By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News
India's Tata Motors, which bought Jaguar from Ford Motor Co. two years ago, recently approved a product plan that gives Jaguar three new models: a small sports car, an entry-level sedan and a station wagon.
They will be the first new vehicles to be fully developed under Tata, but they are all several years away.
For now, Jaguar is pushing its recently redesigned XJ. Jaguar executives think it could boost the brand's global sales by as much as a half this year to 75,000 cars.
To improve its quality image in the United States, Jaguar is offering 5-year/50,000-mile scheduled free maintenance on its 2011 models.
Here is a rundown of Jaguar's product plans for 2010-13:
Where that line starts and how it works, though, is less clear
After decades of false starts, electric vehicles are about to hit the American road in serious numbers. While EVs and plug-in hybrids must still prove themselves, this is still an exciting, watershed moment in automotive history. But while cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are sparking early-adopter love, these aren’t iPods cranked out by the tens of millions; initial demand for Leafs and Volts will surely outstrip early supply. Some would-be buyers are bound to be disappointed, especially since independent car dealers -- only too aware of supply and demand in their now dusty showrooms -- aren’t bound to play by any of the rules set by automakers.
To wit: A new Nissan press release says that owners are “one step closer” to owning the Leaf, the electric hatchback that will never visit a gas station or emit a whiff of tailpipe pollution. On a new Nissan website, buyers in California, Arizona, Tennessee, Washington and Oregon -- where, beginning in December, Leafs are set to arrive first -- can pick out colors and select options for their Leaf. So far, 18,600 people have put down $99 to “reserve” a Leaf online, nearing Nissan’s target of 25,000 by December.
I’ll reserve final judgment, but I’m increasingly nervous that that the Leaf’s “reservation” system is like seeking a ticket for a Beatles reunion: You might have a place in line, but when or whether you’ll be hearing “Ticket to Ride” is another issue.
By Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News
For example, all of Volvo's current range except the 9-year-old XC90 crossover makes use of Ford vehicles and components. The XC90 is based on Volvo's P2 platform and was developed before Ford ownership.
But small cars--the S40, V50, S70 and C30--use the C1 platform, engineered by Ford, Mazda and Volvo. The S60/XC60, XC70 and S80 use Ford's EUCD large-car platform. Volvo's 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine was developed with Land Rover when both were owned by Ford.
The only new vehicle Volvo is scheduled to unveil in the next few years in the United States is the S60 sedan, which goes on sale in September. Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, expects annual sales of 15,000 to 25,000. Last year Volvo sold 5,895 S60s, down from 8,966 in 2008.
Speck said the S60 has "trendsetting" design and "the best interior package we have ever had in a sedan, with better height and legroom."
Here is a rundown of Volvo's plans.
An updated version of the automaker family tree
After the jump, check out the site's updated -- and very detailed -- automaker family tree. Or, for a extra-large version, click on the image in its original post.
By David Barkholz, Automotive News
Chevrolet is asking its 3,000 dealers to prepare for the late September launch of the Chevrolet Cruze compact by purchasing competitors' vehicles for test-drive comparisons.
Chevrolet is encouraging dealers to have a Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic on site so prospective 2011 Cruze buyers can immediately measure the car against its segment competitors, said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet small-car marketing director.
Industry association opposes letter-grade labels.
According to Automotive News, NADA spokesman Bailey Wood is quoted as saying the letter-grade labels will "confuse the buying public, make vehicle purchasing decisions more difficult or treat automakers or fuel types unfairly."
Under the proposed labeling system only zero-emissions vehicles would receive a grade of A+, though even the worst vehicle in terms of fuel economy would be spared a failing grade as the range bottoms out with a D.
There's also the idea that the letter grades will lead to, er, hurt feelings. From the source article: "Dave McCurdy, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Toyota, GM, Ford and eight other manufacturers, said Monday the rating system 'falls short because it is imbued with schoolyard memories of passing and failing.'"
By Dan Prescott
Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s high-speed lifestyle of flying through the desert, leaving a rooster tail of dust, is taking a turn down a calmer, gentler road.
Stewart, 64, is ready to slow things down and create more time for himself and his family. “I’m not retiring,” he insists, “just changing directions.”
Last weekend he sold his off-road racing truck business and everything that goes along with it. He had more than 35 years of one-of-a-kind racing artifacts, memorabilia and assorted off-road racing equipment--enough stuff to fill a leased warehouse in El Cajon, Calif. Eschewing sentimentality for practicality, he sold it all in an auction.
One of the biggest names in off-road racing, Stewart achieved a remarkable 82 wins behind the wheel of race buggies, Mickey Thompson stadium trucks and Baja trucks. His trophies include three Baja 1000 wins and a record 17 Baja 500 wins. Off-road video games bear his name, and longtime sponsor Toyota even produced a limited number of Ivan Stewart “Ironman”-edition trucks.
Mercedes puts a modern spin on the classic Gullwing with its all-new 2011 SLS AMG -- and we got to drive it.
“Icon” is one of the most egregiously overused words in the English language -- especially by overzealous media types like me, trying to turn mundane stories into front-page headlines by lionizing someone or something that doesn’t deserve it. Not everyone and everything can be an icon, or “iconic,” otherwise the meaning of the label gets diluted, and that's a crime against those people or creations deserving of it.
The original Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, for instance, is one such creation worthy of being called an icon. And I'm confident my assertion that the all-new 2011 SLS AMG, the Gullwing's spiritual successor, is set to follow in the 300SL's footsteps is no simple hyperbole.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5