Thursday, December 31, 2009

2011 Volvo S60?

At least Volvo will be around next year, so we'll get to see this really good looking new S60.
Such a good looking alternative to these boring 3 series sedans we see everywhere.

2011 Kia Sportage??

I am not really sure.
In a way it does look like the real thing. But there is something odd about it. It looks so much like the new Sorento.
Plus, there is a small signature in front of a rear wheel.

Here is the 2010 Sorento.
Pretty close isn't it...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2011 Ford Explorer

Caught somewhere in Detroit.
Notice the great driving skills of these guys, at the end...


Yes, Riich, with 2 "i"s.
The new luxury brand from Chinese car maker Geely.

If does feel like a joke. The fact that they would even need a separate luxury brand to sell what looks like a very average car.
A loaded Malibu seems much more luxurious.

The 2.0 Liter with 170hp doesn't scream "Luxury" either.

Maybe if people repeat the name enough times, stare at the pseudo Bentley logo long enough, they might convince themselves...

Who knows....

Renault Megane convertible illustration

As usual with the Megane, the convertible is really late to the party.

The Megane is a nice looking car, so I'm sure the hard top convertible version of the new model will look pretty good.
Except for that long truck, as seen on other spy pics. Pretty much the same as the current model.
The new Peugeot 308 CC seems better proportioned.

R.I.P Kia Borrego ?

Could be.

Kia has already announced there will be no 2010 models of the big truck based SUV.
Seems almost nobody wants one.
Launched last year, just when the market was turning away from big, thirsty truck based SUV's. Talk about bad timing.

I am sure it is a decent truck, but that's just not what people want anymore.
The Borrego was years too late...

Click on the title for more.

SAAB to resume production!

Both the 9-3 convertible and the all new 9-5 sedan will be in production in January.
Just a few days after GM announced it was killing the brand.

Now GM says they moved the deadline to find a new buyer to January 7th.
If so, why start production? What if they can't sell it?

It's just really weird, but at least there is still a little bit of hope. We could actually see the new 9-5 on the road one day.
A much better though than the recent rumors about turning it into a Buick for the US and an Opel Senator for Europe.
I saw the car in person, and it is a Saab. Nothing else.

And a really good looking one.

2012 Buick compact sedan

Will be sold as the Excelle in China, but GM hasn't announced a name for the US yet.
Basically a sedan version of the Opel Astra. With a different front end.
At least for the US.

The interior seems pretty nice too, but not that much nicer than the cheaper Chevrolet Cruze.
As a Buick, it will need to offer something more than the Chevrolet version.

2011 Nissan Micra

Just more illustrations of the next small Nissan.
Which for the 1st time will be sold in the US. As a "sub-Versa" model. So I guess it will start under $10 000, which is pretty much the base Versa's price.

This is the current version and I still think it does look better and much more original than the next one.
Just like the Cube, it looks like Nissan tries to hard to Americanize their designs once they decide to sell them in the US...

2012 Hyundai Veloster

It looks like the production model could end up pretty close to the concept we saw back in 2007. (Red car)
I guess everyone will have a small sporty coupe now.

But unlike most of the other new models from Toyota/Subaru, Nissan and Mazda, the Veloster will be FWD.
So it will compete more with the Scion Tc and the Honda CR-Z.
The Veloster will be powered by a version of Hyundai's 2.0 Liter engine.

Chrysler Nassau?

The Chrysler version of the Lancia Delta is now rumored to be called "Nassau".
For obvious "Oldsmobile reasons" they just couldn't keep the Delta name in the US.

The engines would be the new 1.8 Liter Turbojet with 200hp. But also a 160hp version of the same engine.
It will be imported from Europe but could be built in the US later if demand becomes high enough.

But they also say the car we will see in Detroit next month will be used to test the American public.
So it doesn't seem to be a done deal. At least not 100%.

Chrysler needs cars yesterday. And this one should be in showrooms ASAP.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dumbasses of the day...

What a beautiful world...

More, much more, at:

2012 Ford Focus?

Yet another illustration...
But they all seem to be pointing in the same design direction: a larger Fiesta.
Which would be just fine.

By then it looks like Ford will have a very strong and competitive line up.
But I still think the Fusion isn't a great looking car.
The body is the same as when the car came out in 2005, only the front and rear were new for 2010.
By the time the new Focus comes out, the 7 year old design won't fit.

The next one should share almost everything with the new Euro Mondeo. (Which is the car we should have gotten in the 1st place).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jay Leno drives the Volt

What an interesting video.
Explaining the car, and taking us on the drive as well.

2011 Audi Q5 Hybrid

So it is coming after all, a hybrid version of the Q5.
At the end of next year.

Not sure this will have such an impact. The only competition being the Lexus RX Hybrid.
And it seems Audi/VW has much better experience with Diesel technology.

We'll see...

Here is what they say about their new year:

"Next year Audi will launch a series of new cars. The A1, A7, A8 and R8 Spyder will be added to the product portfolio during 2010. At the end of 2010 Audi will unveil the Audi Q5 Hybrid, which will reach the market at the start of 2011 as the brand's first full hybrid model. As Strotbek points out: "We will be in a position to finance all our planned investments from our operative cash flow."

2012 Mazda RX7 to replace RX8

The RX7 name will return for the next generation.
The car will also be smaller, lighter and cheaper than the current model.
Good news.
It will compete with the new RWD coupes from Toyota and Subaru, as well as a new RWD coupe from Nissan.
So expect a base price of under $25 000.

Whether it looks like the Kabura concept (above) or any of the other illustrations remains to be seen.
But a production version of the Kabura would be great.

2011 Mustang GT 5.0 Video

2010 Audi A8 video

I am sure it is a great car to drive, and a classy ride.

But the "we have created a new Art" comment is so obnoxious for a car that looks like a giant A4...

Mercedes SLS AMG , Mulholland drive and Jay Leno.

What a fun video to watch.
And that car does look fantastic...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Toyota's official response.

About the Los Angeles Time article from earlier.
We'll see if it works...

Here is what they say:

"Today the Los Angeles Times published an article that wrongly and unfairly attacks Toyota’s integrity and reputation.

While outraged by the Times’ attack, we were not totally surprised. The tone of the article was foreshadowed by the phrasing of a lengthy list of detailed questions that the Times emailed to us recently. The questions were couched in accusatory terms.

Despite the tone, we answered each of the many questions and sent them to the Times. Needless to say, we were disappointed by the article that appeared today, and in particular by the fact that so little of our response to the questions appeared in the article and much of what was used was distorted.

Toyota has a well-earned reputation for integrity and we will vigorously defend it.

For a more complete and accurate picture of the issues raised by the Times, click here (Click on the Title) to read the Times’ questions and the full text of Toyota’s answers.

2011 Opel Meriva

Over at Opel, it almost looks like business as usual, since GM decided to keep it.
Were are getting the Regal from them, and it now looks like we are also getting the Wagon and sporty GS versions as well.
A coupe, sedan and wagon versions of the Astra are also on track.

And so is the replacement for the small "micro minivan-like" Meriva.
But we won't be getting this one.
I really do not see this as a Buick anytime soon.

It could have been a small and interesting Saturn, but....

Next Hyundai Azera

So it looks like there will be a redesigned Azera after all.
At least in some markets.
The new model will have the quite uncomfortable position of being squeezed in between the new, and larger, Sonata and the Genesis.
Not sure what they are thinking.

Sure, Toyota has the Avalon and the Lexus GS. Nissan has the Maxima and the Infiniti G37. But these are sold under different brands. Hyundai sells everything under one roof.
And it's not like the Azera has been a hit, at least in the US. I can count on one hand the ones I've seen around.

On the other hand, I saw a 2008 Limited model with 5000 miles on CarMax for about $19 000.
Quite a deal for a car that still has 4 years on the main warranty.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

BMW 535i GT

As expected, the new 5 series GT will be available with a 6 cylinder in the US.
Next spring.

300hp is more than enough for this kind of car. With a quite amazing torque curve that starts, and peaks, at 1200rpm!

Here is the official word:

"BMW 535i Gran Turismo with six-cylinder turbocharged engine

The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo combines the attributes of an elegant sedan, a contemporary Sports Activity Vehicle and a classic Gran Turismo, masterfully melded into a single, harmonious vehicle. The six-cylinder turbocharged version of the 535i Gran Turismo will feature a new inline-6 which combines turbocharging, High Precision Injection, and variable VALVETRONIC valve management in one engine for the first time. This unique combination gives BMW's newest inline-6 a new level of performance and efficiency in the true spirit of BMW EfficientDynamics.

The new six-cylinder again displaces 3.0-liters and develops maximum output of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm, with peak torque of 300 lb-ft available all the way from 1,200–5,000 rpm. This is the same level of performance as the current 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder but with the innovation of twin-scroll technology and the integration of VALVETRONIC, this new engine will be even more fuel efficient. Both the responsiveness and efficiency of the 535i Gran Turismo will be further improved with the addition of BMW's new 8-speed automatic transmission. Benefitting from this kind of power, the BMW 535i Gran Turismo accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds."

What the hell is going on with Toyota???

An article in yesterday's Los Angeles times investigates Toyota's history of blaming car defects on human error.

Sure, they all do it. Up to a point.
These are scary, or even deadly, events for the people involved.
And I am sure many people are thinking twice before buying a Toyota right now (I personally know of a couple of people who are)

The "floor mats problem" seems to actually be an excuse for something much worse. Like many cases of sudden acceleration.

Here are some examples:

-"After a 2007 crash of a Camry that accelerated out of control for 20 miles before killing the driver of another car in San Jose, Toyota was sued by members of the victim's family. Their attorney, Louis Franecke, said the automaker "didn't want to go to trial," and paid them a seven-figure sum in exchange for dropping the case and signing a non-disclosure form."

-"Tim Marks, a small businessman in Camden, Ark., parked his daughter's 2006 Lexus IS 250 in front of the dealership last year and said his family would never drive it again after experiencing four sudden-acceleration events."

Click on the title for the whole L.A time article.
A very interesting, and devastating piece....

2011 Mustang GT

Celebrating the return of the 5.0 Liter V8
Now with over 410hp.

I guess people must have their V8, even when the new V6 already offers over 300hp...

More pictures of the 2011 Honda CR-Z

I still love it.
This is obviously the Japanese version, with automatic.
So we might not get all the features shown here, like the giant sunroof. (Something they do offer on the Fit, overseas, but not in the US)

I can't wait for this car.

2012 Ford Focus?

Just another illustration. Looking like a big Fiesta.
Which is probably what it'll look like. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I just wonder about pricing. Ford expect the new Fiesta to be sort of a premium small hatchback.
With all the options it goes well over $21000.
Which is also well into the Fusion price range.

How are they going to squeeze the new Focus in between these 2 cars?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chevrolet Cruze wagon?

Looks like it is on its way.

I was actually pretty impressed with the Cruze when I saw it in person. Nothing earth shattering, but nothing really is in that segment.
And the interior seems to be above most of the competition. That might be another story once we get the new Civic and the next Focus.
I think a wagon version will allow them to offer something the competition doesn't, at least in the US.
If compact wagons are making a come back, Chevrolet could end up in the front lines.

Like what Buick could do for mid sized wagons with the Regal wagon.

I really think it would be a good move.
Anything to get rid of SUV's as family cars....

Saab 9-5 wagon

This does look like the real thing to me.

Let's just hope that all parties involved do find a way to save Saab.
This looks even better than the sedan I saw.

It mostly depends on how much GM really want to sell Saab...

Volvo almost sold to Geely.

A fate better than death. (Just ask Saab)

So it looks like the beginning of a new life for Volvo, under Chinese ownership.

I still wonder why Ford was so desperate to sell the Swedish brand.
It doesn't seem like they were doing so bad, and Ford itself is doing OK...

Here is the official word:

-" Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] confirmed today that all substantive commercial terms relating to the potential sale of Volvo Car Corporation have been settled between Ford and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited.

While some work still remains to be completed before signing – including final documentation, financing and government approvals – Ford and Geely anticipate that a definitive sale agreement will be signed in the first quarter of 2010, with closing of the sale likely to occur in the second quarter 2010, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals.

The prospective sale would ensure Volvo has the resources, including the capital investment, necessary to further strengthen the business and build its global franchise, while enabling Ford to continue to focus on and implement its core ONE Ford strategy.

While Ford would continue to cooperate with Volvo Cars in several areas after a possible sale, the company does not intend to retain a shareholding in the business post-sale.

More details will be made available once the expected definitive sale agreement is signed in the first quarter of 2010."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fiat 500 promo. In Amsterdam

Let's just hope they use something like it when the car comes to the US next year.

The whole US lineup will be shown at the Detroit Auto Show.
As well as the Chrysler version of the Lancia Delta

Geely EC 825

What a pretty name for a car: EC 825...

Geely is working on yet another new Chinese mid sized sedan.
It will have a choice of engines ranging from 1.8 Liter to 2.4 Liter.

Geely is also apparently very, very close to acquire Volvo.
So close than some even expect an official announcement from Ford as early as tomorrow.

Chinese Volvos might be for real...

New Cadillac Concept

Will be shown next month at the Detroit Auto Show.

It looks like it will be a "close to production" preview of their new top of the line sedan.
Replacing the STS and DTS models.

Let's hope so.
They need more than the new SRX and various versions of the CTS to be a true luxury car brand.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lancia/Chrysler prototype?

This was sent to me by a reader and it looks like Chrysler is considering adding the Delta to the Chrysler line up.
At least in the US where we don't have Lancia.

I am told the picture was taken in Europe, not in the US.
The Delta would be a really nice and modern looking Chrysler.

Right now, they don't have much to offer. The minivans are still selling, and the Challenger is a cool car, the Mustang and Camaro sell much more.
Plus, the brand's future is still up in the air and most people won't even think of getting a Chrysler.
Re-badging seems the only choice. At least for the next couple of years.

New Honda small car concept

Honda will show a new concept at the upcoming New Delhi auto show. (Illustration above)
This is supposed to give us an idea of what their planned "Tata Nano fighter" could look like.

It will be engineered to sell in emerging markets as well as other countries.

The Nano will go on sale in Europe next year, and maybe the US later.
So we might also be seeing the super cheap Honda model over here.

All new Saab 9-5 crash test

So you know. The next 9-5 was going to be a very safe car...

There is still a little bit of hope from Spyker until wednesday.
We'll see....

2011 Mitsubishi RVR

Just a couple of pictures of Mitsubishi's all new small wagon/Crossover.

It just looks OK to me, nothing special really.
And the interior looks a lot like the Outlander.

We'll see.

Thanks to a reader for the pics.