Monday, March 23, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News for Wk of 3-23-15

Lexus will introduce the all-new 2016 RX at the 2015 New York International Auto Show on April 1st. No fooling. 
What it will look like is still up for speculation, but it appears the "floating roof" concept is alive and well. The RX was launched 17-years ago, and the 2016 edition will be the fourth-generation in the line.

Cadillac is announcing a new generation of V-6 engines, led by an exclusive Twin Turbo V-6, "that will be one of the industry’s most advanced six-cylinder gasoline engines," according to a company release. The power plant will be featured in the new CT6 luxury performance sedan, also to be revealed at the end of the month at the New York International Auto Show.

What's in store? 
The 3-L Twin Turbo will produce 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, which works out to about 133-hp per liter. Cadillac predicts the engine will realize a 6% improvement in fuel economy.

Did you know? In 1903, the first production Cadillac motor cars were equipped with a single-cylinder engine--rated at 10 hp. 

Aluminum is not the only high-tech story in the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck. There's now a considerable amount of recycled material being used to build the new trucks.

Ford Motor Company has been collaborating with Unifi for the past three years to bring environmentally responsible, high-performance REPREVE fiber to many Ford vehicles, including the F-150. 

REPREVE is made from 100% recycled materials, including plastic bottles. Ford estimates it will divert more than five million plastic bottles from landfills this year. The seat covers, for example, are made from recycled plastic water bottles.
Now for the bad news.
Those new aluminum bodies on the F-150 are sure pretty, lighter, and help allow for a heavier payload. But--they also are more expensive to repair, according to a test by the folks at
Glad they tried this; I can't afford to.

Everything's bigger in Texas. The State Word is "superlative."
Now we learn that Texas led the nation in diesel powered vehicle registrations for 2014. The Diesel Technology Forum says 893,553 diesel cars, trucks and SUV's were tagged in Texas. 

Admittedly, our higher station population helps bolster those kinds of numbers, but trends in other states indicate diesels are coming more into vogue, despite lower gasoline fuel prices. Numbers crunchers say clean diesel cars and SUVs showed an increase of 13.5 percent in 2014 over 2013, and hybrid cars and SUVS increased by 15.1 percent.  

Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, says "While diesel passenger vehicles currently make up a modest 2.88 percent of the entire U.S. vehicle market, consensus forecasts predict that diesel cars, pickups and SUVs will comprise about seven percent of the market by 2020." Schaeffer says that's just over one million diesel-powered cars and trucks on the road.

Nissan's all-electric LEAF now comes with a paint option that makes the car glow in the dark. The new paint theme is part of a marketing pitch by Nissan to underscore the point that many LEAF drivers are now using solar power to recharge their vehicles at home.  

Near Oss, Netherlands, there is a luminous Smart Highway--which uses the glow-in-the-dark concept to eliminate power-sucking streetlights. So Nissan thought it would be cool to film the glow-in-the-dark car driving down that glow-in-the-dark roadway.
Nissan, coincidentally, reports electric vehicle sales in the Netherlands grew 313% last year.
Dutch treat, indeed.

Finally, now that the Houston Rodeo is over, and SXSW is past, what's a body to do for kicks? Perhaps a bit of Mustang and learn, Grasshopper.

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