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Earth, Wind and Power Jury Gives the Nod to the 2010 Ford Fusion and the 2010 Audi Q7 for “Most Environmentally Progressive” at the L.A. Auto Show
Dec02

Earth, Wind and Power Jury Gives the Nod to the 2010 Ford Fusion and the 2010 Audi Q7 for “Most Environmentally Progressive” at the L.A. Auto Show

By Brendan Moore

12.02.2009

EWP logoIt is certainly not a household name, but an organization called Earth, Wind and Power Media, that publishes online (their site calls it a “blogazine”), has carved out a nice little niche for itself as an approver of environmentally responsible vehicles.

In a fairly short time, the publisher of Earth, Wind and Power, Courtney Caldwell, has been able to convince a fair amount of California EPA officials in California to show up at her magazine’s award events, which in turn has made it worthwhile for automotive industry executives to do the same. They also have a considerable amount of automotive writers attached to this award as jurists, so apparently we are the ones caught out in terms of EWP.

The awards were given out yesterday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid taking the honors in the car category, and the 2010 Audi Q7 TDI taking home the award in the truck category.

So, we congratulate the winners, and we congratulate the previously-unknown-to-us EWP folks for their environmental efforts. Hopefully, their awards will affect some future buying decisions in a positive manner.

And we’re going to try to notice things more in the future.

This is the second year that the Earth, Wind and Power (EWP) prize has been awarded.

COPYRIGHT Techshake – All Rights Reserved

Their official press release follows after the jump:

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Ford Debuts Fiesta in North America
Dec02

Ford Debuts Fiesta in North America

For the first time in a long time, North Americans are invited to the party

By Brendan Moore

12.02.2009

2011 Fiesta Red small

Ford is showing off their new 2011 Fiesta at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, and there’s good news, Mr. and Ms. America! You can actually buy a new Fiesta in the US in the near future. And by the way, so can you, Mr. and Ms. Canada.

Yup, Ford is going to sell the same supermini (B-Class) Fiesta in North America that they sell in Europe, and it won’t be a dumbed-down version of it, either, but rather, the real deal with minor modifications for the North American market. Ford is taking a chance in selling the small car here; a chance that they believe will pay off for them in both the short-term and the long-term.

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Fritz Henderson Resigns as GM CEO
Dec01

Fritz Henderson Resigns as GM CEO

By Brendan Moore

12.01.2009

Fritz HendersonFritz Henderson, the CEO of General Motors, and the man who replaced Rick Wagoner earlier this year as the head of General Motors in order to lead GM through bankruptcy, has tendered his resignation.

Edward Whitacre, the chairman of GM, will replace Henderson on an interim basis until a replacement can be hired. Whitacre stated that the search for a new chief executive will commence immediately.

GM PRESS RELEASE: Statement from Chairman Ed Whitacre

At its monthly meeting in Detroit today, the General Motors Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Fritz Henderson as Director, President and CEO of the company.

Fritz has done a remarkable job in leading the company through an unprecedented period of challenge and change. While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agree that changes needed to be made. To this end, I have taken over the role of Chairman and CEO while an international search for a new president and CEO begins immediately. With these new duties, I will begin working in the Renaissance Center headquarters on a daily basis. The leadership team – many who are with me today – are united and committed to the task at hand.

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Chairman Says Tata Will Build Hybrid Nano
Dec01

Chairman Says Tata Will Build Hybrid Nano

By Brendan Moore

12.01.2009

Tata NanoTata Group Chairman Ratan Tata told reporters in South Korea yesterday that Tata plans to launch an inexpensive hybrid version of the Nano.

The Nano is the world’s cheapest car at around $2100 USD. It is a logical assumption that a Nano Hybrid would be the world’s cheapest hybrid car.

Ratan Tata told the South Korean newspaper, The Maeil Business Newspaper, that he saw the auto industry’s future in inexpensive, practical vehicles.

Tata also owns Jaguar and Land Rover, auto manufacturers that produce some of the most expensive passenger vehicles sold in the world today. The chairman did not elaborate on the possible contradiction between his statement regarding the auto industry’s future and Tata’s plans for future sales of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

It is believed that Tata has also developed several Nano EV test mules recently, with an eye towards offering an electric version of the Nano. The company has offered no public statement regarding a potential electric Nano, however.

The Tata chairman did not comment on when a Nano Hybrid might be launched or what sort of hybrid system the car would have.

COPYRIGHT Techshake – All Rights Reserved

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VW Polo Scoops European Car of the Year Title
Nov30

VW Polo Scoops European Car of the Year Title

By Andy Bannister

11.30.2009

2010 VW Polo side

Volkswagen has triumphed in this year’s European Car of the Year contest, narrowly beating Toyota’s iQ for the top spot in a ballot featuring a jury of 59 motoring journalists from across the continent.

The Polo secured 347 points versus 337 for the baby Toyota. Both were miles ahead of the third place Opel/Vauxhall Astra, with 221. An impressive 25 jurors scored top marks for the Polo, against 20 for the iQ.

VW Group’s other entrant, the Skoda Yeti, came 4th with 158 points, just three ahead of the Mercedes E-class.

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2011 Mustang Will Receive 305 HP V6
Nov30

2011 Mustang Will Receive 305 HP V6

By Kevin Gordon

11.30.2009

2011FordMustang1280pxAs the Los Angeles auto show approaches later this week, news continues to trickle out regarding upcoming 2010 and 2011 models. Late last night, Ford announced details on the 2011 Mustang. There have been rumors about a revised engine and transmission lineup for the 2011 Mustang over the past few months, and now we have some concrete details about the little sister Mustang, the “can’t get no respect” V6 version. In good news for pony car enthusiasts, the 2011 Mustang will receive a new 305 horsepower 280 ft.-lb 3.7 liter all-aluminum V6. In addition to a horsepower rating that is bumping up against the current V8’s rating, the V6 will also receive new 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

This news can only bode well for what Ford plans for the V8 GT-spec Mustang. The current rumor is that the 400+HP 5.0 liter Coyote V8 will find its way under the hood. Next week, a 2010 Mustang GT Convertible will be finding its way to the Techshake offices. Stay tuned for our impression of the current 4.6 liter V8 in a chassis that should soon come alive with more power. Jump past the break for all the details and the press release from Ford.

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Saab Gets a Second Look from Bidders
Nov30

Saab Gets a Second Look from Bidders

Beijing Auto seems particularly interested, but issues loom

By Brendan Moore

11.30.2009

Saab emblem blue backgroundEveryone is writing Saab’s obituary, but news of its death may be premature.

People familiar with the situation on the ground in Sweden and Detroit say that Beijing Auto, Merbanco Inc. and Renco Group Inc. all have been making inquiries about putting in a bid for Saab since the news that Koenigsegg Group AB was deep-sixing the deal.

Beijing Auto (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company) is making public statements that show considerable interest in Saab, with Beijing Auto president Wang Dazong telling reporters in China to “stay tuned” when he was asked whether the company would be bidding for Saab, and then commenting that Beijing Auto was prepared to “move fast” on Saab’s acquisition.

Beijing Auto was going to be Koenigsegg’s partner in the previous, and now failed, Saab acquisition scheme, and was also the Chinese auto company that previously desired to buy Opel, but was not among the finalists when GM made up the short list of preferred bidders for Opel. The deal, by the way, that GM then reneged on just a short time ago.

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Seven Battle to be Europe’s Car of the Year 2010
Nov27

Seven Battle to be Europe’s Car of the Year 2010

Strong lineup of contenders could make for a close contest

By Andy Bannister

11.27.2009

2010 Europe COTY Logo

The countdown to the unveiling of the Pan-European Car of the Year for 2010 is almost over, with seven finalists vying for the coveted title, the winner of which will be announced on Monday.

As ever, the line-up is a mixed bag, with two very mainstream products (the new VW Polo and the Opel/Vauxhall Astra), one prestige car (the Mercedes E-class), two dramatically different takes on the mid-size crossover (Peugeot’s 3008 and Skoda’s Yeti), a small MPV (the Citroën C3 Picasso) and a clever little Japanese city car (Toyota’s iQ).

What didn’t make the shortlist? There were originally 33 eligible contenders, most of which were jettisoned at an earlier voting stage. These included the new Ford Ka (basically a rebodied Fiat 500), the latest Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, Porsche’s Panamera, some important Korean products including the Kia Soul and Chevrolet Cruze.

In last year’s competition the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia (the soon-to-be Buick Regal) narrowly beat off the hotly-tipped Ford Fiesta by the smalllest of margins (one solitary point!) to grab the title, which is voted on by 59 judges representing motoring publications across Europe.

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