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.
With sky-high gas prices on the horizon and increasingly strict emissions standards for car manufacturers to live up to, consumers are constantly looking for more options when it comes to fuel economy, and automakers are equally eager to deliver. For those reasons manufacturers are continuing to downsize engines. It was a tough sell for car buyers to accept four-cylinder engines instead of six-cylinders, but will they have an easier time accepting three-cylinder engines?
For us North Americans, the Peugeot 205 GTi has little or no significance, especially since it was never sold here and the last Pug we could get our hands on was the 405 Mi16 back in 1992.
In Europe however, the 205 GTi, produced from 1984-94 is revered; a sharp handling overachiever of a hot hatch that was inexpensive to own and tremendous fun to drive. Following its demise, Peugeot tried to capture the car’s quintessential spirit with the 206 and 207 GTi models, though these cars never achieved the same cult status as the original.
With the new 208, that replaces the 207 for the 2012 model year and the 30th anniversary of the 205 GTi not far off, perhaps now is as good a time as any to introduce a true successor to the original, much like VW has done with its own hot hatch. The Peugeot 208 GTi concept, revealed at Geneva, plays heavily on the old 205 theme, not only in the side glass window treatment, but also the brushed aluminum appliqué on each rear quarter panel.
Other distinguishing exterior features on the 208 GTi concept include a special front fascia, rocker panel extensions, rear deck spoiler and dual chrome exhaust tips. Inside, sport bucket seats upholstered in Nappa leather with tartan inserts, plus a dash trimmed in Alcantara, along with a black headliner, leather wrapped steering wheel and aluminum pedals, help convey the sporty theme.
Under the hood is a RCZ 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine cranking out 200 horsepower, teamed with a six-speed manual gearbox, while a wide track, big alloy wheels and low profile performance tires round things off. Finished in attention grabbing red paint the 208 GTi concept was definitely one of the highlights of the Geneva show and there’s little doubt a production version will materialize, though it would be cool if it debuts as a 2014 model, to coincide with the 205 GTi’s 30th birthday.
As for North American sales, don’t get your hopes up, though if this new Peugeot-GM alliance thing really gets going, there’s a chance we might again see cars with Lion badges sitting in stateside showrooms. If that day comes, we hope there’s a little GTi hatchback among them.
GALLERY: Peugeot 208 GTI
The car is available with four engine options: a 3.0L TFSI with 310-hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and three variants of the TDI powerplant produce 204-hp, 245-hp and 313-hp. The torque ratings are 332 lb-ft, 428 lb-ft and 479 lb-ft of torque, respectively.
Despite that power, fuel each car is about 20 percent less thirsty than the previous model. The new generation is also about 20 percent lighter. While the correlation between the two exists, the improved fuel numbers probably have more to do with better engine technology than the 154-lb weight loss.
Drivers will also find they can adjust the c aar’s suspension to allow for greater ground clearance or a lowering effect at the push of a button.
Wheels come standard at 18 inches wide though 19- and 20-inch wheels are available as options.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro
Earlier this year, Ford announced the official unveiling of its production B-MAX mini-MPV. Today, we learned that the company will release additional new models to join the B-MAX at Geneva — the European 2013 Ford Kuga and Ford Fiesta ST (pictured above).
The 2013 Ford Kuga is the European version of North America’s 2013 Escape. However, the Kuga will be available with more powertrain choices than its North American counterpart, including fuel saving diesels. Expect the new Kuga and Escape to arrive in showrooms no sooner than late 2012.
Ford’s Fiesta ST concept, which was first unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show last year, will finally bow at Geneva. Fitted with the turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost, the ST hot hatch is expected to produce 180-hp.
Finally, we’re expecting to see Mondeo, or Europoean Fusion, debut as well. The 2013 Ford Fusion was revealed earlier this year at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and very well received.
More details on the new Ford products will be available as we draw closer to the upcoming show in Geneva.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST
We reported on the first details behind this concept in early January, but at the time guessed it would be called the MINI Cargo.
Essentially, the car is a foray into the commercial market with an emphasis on businesses like pizza delivery and will compete with the Fiat 500 Giardinetta Wagon.
No further details are available now, but we’ll have coverage as more information becomes available.
[Source: In Auto News]
Pricing and equipment details for the 2013 X6 M50d from BMW that won’t be coming stateside are now available.
Don’t fret too much, though. Oil burners aren’t as popular here, at least not yet, and the X6 M which you can have is pretty much the blue print for the euro-only SAV.
The standard equipment list for the M-powered diesel includes 19-inch brakes up front and 18′s in the rear, the same as its gas-powered brother. The X6 will also have an M Servotronic system which will adjust steering sharpness, as well as the X6 M’s adjustable suspension.
The same 20-inch M wheels are also present, in their double spoke glory.
Beyond that, drivers may opt to pay a premium and have the speed limiter removed, allowing for a top speed of 171 mph, which is substantial in any car, let alone a diesel.
BMW individual leather is also an option, though we’re usually more focused on what’s under the hood when it comes to M cars from the world-class Bavarian Motor Works. Oh, and it costs €85,800, which is just over $113,000 U.S.
If you had twelve children every year, would you love them all the same? It might be hard to keep track, but as is true with any parent, seeing one of your babies hurt would be tragic.
While it’s a bit much to think of cars as children, and some people do, the Pagani Zonda is a rarity in the luxury supercar market because the company only produced one every month starting in 1999 and stopped production last year. That is enough to tug on enthusiast heart strings and evoke a passionate response when one of these rare birds gets its wings clipped.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what seems to have happened in Hong Kong. Pictures started floating around a forum, showcasing a wrecked Zonda in the middle of an intersection. There aren’t many other details to report on the wreck, but it’s clear from the picture that the car was on a tight city street. You can see that the driver hit a pole, but beyond that it’s tough to speculate on the incident. Click here to see the forum for yourself.
GALLERY: Pagani Zonda F Roadster
Despite reducing the number of models available to US consumers in recent years, notably the compact S40 sedan and V50 Wagon, Volvo has now decided to reverse the trend somewhat by adding a T5 all-wheel drive version to its S60 line.
The new model will slot in between the front-drive S60 T5 (which currently stickers for $32,175) and the S60 T6 AWD ($39,325). Apart from utilizing Volvo’s Haldex all-wheel drive system, the T5 AWD model is mechanically almost identical to its front-drive counterpart, meaning that it’ll be powered by the same 250 horsepower, 2.5-liter blown five-cylinder motor.
And although its announcement at the Detroit Auto Show wasn’t huge news, the T5 AWD should at least give Volvo a chance at competing against AWD models of Audi and BMW’s volume sellers, the A4 Quattro and 328i xDrive.
[Source: Car & Driver]
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]
When there’s blood in the water, sharks start to bite. If the automotive industry does nothing else, it fosters ruthless competition and a winner-takes-all mentality akin to professional sports.
Outside scheduled announcements, Marchionne told the Detroit News that ”there’s a willingness on the part of Fiat-Chrysler to listen,” going on to say that ”this is an industry that is in evolution.”
Despite his affirmation that Fiat would be willing to consider the idea, there doesn’t seem to be any plan being cooked up. GM vice chairman Steve Girsky said he and Marchionne had dinner last Sunday and that Marchionne wasn’t interested in Opel.
“Opel is not for sale,” Girsky said. “We’re going to make Opel work.” GM is “committed to returning our European business to sustained profitability. There’s a lot of work to do.”
For better or worse, the business world is sensitive to such discussions. The notion that something like that might happen drove speculation that Fiat might also be eyeing Peugeot. Once again, it seems the rumor mill is churning out little more than hot air, though Marchionne maintains that he is open to opportunities.
For now it seems the dinner discussions that spurred these questions were little more than meals, though we’ll stick to Marchionne’s philosophy and refuse to rule anything out, especially considering his original plan after buying Chrysler was, in fact, to take Opel as well.
[Source: Detroit News]
MINI will make its way into the commercial vehicle market soon when it releases a cargo-oriented version of the Clubman.
The car, officially called the MINI Cargo, is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and will essentially be the same as the Clubman (pictured above), but with the back seats replaced by a cargo bed and blacked out rear side windows. The release represents offers by parent company BMW to remain competitive and preempt the similarly-minded Fiat 500 Giardinetta Wagon.
Small commercial vehicles are already popular in Europe, other examples include the Ford Transit Connect, a compact panel van introduced in Europe in 2002.
While not particularly useful for large cargo, having small, efficient and delivery-specific vehicles is useful for small businesses that hinge on such a service. Expect more details to come on the 13-foot wheelbase bread truck soon.
As part of a $1.1 billion cost-cutting effort, PSA, the parent company of both Peugeot and Citroen, will shed 6,000 jobs in Europe, with 2,500 white collar jobs, 2,500 contract worker jobs and 1,000 blue collar jobs expected to be cut in 2012.
PSA claimed that their car-making operations would barely turn a profit in the coming year and that the company’s cash flow would be negative. ”The competitive environment has become more challenging due to pricing pressure, which has intensified in Europe since September, and the unfavorable impact on the country mix of the falloff in demand in southern Europe,” the company said in a statement released to Automotive News.
One bright spot for PSA was that sales outside of Europe have risen 41 percent, with China in particular acting as a bright spot for the company.
[Source: Automotive News]
Fans of the Land Rover Defender worried about the iconic off-roader’s impending demise should feel at ease, because the Defender has a long life ahead of it, with production scheduled until 2017.
While a new, more civilized Defender, will bow in 2015, the current vehicle will remain in production until 2017, and possibly as long as 2020. Changes in emissions and safety legislation that would have rendered the Defender unfit for sale have been ammended, or exemptions have been granted for the vehicle.
The Defender was also re-classified as a commercial vehicle a number of years ago, and reports suggest that this should help further safeguard the vehicle’s future in the European marketplace.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is making Alfa Romeo’s U.S. re-launch a top priority, calling it “the most difficult thing I have to do”. Alfa Romeo last sold cars in the U.S. in 1995, but the brand still has a strong image in the U.S., spurring Marchionne to focus efforts on North America.
Alfa Romeo’s image has taken a beating in Europe over its legendary quality issues, and this factor provided further impetus for Fiat to focus their efforts in the U.S., where Alfa’s are viewed with nostalgic fondness. Marchionne hopes that Alfa will sell 80,000 cars in the U.S. in 2014, with 400,000 units sold globally – up from 150,000 currently.
Alfa will offer the 4C sports car and a compact SUV will be offered initially with the Giulia sedan and wagon, the Mito hatchback, a new Spider and a Chrysler 300C-derived 6C sedan coming as well. The 4C is said to be a key halo designed to capitalize on memories of Dustin Hoffman’s Alfa Spider in the iconic film The Graduate.
Discuss this story at 4CForums.com
Despite the misfortunes of the SEAT brand, Volkswagen is planning to bring the Spanish automaker to China, where the appetite for cars seems limitless.
Volkswagen is planning to erect a booth for SEAT at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show, and eventually produce the cars at its assembly plant in Foshan around 2013. SEAT has faltered recently despite offering a range of affordable compact cars with a sporty bent. The brand lost 311 million euros last year, despite a 0.8 percent gain in sales. There is speculation that Volkswagen will kill the brand if it does not become profitable by 2015.
[Source: Automotive News]
German automotive giant BMW is well known for making great road cars and some really great racing cars, however in the past few years, they have stayed away from the German DTM touring car racing series.
Now they are making a comeback, and a massive one at that by announcing that three teams will be running two cars each this year. The car in question will be a special for DTM version of the M3 GT. The three teams running this new racer are Team RBM, Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH.
At the announcement, BMW’s director of motorsports Mario Theissen said, “In recent months we have worked very intensely on the DTM project. The agreement with the teams was of paramount importance. We were pleased with the high level of interest and numerous applications and presentations received from a number of professional teams. The concepts presented by BMW Team RBM, BMW Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH ultimately convinced us. This is an excellent team line-up for BMW. For us, it is important that all three teams have absolute equal rights. We are looking forward to cooperating over the coming years – and hope to enjoy great success together.”
He added by saying, “While the preparation for this year’s involvement on the endurance racing circuit with the BMW M3 GT is in its final phase, the DTM project has picked up pace over the past few months. In naming the teams, we have taken the next step. As well as developing the car, it is now a matter of assigning tasks and establishing structures and processes. The cooperation between BMW Motorsport and the teams, as well as that between the team bases and the race track, must be well established. Only then will we make a statement regarding the driving line-up.”
The 2011 DTM season starts on May 1st at the Hockenheimring in Germany.
Saab employees will get a day off on February 23rd to celebrate the company’s independence from GM and its resurgence as an automaker.
Slated to die during GM’s bankruptcy proceedings, the Swedish vehicle manufacturer was rescued by Dutch boutique sports car maker Spyker, and is set to launch an all-new product line over the coming years. Saab has already released an all-new 9-5 sedan and a 9-4x crossover.
The festivities will take place at Saab’s Trollhattan, Sweden facilities and include live music, presentations, awards, product displays and desserts. Saab President Jan Ake Jonsson said that the February 23rd celebrations will become an annual event.
[Source: LeftLane News]
With two new major debuts in 2011, Volkswagen is hoping to raise their profile in the United States with a coupe Super Bowl commercials that show off their new Passat and give a hint at what the 2012 Beetle will look like when it bows at the end of the year.
The Passat spot evokes some iconic music from Star Wars, as well as a cute youngster running around in a Darth Vader get-up, attempting to use “The Force” on a variety of household objects. Unsuccessful, he tries his luck with the family car, a 2012 Passat, only to find out he’s in for a surprise.
The ad for the Beetle is a little more literal, showing a CGI-rendered beetle (as in, the insect) tearing through a dirt path. Ostensibly, this is supposed to mimic the sportier Beetle due in time for 2012.
Hit the jump to see Volkswagen’s commercials for the Superbowl
The thought of a front-drive BMW was inconceivable less than 5 years ago, but the Bavarian luxury car maker appears to be planning an onslaught of front-drive models for launch by 2016, including a couple crossovers, a sports car and a new compact.
The first front-driver will be a 1 Series GT, another pointless crossover, but one that BMW evidently feels earns a spot in its lineup. The silver lining is that it will share a platform with the wonderful MINI Clubman, giving it excellent dynamics even if its technically a “downmarket” car. More intriguing is the BMW Z1, a compact roadster that would mimic the Lotus Elan of the early 1990′s by sending power to the front via a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
A compact, as well as the next generation 1-Series will likely follow suit, since 1-Series drivers apparently don’t know or care about which wheels are being driven. Naturally, a whole new range of MINIs will follow, including an all-new variant said to be the size of the original Mini Cooper.
[Source: Inside Line]
Volkswagen broke ground on a new engine plant in Puebla, Mexico, which is expected to come online in 2013. The $550 million plant is expected to supply engines to vehicles built at Volkswagen facilities in Mexico and Chattanooga, Tennesse.
An estimated 700 jobs will be created at the plant, along with auxiliary jobs for parts suppliers. With 435,000 vehicles made in Mexico in 2010, the country will be integral to Volkswagen’s goal of selling 1 million cars in the United States by 2018.
[Source: Left Lane News]
As the first compact convertible to come with a retractable hardtop, the Mercedes-Benz SLK has to be at the forefront of the segment when it comes to topless technology, and the new car is no exception.
Even though it’s been completely restyled and given a new engine lineup, the big news for the new SLK its its Magic Sky Control system, which is essentially a tinted glass folding hardtop that can adjust the tint from transparent to completely dark. Buyers who don’t want this sorcery can opt for a metal roof, but really, why would you?
Powered by Mercedes’ familiar 3.5L V6 and a new 1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder, a 5.5L V8 is also expected for a forthcoming SLK AMG. The 302 horsepower V6 is good for a 0-60 time of 5.4 seconds while the 4-banger’s 201 horsepower should given it ample acceleration.
Hit the jump for the full press release
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz SLK
Canadians get a raw deal when it comes to cars. Even though their dollar is worth a little bit more than the greenback (and is projected to rise in the near future) cars still cost about 30 percent more on average. Due to the discrepancy, it’s common for Canadians looking for luxury vehicles to buy their cars in the United States, and import them back to Canada, where savings can be in the thousands, despite importation fees and taxes.
Porsche cars have been a popular choice for importation, due to the significant delta between USA and Canadian pricing. A base Boxster, for example, cost about $46,000 in the USA, while the Canadian MSRP was $58,000. The difference in higher end vehicles, like the 911 GT3 or 911 Turbo S was even higher, edging closer to a $20,000 gap.
Porsche Canada has responded by cutting the MSRP of its cars closer to USA prices. A Boxster now rings in just under $55,000, but still remains shy of the USA’s $47,600 sticker. Discounts remain similar for much of the range, but notably exceptions like the 911 Turbo S get a 5 figure discount.
Regardless, the price cuts don’t come close to bringing the prices to parity. With one-tenth the population, and different equipment requirements for such a small market, not to mention a small dealer network, the extra costs that can’t be amortized over a larger population are passed on to the consumer. Whether the discounts are deep enough to stop consumers from going over the border remains to be seen, but according to one dealer who AutoGuide spoke to before the discounts, the entire run of Cayennes has been sold out for the year, with Panameras moving briskly. Evidently, those with the means to buy a Porsche may not have the time to go through the hassles of importation to save an amount they consider inconsequential.
The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is dead, according to reports out of Europe. The 6.2L hyper-SUV, which used AMG’s raucous 510-horsepower V8, has apparently died, leaving the BMW X5M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo as the sole choices for those who must go fast, but aren’t allowed to buy a proper sports car due to their spouses decree.
With a new ML on the horizon sometime next year, there may be hope for another AMG SUV. In the meantime, the ever obnoxious G55 AMG is still with us, and should be in a rap video near you sometime soon.
Volkswagen‘s New Midsize Sedan, the car designed and built in America, for American consumers, has been revealed in a series of spy photos that show the car undisguised.
Not surprisingly, the car looks like a 2011 Jetta with bigger proportions, trading the Passat’s distinctive styling for something as generic as a badgeless car in an auto insurance commercial. Clearly, Volkswagen is hoping to sell 800,000 units by taking the most anonymous and lowest-common-denominator route possible.