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Jeep Working On New Models For Europe

2011 Jeep Liberty Jet

One of the objectives of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance is to increase Jeep sales in Europe, which is the biggest export market for the brand. They aim pretty high taking into consideration that this year Jeep will most likely sell only 25,000 units, but their objective is to increase that figure to 125,000 cars by 2014. The company is hoping to accomplish this by bringing new smaller SUVs in Europe, along with updated versions of some of their current models.

One of the new cars that Jeep will introduce in Europe is going to be a baby Wrangler, which will be manufactured in Toluca, Mexico and will be sold also in North and South America by 2014. A brand new compact SUV will replace the Compass/Patriot models and it will be built at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Italy. Most likely, it will share a platform with a similar sport utility vehicle that Alfa Romeo is developing; a car that will be sold in the U.S. Alfa’s model should be out towards the end of next year, while the Jeep will most likely be offered in both front-wheel drive and AWD configurations.

In addition, Jeep will also bring the updated version of the European-spec Cherokee, dubbed Liberty in North America. It will be available with an AWD system (FWD is not of the equation yet) and should hit the dealerships in 2013. Under the hood it will feature Fiat-sourced engines, including a 2.0-liter gasoline engine that produces 170 PS.

Source: AutoNews via WCF

Daihatsu Says Bye Bye To Europe

It seems that Daihatsu will be leaving the European market due to “increasing development costs” and the “appreciation of the yen against the Euro”. For this reason, the automaker will stop delivering cars to the European market as of January 31, 2013. The increasing development costs are due to the newly restrictions regarding CO2 emissions.

Although this is terrible news for some people, it shouldn’t come as a surprise taking into consideration that since 2008, the European sales of Daihatsu cars have plummeted by 33% to only 19,300 cars in 2010. The most successful year for Daihatsu was 2007 when they managed to sell 58,600 units.

Daihatsu Terios

Despite the fact that the company will no longer sell cars in Europe, they said that after-sales support (including supply of spare parts) will not be affected by this decision so the ten countries in which the cars were sold will still continue to receive support.

The officials of the company stated also that they want to concentrate on the Asian market where Daihatsu is doing a pretty decent job. Another reason for the failure of the company in Europe is because now there are many automakers that are launching cars in the small segment, a market where Daihatsu was very strong in the past.

Audi A1 will be sold globally but the US needs to wait until the next generation

Audi A1 will be sold globally but the US needs to wait until the next generation

Back when the new Audi A1 compact was first announced, officials revealed that it will be sold just in Europe, given the territory’s fondness of premium city cars.

Now, things have changed. According to Audi’s sales boss, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the global interest in the A1 has gone past all expectations, and as such, we will get to see the A1 reach other continents in the future.

Production is already being increased, given the already high popularity of the A1, and Audi is set to focus on the Asian markets in the next few years. China will be the main focus, but the German company wants to seriously ramp up production before it will launch the A1 there. This means that Chinese customers will be able to get their hands on the attractive compact around 2012.

The US market, on the other hand, will still be deprived of the A1, seeing as how customers are still reluctant to pay a premium for a city car. The model will eventually appear on North American shores, but probably with the second generation model.


Current Ford Focus ST set to be axed, next generation model to debut in Paris

The harsh Euro 5 emissions regulations have struck once more, as the Ford Focus ST hot hatch is set to be discontinued by Ford of Europe in the near future.

The model will join other powerful cars like the Mazda RX-8 or the Honda Civic Type R, as its turbocharged 2.5-liter engine can no longer meet the new emissions regulations currently being adopted in the Old Continent.

Fear not though, as Ford has confirmed that a new performance car will be revealed at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, and it’s a safe bet that it will be the ST version of the already unveiled 2012 Ford Focus. Most likely it will pack the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, already revealed for the 2011 Ford Explorer, capable of sending over 200 HP to the front wheels.

Stay tuned for more details on the next generation Ford Focus ST around the start of the Paris show in October.


Chevrolet Orlando MPV showcased before Paris debut

Chevrolet Orlando MPV showcased before Paris debut

After a pretty well-received concept and lots of speculation, the 2011 Chevrolet Orlando MPV has finally been revealed by the European branch of the bowtie brand.

According to Chevrolet, the new Orlando promises to combine the practicality of a multi purpose vehicle with seven seats together with a more aggressive design and a crossover stance.

The car sits on the Cruze platform, which has already proven its worth, and boasts a fresher design for European Chevrolet models. It will feature plenty of storage spaces, including a rather interesting one behind the front fascia of the audio system. It will allow for compact things to be stored there (sun glasses, wallets) but is also equipped with a USB slot, for charging of MP3 players and the likes.

Outside, the new Chevrolet Orlando can be equipped with 16 to 18-inch wheels, and will also be available in multiple trim lines with various customization options.

Chevrolet Orlando MPV showcased before Paris debut

More importantly, the Orlando MPV can be ordered with a choice of three engines. A 1.8-liter unit, like on the Cruze, capable of 141 HP, and two diesel versions, based on the 2.0-liter unit. One develops 131 HP, while the other is capable of 163 HP.

The new Chevrolet Orlando will be revealed at this fall’s Paris Motor Show and launched on the European market in spring of 2011. No word yet on if it will make it to US shores, but we wouldn’t exactly bet on it.


New Volkswagen Phaeton might make it to US shores

New Volkswagen Phaeton might make it to US shores

Volkswagen is getting ready to launch the 2011 Phaeton luxury limousine in Europe and China, but that doesn’t mean the German company will neglect other markets.

Even though the first generation model hasn’t reached decent sales in the USA, reports say that the new generation Volkswagen Phaeton might still make it to US shores in the near future.

According to the rumors, if the ‘people’s limousine’ will arrive in America, it will be thoroughly reworked to comply with the expectations of US customers. This means new engines, a new interior and other such changes.

For it’s part, VW has revealed that it is currently busy with the launch of the 2011 Phaeton in specific markets, but will be examining the launch of the limousine in other territories soon enough.

What say you? Should the new Phaeton be allowed on US shores? Would you buy it? Share your thoughts below.


Honda Civic Type R to be axed from Europe due to emissions regulations

Honda Civic Type R to be axed from Europe due to emissions regulations

Emissions regulations have claimed another powerful Japanese model, as after the Mazda RX-8 saw its production terminated, the Honda Civic Type R faces the same fate.

According to Honda, the Type R’s 2.0-liter 198 HP engine isn’t up to the new Euro 5 emissions regulations, and as such, will see its production end this year.

The Civic Type R will continue to be manufactured at the Swindon plant in the UK, but the hot hatch will be exported to other markets where emissions regulations allow it (Japan, for instance).

Expect the next generation Honda Civic Type R to respect the Euro 5 rating, but until that comes along, Europe will be deprived of another hot Japanese hatchback.


European Ford Fiesta set to get refreshed looks in 2012

European Ford Fiesta set to get refreshed looks in 2012

Even though the 2011 Ford Fiesta is reaching US dealerships as we speak, the Blue Oval is already looking to the future, and is reportedly ready to implement a refresh to the European Fiesta as early as 2012.

According to the rumors, the Fiesta, which is available only as a hatchback in the Old Continent, will get a restyled front fascia, complete with LED lights. The front spoiler will be redrawn, while the interior of the compact hatch will get new options.

Most importantly though are the new engines, all wearing the EcoBoost name. The Fiesta will get a 90 HP turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder enginie, like the one on the Ford Start concept, while the performance Fiesta ST will receive a 180 HP 1.6-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine.

Expect the facelifted Ford Fiesta to appear in Europe at the end of 2012, and might reach US shores in 2013.


No, the Chevrolet Volt won’t use gasoline engine for high speed driving

No, the Chevrolet Volt won't use gasoline engine for high speed driving

Yesterday, a rather huge bomb was dropped by a report from British newspaper The Telegraph, which claimed that the Chevrolet Volt, at least in its European version, the Opel Ampera, will directly use the 1.4-liter gasoline engine in order to attain highway speeds.

As you know, the Volt uses an electric motor as means of propulsion, with the gasoline engine used just for charging up the batteries which power the aforementioned motor. This makes the Volt become an extended range electric vehicle, not a hybrid.

The Telegraph’s report said that in order to attain speeds worthy of a highway or autobahn, the powertrain of the Volt/Ampera would be re-engineered, in order to directly connect the engine to the wheels.

As you can imagine, this sparked a lot of debate on the Internet.

Luckily, GM quickly settled all these rumors. Talking to The Car Connection, GM electric vehicles, batteries, and hybrids communications executive, Rob Peterson, revealed that such a dramatic re-engineering of the Volt/Ampera won’t happen.

He said that the Voltec powertrain is more than capable of taking the car to adequate speeds, great for traveling around the city but also on highways. He revealed that the report from The Telegraph was wrong, and based on an older prototype Volt, which wasn’t using up-to-date software to calibrate its speed.

As such, you can forget about the Chevrolet Volt (or Opel Ampera or whatever name the extended range electric vehicle will get depending on the market) using its internal combustion engine for anything else except charging the batteries of the car.


2011 Range Rover revealed in Europe, video included

2011 Range Rover revealed in Europe, video included

Seeing as how the luxury SUV market is becoming increasingly populated with the likes of the 2011 Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover isn’t sitting idly, and has just revealed the 2011 Range Rover refresh.

While the exterior changes aren’t that noticeable, there is one major upgrade included in this mid-cycle facelift: a new 4.4-liter LT-TDV8 diesel engine.

The new diesel unit is now capable of 306 HP and a massive 516 lb-ft of torque, and will replace the older 3.6-liter diesel engine. It will be coupled to a ZF eight-speed gearbox, complete with paddle shift technology. This allows the new diesel Range Rover to achieve a 30 mpg (EU combined cycle) fuel average, as well as meet Euro 5 emissions standard.

The 2011 Range Rover Supercharged model is practically the same, but it is lending its Brembo braking system to the more powerful diesel, this time around.

A special 40th anniversary Autobiography Black edition will be available based on the 2011 model year. Expect the new Range to be hitting dealerships across Europe this September. Sadly, JLR didn’t reveal any info about when the refreshed luxury SUV will be coming State-side.

In order to ease the waiting period, check out the photo gallery below and then hit the jump to see a video of the new Range Rover.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Range Rover

2011 Range Rover 2011 Range Rover

2011 Range Rover 2011 Range Rover 2011 Range Rover 2011 Range Rover


Nissan Juke already a hit in Japan, prepares for US and European debut this fall

The 2011 Nissan Juke is definitely an odd-looking model, boasting a new style for the Japanese company. According to Nissan though, its looks, coupled with the capable 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and the various systems on the inside, will capture the hearts of young, urban customers.

Many took this statement with a grain of salt, but according to early sales figures in Japan, the Juke is already selling like hotcakes. According to the country’s Nikkei business daily, the funky compact crossover has sold well over expectations, moving 1,300 units in its first week.

Inside sources are claiming that 5,296 orders have already been placed as of Tuesday, making the Juke one of the fastest selling models in the recent history of the Japanese carmaker.

While this is certainly all fine and dandy, the true test of the Nissan Juke will take place this fall, when it will arrive on the much harder to please American and European markets.

Are you interested in this eccentric little crossover? Share your thoughts below.


Chrysler models to be badged as Lancia ones in Europe

Chrysler models to be badged as Lancia ones in Europe

Fiat‘s acquisition of ailing US carmaker Chrysler has opened the way for some very interesting collaborations between the two large groups.

The most interesting one, or at least the one that was covered the most by the media, is the merger of the Chrysler and Lancia brands. We’ve heard a lot of speculations and even some from Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne.

Now, Olivier Francois, the CEO of both Chrysler and Lancia, has revealed the new plan. In Europe, the Chrysler name will be erased, and all of its models will be badged as Lancia ones. The existing dealerships will also be merged, but some will be shut down.

Vehicles will still be sold under the Chrysler name in the UK, as Lancia hasn’t been present there since the beginning of the 1990s.

According to Francois, this new move will see sales increase for the two brands from 132,500 vehicles in 2009, to at least 300,000 in 2014.


Ford Grand C-Max seven-seat MPV coming to USA from Spain

Ford Grand C-Max seven-seat MPV coming to USA from Spain

Besides talking about the future hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Max five-seater MPV, Ford has also confirmed that the seven-seater Grand C-Max will be making its way over the Atlantic, from the plant in Valencia, Spain, to the USA.

When is the big sliding door MPV going to get on the cargo ship? Late 2011, apparently. At that time, the Grand C-Max is going to fill the gap left by the old Freestar and attack the big MPV market head on.

Ford didn’t reveal what engines will be making an appearance under the bonnet of the big C-Max, but rumors are already flying around about a direct injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder and with the great option of upgrading to a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-pot. In case you paid attention in recent weeks, that specific unit will soon be available with the next generation Explorer SUV and Edge crossover later this year.


Ford confirms hybrid and plug-in hybrid C-Max MPV for Europe

Ford confirms hybrid and plug-in hybrid C-Max MPV for Europe

Ford has just unveiled that its Valencia plant in Spain will be the first to produce hybrid and plug-in hybrid models destined for European use.

The models in question will be based on the new C-Max MPV, a five-seater that sits on Ford’s new compact car platform. Readers with a keen memory should already know that this platform will also be the base for the 2012 Focus hatchback.

The hybrid system is an all new assembly, different from the one on the Fusion Hybrid found in the USA, for example. Not a lot is known, but considering the C-Max will be the first model to benefit from the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, our fingers are crossed so that the unit might be paired with an electric motor.

The new platform also allows the use of an electric powertrain, as highlighted by the announcement of the 2012 Focus Electric, but Ford officials haven’t confirmed such a version for the C-Max. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Max will hit the European market around 2013.


Mazda RX-8 also preparing to exit from US market

Mazda RX-8 also preparing to exit from US market

Last month, we reported on the fact that Mazda was preparing to pull back the RX-8 from the European market, due to its rotary engine not meeting Euro 5 emissions regulations.

Now, a new rumor has started, concerning the exit of the RX-8 from the US market. It seems that even though the Wankel engine still meets US regulations, the low sales and high shipping costs will force Mazda to yank the only remaining rotary-powered sportscar off the North American market.

While it isn’t official just yet, all of the logical arguments support the exit of the RX-8. As you remember, a new generation RX-7 is currently in development, but it will arrive much later, around 2013, with a new and improved rotary engine.

Until then, if you want such a vehicle, you’d better buy a RX-8 now before they run out.


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