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.
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
If you are a college graduate and had ever caught yourself thinking that you could have afforded a car if only you had $1,000 less in student loans to pay, then you’re in luck!
Scion is working to make the life of college grads just a little bit easier by introducing a rebate program offering recent college graduates $1,000 off purchasing or leasing a new Scion vehicle. Sweetening the deal, there will be no money down and no monthly payments for the first 90 days on select TFS finance programs with competitive APRs on new Scions.
Eligibility is pretty straightforward. First, you must display a certificate of graduation to either an accredited four-year college or university, accredited two-year college, a registered nursing degree program, accredited graduate program, two-year Toyota Technical Education Network Program, two-year NATEF post secondary automotive program, or an electrician apprenticeship/certification program. Then, you must also show proof that you have a job lined up.
Visit Scion College Graduate Rebate Program to find out more.
Fiat will be gradually discontinuing the beautiful Alfa Romeo 159, as reports have indicated that production of the 159 has come to an end at the assembly plant in Naples, Italy. Last minute 159 buyers may have some luck because the vehicle has been stockpiled by dealers ahead of the factory’s temporary closure.
Sadly, the 159 suffered from its edgy front end, making for poor aerodynamics and although the vehicle was built to meet U.S regulations, the vehicle was never sold stateside.
Enthusiasts are complaining that with the absence of the 159, there is a gaping hole left in both Alfa Romeo and Fiat’s line-up. Neither the Alfa Giulietta, Lancia Delta nor the Fiat Bravo can pass as a compact executive car. The 159 is expected to be replaced by the Giulia but won’t hit the road until 2013, and will likely stay that way for another few years. The Naples plant will now produce the Fiat Panda.
GALLERY: Alfa Romeo 159
[Source: italia speed]
Two knucklehead dealership technicians decided to borrow a BMW 1 Series M Coupe and put it through its paces. What makes the video even more painful to watch is that the technicians have no sympathy for the car’s delicate break in period.
Interstingly, members of the 1Addicts forum managed to narrow down the location of the joyride and trace it back to Pacific BMW in Southern California. Fortunetly the car had not been sold yet, and the dealership asking price was a whopping $20,000 over MSRP.
Once the driver knew the heat was on, he attempted to cover his tracks by removing the video from his account, but someone had already made a copy. The BMW abuser has apparently been fired by the dealer after forum members reached out in outrage. Furthermore, local city spokesman Tom Lorenz also indicated that local law enforcement is investigating the technician in regards to the obviously unsafe and illegal speeds obtained during the joyride in residential neighbourhoods.
Check out the video after the jump!
Two weeks ago, Kia officially confirmed that it would unveil a rear-wheel drive four-door sports sedan at this month’s Frankfurt auto show.
Today, sources have revealed that Kia may call the sporty sedan, the Veredus. Kia has filed for a trademark on the Veredus name, and sources have also explained that the concept is the only vehicle in the company’s short-term product plan without a name.
The concept has sleek and muscular proportions, and will likely slide in between the Hyundai Genesis and Equus in terms of size. Kia’s future product plans also include an electric vehicle and a sedan based off the forthcoming Hyundai Azera.
GALLERY: Kia Veredus
[Source: Car and Driver]
BMW is recalling 241,000 3-Series models due to faulty tail lights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed that certain 2002-2005 325i, 325xi, 330i and 330xi models built between September 1, 2001 and March 1 2005 may experience resistance in the electrical contacts of one or more rear lamp functions.
The resistance could eventually lead to the one or more rear lamp functions from working. That failure could reduce the ability to warn other motorists of the drivers intentions, potentially leading to an accident.
BMW dealers will repair the electrical components free of charge once the recall begins in October of this year. Concerned BMW owners may contact customer relations at 1-800-525-7417
Last weekend, Nissan Canada officially began the reservation process for the all-new electric Leaf. Within two hours, all Leaf inventory was reserved.
On August 27th, Canadians attended one of 27 Nissan Leaf certified dealers and were invited to reserve the electric vehicle for a refundable $99 deposit. Judy Wheeler, Nissan Canada’s director of marketing, said, “Response from Canadians since we first revealed the Nissan Leaf in 2009 has been astounding, so we’re not surprised that our first inventory of 40 model year ’11 cars were snapped up so quickly”.
Nissan says that Leaf deliveries will begin sometime in September for Canadians that reserved the vehicle. Nissan will also be selling 600 units of the 2012 model year Leaf sometime soon.
Today was a great day for MINI, as the two millionth Cooper rolled off the assembly line, ten years after the start of production. British Prime Minister David Cameron was even present at the Oxford plant to drive the car out of the factory.
The MINI convertible was complete with special paintwork and extras. David Cameron declared that the ceremony that, “It’s a real privilege to drive this true British icon off the production line today. The 2 millionth MINI to be made here in Oxford is a fantastic symbol of the UK’s strength in the global automotive industry and a great British manufacturing success story. MINI is not just a symbol of our industrial past, but also the great industrial future we want to build.”
When production began at the Oxford Plant in 2001, 2,400 employees worked a single shift producing 300 cars a day. Today production has expanded to include 3,700 employees working two shifts, five days a week, building 900 cars a day. The maximum capacity of the plant has also increased from 100,000 units per year in 2001, to 200,000 units ten years later. Currently, the MINI is delivered to customers in more than 90 countries across the globe.
Jürgen Hedrich, head of Plant Oxford said: “This marks a tremendous milestone for Plant Oxford and its employees. Oxford has been the heart of MINI production for ten years. Our employees are proud to be part of this brand’s success.”
Off-roaders may want to listen up, this is your lucky day. Land Rover has confirmed production for the next-gen Defender SUV. The British automaker intends to launch a new Defender in 2015, and the concept version (DC100) will be present at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
Gerry McGovern, Director of Design for Land Rover weighed in on the issue saying, “Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This isn’t a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.”
The next-gen Defender is likely to be quite different than the old version in several ways. It will have a more refined design with more technological features and modern structural materials. However the new version will likely stick to the traditional simplistic approach for which the Defender is well-known.
John Edwards, Global Brand Director, Land Rover added:”Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market. We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalize the details of the new vehicle. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be an exciting journey, and we can’t wait to get going.”
GALLERY: Land Rover DC100 Concept
However, Ford can only officially say that the 2012 Focus attains 40 mpg when equipped with the Super Fuel Economy package and six-speed automatic transmission. Ford is eager to prove that the Focus is more fuel efficient regardless or its options, so the American automaker organized a media drive in Romeo, Michigan.
Ford invited reporters to drive the Elantra at a steady 45 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile track. Then the reporters drove a Focus without the SFE package and lapped the track at the same speed. Conditions were equal for both cars and an engineer sat in the backseat, monitoring the fuel economy. The results showed that the average fuel economy of the Focus was 40.4 mpg and the Elantra achieved 37.8 mpg. This proves that the Focus is more efficient at a steady 45 mph than the Elantra.
[Source: Automotive News]
Kia Motors is participating in an 8,000 mile trip with the 2011 Optima Hybrid sedan in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid car.
Drivers Wayne Gerdes and Chris Bernius will drive through 48 states in 16 days. Both drivers are experienced fuel economy drivers and the 2011 Optima Hybrid is bone stock, in accordance to Guinness’ strict rules. The Optima set off from Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia on August 26 and is scheduled to conclude its drive on September 10 in South Carolina.
“Fuel economy is becoming increasingly important to car buyers all around the world, and the Kia Optima Hybrid is one of our latest models to address this consumer requirement,” Senior Executive Vice President & COO of Kia Motors Corporation Thomas Oh, said.
Currently, the Guinness World Record for lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid car was set in October 2010 using a Toyota Auris Hybrid. Amazingly, the Toyota covered 307.58 miles while only using 4.53 gallons of fueling, achieving 67.89 mpg.
GALLERY: Kia Optima
[Source: Left Lane News]
Infiniti announced U.S pricing for the 2012 QX full-size SUV and the 2012 EX crossover. The QX was redesigned in 2011, so changes to the 2012 model are non-existent.
The full-sized SUV will be offered in both a 2WD and 4WD setup, and some options have been changed to make some features more accessible in lower-level packages. One change on the 2012 model is the Blind Spot Intervention system available with the Technology Package. This option alerts the driver to vehicles in the blind spot area. Both the QX models will utilize the 400-hp 5.6-liter V8 mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Pricing for the 2012 2WD model will start at $58,700 and the 2012 4WD model will start at $61,800.
The 2012 EX will be available in four models including the EX35 RWD ($35,600), EX35 AWD ($37,000), EX35 RWD Journey ($37,900) and EX35 AWD Journey ($39,300). The crossover also gains the HomeLink Universal Transceiver as standard equipment on the EX35 Journey. All four models will utilize the same 297-hp 3.5-liter V6 mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
GALLERY: Infinti EX35/ QX56
Two National Guard Light Medium Tactical Vehicles were entirely submerged during the Hurricane Irene aftermath, and the action was captured on video.
The two trucks drove through the deep water in downtown Manville. They managed to drive about a block before either water got into the engine or the drivers ran out of breath. At one point when the trucks stop, the men climb out of the trucks and appear to be unable to swim.
Check it out for yourself after the jump!
When the sedan was unveiled, Toyota found that the word “Camry” had been acquired on social media service Twitter by rival Nissan North America. Anyone searching the Camry on Twitter during the launch, would receive a tweet regarding product news from Nissan.
Nissan took advantage of the fact that it knew Toyota would launch the Camry with special attention to Twitter. Nissan discovered that the key word Camry had not been locked up so it purchased what Twitter terms a “Promoted Tweet” allowing the automaker to acquire a selection of search terms for 24 hours that included “Camry”, “Toyota Camry” and “mid-sized car”.”Toyota blew it,” crowed one Nissan manager. “They simply didn’t protect their intellectual property.”
Nissan has become increasingly competitive especially against Toyota. U.S sales of the Altima are up more than 18 percent through July, compared to Toyota’s 8 percent Camry fall. The decline was primarily a result of inventory issues stemming from the March 11 earthquake. The Camry has been America’s top selling passenger car for 13 of the past 14 years. The Camry vastly outsells the Altima, but Nissan has been making up ground in recent years.
Check out our full review of the Camry here!
GALLERY: Toyota Camry
[Source: Automotive News]
BMW used this past weekend’s Indianapolis MotoGP to unveil its new F10 M5 safety car. The BMW was fitted with an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system that sounds amazing. Other goodies that set this safety vehicle aside from all other standard M5′s include high performance coilovers, new front and rear spoilers, Recaro bucket seats and 20-inch rims.
The M5 has been entirely redesigned but the biggest change is the switch from a high-revving V10 to a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The new engine will crank out 552 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The car is capable of achieving a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, not bad for a car weighs around 4,000 lbs. Pricing has not been announced but the M5 will probably sell for around $85,000.
Check out the video after the jump!
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and auto journalist Dan Neil have a bet going regarding the launch of the 2012 Tesla Model S. The bet began when Tesla said it would launch the new model before the end of next year. Neil said the schedule promised by Musk was “an audacious timeline that makes many in the car industry roll their eyes”. Neil also said “even people inside Tesla are leery”. Neil did not believe Tesla would be able to deliver on Musk’s promise. The two began emailing each other back and forth until Neil challenged Musk to a bet on the outcome.
The requirements for Musk to win the bet are as follows:
1) Series production models of the Tesla Model S have to be delivered to paying customers before the end of 2012. (It was originally 2011, but Neil concedes that Tesla said it wouldn’t make that date fairly early, and has since stuck to its 2012 date.)
(2) The Model S has to have seven passenger seats, certified as such by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and earn a 4- or 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.
(3) It has to have a battery pack that allows en-route swapping at a highway roadside station, similar to the Better Place battery swapping scheme.
(4) Model S prices must remain at the levels Tesla and Musk announced: $57,400 for the version with 160 miles of range, $67,400 for the 230-mile version, and $87,400 for the top-of-the-line 300-mile version (which will comprise the bulk of early production). All prices are before any Federal or other incentives.
If Musk does not deliver on any of these targets, he must donate $1 million to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). However if Tesla fulfills the criteria, Neil must donate $1,000 to the same group.
[Source: Green Car Reports]
Owners of Nissan’s 2005-2010 Pathfinders, Frontiers and Xteras are experiencing failures to their automatic transmissions because radiator coolant is leaking into the system. The radiator cooler tanks are rupturing, which forces the coolant into the transmission through the transmission cooler lines. Nissan has offered an extended warranty for the radiators, but the coverage only applies to vehicles with fewer than 80,000 miles.
Owners are upset that Nissan didn’t notify them about the radiator problem. “The issue here is that Nissan knew that they had a faulty radiator and instead of recalling the radiator they extended the warranty knowing that the majority of the cars would surpass 80,000 miles before they started having problems with the transmission,” wrote Eva Saldivar of Porterville, California, in her complaint to the Center for Auto Safety. Her 2005 Pathfinder had 115,000 miles when she had to pay about $6,000 for repairs. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has at least 200 complaints regarding this transmission issue and the Center for Auto Safety has around 50 complaints.
In October, Nissan extended the warranty on the radiators of 2005-2010 Frontiers, Pathfinders and Xterras from three years or 36,000 miles to eight years or 80,000 miles. Nissan said only “a small percentage” of vehicles might experience the coolant-leak problem, which it blames on “an internal crack on the oil cooler tube”.
Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety said an investigation is warranted because owners are reporting safety-related problems, like rapid slowing or the inability to safely cross an intersection.
No official investigation or recall has been announced.
[Source: New York Times]
Debt ridden Saab is to apply for court protection from its creditors in a bid to stave off bankruptcy get again. For months, the automaker has struggled to raise finances to pay off suppliers, and as a result, has halted production. Saab was rescued from bankruptcy last year by Dutch owner, Swedish Automobile (formerly Spyker), as former owner General Motors prepared to shut the company down
Saab has declined to comment on the issue but, spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said that the company is continuing to work on raising the necessary funds. The Swedish automaker’s most recent statement said, ” Saab Automobile AB is now working on other options to secure bridge funding which would allow us to stabilize operations, finalize negotiations with suppliers on payment and delivery terms and restart production”.
If Saab obtains a court creditor protection order, it would place the company into a process of corporate restructuring. Under this process, which Saab entered in 2009 after GM made clear its intention to cease funding the company and exited later that year, the company is granted temporary protection from creditors while an administrator and management seeks to restructure the company into a viable business.
[Source: Automotive News]
Nissan has announced it will launch the all-electric Nissan Leaf ahead of schedule in the city of Chicago, citing popular demand as well as preparedness by the city.
Last February, Gov. Pat Quinn announced that $1 million would be invested to install state-of-the-art charging infrastructure for electric cars throughout the Chicago area. The City of Chicago matched the investment with an additional $1 million for the project to implement 280 EV charging stations.
“Illinois is laying the groundwork for electric vehicles, and our efforts are paying off,” Gov. Quinn said. “By investing in electric vehicle technology, both the State of Illinois and Nissan are making transportation in our state more efficient, sustainable and affordable.”
The City of Chicago has also spearheaded an aggressive infrastructure plan to add 73 DC quick charging stations and 207 Level 2 stations by the end of 2011. So far, 40 stations have been installed, but when complete, the system will provide the Chicagoland area with the most extensive infrastructure for electric vehicles in the U.S.
Sharing the same platform as that car, look for an improved ride quality, plus the Forte is expected to get a new design closer in keeping with the larger Optima sedan.
As for engines, look for the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder from the Elantra with 148-hp. Both a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic will be offered. In terms of fuel economy, look for fuel economy that could even exceed the 29/40-mpg rating of the current Elantra. The 2013 Kia Forte could even get a stop-start system that will arrive in the all-new Rio later this year.
[Source: Automotive News]
The result of high gas prices, Americans drove 15.5 billion miles less in the first half of 2011. The Federal Highway Administration reported that U.S drivers logged 1.453 trillion miles through to June 30 which is down 1.1 percent over the first half of 2010. The last time Americans drove less was back in 2004, when they logged 1.351 trillion miles (at the half way point), according to the government.
The all time high for first-half travel occurred in 2007 with 1.497 billion miles. June in particular was a month of few miles. Travel fell 1.4 percent to 259.1 billion miles, down 3.8 billion miles. In contrast to 2011, Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, which has a direct correlation with lower gas prices. With gas prices the way they are, Americans are driving less, and according to recent studies are also more likely to hold onto older cars.
[Source: The Detroit Auto News]
Lexus has just released a promo clip for the all-new 2013 GS350, highlighting the car’s power and agility. With details provided on the new suspension setup as well as the 306-hp 3.5-liter V6, there are also plenty of stunning visuals.
Recently unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, get full details on the new GS here.
GALLERY: 2013 GS350
Check out the video after the jump!
McLaren unveiled a customized MP4-12C at Pebble Beach, indicating the British automaker will offer a long line of individual options for customers. This particular McLaren features a host of new upgrades and modifications put together by the British automaker, most notable of which are the Satin Orange paint and aggressive new fenders. There are also carbon fiber bits all over the car including a windshield cowl, engine cover gilles along the outside of the glass, and a new carbon rear exhaust cover. The rims have a polished face with black painted centers and the roof panel has also been painted black. Standard options of the 12C include carbon mirrors, a carbon lower front spoiler and rear valence as well as a stealth package which blacks out the exhaust tips and wing supports.
Built on the chassis of an early validation prototype, this isn’t a oroduction car but merely a glimpse at what sort of custom options McLaren will be offering in the future to owners.
Priced at $229,000 for a standard model, the upgrades raise the asking price for this MP4-12C to around $270,000.
[Source: Team Speed]