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.
The Vuhl 05 has been officially unveiled packing a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with 285 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, making it good for a 3.7-second 0-60 mph
When it comes to the auto industry, oil isn’t the only thing imported from foreign countries and subject to supply issues and price spikes. The same is true of the rubber in your car’s tires, though a solution could lie in a simple, resilient weed that grows freely across the American southwest.
Average people will probably never need an armored car, but that isn’t stopping demand for the fortified vehicles from rising this year.
Things have been changing for a few years already, and the future is not looking good for Canada. Thanks to their lower labor rates and production costs, more and more car companies are looking to move their operations down to Mexico.
Currently, Canada accounts for 16-percent of production for North America, but since 2008 Mexico, has accounted for 20-percent, and that number will likely grow.
If the trend continues, Canadians might lose their jobs well south of their border. However, not all is doom and gloom for our northern neighbors as vehicle production increased in 2011 by 2-percent to bring a total of 2.1-million units produced.
General Motors is supporting the Canadian economy by announcing that the new Cadillac XTS sedan will be built in Oshawa, Ontario (where vehicles like the Camaro are already built), and Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that it will invest C$545-million to upgrade Toyota production facilities in Ontario.
[Source: Automotive News]
An article in Automotive News proposed that the Saab 9-4X crossover may be the world’s rarest new vehicle on sale. Although Saab had planned to sell between 15,000 and 20,000 examples globally this year (with half of sales conducted in the United States), a mere 194 have been sold through October in the United States.
While ultra-low volume cars like the Lexus LFA may sell in the double digits for a given model year, the 9-4X is a mainstream vehicle, built at a General Motors facility in Mexico and based on the Cadillac SRX crossover. Given Saab’s recent financial roller coaster, it’s no surprise that production and supply woes would be present. But the notion of a Saab being one of the rarest vehicles on sale, is highly ironic. For years, nobody wanted Saab products. Now it would be tough to find one even if you wanted one.
[Source: Automotive News]
We’ve all seen them. The “Imported from Detroit” ads that Chrysler is flooding the market with. Some people think it is a clever way to gain favor with Chrysler’s home audience, others simply do not like the ads themselves. Nomatter how you feel about them, one thing is clear – they are kind of misleading.
A recent study by “The Made in the US Foundation” found that the vehicles in the ads are not even made in Detroit. Made in the USA chairman Joel Joesph said in a statement, “The Chrysler 300 is assembled in Brampton, Ontario, Canada and often includes a Mexican-made engine. Last time I checked, Detroit is not in Canada. Chrysler is flat wrong to imply the Chrysler 300 is made in the United States and we have asked the FTC to order corrective advertising.”
Chrysler responded by saying that Imported from Detroit is merely a saying and is not to be taken literally.
Local 551 of Chicago’s Ford Plant gave a resounding “no” to the new four-year labor contract. Local 551 represents about 6 percent of Ford’s United Auto Workers (UAW) employees and according to secretary-treasurer Scott Houldieson of Local 551, the two-tier pay scale was one of the biggest reasons the plant’s workers voted against it.
The current agreement would pay less experienced second-tier employees $19.28 per hour, 70 percent less than the first tier. According to Houldieson, that wasn’t enough to sway many second-tier voters. There was also no cost-of-living allowance and a provision for profit sharing and a signing bonus instead of wage increases for veteran employees.
The negative vote might seem like a sign of things to come, but there are still two weeks left for the agreement to be ratified. “The Chicago vote is a troubling, though hardly fatal sign,” said Harley Shaiken of the University of California-Berkeley in an interview with Reuters.
“In the 2007 Chrysler ratification vote, some early plants voted ‘no’ but the later plants voted strongly ‘yes’ when, in part, they understood their vote could prove decisive. We won’t know the result until the last vote is counted,” he said.
Tom Saybolt, a former Ford attorney who now teaches at the University of Detroit-Mercy law school agreed and pointed out that some Ford plants historically vote “no.” In fact, the current tentative agreement is more generous than what workers at GM are getting and significantly better than the deal Chrysler made.
Saybolt said that gives more leverage to the UAW to push the contract with Ford forward. If that isn’t enough to convince workers to vote “yes,” it could mean Ford losing patience and moving jobs to Mexico. If the agreement passes, 20,000 new jobs will be created, but if it fails there is a chance that 12,000 jobs will move south of the border.
The plant currently builds the Ford Explorer, Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS.
As the European and U.S. suffer from an economy of alarming volatility, automakers are constantly seeking emerging markets to attain sustainable growth. Mazda, introducing its automobiles in Mexico only six years ago, have now established a new production facility, in joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation, in Salamanca, Mexico.
According to Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, “Since Mazda established its sales network in Mexico six years ago, we have experienced a remarkable acceptance from the people of Mexico. Last year Mazda sold over twenty-five thousand vehicles and captured over three percent market share. We are excited to be constructing this new facility here in Mexico with our partner Sumitomo Corporation. It will be vital to bolstering our expansion in Central and South America.”
Expected to be operation by 2014, the plant will possess manufacturing lines for both the engine and vehicle. Although plant will focus production on Mazda2 and Mazda3, don’t be surprised if it will take on the responsibility of producing the Mazda6 for United States as well.
Fiat has asked Chrysler to boost Freemont output after European demand soars for the rebadged Dodge Journey. Last June, with the Freemonts introduction, Fiat hoped to sell 13,000 of the minivans this year, however the automaker has already collected 15,700 orders. Fiat planned to sell 33,000 Freemonts in 2012 and as a result, Fiat was promised 3,000 Freemonts a month from Chryslers plant in Toluca, Mexico. With the high demand for the minivan, Chrysler boosted production to 4,067 units in June.
The European version of the minivan differs from its American counterpart with different front and rear styling, suspension tweaks and a Fiat’s MultiJet 2 diesel engine, not offered by Dodge.
[Source: Automotive News]
According to a report by Canada’s Minister of Transport, Chuck Strahl, under the NAFTA agreement, used vehicles from Mexico that can be modified to meet Canadian safety and emission requirements, would be allowed to be brought in.
That means, you could possibly bring in a used Fiat or Renault from Mexico into Canada, vehicles that weren’t previously available to our northern neighbor. So if the department for Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) are on your side, you could be driving around in a Fiat Barchetta or a Renault Avantime. That is a sweet thought.
Plus, Canada also has a law that allows its citizens to import any car into the country that is 15 years old, or older. So if you are visiting Canada, don’t be too surprised to see a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R driving around, with a fully legal title. Might be worth the move for that reason alone.
You can buy Infiniti products in Canada, Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea and parts of the Middle-East, and the brand is adding Mexico to its portfolio.
Beginning from the third-quarter of 2011, five new Infiniti sales and service center’s will open in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey. Mexico is one of the most rapidly growing car markets in the world and Infiniti is keen to take part.
Carlos Tavares, chairman of Nissan Americas said, “As part of Infiniti’s worldwide expansion, Mexico was a mandatory next step for the luxury brand. Later this year, the promise of luxury vehicles with a unique combination of inspired performance, relaxing and attentive hospitality and carefree quality will become a reality for this market. We are excited to enter Mexico as we know luxury consumers here deserve a brand with the character of Infiniti.”
Upon launch, the G37 sedan and coupe, the M56 luxury sedan, the FX50 sport crossover and the QX56 full-size luxury SUV will take their position in Mexican showrooms.
Can’t pay cash for one of these just yet? No worries, Infiniti Financial Services will be able to provide leasing and financing options.
The new showrooms should be opening their doors by October.
Last weekend, an episode of the popular BBC2 show Top Gear sparked controversy when comments made by the presenters caused upset in Mexico, including a formal complaint lodged by ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora, in which he described the comments from Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson as ‘xenophobic and humiliating.’
Now the BBC has responded directly. In a letter addressed to Sr. Mora, it said it was sorry if had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humor and culture.
It also stated that there was no vindictiveness behind the comments, even if they might have been “rude” and “mischievous.”
“Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganized and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organized,” the corporation said.
The BBC announcement went on to say that such stereotype-based comedy is in line with BBC programming guidelines, provided the audience expects it, as is the case with Top Gear.
Top Gear, the BBC’s infamous car/entertainment show has gained a huge following world wide since it’s reincarnation in 2002.
Many find its off-the wall challenges, insults and humor hard to resist. At the same time, it’s often been the subject of controversy, thanks to forthright comments spouted by presenters Jeremy Clarkson and usually, to a lesser extent, Richard Hammond and James May.
Most recently, the show has become the target of the Mexican government, following remarks made by Hammond during one of presenters’ televised gabbing sessions.
In discussing Mexico’s new Mastretta MXT sports car, Hammond said “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless and overweight, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”
Clarkson then went on to joke that the BBC wouldn’t receive any complaints from the Mexican ambassador, quite simply because he would likely be asleep.
In response, said ambassador sent a letter to the BBC saying that the presenters had used vulgar and bigoted language to describe the people of his country, describing the remarks as xenophobic and humiliating.
Really? Perhaps the Ambassador needs to spend more time in Britain.
As for the MXT, if it does prove to be a good car, then it’s likely the company that builds it, nor the Republic of Mexico should have anything to worry about, least of all comments spouted on a segment of some British TV show.
Volkswagen broke ground on a new engine plant in Puebla, Mexico, which is expected to come online in 2013. The $550 million plant is expected to supply engines to vehicles built at Volkswagen facilities in Mexico and Chattanooga, Tennesse.
An estimated 700 jobs will be created at the plant, along with auxiliary jobs for parts suppliers. With 435,000 vehicles made in Mexico in 2010, the country will be integral to Volkswagen’s goal of selling 1 million cars in the United States by 2018.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Those of us who live in societies where the rule of law is respected can go about our daily business without having to look over our shoulder. For the rest of the world, this luxury isn’t exactly available, so solutions must be devised to help people live in some semblance of peace and security.
For those with a bit of money, an armored car is often a practical solution. Looking identical to the standard version of a common vehicle, armored cars can do everything from emit smoke screens to sonic siren blasts to protect occupants from IED blasts.
The ongoing violence (bordering on outright warfare) in Mexico has lead to explosive growth in the armored car market. While Latin America’s wealthy have traditionally been loyal customers, Mexico alone is now expected to be worth $80 million annually, as scared citizens bring in everything from the usual Suburbans to older Kias and Hondas in an effort to be discrete and protect themselves from harm. According to a report in USA Today, even OEMs are getting into the act of targeting the growing middle class market, with Volkswagen offering an armored Jetta for the still-expensive amount of $70,000.
With Mexico City listed as the #1 location for kidnappings, the Mexican armored car market looks like a growth industry that shows no signs of letting up, to the detriment of the country and its citizens caught in the crossfire.
Lamborghini is opening up its first official dealers in Mexico, with locations in Mexico City and Monterrey. With Mexico getting wealthier, thanks to both new industry (the world’s richest man is now Mexican) and some more illicit entrepreneurs setting up shop, the market for a Lamborghini showroom is now present.
The outlets are being run by Martin Josephi Wellman, an auto industry veteran who previously ran Volkswagen’s Mexican operations. We will refrain from making jokes about sombreros, the local cuisine or gold plated weapons, even though any of these would go perfectly with a Gallardo LP-570.
The official Twitter feed of the Los Angeles Auto Show has confirmed that the Saab 9-4X crossover will bow at the West Coast’s major auto show this November, hot on the heels of the brand’s flagship 9-5 sedan.
The 9-4X will share underpinnings with the Cadillac SRX and be built at a GM facility in Mexico, despite GM having sold Saab to Spyker. The 9-4X will likely use the 9-5′s 2.8L V6 and 2.0L 4-cylinder engines and many interior pieces will be shared as well.
Most interesting is that 147 9-4X’s were produced in January of 2010, before GM offloaded Saab. That means that the 9-4X will have debuted nearly a year after production officially started, something that never happens. We can’t help but wonder what happened to those examples that never made it to showroom.
[Source: Los Angeles Auto Show]
Ford‘s marketing campaign for the upcoming Fiesta compact has gone on for just over a year, and consumers are getting anxious about having to wait for the car to hit showrooms.
Anyone waiting with bated breath for the new Fiesta will have to prepare for further disappointment, as the launch has been delayed, this time to due a hurricane that damaged rail road tracks near Ford’s Mexico City assembly plant.
Ford claims that it has 2,000 deposits for the Fiesta already, and we can be sure that they’re getting just a little impatient. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with Mother Nature.
Thanks to a dismal year in 2009 for General Motors, Nissan was able to edge out the American manufacturing giant in Mexico and become that country’s largest automaker by sales. In total, Nissan manages to sell 156,186 units in 2009, compared to GM’s sales of 138,482 units.
Like the rest of the world, auto sales in Mexico were down drastically last year, but Nissan wasn’t hit as hard as GM. In Mexico, Nissan saw its sales decline 26 percent over 2008, while GM suffered a 35 percent drop.
While Nissan hasn’t passed GM in sales in Mexico since 1995, it came close last year, falling just 356 vehicles short.
After Nissan and GM, the top five sales leaders in Mexico include Volkswagen in third place, Ford in fourth place and Chrysler in fifth.
[Source: Automotive News via LeftLaneNews]
Fiat looks to extend production in order to sell retro model in foreign markets
Can you hear that? It might sound a lot like Monty Python’s John Cleese, but it’s actually Chrysler’s PT Cruiser screaming, “I’m not dead yet.”
That’s right, despite plans to scrap the retro-styled economy car, production will continue on. Pre-bankruptcy Chrysler had announced that it would cease production of the PT at its Mexico plant this summer, but under new Fiat ownership the U.S. automaker will extend the car’s life until 2011. The PT has, however, already lived well beyond the average life span of a modern auto and as of 2011 it will have been in production, mostly unchanged, for 11 years.
According to a report on Edmunds, it is possible that Fiat is hoping to sell additional units of the car in international markets like Fiat’s European home turf, as well as in Brazil.
After the last PT’s roll out of the Toluca, Mexico facility in December of 2010, the plant will be retrofitted to produce the new Fiat 500 and the Fiat Panda (which will be badged as a Jeep) for the U.S. market.