I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Happy 60th Birthday Chevy Corvette

  • First Corvettes rolled off the assembly line on June 30, 1953
  • Since then, more than 1.5 million Corvettes have been produced

Chevrolet tomorrow marks its 60th anniversary of the Corvette, an iconic American sports car. The first Corvette went into production in Flint, Mich. on June 30, 1953. Since then, Corvette has become an American icon that continues to offer the best in today’s technology and performance.

“During the past six decades, the Corvette has been woven into the fabric of American culture, as the sports car of choice for movie stars, musicians and astronauts,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. “The very best Corvettes represent the state-of-the-art for their eras in terms of design, technology and performance.”

Here are some key facts highlighting 60 years of Corvette history:

  • Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car. The longest-running vehicle of any type is the Chevrolet Suburban.
  • Corvette made its debut as a concept vehicle at the General Motors Autorama in New York City on Jan. 17, 1953. It was such a success that a limited run of 300 production Corvettes began on June 30 of that year.
  • All 1953 models were Polo White with a red interior and they were priced at $3,498. In 2006, the third 1953 Corvette produced sold for a record $1.06 million at auction.
  • Corvette was exclusively available with an inline six-cylinder engine until 1955. That year, the optional V-8 engine was ordered by 90 percent of buyers. The six-cylinder was dropped in 1956. Corvette has been available exclusively with V-8 power since.  
  • Corvette was produced only as a convertible for its first 10 years. The fixed-roof 1963 “split-window” Corvette Sting Ray coupe launched the second-generation Corvette.  Sales doubled and it became a year-round car for drivers in colder climates.
  • Approximately 1.56 million Corvettes have been produced since June 30, 1953. The 500,000th Corvette was built in 1977; the 1 millionth was built in 1992, and the 1.5 millionth Corvette rolled off the line in 2009.
  • Corvettes have been produced at three facilities: Flint, Mich. (1953); St. Louis, Mo., (1954-1981); and Bowling Green, Ky. (1981-2014). The change from St. Louis to Bowling Green happened during the production year. The first 1981 Corvette was built in St. Louis, and the last 1981 Corvette was built in Bowling Green.
  • No 1983 Corvettes were sold to the public. The model year was skipped in preparation for the all-new 1984 Corvette, which launched the C4 generation. Forty-four Corvette prototypes were built as 1983 models. Only one remains, and it is on display at the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Ky.

Audi R8 GRAND-AM returns to GRAND-AM racing

• Audi R8 GRAND-AM, winner of Daytona 24 Hour race, returns to GRAND-AM racing for Watkins Glen
• Two Audi R8 GRAND-AM race cars will contest the endurance championship
• Fall-Line Motorsports to race in Audi R8 GRAND-AM for remainder of the season

Audi announces the return of the Audi R8 GRAND-AM at this weekend’s 6 Hours at Watkins Glen race as part of the endurance championship. Audi to field two cars that will contest the endurance championship within the GRAND-AM schedule – a quattro GmbH factory team and new customer-racing team, Fall-Line Motorsports.

Two Audi R8 GRAND-AM race cars will be taking to the grid this weekend at Watkins Glen in an effort to win the endurance championship as part of the overall GRAND-AM schedule. This weekend’s race at the 6 Hours at Watkins Glen marks the return of the winning Audi R8 GRAND-AM that won the Daytona 24 Hours earlier this year as well as several of the winning drivers. Felipe Albuquerque (Portugal) - who took the checkered flag at Daytona, Eduardo Mortara (France/Italy) and Dion von Moltke (South Afraica) will pilot the number 24 car. Watkins Glen will present the drivers and the car with many challenges as the track is relatively unknown to the number 24 drivers except von Moltke who has raced there before.

Fall-Line Motorsports will make its debut at Watkins Glen in the number 46 R8 GRAND-AM in the B+ (Be Positive) livery. “We are very pleased to have Fall-Line Motorsports join our R8 customer-racing program and are optimistic about the future of customer-racing in the U.S. Fall-Line brings a lot of great experience with them and we look forward to jointly seeking a spot on the podium as we go forward,“ said Brad Kettler, Director of Operations, Audi customer-racing, Audi of America.

"The Audi sports car legacy and its knowledgeable and experienced support staff are an obvious choice for us to help further evolve our team and we're proud to represent the 'four rings' synonymous with sports car and endurance racing," said Mark Boden , Fall-Line Motorsports Team Principal.

Piloting the car at Watkins Glen will be current Fall-Line drivers Al Carter, Charles Espenlaub, and Charlie Putman, all of whom drive currently in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Series for the team. The successful Fall-Line trio has worked together for several years and has won many races including Fall-Line's team and drivers' 2010 Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Series championship with Espenlaub and Putman. The #46 will be carrying sponsorship from the beloved charity that Al Carter and all of
Fall-Line have supported over the years with B+ Racing featured prominently on the car.

The R8 GRAND-AM shares approximately 50 percent of its parts with the R8 production car. The 5.2 Liter V10 naturally aspirated engine fitted to the R8 GRAND-AM is tested for maximum durability on the track, requiring its first rebuild interval at approximately 12,000 miles driven at race speeds. Other competitor race engines require rebuilds at approximately 5,000 miles. Every production car developed by the Audi performance division, quattro GmbH, is driven 4,700 miles at high speeds around the Nuerburgring by factory race car drivers and engineers that work in unison to ensure engine, transmission, steering and suspension characteristics are optimized.

The new 2014 R8 production car has been further improved upon and now offers a new V10 Plus model with 550 horsepower that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds using the new in-house developed 7-speed double clutch S tronic transmission that is exclusively used in the R8. The 6-speed manual gated shifting transmission remains available on all models as well as new full-LED lighting design. New cross-stitched leather seats and door inserts round out the improvements on the interior of the 2014 R8 production car.

Audi hopes to build upon its racing success in GRAND-AM at Daytona and in endurance racing having just won the Le Mans 24 Hours with the R18 e-tron quattro.

The race will be televised on Speed TV this Sunday, June 30th at 11 am EST.
Live timing and scoring is also available at www.GRAND-AM.COM

Friday, 28 June 2013

2014 Ram heavy Duty delivers best in class 410hp

  • 2014 Ram Heavy Duty retains the highest level of capability with best-in-class towing, best-in-class payload and best-in-class Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
  • Largest displacement V-8 in the segment, all-new 6.4-liter HEMI® delivers best-in-class power
  • 2014 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty starts at $29,600, plus $1,095 destination; 6.4-liter HEMI option priced $1,495 greater than similarly equipped 5.7-liter HEMI-powered Ram
  • New engine offering opens the door to additional customers who are looking for a large gasoline powertrain at a great value
  • Two gas-powered options, plus manual and automatic transmission-equipped diesel powertrains offer customers a wide range of choices to meet their needs
  • Available 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 delivers best-in-class 410 horsepower (306 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb.-ft. of torque (582 N•m) at 4,000 rpm, and features VVT with Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation
  • Standard 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers 383 horsepower (286 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (542 N•m), and features variable-valve timing for greater efficiency and performance
  • Available 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel produces 385 horsepower (283 kW) at 2,800 rpm and best-in-class 850 lb.-ft. of torque (1,151 N•m)
  • Ram engineering continues to lead Heavy Duty segment innovation with Ram 2500 link coil rear suspension to deliver best-in-class ride
  • Exclusive factory rear air suspension for Ram 2500 and exclusive factory supplemental air suspension system for Ram 3500
  • New gooseneck/fifth wheel capability for Ram 2500
  • Ram PowerWagon increases capability with all-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine and new suspension
  • New best-in-class dual alternator systems up to 440 amps
  • New 18- and 20-inch wheel packages
  • Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles – and best-in-class 15,000-mile oil change interval on the Cummins diesel engine

Ram Truck brand offers the most capable heavy-duty pickups in the segment – the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty line features a list of best-in-class titles in the segment's number one purchase reason, capability:

  • Towing – Up to 30,000 pounds with Ram 3500
  • Towing – Up to 17,940 pounds with Ram 2500
  • Payload – Up to 7,320 pounds with Ram 3500
  • Power – 850 lb.-ft. of torque with 6.7-liter Cummins
  • Power – 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque with all-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8
  • Capacity – Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 37,600 pounds with Ram 3500

Pricing for the new 2014 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty starts at $29,600, plus $1,095 destination. The 6.4-liter HEMI option is priced $1,495 greater than a similarly equipped 5.7-liter HEMI-powered Ram Heavy Duty pickup and is the first gas engine available in the dual rear wheel 3500.

Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks also add new innovation, including an all-new, 5-link coil suspension with optional air suspension on Ram 2500 and a supplemental air bag suspension option on Ram 3500.

Heavy-duty trucks generally have suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. This can result in a harsher ride when unloaded. Ram innovation leads again for 2014. The new Ram 2500 takes lessons learned from the Ram 1500 and adds an all-new, segment exclusive five-link coil rear suspension system for best-in-class ride and handling and new air suspension system.

The exclusive five-link coil design provides better articulation over obstacles than a leaf spring system and the robust coil springs are more than up to the task of handling the loads required of a Heavy Duty Ram 2500 — up to 17,940 pounds for towing.

The 2014 Ram 2500 also will offer a segment exclusive rear air suspension system. An air bag replaces the coil spring much like the Ram 1500. Load capacity is not sacrificed and the 2014 Ram 2500’s best-in-class ride and handling gets even better, crushing the competition with two doses of engineering innovation (five-link coil standard and air suspension option). Another benefit to the new air suspension design is the load-leveling capability, which automatically detects load on the rear suspension from a trailer or payload. The air pressure increases until the vehicle reaches normal ride height, leveling the truck, improving stability and loaded ride.

The Ram 3500 will continue to feature the rear Hotchkiss leaf spring system on the Ram 3500 but will now offer a supplemental air suspension system on SRW and DRW applications. By adding supplemental air bags to the rear suspension, Ram engineers were able to soften the leaf springs, allowing for more unladed suspension movement. When a high-load capacity condition exists, the air suspension automatically fills the rear air bags to level the truck to improve stability and ride quality — even pulling a best-in-class 30,000-lb. load.

In the front, the Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure roll stiffness. Greater roll stiffness, also known as body roll, is an important characteristic in taller vehicles and especially trucks with heavy payloads. Roll stiffness is measured by the amount the truck’s body tips side-to-side, independently of the wheels, during cornering.

For 2014 Ram 2500 offers gooseneck (center-positioned ball in the bed) or fifth wheel capability. Ram is unmatched in terms of offering the most complete ‘hitch ‘n go’ towing prep package found anywhere in the heavy-duty category. Additionally, Ram features an in-box connection junction, and a standard Class 4 and 5 receiver hitch with a four or seven pin connector on the bumper.

Ram offers two different dual alternator systems on the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty providing additional power for higher electrical loads from commercial vehicle upfits and accessories. New for 2014, Ram Heavy Duty models equipped with the Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine will offer dual 220-amp alternators (best-in-class 440 amps). Both the Ram 2500 and 3500 equipped with the new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 gas engine also will offer a dual-alternator system – the first gas-driven application of its kind in either class – that combines 220- and 160-amp units for 380-amps of total best-in-class output.

Although the Ram Power Wagon benefits from the new five-link rear suspension, it also receives a unique front suspension system to maintain its leadership in off-road capability. The modified front three-link system incorporates high-movement links, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation. The 2014 Power Wagon also is powered by the all-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine, contributing to Ram Power Wagon’s title: the most capable production off-road truck in the industry.

With Chrysler Group’s all-new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty will deliver to best-in-class horsepower and best-in-class torque among pickups with gasoline engines.

Engineered to deliver capability, durability and bang for the buck, the largest displacement V-8 in its class provides a worthy gas-powered option to the segment’s overall standard-bearer – the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel.

Compelling numbers tell the story of the new 16-valve engine with 410 horsepower (306 kW) at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft. (582 N•m), at 4,000 rpm.

One of the enablers for such performance is an active dual-runner-length intake manifold optimized specifically for the Ram Heavy Duty lineup. The result is improved low-end torque without sacrificing high-end power.

The legendary HEMI architecture provides the foundation of the 90-degree V-8. But its advanced technology is decidedly forward-looking. Cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (CEGR), variable-valve timing (VVT) and Chrysler Group’s trademark Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation technology all contribute to efficiency and help to capitalize on every cubic inch.

The new 6.4-liter HEMI is standard on the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission.

Other engine options include the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, standard equipment for the Ram 2500 and 3500 (SRW). The engine produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 is mated to a 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission.

Dominating the torque charts, the renowned 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel I-6 is available in three versions. The first version is paired with Ram’s segment exclusive six-speed manual transmission, which features a wear-compensating clutch for lifetime like-new performance and a dual-trunion shift tower to accommodate a compact shift pattern. This combination delivers 350 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 660 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. The second option matches the Cummins to the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel engine cranks out 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm with an unsurpassed in ¾-ton trucks 800 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm.

Finally, the 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel I-6 for Ram 3500 is paired with the Aisin six-speed automatic transmission (AS69RC), leaving no doubt to Ram Heavy Duty’s capability. In addition to 385 horsepower at 2,800 rpm, the most powerful Cummins, generates best-in-class torque of 850 lb.-ft. at 1,700 rpm. The AS69RC transmission features wide gear ratios that contribute to impressive shift performance, efficiency and drivability.

The Ram Heavy Duty also features another innovation, the industry-exclusive Ram Active Air intake system. When the intake system senses extreme heat, it draws cooler air from the front of the vehicle – a function that also engages at high altitudes for superior throttle response in low oxygen environments. When conditions are wet from snow, ice or water-fording, the system pulls air from an under-hood inlet, clear from snow packing and water. The 2014 Ram 3500 boasts a best-in-class GCWR. A contributor is the 11.8-inch rear axle matched with the high-output diesel engine boasting a 300-mm hypoid gear set, a 4-pinion helical differential and a cooling-fin equipped aluminum differential cover for optimal thermal management.

Two Borg-Warner part-time transfer cases are available on the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty. The BW 44-46 is an electric shifting part-time transfer case with 2WD, 4WD High, 4WD Low and Neutral. BW 44-47 is a manual shifting transfer case with 2WD, 4WD High, 4WD Low and Neutral. Both options feature a low-range ratio of 2.64 and locking differential from front to rear.

Low total cost of ownership and unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years / 100,000 miles
Operating costs are of great consideration for owners who use their trucks for work. The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty holds class-leading features in:

Fuel economy

  • Extended maintenance cycle (oil change, fuel filter life)
  • Brake life with advanced engine exhaust brake and largest brakes in the segment

The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is backed with an unsurpassed five-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage to the new owner. The standard three-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Heavy Duty, from the body to the electrical system.

The new 2014 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty models uphold a bold presence while retaining comfort and styling. The new Ram Heavy Duty features segment-leading technology – every model offers specific content.

Beginning in the 2014 model year, the Ram 2500 will offer a range of new 18- and 20-inch wheels, including forged aluminum, polished with painted, white gold painted pockets and cast aluminum with silver inserts. A cargo-view camera, mounted in the center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) provides a view of the bed for easier fifth wheel or gooseneck trailers as well as monitoring bed loads. Also, a flat-load floor option is now available on Crew Cab models, featuring fold-out panels that create a flat surface across the floor of the rear seating area.

For 2014, the Ram Heavy Duty offers 12 different colors, including two new shades: Blue Streak and Granite Crystal; available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.

Start of production of the 2014 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty is scheduled for the third quarter of 2013 at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.

2014 Ram 1500 to offer new class leading Eco Diesel engine

  • Ram to be the only brand to offer a small-displacement diesel for its half-ton line of trucks
  • 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200, plus $1,095 destination; EcoDiesel option priced $2,850 greater than similarly equipped HEMI-powered Ram 1500
  • Ram first to market with game-changing technologies
  • Class leading powertrain:
  • Best-in-class fuel economy with new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine featuring
  • 240 horsepower, 420 lb.-ft. of torque and a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines) features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque (305 horsepower 269 lb.-ft. torque) and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 engine
  • 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 with Fuel Saver Technology and variable-valve timing (VVT) provides 395 horsepower, 410 lb.-ft. of torque
  • First-in-segment Fuel Saver Technology, TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension
  • New front park assist system available
  • Class-exclusive air suspension enhances fuel economy, improves ride control and off-road capability along with entry/exit and loading, and features automatic load leveling
  • Best-in-class aerodynamics, coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.360
  • Award-winning Uconnect Access offers alternative ways to access new connected services and applications via the vehicle’s 8.4-inch touchscreen display or the web
  • Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles

The 2014 Ram 1500 will offer a new, 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, mated with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers an outstanding combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency, unsurpassed torque and impressive capability.

Pricing for the 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200, plus $1,095 destination. The exclusive V-6 EcoDiesel with TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission is priced $2,850 greater than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with Torqueflite 8 speed transmission.

Also new on the 2014 Ram 1500 is a front park assist system and host of efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements including a variable displacement compressor; pulse-width modulated blower; humidity sensor; and the latest technology in air conditioning refrigerant.

The 2014 Ram 1500 delivers best-in-class fuel economy with a truckload of pioneering, fuel-saving systems including: eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension.

The 2013 Ram 1500 won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year, The North American Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas – a rare trifecta in the pickup segment. Building on the award-winning truck, the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will further stretch its best-in-class fuel economy title lead and continue to raise the innovation bar in one of the automotive industry’s most customer-loyal segments.

The 2014 Ram 1500 continues the brand’s quest of re-defining the half-ton full-size pickup class with the introduction of an exclusive small displacement turbo diesel engine that delivers a best-in-class combination of torque and fuel efficiency.

Aptly branded EcoDiesel, the new 3.0-liter powerplant is a turbocharged 60-degree, dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve V-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque ¬is noticeably more efficient than all V-6 gasoline engines in the half-ton category.

Like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 gasoline engines already offered on the Ram 1500, the new EcoDiesel V-6 will be mated to the TorqueFlite 8, the only eight-speed automatic transmission offered in the half-ton class.

The new EcoDiesel – developed and manufactured by VM Motor (a Chrysler supplier since 1992) – is one of the most advanced diesel engines in the marketplace. Equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalytic reduction, it will be emissions-compliant in all 50 states.

The new Ram 1500 also is equipped with a capless fuel filler system for re-filling convenience.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award three years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 engine trucks. The Pentastar V-6 features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain. The legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

The class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel and 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar, doubles the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The eight-speed also is available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8.

When the 2014 Ram 1500 full-size pickup arrives in retail outlets the fourth quarter of calendar year 2013, it will establish what is unmistakably the most advanced and efficient powertrain portfolio in the light-duty category, as evidenced by:

  • Exclusive offering of a small-displacement turbo diesel engine (EcoDiesel V-6)
  • Exclusive offering of an eight-speed automatic transmission (8HP45 with Pentastar V-6,
  • 8HP70 with HEMI V-8 and EcoDiesel V-6)
  • Unsurpassed torque
  • Best-in-Class V-6 gasoline engine fuel efficiency (Pentastar V-6)
  • Best-in-Class combination of power and fuel efficiency in a V-8 engine
  • (HEMI V-8 mated with eight-speed transmission)
  • Only manufacturer in light-duty class to offer diesel, gasoline, and flex-fuel
  • (E85 capable 3.6-liter V-6) engines

Beginning in model year 2014, the Ram 1500 will offer a front park assist system, a first time offering on a full-size Ram pickup truck.

The system uses four sensors located on the front bumper. The bezel-less, integrated sensors sequentially send out ultrasonic waves when the vehicle is driven in forward at low speeds. The system can detect objects as far away as 47.2 inches.

The sending sensor and adjacent sensors pick up the echo of a signal when it bounces off an object. Triangulation is used to determine relative distance, based on elapsed time between the outgoing signal and its return.

Readouts located in the cluster display (and audible chimes) notify the driver of front/rear object proximity.

Parasitic Loss Reduction
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

The 2014 Ram 1500 will carry additional uses of PWM technology and a host of new efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements. These include a variable displacement air-conditioning compressor pulse-width modulated vent blower and humidity sensor.

Variable displacement compressor (VDC)
As opposed to a “fixed” displacement compressor, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) automatically varies its pumping capacity to meet air conditioning demands rather than working in an on/off fashion. As a result, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) lessens loads on the engine, reducing parasitic losses for enhanced fuel efficiency and helping to maintain a consistent cockpit temperature. The technology also reduces related noise and vibration annoyances.

When the interior cabin temperature is higher than what’s desired (outside the automatic temperature control setting), the VDC increases refrigeration capacity until the desired temperature is reached. Once the temperature is reached, the VDC automatically reduces its capacity to maintain the desired temperature rather than shutting off completely.

The overall result is smoother compressor transitions, less noise and greater fuel efficiency.

Pulse-width modulation blower
Like the VDC, the pulse-width modulation (PWM) blower continually controls fan speeds for optimal performance in all driving scenarios; quiet, efficient operation; and virtually unnoticeable performance. Not unlike other PWM applications that debuted on the 2013 Ram 1500, the pulse-width blower ensures an infinite amount of varying fan speeds to satisfy every customer-requested condition in relation to the air conditioning system.

Humidity sensor
The new humidity sensor is packaged behind the rearview mirror, and works in tandem with the PWM blower and VDC to continually measure the potential for humidity being formed on the windshield interior. While the sensor enables noticeable de-fogging benefits, it also enables the VDC and PWM blower to run at the most optimal speeds to expedite humidity reduction.

New Air Conditioning Refrigerant
Beginning in 2014, the Ram 1500 will be the first in its competitive set to carry F1234yf refrigerant, an application developed to help reduce greenhouse emissions.

The 2014 Ram 1500 retains its ruggedly handsome appearance with an award winning interior (Ward’s 10 Best Interiors), exterior design aesthetics and segment-leading technology. Every Ram 1500 truck benefits from content specifically designed to match each model’s unique style.

For 2014, the Ram 1500 offers 12 different colors, including two new shades: Blue Streak and Granite Crystal; available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.

Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles
The 2014 Ram 1500 is backed with a, five-year /100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.

The standard three-year / 36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.

The 2014 Ram 1500’s quality is scrutinized at the company’s Chrysler Technology Center’s state-of-the-art scientific labs in Auburn Hills, Mich., including the Noise/Vibration/Harshness Lab, Electromagnetic Compatibility Facility, Wind Tunnel and the Road Test Simulator (RTS).

For example, the RTS recreates the abuse a truck endures at the hands of a 95th percentile driver – meaning someone who drives the vehicle in more severe conditions than 95 percent of all customers. The RTS can put a lifetime of wear and tear on a truck in about one month’s time. The Ram development team is committed to finding and fixing any issues before the customer does.

The 2014 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Mich.), which has built more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2014 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

The new Ram C/V with V6 power and best in class BHP

  • Pentastar V-6 engine delivers best-in-class horsepower and torque providing best-in-class driving range of up to 520 miles
  • Ram C/V offers best-in-class cargo space, payload and class-exclusive towing capability
  • Commercial-tuned ride and heavy-duty suspension maximize payload capability
  • Solid side privacy panels and flat load floor tailored for small-business needs

The Ram Cargo Van – or Ram C/V – features solid sliding door and rear quarter window and backlight privacy panels in place of sunscreen glass windows. However, buyers have the option of equipping their Ram C/V with several combinations of solid and glass panels, including a choice of solid or glass backlight.

The Ram Cargo Van also receives a structural flat aluminum rear load floor. Three flooring options are available, including one with a flat, uninterrupted, high-capacity surface. A second, optional floor provides through-the-floor access to three exclusive storage bins (providing an additional 11.5 cu. ft. of cargo capacity) and load floor tie-downs. A third option is to delete the load floor to accommodate upfits.

With more than 25 years of minivan engineering behind it, and as the inventor of the first minivan-based cargo van, the Ram Commercial brand understands the versatility needs for both small and large businesses. Ram C/V utilizes the convenience features and city-friendly dimensions that have made Chrysler Group minivans segment leaders, while maximizing cargo, convenience and capability attributes.

Ram C/V offers small businesses many competitive advantages. Among them, Ram C/V provides a 1,800-lb. payload and category-exclusive towing capability, up to 3,600 pounds. With a 20-gallon fuel tank and 26 miles per gallon (mpg) highway, Ram C/V also delivers best-in-class fuel range.

Ram Cargo Van is engineered to meet small business and commercial needs. A commercial-tuned ride and heavy-duty suspension offers maximum hauling capability. A heavy-duty radiator and heavy-duty transmission oil cooler help meet heavier powertrain demands. Ram C/V also is engineered with unique hydraulic power-assist rack-and-pinion steering, front anti-sway bar and rear twist-beam axle with coil springs. Ram C/V has a maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 8,750 pounds.

With standard electronic stability control (ESC), commercial load-tuned tire-pressure monitoring (TPM), four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system (ABS) and ideal command-of-the road seating, the Ram Cargo Van offers capability, comfort and convenience with great road manners.

Pentastar V-6 engine
At the heart of the 2014 Ram Cargo Van is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for the past three years) mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transaxle. The Pentastar V-6 is a high-tech, high-performing engine with variable-valve timing (VVT) that hits the sweet spot between power and efficiency. It delivers best-in-class horsepower (283 hp) and torque (260 lb.-ft.) without sacrificing fuel economy.

The Ram C/V also features a new driver-selectable fuel economizer mode. Drivers can change the transaxle shift schedule with a flip of a switch to maximize their fuel economy.

In addition, a rear spoiler and reduced brake caliper and rear bearing drag all contribute to Ram Cargo Van’s class-leading aerodynamics and excellent fuel economy.

A modern, new one-piece instrument panel is more intuitive for the customer with impressive ergonomics and large gauges.

With up to 155.5 cubic feet of interior storage, Ram C/V leads the segment, and unlike other Class 1 competitors, provides ample space to haul 4x8 sheets of building materials. Cargo access is maximized via the Ram C/V’s front seats, rear liftgate and dual sliding doors.

The 2014 Ram Cargo Van exterior includes plenty of real estate on all four sides. This space allows for businesses to post signage and graphics, making the van a rolling billboard to help promote the owners, trade or vocation.

The Ram Cargo Van is distinguished by prominent Ram badges, front and rear.

Standard equipment
The Ram Cargo Van features a monochromatic paint scheme with body-colored front and rear fascias. It also receives a special chrome C/V badge.

Standard features include covered 17-inch steel wheels, a 160-amp alternator, 20-gallon fuel tank, all-season extra-load capacity tires, 730-amp maintenance-free battery, commercial-duty suspension, engine oil cooler, quad halogen headlamps, power rack-and-pinion steering and fold-away power exterior mirrors with heating element.

Inside, Ram Cargo Van also features standard air conditioning with dual-zone temperature control, an instrument cluster with 120-mph speedometer and tachometer, outside temperature display, an overhead console, A-pillar passenger assist handle, 120-volt auxiliary power outlet, 12-volt front and rear DC power outlets, air filtering, audio jack input for mobile devices, automatic transmission with electronic range select, cloth low-back bucket seats, Ram interior accents, door courtesy lamps, driver and passenger-side sun visors with mirrors, dual glove boxes, front courtesy/map lamps, headlamp shut-off delay, cargo compartment observation mirror, a liftgate floodlamp, lower instrument panel storage bin, dual sliding doors with alert warning, power locks, power front windows, rear dome lamp, speed control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, tilting and telescoping steering wheel, tip start and variable intermittent windshield wipers.

Safety features include active head restraints, advanced multistage front air bags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, tire-pressure monitoring sensor, drivers side inflatable knee bolster air bag, electronic stability control, keyless entry with immobilizer and a tire pressure monitoring warning lamp.

The 2014 Ram Cargo Van is available in five paint colors: Billet Silver Metallic, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Bright White Clear Coat, Redline 2 Coat Pearl and True Blue Pearl.

Ram Cargo Van options include an engine block heater, media center with 40 GB hard drive and 6.5-inch touchscreen display, audio jack input for mobile devices, available Garmin navigation system, ParkView backup camera, a Mopar cargo compartment floor mat, a Mopar full-width cargo divider, power eight-way driver’s seat with lumbar adjust, front and rear power windows, security alarm, SiriusXM Radio and Uconnect handsfree voice command with Bluetooth, remote USB port, rearview auto-dim mirror, rear window defroster, rear window wiper and washer and a rear air-conditioning system for small businesses that require a temperature controlled cargo area.

Montezemolo salutes Ferrari Cavalade.

More than 300 kilometres of road winding its way through the most beautiful corners of Tuscany provided the backdrop for the second edition of the Ferrari Cavalcade. The 90 participating client-collectors, some at the wheels of unique cars of the likes of the Enzo and the SA Aperta, set out from Florence bound for Volterra this morning. The large crowd waiting for the cars in the ancient Etruscan city was surprised to see the white FF of none other than Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo leading the parade and, of course, his presence drew enthusiastic applause from participants and public alike. The Cavalcade then moved on to Bolgheri and next to the Tenuta dell’Ornellaia where they were welcomed by the Marchesi Frescobaldi.

The cars made another stop on the return route to Florence, this time at one of Italy’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the town of San Gimignano, which is also known as the Manhattan of the Middle Ages because of the 72 towers and tower houses that dotted its sky in the days of the Italian City States. Today, just 16 remain but the town still retains its extraordinary beauty and allure.

“Our best clients and most dedicated collectors all gathered together to share their passion for the Prancing Horse and their Ferraris by exploring Italy’s most beautiful landscapes and visiting unique locales open only to them: that is the Cavalcade,” is how Luca di Montezemolo describes the philosophy of the event. A philosophy mirrored too in the venue for tonight’s dinner: the Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella, built between 1340 and 1360, and famous for its frescoes. Today, the Cloister, which is Florence’s largest, houses the Carabinieri Officers’ School and, as such, is normally closed to the public. However, an exception has been made for Ferrari!

James Bond's Lotus Submarine goes to auction

  • RM Auctions lifts the gavel on the one and only functional submarine car, used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me,at its eagerly awaited central London sale, 8–9 September
  • Fully functioning submarine car was designed and fitted to propel underwater
  • The actual car seen, on screen, driving underwater;  one of the most famous movie cars of all time
  • Never before offered for sale
  • Amazing story of ‘lost and found’

“Pay attention, 007, RM Auctions is about to sell one of my most ingenious creations and we wouldn’t want it to fall into enemy hands”. Well, ‘Q’ might be a little concerned that his incredible Lotus Esprit Series 1 ‘Submarine’ Car is due to be sold at auction, but for millions of movie fans out there, the appearance of this iconic Bond car on the open market represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

No Bond car has ever done anything as outrageous as transform itself into a submarine. Used to incredible effect in the film The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore, the white Lotus commonly tops the polls when generations of movie fans are asked to vote on their favourite film cars of all time. Like all the best Bond cars, the Lotus was a veritable war chest of weaponry and gadgetry, all designed to fox and foil the enemy, whilst also helping Bond to another hard-won victory for Queen and country.

The vehicle to be offered by RM Auctions at its forthcoming London sale, 8-9 September, in Battersea Park, is the one and only fully functioning car especially designed and built for the famous underwater sequence seen on screen in the 1977 film. Abundantly authenticated, and known as ‘Wet Nellie’ on the set, it was developed from one of six Esprit body shells used in the making of the film. As the only car to be built into a fully operational, self-propelled ‘submarine’, by Perry Oceanographic, based in Riviera Beach, Florida, it is the vehicle which claimed the most screen time in the film. The driver of the car was Don Griffin, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL and test pilot for Perry, who operated the vehicle utilising its motorised propellers while manoeuvring with levered steering mechanisms. At the time, the car was said to have cost over $100,000 to create (equivalent to nearly a half million dollars today).

Subsequent to filming the underwater scenes in the Bahamas, the vehicle was shipped to Long Island, NY, where it was kept in an unassuming storage unit on a ten year rental, paid in advance. Fate later intervened when, in 1989, the then rent delinquent unit was put up ‘blind’ for public auction. A modest winning bid from an area couple brought surprise and wonder when the blankets were removed to reveal the iconic 007 ‘Submarine’ Car. After positive authentication, the Lotus was shown occasionally – including a stint at the Petersen Automotive Museum – but mostly kept closely under wraps, until now.

Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Auctions, Europe, says: “We have a great track record in selling incredible and iconic movie cars, and this particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all time. Over the years, millions of moviegoers have stared in awe as the Lotus transformed itself into a submarine, and now, perhaps one of them will have an opportunity to own it. Her Majesty’s Secret Service aside, it surely is the ultimate beach accessory!"

RM Auctions sold “the most famous car in the world”, the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in the enormously popular Goldfinger and Thunderball movies, for an incredible £2.9 million during its 2010 London sale.

For further information on RM Auctions’ forthcoming London sale, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit rmauctions.com

Range Rover Sport announced as pace car at Pikes Peak

  • Range Rover Sport will open the legendary course to strong international entry at this Sunday’s 91st running of the ‘Race To The Clouds’ 
  • Leading role at one of the world’s most unforgiving driving competitions for Land Rover’s fastest, most responsive and agile vehicle to date 
  • By appearing at Pikes Peak, the Range Rover Sport revisits the scene of its own record-setting run earlier this month
  • A four-minute documentary film showing the Range Rover Sport’s  SUV record-run can be viewed on YouTube from today

As the course-opening car, the Range Rover Sport will revisit the scene of its own record-setting run earlier this month, when it powered to a new best time up the hill for a production-standard Sport Utility Vehicle and broke the long standing record for any type of production-standard vehicle. The Range Rover Sport negotiated the 12.42-mile course, which has 156 corners and ascends from 9,390 feet (2,860m) above sea level to 14,110 feet (4,300m), in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds – an average speed, from a standing start, of 59.17 mph (95.23 kph). The record was set in a Range Rover Sport powered by a 510hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, the vehicle altered from production specification only in the fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet racing safety requirements.

On the record run, the Range Rover Sport was driven by Pikes Peak specialist Paul Dallenbach. This Sunday, the pace car will be driven by veteran motorsports competitor and official Gay Smith, of Colorado Springs. Smith was the 1974 Rookie of the Year on Pikes Peak and has served on the event’s Board of Directors for 20 years.

This year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has attracted 157 competitors (70 cars and 87 motorcycles), with drivers and riders from 16 nations. The entry is headlined by World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.

Timed runs start on Sunday, June 30 at 8:00am MDT. For the first time, the event is being broadcast to fans around the world via the Internet, on RedBull.TV.

Internet visitors can also, starting from this weekend, watch a newly-released four-minute documentary film about the Range Rover Sport’s record run at Pikes Peak earlier this month, with spectacular views from inside and outside the vehicle. This can be seen on Land Rover’s YouTube channel.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak car and motorcycle hill climb competition is held annually on a 12.42-mile (19.99 km) section of the road that runs up to the summit of Pikes Peak Mountain, 14 miles north-west of the town of Colorado Springs.

First run in 1916, Pikes Peak is the USA’s second-oldest motorsport event. Some of America’s most famous racing drivers – Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears, and Al Unser – have won the competition, as have internationally acclaimed rally drivers such as Michele Mouton, Ari Vatanen, Per Eklund and Stig Blomqvist.

All-New Range Rover Sport

Developed alongside the highly-acclaimed Range Rover, the all-new Range Rover Sport delivers the brand’s best-ever on-road dynamics together with class-leading, genuine Land Rover all-terrain capability, while presenting customers with a more assertive and muscular exterior, more luxurious interior and the flexibility provided by the option of occasional third row seating.

Exploiting Land Rover’s breakthrough lightweight suspension design and innovative dynamic chassis technologies, the All-New Range Rover Sport’s first-in-class aluminium architecture achieves a weight saving of more than 800 lbs.

Nissan today announced U.S. pricing for the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SUV

Nissan today announced U.S. pricing for the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SUV, which is on sale now at U.S. Nissan dealers nationwide. The latest iteration of Nissan's popular family adventure-ready SUV, introduced as a 2013 model, has re-energized Pathfinder sales with its unprecedented level of premium style, comfort, fuel economy and thoughtful technology. Sales of the Pathfinder have increased by 201 percent over the previous calendar-year-to-date (through May).

To continue the momentum, Pathfinder receives a number of significant changes for 2014, starting with the addition of a new Pathfinder Hybrid model, which goes on sale in fall 2013.

In addition to the new Pathfinder Hybrid, enhancements for all 2014 Pathfinder models include a new SL Tech Package featuring Bose® 13-speaker Premium Audio System, Nissan Navigation System, Voice Recognition, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather capability (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Zagat Survey® Restaurant Guide, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and 8-inch color touch-screen monitor.

The non-hybrid Pathfinder is available now in four models: S, SV, SL and Platinum, each offered in 4WD and 2WD.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices* (MSRP) for the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5-liter V6 include:

Pathfinder S 2WD           $28,700 USD
Pathfinder SV 2WD           $31,960 USD
Pathfinder SL 2WD           $34,900 USD
Pathfinder Platinum 2WD   $39,600 USD
Pathfinder S 4WD           $30,300 USD
Pathfinder SV 4WD           $33,560 USD
Pathfinder SL 4WD           $36,500 USD
Pathfinder Platinum 4WD    $41,200 USD
Destination and Handling     $845.

The 2014 Pathfinder is also available with four option packages: SL Tech Package, SL Premium Package, Platinum Premium Package and Trailer Tow Package.

About the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2014 Pathfinder provides confidence in tough weather conditions with Intuitive 4WD and a class-exclusive** dial with selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes. It also offers 5,000 pounds of standard towing capacity, the most standard towing in its class** and best-in-class mpg*** of 26 mpg highway / 20 mpg city and 22 mpg combined for the 2WD model and 25 mpg highway / 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined for the 4WD model.

Pathfinder also offers comfortable seating for seven passengers and best-in-class roominess. Pathfinder's innovative EZ Flex™ Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE™, an industry first 2nd row tip-up seat, allows easy 3rd row access with a child safety seat still installed (passenger side only).

The 2014 Pathfinder's attractive interior design includes comfortable seating for seven and premium seating materials. The Nissan Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display, located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, features a 4.0-inch color display and utilizes natural-looking 3D-effect graphics. An available 8.0-inch touch-screen monitor, mounted in the middle of the instrument panel, provides intuitive interaction and control of the Nissan Navigation System, along with a variety of driver-selectable vehicle systems and settings.

A range of available features is also offered, starting with the class-exclusive Around View® Monitor**** and two rows of leather-appointed seating. Also available are Heated and Cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, programmable Nissan Intelligent Key®, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, 13-speaker Bose® Premium Audio system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control, RearView Monitor and Remote Engine Start, Tri-Zone Entertainment System, Dual Panorama Moonroof and Easy Fill Tire Alert.

Ford outpaces all competition in the US

  • Strong demand on the coasts lifts Ford’s U.S. market share nearly a full percentage point to 16.2 percent through May, outpacing all competitors
  • Ford’s overall growth spans the full vehicle lineup; through May, U.S. overall car sales are up 12 percent, utility vehicle sales are up 18 percent, and truck sales are up 11 percent
  • In addition to design and fuel economy, premium features such as SYNC® and MyFord Touch® are helping to attract new customers across the lineup with take rates double that of Honda and Toyota

“Our gains for the Ford brand in the U.S. are driven by our new products,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas. “We are absolutely committed to continuing the aggressive introduction of new products throughout our showroom.”

Since the introduction of the new Fiesta three years ago, the Ford brand has achieved the fastest retail share growth of any automotive brand on the west and east coasts combined – up almost 2.5 percentage points compared with 2008 – based on Polk retail registration data. This year, the growth is largely based on share gains for the Ford Escape small utility vehicle and Ford Fusion midsize sedan.

The share gains demonstrate the success of Ford’s push to win over customers by investing more in small cars, midsize sedans and small utilities – in what Ford has dubbed the “super segment.” Particularly on the west coast, Ford vehicles’ standout design and leading fuel efficiency in this segment are helping the company to close the market share gap with Japanese rivals. Based on Ford analysis of Polk retail registration data, Ford’s east and west coast retail market share is 1 percentage point away from Honda.

“What’s so encouraging is the quality of our share gains,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln. “Customers are increasingly choosing highly equipped vehicles such as our Titanium models. We also see this in customers asking for our in-vehicle connectivity SYNC® and MyFord Touch® systems, which are now in 79 percent of vehicles across the Ford brand – more than double the rate of Toyota and Honda infotainment systems.”

Throughout the U.S., sales growth remains strong across Ford’s product portfolio. Sales of Ford’s F-Series, the best-selling pickup in the United States for 36 years, rose 22 percent through May, topping 70,000 units last month for the first time since March 2007.

Ford also is now on track to be the best-selling utility vehicle brand in the United States for the third straight year. Utility sales, led by the new Ford Escape and Explorer, are up 18 percent through May, with Escape sales on pace to surpass 150,000 vehicles in the first six months of 2013.

Technology, fuel economy and design drive growth
“Ford vehicle technologies are helping to attract new customers and drive growth,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. “SYNC and MyFord Touch are also helping to deliver higher customer satisfaction.”

Customers that have vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch are more satisfied with overall vehicle quality for most models than those that do not have the advanced infotainment – showing that customers continue to want these technologies. Customers with Fusions that have MyFord Touch have 7 points higher quality satisfaction than other Fusion models. We also have improved MyFord Touch quality by more than 50 percent since launch and plan another upgrade this summer.

Driven by EcoBoost® and hybrids, Ford’s fuel-efficient lineup also is contributing to the company’s U.S. growth. Ford offers seven vehicles that deliver more than 40 mpg, including the new SFE-package Ford Fiesta with best-in-class 41 mpg highway. With the introduction of the new Ford C-MAX and Fusion Hybrid, Ford has also sold more hybrids in the first five months of 2013 than in any full year ever.

Adding to the fuel economy leadership, the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost will be available on Fiesta later this year. The company also plans to further invest in technologies like Auto Start-Stop and nine- and 10-speed transmissions. These transmissions, to be built in both front- and rear-wheel-drive variants, will be matched with advanced new EcoBoost powertrains to further improve vehicle performance, increase fuel economy and ultimately drive greater levels of customer satisfaction.

“Customers continue to want leading fuel economy in their vehicles, and we’re committed to delivering top fuel economy across our lineup,” Nair said.

TMW - The downfall of the PSA Group, or the start of something better ?

If the rumour mongers are to be believed, then it looks like the PSA group, or Peugeot and Citroen to the rest of us, are running out of money, and very quickly, and they are relying on minority shareholder General Motors to bail them out.

It has been reported elsewhere that the money could dry up as soon as the year end and the major stockholders, the Peugeot family, have initially offered to stand down and agree to allow General Motors to take over the company, the company has reportedly burned through three billion euros in operating cash last year, and this is a figure that can not be sustained.

General Motors currently operated three big brands in Europe, Vauxhall for the UK market, Opel for the rest of Europe and Chevrolet that is marketed everywhere, so will the General step into the breach and have two more huge brands to add to its arsenal.

Since General Motors invested in PSA last year to the tune of 7% they have tentatively agreed to share engines and platforms for new models including the new Peugeot 3008, Vauxhall/Opel Zafira and Citroen C3 Picasso

Former Peugeot GB managing director and now executive vice-president of corporate communications, Jon Goodman, told Reuters: ‘We don’t comment on speculation or rumours.”

However all the brands are suffering from major over capacity, and should the general step into PSA's boardroom as boss they will be requiring cuts that will not sit well with the French government, and in particular French President Francois Hollande, who will undoubtedly be a key player in any decisions that will be ultimately made.

But whatever that outcome it has got to work, or PSA could go bust, and that would be worse for the French government, after all there are 77,000 directly employed at PSA, and countless 1,000's of associated jobs.

It has been noted that the Peugeot family had already asked the Chinese auto company, Dongfeng, for financial support, but after much negotiation these talks failed, and in a direct comparison to the downfall of MG-Rover back in 2005, the family must be thinking that this situation may well end up the same way and it looks like the General Motors discussions may be the last chance for them to avoid, what will be the biggest auto failure of all time.

According to Reuters, General Motors are "playing hardball" in waiting to be assured that that is can make all the necessary cuts in plant and jobs at what they call "reasonable cost", no jobs or plant closures can be classed as reasonable, but if it is a case of plant and job cuts against total closure, then surely the cuts will be the best way forward, either way no decision will be made before the German elections in September, so as to avoid the fall out from any issues that may arise in Germany.

As it looks, the General is on an upward swing, if you ignore the sales figures,they have the new ADAM, Cascada and Mokka, along with a mid life refresh of the Insignia and the new Corsa due imminently, Citroen have a number of refreshed models as well as the new C4 Picasso and Grand Picasso, Peugeot has the stunningly beautiful 208 and 2008, along with refreshed RCZ, it seems as though PSA are relying heavily on the 208/2008 to turn things around, and so far the sales of these models have proved fruitful.

The 408 has failed miserably to live up to it's hype and sales are no where near as good as the original 405/6/7 which finished production in 2011 and 4.5 million units against 125,650 for the years 2010/11 for the 508, and it is this model that replaced two segments namely the large family car and executive car markets, the 508 has been a failure in the UK market with sales bordering on the non existent compared to the original 405.

Neither the PSA or the General are having a great time in Europe, with the General suffering to the tune of a 11% drop in sales against 2012 for the first five months of the year and PSA an even worse 13.9% drop, so will the general invest, yes i think they will, PSA has invested heavily in the new 208/2008 and they are reaping the rewards now, but they failed to make sure that the income matched the out goings, and in doing so they are likely to lose their Independence, and that may not be a good thing for the French company.

Report by J.Mower

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Stunning Ford F-150, we need this in the UK

  • 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor comes standard with the company’s powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, offering V8 performance, V6 fuel economy and a launch-optimized 4.10 rear axle with electronic locking differential
  • Short-wheelbase, regular-cab Tremor offers stylish FX Appearance Package and functional features that include a floor shifter, class-exclusive HID headlamps and standard SYNC® with MyFord Touch® connectivity system
  • All-new truck’s distinctive looks are complemented by unique boxside Tremor graphics and custom-inspired interior

The 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor is the first-ever EcoBoost®-powered sport truck that addresses the needs of street truck enthusiasts looking for high-performance V8 power with V6 fuel economy.

The short-wheelbase, regular-cab Tremor goes on sale this fall delivering distinctive looks and performance. The all-new truck couples the style of the FX Appearance Package with an EcoBoost engine and a launch-optimized 4.10 rear axle – the shortest final drive ratio offered in an EcoBoost F-150 – helping provide customers with fast acceleration.

Tremor signals its sport truck capabilities with a custom-inspired FX Appearance Package featuring stealthy, flat-black accents that include unique 20-inch flat-black wheels, stylized bodyside graphics and black badges with red lettering.

Tremor is the only regular-cab F-150 offering a flow-through center console and bucket seats. Interior touches include black leather seating surfaces with red piping, brushed-metal accents and a red-stitched steering wheel. Alcantara seat inserts add texture and style as well.

“The new Tremor gives F-150 customers yet another option to drive a highly capable, distinctive performance truck with features typically found only in the aftermarket,” said Brian Bell, F-150 product marketing manager. “Plus, the Built Ford Tough EcoBoost engine is available for the first time in a short-wheelbase F-150.”

F-150 Tremor is powered exclusively by Ford’s groundbreaking 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which features:

  • 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel
  • 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm
  • Twin independent variable camshaft timing for improved performance and fuel economy
  • Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm
  • An electronic locking rear differential that’s standard for both two- and four-wheel-drive versions helps deliver the power to the pavement by improving traction during takeoff.

Connectivity comes standard on F-150 Tremor with MyFord Touch® powered by SYNC®. Designers have optimized the physical interface for MyFord Touch to accommodate truck users who may be wearing work gloves by providing easy access to climate controls and audio presets on the center stack.