Daily Edition: Apr. 11, 2006

April 10, 2006

Saturn Has New Outlook

1999 Chevrolet C/K

1999 Chevrolet C/K

The Saturn Outlook is a three-row, eight-passenger crossover vehicle that goes into production late this year inMichigan. The Outlook is based on GM's new crossover vehicle platform, Lambda, that will also see a new Buick Enclave wagon and a GMC with the unconfirmed name of Acadia, and a new Opel. Powering the Outlook is the GM 3.6-liter V-6 with variable valve timing. It is rated at an estimated 269 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the unibody vehicle shares a six-speed automatic transmission that was developed with Ford Motor Company. While transmission components are shared with Ford, application engineering, such as for its calibration, is unique. GM says the when compared with its usual four-speed automatic, the new transmission provides performance improvements of about six to eight percent while improving fuel economy two to four percent. The Aura, Sky Red Line, and Outlook are among five new vehicles joining the Saturn family for the 2007 model year. -Ken Zino

See more Saturn Outlook pictures

Saturn Kisses Sky with Red Line
2006 Saturn Sky

2006 Saturn Sky

2007 Saturn Sky Red Line

2007 Saturn Sky Red Line

Usual auto-industry practice is to wait a year or two before introducing derivatives of a new car. This gives companies and dealers something to hawk after the initial sales surge diminishes and the line needs a promotional boost. Not at Saturn nor at Pontiac this time around. The Saturn Sky roadster just now appearing in showrooms starting at $23,690 will be joined this fall by a Red Line version. Red means 260 hp, and 260 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine in place of the base 2.4-liter, 177-hp four-cylinder. This is GM's highest specific output engine ever at 2.1 hp per cubic inch of displacement (130 hp/liter) and the most powerful engine in the Ecotec family. The same powertrain and output numbers apply to the upcoming Pontiac Solstice GXP, the performance version of the Solstice, which starts at $20,490 with less standard equipment than the Sky. The Sky and an upcoming Opel GT version due late this year are based on the same Kappa platform as the Solstice. The turbocharged versions are not priced yet, but look for several thousand dollars to be added, especially if current initial demand remains high. Turbocharged versions should be easily capable of zero-to-60 mph elapsed times of less than six seconds. -Ken Zino

Preview the New York auto show here

Aura Revealed at Saturn

2007 Saturn Aura

2007 Saturn Aura

One more time with an Opel feeling? The new Saturn Aura is a mid-size sedan, due this summer as the brand's second attempt at expanding into a segment long dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, after the unlamented and cancelled L-Series. The Aura is based on the Epsilon mid-size car platform shared with the Opel Vectra, but built in the U.S. A 3.5-liter V-6 with variable valve timing (VVT) is standard, while there's an optional more powerful 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 with VVTi. The 3.6-liter engine is mated to a new, six-speed automatic transmission - the first GM product to receive what is called a performance-oriented, fuel-saving gearbox. Later in the 2007 model year, an Aura hybrid model will become available. It uses a four-cylinder-based mild hybrid powertrain similar to the Saturn Vue Green Line appearing this summer. The Vue hybrid is predicted to be the lowest-cost hybrid-powered SUV in the market, starting at less than $23,000, and offering fuel economy improvements of about 20 percent in stop-and-go driving estimated by GM at 27 mpg city. It uses a combination electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4-liter VVT four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Efficiency is increased by engine shut-off at idle, fuel cut-off during deceleration, electric power assist during acceleration, and regenerative braking. -Ken Zino

Saturn Aura gets six-speed transmission

Ford Plugs Mustang GT/California Special for New York

2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS

2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS

They're nothing if not bi-coastal - Ford's planning on hitting up New York Auto Show audiences to drool over the new California Special edition of the Mustang. The limited-edition 2007 Mustang GT/CS ("California Special"), Ford says, draws its inspiration from a 1968 model of the same name, which used Shelby pieces on a stock Mustang chassis. The new version will do the same in GT coupe or GT convertible form. Body mods include the GT500-style front spoiler, snazzy racing stripes down the side, and a lower air diffuser on the rear end. Bright dual exhausts and polished 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard; a hood scoop is optional. Stay tuned for more information as TheCarConnection tours the New York auto show.

Scion FUSE Concept Set for New York

2006 Scion FUSE Concept

2006 Scion FUSE Concept

Scion, in a brief release on Monday, said that the coupe concept it's bringing to this week's New York auto show will be dubbed the FUSE. The FUSE concept - shown in this teaser shot - will be shown at Wednesday's Scion press conference, which Scion will follow with a video clip on its own Scion.com Web site.

Love Blimps? Name One, Goodyear Says

For our money, the blimp is one of our culture's highest achievements. And Goodyear's fleet of funbags get so much individual attention, they're given a name. Only now, Goodyear is sending out a ship without a name attached - and they want you to supply the tag. The tire maker will run a contest starting tomorrow at www.nametheblimp.com where contestants can suggest their own names for the air machine. The winner, to be chosen by the company on or about June 5, will see their name applied to a giant "Hello My Name Is" tag - some 18 by 12 feet. A christening ceremony in Akron, Ohio, is to follow and the winner will get free use of the blimp for a day. (Awesome! South Carolina, be prepared to have your airspace violated!) Nine other entrants will win Goodyear tires.

Britain's AMS1: Sube Gear with Sexy Body



Britain has a rich heritage in low-volume, high-priced sports cars aimed at those with big money burning a hole in their pocket. Historic names like AC and Morgan are as well known in America as they are in the U.K. among a small band of dedicated enthusiasts. But what's less well known is that there's also a massive kit-car market, using the mechanical underpinnings of one vehicle - usually something fruity - and then giving it a bespoke bodyshell. The latest is codenamed AMS1 and will be priced from just $33,000.

The donor car is the classic 1992-2000 Subaru Impreza Turbo, but with its new skin it weighs just 1980 pounds instead of 2970 pounds.

The 2.0-liter, 260-hp two-seater is capable of 150 mph and has a 0-60 mph time of around 4.0 seconds. Tom Taylor is a director of Adrenaline Motorsport in Newquay, Cornwall, which is behind the project. "We're producing something that not only goes well, but excites the enthusiast. Our aim is to leave a big silly grin on the face of everyone who drives the car!"

Designed to be an everyday runabout rather than something for special occasions, donor Subarus are being sourced from both the U.K. and abroad. A stripped-out track version with no roof and just a flyscreen is also available.

The AMS1 goes on sale in the summer, and will get a proper name "reflective of its character" according to Taylor. Enquiries have already come from as far afield as America and Australia. - Richard Yarrow

Eriksson Cuffed; Enzo Stolen, then Wrecked?

The Ferrari Enzo wrecking saga's latest chapter is probably the most predictable one. Videogame entrepreneur Stefan Eriksson is behind bars, charged with grand theft related to missing payments on the toasted Enzo along with a Mercedes-Benz SLR. The AP reports that Eriksson had brought the cars to California from Great Britain, but had stopped paying on them. The banks involved say they now own the titles and had Eriksson arrested Saturday at his tony Bel-Air mansion and is being held without bail. In case you've missed the story, Eriksson is thought to have spectacularly crashed his million-dollar Ferrari Enzo on Malibu's

Pacific Coast Highway
in February, but claimed another man named Dietrich was actually at the wheel. Police have not been able to locate a second driver and instead say Eriksson's blood, from a cut lip, was found on the steering wheel.

Read the AP story

Calif. HOV Lanes See Prius Backlash

Affluenza? TiVo thumb? The latest affliction for today's image-heavy consumers may be Prius backlash, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. The Times reports that what was once a perk afforded to hybrid drivers - use of the state's HOV lanes - is turning public opinion against drivers of the gas-electric cars. As the number of hybrids has increased, the HOV lanes have grown more crowded, the paper reports. And that's driving other drivers crazy. Prius drivers are finding hostility from other drivers for reasons as varied as driving slowly to increase fuel economy, to the simple privilege of driving solo in the lanes designated for carpoolers. The state is set to study the effects of mass hybrid ownership and how it might clog the HOV lanes; the paper also says the state of Virginia has already modified its lane rules, only allowing hybrids with three passengers use the lanes.

Article from the Los Angeles Times, via the Drudge Report

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases


The All-New Audi TT in Fashion in New York City

American Suzuki Gives New York City's Fresh Air Fund a 'Free Ride'

GM Vehicle Owners are Finding an Easy and Convenient Way to Manage Car Care Through E-mail

Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.57 -0.06 (-1.30%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 54.57 -0.03 (-0.05%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 22.44 -0.04 (-0.18%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 15.10 +0.41 (+2.79%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 16.14 -0.06 (-0.37%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 7.49 -0.27 (-3.48%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 60.08 +0.10 (+0.17%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 107.98 +2.61 (+2.48%)
Dana Corporation DCN 0.66 0.00 (0.00%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 58.00 +1.05 (+1.84%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 2.37 +0.02 (+0.85%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 74.47 +0.86 (+1.17%)
Ford Motor Company F 7.52 -0.08 (-1.05%)
General Motors Corporation GM 19.40 -0.11 (-0.56%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.44 0.00 (0.00%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 13.72 -0.17 (-1.22%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 32.75 -0.11 (-0.33%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 76.40 -0.72 (-0.93%)
Lear Corporation LEA 16.24 -0.13 (-0.79%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 75.29 +0.44 (+0.59%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 23.23 -0.29 (-1.23%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 24.10 +0.08 (+0.33%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 26.86 -0.64 (-2.33%)
Siemens AG SI 92.92 -0.15 (-0.16%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 5.30 -0.01 (-0.19%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 114.92 +0.82 (+0.72%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 23.24 +0.49 (+2.15%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.082 0.00 (0.00%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 41.10 -0.28 (-0.68%)
Visteon Corporation VC 4.28 -0.07 (-1.61%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 23.40 +0.10 (+0.43%)

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