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.

Friday, 3 January 2014

IRELAND - AUDI remains #1 premium brand for 5th year.

Audi is Ireland's most popular premium brand for the fifth consecutive year

Audi Ireland today announced total sales figures for 2013 of 3,687 units ensuring a record Irish market share of 5%. An increase in both sales volume and market share year-on-year cement Audi as Ireland’s number one premium car brand for the fifth year running.

Despite the total car market being down 7% in 2013, Audi’s unrivalled product development and continued investment in its dealer network has ensured sustained growth of 1%.

Christian Gussen, Managing Director of Audi Ireland commented; “2013 was another successful year at Audi Ireland and we are delighted that Audi remains the number one premium car brand of choice for Irish motorists for the fifth year in a row and we sold over one third of all premium cars in Ireland last year.

“Our continued success can be attributed to the strength of our product portfolio. For example look at the strong performance of the sleeker, sportier and more fuel efficient Audi A3, the new saloon and sportback models playing a significant role in our success this year with an increase in sales of over 60% for this model. Great product is supported by unrivalled customer service and flexible finance solutions.

“2014 will be another challenging year for the Irish motor industry but our early signs are positive and we look forward to starting the new 141 registration period with increased momentum behind us.”

MEXICO - Chrysler Group announces December sales across all brands.

  • FIAT brand sales, driven by Fiat 500, up 111 percent during December 2013, marking this its best sales year since its launch
  • Ram Crew Cab increased its sales volume 29 percent during December 2013
  • Jeep® brand sales grew 5 percent, led by Jeep Patriot and Jeep Grand Cherokee; Jeep Cherokee has arrived in dealerships, well accepted
  • Dodge brand sales propelled by Dodge Journey, which registered sales of 1,579 units — its best sales month in the last two years; Dodge Challenger registered sales of 96 units, best sales month ever and Dodge Durango sold 196 units, marking this its best sales month in five years

Chrysler de Mexico announced sales of 10,473 units for the month of December 2013, setting a sales record for the year.
“As the year ends, we feel very proud of what we accomplished. We closed 2013 with our best month of sales for the year. This month our sales were driven by Dodge Journey, Jeep Patriot, Ram Crew Cab and Fiat 500," said Bruno Cattori, President & CEO of Chrysler de Mexico. "Our new product launches, such as Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Cherokee and Ram ProMaster, pushed our growth sales for the year. During 2013, we opened the Saltillo Van Assembly Plant and added a production line in the Saltillo North Engine Plant, creating new jobs and demonstrating the confidence the Company has in the products assembled in Mexico. We will continue providing new and revamped products in order to satisfy our customers’ needs.”

Chrysler Brand
Chrysler brand continues to perform well with 520 units sold during December 2013. Chrysler Town & Country sales rose 2 percent. Chrysler 200 sold 112 units during December 2013.

Jeep® Brand
Jeep brand sales grew 5 percent. Jeep Patriot led brand sales with 984 units sold, best sales month of the year. Jeep Grand Cherokee posted sales of 632 units, representing an increase of 15 percent. Jeep Wrangler sales improved 27 percent, all versus December 2012. Jeep Cherokee has had very good acceptance among Mexican customers in its second sales month.

Dodge Brand
Dodge brand continues its streak of successful numbers, posting sales this month of 3,894 units. The Dodge Challenger sold 96 units, best sales month ever, while the Dodge Durango registered a sales increase of 32 percent — its best sales month in 5 years. Dodge Journey sales surged 7 percent versus December 2012, with 1,579 units, marking this its best sales month in two years. Dodge Avenger sales grew 16 percent.

Ram Truck Brand
Ram brand showed sales of 1,371. Ram Crew Cab reported a sales increase of 29 percent, with 503 units sold during December 2013. Ram ProMaster, proudly assembled in Mexico, registered sales of 151 units.

FIAT and Alfa Romeo Brand
FIAT and Alfa Romeo achieved sales of 108 percent, with 1,013 units sold. Fiat 500 reached excellent results with 432 units sold during December 2013. Fiat Ducato sales surged 45 percent. This month, Alfa Romeo Giulietta sales improved 60 percent, marking this its best sales month since its launch.

USA - Ford announces sales for year end and December, Still the #1 brand

  • Ford brand 2013 retail sales up 14 percent, with cars up 12 percent, utilities up 13 percent, trucks up 17 percent; Ford is best-selling brand for fourth consecutive year
  • Ford Motor Company total December sales up 2 percent, with retail sales up 3 percent for best December since 2005
  • Ford Fusion sales up 27 percent for a record December; both Ford Fusion and Ford Fiesta hit annual sales records in 2013
  •  Ford Escape sales up 22 percent, helping the vehicle to an annual sales record in 2013
  •  Ford F-Series tops 70,000 sales following eight straight months of sales above 60,000 vehicles; F-Series now best-selling truck for 37 years and best-selling vehicle for 32 years

Ford reigns as America’s best-selling vehicle brand in 2013 for a fourth consecutive year, with annual sales records set for Ford Fiesta, Fusion and Escape, and F-Series continuing as the country’s best-selling truck and vehicle for another straight year.
Ford Motor Company 2013 U.S. sales totaled 2,493,918 vehicles. For December, total sales are 218,058 vehicles up 2 percent – with retail up 3 percent.

Ford brand U.S. retail sales are up 14 percent for the year. Overall, the Ford brand closes out 2013 with 2,412,224 vehicles sold. Ford produced double-digit annual retail gains across its lineup – cars up 12, utilities up 13 percent, and trucks are up 17 percent – with higher average transaction prices. Retail sales gains for the Ford brand are strongest in the West, where sales are up 21 percent, and the Southeast, with sales up 17 percent for the year.

“December was a strong close to an even better year for Ford Motor Company,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “We saw strong growth across the entire Ford lineup and made significant gains in the import-dominated coastal markets.

“Strong demand for our new cars, utilities, hybrids and trucks provided Ford with the largest share point gain of any full-line automaker in 2013,” Felice continued.

Ford Fusion December performance is up 27 percent with 24,408 sales, setting a record for the month. Fusion sales of 295,280 vehicles in 2013 represent a 22 percent increase, setting an annual record.

Fusion continues to be a significant driver to the company’s growth in the U.S. western and southeastern regions, where retail sales are up 61 percent and 29 percent, respectively in 2013.

Ford Fiesta sales of 71,073 vehicles for the year mark a record, as well – and up 25 percent over 2012.

Ford Escape sales are up 22 percent for the month, with 24,462 vehicles sold. For the year, Escape sales of 295,993 vehicles represent a 13 percent gain, setting an annual record.

December sales of 74,592 Ford F-Series vehicles extend the truck’s string of selling more than 60,000 units a month to eight. Sales of 763,402 F-Series vehicles in 2013 represent the truck’s highest level since 2006. F-Series remains America’s best-selling truck for 37 straight years and the country’s best-selling vehicle for 32 consecutive years.

Lincoln MKZ December sales increase 73 percent, with 2,823 cars sold, providing the Lincoln brand with an overall increase of 8 percent.

USA - AUDI reveals sales for December and Year end, all good here !

  • With December 2013 coming in as 36th consecutive record sales month, Audi concluded its fourth record year in a row
  • December 2013 sales of 17,013 stand as the first time Audi sold more than 15,000 vehicles in any month
  • Audi Q5 finishes as the best selling model for Audi in the US in 2013; strong demand seen throughout product lineup in 2013

Audi achieved its fourth-consecutive year of record U.S. demand by recording full-year sales of 158,061, a 13.5% increase over the previous annual record set a year earlier.
In addition, Audi set an all-time monthly sales record in December 2013 with sales of 17,013 new models, a 14.6% improvement over the previous monthly sales record set in December 2012. The most recent month also stands as the first time Audi monthly sales have ever topped 15,000 vehicles. December 2013 was also established the 36th consecutive monthly sales record for Audi in the U.S. market.

“After 36 consecutive record sales months, 2013 was another year to thank America for embracing Audi,” said Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “These record results show the payoff from our longstanding strategy to build the Audi brand through exciting products, committed dealer partners and a sustainable business model.”

December results were bolstered by sales of Audi luxury SUVs, with a record month for the Audi Q5 crossover posting a 32.2% gain in December with 4,794 units delivered for the month. Sales of the Audi Q7 increased 52.6% to 2,279 vehicles sold for the month. Year-to-date sales for the Audi Q5 increased 40.8% to a total of 40,355 vehicles sold for the year, while YTD sales for the Audi Q7 increased 45.1% to a total of 15,978 vehicles.

Through December, sales of the Audi A6, A7, A8 and Q7 made up one of every three models the brand sold. That compares to a 19% mix for the most exclusive models just four years ago.

Luxury sedan sales remain strong as the Audi A6 increased 43.3% to 2,686 vehicles sold for the month, while YTD sales increased 18.1% to 22,428 vehicles sold.

There has been high demand for the updated 2014 Audi R8 models, including the Audi R8 V8, Audi R8 V10 and Audi R8 V10 plus. Customers have responded well to the changes in the vehicle’s transmission showing an increase of sales to 37.3% MTD.

December 2013 was also the top sales result for Audi Certified pre-owned vehicles sales with an increase of 21.1% for the month, to a total of 4,022 vehicles. For the full year, Audi CPO sales increased 10.2% to a total of 40,190 vehicles, also an all-time record for Audi of America.


  • • Sales of Audi premium category vehicles (Audi A6, Audi A7, Audi A8, and Audi Q7) increased 19.2% YTD, representing 33.7% of total Audi sales year-to-date and 46% of the Audi year-to-date sales gain.
  • • Sales mix for Audi S performance variants finished the month at 16.1% for the S4 sedan; 39.7% for the S5/ RS 5; 4.6% for the S6; 26.1% for the S7 and RS 7; 10.2% for the S8; 27% for the TTS / TT RS and TTS Roadster, and 8.6% for the SQ5 crossover. 
  • • Sales of Audi A6 increased 43.3% compared to December 2012; YTD sales grew 18.1% compared to previous period.
  • • Sales of the Audi Q5 increased 32.2% compared to December 2012; YTD sales grew 40.8% compared to previous period. 
  • • Sales of the Audi Q7 increased 52.6% compared to December 2012; YTD sales grew 45.1% compared to previous period.
  • • Audi R8 sales up 37.3% compared to December 2012.
  • • Sales mix for Audi A6 TDI finished the month at 12.5%, for the Audi A7 TDI at 11%, for the A8 TDI to 12.8%, the Audi Q5 TDI at 16%, and for the Audi Q7 TDI at 28.7%.
  • • Audi Certified pre-owned sales increased 21.1% to 4,022 vehicles in December; YTD increased 10.2% to 40,190 vehicles sold. 
  • • The Audi A3 is being phased out in advance of the all-new A3 sedan arriving in the U.S. market next spring.

USA - 2.8 million sold in the US for General Motors Co.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) dealers delivered 2.8 million vehicles in the United States in 2013. Retail sales increased 11 percent and total sales were up 7 percent compared with 2012.

Dealers delivered 230,157 vehicles in December, down 6 percent versus a year ago. Retail sales were down 6 percent and fleet sales were down 9 percent.

“2013 was the year that GM and the auto industry put the last traces of the recession in the rearview mirror, so now we can devote our full attention to the things that matter most to customers: compelling design, world-class quality and delivering the best ownership experience in the business,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president, U.S. sales operations. “GM has laid a strong foundation to pursue all of these goals. We have announced more than $10 billion in capital investments in the United States since 2009 and plowed billions more into R&D to refresh our product portfolio at twice the rate of the last few years.”

Major upcoming launches include all-new large SUVs for Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet, the award-winning Cadillac ELR and all-new heavy-duty and mid-size pickups for Chevrolet and GMC.

In addition, GM will begin the industry’s largest deployment of high-speed mobile broadband later this year. Additional details will be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.

2013 Highlights (versus 2012)

  • GM became the first American auto company in history to top the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, with eight individual model awards, including five for Chevrolet.
  • Chevrolet redesigned iconic products, including the Silverado 1500, Corvette and Impala, all of which won numerous awards for product excellence.
  • Cadillac finished the year as the industry’s fastest-growing full-line luxury brand.
  • Buick had its best sales year since 2006 as the brand expanded into new segments with the Verano sedan and the Encore small crossover.
  • The all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 helped the company increase its full-size pickup sales by 14 percent. 
  • GMC sales were the strongest since 2007, and the Sierra now has the highest average transaction prices of any full-size pickup truck line in the industry, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.
  • Overall, GM’s share of the $40,000 and up light-duty pickup segment, which is about one-third of the market, has increased 7 percentage points to 36 percent.
  • Combined sales of GM’s mini, small and compact cars increased by 10 percent, bolstered by best-ever sales of the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze, and a remarkable year for the new Chevrolet Spark, which saw more than 34,000 deliveries. 
  • Crossover deliveries were strong all year long, increasing by 14 percent. New products like the Buick Encore drove the growth along with stalwarts like the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, which had their best sales years ever.  The GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave also had their best years ever.

December Sales Highlights (vs. 2012)

  • Sales in the fourth quarter increased 6 percent and December’s volume was the highest since August. 
  • The Chevrolet Corvette had its best December sales since 2006.
  • The redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and the all-new Impala were up 33 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
  • Crossover and SUV sales were strong, with the Chevrolet Traverse and Tahoe, and the GMC Acadia and Yukon XL all posting higher sales. The Acadia was up 53 percent, for its best-ever December.
  • Small business customers took delivery of 26,231 vehicles in December up 20 percent. For the year, small business deliveries were up 35 percent. 

“December started a little slow but sales were stronger later in the month, especially in the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” McNeil said.  “We didn’t make any big changes to our ‘go-to-market’ strategy during the month, which is to offer competitive incentives and market aggressively, and we are carrying good momentum heading into January.”

USA - Got $75,000 ? then get the new Camaro Z/28, the muscle car of the year.

Chevrolet today announced the 2014 Camaro Z/28 will go on sale this spring with a suggested retail price of $75,000, including a $995 destination charge, but excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees.

The new Z/28 is offered in five exterior colors – Red Hot, Black, Silver Ice Metallic, Ashen Gray Metallic and Summit White. Only a single option is available: A $1,150 package that adds air conditioning and a total of six audio speakers. The standard Z/28 package includes one speaker.

“The Camaro Z/28 is an uncompromising performer that’s bred for the track – and every one of its unique components supports the goal of faster lap times,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. “It takes the Z/28 back to its racing roots and adds to the strong lineup of Chevrolet performance cars, including a revamped Camaro SS and supercharged ZL1, as well as the SS sedan, Corvette Stingray convertible and 2015 Corvette Z06, which we’ll introduce at the North American International Auto Show next week."

The Z/28’s unique exterior is designed like a race car to produce downforce that presses the tires against the track for greater grip – up to 1.08 g in cornering acceleration – and faster lap times. The aerodynamically optimized design helped the Camaro Z/28 log a  lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course that was four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1’s and beat published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

Power comes from the 7.0L LS7 engine, with dry-sump oiling, rated at an SAE-certified 505 horsepower (376 kW) and 481 lb-ft of torque (652 Nm). The engine will be built by hand at the new Performance Build Center within GM’s Bowling Green assembly plant.

A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is the only transmission offered and power is distributed to the rear wheels via a Torsen limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs, for optimal traction. The differential works in unison with Chevrolet’s proprietary Performance Traction Management system, allowing drivers to adjust the level of throttle and braking intervention to match their capability and driving environment.

The Camaro Z/28 is also one of the first production cars fitted with race-proven, spool-valve dampers, which allow four-way damping control, enabling engineers to precisely tune both bump and rebound settings for high-speed and low-speed wheel motions. The wider tuning range also allows dramatically greater damper stiffness without a significant change in ride quality. Additional chassis changes include stiffer spring and bushing rates for improved cornering response.

Lightweight, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels and Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires reduce unsprung weight by 49.6 pounds (22.5 kilograms) per car compared to the 20-inch wheels standard on Camaro SS and ZL1.

The massive 305/30ZR19 PZero Trofeo R tires represent the first production-car application in the industry and are believed to be the widest front tire on any production car. To fully exploit their grip, the Z/28 also features Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix™ rotors and fixed, monoblock calipers. The large 394 x 36 mm front rotors are paired with six-piston calipers, while the 390 x 32 mm rear rotors are paired four-piston calipers. Compared to similar-size, two-piece steel rotors, the lightweight carbon discs save 28 pounds (12.5 kg) per car.

The combination of tire grip and braking power enable the Camaro Z/28 to achieve at least 1.5 g in deceleration. With standard front brake cooling ducts, the Z/28 is also capable of continuous track use.

Interior details

On the interior, the Camaro Z/28 features trim in a distinctive, matte-metallic finish called Octane, a flat-bottom steering wheel and Recaro seats with microfiber inserts. The seats feature aggressive bolsters for high-performance driving, as well as seat cutouts inspired by the five-point harnesses found on racing seats. To save weight, both front seats incorporate manual adjustment.

The rear seats of the Z/28 have also been modified for weight reduction. Nine pounds, or four kilograms, were saved by eliminating the seat-back pass-through, as well as using high-density foam in place of the rigid structure of the seat back and steel mesh of the seat bottom.

Additional examples of weight savings include:

  • Elimination of the tire-inflator kit, except for Rhode Island and New Hampshire, where it is required by law
  • Removal of some interior sound deadener, as well as trunk carpet
  • Use of a smaller, lighter battery
  • Thinner  rear-window glass – 3.2 mm vs. the standard 3.5 mm
  • Elimination of high-intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps and fog lights
  • No air conditioning except as part of the single option package.

The Camaro Z/28 will be available to order in late January with the first cars delivered to customers in the spring. Rights to the first Camaro Z/28, VIN 0001, will be auctioned at Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. on January 18.

USA - VW announces December and year end figures, not a good result.

  • December sales total 34,105 units, second best December since 1972 -
  • For the first time in 40 years company delivers over 400,000 vehicles in back-to-back years-
  • High-mileage, TDI® Clean Diesel models account for 17.8 percent in December, 23.5 of sales in 2013 and selling 95,823 units for the year, the best year on record
  • Chattanooga-built Passat sold 9,254 units in December; 109,652 units for the year
  • Jetta Sedan sales total 13,719 units in December; 141,259 year-to-date
  • 2013 Beetle and Beetle Convertible achieved 2,819 units in December; 43,134 units for the year

Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) today reported 407,704 units delivered in 2013. December deliveries totaled 34,015.

Volkswagen’s high-mileage,TDI® Clean Diesel modelstotaled 95,823 units for the year accounting for 23.5 percent of sales in 2013 and 17.8 percent in December. Since 2,000, Volkswagen of America has delivered over 500,000 TDI® Clean Diesel vehicles.

“Volkswagen is now operating at a new plateau, delivering over 400,000 units for the second consecutive year in over 40 years,” said Mark McNabb, chief operating officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We look forward to 2014, with the introduction of the new Golf family, continued increased awareness and enthusiasm for the brand’s core models and the strength of our TDI offerings, we are well positioned for our next phase of growth to come over the next few years.”

The Chattanooga-built Volkswagen Passat continues to demonstrate its strong appeal in the market with 9,254 units sold in December and 109,652 for the year. Clean Diesel TDI Passat sales were the best year on record with 34,963 vehicles delivered, accounting for 32 percent of sales of the year.

Jetta sedan sales totaled in 13,719 in December and 141,259 for the year, demonstrating that affordable, German Engineering is a key selling point for the brand.

Mercedes reveals watch that talks to your car.

Mercedes-Benz has revealed a smart watch that can communicate with the German manufacturer’s models and display information such as the car’s fuel level, location and whether the doors are locked.

The device, created by Pebble Technology, is part of a new technical tie-up forged by Mercedes and the Silicon Valley-based company in the lead-up to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week.

Pebble’s smart watch works with Mercedes-Benz’s existing Digital DriveStyle app and effectively becomes a ‘second screen’ for a smart phone. When the driver is away from the car, a host of diagnostic information can be called up, while in the car, the smart watch can be configured to vibrate to alert its driver to potential hazards such as accidents, road works and other obstructions.

Users can customise the smart watch buttons to activate Digital DriveStyle features like reporting hazards, auto-routing, Siri activation, remote-controlling media, or quickly showing nearby traffic conditions.

Pebble Technology was established via the Kickstarter crowd-funding initiative. It's smart watch retails in the United States for $150 (about £100).

The partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Pebble Technology will give the German car maker early access to technology that could pave the way for its future vehicles to become fully integrated with other devices such as watches, laptops and phones.


USA - Fisker seeks rejection of Chinese suitor it blames for its bankruptcy.

Fisker Automotive Inc., the bankrupt maker of a plug-in hybrid sports car, asked a federal judge to approve its proposed sale to a Hong Kong tycoon rather than a Chinese suitor that Fisker alleged was to blame for its failure.

A courtroom showdown is set for Friday that will determine the future of the defunct car maker that was launched with a controversial U.S. government loan. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross must decide if Fisker's business will be put to open auction or sold to an affiliate of Richard Li as the company has proposed.

The company's plans were thrown into doubt on Monday, when the official creditors' committee proposed auctioning the business and presented an initial $24.725 million bid from the U.S. unit of Wanxiang Group, China's largest auto supplier.

Fisker today attacked the creditors' proposal in a series of court filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., noting that after Wanxiang bought A123 Systems Inc, a battery maker, it cut supplies to Fisker.

"Wanxiang now seeks to profit from a bankruptcy that it helped cause," Fisker said in a court filing.

An attorney for the creditors' committee disputed that, noting that Wanxiang acquired A123 months after Fisker idled its production to save cash. "Fisker was no longer producing cars at that time," said Sunni Beville of Brown Rudnick.

The creditors' committee have called the Wanxiang bid proposal the best option and they also asked the bankruptcy court to allow them to sue to former Fisker director David Manion and others for improperly pushing the sale to Li.

Hanging in the balance are the assets of a company once touted as America's "green" rival to prestigious brands such as Maserati, but which has not made its signature Karma in more than a year.

The company obtained a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy that was meant to promote fuel efficient cars, which in turn helped to lure private backing.

Fisker raised more than $1.4 billion in public and private funds after its founding in 2007, but lavish spending, quality and engineering blunders and other mistakes drained the company's coffers and delayed the launch of the Karma, several people close to the company told Reuters earlier this year.

An entity affiliated with Li planned to buy Fisker after he paid $25 million for Fisker's government loan, outbidding Wanxiang. Instead of using cash, the Li affiliate planned to buy Fisker's assets using a "credit bid" of a portion of what Fisker owed on that loan, leaving other creditors with next to nothing.

Court records show that a majority of unsecured creditors such as design consultants and suppliers voted to reject the plan to sell Fisker to Li.


The Detroit Motor Show, what to expect !

A handy round up of all that you can expect to see at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show

The 2014 Detroit Motor Show is the first major motor show in the 2014 automotive calendar. Officially known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), it opens its doors to the world's press on January 13 2014 before inviting the public in on January 18.
The biggest car manufacturers in the world will be showcasing a whole host of new metal at Detroit, from crazy concept cars to production models that we'll be seeing on the road very soon. And, of course, Auto Express will be there bringing you all the stories live as they happen.
Bookmark this page to stay up to date with the latest from the Detroit Motor Show 2014. We’ll be updating it regularly with all that we know on the biggest stories coming out of this year's show.
Click the links below for the hottest Detroit news stories of the moment and scroll down the page for our full manufacturer-by-manufacturer round-up…

Detroit Motor Show 2014: the key cars

Mercedes C-Class - the all-new Mercedes C-Class compact exec will make its world debut at Detroit with BMW's 3 Series in its sights.
Ford Mustang - the new Ford Mustang takes a bow in production form at Detroit and this one will be sold in the UK.
BMW M3 saloon and M4 coupe - the latest instalment in BMW's M3 dynasty is here but now the coupe version's called M4.   

Audi Q1 concept - Audi is gunning for the Nissan Juke with a new baby SUV concept car.
Lexus RC-F coupe - Lexus hopes to eclipse the BMW M3 with this coupe concept car rumoured to be packing a V8.
Volvo XC Concept - the XC concept car from Volvo should tell us a lot about the design of the new XC90 SUV.

Detroit Motor Show 2014: full round-up 

Audi has just announced 11 all-new models will be added to the range, and as far as we know the baby Q1 concept will be the first of those to make an appearance, with a debut at Detroit rumoured. It’s aimed at Nissan Juke buyers who crave something a little more premium. BMW and Mercedes are also working on entry-level SUVs
Audi has confirmed a three-door Crossover concept will be on display at Detroit, which is likely to be giving us an insight into the future design direction for the brands next-gen road cars.

BMW will be one of the busiest manufacturers at the Detroit Motor Show next month with five new or facelifted models making their debuts. Taking centre stage will be the new M3 saloon and M4 coupe, both powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine developing 424bhp. The new high-performance models are lighter, more efficient and more powerful than the outgoing M3.

Sharing the limelight will be the new BMW 2 Series. It’s a replacement for the outgoing 1 Series Coupe which goes on sale in March, priced from £25,040. Facelifted versions of the BMW X1 SUV and Z4 will also be making an appearance at Detroit, both featuring subtle visually tweaks inside and out.
GM has announced Chevrolet will be pulled out of European markets by 2015 but iconic models such as the Camaro and the Corvette will still be available. The new Z06 will debut at Detroit, so far we’ve only seen a teaser image and rumours suggest the muscle car could use a tweaked version of the 7.0-litre V8 tuned to produce around 600bhp.
Ford has already showcased the new Mustang at several glamorous locations around the world but Detroit will be its motor show debut. For the first time in its 50 years of production, the Mustang will be made available in right-hand drive in the UK. There’s no official word on pricing but the EcoBoost model should start from around £30,000, with the V8 model demanding a further £5,000.
A potential rival for the BMW M3, the Infiniti Eau Rogue concept will be unveiled at Detroit. We only have a few details about the high-performance saloon and we expect a twin-turbocharged 3.7-litre V6 to fitted under the bonnet, producing around 500bhp. The concept is named after one of the most famous corners in the F1 calendar, a sweeping uphill bend at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Kia has revealed teaser shots of the GT4 Stinger concept car that will be on display at Detroit. We now know it will be  powered by a 311bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, driving the rear wheels. The teaser images show the concept to have a long bonnet, bulging wheels arches and a short tailgate, giving it the classic sports car look. Kia says the new concept is aimed at "delivering head-turning looks".

The first image of the new flagship Lexus RC F coupe has leaked online. It’s set to debut at Detroit where the wraps will also be taken off the car's BMW M4 rival. Under the bonnet, a 5.0-litre V8 has been rumoured, with power somewhere in the region of 455bhp.

The range-topping model in the new MINI range, the John Cooper Works, will be unveiled in concept form at Detroit. It features an aggressive looking body kit and exclusive paint job as well as being powered by a tuned version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the outgoing Cooper S. It should arrive in the UK in summer, priced at around £23,000.
After months of leaked images and spy shots the Mercedes C-Class was finally unveiled in December. The baby exec will draw in the crowds at Detroit with an Estate variant sharing the stage. A whole host of petrol and diesel engines will be availble, with a new 1.6-litre diesel engine adopted from Nissan being the entry-level motor.

Mercedes will again be showcasing the S-Class coupe at Detroit after the concept first debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in September. We’ll have to wait until March at the Geneva Motor Show before we get to see the production model, however.  
Porsche will unveil the 991-generation Targa at Detroit, with leaked images online suggesting the car will revert back the original Targa style body that was first seen in 1966.
There has been a lot of speculation about a replacement for the Toyota Supra and the Japanese manufacturer has confirmed there will be ‘some form of performance concept at Detroit’. Rumours started circulating about a successor to the Supra back in 2007, when the Toyota FT-HS concept first appeared at the Detroit Motor Show.
Volvo will be showcasing the Concept XC Coupe at Detroit, which gives us a glimpse into the future styling of the manufacturers SUVs. It will also influence the design of the XC90, scheduled to arrive in the UK in the middle of 2014.

The Lotus Elise S Cup R makes global debut at Autosport 2014

The Elise S Cup R takes its place in the stable alongside big brothers the Exige V6 Cup and Exige Cup R and the mighty Evora GT4 in Birmingham between 9th and 12th January 2014, illustrating the variety of appeal of the Lotus Motorsport family.

The Lotus suite of products caters for all levels of experience, budget and talent! Enjoying motorsport could not be more rewarding than through the legendary Lotus marque. Be it a novice shopping for a 1-day driving experience or comprehensive driver training, experiences and courses are available through Lotus Driving Academy; or for Lotus owners looking to race their road cars at weekends, or indeed take racing a step further by entering their Lotus to compete around the world through the global Lotus Cup network; or indeed take part in the almighty GT and endurance series with the outstanding Evora GT4 – there is a Lotus to suit.

Showcasing the latest from the Lotus Motorsport collection at this year’s Autosport show:

Elise S Cup R

Evolving from the road-going Elise S, Lotus is delighted to present the mid-mounted, transverse, 1.8 litre Elise S Cup R. Boasting bespoke livery and aerodynamic body kit, the Elise S Cup R takes a purposeful stance on the iconic Elise aesthetic – that points straight to the track!

The Elise S Cup R’s motorsport-specific map in the engine control module (ECM) and  CFD proven aero pack ensure the Elise’s small physique packs a mighty punch! With revised front splitter, barge boards, winglets, rear diffuser, floor extensions and rear wing, clever manipulation of air-flow creates extra downforce – and combined with adjustable dampers and springs, lap times are reduced by circa 4 seconds on a 2.2 mile lap over the standard Elise S.

Rupert Manwaring, Head of Lotus Motorsport commented, “Developing the Elise S Cup R was a natural step following the success of the Exige V6 Cup R; with so many new markets becoming interested in motorsport, the Elise S Cup R gives us the perfect entry level track-car. Whether the focus is racing or simply developing your driving skills on a race circuit and having fun, the incredible handling and ease of use with low running costs make the Elise S Cup R an intelligent choice”.  

Exige V6 Cup and Exige V6 Cup R

The critically acclaimed Exige V6 Cup and the race-only Exige V6 Cup R give a taster of where talent and ambition can take you if the Elise S Cup R whets your appetite! The road legal Exige V6 Cup offers a turn-key solution for track enthusiasts who want the flexibility of driving to the track and race before driving home, whilst the track only Exige V6 Cup R is a pure-bred track car with simply one objective.

Both are equipped with bespoke exterior liveries and interior trim, steel main roll hoop incorporating ‘A’ frame, harness bar, FIA approved fire suppression system, Internal & external battery isolator switches, competition driver’s and passenger’s seat with 4 point harnesses, Pirelli Corsa tyres, 4 mode DPM, 2 piece brake discs, exhaust bypass switch, Multi adjustable suspension, removable quick release steering wheel, baffled wet sump system, front and rear towing eyes, Lotus Racing specific chassis number.

Proving its race intent, the Exige V6 Cup R is modified further to include a FIA compliant Roll Cage, motorsport specification carbon fibre rear wing, carbon fibre lightweight louvered engine cover, optional 6 speed sequential transmission with ‘paddle-shift’ operation and race tuned shift strategy, FIA FT3 70 litre capacity fuel cell, FIA and HANS compliant carbon fibre drivers seat with 6 point harness, Pirelli Corsa tyres ,variable traction control, multi-adjustable competition specification suspension with front and rear anti roll bars, removable quick release steering wheel and baffled wet sump system with single rear mounted oil cooler.

Evora GT4

Dominating the line-up is the awesome Evora GT4 shown in the iconic Black & Gold Lotus livery. Developed from the award-winning Lotus Evora sportscar, the Lotus Evora GT4 race car is engineered and developed in conjunction with a number of prestigious technical partners to deliver world-class chassis, steering and brakes, resulting in exceptional handling.

A naturally-aspirated V6 engine is managed by Cosworth Electronics Systems, delivers 360 ps @ 6500 rpm and 445Nm of torque @ 5500 rpm powering the rear wheels through a 6-speed sequential gear box, with ‘paddle shift’ gear selection.

FIA approved design and safety features secure the car’s entry to 12 of the world’s leading GT series and can be easily modified for the demands of endurance events should the driver seek even more demanding pursuits! The Evora GT4 currently holds the Austrian GT4 title and is due to compete in the 2014 European GT4, British GT4 and the Dubai 24 hours.

Lotus Cup

All cars on display are eligible for entry in the 2014 Lotus Cup series which operates under the banners Lotus Cup UK, Lotus Cup Europe, Lotus Cup Italia, Lotus Cup USA, Lotus Cup Japan, Lotus Cup Thailand, Lotus Cup Asia and Lotus Ladies Cup.  The Lotus Cup is open to all Lotus owners and their Elise, Exige, Evora, 340R and 2-Eleven.

Lotus Racing partner and Lotus Cup Italia organiser PB Racing chooses Autosport International to launch its 2014 programme. PB Racing President Stefano d'Aste says, “We have a very exciting 2014 season planned for Lotus Cup Italia; we have been working in close collaboration with Lotus Racing to produce a very special car exclusively for our customers; the Elise S Cup PB-R which reaches 225hp, and being lightweight it’s the perfect mix for an easy and fun drive! It is our promise to make Lotus Cup Italia easy for teams, dealers and customers to compete in and as such technical assistance will be available on site for all events, with hospitality for partners and sponsors and a fully managed programme – it’s the full package for rookies or experienced drivers and anyone in between!”

USA - Chrysler announces December and full year corporate figures.

Chrysler Group LLC Reports December 2013 U.S. Sales Increased 6 Percent – Best December Sales in Six Years; Full-Year Sales Up 9 Percent – Strongest Annual Sales Since 2007

  • 45th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains
  • Chrysler Group full-year U.S. sales increase 9 percent in 2013; fourth-consecutive year of annual sales growth
  • Jeep® and Ram Truck brands each post double-digit sales increases in December compared with same month a year ago
  • Jeep brand posts best December sales ever with 34 percent sales gain; brand sets global sales record in 2013
  • All-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee sales top 15,000 units in its second full month of sales; sales up 48 percent compared with previous month of November
  • Motor Trend selects Ram 1500 as its 2014 Truck of the Year; Ram pickup sales up 11 percent in December
  • 2014 Dodge Dart, Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 sedans earn Top Safety Pick ratings from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Chrysler Group LLC today reported U.S. sales of 161,007 units, a 6 percent increase compared with sales in December 2012 (152,367 units), and the group’s best December sales since 2007.

The Jeep® and Ram Truck brands each posted double-digit percentage sales gains in December compared with the same month a year ago. The Jeep brand’s 34 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand during the month. FIAT brand sales were up 1 percent. Chrysler Group extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 45-consecutive months in December.

“Chrysler Group ended the year with a 6 percent sales gain in December and our 45th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Our Jeep and Ram Truck brands had a strong finish led by the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee and the Ram pickup truck, Motor Trend’s 2014 Truck of the Year. Sales of the new Cherokee topped 15,000 units in December as our newest SUV continues its solid sales performance out of the gate.”

In its second full month of sales, the new Cherokee mid-size SUV recorded sales of 15,038 units, surpassing sales of the Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep brand recorded its best December sales ever. In addition, the Wrangler and Jeep Patriot each recorded their best December sales ever.

Full-year Chrysler Group sales were up 9 percent in 2013, compared with sales during 2012. It was the fourth-consecutive year of Chrysler Group sales growth. The Ram Truck brand, with its 22 percent increase in 2013, had the largest full-year sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand. Chrysler Group realized sales growth in both its car and truck segments during the year. Chrysler Group car sales in the U.S. were up 11 percent in 2013, while truck sales were up 8 percent. The Jeep brand set a global sales record in 2013.

Chrysler Group finished the month of December with a 79 days supply of inventory (508,615 units). U.S. industry sales figures for December are internally projected at an estimated 15.8 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).

December 2013 U.S. Sales Highlights by Brand

Jeep® Brand

Jeep brand sales were up 34 percent in December, its best December sales ever and the largest percentage sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand for the month. The Jeep brand’s December sales were second only to record sales in July 2005.

Sales of the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee were up 48 percent compared with the previous month of November. Jeep brand dealers sold 15,038 units of the new Cherokee during December, its second full month of sales. The Cherokee topped Jeep Wrangler sales in December as it continued its strong sales launch. The Cherokee was crowned the “Best New SUV/CUV Under $35,000” in December by the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada. The new Cherokee bested a quartet of rivals from one of the country’s most popular and hard-fought vehicle segments.

The Wrangler, Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass each posted year-over-year sales gains in December. The Patriot compact SUV, with its 35 percent increase, logged the largest percentage sales gain of any Jeep brand model in December. Wrangler sales were up 4 percent in December, compared with the same month a year ago. Both the Wrangler and Patriot each posted their best December sales ever.

Ram Truck Brand

Sales of the Ram pickup truck were up 11 percent in December, its 44th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and its best December sales since 2004. Sales of the Ram Heavy Duty pickups were up 16 percent, while Ram Light Duty sales increased 7 percent. Motor Trend selected the Ram 1500 in December as its 2014 Truck of the Year, its first ever back-to-back winner. Nine Truck of the Year contenders were put through an extensive battery of testing designed to evaluate virtually every aspect of each vehicle. The judges were particularly impressed with the performance of the Ram 1500’s all-new EcoDiesel V-6 engine as well as its eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission, a combination that boasts a towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is among Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2014.

Ram Truck brand sales were up 17 percent in December compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the all-new 2014 Ram ProMaster van were up 126 percent, compared with the previous month of November. The ProMaster van went on sale in the U.S. in October. The Ram Commercial Truck division in December announced that it will offer an all-new small van for the North American market. Joining the larger ProMaster as an additional van offering, the 2015 Ram ProMaster City will compete with small commercial and passenger vans.

Full-year Ram Truck brand sales were up 22 percent in 2013, the largest percentage sales increase of any Chrysler Group brand for the year.

FIAT Brand

FIAT brand sales were up 1 percent in December compared with the same month a year ago. The FIAT brand recorded nine months of year-over-year sales gains during 2013. Sales of the new Fiat 500L, which debuted in June, were up 52 percent in December compared with the previous month of November.

The all-electric Fiat 500e Battery-Electric Drive System was among Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2014 and the lone representative of electric-vehicle technology. The battery-electric drive system in the 500e hatchback delivers the best-in-class range of 87 miles.

Dodge Brand

Dodge brand sales were down 9 percent in December, but full-year sales in 2013 were up 14 percent on strong Dodge Dart, Dodge Durango, and Dodge Challenger sales. Sales of the Durango full-size SUV were up 3 percent in December compared with the same month a year ago, extending its run of year-over-year sales gains to 14-consecutive months. It was the Durango’s best December sales in eight years. Sales of the Dodge Charger were up 29 percent in December.

The 2014 Dart and Dodge Avenger sedans earned Top Safety Pick ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in December. The announcement marks the fifth-consecutive year that the IIHS has commended the Avenger mid-size sedan. Meanwhile, the insurance industry organization has hailed the Dart compact sedan each year since it arrived on the market in 2012. The Dodge sedans feature significant advanced-technology steel content, which enhances structural integrity. The Dart’s 68 percent content ratio of high-strength steel is among the highest in the industry. The Dart also boasts a 5-star safety rating based on crash tests performed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chrysler Brand

Chrysler brand sales were down 21 percent in December, but sales of the award-winning Chrysler Town & Country minivan were up 5 percent compared with the same month a year ago. It was the Town & Country’s best December sales in three years. For the full year, Town & Country sales were up 9 percent in 2013.

Chrysler 200 sedan sales were up 3 percent for the full year, compared with sales in 2012. The 2014 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in December, the model’s fourth-consecutive Top Safety Pick from the insurance industry organization.

F-Type and Range Rover win big at AUTOBYTEL awards.

  • Jaguar F-TYPE wins 2014 'Car Of The Year' and 'Convertible of the Year'
  • 2014 Range Rover wins 2014 'Truck Of The Year' and 'Luxury SUV of the Year'

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC announced today that the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE and 2014 Land Rover Range Rover have been named car and truck of the year by Autobytel, highlighting the momentum both brands have achieved coming into 2014.

"Jaguar F-TYPE and Land Rover Range Rover winning both Car and Truck of the Year awards from Autobytel in the same year is a tremendous honor.  This accomplishment is a testament of our commitment to deliver unique, dynamic luxury cars and SUVs that stand out in the marketplace for design and capability," said Joe Eberhardt, President, Jaguar Land Rover, North America. "Not only are the F-TYPE and Range Rover very popular vehicles, but they represent the essence of what the Jaguar and Land Rover brands stand for. We very much appreciate the acknowledgement from the automotive experts at Autobytel."

In the United States, year-to-date through November, 2013, Jaguar sales are up 41 percent helped by the addition to the lineup of the all new F-TYPE convertible.  In the same period, Land Rover sales are up 15 percent with the all new generation Land Rover Range Rover up 60 percent.

Autobytel Inc. is dedicated to helping consumers research and find the information they need to purchase new and used cars and connect to dealers online. The 2013 Car and Truck of the Year Awards were chosen by the editorial group of Autobytel, led by Editor in Chief, Michelle Naranjo. Autobytel editors have driven hundreds of vehicles and have chosen this year's winners based on their game changing potential, advances in design and overall efficiency.

"Our selection process wasn't easy," said Michelle Naranjo, Editor in Chief, Autobytel. "The offerings within each of the vehicle segments we analyzed are extremely competitive, with some of the highest quality products we've seen in recent years. The Jaguar F-TYPE is quite simply superb, with a gorgeous design and impressive performance in virtually every respect.  It's the perfect blend of style and luxury in a thrill-a-minute ride."

Naranjo continues, "Don't let the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover fool you, it's gorgeous on the outside and lavishly appointed on the inside, yet positively capable off road.  With opulent features, timeless styling, and plenty of utility to handle the toughest terrains, it sits at the top of the Luxury SUV food chain."  
The new Jaguar F-TYPE represents a return to the company's heart: a two-seat, convertible sports car focused on performance, agility and driver involvement. This Jaguar is a continuation of a sporting bloodline that stretches back more than 75 years and encompasses some of the most beautiful, thrilling and desirable sports cars ever built. The 2014 F-TYPE combines low vehicle weight, high power and superb aerodynamics to achieve a pure sports car experience, yet with Jaguar elegance and luxury. The F-TYPE is powered respectively by the new Jaguar supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine in 340hp and 380hp outputs and a 495hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. The F-TYPE Coupe goes on sale in spring, 2014.

The Fourth Generation Range Rover is the world's first SUV with a lightweight all-aluminum body, with a weight savings of 700lbs.  The Range Rover takes the capabilities of the brand's flagship to a new level, with even greater luxury and refinement, enhanced performance and handling on all terrains and significant advances in sustainability. The Range Rover was launched in October of 2012 to acclaim, receiving over 20 awards and accolades globally to date.

Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle.

  • Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of a plug-in hybrid without depending on the electric grid for fuel
  • C-MAX Solar Energi Concept with a solar panel roof draws power from a special solar concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass
  • By using renewable power, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons
  • C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, which will be on display at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 7-10, debuts as Ford’s strong electrified vehicle lineup is expected to post a record 85,000-plus sales for 2013 

Ford Motor Company announced today the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of what a plug-in hybrid offers – without depending on the electric grid for fuel.

Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.

The result is a concept vehicle that takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid. Ford C-MAX Energi gets a combined best miles per gallon equivalent in its class, with EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway, for a combined 100 MPGe. By using renewable power, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons.

“Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “As an innovation leader, we want to further the public dialog about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future.”

C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, which will be shown at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, is a collaborative project of Ford, San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp. and Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology.

Strong electrified vehicle sales

The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept debuts as Ford caps a record year of electrified vehicle sales.

Ford expects to sell 85,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles for 2013 – the first full year its six new electrified vehicles were available in dealer showrooms.

C-MAX Energi is Ford’s plug-in sales leader, with sales of more than 6,300 through November. Ford sold more plug-in vehicles in October and November than both Toyota and Tesla, and it outsold Toyota through the first 11 months of 2013. Plug-in hybrids continue to grow in sales as more customers discover the benefits of using electricity to extend their driving range.

C-MAX Hybrid over the last year has been a key driver in helping Ford sell more hybrids than any other automaker in the United States, second only to Toyota. C-MAX Hybrid continues to bring new customers to the Ford brand, with a conquest rate of 64 percent and drawing nearly half of its sales from import brands. Conquest rates are even higher in key hybrid growth markets like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Breakthrough clean technology

SunPower, which has been Ford’s solar technology partner since 2011, is providing high-efficiency solar cells for the roof of Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept. Because of the extended time it takes to absorb enough energy to fully charge the vehicle, Ford turned to Georgia Institute of Technology for a way to amplify the sunlight in order to make a solar-powered hybrid feasible for daily use.

Researchers developed an off-vehicle solar concentrator that uses a special Fresnel lens to direct sunlight to the solar cells while boosting the impact of the sunlight by a factor of eight. Fresnel is a compact lens originally developed for use in lighthouses. Similar in concept to a magnifying glass, the patent-pending system tracks the sun as it moves from east to west, drawing enough power from the sun through the concentrator each day to equal a four-hour battery charge (8 kilowatts).

With a full charge, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to have the same total range as a conventional C-MAX Energi of up to 620 miles, including up to 21 electric-only miles. Additionally, the vehicle still has a charge port, and can be charged by connecting to a charging station via cord and plug so that drivers retain the option to power up via the grid, if desired.

After C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is shown at CES, Ford and Georgia Tech will begin testing the vehicle in numerous real-world scenarios. The outcome of those tests will help to determine if the concept is feasible as a production car.

Off-the-grid car 

By tapping renewable solar energy with a rooftop solar panel system, C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is not dependent on the traditional electric grid for its battery power. Internal Ford data suggest the sun could power up to 75 percent of all trips made by an average driver in a solar hybrid vehicle. This could be especially important in places where the electric grid is underdeveloped, unreliable or expensive to use.

The vehicle also reinforces MyEnergi Lifestyle, a concept revealed by Ford and several partners at 2013 CES. MyEnergi Lifestyle uses math, science and computer modeling to help homeowners understand how they can take advantage of energy-efficient home appliances, solar power systems and plug-in hybrid vehicles to significantly reduce monthly expenses while also reducing their overall carbon footprint.

The positive environmental impact from Ford C-MAX Solar Energi could be significant. It would reduce yearly CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average U.S. car owner by as much as four metric tons – the equivalent of what a U.S. house produces in four months.

If all light-duty vehicles in the United States were to adopt Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept technology, annual greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by approximately 1 billion metric tons.

Laser lights to appear on AUDI Sport quattro Coupe Concept.

  • Dynamic coupe has powerful plug-in hybrid drive
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of AUDI AG, Technical Development: “This show car embodies our engineering competence and shows cutting-edge electronic features such as high-performance laser-light headlights.”

Dynamic design, immense power and new electronic features: Audi is presenting a fascinating technology concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from January 6 to 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, USA. The Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept is reminiscent of the classic Sport quattro of 1983 while pointing towards the future – with the latest of the brand's technologies in plug-in hybrid drives, user control and display interfaces and lighting technology.

“The new show car demonstrates technical ‘Vorsprung’ on many levels,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. “On-board this car we have e-tron technology with 515 kW of power and 2.5 l/100 km (94.09 US mpg) fuel economy; laser headlights that leave all previous systems in the dark with its higher performance as well as new display and operating systems with cutting-edge electronic performance. We are showing the future of Audi here.”

The coupe, a new evolutionary stage of the Sport quattro concept, painted in the color Plasma Red, combines the power of the historic Sport quattro with emotional elegance. Its body is tautly set over its large wheels. The overhangs are short, and the car's proportions show a sporty balance. With a wheelbase of 2,784 mm (109.61 in), it is 4,602 mm (181.18 in) long. At a width of 1,964 mm (77.32 in), the two-door model is very wide, and it is just 1,386 mm (54.57 in) tall, which is exceptionally low.

In the dual headlights, a typical quattro feature, Audi is demonstrating the future of lighting technology by combining matrix LED and laser light technologies. Two low-profile trapezoidal elements are visible within the headlights – the outer one generates the low beam light using matrix LEDs and an aperture mask, while the inner element produces laser light for high-beam functionality.

The powerful laser diodes are significantly smaller than LED diodes; they are only a few microns in diameter. Illuminating the road for a distance of nearly 500 meters (1,640 ft), the laser high-beam light has approximately twice the lighting range and three times the luminosity of LED high beam lights. In this future technology, Audi is once again demonstrating its leadership role in automotive lighting technology with a system that will also be used on the race track in the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro.

The angular, swept-back C pillars of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept car and the blisters above the fenders are other design elements reminiscent of the classic Sport quattro. The broad shoulders of the body were reinterpreted and intensively sculpted to convey even greater dynamism. Throughout the car, sharp contours frame muscular surfaces – the interplay between convex and concave curvatures defines the athletic character of the coupe.

The hexagonal single-frame grille also offers an outlook on future design of the sporty production models. The lower section is nearly vertical, while the upper follows the contour of the hood; the screen insert is a typical solution from car racing. The low grille emphasizes the show car's width. Two large, vertical blades divide each of the large air inlets; their form is repeated in the creases of the hood. The splitter, which is made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), is shifted far to the front, as on a race car.

The combination of a swept-back glass cabin and broad shoulders defines the proportions at the rear. Another defining element at the rear of the show car is the CFRP diffuser, which extends upward significantly. Its upper section is honeycombed, while its lower section houses two large, oval tailpipes. The tail lights, which are backed by a black CFRP panel, are rectangular in form – another quattro reference. The luggage space, which is reinforced by a large cross bar stiffener, offers 300 liters (10.59 cu ft) of cargo capacity.

Precise design details round out the dynamic look of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept. The sill extensions are made of CFRP, the door handles electrically extend from the door when they detect the approach of a hand. The center locking wheels have a five twin-spoke design.

Lightweight design made visible: the interior
In its generously cut interior, the elegant sporty styling of the show car is continued with dark gray colors and clean lines. The interior design and material selections demonstrate the Audi philosophy of lightweight design. The slender instrument panel is reminiscent of the wing of a sailplane. The supporting structure of the interior is a carbon shell that also serves as a storage compartment in the doors.

A line of trim beneath the windshield wraps around the driver and front passenger and integrates functions such as the inside door handles. The folding race car shell seats with their high lateral supports and integrated head restraints, together with the two rear seats, provide space for four persons. The climate controls are integrated in the air nozzles; a single element is used to control the intensity, temperature and volume of the air stream. In addition to showing climate control settings, the slim display at the centers of the air nozzles also shows media data.

New solutions: displays and controls
The interior of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept focuses very much on the driver. Even the multifunction sport steering wheel points the way towards future sporty production solutions. It has two buttons which the driver can use to control the hybrid drive, a red start-stop button, a button for the Audi drive select vehicle handling system and a "View" button to control the Audi virtual cockpit.

All key information is shown on the large Audi TFT display in high-resolution, three-dimensional graphics; a cutting-edge Tegra 30 processor from Audi partner Nvidia processes the graphics. The driver can switch between different modes. For example, in the MMI mode the dominant display elements include the navigation map and media lists, while in the Classic view the speedometer appears in the foreground.

Nearly all functions of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept can be controlled from the further developed MMI terminal that is mounted on the center console over the tunnel. Its large rotary pushbutton, which also serves as a touchpad, can be pushed in four directions, and it is surrounded on three sides by four buttons – for the main menu, submenus, options and a back function.

The new user interface has a menu structure whose intuitive layout is similar to that of a smart phone. All frequently used functions can be accessed lightning fast. For most inputs, just a few steps are needed thanks to a new free text search feature; generally just four characters suffice for a navigation address. The driver can quickly scroll through lists or zoom the map image using multitouch gestures on the touchpad. Voice control functionality has also been intensively further developed.

Powerful and highly efficient: the drive system
The plug-in hybrid drive gives the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept fascinating dynamic performance. Its system output is 515 kW (700 hp), and its system torque is 800 Nm (590.05 lb-ft). Power flows via a modified eight-speed tiptronic to the quattro drivetrain, which features a sport differential at the rear axle. The show car's combined fuel consumption, based on the applicable fuel economy standard, is just 2.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (94.09 US mpg) – which equates to CO2 emissions of 59 g/km (94.95 g/mile).

The combustion engine is a four-liter V8 with biturbo charging; it produces 412 kW (560 hp) of power and 700 Nm (516.29 lb-ft) of torque. The cylinder on demand (COD) system, which deactivates four cylinders under part load and a start-stop system make the sonorous eight-cylinder engine very efficient. Located between the 4.0 TFSI and the transmission is a disc-shaped electric motor that produces 110 kW and 400 Nm (295.02 lb-ft). It draws its drive energy from a lithium-ion battery at the rear, which stores 14.1 kWh of energy – enough for up to 50 km (31.07 miles) of all-electric driving. An Audi wallbox that is used for charging provides for optimal energy transfer.

An intelligent management system controls the interplay of engine and motor on demand. The driver can switch between three different modes. In EV mode, just the electric motor operates; its high torque propels the show car with plenty of power – even outside of the city. The active accelerator pedal indicates the transition to Hybrid mode to the driver – by a change in pedal resistance; this is done so that the driver can intentionally influence the mode selection.

The Hybrid mode aims at optimal fuel-savings in the interplay between the TFSI and the electric motor, and environmental and route data are utilized here. The driver can choose the Hold and Charge modes in the MMI to influence the operating strategy, e.g. if the driver wants to ensure that sufficient electrical energy is available for the final kilometers to the destination. The Audi drive select dynamic vehicle handling system offers even more control options – individual driving profiles are set up for different levels of regenerative braking.

In Sport mode, the operating strategy configures the drive system for maximum power. When the V8 and electric motor are boosting, the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.7 seconds and can reach a top speed of 305 km/h (189.52 mph).

Body and chassis
A lightweight design strategy also plays a major role in the car's dynamic performance. A combination of ultra high-strength steel sheet and structural elements of cast aluminum is used in the occupant cell. The doors and fenders are made of aluminum, and the roof, engine hood and rear hatch are made of CFRP. This results in an unladen weight of just 1,850 kilograms (4,078.55 lb), including the large battery pack.

The front suspension is comprised of five links per wheel, while the rear suspension is based on the self-tracking trapezoidal link principle of Audi, which guarantees dynamic performance and stability. Stiff tuning of the springs and shock absorbers make the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept hold tightly to the road, while Audi drive select makes the driving experience even more multifaceted. The dynamic steering system varies the steering ratio as a function of driving speed. The brake calipers grip large, carbon fiber-ceramic brake discs, and the tire size is 285/30 R 21.