Friday, November 30, 2012

LA Auto Show Day 2 Highlights

Honda Civic - refreshed, updated & more!
All-new Mazda6 - coming soon with a diesel engine
All-new Mazda CX-9
Mitsubishi Outlander GT

These are the photo highlights from new introductions at the LA Auto Show. Lots more to come - interviews, videos and details - come back and visit to the updates.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LA Auto Show Day 1 Highlights

Toyota Rav4

Hyundai Santa Fe




Acura RLX

Jaguar F-type

Nissan Sentra

Subaru Forester

MINI Paceman

Porsche Cayman

BMW i3 Concept
Fiat 500L
Kia Sorento
There were 17 media conferences to debut all-new, refreshed or concept vehicles during the first day of the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. We'll have the details and video interviews about these vehicles in the days ahead. Stay tuned for Day 2 unveilings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Los Angeles Auto Show With Nearly 50 Debuts Next Week

The Los Angeles Auto Show confirmed that nearly 50 vehicles will debut at the show when it opens for the public on Nov. 30th. Debuts include world- firsts from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, as well as European automakers such as BMW, Fiat, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen. Overall, there will be two dozen all-electric or plug-in electric models at the show, at least a dozen clean-diesel vehicles and nearly 20 vehicles achieving 40-plus mpg with highly advanced four-cylinder gasoline engines. Listed below are a few that have been disclosed.
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept Vehicle
WORLD DEBUT
Fiat 500L North American 5-passenger version
Fiat500e 
Chevrolet Spark EV
2013 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid
Fusion Energi plug-in
Focus Electric
Honda Accord plug-in hybrid
2013 Acura RLX luxury sedan
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
new BMW i Concept vehicle
BMW Concept K2 Powder Ride
Kia Forte sedan
Jaguar XFR-S

Audi TDI Clean Diesel Line Up
NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT
All-new 2013 RAV4 crossover SUV
Bentley
BMW i8 Spyder hybrid roadster concept
Jaguar F-TYPE convertible sportscar
Porsche 911 Carrera 4
Mazda6 mid-sized sports sedan
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
Audi A8 TDI clean diesel
Audi A8, A7, A6, Q5, updated Q7 TDI with a new 3.0 liter V6 TDI clean diesel
Hyundai Santa Fe crossover seven passenger version
2013 Land Rover Range Rover

2013 Cadillac ATS Voted Motor Press Guild Car Of The Year

 
The all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS is the winner of the second-ever Motor Press Guild Vehicle of the Year (VOTY) Award. The 2013 Cadillac ATS was one of six finalists chosen by a select panel of MPG journalist members who test and review cars on a regular basis. The final vehicles were evaluated and ranked by all voting journalist and analyst members. Vehicles were rated in the categories of safety, quality, value, performance/handling, design/style, environmental/green impact and technology/innovation. In addition, journalists were encouraged to consider models that reflect the unique style of Southern California.

"In many ways, the ATS is a breakthrough vehicle for Cadillac," said Laura Burstein, President, Motor Press Guild. "Not only is it smaller and leaner than other Cadillacs on the market, it's the first American luxury car that truly goes head-to-head with compact luxury sport sedans from well-known European and Asian brands. Our members remarked that the ATS is capable on both the street and the track, offers a well-made and attractive interior, is replete with the latest technology and – perhaps most importantly – is fun to drive."

"The ATS is the result of an extensive, all new, ground-up mission to deliver a segment-winning vehicle," says Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. "That makes it especially rewarding when our efforts are recognized and awarded by a large and influential panel of automotive experts."

To be eligible for the Motor Press Guild Vehicle of the Year award, models must be all-new or substantially changed from the previous year and available at dealerships on or before Jan. 1, 2013. Other 2012 VOTY finalists (in alphabetical order) are the 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Honda Accord, 2013 Nissan Altima, 2013 Scion FR-S and 2013 Subaru BRZ.

I will admit the Cadillac ATS was not my top choice because I factor in price as part of the value equation and try to select a vehicle that provides the most for the money.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

American Suzuki Files Chapter 11 To Exit U.S. Car Business


American Suzuki filed for bankruptcy yesterday to reorganize and get out of U.S. car business:

"We greatly value our Suzuki automobile owners and we want you to hear directly from us about important developments at American Suzuki Motor Corporation (“ASMC”). Today we announced that, following a thorough review of our current position and future opportunities in the U.S. automotive market, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to wind down and discontinue new automobile sales in the continental U.S. Consistent with our long history of standing by our products, Suzuki automobile owners will be protected. All warranties will continue to be fully honored, in accordance with their terms, and automobile parts and service will be provided to consumers through our planned continuation of a service and parts dealer network.

Additionally, we have decided to realign our business to focus on the long-term growth of our Motorcycles/ATV and Marine divisions. We believe the best path to achieve this realignment in an efficient and orderly manner is to restructure our operations under chapter 11."

Read entire press release.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2012 SEMA: Steve Shannon, VP Marketing, Hyundai

Steve Shannon, Vice President of Marketing for Hyundai Motor America discusses company's success, new Santa Fe, L.A. Auto Show and Super Bowl Ads.


Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 SEMA: Michael O'Brien of Hyundai

Michael O'Brien, Vice President of Product Planning and Corporate Planning at Hyundai Motor America discusses the cars specially designed to show off at SEMA in Las Vegas. Watch the video, then read about the vehicles below.


ARK Performance Genesis Coupe R-Spec Track Edition takes the new Genesis Coupe 3.8-liter, direct-injected engine to 395 horsepower with race-like flared over-fenders, an aggressive front splitter, and carbon-fiber hood with heat-extractor vents.

ARK Performance Veloster Alpine Edition has an interior created by JPM Coachworks giving a blend of Alcantara®, Italian leather and WeatherTek® breathable fabric. These materials were chosen specifically for their durability in wet environments, including leather that repels mildew and a WeatherTek material commonly used in snow apparel.

Bisimoto Engineering Elantra GT Concept has forged Arias pistons, Bisimoto con-rods and Turbonetics turbocharger, AEM water-methanol injection and Bisimoto high-pressure injectors. The Bisimoto Elantra GT is one of the highest specific-output Hyundais ever created, muscling 600+ horsepower out of the 1.8-liter “Nu” engine family powerplant.

Cosworth Engineering Genesis Racing Series Concept gives the new Genesis Coupe 3.8-liter, direct-injected engine 389 horsepower at 6400 rpm, and torque of 325 lb.-ft. at 5100 rpm, all with daily-driving civility. The Cosworth has a satin-gloss blue finish, aero front splitter, gunmetal-finish lightweight racing wheels, integrated rear spoiler, and blackout rear diffuser.

FuelCulture Genesis Coupe Turbo Concept is a tuned, Apple Red Genesis Coupe set to achieve 315 horsepower and 242 lb.-ft. of torque.

JP Edition Veloster Turbo is a Hyundai/John Pangilinan partnership that created a brilliant mint green Veloster concept with help from paint supplier BASF. The 1.6-liter, direct-injected Veloster engine receives an ARK performance exhaust, while the suspension adds KW coilovers, Whiteline sway bars and anti-lift kit, and a Brembo® big brake kit. Blacked-out Ray’s Gram Lights Xtreme57 Wheels and Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tires fill in the bright mint green TS Designs fender flares by Jon Sibal.

Hyundai & Kia Adjust MPG Ratings - Customers Get Reimbursed

Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America, following discussions with the EPA, are voluntarily adjusting the fuel economy ratings for approximately 900,000 or 35 percent of 2011-13 model year vehicles sold through October 31, 2012 after procedural errors at the automakers' joint testing operations in Korea led to incorrect fuel economy ratings for select vehicle lines. The 2012 Hyundai/Kia fleet fuel economy level is being reduced by an average of 3 percent – from 27 to 26 MPG.

The fuel economy rating discrepancies resulted from procedural errors during a process called "coastdown" testing at the companies' joint testing operations in Korea. Coastdown testing simulates aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses and provides the technical data used to program the test dynamometers that generate EPA fuel economy ratings. 

Both Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America are putting in place a comprehensive reimbursement program for affected current and former vehicle owners to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the fuel economy rating change.  Customers will receive a personalized debit card that will reimburse them for their difference in the EPA combined fuel economy rating, based on the fuel price in their area and their own actual miles driven.  In addition, as an acknowledgment of the inconvenience this may cause, we will add an extra 15 percent to the reimbursement amount. Current owners will be able to refresh their debit card for as long as they own the vehicle. Prior owners of affected vehicles who have already sold their cars will also be reimbursed using the same formula.

For more information about reimbursement and a complete list of eligible vehicles, customers can visit www.HyundaiMPGinfo.com and www.KiaMPGinfo.com.

2012 SEMA: Michael Sprague, Kia Motors America

Kia shows off DC Entertainment comic book superhero cars at SEMA. Kia has seven new vehicles coming over the next 12 months according to Michael Sprague, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Kia Motors America.


The Cyborg Forte 5-door, Batman Optima, Green Lantern Soul, Flash Forte Koup and Aquaman Rio 5-door were all shown in Las Vegas this week.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 SEMA Attracts 130,000 Auto Enthusiasts


October 2012 U.S. Auto Sales

General Motors reported October sales of 195,764, up 4.7 percent versus a year ago for its highest October sales in the United States since 2007. Year-over-year sales to retail customers were up 7 percent and sales to fleet customers were down 2 percent.  Year-to-date GM sales are 2,163,479, a 3.6 percent gain over 2011.

Ford Motor Company sold 168,456 vehicles in the U.S. in October, unchanged from a year ago while retail sales are up 2 percent compared to last year. Year-to-date sales are 1,858,270, up 4.9 percent from 2011.
   
Toyota
Motor Sales, U.S.A. reported October monthly sales of 155,242, up 15.8 percent. Year-to-date Toyota sales of 1,726,666 is a 30 percent increase over the first 10 months of last year. 

Chrysler Group reported U.S. sales of 126,185, a 10 percent increase compared with sales in October 2011, and the group's best October sales since 2007 and the 31st-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. FIAT brand's 89 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand for the month. Year-to-date sales of 1,376,855 is a 23 percent increase over 2011.

American Honda reported October 2012 U.S. sales of 106,973, an increase of 8.8 percent compared with October 2011. The Honda Division posted October 2012 sales of 94,810, an increase of 8.7 percent compared with October 2011. Acura U.S. October sales of 12,163 increased 9.4 percent compared with October 2011. Year-to-date American Honda sales are 1,173,431, a 22.5 percent rise over 2011.

Nissan North America reported October U.S. sales of 79,685, down 3.2 percent. Nissan Division sales of 70,928, was a decrease of 6 percent while sales of Infiniti vehicles were up 27.6 percent over the prior year, to 8,757 units. Year-to-date sales are 946,169, a gain of 10.5 percent over 2011.

Hyundai Motor America announced sales of 50,271 vehicles in October, a four percent total sales decline compared with the same record-setting period a year ago. Sales are 590,085, up 8.2 percent through the first 10 months of the year versus 2011.

Kia Motors America announced best-ever October sales with 42,452 units sold, a 12.6-percent increase over the same period in 2011. Kia's year-to-date sales are up 17.8-percent over 2011.
    
Volkswagen of America reported October sales of 34,311, a 22.4 percent increase over prior year sales, and 357,400 year-to-date, a 35.6 percent increase and the best October since 1972. In just 10 months of sales, this marks the best calendar year since 1973. Separately, Audi reported record-setting October sales of 11,708 new vehicles representing a 14.5 percent increase above the previous record set in October of last year and marking the 22th consecutive month of record U.S. sales. Year-to-date sales are 112,402, up 18.1 percent from 2011.

The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported October sales of 32,339 vehicles, an increase of 18.5 percent from the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, BMW Group is up 8.4 percent on sales of 267,267 in the first ten months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Subaru of America reported 26,119 sales for the month of October, a 30 percent increase over October 2011.  The company also announced record breaking annual sales of  271,582, a 26 percent increase over 2011. This marks the company's fifth year of sales growth and fourth successive sales record.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported record October sales of 23,978 for its Mercedes-Benz models, up 5.9 percent, delivering a record year-to-date total of 215,596 new vehicles to customers, up 11.9 percent. Combined sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, smart and Sprinter for the month totaled a record for MBUSA overall with sales of 26,642, up 9 percent, bringing the year-to-date total to 240,973, up 15.8 percent.

Mazda North American Operations reported October U.S. sales of 18,622 vehicles, representing an increase of 1.6 percent versus last year. Year-to-date sales through October are up 8.8 percent versus last year.

Mitsubishi sales were 3,981, down 9.1 percent compared to October 2011. That total however is impacted by models that ended their production in 2011.  Total sales of models currently in production were up 7.0 percent for the month compared to October 2011.

Porsche Cars North America announced October 2012 sales of 3,211 vehicles, an increase of 41 percent. For the year, Porsche has sold 28,226 cars in the U.S., a 13 percent increase over last October.

American Suzuki Motor reported October 2012 sales of 2,023 units, a 5 percent increase from October 2011. 

Sales will be updated as manufacturers report.

2014 Subaru Forester To Debut In L.A. In 4 Weeks


The all-new 2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV will make its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The fourth generation of Forester will offer a new 250 horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged BOXER® engine with the debut of a new six-speed manual transmission and available Lineartronic® continuously variable transmissions (CVT) with 6-speed and 8-speed manual modes and Hill Descent Control. The other engine choice is the currently offered naturally aspirated 170 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine. More on November 28 & 29 from the Los Angeles Auto Show.