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.
Last year, a new refrigerant was at the center of controversy when Daimler raised concerns about it igniting on the hot surface of an engine.
Electric cars may have arrived, but the search for the perfect alternative fuel is still in progress. There are still a few major issues that keep battery powered vehicles from replacing the internal combustion engine.
German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz has launched some very brilliant marketing campaigns lately. The Viano interactive ad campaign was one of the most clever things we’ve ever seen, but it appears that Mercedes’ invisible F-Cell will dethrone it as the best of the best.
To promote its newest fuel cell vehicle, Mercedes-Benz decided to make it invisible, playing to the fact that it has zero emissions. The hydrogen-powered B-Class has an estimated driving range of 190 miles emitting only water vapor as it burns hydrogen fuel.
To garner the attention of Germany’s population, Mercedes wrapped the entire vehicle with LED-embedded mats on one side and equipped the other side with cameras. The cameras would then take its video feed and display it on the LED mats on the other side, making the vehicle appear as if it was invisible – minus the wheels of course.
The vehicle toured around Germany for a week and we imagine it made quite the impact in gathering everyone’s attention. See it in action in the video below.
The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
Mercedes-Benz is prepping an AMG version of their B-Class hot hatch, and while a front-drive tall wagon may not sound like ideal AMG material, we’re pretty jazzed about the rumored specs.
A turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 325-350 horsepower will be on board, as well a dual-clutch gearbox (with six or seven speeds). All-wheel drive will be needed to tame the prodigious power, as will bigger brakes, wider rubber and upgraded suspension tuning. Mercedes dealers have been asking for the B-Class as an entry-level product, but Mercedes hasn’t made a decision. On the other hand, the B-Class is already sold in Canada – which happens to be one of AMG’s biggest markets per capita in the world. So the hot B-Class could wind up making its way to the Great White North without ever heading to the USA.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz B-Class AMG
Infiniti will adopt Mercedes-Benz’s small car architecture, used to underpin the front-drive B-Class, as part of the technology sharing agreement signed between the two companies.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told Autocar that ”you’d be very surprised if in five or six years that Mercedes and Renault/Nissan had only cooperated on small cars,” signalling a much wider cross-pollination for the two companies. Mercedes engines are expected to be used in the new Infiniti M, while the B-Class platform will underpin a new, small minivan-esque vehicle for Infiniti.
Mercedes-Benz has just released detailed photos of its new second-generation B-Class, which is set to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. Last month we were teased as to what the new B-Class would look like, and now that we’ve got the full picture, well, it’s not so clear that it’s any less of a stain on Merc’s impressive design history as of late.
Several models of the B-Class will be available to European buyers, with the B180 sporting a 1.6L turbocharged engine with 120-hp and 147 lb-ft of torque, while the B200 will have 154-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Europe will also receive a 1.8L diesel, delivering 107-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in the B180 CDI, while the B200 CDI will feature 134-hp and 221 lb-ft of torque.
Mercedes has also announced that it is looking at producing a limited production F-Cell variant that will hopefully be released in 2015.
GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz B-Class
The next generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September, with the car moving towards a hatchback body style rather than the current pseudo-minivan design.
A full range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be available, along with a start-stop system for improved fuel economy. Mercedes’ main goal for the new car was to preserve the interior space of the current car while retaining the usual Mercedes characteristics. The new B-Class will be on sale at the end of 2011, although the vehicle hasn’t been confirmed for North America.
[Source: Carguide Blog]
Mercedes-Benz will launch a new front-drive model for the United States market, aimed at capturing sales from a younger demographic, as the company seeks to stay competitive with rivals BMW and Audi.
A coupe and SUV have been confirmed for an expected 2013 launch, while a third variant is under considering. Mercedes is evaluating both a convertible and a shooting brake – a body style similar to the recently unveiled Ferrari FF – as possible candidates. The coupe model has been described as a close styling relative to the Mercedes-Benz CLS, while the SUV will do battle with the BMW X1 and upcoming Audi Q3.
The A-Class and B-Class compact hatchbacks (seen above) will also be built on the same architecture, but so far there are no plans to sell either in the United States, though Canada will almost certainly continue to get the B-Class, which is currently sold in that market.
[Source: Automotive News]
Audi’s A3 hatchback is a solid car that hasn’t quite transcended the hatchback stigma the way that cars like the Ford Fiesta have. While the 5-door layout is perfectly acceptable for European consumers, it’s still seen a bodystyle for economy cars on this side of the Atlantic.
With the A4 steadily growing in size, Audi is working on an A3 sedan to help with North American sales. The A3 sedan would be unique in that the BMW 1-Series is only offered as a coupe, while the long-rumored Mercedes-Benz B-Class is only offered as, you guessed it, a 5-door hatch. The A3 sedan is expected to bow in 2013.
[Source: Financial Times]
Mercedes-Benz’s ungainly A-Class hatchback is known for its tall, Smart-car-on-steroids profile and its legendary failing of the “elk test“. While the current car is fairly successful in Europe, the new car is set to take a totally different direction, resembling a sportier 3-door hatchback and taking aim at the BMW 1-Series, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf, the king of the hatchback market.
Auto Express is reporting that the A-Class will be joined by a B-Class model that will resemble the traditional “tall hatchback” shape, as well as a small crossover designed to go up against the BMW X1. With an average customer age of 55 in Germany and 45 in the United States, Mercedes is hoping to add some youth to their demographic, without cheapening the premium brand image.
[Source: Auto Express]
Mercedes-Benz is hoping that new variants of their small C-Class sedan will spearhead a 30% increase in sales over the next five years. The blitz will begin with a C-Class coupe that will go on sale next year, as well as a new C-Class in 2013, followed by a C-Class based convertible shortly after. Mercedes will also launch three vehicles based on the B-Class, a small front drive car sold in Canada and Europe. The B-Class cars will take the form of a coupe, crossover and sedan when they hit the United States in 2012.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Ernst Lieb told Automotive News that the small car segment is where Mercedes is lacking product. “Everybody wants to be Mercedes-Benz he said. “They are after us in the S- and E-class segment. With C class, we’re sitting with a four-door sedan and not doing anything else. Now we will go into segments where [competitors] are strong.”
Lieb is hoping to repeat the mistake made by rival car maker BMW, who priced their 1-Series compact coupes to closely to their volume 3-Series model. BMW has only sold 3,648 1-Series through April, but Lieb said that Mercedes needs to sell 15,000 cars to make a viable business case for the product. ”We will always have a price premium,” he said, “but we can’t have a premium like in the S class.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Mercedes-Benz is conducting customer clinics to determine whether their B-Class compact car is suitable for sales in the U.S. market. The B-Class is currently sold in Canada, where its five-door quasi-hatchback bodystyle is extremely popular, but small cars have traditionally struggled in the United States.
If the B-Class does come to America, it won’t make it until the new B-Class is released in 2012. Mercedes is looking to determine whether the hatchback, or another configuration like a sedan, coupe or crossover is most appropriate. American Mercedes dealers have protested the B-Class’ inclusion into the lineup, saying the vehicle does not fit into the brand’s luxury image.
[Source: Automotive News]