Chrysler set to revive Alfa Romeo with new vehicles in 2017

 2015 was a hell of a year for Fiat-Chrysler: market share increases and the successful flotation of Ferrari along with expert company management left stockholders very happy. Now it looks like FCA (under CEO Sergio Marchionne’s leadership) will dedicate that momentum to rejuvenating the Alfa Romeo brand in 2016 and 2017. It’s a challenge, but it’s one the company seems prepared for.

Alfa Romeo (ALFA = Anonymous Lombard Automobile Factory) was owned by an Italian state holding company from 1932 until 1986 when it became a part of the Fiat group. In February 2007, the Alfa Romeo brand was transformed into the current Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., a subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy.

Alfa Romeo has competed successfully in pretty much every category of motorsport, including Grand Prix motor racing, Formula One, sports car racing, touring car racing, and rallies. The company won the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925 and holds the world’s title of the most wins of any marquee car in the world.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed to analysts earlier this month that one of the vehicles in the planned Alfa Romeo North American resurgence will be an SUV, slated for production by the middle of 2016. The SUV will be one of eight new models the automaker plans to launch by 2018 as it spends $5.6 to re-introduce the brand globally.

The first in that line of vehicles — the Giulia sedan — was unveiled in November 2015 in Milan, Italy. Fiat-Chrysler CFO Richard Palmer said production of the Giulia will begin during the fourth quarter of 2016. It’s scheduled to go on sale in the US sometime in 2017.

Marchionne’s plan is to turn Fiat’s Italian auto factories into an export hub for Alfa Romeo and Maserati models with higher profit margins than Fiat’s. The plan, if successful, will help boost the profits of the company overall with its projected Alfa Romeo global sales of more than 400,000 by 2018.

The Alfa Romeo 4C was introduced in the US late last year, but the tiny sports car lacks mass market appeal and was only produced in a small volume. Those sales left many dealers understandably anxious to receive the Giulia and its sister vehicles.

“We are taking a very hard look at the sequencing of the products we are launching to make sure that we get the biggest bang for the buck from the utilization of the architecture in terms of volume,” Marchionne said. Patience, it seems, will be key for Alfa Romeo fans going into 2016.

Article contributed by Napleton’s Arlington Heights CDJR.


Lexus IS highland park

The New Lexus IS-Series Gets a Turbocharged Upgrade

The key to staying on top is knowing how to evolve with the times to meet new challenges and market demands. This is precisely why Lexus is rising to the challenge set by its European competitors and introducing a turbocharged engine to the new IS-Series sedan. This decision has prompted Lexus to discontinue production of the IS250 which is powered by a V6, and instead focus on the new IS200t. There is no fault with this logic as the new IS will feature the same turbocharged high-performance engine as the Lexus NX200t crossover SUV.

An eight-speed automatic transmission will drive the rear wheels of the new IS sedan providing more horsepower and torque than was ever possible with the IS250 and its six-speed transmission. While pricing on the IS-Series is not known at this time, it will likely remain competitive with similar models of luxury sedans, such as BMW and their 3-Series and the Audi A4. Excellent handling, superior drivability and fuel efficiency go into the bargain as well, but that’s always the case with any Lexus model.

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the same as the 2.0 liter in the NX200t, will be tuned differently in order to deliver 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy will see an improvement over the V6 engine of the IS205, which got 21 miles to the gallon on city streets and 30 mpg on the highway. The new model won’t feature all-wheel drive, which may disappoint some, but the overall improvements should cheer them up a bit. Lexus fans can expect this engine upgrade to occur sometime in early 2016.

That’s all the information we currently have on the new IS-Series, but we’ll share more news when we get it, as always.

Article Contributed by Lexus of Highland Park



New jobs opening in the UK auto industry thanks to the production of Infiniti’s new Q30

The Infiniti brand was started in 1989 and is currently headquartered in Hong Kong, but has sales hubs in over 50 countries. Infiniti’s wide range of premium vehicles are made in Japan, the United States, and China. The brand’s arrival in the UK will not only create about 300 new jobs, it will also expand the brand’s always growing portfolio. There are also even plans to expand into Mexico as well by 2017.

Infiniti’s newest production base will be located in Sunderland, UK. The new Q30 is going to be Infiniti’s first ever premium compact entry, as well as their first vehicle to be made in Europe, and their newest employees will join the crew later this year. This £250-million investment will create a cutting edge facility to help foster Infiniti’s latest design.

The brand’s Executive Design Director, Alfonso Albaisa, describes the design of the Q30, and, in fact, all their vehicles, best, “Lately, we’ve been discussing a lot about where we’re going to go with Infiniti and what this kind of vehicle brings to Infiniti. I’d like to talk about two things that are usually not together, and that’s a sense of lust and a sense of logic. That is Infiniti, in a sense, because we want our vehicles to immediately from 10 meters or even 20 meters away to strike you, captivate you and give you a sense of lust, that you want this object. But actually, a vehicle like this is quite practical […] so the logic is in play, but we don’t want people to buy Infiniti or love Infiniti from the brain. This is an emotional area, and again it goes back to the more you can feel the hand of an artist. And not just a regular artist, a brave risk-taker and these tie into how we make our shapes, how we select our materials and how we finish the car from a distance to up close.”

The new Q30, according to Albaisa, is going to be “a rarity.” Albaisa believes that all too often the word “distinct” is thrown around when describing premium vehicles and that “rarity” is a better choice of words for Infiniti’s sleek and modern design.

While the Q30 is going to be beautiful, to say the least, we can also look forward to the QX30. The QX30 will be a premium compact crossover which will, again, add to the company’s portfolio, giving consumers a broader range of vehicles to choose from a brand they know and love.

This will also probably add to Infiniti’s skyrocketing sales, which increased by 13.5 percent since last year, making Infiniti one of the fastest-growing premium brands in many key regions.

Article contributed by Infiniti of Orland Park



chevy volt

The 2016 Chevy Volt Changes The Way Consumers View EVs

Range anxiety and price point — two things that many manufacturers believe have kept electric vehicles (EV) and extended range electric vehicles (EREV) out of reach in the mainstream auto market.

But now Chevy has offered its solution to price and electric vehicle range with the 2016 Volt. These changes could catapult the EV segment to the head of the class.  

According to Chevy, the 2016 Volt technology includes a 1.5 liter four- cylinder gas engine that acts as a generator — giving power to a T-shaped battery pack.

 The engine also doubles as a “range extender” which keeps the car going once the battery charge is spent.

One of the most practical changes to the next generation Volt engine has made it possible for the EREV to run on regular unleaded gas instead of premium.

The 2016 Volt can get up to 41 mpg and achieve 420 miles on a full charge and a full tank of gas.

The electric portion of the engine produces about 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque while the gas engine kicks out about 101 horsepower.

 Chevy also says the new Volt can go from 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds while going an additional 12 miles combined driving electric range of 50 miles.

The technology used to create range extenders not only helps relieve consumer anxiety over how far an EREV can travel, but also generates on-board electricity – extending charge times while reducing emissions by 50 percent.

Swapping out the current Chevy Cruze platform with a completely new chassis, a lighter lithium-ion battery pack, and two small electric motors helped reduce the weight of the 2016 Volt by 243 pounds.

 With the decrease in the price of the lithium-ion battery and other costs, Chevy is leading the automotive industry by cutting the cost of the 2016 Volt between $7,500 and $10,000.

Currently, the asking price of the Volt is $39,145 or $31,645 after rebate.

Chevy is looking toward the future of plug-in vehicles by making the Volt more afford-ably priced for entry level buyers.

By addressing these concerns with advanced technology, automaker’s projected there will be a half-million electric vehicles on the road by 2017.

Article contributed by Ray Chevrolet


2015 Jeep Renegade Is Already a Favorite

The release of the 2015 Jeep Renegade was a big deal for Jeep fans and rugged vehicle lovers alike. It turns out it was a huge deal for Jeep as well. In April auto-sale records were shattered: Jeep moved 71, 759 vehicles, 4,200 of which were the brand new Renegade. The Cherokee, as always a fan favorite, moved 19,000 units. The Cherokee out-selling the Renegade may have to do with name recognition and trust, as well as the Renegade not being as widely available as the Cherokee. But numbers don’t lie, it’s pretty clear the new car on the block is going to quickly become very, very popular.

 Cheaper gas prices are also allowing us to keep loving our larger, rugged vehicles without feeling the guilt in our wallets. Plus, this new generation of crossovers is significantly more fuel efficient than those that came before them.  The Renegade is also just another addition to the growing variety that Jeep is starting to offer. We get to have our American made, roomy, tech-y, rugged, ready-for-anything vehicle again, folks.

 The Renegade was also named one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000, one of the 10 Best All-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Under $25,000, one of the 10 Favorite New-For-2015 Vehicles by Kelly Blue Book, and AAA Arizona’s top pick for their “Cool Car” segment. It’s also got best-in-class 4X4 capability with a 20:1 crawl ratio. That’s a lot of recognition for a brand new vehicle.

It might be because of the dual panel sun roof. It could also be the 7-inch full-color driver information display that puts the info you need exactly where you’d want it. It may be the Uconnect 6.5 system that features sensor-assisted GPS, speed-adjusted volume, Voice Command and Bluetooth (that means hands free calling and texting), and a plethora of other features. It could be the 31 miles per gallon highway you get with the 2.4 L Tigershark I4 Engine that has advanced MultiAir technology, increasing power and torque while decreasing fuel consumption and emissions. Perhaps it’s the seemingly endless cargo options you have with the height-adjustable rear cargo floor that moves up and down, optimizing storage so your friends and your gear can all tag along. And now you can worry a little bit less about the weather with the Selec-Terrain Traction Control system that allows the driver the ability to tune the traction settings to the road’s current condition. Snow, sand and mud are no longer a threat.

Maybe it’s the fact that all these features are bundled up into one vehicle. It also doesn’t hurt that the Renegade is one of the first vehicles of all time, and the only vehicle in its class, to offer an available nine-speed automatic transmission. This wider range of gears gives greater efficiency and virtually unnoticeable shifts between gears.

Contributed by Naperville CJDR in Naperville, IL. 


Compare the Two New Jeeps That Took Top Honors at Mudfest 2015!

With the weather heating up and the season for outdoor adventures coming quickly into view, it’s time again for automotive specialists to come together in the tradition of putting the year’s top models to the test in order to find out firsthand what’s up in the world of activity and utility vehicles! Recently, the Northwest Automotive Press Association gathered some of the year’s most popular new entries for its 18th annual Mudfest, a competition designed not only to judge the industry’s best, but to get a closer look at the variety of designs making their debuts. Following a successful run against the other contenders, we’ve got some solid results about how a few of Jeep’s newest faces measured up, not only against other manufacturers, but also in comparison to each other.

So, how did the new 2015 Cherokee and Renegade stack up against the best competition in the industry? Very well, in fact! Naturally, we’re pretty happy to congratulate the hardworking staff at Jeep for the runaway success of the 2015 Renegade, which won NWAPA’s Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year Award, and for the comparably excellent showing made by the lauded 2015 Cherokee, which took top honors in its own segment. The occasion also gave attendees the opportunity to get a little bit more of a personal, comparative rundown of both winners, particularly in regard to seating and overall packaging. You’re in luck if you’re still not quite sure about the subtler differences between the two, as the folks at Mudfest have gathered some considerate data to help fill you in.

Overall, testers seemed impressed with the fact that, despite the outward appearance of significantly less interior room, the more off-road-ready Renegade sports nearly as much interior accommodation as its more streamlined, urbane counterpart. Predictably, the Cherokee sports five extra inches of leg room due to its longer shape, but testers also reported that the Renegade takes the headroom cake with two extra inches of headroom thanks to a more horizontal roof line. Along with extra hip room, the Renegade is defined by a higher ride a with a lower center of gravity in the traditional off-road Jeep style, which stands in comparison to the Cherokee’s deeper, more sedan-like seating. The Cherokee alone retains a fully-folding front passenger seat, but the Renegade’s rear seats were shown to fold more completely for a remarkably deep and spacious backseat storage area that plays against its compact appearance. The Cherokee also presents a roomier rear storage space, as can be expected from a vehicle designed more for the road than the trail.

All in all, things couldn’t have turned out much better for the new Jeeps on display at Mudfest, and comparisons have confirmed what Jeep has undoubtedly hoped to put forth with these two complimentary designs. In the balance between city and trail offered respectively by the 2015 Cherokee and 2015 Renegade models, new car buyers are sure to find personalized accommodations that can more accurately meet their needs in style while still providing the overall toughness and value that Jeep has always been proud to offer.

Article contributed by Mancari of Oak Lawn, IL. 



2016 Stingray Offers Even More Choices for Tech and Style

 Last year was already a good year for the Corvette Stingray. This iconic sports car gained recognition from the automotive world by garnering over 20 industry awards. The Stingray also placed on Car and Driver’s “10 Best list” for 2015. While those accolades are certainly appreciated from the press and the public, the Chevrolet company has a few new things in store for Stingray fans in the form of three great design package options for the 2016 model.

The 2016 Stingray will come with three options in design packages available for both the coupe or convertible. The Twilight Blue, the Spice Red and the Jet Black Suede packages should have people facing quite a conundrum as they all look pretty stunning.

First up, the Twilight Blue Design Package will be offered in a variety of sharp finish colors including Shark Gray, Blade Silver, Arctic White or Night Race Blue. Buyers of the convertible version will get a blue top with Shark Gray tonneau inserts and accent vents, in addition to a special Twilight Blue full-color interior. The Spice Red Design Package option comes in a choice of great looking finishes that include Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat, Shark Gray, Blade Silver and Arctic White. Convertible models will feature a Spice Red top with a wing rear spoiler and magnetic ride control on models with the Z51 package. The Jet Black Suede Design Package will be available in its own stunning choice of finishes including Black, Blade Silver, Arctic White and Torch Red exterior colors. This third package also includes satin black wheels with a red stripe, Carbon Flash exterior badges and red brake calipers. Convertible models will feature a black top. On the inside there’s Special Jet Black sueded microfiber on the steering wheel and shifter.

Of course, these sleek style options come with goodies like a flat-bottom steering wheel, a 6.2 liter LT1 V-8 that knocks out 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, which increases to 460 hp and 465 lb-ft with the option of a performance exhaust system. If all this isn’t enough to impress new or existing Stingray drivers, then you might just want to check your pulse.

Article contributed by Ray Chevrolet of Fox Lake, IL



New Mercedes Truck Concept Seeks Foundation In Nissan Collaboration

Following an announcement last week, it’s no small news to the automotive world that the longtime luxury car and recent high-end crossover leaders at Mercedes-Benz are planning to venture into the fiercely competitive world of pickups, and further, who they’re planning to ask to help them along. Seemingly satisfied for decades with their dual position at the top of the European luxury vehicle and high-performance racing worlds, the creative minds at Mercedes have been demonstrating an impressive amount of innovative and exploratory spirit in recent years, as showcased by a number of well-received entries into the emerging crossover market and a lot of adventurous collaborations on other comparably ambitious projects.

Now, in demonstrating no desire to slow the pace in their journey to conquer new territory, Mercedes is in discussion with Nissan to showcase their finest collaborative efforts in pushing themselves even further. The designers of an all-new Mercedes pickup project are planning to base their design off of Nissan’s highly successful Navara, known better in the U.S. as the Nissan Frontier, which has been a strong leader in the U.S.’s current mid-size pickup class for some time. Mercedes has found success with its own efforts in the American crossover market as well, so it’s not too early to hope for some attention to be paid to the viability of American markets for a future iteration of a Mercedes truck. For the time being, though, it’s safe to assume that the first Mercedes pickup will be hitting the road overseas before any plans for a U.S. release are discussed. Still, it’s likely that the vehicle’s reception will provide a blueprint for Mercedes to attempt to venture into the domestic-dominated American pickup market.

Understandably, most car buyers are only aware of Mercedes-Benz as a leader in luxury sedans and sports cars. But, on closer look, it’s easy to see the evidence that the Mercedes-Benz brand sports a stronger reputation in the world of utility vehicles than most people might first assume. Besides their notable success in the world of cargo and transport, Mercedes has been regarded as one of the best and most reliable manufacturers of military vehicles for almost as long as it’s been known as a defining luxury car brand. Prospective customers can be certain that the new collaboration with Nissan in bringing a Mercedes pickup to life will simply be a new application of a longstanding specialty. We’re excited to see what’s going to emerge!

In keeping with its personal standards of excellence, Nissan has been garnering some appreciation lately for its own attempts to further innovation in the automotive world through a number of successful collaborative endeavors, and we can only hope that things continue to pay off in every way for Nissan and its partners as they move together in the pursuit of engineering excellence. Here at Orland Park Nissan, we’re glad to celebrate the spirit of collaboration with Mercedes-Benz in this innovative new endeavor, and we hope to see these mutual efforts bringing some new and inspiring ideas to the world of trucks as soon as possible!

Article contributed by Orland Park Nissan of Orland Park, IL

BMW M Performance Automobiles

BMW M235i Steeped in the heritage of Le Mans, and working out of their factory at the world famous Nurburgring racing circuit in Germany, BMW’s M division has been creating ultra-high performance variants of the company’s marquis coupes and sedans for over 30 years. The men and women at this arm of BMW are dedicated to making the world’s Ultimate Driving Machines even better.

In recent years, BMW has expanded their division with M Performance Automobiles (MPA). Available in Europe for the previous two model years, MPA has been creating high-performance street oriented machines for the enthusiastic driver in all of us. With the introduction of the M235i at the Chicago International Auto Show, BMW and MPA are finally bringing their finest creations to the United States.

Invoking the racing heritage of BMW’s M, the M235i receives all of the performance enhancements one would expect from the speed smitten engineers at MPA. With a 320 horsepower, 3.0 liter TwinPower turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine matched to either a six speed manual transmission, or an 8 speed dual clutch sport automatic equipped with paddle shifters and launch control, the M235i can rocket your body from zero to sixty miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. It tops out at speeds over 150 MPH.

A dynamically tuned chassis with M Adaptive Sport Suspension and Variable Sport Power Steering is engineered to get you around the corners.  This, combined with Michelin summer oriented performance tires and quick throttle response, creates a confidence-inspiring, cornering ability that makes you yearn for the back country roads.

MPA has also modified the interior and exterior of the BMW M235i to align with the concealed modifications made to the mechanical components. Designing the new front and rear fascia to be more aggressive with larger air intakes and dual exhaust outlets, the M235i now looks as beautiful as it drives.

The refinements continue into the passenger cabin with the deluxe fit and finish BMW is known for. Soft surfaces throughout are accented by wood and aluminum trim, which produce the aura of luxury and sportiness that MPA has aimed for. Designed by the best that the BMW Corporation has to offer, the proportions, styling, and feel of the BMW M235i culminate in an Ultimate Driving Machine that positions it among the finest automobiles BMW has ever created. It has the styling and proportions reminiscent of the greatest BMWs of the past 30 years.

The newest BMW has all the technology you would expect in a driver-oriented counsel layout for maximum convenience, plus a functional cockpit-type feel. The technology includes the iDrive 4.2 touchpad-enabled 8.8” navigational display with Bluetooth integration and access to BMW apps.

In the European market, BMW has employed M Performance Automobiles to create improved versions of their already superior full-sized vehicles. The M550d and X5 M50d have demonstrated their ability to improve on the best vehicles available today, creating a dynamic driving experience that is difficult to find in today’s homologated automotive market.

After the M235i, BMW looks to expand the MPA lineup in the American market, adding a 3-series, 6-series, and bringing over the 5-series variations.  For now, we have the M235i, a phenomenal vehicle in all the right ways.

Article contributed by Bill Jacobs BMW in Naperville, IL

2014 Chevrolet SS

Details on 2014 Chevrolet SS Revealed

Pricing for Chevrolet’s first highly anticipated rear-wheel-drive performance sedan in 17 years was just recently revealed. The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be offered starting at $44,470 which includes the $995 destination charge when it arrives in dealerships at the end of the year.

The new SS sedan will boast a 6.2 liter V-8 with 415 horsepower and a healthy 415 pounds-feet of torque. According to GM the SS utilizes all that power to run zero to 60 in 5.0 seconds flat.

Two options will be offered for the SS, a powered sunroof and a full size spare tire. The vehicle also offers a ton of standard equipment including Xenon headlamps with LED running lights, Color head-up display, alloy pedal covers, heated front bucket seats with climate control, and keyless entry and push button start just to name a few.

It doesn’t stop there. Chevrolet pulled out all the stops including automatic parking assist with backup camera and rear park assist, blind spot and lane departure warning systems, Chevrolet MyLink with a color touch-screen and GPS navigation, and a Bose audio system complete with free 12 month satellite trial.

This new sedan has anything and everything you could want, and with five exterior colors available to choose from you can completely customize your vehicle and make it just the way you like it. Color options include Mystic Green, Red Hot 2, Silver Ice Metallic, Heron White, and Phantom Black Metallic.

Stop by Ray Chevrolet in Fox Lake and talk to one of our knowledgeable experts about the new Chevrolet SS!