Payday Loans

By 2g1c2 girls 1 cup

This week, Ford announced changes to its Marketing organization in establishing a Global Marketing, Sales and Service Operations office “to integrate and drive a more consistent and compelling connection with customers around the world.” If you think that sounds like a quote from Dilbert, I agree with you.

Leading the effort will be Elena Ford, 42, who has been named director, Global Marketing, Sales and Service Operations. It represents yet another in a long series of positions for Ford, who joined the automaker in 1995. If she is on the same plan as her cousin, Bill, she will be a VP in the next year or two (Bill joined for in 1979 and became a VP in 1994).  This is the “Class B” plan, much akin to the Class B stock that Bill and Elena’s family uses to control 40% of the voting stock of Ford Motor Company, even though it is less than 5% of the equity.

Ford describes the changes as the next step in the One Ford vision, which aims to standardize its products and processes worldwide. Specifically, Elena Ford will be responsible for:

* Leading Ford’s Global Marketing, Sales and Service Operations to drive commonality and standardization of marketing resources. This includes integrating the company’s marketing team members, global agencies and other supplier partners with a common and integrated plan to bring new global vehicles to market.
* Driving a governance process on strategic and operations matters across Marketing, Sales and Service.
* Enhancing Ford’s brand image around the world.
* Driving greater presence of the Ford brand at global auto shows and other consumer-facing events to create a more experiential connection with customers.
* Expanding the offering of Ford-branded licensed merchandise around the world.

While some of the foregoing is good, “mom and apple pie” stuff, marketing is maybe the one function that does not lend itself to global standardization.  Not only are customers different from each other just about everywhere, so are the products’ images.  So while Ford may sell a common Focus or Fiesta in every market next year, they will occupy a different place in customers’ minds – depending on the market.  The Focus is a “C-car”, which is a compact, inexpensive or economy car in the US market.  However, “C-cars” are family cars in Europe with much higher levels of equipment and expectations.  As such, they also require a vastly different approach to the marketing and sales effort.  In the US, you can market the “C-car” as “cheap and cheerful”, but that approach won’t work in Europe.  The European approach won’t work in the US either.  As a family car, the Focus would be compared against larger, more powerful cars with better levels of equipment.  Apple and oranges both might be fruits, but they taste very different.

Any time, effort and resources spent standardizing marketing in global markets is mostly wasted.  American customers neither know nor care how their Focus is marketed or advertised in France, and will not be influenced by the strategies employed in Asia or Australia.  However, a common, global approach might have a negative effect by not allowing the marketers in each country or region to customize the approach for their customers, whom they know best.  I hope that this new change will not handcuff Ford’s local management, but I fear that the drive to globalize its operations is being taken too far.


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Chrysler-Fiat Alliance

21st January 2009

In what is surely the best possible outcome outcome (short of winning Mega Billions), Chrysler and Fiat announced an alliance where Fiat gets 35% of Chrysler from Cerberus, the majority owner of Chrysler.  As opposed to the GM-Chrysler talks last year, this one actually makes sense, and lots of it.  Fiat and Chrysler have almost no product overlap – Fiat sells small and medium cars under the Fiat name, luxury cars under the Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Maserati names and sports cars under the Ferrari name.  All of these brands have, at one time or another, sold their wares in the US.  Now only Ferrari and Maserati do. Chrysler sells cars, minivans and trucks under the Chrysler and Dodge names and Jeeps under the, ahem, Jeep name.  They have no small cars and their medium cars are not very successful, to say the least.

So what does each partner get?  Chrysler gets access to Fiat’s small and medium platforms and their powertrains, which are highly regarded.  Fiat gets the larger platforms, especially the large, rear-wheel drive and minivan platforms.  The big thing for Fiat, though, is access to assembly plant capacity and Chrysler’s dealer network.  Alfa has been rumored to be planning a re-entry into the US market for years, and this deal allows them to build and sell Alfa Romeo in the US with minimal investment in plants and dealers.

In addition to the complementary products, there is also complementary geography.  Chrysler’s sales are very North American-centric with very few sold outside of North America.  Fiat is one of the largest European automakers, but does not sell very many outside of Europe.  Giving each other instant access to the markets where they do not compete will only help both automakers.

The only tricky part is, of course, from the government.  There will have to be government approvals for anti-trust reasons, but also from the Treasury Department, which loaned Chrysler $5.5 billion recently.  Under terms of the loans, the feds get to approve any deal worth over $100 million.  Giving loans to Chrysler which will now have foreign ownership of over 50% (35% for Fiat and 19.9% for Daimler) might make some in DC nervous, though.  They should approve it, because this deal does exactly what the feds gave them the money for: to help ensure their long-term viability and safeguard American jobs.

A little Fiat trivia – did you know that Fiat is an acronym?  True story.  The original name of the company was “Società Anonima Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino“; the FIAT part means “Italian Automobile Factory in Turin.”

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Welcome to Detroit – home of the Jailhouse Mayor, 0-16 Lions and the corporate jet For Sale sign!  Also the home of the domestic auto industry (until certain southern senators succeed in giving away the treasury to foreign automakers while telling the D3 they need to get by on their own) and the North American International Auto Show.  We have the NAIAS in January to prove to everybody that we are tougher than they are.

This year’s show is a little more subdued than in prior years, due to the lack of actual money to pay for fancy displays and freebies for the press (side note: this is the first year that your humble reporter actually got a press pass – and no freebies!  Darn!).  A number of automakers are skipping the show this year, also due to the economy, or maybe they just don’t like snow. The largest of those automakers is Nissan, and other skippers include Porsche, Suzuki & Ferrari. Mitsubishi skipped as well, but the local dealers have a display anyway.

2009 NAIAS Must-See Cars and Trucks

General Motors
Chevrolet

  • Volt – Chevy is showing the production version of the electric car. Not as striking as the concept (but production versions rarely are), but still nice looking.
  • Cruze – this car will replace the Cobalt next year. In photos, Cruze looks angry (maybe at Richard Shelby?), but not as much in person. It’s nice looking. Interesting observation: Cruze uses the word, “Chevrolet” on the back when no other Chevrolets do. The others have the Chevy logo, the name of the vehicle, and the series (LS, LT, etc.). Apparently, it was a “design decision.”
  • Orlando – somewhere between a crossover and a minivan, this 7-seat MPV will join the Chevy lineup in 2011. The show car is powered by a 2.0L turbodiesel, but the production version will likely have a gas engine, at least in the US.
  • Spark – the tiny car on the floor says “Beat”, but Chevy has announced that it will be called Spark when it arrives for sale in 2011.
  • Corvette ZR1 – not new, but it’s still SO cool!
  • Equinox – new for 2010, sports a new 182hp, 2.4L Direct Injection (DI) engine that will get an estimated 21 city, 30 highway MPG. Will also have a 3.0L V6, good for 255hp and will get 18/25 MPG. It’s a real nice update to the smallish crossover
  • Silverado Hybrid – nothing special to look at, but gets 21 city, 22 highway MPG.

Cadillac

  • SRX – previously reported by The Slandy Report, but now you can see a clean one.
  • CTS Sport Wagon – exactly what it sounds like. They might not sell many here, but the Europeans love wagons. The design is a little awkward in the wagon area. Too much sheet metal; not enough glass.
  • Converj – can’t anybody at Cadillac spell? They’ve previously given us the Evoq, Provoq, Vizón and Imaj. This is a Cadillac Volt. Makes perfect sense for the next vehicle to utilize this expensive electric system to be a Cadillac, where the high price won’t seem quite so ridiculous.

Buick

  • 2010 Buick LaCrosse – nice freshening, but will anybody notice? This really is a nice looking car, though the back end and sides look a bit too much like a Lexus GS to me.

Pontiac

  • G8 – nothing new here, but as I was sitting in it, I noticed how nicely GM engineers integrated the parking brake handle into the center console. Worth a look if you get a chance.
  • G3 – itty-bitty Pontiac due out this spring. Based on Chevy Aveo. Strange how it is the only new car Pontiac has, and it is shoved as far into the corner as possible. Weird. Almost like they don’t want you to find it.

Ford Motor Company
Ford

  • Taurus – the new-for-2010 Taurus has made quite the splash, and for good reason. This is a stylish sedan full of advanced technology that will do well for Ford when introduced this spring. It has the potential to do for Ford what the original did 20 years ago – save the company. It’s that good.  Check it out.
  • Fusion – updated look for 2010 model year. More aggressive look with a larger, bolder 3-bar grille, domed hood. Launches this spring. Will include a new hybrid model that boasts 41MPG city / 36 highway. The city mpg is 8 higher than Camry hybrid. Wow! Also includes a new Sport model with the 3.5L V6 from the Flex & Edge.
  • Mustang – also freshened for 2010, inside and out. GT power is up 15 hp to 315 and torque is up 5 to 325 lb-ft. The new GT500 from SVT is up to 540hp from 500. Mustangs are all about affordable power and now they have more.
  • F-150 – all-new for 2009, the F-150 won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year and the North American Truck of the Year at NAIAS. It’s new inside and out, which will help it continue its string of 32 consecutive years of truck sales leadership. Also new is the Raptor model from our SVT friends. Check out the grille. Way cool.
  • Transit Connect – small version of Ford Europe’s commercial van. Ford says, “It will be available in select North American markets in mid-2009.”

Lincoln

  • MKT – 3-row, 6-seat large crossover available late summer. This is a new take on the whole luxury crossover thing. You might like it; you might not. It’s not for everybody. I like it. Starts at $44,995 for front-wheel drive and the 3.7L V6 (268hp). Add $2K for all-wheel drive and $3K more for the 3.5L EcoBoost, making 355hp, which is only available with AWD.
  • MKZ – restyled to more closely resemble the stunning MKS. Same car, better looks.
  • “C” Concept – this one is hard to describe (see photo below). It’s small and is powered by a 180hp 1.6L EcoBoost engine and Ford’s all-new PowerShift six-speed transmission.  The Lincoln C concept gets 43 mpg on the highway. It is able to seat 6 (3+3) on the 2 bench seats because of its width.

Mercury

  • Milan – freshened with the Fusion, but not as extensively. It also gets the same powertrain revisions as the Fusion, except no 3.5L Sport edition here.
  • Sable – might want to take a look at it now, because when Taurus gets freshened, Sable goes bye-bye.

Volvo

  • S60 Concept – form a mental image of the result if AMG (Mercedes-Benz’s performance division) decided to make a Volvo.  That’s what this looks like. Check out the center stack area. Wow.
  • XC60 – new, little buddy to the XC90 crossover. Will compete with the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

Mazda

  • 6 – “all new”, which really means that the 6 has adopted the Fusion/Milan/MKZ platform, which itself was just a 6 platform made bigger. Got that? The 6 has more room, more power and new styling. All of which should make it sell more, but I think it has lost some of what made it such a great car before; some of the zoom-zoom of the original.
  • 3 – “all-new” as well, but the appearance seems to be only a freshening. This car has always been good looking, and the new one is more so. The base 2.0L I4 engine is the same power, but with improved fuel economy. The optional 2.5L I4 engine is up from 2.3L and delivers more power (167 vs. 156hp) and just slightly lower fuel economy (22 to 21 in the city with a manual – all other figures the same).

Chrysler continues to try to show that reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. It is showing several electric-propelled concept vehicles, some of which we have seen before.

  • The 200C is a stylish, rear-wheel drive, 4-door sedan based on the 300C platform (but looks nothing like the 300). It has an electric powertrain that includes a traditional engine that only recharges the battery – like a Chevy Volt. Chrysler claims 0-60 time of 7.0 seconds. They would sell a ton of these with or without the hybrid/electric powertrain. It’s that good looking.
  • The Jeep Patriot EV, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EV and the Chrysler Town & Country EV also have powertrains similar to the Chevy Volt.
  • Dodge Circuit EV is a Lotus-based, all-electric sports car that looks great – like a nicer, friendlier version of a Viper. Dodge claims a range of 150-200 miles and a top speed of 120MPH.

Toyota
Toyota

  • Venza – Toyota showed this vehicle last year, but now is in production. Toyota is clearly looking for “white space” in its lineup to produce yet another derivative off their highly successful Camry. But is there any white space here? Originally, crossovers found white space between cars and true SUVs. Venza is slotted between cars and crossovers. I have no doubt that Venza will sell well, as most everything Toyota makes does do well. However, given the narrow niche, it very well could steal most of its sales from Camry, Avalon and/or Highlander. I guess we’ll see… Check out the very clever sliding center console. The whole front area slides rearward, revealing extra storage, aux input and a 12V power point. Nicely done.
  • Prius – 3rd generation of the most successful hybrid on the market. Prius is larger, more powerful and gets better fuel economy than its predecessor. The design change, however, is barely noticeable. That shouldn’t bother its buyers, though. One cool new feature is the available sliding glass moonroof which includes solar panels to power the ventilation system.
  • FT-EV – this very small all-electric car is based on the iQ minicar sold in other markets. Don’t look for it at your Toyota dealer anytime soon.

Lexus

  • IS Convertible – already shown at the LA Auto Show, but this is the Detroit premiere. Very nice.
  • 2010 RX – redesigned (called “all-new”, but the visual change is subtle), bigger in every dimension, more powerful (27 more hp on the hybrid RX450h which now uses the 3.5L V6, 5 more on the base RX350).
  • HS250h – a new, dedicated hybrid (no traditional powertrain is available). Only the 3rd dedicated hybrid from a major manufacturer, and the first dedicated luxury hybrid. Note also that the front-end styling includes a 3-bar grille which is very similar to the Ford brand’s.
  • Hybrids – note also that all of the Lexus hybrids have a new hybrid badge at the bottom of their rear doors to give them a visual connection to each other.
  • Remote Touch – the new RX and HS both have this new system, which is a new interface for the navigation system. It works like a computer mouse and is very intuitive to use. It comes standard with navigation on these 2 vehicles.

Honda
Honda

  • Insight – the all-new dedicated hybrid that is larger and more powerful than the previous Insight. Fuel economy is 40 city, 43 highway. Insight has a new 5-door body, which Honda says is evocative of their FCX Clarity fuel cell car. Most people have never heard of that car, but they will notice that it looks a lot like the Toyota Prius, which is its natural competition. Actual pricing has not yet been announced, but Honda said their target is “less than $20,000.” They are also targeting 90,000 units per year in the US and 200,000 worldwide.
  • Others – the Civic receives a freshening, the Pilot and Fit are all-new.

Volkswagen
VW

  • Bluesport Concept – great-looking roadster with a 50mpg turbo Diesel engine. The 2.0L engine makes 180hp, but 258 lb-ft of torque, which enables a 0-60 sprint of 6 seconds. Think of it as a VW version of the Audi TT or the BMW Z4.

Audi

  • Q5 – new, smaller crossover with the great looks and stunning interior of Audi’s other vehicles
  • Sportback concept – this is a beautiful car, and is clearly meant to compete with the gorgeous Mercedes-Benz CLS. Expect the upcoming A7 to look very much like this when it is introduced – maybe for the 2010 model year. The concept is driven by a 255hp turbodiesel with 406 lb-ft of torque.
  • R8 V10 – the beautiful R8 sports car will get this new V10 engine, probably around mid-2010, which will make the present $114K base price seem like small change. Of course, it will also increase the power by about ~100hp and the top speed to just under 200mph.

BMW
BMW

  • Z4 – the roadster gets an update with the addition of a retractable hardtop and updated looks.
  • 7 Series – nice update to the biggest BMW which seems to finally have been de-Bangled. Starts at $80K.
  • No manuals? – BMW (“the ultimate driving machine”?) has about 10 vehicles on display, and not one of them is a manual tranny. What gives with that?

Mini

  • Cooper Convertible – an update to the cutest convertible on the market. My kids love the Mini (me, too). New is the “Openometer”, which keeps track of how long you have been driving top-down. Way cool.
  • Mini E – a pure electric that was already shown at the LA Auto Show, but this is the Detroit premiere. Mini will lease 500 in California, New York and New Jersey as a test for now.

Daimler
Mercedes-Benz

  • SL65 AMG – not new, but the M-B SL has always been a favorite of mine, and this one has 661hp…wow…pause for a deep breath and a moment of silence…OK, now we can go on to the next car:
  • Concept Blue Zero – pure electric based on Mercedes’ European small car. There are 2 other versions slated for production, but not shown – a hybrid and a fuel cell. Worth a look. Mercedes sells small cars in other markets, but will Americans accept such a small Mercedes? Will it hurt their image here?
  • S400 Blue Hybrid – the hybrid wave extends its reach to the big Mercedes sedan. Is no place safe from this beast?

Hyundai
Hyundai

  • Genesis – won the North American Car of the Year. The styling is nice, but I would called it derivative, not innovative. It breaks no new ground, and looks a little too much like a Lexus LS. That said, this is a very nice-looking car, especially the interior. It is attempting to do to Lexus what Lexus did to Mercedes-Benz (exactly 20 years ago at the 1989 NAIAS) – give comparable luxury and features for a much lower price. We’ll see how many people are willing to pay the price.

Kia

  • Soul – already shown at the LA Auto Show, this is a funky-looking car/trucklet that looks like it’s trying to out-Scion xB the Scion xB. Goes on sale early this year.
  • Soul’ster concept – this is a Soul with a sliding cloth roof, and is even funkier than the Soul.

Chinese Manufacturers

BYD showed 5 cars at NAIAS. The F3DM is a small, plug-in hybrid sedan (DM stands for Dual Mode). The F6DM is a midsize sedan with the same powertrain. They also showed the “regular” F6. F0 is a micro car, and the e6 is a pure electric in a crossover shape. It has available electric motors at the front and rear, giving it effective 4WD. It goes 0-60 in “under 8 seconds” and has a range of 249 miles. BYD plans to begin importing their products to the US in 2011.

Brilliance is showing 4 vehicles: FRV is a small 5-door hatchback, M1 is a midsize “luxury” sedan with a 1.8L I4 turbo engine making only 167hp, M2 is also a midsize sedan on the same platform with the same 1.8L engine and M3 is a sporty coupe based on a shortened version of the M1/M2 platform. It also shares the same engine.

Others

  • Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS – even more power for one of the most beautiful cars on the road!
  • Tesla – the $100,000 pure electric sports car from California is in production and available at a dealer near you – if you live in LA or SF, that is.
  • Fisker – not yet available, but getting closer, the Karma sedan won Slandy Best in Show last year, when we called it a “4-door BMW Corvette” (see photo below). Fisker plans to begin delivery of the Karma in the 4th quarter of 2009. This year, they have added the Sunset convertible, which uses the same plug-in hybrid powertrain. That powertrain is similar in concept to the Chevy Volt. Coincidentally, the Karma uses a GM Ecotec 2.4L turbo engine.
  • Revenge – the small company from Indiana is showing the GTM-R supercar, which uses a Corvette Z06 engine for 505hp and an estimated top speed of 200 mph. It has 4-point racing safety harnesses. Lest you think this is an uncivilized brute, it also has available navigation, reverse camera and digital instrumentation. Only $145,000 – if I could only get my hands on some of those TARP funds!
  • Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 – not sure if this car has been shown at NAIAS before, and maybe it was just there for the press preview. The interesting this about this car is that the most expensive car in the entire show (~$1.5 million) looked like an orphan. Just sitting there with no signs or information or people to ask any questions. Odd scene, but very cool car!

The Slandy Awards® 2009

Slandy Best in Show: Ford Taurus
Honorable Mention: Lincoln MKT, Fisker Karma Sunset, Revenge GTM-R, Audi Sportback, VW Bluesport
Coolest New Feature: The “Openometer” from Mini
Most Annoying New Trend: “Blue” means “Green” – several automakers have decided that using the word “blue” means that the vehicle is “Green”, as in Mercedes-Benz Bluetec (Diesel), Blue Hybrid and Concept Blue Zero (electric); VW Bluesport concept (Diesel); Hyundai Hybrid Blue Drive and Lexus’s use of blue-trimmed Lexus logos on their hybrids. Has the whole world become colorblind?!?
Best Quote: GM’s Bob Lutz (who else?) said, “The way you use less of something in the marketplace is to raise the price. At $1.50 a gallon, the American public is not willing to pay for fuel-saving technology, and at some point the people who make the rules are going to have to recognize that fact.”  Amen, Brother Bob!
Best Models: Maserati and Lamborghini
Best Food: VW’s German curry sausage.  Honorable Mention: Fisker’s chicken sandwich


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Every year for 15 years, Ward’s Auto has published its 10 Best Engines list.  Considered the most prestigious award for powertrain excellence, the 10 Best Engines award is highly coveted by automakers.  The criteria include many objective and subjective factors.  They all must be available in a regular production model priced no higher than $54,000 by early 2009.  There were 32 nominees this year.  2008 winners and any all-new or significantly changed engines are eligible.  Lest you think Ward’s only includes high-powered, sports car engines, this year’s list is highly diversified, with engines of every major type and geography represented.

The list includes engines from German (4), US (3), Japanese (2) and Korean (1) automakers.  The engines have 4-cylinders (3), 6-cylinders (5) and 8-cylinders (2) and are powered by gas (7), Diesel (2) and hybrid (1) power.  They use natural aspiration (6) and turbo (4), but no supercharging.  All of the gas engines, regardless of size, have highway MPG of 25-28 – the Diesels and hybrid are higher.  5 winners are repeats from last year and 5 are new on this year’s list.

The engines have a huge range of horsepower (140 – 376) and an even larger torque range of 136 – 425 lb.-ft.  Specific output, or horsepower per liter, is considered a measure of how well the engineers have wrung power out of the engine.  A few years ago, 60-70 hp/L was considered excellent.  The lowest figure on this year’s list (61) is the one hybrid, whose horsepower figure does not include the extra power provided by the battery.  The highest non-turbo is 87.  The turbos range from 70 – 106.

Enough of the stats!  Here are the winners this year:

Manufacturer

Vehicle Tested

Size & Type

Horsepower

Torque

HP/L

Hwy MPG

Audi

A4 Avant

2.0L Turbo I-4

211

258

106

28

BMW

135i

3.0L Turbo I-6

300

300

100

25

BMW

335d

3.0L Turbodiesel I-6

265

425

88

36

Chrysler

Dodge Challenger

5.7L Hemi V-8

376

410

66

25

Ford

Escape Hybrid

2.5L I-4 Hybrid

155

136

61

31

GM

Cadillac CTS

3.6L Direct Injection V-6

304

273

84

26

Honda

Accord Coupe

3.5L V-6

271

251

77

25

Hyundai

Genesis

4.6L V-8

375

333

82

25

Toyota

Lexus IS350

3.5L V-6

306

277

87

25

Volkswagen

Jetta TDI

2.0L Turbodiesel I-4

140

236

70

40

If you’re lucky enough to drive one of these cars, make sure you appreciate the hard work and skill of the engineers who designed and built your engine.  After all, the engine is the heart and soul of any good car or truck.


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2010 Cadillac SRX

2010 Cadillac SRX

Our spy photographers, always on the lookout for a scoop, spotted this undisguised 2010 Cadillac SRX in suburban Detroit on Friday, January 2. As you can see, the new SRX takes its styling cues from the new CTS. It has the bold, larger front grill area and fog lamps in the front. The rear is also reminiscent of the CTS, with similar taillamps and license plate area. Notice also that the top of the tailamps are not flush with the body panels.

The new SRX will move from the rear-wheel drive platform that it currently shares with the CTS and STS to a front-wheel drive platform.  Production moves from Lansing, Michigan to Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.  All-wheel drive continues as an option. The AWD system includes an advanced electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) that distributes torque as needed from side to side along the rear axle, as well as from the front to rear axle. The pre-emptive, active-on-demand system provides an extra measure of capability in wet or icy conditions.

The standard engine will be a 3.0L V6 with direct injection, making 260hp (5hp higher than the present standard engine).  It is a smaller version of the 3.6L powerplant in the CTS, where it makes 306hp.  The optional engine is a turbocharged 2.8L V6, making 300hp.  Why not just use the 3.6L from the CTS?  GM is trying to improve fuel economy, and while EPA numbers are not yet available, it is likely that the 2.8L turbo gets better fuel economy that the 3.6L – with the same power.

The 2010 SRX features numerous advanced electronic systems. Highlights include a “pop-up” navigation

2010 Cadillac SRX

2010 Cadillac SRX

screen with three-dimensional imaging; adaptive forward lighting that swivels the headlamps in synch with vehicle steering; power liftgate with adjustable height setting; integrated hard disc drive for audio storage and a dual-screen system for rear entertainment. Bluetooth compatibility is standard, as is OnStar’s turn-by-turn navigation service for buyers who do not select the car’s navigation system option.

18″ aluminum wheels are standard on all versions, while 20″ wheels are optional. 4-wheel disc brakes are standard with ABS and stability control.

The new SRX is shorter than the outgoing model, losing a little more than 4″ in length to 190.2″. It is shorter in height by 2″, but is wider than the outgoing model. One downside of the shorter length is that the new SRX will no longer have a 3rd row as an option, but Cadillac still has the Escalade for those that really want 3 rows.

The new SRX should better appeal to buyers in the luxury crossover segment. It is better looking and will get better fuel economy while providing more standard power. It’s new front-wheel drive platform will get better traction for those not upgrading to all-wheel drive. Pricing is still TBD, and Cadillac will show the new SRX at the North American International Auto Show next week.

2010 Cadillac SRX Interior

2010 Cadillac SRX Interior

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2010 FORD SHELBY GT500

1st January 2009

2010 Ford Shelby GT500

2010 Ford Shelby GT500

Along with the rest of the Mustang line, the Shelby GT500 gets a revision for 2010.  The 2010 Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter dual overhead cam V-8 engine expected to produce 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque.  These figures are up 40hp and 30 foot-pounds from the current model.  The car produces this improved power while also improving highway fuel economy by 2mpg.  How?  By adjusting the gear ratios in 5th and 6th gears to run at highway speeds at lower engine speed.  The redline is 6,250 rpm.  The car’s aluminum power dome hood not only adds to the Shelby’s appearance, it helps cool the engine through a hood extractor.  The twin-disc clutch on the six-speed manual transmission has been significantly upgraded, improving drivability and NVH.  The discs on the 2010 Shelby GT500 are larger – 250 mm in diameter compared with 215 mm in diameter on the outgoing model – and made of copper and fiberglass to make them more robust.

Numerous aerodynamic upgrades, including a redesigned splitter, were made to the front end of the 2010

2010 Ford Shelby GT500

2010 Ford Shelby GT500

Shelby GT500.  “We worked hard to get as much downforce with as little drag as possible,” said Kerry Baldori, chief functional engineer for SVT.  “We worked to seal off the air that comes in the front so it can’t go underneath the car.  We spent a lot time sealing components such as the radiator and intercoolor to get rid of all the leak paths.  The result of this evolution of aerodynamics is we’ve increased downforce, reduced drag and improved the overall efficiency of the 2010 Shelby GT500.”

The 2010 Shelby GT500 will be in dealer showrooms in spring.


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Today is the first day of 2009, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) can’t be far!  Just to whet your appetite, here is a brief list of the significant introductions expected.  We’ll update this list as more information is known:

Production

Concept

General Motors

2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Cruze

2010 Buick LaCrosse sedan

2010 Cadillac SRX crossover

Chevrolet Orlando

Ford

Mazda3 5-door

TBD – total of 7 introductions expected

Chrysler

TBD – total of 3 introductions expected

Daimler

Electric ForTwo

Kia

TBD Concept

Toyota

2010 Toyota Prius

new Lexus hybrid

Honda

2009 Honda Insight

BMW

New Mini Cooper Convertible

2009 BMW Z4 Roadster models

Volkswagen

TBD from Audi

TBD from Bentley

TBD VW Green Concept

TBD from Audi

Other

2009 Subaru Forester

Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS

2010 Fisker Karma

TBD models from Chinese automakers BYD and Brilliance Auto

TBD Subaru Concept

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