• Cadillac XT5 to bow in LA?

    April 9, 2015
    Cadillac is reportedly preparing to introduce the first crossover to carry the brand’s new naming scheme.
    Likely named the XT5, the new model will serve as a replacement for the SRX after it is unveiled late this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, according to The Detroit News.

    The crossover has big shoes to fill, as the SRX is currently Cadillac’s best-selling model. Sales reached nearly 12,300 units in the first three months of the year, double the performance of the brand’s number-two model, however shipments were down by more than 17 percent compared to the same period last year.

    Rumors suggest the XT5 will be built upon the short-wheelbase version of a new platform, known as Chi, and keep the same overall size as the SRX. The long-wheelbase version of the platform is said to be used for the next-generation Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, among other models.

    A turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been mentioned as a likely powerplant for the entry-level trim, while higher packages are said to be outfitted with a choice between two different V6 engines.

    Production is expected to begin by early 2016, ahead of market arrival in the middle of the year.

  • Honda to discontinue Crosstour, focus on truck production

    April 9, 2015
    Honda has quietly announced that the Crosstour will soon be retired.
    The move will give the company more room at its US factories to focus on truck and crossover production. Strong demand is expected to require additional production capacity for the recently refreshed CR-V, the all-new HR-V, the new 2016 Pilot and the next-generation Ridgeline.

    Introduced in 2010 as an alternative option for crossover buyers, the Crosstour has struggled to maintain sales volume entering 2015. March numbers were down by 27 percent, and year-to-date shipments have fallen by 38 percent to 2,046 units.

    Honda blames the lackluster sales on the evolving tastes of crossover buyers, but the company expects the HR-V to easily exceed the Crosstour’s performance and serve as a gateway model to the brand.

    The company is also planning on shifting Accord Hybrid production from the Marysville, Ohio, factory to its Samaya plant in Japan, further opening up line space to build new crossovers and trucks.

    The automaker points out that 97 percent of its Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the US market were built in North America.

  • Chrysler 200 gets two new leather options for 2015

    April 9, 2015
    Chrysler has announced two new leather interior options for its 200 sedan. The new hues will be available on the sport-oriented 200S and up-scale 200C.
    Buyers of the 2015 200S will now have the option of an Ambassador Blue leather interior. Ambassador Blue leather was offered on previouss 200S model, but only in combination with Black cloth. Black leather is also available for the 200S’ seating surfaces.

    Additionally, Chrysler is adding a dark brown Mocha leather option to its 200C for 2015. Like its Black and Linen leather counterparts, the Mocha leather-covered thrones come standard with heat and ventilation.

    “The Chrysler 200 is resonating with consumers looking for a car that delivers a timeless, elegant design, a great driving experience and is packed with features drivers and passengers appreciate,” said Al Gardner, President and CEO – Chrysler Brand. “By adding two new interior choices, the Chrysler 200 offers fresh options for the driver who wants a car that exudes a style not typically found in the mid-size sedan segment.”

    Sales of the Chrysler 200 have been steadily increasing over the last nine months, with sales up 155 percent to 19,190 units in March. The addition of two new stylish interior trims should only help to pad the 200′s sales.

  • Aston Martin withdraws Fisker lawsuit

    April 9, 2015

    Aston Martin has withdrawn its lawsuit against Henrik Fisker over the latter’s Thunderbolt concept.

    The terms of the agreement between Aston Martin and Fisker are confidential, however it was confirmed that Fisker will not produce the Thunderbolt.

    Filed in late March, the suit called the Thunderbolt concept a “…bad-faith intent to free-ride off the tremendous goodwill associated with the famous Aston Martin mark, wings logo, side vent mark, and Vanquish mark.” Aston claimed Fisker never sought or received formal approval for the Vanquish copy, which the automaker claims is actually based on an previous-generation DB9 or DBS.

    In a joint statement, Aston Martin and Fisker said that the parties have “amicably resolved” the conflict “as well as any attendant misunderstandings.”

    Fisker had presented the concept as a design study, though he hinted at limited production if the idea attracted enough interest. The Thunderbolt was expected to sell for $400,000, available exclusively through Los Angeles dealer Galpin Aston Martin.

  • NHTSA declines to recall Chrysler minivans over stalling reports

    April 9, 2015
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed an investigation into stalling problems with older Fiat Chrysler minivans.
    The agency has received at least 161 complaints related to stalling instances with the 2003-2007 Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Voyager. Some owners claimed the vehicles would stall immediately following a refuel, and at low engine speeds.

    “After completing this evaluation, NHTSA has concluded that further investigation is unlikely to result in a finding that a defect related to motor vehicle safety exists,” the agency wrote in it closing documents.

    Investigators point out that the failure rate is low, even after eight to 13 years of vehicle service, and none of the complaints have blamed the issue for causing a crash or injury.

    “Given the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the Agency’s safety mission, the petition is denied,” the agency added.

    Newer Fiat Chrysler minivans and SUVs still face a separate investigation into allegations of stalling problems.