Spy Shots: 2006 Dodge Charger

Spy Shots: 2006 Dodge Charger

2006 Dodge ChargerBy now we've all seen "official" sketches of the upcoming Charger, but here are the first actual pictures of the much anticipated Charger caught in an undisclosed location. The Charger will make its official debut at the North American International Auto Show inDetroit, and arrive at dealerships next spring as an early 2006 model. Published reports state that Charger will be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 or the optional 5.7-liter HEMI, but insiders expect the 6.1-liter HEMI to follow - as it will be doing with the 300C, Magnum and even the Grand Cherokee. -Brenda Priddy & Company

Spy Shots: 2006 Dodge Charger by Brenda Priddy (10/4/2004)
Proof positive of Dodge's intentions toward your wallet.

Journal: VW May Want Proton Slice

Volkswagen has approached Malaysian automaker Proton about a business arrangement that could give the German manufacturer a leg up in Southeast Asia, the Wall Street Journal reports. VW is reported to be in discussions to effectively take on a role similar to that of Mitsubishi, which gave up its eight-percent stake in Proton in April of this year to focus on its own financial turmoil. Proton shares have increased in value since Thursday, the Journal notes, when VW first disclosed that it was in discussions with Proton. Adding Southeast Asia into its network would complement VW's extensive operations in mainland China, and could give Proton access to a huge distribution channel it now lacks. Proton officials say they are in discussions with at least one other automaker as well.

Spy Shots: '06 Volkswagen R32 by Hans Lehmann/Hidden Image (9/20/2004)
The Super Golf gets a successor.

Subaru Picks New Ad Agency

Subaru of America on Monday selected DDB, New York as its new advertising agency. DDB replaces TM of Irving, Texas.

Subaru has been trying to find a consistent voice in its advertising, and by choosing DDB turns to agency creative director Lee Garfinkel who spearheaded Subaru advertising in the 1980s when the company advertised itself as "Inexpensive And Built to Stay That Way."

But don't get the idea that DDB was chosen for Garfinkel's grasp of a two-decade old brand positioning. Along the way, Garfinkel has been the lead creative director on Mercedes-Benz and GMC advertising, in addition to Diet Coke, Sprite, Heineken, and others.

That impressed Subaru executives who are intent on taking its sensible-shoe brand of all-wheel-drive vehicles upscale to be a sort of Japanese Volvo. Besides a sport van expected to be priced north of $30,000 with typical equipment and options hitting dealerships at the end of next year, the company also has a premium sedan in the pipeline that would also be priced above $30,000.

Among the decisions to be made in the first advertising effort from DDB will be whether the company continues to make use in advertising of its multi-million sponsorship deal with Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

"We need to communicate the Subaru brand promise in a way that is relevant, memorable and differentiated in the marketplace," said Fred Adcock, executive vice president of marketing at Subaru, in a statement. "We are pleased to partner with DDB for their unique capabilities and demonstrated understanding of our brand goals and business objectives, and we think this partnership will serve as a catalyst in moving the Subaru brand forward among a very crowded and competitive automotive brand landscape."

The new Outback and Legacy and a seven-seat SUV due next spring will help push Subaru sales to 250,000 by 2006, according to recent statements by Subaru executives. That will give it a market share of 1.5 percent compared with the current 1.1 percent in the United States. Subaru of America hopes to break the 200,000 mark in sales this year. Last year it sold 186,819 vehicles. -Jim Burt

Spy Shots: 2006 Subaru Tribeca by Brenda Priddy (9/20/2004)
A clearer look at the most expensive Subaru yet.

NHTSA Might Expand Truck Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could add more trucks to a recall of GM full-sizers issued earlier this year. The Wall Street Journal says that GM's Sierra/Silverado twins could see more vehicles added to the 3.6 million recalled in March for faulty tailgate cables that were corroding and breaking. The 2000-2004 trucks as well as 2002-2005 Avalanche and Escalade trucks could be joined in the recall by 1998-1999 Sierra/Silverados if the agency deems the trucks to have the same problems.

VW's W-8 Engine Dead?

Automotive News reports that Volkswagen may have decided to cut the unique W-8 engine it pioneered from its lineup. The weekly says slow sales have led to VW stopping production of the engine; sales of a Passat with the powerplant have fallen short of the 5000-unit annual projection. VW may decide to revive the engine in the new version of the Passat due next year, but that is not anticipated, although a W-12 engine is used in several models, like the VW Touareg, Audi A8, and VW Phaeton. A 16-cylinder variant is expected to appear in VW's long-gestating Bugatti Veyron sportscar.

WJR Auto Report: SUV Slide

There's been a lot of talk lately about the demise of the sport-utility vehicle. Sales have definitely dipped a bit in recent months, coinciding with the record run-up in petroleum prices. But last month, SUVs sailed out of showrooms as fast as manufacturers could build them, some brands setting all-time records. For the moment, at least, consumers seem willing to ignore oil prices and buy what they want to drive. So, should the September sales figures set such concerns to rest? Not necessarily. Dig a little deeper and you find that it took a lot of money to keep the metal moving. Take GM. It's boosted SUV incentives up to an average of about ten percent of sticker price. Offer enough money, and you can sell just about anything. But if oil prices keep rising, or if manufacturers finally decide to call a truce in the incentives war, there are ominous signs out there that SUVs could still be in for a slide.

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases


Taking its cue from the popularity of the personalized automotive styling trend, American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) announces "Suzuki Works Techno" (SWT) vehicle styling packages, designed to enhance and personalize Suzuki cars and SUVs sold in the United States. Arriving at dealerships in November, limited-production SWT packages for the new Suzuki Reno, the anticipated five-door car slated to hit showrooms this fall, are the first in a series of product enhancements prompted by significant dealer and customer interest and demand. The Suzuki Reno SWT package is geared toward Generations X and Y and will be followed by high- style SWT trim packages for the Aerio five-door sedan, Aerio SX five-door crossover, Forenza premium compact sedan, and Forenza Wagon.

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Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 9.40 +0.29 (+3.18%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 41.03 +0.16 (+0.39%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 17.40 +0.08 (+0.46%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 19.47 +0.16 (+0.83%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 29.92 +0.06 (+0.20%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 7.76 +0.48 (+6.59%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 45.24 -0.01 (-0.02%)
Collins & Aikman Corporation CKC 4.30 +0.06 (+1.42%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 75.09 -0.21 (-0.28%)
Dana Corporation DCN 17.99 -0.20 (-1.10%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 42.56 +0.03 (+0.07%)
Delphi Corporation DPH 9.36 -0.04 (-0.43%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 7.34 +0.08 (+1.10%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 65.31 +0.90 (+1.40%)
Ford Motor Company F 14.15 -0.04 (-0.28%)
General Motors Corporation GM 42.48 -0.66 (-1.53%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 35.66 -0.22 (-0.61%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 11.30 +0.44 (+4.05%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 24.94 +0.18 (+0.73%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 57.49 -0.11 (-0.19%)
Lear Corporation LEA 55.42 -0.06 (-0.11%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 74.62 -0.38 (-0.51%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 19.01 +0.24 (+1.28%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 22.41 +0.31 (+1.40%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 20.51 -0.14 (-0.68%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 3.24 +0.10 (+3.18%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 77.46 -0.06 (-0.08%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 18.90 -0.08 (-0.42%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWR 2.14 +0.04 (+1.90%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 26.14 +0.16 (+0.62%)
Visteon Corporation VC 8.22 -0.06 (-0.72%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 29.88 -0.98 (-3.18%)

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