April 2012

The same car in the same place, but 85 years later

(April 14, 2012) GOTEBORG, Sweden — On April 14, 1927, the first mass-produced Volvo car rolled off the production line at the Lundby factory in Göteborg. Now, 85 years later, the Volvo Group is one of the world's largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles and Volvo Car Corporation sells almost 500,000 cars each year.

Renault's unusual two-seat electric Twizy hits the UK

(April 13, 2012) Renault’s unusual new electric two-seater, Twizy, is reaching customers in the UK today after its arrival at the brand’s network of 22 Z.E. Expert dealerships. The Twizys are now available for test drives around the UK, primarily at dealers with larger suburban and urban populations, in keeping with the car’s likely target customers and driving usage. The rest of the brand’s official network will have their demo and display vehicles on April 20.

Chevrolet Avalanche ends trend-setting run with 2013 model

(April 13, 2012) DETROIT — The Chevrolet Avalanche, which won buyers with trendsetting design and unique features — and helped launch the boom in crew cab pickups — celebrates its final year in production with the 2013 Black Diamond Avalanche.

Black Diamond Avalanches will feature body-colored bed surrounds, a unique badge on the sail panel, additional features on LS and LT models, and lower prices across the lineup.

Pilot project allows utilities to communicate directly with electric vehicles

(April 13, 2012) ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM has announced that it has teamed with American Honda and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on a new pilot project that will allow communication between electric vehicles (EVs) and the power grid. The project will demonstrate and test an electric vehicle's ability to receive and respond to charge instructions based on the grid condition and the vehicle's battery state.

BMW Group sales reach all-time high in March

(April 13, 2012) MUNICH, Germany — The BMW Group sold more vehicles in March than in any other month in its history. The company sold 185,728 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles in the past month, not only significantly exceeding the figure for March of last year by 12 percent (165,846) but also the previous sales high of 165,855 vehicles recorded in June 2011.

Ford uses social media to launch Focus Electric

(April 12, 2012) DEARBORN — Ford is giving Facebook users the chance to take a road trip in the all-new Focus Electric before the car is available in most markets and without even having to step away from their computers.

Called “Plug N Play in Electric City with the 2012 Focus Electric,” the Facebook-based game gives the user and four of his or her friends the ability to take a short trip in a virtual version of the car using Mapquest mapping data to calculate how far different destinations are in proximity to charging stations along the way.

Hertz puts natural gas vehicles at Oklahoma City location

(April 12, 2012) PARK RIDGE, N.J. —Hertz said it will begin renting eight compressed natural gas (CNG) Honda Civics and two CNG GMC Yukons at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City early next month. All vehicles will include NeverLost GPS units to assist renters in mapping local CNG refueling stations.

Robots with laser eyes and suction cup hands boost Ford Escape quality

(April 12, 2012) DEARBORN, Mich. — Robots equipped with laser eyes and suction cup hands are helping humans reduce physical strain and save energy, while boosting the quality of the all-new Ford Escape.
Each Escape is in part built by robots first introduced by Ford in Europe, which employ laser-guided and camera-enabled technology to ensure every new vehicle is built to the highest standard of quality. The machines are programmed to recognize any tiny deviation from specification such as gaps in between door panels or the windshield and the vehicle body.

Chrysler to offer in-vehicle wireless charging on new Dodge Dart

(April 12, 2012) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Look mom, no wires. After being the first to eliminate heavy, bulky owner manuals from its vehicles, Chrysler Group, through its Mopar division, will now be the first to eliminate unsightly dangling power cords in its vehicles by offering in-vehicle wireless charging.

Volkswagen sets worldwide first-quarter passenger car sales record

(April 11, 2012) WOLFSBURG, Germany — The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand reported significant growth in vehicle deliveries during the first three months of 2012, handing over 1.36  million vehicles for the first time ever in the first quarter of a year.

The brand also posted a new delivery record of 536,600 units for the month of March, up 14.6 percent from 2011 — thus handing over more than half a million vehicles to customers in a single month for the first time.