Tag Archives: Price

Gleagle IG Hybrid

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Gleagle IG Hybrid
IG Geely or with the product name Gleagle IG criticized by China Car Times. “Small cars are only suitable for use in the city. However, the door that opens upward makes it difficult, even to nudge the car parked next to it. Doors can also hit the roof of the parking lot, “writes the media.

Surprisingly again, the media does not know exactly where the car was made. They estimate that only cars made in Lin Hai, Zhejian Province, not far from the headquarters of Geely, Hangzhou.

Interestingly enough, the hood of this small hybrid car is also fitted with solar panels. According to Geely, the panel used to charge the battery. As a source of prime mover, this car uses the engine capacity of 1.0 liters.

To couple power hybrids, electric motors, and batteries supplied in accordance with the desire and ability of consumers. “Costs flexible,” wrote Geely. This was done because Geely electrical and battery system that offers the lowest price of 10,000 yuan or USD 13.2 million.

“Consumers can choose different standards according to their needs, like buying a digital camera that uses a variety of memory cards,” added Geely in the site about this concept car sales.

He also explains, in particular for electrical components, there was a contradiction between the price of batteries and the distance. The further the distance that can be generated from battery-powered, large increases in size. The price is also so expensive.

IG is on display today has undergone a change from the prototype on display before. If previously only used three seats with the concept of a triangle, now, the car has two seats in front (including the driver) and two behind.

Explained all, the car is equipped with a large alternator and start & stop system. We stopped at the intersection waiting for the green light, the engine will die. Engine will live longer automatically once trodden on the accelerator. System used is the mild hybrid or a combination of series and parallel (the same used Prius).

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Nissan Fuga

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Nissan Fuga
Nissan Motor’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan launched fuga, Friday (20/11). For the European market will follow in the near future with the Infiniti name M. Nihoncar reported, Friday (20/11)

For this new model, Nissan preparing two versions of the machine. First, the code VQ25HR 2.5L V6 with 225 dk at 6400 rpm and 258 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm. VQ37VHR capacity 3.7L v6 that has been equipped technology Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) system. 333 dk maximum power at 7000 rpm with a torque of 363 Nm at 5200 rpm. The second transmission equipped acceleration level engines 7 (7-speed)

Interesting exterior design, especially at the front (hood). In addition to ramps designed, on the left and right like a bone protruding. This is the design of the Infiniti Concept Essence directly. Combined with the wide usage rim 20 inch, 370GT Type S sports model made of aluminum.

The interior is designed a little cool, mix of semi-aniline leather is luxurious on the seat with a wooden panel. Then, the smell generated from the AC there are two, namely borneol and alcohol. Then there Carwings HDD Navigation system integrated digital TV the same voice as good as Bose Surround Sound System in the audio.

Price Rp400 million to Rp550 million.

New Astra to Become a Buick? Managing Brand Isn’t Getting Any Easier

DETROIT – Our European correspondent, Paul Horrell calls the 2010 Opel Astra “one of the best compact hatches the world has to offer.” His story asks; will it come here? The answer is “yes,” in a way. Buick’s 2012 Cruze-based compact (on the Delta platform), designed to anchor the lower end of its New GM lineup, will wear the sheetmetal of the notchback sedan version of the Astra, a source close to matter tells me. I don’t know what it will be called. We haven’t seen the conventional sedan version of the new Astra yet. We can guess it will be very similar to the hatchback, retaining its “sweeping” look, with the sculpted blade in the bodyside and the strong shoulders.The new Astra hatchback’s wheelbase is three inches longer than the old Astra’s, and it’s 174 inches overall, though the version with the trunk may be closer to the Cruze’s 181-inch overall length. The old Opel/Vauxhall Astra hatchback served as the Saturn Astra, a model that sold so poorly here that Saturn didn’t import any for the 2009 model year. While Saturn was designated as GM’s import-fighter, and thus was briefly the portal for Opel designs, that brand now is headed for Penske Automotive. Anyway, GM recognized that the Opel Insignia’s design and the premium level of its interior better fit its intended direction for Buick. GM wants to return both Opel and Buick to their old positions as sub-luxury premium brands. It’s similar, but not the same as Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division, which is about to transform from badge-engineered Fords to European models. Does the new Opel Astra fit? Horrell reports the car “derives much of its upscale feel and design from the Insignia.” I don’t know whether the Buick version will get the Astra’s suspension upgrades over the Chevrolet Cruze, but it should. The Opel’s front suspension has supplementary rebound springs to take the load off the front anti-roll bar, and reduce understeer, and a Watts linkage supplements the torsion beam rear axle for better axle articulation than from a cheaper Panhard rod. “This design allows the bushings that take the lateral loads to be separated from those that take the longitudinal,” Horrell explains. “The former are stiff — for handling finesse — while the latter are soft for ride comfort.”Opels are tuned typically for European roads, which means the new Astra’s suspension may prove too stiff for a traditional Buick ride. We’ll have to wait and see whether GM engineers will even try to get the right compromise from this setup. If GM is serious about revitalizing the core differences between Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models, though, it had better figure out a way to make the Buick compact different from the Chevy Cruze beneath the skin.I’m not quite as confident about GM’s announcement at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, that Buick will have an also-unnamed 2012 plug-in hybrid model in showrooms in ’11. The compact crossover, which makes its debut next year as an ’11 model with conventional engines, is the current Saturn Vue with some new sheetmetal. GM engineers were hard at work to introduce the plug-in hybrid powertrain for that model when the company gave up on the brand. The gas engines will be the direct-injection 2.4-liter four and 3.0-liter V-6 now proliferating through GM’s small and midsize lineup, and the plug-in hybrid will feature LG Chem lithium ion batteries and the 3.6-liter gas direct-injection V-6.I have no argument against Buick getting a plug-in hybrid. In fact, it probably can better absorb the system’s cost with a higher price than GM could charge for a Chevy or GMC model. The problem is that the rest of GM has moved on, with the 2010 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain (replacing the Pontiac Torrent) reviewed as being far superior to their predecessors. The Saturn Vue/new Buick is another version of those predecessors. These days, though, GM can’t afford to throw away any well-developed technology. Technologies being developed for eight brands must find their way into the surviving four. And the plug-in Vue was well on its way. Perhaps the Buick crossover should be sold as plug-in only. This Buick will share showrooms with the dynamically superior (though design-challenged) GMC Terrain. And with Buick’s own Enclave. That large crossover re-established the Buick brand as a legitimate premium nameplate. Let’s hope the new smaller crossover and the Astra-based compact don’t damage the progress the Enclave has made.
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6540547/car-news/new-astra-to-become-a-buick-managing-brand-isnt-getting-any-easier/index.html

Zero Emissions, All Green: Introducing the Nissan Leaf EV

As we profiled on Friday, Nissan Motor Company chose August 2, 2009 to debut its groundbreaking, game changing zero emission electric vehicle at its new corporate headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, and we were here to check it out. Nissan calls it the Leaf (Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car), and says it will launch in the U.S. in late 2010 in limited quantities. The Japanese automaker is boasting that the Leaf will be the first affordable (target price is reportedly $25,000-30,000), real-world, mass-market (by 2012) electric vehicle and that it will have a range of some 100 miles. But before we jump into what it all means and what’s going with those funky headlights, here is a brief synopsis on the program.As we have covered in many recent updates, this is Nissan’s most significant endeavor in environmentally friendly motoring. This new electric vehicle (EV) program goes well beyond the company’s recent attempts at improving fuel economy via such measures as the widespread rollout of CVT transmissions and the licensing Toyota’s hybrid technology. In fact, the Leaf does away with our traditional notions of fuel and jumps right into the long promised future of mass marketed electric vehicles.How does it work? The Leaf runs on a large battery pack composed of 192 flat lithium ion (LiOn) battery cells that lay under the floor and between the wheels. This pack delivers enough power to support the 80kW electric motor for up to 100 miles of driving on a full charge. Recharging will be possible on 110V and 220V house current (8 hours/4 hours respectively for a full charge) and via special higher voltage quick charges. Fine, but what’s with the name?According to Nissan, the “LEAF” name (Nissan PR would of course like us to USE ALL CAPS FOR THE NAME) is what you’d expect a name associated with a tree to be — making a green statement. Here’s some good spin about the Leaf name from the press release: “Just as leaves purify the air in nature, so Nissan LEAF purifies mobility by taking emissions out of the driving experience.” Of course, there’s that little matter of where the Leaf will draw its electricity from — we’re guessing from a power plant that produces lots of emissions. But that’s another discussion…You might have noticed nowhere on the vehicle are the words electric vehicle or letters EV. Instead, what’s prominently displayed on the Leaf is a big ‘ol zero emissions badge. Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s Chief Creative Office and design head explains why:”EV is a means to get zero emissions, so we intentionally avoided EV branding. Zero emissions is about the overall concept, not the hardware.”But let’s talk about the hardware — particularly the styling — since we already are familiar with how it works and drives.At first glance, the Leaf looks new, yet familiar — and distinctly Japanese. It should, as its exterior and interior styling are the result of Nissan’s Japanese design studios. Nakamura cites as influences the Japanese market March Micra and our very own Nissan Murano (the Leaf’s designer also penned the Murano).From our American eyes, we see a bit of Honda Fit in the shape of the front end, but concur that from most other angles, Nissan’s design DNA is readily apparent. The shape of the greenhouse, from the fast angle of the windshield to the kink of the C-pillar does bring to mind the Murano. The belt line and some surfacing appear lifted from the March Micra, while the profile, proportions and overall size recall Versa, except when you get to the notchback bustle in the back, which is reminiscent of Nissan’s corporate cousin, the Renault Megane.Nakamura agrees with this assessment but states that any similarity with the Megane is purely coincidental.”It has no connection with Renault. We are always careful to not look like Renault. Sometimes it is ok, because we are partners…if you point to one detail, ok, maybe. But as long as the total car looks like a Nissan, that is ok.” As you get closer, a number of interesting details emerge, most notably the strange bulge to the headlights at their inside edge. These and other features exist for aerodynamic reasons — a chief concern of Nakamura’s styling team.”Aerodynamics is very, very important for two reasons — air drag and wind noise control. When driving 120 kph (roughly 75 mph), you can only hear the tires and wind, there is no engine noise.  If you have lots of wind noise, it sounds even greater because .”So his team developed the bulging headlamps, conceivably to break up and channel the flow of air before it meets the seam of windshield and creates noise. They also paid particular attention to the shape and orientation of the side mirrors, to reduce wind nose from the side.So were they successful in reducing drag and noise?  Nakamura thinks so. “I can not say Cd (coefficient of drag) but it is very good — without making it the typical one motion aeroform,” he says during an interview prior to the Leaf’s reveal, alluding to the prosaic shape of both the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight that has become synonymous with low drag. “This is our own expression. But at the same time it doesn’t compromise.”Indeed, Nissan did not skimp on the features for the Leaf; there is a lot of high technology built in, from the optional roof mounted solar panel (said to help power accessory fans) and rear back up camera. Look down and you’ll notice the complete absence of a tailpipe. Between those awkward headlights is another signature EV feature. Where the hood meets the front bumper, is a panel surrounding the circular Nissan logo which flips up to reveal the charging ports. Though we don’t know what direction Nissan plans to take with future EVs, you can expect to find this bit of hardware in the Leaf’s siblings (until wireless non contact charging comes to fruition).Inside, it really becomes obvious that this is not your average hatchback.  The center stack is dominated by a large, bright multi information touchscreen, necessary to interact with Nissan’s EV-IT system (which provides EV range and recharging information as well as navigation, climate, and audio control). A futuristic looking semi-spherical transmission controller rests on the center console, and twists to offer (R)everse, (N)eutral, and (D)rive slots, as well as a button for (P)ark.  Honda styling cues resurface in the split instrument panel — a lower housing features another large, bright display, while a secondary hood above shows speed and other information. As far as comfort and roo
miness goes, Nakamura says his team benchmarked the entire C-segment for both interior and exterior dimensions, so the Leaf should be competitive. We did not get a chance to sit in the vehicle, but noted what looked like ample headroom, decent legroom both front and rear, and a huge trunk not often associated with vehicles that run on batteries.Of course, at this point, some of you might be wondering what the fuss is about. And it’s true. For all of the buildup and anticipation, the Leaf is unlikely to turn many heads when it hits the streets in select markets in late 2010.  Even when dressed up in brilliant blue green paint, there is no disguising the rather pedestrian proportions of this compact, traditionally shaped C-segment hatchback. There is some method to this plainness as, Nakamura explains.”We don’t want to go too far out of the segment. We are expecting a big volume . We want to maintain some mainstream feeling.”  Some but not all. “On the interior, we want to give more of a high tech feeling — unique, but not strange.  One that people can appreciate as real car.”This point is of particular importance to Nakamura’s team, as he specifically wanted to avoid the negative connotations associated with electric vehicles.”There is a perception in some markets that EVs are toys or cheap. Like a golf cart or city car. Maybe they can’t drive at high speed…they are not a real car. We did not want to create a car that is toy like or cheap looking. Ours is a real car. It can go 140 kph (87 mph) and can seat 4-5 people.”If you like the way the Leaf looks, take comfort in the fact that this is very close to a production ready vehicle — as much as 95% according to Nakamura. The specific paint scheme you see here will not be offered, though a shade similar and more durable will be along with a standard palette of customer friendly colors. A few of the surfaces and materials may change on the inside, but the Leaf as you see it now should be very close to what zips quietly past you starting in late next year.While other manufacturers have tied their fortunes to hybrid vehicles and clean diesels, Nissan has been relatively quiet on the low emissions front. With their new EV offering, Nissan is prepared to make a very large noise, as it clearly intends to be the leader in zero emissions vehicle leader. Whether the noise Nissan’s zero emissions program makes is a boom or a whimper bust depends entirely on the success of a car it calls the Leaf.INITIAL SPECS FOR THE NISSAN LEAF:Dimensions    Length:            4445 mm / 175.0 in.Width:                1770 mm / 69.7 in.Height    :            1550 mm / 61.0 in.Wheelbase:            2700 mm / 106.3 in.Performance    Driving range    over:        160km/100miles (US LA4 mode)Max speed (km/h):        over 140km/h (over 87 mph)Motor    Type:                AC motorMax power (kW):        80kWMax torque (Nm):        280NmBattery    Type:                laminated lithium-ion batteryTotal capacity (kWh):    24Power output (kW):        over 90Energy density (Wh/kg):    140Power density (kW/kg):    2.5Number of modules:    48Charging times:    quick charger DC 50kW (0 to 80%): less than 30 min; home-use AC200V charger: less than 8 hrsBattery layout:        Under seat & floorOFFICIAL NISSAN PRESS RELEASE:NISSAN UNVEILS “LEAF” – THE WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC CAR DESIGNED FOR AFFORDABILITY AND REAL-WORLD REQUIREMENTS Event ushers in a new era for Nissan and a new era for mobility YOKOHAMA, (Aug. 2, 2009) – Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. today unveiled Nissan LEAF, the world’s first affordable, zero-emission car.  Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, Nissan LEAF is a medium-size hatchback that comfortably seats five adults and has a range of more than 160km (100 miles) to satisfy real-world consumer requirements. NISSAN LEAFSlated for launch in late 2010 in Japan, the United States, and Europe, Nissan LEAF ushers in a new era of mobility – the zero-emission era.  The car is the embodiment of Nissan’s radical, transformative vision for the future and the culmination of decades of investment and research.  “Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in which all Nissan employees can take great pride,” said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn.  “We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality – the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero – not simply reduced – emissions.  It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey – for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry.”Key characteristics of the LEAF include:1) Zero-emission power train and platform2) Affordable pricing3) Distinctive design4) Real-world range autonomy – 160km (100 miles)5) Connected Mobility: Advanced intelligent transportation (IT) systemThe “LEAF” name is a significant statement about the car itself.  Just as leaves purify the air in nature, so Nissan LEAF purifies mobility by taking emissions out of the driving experience.  Pricing details will be announced closer to start of sales in late 2010; however, the company expects the car to be competitively priced in the range of a well-equipped C-segment vehicle.  Additionally, Nissan LEAF is expected to qualify for an array of significant local, regional and national tax breaks and incentives in markets around the world.  As an added benefit, because the vehicle has less mechanical complexity than a traditional gasoline-powered car, Nissan LEAF is designed to be friendly to the wallet as well as to the environment.ZERO-EMISSION MOBILITYNissan LEAF is powered by laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate power output of over 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm.  This ensures a highly responsive, fun-to-drive experience that is in keeping with what consumers have come to expect from traditional, gasoline-powered automobiles.Unlike internal-combustion engine (ICE) equipped vehicles, Nissan LEAF’s power train has no tail pipe, and thus no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases.  A combination of Nissan LEAF’s regenerative braking system and innovative lithium-ion battery packs enables the car to deliver a driving range of more than 160km (100 miles) on one full charge*.  (*US LA4 mode)Extensive consumer research demonstrates that this range satisfies the daily driving requirements of more than 70% of the world’s consumers who drive cars.And, Nissan’s approach makes charging easy and convenient.  Nissan LEAF can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger.  Charging at home through a 200V outlet is estimated to take approximately eight hours – ample time to enable an overnight refresh for consumer and car alike.REAL-WORLD CAR The engineers and designers behind Nissan LEAF worked to create a competitively priced real-world car that would enable Nissan to lead mobility into the zero-emission era.  To ensure comfort, spaciousness and cargo capacity, Nissan LEAF employs a completely new chassis and body layout.”Our car had to be the world’s first, medium-size, practical EV that
motorists could afford and would want to use every day. And that’s what we’ve created. The styling will identify not only Nissan LEAF but also the owner as a participant in the new era of zero-emission mobility,” said Masato INOUE, Product Chief Designer.DISTINCTIVE DESIGNEven the smallest details can yield tremendous effect.Nissan LEAF’s frontal styling is characterized by a sharp, upright V-shaped design featuring long, up-slanting light-emitting diode (LED) headlights that employ a blue internal reflective design that announces, “This car is special.”  But the headlights do more than make a statement.  They are also designed to cleverly split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, thus reducing wind noise and drag.  And, the headlights provide yet one more benefit in that they consume just 10 percent of the electricity of conventional lamps, which helps Nissan LEAF to achieve its world-class range autonomy.Through bright trim colors inside, Nissan LEAF creates a pleasing and stylish cabin environment.  An environmentally friendly “blue earth” color theme originates from the Aqua Globe body color of Nissan LEAF’s introductory model.  This theme is carried into the interior through blue dashboard highlights and instrument illumination.CONNECTED MOBILITY IT SYSTEMNissan LEAF employs an exclusive advanced IT system.  Connected to a global data center, the system can provide support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day.  The dash-mounted monitor displays Nissan LEAF’s remaining power – or “reachable area” – in addition to showing a selection of nearby charging stations.Another state-of-the-art feature is the ability to use mobile phones to turn on air-conditioning and set charging functions – even when Nissan LEAF is powered down.  An on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries. “The IT system is a critical advantage,” says Tooru ABE, Chief Product Specialist. “We wanted this vehicle to be a partner for the driver and an enhancement for the passengers.  We also wanted this vehicle to help create a zero-emission community, and these IT features will help make that possible.”HOLISTIC APPROACH TO ZERO-EMISSION MOBILITY AND ECO-FRIENDLY INNOVATIONNissan LEAF is a critical first step in establishing the era of zero-emission mobility; however, Nissan recognizes that internal-combustion engine (ICE) technologies will play a vital role in global transportation for decades to come.  Because of this, Nissan is implementing its zero-emission vision through a holistic approach, which provides consumers a comprehensive range of eco-friendly technologies from which to choose.For some consumers, Nissan LEAF will be the perfect match, and the only car they will ever need.  For others, Nissan LEAF will be a logical addition to the family fleet – the optimal choice for the daily commute, for example.While zero-emission is the ultimate goal, the company is committed to ongoing innovation in eco-friendly technologies that increase efficiency and reduce emissions.  As a result, Nissan offers a comprehensive suite of automotive technologies, including CVT, Idle Stop, HEV, Clean Diesel, and ongoing research and investment in FCV technology.WORLDWIDE PARTNERSZero-emission mobility programs under the banner of the Renault-Nissan Alliance include partnerships with countries such as the UK and Portugal, local governments in the Japan and the USA, and other sectors, for a total of nearly 30 partnerships worldwide.In these partnerships major efforts focus on three areas:      1) Development of a comprehensive charging infrastructure through public and private investment,     2) Incentives and subsidies from local, regional, and national governments, and     3) Public education on the individual and societal benefits of zero-emissions mobility.ZERO-EMISSION VEHICLE PRODUCTIONNissan LEAF is the first in the company’s forthcoming line of EVs and is a major milestone in the realization of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s vision for zero-emission mobility.  The first of Nissan’s EVs will be manufactured at Oppama, Japan, with additional capacity planned for Smyrna, Tennessee, USA.  Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries are being produced in Zama, Japan, with additional capacity planned for the USA, the UK and Portugal, and other sites for investment are under study around the world.
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6537775/green/zero-emissions-all-green-introducing-the-nissan-leaf-ev/index.html

July Sales: Cash for Clunkers Spurs FoMoCo; Toyota Regains Second-Place

DETROIT – Ford Motor Company is ebullient about its first year-over-year sales increase since November 2007. Total Ford-Lincoln-Mercury sales, including fleet, rose 2 percent in July 2009 compared with July 2008, and of that, retail sales rose 9 percent. Still, it’s too early to party. The Great Recession isn’t over yet.”Right now, the legs under the economy are not strong enough to sustain a 14-16 million sales rate as we saw at the end of July,” says Ford analyst George Pipas. “A sales increase in July is not the end of the journey.”Aside from the minor increase compared with a very weak July ’08, when gasoline averaged $4.11 per gallon, Ford proved through individual model sales that the Cash for Clunkers program helped move fuel-efficient metal. Probably not coincidentally, the low-priced cars and trucks that consumers who until now were driving clunkers could afford to buy moved the most. Ford Focus sales surpassed Fusion sales, although both models were up compared with last year. Even though a four-cylinder Fusion is within a couple mpg city/highway, the smaller, cheaper Focus easily outsold the Fusion, 21,830 (up 43.6 percent) to 17,610 (up 66 percent).The redesigned-for-2009 Focus became Ford’s darling when gas topped $4 per gallon. Earlier this year, the facelifted 2010 Fusion was Ford’s savior in some of the slowest sales months in decades. Advertising dollars targeting new models helps.If Cash for Clunkers money drew a lot of prospective buyers to Ford lots in the last week, I’ve got to bet that some of those consumers trading in ’90s Explorers chose, say an $18,000-list Focus over a $23,000-list Fusion because it better met their budgets. Many of those clunkers undoubtedly were third or even fourth cars, driven by the high schoolers in the family. Estimates of how much oil the program saves may be a bit of a stretch.No matter. The program is a success for bringing consumers back into the market — either those who have been holding off or those who figured credit had dried up so much, it wasn’t worth it to walk into a showroom. General Motors estimates July sales for all makers totaled an annual rate that would equal about 11.3-million vehicles, marking the first month in 2009 above the 10-million level.And GM has just announced a lease program with U.S. Bank for Chevrolets, Buicks, GMCs and Cadillacs (its core four in North America) for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio through August 31. U.S. Bank leases for the new Cadillac SRX are available nationwide.Meanwhile, Chrysler says that The Wall Street Journal got it wrong Monday morning. Chrysler will continue to offer matching incentives of up to $4500 on certain models whether you bring in a clunker or not. Obviously, if your local dealer is out of, say, 2009 PT Cruisers, you’re not going to get $4500 off a 2010 model. And so, to the numbers:GM: 189,443, off 19.4 percent.Inventory of about 466,000 is the lowest on record, says sales veep Mark LaNeve.With inventories dropping for all automakers, the deals aren’t likely to get any more desperate.Chevy division sales were relatively strong, at 124,948, still down 9.3 percent.Equinox was a rare gainer, up 77.8 percent to 10,834. About 60 percent were ’10 models, and most of those were four-bangers.Buick Enclave remains strong, selling 3,797, off 2.5 percent.Cadillac, at 6,171, off 52.6 percent, was the biggest loser of the core four.Saab was off 71.7 percent to 574 and Hummer was off 57.4 percent to 799.Impala was up 9.6 percent to 14,649 but Malibu was off 7.8 percent to 15,339.Modern wagon wars continues: Toyota sold 9,407 Highlanders, (+39.1 percent), Chevy sold 6,690 Traverses, Honda sold 6,430 Pilots (-15.3 percent), Dodge sold 4,165 Journeys (+21 percent) and Ford sold 3,631 Flexes (+64.7 percent).The new Camaro continues to be in short supply. Chevy sold 7,113, vs. 6,686 Ford Mustangs (-37.6 percent) and 886 Dodge Challengers (-69 percent).GM will build some 2010 G6s for fleet customers, LaNeve said, making it the last Pontiac.The New GM of Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac, sold 160,078 vehicles, a couple thousand more than Ford/Lincoln/Mercury but short of Toyota.Toyota-Scion-Lexus: 174,872, off 11.4 percent.Toyota division accounted for 156,355 (including Scions), off 10.8 percent, making Toyota the U.S.’ best-selling brand.Lexus fell 16.5 percent to 18,517.Prius jumped 29.7 percent to 19,173. Camry sales fell 19.4 percent to a still-strong 33,974.RAV4 may have benefited from the clunkers credit, up 32.5 percent to 15,912.Midsize pickups also are doing well. Tacoma was up 7.6 percent to 12,552.Monthly Scion numbers: 6,754, vs. 11,906 in July ’08.Ford-Lincoln-Mercury: 158,838, up 2 percent.Focus was Ford’s best-selling car, up 43.6 percent to 21,830.Fusion was up 66 percent to 17,610.F-150 remains Ford’s best-selling vehicle, off 19 percent to 36,327.Escape was up 94.2 percent to 20,241.Ranger was up 64.5 percent to 7,695. Looks like another Cash for Clunkers winner.Taurus was off 57.1 percent to 1,760 as Ford ramped down the old model.Mercury Milan was up 59.8 percent to 2,934 while Mariner was up 70.5 percent to 3,682 as the Lincoln side of the showroom suffered a 24.3 percent drop.Inventory of 295,000 vehicles, averaging less than a 50-day supply, is 41 percent thinner than at the end of July ’08.Honda-Acura: 114,690, off 17.3 percent.That’s 106,028 Hondas, off 15.8 percent, and 8,662 Acuras, off 32.5 percent.Civic was up 3.1 percent to 30,037.Accord was off 28.1 percent to 29,774.Fit was off 27.6 percent to 8,876 but CR-V was up 9.9 percent to 19,151.Acura RDX was off 62.5 percent to 519 and TSX was off 35.8 percent to 2,232.Chrysler LLC: 88,900, off 9 percent.Winners were small models, helped by heavy incentives. Chrysler PT Cruiser was up 24 percent to 4,092 sold.Jeep Patriot was up 134 percent to 8,084 and Compass was up 95 percent.Jeep Wrangler, which posted increases for the first five months of the year, was down for the second month in a row, off 25 percent to 4,540.Dodge Caliber was up 63 percent to 7,814.Avenger was up 30 percent to 5,616.Sebring was off 27 percent to 2,781. Chrysler has sold 13,466 for the entire year so far, well below Ford Fusion’s monthly sales.Chrysler Town & Country fell 15 percent to 6,837. Dodge Caravan was up 15 percent to 8,405, however.Ram was off 17 percent to 17,723.Nissan-Infiniti: 71,847, off 24.6 percent.Nissan division was off 24.8 percent to 64,751.Infiniti was off 23.3 percent to 7,096.Nissan Versa was off just 2 percent to 8,530, though Sentra fell 13.5 percent to 9,496.Rogue sales were up 3.8 percent to 6,770.Z was up 11.9 percent to 890. Inexplicably, Infiniti QX56 was up 0.4 percent to 553.Nissan GT-R was off by 19 units to 128.OTHERS …Hyundai says 22 percent of its trade-ins were “clunkers.” Sales rose 12 percent, to 45,553. Accent, Sonata, Elantra and Genesis all posted gains and Santa Fe was down very slightly.Kia sold 29,345 units, up 1,324 units from last July. Subaru was up an impressive 34 percent, to 21,839. Mazda sold 19,032, off 15.1 percent.BMW Group, including Mini, was off 26.7 percent, to 21,253. BMW brand sold 16,381, off 31.5 percent. Mini was off 3.8 percent, to 4,872. Only all-ne
w models gained sales last month; BMW Z4 (up 33.8-percent) and 7 Series (up 14.5 percent), and Mini Cooper convertible (up 45.1 percent).Cash for Clunkers helped Volkswagen, which was up 0.7 percent, to 20,590 while Audi says it outperformed the premium segment, dropping just 5.8 percent, to 6,407. The clunkers program does not help with new cars north of $45,000.Mercedes-Benz USA, sold 17,646, including 16,228 Mercedes (off 21.7 percent) and 1,418 smarts, off 44.6 percent.Jaguar Land Rover fell 25 percent, to 2,607. Jaguar was down 45 percent, to 785 cars and Land Rover was down 11 percent, to 1,822.
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6564996/car-news/july-sales-cash-for-clunkers-spurs-fomoco-toyota-regains-second-place/index.html

Audi Bucks the Trend, Promises More Product, Not All for U.S.

Hyundai’s U.S. CEO John Krafcik said it best earlier this year: “flat is the new up.” By that measure, Audi AG is riding high. Global sales fell 11 percent in the first half of 2009, versus 18 percent for the whole industry. What’s more, Audi was comparing its number to a record-setting 2008. In North America, sales fell 12 percent in the first half of the year, versus a one-third drop in sales for the industry. More important, Audi is making money. Its global first-half profit was 823 million euro ($1.17 billion), off 36.6 percent. Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbeck said Friday that the company posted a “clear profit” in both of the first two quarters. “We’re the most profitable premium manufacturer, at the present.”Audi continues its struggle for more premium market share in the U.S., of course. It’s been about 17 years since it nearly left our market. Audi’s still a pretty small player here, only its fourth-largest global market (after Germany, China and Great Britain) whereas we’ve traditionally been the second-largest market for Mercedes-Benz and BMW (though their Chinese sales undoubtedly rival U.S. sales now, too). Nevertheless, Strotbeck said Audi will “not push sales by artificially pushing lease prices down” in the U.S. Instead, it will continue to move upmarket. In terms of features, quality and luxurious interiors, Audi’s reputation is nearly that of BMW and Mercedes. While its A4 and A5 can get very expensive with optional equipment very quickly, the A4 especially strikes many upper-middle-class buyers as an accessible step up from an entry level Lexus, Infiniti or Acura, and perhaps a step-and-a-half up from a loaded Camry or Accord.The other element that’s working for Audi is marketing. While other luxury brands cut marketing and advertising budgets and get out of racing, Audi is a marketing powerhouse that led Super Bowl XLII advertising and spent a truckload of euro to go to Le Mans. It’s setting itself up well for the next decade, when strong marketing will pick the winners in a plethora of good new product. Strotbeck pointed to three new models Audi will introduce in coming months: the A5 Sportback, an all-new A8 coming in calendar 2010 and a new A1 in the third quarter of ’10. Two will not be imported to the U.S. Audi said this about future models/strategy in the North American market:No U.S. production plans for now. This became a big issue for models like the A4 last year when the euro’s value went past the $1.60 mark. Volkswagen is building a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will build the Passat replacement beginning calendar year ‘1l, but Audi won’t be part of it, for now. No plans to bring the 2011 A1 to North America. Audi hopes to grow A3 sales with a new diesel version coming to the U.S. in December. Problem with the A3 is that it costs nearly as much as a base A4 in the U.S., and despite the Mini’s popularity, we don’t like hatchbacks here. Given the expected technology, the A1 could cost Audi at least as much to build as the A3 or even the A4. Still, if the new A1 is as cool and cutting edge as the original, won’t it be as desirable as a Mini Cooper?While Audi still considers diesels the best green/fuel-efficient technology, it will have a hybrid Q5 on the market in one-and-a-half to two years.All of Audi’s 2010 gas-powered models will have direct injection, and it claims it will be the first to achieve that milestone.
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6564153/corporate/audi-bucks-the-trend-promises-more-product-not-all-for-us/index.html

Driving the Future: Nissan’s All New Electric Vehicle

Since April, we’ve been continually updating you on the progress of Nissan’s electric vehicle (EV) program with up to the minute news bulletins like this one.And this one.This one over here.And, yup, this one. Well today, Nissan essentially stuffed all of this information into one giant EV gyoza and reheated it for us at the automaker’s Advanced Technology Briefing at the Oppama Grandrive test track in Yokosuka, Japan.Was it fresh? Admittedly, no. None of what we saw today was groundbreaking stuff, but it certainly was nutritious — especially once we chewed on it for a while and digested all the details.The real purpose of this heaping helping of electrifying info is to build a buzz about Nissan’s latest EV — which happens to be making its debut this Sunday at the company’s new headquarters in Yokohama. Unlike previous concept vehicles and test mules, Nissan’s newest EV will not be a Frankenstein’d mashup of an existing platform and all electric power train. This as yet unnamed EV will be based on an all new, purpose built front wheel drive platform with a plug-in rechargeable electric motor up front and batteries slung low under the belly of the car.Nissan is not using cylindrical cell type batteries like many other electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturers opting instead for flat lithium ion (LiOn) laminate cells that look a bit like giant Pop Tarts. These batteries, developed in partnership with Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC, uses manganese as the positive electrode, instead of metals like nickel or cobalt. Manganese is relatively inexpensive and abundant in comparison to those other metals, and when oriented in Nissan/NEC’s special spinel structure (think Lego blocks) versus the standard sandwich orientation, the result is a battery that Nissan claims is more stable, reliable, and cost efficient than the competition’s. The flat shape and large surface area of the batteries  also makes for easier packaging (in stacks) and cooling. It also means the batteries use fewer components than cylindrical type cells, which also keeps cost down. In Nissan’s EV program, these laminate cells, about the size and thickness of a magazine are stacked four to a module. Forty-eight modules and a management system, packaged as a single lumpy unit and enclosed in a metal frame, comprise the EV’s battery pack. The idea here is that this battery pack could then be bolted up into an EV on an assembly line – as car makers do with various subassemblies. Supplying these battery packs is Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a company co-developed by Nissan and Renault. The battery pack slots in underneath the car, between the wheels, where you would traditionally find a driveshaft or exhaust pipes running the length of the vehicle. Some of the modules in the pack are stacked horizontally and vertically to create the base for the front and rear seats in this 5 passenger car. Others lie flat in the battery pack and compose rear seat foot well. Nissan calls the arrangement high-low-high. Though heavy (each of the 48 modules weighs roughly 7.7 lbs), the battery pack’s ground hugging orientation should provide for a low center of gravity and good handling.So will the 80KW electric motor that sits up front in the chassis. While the inverter sits relatively high in the engine bay – about the normal height of an internal combustion engine’s cylinder head – to facilitate access to the charging ports, the electric motor sits very low, between the front wheels and far beneath the strut towers – about where you’d expect to find the oil pan of a traditional engine.Overall, Nissan’s layout is impressive because of its elegance and simplicity. EV powertrain aside, the cutaway model reveals what is essentially a blank canvas.  With the front engine/front wheel drive configuration and all of the batteries low and out of the way, the cargo and passenger area looked like they could be configured in number of ways, without sacrifices to either. Almost any type of body style could be designed on top this platform as well.  And theoretically, you could even make this a rear or all wheel drive vehicle by beefing up the rear suspension and stuffing another electric motor in the back, low and behind the battery pack. Such speculation is all fine and good, but how does it drive?Quite well actually. We had but the briefest taste of the EV’s performance – one lap around the Grandrive test track in a Versa-based test mule – but it made a compelling case.Acceleration is surprisingly brisk; the 80 kW electric motor doles out all of its 207 lb ft of torque in less than 100 milleseconds once you hit the throttle, providing the sensation of instant response. Nissan engineers claim it accelerates better than an Infiniti G35 by leaving the line quicker and getting up to speed more smoothly. Its top speed of only 87 mph is quite a bit off the pace of the G. On the other hand, it’s much quieter than that car or any for that matter. The electric motor and single speed gearbox mean it’s nothing but quiet thrust when you put your foot down. The only sounds come from the tires as they hum over the pavement and the greenhouse as the wind rushes over and across it. As for the rest of the ride, well, Nissan’s EV mule drives pretty much like a standard issue Versa.  Shrunken joystick shifter and tab style parking brake lever aside, the rest of this test mule’s controls feel the same as a standard Versa. Same goes for the ride and handling; the cars pushes back if you ask it to corner too fast, but it does feel more planted and less tippy as it turns. Perhaps the battery placement providing the extra stability.With a range of 100 miles on a full charge, Nissan claims its EV will suit the average commuting needs of approximately 80% of Americans. What happens when the battery runs down?  Well Nissan has clearly thought a lot about that as well; they not only have a plan for how you can charge the car at your house at night, but how you’ll manage during a
busy workweek or weekend.Nissan’s EV battery pack can be charged in a number of ways.  A home recharging kit allows you to power up the EV from standard 110V or 220V outlets. Simply connect an SAE standardized pistol-like charger to the port at the nose of the car and wait. Charge times at 110V are claimed to be approximately 8 hours; half that for 220V.  Nissan has also developed special three phase, 200V quick charging stations can deliver 80% battery charge in 30 minutes – though it requires a larger, specially shaped charger and receiver port.To reduce any anxiety associated with the limited 100 mile range and long recharging times, Nissan has also given its EV a special monitoring system they call EV-IT. This system monitors the battery level and provides range information on a navigation screen, so users will never have to wonder how far they can go or where they can juice up.  Nissan claims EV-IT will also provide a whole host of smart features to the EV driving experience and set up an animated clip to showcase what living with its EV might be like:You wake up to find an email on your smartphone from your Nissan EV providing a update on the battery charge – a benefit of the networked EV-IT system. Assuming you’ve had it plugged in for 8hours at 110V or 4 hours at 220V, your car should be fully charged. At this point, you can remotely turn the A/C on (and in the future, and engine oil warmer) to get the car up to suitable operating temperature while it is still plugged in.  This conserves energy for your morning commute.While you recoup some of the power on the way to work via regenerative braking, the bulk of recharging takes place at work – via the 110V/220V system, or a quick charger. After a long day of work, you pull into your garage, click her off and plug her in. But you don’t start charging right away. Via your smartphone, you program a start time for the charging cycle; late in the night when demand and electricity rates are lowest. For longer weekend trips, EV-IT will help you plan your route, by keeping up to date on your remaining battery power and driving range and locating charging stations nearby. In Nissan’s future, shopping centers and restaurants along your route will have quick charging stations, so you can continually keep your EV’s batteries charged with minimal disruption to your journey. Further off are plans for non contact charging via electromagnetic induction. Imagine being able to top off your car’s batteries by simply pulling your EV over a special recharging pad built into the ground. Whether you’re parked for hours at the local mega mall or for just a minute at a red light, the battery charge goes up.Sound too good to be true? Perhaps. This Sunday, (Saturday for America), Nissan will unveil the first step towards this future, when it reveals its as yet unnamed, zero emissions electric vehicle at its new headquarters in Yokohama.  We’ll be there for a complete update, so stay tuned. 
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6564081/green/driving-the-future-nissans-all-new-electric-vehicle/index.html

Piech Wins Again: Finally, Volkswagen Buys Porsche

This just in from Wolfsburg: Volkswagen’s supervisory board has met in an “extraordinary meeting to create an integrated automotive group with Porsche…” From Porsche’s first sports car, the 356 in 1948 through the original air-cooled 911, the VW-Porsche 914, the 924 meant for Audi, and right on up to the Cayenne-Touareg, the two companies have been closely intertwined.

Ferdinand Piech, the big winner in this deal, is a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. He has been playing corporate games with his cousin, Porsche chairman Wolfgang Porsche, at least since the sports carmaker’s holding company started buying up shares of VW.

The story goes something like this: Porsche SE has been buying up VW AG shares for the past couple of years. Porsche needed to expand its corporate lineup in order to meet future European CO2 regulations, which are figured similar to the United States’ Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. Buying a company that sells diesel Polos and Golfs means Porsche wouldn’t have to build its own small, fuel-efficient cars. What’s more, Porsche Chairman Wendelin Wiedeking thought he could do a better job of running a Porsche-VW than VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn.

By this year, Porsche had accumulated 51 percent of VW AG’s shares. Problem is the state of Lower Saxony’s unusual shareholder interest in VW. It’s not unlike the Ford family’s special stock ownership in Ford Motor Company, which gives that family shareholder control without owning a majority of common stock. For VW, it prevented Porsche from taking control. Meanwhile, Porsche has run up 10 billion euro in debt ($12.8 billion) as it has been buying up shares.

A large portion of that debt came due this summer, allowing VW to turn the tables on Porsche. Thursday morning, Porsche’s supervisory board announced what had been expected for weeks; it dismissed Wiedeking and his finance chief, Holger P. Haerter. VW will take care of some of the Porsche debt in the merger, and Porsche is charging ahead with an injection of Qatari capital.

Considering how Piech has run VW, expanding the Porsche lineup might seem likely. The first two would be a small, midengine four-cylinder Porsche sports car based on the coming VW BlueSport and the so-called Roxster, a smaller-than-Cayenne crossover based on the Audi Q5.

On the other hand, Wiedeking’s successor, named Thursday morning, is Michael Macht, an engineer whom Wiedeking often credited for driving the project to get the 996 and original Boxster to share platforms and production lines, to cut costs and to improve quality. Macht, 48, recently told Motor Trend’s Paul Horrell that Porsche would fight for its independence and would remain a low-volume, high-priced brand. “Never a car cheaper than the Boxster,” he said, and no fifth model line like the “Roxster.”

“He laughed at the prospect of Porsche doing a version of the VW BlueSport.”

The big question now is, what does Ferdinand Piech think?

Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6534574/corporate/piech-wins-again-finally-volkswagen-buys-porsche/index.html

Healthiest Patient in ICU: Ford Posts $424-million Operating Loss

DEARBORN, MICHIGAN – It’s not party time, yet, at Ford Motor Company’s World Headquarters. Ford’s $2.3-billion in net income for the second quarter of ’09 is the result of “special items,” those bookkeeping procedures that in past years have reversed the fortunes of the Detroit Three, especially General Motors. Probably the most important line item is this: Ford has cut automotive structural costs by $1.8 billion, of which $1.2 billion came from North American savings.

Cost reduction is the New GM’s key goal, of course, and both Ford and GM are quickly slashing costs in order to transform themselves into companies that can make profits even when no more than 10 million cars and trucks are sold each year in the United States. Thursday’s Q2 results for Ford proves the automaker is on-track with what it used to call The Way Forward Plan.

Ford still plans to “get back to profitability and positive cash flow in 2011,” says Alan Mulally, president and CEO. And it won’t happen any earlier, considering the current economic climate and predictions that any recovery will be slow in 2010. Mulally says Ford is heading for profitability thanks to improvements it has made in customer satisfaction, revenue and margins. Some of Ford’s numbers:

Pre-tax loss of $424 million; net income of $2.3 billion in the second quarter, equal to 69-cents per share.
Special items totaled $2.8 billion, and Ford reduced its debt by $3.4 billion.
Issued 345 million new shares of common stock, which raised $1.6 billion. “Completed actions” to cut automotive debt by $10.1 billion.
Pre-tax profit of $646 million compares with a pre-tax loss of $294 million for the second quarter of ’08.

*Market share is up significantly. In the U.S., Ford/Lincoln/Mercury have 16.4-percent market share, up two points. So FoMoCo is on solid ground to remain one of the Big Three in North America. We’ve been heading, for some time, to the European model, in which three automakers lead that market with about 18-percent share each. In the U.S., the new Big Three are GM, Ford and Toyota. And yes, Ford is nipping at the New GM’s heels.

*European market share is up a half-point, to 9.0 percent, highest second-quarter level in 10 years. In South America, share is up one point, to 10.4 percent.

Mulally deserves a lot of credit for, first, changing the business culture in Dearborn, and perhaps foremost, for having the insight or the luck to hock the entire company up to and including the Blue Oval emblem in exchange for some $23 billion in credit, before the credit market collapsed. It seemed like a foolhardy idea at the time, and frankly, Ford isn’t in the clear. It’s the proverbial healthiest patient in intensive care. Any downward blips in the global or U.S. economy, and/or in the North American automotive market could prove fatal.

Mulally figures Ford has gained some consumer equity by not taking taxpayer money, although he stresses that Ford has been on-record in supporting the government’s restructuring of the U.S. auto industry.

Another factor is gasoline prices. When the economy finally improves, that will put pressure on oil supplies, sending gasoline prices higher. And Ford is well poised with Mulally’s One Ford plan to rationalize most car and truck lines for the world. Whether gas is $2.25 or $4.50 a gallon, the Fiesta and an all-new global Focus arrive in U.S. showrooms next year. Ford’s margins are up, especially in Europe, and our midsize car, the Fusion, is selling well here with higher levels of content. Ford dealers here sell Sync-equipped cars three-times more quickly than non-Sync cars, says Lewis Booth, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Still, here’s the problem: the Fiesta can typically sell for $25,000 or more in Europe, at current exchange rates. That gives Ford of Europe good margins on a car with a wealth of features and a nice interior. The margins will be razor thin for the U.S.-market Fiesta, even with it being built in Mexico. And Ford will have to be careful with how it prices the new Fiesta against the next-generation Focus when they both arrive here.

Ford’s success in the car line rides on the Fusion, which for now is different than Europe’s midsize Mondeo. Can Ford take enough cost out of the Fusion’s replacement, when it converges with the Mondeo for the 2013 model year? Even when higher fuel economy standards kick in, the heart of the U.S. car market will remain the four-cylinder midsize sedan. Ford is starting to dig into the Camry/Accord’s sales with its Fusion. Save for the hybrid model though, a $30,000+ Fusion — the price range for the European Mondeo — is very much a stretch.

Mulally says Ford can sell European models at U.S. prices by using its innovation and global scale. He also believes Americans are more willing to pay more for high-quality, high-content small cars. Every new b-segment car is not a Mini, however. I believe that if Ford wants to be the healthiest athlete in the gym when the Great Recession finally ends, it’s going to have to revert to its Model T-era roots and figure out how to keep car prices from rising too quickly. Another car company that posted better than expected second quarter results Thursday, Hyundai, will see to it.

Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6561444/earnings/healthiest-patient-in-icu-ford-posts-424-million-operating-loss/index.html

Audi Unveils The R8 5.2 Litre V10 Quattro

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Audi has unveiled the R8 V10 5.2 FSI?Quattro?ahead of its official launch at?the Detroit Motor show in January 2009. The fastest production R8 gets the 5.2 Litre V10 from the Gallardo making in excess of 525 bhp and 390 lb-ft of torque. The number are enough to propel the latest and the greatest by Audi from 0 to 62 mph in under4 Seconds with a top speed of 196 mph, still shy of the magical 200 mph mark.

The new R8 V10 is the street going version of the R8 LMS GT3? which featured the same 5.2 Litre V10 engine. The transmissions options include the same 6-Speed R-tronic Automatic or the manual version.

The V10 version is differenciated by a new set of all-LED lights for the main and the low beam along with the daytime runnings lights and a new diffuser to to keep the rear planted. The scoops on the sides also buldge more outwards to draw in maximum air to cool the bigger engine while the rear now has larger dual-exhausts instead of the quad-exhaust of the normal V8 version.

The car will go on sale in Germany in the coming spring with a base price of EUR 142,400 and will officially debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

Jump over for the Press Release and Gallery Images.

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