Top Three Auto Factories in Germany

June 11, 2008

Mercedes-Benz has the majority of the entire steadfast factory in the planet, and the second and third most reliable plants are also found in Germany. According to the Auto Channel, this is the outcome of the “US Initial Quality Study,” a largely observed pointer of dependability in new cars published by the worldwide renowned market research company J.D. Power and Associates. The ultimate prize was won by the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, (near Stuttgart). Vehicles from this plant marked an average of merely 33 problems per 100 vehicles (33 PP 100). The average among all calculated factories was 118 PP 100. The Sindelfingen plant manufactures the CL, CLS, E, and S class models for Mercedes-Benz.

German automakers obtained second and third place honors as well. Porsche’s factory in Stuttgart, the factory where its 911 model is brought together, got the second-place “Silver Plant Quality Award.” The third place “Bronze Quality Plant Award” was bagged by the BMW factory in Regensburg, a Bavarian city northeast of Munich. German cars also emerged on top when assessed according to brand name

“These data speak volumes for the German auto industry, but they also are a testament to workers in Germany, especially in the machinery and equipment industry. When investors come to Germany, they know that they will have workers at their disposal who are trained in the latest technologies and who take precision and reliability extremely seriously,” says ,” noted Oliver Seiler, Director of the Mechanical and Electronic Technologies at Invest in Germany.

Kia cee’d Production Passes 200,000

May 28, 2008

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Its party time for managers and staff at Kia’s vehicle manufacturing facility at Zilina in Slovakia! Kia has marked another significant highlight when the 200,000th Kia cee’d was finally built and took off the final assembly line last May, 23, 2008, Friday. The 200,000th car is a three-door Kia pro_cee’d with a Dakar Yellow paintjob. The vehicle is intended for German customers.

“This is another truly significant day for Kia. We produced our 100,000th cee’d last September, 10 months after start-up, and with the addition of the cee’d wagon and pro_cee’d three-door hatch, we have reached our 200,000th cee’d after only eight months. We have also been consistently achieving record productivity levels while maintaining excellent build quality. These last two factors, plus the style, design, quality and durability of the Kia cee’d cars manufactured here in Slovakia, have enabled us to offer the unique Kia 7-Year Warranty on cee’d which has played a part in triggering a growing surge in Kia sales across Europe,” says Mr. In-Kyu Bae, President and CEO Kia Motors Slovakia (KMS). “

Zilina has set a series of innovative productivity records with 915 units built in a single day (Monday 21 April), 4,474 units in a single week (week starting 7 April) and 19,300 units in one month (April) this year. How about that?

“Since the Kia cee’d’s launch in Europe in December 2006, the cee’d family, with its choice of five-door, three-door and wagon body styles, plus attractive styling, high quality and 5-Star EuroNCAP safety standards, has played a significant role in winning over thousands of new consumers to the Kia brand,” says Mr. Paul Willis, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Kia Motors Europe.

2008 Mercedes Benz Round Up

May 21, 2008

Auto experts from the various automotive sites have carried out their exclusive review for the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, R320 CDI and C300 4MATIC. Let’s check it out!

2008 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG (via TimesOnline)

“So what has Mercedes done? Well, it’s ditched the iron lung of a supercharger and fitted a normally aspirated 6.2 litre V8. This means you get about one more brake horsepower, but before you grow too excited about that I should point out that you get a lot less torque. And it’s developed right up the rev range, exactly where you don’t want it. The engine produces more carbon dioxides too.”

2008 Mercedes-Benz R320 CDI (via)

“There are a lot of things to like about driving the R320. Top of the list must be the comfort level, and that doesn’t matter whether you are sitting in the first, second or third row seats. The suspension might be typical European in feel, a little firm but friendly, but the long wheelbase makes this a highway cruiser of the highest caliber.

Now I know that a lot of people out there are still doubtful about diesel power plants, but I can assure you that this unit produces enough performance to make any hardened gas-only lover blush with embarrassment.

2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC (via AutoWeek)

“The C300 4Matic is a very nice midsize luxury cruiser, but the performance and feel are bland, bland, bland. This car probably has ample power for stodgy young professionals more concerned with showing off their three-pointed stars, but few enthusiasts will pull the trigger on it. Sure, it will haul itself into the triple-digit speed range and run there all day without complaint, but it takes some time to build velocity. And the transmission is really slow to kick down anytime it is asked to get up and go.”

Click here to view complete details.

2008 Mercury Sable At A Glance

May 12, 2008

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Rounding up the vehicles in Ford’s flourishing stable of cars, the Mercury Sable is among the quality vehicles that definitely turn heads. The newest Sable in town promises a brand new exciting driving performance to new car buyers. Let’s all have a quick review about this marvelous car…

The Sable is considered as the heart of the Mercury lineup of vehicles since it was introduced as a model year in 1986. At some point, it has strangely disappeared for model year 2005. It was then accounted that it will be replaced by the Montego. And after three years, the Montego packed its bag and soon replaced by the new Sable for model 2008.

The brand Sable is highly based on the Montego when it comes to exterior design. It wasn’t a surprise after all, as it is the car that was expected to have been named Sable, that instead was called Montego, but with some significant upgrades.

SPECIFICATIONS 2008 Mercury Sable Premier FWD

Base Price: $ 27,330

Price As Tested: $ 31,455

Engine Type: aluminum alloy 24-valve dual overhead cam V6 with variable cam phasing on the intake cams

Engine Size: 3.4 liters / 213 cu. in.

Horsepower: 263 @ 6250 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 249 @ 4500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase / Length: 112.9 in. / 202.1 in.

Curb Weight: 3741 lbs.

Pounds Per Horsepower: 14.2

Fuel Capacity: 20 gal.

Fuel Requirement: 87 octane unleaded regular gasoline

Tires: P225/55 R18 97H Pirelli P6 Four Seasons

Brakes, front/rear: vented disc / solid disc, ABS standard

Suspension, front/rear: independent MacPherson strut / independent double A-arm

Drivetrain: transverse front engine, front-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

EPA Fuel Economy – miles per gallon

city / highway / observe: 18 / 28 / 20

0 to 60 mph: 6.8 sec

Walk Like MADD

May 10, 2008

Do you want to kick out drunk driving away from the streets? Oh yes, we can make a difference! Check this out.

TheAuto Channel reported that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) leadership joined 500 local supporters today at Huntington City Beach to partake in Walk Like MADD. This event is a 5 kilometer non-competitive walk that motivates the community to support MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. A shocking 1,276 people were killed in California in traffic accidents involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher in 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“The main reason people continue to drive drunk today – despite 27 years of intense public education and law enforcement’s best efforts – is because they can. My son might be here today if the offender that killed him had an interlock on his vehicle.” Birch’s 21-month-old-son Courtney was killed on May 3, 1988, more than 20 years ago, by a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of .26 at the time of the crash and was driving with a revoked license and three prior DUI convictions,” says Glynn Birch, national president of MADD.

Today, a gadget that will support the campaign has been created. It is an alcohol ignition interlock which is a breath test device connected to a vehicle’s ignition system used on the vehicles of suspected drunk drivers. Further studies revealed that these devices are up to 90 percent efficient in diminishing recidivism while fixed on the vehicle.

Here’s the catch: If all states required alcohol ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, we could save up to 4,000 lives a year. Imagine that!

The Iron Man Premiere With Audi

May 7, 2008

Audi R8 Sports Car in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood

May 2, 2008 was the much awaited day for all Iron Man fanatics all around the world. The world premiere of the blockbuster movie from Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studio was celebrated with glamorous red carpet movie premiere and a magnificent party. Various world-known celebrities arrived at the event in Audi R8’s, Audi Q7 SUV’s and Audi A8L sedans. Tony Stark’s car, the Audi R8, was also on display on the red carpet.

According to my source, the following stars horded to Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater in the elite Audi R8, which has a 2-year waitlist: Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau and Terence Howard. Gwyneth Paltrow arrived in an Audi A8L W12 sedan, and Tenacious D’s Jack Black, Leslie Bibb and Vince Vaughn were accompanied in Audi Q7’s.

In addition to this, several celebrities from various industries were present join the celebration of the Iron Man movie’s world premiere. Stars include; Rosanna Arquette, Beau Bridges, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, and Jon Voight to name these few celebrities.

“Audi is thrilled to celebrate two great properties this evening – Iron Man and the R8. Hollywood is the perfect opportunity to showcase this exciting performance of the R8, starring alongside the stellar cast of this crowd-pleasing movie,” says Jeff Kuhlman, Chief Communications Officer for Audi of America.

An enchanting motorcade of 10 police-escorted Audi R8′s swarmed the Los Angeles area earlier in the day, the greatest number of R8′s ever to be driven together in the U.S.

500 Abarth At The 2008 Geneva Motor Show

February 28, 2008
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The month of March marks the rebirth of one of the most celebrated cars in the planet particularly in Europe. The new 500 Abarth will have its world debut in the upcoming 2008 Geneva Motor Show. According to the Auto Channel, the 500 Abarth was originally enhanced by Fiat’s Style Centre with a the world-famous Fiat 500 Abarth of the 1960s as source of inspiration.

The all-new 500 Abarth Specifications:

Engine

  • 4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
  • Power output: 135 bhp at 5,500 rpm
  • Peak torque in SPORT mode: 206 Nm (152 lb.ft) at 3,000 rpm
  • ‘Drive-by-wire’ accelerator control, without mechanical connection
  • Turboboost by IHI variable geometry turbo

Transmission

  • 5-speed gearbox
  • Dual cable external gearbox control

Suspension and steering

  • MacPherson layout at front with anti-roll bar
  • Torsion beam axle with anti-roll bar
  • Ground-hugging sporty stance
  • Dualdrive electric power steering, with SPORT mode

Brakes

  • Floating ZPH 4.1.2 front calliper, piston diameter 54 mm
  • Ventilated front brake discs, diameter 284 x 22 mm
  • Floating CII 34 rear calliper, piston diameter 34 mm
  • Solid rear brake discs, diameter 240 x 11 mm

Wheels

  • Standard: Aluminium alloy rim 6.5” x 16” – Tyres: 195/45 R16
  • Optional: Aluminium alloy rim 7” x 17” – Tyres: 205/40 R17

Battery Care

February 21, 2008

Electricity is very important for vehicles. Even if you do not drive a hybrid, you still use electricity. Your ignition system needs it, so does your electrical (of course) system. Your car’s electricity comes from the battery so you have to take care of it.

The Auto Channel recently published battery care tips from CarMax. Here are these tips:

  • Wear proper eye, hand and clothing protection when around batteries
  • Check the terminals where cables connect to be sure they are tight and corrosion free. If corrosion is present, have terminals cleaned by professional.
  • Lubricate terminals with a dab of petroleum jelly to keep cables clean and free from corrosion longer.
  • Make sure the battery is firmly secured to its mounting bracket. An unsecured battery can become damaged and cause short circuits.
  • Check the fluid level unless it’s a maintenance-free battery. If the fluid is low, add distilled water. If there is no fluid visible, then replace the battery.
  • Keep your battery case clean. Dirt conducts electricity which can discharge the battery. Use a solution of baking soda dissolved in warm water to clean. Wet the case and agitate with a nylon bristle brush to scrub surface. Rinse well with plain water.
  • Batteries come in many different sizes. When replacing a car battery, make sure you choose the right size for your vehicle. When it comes to car batteries, bigger is not always better.
  • Always disconnect the negative cable first and reconnect it last. Charge battery in a well-ventilated area.

These tips are just easy to follow and I hope this will help you take care of your battery. You do not want of course to be stranded somewhere with a dead battery so I think it is a good investment in your part to take care of your electricity source.

First Ferrari

February 14, 2008
Italian automaker Ferrari has been known throughout the years for its fast and stylish cars.  This tradition started with a car with chassis number 01C.

Said vehicle must be pretty old by now eh?  Well. It surely is but it does not mean it cannot travel anymore.  In fact, the first ever Ferrari to be built will be making its appearance in Western United States in connection with the Inaugural Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance.

Paul Merrigan, an event organizer said:  “This is the first time in 20 years this pristine automobile has made a public appearance.  Ferrari has a unique history in Palm Springs, by recording its first western U.S. win here in 1951, and we’re bringing that excitement back with another historic Ferrari.”

According to The Auto Channel, other vehicles that will be displayed at the event are:  “a 1930 Rally ABC, a 1926 Studebaker, a 1956 Alfa Villedeste, a 1955 Jaguar D-type and a rare 1941 Packard, custom-designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin.”

“One of just a limited few built, the 1941 Packard is a perfect match for our event, because of its association with Darrin, who crafted many of his cars for the same celebrities that brought worldwide attention to Palm Springs in the early 1940s,” said Merrigan.

If you are a Ferrari fan and would like to see the car that started it all for the Italian automaker, then you might want to visit the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs, California on February 29.  Here’s what it would cost you though:  “General grounds admission tickets are $20; clubhouse tickets are $40; VIP tickets that include clubhouse admission and food/beverage are $150. Children under 10 and active duty/reserve military and seniors over 80 are free.”

2008: Auto Show Green Attack

February 3, 2008
This year, the theme in the auto industry will be greener. And it can be reflected on the upcoming autoshows. True, the industry has its way of popping up surprises.
Apparently, automakers are absorbed in the development of lithium-ion batteries to bolster their green credo. Saturn said it hopes to sell a Vue plug-in with a 10-mile electric-only range by 2010. Toyota, meanwhile, said it will have a few hundred plug-ins in commercial test fleets by then. Others are following the green trails of the auto giants.

AFS Trinity Power Corp. has equipped a 2007 Saturn Vue with a prototype plug-in system it says can go 40 miles on lithium-ion batteries before a 4-cylinder engine kicks in for gas/electric operation. Estimated cost is $8,700 for the Extreme Hybrid system, reported the Daily Press.

What’s the difference of AFS’s system with those of others? “We’re doing it with batteries available now. We’re not waiting for the technology to develop,” said Chief Technology Officer Donald Bender.

“My next dream is that one of the (automakers) will say they want to put this system on their car,” AFS Chairman and Chief Executive Edward Furia said. “We could give them exclusive use for two years, and then we could license it to others. Consumers could recover the $8,700 cost in fuel savings in three and a half years with gas at $2.85, and in less time at higher prices.”

David Champion, Consumer Reports magazine’s automotive testing director, is dubious of the hype around battery technology. “A breakthrough in battery technology has been two years away for 20 years.”

“Cost is a big part of our research,” said Jaycie Chitwood, a senior planner with Toyota’s advanced technologies group. “We want to find out how much (electric-only) range people want and how much they want to pay for it. The batteries aren’t free.”

Expense is what is also keeping the plug-in hybrids on the sidelines, notwithstanding diesel’s 25-30% fuel economy advantage over petrol.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz points out that hybrid systems add thousands to a vehicle’s cost, as do diesel engines, particularly now that the latter have to meet the same emissions requirements as their gas counterparts. “You can get sensational fuel economy, but you’re doubling the cost of the powertrain,” he noted. “When that happens, people will start saying that gasoline isn’t that expensive.”


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