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SMALLER CARS ARE BECOMING SAFER CARS

As Dan Carney of MSNBC.com points out, Americans have had a tendency to supersize everything, from their food to the vehicles they drive.  However, with the rising prices of gasoline, more Americans have decided to downsize their vehicles.  And the sales of smaller vehicles reflect this change.  Honda, for example, reported the most Civic sales ever during the month of May.  But for some Americans, the thought of going to a smaller car is an uncomfortable feeling, fearing they are giving up safety for better fuel economy.

HONDA LOOKING TO IMPROVE ACCORD SALES

According to WardsAuto, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. wants to “boost sales of its Accord midsize sedan to a level not seen since 2001.” In recent year’s, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s Camry has surpassed the Accord in sales, and Honda wants to take back some of the market share.

GROWTH OF VEHICLE ELECTRONICS

Electronics and software represent more than 20% of the cost of today’s vehicles. Analysts project growth to 35% or even 40% by 2010. So according to WardsAuto, so-called embedded computing is growing as well.

GM'S RETRO STYLING IS REWARDED

Each year, cars and trucks are given various “best of” awards. This year, the Chevrolet Volt Concept received the 2007 North American Specialty Concept Vehicle of the Year and the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of the Year at an awards ceremony at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. And the award for 2007 North American Concept Car of the Year went to the Holden EFIJY.


 

VW RELEASES MORE INFORMATION ON THE 2008 JETTA DIESEL

According to The Car Connection, Volkswagen has confirmed that the new Jetta sedan will be the first of the company’s vehicles to get the new clean diesel engine in 2008. Production for the clean-diesel Jetta TDI is expected to begin in January of 2008 and will go on sale in late spring. The new diesel will be 50-state complaint and will be badged as a TDI.

TOP MODS OF THE URBAN-LIFESTYLE MARKET

We saw it a few years ago: young car buyers were accessorizing their rides primarily with "dress-up" parts, such as big wings, race-inspired body kits and a host of dress-up modifications. This may sound like the sport-compact market of yesterday, but that market as we know it today has shifted more toward performance, with appearance almost becoming secondary. So what has happened to that consumer who wants his or her car to look cool and is less concerned with performance? The answer may lie in what is known as the urban-lifestyle market.

PRICING ANNOUNCEMENTS: VERSA, HIGHLANDER, RS4 CABRIOLET

Pricing for the 2008 Nissan Versa, Toyota Highlander and Audi RS4 Cabriolet have been announced.

*Sales for the early-model Audi RS4 Convertible are unavailable

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.

<i>KELLEY BLUE BOOK</i> STUDY RATES VEHICLE BRANDS IN "DRIVING PERFORMANCE"

According to Kelley Blue Book's 'Driving Performance' portion of its consumer automotive perceptions research study Brand Watch, Toyota and BMW each claimed two number-one spots for best driving performance. Toyota took the top spot in both the minivan and non-luxury SUV segments, while BMW was singled out for top honors among luxury SUVs and luxury sedans, according to its latest results.

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