Category Archives: Automotive News

Ford Brand Sales Top 2 Million for 1st Time Since 2007

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 30, 2011  /PRNewswire/ — U.S. sales of the Ford brand this week topped 2 million vehicles for the first time since 2007. The milestone makes Ford (NYSE: F) the best selling brand in America and the first automotive brand to hit the 2 million mark since 2007.

“Ford’s lineup of high-quality, fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks continues to attract more and more new customers,” said Erich Merkle, Ford’s sales analysis manager. “With gasoline prices tracking higher than last year, customers continue to move toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, whether they are passenger cars or utilities.”

Both the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus achieve 40 mpg highway, while the Ford Explorer brings a class leading 28 mpg highway with its new EcoBoost engine.

Ford’s smallest utility, the fuel-efficient Escape, has achieved record sales volumes this year and is America’s best selling utility vehicle.

Overall, Ford brand small cars are on pace to post an increase of more than 20 percent this year. Ford brand utilities are tracking to post more than a 30 percent gain.

The Sun Sets on the Lincoln Town Car. What Will the Dawn Bring?

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — For the luxury transportation industry, the discontinuation of the Lincoln Town Car marks the end of an era. Since the 1990s, the Lincoln Town Car has been the flagship of limousine companies’ fleets. In 2010, however, Lincoln announced they would cease production of the Town Car series, leaving the luxury transportation industry high and dry without a clear successor. Right now, KLS Transportation Services, Inc., a prestigious Los Angeles limousine service, is looking at the same landscape as their competitors and wondering what model will take the Town Car’s place as the market leader.

At the 2011 LCT Show in Vegas and the LimoDigest Show in Atlantic City, no vehicle stood out as an obvious replacement for the Lincoln Town Car. Lincoln was pushing its MKT and MKZ models, but top-tier limousine companies like KLS aren’t sold yet. The future success of these models in the luxury transportation industry will really depend on word-of-mouth from clients. If customers don’t respond favorably to Lincoln’s newest entries, limousine companies will look somewhere else. At the same time, Hyundai has made the Genesis its standard-bearer, and Toyota was presenting the Camry for consideration. Both of these brands, however, will face resistance, because neither is widely considered a “luxury class” automobile.  More likely contenders include the Benz E-Class and S-Class, or the BMW 5-series.

According to the experts at KLS, market forces are probably going to sort this out on their own over the next few years. If the existing field of vehicles doesn’t impress customers, auto manufacturers like Lincoln or Cadillac will likely respond by introducing a new sedan (hopefully by 2013). After all, the transportation industry represents roughly $7 billion in annual revenue worldwide, and that is not a market share that the auto industry can afford to ignore for long.

Top Winter Driving Vehicles for 2012

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Kelley Blue Book , the leading provider of new car and used car information, today announces the Top 10 Winter Driving Vehicles for 2012.

The days are short, the nights are cold and the chances of encountering rain, snow, sleet or some other form of weather-related treachery during the course of any daily drive are at their peak.  It just may be time for consumers to consider upgrading their current rides for vehicles more befitting the season.  To help you ponder the possibilities, kbb.com expert editors put together a list of the Top 10 Winter Driving Vehicles for 2012.

“Although this purposefully diverse roster includes a full spectrum of highly capable alternatives, all share one common trait: Each boasts some type of user-friendly all-wheel drive system that can help keep you on the road – figuratively and literally – as you head to your final destination,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.  “Whether that journey involves a mundane commute to work or a well-deserved weekend getaway to a favorite ski resort is up to you.”

Top 10 Winter Driving Vehicles for 2012

#10: 2012 Subaru Outback
Classy, comfortable and capable, the 2012 Subaru Outback is a superb year-round travelmate that truly rises to the occasion whenever Mother Nature does go on a rampage.  Even the base Outback 2.5i with its economical 2.5-liter flat-four engine packs an impressive feature set, highlighted by Subaru’s excellent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and a comprehensive Vehicle Dynamics Control system.  The more potent six-cylinder Outback 3.6R as well as the Premium and Limited variations available for each respective Outback model make it easy to find the best match to up the creature comforts ante even further.  An options list that includes a GPS navigation system, harman-kardon premium audio, a Cold Weather Package and Mobile Internet access further bolster the Outback’s appeal.

#9: 2012 Toyota Sienna AWD
If only a minivan can really meet your basic transportation needs, there’s just one choice to be made: the 2012 Toyota Sienna with optional On-Demand All-Wheel Drive System with Active Torque Control.  Available on V6-powered Sienna LE, XLE and LTD models, this totally transparent upgrade adds a new level of sure-footed confidence to Toyota’s well-appointed space ship.  Like its front-drive kin, this even-more capable Sienna offers easily reconfigurable room for seven or eight, loads of standards and the choice of adding a passenger-pleasing Dual-View Entertainment Center on the XLE/LTD models as well as a Navigation Package and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control on the primo LTD variant.

#8: 2012 Acura MDX
Well-mannered, richly appointed and offering room for seven, the 2012 Acura MDX makes a strong case for its spot on our list by matching a refined 300-horsepower V6 engine with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and Acura’s stellar Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. Couple the MDX’s dynamic prowess with standards like power heated leather seats, a premium audio package, tri-zone climate control and a power rear liftgate, plus available Technology, Advance and Entertainment Package upgrades, and this well-rounded Acura takes on all the charm of a safe and secure mobile living room.

#7: 2012 Ford F-150 AWD
Perennial best-seller in the full-size pickup segment, the 2012 Ford F-150 in 4WD configuration won our votes for its smart blend of style, comfort and, yes, even fuel economy, thanks to the available 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 – which has become the most popular engine in the entire F-150 lineup. Like the base V6 and two optional V8s, the EcoBoost/4WD combo can be had in Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles and multiple trim levels.  While all F-150 4WD models boast Hill Start Assist for 2012 and upline versions add a new 4×4 “auto mode” to the existing 4Hi/4Lo setup, only EcoBoost 4WD models also get a new 36-gallon fuel tank that lets them match their best-in-class 21-mpg highway mileage with a best-in-class 756-mile range.

#6: 2012 Honda CR-V AWD
A generational makeover brings a more contemporary appearance as well as many welcome new features to the 2012 Honda CR-V, not the least of which is the introduction of Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System. Optional on all models of the automaker’s compact, crossover-style SUV, this smaller, lighter and quicker-responding upgrade of the previous Real Time AWD setup helps the latest CR-V cope with challenging traction conditions even more effectively.  The people side of the CR-V package benefits from a similarly well-measured upgrade regimen that includes a quieter, more stylish cabin, better ride comfort and a new rear-seat entertainment system option, plus significantly improved fuel economy from its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission.

For the full list of Top 10 Winter Driving Vehicles for 2012 from Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com, visit http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/top-10-winter-cars-for-2012.

Recent Entries »