Energy Department Hired Restructuring Adviser for Fisker Loan

Written By Thomas Ponco on Monday, April 30, 2012 | 11:00 AM

skip to content

  • Home

  • Shop for Cars

  • Shop by Technology

  • Research
    • Buying Guide

    • Culture & Market
      • Hybrid Market Dashboard

      • Carmakers
        • 3 Tesla Employees Reported Dead in Palo Alto Plane Crash

        • 2008 Paris Auto Show: Green Preview

        • Are E85 Vehicles Destined for Extinction?

        • Aston Martin Will Bring iQ-Based City Car to U.S.

        • Audi Confirms A8 Hybrid for Production

        • Audi Confirms First Hybrid For U.S. Market

        • Audi Readies Hybrid, Clean Diesel Versions of A6 for U.S. Market

        • Auto Execs Debunk Own Lobbyists' Myth About Stronger CAFE Standards

        • Auto Execs Hit Links, Talk Climate

        • Bill Ford's Failed Hybrid Revolution

        • BMW and the "H" Word

        • BMW Hybrid Spotted in the Wild

        • BMW to Offer Battery-Powered Eco-Car for U.S.

        • Bob Lutz, the Chevy Volt, and the Easter Bunny

        • Brabus Meets Smart in the US

        • Bricklin Attempts to Recreate Auto Industry from Scratch

        • Can GM Ramp Up Hybrid Sales?

        • Cars That Run on Green Beans and Soy Milk

        • Chevrolet Cruze on the Way

        • Chevrolet Volt Unveiled, As Gm Turns 100

        • Chevy Volt and the Cost of Bravery

        • Chevy Volt No Longer an 'Electric Camaro'

        • Chevy Volt Offered at $350 Per Month, Matching Nissan LEAF

        • Chinese-Built Electric Car Headed for US

        • Chrysler Chinese Gambit

        • Chrysler Exec: Electric Cars Coming, Chevy Volt Is PR Stunt

        • Coda Sedan Awaits Final EPA, NHTSA Certification

        • DaimlerChrysler Warms Up to Hybrids

        • Detroit Electric Returns, Again

        • Down Economy Tests Carmakers’ Commitment to Hybrids

        • Driving Tesla Near The Edge, Or Over?

        • Earthquake Threatens to Derail Hybrid Recovery

        • Electric Truck Makers Grapple with the Real World

        • Energy Department Hired Restructuring Adviser for Fisker Loan

        • Exclusive: Miles Electric—The Startup Below The Radar

        • Exclusive Interview: Honda Plots Its Green Car Roadmap

        • Fisker Tries To Create Distance from Tesla

        • Ford's Latest Environmental Promise

        • Ford Diesels To Counter Rivals’ Big Hybrids

        • Ford Looks to Renewables for Production Facilities

        • Ford Says Goodbye to the Escape Hybrid

        • Ford Sticks With Small Car Plans

        • GM-Chrysler Merger and Hybrid Cars

        • GM-DaimlerChrysler-BMW Hybrid Partnership

        • GM: Buick Plug-in Hybrid Is Pure Speculation

        • GM and SAIC to Develop Efficient New Small Car Powertrain

        • GM and Toyota Face Off on Future of Hybrids

        • GM Announces Major Shift Away from Trucks and SUVs

        • GM Cuts Current Mild Hybrid System, Prepares for Another

        • GM Cutting Product Development for Two Years

        • GM Invests $69 Million in Diesel Engine

        • GM Mulls Production Site for Chevy Spark

        • GM Pledges to Become 'Industry Leader' in Fuel Efficiency, But IPO Still Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

        • GM Plots a Return to Mild Hybrids

        • GM Spends to Upgrade Facilities Ahead of More Fuel Efficient Lineup

        • GM’s Green Gambit, Decoded

        • GM’s Lutz: 80% Vehicles Will Be Hybrids by 2020

        • GM’s New Design Studio Focuses on Green

        • High-mileage Chevy in the Offing

        • Honda's Fight for Hybrid Market Begins April 2009

        • Honda Back in the Hybrid Fight

        • Honda Eco-Timeline

        • Honda Prepares Fight for Hybrid Market

        • Honda Preparing to Resurrect the Accord Hybrid

        • Honda Will Dedicate A Factory for Producing Large Hybrids

        • How Many Lotus Electric Cars Will There Be?

        • Hybrid Car Math, German-Style

        • Hybrids for China

        • Hybrids from China and What They Could Mean

        • Hybrid Tech Expands to More Models, But The Name Is Fading Away

        • Hyundai: Simple Improvements First, Then Hybrids

        • Hyundai Delays Hybrids

        • Hyundai Plans to Sell 500,000 Hybrids Annually

        • Hyundai Pledges 50 MPG Average by 2025

        • Hyundai To Mass Produce Hybrids in 2009

        • I'm a Hybrid, You're Not a Hybrid

        • In 2018, Expect Personal Mobility Appliances

        • Indian Diesel-Hybrids Get Real

        • Industry Study: Hybridization to be Norm By 2020

        • Kia Shows Off Naimo Electric Concept

        • Lack of Production Hurting U.S. Hybrid-Makers

        • Lamborghini to Cut Overall Emissions by a Third

        • Lexus Announces Driving Modes for its Sporty New Hybrid Compact

        • McAuliffe's Green Car Startup Faces Uphill Battle

        • MINI Set to Debut a Trio of New Vehicles in Geneva

        • Mulally Prioritizes Ford’s High-MPG Technologies

        • Mystery Vehicle from the Bayou

        • Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Explains His Electric Car 'Ah Hah' Moment

        • Nissan Drops Altima Hybrid From 2012 Lineup

        • Nissan Reported to Be Retooling Discontinued Altima Hybrid for 2013 Release

        • Nissan Shows Off Electric Car and New Hybrid System

        • Nissan’s Electric Car Plans: Victory or Vapor?

        • Nobody Knows How To Market an Eco Car

        • Plug-in Hybrid Fever Spreads, Despite Cost

        • Plug-in Prius Deposits Refunded

        • Porsche Approves 918 Spyder Hybrid Supercar

        • Porsche Details 2012 Panamera S Hybrid Ahead of Geneva Debut

        • Prius Continues Its March of World Domination

        • Production Chevrolet Volt Photos 'Leaked'

        • Reviewing General Motors on Hybrids

        • Russian Billionaire Unveils Country's First Hybrid Car

        • Sales, and Trucks, Shrink at Ford

        • Smaller Than Smart Car, Coming in 2011

        • Smart EV Moves to Next Generation

        • Spinning Off a Prius Brand

        • Takimoto's Vision

        • Tesla Comes Home

        • Tesla Model X Reservations Hit 500 in 24 Hours

        • The Japanese Diesel Race

        • The March Toward Plug-In Hybrids Continues

        • Tomorrow’s Whodunit: Who Might Kill the Chevrolet Volt

        • Toyota's DecoPrius Winks at 'Hello Kitty' Demographic

        • Toyota, Honda Fight for Small Hybrid Supremacy

        • Toyota and Tesla Team Up

        • Toyota Announces Safety Recall on 82,000 Hybrid SUVs

        • Toyota Chooses Power Over Fuel Economy For New Highlander Hybrid

        • Toyota Goes on Offensive with Its Hybrids

        • Toyota Plans Two New Hybrids

        • Toyota Prepares for Prius Gold Rush

        • Toyota Prius Will Return to Full Production in September

        • Toyota Promises 11 New or Redesigned Hybrids by 2013

        • Toyota to Bring Hybrid Small Car to India

        • Toyota Will Offer Plug-in Hybrid by 2010

        • Toyota Will Shut Down Plants for 11 Days

        • Volkswagen's Latest Golf Spawns a Hybrid Concept

        • Volkswagen Considers Subcompact for US

        • Volkswagen on Hybrids: "Not Interested"

        • Volvo's Hybrid Car Campaign

        • When Did Toyota Start Working on Hybrids?

        • Wimpy Hamburger Syndrome

        • With the Return of $4 Gas, GM Again Looks to Mild Hybrids

      • Celebrity Hybrid Horrors: Neil Young's LincVolt Blamed in Warehouse Fire, Cher Calls 'Bull' on Green Cars

      • Design Puzzle for New Honda Hybrid

      • Fleets

      • For Electric Cars, What’s In a Name?

      • Hybrid 5-0h! Police Cruisers Go Green

      • Hybrid Drivers

      • Investing in Hybrids

      • September 2009 Dashboard: End of Clunkers Hurts Hybrids

      • Take THAT, Tesla fans!

    • Environment

    • Fuels

    • Gas Mileage

    • Incentives & Laws

    • Oil Dependence

    • Technology

  • Forums

  • News

11:00 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Low-Temp Combustion Could Significantly Aid Gas Mileage

Published April 30, 2012

By Huw Evans

A series of experiments on a one-cylinder gasoline test engine are delivering promising results for research engineers seeking to further improve fuel mileage and emissions.

The initial findings were announced last week at the 2012 SAE World Congress, and are based on a series of experiments by Delphi in conjunction with Hyundai America Technical Center, Wisconsin-Madison University and Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants.

The program, which received a $7.48 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, was started back in 2010 with the idea of using the concept of gasoline direct high compression and delayed fuel injection to ignite the mixture instead of a spark similar in concept to a diesel engine, such as the GM Duramax.

By compressing the air/fuel mixture at low temperatures, more efficient combustion is realized, providing significant gains in both fuel economy and emissions reduction.

Through a series of tests conducted using a single-cylinder research engine fitted with different fuel injector designs and intake/exhaust valve timing, the results have shown a low output of exhaust particulate matter and up to a 60-percent improvement in fuel economy over a comparable spark plug equipped engine.

Presenting the findings at last week’s SAE World Congress in Detroit, Mark Sellnau, engineering manager of Advanced Powertrain Technology at Delphi said that so far, “the single-cylinder engine tests of a GDCI combustion system indicated good potential for a high efficiency, low-emissions powertrain.” However, he did also say that, “additional testing and development on a multi-cylinder engine is needed, including cold-starting and transient operation.”

Nevertheless, based on the results so far, the concept looks rather promising and with diesel technology not currently at the forefront of legislative minds in the U.S., the compression ignition combustion gasoline engine could provide motorists in this country with another worthy alternative to pure EVs and gas electric hybrids.

Green Car Congress

9:30 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Mercedes-Benz 170S Low Rider Chop Head

V8 / 3.532 cc / 148 PS / 197 ft/lb (267 Nm) @ 2.600

(click images for a larger view)

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src=";layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=100&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=light" class="c6">></iframe>

9:30 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Michigan Chevy Dealership Delivers 25 Volts Per Month

Published April 30, 2012

By Jeff Cobb

We’ve heard questioning as to just how committed GM is to proliferating its "halo" car, the Chevy Volt, and seen its efforts to refine advertising to get the message out. True more could be done, but the front lines are at the dealership level, and regardless of political, economic or corporate marketing factors, one Michigan dealership is reportedly delivering 25 Volts per month.

In a feature by Forbes yesterday, Serra Chevrolet in Southfield was shown to be capitalizing on the fact it’s on GM’s home turf – and going well beyond being content with that advantage, it has proactively honed a formula to sell more Volts, proving it need not be merely a showpiece “halo” car.

There are nearly 2,600 Volt-selling Chevy dealers in the country, and could you imagine what potential is there if each sold only three Volts month after month?

That’s 7,800 units, a little more than the 7,671 GM sold for all of last year. But at present, that may or may not be a stretch, as last month was the Volt's best at 2,289 sold. The company is not expected to exceed this in April either, as nationwide sales growth is yet accelerating at a sedate pace.

Nonetheless, Serra, which opened only around a year ago, is cranking out the Volts.

“We’re getting in 25 a month” from the GM factory in nearby Detroit, “and we’re selling 25 a month,” said Serra's General Manager, Greg Brown, to Forbes contributor, Dale Buss. “We only have five left on the lot; we should always probably have 15 to 20 here at the dealership. So we just put in an order for another 25.”

Boiled down to the basics, Serra does benefit from local GM employee loyalty, but also has a top-down dedication to the Volt, its own Excel spreadsheet to demonstrate how the car makes sense, plenty of Volts on hand, and all of its sales people are proficient at explaining the car.

Following are the main points Brown relayed to Forbes that together outline Serra's Volt sales formula:

• Cross-selling the car

• Creating sales-force expertise

• Coming up with new sales hooks

• Playing the parent card

• Keeping Volts in stock

• Committing from the top

• Using The Windmill Effect

• Offering generous lease rates

Number one on the list is “cross-selling,” and here is a reversal of the all-too-often told story whereby Chevrolet salespeople steer would-be Volt buyers away from GM’s purportedly expensive halo to easier sales like the Cruze and Malibu – which, by the way, is not blame only to be placed on dealerships.

Last year GM issued a press release, and has made subsequent statements touting how the Volt was drawing new customers to buy its less pricey fuel-efficient models.

But while the Volt is still a centerpiece, it's also being sold in more healthy numbers at Serra, and even further justifying its existence.

Brown told Forbes the Volt-centric dealership has rapidly become a magnet for Volt shoppers, but about half the customers who purchase a Volt there do not start out with one in mind.

“Since we really got to know the vehicle, we’ve been able to switch people from the Cruze, Equinox [crossover] and Malibu [midsize sedan] to Volt,” Brown said.

This, he said, is accomplished by not having only one or two Volt-trained salespeople, but every single salesperson is fully comfortable discussing the Volt's pros and cons.

Brown said the dealership uses a consultative sales process to qualify whether the Volt fully makes sense – and often it does – but Brown says Serra’s salespeople are capable of leading a person to see that for themselves.

Of course, neither Ralph Nader nor an editor from Consumer Reports is in charge there, so the dealership does rely on old fashioned salesmanship to help with the psychological factors in the decision.

That’s where being creative with new sales hooks and playing the parent card come in.

A sales hook need not be mind games and manipulation though, rather one example was showing how much gasoline per month the Volt could save compared to a conventional car.

“A payment on a Volt might be $150 more a month,” Brown explained. “But we can show them that they’d be saving $150 or $200 a month in gas with a Volt, so it might make sense for them.”

The “parent card” was mentioned as a potential aid to closing the deal based on the simple fact that teenagers need not ask the parents for gas money.

“And if they are hitting you up for gas money if they’re driving a Volt, then you know that they’re driving the car further than they should be,” Brown joked.

Of course, if you are a parent, you can decide whether you are willing to turn your young driver loose with a new Volt ...

Other factors adding up to Serra's ability to deliver 25 Volts per month include keeping plenty of cars in stock, and “committing from the top.”

Regarding this second point, it simply means sales managers are all about the Volt, and encourage sales people to be also.

As for the last two points in Serra’s formula, the “windmill effect” and "offering generous lease rates" the second one probably needs no explaining, but the windmill effect is an environmentalist pitch.

Just as GM has been doing from the corporate level – issuing press releases showing how environmentally consciousness it is with solar installations, efficient light bulbs, recycling, etc. – Serra has a little bit of green cred to boast of as well.

In this case it has two large windmills reportedly quite visible to passers by that provide 15 percent of its electricity, and it offers a Volt charging station on the premises.

“Those aspects of the store, and the mindset of the Volt, go hand-in-hand,” Brown said. “It helps.”

All told, the synergy adds up to a whole lot of Volt sales, Brown said. Now just imagine if other Chevy dealerships yet finding it tough to sell Volts – or preferring not to – took these steps too.


8:00 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Bizzarini Manta

Written By Thomas Ponco on Sunday, April 29, 2012 | 3:30 PM

V8 / 5.359 cc / 360 PS / Vmax: 202 mph (325 km/h)

(click images for a larger view)

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src=";layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=100&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=light" class="c6">></iframe>

3:30 PM | 0 comments | Read More

eBay Find of the Day: 1967 Pontiac GTO Monkeemobile

Related Gallery Monkeemobile

News Source: eBay Motors

Tip: Lance

Category: Aftermarket, Classics, Convertible, Auctions, Etc., Pontiac, Specialty, Design/Style

Tags: 1967 pontiac gto convertible, gto convertible, monkeemobile, pontiac, pontiac gto, the monkees

3:30 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Audi RS Q3

S5 / 2.480 cc / 360 PS / 343 ft/lb (465 Nm) @ 1.650 - 5.400 / turbo / quattro AWD / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 5,2 s / Vmax: 165 mph (265 km/h)

(click images for a larger view)

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src=";layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=100&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=light" class="c6">></iframe>

9:30 AM | 0 comments | Read More

ABT introduces 240-HP tuned VW Beetle

Written By Thomas Ponco on Saturday, April 28, 2012 | 4:00 PM

  • Jaguar Xf

  • Hyundai Sonata

  • Volkswagen Jetta

  • Honda Civic

  • Chevrolet Camaro

  • Toyota Camry

  • Honda Accord

  • Ford Fusion

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • Ford Explorer

4:00 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Jaguar XJ L Ultimate

V8 / 5.000 cc / 550 PS / 502 ft/lb (680 Nm) @ 3.500 / supercharger / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 4,4 s / 0 - 100 mph (160 km/h): 8,7 s / Vmax: 186 mph (300 km/h)

(click images for a larger view)

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src=";layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=100&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=light" class="c6">></iframe>

9:00 AM | 0 comments | Read More