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Posts Tagged ‘2012 LA auto show’

Mitsubishi Lands New Outlander

Maker insists it’s committed to U.S. market.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Mitsubishi delivers a completely redesigned 3-row Outlander CUV.

You know a manufacturer is having trouble when it begins a news conference not with the unveiling of a new product but with a promise that it isn’t about to leave the market. But few were surprised by the approach taken when Mitsubishi’s U.S. chief executive opened things up at the LA Auto Show this week.

The Japanese maker has had some serious problems in recent years.  A flawed strategy aimed at bringing in young, first-time buyers backfired, running up $100s of millions in losses. And a number of recent products flopped, notably including the now-abandoned Eclipse sports coupe. In fact, Mitsubishi is all but starting over, walking away from a number of once-popular nameplates.

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Its problems were serious enough that only a major bailout kept the Japanese parent alive, in fact. Now, with Suzuki announcing plans to abandon the U.S. after years of crumbling sales, the spotlight is on Mitsubishi, many analysts predicting it could be next to give up on the market.

Not so fast, proclaimed CEO Yoichi Yokazawa, telling a crowd of journalists, “Mitsubishi is as committed to North America as ever,” before unveiling several products intended to help it regain some positive momentum.

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Hyundai Expands Santa Fe Family

It’s a family affair.

by on Nov.30, 2012

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a 3-row spinoff of the Santa Fe Sport that went on sale earlier this year.

In the car business, naming vehicles is an art all to itself. But now Hyundai is following a practice pioneered by Ford with its wide range of “F-Series” pickups, and more recently, Toyota with its Prius “family.  Now, the Korean carmaker will go the same route, utilizing the Santa Fe name for two distinctly different vehicles.

Hyundai showed off the production version of the latest model to wear the Santa Fe badge, a new three-row six (or seven) seat crossover, at the 2012 LA Auto Show. A two-row, five-seater dubbed the Santa Fe Sport, has been on sale since August.

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John Krafcik, the Hyundai of America of chief executive officer once oversaw Ford F-Series engineering. Ford has traditionally treated all the various full-size pickups – from single-row, light-duty models to heavy-duty crew-cab trucks with extended beds – as a single nameplate. The all-encompassing F-Series has been America’s best-selling vehicle for more than 30 years.

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Acura Aims to Redefine Itself with RLX Flagship

Luxury maker counting on new design and advanced technology to lure in new buyers.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Acura loses the peak but gains a new LED lighting system with the 2014 RLX flagship.

It was the brand that proved Japanese automakers could compete in the luxury segment but in recent years Acura has been little more than an after-thought, lost behind mainstream high-line marques like Lexus and German giants Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

But Acura is hoping to redefine itself with the launch of its all-new flagship model, the RLX.  Larger and more lavish than the existing Acura line-up, the maker gave a hint of what it had in mind with a concept version at last April’s New York Auto Show. The production version of the Acura RLX is now on display at the LA Auto Show.

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A casual viewer might first notice what executive Jeff Conrad demurely described as a “redesigned Acura grille.” That addresses what may have been the single most controversial aspect of recent Acura design, the massive chromed “beak,” as critics derisively called it.

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Nissan Hi-Cross Concept is Thinly-Disguised, Next-Generation Rogue

Concept also reveals Nissan’s all-new hybrid drivetrain system.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Are you the next Nissan Rogue? Apparently.

Show cars have a habit of vanishing into the ether once their run on the auto show circuit has come to a conclusion. But don’t be surprised to see the Nissan Hi-Cross, making its public debut at the LA Auto Show this month, land back in the public eye in the months ahead.

Actually, to be more precise, expect to see the Hi-Cross Concept’s design resurface when Nissan updates its compact crossover, the Rogue, next year. Senior officials confirm that the Hi-Cross styling will be “very close” to the look of the next-generation Rogue.

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And, like the 7-seat Hi-Cross Concept, the next-generation Nissan crossover will get an optional hybrid powertrain featuring the maker’s latest gas-electric drive technology, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned. The system will go into production next year in several Nissan models.

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First Look: 2014 Kia Forte

German design for a Korean compact.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Former Audi design chief's latest work for Kia is the new 2014 Forte sedan.

With the introduction of the 2014 Forte, Kia reveals the continuing shift from generic styling to a distinctly European look that has helped it draw in a wave of new buyers in recent years.

Longer, wider and lower than the previous Forte, the new sedan bears the distinctive touch of Peter Schreyer, the former Audi design chief who joined the Korean carmaker in 2006. His work on such models as the latest Kia Optima have won kudos for both the maker and its styling chief – and helped make the Forte one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts during a crowded 2012 LA Auto Show.

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“The all-new Forte significantly raises the bar, offering upscale amenities and eye-catching appeal,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing & communications, KMA. “When you combine exclusive available features like a ventilated driver’s seat and UVO eServices in a car with such an attractive design, it’s very clear the all-new Forte sets a new standard for the compact segment.”

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Honda Unveils Updated 2013 Civic

Maker also details plans for new plug-in hybrid Accord.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Honda hopes to set off some fireworks with the 2013 refresh of the Civic line.

After absorbing some stinging criticism of the 2012 remake of the Honda Civic, the Japanese maker has turned around with unprecedented speed to roll out an “emergency refresh” of the long-popular compact it hopes will win over critics.

In particular, Honda hopes the new 2013 Civic line will get the subcompact line back on the “Recommended Buy” list at Consumer Reports – which leveled unusually stinging criticism at the 2012 model, going so far as to withdraw its long-standing endorsement.

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Honda’s news conference at the 2012 LA Auto Show seemed, in many ways, aimed at addressing recent criticism of the company and showing that it is aggressively moving forward on a number of fronts.  Among other things, the media preview included some news about the maker’s new hybrid strategy – which will get a kick-off with the upcoming launch of an all-new Accord Plug-in model due to U.S. showrooms next year.

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Subaru Betting Big on New Forester

Updated CUV critical to maintaining maker’s string of yearly sales record.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Subaru is betting the latest Forester remake will help it continue its ongoing string of sales records in 2013.

With 2012 already another notch in its string of five consecutive annual sales records, Subaru is preparing for a big 2013 as it launches the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester.

The latest model made its appearance durin the press previews for the Los Angeles Auto Show on its way to a spring arrival in U.S. showrooms.

While perhaps not quite the blockbuster of the original Outback line, the Forester has been a solid and reliable member of the Subaru line-up, sales increasing by 60% even during the deep automotive recession of recent years.  Now, with the U.S. auto industry in a spirited recovery, Subaru is hoping to gain even more momentum.

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Tom Doll, Subaru’s chief operating officer, said the next generation Forester builds on the qualities that have made it so popular with owners over the years, combining both the all-wheel-drive capability of classic Subaru models with the aggressive spirit of the maker’s WRX.

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Mazda Confirms Diesel Coming for 2014 Mazda6

New sedan launching with SkyActiv gas package.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Mazda will offer both a small gas engine and a new diesel for the 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

Mazda will launch a diesel version of its new midsize Mazda6 sedan during the second half of 2013, the maker confirmed during an LA Auto Show news conference – and while the maker won’t release official figures until closer to launch, a well-placed source said the maker is looking to match hybrid-level fuel economy numbers with the package.

Mazda is the latest manufacturer to announce plans to enter the diesel market, a niche largely populated by European makers, such as Audi which earlier announced plans to add four new diesels to its U.S. line-up next year.

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The new Mazda6 itself was earlier previewed during an introduction in, of all places, Moscow over the summer. The sedan is an example of the Japanese maker’s aggressive new Kodo design language which features a low-slung nose and aggressive wheel bulges intended to deliver a sense of power and agility.

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New Toyota RAV4 Grows Up

Big changes in a little package.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Toyota's new RAV4 adopts a more expressive design - and a number of other changes.

Toyota helped define the “cute-ute” segment with its original RAV4. And it is hoping that the all-new crossover making its debut at this year’s LA Auto Show will help redefine the increasingly popular compact CUV segment.

But there’s no question that competition is getting tougher – no surprise – as sales soar to record levels.  Americans have purchased 1.7 million compact crossovers since the 1994 RAV4 debut, and a flood of new models has been entering the market, including an all-new version of the Ford Escape that has been transformed from classic, truck-based design to a car-based crossover for 2013.

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The basic design is likely to catch eyes and reflects a new emphasis on styling at Toyota, which has long been faulted for its plain vanilla approach.

The new Toyota is roomier, sportier and offers more luxury than its predecessor. According to Bill Faye, Group vice president and general manager Toyota Motor Sales, the RAV4 also is at the forefront with respect to handling, equipment, ergonomics and cost of ownership.

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Hyundai Offers Peek at Veloster C3 Roll-Top

Concept could be headed for production, officials hint.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Hyundai is giving serious consideration to producing the roll-top Veloster C3 concept.

Hyundai offered an imaginative open-air reinterpretation of the popular Veloster coupe during a preview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The C3 convertible 3-door concept vehicle unveiled at the LA show features a dual-function convertible soft top that rolls backwards and forwards – somewhat like the system used on the Fiat 500C – and a tailgate to replace the standard Veloster’s hatchback.

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“We were inspired by the proverb ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss,’” explained Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America. “The Veloster C3 Roll Top concept offers the ‘no strings attached’ freedom of a roll top convertible and customizable utility that fits an everyday to a play day dual lifestyle.”

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