Daily Edition: Feb. 16, 2006

February 15, 2006

Spy Shots: 2008 Ford Freestyle

2008 Ford Freestyle

2008 Ford Freestyle

Rumors inDetroit had held that the Ford Freestyle would be killed off for 2008 and replaced by a Mercury version similar to the Meta One show car. But now Ford's planners have decided to keep the Freestyle, and give it a design update for the 2008 model year. 

This artist's sketch gives an idea of what the 2008 Freestyle may look like, complete with Ford's new corporate front-end styling as now seen on the Ford Fusion and on the recently shown Ford Edge.

Power for the 2008 Freestyle will come from a new 3.5 liter V-6, giving the crossover improved performance versus the 3.0-liter engine used currently. -Antoine Guilbaud/Hidden Image

Daily Edition: Feb. 15, 2006 by TCC Team (2/14/2006)
New 911 Turbo, Pontiac getting coupe, Ford Escape spied.


Ford Says Market-Share Slide to Continue

Ford's chief sales analyst expects the company's market-share slide to continue before stabilizing this year or next, the Wall Street Journal reports. George Pipas says Ford's sales may stabilize in the near future, but not from 2005 levels, which finished at 18.3 percent of the U.S. market. Ford executives have openly talked about being competitive as one of the U.S. market's "Big Six" automakers, and while Chairman Bill Ford has said the company will stop its market-share losses this year, and the Journal reports that his lieutenants have been finessing the statement ever since, adding that Ford has been on a market-share losing streak for much of the past decade. "We will likely continue to see a market-share decline to some point," Pipas said.

2006 Chicago Auto Show: Last Words by TCC Team (2/13/2006)
To sum it up: there are a lot of trucks here, aren't there?


Ford of Canada Confirms It's Building Hybrids

Confirming a story reported from this year's Detroit auto show by TheCarConnection, Ford of Canada says its production facilities will build the new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX hybrid crossovers due by the end of the decade. The new vehicles will be assembled at Ford's plant in Oakville, Ont., where the standard gas-engined versions of the models are to be built this year for sale as 2007 models. The hybrid versions are expected to be on sale by 2010. Ford has committed to building 250,000 hybrids a year by that date.

Lincoln Abandons Names, Mostly by TCC Team (2/13/2006)
Zephyr's gone with the wind; are MKZ, MKX, MKS too alike?


Mazda Begins Leasing Hydrogen Rotaries

Mazda says it will begin leasing a version of the RX-8 in Japan that can be powered by gasoline or hydrogen. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE, Reuters reports, is based on the sportscar of the same name, and can be run on either fuel at the flick of a switch. The theoretical range of the vehicle is 62 miles under hydrogen power and 341 miles with gasoline power, the news agency reported. The vehicles are being leased to a Japanese oil company for about $3500 a month.


Dewar Take Over GMNA Sales from Gerosa

General Motors' latest marketing-executive shuffle will leave Brent Dewar in charge of sales, service and parts. Dewar is set to replace Pete Gerosa, who takes on an interim post helping GM implement some of its sales turnaround program before his upcoming retirement. Dewar's replacement as VP of marketing is Western regional manager Mike Jackson. In the rest of the domino effect, Susan Docherty of HUMMER takes Jackson's place, while Martin Walsh takes her place at HUMMER, while Larry Hice takes Walsh's job as executive director of sales and marketing support.



Peugeot Plans Diesel Hybrid for 2010

French company PSA Peugeot Citroen plans to use its leading position in diesel technology to produce a small car that will achieve an average fuel economy figure of 69 miles per US gallon while producing just 90 grams of CO2 per kilometer. PSA claims that these figures are 25% better than a comparable gasoline-engined hybrid, with a gain of up to 17 mpg over a combination of urban and freeway driving.

The technology was unveiled in Paris in the form of two prototypes, a 'Hybride HDi' Peugeot 307 and a Citroen C4, compact sedans representing the most popular class of car on European roads.

The power unit in each case is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel, utilizing direct injection, a filter system that cleans particulates from the exhaust gases and an improved version of the 'Stop-Start' system already available in current PSA products. This stops the engine when the vehicle comes to a rest in traffic and restarts it when the accelerator is pressed again. The engine drives through an electrically-managed gearbox.

All this is current technology, but the combination with an electric motor, an inverter, a high-voltage battery pack and dedicated control electronics is new and the secret of the cars' potential appeal. Peugeot is a specialist in electric car development and design (the company has sold over 10,000 electrically-powered versions of its 106 sedan) and the Hybride shows the evidence of this. The hybrid system recovers kinetic energy during deceleration and braking, as did GM's unsuccessful EV1 electric car, and it has a wider capability in all-electric ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) mode. In town, the hybrid can run in ZEV mode, without noise or emissions, at up to 30 mph, and there is also an 'extended ZEV mode' in which electrical power is used by default, depending on battery charge level. In normal use on the road, where the diesel is the prime power source, the electric motor can provide a 35-percent power boost for extra acceleration when required.

PSA Peugeot Citroën says it could market its Hybride HDi vehicles as early as 2010. However, their introduction rests on making the technology available at an affordable price. Today, the price gap between a Hybride HDi model and a comparable diesel HDi model is still too wide. It would, PSA's planners say, have to be halved to make diesel hybrid vehicles accessible to most consumers.

"PSA Peugeot Citroën is committed to meeting the challenge of lowering the cost of this technology," the company said in its launch material. "Only by meeting this goal will the Group be able to ensure the widespread distribution of the innovative Hybride HDi solution, so making a significant contribution to protecting the environment."

The Group plans a two-pronged approach: Extensive R&D on the four areas that generate most of the extra cost: high-voltage batteries, electric motor/generator, inverter and the regenerative braking system, and uniting the expertise of equipment manufacturers and research laboratories to focus on this project. The company has called on the French government's Agency for Industrial Innovation to support the project.-Ian Norris



Renault Betting on Brazil

In a highly attended press conference in Paris, Carlos Ghosn announced, after nine months in charge of Renault, his Commitment 2009 plan. The goals are production increases of 600,000 units yearly focused in operations outside Europe, increasing the operational margin to 6 percent and a competitive, top of the line model. As expected, he did not set plans for China, currently with excess capacity, and to the U.S. either, by classifying competition as brutal. For Brazil, he talked about five new models in less than three years: a Mégane II sedan and station wagon; Logan sedan, station wagon and an unnamed compact SUV. Following the trend, he said a development center at the State of Paraná plant will be set up to make better use of low technical capacity costs in the country and even to export designs.


FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases


The BMW Performance Center today released its schedule of performance driving school programs for 2006, including the debut of the intensive One-Day M School, among the new offerings.  Additionally, all Performance Center driving programs will feature an expanded fleet of vehicles to include different BMW models, offering participants a variety of product experiences.


Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.88 0.00 (0.00%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 52.36 -0.33 (-0.63%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 21.57 +0.15 (+0.70%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 16.10 +0.10 (+0.63%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 16.75 +0.11 (+0.66%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 5.22 -0.04 (-0.76%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 55.83 +0.22 (+0.40%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 103.90 +3.26 (+3.24%)
Dana Corporation DCN 3.99 -0.14 (-3.39%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 59.80 +0.25 (+0.42%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 2.48 +0.02 (+0.81%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 68.57 -0.53 (-0.77%)
Ford Motor Company F 8.38 +0.08 (+0.96%)
General Motors Corporation GM 21.98 +0.06 (+0.27%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.87 +0.11 (+0.66%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 15.44 +0.14 (+0.92%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 29.03 -0.10 (-0.34%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 68.15 +0.15 (+0.22%)
Lear Corporation LEA 22.82 +0.22 (+0.97%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 72.58 +0.35 (+0.48%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 22.44 +0.22 (+0.99%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 23.28 -0.02 (-0.09%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 24.14 +0.19 (+0.79%)
Siemens AG SI 90.80 +0.55 (+0.61%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 5.82 +0.18 (+3.19%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 106.15 -0.71 (-0.66%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 25.72 -0.21 (-0.81%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.064 0.00 (0.00%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 42.64 +0.59 (+1.40%)
Visteon Corporation VC 4.81 +0.06 (+1.26%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 25.25 +0.61 (+2.48%)
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