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.
Congratulations, you’re all grown up! At this point in life you’ve probably made it through college with more than an associate’s degree in the field of interpretive dance; you’ve more than likely claimed a life partner that’s the opposite gender and of breeding age and, consequently, you’ve manufactured a genetic replica or two. You’re going places, and you need a suitable vehicle for this exciting new lifestyle.
Demand for an electric cargo van that can only travel up to 50 mph isn’t strong enough to justify full production.
General Motors announced today that it will begin selling a small cargo van based on heavily on Nissan’s NV200.
Normally, any story about car fires, recalls and safety hazards has the same content: “fill-in-the-blank automaker is recalling fill-in-the-blank cars because they might explode, fall apart or some other terrifying nonsense.”
Not this time. Instead, Ford is dodging a maelstrom of bullets after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that there is no need to recall roughly 1.1 million Ford E-series vehicles over faulty switches. The investigation, which lasted 27 months, began after 1,036 complaints were filed over blower motor control switches failing and causing fires.
Ford Motor Company has announced that it is pursuing a number of avenues aimed at easing the financial burden on small businesses and fleet companies, many of which are feeling the pinch of current gas prices.
A big aspect of Ford’s plan will be the introduction of a North American version of the ubiquitous Ford Transit commercial van, designed to supplement the long-running E-Series (née Econoline).
When it begins production at the Kansas City, Miss. assembly plant next year, the Americanized Transit will be offered with Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and also a diesel engine (though the automaker has yet to provide specifics on what this oil burning motor will be).
As a result, Ford says the Transit will achieve around 25 percent better fuel economy than the current E-Series, which is no doubt welcome news to many fleet operators.
In addition, during the Automotive Press Association conference in Detroit this week, Ford’s director of North American fleet, leasing and re-marketing programs, Kevin Koswick, said that the automaker is committed to providing a range of options to help fleets lower their operating costs. Besides introducing more fuel thrifty vehicles like the Transit, that also includes alternative fuel sources such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric, biodiesel and Compressed Natural Gas (which the current E-Series vans are designed to run on besides gasoline).
Also, in order to enable fleet operators to better keep track of their costs and monitor emissions output, Ford is also introducing a new tool dubbed the “Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Cost Calculator.”
This shows, via information such as the type of vehicle used, the type of driving situations, as well as local traffic conditions and energy sources available in a particular location, a specific map of fleet fuel consumption and emissions output.
The idea is that fleets can make an informed decision as to which type of vehicles they use and for what purpose when it comes to reducing costs and impact on the environment.
The proprietary program, which must be used in conjunction with the support of a Ford representative, enables customized scenarios to be created for fleet customers, using special formulas and variables to determine the actual level of environmental impact and fuel costs of specific vehicles.
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class ranks up there with Communism on the list of things no one else likes but the Chinese. And for that reason the unloved R model will live on.
According to Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche, the R-Class, redesigned in 2011, will soldier on until at least 2015. “We need it for the Chinese market,” confirmed a company insider to the UK’s Autocar.
No decision has been made beyond that point as to whether a second-generation R-Class will be offered. Until then, Chinese Benz lovers with
big families lots of comrades can rest assures the R-Class is sticking around.
Developed by Mercedes-Benz, MYVAN in an online community that’s designed to connect like-minded van enthusiasts and allow them to share experiences, opinions and knowledge. It will feature a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and content-specific videos.
The MYVAN site is for tradespeople who use specialized and customized vans for work. On the social networking site, they will be able to share ideas, pass on pointers and keep up with industry trends. It’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what new and happening in the world of vans.
Even though Mercedes-Benz is the driving force behind the site, it doesn’t matter what kind of van you drive – drivers all van makes and models are welcome on the site.
“MYVAN will offer tradesmen who come in contact with the subject of transport sustainable benefits,” said Mercedes-Benz Vans marketing VP Andreas Burkhart, Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We see MYVAN as an international format that has relevance beyond national boundaries.”
Ford has announced it expects its upcoming C-Max Hybrid multi-activity vehicle to achieve an average fuel economy rating of over 42 mpg, exceeding the rating of the recently released Toyota Prius v. In addition, the C-Max Energie electric vehicle will top the Prius plug-in hybrid’s electric only mode rating of 87-mpge (miles per gallon equivalent).
Both models will use a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine mated to Ford’s next-gen hybrid system. Ford also claims the plug-in model will be able to achieve a total range of over 500 miles, while it, along with the Focus Electric, will get a new version of the MyFord Touch system, designed to work with electric vehicles and integrate the MyFord Mobile app.
These two C-Max variants join the Focus Electric, expanding Ford’s 40-mpg range, which already includes special Fiesta and Focus models. Ford has also said it will add three more 40-mpg or more rated models in the near future, resulting in a lineup where one third of vehicles offered can be had with a 40-mpg version.