Official: Citroën Cactus Concept revealed, production version caught testing

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Spy Photos, Hybrid, Crossover, Hatchback, Citroën, Design/Style

Citroen Cactus ConceptCitroen Cactus spy shots

After dropping a teaser on us last week, Citroën has released a full gallery of images for its forthcoming Cactus Concept (above) along with a short press release stating that this is “more than a concept car.” Proving that there is production potential for this Frankfurt Motor Show concept, our spy shooters have managed to catch what looks like the C-segment crossover already out testing in production trim (inset) as an added bonus.

The concept’s “airbumps” and floating roof obviously aren’t carrying over to the production model, but other elements of the crossover seem to be close to what customers will see in showrooms. From the outside, we can see the vehicle in the spy shots will have a similar overall shape, but the unique four-spoke wheels have been replaced by a more mass-audience-friendly eight-spoke setup. One of the more interesting aspects in comparing both the prototype and the concept is the front end. The production version seems to have a more conventional headlight design, but looking more closely reveals there is something covered by the extensive camouflage above the headlights, a hidden detail which matches what we see on the concept.

We don’t have any spy shots of the cabin, but as concept cars go, the interior of the Cactus isn’t all that far fetched. We would expect to see changes to the display screen, steering wheel and seat designs, but the cabin’s overall look probably won’t stray too far from the concept. Citroën’s press release for the concept, which is posted below, promises a hybrid powertrain, so that might also be headed for production.

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Citroën Cactus Concept revealed, production version caught testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Citroën Cactus Concept revealed, production version caught testing

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Spy Photos, Hybrid, Crossover, Hatchback, Citroën, Design/Style

Citroen Cactus ConceptCitroen Cactus spy shots

After dropping a teaser on us last week, Citroën has released a full gallery of images for its forthcoming Cactus Concept (above) along with a short press release stating that this is “more than a concept car.” Proving that there is production potential for this Frankfurt Motor Show concept, our spy shooters have managed to catch what looks like the C-segment crossover already out testing in production trim (inset) as an added bonus.

The concept’s “airbumps” and floating roof obviously aren’t carrying over to the production model, but other elements of the crossover seem to be close to what customers will see in showrooms. From the outside, we can see the vehicle in the spy shots will have a similar overall shape, but the unique four-spoke wheels have been replaced by a more mass-audience-friendly eight-spoke setup. One of the more interesting aspects in comparing both the prototype and the concept is the front end. The production version seems to have a more conventional headlight design, but looking more closely reveals there is something covered by the extensive camouflage above the headlights, a hidden detail which matches what we see on the concept.

We don’t have any spy shots of the cabin, but as concept cars go, the interior of the Cactus isn’t all that far fetched. We would expect to see changes to the display screen, steering wheel and seat designs, but the cabin’s overall look probably won’t stray too far from the concept. Citroën’s press release for the concept, which is posted below, promises a hybrid powertrain, so that might also be headed for production.

Continue reading Citroën Cactus Concept revealed, production version caught testing

Citroën Cactus Concept revealed, production version caught testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Followup: Stolen first production Volvo P1800 recovered

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Etc., Europe, Government/Legal, Volvo

Volvo P1800 - chassis number two - front three-quarter view

Late last month, we told you about a 1961 Volvo P1800 that had been stolen in Sweden. The thought of losing a classic coupe to an unscrupulous thief is troubling enough, but this wasn’t just any P1800 – it was the very first production example minted, and the restored red-over-white two-door was owned by the vice president of the Swedish P1800 Club to boot. Chassis Number Two was pilfered from a Stockholm lockup on either August 21 or 22, and the theft triggered an international hunt of sorts.

Fortunately, that hunt has come to a (mostly) happy ending. According to Larmtjänst AB, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vehicle crime in Sweden, the car was spotted by someone who had read about the missing classic. The P1800 was recovered in Hägerstensvägen, a municipality of Stockholm, after being found abandoned on the road covered with a tarp. The owner is reportedly very relieved that his Volvo is mostly intact, marred only by a broken ignition and a dirty interior.

Stolen first production Volvo P1800 recovered originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Followup: Stolen first production Volvo P1800 recovered

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Etc., Europe, Government/Legal, Volvo

Volvo P1800 - chassis number two - front three-quarter view

Late last month, we told you about a 1961 Volvo P1800 that had been stolen in Sweden. The thought of losing a classic coupe to an unscrupulous thief is troubling enough, but this wasn’t just any P1800 – it was the very first production example minted, and the restored red-over-white two-door was owned by the vice president of the Swedish P1800 Club to boot. Chassis Number Two was pilfered from a Stockholm lockup on either August 21 or 22, and the theft triggered an international hunt of sorts.

Fortunately, that hunt has come to a (mostly) happy ending. According to Larmtjänst AB, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vehicle crime in Sweden, the car was spotted by someone who had read about the missing classic. The P1800 was recovered in Hägerstensvägen, a municipality of Stockholm, after being found abandoned on the road covered with a tarp. The owner is reportedly very relieved that his Volvo is mostly intact, marred only by a broken ignition and a dirty interior.

Stolen first production Volvo P1800 recovered originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Detroit Electric moving SP:01 EV production to Holland

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Manufacturing/Plants

Detroit Electric SP:01 delayed again.

The plans that the revived Detroit Electric company made headlines with when it announced the all-electric SP:01 sports car were, at best, optimistic. To go from concept to starting production in half a year was always a going to be a challenging proposition, so we were hardly surprised when it was recently discovered that the company’s offices in the Fisher Building are tumbleweed-empty and that it is not on track to build cars in the Detroit area. But we were caught a bit off guard with the just-announced change of plans, which will see the company step away from its Motor City namesake to build cars in Holland. According to a report by The Detroit News, the company still hopes to make cars in Michigan someday, just not right now.

The timeline has also been pushed back. Instead of the promised August start date, the Dutch plant is now supposed to start building the SP:01 in the fourth quarter. In a statement to the newspaper, Detroit Electric CEO Albert Lam said, “We are Detroit Electric, not London Electric. Our commitment to the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and the United States is as strong as it ever was. While there have been some delays in our plan to start production in Detroit, many vehicle programs experience some form of delay.” Despite this prominent delay, the company’s website still promises it will have “two other high-performance models” in production “by the end of 2014.” We’ll see.

Detroit Electric moving SP:01 EV production to Holland originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Cadillac flagship, possible production Elmiraj, caught testing

Filed under: Spy Photos, Coupe, Sedan, Cadillac, Luxury

2016 Cadillac Elmiraj test mule

One of the biggest debuts at the Monterey car week, both literally and figuratively, was the Cadillac Elmiraj Concept. The massive coupe made quite a splash with the show’s well-heeled guests. Now, we have what might be the very first images of the Elmiraj, or whatever it may be called when it reaches production, out testing.

Don’t let that modified Chevrolet Caprice body fool you, this car is about four to six inches longer than Chevy’s US-spec cop car, from the A-pillar forward. According to our spy, with the Caprice at 203 inches and the concept at 205, adding a few extra inches here and there fits the bill for the four-door Elmiraj that was hinted at in Jay Leno’s Garage.

There are a number of other classic mule signs on this car, including a cover over the fuel door and heavily modified front and rear fascias, each of which serves to hide some significant change from the standard Caprice. Using a Caprice for development also, hopefully, hints at something that big Cadillacs like the XTS have lacked – rear-wheel drive.

This is quite an exciting development for Cadillac fans. A new flagship, with a stylish, four-door-coupe body that will take aim at the Mercedes S-Class is something that Caddy enthusiasts have been begging for. With a debut set for sometime in 2015, though, there’s still plenty of waiting and a lot that can change. Watch this space.

Cadillac flagship, possible production Elmiraj, caught testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Nissan promising autonomous car production by 2020

Filed under: Safety, Technology, Nissan, Electric

Nissan Leaf Autonomous Drive demonstrator

Nissan will bring the autonomous car to consumers by the end of this decade. The announcement was made by CEO Carlos Ghosn at the company’s US headquarters in Irvine, CA. Nissan has already begun construction of a dedicated proving ground for the self-driving cars in Japan, with completion targeted for the end of 2014.

Teaming with MIT, Stanford, Oxford and others, Nissan has already outfitted Leaf EVs with the Autonomous Drive (Nissan’s brand name for the tech), a suite of new technologies developed from the brand’s existing Safety Shield technology. The current iteration of Autonomous Drive uses the Around-View Monitoring system and laser scanners to analyze the environment, while artificial intelligence systems have been installed to help navigate and operate in a changing environment.

While it’s easy to say that Nissan will bring the technology to market within the next six or seven years, it’s more difficult to say at what price Autonomous Drive will be available. Most remarkable about all of this is Nissan’s claim that self-driving cars will be both commercially viable and available at “realistic prices for consumers.” It’s expecting Autonomous Drive to be available across its range within two vehicle generations.

Nissan’s motivation rests largely with the number of accidents that happen on US roads alone each year – six million accidents that cost consumers $160 million and kill more people between the ages of four and 34 than anything else. Considering the overwhelming majority of those accidents are caused by human error, this tech seems like a great idea.

Carlos Ghosn demonstrated Nissan’s resolve towards bringing the tech to market, saying, “In 2007 I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.” Those are some bold words, but what Nissan is promising now is far more complex than a new drivetrain. We look forward to seeing what it comes up with.

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Nissan promising autonomous car production by 2020 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford making Fusion production moves to challenge Camry on volume

Filed under: Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Ford

2013 Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion may already beat the Toyota Camry in terms of models offered, transaction price and sales increase so far this year, but if the Fusion wants to make a run at the title of best-selling car in the US, Bloomberg reminds us that volume is key. Opening a second production line at the Flat Rock, MI assembly plant will reportedly allow Ford to produce around 350,000 Fusions annually, which compares Toyota’s ability to crank out 475,000 Camrys and Honda’s capacity to build around 450,000 Accords.

For the Fusion, that’s an extra 100,000 units compared to the car’s current pace, and the article adds that the Fusion is “Ford’s best shot” to regain the passenger car sales crown – a title it (or any other US automaker, for that matter) hasn’t held since the mid-1990s. Despite hiccups with recalls and fuel economy numbers, the Ford Fusion is still red hot when it comes to sales. Fusion sales are up 13 percent so far this year (compared to a 0.6 percent decrease for Camry), and its average transaction price of $26,343 is about $2,300 more than its rival from Toyota.

The Fusion’s popularity has helped Ford improve its sales in California; the Dearborn-based automaker has a market share of 18 percent in the state, which is just a fraction of a percentage behind Honda. And this popularity should continue as Ford ups Fusion production and expands the model lineup even further for 2014 with a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine soon to become an option.

Ford making Fusion production moves to challenge Camry on volume originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Detroit Electric SP:01 production plans delayed again

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, Electric

Detroit Electric SP:01 delayed again.

The revival of Detroit Electric and the imminent arrival of its first vehicle, the SP:01 sports car, have us hooked, not because the EV is the most innovative design around (based on the Lotus Exige, it’s strikingly similar to Tesla’s discontinued Lotus-based Roadster), but because it promises to be yet another American-built high-performance EV with some unique twists. We like the fact that customers can opt for a four- or five-speed manual transmission (particularly unusual in an EV), or use the car to power a building in the case of a power outage. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a bit longer before the SP:01 hits the road, because Detroit Electric has yet to finalize a lease or purchase agreement of its chosen production facility in Plymouth, Michigan, The Detroit News reports.

Detroit Electric has been trying to hammer out an agreement, but the negotiations for the Plymouth facility are producing enough uncertainty that Detroit Electric’s North American President Don Graundstadt says the automaker-to-be is negotiating with other parties.

Previous plans for SP:01 production called for its manufacture to begin by this month, but plans change, and production will be pushed back. There is no mention of when the electric sports car will become a 2,500-unit-per-year reality, but rather ominously, The Detroit News notes that “the immediate fate of the automaker should be known in the next couple of weeks.”

Detroit Electric SP:01 production plans delayed again originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video]

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, MISC

Vuhl 05

If we had a nickel for every independent sportscar project started by people we’d never heard of and that never came to fruition, well… we might actually have enough money to put one of them into production. But every once in a while we end up pleasantly surprised. And we just might be by the VŪHL 05.

The project, as you may recall, is the brainchild of a pair of Mexican brothers based in Detroit, and calls for a lightweight track car along the lines of the Ariel Atom, KTM X-Bow or BAC Mono. VŪHL Automotive launched the 05 just last month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was driven up Lord March’s lawn by F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez. Its featherlike 1,500-pound curb weight is motivated by a 2.0-liter turbo four sourced from Ford and mounted amidships, driving 285 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed manual to the rear wheels for a claimed 0-62 time of 3.7 seconds.

The numbers sound impressive enough, and have apparently impressed enough customers that VŪHL is putting it into production as planned. The initial run will consist of twenty Edition One models, which VŪHL will start building in November for delivery next spring. In the meantime, the Echeverria brothers will be taking their creation to London to rub shoulders with supercars at the Salon Privé. Scroll down to watch the video below, where you’ll also find a press release.

Continue reading VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video]

VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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