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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