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.
Volkswagen shifted their sales strategy last fall when they lowered the price of their 2011 Jetta by $1,600. New buyers became more attracted to the vehicle and sales vastly improved. June’s combined U.S sales jumped 88 percent for the wagon and the sedan even with a price hike of $500 set last April.
June was actually the Jetta’s best month with 17,105 sales. The last six month sales period also improved by 66 percent hitting 91,752 units sold.
Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America was interview and he said: Jetta’s lower base price attracted new customers and the average transaction price increased. He also said, ”We are selling more units above $19,000 than ever before”.
VW has figured out the formula after decades of trial and error as to what Americans want. VW will also be testing this formula for the U.S built, redesigned 2013 Passat arriving in fall.
[Source: Automotive News]
Modifying wagons isn’t very widely accepted, especially not in Dubai. And that’s a shame because nicely tuned wagons look killer. Needless to say, we were pretty excited as soon as we saw this Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Race Car. Then reality stepped when we realized it’s just a rendering.
The concept is the child of Lap 57′s Emirati race driver Omran Al Owais, and in his own words, “A typical Emirati thinks a wagon is as cool as a chauffeur driving an old smelly Camry Wagon with trunk full of fish baskets.”
Omran and his brother Mohammed both imported CTS-V Wagons from America in hopes to stir the pot a bit in Dubai. “We are hoping this fetish might catch on with other Emiratis and see them ditching their X6Ms and G55s, so that we start seeing serious girls on the road such as the RS6/E63 or the new exciting M5 Wagon. The streets of Jumeirah at night will never be the same.”
Currently the two brothers plan on taking their wagons from Dubai to the Nurburgring and then converting one of them into a true race car, ideally making this rendering a reality. They’re hopes are that these renderings get to the hands of famed Cadillac tuners such as D3 and Hennessey Performance here in America so that brothers can campaign a CTS-V wagon in the UAE GT Championship.
We’re thinking that if the guys want a CTS-V Wagon race car, they should call the team behind the Corvette race cars, Pratte & Miller.
GALLERY: Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Race Car
BMW UK has released another dramatic video detailing the 2012 M5. The M5 won’t go on sale until spring 2012, so we still have nearly a year before it hits the streets but this commercial is getting us very excited.
The M5 has been entirely redesigned but the biggest change is the switch from a high-revving V10 to a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The new engine will crank out 552 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The car is capable of achieving a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, not bad for a car weighs around 4,000 lbs. Pricing has not been announced but the M5 will probably sell for around $85,000.
Check out the video after the jump!
Gallery: 2012 BMW M5
Today, the Ford Transit Connect is targeted at taxi and delivery business. The vehicle is reasonably priced, great on gas and is nimble through narrow streets. However, Ford may choose to offer a seven-passenger version for young families that are not interested in bulky minivans. The next-generation Transit Connect arrives in a few years, and will allegedly be assembled in North America as a more refined vehicle. The current Transit Connect is produced in Turkey and the price comes in around $24,000 to $25,000 making it a very competitive alternative to minivans. Both gasoline and electric versions are offered, as well as models with side winds and panels.
Strictly looking at this vehicle from a business perspective, adding a new variant to the Transit Connect would increase variety thereby appealing to at least two very different demographics: commercial use, and family use.
[Source: Automotive News]
Volvo has planned several major changes for its 2012 model year lineup in the US. The automaker has discontinued the S40 and V50, after already cutting the V70 earlier in the year. The move is a big change for the Swedish company that built its name on safe and sturdy station wagons.
In addition, Volvo will no longer be offering the V8 engine in the XC90 or S80 in North America. Instead it will rely on its new turbocharged 6-cylinder engine to deliver the grunt on its larger models.
Overall, most Volvo models get more standard features and new trim levels but will maintain similar prices to last year’s models.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Volvo has just released a fascinating new version of their OnCall app for iPhone and Android phones that provides the owner with a range of beneficial features. The features include a car locator, incase you forget where you parked, remote door lock or vehicle health check. This app works on 2012 Volvo models and can be downloaded for free.
The app’s features include:
Car locator: The location of the car is shown on the smartphone map
Remote door lock: The doors and windows can be opened and close via the phone.
Vehicle dashboard: This feature allows the driver to see vehicle information such as fuel level, average fuel consumption, average speed, odometer reading and trip reading.
Car Check: This impressive app allows the driver to check the “health” of the car, displaying bulb outages, brake fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level and engine oil pressure.
Theft Notification: If the Volvo alarm is triggered, a message will be sent to the phone
“We design cars around people’s needs and lifestyle. Creating an intuitive and ergonomically optimised driver’s environment is part of our aim to offer a feeling of relaxed control. It is only logical that you should feel in command of your vehicle, including after you have parked it,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO at Volvo Car Corporation. “The new mobile applicationtransforms Volvo On Call from an emergency system to a useful convenience feature. It will help us boost sales of the system – and we are convinced that our ambitious plans in this connectivity field will help us attract more and more new customers in the future,” explained Stefan Jacoby.
[Source: Motor Ward]
Subaru of America has announced the lauch of its new iPad applications based on its 2011 model digital brochures. The free apps allows users to explore the 2011 Outback, Forester and WRX/STI through the iPad utilyzing videos, interactive demonstrations and 360-degree views.
Apple has had tremendous success with its iPad, selling 4.69 million units alone in the second quarter of 2011. This success prompted Subaru to decid they coulde attract potential buyers by allowing them to learn about Subaru products through interactive means.
Alan Bethke, Director, Marketing Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. explained “Car shoppers are researching everything from financing to auto insurance on their mobile devices. Making these apps available gives car shoppers a convenient and interactive way to explore Subaru vehicles and technology, and it also aligns with our environmental efforts.”
The Subaru app encourages consumers to learn about the company’s zero-landfill manufacturing plants- by minimizing paper usage, energy consumption, inks and production wast. As well as Subaru’s green outlook, the app will enhance the auto research experience by offering trim simulators along with engineering and Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive feature demonstrations. App users can compare vehicle models and generally get a better understanding of what Subaru is and what the company is striving for with its new generation of vehicles.
With Matrix sales slumping in the U.S, Toyota may not invest in a next-generation version when the 2013 Corolla hits dealerships. Only 14,592 Toyota Matrix’s were sold last year in the U.S which is down from 66,836 units in 2002. Matrix sales are still doing well in Canada, but Corolla sales are double that of the Matrix.
There has been some speculation that the upcoming Prius compact variant may replace or steal sales from the Matrix. Bob Carter, Toyota’s Group Vice President and General Manager, says the two vehicles are expected to attract two vastly different audiences.
Toyota would do well to update and refresh the aging matrix. With high fuel prices, people are turning away from SUVs and looking at hatchbacks and wagons. Hyundai and Ford already offer five door variants. According to Ward’s Auto, 43 percent of 2012 Ford Focus sales have been hatchbacks to date.
[Source: Wards Auto]
The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is powered by a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine producing 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a standard transmission 5-speed manual while an optional 6-speed automatic is available. There is also a pricier 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel 4-cylinder powerplant producing 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. If mated to a 6-sped DSG transmission, the 2012 Passat TDI can achieve 43 mpg on the highway and have a fuel range of 800 miles. Buyers also have the choice of the powerful 3.6-liter VR6 engine that produces 280-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and is capable of 28 mpg. 2012 Passat pricing will start around $20,000.
[Source: EGM Car Tech]
North America will be receiving the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG E63 Wagon, according to a leaked dealer order guide. BenzBoost.com reports the E63 wagon will get the same twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 that debuted in the E63 sedan at last month’s New York Auto Show. The wagon will also get the stop/start technology coupled with a seven speed MCT dual-clutch transmission.
Mercedes has previously offered the E63 wagon in extremely limited numbers, as it occupies such a small niche that only the wealthy and eccentric would ever gravitate towards such a car. On the other hand, a high performance wagon can act as a halo for the brand, a factor that prompted Cadillac to offer a wagon version of the CTS-V.
Audi has released a number of sketches showing their forthcoming Q3 crossover, based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, that will serve as an entry-level vehicle for the brand.
The Q3 is unlikely to come to North America, but its unveiling at the Shanghai Auto Show should give a clue as to where Audi anticipates a fair portion of sales to come from. Its main rival, the BMW X1, is notable for being rear-drive-based as opposed to the Q3′s front-drive underpinnings, but nobody buying this car will notice or care which wheels are being driven.
Styling-wise, the Q3 looks about the same as every Audi on the market today, while the Tiguan’s lineup of gasoline and diesel 4-cylinders will provide some oomph.
Gallery: Audi Q3 Sketches
Saab has halted production yet again amid another dispute with suppliers. Saab representatives declined to say how long the production stoppage would last, but said that they were in discussions with their suppliers to resolve the matter. Saab’s parent company Spyker said that last week’s production stoppage was related to unpaid bills.
In an interview with Reuters, the head of Sweden’s suppliers organization said that Saab cannot pay its suppliers. Meanwhile, Saab CEO Victor Muller defended his company, stating that they were not on the verge of collapse, but that more stoppages were inevitable. “This is an ongoing thing,” he said. “It will take some time to get everyone back in line properly. We will get it under control.”
[Source: Automotive News]
It’s only a matter of time before the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG gets adopted by the Ed-Hardy-and-hair-gel crowd as the official car of the Flash and the (steroid-fueled) Furious, but Mercedes has at least put out a video showing some decent b-roll footage of the car being driven at speed.
The 451-horsepower coupe is arguably the most desirable of the C63 range – aside from the awesome C63 wagon, which North American consumers can’t buy. Check out the videos below the jump.
The Sultan of Brunei’s extravagant car collection is something of an urban legend among auto enthusiasts. Most of the evidence surrounding its existence is anecdotal, with a few grainy photos having leaked out over the years on rare occasions. Now, Sports Car Market has published an article by car broker Michael Sheehan detailing the vastness of his collection – and how priceless supercars are sitting in ruin due to neglect.
In 2002, Sheehan attempted to negotiate a deal to purchase 13 cars, including a Ferrari F40 LM, Ferrari 288 GTO and a McLaren F1. The deal ultimately failed due to a lack of any documentation for the cars, which made them impossible to export, but Sheehan was given a tour of the Sultan’s automotive compound, and his story is captivating, with the full extent of the decay and neglect suffered by the cars conveyed dispassionately.
Sheehan vividly describes a mid-’90s Rolls-Royce convertible stating that it, “had gotten so hot with the windows up that the steering wheel’s foam padding had melted into a puddle on the driver’s seat and the leather wrap hung from the barren steel rim. The entire interior had ‘gone off’ with mold in the heat and humidity and the interior was a fuzzy gray!”
Tragic yet, but hey, if we had 300 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans (among thousands of other cars, including the bespoke Ferrari wagon seen here) we would have a hard time keeping track of our rides too.
[Source: Sports Car Market]
The long rumored Hyundai Sonata station wagon exists, and it bowed at the Geneva Auto Show, dubbed the Hyundai i40 Tourer, in keeping with the brand’s European nomenclature.
Although Hyundai PR bigwigs have denied that the i40 will come to America, we think that rising gas prices may provide an impetus for this kind of vehicle, rather than an SUV. The i40 Tourer was designed at Hyundai’s German R&D facility, and it shows in the high-quality interior, compact 1.7L diesel engine and distinct styling. While a choice of powertrains is available, Hyundai is pushing their 1.7L diesel hard, an engine that is much more aligned with European rather than North American tastes. Expect this car to do battle with the Euro-market Volkswagen Passat wagon when it goes on sale this year.
Gallery: Hyundai i40 Tourer
In Germany, the Volkswagen Microbus was affectionately known as the “Bulli”, proving that terms of endearment and the German language aren’t always compatible. While Volkswagen had a false start with their Microbus concept in 2001, the same idea is back 10 years later, and it manages to be even more contemporary while still providing Baby Boomers with a hefty shot of nostalgia.
With an 85 kilowatt motor capable of returning 300 kilometers per charge, the Bulli may not be suitable for following Phish across the U.S.A, but its zero emissions drivetrain will definitely resonate with eco-conscious citizens who smell like bong water. VW is said to be investigating more conventional engines as well.
The usual super-modern infotainment systems, including iPad integration, an audio system designed by guitar maker Fender. One throwback is the front bench seat, a feature not seen since the days when kids could afford to buy a new Volkswagen, one that came with an air-cooled engine at that.
Gallery: Volkswagen Bulli
While Volvo was apparently set to discontinue North American sales of all station wagons – arguably the vehicle they built their reputation on – in favor of crossovers. But that looks like it will change starting in 2012, with the launch of their V60 plug-in hybrid.
Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.
In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds. We can’t imagine this car not coming Stateside. With Volvo exces previously commenting on their customers affinity for eco-friendly products – and the lack of such offerings in Volvo’s lineup – this one looks like a no-brainer.
Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
The Cadillac ATS is a crucial product for GM’s luxury division, a car aimed squarely at the BMW 3-Series, and Cadillac is hoping to come out with a full line of models to give buyers an alternative to the German compact luxury cars.
One noticeable difference will be among the convertibles, as the ATS will not offer a folding hardtop like the 3-Series, but a less expensive soft top. Also being discussed is a turbocharged V6 in place of the familiar GM 6.2L Supercharged V8. The V6 was originally developed jointly with Fiat for use in Alfa Romeo cars and would have to be re-oriented to be used with a rear-drive application.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Saab has announced it’s updated 2012 9-3, which will be available in sedan, SportWagon or convertible forms. Chief among the changes are a new front fascia which brings the 9-3 in line with bigger brother, the 9-5.
The most visible difference are new headlight assemblies, though other updates include standard front foglights and a rear deck spoiler on all models.
Under the hood, the 2012 9-3 also gets new engines, in the shape of a pair of new direct injection gasoline four-cylinders, with twin scroll turbochargers designed to reduce boost lag, as well as variable valve timing for better throttle response, balance shafts for less vibration at higher revs and a forged steel crankshaft for greater strength.
The turbo gas engines come in two different forms, rated at 163 or 220 hp. Saab says that equipped with these engines, fuel economy and emissions on the 9-3 are improved by around four percent.
In the United Kingdom, the 2012 9-3 will also be available with a 1.9-liter twin-turbo diesel engine, which is offered in three different variants, rated at 130, 160 and 180 hp respectively. It will also be offered in two trim levels, SE or Aero.
There’s no word yet on how North American models will be spec’d though expect the gas engines to make the cut but probably not the diesels.
Volvo fans can rejoice now that the famous station wagon variant, the V60, is back (in North America), but it couldn’t be further from the rugged, mechanically simple station wagons of the past.
The V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.
In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds, but you’ll have to wait until 2012 to buy one for yourself.
Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
The diesel hybrid takes Volvo’s 2.4-liter inline-five turbodiesel, pumping out 215 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque and adds an electric motor to the back wheels: a 70-horsepower motor powered by a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, controlling what Volvo calls the Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD).
With two engines and AWD, the V60 hybrid can run on “Pure” mode for 32 miles on just the electric motor. With “Hybrid” mode activated, it’s good for a range of 746 miles, and in full-attack “Power” mode the V60′s two engines hustle to 60mph in 6.9 seconds. That’s what 472 lb-ft of torque combined will do for a family hauler.
The V60 hybrid will debut in Geneva in a few weeks. Click the jump for video of the diesel-hybrid.
Hyundai revealed the first photos of their i40 Tourer, a European market station wagon that stands a good chance of coming to our shores as a Sonata wagon.
European media were given a preview of the vehicle, and initial reports are crammed with the usual nauseating marketing fluff, but we do know that with the rear seats up, there’s roughly 20 cubic feet of cargo space, increasing to 60.7 with the seats folded down. Available features include Bluetooth, a navigation system, lane-departure warning, 9 airbags and heated rear seats. A stop-start system is also available.
Saab has officially begun production of the 9-4x crossover at their Mexican assembly plant. While the 9-4x was due to hit the market some time ago, financial troubles at GM halted production.
The first 9-4x , an Ice Pearl metallic Aero model, was fitted with a 2.8L turbo V6, and will be used as a media car before being shipped off to Saab’s museum. Sales begin in May in the United States, with European sales following in the summer.
[Source: LeftLane News]