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The American Fiat 500 Sport officially revealed

After a lot of talk, Fiat and Chrysler have officially revealed the American version of the popular Fiat 500 city car.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you will know that the compact model will be appearing in dealerships later this year, and set its sights on the Mini Cooper.

Not a lot of details were revealed, except that it will be offered in three versions, the aforementioned Sport, Pop and Lounge. How they will be differentiated has also been left unexplained.

For what it’s worth, the Fiat 500 Sport will be powered by the turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine. It will feature a sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels and colored brake calipers.

Expect more details in the following weeks.


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Audi TT RS coming to the U.S. after successful Facebook petition

It seems that Facebook users know how to get behind a good petition, as the one to bring the stunning Audi TT RS has gathered over 11,500 signatures in just a month.

As such, the German company has announced that the blazing fast sports car will be making it to US shores in the third quarter (fall) of 2011.

The Audi TT RS is powered by an turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five, capable of 360 HP and 332 lb-ft of torque. It will be primarily targeted against the Porsche Boxster and the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Unfortunately, only the hardtop TT RS will be making its way over the Atlantic, as the soft-top roadster is still exclusive to the European market.

Expect more details concerning price and options to be revealed as we approach the launch of the powerful compact sports car.


U.S. traffic deaths reach 60-year low

It seems that the struggling economy, the big number of safety campaigns and more and more safety features in new cars have had some impact in the USA.

According to a new statistic from the National High Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in traffic has reached a 60-year low, with 1.13 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled.

According to the NHTSA, safer cars, more campaigns against drunk driving and in favor of seat belt usage are largely responsible for this improvement. Still, more than 30,000 people died last year in traffic accidents, while a whopping 2.4 million people were injured.

This just goes to prove that even though roads are a bit less cluttered and your car is much safer, you still need to be careful so as to not end up as just another statistic.


Nissan Leaf EV starts US tour on October 1st, you can schedule test drives now

Nissan is really pushing the Leaf electric vehicle with all its got. The company has already started promoting it through special reservations some time ago, and has even detailed the warranty plan and rollout schedule of the all-electric model.

Now, the Japanese company has announced that it will be taking the Nissan Leaf on a US tour, starting on October 1st. The Drive Electric Tour will begin at the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, CA next month, and then go on tour all over the USA, ending up in Nashville, TN, at the end of March, 2011.

Those who are interesting in having a go in the new Nissan Leaf will be able to schedule test drives at the dedicated website launched by Nissan.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV will get upgraded before it reaches the US in late 2011

The head of marketing and product planning for Mitsubishi North America, Gregory Adams, has revealed that when the i-MiEV electric city car will arrive on US shores, it will be thoroughly overhauled and enlarged to cater to American regulations and preferences.

The executive revealed that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Japanese carmaker’s big bet in terms of electric vehicles, will be in for quite a lot of changes before it will reach North America, in late 2011.

The US-spec i-MiEV will be larger, in order to accommodate more safety features, and have a revised interior with more options to make people see what they will spend more money on. According to previous reports, Mitsubishi wants a price of under $30,000, without the $7,500 federal tax credit. This will make it one of the cheapest all-electric models on the market, undercutting the upcoming Nissan Leaf.

Until the Mitsubishi i-MiEV hits the US market, the Japanese carmaker is focused on successfully launching it in Europe at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.


Fiat plans on selling 50,000 500 city cars in 165 dealerships across the USA

Fiat has some huge plans for the USA later this year, when it will officially launch the diminutive 500 city car onto US soil.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the Italian company wants to sell around 50,000 500 models in 2011, matching the sales of its nearest rival, Mini.

How will it do that? First it will use the capacity of Chrysler’s Toluca plant in Mexico to the fullest, in order to ensure a steady stream of models coming into US dealerships.

Speaking of dealers, Fiat has already announced that it has secured over 165 locations all over the USA, most of them already having Chrysler franchises.

Without a doubt the Fiat 500 will be a best seller, especially in urban environments, but we’re not so sure it can match up to Mini sales in its first full year. What do you think? Is the 500 going to be welcomed with open arms by Americans?


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2011 Toyota Highlander makes its Moscow debut

The Moscow Motor Show is in full swing these days, and it’s also the place where the 2011 Toyota Highlander has made its worldwide debut.

As you can see the large ‘crossover’ sports a facelifted appearance, with refreshed front and rear fascias. Everything in the front has been tweaked, while you can expect a few new accessories to decorate the rear of the new Highlander.

Russian customers will be stuck with just one engine option, a 3.5-liter V6, capable of sending 273 HP through a five-speed automatic. Even though it has yet to be confirmed for US shores, the 2011 Highlander will no doubt keep the same engine options. This means a 270 HP 3.5-liter V6, a 187 HP 2.4-liter and a hybrid option.


Audi A3 sedan once again rumored for US debut

It seems that slowly but surely the Audi A3 sedan is becoming a reality. That’s at least according to a brand new report coming from Germany.

Even though the regular A3 hatchback is getting by thanks to its green diesel image, the Ingolstadt manufacturer plans to really tug at the heart strings of American consumers by releasing a dedicated sedan model.

As you can clearly guess, the car would slot in below the larger A4 in terms of price, and offer a lower entry point into the Audi range for new customers. It will also be largely unchallenged, as BMW only offers the 1 Series as a coupe, and Mercedes-Benz isn’t really decided on if it will launch a smaller sedan, presumably based on the next B Class.

Do you think an A3 sedan would make sense in the USA? Share your thoughts below.


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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.


Audi starts petition to bring the TT RS to the U.S.

Audi fans, ready your Facebook accounts, as the Ingolstadt manufacturer has revealed an online petition in favor of bringing the extremely hot Audi TT RS to the USA.

It seems that the German manufacturer has left the decision in the hands of Audi fans in the US, and wants to see just how many of them want the 335 HP sportscar arriving in their local dealerships.

As you might remember, the Audi TT RS is already present on American roads, but just those up in Canada, where 250 sportscars were delivered as part of a limited series.

Now, if enough people will sign the petition, the German company might also ship some of its extreme sportscars to the USA. While no other details were revealed, like how many signatures are required, one click wouldn’t hurt. Check out the petition at this link.


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Alfa Romeo’s US comeback gets a few more details

At the end of April, Fiat officially revealed the plans behind the oft rumored comeback of Alfa Romeo to the American market.

Now, thanks to Automotive News, a few more details were released.

First off, in 2012, Alfa Romeo will officially make its full pledged debut on the US market, with the new Giulia mid-size model. The car will be available in both sedan and wagon form, and will use a Fiat 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder engine, with the new MultiAir technology, as well as the Pentastar V6 from Chrysler. The cars will be packed with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive as an option.

Sticking with 2012, Chrysler will be tasked with developing a brand new compact crossover model, based on a wider version of the current Giulietta hatchback. The model will not only be sold in the USA, but also be exported to Alfa’s native Europe.

In 2013, city car fans will enjoy a five-door version of the Alfa Romeo MiTo model. The car will be overhauled at that time, but it will still be made in Italy and brought over to the US.

A two-seat roadster might also appear on the market in 2013, but nothing is clear at this moment. Chrysler and Fiat have yet to settle on a platform (presumably the 300C might work) nor on a production facility.

2014 will see the introduction of a refreshed Giulietta hatchback on the US market. The car has already been launched in Europe and is enjoying impressive sales thanks to its potent engine lineup and attractive design.

This year will also see the introduction of a bigger crossover, which will sit on the platform of the upcoming replacement of the Jeep Liberty. It is set to be produced in the USA and exported to Europe.

Overall, like we said above, Fiat has some big plans for Alfa Romeo, so let’s hope things go as smoothly as possible.


Porsche Cayenne diesel might appear in North America

Porsche Cayenne diesel might appear in North America

Diesel models aren’t exactly favored by North American customers, but seeing as how more people are impressed by the frugality of the oil burners, as well as the ever increasing range of available models, things are changing.

They will also change for Porsche, who might be bringing a diesel version of its best selling Cayenne SUV to North America.

According to a report from Canada, Porsche is considering a diesel version of the new 2011 Cayenne, presumably with Audi’s 3.0-liter TDI. Reports about this move appeared some time ago, but the German luxury manufacturer declined to comment at that time.

Now, with the new generation SUV being lighter, and the diesel engine more powerful yet retaining a frugal nature, a Porsche Cayenne diesel might make a lot of sense on the North American market.

Nothing is official just yet, but the move will happen sooner or later.


Video: Fiat 500 Prima Edizione revealed for North American Fiat fans

Fiat is busy preparing for its comeback on the North American market, seeing as how it now controls reputed US carmaker Chrysler. The first model to hit US shores is the diminutive Fiat 500 city car, which will be built at Chrysler’s Mexico plant in the following months.

As a special treat for its North American fans, Fiat has now revealed the 500 ‘Prima Edizione’ (First Edition) at the yearly Club Fiat-Lancia Unlimited gathering. At that event, existing Fiat fans were able to pre-order the Prima Edizione before everyone else.

Only 500 cars will be made, each equipped with Fiat’s new 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, and decorated with special badges and a unique plate on the inside. For those that didn’t get a chance to attend the event, Fiat will be opening up pre-orders in the following weeks for the 500 Prima Edizione.

Until then, hit the jump to see the video of the special Fiat 500 and its debut among North American Fiat fans.

Video: Aston Martin V12 Vantage flexes its muscles in new footage

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage has made a lot of Europeans interested in the British brand.

Now, the company is preparing to unleashed its most powerful Vantage upon North America. As such, in order to really get the blood pumping through the veins of American supercar fans, Aston Martin released a fresh video, showcasing what the V12 Vantage can do best: lap circuits, offer luxury and best of all, look stunning while doing all of the above.

Don’t believe us? Then hit the jump and check it out for yourselves.

The Internet is making young Americans forget about cars or licenses

While car culture is still alive and well, thanks to a variety of outlets, niches and media coverage, its supporters aren’t doing so well. While you and me certainly like everything related to cars, young people nowadays aren’t that into the whole suck, squeeze, bang, blow thing (we’re talking about engines, of course).

We’ve seen Toyota officials blame video games for this, as driving a car virtually offers a much more pleasant experience to younger people than actually getting behind the wheel, but now another invention is getting a part of the blame.

According to a new report from Automotive News, the Internet is playing a decissive factor in making young people not even get their driving license, let alone get an actual car. How does it do that?

For starters, they can get all their information about cars and see how it’s like to actually own one. Secondly, they want to be always connected, something which is much harder when driving a car.

As such, young people nowadays are much more content with using public transportation and watching car videos on their various mobile devices than actually getting behind the wheel.

Some people might not care about this, but carmakers, in the US, Japan and all over the world, are pretty worried as sales will no doubt decline in the following years.


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