September 2015

Subaru partners with Google Expeditions Pioneer Program

(September 30, 2015) CHERRY HILL, N.J. — Subaru has announced its partnership with Google in support of the Expeditions Pioneer Program, an initiative that will take Google’s educational virtual reality field trip kits on the road, with Subaru as the official vehicle provider of the program.

Fiat Chrysler to supply 9,113 Ram ProMaster vans to postal service

(September 30, 2015) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Tuesday that it will supply 9,113 new 2016 Ram ProMaster 2500 cargo vans to the United States Postal Service (USPS). The 2016 Ram ProMaster 2500 cargo van selected by USPS features the gasoline-fueled 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine.

The engine is paired with a proven, smooth-shifting, six-speed automatic transmission, upgraded to accommodate the ProMaster's cargo-hauling capability.

A Streetcar Named Hyundai

(September 29, 2015) LONDON — A Streetcar Named Hyundai is a world first initiative from Hyundai Motor UK that involves driving, photographing and filming over 2,000 miles of central London’s streets as defined by the world-famous cabbie "Knowledge."

The drive will be undertaken in the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell — a car that emits nothing but water and is the world’s first commercially-available hydrogen fuel cell car — and it will create the first ever single mosaic image of up to 650,000 street pictures, and a 200.5 second time lapse video of the whole journey.  This will mark Hyundai’s journey from 2005.

Volvo Trucks announces $38 million upgrade to Virginia facility

(September 29, 2015) Volvo Trucks North America has announced it will make several plant upgrades and open a new Customer Experience Center as part of a $38.1 million investment in the New River Valley (NRV) truck assembly plant in Dublin, Va., where all Volvo truck models for North America are assembled.

“This unique Customer Experience Center will showcase our innovation leadership, our brand, and our products in a dynamic and engaging way,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

Audi says 2.1 million of its diesel-powered cars equipped with bad software

(September 29, 2015) BERLIN — Audi said 2.1 million of its diesel-powered cars, including best-sellers such as the A4 sedan and Q5 sport utility vehicle, are equipped with software implicated in an emissions-testing scandal that has engulfed parent company Volkswagen Group, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

"We are working at full speed to find a technical solution," said Audi spokesman Juergen de Graeve. "Once we have that solution, we will write to customers and we will upgrade the cars so that they are within emissions regulations.

Iconic Scion xB box going out with a bang in a new special edition

(September 29, 2015) TORRANCE, Calif. — If you have been a fan of the funky iconic boxy look of the Scion on xB it is going away, replaced by more mainstream-looking vehicles for 2016. But it's not too late to grab a new 2015 xB. Scion is offering a special edition 2015 model that might be just the ticket.

New Mini Clubman will start under $25,000

(September 28, 2015) WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — Mini USA has announced pricing for its all-new 2016 Mini Clubman with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,950 including destination charge for the Cooper model. What Mini officials call the most spacious and versatile Mini every built, the Clubman is the first Mini to enter the compact premium segment.

It is both longer and wider than previous Mini models and offers premium quality and craftsmanship in every detail for under $25,000. The Cooper S variant will start at $28,500. 

Volvo breaks ground in South Carolina on first American factory

(September 28, 2015) RIDGEVILLE, S.C.— Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO Lex Kerssemakers, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and other key public officials officially broke ground on Volvo Cars’ first American factory in Berkeley County, S.C. last week. Construction has now begun on the factory site, which will be capable of producing up to 100,000 cars per year.

Honda to invest $210 million in new paint technology

(September 28, 2015) MARYSVILLE, Ohio  —Honda of America Mfg. has announced a $210 million investment in a new, state-of-the-art paint line at its Marysville Auto Plant (MAP) — Honda's first and largest auto plant in North America — to further its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint while improving on the already high quality of its products.

Super coupe showdown: BMW M4 vs. Lexus RC-F

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 28, 2015) BMW and Toyota have a number of agreements, including one to co-develop a sports car in the next couple of years. It can’t come too early. Though Toyota — with the able help of Roger Becker of Lotus — produced some stellar vehicles, including the first generation MR2 and A60 P-Type Supra. Plus, I am a firm believer — based on the basic handling characteristics of the car and Toyota’s closeness to Lotus at the time — that the Scion FR-S received early input from the sports car maker before finishing the job itself. It has some distinct Lotus handling characteristics, but falls down hard in terms of ride comfort and finesse. Since that vehicle, Toyota’s efforts have swung between lackluster and harsh.