Archive for June, 2009

Hyundai-Kia to debut hybrid vehicles next year

  Simply put, a hybrid vehicle raises fuel and engine efficiency by using both a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor. The motor placed between a vehicle’s engine and transmission helps the former get the wheels rolling, increasing fuel efficiency. The new technology is considered the most practical alternative among “eco friendly” vehicles. The first Korean commercial hybrid vehicle is set to debut in July. Hyundai Motor started receiving orders for a liquefied petroleum injection (LPI) hybrid edition of its steady-selling Avante sedan earlier this month. Kia Motors, Hyundai’s largest affiliate, will also release an LPI edition of the Forte compact sedan about one month later. With a 1.6-liter engine, the Avante hybrid model covers 17.8 kilometers on a liter of liquefied petroleum gas. The new Avante model uses LPG instead of gasoline used in previous models, which ran at 15.2 kilometers …

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The US Energy Department is releasing billions from its loan program to develop fuel-efficient cars

  After months of uncertainty, the Energy Department is beginning to lend money from a $25 billion loan program to develop fuel-efficient cars. Ford Motor Company, Nissan Motor Company and Tesla Motors are slated to get the first round of loans. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is scheduled to make the announcement of the loans on Tuesday, according to several wire service reports that quoted unnamed sources. Absent from the loan program are General Motors and Chrysler, two companies that have asked for billions of dollars in loans, but are prevented from receiving aid under terms of the program because they do not qualify as “financially viable” companies. Ford will receive $440 million to help convert a Michigan sports-utility factory to build small cars. The company, as recently as late last year, had sought a total of $11 billion from the program as part …

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Nissan Canada Awards all-new 2009 Cubes to 50 Creative Canadian Winners

  After four months of engaging with Hypercube – Nissan Canada’s unique social media campaign that rewards creativity in Canada – 50 Canadians were awarded an all-new 2009 Nissan cube at events simulcast in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Many of the 500 finalists, their friends and other special guests gathered at the three events to see if they were one of the lucky recipients of a cube all their own. “Hypercube is exceptional for Nissan because we are engaging with our consumers in such a relevant, unique and interactive way,” said Jeff Parent, VP of sales and marketing with Nissan Canada, from CiRCA nightclub in Toronto. “The 500 finalists created an extensive online community that interacted with each other, and their local communities, and really spread the word about the Nissan cube. It’s a very exciting evening to now be able to announce the winners.” The 50 winners were announced at [...]

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Toyota Prius still the hybrid to beat

  The Toyota Prius that debuted in the U.S. in the 2001 model year has become the nation’s best-selling hybrid. But with Chevrolet, Saturn, Ford, Mercury and Honda now in the game, Prius needs more than just high gas prices to keep folks interested. Perhaps the 50 m.p.g. city/48 m.p.g. highway rating in Gen III will do it. That’s a sizable gain from the industry leading 48/45 for 2009. Prius remains president of the 50 m.p.g. club despite a more potent 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine/battery combo that achieves 134 horsepower, up from 110 h.p. in the previous 1.5-liter 4-cylinder gas/battery duo. It also delivers a 600-mile range, so you can smile when passing signs that show gas prices are inching within reach of a lottery jackpot. But those 600 miles can be tough on the butt. Prius is only 0.6 of an inch longer …

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Could the electric car conquer the world

  The electric car is about to conquer the world … again. Every time there is an oil supply crisis, the price of gasoline jumps, or warnings about carbon dioxide (CO2)-induced global warming hit new hysterical highs, the electric car solution isn’t far behind. It usually doesn’t last long. Battery-powered cars in the past have been too expensive, too heavy, too ugly, would leave you stranded if you turn the air conditioning on, and just couldn’t perform like a regular gasoline-powered automobile. They mostly still rely on energy from coal-fired power stations, so the CO2 source is merely moved, not eliminated. But news of the imminence of electrification is everywhere. Could this finally be the hour of the electric car? The almost messianic nature of the enthusiasm for all things electric suggests an overwhelming success. The harsh reality of market forecasts by organizations like …

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Nissan to build electric cars in the U.S.

  Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third- largest automaker, plans to build electric cars at its plant in Tennessee to meet demand for fuel-efficient vehicles spurred by government incentives and tightening pollution rules. Nissan, 44 percent owned by Renault SA, will initially produce 100,000 units a year at the plant, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn told reporters today in Yokohama, Japan. The vehicles will initially be sold to corporate fleet operators, he said. Ghosn aims to start building electric cars in Japan next year and mass produce them globally in 2012. The Tokyo-based carmaker lags behind Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which will begin selling an electric vehicle next month. “They’re late on the electric car,” said Edwin Merner, who helps manage about $3 billion at Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo. Nissan will be one of first among carmakers with U.S. operations to …

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Toyota to sell fuel-cell car in five years

  Toyota Motor, the world’s top automaker, plans to roll out a fuel-cell car by 2015 in its push to stay ahead in the global race for green autos, vice president Masatami Takimoto said. His comments came at a shareholders’ meeting at Toyota headquarters in Aichi prefecture in response to an investor’s question about the company’s outlook on zero-emissions technology, but he declined to elaborate. Fuel-cell technology is considered a cutting-edge solution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions as it generates electricity by combining a fuel — usually hydrogen — with oxygen, and therefore only emits water. Toyota began limited sales of a fuel-cell hybrid vehicle in 2002 in the United States and Japan, using technology from its best-selling Prius hybrids. But carmakers have generally concentrated on implementing the more affordable technology used for hybrids or battery-powered vehicles. Fuel-cell systems remain costly due to the technology involved …

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GM, Ford and Chrysler must win over car buyers

  U.S. automakers spent much of this decade retooling their lineups to offer cars rivaling Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry and Honda Motor Co.’s Accord. Now comes the challenge of winning over consumers. While models such as Ford Motor Co.’s Mercury Sable got top quality marks today from researcher J.D. Power & Associates, U.S. buyers aren’t embracing the cars on which Detroit is staking its future. Imports held 69 percent of the U.S. car market through May, 4 points more than a year earlier. Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC are suffering from their sins of the past, when they lavished development dollars on trucks and sport-utility vehicles and let their sedans languish. Building better cars still hasn’t enabled them to overcome Asian automakers’ aura of superiority. “It doesn’t take long to lose your reputation for making reliable cars, but …

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TD Insurance survey says – Life is a highway for many Canadians

  For many Canadians, summer is not complete without a road trip vacation. This year is no different as a TD Insurance poll found that seven out of 10 (71%) Canadians will be hitting the road this summer, with most (38%) embarking on a road trip within their own province. “Road trips are a huge part of summer for many Canadians, but accidents never take a vacation,” says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President, TD Insurance. “Proper insurance can help smooth a bumpy road and get you to your destination safely and without delay.” Additional auto insurance helps to ensure that the trip doesn’t end abruptly due to any loss or damage to your vehicle. If something does happen, the Grand Touring Advantage product from TD Insurance Home and Auto can get you back on the road. This additional coverage takes care of transportation replacement …

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Fiat’s Alliance with Chrysler makes it the world’s sixth-largest car maker

  Fiat SpA Thursday outlined plans to retool its Italian plants as the car maker seeks to cut costs and expand abroad to better cope with the economic crisis. The Turin-based company, which last week took control of U.S. car maker Chrysler LLC, said it plans to keep production of cars at its Termini Imerese plant in Sicily only until 2011. Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne told a meeting with the government and the company’s labor unions that the Termini Imerese plant, which employs about 1,700 people, would be retooled from 2012. He didn’t elaborate. Fiat also said it would define a redundancy plan at its agricultural and construction equipment unit CNH. Marchionne told a meeting attended by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and union officials that it was hard to maintain employment levels due to the recession. “The global crisis has …

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