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.
Color Me Surprised
Automakers have come a long way from the days of Henry Ford’s Model T. While many colors were available over the “Tin Lizzy’s” long production run, this rugged and bare-bones vehicle was only offered in black for many years. Talk about choice!
Today, car manufacturers offer more hues than there are colors of the rainbow. But that’s not all. Depending on the product, customers can get shimmering metal flake or even special pearlescent paint jobs that seem to change color under different lighting conditions.
Spurning the basics like black, white and beige, even mass-market companies are offering buyers ever more assaulting hues. These days you don’t have to pony up the cash for a Lamborghini to drive something bright. Here are the Top 10 Craziest Paint Colors Available Today.
10. Volvo C30 - 2,827 Units Sold
After checking out the top 10 best selling vehicles of last year, it’s now time to take a look at the worst performers on dealerships lots.
It isn’t a huge surprise to see the Volvo C30 on the list at 10th place, considering the Swedish automaker decided to give the vehicle the axe at the end of 2012. The Volvo C30 was on the market for six years in North America and sold only 26,000 units.
14. Acura ZDX
As 2012 winds to an end, AutoGuide looks back at all the vehicles that received the axe this year, some that will be missed, while others surely won’t be.
Starting it off is the Acura ZDX, a crossover that had a very tough time breaking into the market. Priced at around $51,815 including delivery, the ZDX was hardly a hot seller for the Japanese automaker, and it’s clear that Acura can’t wait to move forward from it.
The five-door sedan is designed to angle in on BMW’s 1-Series and Audi’s A3 Sportback. We’re still waiting for specific details like pricing, the chance for a U.S. release and definite engine specs, but an article we ran in December suggested that several engines might be offered.
Those could include a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120, 150 or even 180 horsepower and a diesel 1.6-liter or 2.0 liter as well. The new V40 will be 175 inches long and run on a stretched-out version of the C30 platform.
We’ll be reporting from Geneva next month, bringing you the latest details as they emerge.
GALLERY: Volvo V40 spy photos
Swedish automaker Volvo is looking to shack up with a new mate in the hopes of making a fresh set of small cars. Their current compact, the C30 (above), is based on technology from former parent company Ford.
However, Ford dumped Volvo almost two years ago, passing them off to Chinese Geely Holding Group for $1.8 billion, a fraction of what they originally paid. Now the company says the are welcoming partnerships with other companies to fill the void their former American partner left behind.
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told the Financial Times that the company is open to new partners who will be able to share in developing further compact models alongside Volvo in an effort to drive down production costs.
There isn’t an official decision yet about pairing up with any specific company, though it makes sense that Volvo would be looking for a new dance partner given that their current C30 line is nearing the time when a model typically gets a refresh.
The collaborative strategy is becoming increasingly common among automakers as profit margins start to wear thin. Last year Volvo agreed to work with German company Siemens to produce an electric vehicle.
Aside from business to business collaboration, Jacoby is taking Volvo in a similar direction as the last company he managed: Volkswagen. In an effort to cut costs, he’s taken the company from offering 10 engines to only two. He’s also implementing something similar to VW’s “modular box” approach to building cars, where multiple vehicles of different sizes are made in the same facility.
In the spirit of consolidation, Volvo is also expected to launch the compact V40 at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this March. That car will replace the current S40 and V50 models.
[Source: Financial Times]
Stephan Jacoby, Volvo’s CEO, showed the first teaser photos of the car originally rumored to be called the V30. That speculation was corrected today, in fact the car will run as the V40, the same as their mid-90′s station wagon.
Details about a U.S. release and pricing haven’t been discussed yet, but when the car comes to market it will feature a stretched version of the C30 platform, measuring about 175 inches. Initially, the V40 will only come as a hatchback though Jacoby said a 4-door version is still possible.
“It’s basically a new segment for us”, said Volvo spokesman Per-Åke Fröberg in an interview with Sweden’s Dagens Industri.
According to De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper, the car will come with different engine options. First, a 1.6-liter four cylinder with the option for 120, 150 or 180 horsepower. Second, a diesel version featuring either a 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter under the hood.
So far it isn’t clear how much the car will cost, but one thing is certain: the V40′s entry marks two other models being discontinued in 2012: the S40 and the V50.
Volvo is currently working on developing several green technologies including an electric C30, a flywheel hybrid system and a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid system. This week, Volvo announced that it’s working on a more ambitious project -three unique range-extended electric drive setups. Volvo is working with the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union to develop this technology.
All three technical concepts utilize similar hardware- a three-cylinder combustion engine and a 111-hp electric motor but they differ in how the engine assists the electric motor.
Technical Concept I uses a modified Volvo C30 and the system consists of a 60-hp three-cylinder engine, the 111-hp electric motor and a 40-kW generator. The rear mounted engine turns the 40-kW generator that charges the car’s battery pack.
Technical Concept II also uses a modified C30 and utilizes a parallel-connected range extender. The rear mounted engine also turns the 40-kW generator. The engine and the electric motor operate in tandem. The engine powers the rear wheels and the 111-hp electric motor powers the front wheels.
Technical Concept III is installed in a European market V60 wagon and also uses a parallel connected system. Technical Concept III uses an electric motor and a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, with both units located in the engine bay. Both power-plants drive the front wheels through a two-stage automatic transmission.
[Source: Car and Driver]
The words high performance and Volvo aren’t typically used in the same sentence, but in recent years, Volvo has really put a new focus on developing sportier and more performance-oriented vehicles. While they probably still have quite a ways to go to change the customer’s perception that Volvos are mainly safe and boring vehicles, the launch of a performance-oriented line will go a long way in establishing Volvo a high-performance manufacturer.
Volvo’s collaboration with Polestar, the company responsible for Volvo’s entries in the Scandinavian and World Touring Car Championships, seems to have blossomed with this baby blue Volvo C30 Performance Concept Prototype. It appears that this C30 PCP will make it to production, limited to only 500 units, and will feature 400-hp in an AWD hatchback. Pricing will be set at around $80,000.
Volvo is looking to expand their PCP lineup by adding other models to the brand, potentially providing competition to BMW‘s M Series and Mercedes-Benz‘s AMG models. Now whether or not buyers will take Volvo seriously is another question, but we’re digging what we’re seeing so far.
Volvo has announced plans to develop and test a new flywheel kinetic energy recovery system. Volvo says the KERS system (or FKERS as Volvo calls it) is “a light, cheap and very eco-efficient solution that makes a four-cylinder engine feel like a six at the same time as fuel consumption drops with up to 20 percent.”
The KERS system is fitted to the rear axle of the car (displayed in video). When braking, the energy causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60,000 revs per minute. When the car starts moving again, the flywheel’s rotation is transferred to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission. This will allow fuel efficiency to improve by 20%. Horsepower and acceleration are also improved under this system.
Volvo is planning to begin testing the system later this year with the hopes of launching it ”within a few years.”
Check out the video after the jump!
Volvo is collaborating with Belgian technological and development specialist Flanders’ Drive to develop inductive charging for its model line up.
Inductive charging allows electric vehicles to be recharged wirelessly. A charging plate(conductor) could be buried beneath the driveway so when the car is parked, it will charge. ”The aim is naturally that it should be as convenient as possible to own and use an electric car” explains Johan Konnberg, project manager from the Special Vehicles division of Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo is focusing on the C30 electric design, and hopes to make it as comfortable, sporty and safe as the standard car. The electric C30 will have a range of up to 150 kilometers per charge and have a top speed of 130 km/h. Volvo’s ambitious “Drive towards Zero” program has the goal of a complete range of electric and plug-in hybrid cars by 2020.
[Source: The Green Car Website]
K-PAX Racing is taking their knowledge and expertise gained from racing Volvos on the track to expand their business portfolio with K-PAX Performance Cars. After winning the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championship in 2010, K-PAX Racing formed their sister company, K-PAX Performance Cars and have now debuted their first vehicle, the Volvo C30 GT.
The Volvo C30 GT is based on the C30 R-Design, but has been outfitted with a performance package developed by K-PAX Performance Cars to be distributed by Volvo retailers in North America. Much of what helped K-PAX Racing achieve their championship has been carried over to their street car. Upgraded suspension, brakes, exhaust and adjustable ECU software offers performance enhancements while new wheels and tires helps the Volvo C30 GT get a new grip with its 280-hp.
Only 500 C30 GTs will be available and each are numbered with a full 5 year/60,000 mile warranty. Pricing has yet to be released.
GALLERY: K-PAX Performance Cars Volvo C30 GT
Let’s get this right out in the open: Why do the Swedes get all the fun? How awesome is this Volvo C30 “Performance Concept” prototype? It packs a 405 horsepower and 376 ft-lbs turbocharged 5-cylinder T5 motor (similar to the one used in the Ford Focus RS500), all-wheel-drive, front-and-rear limited slip differentials, Öhlins suspension components, Brembo brakes, and, yeah…you get the idea.
The body kit is similar to the one used on the — defending champion — Polestar Racing STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship) C30 race car. Polestar Racing is the official partner of Volvo Cars in the STCC and is used to winning on the track. Polestar Performance Power Operations is an aftermarket line of upgrades sold through the Volvo dealer network — and it appears they’ve applied a bunch of their tricks here.
It’ll be unveiled in full at the Gothenburg Motorshow, held from April 22-25 2010.
Full specs (in slightly broken English) and a video of the heavenly-sounding Polestar Racing STCC Volvo C30 embedded after the jump!
Volvo to chose the Frankfurt Auto Show to debut a mid-cycle makeover for the C30 premium hatchback.
“Since its introduction in 2006, the Volvo C30 has become highly appreciated for its unique appearance. This applies in particular to the rear. With the new front, it feels as though everything has fallen neatly into place and that the car’s entire personality has been boosted to an entirely new level,” says Daniel Backman, Product Manager for the new Volvo C30.
We’re not sure we agree with the comments about the car’s back-end, but the new front certainly adds a bit more style to the C30, helping it appeal to its intended young-buyer audience. Much of the design cues have been taken from Volvo’s progressive new XC60 crossover.
The new front end features not only a new bumper and grille, but also new headlights.
A new rear end is also a part of the redesign, using colored panels, as opposed to black plastic ones, while on T5 models large 90mm exhaust tips will be included. A new Orange Flame Metallic paint job will also be offered, as will white wheels.
Volvo has also decided to offer a long list of interior trim options to customers, with items like an Espresso/Blonde two-tone interior, as well as Cranberry leather.
In addition a sport chassis will be offered with stiffer bushings, a tighter steering ratio (by 10 percent) and springs that are 30 percent stiffer as well.
In Europe Volvo has also announced changes to it’s C30 1.6D DRIVe, including the addition of start-stop technology that allows the diesel to use just 3.8 l/100km of fuel (62 mpg).
GALLERY: Volvo C30
GALLERY: Volvo V30 1.6D DRIVEe
Volvo will show an all electric version of its entry-level C30 hatchback at the Frankfurt Auto Show this September. News of the expected unveiling comes from the U.S.’s AutoCar, saying that the model will be displayed and driven at the Innovation for Life event, which will take place shortly after the auto show.
Interestingly, Volvo has no plans to put the car into production, similar to how it (apparently) never had any plans to bring the C30-based Recharge Concept (shown above) to market. That model was a plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV), whereas this model will be a pure electric vehicle along the lines of the upcoming Nissan LEAF.
The car is part of a larger initiative by Volvo to explore the possibility of bringing pure electric vehicles to market. Currently Volvo has made clear that it will bring a plug-in diesel hybrid version of the V70 wagon to market by 2012.