By John LeBlanc for MSN Autos
Among the annual “big” international auto shows, stereotypically, the Los Angeles gig is about “green” cars, the Detroit circus is about “power”, the Geneva salon is about “exotics” and the New York event focuses on “traditional American luxury.” And while both Cadillac (with its new 2014 CTS) and Buick (with its refreshed Regal and LaCrosse) will be showing off new versions of their traditional American luxury sedans, the relatively fresh genre of crossovers will dominate the debuts during this week's Big Apple media days.
By John LeBlanc for MSN Autos
Fiat’s Jeep division didn’t intentionally want to peeve-off their traditional buyers. But that’s the reaction they got when images of the new 2014 Cherokee (seen above) were leaked (then officially released) last week ahead of the compact crossover’s official debut at next month’s New York auto show.
Jim Motavalli, AutoWeek
Who would have thought it: After decades of resistance, Americans are starting to realize that today's smooth-running, fuel-efficient diesel cars bear little resemblance to the smelly, polluting slowpokes of old. According to recent sales information, clean diesel sales have jumped more than 25 percent so far in 2012. In October alone, they were up 21 per cent over the same month a year earlier. CNW Research of Brandon, Ore., reports the number of consumers considering diesels rose from 13 percent in 2006 to 28 percent in 2011.
So what happened to the diesel? It's fair to say that it cleaned up its act. Since 2007, new diesels have had to run on ultra-low-sulfur fuel (ULSD). It's a dramatic environmental change. According to the Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance, switching to ULSD will have the same effect as “removing the pollution from more than 90 percent of today's trucks and buses, when the current heavy-duty vehicle fleet has been completely replaced in 2030.”
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, says that today's entries “meet the same stringent standards as hybrids or other passenger cars. There's no longer a question as to whether diesel is a clean technology.”
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
The latest example of this comes between Ralph Gilles, head honcho at Chrysler's SRT division and designer extraordinare who brought us such lovelies as the new SRT Viper and the original Chrysler 300, and Donald Trump, a man who never turned down an opportunity to hear the sound of his own voice.
The background here is that Chrysler recently signed an agreement to restart Jeep production in China, something that had been going on for years already before the company's bankruptcy killed it. Now, because this is a highly politicized time in the United States thanks to the upcoming presidential election, somehow this story took a sudden right turn and people assumed that ALL Jeep production was heading to China.
Mitt Romney's Republican team went so far as to create a series of campaign ads slamming President Obama about letting 'good American jobs' get outsourced to China, nevermind that the current Jeep production lines aren't going anywhere. The lines in China will serve local demand in the Asian market.
Despite the non-story being debunked several times, Trump picked up the ball and ran with it, going so far as to tell his near 2 million Twitter followers that, "Obama is a terrible negotiator. He bails out Chrysler and now Chrysler wants to send all Jeep manufacturing to China--and will!"
Gilles had apparently had enough and told Trump that he was full of - ahem - manure. (Insert slow golf clap here. We agree.)
Anyway, a day later and Gilles has apologized for the language but not for the message. Unfortunately, people like Trump care very little for the truth in their quest for power and influence.
What do you think of the whole situation? Was Gilles' reply out of line? Would a different approach have worked better? Let us know.
By John LeBlanc for MSN Autos Canada
The last long-weekend of the summer is upon us. Then it’s back to work or school for most Canadians, as yet another summer has come to an end. For new car dealers, it’s time to start stocking up on the new 2013 model-year inventories. But some new cars won’t be returning.
Here’s a list of new vehicles that are being canned for 2013. Let us know which—if any—you’ll miss as they drive off into the sunset:
By Larry P. Vellequette, AutoWeek
The Jeep Grand Cherokee will have a shortened 2013 model year so that in January the Chrysler Group can introduce a diesel engine and eight-speed automatic transmission for the 2014 model, internal Chrysler sources say.
Dealer orders for 2013 Grand Cherokees began this month. The 2013 model, which will begin production in August, will continue with the five-speed automatic that the Grand Cherokee has had since mid-2010.
In January, the Grand Cherokee will pick up an eight-speed transmission licensed from ZF Friedrichshafen AG and built at Chrysler's transmission plant in Kokomo, Ind.
By Jake Lingeman, AutoWeek
Jeep and Mopar didn't create the Moab Easter Jeep Safari, but they're using the occasion to introduce wild concept vehicles and new parts to a crowd of their most rabid fans has become something of a company tradition.
Jeep and Mopar previewed six concepts on Tuesday that are destined for the Moab desert. The brand showed off three customized Wranglers, a Grand Cherokee, a J-12 Concept and a Mighty FC Concept.
The Jeep Wrangler Traildozer Concept was the result of close collaboration between Jeep and the off-road gurus from American Expedition Vehicles. The Traildozer sports the same Hemi engine featured in the Challenger SRT8 coupled to a Getrag six-speed manual transmission. Dana 44 axles with 4:10 gears and electronic locking differentials transfer power to the wheels.
Larry P. Vellequette, AutoWeek
The Chrysler Group plans to produce a smaller version of its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, likely at a plant in suburban Detroit, according to a union official and a source familiar with the project.
The new 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 is set to debut in the replacement for the Jeep Liberty, the union official said. Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has said the Liberty successor will be introduced in January at the 2013 Detroit auto show.
Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12 in Toledo, Ohio, where the Liberty replacement will be assembled, said the vehicle is expected to have a 3.2-liter V6 Pentastar and a nine-speed transmission. The transmission was developed by ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which provides the eight-speed transmission for the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans.
By Larry P. Vellequette, AutoWeek
Chrysler Group will offer a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee in North America in 2013, and add a third shift at a Detroit SUV plant next year.
The diesel Grand Cherokee will return to the North America market for the first time since 2008, spokesman Todd Goyer said.
Jeep has continued to sell diesel versions of its SUV lineup elsewhere.