Thursday, August 2, 2007

The U.S. Govt's Secret

Colorado Oil Discovery

Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world — more than 2 TRILLION barrels.

On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. Three companies have been chosen to lead the way. Test drilling has already begun...

Northwestern Colorado. August 2005.

The U.S. Energy Department announces the results of a land survey...

It was conducted to determine the official amount of oil a thousand feet deep in the Rocky Mountains...

They reported this stunning news:

We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth.

Here are the official estimates:

• 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
• 18-times as much oil as Iraq
• 21-times as much oil as Kuwait
• 22-times as much oil as Iran
• 500-times as much oil as Yemen

...And it's all right here in the Western United States.

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says, "We've got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East."

More than 2 TRILLION barrels. Untapped.

"That's more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today," reports The Denver Post.

When asked about America's least-publicized oil supply, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said:

"The amounts of oil are staggering. Who would have guessed that in just Colorado and Utah, there is more recoverable oil than in the Middle East?"

Here's the kicker...

The U.S. government already owns the land. It's been right there under our noses the whole time.

In fact, the government's appointed a small group of companies to lead the way to the oil.

Test drilling has already begun.

And the profit forecasts are ridiculous. According to the RAND Corporation (a public-policy think tank for the government), this small region could produce:

Three million barrels of oil per day... That translates into more than $20 BILLION a year.

These are the conservative estimates. The U.S. Energy Dept. estimates an eventual output of 10 million barrels of oil per day. At that rate, the money flow would be even greater.

I've written this letter to tell you everything I've learned about this rarely publicized oil reserve... who's drilling it... and how to get a piece of the world's biggest, untapped oil supply — before it's too late.

Automotive Aerodynamics

Part 1

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Piston ring manufacturer Allen Waller Morton is born in Richmond, VA
New York state-issued license plates are introduced
The Ford Motor Company announces that Model T sales for the previous twelve months were 308,213 units, and that they will honor their rebate offer by mailing $50 “Profit Sharing” checks to each buyer for a total payout of $15,410,650
The 1920 Winton Model 24 and Model 25 are introduced, the marque’s first totally redesigned cars since 1916
Alexander Y. Malcomson, Treasurer 1903-1906 and a cofounder of the Ford Motor Company, dies in Ann Arbor, MI at age 58

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

Chrysler Group, private equity firm Cerberus could close deal Friday

AP | DETROIT: A historic deal that places Chrysler Group in the hands of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP was expected to close Friday, according to a company official who asked not to be named because the deal was not yet completed.

The $7.4 billion (€5.4 billion) deal was announced in May. Under the terms, DaimlerChrysler AG will transfer an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler to New York-based Cerberus. Daimler will retain a 19.9 percent interest in the company.

A message seeking comment was left for Cerberus spokesman Peter Duda.

Former Chrysler executive Wolfgang Bernhard, a senior adviser to Cerberus, will be named chairman of the automaker's board of directors. Chrysler Chief Executive Tom LaSorda will continue to run the company's day-to-day operations.

Although Bernhard has been seen frequently on Chrysler's headquarters campus, Cerberus Chairman John Snow has said Cerberus plans to keep the same management team in place and give it the freedom to implement its restructuring plan.

The closing was sidetracked last month when bankers marketing a $12 billion (€8.78 billion) Chrysler debt sale to major institutional investors ran into turmoil in the mortgage industry that weakened demand for leveraged loans and high-yield debt.

With no investor appetite, seven banks led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. had to keep most of the debt on their books. The banks will front about $10 billion (€7.3 billion) as a loan, while Cerberus and DaimlerChrysler will be on the hook to fund the other $2 billion (€1.46 billion).

Daimler and Chrysler merged in 1998 in a $36 billion deal.

Metalcrafters: Family Business Turns Out Automotive Artwork

INTRODUCTION: Southern Californians love their cars. Now, some of them who can afford it are even designing their own wheels with the help of a local family business.

Video | Images | Web site: Metalcrafters

Believe it or not, this mammoth state-of-the-art auto plant began as a tiny family-run business back in 1979.

GEORGE GAFFOGLIO: Pretty much a three-man operation -- my father, myself and my brother Ruben. We were taking old Ferraris, chopping the tops off and making them into convertibles.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: But in three decades, George Gaffoglio and his family have transformed Metalcrafters from chop-shop to champion car-customizer, helped in part by Chrysler, which chose the company early on to build various prototypes.

GEORGE GAFFOGLIO: A lot of those prototypes used to be built in Europe, and it was just kind of like we became the local guys.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: The local guys also found another niche -- servicing customers with special whims and needs. This guy (video shows NBA star Shaquille O’Neal), for instance, was just too tall for your average muscle car. So Metalcrafters made adjustments for him.

GEORGE GAFFOGLIO: We took this one Lamborghini Galardo and stretched it 12 inches.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: Now the Gaffoglio family business is a 180-person operation with celebrity clients to spare, every one of them looking for something new and unusual in automotive design.

JAY LENO, TONIGHT SHOW HOST/AUTOMOTIVE ENTHUSIAST: They started out as a small business and, as they got better, it grew. It's sort of the American dream, and that's why it's fun because their name is on the building.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: Jay Leno wanted an ecologically friendly car that runs on bio-diesel. He described his dream to Metalcrafters. They came up with the Eco Jet.

JAY LENO: It's a one-off design. It has a sort of a showcar Batman design look to it. It weighs about 2,400, 2,500 pounds and it has 750 horsepower. And, it’s bio-diesel so you're not wasting any fossil fuels.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: Positive buzz has made Metalcrafters the talk of Hollywood -- and the go-to place for moviemakers and advertisers in need of a car with that special look. This division of Metal Crafters, run by niece Shalinia, has prepped specialty vehicles for movies like Jurassic Park and eye-candy for auto commercials around the world.

GEORGE GOFOGGLIO: That's another fun part of our business too.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: The Gaffoglios are also doing more specialty work for Chrysler, turning out limited edition performance vehicles like the FOOSE. And they're diversifying into other fields, applying their automotive know-how to the manufacture of jet windshields.

GEORGE GOFOGGLIO: A lot of composite work for the vehicles carbon fiber, Kevlar stuff that comes from the race car world, then again it has great application for the aerospace.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: Will success spoil the Gaffoglios? Not a chance, says George. In fact he's working hard to keep the company under family control by hiring relatives for a half dozen key jobs.

GEORGE GOFOGGLIO: The trust and hard work that comes from family members is pretty hard to match.

CHRIS SCHAUBLE: Meanwhile, though hailed by industry friends and competitors as a visionary, George says he's never lost his perspective.

GEORGE GOFOGGLIO: Even in my case CEO you know I'm just still dad or still George.

DaimlerChrysler eyes Ford proving grounds

Aaron Royster
Miner Staff Writer

KINGMAN - The state of Arizona, Mohave County, Kingman and a Lake Havasu City economic group are working together on an incentive package that could reach $500,000 to lure DaimlerChrysler to the Ford Proving Grounds in Yucca.

According to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors and Kingman City Council agendas for Monday, the Chrysler Group is interested in purchasing the 3,840-acre site. Representatives with the vehicle manufacture will go before both government groups Monday, DaimlerChrysler spokeswoman Mary Beth Halprin said.

"We hope to make a final decision within the next two quarters," Halprin said.

DaimlerChrysler currently runs a testing facility out of Wittmann, Ariz., which they sold in late 2005. Since then, the manufacturer has been leasing the facility and looking into various options for a future testing facility.

"I know it would be good news to the community if we did choose that site (in Yucca)," Halprin said.

Halprin said their main three options are to take over an existing outside facility, build a new facility or utilize their other existing facilities. No matter what decision they make, they have to vacate their current facility in Wittmann by mid-year 2008.

If DaimlerChrysler were to purchase the site, it would bring at least 75 jobs and spur the capital investment of approximately $10 million in new test facilities and infrastructure, Kingman Financial Services Director Coral Loyd stated in an agenda memo to Council.

Loyd added that if Ford Motor Company decided to close the site, the agreement would become null and void.

The Arizona Department of Commerce and Economic Development Commission will contribute up to $250,000 to the incentive, matching whatever the other parties contribute. It is the same amount they offered Ford to have them keep the Yucca site open in 2006.

In the event that none of the other local groups contributed, the CEDC is also offering to loan the county $250,000, which would be repaid over 10 years at a rate of 4.5 percent with no penalty for early payment.

Mohave County would contribute up to $150,000 to the incentive, the amount they offered Ford at the same time as the CEDC.

Kingman would contribute up to $60,000 and the Lake Havasu City Partnership for Economic Development would contribute up to $40,000, both of which are the same amount offered Ford last year.

The Lake Havasu City PED board of directors was going to decide on the contribution Tuesday at their retreat but lacked enough members for a quorum. Lake Havasu City PED President and CEO Gary Kellogg said he expects it to be approved by their Monday deadline.

Mohave County and Kingman have approval of the incentives on their Monday agendas. The staffs for the county and city have recommended approval.

Some agencies' participation is contingent upon others. If Kingman and the Lake Havasu City PED do not approve their parts, the Board of Supervisors won't participate and the CEDC will only match the amount from the local groups.

In a request for Board action from Mohave County Deputy Director of Economic Development Jonas Peterson, he stated that DaimlerChrysler is also considering their Chelsea, Mich., and Laredo, Texas, sites for hot weather testing. Peterson concurs with Loyd's estimate of the site creating at least 75 jobs and spurring $10 million in capital investment.

In May, Ford spokesman Said Deep told the Miner they may significantly scale back operations at the site or sell it to another company. The site has more than 50 miles of test roads and approximately 109,000 square feet of building area.

"Nothing is finalized," Deep said. "We're just talking with a potential bidder."

Ford reported a loss of $12.7 billion last year and continues to struggle to become a smaller, more streamlined manufacturer. They plan to eliminate more than 40,000 jobs and stop operations at 16 factories in North America by 2012.

Chrysler Canada Reports July 2007 Sales

- 12th consecutive month of sales increases
- Chrysler is second highest selling manufacturer in Canada
- Sales climb 2.6 per cent in July
- Fuel efficient compact vehicles sales increase 25 per cent for month
and 84 per cent for the year
- Dodge Ram and Jeep(R) brand set new July sales records

WINDSOR, ON, Aug. 1 /CNW/ - Chrysler Canada sales increased 2.6 per cent
in July 2007 marking the company's 12th straight month of sales increases.
Total sales for the month were 19,122 units compared to 18,642 units in 2006.
On a year to date basis, the company has sold 142,359 vehicles versus 133,301
last year for a 6.8 per cent increase, making it the number two seller of cars
and trucks in Canada.
"Canadian consumers are taking advantage of our diverse product lineup
and compelling values resulting in 12 consecutive months of sales increases,"
said Dave Buckingham, Vice President - Sales for Chrysler in Canada. "With the
continuation of our Employee Price Discount and Save on Gas For One Full Year
Event, we fully expect the momentum to continue."

Sales Highlights

Total Jeep brand vehicle sales increased 68.4% for a new July monthly
high, driven by strong performance of Grand Cherokee, Compass, Patriot and the
new Wrangler. Dodge pickup trucks continue to be popular in Canada with Dodge
Ram sales increased 7.2% for a new July record and Dodge Dakota increased
New vehicles to the lineup had a major impact in July with added sales
coming from Chrysler Sebring (1,170 units), Dodge Avenger (649 units), Dodge
Nitro (671 units).

Men's Health Brings Urbanathlon & Festival to Chicago on October 20, 2007

                               Save The Date!

CHICAGO, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Men's Health will expand its signature
event, the Men's Health Urbanathlon(TM) & Festival, to Chicago this year on
October 20, 2007. Previously only offered in New York, the unique race
concept utilizes an urban "playing field" in which traditional race
elements are combined with obstacle course components in iconic city
landmarks. The day-long event will incorporate the race and a free festival
open to the public. Athletes ready to tackle the streets and landmarks of
Chicago can register now at
The race will begin at Butler Field in Grant Park with participants
running north and then east to the Lake Shore Bike Path. Heading north on
the Bike Path they will run the perimeter of Navy Pier on their way to
North Avenue Beach where athletes will circle around and head back south en
route to Northerly Island. From there, they will dash to Soldier Field for
a stair climb up and down the stands and then north to the finish at Butler
Field. "Urban" obstacles will challenge racers at several points though the
race, from culvert crawls to a scaffolding maze and more. The race is
approximately 12 miles long and can be executed as a solo or as a 3-person
The race finishes with a day-long festival that features live
entertainment, health and wellness expos, interactive sports, concessions,
sampling and demonstrations by a range of vendors.
The Dodge brand renewed their sponsor status for both the New York and
Chicago events and will have the All-New 2008 Dodge Avenger serve as
Presenting Sponsor (the All-New 2008 Dodge Avenger hit dealerships in
Spring 2007). Additionally, ESQ SWISS will serve as the official
time-keeping sponsor and Crocs will serve as the official casual footwear
sponsor. Crunch Fitness is the event's national gym partner and will be
offering classes germane to the race. Additional sponsors are currently
being secured.
The Men's Health Urbanathlon(TM) & Festival will make a contribution to
the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a national charity that empowers
disabled athletes around the world.

The New Chrysler: Still Connected Under the Hood with Daimler and Others

By Bill Visnic

The “breakup” of Daimler-Benz and the Chrysler Group is nearly complete, with Chrysler’s new owner, Cerberus Capital Management, due to ink the deal any day now. But like a married couple that’s amicably split, the two companies will continue to “get along” -- continuing with many technical, manufacturing Jeep_grand_cherokee_engine_210 and development ventures neither company is seeking to put asunder.

For one, Chrysler will stay connected in an under-the-hood venture with Daimler and other entities because of the capital-intensive nature of developing new powertrain technologies for global use. Chrysler said recently will spend upward of $3 billion on new, efficiency-enhancing powertrain initiatives over the next several years.

One other reason Chrysler and Daimler will maintain amicable post-breakup relations: the oft-overlooked detail that Daimler will hold a 19.9-percent equity interest in the new Cerberus-owned Chrysler, legally known as Chrysler Holding LLC.

Bob Lee, Chrysler Group’s vice president of the Powertrain Product Team, said in an interview with AutoObserver that Chrysler will continue to work with Daimler –- and other automakers –- now that Chrysler is going it alone under the aegis of its new owner.

“We will have ongoing relationships in a number of areas,” said Lee, who supervises all design, development and release of the Chrysler Group’s powertrains.

He said the various powertrain-related ventures Chrysler will continue with Daimler other automakers –- even direct rivals –- “were set up because they are good business arrangements.”

The powertrain and its related components still account for the single largest capital investment most automakers retain in vehicle development.

Lee said one hot button for the U.S. market, a potential onrush of fuel-stingy, performance-rich new-generation diesel engines, is an example of how the New Chrysler will continue with its existing diesel-engine ventures with other automakers and suppliers to optimize the deployment strategy for diesel in the U.S. Currently, Chrysler itself does not make any diesel engines.

“At this point, we have a somewhat divergent diesel supply base,” said Lee, adding that the variety will enable Chrysler to pick and choose its opportunities for diesel power in the U.S.

He said Chrysler currently is using diesel engines manufactured by no less than four distinct entities:

• Cummins Inc., which produces the well-regarded 6.7-liter, inline six-cylinder diesels for medium- and heavy-duty versions of the Ram pickup sold in the U.S. Cummins reputedly is working on a diesel for Chrysler light vehicles.

• Volkswagen AG, which supplies four-cylinder diesels for Dodge Nitro and Caliber models in Europe. Chrysler will be installing VW diesels in VW-badged variants of Chrysler’s new-generation minivans next year.

Jeep_grand_cherokee_240 • VM Motori S.p.A, which makes the 2.5- and 2.8-liter V-6 diesels that power European variants of the Chrysler Voyager minivan and Jeep Cherokee (Liberty) and Wrangler.

• Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit, which developed and manufactures the 3.0-liter V6 diesel Chrysler launched this year for the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the U.S. The same engine also is used in Chrysler’s strong-selling Sprinter commercial vans, and the company recently said it is studying expanding this engine’s applications into other Chrysler vehicles.

As the pressure ratchets up to quickly deploy fuel-saving and emissions-reducing powertrain technology such as diesels in the U.S., Lee said continuing these ventures makes strong business sense because all of the diesel-powered models currently not available in the U.S. are variants of vehicles Chrysler already sells here. That minimizes the time and engineering and development investment necessary to offer these diesel-powered models Stateside.

“A European diesel has a huge percentage of the work done,” Lee said, to make an easy transition to vehicles in the U.S. market. Lee said Chrysler has about 17 diesel-powered models sold worldwide.

Much the same is true for hybrid technology, said Lee, as well as the advanced dual-clutch transmission Chrysler recently announced it will build and operate in a joint-venture collaboration with Europe-based transmission specialist Getrag Corporate Group.

Dodge_durango_210 With hybrids, Lee said Chrysler will continue a joint-development venture with General Motors and BMW for the well-publicized “2-mode” hybrid system that first will be deployed in Chrysler’s Dodge Durango Hybrid and Chrysler Aspen Hybrid early next year, after it is introduced in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon this fall.

Lee said the 2-mode hybrid transmission venture –- originally signed in fall 2005 by DaimlerChrysler –- encompasses future developments beyond the 2-mode hybrid system for SUVs. It will include front-drive vehicles and passenger cars, and the new Cerberus-led Chrysler will carry on with that development venture.

The entire structure of the hybrid venture is built around developing three distinct versions of the 2-mode system, Lee said, and as such, Chrysler fully plans to continue to collaborate with GM and BMW to bring those technologies to market –- both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Car of the week...Mike

They also have another body kit that doen't look half bad. This started life off as a 300 base model. They put the K2 LED's on the rear. I don't know if they made some sort of custom harness or tied them into the front turn signals.

That's a cop, not a soccer mom

Aurora police add station wagon to squad car fleet

July 30, 2007

If you're driving in Aurora and see a station wagon pulling you over, don't be confused.

The first of the Aurora Police Department's new Dodge Magnum squad cars hit the street last week on the city's far East Side.

Police Chief Bill Powell saw the vehicles at a National Police Convention last year and the department ordered three -- the first Dodge cars in the Aurora fleet since the 1970s.

The 2007 Dodge Magnum looks like a sporty station wagon, although it's painted like a regular black-and-white squad car. The extra trunk space will accommodate the huge amount of equipment -- police tape, riot gear, river rescue ropes, evidence cones, first aid gear, fire extinguishers and more -- officers regularly drive around with in their car.

City of Aurora equipment technician Tim Hoehn spent the past three weeks adding lights, onboard computers and other police perks to the car.

The three new squads won't haul prisoners, although they could later be adapted for that use.

For now, they'll serve as sergeants' cars and, if they work well, police might consider adding a few as regular patrol cars.

The Aurora police now have more than 100 marked squad cars and about 125 total vehicles in the fleet, but Powell promises the newest additions are just as effective as the traditional squads -- and still cool.

"You would never catch me in a station wagon," Powell, a self-proclaimed "car geek," said, "but I would buy this car. This is a cool car."

Jeep News - EPA Report says diesel mileage better than sticker

In real-world driving conditions, diesel vehicles outperform the mileage numbers on their window stickers. So says the EPA in a lengthy report titled “YourMPG” released earlier this week. The Diesel Technology Forum poured over all the details and noted that diesels outperform the label by 4.3 percent. Mileage numbers on sales stickers have been under fire because they don’t live up to real-world expectations. But in the limited U.S. diesel market, the performance matches the tests. Some diesel products with EPA mileage numbers include the VW Golf, Jeep Liberty and Mercedes-Benz E320cdi. Heavy-duty pickups in the 3/4- and 1-ton classes aren’t required to post mileage numbers. This good news should help automakers market the new diesels planned for U.S. consumers.

Chrysler threat riles dealers

Sales jeopardize 173 dealerships
Donna Harris and Bradford Wernle
Automotive News Chrysler group dealers and their lawyers are girding for a fight over the company's threat to yank the franchises of 173 dealerships because of poor sales.

A letter this month by J.W. Dimond, Chrysler's national dealer placement manager, said dealers could lose their franchises if they do not meet their "minimum sales responsibility" within 180 days.

Most state franchise laws require automakers to give dealers 180 days to correct performance issues before franchises can be terminated.

The minimum sales responsibility is a monthly sales target that Chrysler sets for each dealership. Chrysler uses several factors, such as area population and the proximity of other dealerships, to calculate a dealership's sales goal.

Many dealers say those targets often are arbitrary and ignore local market conditions. Leo Jerome, a Chrysler-Jeep dealer in Lansing, Mich., said Chrysler doesn't fairly measure his market, which includes two General Motors assembly plants.

Most vehicle sales in the market are to GM employees, and "Chrysler doesn't take that as a factor," Jerome says.

"There is an overabundance of Chevrolet dealers for the size of the community, Jerome says. "The manufacturer has to come out of its ivory tower and pay attention to what happens in the market."

Chrysler vs. dealers
This year, the Chrysler group has threatened
  • To pull the franchises of 173 dealerships if they don't improve sales in 6 months
  • To bar about 470 dealers from factory used-car auctions if they miss sales goals

Cerberus not involved

The termination letters affect more than 4 percent of Chrysler's 3,700 U.S. dealerships. Chrysler seeks to reduce its retail network, largely by consolidating Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge franchises under the same dealership roof.

Steven Landry, Chrysler's executive vice president of NAFTA sales, global marketing, service and parts, told reporters last week: "We're not going after any dealers to get rid of them .... We'd like them to improve their performance."

Chrysler spokeswoman Lori McTavish said the company will work with the dealers to help them meet sales goals.

Chrysler officials said the threat did not originate with Cerberus Capital Management LP. The private equity company is expected to close as early as this week on its $7.4 billion deal to buy 80.1 percent of the Chrysler group from DaimlerChrysler.

No used cars

This is the second time this year that monthly sales goals have become an issue between Chrysler and its dealers.

In April, Chrysler warned about 470 dealers they would be banned from attending closed factory used-vehicle auctions, effective July 10, if they did not reach 50 percent of their sales goals.

Chrysler says the two lists of dealers are not related.

Jim Moors, a franchise lawyer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, says "Chrysler is acting on its rights" under its franchise agreement with dealers.

"Dealers need to take this very seriously," Moors told Automotive News. "They need to address the issues Chrysler has raised with them. They may want to challenge the accuracy of the sales performance criteria."

Chuck Eddy, a Chrysler group dealer in Austintown, Ohio, and Chrysler representative to NADA, said underperforming dealers shouldn't have been surprised by the letter. "The guys who aren't performing -- they had to know they were going to be asked to step up," Eddy said.

State dealer associations contacted by Automotive News said they have gotten few, if any, complaints from dealers about the letter. Several association executives said it was premature to expect a big response from dealers.

But a Michigan dealer who got the termination letter called Chrysler's threat "pretty ruthless and pretty underhanded." Chrysler executives "don't care about dealer profitability," said the dealer, who asked not to be identified. "They want to squeeze out as many dealers as they can."

Mike Charapp, a lawyer in suburban Washington who works with the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, called Chrysler's sales targets "completely unrealistic."

"Its calculations don't take into account issues relating to brand preference and demographics of the market," Charapp said.

At odds
The Chrysler group is battling with some dealers over minimum sales responsibility, Chrysler's estimate of how many vehicles a dealership should sell in its market.
What Chrysler says: "Minimum sales responsibility is determined by the review of actual sales results and how that number matches the total dealer body's performance in a certain market or region. All dealers agree to meet the minimum sales responsibility of 100 percent in their market. That means they commit to perform on the same level as the average of their peers in that market."
What critics say: Dealer lawyer Eric Chase compares the Chrysler requirement with the observation by Garrison Keillor, host of "A Prairie Home Companion," that all children in Lake Wobegon are above average. "How could all 100 percent of the dealers be average?" Chase says. "It's absurd. It's ridiculous."

Blue Oval redux

Eric Chase, a dealer lawyer in Florham Park, N.J., said the form letter Chrysler sent to dealers was "a blunderbuss statement."

"This is going to be similar to the reaction you got with (Ford's) Blue Oval," Chase said. "The dealers will be very upset. It affects all of them. Who's next?"

Some Ford dealers sued to challenge Blue Oval, the dealer certification program Ford Motor Co. introduced in 2000. The dealers claimed the program created unfair systems of bonuses. Although the program continues, Ford stopped tying the bonuses to certification in 2005.

Loula Fuller, a dealer lawyer in Tallahassee, Fla., said the real issue in the Chrysler dispute appears to be the company's desire to slash its dealership network, not subpar sales at individual dealerships.

"Any time a manufacturer takes on a full-scale-war approach, there is something behind it -- and it's not poor sales," Fuller said. "It's costs."

Nelson Axelrod, a Chrysler group dealer in Wadsworth, Ohio, is among the dealers banned from Chrysler factory auctions. He hasn't gotten the termination letter.

But in response to statements by Chrysler officials that they do not plan to send letters to additional dealers, Axelrod said: "I don't believe that for one second."

"There's no question in my mind as to what the program is," Axelrod added. "This is the first stage. Whether I'm two years out or whatever, the writing is on the wall."

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Uploaded by: blackngold20 on 15 hours ago
dodge ram vs. honda civic This dodge is a beast...they actually gave the civic a 4 car length head start and it didn't only lose but the civic spun out

Who Killed the Chrysler Imperial? Wolfgang Bernhard, Report Says

The Detroit News reports today, on the eve of the final sale papersChrysler_imperial_240_2 being signed for Chrysler, that Wolfgang Bernhard, the former Chrysler COO and reportedly soon-to-be chairman of the New Chrysler, had the final say on the future of the Chrysler Imperial concept.

The large luxury sedan, unveiled as a concept car at the Detroit auto show in 2006 and set to go into production as a 2009 model, was reportedly scrapped in July as inappropriate in this era of likely stiffer fuel economy and emissions standards.

In gripping detail, the newspaper reports how Bernhard had the final say in the death of the Imperial, providing a glimpse into how Chrysler will operate under ownership of private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, which could become official as early as Friday.

The Detroit News writes:

“Business plans had been written, and Chrysler Group executives had debated for months whether to build the flagship luxury sedan.

“But it would be up to Wolfgang Bernhard to ultimately approve or kill the Chrysler Imperial.

“In mid-July, the incoming chairman of Chrysler made his call in dramatic fashion at a final product review, according to people familiar with the event. "That car," Bernhard said, "will never see the light of day."

The newspaper declares this anecdote –- and Bernhard’s swift decision -- is a preview of how Chrysler will be run by private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management.

The paper predicts Chrysler “is expected to move quickly and forcefully to turn around its sagging domestic operations and grow its international business.” The Detroit News reports it has learned that the future of the New Chrysler includes the possibility of an expanded alliance with Hyundai and a deal to build cars in Russia.

Indeed, as the paper declares, this is the deal of the decade in the global auto industry and the beginning of a new era for Chrysler and the industry. That era could start tomorrow if all of the details are finalized.

Hispanic Heritage Night set

¡Hola! Friday night is Hispanic Heritage Night at the Olde Towne Market when we honor our friends to the south.

Our attendance each Friday continues to grow. Thank you to all of you who attend to support this event.

There will be lively music provided by the Mariachi Lobo Band. These 11 musicians are awesome! You won't hear a better mariachi band anywhere. The mariachis will perform at 5:30 p.m. We promise some spectacular entertainment.

Our food vendors continue to increase. Last week, we added Philippine food and fish and chips.

Last week, I tried the Knights of Columbus' hamburger and the firefighters' cheesecake. Both were wonderful and very reasonable in price - only $1 for the dessert and they have a variety of offerings. I will definitely try them again before we close for the season.

If you would like to schedule a food booth, call the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce at 736-4567 and you will get all the information you need plus help meeting Health Department requirements.

Local vendors and organizations are on hand to discuss their programs and display their merchandise. There is a variety of jewelry, candles, beauty products and crafts. Come on down and check them out.

Lompoc will enter America in Bloom in 2009 when we showcase our community. Be sure to stop by the America in Bloom kiosk and view the video describing the program. Sign up for the plant drawing; a drawing is held every hour for a beautiful plant.

We continue to offer events for the kids. Jan the Clown is always there to entertain the young ones with her antics and, of course, the Bounce House continues to be one of the favorites.

This week, the Vandenberg Village Calvary Baptist Church Youth Ministry Group will do some creative face painting. Come down, kids, and get your faces painted.

California Dodge Chrysler and Jeep, Union Bank of California and Compacts continue to be our generous sponsors. We couldn't offer this event without their support. Be sure and visit them and thank them.

We would also like to thank Street Superintendent Joe Orsua and the Lompoc Street Department crew for all of their assistance in providing for the street closures. They are tremendous. It is a privilege to work with someone like Joe, who is so cooperative and community-minded.

We also express our appreciation to Jeremy Conley and his crew from New Life Christian Academy for the cleanup service following each Friday's event. They do a great job keeping the area neat and clean.

Next week's theme is Community Services and Health and Wellness. We will also hold the annual bed races.

This year we have discontinued the bed race entry fee, and the winner of the fastest race time will receive $100 to be paid to their favorite nonprofit charity.

Awards will be given to the most humorous entry and the entry best depicting the bed race theme, “Proud to be an American.”

Call the chamber and reserve your bed frame. There is a limited supply - only eight - so call early. If you want to manufacture your own bed, the chamber has specifications. Race starts at 6 p.m. in the 200 block of South H Street.

If you haven't attended the OTM, time is running out; only five more Fridays before we close for the season. Plan to attend, I guarantee you will savor the food, enjoy the entertainment and meet new and old friends.

See you Friday night at the Olde Towne Market.

Alice Milligan is a member of the Olde Towne Market Committee.

AUTOS: Chrysler-Cerberus deal may wrap up Friday

Financial headlines

The deal by DaimlerChrysler AG to sell 80.1% of Chrysler Group to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is expected to wrap up on Friday, several people familiar with the process said.

The timeline is tentative, the people noted, because of the fragility of finalizing the details, which can get hung up on legal technicalities.

A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment. A spokesman for Cerberus would only say that the deal is on schedule to close in the third quarter.

Chrysler officials in Auburn Hills had hoped the deal would close early this week with a celebration at the headquarters on Wednesday.

Teams to build vehicles that get 100 m.p.g.

A competition to design, build and race concept vehicles capable of achieving 100 miles to the gallon has commitments from 31 teams and plans to launch in 2009.

The Automotive X Prize will be overseen by the X Prize Foundation, which has run similar contests for private space vehicles and genetic research. Those contests awarded $10 million to the winners; the foundation has not set an amount for the 100-m.p.g. challenge.

The teams -- which include one Michigan group -- must design a vehicle that could be mass produced for everyday use and can use any propulsion system.

Suburban sales buck trend in tough July

Click here for more information about Alex Gary

ROCKFORD — In a down month for the entire auto industry, there was very little good news to report from Wednesday’s release of July auto sales in the U.S.

But there were a few bright spots in our region. The Chevy Suburban, which is made by General Motors workers at plants in Janesville, Wis., and Texas, had sales 12.6 percent higher than July 2006. And the Jeep Compass, made exclusively by Chrysler workers at the Belvidere assembly plant, saw its sales jump 266 percent year over year.

The other five vehicles made in Belvidere and Janesville suffered large declines, and even the Compass’ numbers weren’t as positive upon further inspection.The auto industry as a whole took a beating thanks to continuing high gas prices and the credit crunch in the banking industry because of record high foreclosures in the housing market. In total, dealers sold 1.3 million new vehicles in July compared with 1.5 million last July.

Erich Merkle, vice president of forecasting for auto consulting company IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich., said consumers simply have less money to buy cars.

“You’ve got a consumer right now that’s really being stretched,” Merkle said. “In many cases debt levels are incredibly high to the point where you’re seeing a lot of foreclosures.”

Still, the declines in the sales of some of the local cars were somewhat shocking. Sales of the Belvidere-built Dodge Caliber tumbled to 5,305, less than half of what dealers sold in June and the second-lowest monthly total since it hit U.S. dealer lots in February 2006.

The Jeep Patriot, which just went into circulation this January, saw sales fall nearly 40 percent from June to 3,317. The Compass’ meteoric rise was a statistical anomaly. Dealers sold 2,591 of them in July compared with 707 last July, its first month in the marketplace. The July 2007 total was actually the third-lowest in the Compass’ 13 months of availability.

All three of the Belvidere-built vehicles are capable of getting 30 mpg under the right conditions and should thrive when gas prices soar. Still, Chrysler officials said they were happy with the results.

“The whole market was way off in July, and the customer has so many more choices now,” Darrell Jackson, Chrysler’s vice president of U.S. sales, said in a conference call. “Look at it versus last year, we have six different options (in the fuel-efficient market), and the (Dodge) Avenger is in there as well.”

More than 3,800 people work at Chrysler’s Belvidere assembly plant. It is the largest manufacturing operation in the Rock River Valley.

Of the Janesville-made products, the Suburban clearly had the best month with 8,243 of the full-size SUV sold this July compared with 5,546 sold in 2006.

“It’s still the best family-type SUV on the market, and with the flexible fuel E85 versions now the new models are capable of getting 20 to 22 miles per gallon,” said Joe Luy, commercial manager for Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall, which sells Chevrolet along with Jeep, Volkswagen and BMW.

“When gas got up to $3.50 a gallon, it was tough on the Suburban, but it’s always been a mainstay for us. People who own Suburbans stay with them.”

The 2007 Suburbans were redesigned with a more aerodynamic shape and less drag than previous models. For the year, GM dealers have sold 46,801 Suburbans compared with 41,572 through July of last year, a 12.6 increase for the vehicle that dates back to 1935.

Sales of the other big SUVs made in Janesville, the GMC Tahoe, Yukon and Yukon XL, didn’t fare nearly as well. Tahoe sales fell 11.6 percent, and the Yukon and Yukon XL were down 11.7 percent.

About 3,000 people work at GM’s Janesville assembly plant, which has been in operation since 1919 and is the company’s oldest.

Big changes loom for new Chrysler

Bill Vlasic and Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

DETROIT NEWS.COM | AUBURN HILLS -- The concept car had been shown publicly and critiqued internally. Business plans had been written, and Chrysler Group executives had debated for months whether to build the flagship luxury sedan.

But it would be up to Wolfgang Bernhard to ultimately approve or kill the Chrysler Imperial.

In mid-July, the incoming chairman of Chrysler made his call in dramatic fashion at a final product review, according to people familiar with the event.

"That car," Bernhard said, "will never see the light of day."

His swift decision is a preview of how Chrysler will operate under Cerberus Capital Management, the secretive private-equity giant that will soon complete its $7.4 billion buyout of the No. 3 U.S. automaker.

With Cerberus exec Bernhard as its hands-on chairman, Chrysler is expected to move quickly and forcefully to turn around its sagging domestic operations and grow its international business.

Cerberus is expected to close on its acquisition of Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler AG as soon as Friday, according to people close to the process.

It's the deal of the decade in the global auto industry and the beginning of a new era for Chrysler, the smallest of Detroit's struggling Big Three automakers.

Big changes are in store for the new Chrysler, including the possibility of an expanded alliance with Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and a deal to build cars in Russia, The Detroit News has learned.

But overseas projects and U.S. product moves are only part of the transformation awaiting Chrysler, which lost $680 million in 2006.

After nine years as a division of a domineering German parent company, Chrysler will get a much-needed fresh start as the prized possession of Cerberus.

'We bring a fresh set of eyes'

Led by its hard-driving founder Stephen Feinberg, the New York-based private-equity firm owns more than 50 companies and applies cutting-edge business techniques to its corporate turnarounds.

"We are a lot more than a financing company," said John Snow, Cerberus chairman and a former U.S. Treasury Secretary. "We bring a fresh set of eyes that looks at a company's problems from another vantage point."

Since agreeing to buy Chrysler in May, Cerberus has sent squads of financial and management experts to Auburn Hills to assess the company's strengths and weaknesses.

Bernhard, Chrysler's chief operating officer from 2000-04, has swept through the organization like a whirlwind -- poring over product plans, brainstorming with executives, checking on even routine events like press previews for the minivan launch.

The level of oversight by Cerberus might surprise outsiders who expect the firm to stay in the background at Chrysler, said one private-equity expert.

"A lot of people think private equity is just all about financing, and it's not," said David Brophy, director of the Office for the Study of Private Equity at the University of Michigan.

Brophy said the bulk of Cerberus' attention will focus on Chrysler's core activities -- purchasing, manufacturing, product development and sales and marketing.

Sources close to the situation said Cerberus insisted that detailed performance goals for Chrysler and its executives be written into the buyout deal.

"The trademark of private equity is to set high goals for a company where it's not doing well," Brophy said. "With Chrysler, you've got to turn your attention to making cars that customers want."

Chrysler slipped behind Toyota Motor Corp. to fourth place in U.S. sales last year, and seems stuck at a 13 percent share of the market.

This year, Chrysler's U.S. sales are down about 2 percent through July.

A new minivan model this fall should boost sales, but Chrysler's longer-term challenge is to differentiate its products and brands from rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.

"They need to really decide who they want to be, and make sure the product line supports that," said Wes Brown, a California-based automotive brand consultant.

Chrysler insiders said the flashy Imperial concept clearly didn't fit the brand's "premium" image, and Bernhard was correct to dump it.

People close to Chrysler also said the retro-styled PT Cruiser will go out of production when its current model ends in 2009.

The resurgence of Chrysler's lineup will depend on the success of restyled versions of bellwether models such as the 300C sedan and Ram pickup, as well as all-new products, such as the Dodge Challenger muscle car and a crossover vehicle slated for production in Mexico.

"They need to recapture their spark," said George Peterson, president of the consulting firm AutoPacific in Tustin, Calif.

"They need to pay more attention to the interiors of their vehicles, and just do a lot of the product stuff better."

While CEO Tom LaSorda will continue to lead Chrysler's executive team, analysts expect Bernhard to drive most of the changes on the product side.

A charismatic leader with experience at Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Volkswagen, Bernhard is known as both a champion of edgy designs and a disciplinarian on costs.

"Wolfgang will be good for the product because that's his skill," said Dennis Pawley, who headed Chrysler's manufacturing operations in the 1990s. "If they can successfully execute the right products, they've got a chance."

Chrysler looks abroad

Under Cerberus, Chrysler will also be pushing harder to build its international presence.

The automaker is committed to launching eight new vehicles outside of North America this year, but other moves appear to be in the works.

People close to the company said Chrysler is in discussions with Hyundai to expand ties beyond their three-way alliance to build engines with Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

A Hyundai source said "the door is always open to new talks on new proposals," but declined to specify potential areas of cooperation with Chrysler.

Chrysler already has cut a deal to purchase Chinese-made small cars for sale in the U.S., and is working on a partnership with a Russian automaker, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Extending its global reach is critical for a company that sells about 90 percent of its overall volume in North America.

"You can't gain the scale you need just from a regional perspective," said a consultant to Chrysler, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "You need to look outside North America."

Chrysler is also gearing up to purchase more components in low-wage nations in Asia. The effort began before DaimlerChrysler put the U.S. automaker up for sale in February, but has intensified since Cerberus agreed to acquire it.

In fact, Chrysler insiders said the Cerberus deal has been like a shot of adrenaline throughout the entire organization. "Things are moving very, very fast here," one Chrysler official said.

Cerberus has kept its specific plans for Chrysler close to the vest. Feinberg declines all interview requests, and Cerberus officials speak only in the most general terms when discussing their corporate holdings.

"Our job is to ask the difficult questions and to create an environment where management teams can succeed," Snow said in an interview in Detroit last month.

The tone is set, however, by Feinberg, the reclusive financier who masterminded the buyout.

'They need to deliver'

Operating out of a suite of offices on the 22nd floor of a Park Avenue skyscraper, Feinberg runs a lean organization with fewer than 200 full-time executives.

"There's very little bureaucracy at Cerberus," said one former executive of the company, who asked not to be identified. "Things go right to the top at Cerberus, and Steve is known for making decisions on the spot."

Executives at Cerberus-owned companies are given performance targets, and are said to have an unusual amount of autonomy to achieve the goals.

"He gives each management team a chance to deliver the goods," said the former Cerberus executive. "But they need to deliver."

People close to Chrysler said LaSorda has made several trips to Cerberus's New York offices in recent weeks. Chrysler insiders said Feinberg already has a deep understanding of the company's inner workings.

"This is a guy who never asks a question he doesn't already seem to know the answer to," said one Chrysler official. "He really does his homework."

People familiar with the Cerberus buyout said that LaSorda and other senior Chrysler executives stand to earn huge cash bonuses if they achieve performance targets.

Unlike a publicly traded company, Chrysler will not have to disclose its compensation plans.

"The newspapers were full of pictures of the big smile on Tom LaSorda's face after the deal, and that's because there's a big payoff if Chrysler succeeds," said Brophy of U-M.

But with Cerberus looking at perhaps a five-year time frame to return profits to its own investors, Chrysler can't afford to get off to a slow start.

"The key to private-equity deals is to get a return on the investment in a relatively short period of time," Brophy said. "If the limit is five years, well, there's not a lot of room for mistakes."

Dodge’s secret seven-seater scooped

02 August 2007

arent company the Chrysler Group might be right in the middle of a change of ownership, but the Dodge brand just keeps on growing. This year alone, its model range is doubling from two to four models, with the Nitro 4x4 and Avenger saloon going on sale; in 2008 we’ll see two further new models, the brand’s first supermini, and this, a seven-seat crossover called the Crew.

These pictures provide our first proper look at Dodge’s new model; our spies were lucky enough to take them just moments after the car’s driver removed much of its disguise. Check out the full range of snaps in our gallery and you’ll see the car’s signature Dodge crosshair grille, but also the raised ride height and ‘H point’ (both typical of a 4x4), and the estate-like extended rear glasshouse (an MPV cue).

So is it a 4x4 or is it an MPV?

Well, it’s both. The Crew will be built at Chrysler’s Toluca plant in Mexico, and shares its platform with the Avenger and Sebring saloons. That means that it’s ostensibly a car, rather than an old-school 4x4, underneath. However, as you can see, it’ll have a higher ride height than most conventional MPVs, and will be offered with all-wheel drive as an option.

The Crew’s engine range is likely to be identical to that of the Avenger, which means a choice of 154bhp 2.0-litre petrol, 170bhp 2.4-litre petrol and 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel motors.

Although the disguise conspires with the tinted windows of this mule car to prevent you seeing inside, company insiders suggest the car will be a proper seven-seater, whose second and third row of seats fold to provide extra cargo storage.

That will make the Crew a natural rival for the Mitsubishi Outlander, Peugeot 4007, Citroen C-Crosser and Hyundai Santa Fe.

How much and when?

Value for money is something that Dodge is building its brand on, and that being the case, we’d expect the Crew range to start well below £20,000, rising to around £23k for the all-wheel drive petrol range-topper.

It’ll go on sale in early 2008, and for those of us keen to get an early look at the car, it’ll be shown for the first time at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Chrysler's concepts often turn into reality

Automaker has a reputation for building vehicles that push the design envelope

TONY WHITNEY, CanWest News Service

Published: Monday, July 30

Just about all automakers build concepts to test public reaction, try out new styling and engineering ideas, evaluate new types of powertrains or just plain have fun with a show car that will never see an assembly line.

On the auto show circuit each year, Chrysler, Ford and GM vie for attention with their concepts and, predictably, the European and Asian nameplates are well in step with their own offerings.

The people at Chrysler Group have chosen to mark 20 years of concept-building during 2007, though of course, concept cars go back many decades before the late 1980s.

Chrysler has developed an amazing reputation for going ahead with concepts and at every auto show, one never quite knows whether a styling exercise that looks too radical to build will end up on the showroom floor.

The company regards its concepts as one of its key strengths, and there aren't too many people around the industry who would argue.

Chrysler points out that even if a specific concept vehicle doesn't go into production, its design and engineering features might be incorporated into future models.

According to Chrysler, the modern era began when it revealed its Portofino cab forward concept sedan (complete with Lamborghini engine) at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1987.

Few of us who were there at the time realized we were looking at what would become the company's future large sedan range, sold with great success under various nameplates including Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Eagle.

Since 1988, Chrysler has created more than 100 concept vehicles in every imaginable shape, size, configuration and material. Highlights that made it to the dealer lots include the Dodge Viper RT/10 (1989), the Dodge Neon (1991), the Plymouth Prowler (1993), the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe (1994), the Jeep Commander (1999), the PT Cruiser (2000), the Chrysler Crossfire (2001), the Chrysler Pacifica (2002), the Jeep Compass (2005), the Dodge Avenger (2006) and many others.

I'd love to have seen Chrysler build the wonderful Bugatti-inspired Atlantic of 1995 and the amazing and opulent Chrysler Phaeton of 1996, but I guess we can't have everything, and the automaker has, after all, delivered so much else from its stable of concepts.

In 1989, the company showed eight concepts at auto shows around the world, and in 2000, an impressive 10 were revealed. This past show season, Chrysler showed fewer concepts than usual, but perhaps the corporation is busy with some blockbusters for 2008.

Says Chrysler design guru Trevor Creed (who once told me that his dream vehicle was the Dodge Power Wagon of 1999): "We've always said at Chrysler that we don't just produce concepts for fun. We have proved year after year that our concepts are innovative and relevant."

It's interesting to ponder what happens to these wonderful flights of fancy after they've had their weeks of glory on the auto show circuit.

Some end up in the company museum, if one exists, but all too many are stored away somewhere in a corner of the design department to gather dust until somebody realizes their historic significance and brings them back to life

I once visited a major North American design operation where there were dozens of long-forgotten concept vehicles stored in a warehouse - some of them going back to the 1950s. It costs millions to build some of these concept vehicles - especially if they have innovative drivetrains that actually work.

The lessons learned during the concept design and building process often prepare the ground for all kinds of ideas that help make today's vehicles what they are. It's rarely money wasted, even if the original concept does have a limited life and, ultimately, all vehicle buyers benefit.

Vancouver Sun


Jeep Wrangler is one of the most successful and popular auto models made by any car manufacturing company ever. There are dozens of sites committed to Jeep Wrangler on the Internet, but today I would like to tell you about I consider the site to be one of the most reliable sources that contain sufficient information about the past, present and future of the car.

The first thing that is peculiar about the page is its style of describing the car. You won’t find advertising logos, poor slogans offering to buy the car. Instead of this you’ll be able to find much useful information about the car, its history, many rare technical details etc.

Jeep Wrangler speaks about the most general features of the car: its exterior, engine line, color variants, rim choice, special electronic systems, additional options and pricing.

Moreover, the site features Wrangler X and Rubicon review. This very page of the site speaks about the three trims available for Jeep Wrangler fans:

  1. Jeep Wrangler X
  2. Jeep Wrangler Sahara
  3. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Each trim level adds special off-road features such as heavy-duty axles, extra-long gearing etc. The page also speaks about the availability of 2 body types for each trim level: short-wheelbase (2-door variant) and long-wheelbase (4 doors).

Another page of the site is dedicated to Jeep Wrangler history which starts in 1987. The site emphasizes the fact that Jeep being quite an old vehicle, remains one of the most popular Chrysler models due to its brilliant shape and perfect performance. The site mentions all the generations of the car: 1987 YJ, 1987-1995 YK, 1997-2006 TJ and the latest version under the name KJ.

Eventually the page clues the secret of the car’s vitality. It says that Jeep Wrangler has always been so popular, because when the needs of the consumer change, the car changes as well. While being a strictly off-road vehicle in the past, it is no longer so for Jeep Wrangler. At the moment the car can be thought of a family car because of its diversity, spacious interior and safety figures.

Double Strike by Jeep: Wrangler Ultimate & JT Concept

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Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

The Packard K. Special race car is given its first road test in Warren, OH
The 1928 Chandlers, featuring 25 different models, are introduced by Frederick C. Chandler
Racer Gerry Birrell is born in Glasgow, Scotland
Racer Bud Tingelstad dies in Indianapolis, IN at age 53

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

2007 Mitsubishi Lancer: The New 4B11 Engine

Lancer Engine Bay

Since the new 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer is coming soon, I decided to dig up some details on the new GEMA engine under the hood. The previous Lancer that is on sale on our market now uses the all-familiar 1.6 liter 4G18 engine, similar to the one that we used to find under the hood of our Proton Waja, with one of the few minor difference is that the Waja uses a 4-speed auto while the Lancer uses a CVT.

The new 2007 Lancer has it’s engine upped to 2.0 liter, putting it head to head with the Civic 2.0. The new GEMA engine is a joint venture project between DaimlerChrysler, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Hyundai has yet to use the GEMA engine in any of it’s cars, while DaimlerChrysler’s now-sold-off Chrysler used it as it’s flagship 2.0-2.4 liter.

The GEMA engine is called the 4B1x series in Mitsubishi terms, and the 2.0 liter model that we will see in the 2008 Lancer is the 4B11, with the Lancer Evolution getting the 4B11T. It is probably the first time a non-Sirius engine has been used in a Lancer Evolution. All Evolutions, from the Evo I to the Evo IX used some variant of the Sirius 4G63T, with the latest in the Evo IX getting MIVEC variable valve timing.

Lancer EngineThe 4B11 is a 4-cylinder DOHC engine with MIVEC variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valves, making it somewhat equivalent to Toyota’s Dual VVT-i. In it’s US market application, it makes 152 horsepower at 6,000rpm (143 horsepower in California because of higher emission regulations) and 198Nm of torque at 4,250rpm, with 176Nm available from 2,500rpm. The 4B11 uses a new aluminium cylinder block as well as an aluminium cylinder head. A timing chain is used instead of a timing belt.

While most engines are usually either bore-biased (rev-happy) or stroke-biased (better torque), the new 4B11 is a “square” engine - it has a bore and stroke that both measure 86mm, giving a good balance of rev-happiness and good torque. It uses as compression ratio of 10.0:1, but can still use RON92 (87 AKI) fuel.

The MIVEC system uses valve overlap to reduce pumping losses under normal conditions, but under high engine speed conditions where maximum power is needed, intake valve closing time is retarded to allow for larger air volume. In a similar high load condition but at low engine speeds, intake valve closing is advanced instead, ensuring sufficient air volume, but exhaust valve opening is retarded to provide a higher expansion ratio and improved efficiency.

To ensure stable idling, valve overlap is eliminated during idle conditions. As previously mentioned, this version of MIVEC can adjust both intake and exhaust valves independently for maximum flexibility in valve control.

Mitsubishi has employed a 4-point inertial axis system with cylindrical hydraulic engine mounts on the left and right sides to help reduce engine vibration, ensuring smooth and quiet operation. On the right side mount where the engine is, a lightweight, high-rigidity squeeze-cast aluminium bracket helps reduce engine noise under acceleration. On the left side where the transmission is, a similar lightweight, high-rigidity plate bracket made of steel helps reduce gear noise. For the front and rear engine mounts, a custom-tuned insulator helps control both idle vibration and acceleration shock.

The engine can be mated to either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a CVT transmission with 6 virtual gears that are selectable using paddle shifts on the steering wheel. Mitsubishi picked 6 gears (in reality because they are unlimited to pick from, you could have 50 CVT virtual gears if you wanted) because it offered the best balance of ease of use, sporty driving, and flexible performance.

The 5-speed manual is an improvement over the old 5-speed transmission - the third and fourth gears now use double-cone synchronisers for smoother shifting and a new honing process was used to reduce noise. The gear ratios have also been adjusted to suit the torque curve of the new engine.

Lancer ShifterThe CVT transmission’s ratio range is from 2.349 to 0.394, with infinite variations in between, which gives wider ratios than the previous 4-speed auto that had a ratio spread of 2.842 to 0.712. A much higher achievable overdrive ensures good fuel economy and lower engine speed for highway cruising. The INVECS-III software in the CVT customises shift patterns on the fly to match the acceleration and brake patterns of the driver. If you select the L mode, the INVECS-III software shifts to allow for more engine braking if the car has to go down slopes.

Something alot of people miss when switching from conventional fixed ratio gearing to CVTs is the lurching feel when you floor the pedal from a stand still. The way a CVT-equipped car starts may be interpreted as sluggish by our minds - this is known as the rubber band effect. INVECS-III can simulate this lurching that the driver expects.

Anyway, this engine looks like a very modern engine with a gearbox combination that promises to be great for both city and highway driving. You’ve got ample amounts of torque from a low 2,500rpm for a comfortable city drive, plus a CVT to keep the revs at the sweet spot. You’ve got a good low maximum overdrive ratio of 0.394 for good highway fuel economy and a relaxed low engine speed cruise. Finally, for whenever you feel like driving spiritedly, there are the paddle shifters.

On paper, the Lancer’s drivetrain sounds good. An invite for the launch, Mitsubishi Malaysia? :)

UPDATE: Look at two videos after the jump explaining some technical details on the 4B11 as well as it’s matching INVECS-III CVT gearbox, thanks to reader Rikeys.