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Posts Tagged ‘2011 la auto show’

Lincoln Hopes MKT Can Replace Town Car

Special edition earmarked for fleet use.

by on Nov.22, 2011

A Town Car by any other name? Lincoln will offer a Town Car version of the 2013 MKT crossover.

The Lincoln Town Car is coming back to life – though long-town limo fans may not immediately recognize the replacement.

With its long-in-the-tooth Town Car now out of production Lincoln has been looking at the prospect of losing its long-time grip on the so-called “black car” market.  But it’s hoping to regain a dominant position in the livery world with the addition of a special version of its newly-updated MKT crossover vehicle.

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Ford’s luxury division will attempt to win back limo companies and other customers by emphasizing the roominess of the MKT as well as its all-weather capabilities, a potential advantage over the old rear-wheel-drive Town Car sedan.


Infiniti Beefing Up New IPL Line-Up

More than just show.

by on Nov.22, 2011

Infiniti muscles up its stock G37 Convertible.

With the launch of its new IPL G Convertible, Infiniti is adding some real muscle to its new performance sub-brand.

At 343 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, the 2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible gets a noticeable bump up from the more conventional Infiniti G37 cabrio, a well-received improvement from the base car which had plenty of show but needed more go.

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First introduced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and then updated, in concept form, at the recent Pebble Beach Concours, the IPL G shares its 3.7-liter engine with the standard-issue G37 Convertible, but it undergoes some exhaust tuning and engine management changes that add an extra 18 horsepower and 16 lb-ft of torque.


Mastretta MXT is One Hot Tamale

Mexico’s first sports car comes to LA.

by on Nov.18, 2011

Mastretta wants to begin selling Mexico's first sports car in the U.S. next year.

We’ve seen plenty of cars come in from Mexico, in recent years, as more and more makers take advantage of that country’s low labor costs and proximity to both the U.S. and fast-growing markets in Latin America.  What we haven’t seen are cars produced by a Mexican car company.  Until now, anyway.

That’s about to change with the upcoming launch of the new Mastretta MXT, a Lotus Elise-sized 2-seater being billed as Mexico’s first-ever sports car.

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The Mastretta MXT got its introduction, this week, at the L.A. Auto Show, founder and product chief Daniel Mastretta suggesting the MXT is an example of “form following racing car design.  But it’s a practical car that people can use every day.”

The semi-monocoque aluminum design makes use of lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, or CFRP, to enhance its strength while also holding down weight – which comes to just 2,100 pounds.

The MXT was developed inside-out says designer Daniel Mastretta, body and chassis seen here

The vehicle, asserts Mastretta, was developed “from the inside-out,” to put an emphasis on usable performance from a small package measuring just 153.5 inches nose-to-tail, 69 inches wide and 46 inches tall.  The little roadster’s wheelbase in 95.1 inches.

Power comes from a 16-valve intercooled turbo version of the Ford Duratec, an inline-four engine of 2.0-liters displacement.  The Mexican manufacturer claims it will make 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, channeled through a 5-speed manual gearbox to the rear wheels.

The maker is claiming 0 to 60 times of just 4.9 seconds, only a bit slower than the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera.

The MXT is being assembled by Tecnoidea, an engineering and design firm, at a plant in Mexico City.  The firm bills itself as Mexico’s only native automaker.

Expect to see the Mastretta MXR reach the U.S. early next year with the price tag tentatively set at somewhere between $60,000 and $65,000, according to company officials.

Setting up a U.S. distribution network is a work in progress.  But if Mastretta can pull it off, the start-up maker will be targeting buyers who might have opted for the Lotus Elise had the British company not halted imports this year.

Honda Looks Beyond New Fit EV

Maker isn’t plugging all eggs into one electric basket.

by on Nov.18, 2011

Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV for $399 a month next summer, in California and Oregon.

Honda took the wraps off its first battery-electric vehicle, the2013 Honda  Fit EV, which will roll into showrooms in select markets next summer.

But the Japanese maker, an early pioneer in hybrid technology, is clearly not ready to plug all its eggs into one electric basket.  While it will expand its battery car efforts, company officials stress they’re not walking away from other alternative powertrain solutions – which range from natural gas to hydrogen, as well as even cleaner gasoline engines.

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“We don’t know if the answer is electric or hydrogen or natural gas,” cautioned Mike Accavitti, the maker’s U.S. marketing chief, “so, at Honda, we’re working on all of them.”

Honda has opted for a lease-only approach for the Fit EV, the base car planned to carry a $399 monthly charge based on an estimated $36,625 MSRP.


Updated MKS, MKT Only Begin Lincoln Makeover

Real change comes in January with next-gen Lincoln MKZ.

by on Nov.18, 2011

The transformation of Lincoln design gets underway with the LA unveiling of the 2013 MKS.

Hoping to turn its long-lagging Lincoln brand into a serious luxury contender, the upscale Ford division brought two important updates to the L.A. Auto Show that mark what officials call “truly the beginning” of Lincoln’s transformation.

The updates to the 2013 Lincoln MKS and MKT are relatively modest, with the sedan and crossover getting updates fascias and grilles, new wheels and modest improvements in performance and fuel economy. They’re also getting the updated versions of the MyLincolnTouch systems designed to address criticism of the infotainment technology.

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But company officials confirmed that the big news for Lincoln won’t be revealed until January at the North American International Auto Show. has learned that the centerpiece will be an all-new version of the Lincoln MKZ. The brand’s entry-luxury sedan will get an all-new look showcasing Lincoln’s new design language.  And, among other things, Lincoln will abandon its well-known “waterfall” grille.  The maker is also working on an all-glass roof that can operate like a convertible top, as well.

“This is truly marking the beginning” for Lincoln’s design renaissance, said Max Wolff, the brand’s chief designer, following the debut of the new MKS and MKT models.


First Look: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder

A star-studded preview.

by on Nov.17, 2011

This might have been the only view you'd get of the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder if you weren't one of the A-List celebs at Lamborghini's event.

One thing seems certain in L.A., even celebrities like the combination of free food, flowing booze and the introduction of fast cars, actors Lake Bell, Dominic Monaghan and others on hand for the evening launch of the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder.

Few makers are more skilled at getting out the stars than Lamborghini, which has made a regular habit of introducing something drool-worthy at the L.A. Auto Show each year, more often that not a convertible. Actually, to be more precise, Lambo likes to stage an even of its own off-campus to ensure a good evening attendance.  So it was again this year.

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“With the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder, we are expanding the Lamborghini lineup with a purist model that adds yet another dimension of driving pleasure,” said Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann. “In particular this model will appeal to a very special group of customers – many in Southern California – that enjoy a spirited driving style paired with the sheer exhilaration of open-air driving.” (more…)

Honda Civic NatGas Named Green Car of the Year

Jurors see it as more practical, effective than battery power.

by on Nov.17, 2011

Honda Chief Marketing Officer Mike Accavitti accepts the Green Car of the Year award for the Honda Civic Natural Gas.

Defying conventional wisdom that battery cars are the alternative of choice, the natural gas-powered version of the Honda Civic was named Green Car of the Year during a well-attended ceremony at the L.A. Auto Show.

The Civic was one of the five finalists for the award, sponsored by Green Car Journal.  The others were the new Ford Focus Electric, the battery-powered 2012 Mitsubishi i, the 2012 Toyota Prius v, which is a larger version of the world’s best-selling hybrid, and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel.

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Though other makers have expressed interest in the relatively clean-burning fuel, Honda has been the only consistent manufacturer of vehicles using natural gas.

“For Honda, ‘blue skies for our children isn’t just a slogan,’ it’s something we believe in,” declared Mike Accavitti, the maker’s North American marketing chief, who accepted the Green Car of the Year award.


Live From LA – What’s New at the Auto Show

A complete guide to all the new products debuting in La-La-Land.

by on Nov.17, 2011

The introduction of the new Fiat 500 Abarth, one of more than 40 new vehicles debuting at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show.

With more than 40 new production models and concept vehicles on display, there’s something for everyone at the 2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show, and’s team is there to give you wall-to-wall coverage.  Here’s our latest round-up of what’s on tap.

Small cars are clearly gaining strength but it should be no surprise that, with California the world’s largest luxury car market, there will be a disproportionate number of high-line models, from the new Jaguar XKR-S to the seventh-generation Porsche 911.

That sports car underscores the significant gains manufacturers are making as they adopt new technologies like direct injection and Auto Stop/Start.  Though the new 911 is significantly more powerful it’s also expected to get as much as 15% better mileage.

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We’ll see plenty of awards handed out, including one for the year’s greenest cars.  And there’ll be more models falling into that category than ever before, including the Honda Fit EV, the Japanese maker’s first battery-electric vehicle.

Here’s an updated look at the models making their debut at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show:


Fiat Muscles up with Abarth 500

Italian flair at “an affordable price.”

by on Nov.17, 2011

Fiat brand boss Francois Olivier unveils the 500 Abarth at the LA Auto Show.

Just a year after tiny little Fiat 500 made its American debut at the L.A, Auto Show, Olivier Francois, Global head of the Fiat Brand and chief marketing officer, stepped on the stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center to unveil the latest version of the Italian microcar.

Though the name Abarth might not be familiar to the average American, there are still plenty of aficionados who recognize the heritage of the Fiat 500 Abarth, which traces its roots back to the work of Carlo Abarth, a former European motorcycle champion, who founded Abarth & Co in 1949, producing aftermarket products for production cars.

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In 1958 Fiat introduced the original 500 and Carlo Abarth saw some use for the tiny city car. His company gave it an extensive makeover, increasing the compression ratio of the small 479 cc engine, fitting it with a Weber carburetor, optimizing the intake system and adding an Abarth exhaust system.


Volkswagen Hints at Production Plans for Beetle R

Updated CC also debuts in LA.

by on Nov.17, 2011

VW is hinting at production plans for the Beetle R concept -- if it gets a good response at the LA show.

You think only the Chinese are good at copying?  Well, take a closer look at what the Germans have in store, notably the folks up at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, where they appear to be readying their own version of the vaunted BMW M series, shifting down the alphabet and coming up with the new VW R line.

The new Volkswagen R GmbH subsidiary has already tipped its hands with the Golf R and Scirocco models, the potential next-in-line offering making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past September.

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With the Volkswagen Beetle R Concept now crossing the Atlantic for a North American debut at the L.A. Auto Show it appears the prototype is going to make the jump to production, as well.

The concept offers a glimpse of how the Beetle will look when equipped with different bumpers with three contrasting air intakes and a front spoiler/air splitter, 20-inch wheels with five triple spokes and blue R brake calipers.