Car and Truck News


Chrylser pushes limits in economy and power

June 25, 2007 Chrysler, Hybrids, Dodge, Diesel, Bluetec | Comments (0) admin @ 10:24 am

Onslaught of New Initiatives to Result in Significantly Improved Fuel Efficiency

- Mild-hybrid technology to debut in future Chrysler Group vehicle

- Chrysler two-mode hybrid program to expand

- 2009 Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee BLUETEC: another 50-state clean diesel from
Chrysler Group

- Company to explore development of 4-cylinder diesel for North American
market, and expansion of 3.0-liter V-6 diesel

- New V-6 family of engines to include Multi-displacement System (MDS),
resulting in fuel economy gain of 6 to 8 percent

- Significantly upgraded 5.7-liter HEMI(R) V-8

- New 4.7-liter V-8 delivers 5-percent fuel economy improvement

- Dual-clutch transmission to result in fuel economy improvement of up to
6 percent

- Common axle program to improve fuel economy, axle efficiency and costs

- Weight reduction, aerodynamic and drivetrain improvements to raise fuel
economy 5 percent

Chrysler Group’s Powertrain Offensive took a major leap forward today when Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President - Product Development, announced a barrage of new initiatives targeted solely at improving the fuel efficiency of future Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge vehicles.
Among the fuel-efficient initiatives are a commitment to developing mild- hybrid technology and expanding the company’s two-mode hybrid program; new six- and eight-cylinder gasoline engines - including cylinder-deactivation in a V-6; dual-clutch transmission technology; a common axle program; weight reduction, aerodynamic and drivetrain initiatives; and another BLUETEC clean- diesel vehicle.

Additionally, the company announced it is exploring the development of a (more…)

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Excellent crash test video tool

June 13, 2007 Crash Tests, Consumer Reports | Comments (0) admin @ 8:56 am

Consumer reports has this great tool that allows you to watch crash tests of your vehicle. The real tests are shown, run by CR, and their ratings are explained with detail placed on the finer points of what’s happened.

Very useful tool, though there are many makes an models not represented, so it’s really a sampling of the market place. Since Consumer Reports buys… (more…)

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Demand for Small Vehicles Increases as Gas Prices Rise

May 16, 2007 Auto News, Fuel Prices | Comments (0) admin @ 9:28 am

Power Information Network Reports: Rising Gas Prices Begin to Sway New-Vehicle Owners Toward Smaller Versions of Trucks and Utility Vehicles

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Rising gasoline prices have some owners of large and midsize trucks trading to smaller vehicles, according to real-time retail transaction data from the Power Information Network (PIN), a division of J.D. Power and Associates.

Gasoline prices have surged more than 20 cents in recent weeks to a record nationwide average of $3.10 per gallon, surpassing the previous record of $3.07 per gallon set in September 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As gas prices rise, owner loyalty in the large pickup and midsize and large utility vehicle segments drops, according to PIN data gathered between February and April 2007. Owner loyalty is measured by the percent of owners in any given segment who trade for another vehicle in the same segment.
“We’re seeing a broad, long-term — but gradual — movement to smaller vehicles,” says Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at PIN. “For example, during periods of high gas prices over the past two years, we’ve seen movement from larger to smaller SUVs. However, the total SUV pie remains largely intact.”
While rising gas prices are having a negative effect on large vehicle segments, owner loyalty has increased for small cars. Additionally, sales of small vehicles, including cars and light trucks, as a percentage of total new-vehicle retail sales, have risen from 26.3 percent in the first quarter of 2004 to 31.8 percent in the first quarter of 2007. Furthermore, PIN data shows that higher gas prices have had only a moderate impact on repeat purchases of midsize crossovers. The fact that several new midsize crossovers have just entered the market likely has softened the impact of rising gas prices on the segment, Libby said.

hybrid sales v. gas prices

Not every new-vehicle segment has been affected by rising gas prices. For example, PIN findings show that owner loyalty for large and midsize cars, small crossovers, and small SUVs has remained relatively unchanged in recent months.
Libby notes that all of these trends are consistent with the patterns observed in spring 2006 when gas prices also rose.
Increased demand for smaller vehicles, coupled with higher gas prices, has also given four-cylinder engines a boost in powertrain market share. Four-cylinder engines as a percent of total retail sales has increased from 27.5 percent in April 2004 to 35.7 percent in April 2007.
While vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines are receiving a lift from rising gas prices, so are new vehicles powered by hybrid-electric engines. Hybrid vehicle sales have shown a strong correlation to gas prices. For more than two years, hybrid sales have increased as gas prices have risen and have decreased as gas prices have fallen.

Small car demand v. gas prices

Additionally, PIN data shows that the retail turn rates — the amount of time a new vehicle spends on a dealership lot before being sold — decrease for both new and used small cars as the price of gas increases. In particular, these retail turn rates suggest that certain parts of the used-vehicle market, such as small cars, compact basic cars and small luxury crossovers benefit when fuel prices rise.
PIN and J.D. Power and Associates data suggest that the small car market — both new and used — will continue to strengthen as fuel prices escalate.
“The recent strength of the small vehicle segments — pricing, styling and an increasing number of new models — is receiving an additional boost from high gas prices,” said Bob Schnorbus, chief economist at J.D. Power and Associates. “We’re expecting the small vehicle segments to continue to grow, regardless of gas prices, but higher gas prices certainly will help these segments relative to others.”

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Magna losing BMW X3 production

BMW, Magna | Comments (0) admin @ 8:36 am

BMW informs Magna of its intention to produce next generation BMW X3 in-house

AURORA, ON — Magna International Inc. (TSX: MG.A, MG.B; NYSE: MGA) today reported that BMW AG has informed us of its intention to commence in-house assembly of the next generation BMW X3 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, following end of production of the current generation BMW X3 at our Graz, Austria facility. While end of production for the program is at the discretion of BMW, Magna Steyr currently expects BMW X3 production to end in 2010. We are currently a significant supplier to BMW’s Spartanburg facility.
We have been the sole production source of the BMW X3 since we began producing the vehicle in 2003. BMW X3 production represented approximately 45% of total vehicles assembled at Magna Steyr in 2006. We are in discussions with customers about future potential assembly opportunities for our Graz facility.
We are the most diversified automotive supplier in the world. We design, develop and manufacture automotive systems, assemblies, modules and components, and engineer and assemble complete vehicles, primarily for sale to original equipment manufacturers of cars and light trucks in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Our capabilities include the design, engineering, testing and manufacture of automotive interior systems; seating systems; closure systems; metal body and structural systems; vision systems; electronic systems; exterior systems; powertrain systems; roof systems; as well as complete vehicle engineering and assembly.
We have approximately 83,000 employees in 235 manufacturing operations and 62 product development and engineering centres in 23 countries.

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Chevy Sequel hits 300 mpg with zero emmissions

First hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to go 300 miles without refueling is a success.

Chevy Sequel

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — General Motors Corp. made history today as its Chevy Sequel - the world’s most technologically advanced automobile - became the first electrically-driven fuel cell vehicle to achieve 300 miles on one tank of hydrogen, in and out of traffic on public roads, while producing zero emissions.
With this drive, General Motors has reached another important milestone toward the commercialization of their fuel cell vehicles, by achieving the range expected by today’s consumers. And they did it while producing zero emissions, as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle only emits water. In addition, the hydrogen produced at Niagara Falls, used to fuel Sequel, was derived from hydropower - a clean, renewable resource. This means that the entire process - from the creation of the hydrogen to the use of the fuel in the vehicle — was virtually carbon dioxide free.

Sequel was introduced in 2005 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and the first drivable version appeared last fall. It is the first vehicle in the world to successfully integrate a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system with a broad menu of advanced technologies, such as steer- and brake-by-wire controls, wheel hub motors, lithium-ion batteries and a lightweight aluminum structure. It uses clean, renewable hydrogen as a fuel and emits only water vapor. Now it is the first fuel cell vehicle to achieve real-world range.
General Motors is proving that advanced technology can remove the automobile from the environmental debate and reduce our dependence on petroleum. Chevy Sequel clearly shows that our vision for the future of the automobile is real and sustainable.

The 300-mile drive through the state of New York began at General Motors’ Fuel Cell Activity Center in Honeoye Falls, where the engineers who developed the company’s fuel cell technology officially sent the Sequel off into the history books. It is the fuel cell teams’ tremendous record of success and absolute dedication to this tremendously important cause, which will ultimately enable the country, and the world, to diversify their energy sources and displace large amounts of petroleum.

The Sequel achieved the 300-mile mark and crossed the finish line in Tarrytown - a fitting location, as General Motors reiterated its commitment to bringing part of its next fleet of over 100 Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicles under the “Project Driveway” demonstration program to the greater NY metropolitan area this fall.

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Miami Loves To Hate

May 15, 2007 Auto News, Road Rage Survey | Comments (1) admin @ 11:19 am

NORWALK, Conn. — The second annual In The Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey, commissioned by AutoVantage, a leading national auto club, found that the least courteous city in the country is Miami, followed by New York and Boston. It’s the second consecutive year that Miami claimed the top spot. The other two cities with the worst road rage were Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

View the Multimedia News Release

The most courteous city is Portland, Ore., followed closely by Pittsburgh, Seattle/Tacoma, St. Louis and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

The In The Driver’s Seat 2007 AutoVantage Road Rage Survey, released today, was conducted to determine the driving habits and attitudes of commuters across the U.S. and to learn more about consumer views on the topic of road rage.

“Road rage has unfortunately too often become a way of life, both on and off the track,” said NASCAR racing TV personality, radio host, best-selling author and AutoVantage spokesperson Liz Allison. “More and more, in cities across America, people are acting out their frustrations with dangerous results. It’s bad for professional and everyday drivers alike.

“Our Road Rage survey shines the light on emerging driving trends, and there are some very interesting results.”

The survey’s best and worst cities are:

Least Courteous Cities (Worst Road Rage):
2007 2006

1. Miami 1. Miami
2. New York 2. Phoenix
3. Boston 3. New York
4. Los Angeles 4. Los Angeles
5. Washington, D.C 5. Boston

Most Courteous Cities (Least Road Rage):
2007 2006

1. Portland, Ore. 1. Minneapolis
2. Pittsburgh 2. Nashville
3. Seattle/Tacoma 3. St. Louis
4. St. Louis 4. Seattle
5. Dallas/Ft. Worth 5. Atlanta

Other cities surveyed include Phoenix; Chicago; Sacramento, Calif.; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Houston; Atlanta; Detroit; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Baltimore; Tampa, Fla.; San Diego; Cincinnati; Cleveland and Denver.

“This new study focuses on important attitudes and habits of drivers on the open road nationwide,” said Mike Wain, vice president of AutoVantage. “This groundbreaking research is an important tool to help educate and influence safer driving habits throughout the United States.”

Want to know how you rate? Check your road rage temperature by taking our online survey at www.gaugemyrage.com.

This year’s survey sought to define road rage in America. Two important attributes emerged in defining road rage behavior:

– Angry or upset drivers, including out-of-control drivers and drivers
who lose their temper.

– Bad or aggressive driving, including bad/careless/crazy and/or rude
driving, cutting into lanes, cutting people off, tailgating, speeding
and/or honking.

When asked the major causes of road rage in the survey, the most frequent theme was people being in a hurry, running late, being impatient and/or speeding.

– “Bad/rude/careless driving, such as cutting others off, talking on the
cell phone, speeding or going too slow in the fast lane”

– “People who are angry, stressed or frustrated”

– “People being in a hurry, impatient or running late”

Behaviors by other drivers that cause stress for commuters, and which can lead to road rage, include:

– Driving too fast (66 percent observe this happening every day)

– Tailgating (57 percent see this every day)

– Cutting over without notice (45 percent see this every day)

Commuters also reported that other drivers frequently:

– Talk on their cell phones (98 percent observe this at least once a
week)

– Do other tasks while driving (63 percent observe this at least once a
week)

– Run red lights (63 percent observe this at least once a week)

– Slam on the brakes (63 percent see this happening at least once a week)

As a reaction to rude or bad driving by others, people surveyed admitted that they:

– Honk their horn at the offending driver (35 percent)

– Curse at the other driver (29 percent)

– Wave their fist or arms (10 percent)

– Make an obscene gesture (8 percent)

– Call the police to report the driver (6 percent)

– Slam into the car in front of them (1 percent)

Drivers weighed in on how to reduce rude driving and road rage:

– Increase police presence (62 percent thought this would help)

– Limit cell phone usage (55 percent)

– Make it illegal to use cell phones while driving (53 percent)

– Use automatic cameras to catch bad drivers (51 percent)

– Conduct a major public awareness campaign (32 percent)

Other key findings of the study:

– Younger drivers and those who have the longest commutes are most likely
to react to an aggressive or rude driver.

– There is no real difference between men and women when it comes to road
rage.

– Besides talking on the cell phone while driving (61 percent admit to
this), the one thing that drivers in this survey were most likely to
have done is drive too fast (59 percent). Most drivers admit to doing
these at least some of the time.

– Cutting over without notice. Drivers in New York are the most likely to
witness this daily (63 percent), up from 45 percent in 2006. Drivers in
Cleveland are least likely to see this (25 percent), down from 45
percent in 2006.

– Tailgating. Drivers in Phoenix are most likely to see this behavior
daily (69 percent), up from 51 percent in 2006. Drivers in Portland are
the least like to see tailgating (41 percent).

– Slamming on the brakes. Drivers in Miami (39 percent) are most likely
to witness this behavior daily, up from 23 percent, while drivers in
Cleveland and Cincinnati are least likely (14 percent).

– Running red lights. More than one-fourth (27 percent) said they see
drivers every day who run red lights. Drivers in Miami are the most
likely to witness this behavior (58 percent), up significantly from 40
percent, and drivers in Cleveland are least likely (14 percent), up
slightly from 11 percent in 2006.

– Driving too fast. Nearly two-thirds say they see drivers driving a lot
faster than is safe for road conditions, up significantly from 57
percent last year. Drivers in Sacramento are more likely to see drivers
driving too fast (81 percent) than those in Minneapolis/St. Paul (55
percent).

– Talking on cell phone. Ninety percent say they see drivers talking on
their cell phone every day, up from 83 percent in 2006. A full 96
percent of San Francisco drivers said they see this behavior daily,
while drivers in Denver are less likely (82 percent).

Overall, more than one third, or 35 percent, said they see drivers doing other things like putting on makeup, shaving or reading while driving. Miami (54 percent) emerged as the city where this is most likely to be seen, while Seattle (19 percent) emerged as the place where this behavior is least likely to happen.

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AMG Celebrates 40 years

May 9, 2007 Mercedes, AMG | Comments (0) admin @ 8:57 am

AMG Mercedes History

40 years of AMG have seen numerous race wins and outstanding technological achievements in the development of high-performance vehicles.
First row from the left: 300 E 6.0, 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, E 50 AMG
Second row from the left: SL 55 AMG, C 36 AMG und SL 73 AMG

40 years of AMG: Anniversary of the Mercedes Car Group Performance Brand

  • Evolution from a former car tuning company into the performance brand of the Mercedes Car Group
  • AMG brand claim focuses on top automotive performance
  • A wide range of models and a steadily growing customer base

Stuttgart, May 08, 2007

Over the past four decades, Mercedes-AMG GmbH has developed from a simple tuning company for premium automobiles to the performance brand of the Mercedes Car Group (MCG). AMG today stands for extremely dynamic, individualized automobiles with a clear brand focus on performance. As a result, AMG endeavors to provide top automotive technology in each of its vehicles and to express its deep appreciation of its customers. With its portfolio of 18 models and a steadily increasing number of customers, AMG is one of the world’s leading high-performance vehicle brands. “AMG — throughout the world, these three letters embody cutting-edge technology, dynamism and exclusivity. The experience of driving an AMG cannot be compared to anything else. After four successful decades, the brand now more than ever symbolizes a unique driving experience. The individual requirements of our customers provide us with motivation in our daily work and will remain our benchmark when developing new automobiles,” says Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Individualized to suit every taste

Mercedes-AMG GmbH specializes in unique high-performance sports cars, and its product portfolio — sporty convertibles, coupes, roadsters, sedans, SUVs and custom-made vehicles — can satisfy every customer’s wishes. In line with this focus, the company opened the AMG Performance Studio last year, thus launching a new offensive for individualized customer communication. In addition to the AMG high-performance automobiles, which are available through the worldwide Mercedes-Benz sales organization, the Performance Studio develops and produces unique AMG vehicles in exclusive, limited quantities.

Dynamic performance tailored to individual needs

AMG’s key area of expertise continues to be the development and production of powerful drive systems. The superbly qualified specialists in AMG’s state-of-the-art engine manufacturing facility build the powerful and dynamic V8 and V12 engines in line with the highest standards of quality, while always adhering to the traditional philosophy of “One man, one engine.”

Authentic, unified creations

In all of its details, an authentic AMG demonstrates that it is a unified whole from the very start of the vehicle’s creation process. It combines the quality, safety and environmental standards that are typical of Mercedes-Benz with the distinctive properties of AMG. In accordance with the innovative power of Mercedes-Benz, AMG’s high-performance automobiles offer an impressive array of beneficial innovations and the highest levels of luxury.

Leading with a competitive edge

Over the past four decades, AMG’s corporate philosophy has turned the two-man enterprise into a distinctive and world-famous brand. As a wholly owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes-AMG GmbH is integrated early on into the strategy and product creation processes of Mercedes-Benz and has full access to the Group’s resources. As a result, AMG is a leader in technological development. AMG’s brand definition augments the traditional Mercedes-Benz brand values with AMG-specific attributes. What’s more, the centralized pooling of all automotive functions at Affalterbach ensures quick decision-making processes and the rapid and flexible implementation of a diverse range of customer wishes.

Respect for vehicles and customers

With its highly motivated specialists, AMG fulfills another precondition for meeting customer expectations regarding their vehicles. Mercedes-AMG GmbH currently has about 750 employees working at its headquarters in Affalterbach. Like the vehicles they produce, the employees continuously strive to provide the ultimate in high performance. The professional identity of the AMG workforce is also defined by the values of precision and respect. This encompasses not only respect for the vehicles, but also for the customers, whose individual preferences are the sine qua non of AMG.

Fascination as the measure of all things

Through a unique synthesis of emotional and functional attributes, AMG wishes to continuously fascinate its customers. After all, AMG’s decades-long experience with motor sports ensures that each vehicle promises to provide not only top-class details, but also outstanding performance.

The history of Mercedes-AMG GmbH

1967 Hans Werner Aufrecht (A) and Erhard Melcher (M) establish AMG. Aufrecht’s birthplace, Großaspach (G), supplies the third letter of the company name. The company is housed in the Old Mill in Burgstall, and is officially designated “Engineering Office for the Design and Testing of Racing Engines.”
1971 The first major sporting triumph for AMG: a Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG driven by Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz surprises everyone by coming in second in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps.
1976 The Old Mill in Burgstall has become too small for the company, which now boasts customers all over the world. AMG and its 40 employees move to Affalterbach.
1980 Clemens Schickentanz and Jörg Denzel win the Touring Car Grand Prix at the Nürburgring with an AMG-Mercedes 450 SLC.
1985 The comeback into auto racing: AMG partners Daimler-Benz in its motor racing comeback in the German Touring Car Championship with a 190 E 2.3-16.
1987 Premiere of the Mercedes-Benz 300 E 5.6 AMG. The midrange model is powered by a 265 kW/360 hp V8 engine with all-new four-valve cylinder heads. For the first time ever, a four-door sedan manages to exceed 300 km/h.
1989 AMG is the most successful team in the German Touring Car Championship: Klaus Ludwig and Johnny Cecotto score seven wins.
1990 Plant III is opened in Affalterbach. The company now has a staff of 400 and a cooperation agreement with Daimler-Benz that extends beyond the motor racing sphere.
1991 AMG-Mercedes wins in the team ranking; the most successful driver is Klaus Ludwig. Mercedes-Benz comes out on top in the brand ranking. The DTM has reached the high point in its history, and the races are watched by more than 153 million viewers.
1992 Klaus Ludwig wins the German Touring Car Championship for AMG in a 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. AMG-Mercedes is once again at the top in the team rankings, and so is Mercedes-Benz in the brand rankings.
1993 The first vehicle jointly developed on the basis of the cooperation agreement with Daimler-Benz comes onto the market: the Mercedes C 36 AMG. The name AMG is so widely known that the Patent Office registers it as a trademark.



1994
Klaus Ludwig once again wins the German Touring Car Championship for AMG in an AMG-Mercedes C-Class. The U.S. version of Mercedes C 36 AMG is developed and type-approved.
1995 An AMG driver takes the German Touring Car Championship title for the third time, as well as winning the first-ever ITC series. In both cases the driver is Bernd Schneider.
1996 AMG is the runner-up in the International Touring Car Championship with Bernd Schneider. At the Geneva Motor Show, AMG unveils the E 50 AMG and makes the transition from a component plant to a component and vehicle plant.
1997 AMG enjoys an unbroken series of new production milestones: 5,000 units of the C 36 AMG and almost 3,000 units of the E 50 AMG. The successor models, the C 43 AMG and E 55 AMG, are launched following the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. Bernd Schneider in the Mercedes CLK-GTR is the champion driver and AMG Mercedes takes the team title.
1998 A road-going version of the CLK-GTR is built in a limited edition of 25 units. AMG-Mercedes wins all ten races in the FIA GT Championship. Klaus Ludwig and Ricardo Zonta take the championship title.
1999 On January 1, 1999, Mercedes-AMG GmbH commences operations. Some 5,000 vehicles are sold worldwide.
2000 Sales reach a record level of 11,500 vehicles, the most popular model being the ML 55 AMG with over 4,500 units sold. The company participates in the newly established German Touring Car Masters (DTM) with the Mercedes-Benz CLK. Bernd Schneider takes the championship. Mercedes-Benz wins in the manufacturers’ rankings.
2001 18,700 Mercedes-AMG vehicles are sold. The most popular model is the C 32 AMG with around 3,800 vehicles sold. Market launch of the SL 55 AMG. Bernd Schneider defends his title in the DTM; the AMG team is at the top of the constructors’ rankings.
2002 The number of staff increases to around 580. Market launch of the CLK 55 AMG, E 55 AMG, C 30 CDI AMG, S 55 AMG and CL 55 AMG. AMG-Mercedes comes in first in the DTM team rankings.


2003
Market launch of the CLK 55 AMG convertible, E 55 AMG station wagon, S 65 AMG and CL 65 AMG. Mercedes-Benz wins nine out of ten DTM races. Bernd Schneider wins his fourth DTM championship title. Mercedes-Benz also wins in the team and manufacturers’ rankings. AMG sells more than 20,000 vehicles in 2003, setting a new record.

2004
Mercedes-AMG now has around 650 employees. Market launch of the models C 55 AMG, G 55 AMG KOMPRESSOR, SL 65 AMG and SLK 55 AMG. A limited edition of 100 CLK DTM AMG units is produced. AMG starts in the DTM with the new C-Class touring car racing models. Gary Paffet becomes the runner-up.
2005 Market launch of the CLS 55 AMG. World premiere of the ML 63 AMG, CLK DTM AMG convertible and Vision R 63 AMG at the 61st IAA in Frankfurt/Main. Two-time Formula 1 champion Mika Häkkinen joins AMG-Mercedes’ DTM team. Gary Paffet wins the championship; AMG-Mercedes takes the top spot in the team rankings. Mercedes-Benz takes the manufacturer’s title.
2006 Mercedes-AMG model offensive: presentation of the new high-performance AMG vehicles CL 63 AMG, S 63 AMG, E 63 AMG, CLS 63 AMG, CLK 63 AMG, S 65 AMG, SL 55 AMG, SL 65 AMG, R 63 AMG, and SLK 55 AMG Black Series. Official opening of the AMG Performance Studio. AMG once again wins three titles in the DTM, Bernd Schneider takes the champion title for the fifth time.
2007 AMG celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the company introduces the CL 65 AMG “40th Anniversary.” Market launch of the CL 65 AMG and the CLK 63 AMG Black Series. Mercedes-AMG has around 750 employees. The new AMG-Mercedes C-Class takes part in the DTM.

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2008 VW Passat Bluemotion and Variant

May 8, 2007 Volkswagen, VW Passat Bluemotion | Comments (0) admin @ 2:28 pm

Passat Bluemotion

VW Passat Bluemotion badge

Passat and variant

Passat BlueMotion deliveries begin in June
Economical: New Passat BlueMotion is satisfied with 5.1 liters diesel
Runs and runs…: Passat BlueMotion extends driving range to 1,350 km

Wolfsburg, Spring 2007.

Volkswagen is introducing the new Passat
BlueMotion to the market – the most economical car in the world in
the 4.8 meter class. This Volkswagen, powered by a 77 kW / 105 PS
TDI engine, breaks through the magical fuel consumption barrier of
5.5 liters for its class, as a sedan and Variant. The sedan consumes
just 5.1 liters diesel per 100 kilometers, and the Variant just 5.2
liters. Compared to the base model, the Passat BlueMotion saves 0.6
liters per 100 kilometers, and 0.7 liters (Variant). Until now, such
fuel economy values were exclusively attainable by much smaller
vehicles. The new BlueMotion model can be ordered effective
immediately; in Germany first deliveries of vehicles will begin in
June.

EMISSIONS AND DRIVING PERFORMANCE
CO2 emissions reduced by ten and twelve percent;
Top speed improved by five km/h
Paired with its low fuel consumption values are reductions in CO2
emissions of 15 g/km (ten percent) and 19 g/km (Variant; twelve
percent); total emissions of 136 g/km or 137 g/km (Variant) are a
testimony to the innovative potential of Volkswagen TDI engines. A
standard particulate filter is also integrated in the emission control
system.

Fuel economy and CO2 data are all the more impressive, because the
Passat – at a length of 4.77 meters – is among the largest vehicles in
its segment. Moreover, Volkswagen has attained these values
without affecting the Passat’s recognized excellence in comfort,
safety features or driving performance. On the contrary, its
aerodynamic advantages and longer gearing have improved the top
speed of the Passat BlueMotion by five km/h in both body versions.

The sedan is 193 km/h fast, while the Variant tops out at 190 km/h.
As a sedan the Passat BlueMotion handles the sprint to 100 km/h in
12.1 seconds; the Variant – with its up to 1,731 liters of cargo space
– takes an additional 0.3 seconds.

The prospects are good that the new Passat BlueMotion will position
itself as one of the most sought after models within the model series.
That is because it not only protects the environment, it also protects
the car owner’s budget. Because of its extremely low fuel
consumption, monthly fuel costs amount to just 71 euros* based on
an average annual driving distance of 15,000 kilometers. A single
fill of its 70 liter fuel tanks lets the Passat BlueMotion reach
theoretical operating ranges of 1,370 and 1,350 kilometers (Variant).
This means that only eleven fill-ups would be needed per year – less
than once per month. Last year in Germany more than 70 percent of
all Passat sedans and about 90 percent of all Passat Variants were
ordered with a TDI engine. The new Passat BlueMotion could
contribute toward further reinforcing this significantly high share of
diesels.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Engine control designed for most economical operation;
Five-speed transmission with longer gear ratios

In its key performance data, the 1.9 TDI of the Passat BlueMotion is
equivalent to the engines of its counterparts in “conventional” Passat
versions. It delivers 77 kW / 105 PS of power (at 4,000 rpm) and
develops a maximum torque of 250 Nm (from 1,900 rpm). However,
for its use in the especially economical Passat BlueMotion, engineers
re-tuned various parameters of the four-cylinder turbo-diesel direct
injection engine.

A software modification to the engine controller reduces idling
speed from 830 to 730 rpm. At the same, parameters such as charge
pressure, injection timing and exhaust gas recirculation rate were
fine-tuned to maximize fuel economy. The TDI’s engine controller
also sends a gear recommendation to the standard Multifunctional
Display Plus, where the driver can read off which of the total of five
forward gears is currently the most efficient.

Another crucial factor in terms of fuel economy is gearing.
Compared to initial ratios, the third, fourth and fifth gears of the
Passat BlueMotion’s manual five-speed gearbox were lengthened.
And specifically by four percent in third gear, seven percent in
fourth, and twelve in fifth.

Thanks to its hefty torque, the Passat BlueMotion can still deliver
impressive driving characteristics. Intermediate bursts of
acceleration in the first four gears – important for safe passing
maneuvers on highways – are hardly affected by the modified gear
ratios; acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h was also unchanged. As a
sedan the Passat BlueMotion sprints to a speed of 100 km/h in 12.1
seconds, while the somewhat heavier Variant with its 1,731 liter
cargo space takes 12.4 seconds.

BODY
Aerodynamics further improved by fine tuning;
refined visual features highlight its special status
Reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions realized on the
Passat BlueMotion were founded on an entire bundle of actions. One
important aspect here is the extensive fine tuning of the car body to
improve aerodynamics. These modifications reduced the air drag
coefficient by more than twelve percent to cW 0.273 (Variant: cW
0.275). Simultaneously the top speed was elevated to 193 km/h and
190 km/h (Variant) – this corresponds to five km/h more in each
version.

Technical body features: At first glance, there do not appear to be
any differences relative to other Passat models. That is because
nearly all of the modifications are out of sight. In the underbody, for
example. Here the brake ducts were covered, and special underbody
skirts were integrated forward of the rear axle, left and right. The
Variant also got a wheel house panel (plastic wheel house shell) with
extended wheel spoilers in the area of the side skirts. In addition,
parts of the air intake louvers are integrated in the radiator trim.
Visual body characteristics: The body of the Passat BlueMotion sets
itself apart from the familiar base version (Trendline) in its many
refined details. For example, the lateral fins of the air intake grille
on the Passat BlueMotion are chrome plated in the style of the Passat
Highline. Also designed in chrome are the side and rear accent
strips. Moreover, in the front the “BlueMotion” has bumper guard
strips in the car color. The radiator grille and trunk lid or tailgate
each display the BlueMotion emblem, identifying the car as the most
economical Passat version.

CHASSIS
Lowered 15 millimeters in front, and eight millimeters in the rear;
16-inch wheels with best-in-class energy tires from Continental
A number of effective changes were also made to the chassis. A
careful look at the car reveals that – for the purpose of better
aerodynamics – the Passat BlueMotion stands somewhat lower in its
wheel housings than the base version; specifically it was lowered 15
millimeters in front and eight millimeters in the rear.

Guaranteeing the least possible rolling resistance are high-tech tires
of the type “Conti Premium Contact” (best-in-class energy tires”)
sized 205/55 R16 91H with tire pressure increased by 0.4 bar in partload
operation. As an alternative to the production steel rims, the
Passat BlueMotion can be ordered with 16-inch alloy wheels
(“Monza” type).

*Fuel prices in Germany

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Reality Racing TV vid clips now available

Racing, SpikeTV PowerBlock | Comments (0) admin @ 10:49 am

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Reality Racing, Inc. (OTC Pink Sheets: RRGI) announced today that video blog updates for Reality Racing - the Rookie Challenge are now available for viewing at realityracingtv.com as part of the build up for the show’s much anticipated airing at 9:00 AM on Saturday, May 19, 2007 on SpikeTV.

Reality Racing — The Rookie Challenge is part of SpikeTV’s high-revving Saturday morning “PowerBlock”. Spike TV’s telecast of Reality Racing - The Rookie Challenge will reach the United States and its territories, as well as Canada.

Reality Racing, Inc. President, Lee F. Schaefer said, “The phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from people who are excited about our shows airing in less than two weeks. We decided to give a sneak peek on our website, http://realityracingtv.com/.”

Reality Racing — The Rookie Challenge combines reality television and stockcar racing, featuring amateur contestants vying for the “Bobby Allison Cup” in a thirteen-episode series of races and challenges with the winner taking all, including a cash prize and a contract with a professional race team, in addition to the Cup.

Excellent - so now, instead of aspiring to be the next great racer,
folks can sit at home, in front of their TV and yell about how they’d
have done it better. I support motorsports in pretty much all forms,
but reality TV has got to go. There is so little that’s reality about
this type of stuff it’s misleading to call it that.
You want reality TV? Watch a live NASCAR or F1 race - you know,
where there’s actually something on the line, the guys (and gals) are
actually talented and really battling for points. Crashes happen in
real time and fights in the pits aren’t scripted - they happen because
someone was out of line…not to build suspense before a commercial break.
Best of luck to the show, but really, I’ll be mowing the lawn…

For more information, visit: http://www.realityracingtv.com/

Company Contact:
Kathy Itchkow, Director of Marketing and Promotions
Reality Racing, Inc
561-391-1064
kathy@realityracingtv.com

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Chrysler / Sirius to offer back seat TV - soccer moms rejoice

March 29, 2007 Chrysler, DaimlerChrysler, Sirius | Comments (0) admin @ 4:41 pm

Chrysler Group the First to Offer SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM)

Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van

– SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM) offered exclusively in 2008 Model Year Chrysler Group vehicles — Debuts on all-new 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans — Three channels of live, family TV programming from Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network delivered directly to the vehicle — Builds on Chrysler Group’s innovative technology leadership, which includes MyGIG(TM) Multimedia Infotainment System, Swivel ‘n Go(TM) seat system, Chill Zone(TM) cooled beverage storage bin, heated and cooled cup holder, articulating liftgate speakers, LOAD ‘N GO(TM) slide-out cargo load floor and removable/rechargeable cargo light

Chrysler Group and SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced today that Chrysler Group will be the exclusive auto manufacturer to offer SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM) in its vehicle lineup in the 2008 model year.
For the first time, live TV programming from the most trusted brands in family entertainment — Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network — will be available through SIRIUS Backseat TV in select 2008 model Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge vehicles, beginning with the all-new 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.
“Chrysler Group is committed to offering innovative technologies that are right for our customers,” said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President — Product Development, Chrysler Group. “SIRIUS Backseat TV makes its world debut in Chrysler Group’s all-new 2008 minivans, combining with innovative features that include a dual DVD system that can play different media at the same time, MyGIG(TM) Multimedia Infotainment System, and our unique Swivel ‘n Go(TM) seat system, offering more options for families on the go. No one else in the marketplace offers their customers this combination of innovative technology.”
SIRIUS Backseat TV features three channels of respected children’s TV featuring many of the most well-known kids’ programming, including Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Rear-seat passengers will be able to watch shows such as Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” Disney Channel’s “Cory in the House,” and Cartoon Network’s “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.”
SIRIUS Backseat TV will also be available on the 2008 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
SIRIUS Backseat TV operates via an in-vehicle satellite video receiver and two small roof-mounted antennas. Programming is displayed on the vehicle’s second- and/or third-row video screens, and channel name, program title and rating will be broadcast and displayed on the screen(s). For added flexibility, rear-seat passengers can enjoy SIRIUS Backseat TV while front- seat occupants listen to SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The system can be operated from either the rear-seat entertainment unit or the radio head unit. In addition, when the vehicle is in Park, programming can be displayed on the MyGIG screen for front-seat viewing.
SIRIUS Backseat TV is available for a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $470, which includes the first year of service, when packaged with Chrysler Group’s Rear Seat Entertainment System and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. After the first year, SIRIUS Backseat TV is available for $7 per month when packaged with SIRIUS Satellite Radio ($12.95 per month).
“This innovative entertainment offering from SIRIUS adds to the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan’s long list of leading amenities for today’s busy families,” said George Murphy, Senior Vice President — Marketing. “Along with a dual DVD system that plays different media at the same time, pinpoint LED lighting to read by, a table to play games or finish homework, a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic, power-sliding doors and liftgate, YES Essentials(R) cloth seats, Swivel ‘n Go seating and our exclusive Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system, Chrysler Group’s minivans offer something every member of the family will enjoy during their journey.”
All-new 2008 Chrysler and Dodge Minivans
The all-new 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans once again prove they have the right ingredients to be the best vehicles to move people and cargo. With 35 new and improved features, the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country aren’t just practical vehicles, they also have the right mix to be “family rooms on wheels,” with something for everyone to enjoy. With three powertrains, three seating and storage systems, including the industry- exclusive Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system with second- and third-row seats that fold into the floor, the new Swivel ‘n Go seat system and five models to choose from, the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan raise the bar for the minivan segment.
The newest ingredient for 2008 is the all-new Swivel ‘n Go seating system. Swivel ‘n Go offers second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the third row with a removable table that installs between the two rows, covered storage bins in the floor of the second row, third-row uncovered storage and fold-in- the-floor third-row seating. The 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans also offer an available minivan-exclusive one-touch power-folding third-row 60/40 bench seat.
Safety is a key part of any minivan recipe, and that continues to be true with the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. All-row supplemental side-curtain air bags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control and brake assist, LATCH child seat anchor system and a patented, energy-absorbing steering column are among the standard safety features. Innovations like ParkView(TM) rear back-up camera, a rearview interior conversation mirror, integrated child safety seat and ParkSense(R) rear back-up system also ensure peace of mind while traveling.

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