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.
Now that we’re well into autumn temperatures are steadily dropping but auto-show season is heating up to scorching levels. Like an overloaded pressure cooker it’s threatening to blow, flooding the market with scalding shrapnel, copious news and of course exciting products.
Big News in the Big Apple
Winter’s icy stranglehold on the northern hemisphere has finally been broken. After months of gray skies and freezing weather spring is finally in the air. Automakers are responding to the warmth and sun by emerging from product hibernation. Companies located in places ranging from South Korea to the United Kingdom have unveiled a bumper-crop of new hardware ranging from sensible to insane. Here are the Top 10 reveals from the 2013 New York International Auto Show.
You have to give it up to the folks at SRT, they just don’t give up. Even after their latest teaser campaign on Facebook failed, they still gave the crowd what they wanted. Today they’ve stopped fishing for likes and released a new image (above) for their loyal fans.
The new pictue shows a lightly dimmed front profile of the Viper. You can see a vague outline of the vehicle, including the signature hood-scoop, and if you squint you can notice the new ‘Stryker’ logo.
The new Viper is set to be officially revealed at the New York Auto Show later this week. SRT has set up a live webcast for the reveal, stating that “Hibernation is ending in 2 days.” This of course is in reference to the Dodge Viper ending production in 2010. Now though, the Viper is coming badged as an SRT car, not a Dodge.
Be sure to check back with us on April 4 for full official details on the SRT Viper, live from the New York Auto Show floor.
Nissan introduced its new Pathfinder Concept SUV at the Detroit Auto Show today. Boasting an all-new design, Nissan looks to provide more passenger comfort, innovative technology, and fuel-efficient performance when production versions hit the showroom this coming fall.
The next Pathfinder promises an aerodynamic body combined with a more efficient V6 engine as well as the latest CVT transmission to make it one of the most fuel efficient 7-passenger vehicles available. Figures are expected to reach a 25 percent increase in combined City/Highway fuel economy while an intelligent four-wheel-drive drivetrain will also give the new Pathfinder towing capacity that is competitive with the segment leaders.
Al Castignetti, the vice president and general manager of Nissan North America said, “Nissan is in a great position today. Sales are up, market share is increasing and our dealers have a great selection of 2012 Nissan cars, trucks, and SUVs in inventory. This new Pathfinder Concept is just the beginning of a far-reaching wave of new products on the horizon for Nissan.”
Castignetti also added, “By the end of 2012, more than 70 percent of our sales volume will be all-new or redesigned.”
GALLERY: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Concept
GALLERY: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Concept
Kia design boss Peter Schreyer took Automotive News reporter Ryan Beene on a tour of the Los Angeles Auto Show, outlining his favorite designs of the show floor.
The big winners for Schreyer were the Range Rover Evoque (“If it wasn’t labeled a Range Rover, you’d recognize it as one”), the Porsche 911 and the Mazda MX-5 (with Schreyer stating he’d “…love to have a car like that for Kia…).
Shcreyer also discussed how styling cues were propagating across numerous manufacturers (such as the beltline of the Mercedes CL becoming ubiquitous) and how SUVs were becoming more car-like (describing the Honda CR-V, for example, as “…more harmonized and not so aggressive.”)
Of all the vehicles though, Schreyer seemed to love the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG the most. He described it to Beene as “…the most ‘Mercedes’ Mercedes.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Chevrolet‘s new mid-size Colorado pickup will offer most of the functionality of a full-size light-duty pickup without the operating costs, according to Mark Reuss, head of General Motors North America.
“You may have 85, 90 percent of what a big pickup will do,” Reuss told Automotive News at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The previous Colorado offered a 5-cylinder and a V8 option but Reuss did not announce powertrain options. With upcoming fuel economy regulations and rising gas prices, the Colorado will be an important entry in the pickup truck segment, the dominant vehicle in the United States.
Reuss also said that ”rather than putting full-blown four-mode hybrids or two-mode hybrids into large pickup trucks and trying to get efficiency out of it, which is extremely expensive, we can do things with lower displacement, hybridization, alternate fuels.” Reuss also noted that the running costs of the Colorado would be significantly less than a full-size pickup.
General Motors will have to convince buyers that the smaller Colorado will be able to meet their needs, while marketing the pickup in such a way as to avoid the stigma that small pickups have among some buyers. GM did not say whether GMC will get a version to replace the GMC Canyon, sister truck to the Colorado.
[Source: Automotive News]
Americans have been historically unreceptive to small cars, and the 2013 Chevrolet Spark represents uncharted territory for the brand, which will introduce their first B-segment car since the Chevrolet Metro, long the butt of jokes for American society.
Unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Spark measures two feet shorter than the already compact Chevrolet Sonic, but is only 6 inches shorter than the Chevrolet Equinox mid-size crossover. These dimensions leave us a bit skeptical, as the whole package seems a tad top-heavy, but the 1.2L 4-cylinder engine only makes 85-horsepower, so high-speed cornering is more theoretical than realistic.
We do like the 2,269-lb curb weight, as well as the 7-inch touch screen and Bluetooth integration. The Spark has done well in a number of world markets where physical space is at a premium, and considering how much we liked the Sonic, we’re optimistic that the Spark will be a fun, if not sporty, urban runabout.
Gallery: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
The Honda Fit EV just made its World Debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show and we want to take this opportunity to tell Nissan that it needs to watch its mirrors. Promising a range close to the Leaf Leaf (123 miles vs 138 for the Leaf), and a price of just $36,625, the new Fit EV offers virtually all of the benefits of the Nissan, but with a platform that has already proven to be versatile and fun.
Honda will initially offer the Fit EV on three-year lease plans for around $399/month and plans to find around 1,100 takers in those first three years. We don’t think that is an unrealistic expectation at all. The electric Fit joins natural gas, fuel cell and hybrids in the Honda lineup, making it one of the most diverse lineups in terms of alternative energy sources.
Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV to customers in select California and Oregon markets next summer, and will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013.
Gallery: 2013 Honda Fit FV
While Volkswagen was displaying their “new” Beetle R “concept” and freshened 2012 VW CC at the Los Angeles Auto Show, there was also a new Passat sitting there which we have seen even more than the other two cars. Old news we were thinking… until Angus MacKenzie from Motor Trend stepped on stage.
Taking most of the assembled media members aback, Angus announced that the 2012 Passat had been chosen as this year’s Car Of The Year. From the largest field ever in the award’s 60-odd years of existence, the guys at MT picked the Passat. If we challenged you to name the 35 or so cars that were in the running this year, chances are you might have forgotten the Passat. But as Mr. MacKenzie pointed out, the new Passat was the best at meeting the magazine’s six judging criteria. We don’t have anything against the Passat, mind you, but we have to say that this selection was a big surprise.
Looking a bit like a junior DTM car, Volkswagen today showed off the “Concept” Volkswagen Beetle R, the same car that made its world debut a few months ago in Frankfurt - and it looks just as production ready today as it did then.
While the German firm was a bit tight-lipped about the details, they did say that this will follow in the GTI R’s footsteps as the second R model, “after we monitor reaction this week.” There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to not build it, and the car looks as close to production as we’ve ever seen in a concept, so chances are this 260-ish hp Beetle R will be in showrooms some time next year.
As a refresher on what makes this particular Beetle special, this concept makes use of AWD, with fenders front and rear that have been widened by 0.6-inches on each side to produce a car that is 1.2 inches wider than the base model. Other striking exterior styling changes include large black gloss air intakes on the front of the car, not to mention a sporty rear diffuser with integral air outlets. Giant brakes with big blue calipers are easily viewed through the unique 20-inch chrome wheels.
Perhaps even more impressive is the Beetle R’s interior with some seriously sporty bucket seats and R logos throughout. The rest of the cabin gets gloss black accenting, blue highlights and the sort of high-grade features and quality you’d expect from a real Vee-dub.
Gallery: Volkswagen Beetle R Concept
Mazda unveiled their latest entry into the compact crossover market at the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday, with the 2013 CX-5. The CX-5 will be the first vehicle to use a full suite of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies, designed to reduce weight and increase fuel economy without compromising the sporty character of Mazda’s offerings.
A 2.0L SKYACTIV 4-cylinder, similar to that of the Mazda3, will be featured on the CX-5, and while power and fuel economy figures weren’t announced 155-horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, while two 6-speed transmissions, an automatic and a manual, will be offered. The Mazda3 can get as high as 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, and while the CX-5 may not match that, we expect strong numbers nonetheless. A diesel will also appear sometime after launch (Mazda gave no time frame, but has previously started that it will arrive, and initial driving impressions have been favorable. Mazda’s official press release is after the jump.
Gallery: 2013 Mazda CX-5
Cadillac‘s long awaited XTS flagship has been officially revealed with a whole suite of technology features that should help it establish a niche among buyers interested in more than just rear-drive handling dynamics.
The XTS is based on a front-drive architecture, a move that has come under fire among some critics as counter-productive, considering that rear-drive is a supposed hallmark of prestige employed by European and Asian rivals. With the XTS, Cadillac has chosen to use a Haldex all-wheel drive system, similar to brands like Audi and Volvo, which should match nicely with the direct-injected 3.6L V6, as well as provide a strong selling point in Snow Belt states.
On the performance side, the XTS will also employ a number of GM’s most advanced techologies, including Magnetic Ride Control, a rear air suspension, a HiPer Strut front suspension and Brembo brakes. Traditional large-sedan attributes have also been given sufficient attention – the XTS boasts 4 more inches of rear seat leg room and more trunk space than most German competitors – no doubt a way to position the XTS as a livery car as well.
As with most modern premium cars, the XTS places a heavy emphasis on both safety and technology, with the two themes interwoven in a variety of systems that Cadillac is heavily touting. The XTS will use a variety of radar sensors to control features like Adaptive Cruise Control (which can speed up or slow down the vehicle automatically), Front and Rear Automatic Brakes (which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary to prevent low-speed collisions) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which lets the driver know if there is pedestrian or vehicle traffic when backing out of a parking spot). The XTS will also have a vibrating alert placed in the front seat, which will allow the XTS to warn the driver of threats on either the left or right side that may be out of sight.
Other safety features like a Blind Spot warning system and a Lane Departure warning system will be made available, as well as 10 standard airbags. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system will make its debut on the XTS, with an 8-inch screen that is said to offer an iPhone-like touch screen interface. An LCD instrument panel that can be completely customized will also be available, and is said to be an industry first.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac XTS
Check back later as AutoGuide brings you live shots of the Cadillac XTS at its live reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The ultra-limited production Jaguar XKR-S will get a droptop companion sometime in 2012, with Jaguar unveiling the 2013 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16th.
With a 5.0L supercharged V8 making 542 horsepower and 502 lb-ft , making it the most powerful Jaguar ever produced. The coupe can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds while reaching speeds of 186 mph. Expect the droptop to be just a tick slower due to the added weight. Jaguar will also show the C-X16 concept in North America for the first time, giving domestic show goers a glimpse of the amazing turbine powered concept.
[Source: Motor Authority]
It’s not much to go off of, but we’re used to teasers before any major auto show. This year, Lincoln will be showing off its new styling direction that promises to be “forward-looking and more elegantly crafted” than before and it appears that they have a new MKS and MKT set to debut at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
Not much is known about the new 2013 MKS and MKT, but rumors are that the refreshed vehicles will sport new running gear in order to separate them from their respective Ford counterparts. It’s safe to assume that Ford’s EcoBoost engine technology will be present along with suspension and performance enhancements.
Stay tuned as AutoGuide will be present when Lincoln (hopefully) unveils the new MKS and MKT to the public at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Tokyo Motor Show, held only once every two years, marks its return for 2011. After the nation suffered severe destruction from earthquake and tsunami, Japan intends to show the world the resilience of Japanese industry and manufacturing. Moreover, as previous shows were held at Makuhari Messe, a convention center located in the Mihami-ku ward of Chiba City just outside Tokyo, the Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, Koto-ku, marks the return of the Tokyo Motor Show to the city of Tokyo for the first time in 24 years.
Held from December 2 to December 11, the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011 will feature a total of 176 exhibitors from 12 different countries, which is a significant 36 percent increase than the previous 2009 Motor Show’s 129 exhibitors. Moreover, exhibition space has grown from 35,151 sq. meters from 21,823 sq. meters of 2009, a whopping 61 percent increase. Of note, all 14 of Japan’s automakers will be exhibiting, with 20 foreign brands, a big increase from just 9 foreign brands at the last show.
As Asia is experiencing a rapidly growing China and India market, there has been a sharp spike in interest for motor shows held in Beijing, Shanghai, and New Delhi. However, as a symbol of Japan’s technological powerhouse, the city of Tokyo strives to remain the foremost leader and demonstrator in technological innovation.
The theme of this year’s Tokyo Motor Show is “SMART MOBILITY CITY 2011.” The project focuses its attention to “next-generation automobiles and the social systems with which they interact,” highlighting the role of innovators of the car industry as they tackle the growing concerns over matters of global environment and energy conservation.
Notable debuts at this year’s show include the Toyota FT-86, Subaru BRZ and Mazda Takeri Concept. See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Tokyo Motor Show preview here, with coverage starting November 30th.
For long one of the most beloved hot hatches in Europe, the Ford Fiesta ST Concept will be unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Recently at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford revealed a three-door ST concept, a sign that perhaps the hot-hatch sub-compact would not be offered in North America. This new five-door concept changes all that.
North America’s first Ford hot hatch since the 2004 Ford Focus SVT, the Fiesta ST concept’s mission at the LA show is to show Ford Motor Company’s global performance strategy. The Fiesta ST Concept combines dramatic and aggressive styling with a dynamic sports chassis and a high-performance powertrain that will deliver both power and impressive fuel economy with low emissions.
Using a 1.6 liter Ford EcoBoost engine that is in very close relation to the engine used in the Fiesta RS World Rally car, the Fiesta ST features twin independent variable camshaft timing and turbocharging to produce 180-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The fiesta will also be using a six speed manual transmission to ensure driving pleasure.
In terms of styling, the Ford ST utilizes a the bold and distinctive honeycomb mesh trapezoidal grille that’s found on the larger Focus ST. The rear features a serious twin-exit exhaust wrapped around by stylized diffuser. Finally, the Fiesta ST receives a lowered stance and a ST body kit with widened wheel arches that are snugly filled by 17 inch wheels and low profile tires.
According to Ford director of Global Performance Vehicles Jost Capito, “With the Focus ST, we promised to deliver uncompromised sports performance and styling to a truly global audience for the first time, without sacrificing Ford’s key value of quality, green, safe, and smart. With the Fiesta ST Concept, we are demonstrating that our global performance plan has legs. The Fiesta ST Concept shows in the most dramatic way possible that the qualities that define an ST are not limited to one model.”
If that’s not a 99 percent confirmation that Ford will in fact bring the Fiesta ST from concept to reality, we don’t know what is.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept
Volkswagen announced that they would unveil two new vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and a convertible version of the Beetle is among the rumored introductions.
Considering the popularity of the previous droptop Beetle, Los Angeles seems like an obvious choice for the new car. On the other hand, we’re not so sure what the second vehicle could be – something like a production version of the Bulli would attract more buzz in the run-up to the show, so we’re guessing it’s merely a revised version of an existing product.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
The SEMA Show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) provides the unique opportunity to let suppliers and aftermarket tuners showcase their new products and innovations. This year, Brandmotion, an award winning supplier of OEM-grade custom products, earned the opportunity to work with FIAT to customize a 2012 FIAT 500.
FIAT launched a competition for aftermarket suppliers to come up with a practical yet creative line of customization options for the active drivers who want to find a fun driving experience.
Brandmotion president Jeff Varick says, “We’re extremely pleased to receive this honor. The new FIAT 500 is a stylish, well-built vehicle that shows a very fresh way of thinking about the modern automobile. The competition tasked us with thinking of the vehicle as if we were building it, not modifying it. We pride ourselves on providing highly functional interior personalization solutions that target the emerging needs of vehicle buyers, and our efforts were rewarded with this selection.”
Brandmotion’s project, known as the Urban Loft 500, represents a “Space that is minimal yet functional, with amenities that are readily accessible. It’s small enough to be practical, but with enough space and style to provide an upscale experience.”
Watch out for the Urban Loft 500 at the SEMA Show located at the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 1-4, 2011. Also, visit Brandmotion’s facebook page to check out their progress so far.