March 2012

New Ford Transit commercial van to get fuel-efficient diesel engine

(March 28, 2012) DETROIT — Ford’s industry-leading lineup of fuel-efficient engines and alternative-fuel technologies for fleet customers will further expand next year when the all-new Ford Transit commercial van comes to market with a new clean diesel and EcoBoost V6 engine. The new Transit will achieve at least 25 percent better fuel economy than current E-Series vans.

AutoTrader's Trade-In-Marketplace hits 3 million offers

(March 28, 2012) ATLANTA —'s Trade-In Marketplace (TIM) reached a milestone in February, generating the three millionth Instant Trade-In Offer since January 2010. In the last year alone, the volume of offers has increased 62 percent.

Shelby to unveil street-legal 950-horsepower Mustang

(March 28, 2012) When will the current unprecedented horsepower wars end? That question will certainly not be answered this year with the news that Shelby American will unveil the Shelby 1000 at the New York Auto Show on April 5. The street legal version of the Shelby 1000 is expected to produce 950 horsepower and a track-only version will churn out a whopping 1,100 horsepower.

Carroll Shelby and his team created the Shelby 1000 by starting with a 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 and kicking its handling, horsepower and braking to the performance edge.

Toyota releases teaser sketch of new sedan, which could be 2013 Avalon

(March 28, 2012) TORRANCE, Calif. — Toyota will debut an all-new U.S.-designed sedan at the 2012 New York International Auto Show on April 5. Dealers who saw the car previewed last year said it is the replacement for the Avalon.

Toyota says "the sedan’s exciting new design features an elegant yet athletic look."

It's a new 'altitude' for blacked-out Jeeps

(March 27, 2012) Auburn Hills, Mich. — Following a positive consumer response to the recently introduced Grand Cherokee concept and related “Name My Ride” contest, the Jeep brand has announced it will produce not just one, but three new limited-edition Jeep vehicles — the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Altitude models.

Jeep and Mopar unveil six vehicles for annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari

(March 27, 2012 ) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jeep and Mopar are ready for a week of wheeling in Moab. The brands have created six new vehicles — all featuring a host of Jeep Authentic Parts and Accessories — for the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.

Camaro performance package starts under $40,000

(March 27, 2012) DETROIT — The road-racing inspired Camaro 1LE performance package returns for 2013 with unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that makes the model capable of more than 1 g of lateral acceleration and a sub-three minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway’s Grand Course. It is offered on Camaro SS coupes with manual transmissions.

BMW recalling 1.3 million cars over battery cable problem

(March 27, 2012) BMW is recalling about 1.3 million cars for repair worldwide due to a possible problem with a battery cable cover in the car boot, the carmaker said today. The recall affects 5- and 6-Series BMWs built between 2003 and 2010, BMW said in a statement.

The recall affects about 367,000 vehicles in the United States and 290,000 in Germany, BMW said.

Chinese company to begin pickup truck sales in UK

(March 26, 2012) Great Wall Motor Company — market leaders for pick-ups and SUVs in China — will become the first Chinese automobile manufacturer to begin volume sales in the UK, following the launch of the Steed pick-up at the Commercial Vehicle Show  in Birmingham on April 26.

Race tracks, car companies, and media events: A recollection or two

By Russ Heaps

(March 26, 2012) I'm sitting enjoying a Bitch Creek Extra Special Brown by the Grand Teton Brewing Company of Jackson Hole Wyoming as I write this. I like it! It's the $2.50 Sunday special at one of my favorite Greenville joints, Smoke on the Water. It's where I waste a couple of hours on Sundays when I'm in town.

It's a place where I can blog in relative peace despite the fact that I know several of the folks who work here and also have some pals who put in an occasional cameo. We never formally organize these meetings; they just sort of happen.