March 2012

Mercedes unveils third-generation A-Class compact

(March 6, 2012) GENEVA — Mercedes-Benz revealed the third-generation A-class on Monday prior to the opening of the Geneva motor show.

The five-door hatchback, set for European sale in September but not planned for the U.S. lineup, uses a two-box design that gives it a more conventional silhouette than the out-going A Class. This puts the A-class into direct competition with the new Audi A3, the BMW 1-series, the Volvo V40 and Europe's perennial best seller, the Volkswagen Golf.

Bentley shows 'vision of the future' with SUV concept

(March 6, 2012) GENEVA — Bentley is offering a "vision of the future" with a dramatic new Sport Utility Vehicle concept, EXP 9 F, at the Geneva Motor Show. The company’s designers and engineers have created a compelling new take on the Grand Touring Bentley — a vehicle that feels equally at home at an opera gala performance, on the sand dunes and the overtaking lane of the autobahn.

Chevy Volt, Opel Ampera named European Car of the Year

(March 5, 2012) GENEVA — The Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, General Motor's two electric vehicles with extended range capability, were jointly named European Car of the Year (COTY) during an award ceremony at the Geneva Motor Show today.
The Volt is equipped with the ground-breaking Voltec propulsion system, which represents a milestone in vehicle electrification.

Bad boy Charlie Sheen pitches for Fiat 500 Abarth (watch video)

(March 5, 2012) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Fiat brand unveiled a new commercial for the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth entitled “House Arrest,” and features iconic bad boy and actor, Charlie Sheen and marks the return of Catrinel Menghia, the sensation from brand’s Super Bowl commercial.

“House Arrest” will air on national and cable broadcast channels. The Fiat brand also announced that it has finished its first year of sales with its best month ever. Sales of the Fiat 500 were up 69 percent (3,227 units) in February compared with the previous month.

Volkswagen to debut diesel-electric plugin hybrid SUV

(March 5, 2012) Volkswagen will debut a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid update to its existing gasoline-electric hybrid Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept SUV at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

The gas version of the plug-in hybrid was unveiled at December’s Tokyo’s Motor Show. The original Cross Coupe featured two electric motors and a turbocharged direct-injection (TSI) gasoline engine. Unlike the Tokyo version, the redesigned Cross Coupe contains two electric motors and a turbocharged direct-injection (TDI) diesel engine.

Lincoln says more than half of top-market stores commit to facility upgrade

(March 5, 2012) More than half of all Lincoln dealers in the top 130 U.S. markets have committed to upgrade their facilities, creating a new sales and service experience for future Lincoln owners.

“We have shared our plans about future Lincoln products, the brand going forward and the consumer experience we have envisioned, and already a majority of our dealers have said they are with us,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Ultimately, this is good news for our customers, who will see our new approach to the luxury consumer experience at every touch point.”

Chrysler retains position as top seller of vehicles in Canada

(March 5, 2012) WINDSOR, Ontario — Chrysler Canada has announced the company’s 27th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. February sales were 16,536, compared to 15,238 in February 2011, representing a 9 per cent increase. Chrysler Canada reported the highest sales of any company in Canada for the second month in a row.

Nissan teases 2013 Altima in video clip

(March 4, 2012) Nissan has released a video clip and image offering a glimpse of the bold design of the all-new 2013 Altima sedan in advance of its world premiere at the New York Auto Show in April.

The Altima is built at Nissan’s assembly plants in Smyrna, Tenn., and Canton, Miss. The engines for Altima are built at the company’s Decherd, Tenn., plant. Altima is the second best-selling car in the United States behind the Toyota Camry.

New Porsche Boxster to be unveiled in Geneva

(March 4, 2012) The 2013 Porsche Boxster mid-engine two-seat sports car gets a major remake, gaining more visual and mechanical sophistication as well as more pure performance. The Boxster will be making its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.

Production of Chevrolet Volt plug-in to be halted on March 19

(March 4, 2012) General Motors will halt production of its plug-in Chevrolet Volt for five weeks starting March 19 because of excessive inventory. An estimated 1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant will be idled until April 23.

The Detroit automaker said Friday the second extended shutdown of the Volt assembly line is needed because there are more cars than customers.