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China became the first nation to surpass 20 million new-car sales last year, Bloomberg reports. That represents a 14 percent increase over 2012, and continues its reign as the world's largest car market.
Sales are expected to grow by a further 10 percent in 2014, according to the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. ( Continue… )
It’s been out in the open for several months now, but Volkswagen has finally confirmed a U.S. launch date for its latest Golf R based on the seventh-generation Golf platform. Sales of the new Golf R, in its five-door body only, commence in the first quarter of 2015, more than six months after the regular Golf and sporty GTI variants are scheduled to land in showrooms.
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The car’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will deliver an estimated 290 horsepower, 34 more than the 2.0-liter mill fitted to the outgoing Golf R. This will make it the most powerful Golf ever sold in North America. Peak torque will register at 280 pound-feet.
Despite the additional horsepower, the new Golf R is expected to be considerably more fuel-efficient than its predecessor: on the European cycle, the car gets a combined figure of 33 mpg with a six-speed manual gearbox, up from 28 mpg. Buyers will also have the choice of a six-speed DSG dual-clutch ‘box; the DSG is the quicker option here, helping to deliver a 0-62 mph time of 4.9 seconds. Manual drivers can expect to hit 62 mph in around 5.3 seconds. ( Continue… )
Volvo has announced an update for its Sensus Connect infotainment system that enables it to deliver new cloud-based services, offering drivers and passengers of Volvo cars a vast array of new app services such as paying for parking from the car, locating new restaurants at any given destination, and streaming music and video. It also allows for in-car WiFi.
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The updated system also provides full support for Pandora Internet Radio. Drivers can now stream Pandora via a data connection provided by the car’s built-in modem or their smartphone. Control of Pandora features such as station creation and thumbs feedback are now available via the head unit, making access to personalized radio in the car is as easy as regular radio. ( Continue… )
One of CES' biggest announcements involves an intriguing partnership between Audi, General Motors, Honda, and Hyundai. Along with tech firms Google and NVIDIA, the four automakers have created the Open Automotive Alliance, a consortium working to make connected cars a reality.
THE "CONNECTED CAR"
What, exactly, is a "connected car"? The definition is still a little slippery, but as we see it, connected cars have two key features:
1. They contain vehicle-to-vehicle safety systems, which allow them to communicate with other cars as well as infrastructure elements like stop lights and traffic cameras. So, for example, if a connected car were entering a blind corner, and there were a disabledvehicle stopping traffic around the bend, the car's V2V system would alert the driver to slow down or even apply the brakes on her behalf. V2V technology boosts driver safety and accelerates the roll-out of fully autonomous vehicles.
2. They contain infotainment systems, which offer drivers and passengers access to traffic, navigation, email, text messages, music, video, and dozens of other elements. These systems provide a seamless link to the data and entertainment features we enjoy at home, at the office, and elsewhere. ( Continue… )
For most of us, QR codes are just a quick way of getting extra details from an advertisement or transferring clients from a business card to a website. They're useful, but hardly life-changing. Those fitted to the latest Mercedes-Benz models--and now able to be retrofitted to the last few decades of Mercedes and Smart cars--could very well be life-changing. The German automaker has taken on the initiative of fitting QR codes to vehicles as a way of allowing first responders at accidents to analyze details of the very car they're responding to.
In the event of an accident where rescue workers may be required to free occupants, the danger levels are high for all involved. Time is of the essence and extractor crews may not be fully aware of the intricacies of the vehicles they're dealing with. Using a QR code system, rescue workers are able to access information on the very vehicle they're responding to--with safety information and technical details just a scan away. ( Continue… )
Electric cars are quiet.
Perhaps that's a statement of the obvious, but for many owners, it's one of their cars' best features. Little noise, a smooth drivetrain, low running costs, environmental responsibility--it all adds up to an appealing package.
Regulatory bodies seem to feel electric cars are a little too quiet, though, posing a danger to pedestrians. As a result, several are in the process of drawing up legislation that will require car companies to add noisemakers to electric vehicles--to warn those around them who expect a vehicle to be audible of their presence.
But if one thing is truly quiet right now, it's news of any changes to the quiet-car noise requirement proposals from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Diesel may be taking a while to catch on in the U.S, but in India the diesel market has exploded in recent years.
It's no surprise that automakers have been making the most of this, and the latest to do so is Tata, whose Nano--the world's cheapest new car--is soon to get its own diesel option.
For Tata, it can't be too soon.
Sales of the Nano, despite its incredibly low pricing,have been disappointing. It's thought that the bargain-basement nature of the car--necessitated by pricing that begins at just $2,400 for the cheapest model--is actually off-putting to aspirational Indian buyers, who prefer to spend a little more and not drive around in a car seen merely as a stepping-stone from a scooter. ( Continue… )
The 2013 total of roughly 90,000 electric vehicles didn't quite double the 2012 total of about 53,000, but with 16 different plug-in cars offered for sale as of this month, the numbers seem likely to grow again this year.
And last year's total was more than five times the total first-year sales of 17,500 in 2011.
As it has been since going on sale in December 2010, the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car was the plug-in leader, with a total of 23,094 sales last year--just slightly down on the 23,461 deliveries in 2012, though far ahead of the first-year total of 7,671 in 2011.
It's worth noting that General Motors also sold 6 Cadillac ELR range-extended luxury sport coupes, even at a $76,000 starting price.
But for the first time, the Nissan Leaf was hot on the Volt's heels, with total 2013 deliveries of 22,610.
The 2013 total was boosted by a last-minute 2,529 sold in December, the highest single-month Leaf sales in three years, and better than the Volt's 2,392 for December. ( Continue… )
Last time we reported on Fiat's attempt to purchase every single share of Chrysler, things had reached an impasse. The entity holding the rest of those shares was VEBA, a healthcare trust associated with the United Autoworkers Union, and VEBA wasn't happy with the money Fiat had offered to close the deal.
And so, majority-owner Fiat filed paperwork for Chrysler's initial public offering, forcing VEBA's hand. See, per the terms of Chrysler's 2009 restructuring, VEBA received a 41.5 percent stake in the automaker, but it could only sell 25 percent of those shares on the open market. The remaining 75 percent had to be sold to Fiat. By filing for an IPO, Fiat introduced an element of uncertainty: sure, VEBA could go along with the IPO and sell its Chrysler shares to the public, but there was no guarantee that VEBA would earn as much as Fiat was offering.
In other words, CEO Sergio Marchionne assumed that VEBA would ultimately opt for the bird in the hand (i.e. Fiat's offer to purchase the Chrysler shares) rather than the two in the bush (i.e. selling its Chrysler shares on the open market). And now, it appears that the gamble has paid off. ( Continue… )
Apart from the grille, it's hard to place any element on the GT4 Stinger in the Kia design handbook. The concept sits just inches from the ground and its headlights are a stack of LEDs that look like they’ve been lifted off an Audi Le Mans prototype. WATCH: Hennessey Chevrolet SS Hits 163 MPH On Texas Toll Road: Video
Front-brake cooling vents funnel air around custom 20-inch wheels while a carbon fiber front splitter adds downforce.
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Under the hood sits a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder developing a hefty 315 horsepower. Drive goes to the rear wheels only. ( Continue… )