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Fiat 500 Now Available In USA

Fiat 500

Almost 30 years passed away since the last production model from Fiat was available for the United States market. The reason why the Fiat 500 was officially launched for the American market is the big success it was and still is in Europe. The US version of the 500 will be manufactured in Mexico and will come with a reinforced body structure, a new anti-lock braking system and a more generous fuel tank.

Fiat 500

Other modifications in comparison to the European model include a brand new steering wheel, an improved HVAC system, redesigned seats as well as other modifications to reduce harshness, vibrations and noise. Americans will be able to choose from one of the following trims: Pop, Sport and Lounge- all of them being powered by a 1.4 MultiAir engine, capable of producing 101 hp (102 PS / 75 kW) and 98 lb-ft (133 Nm) torque. As standard the car will come with a five-speed manual gearbox, but clients can pay extra for a six-speed automatic gearbox, exclusive to the United States market.

The Fiat 500 will start shipping in America in the following spring at a base price of $15,500 which is $4,600 less in comparison to its primary rival, the Mini Cooper.


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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.


New Chevrolet Aveo compact showcased before Paris reveal

Chevrolet is continuing its long strain of reveals before the start of the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month. After showcasing the new Orlando MPV and the Cruze hatchback, the new 2011 Chevrolet Aveo has finally been revealed.

As you can see, the new compact hatchback is quite a looker, even though its design was leaked in a few renders and patent sketches. The new generation Aveo promises to start clean and, thanks to a new and enlarged platform, will provide adequate space for anyone in the market for a small hatchback.

The new model will also be pretty potent, considering the engine lineup it will get for the European market. The smallest is a 70 HP 1.2-liter gasoline, and the largest is a 115 HP 1.6-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine. Diesel fans will also be able to enjoy two versions of a 1.3-liter unit, capable of 75 and 95 HP, both equipped with Stop/Start systems. Manual five- and six-speed gearboxes are available, while the 1.6-liter gets a six-speed automatic as an option.

The Chevrolet Aveo set to be revealed in Paris will be a show car, as modifications will be made for each market the tiny compact will be sold in. Expect it to debut on the US one around the end of next year, in both hatchback and sedan form, in order to rival the Ford Fiesta.


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.


Video: Allstate charts America’s safest driving cities

Insurance company Allstate has charted the safest driving cities in the USA by studying the number of insurance claims and recorded accidents from the last 12 months.

This data was compiled, and it resulted that Fort Collins, Colorado, is this year’s safest city to drive in. According to the data, drivers in that city will get into an accident every 14.5 years, which is 31.2 percent better than the national average.

The last spot is occupied by Washington D.C. Inhabitants of the country’s capital city are subject to an accident every 5.1 years. One spot above is Baltimore, Maryland, where inhabitants filed for insurance claims every 5.6 years.

Hit the jump to see a video from Allstate with the results and a few tips for safer driving. Check out the complete results at Allstate’s website

Volkswagen Touareg R to get 380 HP 4.2-liter V8 diesel, might arrive in the USA

Word on the street is that Volkswagen is tasking its R performance division with cooking up a special version of the new 2011 Touareg SUV.

The Volkswagen Touareg R will drop the old 5.0-liter V10 TDI diesel engine, which isn’t meeting emissions standards in Europe, and replace it with a tuned version of the 4.2-liter TDI, already available in the Touareg, as well as the Audi Q7 ranges.

The oil burner will, of course, have its output increased, from the current 340 HP to around 380 HP. Torque will also reach impressive figures to ensure adequate acceleration.

With the new Touareg R, VW also plans to offer the performance SUV on the US market in an unprecedented move. It seems that it diesel SUV sales are finally healthy enough for such an investment to return a profit for VW. The reported launch date is around the end of 2012, with the Touareg R appearing as a 2013 model year.

Still, take all these rumors with a grain of salt, as Volkswagen has yet to declare anything about a performance Touareg SUV.


Aston Martin Cygnet might arrive in the USA in 2012

Most of you have probably forgot about the Aston Martin Cygnet city car, which is basically a customized Toyota iQ with a jacked up price tag and wearing the classic Aston Martin grille.

Sadly, it seems that the British company is still invested in the project, so we shall see it in the near future patrolling the city streets of Europe.

That’s not all though, as a new report, coming from Automotive News, cites that the Aston Martin Cygnet might also reach US shores, as early as 2012. This is extremely risky, as US customers haven’t exactly welcomed premium city cars with open arms (we’re looking at you, Smart ForTwo).

The Cygnet will share the same 1.3-liter engine with the Scion iQ, also getting ready to be launched in the USA.

Frankly, we’re a bit skeptical of this report, but, if real Aston Martin customers would demand the compact model to arrive on US shores, we’re pretty sure Aston would satisfy their demands (for the right price, of course).


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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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.


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.


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