French carmaker Renault has just announced that its much awaited Efficient Dual Clutch transmissions system will finally be employed in one of its models, the upcoming Megane CC convertible.
This new type of gearbox, which promises to combine fuel efficiency with performance, will only be available for the 1.5-liter dCi engine, which produces 105 HP, and will make its first public appearance, alongside the new Megane CC at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 2010.
According to Renault, the new gearbox will then make its way onto other new models, including the revamped Scenic people carrier which will arrive in the middle of 2010.
It seems that things have taken a turn for the worse for Swedish carmaker Saab, as its parent company, General Motors, has announced that the brand will be wound down, as negotiations to find a new owner haven’t reached a conclusion.
“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution,” said GM Europe President Nick Reilly. “We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers.”
GM has revealed that upstanding warranties, service and spare parts will continue to be offered to Saab owners for quite some time, so no one needs to worry. This was a necessary measure for GM, in order to further enhance its profits and to pay back both the bailout money and its debts. Too bad though that the Swedish brand needed to be sacrificed. In case you wanted any models in the current lineup, you should hurry to a local dealer soon.
Many people are targeting, especially in these financially troubled times, the second hand car market if they are interested in buying a car. Seeing as how the decade is coming to a end, the jury of UK website CAP decided to analyze that market and see which vehicles are the most popular.
The result was a bit surprising, as the 1998-2005 Ford Focus was found to be the overall winner and the best medium used family car of the decade. That specific generation, revealed the jury, brought style to the hatchback market, and really took the Ford brand quite high in the eyes of consumers. The Focus has overtaken the Volkswagen Golf in the list, largely due to the fact that all of its versions were easily recognizable and great for specific customers.
The Volkswagen Passat‘s B5 and B5.5 versions won the title of best large used car of the decade, being manufactured from 1996 to 2005, with a quick facelift starting life in 2001. Ford also managed to snag another award, for best small used car, for its Ka model, which spanned 1996 to 2008. The executive used car of the decade was the Audi A3, from 2003 to 2008, while the best luxury used car was the BMW X5, from 2000 to 2006. Last but not least, Seat won the most improved used car brand of the decade award, recording a spectacular growth in popularity.
Do you agree with the top? Leave your choices in the comment section below.
Just in case you wanted to get your Aston Martin loving friend something this holiday season, the UK brand has just announced two special editions of its DBS and V12 Vantage models, dubbed Carbon Black. The cars will be painted by hand, with over 50 hours spent applying and checking the multiple coats.
Besides the ten-spoke, diamond-cut alloy wheels with gloss black detailing, the models will also receive special options. The V12 Vantage will see a carbon fiber side strake, which will sit on top of a black mesh grille. Front parking sensors, as well as a bright finish on the front grille will also be available for the Vantage, and, as a very special treat, customers who order it will be given a free performance driving course at Aston Martin’s special test circuit.
On the inside, the two special edition cars will see lightweight Obsidian Black leather seats, made from carbon fiber and Kevlar, lined with silver stitching. A piano black fascia trim will also cover the center stack and console. The DBS special edition will receive a Bang & Olufsen Beosound system, while the V12 Vantage will see the Aston Martin Premium Audio System.
Price hasn’t been mentioned, but it is expected to cost 5% more than the regular Vantage or DBS.
I’m sure most BMW fans are quite interested in the recently unveiled 1 Series ActiveE concept, which is based on the 1 Series coupe model.
The company has now released the first teaser ad for the electric concept car which shows cleverly binds it together with the “Joy is BMW” strategy. Hit the jump to see the video!
Read More: “Video: BMW reveals first teaser ad of its electric 1 Series ActiveE concept”
In preparation for its exhibit at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, Volvo has announced that it will be bringing a new version of its electric C30 model, which will be much closer to the final production car. The company has also revealed that 50 cars will be made next year, which will enter road testing at the end of 2010 or beginning of 2011.
“The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues,” said Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles, in a statement. “We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30′s personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product.”
The new model boasts new additions like a fully working instrument panel, as well as an enhanced battery packaging solution over the older concepts. For those of you who don’t remember, the electric C30 is powered by an 82 kW electric motor, running on lithium-ion batteries, which can be recharged from a regular socket in around eight hours, and keep it running for around 150 km (93 miles).
Hopefully with Geely getting closer to purchasing the Swedish company more funding can be secured for the project and we can see this model appear on the streets much sooner.
Music and Audi fans will be happy to hear that the German company has recently signed pop star Justin Timberlake to be the representative of the brand, and to promote upcoming models like the A1 city car.
And promote he did, as a new picture (supposedly leaked) with the pop star in the foreground and the new A1 in the back has been making the rounds on the Internet, giving the new car, which will be showcased in March at the Geneva Motor Show, plenty of hype.
From what can be seen, the A1 seems rather attractive, and follows in the line of the new Audi design direction. What’s worth noticing though is that the A pillar and the roof lines appear to be in a silver tone, contrasting with the red paint of the rest of the car.
Overall, it seems Audi made a pretty good deal with Timberlake, and will see the A1 become rather popular in Europe.
Did you ever think that the huge GMC Acadia, which for some reason is marketed as a crossover, needed an extra touch of luxury? Then you’ll be happy to hear that the automaker has just presented the Acadia Denali top-of-the-range model, which will be formally unveiled at the GMC stand next January at the Detroit Auto Show.
The new trim line will feature a variety of high end options, tacked onto the 3.6-liter V6 model which will be available in both front and all-wheel drive, and with seven or eight seats. On the outside you will see a monotone paint, a new honeycomb grille, revamped front and rear fascias, new HID headlamps, chrome accents wherever possible and plenty of badges. The car will be riding on six-spoke 20-inch wheels, and can be painted in shades like Quicksilver Metallic, Summit White, Carbon Black, Red Jewel Tintcoat or White Diamond Tricoat.
On the inside, you will be truly pampered with things like the high end audio system, perforated leather, heated and cooled seats, mahogany accents on the dash, a head-up display, Dual SkyScape sunroof, a tri-zone automatic climate control, navigation, bluetooth, OnStar, a DVD system for the rear seats, a rearview camera and, last but not least, a remote starting feature.
No word yet on price, but you will find the 2011 GMC Acadia Denali occupying a big chunk of the Detroit Auto Show.
We reported a few weeks ago that Volkswagen and Suzuki have officially agreed to partner up, with the German company buying up 19.9% of Suzuki stock, and the Japanese company using a part of that money to buy stock in the German company.
During a recent event, the Japanese CEO Osama Suzuki has revealed that collaboration between the two carmakers will start as soon as January, after the first plans are drafted. Rumors are already flying around, many revealing that the first joint project will be a low-cost small car, presumably for developing markets, which will cost around $4,700.
After the plans are drafted, with key insight from Suzuki’s small car department which has been quite successful, the manufacturing will be sourced to one of the company’s Indian plants, in order to further decrease the price.
American muscle car fans certainly adore the saying “there’s no replacement for displacement”, which basically means that if you want more power, you need a bigger engine. But with bigger engines comes high emissions and a bad fuel average, both of which are frowned upon by the new, stricter emissions standards which are being implemented in Europe or North America.
That is why carmakers are steadily adopting smaller engines and instead of adding the liters to its displacement figure, add a turbocharger (or more) to it, in order to produce the same power. Mercedes-Benz is the latest one to follow this new trend, as one of its board members, Dr. Thomas Weber, revealed that the iconic 6.3-liter naturally-aspirated V8, which is used on many of the performance models made by the German company, will be replaced with a smaller 5.5-liter V8, which will be fitted with a turbocharger.
This move would prove quite beneficial for the company, which will see its fuel and emissions average reach more sensible levels, while also staying true to its fans.
What do you think? Is this a good move for Mercedes? Leave a comment below.
Great news for at least one Swedish carmaker, as a source inside Geely has confirmed that the Chinese carmaker will seal the deal with Ford for its Volvo brand by the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 14.
“The Volvo deal sees no more hurdles,” revealed the source. “It is expected to be done before Chinese New Year, and then Geely will quickly launch integration.”
The same source has also revealed that Geely is quite serious about the deal and has already started its own internal review which studies the ways Volvo will be implented into Geely’s own operations, both in China and in other territories, like Europe.
This is definitely great news for Volvo fans, which will see the Swedish brand continue to launch new vehicles and further research new safety technologies. Hopefully we will hear good news about its fellow carmaker Saab, which is also looking for a buyer these days.
It seems that South Korean carmaker Ssangyong will avoid entering into liquidation, as a court in its native country has finally approved its revival plan, meaning that it will avoid the worse case scenario of closing its doors and selling off its assets.
As you may remember, the South Korean company, which specialized in SUVs, has been through a lot of difficult things in the last year, with investors bailing out on it and workers going on huge strikes in order to prevent job cutting.
After this great piece of news for Ssangyong, it seems that the revival plan the company has presented will go into full effect, and will once again make it profitable. The new C200 crossover will reportedly lead the way at the beginning of next year when it will finally be launched. The new crossover was expected to be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but due to the financial turmoil, it was postponed.
Electric vehicles are the future, at least according to many carmakers which are heavily investing in the technology. One such company is BMW, which has just presented its newest electric concept, the 1 Series ActiveE, which will join the electric push alongside the Mini E model, which is already being tested in Oxford, UK.
The ActiveE will be the second part of BMW’s Project i, which aims at building a reliable electric fleet, which will be showcased at the 2012 London Olympics. The new model will use an electric motor, placed on the rear axle, which develops 170 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque, taking the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than nine seconds, and up to an electronically-limited 90 mph. The lithium-ion batteries will be grouped into two parts, one instead of the regular fuel tank, and the other instead of the engine, at the front of the car, and will provide a range of around 100 miles, plenty for the average urban citizen, according to BMW.
Plenty of technologies will also be used to extend the range, including a system which recycles kinetic energy, which reportedly extends the distance the BMW ActiveE is capable by 20%. Other things like low-drag wheels which are wrapped in low-resistance tires will also be included in the model which is based on the 1 Series coupe version.
The BMW ActiveE is set to being testing next year with regular customers and in fleets through a leasing contract. You will be able to catch a glimpse of it at the Detroit Auto Show in January, next year. Until then, check out the photo gallery below.
Photo Gallery: BMW ActiveE Concept
Bugatti definitely knows where its faithful clientèle is, and has brought three big surprises at the Dubai Motor Show which is taking place these days in the Arabian emirate. Exclusive to the middle eastern market will be a special edition of the Veyron, and two unique models, based on the regular and the Grand Sport convertible edition.
The Bugatti Veyron “Nocturne” special edition will consist of just five cars, which will see their side windows galvanized, thus continuin the line of the polished aluminum upper body parts to the rear of the supercar, contrasting with the black side and door-panels, as well as the roof. The hood is made out of polished aluminum and the wheels have also received the polishing treatment. On the inside, rich people will find a black nanocoated magnesium dashboard, whatever that means, thus a center console covered in galvanized Platinum, just for that extra touch.
Two one-off models are also shown in Dubai, the Sang d’Argent Veyron and the Soleil de Nuit Veyron Grand Sport. The first has a silver theme, as the metallic paint matches the polished aluminum parts like the doors and front wings. It also has silver-finished wheels, borrowed from the Grand Sport convertible version.
Speaking of the Grand Sport, the Soleil de Nuit model will feature a horizontal split in the lower part of the car, which will be painted in a black blue metallic scheme, complete with mirror shine meshes. The upper body will be painted in a blue metallic one, which will also be used on the inner side of the rims, which were borrowed from the Sang Noir, and are diamond cut on the outside. The “burnt orange” interior will be seen by all when you drop the top down.
Interested in these models? Well prices start from €1.65 million for the Nocturne (around $2.4 million) while the Sang d’Argent costs €1.45 million ($2.11 million) and the Soleil de Nuit “just” €1.55 million ($2.25 mil).
Given that the Middle East is one of the best luxury car markets in the world, you’ll certainly won’t find a Tata Nano at the Dubai Motor Show, unless it is covered with gold or something like that. But in case you love the precious metal, you will find a special Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercar, decked out in a matte gold paint.
The special edition is just for showcase though, but Mercedes officials did reveal that if demand is high, the “AMG Desert Gold” paint scheme will be available when the supercar enters production at the beginning of 2010. Hear that oil tycoons?
The special paint is in stark contrast with the rest of the accessories on the car, which are painted black, from the wheels to the Mercedes-Benz star in the grille. On the inside the same color is used, which also blends with carbon fiber, heavily used on the center console for example.
If the 6.3-liter V8 supercar doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can opt for the G55 AMG 79 Edition, which is also on display at the Dubai Motor Show.