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Archive for September, 2010

New Diesel Wrangler Aims To Boost Jeep, Chrysler Sales In Europe

Maker also introduces Europeans to new Grand Cherokee.

by on Sep.30, 2010

Jeep is betting a new 2.8-liter diesel and start/stop function will boost European demand for the Wrangler SUV.

The rare success story among Chrysler brands competing oversees, Jeep hopes to pick up momentum as it launches a line-up of new diesels, as well as the European version of its all-new Grand Cherokee.

One of the critical strategies for Chrysler, hoping to recover from last year’s bankruptcy, is to amp up its export operations.  In fact, that’s a key target for Fiat, Chrysler’s new partner, and could earn it another 5% stake in the company.  Jeep will be a critical part of the process since it already accounts for about half of Chrysler’s sales outside North America.

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Moving things ahead will count on new powertrains, as well as new product, said Jeep boss Mike Manley, during a news conference at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

To underscore that point, the U.S. maker is adding a new and much more sophisticated diesel driveline to its 2011 Jeep Wrangler.

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Audi eTron Spyder Opts For Through-The-Road AWD Hybrid Drive

Convertible version tests out alternate approach to battery supercar.

by on Sep.30, 2010

The Audi eTron Spyder with CEO Rupert Stadler.

It’s been barely a year since we first got look at the innovative Audi eTron, one of the first in a wave of new battery-powered supercar concepts that have been charging out on the auto show circuit.

But the big difference between the original Audi eTron and the eTron Spyder debuting at the 2010 Paris Motor Show really isn’t the lack of a roof, it turns out.  The latest take on this battery sports car concept introduces an alternative way to power its wheels.

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Where the original eTron relied purely on lithium-ion batteries, much like a Nissan Leaf on major league steroids, the eTron Spyder opts for a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and one that adopts a novel through-the-road approach to all-wheel-drive.

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VW Release NMS Sketches Just As It Unveils New European Passat.

Big differences planned between U.S., European midsize sedans.

by on Sep.30, 2010

Sibling rivalry? Just how different are the U.S. NMS -- shown in a new rendering -- and the new VW Passat debuting in Paris?

They’re clearly kissing cousins, but there are also some distinct differences between the all-new Volkswagen Passat making its public debut at the Paris Motor Show, this week, and the yet-to-be-seen model that American drivers will be getting next week.

“Completely different cars,” emphasized VW’s senior product planner, Toscan Bennett, during a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com on the floor of the 2010 Mondial de l’Automobile.

This newly-released rendering of the Volkswagen NMS  — short for New Midsize Sedan – underscores that point.

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The two models aren’t night-and-day.  The images suggest that the sedan that will be built at VW’s new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee borrows some of the more distinctive Passat design elements, such as the angular cut to the low-browed headlamps, and the cut of the three-bar grille.

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First Look: Nissan Townpod

Clean urban mobility.

by on Sep.30, 2010

Nissan Chief Operating Office Toshiyuki Shiga reveals the maker's latest battery car concept, the Townpod.

One thing you can say about Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of both Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault, he’s determined to prove there’s a serious market for electric vehicles.

While the Japanese maker’s first battery car, the Leaf, is still a few months away from launch, Nissan was talking up other ideas for green mobility during the Paris Motor Show preview – and backing its words up with an all-new concept for clean urban mobility, the Townpod.

“The journey to zero emission is just beginning,” suggested Ghosn’s top lieutenant, Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga, as the covers lifted off the battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.

Under the skin, the Townpod shares it’s electric drive system with the Leaf, meaning a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack driving a single electric motor.  (Click Here for TheDetroitBureau.com’s review of the 2011 Nissan Leaf.)

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As with Leaf, Townpod would be expected to deliver about 100 miles range and take about 8 hours to recharge using a 220-volt charger.  Performance also would likely be described as “brisk” from 0 to around 35 mph, thanks to the torquey performance of electric drive systems.

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First Look: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Putting the sixth element to good use.

by on Sep.30, 2010

The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento show car with CEO Stephan Winkelmann and friends.

At an event that some have started calling, “The Paris Electric Vehicle Motor Show,” the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento might seem almost out of place.

Sure, it uses advanced carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) and modern design principles to hold its weight down to just 2202 pounds.  But there were no batteries in sight, nor under that carbon fiber skin – just a massive 5.2-liter V-10 making 570 horsepower and 550 newton-meters of torque.

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For the mathematically challenged, that works out to a power-to-weight ratio of 1.75 kg/horsepower, an awesome figure few cars not specifically designed for the track have come close to.

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Update: More Photos of Jaguar’s 205 mph C-X75 Battery Supercar

by on Sep.30, 2010

The Jaguar C-X75 battery supercar makes its debut.

We’ve had a chance to get up close and personal with the new Jaguar C-X75, the battery-powered supercar making its surprise debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.  Here are some more photos and details.

As we earlier reported, the British maker claims the C-X75 will hit 205 mph. That’s a significant number for any automobile, and all the more so when you consider it has a surprising amount in common with the new Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid.

(Click Here for our earlier X-C75 story.)
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First, a few basics, like the fact that the C-X75′s four separate wheel motors produce a combined 770 horsepower and a blistering 1,180 lb-ft of torque, Jaguar claims the striking 2-seater will not only be capable of topping 200 mph, but launching from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in just 3.4 seconds.

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First Look: Ford Focus ST

Ford contest to let 100 winners fly to Europe to test-drive new Focus.

by on Sep.30, 2010

The "Tangerine Scream" paint says a lot about the new Ford Focus ST.

Though Ford gave the world an early look at the next-generation Focus, which is making its official debut in the City of Lights, this week, it saved some good things for the company’s Paris Motor Show press conference, notably the roll-out of the all-new Focus ST.

Set to go on sale in Europe in early 2012, the 5-door looks to be more than just another one of the many spin-offs using the all-new C-car platform as the base Focus.  It promises to be a true screamer.

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The most sporting of the new Focus variants, shown in Paris in a Tangerine Scream paint scheme, the hot hatch will make a solid 246 horsepower out of its 2.0-liter inline-four Ecoboost engine.  Look for serious off-the-line acceleration, the maker says, and the exhaust note to go with it.

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Mulally: How Less Will Mean More When Ford Cuts Nameplate Count

by on Sep.30, 2010

Fewer nameplates but more product, says Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

While Ford Motor Co. will slash by as much as a third the number of individual nameplates it offers around the world, consumers will likely have more, rather than less products to choose from, said the maker’s CEO Alan Mulally, following the unveiling of the all-new Ford Focus at a Paris Motor Show preview.

The former Boeing executive spoke with TheDetroitBureau.com to clarify comments made during a speech in London, earlier this week, in which Mulally outlined plans to continue the ongoing cutback in Ford’s product count as it sharpens its focus on its core brands.

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Since joining the company, just four years ago, Mulally has reduced the number of nameplates in the Ford stable from 97 to 37, so far largely by selling off European luxury brands Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.  But the cuts won’t stop there.

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GM Makes New Investment in Battery Car Production

Delphi invests in new wireless recharging system.

by on Sep.30, 2010

While GM expands production of EV component, Delphi is looking at a new wireless charging system.

With federal help, General Motors Corp. is sinking an additional $23.5 million into production of components for electric vehicles at a factory near Baltimore, Maryland, where it will produce motors for future battery cars.

The new investment follows GM’s earlier commitment of $246 million to the Baltimore plant back in January. The investments create new jobs at the plant, according to GM officials, which has been under pressure to create more jobs at the company’s U.S. operations in return for the federal bailout that kept it alive.

Meanwhile, GM’s former parts arm, Delphi Corp. is pushing into the nascent EV market with a new partnership aimed at developing wireless charging technology.

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“This will allow us to strengthen our core electrification components expertise,” said GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones, about the maker’s latest Baltimore investment. “We’ll have more to say about specific products later.”

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First Look: Jaguar C-X75

Maker unveils plug-in hybrid supercar in Paris.

by on Sep.30, 2010

Jaguar claims its C-X75 battery supercar can hit 205 mph.

Jaguar is charging into the Paris Motor Show – quite literally – with an electric supercar concept dubbed the C-X75.

Using four separate wheel motors to produce a combined 770 horsepower and a blistering 1,180 lb-ft of torque, Jaguar claims the striking 2-seater will be capable of hitting 205 mph, and launching from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in just 3.4 seconds.

The Jaguar C-X75 differs from some other recent battery supercar concepts in that it has an onboard power source to keep the vehicle going once its batteries run down.

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The sleekly aerodynamic C-X75 concept, meanwhile, is designed to showcase the British marque’s new design language, according to Mike O’Driscoll, Jaguar’s Managing Director.

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