sophistication, elegance and classic style that complement the clothing and accessory line perfectly.
A fitting venue for this Maserati launch, Pitti Uomo is consistently chosen by top companies to present their collections and special projects. This year, Pitti Uomo is dedicated to the theme of Design Watching, from craftsmanship to contemporaneity, under the sign of identity and innovation of the greatest names in men’s fashion. A show that boasts historical roots and modernity, Italian spirit and international appeal, Pitti Uomo also encompasses all the values perfectly expressed by Maserati which can now be worn as well as driven.
[Source: Top Speed]
You can do your part to wipe out breast cancer with AutoTex PINK windshield wiper blades.
Now available for purchase on Amazon.com, the AutoTex PINK blades are working to “Wipe Out Breast Cancer” by donating part of its proceeds to support those affected by breast cancer and to help fund ongoing research.
“We are so excited to be able to offer our windshield wiper blades on Amazon.com,” said Paula Lombard, WEXCO president and co-founder of AutoTex PINK. “AutoTex PINK is committed to doing our part to help the cause. Having our wiper blades available on Amazon.com will be a big boost to meeting our goal of helping fund continuing research that will hopefully one day eliminate this disease.”
One of the most common cancers to afflict women, breast cancer comes in second only to skin cancer. And since AutoTex PINK is a woman-owned company, they decided to take action by partnering with the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation in the United States and the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
“The additional exposure of having AutoTex PINK available on Amazon.com will be a great help in getting the word out,” said Lombard. “We have a great product that supports a tremendous cause, now with the help of Amazon.com we can take the message to more people.”
You can help wipe out breast cancer and water off your windshield with these high-quality blades, which come in a standard black and are adorned with a small pink ribbon that is synonymous with breast cancer awareness and research. They’re easy to install, will fit 98 percent of vehicles and are made from natural molded rubber for longer life. You can buy them by clicking here – there are different sizes to choose from, so make sure to get the right size for your vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz Financial, in a move designed to quicken credit approval and allow sales personnel to check available promotions without leaving the showroom floor, will be equipping 40 select dealers with Apple iPads. It will then make the necessary changes to the mobile device before potentially switching over all dealerships to the system later this year.
A first in the industry, the iPad announcement should come as no surprise given Mercedes-Benz’s highly successful introduction of their iPhone app, which lets customers make car payments via their mobile phone. Since its introduction last October, this iPhone app has been downloaded over 13,000 times.
As for Mercedes-Benz’s new iPad program, the company says the use of this highly versatile new device will also cut the amount of time it takes to process a returned lease vehicle by allowing the task to be done wirelessly in front of the customer without leaving the parking lot or showroom floor.
“We see the iPad providing wireless mobility, information and flexibility on the showroom floor. The iPad will provide a competitive advantage to our dealers by increasing their service levels through a more flexible financing process,” said Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial.
Having sold over 2 million iPads since its launch on April 3rd, the consumer and corporate interest in Apple’s latest and greatest device appears to know no bounds at the moment. If we were the gambling types ($20 on Lewis Hamilton to win the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix!), we’d wager good money that the iPad will soon be making similar appearances in other luxury brand showrooms, if for no other reason than to appear as hip and tech-savvy as the early adopters from Stuttgart.
[Source: Inside Line]
And here we thought our Nintendo NES (yes, the gray original one) was the best gaming system since sliced bread. Actually, this author one of the few people to have completely finished Gran Turismo 4…like three years ago. Heck, the Nissan GT-R was still a concept back then!
That GT5 has been such a wait is no surprise. But news that the latest will have support for 3D televisions makes us want to, um, cry. See, it’ll look amazing and everything, but we were happy with RC Pro-Am on our NES. We never even bought a steering wheel for our Playstation, but now we have to buy 3D glasses?
So much for impressing dates.
That said, even if you don’t have a 3D TV — or don’t plan on buying one — the new Gran Turismo has hundreds of cars, models from Ferrari and Lamborghini, and tracks from around the world (including our favourite, Tsukuba.) If the closest race track is too far away, this new sim may be the next best thing.
Click over the jump to watch the interview where 3D is confirmed.
It seems as though Volkswagen enjoys a different sort of success over in Europe.
First, we were surprised to learn that the German automaker produced a limited-edition condiment called Volkswagen Classic Ketchup. Second, we were even more surprised to learn that V-Dub ketchup has been available for years: it was first produced in the 70s as a collaboration with food giant Kraft. Third, we had no idea Volkswagen also produced (and serves) curried sausage to their factory workers.
That curried sausage companion, Volkswagen Spiced Ketchup, was first available for purchase in 1997, with 20,000 bottles sold. How popular is this stuff? They’ve sold more than 100,000 bottles of it in the first 10 weeks of 2010, according to the company. The 1,000-run Classic ketchup variety was produced to celebrate the 40 years of Volkswagen ketchup. Not bad for a sauce…
Techno Classica held in Essen, Germany, is an annual fan event that features classic models, concepts, and race cars from the past that are dusted off and shown. A variety of automakers take part, and we wish there were more events like this here in North America. We looked over this year’s program and noticed Volkswagen was showing an original Golf Country, as well as the Paris-Dakar-winning Iltis (the vehicle also lent its drivetrain to original Audi Quattro prototypes.)
Thanks, Volkswagen. Now we’re craving off-roading and currywurst… Have any of our readers tasted this stuff? Does this car-branded sauce cut the mustard?
The sub-$20,000.00 2010 Kia Forte Koup has made quite the splash amongst the younger demographics with its attractive price tag and 2.4L 173-hp engine. Its attractive, stylish yet aggressive lines clearly make a statement that Kia has stepped up to the plate to play ball, capturing a market that used to be almost exclusive to Honda, Acura and Scion. But much like their Japanese counterparts, Kia has looked towards marketing with customization and personalization, especially with the hip Forte Koup. The result? The Kia Forte Koup SX-R with a fine collection of accessories that have Forte Koup SX owners going wild for. The major disappointment for those in the US? It’s currently only available in Canada.
The buzz was started with the official debut at the Toronto Auto Show and a little less than a month later the orders are coming in. The Forte Koup SX-R will be made available to Canadian Kia dealers by mid-May with pre-orders starting now. The aesthetics of the Forte Koup has been further complemented with a front chin spoilers, new side skirts, and a rear lip spoiler. Minor details on the outside come in the form of chrome “R” badges while the interior receives “R” branded door sills. Engine performance has been enhanced thanks to an AEM Performance drop-in air filter and performance axle-back exhaust system. The car rides lower and stiffer thanks to a set of Eibach Pro lowering springs (1.3-inch drop) and a front upper strut brace. No custom car is complete without a fine set of wheels and tires and Kia delivers in a big way with a set of 18-inch Europa wheels wrapped with, surprisingly, Yokohama S-Drive performance tires. The Kia Forte Koup SX-R is available in three attractive colors: Titanium Silver, Racing Red and Black.
Now all these accessories will be available for order through Canadian Kia dealerships only for those already cruising around in Forte Koup SX. American enthusiasts will probably have to open up their wallet a little bit for freight across the border, but we anticipate many of them to be willing to do so. If you’re interested, contact any Canadian Kia dealership and reference accessory bulletin AY10 007. It’s exciting times for Kia owners and we can’t wait to see what’s next from the Korean manufacturer.
Gallery: Kia Forte Koup SX-R