Report: Lincoln poised to double MKZ Hybrid production

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Lincoln

2014 Lincoln MKZ - front three-quarter view, maroon

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has been something of a hit for Ford since the beginning, exceeding the company’s modest projected 15-percent take rate for more than two years (we say “modest” because that still means an overwhelming majority of Lincoln customers are passing up on the gas-electric powertrain even though it costs the same as the standard model). Either way, Lincoln builds 700 MKZ Hybrids at its plant in Mexico each month, but has sold 715 of them in each of the past three months. That’s why, according to a report in The Detroit News, when the restyled 2014 MKZ Hybrid arrives (non-hybrid pictured), Ford is doubling production compared to 2013. Instead of the hybrid model being 20 percent of production, the new hybrid will make up 40 percent.

Ford is doing well with hybrids in general – its portion of the electrified vehicle segment jumping 12 points in a single year to 16 percent. Assuming Ford doesn’t change the pricing strategy (along with the changes Ford is making to calibration to improve fuel economy), the sedan could continue to “[show] other luxury hybrids how it’s done” when it goes on sale later this year.

Lincoln poised to double MKZ Hybrid production originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: UAW poised to take notes from German labor unions?

Filed under: Europe, UAW/Unions

Bob King, UAW boss stands at podium with arms up

Automotive News Europe reports the United Auto Workers may borrow from German labor unions’ playbook. UAW President Bob King says that he’s seen the merit of the country’s labor system after having being appointed to the supervisory board of Opel last year. Germany’s so-called codetermination laws state that union leaders or employee representatives must receive as many as half of the seats on the supervisory boards that control an automaker’s major investments. Those boards can also hire or fire executives, and special work councils handle decisions on issues like work hours, benefits and work conditions.

King believes the system gives workers a stronger voice, and says the UAW is open to building a similar system in the US. That could be done through the organization’s current contracts with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford.

Shifting strategies could also help the UAW woo foreign-owned manufacturing plants in the US. King hopes the German labor union strategies will be seen as less combative than the union’s current policies.

UAW poised to take notes from German labor unions? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:45:00 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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Report: Nismo GT-R poised to be fastest Nissan ever

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Nissan

For almost every year since the Nissan GT-R first debuted, Nissan has been figuring out how to cram more power under the hood or give it 911-like quickness around the Nürburgring. Looking to create a brand image for its performance arm, we already knew that a hotter, Nismo-branded GT-R was in the works, but it seems some details may have leaked regarding this new Nismo GT-R.

While little has been spoken of this Super GT-R since February, Top Gear is reporting that Nismo is planning to make improvements to the coupe’s power, handing and styling – three things that we’re sure few have complained about since 2009. What could this mean for the GT-R? According to the article, Nismo could be looking to raise horsepower from the current 545-hp mark to more than 570 hp, and handling upgrades could give the car a ‘Ring lap time of seven minutes and 22 seconds, which as Top Gear points out, is four seconds quicker than the new 911 GT3.

Nismo GT-R poised to be fastest Nissan ever originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Prince Harry poised to drive Top Gear Reasonably Priced Car?

Filed under: Etc., Kia, UK, Celebrities, Russia

prince harry

Top Gear could be set to welcome royalty into the driver’s seat of its reasonably priced Kia Cee’d. Prince Harry is reportedly eager to get behind the wheel and tackle the Top Gear test track in the next series of the popular BBC franchise, where he will attempt to best the 1:44.2 lap time set by Tom Cruise.

Prince Harry is used to handling high-speed machines, but they’re typically of the airborne variety. He recently completed military training that qualifies him to fly Apache helicopters. The top speed of an Apache is listed at 182 miles per hour – a few ticks quicker than the Kia.

[Source: Metro.co.uk | Image: Clive Mason/Getty]

Prince Harry poised to drive Top Gear Reasonably Priced Car? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Mar 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: VW poised to join WRC by month’s end

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Off-Road, Racing

Volkswagen Touareg Dakar

Carlos Sainz at the 2010 Dakar Rally – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to Autocar, Volkswagen is expected to announce its participation in WRC by the end of this month. The automaker has been rumored to enter WRC ever since the racing series announced a shift to 1.6-liter-based rules.

If the rumors are to be believed, the car, which is already under development, will be based on the Polo. Volkswagen has tapped Fracois-Xavier Demaison, who has led rally projects for Peugeot and Citroen, to get the diminutive Polo ready to race.

The driver for VW’s WRC assault remains undetermined, though apparently the German automaker has tried – and failed – to get Sebastien Loeb. Petter Solberg’s name has also come up as a possible pilot for the effort.

Gallery: Carlos Sainz wins the 2010 Dakar Rally

[Source: Autocar]

Report: VW poised to join WRC by month’s end originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Mar 2011 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Chevy Camaro poised to outsell Ford Mustang for first time in 25 years

Filed under: Car Buying, Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet, Ford

Chevy Camaro - Ford Mustang split view

It’s been a quarter-century since the last time it happened, but Chevrolet’s reborn Camaro appears set to steal away the yearly pony car sales crown from the Ford Mustang.

According to AutoWeek, the Bowtie Brigade has cleared 75,685 Camaro sales through the end of November, while the Blue Oval has shifted 68,264 units. Extrapolating the monthly sales totals to the end of December, AW estimates that Chevrolet will finish 2010 with around 82,500 sales, besting the Ford’s estimate of 74,500. Trailing the muscle car pack in sales is Dodge’s Challenger lineup, trending at around 36,000 units.

There has certainly been pent-up demand for the Camaro among consumers after its prolonged absence, but what’s even more impressive about its yearly sales total is that if the lead holds, the Chevy will have outsold the Ford and the Dodge with far fewer special editions and no convertible bodystyle like the Mustang. (A droptop Camaro is slated to go on sale next year, and a high-performance Z28 variant is also expected).

For more details on the pony car sales race, check out the link below.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Gallery: Review: 2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium

2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Photos copyright (C)2010 Drew Phillips and John Neff / AOL

[Source: AutoWeek]

Report: Chevy Camaro poised to outsell Ford Mustang for first time in 25 years originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: EPA poised to outline medium- and heavy-duty truck emissions standards

Filed under: Truck, Government/Legal, Technology, Diesel

18-wheeler on the move

The EPA appears to be close to releasing its proposal for medium and heavy-duty truck fuel economy standards. As you may remember, the Obama Administration called for the first-ever standards for large work vehicles earlier this year. According to The New York Times, a spokesperson with the EPA has said that the initial proposal will be out soon. Analysts had expected the numbers to show up this week, but that’s looking less and less likely by the hour.

Surprisingly enough, heavy truck manufacturers don’t seem to be up in arms over the thought of new fuel economy standards. The New York Times says that the EPA has a history of working closely with big truck makers to reduce emissions, and that this is the next logical step. The EPA and truckmakers say agree that today’s diesel rigs crank out 60 times less particulate matter than similar equipment did in 1988. That’s thanks in no small part to the EPA’s clean trucks program, which is geared toward promoting clean-diesel technology.

The new fuel economy standards are expected to show up in a climate bill that already regulates fuel consumption for passenger cars, light-duty trucks and stationary devices like generators.

[Source: The New York Times | Image: Ethan Miller/Getty]

Report: EPA poised to outline medium- and heavy-duty truck emissions standards originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Oct 2010 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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