Brazil: VW CrossFox facelifted

Filed under: ,

VW CrossFox

Volkswagen's diminutive front-wheel-drive soft-roader, the CrossFox, available in South America and Mexico, is set to receive a mild facelift soon, according to El Diferencial. Brazil will see the revisions first. The front fascia is smoothed out following the deletion of the grille bar and the relocation of the driving lights (they're more low-profile and spaced farther apart). The CrossFox side graphic gets reduced in size and is joined by the stylized fox logo, too. And that, friends, is the extent of the changes. The 103-horsepower four-cylinder underhood is unchanged, as are the rest of the car's mechanicals.

You can check out the current pre-facelift CrossFox in the high-res gallery below, and if you're interested, you can read more about it at VW Brazil (Portugese) or VW Chile (Spanish). All we know is that the CrossFox looks pretty cool to us. Add it to the list of forbidden fruit we'd love to have a shot at.

[Source: El Diferencial via WorldCarFans]

Gallery: VW CrossFox

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: BMW 6-Series diesel

Filed under: , , ,

Diesel engines continue to be all the rage in Europe while they're just beginning to gain ground again in the U.S. As proof that diesels aren't just considered high-mileage motors for city cars, we offer up these spy shots of the BMW 635d, a version of the 6-Series that will be rocking the automaker's twin-turbo 3.0L diesel engine. The motor in the 635d should produce about 286 hp and 428 ft-lbs. of torque. Motor Authority expects a 0-60 time of about six seconds combined with what will likely be the best fuel consumption of any 6-Series model.

These spy shots show a slightly updated 6-Series model with a revised front bumper, but we know there's a diesel underhood because the spy photographer managed to get a pic of the car's gauges, which show the word "diesel" above the fuel gauge.

Along with the TT 3.0L diesel, the 6-Series is also expected to replace the 630i's engine with the award-winning twin-turbo 3.0L inline six from the the 3-Series. While we may see the new 635i in the U.S. soon enough (currently only the V8 650i is offered), the way things are going we don't expect the 635d to make the trip over anytime soon.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Car dent removal with hair dryer and compressed air

Filed under:


Remove Car Dent With Airduster - More amazing video clips are a click away

We'd like to be able to explain exactly how this home brew process for removing car dents works, but Physics 101 didn't agree with us in college. The process is simple and involves heating the dent with a hairdryer for 30 seconds to a minute. Next, quickly spray the area with compressed air for about 10 seconds. The last step is to take a step back and listen for the dent to pop itself out. Surely the explanation involves the expansion and contraction of metal due to the hairdryer's heat and the -110 degree Farenheit temperature of the liquid CO2 from the compressed air. The video's producer is quick to point out that his process will not harm your vehicle's paint, though we imagine whatever dented your car in the first place already did.

Thanks for the tip, Dave!

[Source: Metacafe]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford steals a page from mobile phones for Mondeo's HMI

Filed under: , , , ,


Click image to enlarge

In-car user interface systems run the gamut in terms of usability. BMW's iDrive (which we've found to be alternately wonderful and maddening) and Audi's slicker, easier-to-use MMI are two of the most well-known. Devising an interface that makes it easy to control multiple systems is no easy task, but Ford thinks it's found a sweet spot with the HMI (Human Machine Interface) that's included in some versions of the all-new Mondeo.

Dr. Stefan BeckerThe system is used to control the car's phone, cruise control, audio, and tire pressure monitoring systems. It's operated via a set of buttons on the steering wheel that emulates the primary input device used on mobile phones: buttons at each of the four compass points, and an "OK' button in the middle of them. The reasoning, according Dr. Stevan Becker (right), who supervised the HMI project, is that around 95% of people use a mobile phone already and are familiar with that kind of control setup. The HMI's GUI is displayed on both the 5" info screen in the center stack as well as in the instrument cluster itself.

Time will tell how well it works, but we like that it's limited to the systems listed. It's when automakers try to have these interfaces control too many things that they get into trouble. We'll fiddle with our HVAC settings manually, thanks. Save the menus for the other stuff.

We'd love to hear opinions from international readers who actually get to try this out. Now, on a completely unrelated note, why doesn't every Ford interior look as good as the one above?

Press release after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

PRESS RELEASE:
FORD BORROWS MOBILE PHONE LOGIC TO MAKE HI-TECH NEW MONDEO USER FRIENDLY

Ford's new Mondeo comes packed with advanced features which are as easy to use as a mobile phone.

Ford psychology experts tapped into the intuitive logic pioneered by mobiles when deciding how all the new Mondeo's hi-tech gadgets should be controlled.

This led to the development of the Ford Human Machine Interface (HMI), which helps drivers of new Mondeo to find their way round the car's phone, cruise control and audio systems without major distraction.

The secret lies in the simplicity of steering wheel-mounted buttons which navigate Ford HMI's menu choices. Each selection is confirmed by pressing the centre 'OK' button.

Phone handsets with four control buttons pointing up, down, left and right around an 'OK' button are recognised the world over. Around 95 per cent of people use a mobile phone and are familiar with the menu-based system supporting its operation. Ford supervisor Dr Stefan Becker explained more about Ford HMI - a first in the large car segment:

"Ford HMI is about a consistent approach to activating systems such as phone, cruise control and audio in new Mondeo. In simple terms, if you were to get into the new Mondeo having never driven the car, you can answer a Bluetooth-connected phone, set the speed or change the music without resorting to the vehicle handbook."

Stefan highlights simple everyday tasks such as using a car door handle as actions that are intuitive: "We do not have to think about how to use a door handle. Ford HMI offers the same intuitive pathway through new Mondeo's many technologies so drivers do not have to learn new systems."

Minimal driver distraction

In addition to Ford HMI menus appearing on a five-inch screen located in the centre console, all information is replicated on the main instrument display. This allows key information to be visible in the driver's direct line of sight between the dials. The display ranges from a standard monochrome screen using red illumination to the highest specification colour display.

Passenger comfort

The front passenger is able to access different systems and to regulate personal settings in the centre console. This dual control element also allows a passenger to assist the driver for the safest and quickest methods of operation.

DR STEFAN BECKER, SUPERVISOR OF HMI DEVELOPMENT

First job at Ford
Technical specialist in 2002 - my brief was to define a HMI system to fit across the Ford model range

Favourite Ford project
New Mondeo - not just because it's a current project, but it has challenged us to examine closely how customers think in relation to cars' processes and functions

Favourite Ford vehicle
Ford Galaxy - with a wife, four children and dog, the Galaxy's perfect

HUMAN MACHINE INTERFACE IN NEW FORD MONDEO

What is it?
Push-button logic for easy control of car's phone, cruise control and audio systems. Also used for tyre pressure monitoring

How to get it
Standard feature on new Mondeo Titanium X and optional on Ghia

What's the cost?
New Mondeo Titanium X from £20,460
On new Mondeo Ghia technology pack option (HMI, keyless entry and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) is £500

 

Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

[via] Autoblog

BMW M10 to challenge Audi R8 and Porsche 911

Filed under: , ,

The legend we had always known was that BMW and Mercedes-Benz had a gentleman's agreement in place not to go after the Porsche 911. For whatever reasons, building a proper two-seat sports car was out of the question, though both build heavier and more accomodating grand touring machines that manage to skirt around the 911's segment.

Then came the Audi R8. Being stuck in third place of a three-man race has forced Audi to branch out into new segments, and the R8 is a bold statement that might make someone shopping a 911 think twice. Audi's bite of the forbidden fruit has apparently opened the door enough for BMW to consider a proper two-seat sports car. Sure, the M6 is plenty powerful with its 500-horse V10, more powerful than the R8 actually, but it's a pretty porker that can carry four people.

German outlet Auto Zeitung is reporting that BMW has begun work on an R8/911 competitor. To be called the M10, this front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe would be the spiritual successor to the M1 and Z8. Though BMW has dabbled with carbon fiber in some of its recent designs, the M10 would likely be almost completely covered in the material to keep weight around 3,000 lbs. Power for the M10 could come from either the M3's 420-hp, 4.2L V8 or the corporate 5.0L V10 producing around 550 horsepower. We would expect both engines to be offered so that BMW could square off the M10 against the R8 and RS8, as well as the 911 and 911 Turbo.

If BMW is working on such a car, development is going on behind many closed doors and any official info is far off. Regardless, such a car makes sense for the brand that purports to build ultimate driving machines.

[Source: Auto Zeitung via Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bertone headed to U.S. with BMW-powered sporstcar?

Filed under: , , , ,



The blogs are buzzing today about an Automotive News article that reveals Italian coachbuilder Bertone is developing a BMW-powered sports car to sell in the U.S. The article actually focuses on the familial spats occuring within Bertone's management that led to Barbara Bertone, daughter of Lilli Bertone, the company's chairman and CEO, departure in March of 2006. Apparently whatever differences that led to mother and daughter parting professional ways have been worked out, and Barbara has been brought back as the company's managing director. Her sole job is to go out and get Bertone business, as the coachbuilder hasn't had a major job since it stopped producing the Opel/Vauxhall Astra coupe and cabriolet in 2005. Since then it's had some minor work building a special run of 2,000 MINIs, but not enough to prevent the idling of many of its workers.

Of course, the interesting news that caught everyone's eye is this short paragraph at the end of the article that reveals Bertone told its workers it hopes to preserve 300 jobs by producing up to 400 units of a camper van and a BMW-powered sports car for the U.S. market. Automotive News asked BMW about the proposed model, and heard back that the Bavarian boys and girls club was not involved in the car's development, though BMW didn't deny its existence.

Bertone did show a 95th Anniversary Concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March that is based on the Fiat Panda 100HP. This two-seat roadster concept could foreshadow the model referred to in the AN article.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

Google Maps adds Street View function

Filed under: ,



Using Google Maps to peer down from the heavens and zoom into your best friend's back yard never gets old. Today Google further fed our God complex by introducing a brand new feature to its all-encompassing maps called Street View. Though it only appears to be working in major cities like the Big Apple, Street View allows you to drag a little yellow figure (kind of looks like the AOL dude) around the map, and wherever you drop him a window pops up showing you a 360-degree image around which you can pan to see what the figure sees at that location. It also shows you which direction each street flows, and whether it's two-way or one-way.

My overactive imagination explains the technology this way. As you drag the figure around the map, a small hover droid is activated and follows your movements over the cityscape of New York City. When you let go over, say, 436 11th Ave., the droid rapidly descends in front of the Jacob Javits Center and quickly takes a series of snaps around its spheroid body, which are then uploaded via a sat-com link to the servers at Google HQ.

Seriously, it's a pretty trick feature that should make driving to your destination much easier since you will actually know what your destination looks like. Hopefully the feature quickly rolls out in other cities besides the biggest ones.

[Source: Google Maps via Digg]

 

[via] Autoblog

eBay Find of the Day: 1958 Edsel Ranger Motorhome

Filed under: ,


Click image for photo gallery


The treasure trove that is eBay Motors continues to produce. Today's big find is the 1958 Edsel Ranger motor home conversion you see here. The forward half of the erstwhile sedan has been fused to a 60's-era camper trailer that sleeps up to six, according to the seller. (Unfortunately, no pics of the living space are included.) Said to be a big attention-getter wherever it goes (no surprise there), the patriotically-colored Edselbago has visited 48 states. Power comes from a 390 Ford V8 hooked up to a C6 transmission with a floor-mounted shifter. ( The Edsel's steering-wheel-mounted Teletouch pushbutton tranny is now just for show.) Claimed weight is 7,000 pounds, and the whole package is apparently good for 15-16 mpg. Best part: it can be yours. As of this writing, the high bid's $1,958 (someone's being clever), and the seller's reserve hasn't been met. Get in on the action by clicking here.

[Source: eBay]

 

[via] Autoblog

So, yeah, the Indianapolis 500 happened last weekend

Filed under:


click above image for more pics of this year's Indy 500

Usually we have little trouble covering the big auto events of the year. Bloggers line up to go to auto shows and even for those events we don't attend in person, which are often motorsport events, there's always one or two of us who care enough to watch on TV and whip up a quick recap post.

Then there's the Indy 500, which took place at the famous Brickyard last Sunday. Not one of us watch CART, instead favoring the American LeMans Series as our motorsport of choice, with NASCAR's Nextel Cup coming in a distant second perhaps. Knowing this about Team Autoblog, I set aside some time on Sunday to watch the Indianapolis 500.

Read more after the jump.

[Source: Indy500.com]



I was enjoying myself watching team Andretti Green Racing dominate the field the first 100 laps of the race. AGR's Tony Kanann seemed like the man to beat during those first 100 laps, but fellow team member Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick were in the hunt and had to deal with charges from Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr. all afternoon.

Shortly after the race became official with 101 laps, the rain began to fall and the race was delayed with Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick in the 1-2-3 spots. That's where this blogger got up and left, because in between telling us viewers over and over what a coincidence it was that Marco Andretti could possibly finish in second for the second year in a row if the race were stopped on account of rain, the announcers were saying it would take hours for the track to be dried if the race even started again at all.

So whatever happened after that you can read here just like I did, but the race ended up restarting and ultimately getting called on account of rain on Lap 163. The guy who just happened to be in the lead at the time was Team AGR's Dario Franchitti, who said of his win, "I kind of have half an idea of what it means to win this race now." This guy's married to Ashley Judd, which, after the way this race ended, convinces us he is the luckiest man alive.

NOTE: Curiously, we were convinced none of you were interested in the results either, as not a single comment or tip came in asking us to post the results.

 

[via] Autoblog

UK: Mazda MX-5 achieves Icon status

Filed under: , , ,


Click image for photo gallery

To celebrate the fact that the Mazda MX-5 accounts for a quarter of all new sports car purchases in the United Kingdom, the automaker has unveiled a new special edition paint and trim package dubbed "Icon." The Icon can be had with either the 1.8L engine mated to a 5-speed manual or the sprightlier 2.0L matched with a six-speed. Naturally, Icon badging will adorn the car's exterior, which can be coated in a choice of red, white or blue paint -- to match the Union Jack, natch. Inside, the Icon logo is embroidered onto the car's black leather seats and carpeted floormats. Climate control is also included as one of the standard features in the Icon package, which will be limited to 875 1.8L MX-5s and 375 of the 2-liter cars.

Additional details can be found in the press release pasted after the jump.

[Source: Mazda UK]



PRESS RELEASE:
Special Edition 'Mazda Mx-5 Icon' zooms into summer
  • Just 875 MX-5 1.8i Icon and 375 MX-5 2.0i Icon will be available in the UK
  • Mazda MX-5 Icon, based on the MX-5 1.8i and 2.0i Option Pack models, offers up to £1,500 worth of additional features
Celebrating its status as 'Britain's favourite sports car brand' - delivering one in every four sports cars sold in the UK this year - Mazda is introducing a new 'Special Edition' MX-5 soft-top model to its product line-up this summer, finished in a patriotic choice of red, white or blue paint.

The appropriately named 'Mazda MX-5 Icon' is the latest edition of the world's best-selling roadster and is specially designed to appeal to British drivers looking to purchase their very first soft-top roadster this summer. A true sports car, the rear-wheel drive MX-5 delivers unrivalled handling, driving dynamics and wind-in-the-hair motoring.

Representing extremely competitive value for money, the Mazda MX-5 Icon is available in two versions - the 'entry-level' 1.8i Icon features a 126ps engine and a five-speed transmission and is priced at £16,825 on-the-road. Customers in search of higher performance can choose the 2.0i Icon powered by a 160ps engine mated to a six-speed transmission and costing £17,825.

Both Icon models offer fantastic value with up to £1,500 worth of additional extras. Special features of the Icon include climate control air-conditioning, Icon-branded black Medici leather seats and unique Icon-branded luxury interior mats.

Exterior features include Icon badging and chrome style bar trims and the cars can be ordered in one of three exterior colours - Copper Red Mica, unique Marble White (solid) and Stormy Blue Mica.

"Since the demise of the MG TF and Toyota MR2, there is no longer a defined 'roadster' segment within the non-premium sports car market," commented Mazda UK's Managing Director Rob Lindley.

"Today, a section of the public perceives competitors to the Mazda MX-5 to include other open-top cars like the Mini Convertible, Vauxhall Tigra and Peugeot 207CC - all non-sports car segment vehicles.

Now, the Mazda MX-5 Icon aims to attract those customers by offering an irresistible combination of a uniquely sporty rear- wheel drive, wind-in-the-hair experience, high specification and excellent value. We are sure that this new model is an Icon by name and the MX-5 is certainly iconic by nature!" concluded Lindley.

As well as adding the special Icon features, generous standard equipment of the MX-5 ensures that buyers can enjoy: leather wrapped steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, six-speaker audio system, electric windows, premium black cloth soft-top, 16-inch alloy wheels, twin chrome exhaust tail pipes and a Thatcham Category 1 alarm and immobiliser.

Icon owners will also enjoy a degree of exclusivity as production of this latest Mazda MX-5 model will be restricted. Just 875 examples of the MX-5 1.8i Icon and 375 units of the MX-5 2.0i Icon will be available in the UK.

Despite all of the additional specification, both Mazda MX-5 Icon special editions remain in the same insurance groups as their standard counterparts - 11E (1.8i) and 13E (2.0i).

 

Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

[via] Autoblog

Rumor Mill: New Supra details emerge

Filed under: , , ,


click above image for high-res gallery of Toyota's FT-HS Concept

Toyota's next-generation Supra is veiled in mystery, but we tend to take seriously any news coming from Winding Road's Peter Nunn because, well, he actually lives in Japan and hears the hometown gossip. According to Nunn, rumor has it that the next-gen Supra's design will be inspired by the FT-HS Concept, which we kinda sort of already knew, and be powered by either a hybrid drivetrain or an all-gas V6.

The last issue of Automobile Magazine claimed that the FT-HS Concept would go into production as Toyota's Supra successor, but made no mention of another all-gas version. WR's Nunn, however, speculates that the car will be offered with either an updated version of the 3.5L V6 from the Lexus IS350 producing around 330bhp and a V6 hybrid drivetrain likely scooped from the Lexus GS450h and producing 400bhp.

The all-gas Supra would obviously be less expensive than the hybrid version, and thus would likely be the volume seller of the two. Looks like we're expecting both to arrive sometime in the latter half of 2008, though any details having to do with Toyota's plans for the Supra are obviously about as firm as Jell-o.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Hmm... Altima Convertible in the works?

Filed under: , ,



Nissan's studying the Altima's segment hard, looking for nooks and crannies to poke Altima variants into. The first volley is the coupe, which rides on a shortened platform and shares only the hood with the longer Altima sedan. The lines of the coupe would lend themselves quite well to having a roofectomy, and it would offer another choice in the affordable four-passenger convertible market. Up until recently, droptop motoring at reasonable prices were the domain of such snoozefests as the Sebring convertible and the Solara. The Altima has a decidedly sporty bent, and though body stiffening would add weight, we'd still expect to see it post solid midpack acceleration numbers while being surefooted (for a puller) and rewarding to drive.

The knock on coupes lately has been claims of waning public interest. Nissan seems to think that it was more a case of public ennui with aged, dispassionate product. With the recent introduction of the Volkswagen Eos, Volvo's new C70, Pontiac G6, and the new Chrysler Sebring convertible, there's now a plethora of choice in the four-seat top down tourer end of the spectrum. The Altima, specifically its athletic demeanor, would help further wake up the segment, and much of the work is already done. We just hope that the sporty lines of the Altima coupe are retained, regardless if the top is cloth or metal. We also hope that once Nissan gets done with the convertible, it turns its attention to the Altima wagon that also gets mentioned. Now that would be sweet.

[Source: Inside Line]


 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 05.29.07

Filed under: ,



Imagine you've just had a hard day. Your favorite show is about to come on, or at least a show you like quite a bit, and are ready to chill out for the next 60 minutes watching it. There's a moment of transition as you move from the business of the day to the escapist world of the upcoming drama. Part of that transition is the announcer. In his authoritative voice he says, "Previously, on AutoblogGreen ... "

 

[via] Autoblog

BMW buying Volvo rumour circulates again

Filed under: , , ,



Earlier this month, Autocar reported that BMW had expressed significant interest in buying the Volvo brand from Ford Motor Company early in 2007. The report claimed BMW had gone so far as to request financial data about the Swedish automaker.

Yesterday, the Swedish newspaper Goteborgs Posten threw another logo on this rumor's fire by reporting that sources within Ford have confirmed that BMW is exploring the possibility of purchasing Volvo. Another source has even claimed BMW and Ford have already begun informal talks.

Our previous post already touched on all the questions that need answering, including why BMW, which became the go-it-alone automaker after owning Land Rover left a bad taste in its mouth, would jump back into the ownership game. Also, while BMW and Volvo have distinct identities (the Ultimate Driving Machine versus the ultimate safety machine), there would at least be some overlap in their respective lineups.

Finally, while Ford has stated that nothing is sacred when it comes to its Premiere Automotive Group, of which Volvo is a member, why would it sell one of PAG's most promising brands? We have an answer for that one: Volvo's actually worth something. While many, including Ford itself, might hate to see Volvo leave the fold, the Swedish brand would likely catch a premium price on the market and help Ford fund its turnaround.

Would a BMW/Volvo ticket capture the consumer's heart? This armchair analyst is hardly qualified to give an answer, except to say that Volvo is a brand on the verge of some big things (C30 anyone?) and requires a patient parent company with deep enough pockets to see it through.

Thanks to everyone who sent us the tip!]

[Source: Reuters]

 

[via] Autoblog

Aw Snap! No, really - 20 Tundra camshafts have snapped

Filed under: ,

Out of a run of 30,000 5.7-liter V8 engines, Toyota has had reports of 20 camshafts snapping -- a minuscule number in light of the total (0.06 percent, as a matter of fact). Toyota says the outside supplier of the camshafts has discovered the problem, which was "a metallurgical defect in the casting," and the company is trying to figure out how many of the remaining 30,000 engines could also be affected, though because of the company's production method, the final number is not expected to be large. The camshafts have been designed to prevent collateral damage in case they break, but Toyota will replace a customer's entire engine if the camshaft failure should occur by sending a new 5.7L via airfreight to the nearest daeler. Apparently some Toyota execs believe that the new number one global automaker has been growing too fast to maintain proper quality control. Yet with the Tundra being a new truck with a new engine in a new market for Toyota, there are going to be teething problems, as we've seen. What remains to be seen is if, or for how long, these problems will continue.

Thanks for the tip, Tracy!

[Source: Pickuptruck.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

UAW shacks up at Holiday Inn near Toyota's Georgetown, KY plant

Filed under: , , ,



Assembly workers at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant make about $25 per hour, they build the best-selling non-truck in North America, and a lot of workers still aren't happy.

UAW members that are hurt on the job get paid 100% of their wage until they're well again, but at a Toyota plant, you may get placed in a less physically demanding role, but at a lower pay rate. This is just one example of why workers are meeting every Wednesday at a local Holiday Inn creating a game-plan to introduce the UAW into Toyota's biggest plant in North America. Another driving force for unionization is a leaked document that outlines Toyota's goal of controlling its labor costs by capping wages. Toyota officials say that being able to adjust pay at its own discretion allows it to provide stable employment for its workers when other manufacturers are leaving the region and the country all together.

The Georgetown plant has been around for 25 years without unionization, mostly because Toyota has treated its employees very well and paid wages that were competitive with what UAW members made. With Toyota's big profits and immense growth, some employees at Georgetown feel all they have to look forward to are more temp workers and "flexible pay". We know there are a lot of Autoblog readers who would be thrilled to make $25 per hour (including many Autoblog writers), but for the 7,200 workers in Georgetown, the siren call of the UAW may be getting harder and harder to tune out.

[Source: Freep]

 

[via] Autoblog

Nissan Titan making moves to be bigger, bolder, badder

Filed under: ,

When it comes to pulling one's weight in the full-sized truck category, Nissan, like Toyota, admits that it made some mistakes with its Titan the first time around, but has learned a lot. Both automakers seem not to have realized that the truck buyer is an entirely different animal than the car buyer. Having failed to reach its sales targets since the truck was launched, Nissan is now planning to give the Titan a complete overhaul. Injecting more "full" into its full-sized contender, the 2008 Titans will be bigger, more powerful, more rigid, have heavier axles and better payload capacity, and bigger brakes.

Nissan is also expanding the model mix, having learned how varied American truck buyers like their option choices to be. One addition will be a decontented V6 model for buyers who just want a no frills work truck. On the other end, the company is considering purchasing diesel V8s from International Truck and Engine Corp (that's right, Navistar). And along with the changes, Nissan is expending the effort to raise the truck's profile; most folks still think it's a mid-sized truck. Nissan is only looking for the Titan to grab 5% of the market, and it isn't too far off now. With the changes, they're in with a shout.

[Source: Auto News - sub. req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

REPORT: Chevy Traverse to join GM's group of Lambda CUVs

Filed under: , , ,



Like the Ford Explorer, Chevy Trailblazer sales have been in a tailspin lately, dropping 33 percent in the first four months of 2007. Unfortunately for Chevrolet dealers, there's not a full lineup of crossovers to take up the slack. When General Motors was developing its "Lambda" crossovers that include the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, it didn't foresee the Trailblazer dropping off so quickly and left Chevy completely out of the plan.

GM is now scrambling to create Chevrolet a variant of the Lambda platform that underpins the Outlook, Acadia and Enclave. The Spring Hill, Tennessee plant that until recently was the home of Saturn will now be the production site for the Chevrolet crossover that the Detroit News is reporting will be called the Traverse. The new model will probably debut next January at the Detroit Auto Show and the Trailblazer will like roll off into the sunset by 2010.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Canadian Auto workers protest job losses

Filed under: , , , , , ,



Canadian auto outposts Windsor and Essex counties in Ontario have lost thousands of jobs in the recent past. Out of concern for the future of not only their jobs, but their communities and standard of living, nearly 40,000 people took part in a rally organized by the Canadian Auto Workers Union on Sunday, May 27th. The CAW claims that every single manufacturing job supports 12 non-autobuilding jobs, and with the big goings on down south with the sale of Chrysler and Ford's Way Forward, the union is understandably concerned. The rally, part of the CAW's wider "Manufacturing Matters" initiative, was held at Ford's Windsor, Ontario test track, and was intended to demonstrate the gravity of Canada's loss of manufacturing jobs. There will be pain associated with the domestic automakers scramble to stay alive, and part of that has taken the form of shipping jobs elsewhere. It's not just the car assembly plants, it's the multitudes of smaller suppliers that build the subassemblies and components the autoworkers actually assemble. It's happening in the US, as well, and it's tough to realize that in the jaws of the vice are families that have little recourse. Click the pic above for a slideshow of the Windsor rally with audio.

Thanks for the tip, Peter!

[Source: Autonorth]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spain: VW's groovy Multivan Beach

Filed under: , ,


Click image for a high-res gallery of the Multivan Beach

VW España has unveiled a new variant of the Multivan (which goes by the spiffier "California" moniker in other European markets) that's simply called the Beach. The Multivan Beach's breadbox-shape is covered in a metallic gray finish that can be accented with orange, lime green, or light blue trim that runs the length of the van as a thick primary stripe and a thin secondary one. Additionally, the bonnet can be covered in the contrasting hue. The front bumper is left in its unpainted utilitarian flat gray, and simple, basic steel wheels sit inside the slightly flared arches.

Inside, the highly-reconfigurable passenger cabin is trimmed in light grey fabric with bright blue patterened inserts. The front captain's chairs can revolve to face the rear of the vehicle with a table between them and the second row of seats. Storage is abundant, with drawers and nooks aplenty. Large areas of netting are mounted to the ceiling to act as overhead storage.

The rear compartment can also be turned into a completely flat bed surface, and handy storage bags serve as "dressers" for the van's occupants. It's a spiffy arrangement powered by a choice of three TDI engines -- a 102-horsepower 1.9L and a pair of 2.5L versions making 130 or 174 horses. The latter two are equipped with particulate filters and can be mated to the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. You can check out the Multivan Beach's official site here.

[Source: AutoCity via Autoblog Spanish]

 

[via] Autoblog