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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.
Kelly Blue Book Released their list of the 20 most researched vehicles and three of the top five spots belong the Honda products. The Civic and Accord placed first and second respectively, with the Toyota Camry in third, the Honda CR-V in fourth and the Ford F-150 in fifth.
The Hyundai Sonata and Elantra placed sixth and seventh respectively, with the Elantra cracking the top 20 for the first time. The top five brands overall were Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Hyundai, with the Toyota Prius as the sole hybrid on the list. Check out the full list below, after the jump.
As the compact luxury car market continues its growth in the United States, Acura intends to join the ranks of the Lexus CT200h, Audi A3, BMW 1-series, and Mercedes A-Class.
Based on the Honda Civic, the Acura promises that the ILX will attract younger buyers that find brand name, efficiency, and styling to be most important. Acura have also found that this particular demographic have a preference to the three-box modern sedan styling, and will deliver the ILX as such, even though Acura briefly considered the possibilities of an entry two-box hatchback as well.
Starting under $30,000, Acura engineers also promised there will be enough hardware to differentiate the more upscale ILX from the plain Honda Civic, as we have seen from the Accord and TL or Pilot and MDX. Powertrains for the ILX include a 2.0-liter inline-4, producing from 150 to 160-hp and approximately 145 lb.-ft. of torque. A hybrid will be available with a 1.5-liter engine producing 90-hp and 97 lb.-ft. of torque and an electric motor delivering 23-hp and 78 lb.-ft. of torque. But best of all, a sportier 2.4-liter engine only offered with a six-speed manual gearbox is available for driving enthusiasts. Delivering 201-hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque in Civic Si form, Acura has yet to answer whether the 2.4 liter will undergo any changes in ILX form.
The ILX will debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show and will be available in showrooms by early summer of 2012.
Lexus will reveal a new concept car at the 2012 North American International Auto Show…and that’s all we know. Lexus sent a brief press release, two sentences in length, stating “Lexus will unveil a new concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 9, 2012. Designed by Calty, the company’s design studio in Newport Beach, Calif., the concept showcases the new design direction embraced by Lexus.”
No other details were given, so you’ll have to wait another few weeks to get any kind of info on the car. Real smooth, Lexus.
With Europe having a long history of taxing cars based on engine displacement, automakers have long dodged this levy by placing diminutive engines in even their largest vehicles.
Infiniti is hoping to get around this by following the same path, and starting in 2012, the Infiniti M will feature a pair of 4-cylinder engines borrowed from Mercedes-Benz; a 204 horsepower turbocharged 1.8 L, and a a 170 horsepower 2.1L turbodiesel. Both engines are from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and will be some of the first technology sharing to come from the agreement signed by Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.
The vehicles are expected to be introduced at March’s Geneva Auto Show.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The South Korean auto market has long been dominated by domestic automakers like Hyundai and Kia, but Toyota is planning to make a play by sending 6,000 American-built Camrys to South Korea.
Deliveries will begin starting in January, 2012. Toyota has been exporting the Sienna minivan since November, and also sells the Corolla, Prius and RAV4. Toyota is evidently looking to take advantage of a new free-trade agreement signed between the U.S. and South Korea, as well as take advantage of favorable exchange rates between Korea and the U.S.
Our big question is, with Korean cars (especially Camry competitors like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima) so good noawadays, why would any Korean consumers even bother buying them.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
AutoGuide was on hand last night for the live reveal of the 2013 Scion FR-S in Los Angeles, where Scion showed off their version of the Toyobaru rear-drive, boxer-powered sports car.
The FR-S is mechanically identical to the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, save for a few minor aesthetic changes. Scion was mum about pricing unfortunately, and that seems to be the last question hanging over everyone’s head.
Check out the video below for the live reveal.
Anyone who has seen Japanese car commercials knows they can be a bit odd, to say the least. The 1990′s were chock full of weird celebrity endorsments (Jodie Foster and the Honda Civic, anyone?) but the next trend to hit was having directors treat their ads like art house films – and it’s here to stay.
If this were an American ad, we’d probably have lurid shots of the Subaru BRZ in full opposite-lock mode, with a garbled voiceover detailing the terms and conditions of a special lease offer. But this is Japan, and instead we get slow, tight glimpses of the BRZ while the best in adult alternative EZ-rock plays on screen. Whatever. Hit the mute button and enjoy.
Hit the jump to see the Subaru BRZ commercial.
An alert reader spotted a lightly disguised Subaru BRZ on what appears to be a California freeway. Clad in only a tiny bit of camo, the spy photos don’t reveal much more than we’ve already seen, but are a neat look at the hotly anticipated Subaru sports car.
Aside from the shared RWD platform and 2.0L boxer engine, Subaru hasn’t announced official specs for the car. The BRZ will get its official reveal at the Tokyo Motor Show this week, though official pictures were released earlier.
Check out the gallery below as well as SubaruBRZForum.com for more information.
Gallery: Subaru BRZ Spy Shots
While the Chevrolet Volt has struggled a bit to get traction in the marketplace, Nissan‘s all-electric Leaf is well on pace to sell 10,000 units in the United States, meeting its initial sales targets.
60 percent of all Leafs sold are in California (no surprise there), but we’ll get a better regional breakdown sometime later this week. Globally, the Leaf will have sold about 20,000 units in a year. Check out our review here and you’ll see why the car’s been so successful – it’s a blast to drive (for the right kind of driver, that is).
Toyota has announced that starting in 2013, it will sell Lexus vehicles in India. No specific products were announced for sale, but likely contenders include the LS and GS sedans, as well as the RX crossover. Given India’s less than perfect roads, the LX and GX SUVs (based on the popular Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs) may also make it over.
While Lexus has been around for over 20 years, the brand didn’t expand beyond North American and Europe until 2o05. Asia, Russia the Middle East and now India are its latest conquests, and Toyota is hoping to repeat its success in markets like The United States. Unlike some luxury manufacturers, like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota will import Lexus vehicles from Japan and elsewhere. Mercedes chooses to assemble vehicles locally to avoid expensive import duties.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Specific timetables and other details were not announced, but Toyota is believed to be pursuing the deal to help offset the increased cost of importing Japanese-built hybrids due to a rising yen. Toyota would likely end up sharing its vaunted hybrid technology with BMW in return.
Toyota and Ford recently signed a similar agreement regarding hybrid SUVs, while BMW and PSA (parent company of Peugeot and Citroen) signed one for hybrid subcompacts.
The North American version of the rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ sports car will bow at the North American International Auto Show in January, 2012, but what exactly that means is anyone’s guess.
No details regarding changes between the North American version and the rest of the world were announced. The car’s basic layout and 2.0L Boxer 4-cylinder with direct injection will remain, as well as the available 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions. We’re guessing that some trim and equipment may be different – Japanese market vehicles have been known to offer a plethora of trims and options while North American versions generally get one or two distinct trims and option packages, to make ordering easier for dealers (versus the built-to-order phenomenon in Japan).
AutoGuide will be on hand at the Tokyo Auto Show as well, where the first glimpse of the production Subaru BRZ will be available.
Discuss this story at SubaruBRZForum.com
12. Toyota Camry
While automakers and outside research firms publish sales figures and earnings reports on a regular basis, one metric we rarely get a glimpse of is how profitable each vehicle is. In an era of re-badging and platform sharing, one would think that the most profitable vehicles are those with a large number of derivatives to spread the cost around. But a new report from Bernstein Research suggests that two factors – price point and volume – are the keys to making big bucks off vehicles. And judging by the list, longevity seems to help as well.
Number 12 on the list is the Toyota Camry, and for good reason. The Camry has a number of factors in its favor – massive volumes, an accessible price point and its made in America (currency fluctuations, particularly a rise in the euro or yen, can make exports unprofitable). Bernstein’s report notes that high volume cars at a medium price point are one of the keys to profitability, and the Camry might be the textbook definition of this formula. The Camry’s twin, the Lexus ES350, was absent from the list, but no doubt earns its keep, as a gilded version of the Camry.
Although we had the chance to drive the 2012 Honda CR-V back in October, Honda has kept a tight lid on both photos and driving impressions. The car got its official reveal Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, just as Ford took the wraps off its all-new Escape.
Like its predecessors, the CR-V will be a strong entry in the small crossover market. New features include a lowered cargo floor and one-touch folding rear seats – two innovations that sound unimpressive on paper, but have amazing real-world practicality, so much so that we think Honda will move a lot of CR-V’s based on sales demonstrations of these features alone.
Honda will need to rely on these sort of touches, because the CR-V is very much an evolutionary re-design without much in the way of big numbers or flashy features. The same 2.4L i-VTEC 4-cylinder is carried over, with 185-horsepower and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available, and a choice of trim levels, from an economy-minded LX to a fully loaded EX-L with leather, navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system, will also be offered. Pricing has not been announced, but Honda claims it will be between $21,000 and $30,000.
You can check out our review of the 2012 Honda CR-V here
Gallery: 2012 Honda CR-V
Mazda unveiled their latest entry into the compact crossover market at the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday, with the 2013 CX-5. The CX-5 will be the first vehicle to use a full suite of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies, designed to reduce weight and increase fuel economy without compromising the sporty character of Mazda’s offerings.
A 2.0L SKYACTIV 4-cylinder, similar to that of the Mazda3, will be featured on the CX-5, and while power and fuel economy figures weren’t announced 155-horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, while two 6-speed transmissions, an automatic and a manual, will be offered. The Mazda3 can get as high as 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, and while the CX-5 may not match that, we expect strong numbers nonetheless. A diesel will also appear sometime after launch (Mazda gave no time frame, but has previously started that it will arrive, and initial driving impressions have been favorable. Mazda’s official press release is after the jump.
Gallery: 2013 Mazda CX-5
Toyota will add another vehicle to the Prius lineup shortly, with the upcoming Prius c subcompact. Intended to be the entry point into the Prius range, the Prius c will supposedly get over 50 mpg in the city.
Technology will also be at the forefront of the Prius c, which comes with an integrated app suite for use with websites like Bing, MovieTickets.com, Pandora and OpenTable, along with Bluetooth integration and a host of safety features.
Expect the Prius c to be about the size of a Toyota Yaris, but positioned as a more premium product. Performance details have not been announced, aside from the obvious use of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system mated to a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. The Prius c will get its official unveiling at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.
Gallery: Toyota Prius c
Mitsubishi has confirmed that two top executives at their American divison have left the company, and that Mitsubishi has no plans to replace them – a curious development for an automaker with mercurial fortunes.
Mitsubishi has struggled in recent years, but has enjoyed a sales surge in recent months, as well as the launch of their all-electric city car, dubbed the i. Gregory Adams, vice president of marketing and product strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America, and Mike Krebs, vice president of corporate planning and incentives both left the company on October 31st, with Krebs having been at Mitsubishi for over a decade.
Adams position may have an impact on the launch of the i, which is relying on social media and other unorthodox marketing methods to make an impact on consumer perceptions. A Mitsubishi spokesman told Automotive News that day-to-day operations wouldn’t be impacted by the departures.
[Source: Automotive News]
Lexus has dropped a few serious hints that it is planning a coupe version of its all-new GS350. While attending the launch of the luxury sedan (we’ll have driving impressions once the embargo lifts November 23rd) we spoke to Lexus Corporate Manager of Product Planning Ben Mitchell, pushing him for details on a possible GS-F to sit as a rival to the BMW M5.
To our dismay Mitchell responded that there was “nothing to announce”, but then surprised us with a shred of info, disguised as a question. Speaking to a group of assembled journalists he asked our impression of the Audi A5/S5.
Response to the car was unanimously positive. The two-door Audi models are roundly considered to be some of the most beautiful vehicles on sale today, and we enjoyed our time with the S5 immensely.
As though Mitchell’s question didn’t reveal enough about Lexus’ intentions, he also commented that with the demise of the SC430, there is now a space in the automaker’s lineup that needs filling.
Of course, this isn’t an official confirmation, but considering the legendary silence that greets most questions regarding future products, this is a very strong hint that there will be another two-door Lexus joining the lineup beyond the current IS250C and IS350C models. And judging by our time spent behind the wheel of the new GS, this is one to wait for.
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.
Jon Sibal’s Scion iQ won this year’s edition of the Scion Tuner Challenge, beating out a mid-engined iQ as well as a race prepped example to take home the prize.
Sibal claimed the $10,000 reward for his iQ, which featured a 32″ flat-screen TV in the trunk, complete with a Wi-Fi hotspot and a motorized system to allow for flush mounting inside the tiny iQ. In second place was Michael Chang’s iQ-RS, which was fashioned after what an iQ race car would look like, while the iQ-MR, which featured a mid-engine conversion, came in third.
Check out AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here
Gallery: Scion iQ Tuner Challenge
The Scion iQ has still yet to go on sale, but Scion came out in full force with their new subcompact, presenting a multitude of concepts aimed at all corners of the aftermarket segment.
The Pit Boss iQ by Cartel is the wildest interpretation of the iQ we’ve seen so far, with the roof completely chopped off and an electric blue paint scheme applied. Massive 18″ wheels and an iPad with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot are also included, though it adds an extra element of danger in the event of rain.
At the other end of the spectrum is the iQ-RS, designed to look like a full-blown race car. With a classic white paint scheme, red wheels, a front splitter, rear wing and fender flares, the iQ-RS looks the part, and a roll cage, racing seats and a stripped out interior re-enforce the iQ-RS’ mission.
Finally, the Scion iQ-MR blends race car style with the ever popular “stance” movement, with both a roll cage, fender flares and Axis Sakura wheels fitting flush to the iQ’s body. A mid-engine conversion has been carried out to make the iQ rear-wheel drive while the engine itself features a thorough re-build and new internals. KW Variant 3 coilovers let the car sit low to the ground while offering excellent damping.
Check out more SEMA coverage here
Gallery: Scion iQ
Amid the rally cars, modified Impreza STi hatchbacks and performance parts in Subaru’s booth was a bit of 1980′s nostalgia, a perfectly restored 1986 Subaru XT Turbo.
At the time of the XT’s introduction, the car was the most aerodynamic on the road, with a 0.29 drag coefficient. A turbocharged flat-four, all-wheel drive, a hydropneumatic suspension and awesome period graphics are just some of the neat features from a couple decades ago. The XT has been largely forgotten by car lovers, but Subaru and Drive magazine lovingly restored this example back to showroom condition.
Since so many parts were discontinued or unavailable, the team had to restore things like fasteners and bolts, which had been worn away by a couple decades of neglect. No word on what Subaru plans to do with this automotive relic, but it’s almost too good for anything but a museum.
Check out AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here
Gallery: Subaru XT Restoration
Toyota is setting targets of between 1,000 and 2,000 units per month for the rollout of its Scion iQ city car, and the new vehicle will see a tiered launch that involves an initial rollout on the West Coast this winter with a Midwest and East Coast launch this spring.
The Japanese-built iQ will also have to work around Toyota supplier schedules, which have yet to fully come back online following March’s earthquake and tsunami. While the iQ starts at under $16,000, Scion VP Jack Hollis said that a continued economic downturn would be bad for the car, as it would leave the youth demographic without the funds to purchase the car.
The Sports Car Club of America’s B-Spec class is meant to give automakers and racers alike a relatively affordable platform to go racing with machines similar to those available from the factory. While safety and chassis modifications are allowed, engine power is restricted to keep the playing field even.
Honda and Mazda were among the earlier adopters, fielding Fit and Mazda2 B-Spec prototypes respectively. Now, Fiat and Ford are looking into the series, and the automakers tested Fiat 500 and Fiesta B-Spec cars at Michigan’s Grattan Raceway last week. Kuno Wittmer and Andy Vrenko piloted the 500 and Fiesta, while Peter Cunningham and Charles Espenlaub represented Honda and Mazda. All cars were equipped with engine restrictors and 100 pounds of ballast, while engineers were on hand to compare lap times between the four cars.
If the formula gains traction among racers, 2012 could be a banner year for American sports car racing, as an entry-level series has long been needed to reinvigorate interest among potential participants.