Automotive News - December 2013

IIHS Top Safety Picks Thinner Due To Tougher Criteria

Even though cars are getting safer every year, the number of vehicles that are earning Top Safety Pick nods from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHA) are growing fewer thanks to tougher criteria. Spotlighting new advances in technology, those vehicles who don't offer the newest safety features simply don't make the cut.

Small Pick-Ups

The pick-up truck market has never been hotter, thanks to a rebounding economy. Tradesmen are reinvesting in new equipment, and the housing business is booming again. Most truck sales seem to be full size though, since the price difference between a compact pick-up and a full-size truck is very small. Buyers feel they are getting more value by choosing a full-size for only a little bit more than the cost of a smaller truck. This trend actually promoted Ford to get out of the small pick-up market completely, abandoning the North American Ford Ranger completely, and Chrysler has given up on it's Dakota successor. Trucks offer manufacturers very large profit margins, so they pay a lot of attention to this market. About 1.9 million full-size pick-ups will be sold this year in North America. General Motors isn't abandoning the #small pick-up truck market though. With less competition in the field, they are pushing hard, and giving Toyota a run for their money.

Two Chrysler Engines Rank in Ward's Top Ten

Each year, Ward's magazine offers their list of the 10 best engines of the year. For 2014, Chrysler is proud to have two of it's powertrains appearing on that list. First there is teh 3.0-litre V6 Ecodiesel engine. With an output of 240 horsepower, this engine is offered in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the RAM 1500. Moreover, the RAM is the only full-sized light truck that offer a clean diesel engine anywhere in the North American market. "Quiet, strong and as smooth as the diesels we’ve been testing in luxury cars, the Ram 3.0L V-6 works in perfect harmony with Chrysler’s standard 8-speed transmission to deliver an unbeatable combination of power and efficiency," said Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of WardsAuto Worls magazine. "Thanks to advanced emissions-control technology, its exhaust is ultra-clean, making this engine available in all 50 states. If you’re planning serious work or play, the Ram EcoDiesel really makes sense."

Honda Ridgeline- It's Successor Is On It's Way

Back in the summer, we talked about the rumours swirling about concerning a replacement for the Honda Ridgeline. In fact, some of the rumours suggested that the Ridgeline would not be replaced at all, something that Honda denied at the time.

Spied! 2015 Chrysler 200

Automakers go to great lengths to hide upcoming models before they are ready to present them to the world. Most development work is done indoors, and testing is done in remote locations away from prying eyes and cameras. Often when a prototype is caught on film, the vehicle is heavily disguised.

Quebec's Wicked Supercar

Quebec automotive engineers have always wanted the province to have it's own automobile industry. Not only to build a cars for others, but to design a completely new model that would be assembled there. Do you remember the Manic GT that was built in Quebec in the 70's? How about the HTT Plethora from a few years ago? Now there is another local project in the air.

Mind Controlled UNI-CUB From Honda

Honda is well known for their work in robotics, most famously for bringing ASIMO to life. Last week they showed off their newest creation, the UNI-CUB, a vehicle that is seemingly controlled by the user's mind.

Chevrolet Back In RWD Market With SS

We already know that the Chevy line-up includes more performance cars than any of it's U.S. rivals. However, the RWD performance sports sedan segment is almost entirely dominated by Chrysler's 300 SRT and Charger models.

Watch Out Porsche & Nissan, Chevy Z06 On It's Way

Expected to make it's official debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the track-focused Chevy Z06 has some lofty goals. Spokespeople at the Detroit automaker have said that they are taking aim at the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R.

AJAC Winners Announced

This week the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced the winners from each category of the automotive industry. You may recall that the #AJAC Test Fest, held every year in late October brings together all new (or significantly updated) vehicles over a five day period. Every journalists tests all of the vehicles in each class, consecutively and on the same day under the same conditions. This year, 80 journalists attended the event and evaluated 174 vehicles.

Honda FCEV Concept

#Honda is well known for it's success with small cars and hybrid vehicles. We know a little less about Honda's talents as a hydrogen car manufacturer. At the recent International Auto Show in Los Angeles, Honda introduced their FCEV concept, a vehicle that is anticipated to be the next fuel cell vehicle to arrive in the United States and Japan in 2015, and arriving later on in Europe.

Near Record Level Production Straining Plants

As Canada and the U.S. fight to keep auto production (and it's thousands of jobs) local, the recent upswing in automotive sales has put a strain on our assembly plants by generating near record levels of production output.

It's All Over For Honda And Martin Matte

For the last 13 years, Martin Matte has extolled the virtues and qualities of Honda in Quebec. He announced yesterday on his Facebook page that his contract will end this summer. Two years ago he suggested that he stop, and to leave at the top before burning out his character. The company convinced him to stay another two years, with an option for a third. Those two years come to an end this summer, and last Friday Honda announced that Martin Matte will not be taking advantage of the optional year.

2015 Ford Mustang Finally Here

It's the car we've been waiting ages for. Ford's long awaited newly redesigned #2015 Mustang was officially revealed in 6 cities around the world, all at the same time on December 5th. Celebrating it's 50th anniversary, the sixth generation Mustang was unveiled today in Dearborn, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Barcelona.

The Return Of The Chevy Colorado

After a brief exit from the small pickup truck category, Chevy is back with the Colorado, unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show last week. Decisions made for Ford and Dodge to withdraw their Ranger and Dakota have surely helped to convince General Motors to renew it's Colorado, holding the American fort against evil Japanese invaders.

Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo

When planning to mark the 15th anniversary of the popular video game Gran Turismo, the game's producer Kazunori Yamauchi asked automobile manufacturers to predict the future of their brands. Using the theme "Vision Gran Turismo", the research teams were given the mandate of giving us a unique vision of cars of the future. Even if they are virtual, these models must be realistic and function like real cars. These concepts will be gradually revealed in the game #Gran Turismo 6 through a series of updates.

2015 Kia Quoris - Kia's Grande Dame

#Kia's Cadenza, the smaller cousin of the Hyundai Genesis has just hit showrooms, and already the company is bringing out a more luxurious model. The new car, a large, rear-wheel drive sedan, known as the Quoris in other markets, (what it will be called here is still unknown), will make it's North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Quoris is the cousin of the Hyundai Equus.

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