Friday, May 30, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 8:00 AM


The much awaited first production model from Nissan, the all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima, has rolled off the assembly line at Nissan North America's Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing plant yesterday. The production underscores the indication of the return of Nissan's flagship to its origin as a superior 4-door sport car. The "Job 1" 2009 Maxima was brought down to the assembly line during a noontime festivity attended by several Nissan employees and executives. The car showcases a sporting bold new looks, with a revitalized and powerful V6 under the hood.

"The Maxima is an important car for Smyrna and for Nissan," said Greg Daniels, senior vice president, U.S. Manufacturing, Nissan North America. "It's our responsibility to build a high quality vehicle each and every time. Our customers deserve it and expect no less."

There were several alterations applied in the seventh generation Maxima. The exterior showcases a more insistent facade that conveys a tough, first-class charisma. A "super" cockpit experience was matched generating an interior that merges a driver point of reference with elevated quality, spaciousness and accessible technology. A one-of-its’-kind performance component was added to the Maxima, some customers and owners called it as "Maxima-ness” because of its superior and convenient road performance.

"We set out to create one of the best performing front engines, front-wheel drive sedans in the world. The Maxima delivers on all levels offering the value, quality, and exhilarating performance consumers have come to expect from Nissan," says Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan division, Nissan North America.


The next generation Maxima is fabricated based on the company’s latest D platform that offers alert handling and nearly get rid of the torque steer linked with loaded horsepower front wheel drive cars. It features an innovative Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual mode as well. It is altered particularly for net generation’s sporty driving nature. A brand new "Ds mode" (drive sport) has been added to the CVT for 2009 intended for drivers desiring for the extreme in vehicle control. "Ds mode" is an electronic control logic that improves sport driving through amplified speed up feel with superior engine revolutions, maintaining engine speed during cornering and automatic engine braking.

The new generation Maxima is outfitted with a 3.5 liter DOHC 24-valve VQ series V6 engine which is presently rated at 290 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque, increases of 35 horsepower and 9 lb-ft of torque over the 2008 Maxima.


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Thursday, May 29, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 8:34 PM


The Honda Racing F1 Team announced that it has accomplished ISO14001 official recognition for its UK headquarters located in Brackley, Northamptonshire. It is the first time that the ISO14001 accreditation has been granted specifically to a Formula One team and as an integral part of its earthdreams programme. It also exhibits the team's dedication to captivating precise action on environmental matters for their F1 racing technology.

ISO14001 is the worldwide requirement for an EMS or environmental management system. Official approval to ISO14001 verifies the Honda Racing’s systems be conventional to the globally similar review standard. It also proves that the team has successfully employed its environmental management system.

"Obtaining ISO14001 certification is not an easy thing for a Formula One team to achieve. However our earthdreams initiative is at the core of our team culture and it is important that we, like our project partners, strive to do our best to minimise our impact on the environment in the course of our business. This is a step along the way and there are many areas where we can continue to improve but it's very pleasing that our efforts have been rewarded by the respected ISO standard and that we met its tough criteria at our first attempt. We are showing that running a business that is as highly pressured as Formula One and doing the right thing are entirely complementary,” says Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of the Honda Racing F1 Team.

The effort towards ISO14001 started three years ago with management training schemes on environmental concerns. The legendary Honda F1 Racing team is now working on detailed goals to lessen its CO2 emissions. They will also report development on its website HondaRacingF1.com.
"Contrary to popular belief, the fuel that we use to race and test our cars forms around only 1% of our CO2 emissions footprint. The vast majority is from power use at our factory and air transportation of people and equipment around the world. This gives us some formidable challenges to reduce our consumption but we intend to see the same technology and ingenuity that we deploy on our F1 car to make a worthwhile contribution to reducing our CO2 emissions,” added Nick Fry with so much delight.


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Monday, May 26, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 8:36 PM


The changing of the Opel’s badge is part of improving the image of the brand.

The long-time badge of the world-renowned German auto maker is set to be replaced this coming July 2008. A report from John Revill of Automotive News Europe accounted that General Motors' Opel brand will reveal a new adaptation of its logo when it introduces the Insignia upper-medium car sooner this year. In addition to this, the new version of the lightning bolt symbol, which has been attached to Opel cars since 1963, will be showcased at the London auto show in July 2008.

The managing executives from GM further explained how they wished for to move Opel and move the brand upmarket by highlighting design and engineering supremacy based on traditional German manufacturing qualities.

The newest logo assimilates the brand’s name into an expanded boundary that surrounds the trademark lightning bolt. The latest badge to be obtained has a more molded design with sphere-shaped surfaces that provides the symbol three-dimensional deepness.

"Capturing that combination of beautifully-sculpted shapes together with German precision is very much consistent with the overall design language and philosophy of our vehicles," says Mark Adams, GM Europe's head of design, who led the team that re-designed the logo.

"The Opel Blitz evolved from a zeppelin – a symbol of progress at that time – which had been the radiator emblem of Opel vehicles since the beginning of the 1930s," said Heinz H. Zettl, manager of Opel Heritage & Institutional Communications.

A circle was added in 1937 to represent a wheel to symbolize mobility along with a representation of the endless innovation Opel has to offer all through the years.

“This evolution was also influenced by the brand name of Opel's light commercial vehicles, which from 1930 to 1975 bore the name "Blitz,” Zettl added. It also featured a lightning bolt as a distinctive symbol"

The company's sister brand Vauxhall will showcase a new version of its Griffin badge as well, along with a set of brand new models at the London show.

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Friday, May 23, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 6:47 PM


Automotive specialists and a panel of editors from Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com named the 2009 Ford Flex one of its “Top Ten Best New Road Trip Vehicles.”

“The functionality, cargo capacity and interior space of the Ford Flex coupled with its high feature set make it a pretty ideal cross-country commuting vehicle. It’s the kind of vehicle that you could put lots and lots of miles on in a day and then not feel fatigued in at the end,” says Micah Muzio, road test editor, Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.

According to Muzio, the kbb.com editors assessed all substantial and insubstantial characteristics that would improve any long drive experience such as driving satisfaction, passenger convenience, and cargo room and fuel economy. These were the grounds in selecting this year’s group of “Best New Road Trip Vehicles.”

Whether it’s a group of people or a person traveling alone, Flex Marketing Manager Catherine Pearce says Ford’s newest crossover will provide an enjoyable trip.

“Flex offers unparalleled space, an expansive view and amenities not available anywhere else, and we’re delighted that the editors of Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com chose to recognize Flex in their exclusive list,” she said.

The all-new 2009 Flex is set to hit Ford dealerships this summer, has already earned a bunch of awareness for its distinctive box-like design with signature side grooves, all-black greenhouse and distinctive multi-panel Vista Roof™. Flex offers astonishing cargo space and comfort for up to seven passengers inside. It also provides wide, capacious seats and high-quality head room and leg room in all three rows. According to Flex Chief Designer Richard Gresens, the Flex generates an environment on parity with the best modes of transportation.

“Everything about the new Ford Flex renews my faith in transportation,” he said. “Flex reclaims our right as passengers to move in style and comfort.” “The sunroof makes the vehicle seem even roomier,” he said. “Also, each of the roof panels as its own sun visor, so that if a person on the right side wants sun and a person on the left side doesn’t, that’s something that the passengers can control themselves.”

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Monday, May 19, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 11:22 PM



During the 2008 Beijing Auto Show, Buick unveiled its new concept car called Invicta. The Invicta is said to be inspired by the Riviera concept shown last year. That name — which is Latin-speak for “invincible” — was last seen in the Buick lineup in the late 1950s.

Invicta carries multiple design cues from previous Buick concept efforts, now the design language on the Invicta is pure Buick, shield-shaped waterfall grille to the vent ports, which have been moved from the fenders onto the hood. The 4-door sedan has sharp, yet flowing character lines, including one that describes the classic Buick sweep spear cue on the car's flanks. The high beltline and low greenhouse give the Invicta a muscular stance. A glass roof helps to open up the greenhouse, and premium touches in the cabin include seam stitching on the instrument soft-touch feel panel pad, steering wheel and door panels. Buttons, switches and pulls are also designed to upscale tactile standards, and LED accent lighting adds to the experience.

Invicta concept will let you also experience riding on a 114.5-in. wheelbase, the Invicta concept is powered by a turbocharged direct-injected 2.0-liter four making 250 bhp and 220 lb.-ft. of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The 5-passenger Invicta measures 194.2 in. in overall length, rides on 20-in. wheels and tires and has a fully independent suspension with 4-wheel disc brakes. The Invicta name was originally introduced by Buick in 1959 and used until the 1962 model year.

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Friday, May 16, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 12:06 AM



For the 2008 model year, the Jeep brand decided to upgrade their Jeep Grand Cherokee model. The brand has decided that with a new look and with new features to boot, the vehicle would become attractive to consumers and it would bring in more sales for the company. The auto maker claimed that the upgrades done to the vehicle “makes this Jeep the most luxurious yet”.

Take a seat behind the wheel and you would find that the materials used are soft to the touch. The interior colors given to the vehicle are also new and actually gives the vehicle a luxurious appeal. Along with these, Jeep also added a telescope steering column which can be tilted by the driver. The steering wheel has also been made to be better. The instrument clusters are new and the floor console has been worked on so much so that operation is better than before. Add in those new comfortable armrests, and you get a really comfortable ride with the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee.


For entertainment, you would find that the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with the MyGIG infotainment system. However, keep in mind that such a technology is an option and a unit would only be able to have one if you choose to have the technology installed in the vehicle. With the MyGIG infotainment system which has a hard drive memory of 20GB, you can plug in your MP3 players and drive to the sound of your favorite songs. The car maker even disclosed that with such a high amount of memory, you can store up to a high of 1600 songs with the MyGIG infotainment system. The satellite navigation system that comes with the mentioned technology can be controlled with just a touch of your finger.

Aside from the MyGIG infotainment system, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee also has a Bluetooth-enabled feature - the UConnect. This one allows users to communicate with other people without having to use their hands.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a sport utility vehicle which is handled by Chrysler’s Jeep division. Units of the model that are sold in Europe are produced by Magna Steyr in Austria.

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