Review: 2013 Chrysler 300

December 19th, 2012 — 10:48 am

2013-Chrysler-300The Chrysler 300 is the flagship vehicle of the brand. Looking at its SRT8-like flavor, it can be considered as among the most underrated people-mover in the market.

The base model of the 300 is not at all feeble. It has a Pentastar V-6 engine that is capable of cranking out 292 horses. The powerplant is coupled with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and with that setup it can return 31 miles a gallon. Buyers can also opt for the 300S which gets 8HP more for a total of 300 horses.

The Chrysler 300C gets a HEMI V-8 with a displacement of 5.7 liters. This powerplant is rated 363 horses and is also available for 300S as an option. This trim can go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in less than 6 seconds. The non-SRT8 versions come as all-wheel drive models.

The top of the line Chrysler 300 SRT8 will make any car enthusiast fall in love with the ride. It has a 6.4L HEMI V-8 that transfers all its 470 horsepower to the rear wheels. The power is very impressive and it can bring the car from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds. The SRT8 version has upgraded suspension system and adaptive dampers. The handling of this version is also the best of the lineup.

The interior comes with a good dose of space and provisions for comfort. It is quite handsome but still not at par with premium brands like the Cadillac, Audi, or BMW but it is still very upscale.

All of the variants come with keyless entry and push button start; power windows, locks, and doors; daytime LED running lights; USB connectivity; satellite radio; and a touch-screen display. The upgrades available for the higher-end models consists of navigation aids, heated seats, ventilated seats, wood trim, leather upholstery, and several premium upgrades for the interior.

The 2013 Chrysler 300 also gets an audio system from Beats by Dr. Dre.

Prices start at $29,995 and may go up to as much as $40,000 depending on the options consumers will add.

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Lincoln revives Design Center after forty years

October 30th, 2012 — 02:04 pm

Lincoln used to be a powerhouse in terms of automotive design. If you are a big fan, you might know of the Mark II that ruledd the 1950s and the Continental during the 1960s?

The Town Car, the top of the line model of the Continental range, had its heydays when it was in demand as fleet, livery and government vehicles. It sold like pancakes for decades until a steady decline that started in 1998.

By the 2000s, the Lincoln brand was known for the boring style of the Town Car, and that hurt the brand big time. Since then, Lincoln has been releasing cars without design themes that will just not stand out or not have that tinge of longevity. Lincoln seemed to lack a direction to revive its status.

This might change soon as Lincoln opened its own design studio, a first since the ’70s. It will house 150 designers that will work on the technical and creative aspects to come up with the new Lincolns of the near future.

The Lincoln brand is lucky enough to have a wide range of Ford platforms to start with. These should be good bases for the design center to come up with new vehicles sporting styles that are not just recycled from the recent past. The team though will also face the challenge of keeping the lines and styles of the Lincoln vehicles unique from that of the Ford’s range. The new Lincolns should differ in shape, themes, and designs while basically using the same materials.

A marketing executive sees the move as a renaissance for Lincoln and an opportunity to come up with elegant, surprising, and beautiful vehicles for the consumers. The head of design also sees the decision to pair up the teams handling the interior and exterior designs as a harmonizing element. The teams will not collaborate and come up with one harmonious design.

The first vehicle to roll out of the design center is the 2013 MKZ. The vehicle has created some buzz but the reception is not as warm as other redesign releases such as the ATS and XTS from Cadillac. The new center will be a great opportunity of the brand to have a better identity than a dressed up Ford.

Lincoln is set to introduce four new vehicles by 2015 and we shall wait if it can reinvent itself and use the new design center as a springboard to improve sales.

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Cadillac gets green light for production of flagship sedan

July 30th, 2012 — 04:21 pm

The production of a Cadillac flagship sedan has been creating a loud buzz for several years now. Some say it will be a sports car with a mid-engine setup while other say it will be a large sedan. A recent news revealed the General Motors is developing a rear-wheel drive platform for a large car, a sedan that may rival the S Class of Mercedes and the likes of the 7-Series of BMW.

A more recent report confirms that Cadillac has given the go signal for a new flagship sedan. The move is in support of the brand’s plan to have a vehicle that will compete in every segment that its rival brands are competing in.

The target date is for the new flagship Cadillac sedan to hit the market by 2015. This gives the brand a good representative in the full size sedan segment of the luxury car market. The new Cadillac will have a RWD platform called the Omega and will lead the pack as the brand expands its presence in China. The new flagship will also help boost the image of the brand in all of its established markets.

According to insiders, the Ciel concept car that was unwrapped last year can be a good gauge of the styling that will be used for the top biller.

The Cadillac XTS, the flagship of the brand at the moment, has always been a quick solution that used the components of existing vehicles like the LaCrosse. It is not clear if the XTS will have a second generation. If it survives, most likely it will still target the older consumers who are used to comfortable cruisers.

Looking beyond the flagship development, Cadillac has several models in its production pipeline that are due for launch. Come 2014, the ATS coupe and its convertible sibling will be rolled out, as well as the hybrid version of the XTS. The new CTS, Escalade SUV, and the ELR electric vehicle will be launched by next year.

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Cadillac looking to produce driverless vehicle, says technology might be ready by 2015

April 25th, 2012 — 10:16 am

Big car manufacturers like BMW, Volkswagen, and Audi have been toying with the idea of semi-autonomous rides implementing different driving technologies. Even search engine giant Google is pouring in a big budget to perfect the technology so it Cadillac-Super-Cruise should not be a surprised if the flagship brand of GM, Cadillac, will also be investing a ton to join the race.

Cadillac has a project called Super Cruise which explores the possibilities of driverless technologies and is now capable of automatic lane centering, steering, and braking given the conditions are optimal for its operations. According to Cadillac, the system might be ready and the first batch of these vehicles might be on the production line by 2015.

Super Cruise allows the driver to enjoy the ride and improve driving performance. The goal of the Cadillac advanced technologies is to provide a very intuitive experience for the end user.

Cadillac’s Super Cruise makes use of information coming in from the GPS map, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and a bunch of radars. Everything is designed to work well together in order to make life easier for the driver while in the freeway or in traffic.

Some of the core technologies available for the Super Cruise is already available in some production models of the Cadillac like the new XTS and ATS sedans as part of the Driver Assist Package which comes as an option for buyers.

General Motors though recognizes the limitations of the semi-autonomous driving technology as it relies on factors like the weather and the visibility of the lines on the road. An example of such limitations will be evident when there is fog which will require the driver to take over the steering wheel.

The top priority of the driverless or semi-autonomous technology is safety. There might come a time when the advanced systems of these vehicles can help eliminate possibilities of a crash even before the driver recognizes of the hazardous situation. With all these in place, it will be good enough to trust the decisions your vehicle will do.

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2012 Laramie Limited Ram 1500 to be unveiled at motor show in Chicago

February 17th, 2012 — 03:11 pm

The Laramie Limited 2012 Ram 1500 that surely catches the eyes of opulent pickup truck consumers will be officially unwrapped during the auto show in Chicago this February.

The tag price for this special edition Ram 1500 which is set to go on sale by the second quarter of this year has not been announced yet. Pricing though is expected to kick off at roughly $45,000. The current flag carrier of the line up, the Laramie Longhorn Ram 1500 goes for $44,120 inclusive of a destination fee of $995.

The Laramie Limited will be rolled out as 3500, 2500, and 1500 HD with versions that have, single rear wheel or dual rear wheel; mega cab and crew cab version; and 4-wheel drive and 2-wheel drive; long- and short- wheelbase variants.

The top of the line Laramie Limited gets a leather treatment for its seats, ambient lighting for the cabin, and its cluster of gauges with markings saying “Designed in Detroit”. The pickup also has a remote start, navigational radio, camera to aid backing up, adjustable pedals, heated seats and steering wheel.

The brand is expecting to attract a good amount interest with the release of the Laramie Limited in addition to their other luxury models.

Earlier this year, Chrysler shared the information that the sales of Ram trucks jumped by 21% comparing the same period between 2011 and 2010. The vehicle manufacturer was able to deliver 212,952 trucks and 212,952 trucks for 2011 and 2010, respectively. The report did not indicate the breakdown of sales per particular unit.

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Lexus will not get diesel engines of BMW despite tie up of Toyota with the German brand

January 2nd, 2012 — 11:04 am

A few weeks ago, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota sealed an agreement with Bavarian brand BMW to share hybrid technologies and engines to minimize the development cost of green vehicles. Under this agreement, come 2014 BMW will be supplying Toyota with their 2.0L and 1.6L 4-cylinder engines running on diesel.

A lot of people are also wondering if Lexus, the luxury brand of Toyota, will also get the diesel engines of BMW. As we know, Lexus is a BMW competition and naturally, the Bavarian brand would not give their engines to Lexus.

This was confirmed by an executive from Toyota Europe saying that the agreement with BMW does not entail BMW engines ending in the body of Lexus vehicles. The statement was supported by a recent interview of a German business paper with the development chief of BMW where he clarified that the diesel engines from their factories will not be used for the Lexus brand.

Experts in Germany also see that it will be wise for Toyota to position the Lexus brand as a leader in innovation gearing up to have more full hybrid vehicles and plug-ins to boost its sales. From January thru November of 2011, the European sales of Lexus was pegged at 24,623 compared to BMW’s 590,453 units for the same time.

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Chrysler makes profits in 3Q, ups forecast

October 31st, 2011 — 04:33 pm

The Chrysler Group after a review of their third quarter finances found out that they turned some earnings. The good news allowed the auto manufacturer based in Detroit to raise their profit forecast for the coming months. Chrysler which is at present majority owned by Italian company Fiat, had a 3Q income of $212 million which is a big leap to the $84 million loss for the same period back in 2010.

The profits that came in during the third quarter is consistent with the projection of the analysts. The carmaker raised its earnings forecast to $600 million for 2011 instead of the max of $500 million projected earlier. This year will be the first full year earnings since their bankruptcy declaration bacik in 2009.

The positive results in the finances and the increased sales are both in line with the plan drawn back in 2009. Recently, the company and the United Autoworkers, signed a four year pact to ensure the growth of the company, and make sure to reward the workers who helped revive the brand.

Throughout this year, Chrysler has been outpacing the automotive industry in the United States when you look at the sales primarily attributed to their revamped range of vehicles. Vehicles like the Grand Cherokee by Jeep and the Chrysler 300 and Chrysler 200 spearheaded the good comeback of Chrysler. The sales of the brand were up by as much as 23.1% compared to the 3rd quarter sales of 2010, and an improvement of 26.1% for the first nine months of the year. Overall, the auto industry in the U.S. improved its sales by 6% for the third quarter.

The excellent sales performance of Chrysler translates to their increase market share of the U.S. market to 11.6% or 1.9% points.

The car manufacturer also scaled back their incentives which in turn raised their transaction prices. For the quarter, Chrysler’s incentive per transaction is $2,859 which is a big decline from last year’s.

The net revenue of Chrysler for the quarter is $13.1 billion reflecting a 19% improvement looking at their 2010 numbers.

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Opel releases updated 2012 Insignia

August 21st, 2011 — 07:55 pm

Germany automobile company, Opel, will release an upgraded model of the 2012 Opel Insignia. This new model, along with the turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine and the standard 1.4-liter engine and new technology features, will be made more available to consumers in Europe.

The new 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine has replaced the old 1.8-liter engine. The new 2.0-liter turbocharged counterpart that comes with a four-wheel drive platform packs in an additional 30 horsepower and has a final HP power of 250. These engines are presently available at various markets in the US. Therefore, when the German automaker said that the 2012 Opel Insignia will be released with new engines, we assume that they are talking directly to European consumers.

Opel’s brand new 1.4-liter Turbo ecoFLEX engine accelerates the car at 0-100km/h in 10.9 seconds with a top speed of 205km/h. The fuel efficiency figures are at 5.9lt/100km with CO2 emission figures at 134g/km. On the other hand, the 2.0-liter turbo engine has 250 HP and four-wheel drive platform that accelerates the car from 0 to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds with a maximum speed of 250 km/h and CO2 emission figures of 209g/km.

The 2012 Opel Insignia packs new infotainment systems—the Navi 600 and Navi 900 Europa—plus a revamped front camera with the Following Distance Indication feature, snazzy leather trims, and a beautiful “Luxor” finish. This updated version of the 2012 Opel Insignia is expected to make its debut during the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Toyota set to launch small cars in Brazil, China, and Indonesia

August 16th, 2011 — 03:56 pm

Toyota is gearing to roll out a small car in 2013 specifically for markets in China according to a recent report.

The new small vehicle will be a bit bigger than the budget car Etios which is marketed in India. The city car will have a 1.5L engine running on gasoline under its hood. Initial reports suggest that the new Toyota will have a starting price of around $12,853 or about a million yen.

The car manufacturer wants to keep its cost of production as low as possible by making use of parts from Etios. It will also be pouring in around forty billion yen to have production line in China with a volume outlook of around 200,000 cars per year.

Toyota wants to get a bigger chunk of the booming automotive market in China and wants to get a share of as much as 5% of the automobile market in China. Part of the plan is to launch the new car and strengthen its joint ventures with Guangzhou Automobile Group and China FAW Group.

Toyota is also planning to increase the production of Etios in India by more than doubling its production. They aim to make around 190,000 units come 2013. The company also plans to roll out another budget car in their market in Brazil by next year following a production forecast of around 70,000 units per year. They have the same plan of releasing a low cost model in Indonesia.

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2011 A5 DTM Race Car Rendering Finally Revealed

July 25th, 2011 — 06:15 pm

German automobile giant, Audi AG, has finally released the official concept design of the A5 DTM concept race car which will make its debut during the International Frankfurt Motor Show this year. The A5 DTM race car has been called the R17 internally and is set to replace the A4 DTM four-door model, the one that has earned Audi its four Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters titles.

While the German automaker was hush-hush about the A5 DTM race car concept design’s specifics, the brand, however, confirmed that the A5 DTM race car will be unveiled with a heavy duty carbon-fiber monocoque. It will also have a steel roll cage, which, that the automaker confirmed, has passed the latest regulations on automobile safety. Furthermore, the front and rear crash absorbers requirements have been upgraded as well. The sidewalls of the A5 DTM race car boasts of a hybrid concept that combines Rohacell, carbon, and Zylon for increased side impact protection by almost four times.

Under the hood, the A5 DTM race car will roll out with a V-8 Engine with 460 horsepower or 340 kW of power. The A5 DTM will have a six-speed transmission.

The production of the initial prototype of the A5 DTM race car or R17 has been reported to be in full throttle in Audi Sport in Ingolstadt, Germany. While we have seen the outstanding rendering of the A5 DTM concept race car, we just have to wait for this year’s International Frankfurt Motor Show for its full unveiling.

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