Amicars Journey with Automobile industries

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Amicars Journey with Automobile industries is an online magazine which provides information on the latest auto news of many companies, new car launch, events and much more from Asia and across the World.
We cover news, events car launch news of following companies :

General Motors
Chana Automobile
Beijing Automotive
Harbin Hafei
Anhui Jianghuai
Great Wall
Chongqing Lifan
Jiangxi Changhe
China National
Shannxi Auto
Ashok Leyland
Tata Nano
All Electric car Hybrid cars

American cars are better than Asian cars, Americans say

Well, I haven’t heard too many people say this since the late ‘70s: American cars are better than Asian cars. No, really. Associated Press and GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media conducted a survey of 1,000 adults in early March. The results showed that 38% of Americans said that they think American cars are the best-made vehicles and 33% said Asian cars are the best. The same survey done in December 2006 showed that 46% of Americans thought that Asian cars were the best and just 29% favored American cars.

This is especially good news for Ford and General Motors, both of which are in different stages of a turnaround. Chrysler gets a bit of a boost here, too, though the company’s product line has yet to get the same kind of overhaul as its two larger Detroit rivals have done. Making some hay of this kind of sentiment will be tougher until Chrysler has some new cars to tout. All three can capitalize on this newfound respect if they continue to build better models and if, a big IF in GM’s case, they can market the cars well. They also need to show better business results.

There is one big question. How long will this last? The survey was done March 3 though March 8, when Toyota’s recall news hit a fever pitch. Toyota has been the talisman of Japanese industrial superiority. When its brand image takes the kind of body blows Toyota has sustained in recent months, you can bet the others will feel some of the pain. Remember, too, that Ford was also putting out good news. The Dearborn, Mich., automaker is firmly in the black and sales are surging. A lot of the change in consumer attitude comes from reversing fortunes at Toyota and Ford.

GM could burnish its image further in mid-May when the company will release its first-quarter earnings. Already riding a high from the fact that it paid off $8.4 billion in government loans about five years early, GM could look sharper still by reporting a tidy profit, which is possible. It may only be an operating profit, with one-time charges and problems in Europe still dragging earnings down. But the company is expected to show a profit.

This could be an inflection point for Detroit. After years of losing to Japan, GM, Ford and Chrysler became a symbol of American failure. While Google and Yahoo showed the way to the Internet and Apple has dominated Sony in portable music players, Detroit continued to strike out. If Motown carmakers put out a few more hot cars and keep improving quality, they may be able to finally steal back respect and a lot of customers.

Beijing: Geely IG Solar Hybrid Car Revealed with With Solar Panels

This week at the Beijing Motor Show 2010, Geely Motors revealed a new fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles including this bug-inspired solar hybrid.  The Geely IG Solar Hybrid Car is powered by a hybrid powertrain and features a solar panel skin to help run its components and power system.
After its first tease as a concept vehicle at the Shanghai Motor Show 2009, the Geely IG (Geely Intelligence) has been re-tooled to showcase new hybrid technologies the marque has been developing.  The new Geely IG features solar panels on its hood and roof, a new 2 by 2 seating orientation and playful seagull doors.  What’s not clear is exactly how the solar panels interact with the electric half of this vehicle’s hybrid drivetrain.  Other cars, like the Aptera Typ-1, plan to use solar panels to power heating/cooling and other electrical needs independent of the hybrid engine’s power.  Geely’s short press release did not discuss how these solar panels will integrate with the Geely IG.
The Geely IG solar hybrid car was revealed to the public along with other green-minded autos in Geely’s fleet.  Along with the IG, Geely announced the EK1 and EK2 light electric vehicles and the Geely GPEC, a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle with a 60-km electric-only driving range.

Spy Shot of BMW 5 Series Hybrid

ActiveHybrid Concept from the Geneva Motor Show – but here we are with an image gallery of Bay Em Vay's 5 Series Hybrid under its own power anyway.

Assuming that the production car will get a similar drivetrain to what was shown off in the aforementioned concept, we can expect to see a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine mated up to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a 40-kilowatt electric motor sandwiched between.

We can't say for certain what kind of fuel mileage this combination would provide (best guess would be about a 20 percent improvement), but we do know that a lithium ion battery pack should be nestled right near the rear axle for optimum weight distribution. That pack not only allows the car to operate on electric power, it also provides short bursts of added performance when called upon

Electric Cars: All You Need to Know in One Image

Electric Cars
[Source: Auto Insurance for]

While many people may think that electric cars are a relatively new invention, they have actually been around since the early 1800s. Electric cars fell out of favor as cars with more powerful gasoline engines increased in popularity, but environmental concerns now make them an attractive option. Here's a look at the history of electric cars, where they are made and the benefits of owning and driving them.

REVA NXR 2010 Pure Electric Next Generation Car

Toyota Hybrid X Concept coming in 2011

Toyota is getting ready to launch a new hybrid minivan that will wear the Prius nameplate. If true, this would be the first completely new vehicle added to the Prius stable, where it would join the well-known hatchback sometime in 2011.

According to Reuters (which is citing the Japanese Nikkei), this new Prius hybrid minivan may very well be the first such vehicle from Toyota equipped with an in-house developed lithium ion battery pack. The three-row vehicle, which we can only presume would also have sliding doors, would potentially seat up to seven people, expanding Toyota's hybrid technology further into the family-use market.

No other details are available other than the notion that Toyota would like to keep the price close to that of standard minivans currently on the market. Stay tuned for more as we hear it.

Ford does bring small diesels to the U.S

Look, I have great respect for the foresight and leadership within Ford right now — and they are pumping out some great vehicles these days — but do they really need more of a hint that passenger car diesels will do well in the U.S. than statistics like the fact that 85% of all Jetta Sportwagens sold last month were diesels? I mean, who wouldn’t at least seriously consider buying a 60 mpg Ford Fiesta as a commuter car?

Nonetheless, recently had a chance to talk about the matter with Ford and the communication specialist said that Ford needs to know the demand is there. Personally I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Ford does bring small diesels to the U.S. They see the writing on the wall and they’ve made the right decision with hybrids already. They have the diesel technology already on the road in most of the rest of the world where small and mid-sized diesels are a normal part of life. It wouldn’t take that much effort to bring them here.

Chevy Volt on Track For Production

In an update on the Volt, GM says they’re charging ahead towards full scale production of the Volt for general release later this year. They’ve completed all sorts of harsh weather testing in the cold and will be conducting extreme hot weather testing this Summer. They’ve done marathon test drives and taken the car up to the tops of the mountains.

After all the testing this last year — 500,000 miles spread across all of their test mules — they say they’ve been able to eek out the average claimed 40 mile EV-only range and haven’t come up against any showstopping problems. So, as we come to the end of testing, it seems the only major question yet to be resolved is how the EPA will treat the vehicle when it comes to fuel economy ratings.

After their ill-chosen 230 mpg claim last year, GM has been loathe to even broach the subject as of late. As most Gas 2.0 readers know, the Volt can go 40 miles on one full charge of its battery without using any gas, but after that the on-board generator will kick on and provide a charge to the battery that can take the car an up to an additional 300 miles. GM has estimated that in this “charge sustaining” mode, the Volt will average 50 mpg.

So you can see the issue. If a driver never takes the car more than 40 miles in a day, they will never use any fuel. Even if they drive 80 miles in a day only 40 of those will use gas. Trying to rate this in terms of an average fuel economy is tricky… you might even say it’s a pointless endeavor. Which is why the EPA is having so much trouble figuring it all out.

Some of you might say that it’s not even worth worrying about because in this new era of vehicles fuel economy is a concept that almost means nothing, and we simply need to come up with a different way of conveying how much energy a given car uses. But for auto manufacturers, they view the EPA fuel economy number as key to early adoption of their plug-in hybrids, pure electrics and extended range electrics. According to MIT’s Potential Energy blog, Andrew Farah, the Volt’s chief engineer has said that consumers “have to know what they’re getting,” and that what the agency decides could be key to how consumers accept the vehicle.

While that kind of talk is clearly meant to force some kind of decision soon (I mean really, we’re only 8 months away from launch), it is also probably true to some extent. The longer the EPA drags its heels on the issue, the more confused the average consumer will be and the less time they’ll have to work out the kinks with the manufacturers.

What’s your take on this? Should the EPA simply come up with some average expected fuel economy number, or should we take this opportunity to modify the entire energy efficiency/fuel economy rating system?

Brazil may pass Germany to become global No. 4 auto market

SAO PAULO (Bloomberg) -- Brazil may pass Germany this year to become the world's fourth-largest auto market after banks cut interest rates and eased loan terms, putting purchases in reach for more consumers.

Wider access to credit in South America's biggest economy expanded the pool of potential buyers by more than 50 percent, said Guido Vildozo, an IHS Global Insight Inc. analyst.

IHS and researcher J.D. Power & Associates both forecast Brazil eclipsing Germany in 2010.

“Brazil is an emerging market, coming of age, and Germany is more of a mature market,” said Jeff Schuster, J.D. Power's executive director of forecasting.

Brazil had been an independent country for only 64 years when German inventor Karl Benz got a patent for his first car in 1886.

Germany began the last decade as No. 3 in sales after the U.S. and Japan before being passed by China, which now holds the top spot.

Vehicle sales in Brazil totaled 3.1 million in 2009, compared with 4 million for Germany, according to J.D. Power. This year, Brazil will rise to 3.4 million and Germany will drop back to 3 million. Brazil's population is about 206 million, compared with Germany's 82 million.

Germany's projected sales decline follows the end of a 2,500 euro ($3,398) incentive for new-car buyers trading in older vehicles. The government approved the payments in January 2009 to help stem a market slump dating from August 2008.

‘Overheated' Germany

“In terms of Germany, they overheated last year and now they're paying the price,” said Schuster, who is based in Troy, Michigan.

Germany may retake the fourth spot from Brazil next year, as demand stabilizes after the so-called clunkers payments, according to IHS, which predicts Germany will permanently fall behind Brazil in 2015. J.D. Power projects Brazil staying in fourth place after 2010.

Brazilian sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles jumped 28 percent in March to 274,487, an industry group said last week. Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest automaker, led the market, followed by Fiat S.p.A. and General Motors Co.

“The improvement in Brazil is about the opening up of credit,” said Vildozo, who is based in Lexington, Massachusetts, and follows the Brazilian market for IHS.

Two years ago, auto loans carried interest rates of about 37 percent and spanned only 36 months, Vildozo said. Now, rates have fallen to about 25 percent and borrowing can be stretched to more than 80 months, he said. That means 16 percent of Brazilians can afford a new car, from 10 percent, he said.

Brazil's recovery

Record low interest rates and tax cuts helped pull Brazil out of recession last year. The economy may expand 6.4 percent in 2010, the fastest pace in more than two decades, according to estimates by Paulo Leme, chief Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Investments by domestic and overseas automakers in the country are picking up, too, with spending of 23 billion reais ($13.1 billion) planned from this year through 2013, according to a Web site statement last month from Brazil's state development bank. That compares with 15 billion reais from 2005 through 2008.

“The industry is a fast-growing market in Brazil, the investments are setting record after record,” Alexandre Andrade, an economist at consultant Tendencias Consultoria, said in an interview. “No global brand can take the risk to be out of this domestic market.”

Sao Paulo-Detroit flights

Brazil's importance as an automotive center helped persuade Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's largest carrier, to add direct flights between Detroit and Sao Paulo starting in November. Detroit was a hub for Northwest Airlines Corp., which Atlanta- based Delta acquired in 2008.

“Automakers have been very supportive of our international expansion,” said Andrea Fischer Newman, Delta senior vice president of government affairs. The airline plans to operate twice-weekly flights with a Boeing Co. 767 widebody jet, and applied for regulatory approval for daily service.

Ford Motor Co., No. 4 in sales last month, is investing $3 billion in South America through 2015. Spending in Brazil will rise 500 million more reais than planned, to 4.5 billion reais, from 2011 through 2015, CEO Alan Mulally said last week in Brasilia.

Last month, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Philippe Varin said Europe's second-largest carmaker will spend 1.4 billion reais over the next three years in Brazil. Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest automaker, said in September it will begin building a plant in Brazil this year after suspending the plan due to the global recession.

Vehicle production jumped 9.4 percent in March from a year earlier to 330,980, and exports surged 67 percent to 57,929, the National Vehicle Manufacturers Association reported last week.

“Brazil's economy is shifting from recovery to growth rather quickly,” J.D. Power's Schuster said.

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New Maruti Wagon R launch April End

Maruti Suzuki is ready to launch a new WagonR with updated engine in India. The company has already invested about Rs. 290 crores for upgrading the model and to make it compliant with the new emission norms. It will feature the K10B engine which will be fully compliant with the new Bharat Stage IV norms.

"This (new WagonR) is not a minor change, but a full model change. So, lot of investment have gone for it. We have invested about Rs 290 crore for upgrading the model," said Maruti Suzuki India Executive Officer (Marketing and Sales) Mayank Pareek. He also stated further that the WagonR model is currently available as Duo and the new variant will be petrol only. Any LPG model or CNG model is not on card as of now. The company will decide new variants depending upon the customer response from the market.

MSIL has sold about 8.5 lakh units of WagonR since its launch in the Indian market. Currently, it sells about 10,000- 12,000 units per month where Duo consists of 20 percent of its sales.

Reva electric car company Owner Chetan Maini Awarded as entrepreneur of the year by AIMA

Chetan Maini, deputy chairman and chief technology officer, Reva Electric Car Company has been conferred the 'entrepreneur of the year' award by the All India Management Association, at its Managing India Awards 2010 ceremony held in New Delhi today.
Maini is the founder of the Bangalore-based electric car maker Reva Electric Car Company, that has put on the roads the the largest fleet of electric cars in the world. The Reva four-seater electric car range is has put 3,500 EVs on the roads of 24 countries in Europe and Asia.
The AIMA awards recognise the contributions of outstanding entrepreneurs from different fields, for their strength, ingenuity, knowledge and foresight, who have excelled in their respective spheres and are worthy of emulation.
REVA today is recognized as a technology innovator in the electric vehicle space and has the largest deployed fleet of electric cars in the world (3500) with over 100 million kms of user experience and knowledge base.
Having created an innovative enterprise in Reva, which shows tremendous potential across the global electric vehicle industry, Maini is perceived as an epitome of the never-say-die spirit of entrepreneurship having sailed through trials and tribulations through changing times and consumer mindsets. His vision to establish REVA as an ''ideas and technology company'' focusing on offering the end consumer an alternate mobility solution, while positively impacting climate change as a larger issue.
The jurors for the AIMA Managing Awards 2010 was chaired by RPG Enterprises vice chairman Sanjiv Goenka, who is president AIMA and included R S Sharma, chairman and managing director, ONGC Limited, Rajive Kaul, chairman Nicco Corp, Kewal Handa, managing director, Pfizer India, Roopen Roy, managing director, Deloitte & Touche Consulting India and Govindraj Ethiraj, editor-in-chief, Bloomberg UTV.Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

More powerful Honda hybrid coupe in the works?

A mainstream hybrid that's fun to drive. That's a novel concept, to be sure, and one targeted by Honda in the marching papers for the CR-Z coupe, which is offered with a sporty six-speed manual gearbox and is supposed to be the spiritual successor to the much-loved CRX hatchback from the 1980s.

We've yet to drive the CR-Z and we're already questioning if the 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque on tap from its 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder with Integrated Motor Assist will be enough to qualify the car as sporty. According to Motor Trend, though, Honda has a much sportier model waiting in the wings that would use either a V6 or a large 2.5-liter four mated up with the familiar IMA hybrid system. Citing rumors from Japan, MT says the future car will be roughly the size of the Accord coupe.

In related news, that aforementioned V6 hybrid powertrain is reportedly slated for both minivans and SUVs for the American market. Further, Honda is currently working on an extended-range electric system similar to the one featured in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt except that is uses a capacitor-based energy storage system. If true, we can expect to see that system featured in a future Accord.

Daimler, Renault Form Global Car Alliance

German, French and Japanese automotive conglomerates Daimler, Renault and Nissan respectively have signed a cooperate agreement that comes into effect immediately. Renault and Nissan already have a wide-ranging alliance and are both run by the same man in Carlos Ghosn.

The new agreement involves the sharing and co-development of petrol and diesel engines, a cross-pollination of shareholdings and co-operation in the commercial vehicle sector. Basically each company will end up holding a 3.1% share in the other two.

Renault is now working with Mercedes-Benz in the development of the next-generation smart fortwo and Renault Twingo, both of which will be electric powered, rear-wheel-driven and can be expected to launch in 2013.

On the engine side, Renault and Nissan will provide 3 and 4-cylinder engines (petrol and diesel) to Daimler to use in its future small premium cars. On the other hand Daimler will give some of its existing 4 and 6-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti. All engines will be made to fit the characteristics of each particular brand.

Finally the three companies will be working together in the light commercial vehicle sector where Mercedes-Benz for example, will produce a new entry-level vehicle from 2012 using Renault's basic architecture.

A steering committee headed by Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche and Ghosn has been set up to manage the new alliance.

BMW M3 GT2 Art Car will Contest 24 Hours

The BMW M3 GT2 designed by artist Jeff Koons will be raced during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June. The contest takes place 11 days after the car, part of the BMW Art Car programme, is introduced to the public at the Centre Popidou in Paris.

There, Koons will present and sign the vehicle. It is the 17th Art Car commissioned by BMW, with the first having been designed in 1977 by Roy Lichtenstein.

But a different artist served as the inspiration for this model. The M3 GT2 carries number 79 as a tribute to the Andy Warhol car designed in 1979. Strangely, Warhol's car was painted with number 76 as a tribute to artist Frank Stella's 1976 model.

Koons announced that his art car will use streaks of over-saturated colors against a black background, with a silver interior. "These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy," the artist said. "You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself transcend with its energy."

"There is a lot of power under that hood and I want to let my ideas transcend with the car; it's really to connect with that power," Koons was quoted as saying.

The automaker says the car is "evocative of power, motion and light." We will know for sure after the car is unveiled on June 1.