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.
California is home to the most green car shoppers in the nation, with eight of the top 10 cities actually located on the west coast.
Although new propulsion systems are growing in popularity and becoming more efficient, a study conducted by the panel advising the energy department has found that the internal combustion engine will remain the main source of vehicle power until at least 2050.
Fuel economy is now the number one purchase consideration for new car shoppers, sparking a massive swing in interest for alternative fuel vehicles.
US diesel sales rose 27.4-percent in 2011 while hybrid sales dropped 2.2-percent, numbers that reflect a changing automotive climate in America and fly in the face of conventional stereotypes about diesel cars.
But thanks to offerings from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group, diesel-powered passenger vehicle sales are on the rise in America. The 2.2-percent decrease in hybrid sales is, however, a little bit misleading, due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the floods in Thailand. Both those natural disasters affected the production and availability of America’s most popular hybrids, including Toyota‘s Prius.
Nonetheless, expectations are high for diesel sales with Baum and Associates stating that sales could more than double from 3-percent of the market today to 6- to 6.5-percent by 2015. J.D. Power & Associates believes the US diesel market share could increase to 7.4-percent by 2017.
To aid in the projections, American and Japanese automakers are also expected to introduce diesel variants of their models in North America including GM’s new Cadillac ATS, as well as the Chevrolet Cruze, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mazda CX-5.
The head of Toyota‘s Prius program thinks that Toyota will be able to sell as many as 1 million hybrids anually by 2015. Satoshi Ogiso, who was responsible for developing the original Prius, said that hybrids could sell as many as 2 million units by 2020.
Toyota Hybrid sales topped out at 690,000 in 2010, and many felt that if it weren’t for March’s earthquake and tsunami, the pace of sales would have accelerated even further. Prius sales (including the Prius c, Prius V and other variants) will account for half of hybrid sales.
Ogiso said that model line-up expansion would be kept under control for the Prius, but some expansion may occur. A sports car model was also hinted at, but appears to be some ways off.
[Source: Automotive News]
Speaking at the launch of the new 458 Spider, Felisa admitted as much and even confirmed that Ferrari is currently testing prototype hybrids. While still a stretch at this point, Ferrari has used Enzo and its predecessors like the F50 and F40 to launch new technologies, with the F50 being the first to utilize a carbon fiber chassis.
The ‘F70′ will continue to use a carbon fiber base, confirms Felisa, as well as a mid-engined V12 for motivation.
That V12 could be joined with a Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), a technology that Ferrari developed for use in its F1 cars. This would also continue Ferrari’s long-standing tradition of using the pinnacle of motorsports to develop technologies for its road cars.
As for the rest of the Ferrari lineup Felisa commented that carbon fiber tubs or monocoques will not be used, maintaining that the cost and risks are simply too big to justify for standard production models.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding, and will do further research and studies regarding the project. The new system is said to be rear-drive based, and uses different technology than both Ford and Toyota’s current hybrid systems.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s head of global product development, stated that the two companies would not be sharing platforms, but rather sharing costs developing hybrid and telematics systems, which would be implemented into brand-specific vehicles. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Executive Vice President of Toyota, also stressed the importance of developing new telematics technology, though Ford’s own SYNC system, developed with Microsoft, has been criticized for being too complex and unreliable.
Get back into traffic with the rest of us, electric vehicles… your time is up. If you’re in California and drive a hybrid, today is the day your six-year privilege to the HOV lane expires.
About 85,000 hybrid vehicle owners have to share the regular highway lanes, as the yellow sticker that gave them access to the dedicated HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes expires today (July 1, 2011). They’ve had a great six-year run of leaving other non-electric vehicles behind, but all good things must come to an end.
When these yellow stickers were being issued, only three hybrid vehicles qualified – the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid. If you get caught driving by yourself in the HOV lanes tomorrow, prepare to pay some big fines – and don’t expect all those people who you’ve been passing for the past six years to feel sorry for you.
With Ford planning to blitz the auto-market in the first quarter of 2012 with its eight new models, the American automaker hopes the Fusion will make a major impact with its next-gen sophisticated hybrid system.
According to a source inside Ford the Blue Oval is targeting a 47-48-mpg rating for the car in the city, with an even higher rating for the highway. Currently the Fusion gets a 41-mpg rating in the city, making for a significant increase.
Closing in on the 50-mpg mark, the Fusion Hybrid would then be encroaching on the 50-mpg average Toyota Prius.
Almost a year ago General Motors first showed off the Volt MPV5 (above), hinting that it would build a Voltec-powered extended range electric car designed for families. Now comes word that GM has filed for trademark protection on the name ‘Crossvolt’ indicating that this is a name being considered for the new model that is likely to ride on a modified version of the Chevy Orlando’s platform.
Previous reports have indicated Chevy will introduce a whole lineup of Volt-style models in the future, with other names being trademarked recently including ‘Amp’ and ‘Strobe’.
GALLERY: Chevy Volt MPV5
[Source: Car & Driver]
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]
Japanese auto makers have been scrambling to assess the impact of the recent natural disasters on their supply chains, as North American production facilities face potential harm, as Japanese factories have begun suspending production in the face of a series of catastrophic events.
Toyota has suspended overtime production at their North American facilities, while Subaru announced that some 30 percent of their parts suppliers were affected. Automakers have closed their factories as part of a campaign to ease stress on the nation’s power grid. While many of the Japanese car companies built a significant portion of their vehicles in North America, the Toyota Prius and Honda’s entire hybrid lineup are built in Japan, and these vehicles will be critical for dealers if they wish to have a hedge against rising gas prices. Similarly, Ford procures much of their battery technology from Japan, and supplies could be compromised.
[Source: Automotive News]
TrueCar.com released their rankings of the Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient vehicles in both the hybrid and non-hybrid category, an important distinction according to TrueCar, because “Hybrids offer great fuel economy but most don’t provide the value consumers are seeking.”
The hybrid list is predictably topped by the Toyota Prius, followed by the Lexus CT200h and Honda Insight. The non-hybrid category is led by the Hyundai Elantra, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and the Toyota Yaris. The much lauded diesels sold by Volkswagen and Audi took 6th through 8th spots respectively.
Hit the jump to read the official press release