I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

BREAKING NEWS - GM announces that CHEVROLET will pull out of Europe in 2015

General Motors will drop its Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said today.
The move is the latest effort by GM to turn around its European operations and to focus its resources on reviving the Opel brand.
Chevrolet will no longer have a mainstream presence in western and eastern Europe due to a challenging business model and the difficult economic situation in Europe, GM said in a statement.
"We believe this is a win for all of our brands here in Europe and around the globe as GM will benefit from a stronger Opel/Vauxhall," Girsky said. To pull Chevrolet out of Europe "will help us to accelerate progress in the region," he said.
Some of the brand's iconic models, such as the Corvette, will remain on sale in Europe, and the upmarket Cadillac marque is working on an expansion in the region in the next three years, GM said. Chevrolet sales will continue in Russia, where the brand ranks No. 5 in sales behind Lada, Renault, Kia and Hyundai.
Low sales
Chevrolet's annual sales in Europe have remained low at about 200,000 since GM relaunched the brand in the region in 2005. Chevrolet focused on selling small cars in Europe such as the Aveo subcompact and Spark minicar built by GM Daewoo in Korea.
Chevrolets were supposed to compete at the budget end of the market with the likes of Hyundai, Skoda and Renault's Dacia. But the brand failed to make much headway as its largely rebadged Korean-made Daewoo cars struggled against rivals, whose models are customized for European markets.
GM Daewoo exported 186,000 vehicles to Europe last year, accounting for over 20 percent of the unit's total vehicle output. "We will phase out exports to Europe by the end of 2015. We will discuss with the union how to enhance the operating efficiency of our plants," Park Hae-ho, a spokesman at GM Korea, said.
Chevrolet's deliveries in the EU and EFTA markets dropped 17 percent to 152,260 vehicles through October, giving the nameplate 1.2 percent of the market. Opel and its sister UK division, Vauxhall, posted a 3 percent decline to 718,829 units over that period for a 6.7 percent market share.
Hurt by a brutal downturn in European demand, Chevrolet has responded by slashing prices and introducing more upmarket models -- putting it on a collision course with Opel.
Thomas Sedran, Chevrolet Europe president, said: "Chevrolet's business results have been impacted by the unfavorable economic environment in Europe."
Dealer network
The Chevrolet distribution network in Europe totals about 1,900 dealers, and the company will “work with individual dealers” to determine their future, Sedran said. More than half of the outlets also handle Opel models.
Girsky said that by shutting Chevrolet GM expects to record net special charges of $700 million to $1 billion primarily in the fourth quarter of 2013 and continuing in the first half of 2014.
Of this amount, $300 million of net special charges will be non-cash expenses. These charges include asset impairments, dealer restructuring and severance related costs. In addition, GM said it expects to incur restructuring costs that will not be treated as special charges, but will impact GM's international operations earnings in 2014.
The decision to drop the Chevrolet brand is not influenced by GM's partnership with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Girsky said. "This is done independent of the PSA relationship," he said.
Opel may not benefit
The revamp “eliminates some competition from one of their own brands,” said Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Bankhaus Metzler. “But we need to keep a sense of proportion: Chevrolet has never been very successful in Europe and there’s no guarantee Opel will automatically get its market share.”
NordLB analyst Frank Schwope said the decision to drop the Chevrolet brand will likely to ease some of the pressure on a European market suffering from overcapacity. "GM hopes Chevy customers will now migrate to Opel. But will they instead go off and buy other value brands like Dacia and the Koreans?" Schwope said, referring particularly to strong European demand for Hyundai cars.
Abandoning Chevy shows that GM, unlike Volkswagen, is unable to manage several brands in Europe, Schwope said.
As part of its efforts to push Chevrolet globally, GM signed a $559 million, seven-year sponsorship deal with English soccer champions Manchester United in July 2012, which is due to put the Chevrolet brand on the club's famous red shirts in 2014-2015.
Chevrolet introduced a dozen vehicles in Europe in 2011 and 2012, including a wagon version of the mid-sized Cruze that was designed specifically for the region.
Susan Docherty, a GM marketing veteran, became head of Chevrolet's European operations in January 2012. She left in the middle of that year and was replaced by Sedran, Opel's strategy chief.
GM’s losses in Europe since 1999 have exceeded $18 billion, including a $214 million deficit in the third quarter.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Jaguar, Land Rover posts huge sales increases across the board

  • Jaguar Land Rover North America increases 37 percent in November, for its best November sales result since 2005
  • Jaguar continues industry-leading growth streak with 103 percent growth in November on new XF and XJ All Wheel Drive models and F-TYPE sales
  • Land Rover brand has its best ever November sales increasing 25 percent on strong Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque demand

Jaguar Land Rover North America today reported November 2013 U.S. sales: Jaguar sales were 1,446 units, 103 percent up from 713 units in November 2012; Land Rover sales reached an all-time November high of 4,601 units, up 25 percent from 3,687 units in November 2012. Jaguar Land Rover North America November U.S. sales for both brands hit 6,047 units, a 37 percent increase from 4,400 units in November 2012.

Year to date through November, Jaguar Land Rover North America is up 21 percent, with Jaguar up 41 percent and Land Rover up 15 percent.

"Jaguar Land Rover's U.S. business is growing for both brands and across SUVs, sports cars and luxury sedans," said Andy Goss, Group Sales Operations Director, Jaguar Land Rover. "The Jaguar brand has doubled its November U.S. business and Land Rover had its best U.S. November sales ever. We look forward to a strong end-of-year as we strive for benchmark annual results for both brands."


Land Rover
Range Rover sales were 1,292 units, up 267 percent from 352 in its run out month in November, 2012. Year to date, the Range Rover model is up 60 percent from 2012. In the 2013 J.D. Power 2013 U.S. APEAL Study, the Range Rover was the industry's highest scoring model.

Range Rover Evoque increased 21 percent to 1091 units from 904 units in November, 2012.  Year to date, the Range Rover Evoque is up 31 percent.

Year to date, Land Rover brand is up 15 percent from 2012.

Land Rover's 2014 model year line-up features five models: The 240-hp 2.0 liter powered LR2 and Range Rover Evoque; the LR4 powered by the supercharged 340-hp V6; the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, both available with the 340-hp V6 and 510-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 powertrains.

For the month of November, the Jaguar XF was the Jaguar volume and growth leader with 656 units sold, up 92 percent from 341 sales in November 2012. Year to date, the XF is up 42 percent. The current MY XF lineup includes the new 2.0T model as well as all-wheel-drive and V-6 options.

The Jaguar XJ sales were 465 units, up 75 percent from 266 in November, 2012. All-wheel-drive models now make up approximately half of all XJ sales.

The F-TYPE convertible sports car added 222 units this month.  The F-TYPE Coupe was introduced at the Los Angeles International Automobile Show in November and goes on sale in spring, 2014.

Year to date, Jaguar sales are 15,408, up 41 percent from 10,962 sales, with both XJ and XF sales increasing on the appeal of new powertrains and all-wheel-drive.

For MY14 the transformed Jaguar U.S. lineup includes:

Instinctive All Wheel Drive™ - Available on both the XF and XJ
Supercharged 340hp V6 engines in the XF and XJ
Turbocharged 240hp four cylinder engine available in the XF
Eight Speed ZF® Automatic Transmissions on all XF and XJ models
Auto Engine Stop/Start on select XF and XJ models

The 2014 Jaguar line-up features four models: The Jaguar XJ luxury sedan, powered by a 340-hp supercharged V6 in rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive configuration, a 470-hp supercharged V8 or a 550-hp supercharged V8 in the XJR model. The Jaguar XF sports sedan powered by a 240-hp turbocharged four cylinder, a 340-hp supercharged V6 in rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive configurations, a 470-hp supercharged V8, a 510-hp Supercharged V8 in the XFR, and a 550-hp Supercharged V8 in the XFR-S. The XK coupe and convertible grand touring cars are powered by either a 385-hp V8 or a 510-hp supercharged V8 in the XKR. Jaguar also offers its highest performance models ever, the 2014 Jaguar XKR-S coupe and convertible with a 550-hp supercharged V8.  The 2014 MY Jaguar F-TYPE convertible comes in three variants, 340-hp F-TYPE, 380-hp F-TYPE S and 495-hp F-TYPE V8 S.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Lamborghini produces the final Gallado which has become its most popular ever.

  • Ten years of an Italian Icon
  • The 'most sold' Lamborghini super sports car
  • Still best in class with record lap times
In the historic factory buildings of Sant'Agata Bolognese, the last Lamborghini Gallardo has left the production line. The final model is a Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante in Rosso Mars (red) and it is destined for a private collector. With a total of 14,022 units the Gallardo is not only by far the most-built Lamborghini, it ranks among the most successful super sports cars -- and has long since established itself as an icon of Italian design and the art of automotive engineering.

With its appearance ten years ago in the year of the company's 40th anniversary, the Gallardo marked a fundamental watershed in the history of Automobili Lamborghini. In Lamborghini's first four decades, an average of just 250 Lamborghinis were built per year. In the decade of the Gallardo, production grew to a whole new dimension with volumes of around 2,000 cars per year on average -- while, in global terms, retaining the highly exclusive nature of vehicles bearing the badge of the bull. In keeping with the Lamborghini tradition, the name of the Gallardo too was derived from the world of bullfighting. Bred in the 18th century, the Gallardo bloodline was known for its exceptional courage and undaunted nature.

The great career of the Lamborghini Gallardo began in 2003 at the Geneva Motor Show. Its unique, extreme design, created by the Centro Stile Lamborghini, phenomenal dynamics and outstanding quality formed the basis for its enormous and enduring success over a whole decade. The Gallardo's technical concept was compelling from day one: systematic lightweight design through an aluminium space frame; the combined power and high revving characteristics of the ten-cylinder naturally aspirated engine; the Lamborghini e-gear, a completely new robotized sequential gear shifting system; and, finally, the amazing handling and safety provided by permanent all-wheel drive.

This notwithstanding, an enhancement in the driving experience was already in the pipeline - the open-air driving thrill of the Gallardo Spyder, which joined the lineup in 2005. The Gallardo Superleggera came along in 2007. With its reduced weight, thanks to a large number of carbon fiber components, its output increased to 530 hp and with its purist design, pushed the performance benchmark yet another notch higher.

The second generation of the Gallardo arrived in 2008. With a redesigned front and rear, a new engine with gasoline direct injection and 560 hp, plus further-enhanced equipment, the Gallardo LP 560-4 proved that even an excellent product can be improved. The second-generation Spyder was also delivered to its first customers in 2008. The new version of the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera followed in 2010 with an increase in output to 570 hp, this time also as the open-top Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante. Occupying another niche in the broad spectrum of Gallardo versions were the LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni limited edition and the LP 550-2 Spyder: with their rear wheel drive, they appealed to a particularly purist group of sports car fans.

The pinnacle of sporting performance among the total of 32 Gallardo variants was marked by the Super Trofeo Stradale and, finally, the Gallardo Squadra Corse. They draw a direct line from the competition version in the world's fasted single-brand race series, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, to the road. The LP 570-4 Squadra Corse, in particular, demonstrated in several comparison tests just how outstanding the Gallardo still is. In specialist magazines from Quattroruote in Italy, through Car in the United Kingdom to
Sport Auto in Germany, the Gallardo continued to prove right up to the end of its career that it was still the clear frontrunner in terms of performance, handling and driving pleasure, setting a best-in-class lap time in Hockenheim (Germany) and record lap times in Balocco and Vairano (Italy).

The Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse boasts a dry weight of 1340 kilograms, 70 less than the already lean Gallardo LP 560-4. With a stunning power-toweight ratio of 2.35 kilograms per hp it delivers breathtaking performance: from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, from 0 to 200 km/h in just 10.4 seconds.

Top speed is 320 km/h. The carbon ceramic brake system guarantees unmatched stopping power.

The Lamborghini Gallardo was sold in more than 45 countries across the globe. In true Italian style, the Gallardo offered an exceptionally high range of choices for individualization. Via the ''Ad Personam'' program, each and every customer was able to have his Lamborghini V10 super sports car perfectly
tailored to suit his own preferences. A whole decade of production also brought with it a wide array of special editions, often exclusive to specific markets, like the Singapore, Malaysia, China and India Editions. One particularly exclusive version of the super sports car gained global prominence through its very special service record: several units were built of the Gallardo Polizia Stradale with blue lights, special paintwork and dedicated equipment. Two are currently in service with the Italian State Police.

The Gallardo continues to prove its motorsport competence, racing in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo. Alongside European race tracks, this fascinating one make series has now also conquered the circuits of Asia and North America with its own series in those regions. The Gallardo GT3 has also
celebrated numerous successes at sports car races around the globe.

In the year of Automobili Lamborghini's 50th anniversary, the Gallardo success story has now come to an end with car number 14,022. Almost half of all 30,000 Lamborghinis built since the company was first founded in 1963, are Gallardos.

USA - Nissan announces 2014 cube pricing unchanged from 2013

Nissan today announced U.S. pricing for the 2014 Nissan cube®, which is on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide. Prices remain unchanged from 2013, with a starting M.S.R.P.* of $16,760 USD. One new exterior color is offered for 2014 - Caspian Sea, which replaces the previous Bitter Chocolate. A bold palette of eight colors is offered, along with Black or Light Gray interiors.

The cube continues to stand out in a crowd with unique design elements such as the wraparound rear window, 58.1 cubic feet of cargo space and six standard air bags. The front-wheel drive cube is built on Nissan's proven B-platform and features a standard 122-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine and a choice of Nissan's advanced, smooth shifting Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) or 6-speed manual transmission.  The 2014 cube provides excellent fuel efficiency of 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with the CVT transmission.**

The Nissan cube® is available in three trim levels: S 6MT, S CVT and SL CVT. The SL CVT offers an optional SL Preferred Package which includes fog lights, Nissan Navigation System with 5.0-inch touch screen, NavTraffic®, RearView Monitor, Rockford Fosgate 8-inch subwoofer and amplifier, six upgraded speakers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), and USB connection port for iPod® interface and other compatible devices.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices* (MSRP) for the 2014 Nissan cube are:

cube 1.8 S 6MT $16,760 USD
cube 1.8 S CVT $17,760 USD
cube 1.8 SL CVT $18,860 USD
Destination and Handling $810 USD

USA - Viper TA special edition set to become a classic

  • Viper TA (Time Attack) Special Edition spec-package offers track enthusiasts a turn-key track set-up
  • SRT brand offers Viper TA in three exclusive, limited-edition colors - 93 units in special “TA Orange” exterior paint color, 33 units will be built in Venom Black and 33 in Bright White
  • TA will begin to arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2013

Posting a fast lap time on a road course requires a combination of driver skill and a properly balanced high-performance machine. The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) team delivers half that equation with the 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack).

The street-legal SRT Viper TA is specifically built for the performance enthusiast driver who likes to exercise their machines at the more than 150 road-race courses around North America.

Based on the SRT model, the lightest Viper in the lineup, the TA Special Edition Package builds upon the vehicle’s ultra-low center of gravity, 50/50 weight distribution and largest contact patch in the production car world. The Viper TA uses chassis parts developed specifically by the SRT chassis dynamics team to attain the most out of the race-car-like chassis and create the most confidence inspiring Viper ever. SRT developed new spring rates, dampers, sway bars and brake components, combined as a system with the Viper’s available Advanced Aerodynamics Package, to create one of the most track-capable production cars in the world. The changes keep the SRT Viper TA glued to the track, while the brake system is enhanced for improved balance and to resist thermal saturation during track work.

“The new 2014 SRT Viper TA is engineered for the serious performance enthusiast who needs a car that can be driven daily yet has mind-boggling limits on a road course that would rival many track-only cars. As one of the best handling and fastest supercars available on the market today, the TA enables our customers to take their passion for high performance driving to the next level,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO — SRT Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “The SRT engineering team set out to create a world-class supercar that has few competitors on the track or the road at any price.”

Key high-performance equipment for the 2014 SRT Viper TA Special Edition includes:

  • Unique race-tuned calibration for the two-mode Bilstein DampTronic suspension system, retuned springs, shocks and road-racing derived sway bars offer firmer levels of damping and a smaller spread between modes than what is found on the Viper GTS
  • Lighter, carbon fiber structural X-brace replaces the standard aluminum brace under the hood and ties the four corners of the engine compartment together, contributing to the 50-percent increase in torsional rigidity and stiffness across the Viper lineup
  • New Brembo two-piece, 32-millimeters wide, high-thermal capacity rotors and pads that optimize heat dissipation providing improved extreme use
  • Advanced Aerodynamics Package includes carbon fiber front splitters and rear spoiler to boost downforce at higher speeds – up to a 700-percent increase at 150 mph 

Standard Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are mounted on ultra-lightweight, multi-spoke Sidewinder II wheels. The brake calipers feature a black anodized finish with the Viper logo shown in TA Orange.

A carbon fiber rear applique accentuates the rear width proportions and adds another level of detail.

Under the hood of the 2014 SRT Viper TA is the handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4-liter, mid-front V-10 overhead-valve engine. Performance ratings are 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.

Inside, the performance driver-oriented cabin of the 2014 SRT Viper TA uses the same standard premium ballistic fabric racing seats from Sabelt, featuring a lightweight fiberglass shell created by a state-of-the-art resin transfer molding technology for mass reduction and long-term durability. Both driver and passenger seats can also accommodate a 3- or 6-point harness for racing belts.

The standard black interior combination includes unique orange accent stitching on the cloth seats, instrument panel (through the cowl), center stack, console, pull brake, shifter boot, shifter head, steering wheel and upper doors.

Curb weight is 3,390 pounds.

Production of the 2014 SRT Viper TA is underway at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.  Vehicles will begin to arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2013.

About SRT Brand

The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its performance roots.

The SRT lineup in the 2013 model year features five vehicles that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. The Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 are joined by the SRT flagship Viper and Viper GTS models, which are making their highly anticipated return to the high-performance sports car market.

USA - For to offer even more CNG vehicles with the addition of the F-150

  • 2014 Ford F-150 launches with gaseous-fuel prep option on the 3.7-liter V6 engine; it will be able to run on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas
  • By next summer, Ford will offer eight vehicles that can run on clean-burning, inexpensive CNG/LPG and puts the company on track to sell more than 15,000 such vehicles this year
  • Nearly 20 states now offer or soon will offer tax incentives or rebates for CNG-converted vehicles
  • Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers offer a wide variety of CNG options to help customers find the most cost-effective solution to their diverse operating needs

Ford, America’s truck leader, began production of the 2014 F-150 with the ability to run on compressed natural gas, making Ford the only manufacturer with an available CNG/LPG-capable half-ton pickup.

The 2014 Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 engine is available with a factory-installed, gaseous-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, and pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.

When equipped with a bi-fuel CNG/LPG engine package, the 3.7-liter V6 F-150 is capable of achieving more than 750 miles on combined tanks of gasoline and CNG, depending on the tank sizes selected. The Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 has an EPA-estimated rating of 23 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined.

“Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel’s low price and clean emissions,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager.

CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $6,000 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.

CNG conversions can provide stability against fluctuating fuel prices as well as lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.10 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel. The national average for unleaded regular fuel is $3.29 per gallon.

Customers also can accelerate the payback period by taking advantage of a growing number of state incentives. Nearly 20 states – including Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida – offer or soon will provide tax incentives or rebates for CNG-converted vehicles. In Florida, fleet customers will be eligible for rebates of up to $25,000 beginning in 2014.

Most CNG options
By next summer, Ford will offer eight commercial vehicles with a gaseous-prep option, a number no other full-line manufacturer can match:

  • Transit Connect van and wagon
  • Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
  • E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis
  • F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab
  • F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550)
  • F-650 medium-duty truck
  • F53 and F59 stripped chassis
  • 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup

Customers are enthusiastically responding to this powerful array of choices. Since reintroducing the option in 2009, Ford has established itself as the leader in CNG/LPG engine sales. The company is on pace to sell more than 15,000 CNG/LPG-prepped vehicles this year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012.

AT&T is one of many Ford fleet customers that are finding value in CNG. The communications giant recently purchased 650 F-350 chassis cabs with the CNG-prep option.

“We’re almost halfway to our company-wide goal of deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of 2018,” said Jerome Webber, AT&T vice president, global fleet operations. “Vehicles such as CNG F-350s from Ford have helped us avoid purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over the past five years while reducing our fleet’s emissions.”

Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers
Ford has established a rigorous qualification program for alternative-fuel vehicle modifiers. The QVM program is intended to help modifiers achieve greater levels of customer satisfaction and product acceptance through the manufacture of high-quality vehicles.

Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers offer a wide variety of CNG/LPG options to help customers find the most cost-effective solution to their diverse operating needs. Ford maintains the engine and powertrain limited warranty (five years or 60,000 miles); the modifier is responsible for the system component warranty.

Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is mainly composed of methane. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of approximately 3,600 psi. About 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically.

Another benefit of this alternative fuel includes cleaner emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certifies CNG usage can result in up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

USA - Infiniti Q30 Concept debuts in North America for 2015 launch

The Infiniti Q30 Concept, the next step in Infiniti's strategy to expand into new premium segments, made its North American debut  at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The sleek, seductive Q30 Concept is the design vision for a compact Infiniti vehicle with a contemporary, individualized character for a new generation of premium customers. The compact premium segment is forecast for significant growth with the entry of young-minded affluent customers.

"The Infiniti Q30 Concept is highly predictive of a new head-turning premium compact that we will launch in early 2015," said Michael Bartsch, vice-president, Infiniti Americas. "It is the perfect addition to our current portfolio of advanced sports sedans and coupes, luxury performance crossovers and full-size SUVs."

"The Q30 Concept has a compact footprint geared to the global trend of younger customers entering the premium sector in search of a product that suits their urban lifestyle," added Bartsch. "The concept's vision is to be the alternative to the practicality and conformity in the compact car segment."

The Q30 Concept shares key Infiniti design cues with the new 2014 Infiniti Q50, while charting even more adventurous design language and sculpting. It also incorporates dramatic design cues from visionary Infiniti concept vehicles - Essence, Etherea and Emerg-e.

The shape of the Infiniti Q30 Concept deliberately challenges convention – fusing the dynamic design and sportiness of a coupe, the roominess of a hatchback and the higher stance and visual presence of a crossover. Infiniti designers were given the freedom to explore seductive alternatives to traditional premium automobile brands.

The result is a very modern design with a sleek silhouette, dynamic character and artistically sculpted, individualistic interior design. It features a dramatic exterior shape, particularly the body sides, which include bold sections, deep undercuts and intersecting lines.

"Research among the new generation of buyers - with Gen X and Gen Y soon to represent 80 percent of the market - shows an increasing rejection of traditional notions toward premium cars," said Bartsch. "These buyers are less willing to connect size, presence and high-output power as key ingredients of the premium product. Rather, they're looking more for balance, great design and outstanding execution."

The bespoke feel of the Q30 Concept's interior design envisions Infiniti's ambition of interior design and quality leading the premium segment. With its warm, inviting and emotionally engaging experience, the Q30 Concept eschews the more clinical approach found in other premium brands.

The designers achieved this through pursuing highly sculptural shapes, featuring a unique execution of Infiniti's "dual wave" effect and pursuing the notion of dissymmetry. Dissymmetry, an unconventional approach, orients design features - from air vents and armrests to the instrument clusters - for more sculpted visual appeal.

The overall effect is enhanced by the harmonious contrast of materials in the cabin. The initial impression is a black-and-white theme, but closer examination reveals a richer feel characterized by cream leathers and a slight bronze effect adding warmth to blacks, creating sumptuous warmth.

Just as younger premium customers have embraced furniture design, fashion and clothing, Q30 Concept's interior conveys an understated expression of personality for its target customer. The careful choices of colors, materials, contrasts and accents express thoughtful coordination.

Reflecting the value these buyers place on connectivity, the Q30 Concept also offers a level of technologies and features, such as Infiniti InTouch, not typically found in compact cars.

"Younger and younger-minded premium customers inspired the Q30 Concept design team. They feel their lives are no longer aligned to one straight line in terms of career or lifestyle," said Bartsch. "Today is more about fluidity than rigidity, and that offers the freedom not to follow the norms important to a previous generation. The Infiniti Q30 Concept's vision is to be the ideal car for them."

USA - 2014 Honda Accord names green car of the year.

  • 2014 Accord environmental leadership highlighted by all-new EPA-rated 50 mpg city Accord Hybrid and EPA-rated 115 MPGe combined Accord Plug-In
  • Accord joins Civic Natural Gas as the second Honda vehicle to earn "Green Car of the Year" award in past three years

The 2014 Honda Accord, America's top-selling car with retail car customers (1), has been named the "2014 Green Car of the Year®" by Green Car Journal.  The award recognizes the class-leading environmental performance of the Accord family of vehicles, including the fuel-efficient and low emissions Accord 4-cylinder and V-6 Coupe and Sedan, the EPA-rated 50 mpg city Accord Hybrid and the EPA-rated 115 MPGe combined Accord Plug-in Hybrid.

"Led by the 2014 Accord Hybrid, the entire Accord lineup really embodies the promise of the Honda brand to deliver both fun-to-drive enjoyment and outstanding fuel efficiency at the highest level," said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of Automobile Operations at American Honda. "I want to say thank you to Green Car Journal, not just for honoring Accord, but for shining a spotlight on the environment and our shared vision for an ultra-low carbon future."

2014 Green Car of the Year® jurorsselected the Accord as the winning model for many reasons, not the least of which is its ability to offer an efficient choice for a wide range of buyers, from those seeking better fuel efficiency in a conventionally powered model to those desiring the milestone efficiency of a world-class hybrid or plug-in hybrid. In addition to the "Green Car of the Year" honor, the Accord was earlier honored as one of Green Car Journal's 'Top 5 Green Cars for 2014' and additionally earned the magazine's 'Green Car Product of Excellence' distinction.

"With its efficient internal combustion, hybrid, and plug-in choices, the 2014 Honda Accord delivers exactly what consumers are looking for today," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. "It all comes together this year for the Accord in ways that speak to significant environmental performance built into a mainstream, volume model that's a joy to drive. The Accord is a deserving winner of Green Car Journal's 2014 Green Car of the Year."

The 2014 Accord is the second Honda brand vehicle named as "Green Car of the Year" in the past three years, joining the 2012 Civic Natural Gas, which netted the distinction in 2011.

2014 Honda Accord
The 2014 Accord lineup features Honda's innovative Earth Dreams™ Technology powertrains, including Honda's next-generation 2.4-liter, direct-injected 4-cylinder engine with continuously variable transmission or 6-speed manual transmission. The Accord Plug-In, with an 115 MPGe combined EPA fuel-economy rating, and the Accord Hybrid Sedan, with a class-leading 50 mpg EPA city fuel-economy rating, are powered an all-new highly efficient Atkinson cycle engine and two-motor hybrid system2. Fuel efficiency is the best ever for Accord in the EPA Midsize class, with 4-cylinder models earning a 36 mpg highway EPA rating2 and the V-6 models garnering a 34 mpg highway EPA rating (2).

In addition to fuel economy ratings leadership, the Accord has continually led the industry in meeting strict emissions standards. The Accord Plug-In is the first vehicle to achieve SULEV 20 emissions standards, with the lowest tailpipe emissions of any ICE vehicle currently available. Additionally the Accord was the first vehicle to meet ULEV (1998) and SULEV (2000) emissions standards.

Accord was the most popular midsize passenger car in America through September of 2013, based on sales to individual (non-fleet) car buyers, according to new vehicle registration data from R.L. Polk.

About Green Car of the Year®
The Green Car of the Year award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. CarsOfChange.com presents 'green car' articles online along with a focus on infotainment and connectivity. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

The 2014 Green Car of the Year® jurors include leaders of many of the nation's most notable environmental and energy efficiency organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy; Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Dr. Alan Lloyd, president of the International Council on Clean Transportation and former head of the California Air Resources Board and Cal/EPA. Auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno and Green Car Journal editors round out the jury.

Honda Environmental Leadership
Honda is committed to further advancements in fuel efficiency, with a focus on the broad application of technologies such as VTEC™ and Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™), and the expanded application of Honda hybrid technology. In October 2011, Honda debuted a new lineup of advanced gasoline engines using new 'Earth Dreams' powertrain technology, which will serve as the foundational technology to advance the fuel efficiency of Honda and Acura vehicles. Honda has also led the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since 2000, and a Honda vehicle has topped the list of America's greenest vehicles from the America Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for 15 consecutive years.

1 Based on sales to individual (non-fleet) car buyers, according to new vehicle registration data from R.L. Polk through September 2013.
2 Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

USA - Saleen legend lives on with 10 car limited editions from Ford, Chevy and Dodge

Ten Car Limited Runs for Saleen 302 Mustang, 620 Camaro, and 570 Challenger on the Way

Saleen Automotive, Inc. An American specialty manufacturer of high performance vehicles, technical performance parts, lifestyle accessories and apparel, is pleased to announce that to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Steve Saleen as a specialty vehicle manufacturer, the Company will be producing three variations of its SA-30 model.

As the sixth edition in the SA series, the Saleen Anniversary series vehicles have become well known and coveted among collectors and enthusiasts for their exclusivity and extremely low production numbers. Each anniversary edition vehicle also traditionally boasts a balanced blend of Saleen legacy and future enhancements.

"Every five years, I celebrate the achievements with the automotive community through a commemorative vehicle," said Steve Saleen, CEO, Saleen Automotive. "This year I am delighted to release three variations of our SA-30 model that will capture the essence of Saleen style and performance that will truly place elegance and power in the hands of the very few."

A total of thirty Saleen SA-30 vehicles will be produced with ten of each model; Saleen 620 Camaro, 570 Challenger, and 302 Mustang. Although each Saleen model is based on a different platform, all Saleen SA-30 vehicles will share a common theme: Saleen Racing Heritage.

With such limited production for each car, availability is expected to end quickly for these exclusive models. MSRP for the SA-30 model is set at $95,000 before options. Orders for this and other Saleen vehicles can be placed today at Saleen dealers nationwide, or by contacting Saleen directly for a personalized ordering process which concludes at the nearest Saleen Authorized Dealership. For more information visit www.saleen.com

USA - Chevy announces new models added to the Sonic range.

Chevrolet has announced two new sedan options to the Sonic lineup in 2014 – the performance-inspired RS and the stylish Dusk – further demonstrating the brand’s commitment to the subcompact segment and to offering younger buyers expressive options at affordable prices.

The suggested retail price for the 2014 Sonic RS sedan starts at $20,530 including $825 destination. Sonic Dusk starts at $20,945 including destination. Title and license fees are extra.

“Keeping the Sonic lineup fresh and offering consumers more choice is a priority for Chevrolet,” said Cristi Landy, marketing director for Chevrolet small cars.  “The Sonic RS and Dusk sedans offer all of the great attributes that have made the Sonic a popular choice in the subcompact segment and they add performance and design cues.”

Sonic RS sedan
The performance-inspired Sonic RS sedan joins the RS hatchback in the lineup and is powered by the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine rated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 Nm). Unique transmission gearing in the six-speed manual, or a 3.53 final drive ratio for automatic-equipped models, along with a sport-tuned suspension and lowered ride height, enhances the car’s performance feel.

One of the most dramatic Sonic RS cues is its front fascia, which has a deep air dam design that enhances the car’s road-hugging stance. Vertical intakes at the edges of the fascia reinforce a wide, low proportion and house the fog lamps.  Interior refinements include:

  • Aluminum sport pedals
  • A sport three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting stitching, and a racing-inspired flat-bottom design
  • Leather-appointed front bucket seats with red RS accents to the sportier appearance.
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings are the same as the Sonic RS hatchback – 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with the manual transmission.

The Sonic RS sedan will initially be available in three color combinations: Black Granite Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic or Summit White, all with Jet Black leather-appointed interiors.

Sonic Dusk
The Sonic Dusk sedan, first shown as a concept at the 2011 SEMA Show, brings sophistication and style to the subcompact market. Unique exterior appointments include a ground effects package, rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum wheels with a Midnight Silver matte finish and four-wheel disc brakes – unique to Dusk and RS.

The Sonic Dusk comes exclusively in Ashen Grey Metallic, with a distinctive matte appearance on the upper and lower grilles, door handle inserts and rear license plate trim. Stainless steel lower window moldings add an upscale accent to the body. Inside are Jet Black leather-trimmed seats with sueded microfiber accents and Mojave tan inserts.

Sonic Dusk is powered by the Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine, rated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and matched with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings are 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, with the manual transmission.

Also new in 2014, Chevrolet is introducing performance parts that enhance Sonic’s handling, braking and performance. The Chevrolet Performance parts include

  • 1.4L Turbo Stage Kit with high-flow exhaust boosting the car up 10 horsepower and 15 lb-ft of torque
  • Cold-air induction
  • Suspension kit with lowered ride height
  • Brake package with Wilwood front calipers
  • 18-inch wheel-and-tire package. 
  • These parts join appearance accessories announced in 2013.

Both models go on sale in spring 2014 and will be manufactured at Orion Assembly in Michigan. Sonic is the only subcompact assembled in America.

The Chevrolet Sonic and Spark are the first vehicles to offer Siri Eyes Free integration. Through the cars' available Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, customers with a compatible iPhone* running iOS6 or iOS7 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they safely keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

Also, the available BringGo navigation app, the most affordable navigation system in its class, offers easy-to-use features that included 3-D maps with lane suggestions, live traffic data, and more.