Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X MR coming to U.S. in June

Following the introduction of the $32,990 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR, Mitsubishi will be bringing the more advanced 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR to the U.S. next month.

The Evo X MR is powered by the same 2.0 liter 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC MIVEC engine that produces 295 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs. of torque. However the MR gets the new Twin Clutch-Sequential Sportshift Transmission as standard.

Pricing for the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR starts at $38,290 and is available with the optional Technology Package for $40,840. The Technology Package includes a 30GB hard drive navigation system with music server, 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate Premium Sound System, pre-paid Sirius Satellite Radio capability and FAST Key entry.

2008 Ford Fiesta Zetec S.

2008 Ford Fiesta Zetec S

The appeal of the exciting Ford Fiesta line-up continues to expand with the debut of a new sporty, feature-packed special edition – the Zetec S Red. Just 400 new Zetec S Red special editions, representing 10 per cent of all Zetec S models, will be available, priced at £13,000.
The “Red” edition follows the success of the popular radian yellow “Anniversary” and lime green “Celebration” models which sold out within weeks of their launch last year. Ford Fiesta has been in the top three best-selling vehicles in Britain every month this year with 42,895 models sold up to the end of May - almost 20 per cent of the British small car market.
2008 Ford Fiesta Zetec S
With the zesty yet thrifty1.6-litre, 100PS petrol engine, Zetec S Red features Colorado red paintwork with chequered flag roof decal. Dark privacy glass on the rear windows and panther black features: door mirrors, door handles, bodyside mouldings, roof spoiler and tailgate handle, all add to the stylish look. Also standard are Quickclear® heated front windscreen, ebony leather seats, 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning and heated electrically-operated door mirrors.
2008 Ford Fiesta Zetec S

Chrysler to halt minivan production and cut truck shift at St. Louis

Chrysler announced today that it is indefinitely halting production at its St. Louis South minivan plant starting October 31. Also, beginning September 2nd, Chrysler will also cut production at its St. Louis North truck plant to one shift. Chrysler’s Tom LaSorda also said that it is not likely that the plants will repoen.

Chrysler raises prices by 2 percent on 2008 models

Chrysler has told its dealers that it will raise prices by 2 percent for most of the remaining 2008 models. The price increase, which will start today, will be carried over to the 2009 models. According to executives, the price increase comes from the rise in prices for commodities such as steel.

“The average 2 percent increase brings total model year price increases in line with key competitors,” said Chrysler spokesman Stuart Schorr. “It does not affect vehicles already in dealer inventory. Incentives would not be changed.”

Lamborghini Miura 1967.

Lamborghini Miura 1967

This was where it all started - the Miura was the first car to prove itself worthy of the “supercar” tag. Prior to the Miura’s arrival in 1967 many sportscars had offered high levels of performance and handling - but the Lamborghini was the first built around the criteria that define our modern concept of the supercar: massive speed, jaw-dropping design and technical innovation - together with a wallet-wilting pricetag to which only the wealthiest could aspire.

Tax incentives for hybrids are disappearing

Popular hybrids sold in the U.S. either no longer qualify for tax breaks or are about to see them cut very sharply. Starting tomorrow, the Honda Civic Hybrid will see a cut in tax credit from $1,050 to $525. Toyota Prius and the Camry Hybrid saw their $3,150 tax credits disappear last fall. The Prius and Civic rank first and second in terms of fuel-economy followed by the Camry Hybrid at no.3.

Why would the government make such a move when gas-prices are at an all time high? Well, according to the 2005 federal law that started the hybrid tax credits, the tax break begins to phase out after an automaker sells 60,000 qualifying vehicles.

First Drive: 2008 Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder

The 2008 Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder made its U.S. debut in April at the 2008 New York Auto Show. We were lucky enough to be invited out by Porsche last week to take the new Boxster RS 60 Spyder, which pays tribute to the 1960 Type 718 RS 60 Spyder, around the Barber Motorsports Park track in Birmingham, Alabama.

Only 1,960 units of the 2008 Boxster RS 60 Spyder will be built; which coincides with the 1960 12-Hours of Sebring won by the 550 Spyder Type 718 RS 60. However, only 800 of those will make it over to the U.S. with prices starting at $64,900. Now you’re probably wondering if the extra $9,200 over the Boxster S (which starts at $55,700) is worth the ‘R’, ‘60′ and the ‘Spyder’ badging on the back.

Pontiac G8 Sport Truck may still get the ‘El Camino’ badge

It was reported last month that Pontiac is down to 10 names after asking the public to vote on the name for the new 2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck. Spokesman Brian Shipman at the time said that ‘El Camino’ is most likely axed from the options due to internal conflict between Chevrolet and Pontiac over the badge.

However, according to G8 Nation, the ‘El Camino’ nameplate may be back on the table. Pontiac Communication Manager, Jim Hopson dropped the G8 focused site an email stating that the ‘El Camino is definitely one of the fan favorite’ and ‘is being considered’ once again.

Honestly we don’t see the big deal; if people like it, just give it to them. Why go back and forth on the name of the car?

2009 Corvette ZR1 laps Nurburgring in 7:26.4, beats Nissan’s GT-R

Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter previously stated that the full production model will be capable of lapping the Nurburgring in “Seven minutes, twenty-something seconds.” Well earlier this morning, beating the Nissan GT-R’s 7:29 lap, the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 lapped the Nurburgring in a time of 7:26.4.

GM development engineer Jim Mero, drove the ZR1 this morning bringing in the outstanding lap time. GMNext says the Corvette ZR1 driven by Mero was all stock besides the safety and communication equipment. Other than that the car was exactly the same as the cars that will enter production in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

GM announced the pricing of the 2009 Corvette ZR1 last week at $103,300. The LS9 supercharged 6.2L V8 engine produces 638-hp and 604 lb-ft of torque, giving it the ability to go from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 205mph.

An in-car video will be available during the week of July7th. We’ll post it once we get it.

2010 Saturn Aura.

2010 Saturn Aura

In the past, a gorgeous Opel concept would have gotten us only mildly excited. Now that Saturn has been completely Opelized, this coupe has us running around screaming nonsensical things to the sidewalk walkers outside our windows. Called the Gran Turismo concept, it has a greenhouse that is very Infiniti G35, while the rest of it is fresh and beautiful while carrying over some styling cues from the current Vectra. And just look at those exhaust outlets-they’re as big as the taillights. The car’s turbocharged, 300 horsepower V-6 must be putting out some pretty intense fumes. The interior looks great too, and only a few shiny bits are far-fetched for production.
2010 Saturn Aura
The Gran Turismo sits on a chassis that will underpin the next-generation Vectra and Saturn Aura, and the design is meant to hint at the future of those cars. Will we get a high-powered Aura coupe when the next car hits the streets? We’ll have to wait and see.

2010 Saturn Aura2010 Saturn Aura

Audi presents two R8s as DTM safety car and an R8 racing taxi

Audi announced today that it handed over two 420-hp mid-engine R8s two the German Motorsport Association for the ‘Norisring Speed Weekend.’ The two Audi R8s were prepared specifically for use as the official DTM safety car for the first time by quattro GmbH.

”There were not many modifications required, though, because the R8 possesses the genes of a perfect sports car,” says Werner Frowein, managing director of quattro GmbH.

Audi also offered another R8 for use as a racing taxi.

BMW Motorsport to revive M1 Procar Series for one last run

If you haven’t noticed already, we’re not to big here on reporting F1 news. But when that F1 news is this big, we have to set aside some time and give you an inside on what’s going on the world of motorsports. BMW announced today that it will be reviving the M1 Procar series for one last run at Hockenheim during the F1 German Gran Prix.

30 years ago the M1 was unveiled as the first independently built car by the BMW Motorsport GmbH. It was then created into a production model, the BMW M1 which allowed customers and enthusiasts to take the ‘M’ power to the road. At the time, it was the hottest thing since sliced bread in the automotive industry.

“Just a mention of it today still triggers an enthusiastic reaction. This revival serves as a ‘thank you’ to the fans,” said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen.

Press Release:

BMW M1 Procar revival at Hockenheim.

Past masters roll back the years.
Munich, 30th June 2008. The F1 German Grand Prix programme this year will see the revival of the most spectacular single-make competition in motor racing history. The BMW M1 Procar series will be back at Hockenheim on 19th and 20th July as a field of ten cars.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, for one, is looking forward to the event: “The M1 was unveiled 30 years ago as the first car created independently by the then BMW Motorsport GmbH. It was a racing car which BMW customers could also drive on the road, a unique project which had to overcome some tricky administrative hurdles before getting off the ground.” In order to gain Group 4 homologation, 400 units of the super sports car had to be built within a period of 24 months. As Theissen continues: “The idea of organising a single-make series was born out of necessity – i.e. the requirements of homologation. Nobody expected the BMW M1 Procar series to go down quite so well. Just a mention of it today still triggers an enthusiastic reaction. This revival serves as a ‘thank you’ to the fans.”

“There hasn’t been a series as attractive as this before or since,” says Marc Surer. Now working as a Formula One expert on TV, Surer is well placed to judge. As a young Formula 2 driver, he conducted testing and set-up work for the prototypes at the time. “With its mid-engined layout, the M1 was a bit of an animal to drive and had an outrageous soundtrack. The series fed off the appeal of the cars and the opportunity for young drivers to measure themselves against the leading Formula One stars at the time.”

The five fastest drivers from Friday practice for the Formula One Grand Prix earned themselves a drive in the M1 race. The 15 remaining 500 hp machines were piloted by hungry young hopefuls. “You were really somebody if you got to drive in one of those races,” recalls Surer. “It was a unique opportunity to pit your skills against the F1 drivers – and they were certainly pretty quick in the M1. The handling of the mid-engined car suited them down to the ground. Plus, in 1979 – the first of the two years the series was held – they always started from the front and were given works cars. That made it pretty tough for us junior drivers in the independent teams. We had to look after our car, but at the same time did everything we could to make our mark.”

The idea of developing the BMW M1, however, was the brainchild of Jochen Neerpasch, the head of BMW Motorsport GmbH at the time, and it was he who initiated the single-make series with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley within the relatively relaxed structure of F1 three decades ago.

A handful of past masters are set to line up once again for the two show races at Hockenheim. Surer will be joined by Jacques Laffite, Dieter Quester, Christian Danner, Harald Grohs and Prince Leopold of Bavaria. Jochen Neerpasch will also be there, at the wheel of the BMW M1 turned into an Art Car by Andy Warhol. His co-driver will be none other than Frank Stella, who also created an Art Car – a BMW 3.0 CSL which raced at Le Mans in 1976. The 72-year-old remains a keen motor racing fan.

2009 Nissan GT-R

2009 Nissan GT-R

It’s official, the 2009 Nissan GT-R will start at $69,850 with deliveries beginning July 7. The GT-R Premium will cost $71,900 while destination will add $1,000 to those prices. 70% are already spoken for.
In addition to the base price, options include Super Silver Paint ($3,000), an iPod connector ($360) and floor mats ($280).
2009 Nissan GT-R Supercar Deliveries Set To Begin July 7th, 70 Percent of First-Year Allocation Already Sold.
NASHVILLE (June 27, 2008) - Nissan today announced that deliveries of the all-new 2009 Nissan GT-R are scheduled to begin on Monday, July 7, 2008. More than 1,700 of the exotic 480-horsepower GT-R supercars, or approximately 70 percent of the first year allocation for the United States market, have already been spoken for since the announcement of a pre-sale ordering program last January.
The 2009 Nissan GT-R has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)* of $69,850 for the GT-R and $71,900 for the GT-R Premium model. Destination & Handling (D&H) is $1,000. The GT-R is available only through officially certified Nissan dealers that have met a number of strict sales, service and facilities commitments, including dedicating a master technician to GT-R service. A searchable listing of the 671 GT-R Certified Nissan dealers is available to consumers on
“After years of speculation and anticipation, the wait for a U.S.-spec Nissan GT-R is over,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “GT-R is one supercar that more than lives up to its promise, with independent testing by the leading auto enthusiasts magazines and online sites producing performance results that only a handful of production cars have ever attained - much less at a $70,000 MSRP.”
A 2009 Nissan GT-R, equipped with a standard 480-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 engine and advanced 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, recently set a lap time of 7 minutes 29 seconds at the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife, one of the fastest times achieved by a production-spec vehicle to date.
About the 2009 Nissan GT-R
The all-new 2009 Nissan GT-R, the fifth-generation of the legendary Nissan supercar, is a multi-dimensional performance machine that lives up to the concept of “the ultimate supercar that can be driven by anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
It features an all-new 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 producing 480 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque, backed by an all-new, paddle-shifted, GR6-type dual clutch rear transmission. The Nissan GT-R is built on an exclusive, all-new Premium Midship platform. This new platform enables the use of a world’s first independent rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system, which places the transmission, transfer case and final drive at the rear of the vehicle, optimizing weight distribution and maximizing handling capability.
The Nissan GT-R’s functional styling utilizes advanced aerodynamics, evoking the lines of a well-trained athlete. GT-R’s hybrid body construction combines steel, carbon fiber and die-cast aluminum, and features a low coefficient of drag of 0.27, while achieving high front and rear downforce. GT-R’s four-passenger cabin features a sloping “aero blade canopy” roofline and curved C-pillar “sword edge,” as well as GT-R’s hallmark four-ring taillights, functional rear carbon fiber underbody diffuser, rear spoiler and large, integrated quad exhaust tips.
GT-R’s interior balances functionality with a sense of ease and comfort. It features sculpted performance bucket seats for an optimal driving position, a cockpit-style instrument panel with a large center-mounted tachometer and multi-function display - which includes mechanical and driving information, as well as an on-board driving recorder.
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and
* MSRP excludes applicable tax, title and license fees. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and specs are subject to change without notice.
Priced At $69,850

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 New Images

Yes we know it’s not the Corvette ZR1 but the Z06 it’s still super-duper good-looking. GM has dropped some new images and a couple of details on the minor changes to the 2009 Corvette Z06. The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 gets new “spider”-design 10-spoke wheels available in four versions: Sparkle Silver, Competition Gray and chrome.
Other changed include color-keyed door and instrument panels with red and titanium interiors, standard power-operated pull-down hatch, gray stitching on ebony base seats, new door sill plates with the Z06 logo. The Acoustic package is now standard on all Z06 Corvettes. The 2009 Z06 also gets a larger dry-sump oiling system which holds 9.9 liters like the new ZR1.

Chevrolet Aveo

Chevrolet Aveo Sedan

A class leading performance, a dynamic look and a key driver of global expansion of the flagship brand Chevrolet define the sedan Aveo. The sedan incorporates the latest technology and has been re-engineered to meet the specific needs of the customers as well as the local driving condition and regulations in India. This mid size sedan scores on its impressive styling, generous space and advanced features that are normally found only in higher segment cars. On the occasion of its first anniversary, GM India introduced the new refreshed Chevrolet Aveo with exclusive features and outstanding value for money. With the price range starting from Rs 5.55 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), the mid-size sedan gives a head to head competition to the Honda City, Ford Fiesta and the Hyundai Accent. The Aveo is being rolled out in more than 140 countries around the world, including several European markets and the United States.

Chevrolet Aveo

Chevrolet Captiva


General Motors has been a forerunner in bringing world class cars to the Indian consumer. GM started off with the launch of Chevrolet U-VA in January 2007, followed by ‘Chevrolet Optra Platinum’ limited edition. In April, GM India came up with the much awaited Chevrolet Spark’ –a refurbished version of Daewoo’s ‘Matiz.’ Chevrolet Spark’s best in the class fuel efficiency and enhanced safety features are certain to lure the car lovers. The saga continued with the introduction of Optra Magnum and New Chevrolet Aveo Anniversary Edition in the subsequent months. It is worth mentioning here that GM India has registered its highest ever sales in August since its inception in India. The luxury cars segment also made a considerable inroad with launches like Audi’s Sports Coupe Audi TT, The 5 Series Sedan from BMW, Bentley’s Azure and Continental GTC and Mercedes Benz CL and S Class (S 320CDI L)Among other prominent players, there were Mahindra Renault Logan’ that hit the road in the mid 2007. Other worth-mentioning here are Maurti SX4, Grand Vitara, Ford Mondeo, Mitsubishi Montero and Hyundai i10. However, GM’s Chevrolet Captiva in the premium SUV segment and Tata’s 1 lakh car are the most anticipated ones.

Suzuki concept at Auto Expo 2008

his year most concept cars being unveiled and destined for NAIAS in Detroit, but not this one. In New Delhi, India, will open the Auto Expo 2008. There Suzuki will be showing its new A-segment vehicle. A production car based on the A-Star will be manufactured at the Manesar plant, and will be sold principally in Europe and Asia. The first customer models will roll off the line next October. Known as the Concept A-Star, it will be the Japanese firm’s fifth global model. It follows the debut of the Splash B-segment supermini - a product shared with GM - at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. The newcomer is a five-door hatchback with an all-new 1.0-liter gas engine. No other engine will be available. India is massively important for Suzuki, and the firm has more than 50 percent of the passenger car market. Back in the early Eighties it joined with the national government to establish Maruti Udyog Limited, now named Maruti Suzuki India.

Latest Cars in India 2008

2008 started with a slew of launches during the 9th Auto Expo held at New Delhi from 9th – 17th January 2008. As many as 25 new vehicles were launched during the auto expo with around 2,000 participants and 1, 20,000 square feet of display area. This made the auto Expo amongst one of the biggest auto shows in the world in terms of space occupied and had an astounding 17 + lac visitors during the event. This year would always be remembered for the launch of the much awaited 1 lakh car from Tata Motors. The much awaited ‘Nano’ was launched amongst a jam packed Tata Motors stall with more that a thousand people witnessing history being made. On its first-of-a-kind floating pavilion General Motors India also launched its state-of-the-art Chevrolet Captiva premium sport utility vehicle. The striking Captiva is a study of taut automotive dynamism in its design execution. With its boldly contoured hood, aggressive clear-lens projection headlamps and eye-catching grille featuring a prominent Chevrolet bowtie, the Captiva is sure to turn heads wherever it is driven. The Captiva comes with a state-of-the-art, 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder, single overhead cam 16-valve diesel engine. Combined with a common-rail direct injection system and a variable geometry turbo (VGT) system, the engine produces 150 PS of peak power at 4,000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. Torque is produced through a very flat curve, ensuring ample reserves to make frequent downshifting redundant, whether on the highway or in city traffic. The Captiva was also priced aggressively at Rs 17.74 lacs (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The other prominent launches during the expo were the launch of Skoda Fabia, New Mercedes C - class amongst others.

A-Class Mercedes: Goodbye fuel cell, hello Tesla battery?

We recently confirmed the rumor that, yes, Mercedes is planning on building an electric car or two and now some of the details are starting to be firmed up. In an interview with German business daily, WirtschaftsWoche, Thomas Weber, a Mercedes board member responsible for research and vehicle development, let it be known that the company is building what was originally meant to be the fuel cell-powered A-Class (and possibly B-Class) as an all-electric model. Because of its "sandwich" construction and pre-existing electric drivetrain, these cars should be the first to join the electric Smart in the e-Mercedes lineup.

Another magazine, Automobilwoche, as well as reporting 2010 as the year of the e-Mercedes arrival, states that the supplier of the battery for the cars would be none other than the American firm Tesla Motors. The source of their information was not revealed and since this has not been officially stated by either company, it's still somewhat speculative. We know from talking with Tesla's Elon Musk that something is going on between them and Mercedes and it's definitely not a motor for the Whitestar, since Musk made it clear that Tesla products will remain gasoline-free. We also know that Daimler claims to have solved the thermal issues associated with lithium ion batteries of a certain chemistry by integrating battery cooling systems with that of the car. Then again, Continental has already been named a battery supplier for the Mercedes S 400 hybrid. If you care to enter into the supplier speculation sweepstakes, hit us up in the comments section.

A-Class Mercedes: Goodbye fuel cell, hello Tesla battery?

We recently confirmed the rumor that, yes, Mercedes is planning on building an electric car or two and now some of the details are starting to be firmed up. In an interview with German business daily, WirtschaftsWoche, Thomas Weber, a Mercedes board member responsible for research and vehicle development, let it be known that the company is building what was originally meant to be the fuel cell-powered A-Class (and possibly B-Class) as an all-electric model. Because of its "sandwich" construction and pre-existing electric drivetrain, these cars should be the first to join the electric Smart in the e-Mercedes lineup.

Another magazine, Automobilwoche, as well as reporting 2010 as the year of the e-Mercedes arrival, states that the supplier of the battery for the cars would be none other than the American firm Tesla Motors. The source of their information was not revealed and since this has not been officially stated by either company, it's still somewhat speculative. We know from talking with Tesla's Elon Musk that something is going on between them and Mercedes and it's definitely not a motor for the Whitestar, since Musk made it clear that Tesla products will remain gasoline-free. We also know that Daimler claims to have solved the thermal issues associated with lithium ion batteries of a certain chemistry by integrating battery cooling systems with that of the car. Then again, Continental has already been named a battery supplier for the Mercedes S 400 hybrid. If you care to enter into the supplier speculation sweepstakes, hit us up in the comments section.

Volkswagen Scirocco R32? Teaser image surfaces

With the Volkswagen Scirocco now out in the public domain, Volkswagen appears to be on a campaign to keep our attention piquied with this teaser shot that has been floating around cyberspace. The image shows a darkened glimpse at the front end of a potentially beefier Scirocco, with the R in the reflection colored the bold blue that has become the trademark color of Volkswagen's performance badge.

If the R-type Scirocco got the same 247-hp 3.2-liter VR6 and 4Motion all-wheel-dive from its Golf/Rabbit R32 stable-mate, and some of the styling cues from the Scirocco GT24, we could have quite the stormer on our hands.

Canada: Hyundai prices Genesis from $37 995

Hyundai Auto Canada has announced that its all-new premium sedan, the 2009 Genesis, will start at $37,995 with a V6 engine and $43,995 for a V8.

“This is a luxury car without a luxury price,” said John Vernile, vice-president, sales and marketing. “With the 2009 Genesis, we wanted to demonstrate that Hyundai can offer all the quality consumers demand from a vehicle today, all the equipment they deserve, and all the power they could want. We are proud to offer a vehicle with the amenities, driving character and performance people would expect from Japanese or European luxury vehicles at a more motivating price. With this pricing, the Genesis will make a premium driving experience accessible to a wide range of deserving customers.”

The Azera, which serves as the automaker's flagship sedan until the Genesis' arrival, tops out at $39 195 for the Limited. In other words, the Genesis is priced fairly competitively as it packs more features than that car. The Genesis is slated to go on sale this July.

USA: Kia Soul to appear "disguised" during Vans Warped Tour

Kia announced that it will display a disguised pre-production Soul at the 2008 Vans Warped Tour this summer. As part of an exclusive vehicle sponsorship between the automaker and the group, the specially-designed Soul will make appearances at the "Soul Lounge" in every 46 tour stops.

The Soul will be be adorned with camouflage masks at the front and rear, portraying the signature Vans' checkerboard pattern. Special red-spoked wheels and red mirrors highlight the various embellishments added onto the car. Darkened windows will ensure the interior will be kept unseen from prying eyes until the Soul makes its official unveiling at the Paris Motor Show this September.

Kia stated in its press release that the Soul will go on sale in spring 2009. The Soul's primary rival will be the Scion xB and the upcoming Nissan Cube.

2009 Mitsubishi Lancer

The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer debuted at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with a bold new design that was first revealed at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show in the exciting Mitsubishi Concept-X. Alongside the 2008 Lancer in Detroit was the Prototype X, described as being 98 percent of what the next-generation Evolution will be when it debuts next fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Mitsubishi has confirmed the look of the Evolution X with the release of the first official photos, but no other details have been announced.
The Prototype X differs from the standard Lancer in its deeper, gray-colored grille, oversized rear spoiler, underside air diffuser, lightweight wheels, low-profile tires, and Brembo brakes along with a new all-wheel-drive system. The Prototype X is powered by an all-new aluminum 2.0-liter DOHC MIVE turbocharged intercooled engine that in the Evolution X is expected to produce more than 300 horsepower which will be the highest output of any Evolution to date. Both the Concept-X and the Prototype X feature a new auto-manual 6-speed transmission that allows the driver to shift manually using paddle shifters without operating the clutch and a similar transmission is expected for the Evolution X. The Concept-X also features the latest version of Mitsubishi’s 4WD-based Super All-Wheel-Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics control system which may be included as well.

Land Rover in Argentina

There are a lot of ways to play
tourist. By plane, car, even tour bus. But, you really haven't seen a
country until you tour the land - the Land Rover way. Getting up close
and personal with a country's eco-system and really understanding the
terrain. Well recently we did just that in Argentina, where Land Rover
showed off their legendary off-road prowess in true South American

more like gasping for air, as we tackled Argentina's Road to the Clouds
for three days of high-altitude off-roading in the 2008 Land Rover LR3.

One thousand miles and what seems
like a few centuries removed from Buenos Aires, our journey began in
the small town of Cafayete, in the heart of the wine growing region of
northwestern Argentina. From there, we drove roughly north towards
Chile and the Andes mountains, following portions of the national Ruta
40 as well as some challenging sections of purely off-road trails.

Ruta 40 runs for 5,200 kilometers along the whole length of the country
and is one of the most remote and least traveled roads in the world.
Much like our own Route 66, it is Argentina's Mother Road, linking an
endless chain of forgotten villages and Pre-Inca ruins.

40 passes through an amazing variety of terrain, from fertile grazing
land to desert, and through rocky gorges to the highest drivable
mountain pass in the Americas, the cold and very windy Paso Abra el
Acay, at an altitude of just over 5,000 meters - that's 16,000 feet to
you and me.

Our fleet of LR3s were
powered by 2.7 liter common rail high-pressure turbo-diesel V6s. This
is Land Rover's best-selling engine in many world markets, but
emissions regulations have so far kept it out of the U.S. Except at the
very highest altitudes, the diesel's 190 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds
of torque was more than enough to meet our needs and provided smooth,
quiet running in all situations.

tackle the rough stuff, Land Rover equips the LR3 with permanent
four-wheel drive with low range and a host of innovative technologies,
and thankfully equipped us with expert guides to talk us through the
tricky parts. In addition to the by-now-familiar Hill Descent Control,
the LR3 also sports a Terrain Response system with presets for ride
height, diff lock, throttle sensitivity, traction and stability
controls for five driver-selectable road conditions.

eventually made use of all five, but so good are the LR3's inherent
capabilities that we ventured miles into a sandy, muddy river bed
before knowing we should have switched out of the default "General"
mode at the start.

Cushy seats
alone won't give you a comfortable ride when the road ends, but after
three days of rough trails, we can say that nobody makes off-roading
more civilized than Land Rover. A long-travel suspension and
ultra-stiff body structure are the real secrets to LR's legendary
off-road comfort. They turned what would have been a dusty,
bone-rattling journey into a pleasant, but still dusty, country drive.

covering hundreds of off-road miles at a sometimes hair-raising pace,
we also found time to meet some of the locals and to appreciate the
region's unique culture: exchanging gifts at a local school, sipping
coffee in a town square, or stopping to barter with the "Llama Lady"
halfway to nowhere on a high mountain path.

from the cities, life here is simple - poor only by our pampered
standards - but certainly lacking the hustle and bustle and many of the
trappings of so-called "modern" culture.

to say, our time in Argentina was all too brief, but long enough to
renew our admiration for this remarkable go-anywhere vehicle, and make
us wish we didn't have to leave that beautiful country behind. So
whether your next adventure takes you across the Andes or just across
town, the Land Rover LR3 is ready when you are.

Korea: Ford releases S-MAX 7-seater

Ford S-MAX
Korea began sales of the sport multi-purpose vehicle S-MAX on the 22nd
of June. The automaker recently released another European-catered model
- Mondeo - in the Korean market. Featuring the famed Kinetic Design,
the S-MAX packs items that were previously unheard of in MPVs such as
Adaptive Cruise Control and Human Machine Interface.

is powered by a 130 horsepower 2.0L Duratorq TDCi diesel engine. It
comes with Ford's Durashift 6-speed automatic transmission. The S-MAX
packs a plethora of premium goodies including bi-xenon front lighting
system, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Hill-Launch Assist, seven
airbags, and panorama glass roof. It also comes with Ford's Fold Flat
System, which enables both the second and third-row seats to fold flat
for optimum load capabilities. Also a Ford first is the Human Machine
Interface (HMI), which allows the driver to manoeuvre audio controls at
the flick of a thumb on the steering wheel.

The S-MAX has no direct rivals in the market yet. It is priced at 42.5 million Won ($41 279USD).

Spied: 2010 Kia Forte caught testing in US

has posted several spyshots of the Kia Forte/Spectra undergoing testing
in the U.S. for the first time. This indicates that it is entering the
final stages of its testing. Designed by Peter Schreyer - the genius
who also penned the Audi TT MKI and the Volkswagen New Beetle - the
Forte will replace the Spectra later this year.

point to the Forte being nearly identical to the Hyundai Elantra in
features. The Forte is also expected to be propelled by the same 138
horsepower 2.0L Beta 4-cylinder engine. However, we might see a higher
horsepower rating in the Forte as Kia pursues to differentiate itself
from Hyundai. Unlike the current generation Spectra, the Forte will
only be available in a four-door guise initially. The KOUP Concept acts
as the precursor to a possible two-door variant in the near future.

Korean-market Forte will be officially unveiled on August 21st,
according to Kia. The USDM Forte is slated to debut later in the year,
with sales following early 2009. Head to Leftlane by clicking the
source to view the images in full glory.

I know, they're motor cycle

It's tire change over time again and our appointment book is beginning to fill up.

Those of you with the foresight and the mullah to have a spare set of
wheels with tires already mounted, will be in and out

in no time, at minimum cost and with a minimum amount of agro.

Those of you without spare wheels will have to pay for removing the
winter tire, cleaning and grinding rust off the rims,

putting in a new valve, mounting the summer tire, moving from the
mounting machine to the balancing machine,

applying balance weights as the computer dictates (lead is no longer a
cheap commodity!) often on both the outside

and the inside and reinstall on the vehicle.

And then Uncle Phil (yours truly) has to take the car out for a test
drive, to make sure all is well.

And we do this with EVERY car, no exceptions.

If you are blessed with mag wheels or, more importantly, tire pressure
sensors, extra charges will apply because more

caution and therefore more time, is needed to complete this operation.

Prices will vary from place to place for this type of work and on
paper, we're at the top end of the scale. However, we won't go

looking for extra work, unlike many tire stores and particularly the
"big red triangle" . If we DO find something that concerns us,

we will stop work until you've had a chance to see it for yourself.

Many times, low prices for tire mounting are set on the assumption that
more work, either imaginary or legitimate, can be found.

In the words of the famous nursery rhyme, "Come in to the parlour said
the spider to the fly".

One thing you should note is that the law does not require oil and tire
changers to have any automotive qualifications of any kind.

They do not have to have a union, or parity committee, card. So the big
discount stores that offer rudimentary auto service are

usually staffed by teenagers right off the street being paid minimum
wage. Slinging hamburgers at Macidee is considered to

more challenging.

When the pressure comes on, as it will in a couple of weeks, don't
expect to get your rims ground and cleaned before the tires

are installed, you MAY get a new valve, your wheel nuts MAY be
tightened to manufacturers spec, or maybe not. Not when an

impact wrench adjusted to full speed is used and by the same token,
you'll be lucky if you don't get any broken studs,

or distorted rotors.

If you're also lucky, the air won't be introduced into the tire until
it has settled on the rim properly and therefore isn't egg shaped.

The worst case of "express" tire mounting that I ever knew of
personally, involved a lady who backed out of a well known discount

emporium, only to have all four wheels fall off. Not a wheel nut in
sight, anywhere. $2000 later the store settled out of court.

One thing you can say for the huge discount stores is that, since
they're not in the car repair business, they won't lie to you about

what your car needs in the way of repairs.

I have to boast that my technicians, well paid as they are, take the
time to get it right the first time and no-one is going to persuade

them to cut corners, Their attitude is as different to the average tire
changer as chalk is to cheese.

Thailand: Strong demand for Kia K2900 light truck

Kia K2700
Kia Motor Co. of Thailand has increased its sales targets for the Kia
K2900 light truck due to strong demand. In the face of escalating
diesel prices, the K2900 has become popular due to its price and
payload capacity.

The Kia K2900 was received well at the
Bangkok International Motor Show. Thus, it prompted Yontrakit Kia to
raise its sales targets for the vehicle from 800 units to 1200 units.
Yontrakit Kia has urged the automaker to increase production of the
K2900 - assembled in South Korea - to meet demand. So far, 500 units
have been delivered.

The Kia K2900 is powered by a 125
horsepower 2.9-liter turbocharged common rail diesel engine. It is
priced at 632 000 baht (USD$18 832).

Accent CNG launched

Hyundai AccentHyundai
Motor India Limited (HMIL) has launched a dual-fuel version of the
Accent which will run on CNG as well as petrol. It will be Rs 56,500
dearer than the existing model and will be available first in the NCR

The 1.5-litre petrol engine
is capable of running on CNG without any modification. The CNG kit is
supplied by CEV, a Korean company. The CNG kit meets Euro 3 emission
norms, the onboard cylinder has a capacity of approximately 12kg and
the running costs are estimated to be about Rs 1.15/km. HMIL is
planning to launch LPG variants of all its models, beginning with the
Santro in August.

USA: Kia plans to add more small cars

Kia KOUP Concept
has reported that Kia Motors is planning to add more compact cars into
its U.S. lineup, as gas prices have been steadily escalating in the
recent months.

"We'll have more small cars. We have an advantage
in small cars," Chung Eui-Sun, president of Kia Motors, stated at the
grand opening ceremony of the automaker's new U.S. headquarters in
Irvine, California. This move came as demand for sport-utility vehicles
and trucks has seen plunges as of late.

The 15 Millionth Volvo

15 millionth Volvo unit has rolled off the plant just this February and
it now belongs to Paul and Aimee Kay. The couple is proud of their
acquisition and the company behind the vehicle is proud that they have
been able to manufacture that much vehicles already. According to the
company, the very first unit came out in April of 1927 and it was
called the OV4. This OV4 is actually a convertible.

80 years and 10 months later, Volvo sends out its 15 millionth vehicle,
the C70, and yes, it is another convertible. Despite the years between
the production of the two vehicles, the car maker has been able to
create vehicles which would not only give you your needs and wants in a
vehicle – it would also give you safety. And safety is something that
Volvo has been very consistent with in their vehicles.

So this is Kudos to Volvo and to more vehicles from you!

Spied: 2010 Kia Forte caught testing in US

Audi Q5 S-Line


Buyers who want more out of the new Audi Q5 that was released a month
ago can opt for the S-Line package from quattro GmbH for the midsize
SUV that improves handling thanks to the addition of a stiffened
suspension kit as well as optional 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in
performance tires. Other modifications to the car’s exterior include
black exterior window trim roof rails, a polished grille and matching
mesh pattern air vents surrounding the fog lights. Inside, the car gets
new sports seats with electrically adjustable lumbar support and
layered with Nappa leather or Alcantara trim with an embossed S-Line
logo embroidered into the seat back.

BMW X7 May Yet Surface

may yet build its super luxury SUV, according to company insiders.
Three years ago we were supposed to see a BMW X7 on our roads, a
behemoth of high proportions aimed at rivalling the Land Rover Range
Rover set.
Mercedes-Benz knew about it too, as they prepared their
own vehicle for this segment, the GL-Class. Something happened along
the way, probably at the same time as when BMW sold Land Rover to Ford.
a source says the X7 is merely “sleeping”, waiting to see what happens
with the US SUV market. From where we stand it doesn’t look too good
for X7 survival, which may prompt a total cancellation of project X7.
That whole big SUV segment is under extreme fire from environmental
lobbyists and generally anti-SUV groups, hence X3, MINI SUV and X1. We
have been told the X7 would only work if alternative fuels like
hydrogen and hybrid technology become mainstream. Hopefully, we will
find out soon enough.