LA Auto Show preview: Infiniti to launch 2012 M35 hybrid

Filed under: LA Auto Show, Hybrid, Sedan, Infiniti

2012 Infiniti M35 hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Infiniti has officially announced plans to debut its first hybrid sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November. The M35 hybrid first appeared – badged as the Nissan Fuga hybrid – at last fall’s Tokyo Motor Show, propelled by Nissan’s first in-house hybrid system. The M35 is powered by a retuned Atkinson cycle version of the 3.5-liter VQ V6 paired with a 50-kilowatt electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack that uses the same type of cells that power the Nissan Leaf.

The motor is a disc-type unit packed between the engine and the six-speed automatic transmission in a similar fashion to the systems from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Porsche. Infiniti claims the M35 will deliver V8 performance with the fuel consumption of a four cylinder. While the Fuga is set to go on sale in Japan this fall, the M35 hybrid arrives in the U.S. next year as a 2012 model.

Gallery: 2012 Infiniti M35 hybrid

[Source: Nissan]

LA Auto Show preview: Infiniti to launch 2012 M35 hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 Aug 2010 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nanotechnology standards coming for auto industry?

Filed under: Technology

According to recent reports, nanotechology – controlling matter at an atomic and molecular level (thanks, Wikipedia!) – is about to hit the automobile world full-force. And the results could be both good and bad.

First, a few examples of the good: First we have a German chemicals company called Lanxess that’s used nanotechnology to create tires that perform better than traditional rubber in both overall performance and wear. Secondly, under the hood of BMW’s diesel models is a particulate filter coated with tiny carbon nanotubes, enabling it to remove 99 percent of all particulate matter. And finally, Mercedes-Benz has partnered with PPG to create a nanotech paint with a glass-like outer coating that’s three-times less likely to scratch.

According to Wards Auto, though, nano particles “can behave in unexpected ways, passing through human skin into the blood or even brain.” While we’re not experts, the idea of nano particles on the brain doesn’t sound very enticing. It’s also not fully understood how these tiny materials can damage the environment and nature. In deference to these facts, the European Union is reportedly considering how best to define nano particles so it can regulate the technology.

The United States is also looking into nanotechnology regulations. Sally Tinkle, senior science advisor to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said, “The technology is new enough that we are not yet looking at tires or car bumpers that have nano elements and which have reached the end of their lives… But we understand the immediacy of these questions and the need to protect public health and the environment.”

[Source: Wards Auto]

Nanotechnology standards coming for auto industry? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Aug 2010 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oft-rumored Nissan Murano convertible tipped to debut at LA Auto Show

Filed under: LA Auto Show, Convertible, Crossover, Nissan, Rumormill

As much as we were hoping that it was nothing more than an elaborate internet hoax by a talented Photoshopper, we’re getting closer and closer to slotting this one away in the Silly But Apparently True file. According to Inside Line, the oft-rumored Nissan Murano convertible is indeed coming to an auto show near you, starting late this year at the LA Auto Show.

Yes, we’re serious. No, we’re not sure we get it either.

If there’s any truth to this rumor, we can expect the droptop crossover to hit the market as a 2012 model equipped with the same 3.5-liter V6 engine and continuously variable automatic transmission as the standard-issue Murano. The switchover to convertible status will reportedly include the removal of the rear doors and may even come with a Chrysler PT Cruiser-esque hoop that’s ostensibly there to boost rigidity and act as some sort of roll bar in the unlikely event of a tipover. We’re sure it’ll be just the thing for unstable homecoming queens come parade duty.

Gluttons for punishment are free to see the complete retina-roasting rendering here at Inside Line. Hey, don’t blame us… we warned you.

[Source: Inside Line]

Oft-rumored Nissan Murano convertible tipped to debut at LA Auto Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Jul 2010 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Obama working to pitch success of auto bailouts to American public

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal, Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Chrysler, GM, Earnings/Financials

You don’t have to be a pollster to know that for the most part, the American public remains none too happy about the federal government handing over the people’s hard-earned tax dollars to pull General Motors and Chrysler out of the fires of insolvency. Despite the fact that both companies have managed to keep their lights on, doors open and paychecks flowing due to their generous federal loans, Joe Plumber still can’t stand the thought of paying the price of the two companies’ failures. With midterm elections right around the corner, President Obama is in Detroit to attempt to sway that opinion.

The Commander-in-Chief will speak to crowds at Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant about the positive side of loaning close to $85 billion to two of our country’s largest automakers, including the fact that in 2010, the Big Three have re-hired a total of 55,000 of the 334,000 workers it sent packing a year prior. That may seem like a fraction of the total, but the President is certain to point out that without the loans, that job loss figure would have been much higher.

And then there’s the matter of getting the federal government’s money back. President Obama is also focusing on sharing his belief that a large majority of the country’s money will be returned once GM and Chrysler go public once again.

Interested in keeping tabs on Obama’s visit to Motown? The Detroit Free Press has a liveblog that you can follow along with (including live audio) by clicking here.

[Sources: Bloomberg, Detroit Free Press | Image: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty]

Obama working to pitch success of auto bailouts to American public originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Jul 2010 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: 2012 Porsche Cayman Clubsport headed for LA Auto Show

Filed under: LA Auto Show, Coupe, Performance, Porsche, Rumormill

2010 Porsche Cayman S – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to Porsche enthusiast site Planet-9.com, a hardcore version of the Cayman, dubbed CS or Clubsport, will be shown at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show in December. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumblings of a lighter, more powerful Cayman, but now that Porsche has successfully launched the Boxster Spyder, it’s only fitting that the same sort of package be offered on its harder-core hardtop sister.

Expect the Clubsport to produce around 333 horsepower from its 3.4-liter flat-six, an increase of 13 hp over the Cayman S. From there, lightweight 19-inch wheels will be standard, as will fabric door pulls, aluminum body components and a slightly revised front fascia that we’ve seen on the Boxster Spyder. Obviously, the real goal with a Clubsport model is lightness, and Planet-9 reports that the CS should be about 162 to 184 pounds lighter than the stock Cayman S.

If the LA Auto Show reveal stands true, the Cayman CS should be hitting the road sometime in 2011 as a 2012 model, priced from around $66,300. Fingers crossed, everyone.

Gallery: 2010 Porsche Cayman S

[Source: Planet-9]

Rumormill: 2012 Porsche Cayman Clubsport headed for LA Auto Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Michigan and Ohio senators demand Obama gets tough on South Korean auto importing

Filed under: Government/Legal, Hyundai, Kia, South Korea

Talk to most analysts in the auto world, and they’ll say that the recent rise of South Korean automakers like Hyundai and Kia have been an absolute blessing to the industry as a whole. Consumers now have an array of quality, inexpensive products, extra jobs have landed in rural areas of the deep south thanks to American-based manufacturing facilities and the competition from low-priced models have forced domestic manufacturers to up their game.

But not everyone’s thrilled about the balance of automotive trade between the two nations. According to The Detroit News, senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, recently wrote to the Obama administration in order to urge the President to take a hard line on the South Korean Free Trade Agreement.

The two senators aren’t taking issue with Korean products here in the U.S., they simply think it’s unfair that South Korea has made it economically difficult to import vehicles into the country. The senators want American companies to have the opportunity to do business on the peninsula – something that most automakers, with the exception of General Motors, have been pushing for since before the second President Bush was in office. GM, meanwhile, owns Korean automaker Daewoo, so it has no problem dealing with the current ban on auto imports.

For its part, Obama administration has said that it will once again open talks about the free trade agreement in hopes of making more American goods available in the global market.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images]

Michigan and Ohio senators demand Obama gets tough on South Korean auto importing originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 20 Jul 2010 14:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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