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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.
 |  Aug 24 2011, 9:15 PM

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Looking for a uniquely British experience? 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences has you covered. Located in London, just around the corner from the Buckingham Palace, this luxury hotel has just announced the addition of a Jaguar-themed suite.

The 1,832 square foot abode is part of an exciting collaboration between Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces and Jaguar – both of which just so happen to be owned by Indian automaker Tata.

The project is more than just a convenient tie-up, however, with Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum overseeing the creation of the room, which includes the use of leather, metal and wood from Jaguar’s lineup of luxury cars. The experience within the pad starts out subtly at the door, with sleek wood paneling, but progresses to Jaguar damask lining the bedroom walls. The fireplace takes cues from the shape of Jaguar’s hallmark rear window. Custom made wallpaper with subtle Jaguar motifs can also be found throughout the suite. The ‘flat’ combines both classic and contemporary Jaguar models, from the legendary 1960′s E-type to the high tech C-X75 concept.

The suite is absolutely stunning. We highly recommend you check it out for yourself if you’ve got the loot. Otherwise, browse the photos below.

GALLERY: Jaguar Inspired Suite

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 |  Aug 24 2011, 7:00 PM

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Toyota’s all-new Camry will blitz the US market to regain sales lost after three years that included a recession, recalls and an earthquake. The new Camry was unveiled on Tuesday and is the first of 20 new and refreshed Toyota, Lexus and Scion models arriving by early 2013. Along with the Camry, Toyota this year will add the hybrid Prius v wagon, revamped Yaris subcompact, Scion iQ minicar and a modified Tacoma pickup truck.  Vehicles to be released in 2012 include, a plug-in version of the Prius, compact Prius c hybrid, a new Lexus GS sport sedan, a battery powered RAV4 and a rear-wheel drive Scrion FR-S sports car. Toyota is determined to keep the Camry the top seelling passenger car, a position that has been held by the model for 13 of the past 14 years.

Toyota’s best year for the Camry was in 2007 with 473,108 units sold. However, through July, Camry sales slipped 7.8 percent to 174,485 from a year earlier. Hyundai has been very successful with the Sonata up 27 percent in sales during the same time frame. Nissan’s Altima has gained 17 percent to 153,182 during the same time period as well.

Camry’s have the largest owner base of any midsize sedan in the U.S with Toyota estimating that there are over 6.8 million of them on American roads. Toyota has also slashed the price on the 2012 model, as the company hopes to entice those who might be thinking about moving away from the automaker to look at other car brands.

The four-cylinder 2012 Camry LE with an automatic transmission has been priced at $22,500, $200 cheaper than last year. The SE model is also $1000 cheaper, selling for $23,000. The top-of-the-line XLE has been lowered by $2000, to $24,725 (all of these models are equipped with the four-cylinder engine).

Camry is symbolic of Toyota’s success, CEO Akio Toyoda said in a speech Tuesday marking the start of production of the model in Georgetown, Ky. ”This is an opportunity to show the world what Toyota is all about,” said Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder. “I can introduce the new Camry with 100 percent confidence,”, he said.

GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Camry

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[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 24 2011, 1:00 PM

It looks as though the drivers are just as excited as we are for this showdown. In this teaser trailer three all-new BMW M5′s lap the famous race track accompanied by a helicopter filming in HD. The video is set to come out tomorrow and from the looks of it, will not disappoint.

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 cranks 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 that weighs around 4,000 lbs.

Check out the video after the jump!

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 23 2011, 3:00 PM

Maserati and luxury goods maker Fendi have teamed up to design a masterpiece of technology and craftsmanship, the Maserati GranCabrio Fendi.

The GranCabrio features a three-layered body color named Grigio Fiamma Fendi, and is a special dark grey with an iridescent golden finish on the surface. The Pergamena Fendi wood trim runs across the width of the dashboard, on the doors and on the gear shifter, while Fendi yellow can be found on the brake calipers and the embroidered yellow trident on the headrests. Fendi’s double F-logo is featured stitched into the headrests, and is on the center of the 20-inch Trident design alloy wheels, with Fendi logos along the rocker panel. Fendi’s most luxurious leather (from the Selleria line) can be found on the instrument cluster cover and on the floor mats. A specially crafted plaque adorns the dashboard showing the trident design with a Fendi logo and a five digit serial number.

Under the hood, the GranCabrio Fendi features a 4.7-liter V8 engine mated to an automatic transmission. Not only will the owner be cruising in style, but will have the power to back it up.

The purse exotic sports car will be introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2011.

GALLERY: GranCabrio Fendi

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 |  Aug 22 2011, 7:15 PM

Sweden’s debt agency is claiming they have successfully investigated a handful of Saab bank accounts with some success. On Friday, the agency uncovered $796,291 which is enough to cover debts owed to the first four companies waiting for payment.

The debt agency has contacted other banks holding Saab accounts in order to understand exactly where the Swedish automaker stands. The money found only covers a quarter or major debt owed to other companies, with the total amount owed, being much higher. The agency has stated that 23 claims have been posted against Saab, with a total value of nearly $8,000,000. The debt agency is still investigating accounts, but Saab may either be forced to pay off its loans or be pushed toward the court to claim bankruptcy.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

 |  Aug 22 2011, 5:45 PM

The world’s oldest surviving production Bentley was sold through the Gooding & Company auction at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for $962,500.

The 1921 3-liter chassis number 3 was sold 90 years ago to Noel Van Raalete, Bentley’s very first customer, for £1,150. The Bentley was a show-stopper, featuring ‘matching numbers’ with original aluminum coachwork and brass brightwork.

The 3-liter was a very well engineered vehicle that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans endureance races in 1924 and 1927.

“Pebble Beach is the ideal venue to showcase Bentley’s old and new,” said Chairman & Chief Executive, Wolfgang Durheimer. “On the same day that Gooding & Co. auctioned the world’s oldest surviving production Bentley, we hosted a private preview of the brand new model. During Monterey week, the enthusiasm for the evolution of the automobile is palpable.”

 |  Aug 22 2011, 5:04 PM

German investment banker and millionaire, Stephen Korbach has started a new Gemballa racing team, which will be competing in the 2012 motor sport season with two McLaren MP4-12C GT3s. Korbach has asked Sascha Bert to act as team manager for the motor sport involvement.

“Sascha Bert is an absolute pro and is ideally qualified to manage our new racing team, said Korbach.  ”We deliberately went for the McClaren MP4-12C GT3 for our motor sport commitment, because we think the car has enormous potential to be among the season’s leaders. Together with a renowned deployment team that’s already won everything in sight and exceptional drivers, we obviously want to drive to win. Racing is in our blood.”

The Gemball MP4-12C features the M838T twin turbocharged 3.8-liter McLaren V8. Power has been detuned to 500-hp and limited to 7,500 rpm. The powertrain is mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox equipped with steering wheel mounted paddles.

[Source: GT Spirit]

 |  Aug 22 2011, 2:00 PM

The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is known to attract some priceless classics, but this year, this 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa prototype took the cake. Gooding and Company, a well known auction house, was catapulted into the record books last week, selling the 250 TR for $16.4 million.

This price was the highest ever realized for an automobile. The TR was actually sold for $14.9 million, or $16.4 million including the mandatory buyer’s premium. The Ferrari was involved in several devastating crashes during its storied history, but was present at the auction in stunning condition.

The right-hand drive Ferrari was once driven by Phil Hill on the Nurburgring, and the car has seen action across the world. The car was also owned by numerous private teams before the successful California entrepreneur Bev Spencer registered the vehicle for road use in the early 1960s. Interestingly, an owner in the 1960s set the car ablaze to collect insurance money, but the car survived the fire, and since the early 1970s has led a pampered life on the show circuit.

 |  Aug 19 2011, 5:45 PM

MINI’s new Goodwood model was unveiled at the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California this week. The MINI Goodwood is an exclusive special edition which has been produced in close collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team.

This is a car that drips of automotive luxury and exclusivity in its highest form. The Goodwood has been priced at $52,000, making it the most expensive MINI ever. Only 1000 will be produced with only 140 will be coming to the US. The Goodwood features an interior and exterior design cragfted from the same fine materials and workmanship as the ultra-luxurious Rolls-Royce brand.

Two of the most beautiful features of the exterior design are the body finish in the exclusive Diamond Black metallic Rolls-Royce colour and 17-inch multi-spoke light alloy rims. The interior features seats covered in Lounge leather, Lambswool floor mats, a cashmere headliner and fascia and front door grab handles in burr walnut veneer and a sports steering wheel in Walknappa leather and Piano Black controls.

The MINI will be powered by the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine featured in the 2011 MINI Cooper S. The powerplant will have Twin Scroll turbochargers producing 181-hp. The MINI can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds.

Deliveries are scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2012.

GALLERY: MINI Goodwood

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 |  Aug 19 2011, 4:15 PM

In 2010, the world’s vehicle population hit one billion which works out to be roughly one car for every seven people. Reports conclude that China fueled half of the global growth, as it passed Japan for the world’s second largest vehicle population, with 28 million cars on the road.

India’s vehicle population has increased by nearly nine percent, pushing its total to 21 million cars on the road. The United States is still the country of cars, despite a lingering downturn in vehicle sales. The total vehicle population of 240 million cars, works out to be one car for every 1.2 persons.

[Source: Inside Line]

 |  Aug 19 2011, 3:45 PM

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is in full swing, and Lotus has just unveiled the Exige Matte Black Final Edition, a special model reserved exclusively for the North American Market. The Exige Matte Black Final Edition will premier within the Lotus exhibit on Peter Hay Hill on August 18-21. Lotus will only produce twenty-five Exige Matte Black Final Edition cars, as a farewell model to the lightweight sports car that sold for the last ten years. The Exige will feature a more powerful 257-hp engine, a stealthy black paint job and black Alacantara sport seats.

Check out the photos and tell us what you think!

GALLERY: Exige Matte Black Final Edition

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 |  Aug 19 2011, 1:15 PM

Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has made a “significant investment” in British sports car maker McLaren, the company said. With his contribution, Lim has joined McLaren Automotive’s board with immediat effect. Forbes ranked him the eighth richest person in Singapore, with an estimated fortune of 1.8 billion.

“Peter Lim’s track record in Asia as a highly respected business leader adds further quality to our board in this highly competitive business environment at an exciting time for the company,” Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group, said in a statement.

Part of the reason Lim invested in the company is because demand for its new MP4-12C sports car, is strong in the Asia Pacific region, with orders that will take eighteen months of production to fill.

Interestingly, Lim put in a bid of $525.5 million to buy the Liverpool Football Club, but later withdrew the offer after the club changed ownership.

[Source: Reuters]

 |  Aug 19 2011, 11:06 AM

Sweden’s regulators started the collection process against Saab Automobile after the struggling automaker failed to meet a Tuesday deadline to pay two suppliers.

”We’ve just begun by looking at what kind of bank accounts they have and what kind of collateral there might be” in the process that started Wednesday, Tommy Barkman, a case worker at the state agency, explained in a telephone interview with Automotive News.

Saab was to pay Kongsberg Automotive, a Norwegian manufacturer of car-seat parts. The Swedish automaker was also supposed to pay Infotive AB, a Gothenburg, Sweden-based consulting firm, a combined sum of $633,000 to avoid proceedings. The majority of that amount is owed to Kongsberg, Hans Ryberg, a division chief at the enforcement agency, said on Tuesday. Another $792,200 is owed to more suppliers in a weeks time. Over one-hundred debt claims have been filed against Saab with the collection agency.

Production came to a stand still in late March when the automaker could not afford to continue production, and the Trollhattan factory in Sweden has not been operational since early June. Usually the collection agency takes one to three months to complete the collection process, but this can be avoided in Saab pays off the debts owed.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 18 2011, 6:00 PM

This year marks a major milestone for the Chevrolet brand. This fall, marks the 100th anniversary of the automaker and, the company expects to build its one-hundred millionth small-block V8 this fall. Chevy is not sure which engine will mark the 100 millionth number, nor does the company know where it will end up (Corvette? Auction?), but it should roll off the assembly line some time this fall.

Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole designed the small block V8 in 1955 with the first engine to be used in the ’55 Corvette. Amazingly, the 4.4-inch bore spacing, 90-degree crank angle and pushrod valvetrain design, would be implemented in countless Chevy’s from that point on. Even today’s 638-hp supercharged 6.2-liter engine found in the Corvette ZR1 has its roots from the 1955 design.

“The small-block was easy to work on, easy to modify, and a whole industry grew around it to provide the parts to modify it,”GM vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports Jim Campbell said. “It changed everything.”

[Source: Motor Trend]

 |  Aug 18 2011, 12:15 PM

In 2010, Volkswagen took a twenty-percent stake in Suzuki, and virtually no progress has been made from the alliance since then. Neither side has been thrilled with the coalition and the two automakers have even stated cultural differences as being a factor in the failed relationship.

Both automakers had different goals: VW wanted to expand into the Asian small-car market, while Suzuki wanted to take advantage of VW’s expertise in diesel, hybrid, and electric cars. As a result, Suzuki may be looking to take its talents to Italy.

Currently, Suzuki has made a deal with Fiat to supply the SX4 crossover for rebadging as the Sedici in Europe. Sources have indicated that Suzuki is looking for ways to further its relationship with Fiat, however the Italian automaker has not indicated whether the feeling is mutual.

As it stands, the Japanese and German automaker have clearly expected more out of this partnership, yet neither are progressing. Suzuki and VW are likely to split but the Japanese automaker has more to lose, so expect to see a move sooner rather than later.

[Source: Truck Trend]

 |  Aug 17 2011, 5:15 PM

With the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance kicking off tomorrow in Monterey, California, hundreds of collectible cars will be up for sale.

There will be at least five auctions slated for this week, put on by Bonhams, Gooding & Company, Mecum, RM and Russo and Steele. Collector car insurance company Hagerty has compiled the estimated net worth of every car being auctioned this week at a whopping $230 million. Some of the highlighted collector cars include a 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza expected to fetch around $3 million and a 1957 Ferrari 250 TR Prototype that may break the overall record price of a car sold at auction, selling for around $13 million. Two cars formally owned by Steve McQueen will also go under the hammer, including one of his motorcycles.

Stay tuned for updates on the auction!

[Source: Hagerty]

 |  Aug 16 2011, 5:00 PM

Poor Saab can’t catch a break. Last week Saab’s European supplier were putting pressure on the Swedish automaker to declare bankruptcy, and this week the car company has pulled out of next months Frankfurt auto show, due to a lack of finances.

A Saab spokesperson explained that the car-maker will concentrate its resources on restarting production at its factory in Trollhatten, Sweden.

Saab was forced to end production in late March because of financial issues. The Swedish automaker has been trying to raise more funds and has stated plans of restarting manufacturing in a few weeks, however the car brand has said this for months.

“Whilst it would be desirable to be at the show to help further Saab’s global presence, it is not considered an appropriate use of resources at this time,” a posting on Saab’s Inside Saab blog stated.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 16 2011, 3:29 PM

Hyundai plans to launch three new or refreshed models in the next year including the i30 (known here as the Elantra Touring), the new Santa Fe and the revised i20. All three vehicles will make their official debut at next months Frankfurt auto show.

The Korean automaker has not released much information on the Santa Fe, other than it’s coming, and is expected to follow Hyundai’s current styling scheme. Tony Whitehorn, managing director of Hyundai UK, said: “We’ve already shown with our other recent models that each car that comes out of this company is quite improved, both technically and in terms of emotional appeal.”

The Santa Fe will also likely feature styling cues from the smaller 2012 Tucson. Sources have noted that the new Santa Fe will get a new “ix” name in Europe to fit in with the rest of Hyundai’s lineup. However the Sante Fe nameplate is well recognized in North America and is not expected to change anytime soon. Stay tuned for more details!

[Source: Auto Car]

 |  Aug 15 2011, 10:30 PM

Maserati is recalling 2009 model year Quattroporte and GranTurismo vehicles, over inadequate rear tie-rods that could fail. The recall is affecting 763 vehicles that were built between July and September 2008. A failed tie-rod could lead to a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash. Maserati dealers will replace the poorly installed tie-rods, install a tie-rod kit and perform a wheel-alignment, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during September 2011. Owners may contact Maserati at 1-201-816-2600.

 |  Aug 13 2011, 9:00 AM

Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, is suffering from slumping sales as the first-quarter profits are released. Tata’s Indian passenger car sales fell and Jaguar deliveries have also decreased. Surprisingly, however, Tata’s net income rose to twenty billion rupees in the three months ending on June 30th. This is up from 19.9 billion rupees a year earlier, but misses expectations.

Tata Motors confirmed an 8.5 percent decrease in Indian passenger car sales during the quarter caused by rising interest rates. The rising interest rates reduced demand throughout the country where eighty percent of purchases are funded by loans. Jaguar sales were down twenty-seven percent in the period cause by a sparse lineup and limited presence in the booming Chinese market.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 12 2011, 6:30 PM

Next year, the UK’s National Motor Museum will stage the largest exhibition of James Bond cars ever displayed. The exhibition will run at the museum through 2012 and will include some of the most famous vehicles from the movies, to celebrate fifty years of the film franchise. Some of the heavy hitters will include the 2002 Jaguar XKR with SFX weapons from Die Another Day, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye and the 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger. In total, fifty James Bond vehicles will be present at the museum.

2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of the National Motor Museum, so it works out well that in this special year, both the franchise and the museum can celebrate monumental anniversaries.

GALLERY: James Bond Cars

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 |  Aug 12 2011, 4:15 PM

Swedish Automobile, owner of financially-stricken Saab, is being pressured by European suppliers to declare bankruptcy, hoping the threat will pressure the automaker to pay back debts.

Saab production came to a halt in April, with suppliers refusing to deliver components because they were not being properly paid. Spanish auto panels maker Matrici S. Coop prepared a bankruptcy request, after being owed $2.8 million by Saab.

Lars Holmqvist, head of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers said, ”Some companies are waiting and having no answer. Now, some have heard that other companies have been paid partially. Then they are getting very upset. They realize there is no other way but to try to demand bankruptcy because obviously then Saab pays.” Lars also explained that he had been contacted by some German companies that were owed more than 5 million euros each. They too are also interested in pursuing the process to demand Saab bankruptcy.

Saab spokesman Eric Geers explained, “We know the situation we are in. We are working very hard to resolve this and to get a more stable financing in place.”

Earlier this year Saab’s employee union threatened to push the automaker to the bring of bankruptcy over unpaid wages to workers.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 12 2011, 2:00 PM

Chrysler’s Ram truck brand will expand its advertising into Wal-Mart stores throughout the U.S. this fall. Dodge Ram advertisements will be in thousands of Wal-Mart stores and will integrate Mossy Oak camouflage, another of Ram’s partners into the promotion. ”We recognize the alignment between truck buyers, the hunting/fishing lifestyle and Wal-Mart,” said Marissa Hunter, head of Ram advertising. “We are working on promotion that brings all three together.”

Ram will also be launching two new commercials today, for its “Code of the West” advertising campaign. Marissa Hunter commented on the commercials saying, “The role of these spots is twofold. First, continue to create overall awareness about the capability of the full Ram lineup. Second, do so in a manner that inspires consumers to think differently about the Ram Truck brand.”

Fred Diaz, CEO of the Ram brand said that through the first seven months of 2011, Ram brand U.S sales were up twenty-five percent. He expects sales to continue to grow for the rest of the year. ”The fourth quarter always represents a key selling season opportunity for commercial business which historically increases commercial sales by up to 50 percent.”

Check out the commercial after the jump!

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 12 2011, 7:00 AM

Nissan’s has built a Catamaran to compete in the 2011 Class A Catamaran World Championship from August 13- 20 in Skødstrup, Denmark.

Matt Struble, led the design and modeling team at Nissan Design America (NDA) and will be racing the boat. The Class A Catamaran is controlled by a single sailor and is the smallest size of all Catamaran race boats. The boat was designed and built entirely by Nissan, and as Struble said, it truly is a clean, smooth, competitive and efficient boat.

“We weren’t trying to create something that already exists, but something groundbreaking,” Struble said. “This has truly been a great experience and great project for us. This one in particular was quite unique because you have to create it in your mind, but also physically manufacture it and follow through. It was great for our team to see the project from start to finish.”