Report: No FWD Smart crossover in the works, but two concepts headed for Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Budget, Crossover, Hatchback, Smart

If you’re a fan of Daimler’s Smart brand, here is some potentially good news for you today. First, a pair of concept vehicles will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month previewing the next-gen Fortwo and Forfour models, and more interestingly, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has stated that are no plans to offer a front-engine, front-drive vehicle for the Smart brand, both reports according to Autocar.

There has been no shortage of concept vehicles from Smart in recent years, but with the Fortwo and Forfour due out in the next year or two, these concepts could be pretty close to the production designs. As for future products beyond these two models, Zetsche told Autocar the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is a “defining feature” for Smart, and a future crossover model will be based on the new Forfour platform rather than sharing its platform with a more conventional product in the Daimler portfolio.

No FWD Smart crossover in the works, but two concepts headed for Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mercedes FWD platform to last until 2018, convertible and two-seater future uncertain

Filed under: Convertible, Sedan, Mercedes-Benz

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan - front three-quarter view, silver

Mercedes-Benz seems to be expecting a lot of success from its front-wheel-drive CLA-Class. Automotive News is reporting that the sub-C-Class sedan could grow when its second generation arrives in 2018.

The current FWD platform for MB underpins the CLA, the B-Class, the GLA-Class, and the A-Class. The B-Class will arrive in North America as an EV for spring of 2014, while the production GLA crossover will arrive three to four months after that. The five-door A-Class won’t be crossing The Pond. Sad faces all around.

According to AN, another model will be based on the front-drive architecture, but it won’t be coming to the US market. Set to arrive next year, rumors are that it’ll be a wagon version of the CLA, sort of like the ill-named five-door CLS Shooting Brake that is also a Europe-only item.

As for the rumored CLA convertible and two-seat roadster, if those two arrive, it’s not going to be until the second-generation of the current architecture hits the market. Even then, their future is in uncertain, as Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG told Automotive News, “We are considering the final portfolio of the next generation of our compact cars. We have to define it and we may expand the portfolio.”

Mercedes FWD platform to last until 2018, convertible and two-seater future uncertain originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: BMW, Mini aim to sell million cars off new FWD platform

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon, Crossover, Hatchback, BMW, Mini, Luxury

Mini sold 301,526 cars in 2012; BMW sold 1.54 million of its own models. According to a piece in Autocar, analysts say the coming UKL1 platform that will form the skeleton of the third-generation Mini Cooper and coming front-wheel drive BMW 1 Series could be responsible for “more than 900,000 cars per year” all by itself.

That sale fire is fueled by the UKL1 wearing up to twenty-three bodies in total between the two brands, 11 for Mini and 12 for BMW, rendering hatchbacks, sedans, coupes, convertibles, wagons, crossovers and people-haulers from about 12.5 feet to 14.5 feet. In April the VP of Mini USA said we might find some current models don’t make it to a next generation, but a graphic accompanying the Autocar story has them all there. If it’s correct, then those 23 models will only base model lines and don’t account for different engines and four-wheel-drive options for each model.

The big changes that would perhaps mean big sales for the Mini line are a five-door hatch with two smaller rear doors for children, the sedan talked about last year for Asian markets and an MPV perhaps wearing the “Traveler” name that could send the Countryman in a more SUV-like direction.

BMW, Mini aim to sell million cars off new FWD platform originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 18:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Alfa Romeo dumping FWD Mito, Giulietta hatches in favor of RWD sedans

Filed under: Europe, Alfa Romeo

Europeans should be dancing in their nearest piazza, as Alfa Romeo is ditching its front-drive MiTo and Giulietta to return to its rear-drive roots, according to a report from the UK’s Car. The switch is expected to happen in 2015, and is meant to bring Alfa Romeo closer to Maserati.

Car is claiming that a 3 Series-fighting Alfa will hit the streets first, followed by a larger model to contend with the 5 Series. After that, Alfa will field a pair of SUVs, its first models of that body style. We sincerely hope all of these cars come with sweet-sounding, high-revving six-cylinder engines.

While we’re quite happy for European gearheads, the shift in logic has us wondering, once again, what this means for Alfa Romeo’s long-promised return to the US of A. Both the MiTo and Giulietta were slated for the US market at some point in 2013, according our most recent report. We’re half way through the year now, and there hasn’t been so much as a whimper indicating that timetable would work.

Based on remarks Sergio Marchionne made at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, bringing Alfa back properly is more important than bringing it back quickly. That logic could explain this latest possible delay. Getting American Alfa Romeos right for Americans could also explain things, which is perhaps a lesson learned from the Dart’s rushed launch.

In any case, with this news that two of the core models of Alfa’s US return are being ditched within the next 30 or so months, we’re left wondering (again) when the legendary Italian brand will return to our shores.

Alfa Romeo dumping FWD Mito, Giulietta hatches in favor of RWD sedans originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 21 Jul 2013 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reconfirmed: BMW developing FWD, four-cylinder small car line for sale in U.S.

Filed under: Technology, BMW, Rumormill, Luxury

BMW seems to think American buyers are ready to sink their teeth into small luxury vehicles. The automaker has reconfirmed plans to unleash a wave of small, front-wheel drive creations positioned below the 1 Series and due to go on sale in the U.S. market. The vehicles will be sold under a new class called UKL, and there are supposedly several different body styles just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting North American buyers. The news came via Ian Robertson, a BMW board member for sales and marketing, who also said that the full line will pack a four-cylinder engine when the cars debut before 2013.

BMW is looking to move around 100,000 units of its new UKL series vehicles worldwide, though the company hasn’t said exactly how it expects that figure to be broken up by market. Automotive News reports that while the company has also been tight lipped about exactly how many different vehicle types will fall under the new front-wheel drive, four-cylinder philosophy, other reports have pointed to a total of four body styles at launch.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Reconfirmed: BMW developing FWD, four-cylinder small car line for sale in U.S. originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Oct 2010 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Chrysler to introduce 9-speed automatic for FWD models

Filed under: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Rumormill

Chrysler has a whole cabinet full of pots on the fire, unleashing as it is a slew of heavily revised or completely new cars and trucks over the next couple of years. If you’re thinking that this seems like a good time to leap-frog its way back to the head of the pack in terms of vehicle specification, we’re right there with you.

And according to reports, so is Chrysler’s new management from Italy. We’ve heard rumblings that the Fiat-controlled automaker will introduce an eight-speed automatic transmission for rear-wheel drive vehicles in 2012, and now rumors indicate that the Pentastar’s next trick will be a nine-speed slushbox for its front-wheel drivers, which should have a suitably positive effect on fuel efficiency.

According to company head Sergio Marchionne, both the eight- and nine-speed gearboxes will be adaptable for use in all-wheel-drive applications and will come ready to accept hybrid bits and pieces. As of now, there isn’t any timetable on when we should expect to see the new nine-speeder.

*Update: Full text of Marchionne’s speech can be found after the break.

[Source: Chrysler]

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Report: Chrysler to introduce 9-speed automatic for FWD models originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Sep 2010 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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