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.
The Norway-based electric car maker Think has been acquired by one of its investors, Russian businessman Boris Zingarevich, who plans to relaunch Think.
The electric automaker has filed for bankruptcy for the third time last month after failing to secure finances to continue operating. The automaker released a statement today, regarding a court-appointed trustee choosing Zingarevich as the winning bidder for Think’s assets. The assets will also include Think North America and Think U.K, which are separate entities and had not filed for bankruptcy.
This move has created a new Norway-based company called Electric Mobility Solutions and rescued Think from shutting down. The company has plans to restart production of the Think City electric town car in the first quarter of next year. The Think City is a highway-capable sedan, made with a plastic shell and has a range of around 100 miles. The price of the City EV is projected to be around $35,000 and targeted towards urban commuters.
“With the potential of working with the leading American automotive lithium-ion battery maker and Europe’s top automobile engineering and manufacturing company, I believe we could have exactly the right combination and value chain to ensure that the brand will be increasingly competitive in the worldwide electric vehicle market,” Zingarevich said in a recent statement.
[Source: Car Tech]
Well this is a change. The typical NBA all star usually drives around in a Cadillac Escalade or Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but not Steve Nash. No no, this Pheonix Suns point guard, seven-time NBA All-Star, two-time MVP award winner represents the Toyota Prius. In this new commercial, based on the competitive nature of both Nash and Toytota, the all new Prius comes out on top, or maybe dancing does. Nash’s competitve edge show him push the Prius to beat an old lady into a parking sport. The victory dance is hilarious.
Check out Nash celebrate his victory dance after the jump!
Important dates for the release of the Volkswagen Up! models have been leaked. The highly anticipated city vehicle will have its world premiere on August 22 in Paris. Following the premiere, the Up! vehicle will be present at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2011, and the official release for the 3-door hatchback is scheduled for the end of 2011. The bigger 5-door hatchback will be released at the end of 2012, and the first MPV Up! and electric-powered models will be available in early 2013.
The three-door five-seater will feature a 1.0-liter gasoline engine and a 1.2-liter diesel engine, with an all-electric version to follow. The Up! will be half the size of a Volkswagen Golf and will cost around $10,000. The Up! variants will compete against the Toyota iQ and other very small compact cars.
[Source: VW Up! Blogspot]
While Ford has stopped short of confirming it, a recent article on Automotive News suggests that a Fiesta subcompact fitted with the company’s newest 1.0L Ecoboost 3-Cylinder engine is all but a done deal for North America.
Ford confirmed that the engine would make it to America in some capacity, and the motor is only capable of fitting in the Ka, Fiesta and Figo. Of those three, only the Fiesta is sold here, with the Ka meant for Europe and the Figo sold only in developing markets. No word on when the engine will come to market, or how much power it will make, but the engine is said be to producing around 120-horsepower, roughly the same as the Fiesta’s 1.0L 3-cylinder motor.
[Source: Automotive News]
Today, Nissan North America announced U.S pricing for the 2012 Versa Hatchback, a model that is carried over from the previous year, despite the fact that the 2012 sedan is all-new. Continuing on the popular first-generation design, it is available in 1.8 S and 1.8 SL models.
The 1.8-liter S hatchback model has been priced at $14,380 with the 6-speed manual and $1000 extra for the 4-speed automatic transmission($15,380). The 1.8-liter SL version with the CVT transmission will be priced at $18,390. The 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine produces 122-hp, with fuel consumption rated at 28 mpg City /34 mpg Highway and 30 mpg combined for the SL with the Continuously Variable Transmission. The 6-speed manual and 4-speed automatic models offer 26/31/28 mpg and 24/32/27 mpg respectively for City/Highway/ Combined ratings. The Nissan Versa is already on sale in either the hatchback or sedan platform offering amazing bang for your buck.
Check out pricing for the all-new, and significantly cheaper 2012 Versa sedan here!
Audi has once again won the Silvretta Electric Car Rally in Austria’s Montafon region. Last year, the R8 e-tron won the competition, and this year, a Q5 also competed finishing sixth place out of 32 vehicles.
The A1 e-tron bearing the number 206 covered 307 kilometers in three days, winning the car rally. The event was held from July 7th to July 9th on “highly taxing mountain roads” with inclines up to 15 percent. Franciscus van Meel, the driver of the A1 e-tron said, “Sending an electric car into the Alps is one of the toughest challenges you can present it with. The fact that the A1 e-tron proved so impressive here is especially gratifying to me and it proves we’re on the right track with our electric mobility approach of combining an electric motor with a combustion engine”.
The A1 is fitted with a 75-kilowatt electric motor, 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and single-disc, and a 254-cc rotary engine. This car had enough power to propel the range-extended electric into the lead.
Gallery: Audi A1 E-tron
Toyota’s new Yaris is built on the strengths the Yaris has become known for including its durability, versatility, efficient engines and easy to drive nature. Toyota has now taken these key aspects into the new model and gone further to offer a sharper, more agile, more contemporary looking vehicle.
The Yaris will also appeal both to technology-focused customers and drivers who value quality, practicality and price when considering a new car.
The Touch audio system includes touchscreen controls, provides Bluetooth, a USB port and a rear parking camera. The Toyota Touch and Go system is also available providing full map satellite navigation and has a range of connected information services that can be accessed and downloaded through a dedicated customer portal.
Engines include a 1.0 and 1.33-liter gas engine as well as a 1.4-liter turbodiesel engine. The three cylinder 1.0-liter engine is coupled to a five speed manual transmission generating 68-hp at 6,000 rpm. Fuel consumption has been improved to 58.9 mpg. The 1.3-liter produces 98-hp and achieves 56.5 mpg. The 1.4-liter diesel engine is matched to a six speed manual transmission, producing 89-hp at 3,800 rpm and 205 lb-ft of torque. This engine achieves 72.4 mpg. However these engines are almost certainly for world markets only, and the U.S. will definitely see some beefier engine choices.
Gallery: Toyota Yaris
Mitsubishi is becoming much more aggressive regarding future EV sales in its home market of Japan. Currently Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV sells for 3.98 million yen which equals $49,200. Government subsidies bring the price down a million yen equalling $36,900. The i-MiEV’s chief rival, the Nissan Leaf costs 3.76 million yen which equals $46,500 before subsidies and is the more popular choice compared to the Mitsubishi.
However, Mitsubishi will slash a million yen off the i-MiEV’s retail price to improve sales, bringing down the price to around 2 million yen or $24,700. The big savings are coming from a smaller battery. The existing model was good for 160 km (100 miles) per battery charge whereas the new model can only travel 120 km (75 miles). The Leaf can achieve only 100 miles per charge.
Prices in the United States are much cheaper, with the 2012 i-MiEV selling for $27,990 before the Federal $7,500 EV tax credit and state incentives. California and Hawaii go a step further with rebates, and in EV can be picked up for as low as $15,500 in these locales.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
Fiat North America is ready to launch its first national ad campaign. The new campaign will kick off with a special event on July 4, the 54th anniversary of the original Fiat 500, said Laura Soave, head of Fiat North America.
“We’re confident we can do a national launch and have the network in place to support the traffic,” said Soave, speaking at a media event.
“Just as the Fiat brand’s products have been adapted to meet market needs while keeping their Italian style and functionality, our websites will also offer a tailored yet consistent experience for consumers ,” explained Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “For a global brand like Fait, it’s in our nature to explore new ways of doing business. It’s also essential that the marketing and advertising campaigns reflect the same individual sense of expression that the Fiat 500 will deliver to consumers.”
Fiat North America appointed 72andSunny as their head digital agency of record. The two companies will work to develop a comprehensive digital marketing stratgey that will increase awareness of the brand in the US.
GALLERY: Fiat 500
[Source: egm CarTech]
The next generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September, however photos have been leaked, and we have them.
The all-new B-Class crossover will use a front-wheel drive design and will remain a multi-purpose vehicle, meaning a higher roof and more cargo space.
A full range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be available for the new model, including start-stop technology for improved fuel economy. Mercedes has also worked hard to preserve the interior space of the current car while retaining traditional characteristics of the German automaker. After its debut, the car will go on sale at the end of 2011, however no official statements have been made regarding B-Class sales in North America.
[Source: Car and Driver]
The all new stylish 2012 Toyota Vitz model, sold here as the Yaris, appears to have new photos, that is if these pics from a Hungarian Toyota dealership’s Facebook page are anything to go by.
In an age where fuel economy is a major selling aspect, the subcompact B-segment is more important than ever, and the new Yaris fits the description.
The new Yaris functionally has gained some size. In total, the Yaris grows 100mm from end to end, with half of that between the wheelbase for more interior room. The car has also grown 20mm shorter overall, probably to lower the center of gravity and improve handling. The new model in Japan has a range of small four cylinder engines, but we should expect a 1.5L version as the sole option.
Stay tuned for more details!
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Yaris
In light of post-earthquake supply disruptions, Honda Civics may be a bit scarce where you are, but in Canada where the Civic has been the number-one selling car for 13 years straight, they now come in giant cereal boxes – or so a Vancouver ad agency would have you believe.
Honda is already marketing the car to a younger audience with fantastical themes, but this takes it to a new level, and may become a trend in trying to get peoples’ attention in an age where many think we’ve seen just about everything.
A similarly larger-than-life ad was a facade for a recent tall Hot Wheels ad on a real highway made to look like a car could do a quick loop along its way.
See video after the jump.
The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its investigation into the power steering system in the 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla with no defects found.
Furthermore, the NHTSA also said Toyota’s electronic throttles were not to blame for the 2009-2010 recall fiasco. However, Toyota is still dealing with major setbacks with the parts shortage caused by the Japanese earthquake disaster, which will undoubtedly hurt their efforts to rebound in the sales charts.
Lincoln may show an updated version of its Concept C small car at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, as automakers of all stripes begin rolling out their new smaller, fuel efficient cars that feature much of the same equipment as more upscale models.
The first Concept C, which debuted in 2009, was attractive but had very little chance of making it to production in its existing form. While the 1.6L Ecoboost powertrain is a shoo-in for a premium, fuel-efficient compact, with its 180 horsepower and 180 lb-ft, but the pseudo-hatchback body style will likely undergo substantial revisions for its Los Angeles deubt, not to mention any sort of production run. Fortunately, the Focus underpinnings used for any future Concept C will afford Lincoln a wide berth to engineer a desirable compact that will also have superb driving dynamics and build quality.
Lincoln has previously stated that a compact luxury car will appear within three years, and with Mercedes, BMW and Audi all preparing (or selling, in Audi’s case) a compact model, the timing is just right for an American competitor.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai‘s Veloster sports coupe will have its North American introduction delayed by two months due to a labor dispute involving a union at its South Korean factory.
A labor dispute involving changes to the shift structure at the Veloster’s plant in Ulsan caused a production slowdown, which saw the plant operate at 33 percent capacity. Labor disputes and strikes are extremely common in the South Korean auto industry, with one occuring every summer for a 20 year period from 1988-2008.
While North American launch plans are still on track for the second half of this year, Hyundai has been forced to go ahead with a limited roll-out in South Korea, with a target of 18,000 cars sold. The Veloster is a key product in both markets, with the car being both a push into the “premium” market at home, and a way to bring in young customers in the United States.
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this news and more at Veloster.org
The 2012 Honda Civic is a crucial product for Honda. As the competition gets better and better, Honda will have to fight to retain customers in the compact car segment, an area where they were the undisputed champions for decades. But with the new Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus nipping at its heels, Honda has been forced to double down its efforts and ensure that the Civic is a winner.
The lineups bread and butter will be the standard coupe and sedan models, which look visually similar to the outgoing car, but pack some interesting improvements beneath the skin. A new 1.8L four-cylinder with 140 horsepower will be the standard engine, with a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission on offer.
Fuel economy will be close to class leaders, with as much as 39 mpg available during the highway cycle. Buyers looking for even more miserly fuel consumption will have to step up to the HF model, which is available only with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The HF will get a unique spoiler, 15” wheels and underbody enhancements to help it achieve 41 mpg on the highway, 1 mpg higher than the Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra.
Inside, features like a premium audio system, XM radio and a navigation system will be available. Honda expects the new Civic to get a 5-star crash test rating, in line with other cars in the segment, and while the car hasn’t been tested yet, we see no reason to doubt this. You can read our review of the 2012 Civic here and check out our New York Auto Show coverage for live photos of the car’s reveal.
Discuss the new 2012 Civic with the 9thGenCivic community.
GALLERY: Honda Civic Sedan
GALLERY: Honda Civic Coupe
Discuss the 9th generation Civic at 9thGenCivic.com
Despite being written off as a failure in both critical acclaim and unit sales, the Honda Insight has seen sales explode as higher gas prices, a promotional blitz and a general upward trend in sales resulted in a 62.2 percent improvement in year-over-year sales numbers for Honda’s hybrid hatchback.
The Insight was regarded by almost everyone as a colossal flop, and its direct competitor, the Toyota Prius still outsells the Insight exponentially ( with 42,779 sold versus 6,058 Insights), but customers appear to be trickling back to the Insight, which can deliver 40 mpg in town and 43 mpg on the highway.
While Honda initially predicted 90,000, but in its peak year, Honda sold just under 21,000 Insights.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
While Hyundai‘s undoubtedly been on a roll lately, they haven’t quite managed to bend the laws of physics, despite what their newest stunt may suggest.
Hyundai’s Malaysian arm suspended a 2012 Accent from the vertical face of a building, and had a driver wearing some futuristic garb descend towards the Accent. Through the use of some trick 3D projection and properly spinning wheels, the Accent really looks like it’s driving. Check out the video below.
General Motors will recall 2,100 Chevrolet Cruze sedans after a steering wheel came loose from the car’s steering column recently. General Motors claims that no injuries resulted from the problem, and a bolt that was not properly installed was the culprit.
“We made a mistake, but we’re confident that we’ve got it fixed,” said GM spokesman Allen Adler. GM claims it has inspected 2,000 cars at the Ohio plant that produces the car. Dealers have isolated the potentially dangerous vehicles and will inspect them as well. While NHTSA would normally issue an official recall notice, the government shutdown that may occur due to a political dispute may prevent it from being released in a timely manner.
Get more Chevy Cruze news and info at CruzeTalk.com
The initial slow start to the Chevrolet Volt rollout sped up in March with sales of more than twice the number than were sold in January and February combined.
Sales of 608 Volts plus 321 in January and 281 in February now make 1,210 total. This is not a lot compared to 18,018 Cruzes sold in March alone, but GM is not calling defeat by any stretch of the imagination at this early juncture.
Its initial sales were through dealers in regions whose demographics supported hybrids and alternative technology. By the end of the year, GM plans for nationwide distribution.
Last month Chevrolet also reported big gains for its combined new model line. A 54-percent increase in the new car category led the bowtie brand’s sales.
“March sales demonstrated our newest models continue to win over customers,” said Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations. “Vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox put us in great position to benefit from consumer’s increasing desire for fuel-efficient vehicles.”
Overall, Chevrolet posted 148,197 sales in March, an 11-percent increase over the same month a year ago. This number includes an 18 percent gain in retail sales of cars, trucks and crossovers.
To date this year, Chevrolet has sold 416,505 vehicles, representing a 37-percent spike in retail sales, and 23 percent increase in total sales.
Expected transmissions are a 6-speed manual and an automatic, rumored to be a 4-speed. The sedan will complement the hatchback previously revealed at the Geneva Auto Show. Also possible is a 138-hp direct-injection 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, similar to the one offered in the 2012 Hyundai Accent.
AutoGuide will have complete coverage of the New York Autoshow starting April 20th, so stay tuned to our site for more photos and videos.
The Toyota plant which builds the Yaris subcompact for export markets will remain closed for another month, as the factory recovers from the massive earthquake which struck northern Japan.
While the plant has had repairs completed and electricity has returned, the supply of natural gas has not been restored. Toyota’s other plants are expected to remain closed until at least April 14th, but the Yaris plant in Miyagi prefecture will stay shuttered until the end of April. Toyota has resumed production of its Prius hybrid, but is only operating at 50 percent capacity.
Toyota released a statement claiming “Depending on vehicle type, there may be a significant impact on our production capabilities.” No start date was given for any of their factories, but a source told Automotive News that the company was attempting to secure a gas supply from neighboring regions. Parts supplies also remain an issue, and the company is attempting to resolve these problems from their Toyota City headquarters.
[Source: Automotive News]
Fiat’s 900cc TwinAir 2-cylinder turbocharged engine, currently available in the European market Fiat 500, has won critical acclaim for its performance and use of advanced technology, and the motor will soon be available in both the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Punto.
The TwinAir will superceed the current base engines in both cars, rated at 77 and 64 horsepower respectively, as it produces 85 horsepower. The TwinAir will also likely be more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and carbon emissions, with estimates ranging between a 10 and 15 percent gain in both categories. A start-stop system will also be employed.
The base engines will still remain available, but the TwinAir is expected to be a popular option, as it will allow buyers to dodge European C02 emissions taxes.
[Source: Left Lane News]
An old finance maxim states that “by the time you’ve read about it, it’s already too late”, but that hasn’t stopped used car dealers from eagerly snapping up any 4-cylinder or hybrid vehicle as gas prices continue to climb.
With one dealer calling the sudden trend a “panic”, values of previously undesirable cars like the Chevrolet HHR have shot up to $11,000 from the $8,000 or $8,500 they previously commanded.
In an interview with Automotive News, a NADA guides official stated that prices for these types of cars will probably rise between 3 and 4 percent above what the NADA guides state, while SUV and truck prices are set to fall. However, NADA is not set to alter their residual values, in part because they feel that any major spike in gas prices will last for three years, roughly the same term as most leases.
[Source: Automotive News]