July 6, 2012 at 6:00pm by Justin Berkowitz
Chrysler looks set to join Ford and General Motors in offering a special fuel-economy-focused trim level for some of its models. The company recently filed an application to register “HFE High Fuel Efficiency” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Currently, Chrysler refers to its most fuel-efficient version of the Dart sedan as the Aero—but we imagine this could be changed easily.
In fact, it’s possible—though we haven’t been able to get confirmation of this theory—that Chrysler has no choice but to ditch the Aero moniker. The remnants of Saab are being sold, and we imagine this includes the company’s right to the trademark for Aero, as used on its top-of-the-line trim level. Perhaps the new owners have told Chrysler to back off from that four-letter word. Or perhaps someone in Chrysler’s marketing department just likes the sound of HFE.
Typically, these packages or trim levels refer to non-hybrid cars that have been tweaked for higher-than-normal fuel economy. Changes typically include better aerodynamics and low-rolling-resistance tires. Ford sells its Fiesta and Focus with an optional SFE, or Super Fuel Economy Package; Chevrolet offers an Eco-badged version of the Cruze and Malibu. Honda, too, offers an economy-focused version of the Civic, the HF. The Malibu Eco, unlike the other cars listed here, is a hybrid. We think it’s more likely, however, that Chrysler will affix the HFE badge to conventional models rather than hybrids. (In part this is because the only hybrids in the Chrysler lineup are a small number of fleet-only Ram plug-in hybrids; no others are expected soon.)
Chrysler, like other automakers, does not comment on future products. With a logo already designed and a trademark application pending, though, it seems like the decision has been made.
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Pedestrian deaths represent a fairly significant percent of all automotive fatalities (according to some sources over 10% in the US, 14% in Europe and about 25% in China). One option is to mandate all pedestrian wear approved helmets (is there an SW2012 Snell rating?). But that’s infeasible (and the Supreme Court would deem it a tax), so other means of reducing the severity of injuries when people and cars collide have to be sought.
Hoods and front fascias of cars have undergone significant changes in the past few years to make them more friendly to pedestrians. The upright nose helps the breakover phase of the accident, and the hood has been raised above internal parts to allow room for deformation as the pedestrian impacts it.
But head injuries are sustained when the pedestrian hits the windshield. One technology Volvo is pioneering to combat this problem is a pedestrian airbag.
What Volvo has done is to place an airbag in the cowl that inflates under some very specific circumstances. First the car has to be moving within a narrow range of speeds (speeds commonly found in city centers).
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Mercedes is yet to officially unveil the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake – or should we call it the CLS Shooting Brake 63 AMG? – but we’ve already got two videos and a couple of pictures of the car.Tthis one we got right here is the more interesting one, as it comes from behind the scenes of Mercedes 2013 fashion film featuring Joan Smalls, a Beyonce lookalike fashion model.
The Shooting Brake version of the CLS63 may be a bit slower than the sedan, being a heavy estate and all, but at the end of the day it wont be noticeable to an ordinary user. So if you want a CLS63, make it a Shooting Brake. It’s more exclusive and more practical.
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Fiat is planning to drop its 500X crossover variant early 2014 in both Europe and the U.S., and has recently revealed an unanticipated teaser. At the 500L’s media launch on July 4 in Turin, Italy, Fiat brand global director Olivier Francois debut a full-sized 500X model, as well.
The 500L is Fiat’s new minivan, and the 500X will be the replacement for the Sedici SUV, as the fifth 500 model variant. Based on the Punto subcompact, it will stretch to 165.4 inches in length, making it longer then any other 500.
Production is scheduled to kick off for December 2013 at the Mirafiorini, Turin plant. The plant is undergoing a $ 1.24 billion expansion to accommodate the additional 280,000 additional models per year for the 500X and other models.
Fiat will be launching its 500L, built at the Kragujevac, Serbia plant, in Europe in September and in North America late next year.
A new Jeep, code-named B-SUV 500X SUV is going to be built alongside the 500X, which will be smaller then both the Patriot and the Compass. Production is set to being in 2014’s second quarter, and the model will be sold in the U.S., Europe and other global markets.
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The tuning wrenches are spinning again at Gemballa, which has presented a new aero package for the second generation Porsche Cayenne with the internal codename 958.
The new GT AERO 2 styling kit builds on the German firm’s GT AERO 1 pack that already includes front and rear bumpers, plus a roof spoiler and which was introduced at the beginning of 2012, adding wheel arch extensions with matching side stills.
A new set of forged alloy wheels in a dark grey shade measuring 22 inches in diameter complete the exterior makeover.
Gemballa says the GT Aero 2 is offered as a complete kit or as separate parts that can be applied to Porsche Cayenne 958′s already fitted with the company’s GT Aero 1 package.
A dozen years have passed since I drove a Ford Racing Puma around the streets of San Francisco.
For a run of 1000 cars this was an elaborate and costly launch but justified by the fact that Ford’s ad agency came up with a peach of a television commercial that featured Steve McQueen “driving” a standard Puma along the same route that he made famous in his 1967 Mustang in the film Bullitt.
In the film, it was nine minutes and 12 seconds of tire-smoking action between a Dodge Charger and a ’67 Mustang, with V-8s barking and snarling like the hounds of hell. Frank Bullitt, aka Steve McQueen pilots the 400 bhp Mustang in a chase that still sets the nerves on edge.
Despite having half the number of cylinders of McQueen’s Mustang the car addicted actor would have loved that Racing Puma.
Mazda Demio EV test-fleet electric car in Japan (aka Mazda2)