17 Dealerships, 1 Goal: 100% Customer Satisfaction
Volkswagen of San BernardinoThe newest addition to the Wilson Automotive Group family!
April 4 was an exciting day for the Wilson Automotive Group – and for the City of San Bernardino. That was the day we broke ground for our 17th dealership: Volkswagen of San Bernardino.
The Mayor, City Council members, VW executives and Wilson corporate employees took turns with shovels and hard hats to celebrate this exciting addition to the San Bernardino Auto Center. Casey Griffin, of Logan Asset Management, who orchestrated the acquisition and worked with city officials to bring this project to fruition, commented: "The Wilson Group is very excited about opening their first Volkswagen dealership and becoming a part of the community of San Bernardino."
Situated on 3.5 acres in the San Bernardino Auto Center and fronting the 215 Freeway, the dealership will cover about 34,000 square feet and house 17 service bays. Projected sales of 60 new and 40 used vehicles per month will support 50 full-time employees.
Derrick Van Nieulande has been tapped to be the new general manager. Derrick has been with the Wilson Group for 15 years, most recently as the general sales manager of Newport Lexus, and says he is excited about his transition to Volkswagen. "I am proud to represent the quality Volkswagen product; and I know our store and our employees will add a positive synergy to the auto center and the community."
The dealership plans to open for business November 15. For more information, or to apply for employment, go to the corporate website, www.DavidWilsonAutoGroup.com, or Email: email@example.com.
2013 Honda Civic Receives Five-Star Safety Rating
The 2013 Honda Civic sedan has been awarded a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Civic sedan scored four stars on the frontal crash test, five stars on the side impact test, and four stars for rollover protection, giving it a five-star overall rating. The coupe on the other hand, while it had the same scores on each individual test, was awarded a four-star rating since crash dummies received more significant injuries in side-impact crash tests.
The 2013 Honda Civic sedan was also named a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and was the first small, compact car to meet the new standard.
Pricing for the Honda Civic sedan starts at $18,955 including a $790 destination charge.
Lexus LF-LC Production Model in 2016?
Car & Driver is reporting that a production model based on the Lexus LF-LC concept could be released in 2016:
A two-plus-two sports coupe concept from Toyota's California design studio that could be Lexus's answer to the Aston Martin DB9 if, of course, it reaches production. More expensive and more driver-oriented than the defunct SC430 convertible, this “poor man's LFA” (it'll cost about half as much) will squeeze at least 500 horsepower from its hybrid powertrain.
A 2016 release date lines up with previous rumors - the magazine also suggests that the production LF-LC will be powered by a hybrid V8 power train and priced just below $200,000.
Ford Fusion Energi Earns Five-Star Safety Rating
The 2013 FordFusion Energi has been awarded a five-star Overall Vehicle Score in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
The Energi plug-in hybrid's five-star rating is no real surprise considering the other Fusion models also received five-star safety ratings. NHTSA, however, has chosen to test plug-in vehicles separately since the market share of electrified vehicles continues to grow.
The 2013 Ford Fusion was also named a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and is rated at 108 MPGe.
“The Fusion Energi combines the highest possible safety ratings from NHTSA and great fuel economy, two things we know customers are looking for in their vehicles,” said Steve Kenner, Global Director of the Ford Automotive Safety Office. “Our strategy is to provide our customers with a range of powertrain options in our vehicles, while still leading in fuel economy in every segment that we compete.”
BMW-Toyota sports car heading towards Tokyo debut
Earlier this year, BMW and Toyota confirmed a four-part joint venture mostly focusing on increasing improving vehicle efficiency using fuel cells, lightweight materials and better battery technology. Also tucked into the announcement was a "feasibility study" for a shared platform to underpin a future midsize "sports vehicle."
In terms of the latter, it seems that things have stepped up from the feasibility stage to the conceptual stage, as Motor Trend reports we could see a pair of new sports car concepts debut later this year in at the Tokyo Motor Show. There isn't much information about the new program, but the article suggests the sports cars could be all-wheel drive hybrids, with electric motors powering the front wheels and a gas engine powering the rear wheels. While a partnership between Toyota and BMW might not lend itself to a catchy portmanteau like "Toyobaru," here's hoping it will bear fruit that is as exciting as the ones produced by the Toyota/Subaru tie up.
2015 Mazda3 spied for the first time
In terms of exterior appearance, not much has changed from the last time we spotted the next-generation Mazda3 out testing. Oh, sure - we can see plenty of details that clearly show the new Kodo design influence (that front end reminds us a whole lot of the sleek new Mazda6), but these latest round of spy shots don't really show us anything we haven't seen before. Oh, wait, yes they do - the interior.
2015 Mazda3 interiorFeast your eyes on the Mazda3's insides, showing a vastly reworked interior that also takes cues from the automaker's most recently refreshed products. We can see that there's a simple, clean center stack with a slim row of heating and cooling functions, and up top there's a large, presumably touchscreen display, with redundant controls found just aft of the shifter.
We expect that the 2015 Mazda3 will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, packing both petrol and diesel engines. A sedan variant is also in the works, and should debut shortly after the hatchback.
Lexus Japan Releases Very First 2014 IS Commercial
Lexus Planning to Build Small Two-Seat Roadster?
According to Motor Trend, Lexus may be building a small two-seat roadster as a result of the recent BMW/Toyota partnership - here's a quote from the latest issue of the magazine:
Sources in Japan say Toyota's version (of the joint BMW/Toyota sports car) will actually underpin an all-new Lexus sports car, a suggestion that makes all the sense in the world given Akio Toyoda's ambition to make Lexus a genuine global rival to the German lux-meisters. Whisper is the new Lexus will be positioned to compete with the Mercedes SLK, BMW Z4, and entry-level Porsche Boxster.
If I understand this correctly, this would be an additional vehicle beyond the rumored RC mid-size coupe - if true, this could be a major shift in the way Lexus approaches mass production vehicles, as niche market models have never been a priority with the brand.
The strategy reminds me of this Akio Toyoda quote from Automotive News:
"When we have a design screening, my role is to simply talk with the right side of the brain," Toyoda said. "There are already enough people at Toyota who use the left side of the brain. You need to be able to say, 'Wow! I want that!'"
2015 Acura NSX to be Produced at New Performance Manufacturing Center in OhioAcura has announced that the all-new NSX will be produced at Honda's new Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio.
The production facility will cost the Japanese automaker $70 million and will encompass 184,000 square feet housed inside Honda's former North American Logistics facility. It will also be in the midst of Honda's existing R&D and production engineering operations.
The new production facility will be Honda's third plant in Ohio and is merely a few miles away from Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Ohio Center that is also engineering the supercar for production. Approximately 100 manufacturing associates will be employed at the site while associates from Honda's engine plant in Anna, Ohio will assemble the NSX's powertrain.
The automaker also announced today that Honda R&D chief engineer Ted Klaus is leading the global team developing the new NSX while Clement D'Souza, associate chief engineer at Honda of America, is leading the production team for the NSX.
"We have a very clear understanding of the high customer expectations luxury buyers around the world have for a supercar, and our challenge is to exceed them and create new value for the customer," said Klaus. "This new Performance Manufacturing Center will be key to this challenge."
Toyota Overtakes BMW as Most Valuable Global Car Brand
Automotive News reports that Toyota has overtaken BMW as the most valuable automotive brand, an annual ranking of the world's top brands shows. The value of the Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Hyundai brands improved by double-digit percentages compared with 2012, largely because of strong demand in China and the United States, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study released by market research company Millward Brown on Monday. Toyota's 2013 brand value rose 12 percent to $24.5 billion largely because of its significant inroads in the hybrid market, according to the study. "Toyota is carving out a very big position in hybrids across its range, which is tapping into the consumer need for value by saving fuel cost," Peter Walshe, Millward Brown global brand director, told Automotive News. BMW's brand value dipped by 2 percent to $24 billion, according to the study, because of the German automaker's lack of new product launches compared with past years. "The automotive brands that grew the most were the ones that launched the most models," Walshe said. "BMW remains a very powerful and distinctive brand." Read more about the most valuable global car brands here.
Toyota Donates $1 Million to Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts; Reports No Significant Hurricane-Related Impact on its North American Operations
Toyota today announced a $1 million contribution to the American Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations to support relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy in the regions worst-hit by the storm. In addition, Toyota will match employee contributions to the American Red Cross and other non-profits doing relief and recovery work in affected communities.
Commenting on the donation, Shigeki Terashi, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America, Inc., said, "On behalf of Toyota, we express our sincere condolences to the families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Since we have operations and many dealerships in the affected regions, we felt a special responsibility to lend a hand. In addition to this contribution, many Toyota employees are already involved in volunteer activities to support those in need. We very much appreciate their support."
Beginning Nov. 1, Toyota Financial Services (TFS) and Lexus Financial Services (LFS) will launch a "Customer Outreach" calling campaign to lease and retail customers who are delinquent, or become delinquent, due to circumstances related to the storm and who reside in the 13 states directly impacted by the hurricane (CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT and WV) and in the District of Columbia. This campaign will determine if these customers may be eligible to take advantage of payment relief options, some of which include:
- extensions and lease deferred payments;
- redirecting billing statements;
- and arranging phone or on-line payments
Toyota Financial customers with questions about their account should call (800) 874-8822. Lexus Financial customers with questions about their account should call (800) 874-7050. Qualified residents residing in FEMA-designated areas (of the above-mentioned states and the District) needing to purchase a vehicle may also take advantage of a 90 Day Deferred First Payment Program designed to assist customers with their transportation needs as they work through the recovery process. This program is for a limited time and only available through participating Toyota and Lexus dealers and TFS/LFS.
Toyota Operations Toyota continues to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to its operations on the East Coast and reports no known injuries to associates, family members and dealer employees. The storm had the biggest impact on company operations and dealerships in the New Jersey area. Some regional/branch offices, as well as Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships, were affected by flooding and power outages. Toyota Logistics Services operations at the Port of Newark (N.J.) sustained water damage to its buildings and a number of vehicles.
Toyota Assembles 25 Millionth Vehicle in North America
Toyota celebrated the 25 millionth vehicle manufactured in North America today at a ceremony at its Georgetown, Ky., plant coinciding with the start of production for the all-new 2013 Avalon. The milestone vehicle - a Classic Silver Hybrid Avalon - represents 26 years of manufacturing, a direct investment of nearly $24 billion in North American operations and 365,000 jobs created in the United States.
Speaking at a line-off ceremony in Georgetown today, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky President Wil James said, "This is a pivotal time in Toyota's history. What better way to cap off 26 years of manufacturing excellence than with the all-new Kentucky-assembled Avalon, a shining example of what our customers have to look forward to in the future."
To learn more, please click on www.toyotanewsroom.com
Toyota Prius is California's Best Selling Car
If you live in California, this won't come as a surprise to you at all. The Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in the state - sort of.
In fact, it's not the traditional Prius model by itself that has tallied more sales than rivals like the Honda Civic, Accord and the Toyota Camry, but rather the Prius family of cars.
Nine months into 2012, Toyota has sold 46,380 Prius models to California drivers according to the California New Cars Dealers Association in its California Auto Outlook report. With gas prices continuing to rise in California, it's no surprise that demand for the fuel-efficient Prius has also risen.
In total, 1.25 million new cars have been sold in California through September this year, which is 11 percent of the total nationwide sales of 10.9 million. The Prius however, has sold 183,340 nationwide, which means California drivers have accounted for 25 percent of the total Prius sales.
To learn more, please click on http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/10/toyota-prius-is-californias-best-selling-car.html
Honda, Ohio State Co-Develop Driving Simulator
The new Driving Simulator Laboratory will be designed to conduct advanced research into distracted driving and other issues that affect driver behavior and road safety. It will be co-developed by Honda R&D Americas and the Ohio State University Office of Research.
"This new simulator will help us further strengthen our local research capabilities to gain an even deeper understanding of our customers and to advance our ability to create even more safe, smart and intuitive Honda and Acura products," said Frank Paluch, senior vice president of Honda R&D America's Inc.
The main simulator will feature a full cab, mounted to a six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform with a 240-degree wraparound projection screen. High-resolution, edge-blended visuals will display a wide variety of driving situations to simulate real-world scenarios. A second simulator will also be developed to optimize the testing for production vehicles.
To read the article, go to: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/10/honda-ohio-state-co-develop-driving-simulator.html.
Lexus LF-LC Blue Concept is a 500 HP Hybrid
Following up on the Lexus LF-LC concept that debuted earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, the Japanese automaker just unveiled its LF-LC Blue concept in Australia.
The LF-LC Blue concept uses carbon fiber technology from the brand's LFA supercar and also features the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system with a high-energy battery pack. Finished in a unique Opal Blue that's been inspired by the country's precious stone, the LF-LC Blue concept looks right at home in Australia.
The Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system features a powerful and efficient Atkinson cycle combustion engine mated to an advanced high-energy battery pack. Combined, the LF-LC Blue concept has an output of 500 hp, which is the most of any Lexus hybrid.
The LF-LC Blue concept is also packed with state-of-the-art technology, previewing the direction that Lexus is heading with its interior electronics. A pair of 12.3-inch LCD screens provide information and navigation, while inputs come from a touchscreen interface in the center console. The interior is treated with a variety of smooth leather, suede, brushed metal trim and wood accents. To read the article, go to: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/10/lexus-lf-lc-blue-concept-is-a-500-hp-hybrid.html#more-161241
Toyota Tundra Successfully Tows the Space Shuttle - Video
A stock Toyota Tundra hauled the nearly 300,000 lbs. space shuttle and towing rig a total of 12 miles this past Friday, delivering the ship to its final resting place at the California Science Center.
Toyota and the California science center have had a partnership that spans back 20 years that has helped raise awareness of the space program. "We've partnered with the California Science Center since the early '90s as part of our ongoing commitment to inspiring youth in the fields of engineering, innovation and future technology, and we are honored to lend our support for this historic event," said Michael Rouse, vice president of community affairs and philanthropy for Toyota.
To read the full article click here
Honda Civic Natural Gas Buyers Getting $3,000 Gas Card
Those looking for ways to fight against the recent rise in gas prices might want to consider a 2012 Honda Civic, the Natural Gas model to be more specific. The Japanese automaker has teamed up with Clean Energy to give $3,000 fuel cards to new buyers.
Compressed natural gas is currently $2 cheaper than gasoline, and since the Honda Civic Natural Gas gets a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 31, up to 40 percent can be saved compared to a traditional gasoline car. The 2012 Civic Natural Gas also qualifies for a single-occupant HOV carpool decal in California and other states.
Read the full article at http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/10/honda-civic-natural-gas-buyers-getting-3000-gas-card.html#more-159994.
Lexus LFA Nurburgring Beats Executive Jet in Race
Unconventional to say the least, Lexus pitted its LFA Nurburgring Edition supercar against an Eclipse 500 jet in a race yesterday.
The event took place in Longmont, Colo. and involved running both vessels down a 4,800-foot runway before pulling a u-turn to cover the same distance. Exciting as the idea of a car racing a jet might be, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the LFA won by two seconds.
It ran like this: the jet crossed the starting line already travelling 150 knots (about 173 mph) at which point Scott Pruett, who drive the LFA, hammered on the gas. Both the car and plane would travel the runway's distance before making the aforementioned u-turn to repeat the same distance.
To read the full article Click Here
Ford Shows Off Composite Tech With Carbon Fiber Hood
Carbon fiber, typically used in race cars and high-end sports cars, is now making its way on conventional vehicles as automakers find a more efficient way in cutting costs on the lightweight material.
Ford showed off its newest carbon fiber technology that could be used to help improve fuel economy on its hybrid and electric vehicles. The prototype carbon fiber hood is the American automaker's first step in manufacturing an affordable version of the material that could help cut the weight of its vehicles by up to 749 lbs by the end of this decade.
The automaker has teamed up with Dow Automotive Systems to develop a more affordable way of manufacturing automotive-grade carbon fiber for high-volume applications.
To read the full article Click Here
Scion FR-S the First of Three Sports Cars Says Chief Engineer
The Toyota GT86 or Scion FR-S as it's known on our shores may just be the best new sports car in a generation, but it certainly won't be the last of its kind. According to chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, the FR-S is just the first of three planned sports cars by the world's largest automaker.
Speaking to Top Gear in the Philippines, Tada not only confirmed that two more cars are coming, but let slip details about where they will fit in in the Toyota lineup.
Surprisingly, as impressive a performance bargain as the FR-S is, it will fill the middle slot in the brand's new sports car lineup.
"The first is more mass-market and cheaper than the 86," Tada said. And the third, well, it's, "more upmarket than the 86."
To read the full article Click Here
Ford Claims Best Fuel Economy at Montreal Green Rally
Vehicles don't try to race around the course as quickly as possible at the Montreal Green Rally.
Part of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup, participants drive their vehicle on a predefined course at normal speeds to determine fuel and energy consumption.
"It was a terrific race and the Ford Focus Electric was a definite asset in terms of getting best energy economy. Ford got it right when they developed this vehicle, the brake regeneration system is incredibly efficient," said Sylvain Juteau, who recently made automotive history by being the first to drive to the top of Mount Washington in his own Ford Focus Electric.
This year, Sylvain Juteau and Bruno Guglielminetti claimed a podium finish for Ford of Canada with a 2012 Ford Focus Electric at the event. The Focus Electric came in first place in the energy consumption standings and second place overall in the all-electric standings at the two-day event.
To read the full article Click Here
Accord Hybrid Might be US-Built in 2015
Anyone interested in buying a hybrid Honda Accord had better not hold their breath - there won't be many making it to the U.S.
That's because the strong yen is forcing Honda's export costs high enough to seriously squeeze profit margins, something the conservative company might soon change by relocating some of its production to the U.S.
Honda chief engineer Chitoshi Yokota told Japanese newspaper Nikkei Sangyo business daily that those changes might be coming soon.
"We won't be able to expand the business unless we come to be able to procure and make the battery and the motor locally, maybe around 2015," he said.
But when that happens, customers can expect to see more Accord hybrids in North American showrooms although it still isn't clear where Honda will move Accord production when that shift takes place.
To read the full article Click Here
Toyota Named Top Auto Brand for 9th Year Running
Toyota has once again claimed the top spot in Interbrand's annual ranking for the world's best automotive brands, while placing 10th overall.
In the just released Best Global Brands report, Toyota is credited for its customer service, it's lineup of green cars (including the Prius) and its growing appeal with younger customers. This marks the 9th straight year Toyota has placed first in the automotive category.
Toyota ranks just ahead of Mercedes in 11th spot and BMW in 12th. Rounding out the top five are Honda in 21st and Volkswagen in 39th. Other automakers to make the Top 100 include Ford, Audi, Porsche, Kia, Ferrari and Hyundai.
To read the full article Click Here