Wednesday, October 28, 2009

VW Releases New NMS Sketch

Volkswagen has released a brand new sketch of its upcoming NMS sedan that will be built at its Chattanooga factory that is currently under construction. Volkswagen has recently began to accept applications for factory jobs and the plant is expected to be completed in 2011 with the yet unnamed NMS going on sale in late 2011 as a 2012 model year. It is expected that the NMS will replace the Passat in the Volkswagen lineup. Expect to see familiar VW engines such as the 2.0T, 2.0 TDI, and possibly the 3.6 liter VR6.

New Sketch

Old Sketch

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Polo Sedan Spy Shots

The folks at secretnewcars have the first spy shots of the upcoming Polo sedan. The hatchback version of the fifth and latest generation of the Polo has been on sale in Europe for a few month already, but the sedan is still months away from production. For the first time ever, the Polo appears to be headed for sale in America. VW executives have hinted that the US will receive a sedan and, or a tall hatchback version of the European Polo. Thus, the Polo seen in these spyshots might just be available at your local VW dealer in a coupe of years. Evident from the spyshots is that the sedan version will continue to use the same crisp styling seen on the Walter da'Silva designed 3 and 5 door versions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Car Worthy of This Blog's Tittle

Pretty much every car posted on this blog until today is a good car. Quite a few are super expensive luxury or sports cars, the rest are your typical mass production cars. Nevertheless they are good at what they do and are generally not bad cars. But all streaks must come to an end and today a car truly worthy of being killed with fire will grace this blog.

The folks at autohome and cheshi have lots of pictures of this "vehicle" and you can take a look if you like doing that kind of stuff to your eyes.

Jianghuai (JAC) Luxury Sedan

To be fair, the rest of the car isn't too ugly, the side view and taillights are reminiscent of the last generation E class, and the interior is better than some cars sold in the US. But the front of the car makes those aspects irrelevant.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BMW ActiveHybrid X6 Delivers 20% Fuel Economy Improvement

BMW's 480 horsepower X6 ActiveHybrid has been rated by the EPA and the results are in, 17 city and 19 highway for a combined fuel economy of 18 mpg. The X6 ActiveHybrid combines the xdrive50i's twin-turbo V8 with electric motors to improve fuel economy. The nonhybrid X6 xdrive50i has EPA ratings of 13 city and 18 highway, and 15 combined. This means that the hybrid powertrain increases city fuel economy by nearly 31% while only giving a 5% boost on the highway. Overall drivers should expect a 20% improvement in fuel economy compared to the regular V8. A better example of the fuel economy improvement is the fact that the ActiveHybrid X6 has a higher combined fuel economy rating than the six cylinder X6 xdrive30i. However, BMW's focus on performance is evident as the ActiveHybrid's improvement in fuel economy is smaller than that seen by General Motor's SUVs which feature similar hybrid technology. Both companies took part in the Global Hybrid Cooperation. Only time will tell if BMW's focus on extra performance will pay off.

BMW X6 xdrive50i, 400 horsepower: 13/18 (15 combined)
BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, 480 horsepower: 17/19 (18 combined) 20% improvement

Cadillac Escalade 2WD, 403 horsepower: 14/20 (16 combined)
Cadillac Escalade 2 WD Hybrid, 332 horsepower: 21/22 (22) 37.5% improvement

Chevrolet Tahoe 4 WD, 320 horsepoer, 15/21 (17)
Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Hybrid, 332 horsepower: 21/22 (22) 29% improvement

Monday, October 12, 2009

Future American VW Timeline

Vw's American lineup is due for a substantial makeover in the next few years. The biggest change will be the introduction of the Chattanooga built New Midsize Sedan to replace the Passat. VW is planning to complete the Chattanooga factory in 2011 which will make the NMS a 2012 model at the earliest. The folks at Jalopnik have seen the latest sketches of the NMS and say that it will be closer in design to the CC rather than the "4 door Camaro" sketch released earlier. Jalopnik also says that the 1.4 liter twincharger 1.4 TSI engine will finally make it to the states. The Golf and Jetta are the most likely candidates for the twincharged engine.

In other news, the 2013 New Beetle will finally get a complete redesign that is said to bring more rear passenger space. Around the same time period VW will also release the recently shown E-UP electric vehicle. Also coming to the US is the second generation Phaeton, but little information is known about it.

Not mentioned are the next Jetta and Touareg which are expected to debut in a year or two. A sedan or a Fit-like version of the Polo is also expected sometime down the line.

Approximate model year timeline

2011 Phaeton/Jetta
2012 Touareg
2013 NMS/Next generation Beetle/Polo?
2014 E-UP

Friday, October 2, 2009

Who Struggled the Most After Cash for Clunkers?

The government's CARS program (cash for clunkers) was extremely helpful for car companies, driving numerous monthly sales records. Not surprisingly, the majority of car companies saw significantly lower September sales compared to clunker powered August sales. Suzuki did the worst of all brands, as it sold 68% fewer cars in September than it did in August. Not counting Saturn and Pontiac, Honda, Chrysler, and Nissan also sold less than half the number of cars in September than they did in August. On the other side of the spectrum, Cadillac, Buick, Porsche and Lincoln actually managed to sell more cars without the clunker program. In the luxury category, Acura did the worst, losing almost a quarter of its August sales, BMW and Lexus both sold 22% fewer cars. Mercedes Benz sold only one percent fewer cars in September, Audi sold only 11% fewer cars.

With the clunker program over, manufacturers will have to find new ways to increase their sales in the future.

September sales in comparison with August sales (click on image to enlarge)