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.
Just days ahead of our first drive in the 2012 Toyota Camry and we have the first clear images of the most important new car that Toyota will launch in the next 12 months.
No specs were announced, and these images are supposedly the Australian-market car (which will look slightly different) but it looks about as predictable and Toyota-like as possible. Look for these to appear on dealer and rental car lots sometime in 2012.
Gallery: 2012 Toyota Camry Leaked
[Source: Vince Burlapp]
A short clip ostensibly taken during a meeting for American Toyota dealers appears to show the 2012 Toyota Camry in all its glory, as Toyota’s best seller makes its debut amid a soundtrack by Katy Perry.
Little is known about the 2012 Camry, aside from Toyota’s plans for an ambitious marketing blitz in advance of the vehicle’s on-sale date. But with Toyota’s Las Vegas dealer meeting having occurred this past weekend, we have every reason to believe that this is our first look at the most important product from Toyota. Of course, we can expect that a gasoline and a hybrid variant will be offered (the video mentions the Camry SE, Camry XLE and Camry Hybrid), but whether Toyota follows the lead of Hyundai and Chevrolet in offering only 4-cylinder engines remains to be seen.
We’ll be sure to bring you official details once they’re available.
Check out the video after the jump
[Source: Indian Autos Blog]
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.
A report from PlugInCars.com suggests that Hyundai‘s endless march towards global domination isn’t letting up, and the next phase of their product strategy involves both a Prius competitor and a plug-in variant of the Sonata Hybrid.
According to Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s head of product planning, the Sonata plug-in Hybrid would require little in the way of engineering to make it ready. “Other manufacturers’ hybrid systems were developed in such a way to not allow them to easily develop plug-in hybrids,” he said. “For the Sonata Hybrid to become a plug-in hybrid, really all we need are bigger batteries—the basic technology platform is already designed to support a plug-in variation.”
According to O’Brein, we’ll see something within the next 12 months at one of the major auto shows. Let the speculation games begin!
For more information on news, pictures, and more, please visit http://www.sonataforums.com/
[Source: Plug-in Cars]
Hyundai‘s previous generation Sonata is still on sale in European markets, and with a new alphanumeric naming convention being established, the next Sonata will apparently be known as the i40 when it makes its European debut at the 2011 Geneva auto show.
So far, the i40w station wagon has been the only variant previewed so far. We wouldn’t be surprised if this car, designed with Europe in mind, made it here as the Sonata wagon, a long-rumored product. We’re not sure if the Sonata sedan will be sold as the European i40 – while the car has the chops to go up against class leaders like the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, its North American size may be an issue in Europe, where space comes at a premium.
Hyundai’s range of diesel engines, expected to be offered on the i40, will also likely not make it over here.
[Source: Hyundai Blog]
Mazda‘s diminutive minivan, the Mazda5, is the latest car to fall victim to the recall machine, this time a faulty fuel pump being the culprit.
Water that remains in the fuel pump may corrode the electrical connectors for the electrical harness. Should the part fail, the engine may stall and be unable to restart, which could present an accident risk.
NHTSA says 16,200 cars are affected, and the recall will begin on December 11th. Hit the jump to read NHTSA’s official announcement.
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.
Toyota‘s Camry has long enjoyed a plum position as America’s best-selling car. But a strong dip in sales, combined with a resurgent Honda Accord and the success of the new Hyundai Sonata could conspire to knock the Camry off of its pedestal.
Camry sales have fallen by about 8 percent this year, with November sales down by 24 percent compared to 2009. Meanwhile, Accord sales are up 7 percent while Sonata sales are up a whopping 65 percent. Even competitors like the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Impala and Nissan Altima are seeing increases. Some analysts are blaming the perfect storm of Toyota’s recall woes and a long product cycle for the drop in sales. With only a couple weeks to go until year-end, this one should be down to the wire.
[Source: Automotive News]
The re-designed Mazda5, the smallest minivan available for sale in North America, will go on sale with a base price of $19,990 starting in January of 2011.
The Mazda5 will come in three trim levels, with the base trim being Sport, Touring being the mid-level and Grand Touring acting as a top of the line car. All models get Dynamic Stability Control , traction control, anti-lock brakes , tire-pressure monitoring, and a multitude of airbags. Luxury features like Bluetooth start to appear on the Touring model, but the good news for the certifiably nutty is that a 5-speed manual is available on this sliding-door equipped van! It doesn’t get much better than that, as far as we’re concerned.
General Motors is hoping that their next Chevrolet Impala, due in 2014, will be looked at as more than just fodder for the rental car lot. With a new platform shared with the Buick Lacrosse, the next Impala, due in 2014, should represent a significant jump in both style and performance – although based on the current car, that’s not saying too much.
The report in Automotive News also points to a possible rear-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet, which would almost certainly be based on the rear-drive Holden Commodore platform. The car would also be slated for a 2014 release, and one Chevrolet insider told Automotive News that “we are going back to the essence of what Chevrolet was and stood for — well-designed, beautiful, sculptured pieces, with lots of customer value.” Chevrolet is selling a Holden model to police fleets as the Chevrolet Caprice, but sales to the public are not planned at this time.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai’s seemingly unstoppable rise to the top has hit as stumbling block, as the company is forced to recall 140,000 of its mid-size Sonata sedans over a steering issue.
The Sonata, which recently hit third place in the mid-size sedan sales charts, is being recalled due to “the steering column intermediate shaft universal joint connections [that] may have been either improperly assembled or insufficiently tightened.” The defect could result in the parts separating, leading to a steering malfunction and possibly a crash.
Dealers are expected to send notices out in October, but in the mean time, customers can call the Hyundai Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-633-5151, or the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
Volkswagen‘s all new Passat has been revealed in a rendering obtained by Auto Express, one the allegedly came from a German dealer brochure. The new car clearly adopts the “corporate face” that Volkswagen is instituting, similar to the front fascias of both the new Polo, Golf and Touran.
Auto Express reports that motivation will come from 1.4L and 1.8L direct injection turbo units, as well as a pair of diesels. At some point, a 270-horsepower Passat R is expected to join the range, ostensibly with all-wheel drive. Of course, the new Passat won’t make it over here, as Volkswagen is developing an all new sedan, built for North American tastes, as a replace the outgoing Passat.
[Source: Auto Express]
A new report by J.D. Power and Associates claims that 49% of American car buyers opted for four-cylinder powertrains in cars and light-trucks purchased during the month of April. Concerns over fuel economy and gas prices helped spark a trend in consumers picking the smaller engines in the first quarter of 2010, with 46.5% choosing them, versus 41.9% last year.
Manufacturers are also hoping on the four-banged only bandwagon. Hyundai‘s Sonata and Buick‘s all-new Regal are both available exclusively with four-cylinder engines, and offer turbocharged variants for those who want six-cylinder power. The Regal has historically offered six or eight cylinder powerplants, but GM and Hyundai feel that technologies like direct-injection, six-speed gearboxes and turbocharging will give consumers the perfect blend of power and fuel economy.
With most four-cylinders developing the same power as the V6 engines did a decade ago, the reasons for buying a V6 sedan look increasingly redundant, and consumers are beginning to take notice. After all, who needs a 300 horsepower V6 family car when the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 horses and 34 miles per gallon on the highway?
[Source: USA Today]