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.
Big News in the Big Apple
Winter’s icy stranglehold on the northern hemisphere has finally been broken. After months of gray skies and freezing weather spring is finally in the air. Automakers are responding to the warmth and sun by emerging from product hibernation. Companies located in places ranging from South Korea to the United Kingdom have unveiled a bumper-crop of new hardware ranging from sensible to insane. Here are the Top 10 reveals from the 2013 New York International Auto Show.
In a recent article, Automotive News praised the new Dodge Dart as an example of true synergies between Fiat and Chrysler, declaring, “the Dart uses savings from its shared Fiat platform and co-developed technology to give Chrysler a larger, more powerful and technologically advanced compact sedan at a lower price than its competitors.”
A rather scary recall is creeping up for owners of Jeep‘s Grand Cherokee sold between 1993-2004. The recall is being demanded by The Center for Auto Safety, stating that a defective fuel tank design can cause the gas tank to rupture in the event of a rear-end collision. Adding fuel to the fire (sorry, we couldn’t resist) is Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety stating that those affected Grand Cherokees are “the most dangerous vehicle[s] on the road today”.
Chrysler is putting up a fight though, stating that the Center for Auto Safety’s test was three times as severe as the government standard. The culprit is the fact that the gas tank is housed behind the rear-axle, something that was changed in the 2005 Grand Cherokee when Chrysler moved it in front of the rear-axle. Chrysler stated that it wasn’t for safety reasons but rather to increase the cargo space.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating the claims.
[Source: Motor Trend]
For some, the Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, where off-roaders from across the world to tackle the trails of Utah’s Red Rock country, is a big deal. So big, in fact, that Jeep is choosing the mid-April event to unveil six new models hopped up by Mopar.
These six models range from turning the mild-mannered Compass into something less embarrassing, to the sort of rock-crawling, nitrous-injected, rollover-prone monsters that crash in spectacular fashion on Youtube. There’s something for every off-road enthusiast in here—especially for those who may be forced to drive through a Camel Trophy trail on the way to dropping their kids off at school.
The Wrangler above is the wildest of the bunch: ready for rock crawling and off-road racing, Mopar jammed a 426-in aluminum HEMI in there good for 540 horsepower, 39-inch tires attached to custom driveshafts, and a full cage enveloping racing seats and a fuel cell. The other two Wranglers are “tamer” in comparison: the silver one is dubbed “Pork Chop” and is an exercise in weight savings, while the black Wrangler is a V8-powered Renegade that harkens back to the CJs of the 1970s.
For those that aren’t ready to go tearing up the rocks, Mopar also prepped some milder models, including a Grand Cherokee with skid plates and handsome 32″ wheels, and a Compass that’s actually Trail-Rated. The most interesting is the safari-ready Liberty, which is actually a diesel model from overseas where they still call it the Cherokee. White steel rims and questionable zebra striping add to the jungle-ready look.
Jeep is launching an ambitious campaign in Europe to boost sales eight-fold by 2014, with a new premium small SUV helping to lead the way.
The next generation Jeep Compass is expected to debut around 2014, and will be based on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and the Compass will also share DNA with a new Alfa Romeo crossover. The Jeep will be able to move upmarket, and position itself against compact SUVs from premium European brands. A diesel engine will also be offered, and is considered an essential part of the Jeep sales plan.
Currently, Jeep sells about 15,000 vehicles in Europe, making their target highly ambitious. Even Land Rover only manages to move about 75,000 trucks a year in the region. Jeep hopes to clear this hurdle by bringing out an all-new product lineup, including a revised, diesel powered Liberty (sold as the Cherokee), a Grand Wagoneer based on the current Grand Cherokee, and an updated Wrangler. Lancia stores will also become partnered with Jeep, giving the brand some 800 outlets to sell their wares.