Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

UPDATE: 2009 GMC Terrain a new vehicle, will join a new Chevy Equinox

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Okay, the Automotive News story we were tipped on earlier is now out, and we can clarify the details about the upcoming 2009 GMC Terrain. As initially reported, the Terrain replaces the Pontiac Torrent, which gets laid to rest as Pontiac becomes car-focused once again. The news is that Terrain will be a new vehicle roughly sized the same as the Jeep Liberty, and probably not the exact truck you see above, from the sound of things. It’ll join a new Chevy Equinox also built atop the updated Theta platform, and the GMC will have unique sheetmetal that’s said to be “bolder” than that of the Chevy. Look for pricing to be in the same ballpark as the Equinox, which will start in the $22,000 range. The Terrain (and presumably the Equinox) will be built at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. So, while the new Terrain will share a name with the Antara variant being sold in the Middle East, it sounds like it’s going to be its own truck, and not a straight rebadging exercise like the one shown here. We expect to see both the new Terrain and the next-gen Equinox at some point during the upcoming show season.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

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REPORT: Ford to say “Tata” to Jaguar, Land Rover soon

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According to numerous published reports today, Ford is expected to announce within days that India’s Tata Motors will be the preferred bidder for the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. Assuming this happens, look for Tata to pay Ford up to $2 billion USD for the pair of iconic British marques. As has already been reported here and elsewhere, the British labor unions have come out in support of the Tata bid, and the Indian company also has Fiat lined up to help show it the ropes when it comes to managing major European brands. Tata has also stated that the three British factories used to produce Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be retained. We’ll keep tabs on the developments, since it now sounds like some sort of announcement is imminent.

[Source: The Sunday Times]

 

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REPORT: 2009 GMC Terrain to replace Pontiac Torrent in US

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Click image to enlarge

UPDATE:
The 2009 GMC Terrain will be a new, Jeep Liberty-sized vehicle and not the Middle East version with the same name shown above. Details here.

With the Torrent dropped from Pontiac’s long-term plans as the brand returns its focus to performance-oriented cars, GM appears to already know how and where it’ll replace the small crossover. The answer was apparently unveiled back in November when GMC introduced the Terrain in Kuwait. Like the Saturn Vue, the GMC Terrain is essentially a badge-engineered Opel Antara; and it’s reportedly coming to the US, according to an Automotive News report that’s set to hit the wires tomorrow. Due as a 2009 model, the Terrain will be GMC’s first foray into the compact SUV CUV segment. As you can see above, the division’s branding looks right at home on the Vue/Antara bodywork. The long-in-the-tooth Chevy Equinox can’t be hanging around much longer, either, and while GM has denied plans to do so in the past, we’ve got to believe the Chevy Captiva version of the Antara is waiting in the wings to carry the Equinox moniker forward. At least we hope that’s the case.

[Source: All Cars All The Time]

 

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Spy Shot: Mercedes-Benz GLK caught on Sex and the City set

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click to enlarge

Thank the four ladies from Sex and the City for this very early sneak peek of the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Stuttgart’s new compact CUV that wasn’t supposed to be seen in public until the Geneva Motor Show in March. The vehicle’s being used in the upcoming Sex and the City movie and was snapped completely free of camo on an open set.

Without all of the covering and cladding, it’s now apparent just how sharp and chunky the GLK’s styling is. Some have described it as Jeep-like, though we think it’s a bit more complicated and busy than a simple slab-sided Jeep.

Curiously, the GLK will not be sold in right-hand-drive markets like the UK because its 4Matic four-wheel-drive system can’t be made to work with the steering wheel on the right. Where the GLK is on sale, it will be offered with a smattering of engines, including two gas-powered V6s, a diesel V6 and diesel four-cylinder.

Considering that the GLK has long been considered a response to the BMW X3, we’re wondering how you think it stacks up, at least in the area of styling. We’ve always considered the X3 awkward-looking, but the GLK is also a little too butch for our liking. So we guess the question is, which one’s less ugly?

[Photo: Brenda Priddy & Co.]

 

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Kovalainen confirmed as Hamilton’s McLaren teammate for 2008

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With Fernando Alonso officially heading back to Renault, the next question to be answered was who was going to fill the vacancy left at McLaren. Back in October we speculated that anyone from McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rossa to Mika Hakkinen could take the position. On Friday it was announced that Heikki Kovalainen, who was left without a seat at Renault, will join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren for 2008. Kovalainen scored 30 or Renault’s 51 points and finished seventh in the 2007 driver standings. The duo will be one of the youngest driver combos, and both will be starting just their second season in Formula 1. McLaren’s press release as well as a Q&A with Kovalainen are after the jump.

[Source: McLaren]

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Detroit Preview: North American debut for Buick Riviera concept

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click above image for more high-res pics of the Buick Riviera Concept

One of the stylistic highlights of the 2007 Shanghai Motor Show was the Buick Riviera concept. The gullwing coupe was developed by GM’s Chinese design team, who did a bang-up job. The Riviera reportedly gives a pretty good preview of the design direction for future Buicks, especially ones sold in China. If so, Buicks will finally have some real character besides those fender portholes. The Riv would make an attractive variant of the Zeta platform, although those gull-wing doors are unlikely to go any further than the concept. North American audiences will finally get a firsthand look at the new Buick when it kicks off its tour on this continent at the Detroit Auto Show.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

Gallery: Buick Riviera Concept – Press Photos

 

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New Mercedes E-Class coming this September

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Mercedes is moving beyond the neo-retro theme it’s cultivated for its E-Class middle child. The C-Class has established some new familial cues with its recent redesign, and Autocar is reporting that the E-Class will expand on those themes. Tauter, edgier, and crisper are the words used to describe the new look, and Autocar’s rendering certainly backs up its statement. The attendant increase in bulk that seems to plague each new generation will hopefully be held in check by further use of weight-saving construction techniques and materials.

Powering the new E-Class will be the 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection (E35), as well as newly revised V8s. Based on the current 4.5- and 5.5-liter V8s (M273), the new versions will pick up direct injection, as well as efficiency and performance tweaks. More exciting, perhaps, will be a hybrid model by 2010, and BLUETEC diesels. With a mileage target of 47 mpg, the hybrid is not likely to follow the “V12 performance with V8 consumption” model of the Lexus LS, but will still do that Benz thing; get you there stylishly ,safe and comfortably cosseted.

[Source: Autocar, Rendering: DeLuisi]

 

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Ghosn hints at killing Nissan Titan

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No one doubts that selling full-size trucks in the U.S. is a tough racket. Nissan knows this firsthand, as it’s sold only 60,961 units of its Titan pickup so far in 2007. Compare that to the third best-selling truck in the U.S., the Dodge Ram, which has sold 326,177 units, or the new-for-2007 Toyota Tundra, which has sold 177,336 units.

In a Newsweek article profiling Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan-Renault reportedly hinted that he may kill the Titan pickup. The fact is, it’s becoming less and less profitable to compete in a full-size truck segment that’s shrinking and becoming more competitive by the day. While Ghosn is far from hammering the last nail in the Titan’s coffin, his reported comment simply highlights the fact that a smart company will build what it can sell for a profit.

Producing a pickup profitably is clearly on Ghosn’s mind, and considering last Friday’s rumor that Nissan is in talks with Chrysler on a possible collaboration, a Dodge Ram-based Titan that’s cheaper to produce than the current truck is definitely a possibility going forward. Either that, or there won’t be a Titan at all if Ghosn can’t figure out how to make a buck off it.

[Source: Newsweek via Pickuptruck.com]

 

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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: BMW X6 to debut at Detroit

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click above image to see high-res gallery of the BMW X6

BMW’s big Detroit debut will be the production X6 Sports Activity Coupe (unsurprisingly, BMW avoids the somewhat unbecoming “SAC” acronym), which will be arriving in US showrooms sometime during the second quarter of 2008. When it does, buyers get two flavors to choose from. The xDrive50i is powered by a new twin-turbo, direct-injected 4.4L V8 pumping out 400-horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The xDrive35i, meanwhile, gets the automaker’s acclaimed 300-hp TT inline six-cylinder. Dynamic Performance Control is a standard feature that can direct torque to either rear wheel, further aiding steering in both dry weather and sloppier conditions. Design-wise, the production X6 looks pretty much just like the hybrid-equipped concept version we saw earlier this year. Basically, it’s a larger “X” model with a coupe roofline. Not bad, as SUVs go, but the sloping roof obviously forces owners to compromise some space in the name of style. Still, the driver and three friends can stow their golf clubs in back while riding in comfort. Interior appointments are typical BMW fare, meaning they’re quite nice. If you’ve been in a modern Bimmer, you know precisely what to expect. The X6 is no slug, either, with a manufacturer-claimed 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds for the turbo V8 model. We’ll have plenty more to say after we check it out firsthand in a few weeks.

[Source: BMW]

Gallery: BMW X6

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Maserati GranTurismo has some baggage

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Click photo for gallery

Fret not. The new Maserati doesn’t have issues and isn’t in need of therapy or anything. The baggage we’re talking about is the kind you pack your clothes and shaving kit in. The slinky new coupe is actually the beneficiary of a little tie-in with Salvatore Ferragamo, which has produced a new five-piece set of fitted luggage inspired by the GranTurismo. To celebrate the car’s UK arrival, the set is being displayed in the window of the Salvatore Ferragamo store on London’s Bond Street through Christmas Eve. It’s the perfect gift for that special someone who pretty much has everything else there is to have already. You can see it in the gallery below, which also contains four nice new hi-res shots of the car. We know that’s what you really want to look at anyway.

[Source: Maserati]

Gallery: Salvatore Ferragamo luggage for Maserati GranTurismo

Gallery: 2007 Maserati GranTurismo

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