Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Former Ford President Phil Benton Passes Away

Philip Benton Jr., former President of Ford Motor Company, died at age 86 at his home in Massachusetts on June 14, according to Automotive News. Benton spent 40 years at Ford, retiring as President and COO in July 1992. The photo (above) was taken from a 1992 KWHY-TV Business Channel interview where Benton discussed the company, cars, challenges and the restructuring of First Nationwide Bank which Ford eventually sold in 1994.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Get Your Kicks On Route 66 - Great Race Finishes At Santa Monica Pier

HEMMINGS MOTOR NEWS GREAT RACE presented by Hagerty, June 20 to June 28 from Kirkwood, Missouri, to Santa Monica, California, traveling along much of Historic US 66, finished today with about a hundred vehicles manufactured in 1972 or earlier crossing the finish line on Santa Monica Pier.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nissan JUKE-R 2.0 With 600 Horsepower

The Nissan JUKE-R 2.0, based on the newer JUKE model launched in Europe in 2014, has redesigned 100 percent carbon fiber front and rear bumpers and the front fenders, front headlights, taillights and hood are from the new 2015 JUKE. The engine power, according to the Nissan release, has been increased and is rated at 600 horsepower, "the same output as the GT-R, the NISMO."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Cruze - Larger, Lighter Coming In Early 2016

The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze on a 106.3-inch wheelbase is larger, up to 250 pounds lighter and more efficient with a new, standard 153 horsepower 1.4L turbocharged engine with direct injection mated to either a standard six-speed manual or available six-speed automatic transmission that General Motors estimates helps get 40 mpg on the highway. Stop/start technology helps enhance the Cruze’s efficiency in stop-and-go driving. New model range for North America including L, LS, LT and Premier and a more expressive RS package. Standard features include 10 air bags, four-wheel disc brakes, rearview camera and available OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot. New, available features include wireless phone charging, heated rear leather seats and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Available advanced safety features include Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert. The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze will be offered in more than 40 global markets and goes on sale first in North America in early 2016, with a diesel model to follow in 2017.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Makes World Debut

Alfa Romeo Giulia, the brand's top-of-the-range model, made its World Debut in Italy. The Giulia is powered by a 510 horsepower Ferrari-inspired turbo six-cylinder engine, made entirely of aluminium, accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds, and will be introduced on the Quadrifoglio version. The Giulia comes in rear or four-wheel drive. The Guilia features torque vectoring with a double clutch to allow the rear differential to control the torque delivery to each wheel separately. A.L.F.A. (standing for ‘Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili’, which translates as ‘Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company’ in English) was established on June 24, 1910.

2016 MINI Clubman Goes On Sale In January In U.S.

The new MINI Clubman, with a length of 168.3 inches, a width of 70.9 inches and a height of 56.7 inches, is 10.9 inches longer and 2.9 inches wider than the MINI Hardtop 4 Door, and its wheelbase is 4 inches larger. Its luggage compartment has a volume of 17.5 ft, which can be extended to as much as 47.9 ft by folding down the rear backrest. The new MINI Clubman will have a 134 horsepower TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder gas engine and the new MINI Cooper S Clubman will have a 189 horsepower TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine. All variants of the new MINI Clubman are fitted as standard with a 6-speed transmission and an 8-speed Steptronic transmission is available as an option for the MINI Cooper S Clubman. The Clubman will go on sale in the U.S. in January 2016. Pricing will be announced in September.

2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT Open For Orders At $199,950

The 2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT powered by an all-alloy, quad overhead cam, 48-valve front mid-mounted 540 horsepower 6.0-liter V12 engine mated to the rear mid-mounted Touchtronic II six-speed transmission with electronic shift-by-wire control system fueling a zero to 62 mph time of 4.5 seconds to a top speed of 183 mph. The DB9 GT is now available to order for $199,950.        

2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Arrives Early Next Year

The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro convertible, in its sixth-generation, offered in in LT and SS models, has six all-new powertrain combinations, including a 275 horsepower 2.0L Turbo, a 335 horsepower 3.6L V-6 producing, and the 455 horsepower LT1 6.2L V-8, each available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The Camero convertible top is capable of opening or closing at speeds up to 30 mph, fully automatic with latches that automatically release and secure the top and can be opened remotely with the key fob. The new Camaro convertible arrives in early 2016.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Porsche 918 Spyder Comes Off Assembly Line

The Porsche 918 Spyder, with 887 total system horsepower is a performance hybrid with plug-in technology producing an EPA rating of 67 MPGe, featuring five separate cooling circuits and the hybrid cooling of the rear electric motor using air and water. After 21 months of production, the final Porsche 918 Spyder came off the assembly line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Infiniti Q30 Goes On Sale in Europe In Q4

The Infiniti Q30, the brand's first-ever compact car, will debut at the Frankfurt International Auto Show in September, two years after the Infiniti Q30 Concept was revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt show. The Q30 will go on sale in Europe towards the end of 2015 with other markets to follow.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mercedes-Benz GLC - Larger and Lighter Than GLK It Replaces

The second generation of the mid-size Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV, renamed from GLK, is larger and yet 110 pounds lighter than the predecessor, and the GLC 300 and GLC 300 4MATIC will be powered by a 241 horsepower 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder engine mated to a nine-stage 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study

The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study examines problems experienced by more than 84,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2015 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Korean brands lead the industry in initial quality by the widest margin ever, averaging 90 PP100, which is an 11 PP100 improvement from 2014. For the first time in the study, European brands (113 PP100) surpass Japanese brands (114 PP100), while domestic makes (114 PP100) equal the Japanese for only a second time. Entertainment and connectivity systems remain the most problem-prone area for a third consecutive year, with voice recognition and Bluetooth pairing continuing to top the problem list.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Alfa Romeo 4C Arrives For $65,495 This Summer

All-new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider with an all-aluminum 237 horsepower 1750 turbocharged and intercooled engine with dual (intake and exhaust) continuous variable-valve timing, arrives at U.S. and Canadian dealerships this summer with an MSRP of $65,495 (including $1,595 destination). There are Dynamic, Natural or All-weather driving modes and the Alfa Romeo TCT (twin-clutch transmission) can utilize an “auto” mode. With four modes, including “Race” mode, the Alfa DNA selector can optimize the engine, transmission, Alfa Electronic Q2 differential and electronic stability control calibrations to the levels needed by the driver.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2016 Honda Pioneer 1000 Coming This Fall

2016 Honda Pioneer 1000 and Pioneer 1000-5 is powered by a purpose-built inline, twin-cylinder, Unicam® 999cc engine with a 6-speed fully automatic Dual Clutch Transmission. Built in the USA using domestically and globally sourced parts, the Pioneer 1000 is offered in four different configurations, from the base three-person version to the Deluxe five-person model, which features 14-inch aluminum wheels, 27-inch radial tires, LED headlights and electric power steering. Every Pioneer 1000 comes standard with four-wheel-drive, as well as a high-low sub-transmission and 4-mode differential lock, while the five-person model features auto-leveling rear suspension and a full-size convertible bed with Honda's QuickFlip™ seating.

2016 Fiat 500X Arriving Now Offers Mopar Accessories

The all-new 2016 Fiat 500X, arriving now, will offer more than 100 Mopar accessories for additional cost to personalize the latest addition to the FIAT lineup in North America that include: 14 different exterior graphics packages; 18-inch wheels in three different and color options, with a fourth option available in July; racks and carriers for bikes, skis, snowboards, luggage and more; premium leather Katzkin seats; a GPS-enabled stolen vehicle recovery system; Mopar Web Wi-Fi service kit. The 2016 Fiat 500X offers two engine options, an available nine-speed transmission and an all-wheel drive system with a disconnecting rear axle for improved fuel efficiency. The Fiat 500X is available in five trim models and 12 exterior colors. The Fiat 500X was introduced last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI, the sedan equivalent of the Golf GTI, with a 210 horsepower, 2.0-literTSI® turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder engine has new front fascia with a honeycomb grille and foglights, along with a new rear bumper design. A new standard feature is Automatic Post-Collision Braking system which applies the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors. The GLI SEL adds Blind Spot Detection with rear traffic alert, a navigation system, Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System, and Homelink®. The AFS system swivels the main headlight beams by up to 15 percent as the steering wheel is turned to help illuminate bends in the road more effectively at speeds of more than 6 mph.

2016 BMW 7 Series Starts At $82,250 This Fall

The all-new 2016 BMW 7 Series, in its sixth generation, is 190 pounds lighter with the extensive use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and will be introduced in the US this Fall as a long wheelbase version, more than one inch longer than its predecessor, with the 320 horsepower 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine in the 740i and a redesigned 445 horsepower 4.4 liter TwinPower Turbo engine in the 750i xDrive model. Both mated to an eight-speed Sport Automatic Steptronic transmission and featuring Gesture Control, Wireless Charging and the standalone option of the Display Key.

The iDrive system also works in conjunction with standard Gesture Control, which uses 3D sensors to capture pre-selected hand movements in the vicinity of the center console to adjust the audio volume control and accept or reject incoming phone calls.The 740e xDrive joins the BMW plug-in hybrid model lineup in 2016. The MSRP for the BMW 740i will be $82,250 and the BMW 750i xDrive will be $98,350 (prices include $950 Destination and Handling).

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2016 Ford Transit Coming In September

The 2016 Ford Transit adds available SYNC 3, rearview camera and new customization options. The flexible-fuel vehicle system will be standard equipment on 2016 Transit Connect vans with 2.5-liter I-4 engines destined for non-California emissions states engineered to run on E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline), unleaded gasoline or any blend of the two. A 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is available on Transit Connect vans and Transit Connect Wagon XLT. The bucket seats are available as a no-charge option on the XLT long-wheelbase model, while a six-way power driver’s seat is available in cloth for the first time on XLT. 2016 Transit Connect vans will be available at Ford dealerships beginning in September.

2016 Audi Q3 Starts At $34,625 With More Standard Features

The 2016 Audi Q3, powered by a 200 horsepower 2.0-liter TFSI® four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed Tiptronic® transmission has redesigned front lights, grille, bumper, side sills and rear lights and standard front and rear parking sensors and rearview camera, starts at $34,625 (including $925 destination charges) for the Premium Plus FWD model, $36,725 for the Premium Plus quattro, $39,525 for the Prestige FWD and $41,625 for the Prestige quattro trim level. Combined city/highway EPA estimate is 23 mpg.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

May 2015 U.S. Auto Sales

Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in the United States delivered 293,097 vehicles in May 2015, for General Motors' best May sales since 2007 and its best month since August 2008. Total sales were up 3 percent year over year and retail sales were up 7 percent. General Motors year-to-date sales of 1,246,192 is a 4.9 percent increase over last year.

Ford Motor Company’s total U.S. sales of 250,813 vehicles for May declined 1 percent from a year ago. Retail sales of 171,535 vehicles decline 2 percent. Fleet sales of 79,278 vehicles are flat.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. reported May 2015 sales of 242,579, a decrease of 0.3 percent from May 2014. Year-to-date sales of 1,021,528, up 6 percent from last year. Toyota division posted May 2015 sales of 212,908, down 1.6 percent while Lexus sales of 29,671 is a 10.2 percent gain.

FCA US (Chrysler, Ram, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat) reported U.S. sales of 202,227, a 4 percent increase compared with sales in May 2014 for the group’s best May sales since 2005. Year-to-date sales are 194,868, up 9 percent over 2014.

American Honda reported May 2015 Honda and Acura vehicle sales of 154,593, up 1.3 percent year-over-year. The Acura Division gaining 16.1 percent on sales of 17,042 vehicles in May and the Honda Division posting sales of 137,551 vehicles, a decrease of 0.3 percent for the month.

Nissan Group announced total U.S. sales for May 2015 of 134,779, dow 0.8 percent from May 2014. Year-to-date sales of 612,255 is 2.9 percent higher than a year ago. Nissan Division finished May with 124,305, a 1 percent drop from 2014 while Infiniti May sales of 10,474 is a 0.9 percent rise.

Hyundai Motor America reported May sales of 63,610, down 10 percent compared with its record-setting month of May 2014. Year-to-date sales of 303,648 are up 2 percent for the year.

Kia Motors America announced all-time best monthly sales of 62,433 vehicles in May, up 3.9 percent over May 2014 and marking the second time Kia has surpassed 60,000 units in a single month. Year-to-date sales are 256,815, up 4.1 percent over last year.

Volkswagen of America reported sales of 34,758 in May 2015, up 8.1 percent from a year ago. Year-to-date sales of 144,006 is a 4.2 percent decline from 2014. Separately, Audi reported May 2015 sales of 18,428 vehicles, an increase of 11 percent, the second-best month since the brand entered the U.S. market in 1970. Audi year-to-date sales of 75,353 is an 11.7 percent gain over last year.

Subaru of America reported record sales for May 2015 totaling 49,561 vehicles, a 12.2 percent gain over May 2014. Year-to-date sales of 228,083 vehicles is a 16 percent gain over the same period in 2014.

The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported May sales of 36,836 vehicles, an increase of 4.3 percent from the same month a year ago. Year-to-date sales of 160,533 is a 10 percent rise over 2014. Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 4.7 percent in May for a total of 31,003 compared to May, 2014 while MINI USA reports 5,833 automobiles sold, an increase of 1.8 percent from the same month a year ago.  

Mazda North American Operations reported May U.S. sales of 29,606 vehicles, a decrease of 0.4 percent versus last year. Through May, Mazda has sold 131,773 vehicles year-to-date, up 1.2 percent over 2014.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported best-ever May sales volumes for the Mercedes-Benz brand at 29,583, an 11.1 percent increase from May 2014. Sprinter sales totaled 2,769 for the month, up 22.3 percent, combining with 837 units at smart for a May total of 33,189 for MBUSA. Year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz delivered 136,926 units, climbing 9.4 percent from the same time last year. Adding 11,092 units at Sprinter (up 19.5 percent) and 2,850 units at smart, MBUSA posted a year-to-date grand total of 150,868, up 9 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors North America sold 9,575 vehicle in May, an increase of 31.7 percent and MMNA's best May sales total in the last seven years.

Jaguar Land Rover North America reported May 2015 U.S. both brands of 6,586, a 13 percent increase from May 2014.  Land Rover sales reached 5,382, up 19 percent and Jaguar sales were 1,204, down 8 percent. Year-to-date in 2015, Jaguar Land Rover U.S. sales are up 17 percent from 2014.

Volvo Cars of North America reported U.S. sales of 5,023, holding steady compared to May 2014. Year-to-date sales remain similar to last year.

Porsche Cars North America announced May 2015 sales of 4,268 vehicles, a 7.4 percent drop. Year-to-date sales are 20,915, up 11.1 percent over last year.

Sales will be updated as manufacturers report.