Sunday, January 13, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Detroit motor show: Nissan Versa Note

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 04:29 AM PST

Detroit show debut for the Nissan Versa Note, which is expected to borrow heavily from the handsome Invitation concept

The Nissan Versa Note will debut at the Detroit motor show tomorrow. The new car is expected to be the North American version of the nex-gen Note arriving in European markets later this year.

Although Nissan has only issued this single teaser image, it is expected the car will borrow heavily from the Nissan Invitation concept from last year's Geneva motor show.

Nissan says the Versa Note, a five-door hatchback, will offer "segment-exclusive technology, outstanding fuel economy, smart packaging and class-leading cargo space".

While Sunderland-built European models are tipped to carry the 1.2-litre supercharged engine from the Micra DIG-S, it is likely American models will feature the 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit from the Versa Sedan.

A test mule was recently spotted confirming the European Note's similarities with the Invitation.

Citroën set to abandon quirky design

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 04:00 AM PST

Radical designs to be set aside to increase appeal in a global market

Citroën must abandon its history of quirky styling if it is to succeed in the future, according to the company's design director, Alexandre Malval. As a result, Citroën will not work on projects that challenge design themes in the mould of iconic cars such as the 2CV and original DS.

Malval, who returned to head up Citroën's design team in 2012 after three years at Peugeot, has been charged with leading the firm's push for world sales, with China and other Asian markets a priority.

"We are definitely at a crossroads as a company on styling," said Malval. "Part of the difficulty is that it is part of our personality to be a bit radical and a bit different. Our iconic silhouettes — 2CV, original DS and so on — are radical in a way you can't do when you design cars for a world market."

Instead, Malval said he is concentrating on ensuring that Citroën's 'C' and 'DS' ranges have distinctive, separate styles that apply across every model. The first evidence of this is expected to be seen when the new C4 Picasso is launched later this year. A new DS concept is also expected to be revealed during the year.

"We have to find a different aesthetic for the future," said Malval. "The Chinese market is far more fashion led, but that fashion can change really fast and we have to be a little bit careful because of that speed of change. China is open to new silhouettes, new technology — so many things. But we must also remember our heartland in Europe, where proportions and volumes of scale are so important. We must tread that path carefully."

Detroit motor show: Infiniti Q50

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 03:48 AM PST

Error by Infiniti's website sees the Q50 revealed ahead of its show debut in Detroit

The Infiniti Q50 has been revealed, after pictures appeared on an internet forum ahead of its debut at tomorrow's Detroit motor show.

The shots of the Infinti G37 replacement surfaced on an owners club website after reportedly appearing on Infiniti Canada's website in error.

Infiniti claims the new compact exec will be sportier and more "dynamic" than the G37. The new model closely resembles the Infiniti LE concept from last year's New York motor show.

Internet reports suggest a two V6 petrol engines – one with hybrid technology – will be offered, but it is thought Mercedes-sourced four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will power European-specification models.


Detroit Motor Show: Lincoln MKC Concept

Posted: 12 Jan 2013 09:01 PM PST

Lincoln, Ford's luxury brand, wheels out its first small SUV for the Detroit motor show

Ford's US luxury brand Lincoln has unveiled this SUV concept, called MKC, at the Detroit motor show; it previews the forthcoming US-market production MKC, due later this year.

The car is based on the Ford Escape/Kuga, but gets a new, sleeker body and a new interior. It has a longer wheelbase and is wider and lower than the Escape/Kuga twins. Although some of the concept car detailing will be lost on the production vehicle, the finished MKC will be virtually identical to the show car.

Inside the MKC seats four, and gets its own dashboard that shares nothing with the Fords. It features an unusual push button gear selector to the left of the touch screen with buttons for P, R, N and D in the style of large commercial passenger vehicles. The wood trim is made from reconstructed timber with metal flakes incorporated into the material.

Lincoln, which was America's biggest selling luxury car brand at the end of the 90s, needs new and younger buyers with more money. Cars such as the MKC and the forthcoming MKS and MKX, will have to attract customers who will have always considered Lincoln as too old and conservative.

Ford also hopes Lincoln will become successful in China, where it will be launched in 2014, in the same way Buick has for General Motors.

Kia design boss takes on Hyundai role

Posted: 12 Jan 2013 02:13 PM PST

Kia's acclaimed design chief Peter Schreyer to take on Hyundai-Kia group role

Kia's acclaimed design chief Peter Schreyer has been given a broadened role as head of design for both Hyundai and Kia.

Schreyer's new role is described as giving the group "long-term vision for design and to enforce design differentiation", and is officially being hailed as an opportunity to "streamline resources and create synergy between the two brands".

Woong-Chul Yang, vice chairman of Hyundai's R&D centre in Korea said: "Strengthening our fundamentals, especially in the area of design, is imperative to secure long-term competitiveness. Design is not just the most visible aspect of the car, but it's an area customers have a strong emotional connection to. It is at the centre of our efforts to enhance our brand value."

Schreyer, a former head of design at Audi and Volkswagen, was promoted to the position of president at Kia late last year, and his latest promotion comes in the wake of Hyundai-Kia announcing a brand goal of 'innovation based on quality' last week.

With Hyundai pushing to become recognised as a more aspirational, upmarket brand, as well as developing sporty themes through its motorsport involvement, Schreyer is widely tipped to be given a far-reaching brief to overhaul the brand's design philosophies.

Detroit motor show 2013: full A-to-Z

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 09:56 AM PST

Autocar will be reporting live from the Detroit motor show on Monday 14th. Here's our complete preview

The Detroit motor show opens in tomorrow. As one of the most important events on the US automotive calendar, Autocar will be reporting live on all the new cars unveiled. Here's our complete guide to the show.


Honda's US-only luxury arm Acura is to show a concept car that previews its forthcoming MDX SUV, due for release in 2013. A seven-seat rival for the BMW X5 and Mercedes ML, Acura is hoping to expand MDX sales into Russia and the Middle East, though it's unlikely to be coming to the UK.


The Audi SQ5 is to be unveiled with a petrol powered supercharged 3.0-litre V6, aimed at diesel-spurning buyers in America, Russia and China, It's not coming to the UK, where the more powerful (349bhp) diesel SQ5 will remain the Q5 range topper.

The new Audi RS6 also makes its international debut in Detroit. Lighter, more powerful and more efficient than its forebear, the RS6 develops 552bhp from its twin-turbo V8 and will crack 0-62mph in a supercar-rivaling 3.9 seconds. It arrives in showrooms this July.

The performance car showcase continues with the R8 V10 Plus. Sitting at the top of the R8 range, the Plus features revised suspension geometry and standard carbon-ceramic brakes for greater track performance.

America is an important market for the RS5 Cabriolet, so it is to receive a second airing in Detroit. Using the same 4.2-litre V8 as the coupé, the RS5 develops 444bhp and can reach 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds.


Bentley is to showcase the world's fastest four-seat cabriolet in the form of the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible. With a claimed top speed of 202 mph, the new GT speed is 7mph faster than the model it replaces.


BMW is showcasing the facelifted Z4 roadster, complete with a new entry level 2.0-litre petrol motor. Developing 154bhp, the new engine will get the Z4 from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds.

The BMW M6 GranCoupe features the same 552bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 as the two-door model. Shown for the first time at Detroit, the GranCoupe will reach UK shores in April, priced around £100,000.

The BMW 4-series is being shown in concept form. It will replace the 3-series coupe upon its UK launch later this year, and will distance itself from its saloon sibling by being a more focused driver's car.

BMW is also to unveil its X4 SUV. Based on the X3 crossover, and expected to wear the same striking coupe styling as the bigger X6, the X4 will reach the UK in early 2014, priced around £32,000.


Cadillac's ELR range-extender hybrid will be shown for the first time at the show. It uses a similar drivetrain configuration to the Vauxhall Ampera, mating a four-cylinder petrol engine to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.


Dodge's Alfa Giulietta-based Dart is to get a performance range-topper in the form of the Dart GT. Fitted with a 184bhp 2.4-litre engine and revised suspension settings, it will retail at the equivalent of around £13,000 in the United States only.


General Motors is showcasing new versions of the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. Updates include a new six-speed automatic gearbox and cylinder deactivation across the range of V6 and V8 engines.

The new Corvette C7 is also being officially launched at the show. While it keeps the classic proportions of old, the new Corvette could be offered with downsized engines, including a turbocharged V6.


Honda is to unveil a new concept car called Urban SUV, which will hint at the design of its forthcoming baby off-roader. Expected to go on sale in the next three years, it is likely to be based on the Honda Jazz platform and rival the Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka.


The Hyundai HCD-14 Concept being unveiled at Detroit is designed to give a taste of what a Hyundai luxury car would look like. It features futuristic design touches such as gesture-based controls.


A production version of the new Q50 (formerly the G series) – Infiniti's 3-series rivaling compact exec – will be unveiled at Detroit.  The styling is expected to be heavily influenced by the Emerg_e concept car. It will be available with a range of small capacity petrol and diesel engines.


The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been facelifted for 2013 and comes with the usual improvements to material quality and refinement. It is also to be offered in the US with a diesel engine for the first time. A new eight-speed automatic gearbox replaces the old five and six speed units.


A revised version of Kia's K7 saloon, the Kia Cadenza will be marketed in the US only. Slightly longer and narrower than a BMW 5-series, the Cadenza will rival popular US saloons the Acura RL and Toyota Avalon.


The brand new Lexus IS is to make its first public appearance. Remaining largely faithful to the look of the LFCC concept car, the IS will eschew diesel power in favour of a frugal and efficient hybrid drivetrain, of which CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km are expected.


US luxury brand Lincoln is hoping to re-invent itself with its MKZ concept. Based on Ford's mid-sized platform, this strict four-seater is slathered in luxury accoutrements.


The new Maserati Quattroporte sits right at the sporty end of the luxury saloon car market, featuring new Ferrari-derived turbo engines and heavily revised styling. Prices will start at around £80,000.


Mercedes is showcasing the entire lineup of the freshly revised E-class range, including the coupé, cabriolet and AMG performance versions. Described by Mercedes as the most comprehensive makeover in its history, it is aiming the E-class at a younger market.


The Mini Paceman coupé-crossover is to receive a potent range-topper in the form of the Mini Paceman JCW. With a 215bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, it promises hot-hatch performance in a larger body.


The Nissan Leaf has been updated for 2013. Charging times have been slashed and standard equipment levels improved.


The Toyota Furia concept car will be on display in Detroit. It is expected to preview the design of the forthcoming Corolla, which is due for replacement in the next two years.

Daljinder Nagra

Detroit Motor Show: Volkswagen seven seat SUV revealed

Posted: 09 Jan 2013 07:13 AM PST

Cheaper Volkswagen 4x4, based on the MQB platform, will rival the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee

Volkswagen's new seven-seat SUV, aimed at providing the company with a rival for the likes of the Ford Explorer in the US, will get its first public outing at the Detroit motor show.

The new 4x4 will be positioned below the Touareg as a cheaper, more spacious offering - the Touareg makes do with five seats.

It will be based on VW's MQB platform, which is versatile enough to be used in cars as diverse as the Polo and this new SUV, and will be built in the US at the firm's Tennessee plant.

Large, affordable seven seat SUVS are an important part of the new car industry in the US. Honda's Pilot, the Explorer and Jeep's Grand Cherokee all cost from around $30,000, and VW will want to price its new vehicle competitively.


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