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Chevrolet Sonic


March 2012

Crash Parts Bills Considered in State Legislatures Throughout the United States

MECHANICAL NEWS NRC Releases Automotive Electronics Safety Report U.S. Senators Urge EPA to Halt Fuel and Vehicle Emission Rules Fuel Economy Proposal Prices More Than 7 Million Consumers Out of Market

DEALER NEWS NADA Charitable Foundation to Launch Road Safety Grant Program BMW Announces Nearly $900 Million Investment, Adding 300 Jobs in South Carolina

The Maserati Kubang: Vision of A High Performing Sport Luxury SUV

For some reason SUVs today never seem to offer the kind of uplifting driving pleasure and luxury atmosphere that are two givens of today’s high-end sports and luxury cars. And this is precisely what Maserati set out to do with its new sport luxury SUV concept, the forerunner of the future Maserati range, creating at once discontinuity by entering a new segment, and continuity by maintaining the integ-

rity of Maserati’s DNA. The idea of a sport luxury SUV is naturally not totally new to Maserati. Many will remember the Kubang concept that was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2003. At a time in which few other brands were going in the Kubang Please Turn to Page 4

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Kubang From Front Cover direction of a sport luxury SUV, Maserati was already thinking to build one. Today potential synergies with sister brand Jeep - a brand that 70 years ago created a new segment of the market and is today a leader of this very segment – are the important catalyst for Maserati’s own interpretation of a sport luxury SUV. And it seems only appropriate to give the model the very name of the concept that opened the way: Maserati Kubang. The essence and all major system components of the Maserati sport luxury SUV will unmistakably be Maserati: style, engine, suspensions, brakes, handling and performance will all be 100% Maserati in pic- Kubang SUV will maintain the integrity of Maserati's ture-perfect con- DNA. tinuity with the brand’s core values of sportiness, style, elegance, luxury, performance and craftsmanship. The distinctive Maserati style that makes the Kubang immediately recognizable as a true Maserati has been created by the Maserati Style Center headed by Lorenzo Ramaciotti.

Newgeneration high-tech Maserati proprietary engines will be designed in Modena,Italy at Maserati Headquarters by Paolo Martinelli, Head of the Maserati Powertrain Department. Before undertaking this role, Martinelli spent nearly thirty years with Ferrari, eventually as the Head of the Engine Department for the Formula 1 team across the era of Michael Schumacher’s world championships. Production of the new Maserati engines will be performed by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy and they will be mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. An AT 8 speed automatic 

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March 2012

transmission and componentry with specific performance settings such as suspension, brakes, steering and electronics will be exclusively developed by Maserati engineers and the Maserati Product Development Department in Modena, Italy. Maserati is a founder of the modern granturismo. Nearly 50 years ago, Maserati expanded the boundaries of the original GT concept from two to four doors. The resulting Quattroporte is considered by many to be the first modern super sedan. It maintained not only the brands core values of style and luxury, but also delivered genuine performance thanks to components and design built from knowledge gained in competition. Today times have once again changed: sportiness and luxury can take the form of a very dynamic looking, in cre dib l y elegant and high performing sport luxury vehicle with the capability of getting its passengers through all types of climates over a variety of surfaces on and off the road. Maserati is

The Kubang concept demonstrates the strength of the modern Maserati, capable of offering an Italian alternative to the most competitive segments of the market. ideally suited to build just such a vehicle. The Kubang concept demonstrates the strength of the modern Maserati, capable of offering an Italian alternative to the most competitive segments of the market. Like many of its competitors the future sport luxury SUV will be built in North America and it represents an important part of the future Maserati range.n

Jim Tucker Publisher Michele Tucker Editor

Southern Automotive Journal,Inc. P.O. Box 675097 Marietta, Ga 30006-0009 (770) 321-9920 E-Mail Volume 16 Issue No. 3

Contributors Dennis Martin Ami Vonesh Joyce Ethridge Russ Heaps

Southern Automotive Journal (ISSN: 1092-6321) is published monthly by Southern Automotive Journal Inc. P.O. Box 675097, Marietta, Ga 30006-0009.SAJ accepts no responsibility for the opinions, views statements of the authors or for claims made by advertisers. Views expressed by writers are not necessarily those of the publication. Subscription: $12.00 per year. No representation is made as to the accuracy or the completeness of the information provided by this publication. Entire contents copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

March 2012

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KPMG Survey Reveals Global Auto Execs Don’t See Spark in Electric Vehicle Sales for More Than Decade However, auto makers expected to pump investment into electric technologies; No clear electrified propulsion winner, execs mixed on consumer demand for e-vehicles by 2025 Despite continued heavy investment by auto makers in electric propulsion technologies, global automotive executives don’t expect e-car sales to exceed 15 percent of annual global auto sales before 2025, according to the 13th annual global automotive survey conducted by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm. In polling 200 C-level executives in the global automotive industry for the 2012 automotive survey, KPMG found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of executives don’t expect electrified vehicles (meaning all e-vehicles, from full hybrids to FCEVs) to exceed 15 percent of global annual auto sales before 2025. Executives in the U.S. and Western Europe expect even less adoption, projecting e-vehicles will only account for 6-10 percent of global annual auto sales. “Electric vehicles are still in their infancy, and while we’ve seen some recent model introductions, consumer demand has so far been modest,” said Gary Silberg, National Automotive Industry leader for KPMG LLP. “While we can expect no more than mod-

est demand in the foreseeable future, we can also expect OEMs to intensify investment, fully appreciating what is at stake in a very competitive industry.” Despite the relatively modest sales projections for electric vehicles over the next 15 years, automotive executives in the KPMG survey indicate that a wide range of electric technologies will be an increased focus of their investment matrix. In fact, over the next two years: •83 percent say automakers will increase investment in e-motor production, •81 percent say investment in battery (pack/cell) technology will rise, •76 percent expect increased investment in power electronics for ecars, and, •65 percent predict increased investment in fuel cell (hydrogen) technology. Additionally, executives expect that hybrid fuel systems, battery electric power and fuel cell electric power will be the alternative propulsion technologies to attract the most auto industry investment over the next five years. “What’s interesting is that automakers are placing bets across the board, and large bets at that, because no one knows which technology will ultimately win the day with consumers,” added Silberg.

“In last year’s KPMG survey, execs told us it would be more than five years before the industry is able to offer an electric vehicle that is as affordable as traditional fuel vehicles for mainstream buyers. It will be interesting to see how consumer adoption progresses as automakers discover ways to offer these electrified cars at better price points and the infrastructure for these vehicles becomes more robust and accommodating,” he said. However, despite all the investment and energy being focused on electric platforms, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of executives say the optimization (so-called downsizing) of internal combustion engines (ICE) still offers greater efficiency and CO2 reduction potential than any electric vehicle technology based on the current energy mix. When asked to name the electrified propulsion technology that will attract the most consumer demand until 2025, auto executives were as mixed as their projected investments. In fact, the variation in response rates between fuel cell electric vehicles (20 percent), battery electrified vehicles (16 percent), full hybrids (22 percent), plugKPMG Survey Please Turn to Page 34

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NRC Releases Automotive Electronics Safety Report The National Research Council’s (NRC) Transportation Research Board has released a study that included a review of automotive electronics safety. The Research Council’s study was requested in the aftermath of the 2009-2010 reports of sudden acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested the NRC study of how the agency’s regulatory, research and defect investigation programs can be strengthened to meet the safety assurance and oversight challenges arising from the expanding functionality and use of automotive electronics. To conduct the study, the NRC appointed a 16-member committee of experts tasked with considering NHTSA’s recent experience in responding to concerns over the potential for faulty electronics. “This report likely assures that NHTSA will proceed with policy changes relative to automotive electronics review and safety. The recent security breaches or hacking activities in some vehicles increases the need for automotive repairs

to be done by professionals,” said Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative. “The automotive industry’s effort with the National Automotive Service Task Force’s (NASTF) Secure Data Release Model (SDRM) is an example of independent repairers working with automobile manufacturers to ensure vehicle security. We are hopeful that NHTSA will include independent repairers in the strategic planning process for automotive electronics safety.” There were a number of key findings from the study: • Electronic systems have become critical to the functioning of the modern automobile. • Electronic systems are being interconnected with one another and with devices and networks external to the vehicle to provide their desired functions. • Proliferating and increasingly interconnected electronics systems are creating opportunities to improve vehicle safety and reliability as well as demands for addressing new system safety and

March 2012

cybersecurity risks. • By enabling the introduction of many new vehicle capabilities and changes to familiar driver interfaces, electronics systems are presenting new human factors challenges for system design and vehicle-level integration. • Automotive manufacturers visited during this study – and probably all others – implement many processes during product design, engineering, and manufacturing intended to ensure that electronics systems perform as expected up to defined failure probabilities and to detect failures when they occur and respond to them with appropriate containment actions. The committee of experts made several recommendations to NHTSA: • NHTSA should become more familiar with – and engaged in – standard-setting and other efforts involving industry that are aimed at strengthening the means by which manufacturers ensure the safe performance of their Safety Report Please Turn to Page 19

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Expensive Fuel Economy Proposal Will Price More Than 7 Million Consumers Out of New-car Market, NADA Says The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) said recently that more than 7 million Americans would no longer be able to afford to buy a new car or truck in 2025 if the most expensive fuel economy rule ever proposed goes into effect. The comments were made by NADA director Forrest McConnell in testimony at the final hearing on pro-

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posed fuel economy rules held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in San Francisco. McConnell, a Honda and Acura dealer in Montgomery, Ala., said the EPA’s projected $3,200 increase in vehicle prices over model year 2010 will also limit the ability of many other consum-

March 2012

ers to buy the vehicles they want or need. McConnell’s testimony stressed the importance of credit availability to auto sales, noting that with most consumers, if they don’t qualify for an auto loan, they can’t buy the vehicle. However, because he is unaware of any lender who will “fund an auto loan based on promises of fuel savings,” McConnell expressed concern that the proposal’s vehicle cost increases would significantly dampen sales. And, McConnell warned, “if new vehicles don’t get sold, their fuel saving or environmental benefits won’t materialize.” McConnell also explained that a 2011 U.S. Energy Information Administration analysis found that if the rule takes effect, cars under $15,000 will no longer be available in 2025. He underscored that these least expensive cars are the only option for many college students and working families looking for a new car. “How is a rule that eliminates the most affordable new cars on the market pro-consumer?” McConnell asked the EPA and NHTSA officials who are considering a new mandate to increase fuel economy to 54.5 milesper-gallon by 2025. “America’s auto dealers support continuous improvements in fuel economy,” McConnell added. “Instead of fighting the consumer, NADA urges the administration to act in a manner that will leverage consumer demand, thereby maximizing fleet turnover and ensuring maximum feasible fuel economy increases.” n

Crash Parts Bills Considered in State Legislatures Throughout the United States Recently, a number of crash parts bills have been introduced in legislatures across the United States. Bills have been introduced or continue to be considered in Oklahoma, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina and Washington. Although there are policy patterns in some of these bills, two should be of particular note for independent repairers. Oklahoma Senate Bill 1458 calls for consumer notice and consent language, but adds new policy provisions by including "emissions part" in the bill as well as "safety part." "Emissions part" means a replacement of parts or systems related to the control, monitoring and release of waste gases and particles created as a byproduct of combustion including, but not limited to, oxygen sensors, catalytic converters, exhaust pipes, exhaust man-

ifold, fuel distributor, electronic emissions control unit or computer (ECU), onboard emissions diagnostic device or computer (OBD) and related parts and components. "Safety part" means a replacement of parts or systems essential to vehicle operation, suspension, electronic control units (ECU), brake parts, safety systems and supplemental restraint system (SRS) components. To improve provisions for consumers and repairers in Hawaii, Senate Bill 2326 amends current law, removing provisions requiring the claimant to pay additional costs for the use of original equipment manufacturer parts. The new legislation reads as follows: Original equipment manufacturers and like kind and quality parts; used or aftermarket parts: (a) An insurer shall make available a choice to the insured of

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authorizing a repair provider to utilize a like kind and quality used or aftermarket part of an equal or better quality than the original equipment manufacturer part if such part is available or an original equipment manufacturer part for motor vehicle body repair work. If the insured or claimant chooses the use of an original equipment manufacturer part, the insured or claimant shall pay the additional cost of the original equipment manufacturer part that is in excess of the equivalent like kind and quality used or aftermarket part, unless the vehicle is currently under the manufacturer's warranty or original equipment parts are required by the vehicle manufacturer's warranty. At its fall board meeting, the Automotive Service Association (ASA)

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The New 2012 Mercedes SLK - Athletic And Sophisticated In 1996, the first generation SLK caused a sensation with the retractable hardtop, which transformed the open roadster into a fixed-roof coupe at the touch of a button in just a few seconds. The second generation placed the warm AIRSCARF around the neck and shoulders of the occupants, providing top-down enjoyment in cooler temperatures. Now the third generation presents a unique highlight - the world premiere of the panorama retractable hardtop with MAGIC SKY CONTROL, which can be quickly switched to light or dark transparency at the touch of a button. The 2012 SLK-Class unites premium comfort and high-quality equipment with an especially athletic flair. At the same time the new roadster is the most fuel efficient in its class matched with segment-leading safety. All-weather driving enjoyment - open or closed, during weekends or the daily commute - is built-in to the SLK’s genes.

Magic Sky Control The standard convertible roof panel is made of body-color polycarbonate, and an optional Panorama Roof features a see-through panel. Also optionally available is a MAGIC SKY CONTROL roof, in which the tinting of the panel can be changed by the occupants, using the same electrochromic technology as automatic dimming mirrors. Sandwiched between two layers of glass, a chemical film called a matrix polymer holds oblong nano particles that line up uniformly when electrical current is applied, allowing light to pass through. When the electrical current is turned off (via a button above the rearview mirror), the nano particles disperse randomly, reducing light and tinting the roof panel. The First Retractable Hardtop in Modern Times

charged 1.8-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine that produces 201 hp and 229 lb.-ft. of torque. New Transmission The 2012 SLK line features a new transmission with a more advanced torque converter lockup clutch that provides even better fuel mileage, more responsive driving, quieter operation and increased durability. The new transmission SLK's fine details show the care that has been is also designed to taken by the Mercedes-Benz designers. work best with a new type of lowviscosity ATF transmission fluid - colored blue instead of the usual red. Together with new planetary gears, bearings and internal seals, the “FE-ATF” fluid provides less friction and improved fuel mileage.

Spearheading a trend that’s still changing the auto industry, the latest SLK is best known for its distinctive retractable hardtop. With the top up, it’s a quiet, weather-tight coupe - push a button, and about 20 seconds later, the car is topless. Thanks to its pivoting rear window, the folded roof of the SLK takes up relatively little trunk space. Like the retractable hardtop of the larger SL model, the rear window of the SLK pivots to match the curvature of the top as it’s being lowered. New Direct-Injection V6 Engine The 2012 SLK line debuts with the SLK350 model, powered by a new 3.5liter V6 engine that features direct injection and multi-spark ignition. With even more power and better fuel economy than its predecessor, the new SLK engine generates 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. Early next year the SLK250 will join the line-up featuring a new turboMarch 2012

ATTENTION ASSIST The SLK comes standard with the innovative “ATTENTION ASSIST” system, which couples a steering movement sensor with intelligent software that can identify the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy. When the system senses drowsiness, a warning message appears in the instrument cluster, and the driver is also alerted by a display that says, “Time for a rest!” Sophisticated enough to disregard sporty driving, the system works between 50 and 100 mph. Elegant in its simplicity, ATTENTION ASSIST essentially adds new computer software to existing sensors. Design The designers have tailor-made a body for the new SLK that emphasizes its classic roadster proportions. Behind the long hood is a compact passenger compartment and a short rear overhang - key SLK Please Turn to Page 30 Southern Automotive Journal


BMW Announces Nearly $900 Million Investment, Adding 300 Jobs at its South Carolina Plant In 2012 BMW announced recently that the company will invest nearly $900 Million USD and add 300 new jobs in 2012 in its South Carolina plant. This announcement was made during a ceremony to commemorate a major production milestone - 2,000,000 vehicles have rolled off the assembly line since the company began U.S. production in 1994. Frank-Peter Arndt, BMW Group Board Member responsible for Production, revealed the company’s intention to expand its X-model family. He revealed that production of the new BMW X4 will occur at the Spartanburg plant, spurring significant investment and job creation necessary to prepare the facility for the new model. “I am delighted to announce over the next three years, we plan to invest nearly $900 Million U.S. dollars. With this


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investment, we will be able to produce 350,000 units here in the mid-term,” said Arndt. “This is one reaction to the rising global demand for our BMW X Models.” Governor Nikki Haley spoke at the ceremony saying, “BMW has once again provided tremendous evidence that South Carolina is a blueprint for significant economic development success. The partnership between this company and our State is an enduring example of how to attract, retain and grow business to stimulate perpetual job creation.” “Two million vehicles have prepared our team well to meet the new opportunities that lie ahead for our plant. We look forward to a new model with great anticipation. For nearly 20 years, this team has always proven their steadfast commitment to producing quality vehicles for our customers around the world,” re mar ke d Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing. “I am thrilled to celebrate the two millionth BMW today,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce for South Carolina. “BMW’s impact on South Carolina’s economy and overall competitive ness is always worth celebrating. This new economic investment and commitment of jobs is a testament to South Carolina’s strong automotive manufacturing industry.” With the addition of 300 March 2012

new jobs this year the plant will raise production capacities up to 300,000 units. By the end of the year, the plant will employ nearly 7,500 people at its more than 4.0 million square foot facility. Since the original 1992 decision to build BMW’s only U.S. plant in South Carolina, this announcement brings BMW Group’s total investment in the state to nearly $6 Billion U.S. dollars and represents its largest, single investment to date in its South Carolina plant. In 2011, the plant produced 276,065 vehicles for over 130 markets around the world representing a 73% increase versus 2010. Seventy percent of the vehicles produced (192,813) were exported making BMW the largest automotive exporter to the non-NAFTA countries. Sales of the vehicles produced at the plant have met with continued high demand. According to Arndt, throughout the world, more that 117,000 X3’s were sold in 2011 representing a 156% growth of this vehicle versus its predecessor. The 2 millionth vehicle to roll off the line in Spartanburg was a Vermillion Red Metallic X3 xDrive35i driven by BMW Associate Terry Gardner, a 16-year BMW veteran. The vehicle featured Oyster Nevada interior and an M Sport Package. Accompanying the driver, were associates: Renita Williams, Trung Phan and Olga Yurchenko. These associates represent teams from each of the plant’s manufacturing technologies: Body, Paint and Assembly. While all vehicles are custom ordered prior to production, this symbolic vehicle will remain on display at the Spartanburg Plant to commemorate the milestone. Also making remarks at the milestone event were German Ambassador to the United States Peter Ammon, United States Congressman Trey Gowdy and Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeffrey Horton. Since 1994, the plant has undergone four major expansions and produced 6 different BMW models and their variants (318i, Z3, Z4, X5, X6, X3). Employment has grown from 500 in 1994 to more than 7,000 today.n

Hyundai Elantra Named 2012 North American Car of the Year The 2012 Hyundai Elantra took top honors in the most exclusive award in North America when it was named 2012 North American Car of the Year at the 2012 North American International Auto Show held in January in Detroit. A jury of 50 independent North American automotive journalists evaluated each of the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2012 Hyundai Elantra as the winner. The award was announced at a news conference at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which marks Hyundai’s second win. The Hyundai Genesis was named North American Car of the Year in 2009. “Elantra speaks to the success of our recipe of bold design and great fuel economy,” said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. “In a year with some truly breakthrough competitors, we are honored that the jury recognizes Elantra’s far-reaching impact on the industry.” The jurors considered more than 50 new vehicles, before selecting the top three cars and top three trucks. The Volkswagen Passat and Ford Focus were the other car finalists. This is the 19th year of the awards, which were inspired by the prestigious European “Car of the Year.” The jury is administered by an organizing committee and funded exclusively with dues paid by the jurors. Jurors judge the cars on a number of factors including innovation, impact on the industry, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. Elantra exemplifies Hyundai’s emotional “Fluidic Sculpture” design principles. “Fluidic Sculpture” considers the interplay of wind with rigid surfaces to create the illusion of constant motion.

Elantra is an evolution of the design qualities found in Sonata. A l o n g Elantra’s sides are Sonata’s flowing lines, with the addition of a strong undercut feature line starting at the front door. These lines, along with muscular wheel arches and a sleek roofline, create a memorable and spacious package. Flowing lines also lead to an aerodynamic body. The drag coefficient for the Elantra is an exceptionally low 0.28 that compares favorably to the Chevrolet Volt (0.29). March 2012

Hyundai’s signature hexagonal front grille and detailed sweptback headlights give Elantra a compact athletic face. The assertive stance is complimented by 15-, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels and athletic proportions. Available fog lights and side repeater mirrors complete the distinct design. Elantra was designed at Hyundai’s North American Design Center in Irvine, Calif. Elantra’s standard fuel economy is EPA-rated at 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined, with the sixElantra Please Turn to Page 34

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All-new 2012 Range Rover Evoque Named 2012 North American Truck of the Year Land Rover announced recently that the all-new 2012 Range Rover Evoque has been named the 2012 North American Truck of the Year. The announcement was made January 9, 2011 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The 2012 Range Rover Evoque was selected over two other finalists, the BMW X3 and the Honda CR-V, based on the following categories: value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction. “We are honored that the all-new

Range Rover Evoque has been named the 2012 North American Truck of the Year, one of the most celebrated automotive awards in our industry,” said

Andy Goss, President, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “This recognition is in keeping with the overwhelmingly positive global response from consumers who are selecting the vehicle for its ideal combination of luxury and capability, within a sustainable package.” The Range Rover Evoque was reviewed by a coalition of 50 automotive journalists, from the United States and Canada, representing all media platforms. Every year, the jurors of the North American Truck of the Year convene to determine worthy vehicle contenders and limit the eligible vehicles to approximately 10 cars and 10 trucks. Based on a points system, the jurors rate the vehicles and send their ballots to Deloitte & Touche’s office in Detroit where the selection process is narrowed down to three cars and three trucks with the most points. Once the three finalists are announced, the jurors vote again on the finalists. The 2012 Range Rover Evoque is the lightest and most fuel efficient Range Rover ever produced. The vehicle stays true to the core values of Range Rover, providing premium levels of craftsmanship, luxury, performance and Land Rover multi-terrain capability, while embodied in a more compact package. The Range Rover Evoque also sends a message that the company is serious about sustainability and determined to deliver vehicles that are both relevant and highly desirable. The Range Rover Evoque is available in two versions: a coupe and a fivedoor, with starting prices of $44,995* and $43,995*, respectively. Every Range Rover Evoque destined for the United States will be equipped with all-wheeldrive and will feature a 240-horsepower, Evoque Please Turn to Page 29


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Chevrolet Creates Waves With The All-New 2012 Sonic Chevrolet dismore upscale and mature played the all-new 2012 presence. At first glance, Sonic at the 2011 North the five-door model American International looks like a three-door Auto Show. Its youthhatch because the rear ful, aggressive design door handles are disis backed by turbocreetly located in the “C”charged performance pillar area. The rear of the and agile ride and five-door continues with handling, combining unconventional details, to deliver an efficient, including exposed, fun-to-drive small car. motorcycle-inspired rear The Sonic is taillamps. offered in two body Details that reinstyles: a stylish fourforce Sonic’s quality and door sedan and a attention to detail include sporty five-door. Each chrome grille surrounds delivers class-leading and matte black honeyrear-seat roominess comb grille inserts on all and cargo space. A models, while a range of The Chevy Sonic is engineered for agile, athletic ride and handling. variety of connectivity large wheel sizes, includfeatures enhance the ing 17-inch alloy wheels, driving experience. reinforces its sporty demeanor. “The all-new Chevrolet Sonic blends the practicality of a small car with Cruze-based powertrains the passion for driving that Chevrolet Chevrolet Sonic models are powvehicles like the Corvette are known ered by efficient, power-dense, smallfor,” said Chris Perry, vice president of displacement engines, including the Chevrolet marketing. “Its combination Ecotec 1.4L turbo and the Ecotec 1.8L of great design, fun driving experience – the same engines used in the new and the latest connectivity features Chevrolet Cruze. Three transmissions are create a serious competitor with a fun available: a five-speed manual and sixspirit.” speed automatic with the 1.8L and a sixProduction of the Sonic began in speed manual with the 1.4L turbo. late 2011 at the General Motors Orion The Ecotec 1.4L turbo’s power ratmovement even when the car is stationAssembly Center in Michigan, which ings are estimated at 138 horsepower ary. received a $545-million investment in (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Aggressive cues, including fender upgrades and retooling, and will help Nm) between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. flares and motorcycle-inspired round restore approximately 1,000 jobs in the The wide rpm range for the maximum headlamps, are blended with global metropolitan Detroit area. torque – a specific trait of turbocharged design cues – a dual-element grille and “Chevrolet is the only company engines – helps the engine deliver a round taillamps – for a design instantly building a small car in the United States,” better driving experience and perforrecognizable as Chevrolet. The leading said Perry. “We believe the Sonic will mance. Premium design elements give edge of the hood forms a character line bring substance to the segment, with the engine world-class smoothness and above the headlamps, which flows in a progressive styling, performance and durability. FeThe 1.4L’s turbocharger is sleek side profile characterized by uninvalue that will change perceptions of integrated within the exhaust manifold, terrupted body side lines, a high beltline what a small car can be in America.” for reduced weight and greater packagand low roofline. The side mirrors carry ing flexibility in small vehicles. A reinthe same shape as the car and seemingly Progressive exterior design forced crankshaft and stronger connectdisappear into the profile. From every angle, Sonic sedan ing rods deliver additional strength to The sedan and five-door modand five-door models convey strength, support the engine’s pressurized power els are distinctively different. The fivestability and refinement. A wide, plantand torque over a wide rpm band. door carries a tight, two-box shape with ed stance, with wheels-at-the-corners The naturally aspirated Ecotec 1.8L aggressive, diving feature lines, while proportions, conveys performance. the sedan’s “notchback” profile has a Progressive, raked body lines suggest Sonic Please Turn to Page 18 16

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March 2012

Sonic From Page 16 engine has many of the same features of the Ecotec 1.4L turbo. It is a compact and durable four-cylinder engine designed for low maintenance, low emissions and fuel efficiency. Its two-stage variable intake manifold allows approximately 90 percent of peak torque to be available from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm. It is estimated at 135 horsepower (101 kW), along with 123 lb.-ft. of torque (167 Nm) at 3,800 rpm. Inspired interior Sonic’s cabin the motorcycle-inspired exterior with a detailed instrument cluster featuring a large, round analog tachometer set within an asymmetrical LCD readout, with a

large digital speedometer display. knob. The mid-instrument panel surface The interior includes storage comis available in two partments in colors (dark titathe center stack Sonic offers remote start, heated front seats and doors. The and sunroof, all rarities in the segment. rear seats fold flat for carrying larger items.


nium and brick) and flows seamlessly into the upper doors, with premium low-glass finishes. The automatic shift knob has a “cobra head” design,” while the manual shifter has a chrome-finished

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Engineered for agile, athletic ride and handling The Sonic brings agility and a fun-to-drive feel that is rare in the segment. Engineers who also work on the Corvette tuned the Sonic’s confident ride and handling, giving it a more direct and athletic feel, while balancing the vehicle for the broad range of driving conditions in North America. All models feature a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, and a semi-independent, torsion beam axlemount compound link-type rear suspension – featuring a robust, tubular Vshape beam – with gas-charged shocks. The front and rear tracks are identical at 59.4 inches (1,509 mm), for well-planted stability and excellent balance. Electronic power steering is standard and features a wear compensator that continually adjusts the system interaction with the steering gear to ensure precise steering action over the life of the system. Sonic’s body structure is designed to be one of the stiffest in the segment. Its rigidity enabled engineers to tune the ride and handling more precisely. Sonic’s unique “flat top frame” cradle, for example, assures optimal stiffness in the front chassis portion of the vehicle. The rear axle is essentially a straight axle without contour for packaging restraints and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. A range of wheel sizes is available, including 17-inch wheels and sport tires. Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are standard, along with a four-channel antilock braking system. The four-sensor system – one at each wheel – incorporates electronic brake force distribution, which balances braking performance based on such factors as road conditions and the weight of passengers and/or cargo.n

Hyundai, Subaru and Lexus Top Overall Rankings in NADA Survey New-car dealer satisfaction with their respective auto manufacturers continued to increase in 2011, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) latest Dealer Attitude Survey. The survey, conducted twice a year, measures dealer sentiment in three key areas: franchise value, automaker policy decisions that affect the dealership and the automaker’s field staff who visit dealerships. Nearly 54 percent of new-car dealers nationwide, represent-

ing more 14,700 franchises, responded to the 2011 summer survey. Hyundai finished in the top overall spot for the third consecutive survey period, with affiliate Kia finishing fourth. Subaru climbed back to second place for its fifth consecutive Top 3 finish. Lexus dropped to the third spot. Mercedes-Benz finished fifth. Toyota and Volkswagen improved to sixth and seventh place, respectively. Porsche, Audi and Cadillac/Honda rounded out the Top 10.

Survey Methodology Nearly 54 percent of new-car dealers, representing more 14,700 franchises nationwide, responded to the 2011 summer survey, which measured dealer sentiment this past July to August. Overall scores were calculated from 12 “core” questions that measured dealer attitude in three key areas. The survey results were presented to more than 325 senior automaker executives representing 30 automotive brands in a series of meetings over a two-month period.■

Safety Report From Page 7

tigating safety deficiencies in electronics-intensive vehicles. A regular channel of communication should be established between NHTSA’s research program and ODI to ensure that recurrent vehicle- and driver-related safety problems observed in the field are the subjects of research capabilities, particularly the detail, timelines and analyzability of the consumer complaint and early warning data central to these capabilities. • The committee concurs with NHTSA’s intent to ensure that event data recorders (EDRs) be commonplace in new vehicles and recommends that the agency pursue this outcome, recognizing that the utility of more extensive and capable EDRs will depend in large part on the extent to which the stored data are available for safety investigation. • The committee endorses NHTSA’s

stated plan to conduct research on both pedal design and placement and keyless ignition design requirements but recommends that this research be a precursor to a broader human factors research initiative in collaboration with industry and that the research be aimed at informing manufacturers’ system design decisions. • The committee recommends that NHTSA initiate a strategic planning effort that gives explicit consideration to the safety challenges resulting from vehicle electronics and that gives rise to an agenda for meeting them. The agenda should spell out the near- and longer-term changes that will be needed in the scope, direction and capabilities of the agency’s regulatory, research, and defect investigation programs.

automotive electronic systems. • NHTSA should convene a standing technical advisory panel comprised of individuals with backgrounds in the disciplines central to the design, development, and safety assurance of automotive electronic systems, including software and systems engineering, human factors and electronics hardware. The panel should be consulted on relevant technical matters that arise with respect to all of the agency’s vehicle safety programs, including regulatory reviews, defect investigation processes and research needs assessments. • NHTSA should undertake a comprehensive review of the capabilities that the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) will need in monitoring for and inves-

Safety Report Please Turn to Page 22

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Senate Highway Construction Programs Reauthorization Bill Heads to the House The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a full committee markup titled “Highway Construction Programs Reauthorization to consider Senate Bill 1813, ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century’ (MAP-21).” During the markup, the committee unanimously approved S. 1813, a bill to reauthorize the nation’s transportation programs for two years. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., committee chairwoman, highlighted the subject matter of the hearing in her opening statement, saying, “Colleagues, as we meet today to markup S. 1813, MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, 70,000 of our nation’s

bridges are structurally deficient and over 50 percent of our roads are not up to standard.” MAP-21 consolidates the number of federal programs by two-thirds, from approximately 90 programs down to less than 30, to focus resources on key national goals and reduce duplicative programs, Eliminates earmarks, Expedites project delivery while protecting the environment, Creates a new title called “America Fast Forward,” which strengthens the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) program to leverage federal dollars further than

they have been stretched before. MAP-21 continues to provide the majority of federal-aid highway funds to the states through core programs. However, the core highway programs have been reduced from seven to five, one of which being the existing core program titled the “Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).” MAP21 builds on the success of HSIP and substantially increases the amount of funding for this program because of the strong results it has achieved in reducing fatalities. Under HSIP, states must develop and implement a safety plan that identifies highway safety programs and a strategy to address them.■

Audi's 3.0 L TFSI Engine Wins 'Ward's 10 Best Engine' Award Audi has announced that the Audi 3.0 L TFSI supercharged V-6 engine has secured a position on Ward's 10 Best Engine list for 2012. Now in its 18th year, Ward's 10 Best Engines recognizes the latest powertrain technologies that are affordable to most consumers, boost horsepower and torque, sound appealing and integrate well with their respective vehicles. For the 2012 Ward's 10 Best Engine awards, editors tested 36 vehicles and scored each engine based on power, technology, observed fuel economy and noise, vibration and harshness charac-

teristics. Each engine was required to be available in a regular-production U.S.specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2012, in a vehicle with a base price below $55,000. "With so many engines featuring gasoline direct-injection and forced induction, we're pleased to have a list that is rich in technology," says Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of WardsAuto World. "Plus, every engine reinforces the idea that even fuel-efficient vehicles must be fun to drive." For 2012, Audi's 3.0 L TFSI supercharged V-6 engine returns to Ward's10

Best Engine list for a third consecutive win. With 310 horsepower and 325 lb.ft. of torque, the all-aluminum engine is unapologetically powerful. With peak torque available from 2,900 to 4,500 rpm, power is available at any speed. And, the four vane Roots-style supercharger helps this motor achieve V8 power and torque with the efficiency of a V6. The Audi 3.0 L TFSI supercharged V-6 engine not only powers the new 2012 A6 sedan, but also powers the new 2012 Audi A7 5-door coupe, the Audi Q7 fullsize luxury sport-utility vehicle, as well as the S4 sedan and the S5 luxury coupe.■

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U.S. Senators Urge EPA to Halt Fuel and Vehicle Emission Rules Six U.S. senators are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop its pending proposal to create stricter pollution standards for gasoline and vehicles. There is an underlying concern that enforcing stricter standards will escalate the price of gasoline. n a letter to Lisa Jackson, U.S. EPA administrator, the group of senators asked the agency to “reconsider the timing” of the pending proposal, titled the “Tier III” fuel and vehicle rules. The senators mirror increasing criticisms from the oil industry and others that the rule, expected to tighten the existing Crash Parts Bill From Page 9 approved a new crash parts policy to reflect the collision marketplace changes occurring in the past few years. ASA's new crash parts policy states: ASA supports requiring insurers and auto collision facilities to provide disclosure of part type, description and Safety Report From Page 19 • The committee recommends that NHTSA place development and completion of the strategic plan as a top goal in

cap on sulphur in gasoline of 30 parts per million (ppm) down to 10 ppm, will increase gas prices. The proposed regulations have yet to be made formal, even though sources say that the agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality has completed its work on the rulemaking. "With gas prices already high, and with so many Americans already struggling to make ends meet, we urge you to recognize that now is not the time for new regulations that will raise the price of fuel even further,” the senators wrote to Jackson. warranty information to the consumer for all part types including, but not limited to, original equipment manufacturer, aftermarket, recycled, remanufactured, reconditioned and rebuilt crash parts. ASA supports quality parts, certified and verified in which the quality is determined based on empirical and measurable evidence equal to the standards of OEM parts. ASA recommends its coming three-year priority plan. In so doing, NHTSA should communicate the purpose of the planning effort, define how it will be developed and implemented commensurate with advice in this

In their letter, the senators cited an oil-industry-backed study, which predicts that fuel costs would increase 12 to 25 cents if the Tier III rule was released as proposed. The senators also argue that the proposal could cause some refineries to shut down due to the costs to implement the rule, leading to job losses. In another letter to the EPA seven public health groups, including the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, are urging Jackson to move forward with the Tier III rules as quickly as possible.n quality verification and testing related to metallurgy, fit, functionality and responsiveness. ASA believes a competitive parts marketplace, of tested and verified quality parts, is in the best interest of the motoring public. ASA continues to oppose parts policies that focus solely on efficiency without regard to certification, verifiable quality and safety.n report, and give a definite time frame for its completion. The plan should be made public to guide key policy decisions that will determine the scope and direction of the agency’s vehicle safety programs. n


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Nissan and Daimler to Produce Engines Together in North America In the latest step forward in the collaboration of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler, Nissan’s Decherd, Tenn., plant will build MercedesBenz 4-cylinder engines for Infiniti and MercedesBenz starting in 2014. Nissan and Daimler will produce Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder gasoline engines together at Nissan’s powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn. Production will begin in 2014, with installed capacity of 250,000 units per year once full ramp-up is achieved. The Decherd facility will produce engines for Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models. “This is the newest milestone in our pragmatic collaboration and our most significant project outside of Europe so far,” said Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Localized capacity reduces exposure to foreign exchange rates while rapidly enabling a good business development in North America - a winwin for the Alliance and Daimler.”

the customers. Through the strategic extension of our cooperation with Renault-Nissan we can realize near-market engine production in the NAFTA region on attractive economic terms and make optimum use of synergies arising from the cooperation,” Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Nissan North America, Decherd, Tennessee said. “Thus we are systematically broadening our manufacturing footprint in this important growth market.” The collaboration marks the first N i s s a n production of Mercedes-Benz engines began powertrain assembly in in the North America Free Trade region. Decherd,Tennessee in 1997. Today The Tennessee plant’s strategic location it manufactures 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder and logistics links ensure a direct supengines for the complete lineup of U.S.ply of engines starting in 2014 for the produced Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. Mercedes-Benz C-Class, built at Daimler’s The plant also houses crankshaft forgvehicle plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. ing and cylinder block casting opera“In the context of our Mercedestions. In 2011, Decherd produced more Benz 2020 growth strategy, we have than 580,000 engines on a covered area decided that we will expand the producof more than 1.2 million square feet tion capacities required for this close to (111,000 square meters).n

Average Age of Vehicles Reaches Record High, According to Polk The average age of cars and light trucks currently in operation in the U.S. has increased to 10.8 years, according to Polk, a leading global automotive market intelligence firm. Passenger cars showed a modest increase in age since 2010, from 11 years to just 11.1 years at the end of June 2011 (see table A). Light trucks (including pickups and SUVs) show a more sizeable gain in the same timeframe, from 10.1 years to 10.4 years. Overall, average vehicle age has been increasing quickly over the past five years. Polk reports average age based on an analysis of national vehicle registration data. The slowdown of the aging of passenger cars directly correlates to the low sales volumes and the mix of car and 24

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truck sales in the U.S. market in 2008 and 2009, a time in which more trucks than cars were registered. While more trucks were sold over the same timeframe, they showed a faster aging rate. Polk expects this trend may change in the coming years as CUV and small SUV populations in the U.S. market have risen in 2010 and 2011 due to their continued success in the market. Additionally, the rebound in new vehicle sales in 2011 and for the next couple of years will most likely slow down the aging rate seen in the market over the past three years, according to Polk. “The increasing age of the vehicle fleet, together with the increasing length of ownership, offers significant business growth opportunity for the automoMarch 2012

tive aftermarket,” said Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at Polk. “Dealer service departments and independent repair facilities, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, will see increased business opportunity with customers in need of vehicle service.” 2011 marked the end of the U.S. vehicle population decline that has occurred annually since 2008. According to Polk, the total vehicles in operation (VIO) in July 2011 was just over 240.5 million, an increase of 500,000 units over July in the previous year, and nearly equal to 2009 VIO (see table B). The highest VIO on record was achieved in July 2008, when more than 242 million passenger cars and light trucks were on America’s roads.n

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Proposed Fuel Economy Rules Underestimate Rising Vehicle Cost, NADA Says roposed fuel economy rules for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light-duty trucks, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) urged federal agencies to properly consider the rising consumer cost of new vehicles. “To work, fuel economy rules must require improvements that are affordable,” said New Mexico Ford dealer Don Chalmers, and chairman of NADA’s Government Relations Committee, at a joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hearing in Detroit, Mich. “According to EPA and NHTSA, the cumulative cost of all of their fuel economy rules will raise the average price of a vehicle by $3,200. This is not pro-consumer.” “While EPA and NHTSA can mandate what automakers must build, no one can dictate what customers will buy. If our customers do not purchase these

products, we all lose,” Chalmers added. “NADA supports fuel economy increases as long as they take consumer demand and vehicle choice into account.” With new auto sales rebounding from a low of 10.4 million in 2009 to 12.7 million last year, Chalmers cautioned that proposed fuel economy standards for the 2017-2025 model year could have real economic consequences if consumer demand is not fully taken into account. “Dealers embrace the pivotal role we are playing to help lead our nation back to the road of prosperity, but we are wary of anything that might depress auto sales and turn back the gains being made,” he said. In the testimony, Chalmers pointed out that model year 2017-2025 fuel economy rules are not even due until April 1, 2015. “Rushing to set costly new standards nearly three years early will

unnecessarily and unhelpfully forgo the opportunity to learn how consumers react to the aggressive new standards now being put into place,” Chalmers said. Chalmers also questioned the government’s estimated $3,200 per vehicle price increase as a result of the proposed regulations. Initial analysis from new research, conducted by NADA, indicates the federal government’s estimate of $3,200 may be substantially underestimated and the actual cost to consumers may be as high as $5,000. Chalmers indicated that the study will be released in several weeks. NADA will raise significant concerns over how the federal government calculated vehicle cost. Chalmers indicated from the initial analysis that the administration’s fuel economy proposal grossly underestimates costs and actual retail prices may increase by as much as 60 percent.■

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Federal-Mogul Launches Innovative Real-Time Electronic Information System for Aftermarket Customers Federal-Mogul has introduced a comprehensive electronic communication platform that allows virtually any web-enabled aftermarket customer to receive the latest news regarding the company’s products and programs and to access an extensive virtual library of technical resources and other businesscritical tools. The new system, Federal-Mogul e360, is available on a 24/7 basis at www. “The FM e360 platform establishes an important new benchmark for customer connectivity and support within the North American aftermarket industry,” said Jay Burkhart, senior vice president, FederalMogul Global Aftermarket. “This single touchpoint enables any distributor, frontline parts professional or service shop employee to connect with the latest and best information tools covering every Federal-Mogul product line. It also serves as a convenient portal through which users can access our industry leading electronic catalog and eCommerce systems.” The ecosystem includes a continuous feed of news regarding Federal-Mogul products and programs for the aftermarket. Users can also access realtime information regarding product orders, manage their participation in promotional programs, look up parts and tap into the company’s ever growing library of technical information, including webstreaming diagnostic and repair videos, data sheets, technical service bulletins and more. “Not only does this system allow customers to instantly connect with any of our brands, products, technical tools and other services,

but it also provides Federal-Mogul sales professionals with all of the new resources they need to better support their customers’ businesses,” Burkhart said. “The new system features an open architecture based on proven, practical technologies that help ensure widespread adoption by customers at every level

of the aftermarket,” said Brent Berman, manager of e-data and digital marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul. “This is an open platform in the truest sense, and it offers valuable business tools for any current or future Federal-Mogul customer. We believe there is nothing else like it in our industry.”■

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Evoque From Page 14 turbocharged, direct fuel injected, fourcylinder engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Range Rover Evoque achieves 28 MPG** EPA estimated highway and 18 MPG** EPA estimated city. This excellent fuel economy is the result of new efficiency technologies,

lightweight materials, and environmentally conscious design. The North American Truck of the Year honor is the latest U.S. accolade that the Range Rover Evoque has received since its launch. It is the first win for Land Rover and the third nomination for The North American Truck of the Year. The LR3 was nominated in 2005 and the Defender 90 in 1994. Additionally, the

car has been named Motor Trend’s 2012 Sport/Utility of the Year, Autoweek’s “Best of Best” Truck,Road & Travel’s International Truck of the Year, Decisive Magazine’s Urban Truck of the Year, Automobile Magazine’s 2012 All-Star Award and Best Luxury Compact Vehicle from Automotive Lease Guide (ALG) and Bloomberg News’ Crossover Car of the Year.■

NADA Charitable Foundation to Launch Road Safety Grant Program The National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation has expanded its list of philanthropic programs to include a new grant program to help new-car dealers start or promote road safety initiatives in their communities. The National Automobile Dealers Association Foundation’s new Road Safety Grant Program will provide dealers up to $500 toward the sponsorship

of a safety event held at the dealership. The grants will be provided as a matching contribution for expenses incurred by dealers holding an event. “Dealers have been at the forefront of road safety for decades. These grants will encourage dealers to hold even more safety events at their dealerships,” said Bob Mallon, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association

Foundation. “The combined efforts of dealers across the country will continue to raise consumer awareness of road safety issues in their communities.” Dealers can use these grants to start programs to install child passenger safety seats, promote teen and senior driver safety, educate consumers on rural road safety and combat distracted driving.■ or (i need oem parts)

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SLK From Page 11

with their pronounced horizontal design are in all-LED technology. Their upper edge extends forward into the sides, culminating in the feature line. A twin exhaust system with trapezoidal tailpipes rounds off the muscular impression.

attributes that characterize all the classic roadsters from Mercedes-Benz. The first eye-catching feature is an upright radiator grille that bears the new Mercedes-Benz brand look. The grille emphasizes the long and well-proporPremium materials and stylish sportitioned hood, and with its light-catching ness define the SLK interior contours it already hints at the roadster’s Despite the most compact dimendramatic qualities. The wide radiator sions in its class, the 2012 SLK has gengrille bears the Mercedes-Benz star in a prominent central position and displays a powerfully contoured chromed fin at the front. The clearly defined headlamps complete the look of the new SLK’s face and resemble that of the legendary 190SL from the 1950s, which is regarded by many as being the original “SLK”. The timeless, classic shape of the side profile with The designers have developed interior appointments that offer the the clas- driver and passenger the highest degree of quality and precision. sic roadster proportions embodies aesthetics of the highest calierous interior dimensions. ber and is a visual cue to the vehicle’s To achieve this, the designsportiness and driving pleasure. Fine ers have developed interior details show the care that has been appointments that offer the taken by the Mercedes-Benz designers. driver and passenger the For example, a molding conceals the highest degree of quality trunk joint, so that the side line doesn’t and precision. The interior interfere, as it usually does with similar is characterized by stylish roof designs. The ventilation grilles in the front fenders with a chromed fin are reminiscent of the famous Mercedes-Benz roadsters of the 1950s. In the new SLK, they form the perfect starting point for a feature line, which flows to the muscular rear fender, using light and shadow to add style and timeless aesthetics to the sides. Meanwhile, the upper edge of the wide headlamps - which for the first time feature LED technology - also appears to flow into the feature line. This line is emphasized by the sportiness and genuine high-quality stemmed exterior mirrors, which are materials which have been manufacpositioned on the beltline where they tured with perfect precision and skilled allow a better forward view to the side craftsmanship. Standard brushed aluwith their very narrow stems painted minum trim covers the center console; in the vehicle color. Their sophisticated wood trim can be ordered as an option aerodynamics also helps to keep the in high-gloss dark brown burl walnut. side windows practically dirt-free, while Four round, metallic air outlets integratensuring a low level of wind noise. ed in the dashboard emphasize that this At the rear, the eye is drawn to the model truly belongs to the Mercedesintegrated spoiler lip and wide tail light Benz sports car family, their shape being clusters. For the first time, the tail lights a nod to those in the SLS AMG. 30

Southern Automotive Journal

March 2012

Echoing the exterior design, the black dashboard emphasizes the horizontal lines and width of the vehicle. The SLK’s generous round dials flank a display for the onboard computer. The color display for the communications and entertainment functions is housed in the center console and is easily read by both the driver and passenger. An ergonomic multifunction sports steering wheel with a flattened bottom and thick leather rim makes the high quality and athletic character of the new SLK a constant tactile experience. Shift paddles and metal trim on the spokes add both sportiness and refinement. The sporty, ergonomic seats with adjustable crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints integrated into the backrests have high side bolsters for optimum lateral support and comfort on long journeys. Convenience and seating comfort is provided by electric seat adjustment with memory functions and 4way lumbar support. As in the previous model, the neck-level heating system AIRSCARF is available as an optional extra for the new SLK. This creates a flow of warm air around the neck and shoulder areas of the occupants from a vent in the front of each head restraint. Outstanding on all fronts The best or nothing - this motto is at the heart of the Mercedes-Benz philosophy, and also the guiding theme for the new SLK. From the start the roadster was designed to provide top performance in all areas, and Mercedes-Benz engineers have rigorously translated this requirement into reality giving the SLK attributes that provide the roadster with a peak position in its segment. Among them are extremely compact dimensions combined with a generous interior with numerous practical features. Outstanding performance and sporty, agile handling are also major characteristics of the new SLK. The new SLK is also the safest roadster with its unrivalled range of safety features.n

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Southern Automotive Journal

March 2012


Southern Automotive Journal

March 2012

Ford, REPREVE to Recycle 2 Million Plastic Bottles Back into the New 2012 Focus Electric and Other Vehicles Ford, through the use of REPREVE, plans to divert about 2 million post-consumer plastic bottles for use in the new Focus Electric and other new vehicles for the next model year. The Focus Electric contains REPREVE-based fabrics that are made from about 22 recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles in each car. This is the first Ford vehicle to have an interior made from 100 percent clean technology. “Ford is committed to delivering vehicles with leading fuel efficiency while targeting at least 25 percent clean technology in interior materials across our lineup,” says Carol Kordich, lead designer of Sustainable Materials for Ford. “The Focus Electric highlights this commitment as Ford’s first gas-free

vehicle, and the first in the automotive industry to use branded REPREVE.” “After decades of education, the United States PET bottle recycling rate is only at 29 percent, about half the rate of Europe,” said Roger Berrier, president and COO of Unifi Inc. (NYSE: UFI). “We hope this recycling initiative with Ford will help raise visibility around the importance of recycling with a goal to drive recycling rates to 100 percent, diverting millions of plastic bottles from entering the waste stream and potentially back into REPREVE-branded fibers.” Ford and Unifi helped collect some of the bottles destined for Ford vehicles by recycling plastic bottles from the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) which took place

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in Detroit on Jan. 9-10 and also from the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Jan. 10-13. The REPREVE seat fabric is a polyester fiber made from a hybrid blend of recycled materials, including postindustrial fiber waste and post-consumer waste such as the plastic water bottles made of PET. Using REPREVE also reduces energy consumption by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil for production. The technology meets all Ford design and comfort requirements to help ensure the Focus Electric and other vehicles meet the company’s high performance standards. “We aimed to make the Focus REPREVE Please Turn to Page 34


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REPREVE From Page 33 Electric the most overall sustainable vehicle available to consumers, from using clean technology to overall vehicle efficiency,” said Kordich. The Focus Electric, Ford’s first all-electric passenger car, started production in December 2011 at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. When full production is under way in March, the car’s seat fabric could contain plastic bottles collected at NAIAS or CES. KPMG Survey From Page 6 in hybrids (21 percent), and battery electrified vehicles with range extender (18 percent) was ever so slight. According to KPMG’s Silberg, “The industry faces a tough decision about whether to place more trust and resources in fuel cell or battery vehicle Elantra From Page 13 speed automatic transmission or manual transmission. These figures give Elantra a highway-only driving range of up to 500 miles. Elantra’s strong EPA ratings are backed up by the highest owner satisfaction with real-world fuel economy in the compact class, according to data from J.D. Power and Associates. Under the hood, the Elantra is

Ford’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” commitment is part of the company’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while at the same time accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies around the world. Currently Ford vehicles are approximately 90 percent recyclable at end of life. By using recycled content in its vehicles and ensuring its parts are recyclable, Ford is leading the industry in recycling efforts. Ford’s goal is to have its vehicles be 100 percent recyclable.

In 2009, Ford mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles. Examples include soy foam seat cushions and head restraints, wheat straw-filled plastic, castor oil foam in instrument panels, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.■

concepts, and these results show that it’s way too early to call right now. Clearly hybrids, whether plug-in or full, are more mature and have more market presence, but this battle for the dominant technology platform will continue for years to come.” For the KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey 2012, KPMG inter-

viewed 200 C-class global automotive executives, including 25 from North America, representing vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, from October through November 2011. KPMG has released an annual survey of automotive executives expressing their views on the state of the industry since 1999. ■

powered by an all-new 1.8-liter Nu fourcylinder engine with 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque (145 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque for Elantra PZEV). Thanks to advanced clean engine technology, most Elantras sold in California, Oregon and several Northeast states are certified as Partial Zero Emission Vehicles (PZEV) by the EPA. The PZEV Elantra is as clean as many hybrid electric vehicles. The PZEV Elantra helps Hyundai meet its

environmental commitments. Outside of these “green” states, the Elantra is available as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV). Most importantly, Elantra is driving traffic to Hyundai showrooms. Elantra’s record 186,361 sales helped Hyundai achieve its record sales of 645,691 units in the U.S. in 2011. Hyundai Motor America posted a 20 percent increase over 2011 total sales.■

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Southern Automotive Journal March 2012  
Southern Automotive Journal March 2012  

Southern Automotive Journal provides news trends and perspectives to professionals in the automotive collision industry including, independe...