Today hot auto news

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Video: Take a ride with new Icon Chevy Thriftmaster truck

02/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Time Warp, Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Chevrolet

Thriftmaster: Making of an Icon

We were big fans of the Icon Chevrolet Thriftmaster when it debuted at the 2013 SEMA Show (okay, we're kind of big fans of whatever Icon does). Its retro looks and beautiful craftsmanship combined with a brawny 5.3-liter V8 make it seem like a prime vehicle for summer's night cruise.

Now, Roads & Rides has taken an inside look at the Thriftmaster and interviewed the truck's designer (and Icon's CEO) Jonathan Ward. Besides showing off the matte-colored truck on one of California's famous winding roads, R&R takes a look inside Icon's facilities and talks to Ward about the meticulous design work that's gone into the retro-modded pickup, ranging from designing a font for the gauges to perfecting the truck's innovative infotainment system.

Scroll down for the entire video.

Continue reading Take a ride with new Icon Chevy Thriftmaster truck

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Reader renders 2013 SRT Viper

02/25/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Chrysler, Dodge, Rumormill, Design/Style

2013 SRT Viper

While we wait for the unveiling of the 2013 SRT Viper, the inevitable speculation over what it's going to look like continues. In broad terms, we already know what we're going to get in the third generation of Chrysler's flagship sports car. We've seen enough teases, blurry Hot Wheels photos and spy shots to know that the final product is going to look like, well, a Viper - long hood, wide stance, massive grille, big wheels.

Ah, but the details. The big questions concerning what's under the hood and performance specs and such won't truly be answered until Chrysler actually rolls out some real cars. But perhaps more importantly, we do have a good sense of the Viper's new face. Its triangular headlights and triple hood scoops look to raise the aggro level, and those features have been nicely illustrated by one of our readers.

Dodge Viper Hot Wheels carSpen Oner created the rendering you see above, using that Hot Wheels image as its basis. As we noted in our original post about the Hot Wheels car, the wheels are a bit over-sized, and the angle of the shot only accentuates that. We also know that there will be something other than gaping black space in the grille area, as we've seen a stylized version of Dodge's crosshair grille in the shots of what we think are production molds for the hood and front end.

Thanks to Spen Oner and stay tuned for more news. We promise we'll do our best to make you sick of the Viper before it's even released!

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Daihatsu Sonica: Small and stylish for Japan

06/20/2006   [Original: Daihatsu via Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Etc., Japan, Hatchbacks

Daihatsu Sonica

The latest kei car to jump into the Japanese marketplace is the Daihatsu Sonica, which was released yesterday. Available in three trim levels, R, RS, and RS Limited, all Sonicas are powered by a 64-horsepower 658cc 3-cylinder turbo which is connected to a new CVT. The CVT is also brand-new and makes its debut on the Sonica. The car is available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations and is a fuel-sipper, as you'd expect. Depending on the drivetrain, it gets 54 mpg (2WD) or 49 mpg (4WD).

Stylewise, the Sonica is an attractive little hatchback, whose slab-sidedness is mitigated nicely through the use of an upwardly sloping oval shape for the side windows. While the R model is a bit of a stripper, contentwise, R and RS cars are available with dress-up parts like directional alloys, and get a leather-wrapped MOMO steering wheel as standard equipment. Because we're talking about Japan, there are plenty of factory accessories that can be added to further personalize the car. (Gold wheels? Yes!)

Dash layout is clean and simple, and buyers can choose from red or black for the seating surfaces. The car meets European crash safety standards and also incorporates pedestrian protection features as part of its design. Prices range from ¥1.13 - 1.475 million.

(Interior shots, press release after the jump)

Sonica dashSonica consoleSonica seating

19th June, 2006

Daihatsu Launches New Mini Passenger Car SONICA

DAIHATSU MOTOR CO., LTD. (Daihatsu) announced the launch in Japan of the new SONICA* mini passenger car on June 19.

The SONICA is a new concept car, developed in the pursuit of innovatively high quality driving performance for a small car. With target buyer focus on commonly known "freestyle couples" who place great importance on their own personalities and private time, this car anticipates recent lifestyle changes in Japan, as well as the shift of user preference toward smaller cars. The SONICA is the result of Daihatsu's continuing quest for passenger cars that give their users the driving enjoyment and cruising comfort they are seeking.

Key features of the newly launched SONICA:

Car body design that brings refreshment and excitement

  • Low, long body configuration that conveys an image of comfortable driving
Spacious, comfortable interior that relaxes

  • Low floor, long and wide interior space
  • Roomy interior that gently encompasses passengers; bench seats that make cruising enjoyable
Traveling performance ideal for cruising

  • Turbo engine equipped with newly developed CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) achieves smoothly controlled yet powerful driving force, with low fuel consumption (2WD: 23.0 km/L*3, lowest among the class**; 4WD: 21.0 km/L***).
  • Exhilarating steering feel, relaxing ride
  • Low interior noise that accommodates lively conversation

*: SONICA is a coined name, representing a soaring and nimble car.

**: According to Daihatsu's June 2006 survey for light vehicles with turbo engines

***: Based on 10-15 Japanese test cycle. Figures reviewed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

Monthly sales target in Japan: 2,000 units

Manufacturer's suggested retail price (excluding consumption tax): ¥1.13 - 1.475 million

(Photo shows 2WD/RS Limited grade of SONICA, priced at ¥1.35 million.)

Main Specifications

All Grades (R, RS, RS Limited)

Overall length (mm) 3,395

Overall width (mm) 1,475

Overall height (mm) 1,470

Wheelbase (mm) 2,440

Seating capacity (persons) 4

Engine type KF-DET

Displacement (cc) 658

Maximum output (kW/rpm) 47/6,000

Maximum torque (No.m/rpm) 103/3,000

Transmission CVT

Power Train 2WD/4WD

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Nine seconds in the quarter mile for less than $10K

08/05/2006   [Original: GM High-Tech Performance via Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Motorsports, Pontiac

For those of you that have voiced concern about the seven-figure built-for-show projects that keep popping up all over the place, consider this 1995 Pontiac Trans Am to be the antidote. Built by Clint Schexnayder and his brother, the 'bird flies through the quarter mile in 9.85 seconds with a trap speed of 136 mph, and was built for less than $10,000.

The cost of the project was kept down with the owner doing the vast majority of the work, including building the engine and fabricating a custom rear axle (it consists of a Ford 8.8" center section - well-known for its robustness - mated to the OEM axle tubes to retain the stock disc brakes). A healthy set of TrickFlow heads help flow large amounts of air and 150-200 HP worth of nitrous to the 355-cubic-inch LT1, where the power then gets routed through a transbrake-equipped TH350 3-speed auto.

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VW Individual: More than just paint and wheels

08/11/2006   [Original: Volkswagen via Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Economy, Minivans/MPVs, Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Wagons/Estates, Euro, Crossovers/CUVs, Hatchbacks, Volkswagen

Volkswagen IndividualThis week, Volkswagen introduced a new logo for their Volkswagen Individual line. Launched in 2003, Individual is Volkswagen's answer to other in-house customization and accessorization divisions like Audi Exclusive, Porsche Exclusive, and in Japan, Toyota Modellista.

In addition to customer-oriented personalization options, Individual also creates complete cars that are sold with the "Individual" branding. The Eos Individual (which you can check out after the jump) is one of the latest creations, and sports several attractive modifications like alternate wheels and a custom two-tone interior. Individual models are also available for the Touareg, Passat, Golf, Jetta, Sharan, Touran, and Golf Plus. Going forward, any vehicle that sports customizations by Individual will wear the newly-unveiled Individual logo shown above.

Volkswagen has also tasked the group with overseeing special projects like the 'R" product lineup (which today consists of the R32), "Product Impulse" vehicles such as the Touareg W12 Sport, and new niche creations such as the CrossPolo. "Green" efforts like the Touran EcoFuel and Polo BlueMotion have also fallen under the purview of VW Individual.

That's a lot of responsibility. Whether it's a set of rims, a one-off like the Phaeton Lounge, or a product offshoot like the R32 or CrossPolo, Volkswagen Individual's fingerprints are everywhere, and that seems to be a good thing.

(Photos, multiple press releases after the jump.)


Phaeton Individual:

Phaeton IndividualPhaeton IndividualPhaeton IndividualPhaeton Individual

Phaeton IndividualPhaeton IndividualPhaeton IndividualPhaeton Individual

Eos Individual:

Eos IndividualEos IndividualEos Individual

Eos Individual

Golf & Jetta Individual:

Golf IndividualJetta Individual

Passat Individual:

Passat Individual


VW CrossPoloVW CrossPoloVW CrossPolo



Golf GTI 30 Edition (Study)

Golf GTI 30 Edition

Touareg Individual:

Touareg Individual

Polo BlueMotion:

Polo BlueMotion

Polo GTI Cup Edition:

Polo GTI Cup Edition

Touareg Expedition:

Touareg ExpeditionTouareg Expedition

Touareg W12 Executive:

Touareg W12 Executive

Touareg W12 Sport:

Touareg W12 Sport

Touran EcoFuel:

Touran EcoFuel

Phaeton Lounge (Study):

Phaeton Lounge:

Touareg V10 TDI Exclusive Edition:

Touareg V10 TDI Exclusive Edition

Touareg V10 TDI Exclusive EditionTouareg V10 TDI Exclusive Edition


Volkswagen Individual GmbH: Exclusive Individual Models receive own logo

Wolfsburg, 08 August 2006 - The most exclusive automobiles of Volkswagen Individual GmbH can be recognized by its own logo starting in the fourth quarter of 2006: the "i" for the product brand "Individual". It is worked into an emblem which bears resemblance to the VW emblem of the 50ies. The product brand logo reflects what the competence center for striking low volume productions and innovative niche products of the Europe's largest automobile producer started in 2003 when establishing Volkswagen Individual GmbH - the project of dreams come true. Volkswagen Individual GmbH conceptualizes these dreams in three different business areas "Individual", "R" and "Product Impulses":

Business area product brand "Individual": Through the product brand Individual VW can offer a spectrum of possibilities unmatched by other high volume producers. It stretches from design oriented exclusive optional equipment to totally customized Exclusives. So far the options for individualization are offered for the Golf, Golf Plus, Jetta, Touran, Eos, Sharan, Passat, Passat Variant, Touareg and Phaeton.

Logo for two vehicle categories: Starting at a certain level of upgrading these Individual models will be graced by the new "i" logo. Located in three different positions on the vehicle: on the outside the chrome-plated emblem will be placed on the sides of the front fenders. In the interior the Wolfsburg upgrading specialists have the sign imprinted into the leather of the front headrests. Additionally, the logo can be found in combination the spelled out "Individual" in the door entry area door entry area. The logo is used for two vehicle categories. First for complete models like the Golf Individual or Touareg Individual and second for vehicles built in series which are upgraded by at least one Individual seat system.

Graphic joins tradition and modern days: From a graphic point of view the new logo of the product brand "Individual" brings three aspects together. Aspect 1 is self explanatory: the stylized letter "i" makes a typographical reference to the company and to its principal task, individualizing. Aspect 2 is clear to everyone the moment they set eyes on the side "face" of the Golf: the logo graces the graphic design of the front part with its headlights and radiator grill in an abstract way. Aspect 3 comes full circle to history: the shape of the emblem pays tribute to the brand history of Volkswagen: already the bow hood of the legendary Beetle was graced by the coat of arms of the city of Wolfsburg (starting 1951), later on being replaced by the round VW symbol.

Business area product brand "R": Under the label of the product brand "R" extremely sporty Volkswagen are developed. The current Golf R32 is the first one of the R-models and in its high performance takes center stage.

Business area "Product Impulses": In the business areas "Product Impulses" Volkswagen Individual sets a course and develops special series like the Polo GTI Cup Edition, the Cross Polo or the Touareg W12 Executive.

Special-Purpose Vehicles: Last but not least, Volkswagen Individual GmbH also develops special-purpose vehicles for the police and other official usages such as the natural-gas powered Touran EcoFuel.


Volkswagen Individual - The Individual-Models: Golf, Eos, Passat, Passat Variant, Touareg

Unique vehicles with a very personal note

The exclusive models of the series Golf, Eos, Passat and Touareg

Spectrum of the individual complete vehicles is constantly growing

Wolfsburg, 08 August 2006

Individuality ex work - a contradiction? No, at least not at Volkswagen. Firstly Europe's largest automobile manufacturer offers almost countless possibilities to configure its new cars via the equipment spectrum of its models. Secondly there are the Volkswagen Individual models. Namely the Golf Individual, the Passat Individual, the Passat Variant Individual, the new Eos Individual and the Touareg Individual. An overview:

Golf Individual - Europe's number 1 in its most noble form

The Golf Individual is tailored to the growing number of customers that would like the comfort and performance of larger vehicles in the car body format of the lower middle class. Upon request this Golf can be painted in the new Individual color "Sommelier Red Pearl Effect"; it is available exclusively in connection with the Individual edition. Alternately the Golf Individual can be ordered in "Shadow Blue", "Reflex Silver" (each of them metallic) and "Black Magic" (pearl effect). Incidentally the roof top spoiler and bumper underparts are also painted in the body color. As for motors, Volkswagen Individual among others deploys the gas fuel 1.6 FSI (85 kW/115 hp) and 2.0 FSI (110 kW/150 hp) as well as the Turbo diesel 1.9 TDI (77 kW/105 hp) and 2.0 TDI (103 kW/140 hp). All in all fifteen motors are available.

The equipment of the Golf Individual is based on the version Sportline. 225 wide base tires and gloss turned 18 inch alloy rims set an optical highlight and optimize the road holding. In the interior the top sport seats known from the GTI fit the dynamic character. In this case they however come standard with leather upholstery; the middle lanes are out of exclusive holed leather which discretely lets the dark red ("Grenadine") or gray ("Art Grey") textile shimmer through. The door insets as well as the fabric borders of the foot mats are held in the corresponding tone. The equipment of the exclusive Golf is rounded off through Individual entry ledges and armature applications in the aluminum design "Mineral".

Passat and Passat Variant Individual - Noble black

The Passat Individual is offered as a limousine and Variant. On the outside the two most exclusive versions of the successful series can be electively recognized by the chrome applications and the specifically designed 18 inch alloy wheels. On the inside the sporty elegant appearance is rounded off by the dual colored leather equipment (in "Nappa Black / Snow Beige" or "Nappa Black / Teak").

Generally, the customer can chose between the classic light or sporty dark chrome style for the radiator grille, window frame and decorative ledges on the doors, rear bumpers and model logo. The dark chrome used for the first time by Volkswagen to refine a car is produced in a special metallization process, where vehicle parts are coated with a metalliferous layer. The result: a discreet shiny, ultra hard surface that is extremely scratch resistant and resilient against wear and tear and corrosion.

Together with the 15 millimeter lowered sport chassis, the anthracite lacquered 18 inch alloy wheels "Chicago" in five double spoke design with gloss turned surface give the Passat Individual an especially dynamic note. Optional and at no extra cost both models can be had with the alloy wheel "Samarkand". The wheel house ledges are colored in black, the side windows in the rear and the rear window are tinted correspondingly.

In the interior not only are the seats covered in a dual tone "Sensitive" leather but the door side panels are as well. The decorative seams on the three spoke multi function steering wheel and the gear shift cuff as well as the border of the textile foot mats correspond with each color combination. Décor inlays out of dark brushed aluminum underline the individual character of the interior.

Apart from the standard equipment of the Passat Sportline, the Passat Individual additionally is equipped with fog head lights, heatable window wash spray nozzles, an individually adjustable heatable seat for front and back seats as well as two zone climate automatic. The offer is rounded off by a radio-CD-system with four speakers in the front. If the, also developed by Volkswagen, Rear Seat Entertainment Systems (RSE) is on board there are either one or two LCD-screens (depending on the model) integrated into the front headrests. Apart from DVD's, the appendant player can also play music CDs. Furthermore, external devices such as games consoles, MP3 players and camcorders can be connected to the RSE through an interface.

Eos Individual - Exclusiv-Version of the 365-Day-Convertible

Its unique roof concept turns the Eos into a convertible for 365 days of the year. The most exclusive way to drive an Eos is offered by the program of Volkswagen Individual. In fact ex works. The spectrum of individualization possibilities reaches a level that is usually only offered by luxury brands like Bentley. Outside signs of the Eos Individual are alloy wheels in the 18 inch dimension. The customer can choose between the wheel types "Veracruz", "Chicago" and "Samarkand".

The seats of the Eos Individual are upholstered with dual tone Nappa leather. A contrast to the base color "Black" - which was also selected for the entire trim - are the middle lanes in "Corn Silk Beige" and the light colored piping. The sport steering wheel as well as the gear shift cuff and hand brake have light colored decorative seams as well. The edgings of the textile foot mats are also held in "Corn Silk Beige". An optical high light is set by the décor inlays that are covered with black piano lacquer.

Six exclusive auto paint colors are available for the Eos Individual: the metallic tones „Silver Essence", „Wheat Beige" und „Midnight Blue", the pearl effect-paint „Deep Black" and „Island Grey" as well as the especially sporty alternative „Red Pepper". The motor palette ranges from Turbo diesel 2.0 TDI (103 kW/140 hp) to the 3.2 liter six cylinder gas fuel with impressive 184 kW/250 hp and the double gear shift transmission DSG that comes standard.

Touareg Individual - Masterpiece for Off Road

The program of the independently designed complete models based on the successful off road specialist begins with the Touareg Individual. In the interior a dual tone leather equipment is used for the seats and parts of the door panels. The comfort seats of the Touareg are refined by a combination of Nappa leather and brown natural leather. Applications in ebony or piano lacquer black stylishly fit into this picture. Special foot mats in Tuft velour with colored edgings in color coordinated leather trim underline the exclusive character of the Touareg interior. An optical counterpoint to the natural materials in the area of doors and door entry ledges is the noble aluminum. The entry ledges are equipped with the Individual logo.

The Touareg comes standard with 19 inch alloy wheels, "Siena" style in a double spoke look. Upon request the alloy wheels can also be delivered in the 20 inch format. As is usually only with top motorizations, all Touareg Individuals also keep the running step on the rear bumper, the complete radiator grille and the side window frames in chrome. Corresponding with that: the silver colored roof rack.

The motor palette optimally fits the superior character of the Touareg Individual and offers the customer a broad selection to find the optimum power train suiting their personal needs. Two gas fuel engines - the 3.2 V6 FSI with 206 kW / 280 hp and the 4.2 V8 with 228 kW / 310 hp - are opposite three Turbo diesels. Their potential ranges from 128 kW / 174 hp with the 2.5 TDI over 165 kW / 225 hp to the burly 5.0 V10 TDI with 230 kW / 313 hp.

Apart from the Touareg Individual there are - and this is unique in this form - an entire program of further individualized Touareg. Here an overview:

Touareg Exclusive Edition: In less than three years, 250.000 drivers decided on a Touareg. So it is safe to say that the luxury SUV's enriched the company history with a new success story. Before this backdrop, Volkswagen Individual developed the Touareg Exclusive Edition limited to 999 models. Standard accessories such as a silver roof railing, two oval end pipes of the exhaust system and high end features for example decor inlays in piano lacquer or a dual colored Nappa leather seat system, underline the vanguard noble character of the Touareg. Every model of the Touareg Exclusive Edition comes with a certificate which includes the limited edition serial number. This serial number can also be found imprinted in the aluminum door entry ledges. The Touareg Exclusive Edition is offered with a performance spectrum ranging from 128kW / 174 hp to 230kW / 313 hp.

The dynamic as well as elegant exterior of the Touareg Exclusive Edition is primarily distinguished by its so called design package. It was designed by Volkswagen Individual. It is composed of modified bumpers, wider side sill ledgers, two chromium plated and oval end pipes (located on the left and right) of the exhaust system as well as a roof spoiler, serving as an aerodynamic air flow separator, painted in the body color. All details of the design package blend harmonically into the athletic appearance of the Touareg. The same goes for the titanium silver colored 19" alloy wheels type "Siena" with the double spoke look as well as the corresponding silver colored roof railing. The rims are equipped with 275/45 R19 tires. Furthermore, in the exterior area, the series also includes tinted and up to 65% light absorbing rear windows. "Black" and "Pearl Blue" are available as plain colors as well as the metallic or rather pearl-effect-colors "Black Magic", "Reflex Silver" and "Shadow Blue".

An exceptionally stylish ambiance distinguishes the individualized interior of the Touareg Exclusive. Some Examples: the surface of the applications on the instrument board, the upper side of the middle console and door paneling are in black piano lacquer. Optically in unison: the dual colored Nappa leather equipment. The middle of the seat as well as part of the sides and door panels are held in the light "Snow Beige", all other leather details such as head rests, arm rests and parts of the seat sides and seat backs provide a contrast with a dark anthracite. The anthracite colored areas of the seats are framed, with a piping in "Snow Beige". Furthermore the already outlined entry ledges out of aluminum with incorporated serial number (No. 001/999) and a ski sack that expand the exceptionally good equipment spectrum of the Touareg Exclusive Edition.

Touareg Expedition: The Touareg Expedition was developed for globetrotters and in regards to the vehicles attributes this term can be taken literally. Among other things, the Touareg Expedition includes specific off road features like the improved off road chassis with 25 millimeters more ground clearance as well as a protective aluminum undercoating for engine, transmission, tank and differential. A robust roof rack basket with two additional head lights is also part of the standard equipment suited for adventure. Other options are for instance a rope winch with 3.600 kilo pulling force and 30 meters rope length, a huge auto roof tent with aluminum folding table, an awning, a special alloy box and spare canister. Available on the engine side are the well known five and six cylinder engines.

Touareg W12 Sport Edition and Executive: The only off road vehicle in Europe with twelve cylinders was also conceived by Volkswagen Individual. And that in two versions: Touareg W12 Sport Edition and Touareg W12 Executive. Both are powered by the compact built 6.0 twelve-cylinder in unique W configuration, the 331 kW / 450 hp strong off-road SUV sprints from zero to 100 km/h in only 5.9 seconds. Their maximum speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h. The optically elegantly conceptualized Touareg W12 Executive is distinguished by a maximum comfort, which is reflected for example in the selected exclusive leather "Rodeo" and a cottonwood grain decor. The Touareg W12 Sport Edition appears consequently sporty. It is delivered with 20" alloy wheels in the "Casablanca" design (Executive: 19"), with front and rear apron as well as analog designed side sill and widened wheel arch. Other parts of the specific interior details are sport seats in anthracite colored Nappa leather as well as the aluminum decor "Micropoint". Apart from that, a unique complete equipment distinguishes both W12 versions.


Volkswagen Individual - The Corporation: Philosophy and business areas

Specialist for dreams come true

Under the auspices of Volkswagen Individual GmbH, exclusive optional equipment vehicles as well as complete vehicles are built

Custom made solutions for all mobile avenues of society

Wolfsburg, 08 August 2006

The demand for individualized complete vehicles and exclusive equipment features is constantly growing. Some drivers only wish for a stand-alone rim or their iPod to be integrated into the standard Volkswagen sound system. Others might be dreaming of a refined interior with special leather or wooden inlays. And then there is a large number of others dreaming of a vehicle individualized to the core.

In order to be able to fulfill all these dreams in a highly flexible manner and delivering them in convincing quality Volkswagen AG founded Volkswagen Individual GmbH in February 2003 based in Wolfsburg, Germany. Ever since, Volkswagen has been developing, manufacturing and marketing vehicles that come with a certain extra in regards to individuality, specialization and / or sportiness under the name of Volkswagen Individual. While at the same time under the roof of Volkswagen Individual high-end technical equipment and special-purpose vehicles for government use (e.g. police) and rescue units (e.g. ambulances) are developed and produced.

For almost all series of the high volume brand and in addition to the already existing programs, Volkswagen Individual GmbH offers high-end refinement when it comes to design oriented optional equipment or innovative upgradings. Volkswagen Individual has centered its program into three business areas "Individual", "R" and "Product Impulses" and covers everything from high end components to complete vehicles with especially elegant or sporty optional equipment ex-works and to implementing totally new vehicle concepts. Additionally, Volkswagen Individual GmbH's staff of 207 manufactures singular vehicles, the Exclusive. The maximum range of feasibility can be found in the Exclusive "Phaeton Lounge", a unique long version of the luxury class models. All projects are conducted in close cooperation with Volkswagen's research and development department and with Volkswagen Design.

It is quite remarkable that through Volkswagen Individual all Volkswagen customers have access to a refinement program otherwise only known from luxury brands like Bentley. Assistance and consulting is offered through Volkswagen dealers and through an independent service-hotline. No matter if a Golf customer is looking for rims or a Touareg owner is selecting his individualized V10 TDI they can always expect a high level of expertise and proficiency.

Volkswagen Individual's Product Brands in Detail

Volkswagen Individual: Under the label "Individual" the special division creates exclusive models as well as ex works individualization offers. The selection ranges from special outside paintwork, design oriented attachment parts and rims to noble applications and leather equipment in the interior and to entertainment systems.

So far, the Volkswagen Golf, Eos, Passat, Passat Variant and Touareg are the complete vehicles which are offered as "Individual Models". Furthermore, single elements of the Individual program can be combined with each other. This way, customers that don't decide on a complete Individual car have extensive possibilities to fine tune their car. For example the offer includes design packages with exclusive leather interior equipment, special body paint or modern entertainment systems.

The Volkswagen specialists offer a tailor-made "Individualization" for the Golf, Golf Plus, Jetta, Touran, Eos, Sharan, Passat, Passat Variant, Touareg and Phaeton. At the top of the service offers under the "Volkswagen Individual" label are the partially handmade individual items, which among other things distinguish the Exclusives.

R-Models: Already with the first Golf R32, still based on the fourth Generation of the bestselling Golf, Volkswagen fulfilled the request for an exclusively equipped and particularly superior motorized lead Golf. 14.000 models were sold, far more than expected. Based on this success the idea was born to develop an entire series of R-models in the future - a typical job for Volkswagen Individual GmbH. Starting things off in 2005 was the second generation Golf R32, 184 kW / 250 hp strong and standard with the all wheel drive 4Motion. With this Golf, Volkswagen Individual not only put an extremely dynamic, but also very comfortable car on wheels. Character: superior understatement.

The special tasks of Volkswagen Individual in Detail

Product Impulses: With a high level of creativity Volkswagen Individual Inc. realizes complete vehicle projects on a regular basis. With these models innovation and lifestyle orientation take center stage. Examples for this are models such as, the Sharan Special, Touareg W12 Executive, Touareg W12 Sport Edition or Touareg Expedition. Furthermore, the specialists also develop new vehicle ideas for example crossover models. Crossover is a category that combines the best of two worlds. They are cars that fill market niches or create new ones. Here Volkswagen Individual has also developed a complete program which under the label with the additional name "Cross" melts two segments into a new one. The first model of this new series is the CrossPolo, introduced in 2006. The sharp four-door combines the advantages of a compact with the style elements of an SUV and therefore recommends itself as a practical and lifestyle oriented all round talent.

Development services: As a partner of research and development, Volkswagen Individual creates complete special-purpose vehicles (e. g. police cars and ambulances) and equipment components for special-purpose vehicles (e.g. cars for handicapped and driving school cars). Another field of activity with increasing relevance in times of constantly rising gas prices is the development of propulsion alternatives. In taking that into account, the company is banking on natural gas as an especially economic and low emission energy source. The latest examples here are the Touran EcoFuel and Caddy Life EcoFuel.

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AutoblogGreen for 08.31.06

08/31/2006   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Convertibles, Euro, BMW

You know how Mercedes said their E320 Bluetec would be available in all 50 states? Turns out it'll only be 45, because Mercedes can't quite get the engine to output the low emissions levels those last five states require. In other AutoblogGreen news, we have the 30 mpg Insight (?!?), another RAV4 EV on eBay and Michigan's $250,000 investment in biofuels. Full list of yesterday's stories follows:

  • Mercedes E320 Bluetec arrives as 45-State Vehicle
  • This Insight gets 30 mpg and we're proud of it
  • Free parking for fuel efficient cars in Ferndale, MI
  • UK police to use Lexus GS 450h in "demanding police roles"
  • Toyota RAV4 EV up for bids on eBay
  • Ease your guilt by offsetting your air travel
  • EU ready to pull out the stick on car makers to further reduce CO2
  • Michigan pumps $250,000 into alternative fuels
  • Follow-up on EPA's plans to release urea guidelines in a few weeks
  • Update on Ford Hemp car YouTube video post
  • High gas prices: Detroit cries uncle

Read more..

Chinese MG production date set

09/14/2006   [Original: Reuters via Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, China, Plants/Manufacturing

Nanjing Automobile Corp. will celebrate its 60th birthday on March 27, 2007, and the star of the party will be a shiny new MG. Deputy chairman Lu Zhenxin announced Wednesday that Nanjing's first MG will roll off the line on the company's birthday.

The company's new factory in Nanjing is under construction, and when completed will be able to pump out 200,000 MG cars and 250,000 engines a year. Some vehicles will be sent on to the former MG Rover plant in the U.K. for final assembly, and the first MG TF roadster could drive out of the U.K. plant as early as April 8, 2007, two years to the day after the plant ceased production.

U.S. production at the company's planned Oklahoma facility is scheduled for 2008.

Read more..

Euro Freshness: Honda FR-V updates for 2007

09/19/2006   [Original: Honda via Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Euro, Hatchbacks, Honda

2007 Honda FR-V

For 2007, the European-market Honda FR-V is getting a bunch of small updates and one big one.

Let's start small. The most recognizable change is in the headlights, which now feature projector-style lamps that help give the front end a more detailed appearance. All of the exterior brightwork (grille, door handles, rear hatch trim, etc.) gets toned down thanks to a "dark chrome" finish, and in the case of the rear hatch, the chrome strip is made smaller. The taillights retain the same shape and configuration, but again, the clear portions have been darkened a bit for 2007.

Inside, Honda has upgraded the interior materials, eliminating faux wood trim in favor of a metallic look, and introducing a new fabric as well.

The most substantial change is the introduction of the 1.8L i-VTEC engine from the European Civic 5-door. The 140 horsepower 4-cylinder will replace both the 125-hp 1.7L and 148-hp 2.0L gasoline engines currently available, leaving the 2.2L i-CDTi diesel as the only other option.

The FR-V, despite its compact size, is considered an MPV. Designed to carry six passengers thanks to a very interesting and flexible seating configuration, the car has no center console -- the shifter is on the dash -- so there are three seats in front and three in back. In each case, the center seats can be shifted rearward as well, creating two v-shaped rows. The second row of seats folds flat into the floor to maximize cargo space. Click here for an interior gallery of the Japanese-market version (called the Edix) to get a better understanding of the setup.

(Press release, photos after the jump)

2007 Honda FR-V:

2007 Honda FR-V2007 Honda FR-V

2005 Honda FR-V:

2005 Honda FR-V2005 Honda FR-V

FR-V Interior Layout (2005 Model shown):

2005 Honda FR-V



* New 1.8 i-VTEC engine joins range
* Strong 2.2 diesel packs a punch

* Exterior and interior design changes
* Still as practical as ever

Honda's compact MPV - which features six seats arranged in two rows of three - has a new engine line-up and a series of exterior and interior changes for 2007.

From early next year, the FR-V will be available with a highly-efficient 140PS

1.8-litre i-VTEC unit - the engine launched in the 5-door Civic earlier this year.

The 1.8 offers great performance with fantastic economy - the best of both worlds! It does this through the latest VTEC technology that reduces pumping losses by delaying intake valve closure and holding the throttle valve wide open during low-load driving conditions. This boosts economy to that of a smaller engine, but it's still as poky as a 2.0-litre powered car. The 1.8 i-VTEC replaces both the 1.7 and

2.0-litre petrol engines that were previously available.

Externally, 2007 models can be distinguished by a new dark chrome finish to the grille, while the headlights, door handles, rear combination light and lower licence plate trim have also been tweaked.

Inside, the wood has gone - the fascia panel now sports a much-improved metal, carbon-like finish. The seats and doors, meanwhile, have a new greyish-blue soft

touch fabric (grey leather seats together with beige soft touch fabric continue on EX grade models). An additional boot light provides added convenience.

It was already one of the most practical compact MPVs on the market, but the new FR-V is now even more versatile thanks to a number of improvements. The front middle seat tray, revealed by flipping forward the front half of the seat squab, now features two compartments and cup holders with lids. And the front seat headrests and back seat armrests have both been enhanced.

The FR-V is now also provided with an auxiliary jack for an iPod or similar audio storage device.

Otherwise, the FR-V continues to offer an outstandingly flexible, practical and intelligent interior in a stylish body. With all six seats in two rows, it's easy for everyone in the car to talk to each other, making it a more friendly way to travel.

It also leaves space for a large boot, and when more space for luggage is needed, the FR-V comes into its own. Not only do the three rear seats fold individually, they fold flat into the floor. So maximum space is achieved without having to remove and then store bulky seats. They can also be folded one-handed, simply by reaching in from the boot and unfastening a single latch.

To add to the numerous space combinations, the back of the central front seat also folds down to allow extra-long items to be carried, or to form a table.

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Spy Shots: Latest Ford Mondeo illustrations

09/20/2006   [Original: World Car Fans via Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Sedans/Saloons, Wagons/Estates, Euro

Looks like a busy day for spy photography buffs. Here we offer the newest shots from World Car Fans of winter-coated Mondeos in the wild. The Iosis influences seem to be fading unfortunately. Like the current Mondeo (and Mazda6), the new Mondeo is expected to be offered in sedan, wagon, and hatchback-sedan designs. All three variants are pictured at the World Car Fans site, and ,as they point out, the next Mondeo appears to have grown quite a bit.

As we previously stated, it's clear looking through the heavy camo of the spy shots that the next Mondeo will have an Iosis-inspired face. Whether or not the rest of the Mondeo will look as good as the artist's interpretation remains to be seen. The new Mondeo will launch in 2007 and be built on the same platform as the new S-Max while riding on the same suspension as the latest Ford Focus.

Related posts:

  • Next Ford Mondeo inspired by Iosis
  • Ford adding some emotion to Mondeo
  • How Iosis-inspired will the next Mondeo be?

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SEMA: 34 inches of wheel wonderment

11/03/2006   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, SEMA, Etc.

Every year at SEMA I look for the largest wheel I can find, and every year the diameters get a little larger. This year I found a 34-inch Lexani rim in the Asanti booth. It's so big that any vehicle shod with a set will be resigned to forever travelling in a straight line.

These giant wheels are so impractical that we've often wondered what people do when they pop one of their pretty low-profile tires. Thanks to Asani, now we know. Unfortunately, the tailgate-mounted spare probably exceeds the H2's maximum payload, which means throwing some groceries in the back might bend the frame.

Follow the jump for some more shots of Asanti's booth.


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