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Archive for June, 2015

Court Approves NYC’s Taxi of Tomorrow Plan

Ruling paves the way for future fleet of Nissan NV200s.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The New York Court of Appeals ruled that New York City can mandate that the NV200 be the city's only option for taxis in the future.

The State of New York’s top appeals court has ruled that New York City can launch an all-Nissan taxi fleet under its $1 billion contract with automaker. The court rejected the Greater New York Taxi Association’s argument that the city exceeded its authority to require a specific vehicle.

The full Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed an appellate court decision that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission can require all cab drivers to operate the Nissan NV200 compact cargo vehicle, dubbed the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” when it was selected by the city in 2011 to replace the majority of its taxi fleet, which includes everything from Ford Crown Victoria sedans, Toyota Prius hybrids models and various kinds of minivans.

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The decision to standardize New York’s roughly 15,000 medallion taxi cabs has been resisted up until now by the taxi owners, who pay nearly $1 million for their medallions. The group said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but it was “time to move on,” and that it would not appeal the decision. (more…)

Jeep Expects to Hit 1.2 Million in Sales in 2015

Company struggles with Wrangler production issues.

by on Jun.29, 2015

FCA is struggling with what to do about increasing the production capacity of the Wrangler's long-time home plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Sales of Jeep-branded vehicles are on track to hit roughly 1.2 million this year, according to the FCA U.S. executive responsible for the nameplate.

Michael Manley, president of the Jeep brand, noted that Jeep sales have increased by 20% so far this year, after topping 1 million units for the first time ever in 2014. The plants belonging to FCA U.S., formerly the Chrysler Group, building vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are having difficulty keeping up with the demand from customers, he told reporters at the company’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.

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Sales of the Jeep Cherokee, which was introduced last year, and the sales of the Jeep Renegade introduced this past spring are also doing well in the U.S. The Renegade is proving very popular with European customers and sales of other Jeep products also remain strong in Europe. (more…)

Nine in Ten Millennials Say it’s “Important” to Own a Car

Rental cars provide alternate way to test drive vehicles.

by on Jun.29, 2015

Millennials may be more interested in buying cars than the auto industry has realized.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Millennials are more interested in cellphones than cars, that they’d rather walk or bike, or at least stick to mass transit, rather than planting a vehicle in their driveways.

If a new study by Enterprise Holdings is any indication, conventional wisdom – as is often the case – needs to be stood on its head. The study finds 91% of Millennials calling it extremely or very important to own a vehicle, whether to commute, run errands or simply enjoy their lifestyle.

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Perhaps not surprising, considering the source, the study indicates that Millennials are turning to rental cars as an alternative way to go for a test drive.

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Nissan Packs 600 HP Under Hood of Juke 2.0

Supercar Crossover makes its debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The Juke-R 2.0 picks up the 600-hp Nissan GT-R NISMO powertrain.

To some, it’s one of the coolest cars on the market; to others the goofiest. What’s hard to debate is that the latest update of the Nissan Juke is also the most powerful vehicle in the small crossover market.

The maker took the wraps off what it has dubbed the Juke-R 2.0 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend, and this cross between a crossover and a sports car gets a big bump in performance.  First shown at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the original Nissan Juke-R made a mere 545-hp. For those who want more, the Juke-R 2.0 will churn out an even more crazy 600-hp.

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“The JUKE-R 2.0 is a perfect ‘crossover’ of the best bits of Nissan – real innovation showcasing our crossover prowess fused with the excitement of the GT-R supercar engine,” said Gareth Dunsmore, Marketing Communications general manager for Nissan Europe.

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Summer Time Means Driving Time

Low gas prices + tech friendly cars = road trip.

by on Jun.26, 2015

Summer's here and its time for Americans to get in the car for vacations and weekend road trips.

The U.S. is a nation of drivers and summer is when we like to hit the road the most. In fact, 71% of people in a recent survey plan to take at least one road trip this season.

A recent Harris Poll shows that seven in 10 Americans will be hopping behind the wheel with family or friends for some warm weather fun. More immediately, AAA projects 41.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day, the most since 2007 and a 0.7% increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year.

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Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting more Americans to take a holiday trip this year. Despite recent seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has helped boost Americans’ disposable income. Nearly 85% of travelers will drive to their holiday destinations, which an increase of 0.7%. (more…)

New Grand Cherokee Delayed, Jeep Says

Manley claims Marchionne’s search for partner played no role.

by on Jun.26, 2015

The next iteration of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is on hold until 2018, Jeep officials said today.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plans to push back the introduction of the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee until the 2018 -2019, Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, confirmed during a meeting with reporters at the company’s Chelsea Proving Ground.

Manley said the talk of FCA merging with another automaker played no part in the decision to delay the introduction of the next generation Grand Cherokee, which has been at the heart of the Jeep line when it was first introduced by Chrysler back in the 1990s.

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Reports from Italy also have indicated that FCA has delayed the introduction of some models to free up cash for new investment in Alfa Romeo, which is expected to total $5 billion by the end of the decade. (more…)

Google Turns Self-Drivers into Rolling Art

Tech giant dubs effort “moving art experiment.”

by on Jun.26, 2015

Google is looking for artists to help decorate its growing fleet of autonomous vehicles that are undergoing testing around California.

Think you have an artistic streak? Have an image in mind that might represent the car of the future or its impact on the world? Live in California? Google wants your help.

The Silicon Valley giant is just rolling out the first of its autonomous vehicle prototypes, two-seaters that look like a cross between an old Volkswagen Beetle and a tin can. They may incorporate the technology of the future, but pretty they’re not. And that’s something Google wants to fix.

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It has launched a competition, dubbed a “moving art experiment,” aimed at transforming those bubble cars into rolling works of art. The official theme is, “my community, my neighbors.” Up to 10 different entries will be selected and the winners will, among other things, get to see their work rolling around the streets of Silicon Valley. (more…)

Life’s a Drag, Says Mopar

Parts and performance division launches supercharged Drag Pak

by on Jun.26, 2015

Kind of a drag. Mopar launches two versions of its new Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

Just because life’s a drag doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. And for performance fans, Fiat Chrysler says it has just the cure – the new Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak which will offer a choice of engines including Mopar’s first supercharged package.

The Drag Pak is a factory-prepped package car specifically tuned for drag racing, and gives buyers the option of either a 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 or a supercharged 354-ci Hemi.

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“Today, we write the next page in our performance playbook with the reveal of the production Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, a vehicle that offers, for the first time, a supercharged engine that provides our racers more options,” said Pietro Gorlier, Mopar President and CEO, “Our brand,” he added, “is committed to supporting Mopar drivers who compete at all levels.”

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June Auto Sales Heating up Record Books

Analysts expecting best monthly result in a decade.

by on Jun.26, 2015

Buyers filled the showrooms of car dealers and adding to the bottom lines of automakers in June.

With record amounts of cash flowing through the nation’s showrooms, sales of new vehicles have continued to boom during June, analysts report, putting the industry on track to post its best sales in more that a decade.

TrueCar Inc., the car buying service, expects retail auto sales to consumers will rise 7.9% in June compared with a year ago as robust demand, married with promotions by automakers, kicks off the summer-selling season. Total industry volume, including fleet deliveries, may increase by 6.3%.

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New vehicle sales, including those to daily rental and commercial fleets, should rise to 1.5 million units this month from 1.4 million the highest since 2005. (more…)

Lotus Amping Up the Sports Car Game with New 3-Eleven

Brits promise their fastest road car ever.

by on Jun.26, 2015

Lotus unveiled the new 3-Eleven in time for the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

It might not be a winning roll of the dice in Las Vegas, but Group Lotus is betting big on the new 3-Eleven it’s unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed today.

With its distinctively minimalist windshield and extremely long nose, the long-struggling British maker claims the new model will be its fastest production road car ever. Actually, there will be two versions produced, one for the street, another for the track.

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“We always say that to make a sports car better, you make it faster and lighter. The new Lotus 3-Eleven carries that philosophy to a new level, and is perfectly in keeping with our brand values,” said Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive officer for Group Lotus plc, during a presentation at the annual Goodwood event. (more…)