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Posts Tagged ‘2012 chicago auto show’

Volvo Set on Shift to 4-Cylinders

Maker betting fewer cylinders will equal more sales.

by on Feb.09, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

Volvo is committed to using only four-cylinder engines across its entire model line but it could take as long as five years to implement the strategy completely, according to John Maloney, the Chinese-owned Swedish maker’s U.S. president and chief executive officer.

During a keynote speech at the Chicago Auto Show, Maloney pointed to ongoing market trends and the likelihood that fuel prices will ultimately go up again to explain why Volvo is moving to an exclusive four-cylinder strategy even while key competitors emphasize sixes, eights and even 12-cylinder powertrains.

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“It just makes sense,” he said, noting that not only are fours more fuel-efficient but today able to match the power and performance of traditional, larger engines.  The technology also will make Volvo’s operations more efficient but simplifying the company’s purchasing and manufacturing operations.

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First Look: 2013 GMC Acadia and Acadia Denali

Aiming to maintain momentum in a tough segment.

by on Feb.09, 2012

The 2013 GMC Acadia Denali makes it Chicago debut.

Chicago Auto Show-goers will be the first to get a close-up look at the updated 2013 GMC Acadia, as well as the premium spin-off, the Acadia Denali.

The two new models will likely play a critical role for GMC, now the second best-selling brand in the General Motors portfolio.  Despite its age, the outgoing Acadia crossover had its best year yet in 2011, with demand surging 16% — and half of its sales coming from customers trading in non-GM products, according to Tony DiSalle, GMC’s vice president of marketing.

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“While (traditional) trucks and SUVs will be the foundation of the GMC brand,” DiSalle said during a Chicago Auto Show preview, “we’re expanding our appeal with bold crossovers like the Acadia.”

But the big CUV will have some tough competition, facing up against domestic products of comparable or slightly smaller size like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer, as well as imports ranging from the Toyota Highlander to more upscale models from European imports that also target what GMC calls the “professional grade” customer.

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Nissan Looks for Big Niche With Small NV 200 Van

Food truck anyone?

by on Feb.08, 2012

Nissan's newest commercial truck, the NV 200, makes its Chicago Auto Show debut.

Cupcakes to go?  How about some macaroni and cheese?  The food truck at the corner of the Nissan stand suggested just one of the reasons why the Japanese maker is optimistic about the opportunities for its new NV 200 van, which is getting its U.S. preview at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

Even after loading in a mobile kitchen, 4-wheel restaurants can be put on the road for less than $75,000, a company spokesman told TheDetroitBureau.com, potentially positioning Nissan to take advantage of the food truck boom sweeping the U.S. market.

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Of course, there are plenty of other applications the maker hopes to take advantage of, said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America Inc., including New York’s huge cab fleet as a result of the maker winning the city’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition.

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First Look: Hyundai Elantra GT and Elantra Coupe

If they come, can you build them?

by on Feb.08, 2012

The new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe with the already wildly popular Elantra sedan.

What do you do when you’re already short of cars to sell – as is the enviable problem faced by Hyundai with the compact Elantra model? How about adding a couple new variants likely to stimulate even more demand.

The Korean carmaker is clearly on a roll, with sales setting yet another new record for 2011, largely driven by demand for the Elantra, the original version of the sedan winning the North American Car of the Year trophy just last month.

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Now, the maker is offering potential buyers even more options, adding both a new Elantra Coupe and a sporty 5-door Elantra GT model for 2013. That will have Hyundai offering more distinct variants of the popular Elantra line than any competitor in the compact segment.

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Track’ster “Hints” at Next-Generation Kia Soul

“Tough looking, like a bulldog” – but will this dog hunt?

by on Feb.08, 2012

Longer, lower and wider, but will the Track'ster reappear as the next-generation Kia Soul?

Kia is giving Chicago Auto Show-goers a first look at what it says is a “hint” of what the next-generation Soul hatchback will look like.  Dubbed Track’ster, the 3-door concept vehicle is intended to give the popular crossover a more rugged and aggressive look, company officials suggested during a media preview in the Windy City.

The original Kia Soul kicked off quite a stir, especially when the Korean carmaker turned to a trio of digitally enhanced hamsters to help make the pitch.  A slightly updated version, introduced last year, followed the cute-ute approach, bringing back the hip-hop hamsters with a catchy dance track provided by one-hit wonders LMFAO.

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If the Track’ster is any indication, the maker wants to go for a more aggressive design when its time for the full refresh of the Kia platform.

“The idea was to make the Track’ster tough looking, like a bulldog,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer for KMA.  “But the car had to be approachable as well.  We wanted to base the car in reality so people instantly knew it was a Soul, but with a lot of attitude.  It had to be a bold interpretation that would change people’s conceptions of what a sporty Kia could be.”

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Nissan Goes Subtle With ’13 Z-Car Update

2013 370Z will be offered in three body styles.

by on Feb.08, 2012

Can you spot the changes in the new Z-Car?

If Nissan’s newly-updated 370Z were a game it would be the type that requires you to spot the subtle differences between two largely identical images.  To borrow various clichés, the changes for 2013 are “subtle” and “evolutionary,” rather than the type likely to grab your immediate attention.

Not that this necessarily matters, as the outgoing model was a pretty striking design that doesn’t need many changes to stay fresh.

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So, for the 2013 update making its debut today at the Chicago Auto Show, the most significant changes include:

  • A refreshed front fascia with vertical LED daytime running lights;
  • Revised 19-inch aluminum allow wheels on the Sport Package and new 18-inch wheels for the 370Z Coupe;
  • Euro-tuned shocks on the Sport Package models; and
  • Two new exterior colors: Magma Red and Midnight Blue.

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First Look: Kia Track’ster Concept

Koreans go California dreaming.

by on Feb.02, 2012

A hint of the next Kia Soul?

It’s no surprise when folks go California dreaming during the middle of a Midwest Winter. But Kia has something substantial to show for its efforts – in the form of the new Track’ster Concept it plans to unveil at next week’s Chicago Auto Show.

Might we be getting a hint of the next-generation Kia Soul as we look at this preliminary sketch which teases the prototype designed at Kia’s advanced design studio in Southern California?  Very possibly, if this statement from the maker is any indication.

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“The Track’ster is the California design team’s dream of what a performance-inspired Soul could be. If Soul is our rock star, Track’ster is its heavy metal companion. The idea behind Track’ster was to build a thought-provoking concept about what the Soul could someday be.”

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VW Set to Debut Beetle Turbo Diesel in Chicago

Diesel cabrio to follow.

by on Jan.19, 2012

The 2013 VW Beetle TDI will play a different tune with a diesel expected to deliver over 40 mpg.

Volkswagen will introduce the most fuel-efficiency version of the Bug ever at the upcoming Chicago Auto Show, where it plans to unveil the 2013 VW Beetle TDI.

The move is no surprise. While most makers are still debating whether or not to add oil-burners to their line-ups, the Germans have scored big success stories with the technology – especially Volkswagen, which currently produces about 75% of the diesels sold in the U.S.

While the maker is keeping details close to the vest in order to have a few secrets to reveal in the Windy City expectations are that the Beetle TDI will share the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four as the diesel versions of the Golf, Jetta and new Volkswagen Passat.  That would translate into something around 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.

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The maker is expected to offer buyers a six-speed stick, as well as an option six-speed DSG gearbox.

Rated at 43 mpg in the Passat (while, curiously, the highway ratings are just 42 mpg in the Golf and Jetta), the Beetle TDI should be in the 40+ mpg range.

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