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VOLKSWAGEN'S NEW HIGH-PERFORMANCE CAR WILL BE HARD TO GET

The limited-production Volkswagen R32 will be one of the cars with a lot of appeal for the sport-compact market, but it won’t be easy to get. And according to WardsAuto, its price tag will be more than twice that of the $15,000 base-model Rabbit hatchback and will have exotic-car performance.

MORE DIESELS TO HIT THE MARKET

According to AutoWeek, Detroit’s automakers are working quickly to install fuel-saving diesel engines in their light trucks. And Nissan and Toyota may join them as well. Diesels have been common in the domestic automakers’ heavy-duty pickups, but as fuel economy concerns grow, as well as pressures form the competition, we may start seeing them in the light-duty trucks as well.

ELECTROMAGNETIC ACTUATORS COULD REPLACE HYDRAULIC COMPONENTS

Hydraulic components are found many places in the automotive and specialty-equipment industries. They can be found on carbon-fiber hoods and the lift gates of SUVs. They are often slow and noisy. But some people have developed a product that could potentially replace standard hydraulics—the electromagnetic actuator.

CARS STILL A HIGHER PRIORITY THAN ENTERTAINMENT

Discover Financial Services recently conducted a survey asking consumers what they would be willing to do to save money during this time of high gas prices. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the survey found that 80% of Americans say their car or truck is very important to their everyday lives.

NEXT-GENERATION HUMMER H2

According to WardsAuto, the Hummer H2 has become the modern icon of conspicuous consumption. For the specialty-equipment market, it has become somewhat of an icon for customization. For 2008, the next Hummer H2 will be more powerful than ever.

HONDA'S FUEL-CELL CONCEPT

According to Honda, the next-generation FCX Concept fuel-cell vehicle made its European driving debut at the Gotland Ring in Sweden. They claim the vehicle is 60% energy efficient, about three times that of a petrol-engine vehicle and twice that of a hybrid.

MERCEDES-BENZ ANNOUNCES C-CLASS PRICING

Mercedes-Benz just announced pricing for its C class models, according to AutoWeek. The automaker actually cut the cost of the upper trim levels of the 2008 C class, but increased the base price by $1,500. The new C class will be available on August 7 in sport and luxury trim levels that feature suspension tuning and distinctive front ends, wheels and interior trim.

MERCEDES-BENZ NEW AMG MODEL TO HIT SPRING 2008

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, which according to AutoWeek will go on sale in spring 2008, is expected to challenge BMW’s new M3 for outright driver appeal. Tobias Moers of Mercedes-Benz says that the C63 has more development miles than any other cars in AMG’s 40-year history.

BMW 1 SERIES HAS APPEAL OF M3

BMW has denied any concrete plan to build an M version of the entry-level 1 Series. But according to AutoWeek, the versions of the 1 Series that will be available resurrect the spirit of the original M3. The 1 Series is expected to debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show.

GM TO SELL ALLISON TRANSMISSION

General Motors has announced it will sell its Allison Transmission commercial and military business to the private equity firms Carlyle Group and Onex Corp. The selling price is expected to be around $5.6 billion. The agreement will include seven manufacturing operations in Indianapolis along with the worldwide distribution network and sales offices. However, GM will keep a plant in Baltimore, which produces the conventional and hybrid two-mode transmissions used in GM light trucks. Currently, the Allison Transmission is an option on the Silverado 2500 HD with the Duramax Diesel engine.

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