Official: Honda invests $215M in Ohio Earth Dreams production

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Acura, Honda

Honda Ohio Operations

Honda has announced a $215 million investment in a pair of its Ohio operations, taking its total tally for North American operations up to $2.7 billion in three years. The announcement was made at the 2013 Center For Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.

$180 million of the investment is earmarked for Honda’s Anna, OH engine plant. The money will allow the facility to increase its aluminum die casting and increase production of Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology engines. Think of Earth Dreams as sort of like Mazda’s Skyactiv line, only ED is limited to a new line of engines, rather than a full suite of automotive components. Anna will also be getting a new technical center to train engineers, techs, and line workers on powertrain technology.

The remaining $35 million is slated for Honda’s main Ohio operations in Marysville. A 160,000-square-foot facility will be constructed near Honda’s current properties, which will house another technical training center to focus on automotive manufacturing. The new building will also house Honda’s North American Services group, as well as a new heritage center.

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Honda invests $215M in Ohio Earth Dreams production originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 17:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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‘What On Earth!’ documentary shows how cars might look to aliens

Filed under: Etc., Videos

what on earth screen grab

What On Earth coverThere’s a classic The Far Side comic where two aliens, cleverly disguised as traffic lights, discuss eliminating the Earth’s population slowly, one at a time. The joke, of course, is that things aren’t always what they seem.

Apparently, filmmakers Les Drew and Kaj Pindal had a similar idea back in 1966, when they made the animated short called What on Earth! The nine-minute movie is a satirical look at Earth from outer space. Specifically, when Martians arrive on our blue rock, they assume, based on the observable conditions, the automobile is the dominant species. It’s a warm and funny little video, especially the part about how getting crushed and heading to the junk yard is an individual’s final contribution to society. The Film Board says, “This animated short proposes what many earthlings have long feared – that the automobile has inherited the planet. When life on Earth is portrayed as one long, unending conga-line of cars, a crew of extra-terrestrial visitors understandably assume they are the dominant race. While humans, on the other hand, are merely parasites.”

What On Earth! was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1967, but lost to something called The Box. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the movie was shown in theaters and on ABC television in the US in the 1960s. Now, it is available for your viewing pleasure simply by clicking below.

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‘What On Earth!’ documentary shows how cars might look to aliens originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 19:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Honda Civic poised to get new Earth Dreams engines

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Honda

2013 Honda Civic - front three-quarter view with mountains

When Honda executed its emergency refresh of the Civic for 2013, it didn’t do any massive powertrain reworking. But that doesn’t mean new things aren’t already in the works for Honda’s compact. According to Automotive News, Honda has confirmed that it will offer the Civic with a new Earth Dreams powerplant sometime in the future, though details on timing and exactly what sort of engine are unclear as of this writing.

The confirmation comes from Honda’s executive vice president and regional director for North America, Tetsuo Iwamura, who says that the Earth Dreams engine will come when the Civic is re-engineered or redesigned, not during a refresh. There is also no mention of whether these changes will apply to just the standard Civic, or if the Si and Hybrid models will receive some Dreamy new tech, as well.

The entire Earth Dreams group of technologies encompasses more than just naturally aspirated engines with direct injection. A turbo-diesel engine is also part of this suite, as are new continuously variable transmissions and new gasoline-electric hybrid powerplants. Honda launched its 2.4-liter and 3.5-liter Earth Dreams engines in the redesigned 2013 Accord.

“The Civic has to evolve,” Iwamura told Automotive News. “But we have to consider what timing works best.” AN suggests that the Earth Dreams-powered Civic could arrive as early as the 2015 model year.

Honda Civic poised to get new Earth Dreams engines originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What on Earth is Audi doing with E-Tron?

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, Hydrogen, Audi, AutoblogGreen Exclusive

Getting Some Answers About This Often Confusing EV Program

The E-Tron name has been applied to at least a dozen concepts, test vehicles and rumors over the past four years.

If we take a quick look back in history, we realize that the first time Audi mentioned the name E-Tron to the public was all the way back in 2009. Back then, the name was applied to an entire concept car, called simply the E-Tron, which was an R8 converted to an electric vehicle with a big battery pack and some powerful electric motors. It was a supercar for the plug-in set, and it went over so well that Tony Stark drove one in Iron Man 3 this year. With that kind of publicity for the marquee E-Tron, it’s confusing that the E-Tron name has been applied to a seemingly endless stream of concepts, test vehicles and rumors over the past four years. At least a dozen, by our count.

There was the original R8 E-Tron, an A3 Sportback E-Tron (EV and PHEV versions), the R18 E-Tron Quattro racecar, an all-electric A2 E-Tron concept, an A6 L E-Tron PHEV that was shown off in Beijing and rumors of A4 and Q7 E-Tron Quattros. Then we had the E-Tron spyder concept and the city E-Tron concept, as well as news of an A5 E-Tron Quattro plug-in hybrid. And then there’s the A1 E-Tron plug-in hybrid that is being tested in Germany. Got all that?

Audi is finally getting ready to take the E-Tron name out of the movies and the auto show circuit and start putting plug-in cars in customer driveways. As it gears up for the launch of the first E-Tron – the A3 Sportback E-Tron, coming in 2014 – we flew to Berlin to find out what’s taken so long, and what’s coming next.

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What on Earth is Audi doing with E-Tron? originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 14 Jun 2013 11:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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By The Numbers: May 2011 – As The Earth Quakes Edition

Filed under: By the Numbers

The Earth Quakes, Japanese Sales Fall

By The NumbersOverall, auto sales were down a bit in May, though there certainly were a few bright spots in the industry. For instance, the Chrysler Group, which consists of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, posted a 10-percent sales gain for the month when compared to the same period a year ago, led by strong sales of its Jeep brand. Grand Cherokee sales were up 192 percent, while the Compass (up 92 percent) and Patriot (up 80 percent) also made big gains.

The star of the Chrysler show, however, is undoubtedly the Dodge Durango. Sales of the reborn ‘ute shot up 217,800 percent… though that’s not terribly enlightening since Dodge only sold two Durangos in May of 2010.

Chrysler’s strong sales, combined with an extremely poor showing (albeit not entirely its own fault) from Toyota allowed the Pentastar brand to slip into the number three sales spot behind General Motors and Ford.

The Korean conglomerate of Hyundai and Kia similarly performed very well, knocking Honda out of the fourth spot. Projections that the Korean duo would outsell Toyota, however, fell short by less than a thousand units.

Volkswagen sales are hitting their stride as well, with the new 2011 Jetta (16,671) leading the way.

Japanese brands took the brunt of the sales hit in May, due in large part to fallout from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation hard in March. Of the three major Japanese automakers, Toyota was hit the hardest, down over 30 percent. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, fared ever worse, down nearly 45 percent from May of last year.

Fuel efficiency continues to sell cars like the Ford Focus (22,303), Chevrolet Cruze (22,711) and Hyundai Elantra (20,006). What’s more, Eco editions accounted for about 15 percent of all Cruze sales, and Volkswagen reports that its TDI diesels managed to snag 22.2 percent of its share.

And finally, the Ford Explorer earned 13,318 sales, its highest tally in nearly four years, proving what a genuinely good redesign can do for a neglected nameplate.

Brand/Company Vol. % May-11 May-10 DSR %* May-11 May-10
Saab 121.26 385 174 139.70 16 7
Mitsubishi 59.76 7,568 4,737 73.08 315 182
Scion 59.63 5,710 3,577 72.93 238 138
Volvo 57.95 7,359 4,659 71.12 307 179
Jeep 55.02 35,573 22,948 67.93 1,482 883
Kia 53.39 48,212 31,431 66.17 2,009 1,209
Porsche 50.40 2,817 1,873 62.93 117 72
Mini 37.04 5,801 4,233 48.46 242 163
Jaguar 32.12 1,271 962 43.13 53 37
Volkswagen 27.85 30,100 23,543 38.51 1,254 906
Buick 23.82 15,579 12,582 34.14 649 484
Hyundai 20.73 59,214 49,045 30.80 2,467 1,886
Suzuki 20.34 2,290 1,903 30.36 95 73
BMW 15.63 20,651 17,859 25.27 860 687
Audi 13.60 10,457 9,205 23.07 436 354
Ram 13.40 21,467 18,930 22.85 894 728
Suzuki 9.33 2,132 1,950 18.44 89 75
GMC 8.05 32,589 30,160 17.06 1,358 1,160
Land Rover 6.72 2,891 2,709 15.61 120 104
Mercedes-Benz 5.89 20,306 19,176 14.72 846 738
Ford 5.32 184,703 175,370 14.10 7,696 6,745
Chevrolet -3.49 161,401 167,235 4.55 6,725 6,432
Lincoln -4.59 7,399 7,755 3.36 308 298
Dodge -4.83 40,200 42,242 3.10 1,675 1,625
Cadillac -5.72 11,623 12,328 2.14 484 474
Nissan -7.82 69,759 75,673 -0.13 2,907 2,911
Subaru -15.34 20,036 23,667 -8.29 835 910
Mazda -20.92 17,875 22,605 -14.33 745 869
Chrysler -20.94 16,364 20,699 -14.35 682 796
Infiniti -21.04 6,389 8,091 -14.46 266 311
Honda -22.42 81,773 105,407 -15.96 3,407 4,054
Acura -23.51 9,000 11,766 -17.13 375 453
Smart -29.21 492 695 -23.31 21 27
Toyota -31.66 96,082 140,597 -25.97 4,003 5,408
Lexus -44.61 12,305 22,216 -40.00 513 854
Fiat NA 1,759 0 NA 73 0
COMPANIES
BMW Group 19.74 26,452 22,092 29.71 1,102 850
Jaguar Land Rover NA 13.38 4,162 3,671 22.82 173 141
Chrysler Group 10.06 115,363 104,819 19.23 4,807 4,032
Ford Mo Co -0.08 192,102 192,253 8.25 8,004 7,394
GM -1.18 221,192 223,822 7.06 9,216 8,609
Nissan NA -9.09 76,148 83,764 -1.52 3,173 3,222
American Honda -22.53 90,773 117,173 -16.08 3,782 4,507
Toyota Mo Co -33.43 108,387 162,813 -27.88 4,516 6,262

*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 24 selling days in May 2011 versus 26 selling days in May 2010, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change in average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.

By The Numbers: May 2011 – As The Earth Quakes Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Mini Rocketman Concept misses the Earth so much, misses its wife

Filed under: Concept Cars, Geneva Motor Show, Hatchback, Mini

Mini Rocketman Concept

Mini Rocketman Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mini’s new space-age Rocketman Concept previews what the future of urban mobility could look like for the BMW sub-brand. It’s slightly smaller than the current Cooper, and we’re big fans of the dual-hinged doors that pivot outwards, complete with the sills. In fact, the whole concept strikes us as totally cool, and is further proof that Mini’s cheekiness can be further evolved to new types of vehicles.

The Rocketman’s interior uses a space-efficient three-plus-one seating arrangement, and we’re told that the car is powered by a highly efficient powertrain capable of returning 78 miles per gallon on the U.S. cycle. Mini’s new Connected infotainment system is displayed via three-dimensional graphics on the interactive speedometer screen, and there’s even a steering wheel-mounted joystick to operate the whole slew of functions.

There’s a whole host of clever features found within the Rocketman, but above all, the concept’s design is what really stands out. See for yourself in the high-res image galleries below.

Gallery: Mini Rocketman Concept: Geneva 2011

Gallery: Mini Rocketman Concept

Mini Rocketman ConceptMini Rocketman ConceptMini Rocketman ConceptMini Rocketman ConceptMini Rocketman Concept

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

Geneva 2011: Mini Rocketman Concept misses the Earth so much, misses its wife originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Mar 2011 04:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: When Group B monsters roamed the earth

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Audi, Porsche, Ferrari, Renault, Peugeot, Lancia

Group B monsters in action – Click above to watch video after the jump

Though it only existed for four short years, Group B racing has continued to captivate fans of all ages. From 1982 through 1986, motorsports enthusiasts around the world gathered en masse to watch Lancia, Audi, Renault and Peugeot battle for supremacy. Ferrari and Porsche even got in on the action with the legendary 288 GTO and 959, respectively. The cars were lightweight, powerful and sounded like they built in Hell by the Devil himself. In other words, the cars were a sight to behold and a treat to the ears. They were also incredibly dangerous.

Large groups of people stood on the edge of the road as the beasts rumbled by at triple-digit speeds. Accidents happened and there were a number of fatal incidents for both drivers and viewers alike. In 1986, the FIA banned Group B cars, but the legendary vehicles are still held in high regard. If you need a refresher, roar past the jump to watch the Group B monsters in action.

Once you’ve watched the clip, sound off in the comments and let us know what you think would be the most terrifying vehicle to try and pilot. Group B cars are near the top of the list but we’re sure you can think of some others… Top Fuel Dragsters, board-track racers, land-speed record streamliners…

[Source: YouTube]

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Video: When Group B monsters roamed the earth originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Jan 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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