Official: Honda launches new Fit in Japan, has big expectations for North America

Filed under: Budget, Hybrid, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Hatchback, Honda

2015 Honda Fit RS

2015 Honda Fit HybridHonda has officially launched the Fit sub-compact in its home market, ahead of its eventual arrival in North America. The third-generation Fit is wildly important for Honda, with the company’s president, Takanobu Ito, saying, “This is the most important model.”

The third-generation Fit is a ground-up reworking of the car that we’ve come to know. It will pioneer Honda’s new design language, Exciting H Design (seriously) and will also be the very first Fit to be manufactured in North America. Thanks to a Mexican factory that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014, Honda will be able to produce 200,000 Fits for the North American market in North America, saving the brand a huge amount of cash.

As for that Exciting H Design, it’s meant to be sleeker and more modern, according to Automotive News. It’s not bad looking, but the overall design is far less important than what’s under that hood. The vehicle you see above is a Fit RS, which has quite a resemblance to the rumored Fit Mugen. There’s not a lot of detail on this model, but based on looks alone, we certainly hope it’ll be coming to the North American market – it’d make a great Fit Sport. A hybrid variant will also come to the US market, and that car is returning impressive numbers on the Japanese cycle: 86 miles per gallon so far, thanks to the combination of an 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. That’s a 35-percent improvement over the current, JDM Fit Hybrid.

Indeed, if the Fit Hybrid can return anything near those numbers on the US EPA cycle, it should do well. Ito’s demands for improved economy are part of what has him believing that Honda will eventually move 1.5 million Fits by 2016. The Honda boss is also expecting the B-segment car to become the brand’s best seller, overall, surpassing the Civic, CR-V and Accord. Those are some big expectations.

Honda launches new Fit in Japan, has big expectations for North America originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Honda launches new Fit in Japan, has big expectations for North America”

Official: Honda launches new Fit in Japan, has big expectations for North America

Filed under: Budget, Hybrid, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Hatchback, Honda

2015 Honda Fit RS

2015 Honda Fit HybridHonda has officially launched the Fit sub-compact in its home market, ahead of its eventual arrival in North America. The third-generation Fit is wildly important for Honda, with the company’s president, Takanobu Ito, saying, “This is the most important model.”

The third-generation Fit is a ground-up reworking of the car that we’ve come to know. It will pioneer Honda’s new design language, Exciting H Design (seriously) and will also be the very first Fit to be manufactured in North America. Thanks to a Mexican factory that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014, Honda will be able to produce 200,000 Fits for the North American market in North America, saving the brand a huge amount of cash.

As for that Exciting H Design, it’s meant to be sleeker and more modern, according to Automotive News. It’s not bad looking, but the overall design is far less important than what’s under that hood. The vehicle you see above is a Fit RS, which has quite a resemblance to the rumored Fit Mugen. There’s not a lot of detail on this model, but based on looks alone, we certainly hope it’ll be coming to the North American market – it’d make a great Fit Sport. A hybrid variant will also come to the US market, and that car is returning impressive numbers on the Japanese cycle: 86 miles per gallon so far, thanks to the combination of an 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. That’s a 35-percent improvement over the current, JDM Fit Hybrid.

Indeed, if the Fit Hybrid can return anything near those numbers on the US EPA cycle, it should do well. Ito’s demands for improved economy are part of what has him believing that Honda will eventually move 1.5 million Fits by 2016. The Honda boss is also expecting the B-segment car to become the brand’s best seller, overall, surpassing the Civic, CR-V and Accord. Those are some big expectations.

Honda launches new Fit in Japan, has big expectations for North America originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Honda launches new Fit in Japan, has big expectations for North America”

Spy Shots: VW prepping new big-boy Golf Plus for Europe

Filed under: Spy Photos, Europe, Volkswagen

Volkswagen Golf Plus Spy Shots

Volkswagen is readying a new version of the Golf Plus, the compact MPV that was last seen as part of the fifth-generation Golf range. The Plus sports a higher roof for improved headroom, with our spy shooter estimating an extra 15 centimeters (six inches) of noggin space over a comparable Golf hatchback.

The new model is expected to look more or less like the Mk VII Golf, outside of the taller overall design and subtle styling tweaks. Sharing its bones and its looks with the newest Golf means the Plus will get most of the same engines and transmissions, although we shouldn’t expect a hot version with the GTI’s powerplant or an all-wheel-drive model.

The main difference in the cabin should be a set of adjustable rear seats, allowing a bit more room and flexibility in the tallish hatchback. As is usual, don’t expect this Golf variant to cross the pond. Take a look above for our full gallery of spy shots of the new Golf Plus.

VW prepping new big-boy Golf Plus for Europe originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 Aug 2013 14:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Spy Shots: VW prepping new big-boy Golf Plus for Europe”

Video: Porsche 911: Big in Taiwan

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Porsche

porsche 911 taiwan

Porsche is continuing celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of its iconic 911. In its latest video, it’s gone to Taiwan, to interview some of the folks that have grown passionate about the rear-engined sportscar over the years.

By and large, the views expressed in this video could have come from anywhere in the world. The 911 is a great car and that doesn’t change from country to country. These enthusiasts have the same passion that fans in England, the United States or Germany have for the Carrera. Take a look below at the full video, to see what the 911 enthusiasts of Taiwan love about their 911s.

Continue reading Porsche 911: Big in Taiwan

Porsche 911: Big in Taiwan originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Video: Porsche 911: Big in Taiwan”

Report: Your car’s ‘big data’ is worth $1,400 a year

Filed under: Safety, Technology, Earnings/Financials, Infotainment

Chevrolet MyLink screen

Connected cars are slowly but surely becoming more commonplace, mirroring the smartphone takeover of the mobile communications market, albeit at a much slower pace. But as we get more and more connected vehicles on the road, the ability of companies to take advantage of the accumulated data becomes greater and greater.

Now, one Cisco executive, Andreas Mai, has put a number on just what one car’s total data will mean in savings for a number of interested parties. According to a report from Automotive News, the average motorist will stand to save $550 per year thanks to smarter routing from navigation systems that allow them to both avoid traffic and improve fuel economy.

Society, as a whole, will benefit thanks to data that allows for an improved traffic flow and higher road capacity, with $420 in savings. Mai estimates that the service providers – those companies that provide the traffic guidance, navigation, parking services and such – should see $150 in value per car. Finally, the automakers should see an extra $300 in value thanks to app design and smarter diagnostics that lower warranty costs.

And while this is all very much still pie-in-the-sky stuff (connected cars are still in their infancy), the prospects are quite exciting. The sole sticking point we can really see has to do with privacy. The average citizen might not appreciate their commuting habits being monitored by faceless corporations, with some potentially electing to opt out.

The idea of incentivizing cooperation is one possibility, but even Mai recognizes that privacy and ownership of the data will be an issue, “There have to be rules about who owns the data. Most likely it’s the consumer, since he bought the car. A balance needs to be struck.”

Your car’s ‘big data’ is worth $1,400 a year originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Your car’s ‘big data’ is worth $1,400 a year”

Report: GM planning to put its fullsize pickups on a big diet, too

Filed under: Truck, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

2014 GMC Sierra pickup - silver - front three-quarter view with mountains

General Motors is just coming off a complete redesign of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra for 2014, but in the US fullsize truck market, there is no rest for the weary. According to Reuters, plans are already unfurling for both trucks to drop pounds from their curb weight over the next few years, but this will unlikely be able to keep pace with the 700-pound diet targeted for the next-generation Ford F-150, a truck expected to debut late next year.

The biggest weight reduction for these trucks might not be available until the next full redesign, which will likely happen around 2019, but the article says that smaller updates could shave pounds in the meantime. Two examples given include an “aluminum-intensive” version of the Silverado that could shed 250 pounds and debut around the same time as the lighter-weight, aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford, and there is also talk of reducing weight for driveline components such as axles and driveshafts. These changes are all part of an attempt to meet strict new fuel economy standards coming in 2017, targets which will get even tougher in 2025.

GM planning to put its fullsize pickups on a big diet, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: GM planning to put its fullsize pickups on a big diet, too”

Report: Despite being big in Canada, Toyota Matrix future unsure

Filed under: Budget, Hatchback, Toyota, Canada

2011 Toyota Matrix

2011 Toyota Matrix – Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota may not invest in a next-generation version of the company’s Matrix when the 2013 Corolla arrives. According to Ward’s Auto, the hatchback’s sales have fallen off of a cliff, with just 14,592 deliveries last year. That’s down from a height of 66,836 units in 2002. But that’s just here in the typically hatch-averse United States. In Canada, the Matrix is still kicking in teeth, though the Corolla still outsells its long-roof twin by more than twice the volume.

While there’s been some speculation that the upcoming compact Prius variant will supplant the Matrix in the Toyota family tree, Bob Carter, Toyota’s Group Vice President and General Manager, says that the two vehicles are expected to appeal to vastly different audiences.

Still, we have to think that Toyota would be wise to invest a little coin in the aging Matrix when the Corolla gets a revamp in a few years. American buyers seem to be slowly warming to the idea of hatches and wagons, and competitors from Hyundai to Ford are all offering five-door variants. As Ward’s Auto points out, 43 percent of 2012 Focus sales have been hatchbacks to date.

Despite being big in Canada, Toyota Matrix future unsure originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Despite being big in Canada, Toyota Matrix future unsure”

Video: Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car

Filed under: Europe, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Audi

Audi A1 commercial

Audi A1 commercial is big, yet small – Click above to watch the video after the break

The Audi A1 may be small, but the latest home-market spot for the supermini highlights the car’s features in a big way. How big? How about a towering wall of guitar amplifiers that’s really an enormous Bose speaker like those you’ll find inside the A1? Or a movie screen that’s actually the Navigation System display.

We have no explanation why you’d want to jacklight rabbits, as depicted in the commercial, but the A1’s HID headlamp clusters carry out the task. Like those rabbits, Audi’s going to need to proliferate its vehicles worldwide if it wants to meet its goal of becoming the largest luxury automaker in the world, and the A1 is one of those bunnies.

Whatever the case, you’ll definitely want to see it for yourself in the video pasted after the break.

Continue reading Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car

Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 20:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Video: Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car”

Where big cats are made: A photo tour of Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant

Filed under: Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Jaguar, UK, Luxury

Jaguar XJ at Castle Bromwich

A photo tour of Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory – Click above for high-res image gallery

All Jaguars, whether steel or aluminum, are fashioned in one place: Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands of England. The factory complex originally made RAF Spitfires and Lancaster bombers for World War II service, then was turned over to car production. In the way of Britain’s carmaking conglomerates, it produced bodies for brands from Riley to Austin to Morris – when our tour guide started working there in 1966 he was in charge of making Nash Metropolitans.

Jaguar has been the sole occupant since 1977, and consolidated all of its production there in 2005, when its Browns Lane plant was shut. We had a chance to tour the site’s C-Block and F-Block recently, where the XJ is assembled and finished. Along the way we came across bodyshells so light they could easily be picked up by one man, a bajillion rivets and miles of adhesive, Ford’s gift of reams of data sheets, the shiniest XJ we’ve ever seen and, of course, signs of Elvis. Have a look at the captioned gallery of high-res photos below to see what’s behind the camouflaged red brick walls of Castle Bromwich.

Where big cats are made: A photo tour of Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Where big cats are made: A photo tour of Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant”

Chinese big rig tips going too fast around corner

Filed under: China, Etc., Videos

chinese truck driver rolls vehicle

Chinese driver rolls big-rig in traffic – Click above to watch video after the jump

Running a red light in your standard passenger vehicle is never a good idea. Trying to rush a trailer-laden semi-truck through a busy intersection is far, far worse. Such a machine has a lot of weight to throw around, as one Chinese driver recently learned. Physics strikes again!

The truck ends up on its side, but this crash could’ve been a lot worse. A quartet of two-wheeled traffic-goers hit the brakes at just the right time, and fortunately, a nearby cyclist was also paying rapt attention to the wayward cargo-hauler.

Click past the jump to watch a truck driver try to imitate Sam Hubinette… unsuccessfully.

[Source: YouTube via CarScoop]

Continue reading Chinese big rig tips going too fast around corner

Chinese big rig tips going too fast around corner originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 May 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Chinese big rig tips going too fast around corner”