Auto News for Jan. 31

Kia is out with a sneak peek of the Cross GT, a styling concept that it will unveil at the Chicago Auto Show next month. It is said to be a “premium Crossover Utility Vehicle” that is larger than the Sorento.

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Ford says its hybrid market share rose nearly 9% in December from year earlier levels. The slick looking Fusion hybrid set an all-time monthly sales record in December and Ford claims that nearly 70% of sales were conquest sales, meaning people traded in something other than a Ford product. It claims the Fusion Hybrid rolls off dealer lots at a faster pace than any vehicle in the lineup.

Let’s hope this doesn’t start an argument… but a Pulse Opinion Research poll shows little agreement on who calls the shots when it comes to buying a new car. Seventy-two percent of men say they have the most influence on the buying decision while 60% of women feel they do.

The Detroit News says Chrysler-Fiat has some ambitious plans for the future. It reported that two Alfa Romeos and four Fiat models will come to these shores in 2015. Two Dodges and one Chrysler will be refreshed in 2014. That was the word from CEO Sergio Marchionne during a conference call. Also upcoming in 2014 will be an all new Chrysler 200 with a 9 (!) speed transmission.

 

Worldwide, Toyota is recalling 1.3 million vehicles. Involved are 2003-04 Corollas and Corolla Matrix models and 2006-12 Lexus IS models. The company said the Corollas may have a faulty air bag and the Lexus models could have defective wipers. GM is recalling 135,000 Pontiac Vibes built in the same California plant as the Matrix.

Since Coffee is a key part of any early morning drive, and because I thought this was a nifty story, I include the following. Order a cup at a new Detroit coffee house, and the beans travel from their resting place to the grinder and brewer on clear pneumatic tubes. The operator of the “Roasting Plant” shop said the beans fly over the customer’s head, according to the Detroit Free Press. Makes one wonder if the decaf beans go slower. At any rate, it’s neat to report on some good news out of downtown Detroit. Read more about the flying coffee beans at:

http://www.freep.com/article/20130131/BUSINESS06/301310187/Roasting-Plant-opens-in-Detroit-with-beans-flying-through-tubes

 

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Auto News for Jan. 30

Auto News for Jan. 30

By Ron Amadon
The opening of Qatar Auto Show caught my eye considering the wealth of that country. And sure enough, the first hypercar designed in the Middle East will be unveiled there. The LykanHypersport features diamond encrusted LED lights! Only seven will be produced and the (base) price will be nearly $3.4 million. Hey, Rolls owners must something to trade up to!

Chrysler has reported preliminary net income of $1.7 billion for 2012, up from $183-million a year earlier. CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated there is still room to grow saying, “the enterprise we are crafting is not complete.” The company said Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales in December marked the 33rd consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. But recent reports indicate that sales of the compact Dodge Dart were below expectations. Better results came from the Ram truck, Jeep Grand Cherokee and two Chrysler models, the 200 & 300.

Kelly Blue Book is out with its Top Ten Cars for Winter Driving. Some are predictable such as the Audi Allroad and Subaru Outback. But the Ferrari FF? KBB said “with seating for four, tremendous traction (from its four wheel drive,) and a top speed of 208 mph the $300,000 FF will whisk you to the ski chalet in record time.”

Harley Davidson is doing well. The company announced that worldwide retail sales rose 7.5% in the fourth quarter and 6.2% for the full year. It predicts that shipments will increase from 4 ½% to 6 ½% this year.