Senator calling for answers from Hyundai and Kia over MPG debacle

Written By Thomas Ponco on Friday, November 30, 2012 | 11:30 AM

Related Gallery 2012 Kia Rio Sedan

News Source: The Detroit News

Image Credit: Kia

Category: Car Buying, Hyundai, Kia

Tags: fuel economy, hyundai, jay rockefeller, kia, mpg, mpg scandal, rio, us senate

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Daimler Super Eight

V8 / 4.196 cc / 400 PS / 408 lb/ft (553 Nm) @ 3.500 / kompressor / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 5,3 s / Vmax: 155 mph (250 km/h)

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Redone 2013 Honda Civic seems to appease <em>Consumer Reports</em>

Related Gallery 2013 Honda Civic

News Source: Consumer Reports via YouTube

Category: Car Buying, Budget, Sedan, Videos, Honda

Tags: 2012 honda civic, 2013 honda civic, civic, consumer reports, consumer reports recommended, honda, video

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Rick Wagoner wants to make your next test drive more fun

News Source: Tred via AngelList

Category: Car Buying, Etc.

Tags: general motors, gm, rick wagoner, rick wagoner tred, test drive, tred

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2014 Mazda6 Launched in LA; Will Have Diesel Engine

Written By Thomas Ponco on Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 10:30 PM

Published November 30, 2012

By Philippe Crowe


As expected, Mazda celebrated the North American debut of both its diesel engine and the new version of its Mzda6 sedan during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The diesel engine will be known as the SKYACTIV-D and is a 2.2-liter clean diesel engine. As for the Mazda6, this redesigned mid-size sedan will go on sale in January 2013 and be equipped first with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre gasoline engine.

A SKYACTIV-D-equipped version of the Mazda6 will follow suit in the second half of the year, making Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to offer a modern-technology clean-diesel engine in a non-commercial vehicle.

The 2014 Mazda6 also will be the first production vehicle to feature Mazda’s capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP.

"We've dangled the carrot long enough and we couldn't be more excited to officially introduce North America to our latest next-generation product, the 2014 Mazda6, as well as showcase even more engineering accomplishments under our SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY umbrella with the SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine and i-ELOOP," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "As Mazda continues to grow and SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY continues to offer real-world efficiency and performance, our Los Angeles announcements are only tips of the iceberg. The best is yet come."

The new Mazda6 will be available with a choice of SKYACTIV transmissions in either the SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic or SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual.

The SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine has an impressively low compression ratio of 14:1. It is estimated to produce 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm. Performance estimates for the SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine are not yet available.

The SKYACTIV-D 2.2L North America will get is 10 percent lighter than the current MZR 2.2-liter diesel engine sold in other global markets. According to Mazda, other improvements include internal engine friction reduced by 20 percent and fuel economy increases by up to 20 percent. This is achieved by using a new two-stage turbocharger, which delivers a smooth and steady response across the engine range (up to 5,200 rpm).

Also, with the ultra-low compression ratio, the SKYACTIV-D diesel engine burns cleaner and discharges fewer nitrogen oxides to produce virtually no soot, thus requiring no additional NOx aftertreatments, which is typical of conventional diesel engines.

Though we expect the SKYACTIV-D will show up under other Mazda hoods, the company did not yet reveal if other models will get this diesel engine.

Final specifications for all 2014 Mazda6 models will be available closer to the on-sale date.


Mazda says standard features, optional packages, and pricing also will be released at a later date but consumers can anticipate Mazda’s current slew of performance-inspired, design-engineered amenities, such as aggressively styled large-size alloy wheels, expressive LED lights, supportively bolstered seats and high quality interior materials as well as premium technology offerings in a TomTom-based in-dash navigation system, Bose premium audio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, audio menu voice command capability, to name a few.

Derived from “Intelligent Energy Loop,” i-ELOOP, Mazda’s in-house developed brake energy regeneration system, makes its first production vehicle appearance in the 2014 Mazda6 after being introduced globally on the TAKERI Concept.

Brake energy regeneration systems use an electric motor or alternator to generate electricity as the vehicle decelerates, recovering a portion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy.

In the Mazda system, this energy is used to power electrical components, such as air conditioning and audio features.

i-ELOOP is the world’s first capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system to provide power to all the electrical mechanisms in a vehicle. Previously, other capacitor-based systems have been used to provide electricity to a single vehicle component or motor.

Mazda went with capacitors rather than batteries because they have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly and are resistant to deterioration despite prolonged use.

Mazda expects i-ELOOP to improve overall fuel economy but the results will be heavily dependent on road conditions and driving habits.

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Welcome to the basement of the 2012 LA Auto Show

Related Gallery 2012 LA Auto Show Basement

Image Credit: Copyright 2012 Drew Phillips / AOL

Category: Aftermarket, LA Auto Show

Tags: 2012 la auto show, dub, la, la auto show, la basement, sema

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Green Awards For Ford’s Fusion and Toyota At LA

Published November 29, 2012

By Pete Brissette


Today at the press intro for the LA Auto Show which opens to the public tomorrow and runs to Dec. 9, green efforts were lauded for a single car – the Ford Fusion line – and an automaker – Toyota.


Ford's Fusion beat out the 2013 Dodge Dart, Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv, Toyota Prius c, and even Ford's own C-MAX in its taking of Green Car Journal's Green Car of The Year award during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Green Car Journal publisher and editor, Ron Cogan, praised the Fusion for its multitude of powertrain options available and for being a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but also because the car is one that “people will actually buy and drive.”

The base model Fusion uses a 2.5-liter gasoline engine good for a claimed 175 horsepower and is EPA-rated up to 34 mpg on the highway. Ford's EcoBoost technology in the Fusion gives the 1.6-liter model 178 horsepower and 37 mpg, while a 2.0-liter EcoBoost produces 240 horsepower and an estimated 33 mpg on the highway.

In 188-horsepower hybrid trim the Fusion boasts 47 mpg, and 62 miles range on all-electric power.

As important as powertrain technology and fuel efficiency is for vehicles selected for consideration in the competition, MSRP carries much weight in voting. Helping the Fusion gather the honor of Green Car of the Year was its base price of $21,700.

“Ford did a stunning job in the redesign of this car,” said Cogan. “You want vehicles that speak to you, that make a statement about what it is you're driving. You're spending everyday in this car so it might as well be something you like. Nobody can accuse the driver of the Fusion of just being green. You can be green and fun at the same time.”


In related news, Nielsen Automotive named Toyota as Green Marketer of The Year.

The Nielsen Automotive Green Marketer of the Year Award recognizes the brand that made the greatest strides in gaining consumer awareness and positively shifting consumer perceptions for the automotive industry’s environmentally friendly marketing initiatives. Other finalists for the award included Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Nissan.


The award followed a survey of nearly 2,600 consumers’ cross-media awareness and perceptions of environmental messages by automotive brands. Additionally, response data from 6 million viewers of national television advertising was collected by Nielsen’s ad effectiveness measurements service, focusing on green automotive ads, and measuring social media “buzz.” Said buzz was the aggregate sentiment within green-related discussion threads, based on over 115,000 social media messages.

Nielsen said that Toyota won by leveraging its Prius family ad campaigns as well as its social media events. The research firm said 53 percent of respondents were aware of Toyota’s green marketing initiatives. In addition, Toyota’s campaigns helped cultivate its strong green enthusiast base which drove the most positive online sentiment among the nominees, surpassing the auto average by 64 percent.

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J.D. Power: Mini, Lexus again offer most satisfying sales experience

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2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study

Online Ratings/Review Sites and Social Networking Sites Impact New-Vehicle Buyers' Selection of Dealership

Lexus Ranks Highest among Luxury Brands for a Second Consecutive Year;

MINI Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands for a Third Consecutive Year

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 28 November 2012 -- Nearly 80 percent of new-vehicle buyers use the Internet during their shopping process, among whom nearly one-third consult online ratings/review sites when selecting a dealer, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released today.

"For years, new-vehicle buyers have accessed the Internet to research model information, vehicle features, configurations and pricing," said Chris Sutton, senior director of the Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Now, neutral online ratings/review sites are playing a key role in dealer selection. Whether the online reviews are positive or negative, they impact buyers' willingness to visit a dealer."

The study finds that new-vehicle buyers are much more inclined to use a ratings/review site than a social networking site when selecting a dealer. However, satisfaction with the dealership experience is significantly higher among new-vehicle buyers who use social networking sites than among those who consult ratings/review sites.

"That's the power of the network," said Sutton. "New-vehicle buyers are using the Internet to read the reviews and recommendations of other buyers who have experience with a particular dealer, so it would be prudent for dealers to ensure their customers have had a satisfying experience, given their influence on prospective customers."

Among new-vehicle buyers, males are significantly more likely than females to consult ratings/review sites, whereas females are significantly more likely to consult social networking sites. Both genders are equally likely to visit blogs, forums, or social networking sites (7% each); however, females post considerably more positive online statements regarding their dealer experience, compared with males (86% indicate comments "mostly positive" vs. 77%, respectively).

The study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience and measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer (satisfaction among buyers). The study also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership (satisfaction among rejecters). Among buyers, satisfaction is examined across four measures (listed in order of importance): working out the deal (17%); salesperson (13%); delivery process (11%); and facility (10%). Among rejecters, satisfaction is examined across five measures (listed in order of importance): salesperson (20%); fairness of price (12%); facility (6%); inventory (6%); and experience negotiating (5%).

Overall sales satisfaction among both buyers and rejecters averages 664 on a 1,000-point scale in 2012, improving from 648 in 2011.

Satisfaction with the selling dealer averages 776 in 2012, a five-point increase from 2011. Satisfaction improves in three of the four measures that examine satisfaction among buyers, with salesperson achieving the highest score.

Among buyers whose salesperson asked them questions to determine their vehicle needs, only 21 percent perceive some or too much pressure from dealer sales staff, compared with 32 percent among those whose salesperson did not ask questions about their needs who perceive some or too much pressure. These results indicate that customers prefer salespeople who invest the time up front to listen to them and ensure they select the right vehicle. Perceived pressure decreases when sales consultants establish a business relationship and understand customer needs.

Given the increasing complexity of technology in today's new models, there is a growing need for dealers to spend time explaining complicated audio, entertainment and navigation systems so buyers can fully utilize all the benefits these technologies offer. A majority (86%) of new-vehicle buyers indicate that the dealer staff spent "just the right amount of time" with them during the delivery process. Among the 8 percent of new-vehicle buyers who say that the dealer staff did not spend enough time at delivery, nearly three-fourths indicate they would have preferred staff to spend more time reviewing their vehicle's features and technologies, such as pairing their phone to Bluetooth or demonstrating the navigation system.

Satisfaction with the dealership where rejecters shopped but did not buy their vehicle improves to 553 in 2012, a 28-point increase from 2011, with significant improvements in each of the five measures.

Lexus ranks highest among luxury brands in satisfaction with the new-vehicle buying experience for a second consecutive year, with an index score of 737. Rankings are based on the experiences of both buyers and rejecters. Infiniti (728) and Cadillac (725) follow in the luxury segment rankings to round out the three highest-performing brands. Year-over-year sales satisfaction improves the most for Infiniti (+52 index points), moving from ranking eighth in 2011 to rank second in 2012.

MINI ranks highest among mass market brands for a third consecutive year, with a score of 712. Buick (706) and GMC (683) follow in the mass market segment rankings. Honda improves the most among mass market brands (+30 index points) and moves from ranking 12th in 2011 to rank eighth in 2012.

For a comprehensive perspective of automotive retail trends, which was presented by John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates, on Nov. 27 at the NADA/J.D. Power 2012 Western Automotive Conference, click here.

The 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 31,386 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in May 2012. The study was fielded between August and October 2012.

News Source: JD Power

Category: Car Buying, Budget, Lexus, Mini, Luxury

Tags: buick, cadillac, gmc, infiniti, jd power, jd power sales satisfaction, lexus, mini, sales satisfaction, study, survey

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Zenvo ST1 &amp; 50S Limited Edition

ST1: V8 / 7.011 cc / 1.120 PS / 1.106 ft/lb (1.430 Nm) @ 4.500 / supercharger + turbo / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 3,0 s / Vmax (limited): 233 mph (375 km/h)

ST1 S50: V8 / 7.011 cc / 1.250 PS / 1.055 ft/lb (1.500 Nm) @ 4.500 / supercharger + turbo / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): <3,0 s / Vmax (limited): >233 mph (>375 km/h) / Limited edition (3 cars) for 1,8 mio USD each

(click images for a larger view)

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Jaguar and Land Rover to consolidate dealerships

News Source: Inside Line

Image Credit: Copyright 2012 Drew Phillips / AOL

Category: Car Buying, SUV, Jaguar, Luxury

Tags: andy gross, dealership, dealerships, jaguar, jaguar land rover, jaguar land rover combined dealerships, land rover

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Chevy Volt again tops <em>Consumer Reports</em> Owner-Satisfaction Survey

Related Gallery 2013 Chevrolet Volt: Quick Spin

Show full PR text

Top-ranked cars feature great fuel economy, a fun driving experience and luxurious surroundings

YONKERS, NY, November 29, 2012 - Would you get the same vehicle if you had to do it all over again? That's the single, revealing question the Consumer Reports National Research Center asked subscribers in its annual Owner -Satisfaction survey-and the answer for Chevrolet Volt owners was a resounding "yes."

Ninety-two percent of respondents who own the Volt said they would definitely buy it again, earning the car the distinction of being the top-scoring model in the Consumer Reports survey for the second year in a row.

"The Volt's two-year reign at the top of our satisfaction survey points to the continuing trend of owners' enthusiasm for cars that are fuel-efficient cars, especially as we see more and more hybrid and electric models hitting the market." said Consumer Reports' Auto Editor Rik Paul. "The combination of sporty handling and strong engine performance also goes a long way in building loyalty and generating excitement among owners."

The full report on Consumer Reports' owner satisfaction survey findings is available at and in the January issue of Consumer Reports.

In addition to the Volt, other fuel-efficient models that scored among the best were the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Prius, and Prius C, and Nissan Leaf.

The Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, the V8 Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang topped the sporty car category while the Audi A7, Lexus GS and Audi A6 were the leading luxury cars.

On the other end of the spectrum, the redesigned subcompact Nissan Versa Sedan came in with the lowest score in the survey, with fewer than half of its owners saying they would definitely buy it again. Other low scorers include the V6 versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, and the Nissan Armada, Suzuki SX4, and Mitsubishi Outlander SUVs.

One of the features that didn't seem to have a strong effect on owner satisfaction was brand nationality. The 44 top-rated models include 16 American, 14 Asian and 14 European vehicles.

While owner satisfaction can be a helpful indicator when choosing a vehicle, Consumer Reports also advises consulting its road-test results and reliability-survey data before buying. One car that meets all three criteria is the 38-mpg Toyota Camry Hybrid, which CR suggests is the best pick for those who want an all-around sedan with excellent fuel economy.

Consumer Reports received responses on almost 350,000 vehicles and more than 240 models, spanning the 2010 through 2013 model years. The survey is based on the results from Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Scores are based on the percentage of respondents who answered "definitely yes" to the following question: "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?"

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

News Source: Consumer Reports

Category: Car Buying, Hybrid, Hatchback, Chevrolet

Tags: 2013 chevrolet volt, chevrolet, consumer reports, owner satisfaction, survey, volt

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Fiat Unveils 500e At LA Auto Show

Written By Thomas Ponco on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | 11:30 PM

Published November 29, 2012

By Pete Brissette


Fiat thinks it has the answer to what it describes as the “blocky, bulky, busy, ugly … and worst of all, goofy” current crop of environmentally friendly automobiles on the market.

During the Fiat press conference at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Sshow, Fiat's worldwide brand chief, Olivier Francois, primed the crowd for the unveiling of the all-electric powertrain 500e by asking, “Isn't ugliness the worst pollution of all?”

François’ blatant implication was that the sporty design DNA of Fiat's 500 lineup now infused in the all-new 500e is the remedy for a market full of unattractive and uninspired alternative-fuel vehicles.


“Any company can deliver that's environmentally friendly,” said François. “Let me tell you it takes Fiat to deliver something that's environmentally sexy.”

Vehicle aesthetics are subjective; but Fiat backs up the appearance of the 500e with notable figures for its new EV.

Fiat says the micro car offers driving range of at least 80 miles, with city driving pushing the range to 100 miles The company also says the EV will go 0 – 60 in nine seconds, with a top speed of 85 mph. François stated the battery's performance is “all-weather,” saying range isn't reduced by ambient temperature extremes, and that a full recharge takes approximately four hours via a 240-volt charger.


The li-ion battery has an eight-year warranty.

The Chrysler-owned car company says its new EV’s electric motor produces 111 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque from a 24-kilowatt lithium-ion battery. Additionally, the car's battery charge level, tire pressure, charging status, remote heating and cooling, as well as locating nearby charging stations and numerous other features, are all accessible via a smart phone app.

Beyond passion-driven Italian styling and the above performance figures, Fiat was otherwise light on details for the 500e in terms of MSRP but did announce that when the car goes on sale in Spring 2013 it will be immediately available from dealers, but only in California.


This California-only footnote may further lend credence to recent speculation that the 500e is merely a compliance car meant to meet California regulations requiring manufactures produce a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles.

While François injected entertainment and requisite enthusiasm for the 500e, a great deal more time was spent on the unveiling of Fiat’s new four-door 500L. According to Fiat the new vehicle is only two feet longer than two-door 500 models, but offers 42 percent more interior room. The L model will arrive in Summer 2013.

Also of note, François stated that all manual transmission 500 models get a minimum of 40 mpg.

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