RepairPal Blog: Car News

News and highlights straight from the automobile manufacturers

Everyone understands that cars need to get greener. They are already a lot greener than they have been in the past, but more green is on the way. By 2030, all petrol and Diesel cars will be banned from European cities. 

Usually when people become parents, they hand over the keys to their sports car, resign themselves to the dreaded minivan or station wagon, and wait the 20+ years until their midlife crisis finally gives them the green light to buy that 6-cylinder, 2-seater they had to give up in the first place. It’s part of the deal—when you are a parent, you do the responsible thing, and there is nothing responsible about having a sports car when your children are in diapers. You just don’t do it. But these days, it’s definitely possible to have your cake and eat it, too—especially if you have money. And for those of you who want a sports car, but need a four-seater, and are willing to fork over around $800,000, there is a car waiting for you—the 2012 Ferrari FF.

Of the many things I don’t understand about this world, one of the most perplexing to me is the Hummer. Since it was originally designed for military use, I don’t understand how exactly it made the transition to family vehicle and grocery runner. I don’t think it’s fair that it gets to share the road with smaller cars it would most certainly crush in an accident. I don’t understand why anyone needs something that big and I don’t understand why getting good gas mileage isn’t a compelling factor for everyone who buys a car. Besides, I have been in one and they aren’t exactly comfortable. There is a guy (I am assuming it’s a guy) in my neighborhood who has a big black Hummer. Parking is tight in San Francisco, especially where I live, but he parks that thing on one-way streets like it’s a tiny little Le Car. It sticks out a good foot or two more than the other vehicles. I just can’t imagine what he needs it for … it’s got to be one of the most un-green, anti-environment cars around, right?

Cadillac has announced plans to build a smaller sedan at its Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan. This is in addition to the STS sedan and CTS sedan, coupe, and wagon already produced there. It is believed the new sedan will carry the ATS name and be marketed below the current CTS, targeting the BMW 3 series. The ATS is expected to be built on the new Alpha platform, going on sale in the 2012 model year. The new Alpha platform is expected to have the capability to accept a wide variety of engines in its basic rear wheel drive (RWD) configuration and also adapt itself to all wheel drive (AWD) for those vehicles featuring it. There is a strong possibility this new platform will be shared with the third generation Cadillac CTS and the sixth generation Chevrolet Camaro.

Saturday marked the beginning of the Paris Auto Show, one of the most important in the world. The event is a glimpse into the future of the automobile world with exciting ideas from the industry’s brightest minds and most forward-thinking manufacturers. With many new production automobiles and concept cars taking their first spin down the runway, here are a few highlights to hold all of you over until the Los Angeles Auto Show rolls around in November. The Renault DeZir, which one writer described as a “Tesla built by Nissan/Renault for a price well below that of the Tesla's six figures,” is a stylish vehicle with scissor doors, a Kevlar body, and a tubular steel frame. With a top speed of 112 and a range of 100 miles, the DeZir runs on a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The three keywords that served as inspiration for this vehicle—simple, sensuous, and warm—also inspired the passion red color of the exterior. Its double wishbone arrangement delivers a high standard of handling precision.

Fuel mileage standards raised for cars and light trucks! The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have teamed up to announce new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards which are designed to raise the fuel economy for cars and light trucks to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. This new standard is a full 8 mpg higher that the current standard of 27.5 which has been in effect since 1990. According to EPA estimates, it is expected that the requirements will add as much as $985 to the initial cost of each vehicle. As a result buyers are expected to save about $4,000 on fuel costs over the life of the vehicle. The standards begin increasing in 2012 and build up to the 2016 standard of 35.5 mpg.

Fisker Automotive's public relations machine has been busy during the Detroit Auto Show, as Fisker unveiled the production-ready Karma. The Karma is a staggering achievement if it ultimately lives up to the numbers that Fisker has released.  The luxury sport sedan will drive its wheels with electric power exclusively, using a gasoline engine only to charge lithium batteries.  The car is a plug-in hybrid, and if driving ranges are kept under 60 miles, the gasoline engine will never be needed.

Car & Driver recently published its list of the top 10 fastest cars of 2008. Once again, my comfortable sedan did not make the list unfortunately!  All of the winners can run quarter miles in less than 11 seconds and can go from 0-60mph in less than 3.7 seconds.  At the top of the list is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 with a sticker price just over $1.6 million.  I’m not sure I want to know the price on repairs for this vehicle or how often I’d have to take it to the shop. 

Chinese Automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) has entered the Hybrid vehicle market. For the equivalent of $22,000 U.S.D., Chinese citizens can now purchase the first Chinese built, plug-in Hybrid! Named the F3 DM, (DM stands for Dual Mode) the automaker hopes to make it available in the U.S. in 2011. This is quite ambitious for a company that sold its first vehicle in 2003! The F3 DM is powered by a ferrous battery that BYD claims propels the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds and will travel over 60 miles on a full charge. This technology, says BYD general manager Henry Li, "is superior to the nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery used in current Hybrids". The battery can deliver twice the voltage of a Ni-MH battery, costs less and is eco friendly as it contains no pollutants!  learn more

Today is Black Monday (also known as Cyber Monday).  What does this mean?  Well, there are loads of post-Thanksgiving deals and savings out there to be found on the Internet.   While searching some of these offers, I stumbled upon a handful of deeply discounted auto accessories.  Many of these Black Monday deals make it a good time to stock up on holiday gifts.