Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 132

Even though it is in heavy talks with Ford to buy Swedish car brand Volvo, it seems that Geely is taking some safety measures, and might also be interested in the other Swedish carmaker, Saab, which was recently left without a buyer after Koenigsegg backed down from talks with General Motors.

Speaking at a shareholder event, Geely executive Lawrence Ang neither denier nor confirmed the fact that his company is also in talks with GM for Saab. It’s worth to note that the Chinese brand did come up with an offer when GM revealed that it will sell Saab, but after Koenigsegg became the preferred bidder, it became more interested in Volvo.

With all the “musical chairs” talks going on for the two Swedish brands, nobody knows what to think. Hopefully, for the good of both Volvo and Saab, things will quiet down and all these talks will eventually come a solution.

Read More: “Geely might be interested in Saab, going for Swedish double”

Ugh, these pictures bring a tear to my eye. It seems that a Pagani Zonda F owner from Hong Kong crashed the beautiful and rare vehicle in a row of parked cars while coming home from a track event. While details are scarce, it seems that the man tried to avoid an out-of-control truck, and had no other choice but to crash the million-dollar Zonda.

Only 106 such models were made, with 25 of them being Zonda F versions, which fetch for an even higher price. Their production will soon come to an end, but hopefully service support will continue and will bring back to life this special model, which wasn’t completely crashed.

Frankly, if it were up to me, such models would be carried only on a truck bed or with a police escort in order to preserve their beauty.

Read More: “Pagani Zonda F crashes in Hong Kong”

After being spied multiple times and getting a special rally-spec version out to be piloted by Alain Prost at the prestigious Trophee Andros, the Dacia Duster has finally been revealed in official pictures from the Romanian brand, a Renault subsidiary.

Set to be a low-cost compact crossover, the Dacia Duster looks rather interesting, and will offer something completely new to customers used to the brand. Its design may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the entry-level market, it won’t matter that much, as it gets the job done, and looks like fairly decent crossover.

Expect full 4×4 all-wheel drive, but also a front-wheel drive version for those of you not keen on fitting a V6 in the back and going on winter rallies like Alain Prost. You will be getting a 1.6-liter 16-valve gasoline engine, which develops 110 HP, as well as two diesel variants of the 1.5-liter dCi unit, one outputting 85 and the other 105 HP. A more powerful diesel unit, perhaps the 1.9-liter engine, might arrive during the life cycle of the model.

More details will soon follow, ahead of the official debut of the model at the 2010 edition of the Geneva Motor Show, taking place in March, next year. Until then, enjoy the gallery below.

Photo Gallery: Dacia Duster

Read More: “Dacia Duster formally presents itself, details and photo gallery included”

As the end of the year draws near, various studies are popping up all over the place. From the color popularity one to this new J.D. Power one which tracked user satisfaction in terms of navigation systems. Anyone with factory-installed system were able to participate, and rate their satisfaction with the system found on their car.

The biggest winner is by far Ford, which not only nabbed the number one spot, thanks to the system on the Lincoln MKS, but also the second place, with the Flex, fourth place with the F-150 and seventh and eight with the Escape and the Edge, respectively. That’s five of the top 10 places!

“I think what really makes our system stand out is the fact it’s designed with the user in mind,” said Ford user interface design engineer Jason Johnson. “Yes, it has all the features you’d expect from a high-level navigation system — the 3-D maps, the digital jukebox, the customizable home screens, and of course we pride ourselves on SYNC and SIRIUS Travel Link — but it’s more than that. This system is easy to use. It’s intuitive. The buttons are where you’d expect them to be, the grouping is logical and the graphics are bright and easy to read. Everything is integrated, so it all works together, simply and easily.”

Other manufacturer coming in the top ten are the Acura TL, nabbing third, Porsche 911 (fifth), Cadillac CTS (sixth), Hyundai Genesis (ninth) and Infiniti FX (tenth). Also note-worthy is the fact that Toyota models are nowhere to be seen in the upper echelon, and “fight” over the last places (seven out of the last ten come from the Japanese company), with Avalon being dead last.

What are your feelings about the navigation systems from Ford? Leave a comment with your view.

Read More: “Ford offers the best navigation systems, J.D. Power study reveals”

Without a doubt one of the biggest bets that GM is hoping will come true is the Chevrolet Volt hybrid car. Set to enter production in late 2010 and to be launched in distinct markets like California, it might be the car which will truly jump start the comeback of General Motors.

So, how does GM celebrate such a model? By releasing a weird theme song, that’s how! Entitled “Chevy Volt and Me”, it’s quite catchy and even though it will make you laugh, I’m sure it will stay in your head for quite some time.

“Our goal is to craft that education [about the Volt] in a manner that is family friendly (as it should be because we are America’s original mass /heart brand), entertaining and simple to understand for a rather sophisticated product. A Volt song helps us to achieve those objectives. ‘Chevy Volt and Me’ explains what Volt is all about as a better EV in simple friendly terms,” revealed Maria Roher, Volt’s director of global marketing.

Hit the jump to watch the video containing the Chevy Volt and Me song, you won’t regret it!
Read More: “Video: “Chevy Volt and Me” official song of the Chevrolet Volt”

Even though Ford is currently putting all of its marketing efforts into the new Fiesta, it doesn’t mean that it is ignoring the bigger Focus model, and revealed that it is hard at work implementing new technologies into the hatchback model.

Gunnar Herrmann, the man responsible for the C-segment batch of models from the American company has revealed a few interesting details about the next generation focus, and about the direction that the auto industry is following in terms of technology.

Based on the EUCD platform which is currently used by the Mondeo or S-Max models, the new Focus will benefit largely from it, as advanced electronic systems are easily fitted on it. The new model will also see newer, lighter and stronger steels, like hot-formed and boron types, being used, which guarantee durability but don’t impact the price.

In terms of technology, you can expect a stop-start system to appear, which according to Hermann will become standard in the industry soon enough, but also engines ranging from the ones we see today, to smaller two- or three-cylinder units, which will be turbocharged, and helped by an electric motor when accelerating.

Continuing, Hermann said that you won’t see many manual gearboxes in future generations, as more efficient dual-clutch ones are set to replace them fully by 2020. New technologies like driver-adjustable adaptive dampers, lane departure warning systems and even a traffic sign recognition one will also become standard in the future, and the Focus will play a heavy part in that.

Overall, these tastes of the new Focus are very interesting, and might really wet the appetite of Ford fans. What do you believe about the Hermann’s assumptions? Will dual-clutch gearboxes prevail over manual ones? Leave a comment below.

Read More: “Next generation Ford Focus gets detailed”

After one horrible accident and the biggest recall in Toyota’s history, a new statement has surfaced from a customer which drove the Lexus ES350 before San Diego police officer Mark Saylor took his family in it, and also experienced unintended acceleration after the floor mat stuck the throttle pedal in a fully open state.

It seems that before Saylor used the ES350, one Frank Bernard also drove the same model, and was very close to a similar accident. While driving, the man took his foot off the gas, but the car continue to accelerate, reaching 85 mph. He slammed the brakes, and with great effort managed to put the car in neutral, but the engine was still being revved like crazy, according to his statement. He tried to turn off the engine, but to no result, and while he investigated the pedal, he found that it was stuck behind the floor mat. After pulling it back to its position, everything came back to normal.

But what’s more disturbing is that he revealed that he told the representative of the dealership about the problem, and no one took any action. The receptionist first said that she didn’t recall that event, but soon changed her story and said that she informed a mechanic. The same mechanic stated that the problem wasn’t brought to his attention.

In case you haven’t been following the whole killer floor mats in certain Toyota and Lexus models debate, here’s the low-down. At the end of summer, police officer Mark Saylor took a Lexus ES350 from a dealership in his native San Diego in order to drive his family to a local event. During the drive, the floor mat of the accelerator pedal got stuck behind the floor mat and even though he slammed on the brakes and did anything he could do, it resulted in a horrible crash.

After that, the NHTSA quickly realized that this might be a massive problem, and prompted Toyota to recall almost 3.8 million vehicles from its lineup and the Lexus one to dealerships so that a solution would be implemented to prevent any accidents.

After these new statements it seems that Saylor’s family won’t be finding peace, and will question whether or not the dealership knew about the problem but didn’t take any action to prevent the faulty car, which saw its brakes take a heavy strain, be offered to customers.

Read More: “New statements indicate that prior customer warned Lexus dealer of killer floor mat before accident”

Volkswagen has big plans for the North American market, as new reports indicate that the codenamed New Compact Sedan the company has been preparing might keep the Jetta nameplate. Also, according to Car and Driver, there are plans to bring the Polo compact hatchback in the US, in order to battle newly released models like the Ford Fiesta. Also, you should expect a new coupe concept to appear in motor shows soon enough.

First off, the new compact sedan (clever codename right?) will be manufactured at the Mexico plant where the Jetta is currently made. In order to keep the brand (or perhaps they ordered too many Jetta badges), the new model will bear the same name, and might arrive as soon as summer 2010 on the US market, and after a few tweaks, on the European one.

Seeing as how the newest trend in the USA are compact hatchbacks, with Ford’s Fiesta leading the new push into the segment, Volkswagen might be tempted to bring its Polo model, especially after it received the prestigious European Car of the Year award.

Last but not least, it seems that the German company is thinking about releasing a new coupe model, which will be previewed by an upcoming concept, that will make the rounds at the biggest auto shows. Depending on the reaction of the media and the market, a green light might be given.

Overall, VW is definitely preparing some big surprises for the US market, and alongside the new sedan, it might pull it off. What will work and what won’t is something only time will tell.

Read More: “Volkswagen’s new compact sedan to bear Jetta name, Polo might arrive in the US”

While most of you despise the Porsche Cayenne for transforming the sportscar brand into a more mainstream one, you can’t deny the commercial success the model has experienced. As such, the Stuttgart manufacturer is rapidly preparing a new generation of its SUV, scheduled to appear at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 2010.

Until then, you can get a sneak peek at the new model, thanks to some great spy shots from the guys at WorldCarFans, showing the new Cayenne with almost no camouflage. The first impression is that it will sit lower on the road, and judging by these pics, will resemble a lot with the Infiniti’s FX series of SUVs.

Other styling cues will be borrowed from the Panamera, including the headlights, but will also reflect a more aggressive nature, like the power-domed hood. Expect a wider array of engines to be available for the upcoming model, many shared with cousins like the Audi Q7 or Volkswagen Touareg. Also, according to many voices, the Cayenne will abandon many of its off-road capabilities and make life much better in the place where it is driven the most, the city.

Do you like what you see? Leave a comment with your view on the new 2011 Porsche Cayenne.

Read More: “2011 Porsche Cayenne spied almost without camouflage, looks like Infiniti FX”

Infiniti really impressed everyone when it showcased its concept hybrid supercar, the Essence, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Powered by twin-turbo V6 running in tandem with an electric motor, it was capable of delivering a combined rating of 592 HP.

Now, talking in hindsight about the concept, one of Infiniti’s executives, Ben Poore, revealed that it was phenomenal, and opted to tease fans and the auto press by saying that the Essence concept is “only a show piece… for now.”

Could this concept preview the premium all-electric sportscar that Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was talking about at the Tokyo Motor Show? Nobody knows, but hopefully we will see this model, in one way or another, reach production soon enough.

Read More: “Infiniti Essence is just a concept … for now, executive says”

The French certainly have an affinity for the Japanese, at least when it comes to the automaking industry, after Renault formed an alliance with Nissan and is currently experiencing some strong sales all over the world.

Now, according to a report from BusinessWeek, it seems that the local rivals of Renault, Peugeot and Citroen (which both form the PSA group), are taking a major interest in long-time partner Mitsubishi, which shared platforms with the two French companies.

The deal, which is being heavily negotiated behind closed doors, will see PSA buy a controlling stake in the Japanese brand, for around $3 billion. This investment, although large, will no doubt pay off, as Mitsubishi has numerous types of technologies developed, from its off road one to the even more valuable electric systems used on certain models, and is present in the USA, where no French brand has appeared for quite some time.

Such a move would make sense, and although nothing is certain, I think it’s quite probable to see another successful French-Japanese relationship.

Read More: “Peugeot-Citroen to buy Mitsubishi?”

Out of the regular brands in the Volkswagen group (I’m not talking about Lamborghini or Bentley), Seat has really stood out in terms of design, releasing some great looking models (although some would argue looking the same), based on the durable platforms from VW.

Now, talking about the future plans of the Spanish brand, a source has revealed that a sportscar is definitely on the drawing board, but until it will materialize, the company needs to sell more of its current models, in order to be more profitable and its main Martorell plant to operate at a higher rate. Currently, the plant is running at 50% capacity.

“A sports car is definitely something we’d like to do,” said the source, “but we need to get our volumes up and sell more of the cars we’ve already got before we start thinking about new models. We’re a young, sporty and design-led brand. That’s what Seat stands for; in any sector we’re in, we want to be the sportiest, so something like a sports car makes sense for us.”

Frankly, I’d love to see a Seat sports car, maybe a small Audi TT-based roadster or something completely new. What are your thoughts on the matter? Would a Spanish sportscar peak your interest?

Read More: “Seat considers sports car, but current models need to sell more”

Toyota is certainly not looking great in the eyes of US consumers, as after the whole debate over the floor mats, which resulted in one of the biggest recalls ever, and over the rust concerns in other models, the 2006 Corolla and Matrix models will now be inspected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) over several claims of engine stalling, which puts the drivers at risk while trying to restart the car.

The 1ZZ-FE engine units will be investigated, accounting for almost 397,000 vehicles in total. It is still a preliminary investigation, as only 26 formal complaints were lodged, but if the NHTSA will indeed find it to be a general mechanical problem, Toyota will once again be forced to break open its recall piggy bank.

Did you experience any problems on 2006 Toyota Corolla or Matrix models? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Read More: “NHTSA to investigate 2006 Toyota Corolla and Matrix over stalling concerns”

Practicality, common sense, decency, thorough advice … these are just the few things BBC’s Top Gear show isn’t about, and the fourth episode of season 14 further proved that by trying to deliver some decent advice to airport administrations, the average consumer and the bonkers performance SUV fans.

Hit the jump to find out how many reasonably priced cars Guy Ritchie destroyed and if a Renault Twingo RS is a decent choice for the normal consumer.
Read More: “Top Gear Season 14 Episode 4 review”

Cadillac was beginning to loose its edge on the performance market until it released the CTS model, which immediately saw the CTS-V high performance sedan. The model already proved it can stand up with all the other four-door performance cars, and now, with the CTS-V Coupe preparing for launch, it will take the fight to that segment of the market.

But with the regular CTS lineup now including a sedan, a station wagon and the new coupe, it seemed logical that Cadillac would be preparing a convertible right? Well you’re wrong about that, as the company recently denied the plans for a convertible CTS Coupe, saying that such a variant isn’t on the drawing board.

Too bad though, as there were certainly many people which hoped for such a model. Luckily though, they won’t mind all that much with settling for a regular CTS Coupe.

Read More: “Cadillac CTS Coupe won’t see a convertible version”