In UK, Hyundai Tucson reaches its Xenith

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Hyundai Tucson Xenith

Click image for high-res gallery

Well, this is certainly the nicest Hyundai Tucson we've ever seen. Introducing the Tucson CRTD Xenith, a tippy-top-of-the-line edition of Hyundai's smallest ute, available for UK customers only. The Xenith begins life as a loaded Tucson CRTD CDX and then piles on all the trimmings. The interior upgrades read like the standard bill of goods from the likes of Brabus or TechArt (minus the six-figure drain on your bank account, of course): copious amounts of leather and Alcantara adorn the seats and a variety of other surfaces and touch points. A snazzy leather-and-alloy knob tops the six-speed manual's shifter, and aluminum trim decks out the pedals and doorsill plates.

Motivation comes courtesy of a 2.0L turbodiesel (138 hp/ 225 lb-ft) and the trucklet rolls on set of 19" wheels shod in some rather aggressive-looking 235/45 R19 rubber. The price? £20,670, or £2,500 more than the CDX.

You know what? We like it.

Press release after the jump.

[Source: Hyundai UK]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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DCX opens new Sprinter van plant in South Carolina

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One of the few definite successes of the DaimlerChrysler marriage is also one of the most low-key. In the early part of this decade, DCX decided to retire the long-in-the-tooth Dodge B-Vans and replace them with a Dodge-branded variant of the Mercedes Sprinter van from Germany. The Sprinter was already being sold in the U.S., assembled at a U.S. plant from kits shipped from Germany and sold under the Freightliner label. The addition of the Dodge version has increased sales to the point where a new plant is needed.

The new plant in Charleston, SC has a capacity of 32,000 units a year. Both gas and diesel engines are available, as well as a stability control system that senses the vehicle load. The tall German-designed van has been popular with commercial users, particularly package delivery services. While traditional American vans have always come in multiple lengths, the Sprinter also offers three different roof heights, allowing for easy stand-up room inside.

[Source: DaimlerChrysler]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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GM Daewoo investing another $3.2 billion

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Prior to General Motors buying a controlling interest in South Korea's Daewoo Motors in 2002, negotiations dragged on forever as GM apparently wanted to wait until the last possible moment to get the best price while still having something worth rescuing. Since then, GM Daewoo has made a pretty decent recovery, with sales on the rise in many markets around the world, including the US.

GM Daewoo announced today that it will invest another $3.2 billion over the next few years in updated products and possibly expanding production capacity. Daewoo sales are projected to increase by about 20 percent this year, thanks to increased sales in Europe and North America with models like the Chevy Aveo and its many global variants. Outside of South Korea, most Daewoos are branded as Chevrolets, as well as Pontiacs, Suzukis and Holdens.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Mulally makes some friends, sells some cars at Dearborn dealership

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally continues to lay on the charm, this time popping up at Village Ford in Dearborn, Michigan last Monday to do a trial run on the sales floor of a dealership. We reported in early February that Mulally was planning on spending one or two days at a dealership selling cars, and this appears to be an experiment to make sure his sales skills don't send customers running to the nearest Toyota dealership. It turns out, however, that Mulally is a natural salesman, as he sold three cars in just 40 minutes on the floor, with a fourth sale that's still pending. In one case, he talked Nancy Miner from Liverpool, NY into a Fusion that she was cross-shopping with a Camry. If you remember, Mulally's own garage was filled with all manner of Toyota and Lexus cars before he came to Ford, so the CEO was well situated to present the case for his own Fusion to Ms. Miner. She ended up buying the Fusion and driving it back to New York.

It's just cool a CEO would get down in the trenches and actually engage consumers on a showroom floor. There's no wall of PR behind which he can hide when the tough questions start flying, and apparently he handled whatever came his way with aplomb. Credit goes to Mulally for doing this first, as well. If Rick Wagoner, Tom LaSorda or Jim Press show up to move some product at their respective dealerships, it will smack of a PR stunt and likely backfire. Unfortunately, charm can only take Mulally and his company so far on its path to recovery, so we hope he doesn't get enamored with a life of retail and gets back to doing CEO-type things quickly.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Gotham Dream Cars launches DreamShare exotic car club

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The East Coast premium rental car company, Gotham Dream Cars, has just launched its own "Exotic Car Club" program called DreamShare. The program is offered through the firm's NY and Miami locations, and offers drivers a chance to sample supercars and exotics without the hassles of ownership like depreciation, storage concerns, maintenance costs and the like. And really, for $300-$450 a day, who wouldn't love to have a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin or Bentley available for a weekend trip to the Vineyard? Feeling a bit more patriotic? You can choose the Ford GT or Corvette Z06 then.

Like other programs of its type, members pay a membership fee and get a certain number of points they can use to rent vehicles in the rotation. They'll even deliver the car to you. DreamShare has three tiers of service: Platinum, Titanium and Elite. Each gives you more days of rentals (20, 45, 90 days) for a higher price tag ($9,000, $18,000, $27,000). It's actually quite reasonable when you break it down, especially for cars of this level. The current active fleet consists of a pair of Aston Martin Vanquishes, a brace of Murcielagos, a couple of Gallardo Spyders, a 360 Spider duo, an F430, Bentley GTC, Ford GT, and Chevy Corvette Z06, among others. The cars generally move to NY in Summer and Florida in Winter, but they promise cars in each city year-round. More details about the plans and Gotham's regular rental program are available by following the read link. Sadly we didn't see a gift registry anywhere on the site.

[Source: Gotham Dream Cars]

 

[via] Autoblog

Recaros for your kiddos

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When most people shop for a car, they may be aware of the brand of tires or the kind of stereo, but few people think about who manufactured the seats. One exception to that is Recaro. The German company has long made seats for carmakers like Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, as well as for the aftermarket. In the late '70s, Recaros became very popular with the introduction of their multi-articulated seats.

More recently, Recaro has applied some of its expertise to the world of child safety seats. They offer a line of products ranging from rear-facing infant seats to boosters for older children. Styled in the fashion of their full-sized driver seats with adjustable bolsters and removable liners, the child seats' can be tweaked to keep your kids safe and secure as they grow. They aren't cheap, but they are Recaros.

[Source: Recaro via The Driving Woman]

 

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New York Preview: 2008 Buick Lucerne Super not as super as LaCrosse

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click above image to view eight high-res images of the 2008 Buick Lucerne Super

It's interesting to us that the "Super" version of the new 2008 Lucerne features an upgraded version of the CXS model's 4.6L Northstar V8 producing 292 horsepower (compared to 275 hp in the CXS), when the smaller and presumably less expensive LaCrosse Super gets the honkin' 5.3L small-block V8 producing 300 horsepower. Why the discrepency?

Regardless, the 2008 Lucerne Super features revised front and rear fascias with the most jarring change being the addition of a chrome grille that comes to a point pretty far down the Lucerne's face. It looks like a beak to us, which takes away from the Lucerne's otherwise classy styling. The Super model gets integrated dual exhausts out back, new rocker panels, portholes (w00t!), and new exclusive aluminum wheels. Other than that, the Super model is a gussied up CXS with a few more ponies.

Check out GM's full press release after the jump and our gallery of desktop wallpaper-sized images.

[Source: GM]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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New York Preview: 2008 Cadillac STS gets a revamp

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Click for high-res photo gallery

GM's assault on NYC's Jacob Javits Center continues apace. With HUMMER and Buick already well-represented, the luxury division, Cadillac, gets in on the action, as well. The facelifted 2008 STS gets a most welcome makeover inside and out. The new corporate grille design featured on the '08 CTS finds its way onto the nose of the STS, and it looks great. Also making an appearance are the trendy side extractors also featured on the Escalade and CTS (and Hyundai Tiburon).

There's plenty more to discuss, however, so follow the jump for the rest of the story.

[Source: Cadillac]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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VIDEO: Comedian/Actor Eddie Griffin takes out another Enzo

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Another Enzo has met its unfortunate end, this time at the hands of actor Eddie Griffin. It seems that the star of several Oscar-worthy performances in Deuce Bigalow, Norbit and the unforgettable House Party 3, was practicing for a charity event to promote his new flick Redline, when he understeered Enzo's namesake into a Jersey barrier at speed.

A video of the crash is available here, but be forewarned, you'll have to explain your tears and howls to your housemates.

Thanks for the tip, Brian!

 

[via] Autoblog

New York Preview: Subaru Impreza WRX gets early release on cover of MT

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It wouldn't be an auto show without embargos breaking everywhere you turn. This one comes courtesy of Motor Trend magazine's May issue, which features the new Subaru Impreza WRX on the cover. A member of the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club received his copy more than a bit early in the mail, and felt he must do his civic duty and share the pics with us, so we link you to this forum post where scans of the new car are currently being hosted (though who knows for how long).

There has actually been much speculation about whether or not these pics are the real deal or elaborate photochops. The forum poster, who goes by the handle gravitywrx, only posted scans of the article inside the issue of Motor Trend, neglecting to include scans of the cover or the article's text. At the end of his post he writes, "If you want the specs, buy the May issue of Motor Trend," which supports the notion that this post is a plant by Motor Trend to drum up sales of its mag.

While we find that hypothesis hard to believe, we do wish gravitywrx had given us a little more. As far as we can tell, the engine and transmission choices for the new WRX will remain identical to the current model, and the five-door wagon has officially been replaced by this five-door hatch. From the pics, it's clear a navigation unit will be an option, as well.

So, uh, whaddya think?

[Source: NASIOC via Straightline Blog]

 

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AutoblogGreen for 03.27.07

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Just guess which alternative fuel made the top of the list in the discussion between the CEOs of the Big 3 and President Bush yesterday (hint: it wasn't biobutanol). Other good news for green drivers is that Washington state may soon up the maximum speed for NEVs from 25 to 35 mph, making urban driving that much more appealing in one of these all-electrics.

 

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Portuguese priest gets chastised for indulging in sporty car

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Oh God, can it get any worse than this? You've managed to arrange the purchase of one of your dream cars. The only one in the country as a matter of fact. You get it and find that it is everything you ever hoped for in a car. This Ford Fiesta 2000 ST has the 150 hp mill that will get you up to 130 mph and beyond when given enough space and time. This being Portugal, those times might not be as frequent as you'd hope, but you love to open it up whenever possible. You haven't kept it a secret that hitting 130 is an easily-achieved thrill that you've thanked God for helping you survive without fines. In fact, you also love to share the thrill with anybody who wants to tag along.

Now along comes a Portuguese group campaigning for safe roads and they've made you their poster boy. They have even asked the Vatican to encourage you to "resist the temptations of speed." Why get the Vatican involved? Because you are a priest, that's why. This is the story of one Father Antonio Rodrigues, Portugal's only Fiesta 2000 ST owner. He says he is "no speed freak," but he likes to be able to "arrive on time to the three parish churches." The association's website quotes part of their letter to the Pope: "We ask Your Holiness to help this unfortunate priest to ponder the gravity of his acts and the immodesty of his words and to resist the temptations of speed and boasting," As if that vow of chastity wasn't enough, now you've got to deal with this!

Thanks for the tip, AlienPharaoh!

[Source: Reuters]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford developing new diesel engine, quickly

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After recent disagreements with engine supplier Navistar, as well as dealing with Super Dutys that perform roman candle impressions, Ford is accelerating development of a new diesel engine for its burliest of pickups. Ford and Navistar played chicken earlier this year over warranty costs for the older 6-liter Powerstroke V8. That engine had a high number of issues that led to Ford covering repair costs. Ford in turn sued Navistar, the engine supplier, and held back payments for the new 6.4-liter Powerstroke in an effort to recoup some of their expense. Navistar decided they'd have none of it, and shut down engine production, slowing Super Duty production until a court order got the engines flowing again.

This acrimony has spurred Ford to come up with an alternative to Navistar engines in one of its most pivotal vehicles. The diesel and its muscle-bound tow rating attract plenty of buyers, and the Super Duty is at the top of the Ford Truck food chain, so problems here look bad. If your work truck doesn't work, you're in trouble. Ford can't afford to lose the profits from the Super Duty, nor can it accept tarnishing the image of the iconic F-Series trucks, so the Dearborn team is on it in the interest of exorcising Navistar powerplants from the engine bay and keeping that customer cash flowing.

[Source: AutoObserver]

 

[via] Autoblog

HEMI Power comes to the big screen in Fastastic Four sequel

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The Fantastic Four will be counting on Hemi power in their fight against evil this June 15th. That's right, the crime-fighting quartet will be battling the Silver Surfer on movie screens around the globe with a 550 MPH Dodge with some serious Hemi horsepower. Chrysler designer Trevor Creed helped out with the design of the super duper supercar, and you can see Dodge emblems on the seat-backs and front grille. The crazy cool Fantastic Four mobile will also be able to reach 30,000 feet and split into three sections. We looked around, and there is no SRT badging anywhere to be found, but there's a rumor that Stow-N-Go seating is standard. In an unusual twist, the "Fantasticar" is rumored to be on eBay, with Dr. Doom as the highest bidder.

We'd read an article recently in the Detroit News that stated that Chrysler needed a home run vehicle to pull the company through their latest rough patch. We think this will do just fine. We just hope they get rid of the gold paint job in time for production.

[Source: The Car Connection]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chevy to revive Nomad name for new crossover

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We've heard these rumors before, but now, sources deep within the RenCen have made it clear to Inside Line that a Lambda-based crossover sporting a bow tie and a "Nomad" badge could be coming in 2009.

Although the 50s nameplate doesn't carry the same cache as say, the Mustang, it's still somewhat recognizable to non-enthusiasts and with so many nameplate revivals, it certainly wouldn't be out of the question.

If the Nomad would come to fruition, it would be used to plug the hole currently left by the Chevrolet Uplander, whose sales have been less than noteworthy. Sporting seven seats and carrying many of the same lines as its GMC sibling, the Acadia, IL's sources say that although the name harkens back to times gone by, the styling won't. And it's doubtful that any cues will be taken from the 2004 concept that shares the same badge.

[Source: Inside Line]

 

[via] Autoblog

The first Chinese-built MG rolls off the line

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Many speculated that this day would never come, but after six long and expensive months of equipping assembly lines and performing tests, Nanjing Automobile has produced its first MG.

Against a backdrop displaying pictures of Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge, the "new" ("new" as in the same design as three years ago) MG7 sedan and MG-TF sports car were unveiled at the plant. These two models will form the basis of some 200,000 vehicles expected to be produced at the manufacturing center each year, with the majority being sold inside the country.

Nanjing Automobile has every intention of trying to export these "new" vehicles abroad, but with prices ranging between $23,300 and $51,700, we doubt we'll see any gleaming TFs on U.S. shores anytime soon.

Thanks for the tip, Ed!

[Source: BBC News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Exciting Car-Life City! Autobacs coming to the U.S.

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For the six of you that follow Japan's Super GT race series, Autobacs is a familiar name. For the rest of you, it's the Japanese equivalent of Kragen or Pepboys, but with stuff you'd actually want to put on your car.

It seems that Strauss Discount Auto just filed Chapter 11, and Autobacs USA has snatched up its distribution center and the 91 stores that pepper the East Coast. The plan is to launch a new chain, consolidate the companies under the name Autobacs Strauss and begin to make headway into the aftermarket industry here in the States.

Since Autobacs stocks pretty much everything under the automotive sun, most of which is pretty high quality kit, we're a bit excited at the prospects. Especially since the last part we ordered from the Land of the Rising Sun cost less than the shipping charges.

[Source: GTChannel]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ferrari Store - Los Angeles opens in the Beverly Center

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Click image for high-res gallery of photos by Las de Alwis

It's about time. That seemed to be the consensus of the invited guests at the grand opening of the Ferrari Store - Los Angeles. Coinciding with the marque's 60th Anniversary world rally, the store held its grand opening celebration on Sunday at the Beverly Center. Besides being entertained by the hosts and hostesses, VIP guests were also treated to a display of Ferraris that included the 1961 Paris Motor Show 275 GTS 2+1, a 275 GTB, and a Formula 1 car among others.

The L.A. location joins the chain that includes a few Italian locations, as well as several others around the world. Late last year Ferrari opened a new store in Qatar, marking their entry into the Middle East. The boutique shops sells Ferrari accessories, clothing, and other merchandise. Similar to the other American store at The Wynn in Las Vegas, the Beverly Center store has clothes, shoes, toys, keychains and other accessories, all bearing the Ferrari logo or Ferrari images.

The Ferrari Store - Los Angeles is located on the 6th floor of the Beverly Center at 8500 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Tel. 310-657-9800. Well worth a stop if you happen to be in L.A. and happen to love or even like Enzo's works.

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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VIDEO: Peyton Manning hocks Mercedes 550 Meatloaf Edition on SNL

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We've heard tales of people cooking on engine blocks or exhaust manifolds, but Peyton Manning has been paying attention to the elaborate setups that tailgaters bring to his games. This car has some nicely integrated features that make long distance trips even easier than they usually would be in a Mercedes S-Class, including an in-dash toaster oven, butler's pantry in the trunk, and deeply bolstered toilet seats. They didn't even need to invoke AMG to create a Benz that will roast your loaf. And since this is a Saturday Night Live production, don't expect it to be anything but tongue-in-cheek.

Check out the video for yourself after the jump.

[Source: YouTube via Jalopnik]


http://jalopnik.com/cars/ad-watch/ad-watch-the-peyton-manning-meatloaf-mercedes-550-247039.php

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Autoblog Maintenance 301: Part II of our front suspension/steering refresh

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With Part I out of the way and the front end of our Buick Roadmaster in pieces, the next logic step is to start putting things back together. In this installment, we'll get the control arms buttoned up, and pay some loving attention to the steering gear. Click through for more grease-under-the-fingernails goodness.

Continue reading Autoblog Maintenance 301: Part II of our front suspension/steering refresh

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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New York Preview: 2008 HUMMER H2 gets more power, interior refinement

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Click Image for high-res photo gallery

The embargo was set to expire tomorrow, but Automobile apparently decided it should be today, so here, without further ado, is your 2008 HUMMER H2.

The HUMMER H2's position as the preferred piñata of alarmist environmentalists will be further solidified next week at the New York International Auto Show when GM's Jeep-hunting division pulls the wraps off the revised 2008 edition of the big SUV. From the outside, the changes are very subtle. The H2's grillework now incorporates larger openings for better breathing, and the lower bumpers are now painted silver instead of being left black. To the average person, these changes won't even be noticed. The major upgrades to the '08 H2 are inside and under the skin.

Read all about them after the jump.

[Source: HUMMER]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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New York Preview: 2008 HUMMER H3 Alpha gets V8 power, 295 horses

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Click image for photo gallery

Automobile magazine has kissed the 2008 HUMMER embargo good-bye, so here's the skinny on the '08 H3 Alpha.

For 2008, HUMMER has addressed one of the sticking points many people have had with the smaller H3 model, namely, the lack of a V8 engine. While the 3.7L inline 5 has adequate power to shuttle the H3 around, the burble of a V8's exhaust note and the associated extra thrust would certainly have been more in keeping with the brand image created by the monster-sized H1 and solidified by the more-realistic H2.

With the return of the Alpha moniker last seen on the top-end H1, HUMMER fixed the H3's biggest problem. The Alpha, you see, has 5.3 liters of V8 power underhood. Read on after the jump.

[Source: HUMMER]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog