’14 Caddy XTS gets Twin Turbo V-6

2014 Cadillac XTS

2014 Cadillac XTS

Pricing for the 2014 XTS starts at $45,525

New V-6 engine option produces 410 horsepower


The already vaunted Cadillac XTS just got better for 2014.

Buyers can select a new option in August when the Twin Turbo V-6 goes into the production cycle. The twin turbo will produce an SAE-certified 410 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, delivering  105 lb-ft more torque over the standard V-6 from 1,900 to 5,600 rpm.

“The addition of the new Cadillac Twin Turbo expands and elevates the XTS luxury sedan,” said Bob Ferguson, vice president Global Cadillac. “This is a compelling enhancement to what is already one of the most technically advanced sedans in our history.”

In the CTS and XTS product lines, the twin turbo will be the centerpiece of a new model offering called Vsport. The new Vsport is inspired by and slotted “underneath” Cadillac’s elite high-performance V-Series models.

The new Twin Turbo is a significant upgrade to the 3.6-liter, DOHC, V-6 that is standard in the XTS in the U.S. market. Almost every component is unique, including:

  • All-new cylinder block casting
  • Strengthened connecting rods
  • Machined, domed aluminum pistons with top steel ring carrier for greater strength
  • 10.2:1 compression ratio
  • Patented, integrated charge air cooler system with low-volume air ducts
  • Two turbochargers producing more than 12 pounds of boost (80 kPa)
  • Vacuum-actuated wastegates with electronic control valves
  • All-new direct injection fuel system
  • Tuned air inlet and outlet resonators, aluminum cam covers and other features that contribute to quietness and smoothness.

Pricing for the 2014 XTS starts at $45,525, including destination fees, unchanged from 2013, with standard equipment including the 3.6L V6 engine that makes 306 hp, CUE, intelligent brake assist and Magnetic Ride Control.

Three option packages are available: Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections.

The XTS Vsport model will be offered only in the up-level Premium and Platinum Collections as all-wheel drive.

Top American cars for 4th of July are Japanese-made

2013 Toyota Avalon

2013 Toyota Avalon

Toyota Avalon most ‘American’ car among sedans


This news didn’t really shock me that much. A great deal of Hondas are made in Ohio. Nissans are in Tennesee, BMW’s in Spartanburg, S.C., Chryslers up in Canada, some Fords are farmed out to Mexico and the list goes on in true global manufacturing form.

Sure you can go all “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” in your American purchase, selecting a vehicle with a bowtie on the grille, or review the research from my friends at Edmunds.com that examines “American content”. Doing just this, Edmunds.com discovered that the “most American” vehicle in 4 of 8 vehicle segments is made by one of the two Japanese brands.

Research found that the Toyota Avalon (80% U.S./Canadian content) was the “most American” car among sedans. Toyota Tundra (75%) and Toyota Venza (65%) each tied for the “most American” vehicle distinction within the Trucks and Wagons categories, respectively. Meanwhile, Honda Crosstour (75%) is the “most American” car among hatchbacks.




% U.S./Canadian Composition*


Chrysler 200



Chevrolet Camaro



Honda Crosstour



Dodge Grand Caravan



Toyota Avalon



Ford Expedition



(tie) Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra



(tie) Cadillac CTS Wagon, Toyota Venza


* –   percentage of U.S./Canadian content based on information reported by carmakers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA).

“In a world of global supply chains, buying an ‘American’ car can be difficult,” says Edmunds.com Consumer Advice Editor Carroll Lachnit. “A car’s ‘American-ness’ is often in the eye of the car shopper and the manufacturer. The 2013 Avalon, for example, was designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States and 80 percent of its content is domestic. Many car buyers, however, reject the idea that a company based in Tokyo City makes ‘American’ cars.”

Finding a car that’s born and bred in the United States was supposed to be made easier by the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA), which requires carmakers to provide parts-sourcing and manufacturing information to car buyers. But the AALA list (which Edmunds.com used for its analysis) can be puzzling. Under its provisions, for example, the term “American” means either U.S. or Canadian content.

To comply with AALA, the window sticker of a new car must have a section that shows:

  • The percentage of U.S./Canadian parts content for the car line.
  • The names of any countries other than the U.S. and Canada that individually contribute 15 percent or more of the equipment content, and the percentage of content for each such country, to a maximum of two countries.
  • The final assembly point by city, state (where appropriate) and country.
  • The country of origin of the engine.
  • The country of origin of the transmission.
  • A statement that explains that parts content does not include final assembly (except the engine and transmission), distribution or other non-parts costs.

Ultimately, says Edmunds.com, car buyers still have to decide if those factors add up to their personal definitions of an “American” car.

Edmunds.com has more information on how to evaluate an “American” car at http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-buy-an-american-car.html.

When a car buyer purchases an “American” car from a foreign automaker, does that money stay in the U.S. or does it go back to the carmaker’s home country? Edmunds.com attempts to answer this question at http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/foreign-cars-made-in-america-where-does-the-money-go.html.

Happy Fourth of July, America!

Dodge dishes on 2 Dart special edition packages

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

  • New Dart SXT and Limited model “Special Edition” Packages and new Rallye
  • Appearance Group make ordering popular class-exclusive Dart features a snap
  • New Dart SXT Special Edition package includes a black cross-hair grille, projector fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth and class-exclusive features, including dark-tinted projector headlamps, LED racetrack tail lamps, integrated dual exhaust and front passenger seat in-seat storage for a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $595
  • New Rallye Appearance Group lets buyers customize their Dart SXT Special Edition and includes a unique dark front fascia, Rallye badge and class-exclusive 17-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels for a U.S. MSRP of $395
  • New Dart Limited Special Edition package adds a power sunroof, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic temperature control, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and class-exclusive features, including LED racetrack tail lamps, premium Nappa leather seats and Garmin Navigation on the 8.4-inch touch screen for a U.S. MSRP of just $1,810
  • Dart continues to build awareness – it has recorded five consecutive month-over-month sales records to date
  • Dart attracts the youngest demographic in the compact car segment; 60 percent of buyers are new to the Chrysler Group
  • Dodge Dart tops compact car segment in total quality, according to Strategic Vision Total Quality Index
I’ve not been a fan of “special editions” in the past because they usually add a few different seat cloth selections, three different hubcaps, a spoiler on the trunk (now called the rear deck lid), a few more spiffs on the instrument panel and a higher price tag. Sometimes car makers did create a more fun to drive, kick in the pants ride for the extra greenbacks they pulled from your wallet. Other times, it was simply perfume on a slow-selling pig.
Dodge has announced what appears to be a clear departure from past history with three models of its 2013 Dart with two special edition packages and one Rallye Appearance Group.
More importantly, the prices of these packages are quite reasonable and the listing of equipment is extensive and real. It seems that Dodge has gone out of its way to truly add value to a customer’s purchase.

“These new Dodge Dart Special Edition packages show how we’re listening to our customers,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. “Since we launched the all-new Dart last June, we’ve been able to see how customers are ordering their Darts, and as a result, we have simplified our offerings to meet their requests – allowing us to offer them an even better value in the process.”

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

The Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition features all the standard equipment on the SXT model, including a 2.0-liter 160 hp, Tigershark 4-cylinder engine, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, power mirrors, air conditioning, 60/40 split folding rear seat, four-wheel independent suspension, 17-inch aluminum wheels, unsurpassed 10 standard airbags and much more.

The $595 Special Edition package adds a black crosshair grille, dark tinted projector headlamps, projector fog lamps, LED racetrack tail lamps, integrated dual exhaust, Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, front-passenger seat in-seat storage, remote start (with automatic transmission), USB port, rearview auto-dimming mirror with microphone, overhead console with sunglass holder, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, trip computer, vehicle information center, tire pressure monitoring display, active grille shutters and underbody aerodynamic treatment.

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition with the Rallye Appearance

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition with the Rallye Appearance Group

Along with the SXT Special Edition, Dodge Dart customers can also order the new SXT “Rallye Appearance Group,” which includes a unique black front fascia, Rallye badge and class-exclusive 17-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels for a U.S. MSRP of just $395.

The already well-equipped Dodge Dart Limited features a starting U.S. MSRP of just $19,995. For an additional U.S. MSRP of $1,810, the Dart “Limited Special Edition” package bundles the most popular premium features for a U.S. MSRP of $21,805.

The 2013 Dodge Dart Limited is packed with a slew of standard features, including the standard equipment of the SXT model plus unique bright grille, bright door handles, projector fog lamps, power heated mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps, 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, Floating Island Bezel, ParkView rear back-up camera, 7-inch full-color TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LED reconfigurable instrument cluster display, premium door trim panel with soft-touch upper surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio control and speed control, accent stitching on the instrument panel, power 10-way driver’s seat, including power lumbar support, driver and front passenger seatback pockets, overhead console with sunglass holder, front passenger in-seat storage, illuminated front cupholders, illuminated vanity mirrors, temperature and compass gauge, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in console, speed sensitive power locks, power front windows with one-touch up/down, ambient LED interior lighting, automatic headlamps, active grille shutters, underbody aerodynamic treatment, tire pressure monitoring display and Limited badge.

2013 Dodge Dart Limited Special Edition

2013 Dodge Dart Limited Special Edition

The Dart Limited Special Edition package adds premium Nappa Leather seats, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, power sunroof, racetrack LED taillamps, Sirius/XM Satellite radio, Sirius/XM Travel Link, Uconnect 8.4-inch touch screen with Garmin navigation, dual-zone automatic temperature control, remote start and universal garage door opener.

About Dodge Dart
The 2013 Dodge Dart redefines performance with an agile, fun-to-drive experience, compliments of its Alfa Romeo roots. It crafted with high-quality materials and loaded with state-of-the-art technology and class-leading safety features. The new Dart GT model builds on that foundation and offers attributes compact car buyers appreciate such as a 2.4L engine with 184 horsepower, a sport-tuned suspension, available hyper black 18-inch aluminum wheels, along with class-exclusive features like an 8.4-inch Uconnect Touchscreen media center and LED racetrack taillamps. The Dart provides drivers with the ultimate combination of power, efficiency, technology and style, all for a starting U.S. MSRP of just $15,995. The Dart is one of Kelley Blue Book KBB.com’s “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000.”

Follow Dodge and Chrysler Group LLC news and video on:
Chrysler Connect blog: http://blog.chryslergroupllc.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/chrysler
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/pentastarvideo
Streetfire: http://members.streetfire.net/profile/ChryslerVideo.htm
Dodge: http://www.dodge.com

Jeep’s Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Acura Capture Edmunds.com’s 2013 Best Retained Value Awards


There’s few people, or companies, that don’t like receiving awards. Especially if the award notes your product has staying power, is desired and retains its value long after the sale.

The folks at Jeep and Acura are probably tired from smiling all week after Edmunds.com cited the brands for having the best retained value, in a  projected residual value estimation after five years of ownership after being sold new. Edmunds.com qualifies the new price as being based upon its own True Market Value (TMV).

Jeep won in the non-luxury division, while Acura won in luxury division. That Jeep is placed in a non-luxury grouping is curious, given the addition of specific model and the up-level packages that can be ordered to run the stickers right up into what many would consider a luxury price and ride…but, I digress. Jeep’s Wrangler and Grand Cherokee were noted for their value while Acura’s

“Jeep’s small lineup is led by two popular models – Wrangler and Grand Cherokee – that deliver big residual value for their owners. The Wrangler is especially vital to the brand because its retained value sits at an elite level matched by few other vehicles in any segment,” says Edmunds.com Director of Auto Remarketing Joe Spina. “Meanwhile, this is the second year in a row that Acura has won, and the brand clearly has done a great job distinguishing its value in a hypercompetitive luxury market.”

In addition to these brand-level awards, Edmunds.com issued model-level awards in 22 separate categories. Ford and Toyota tied for the most model winners with four apiece. A full list of all 22 model winners can be found in Appendix 1 below and on Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value® Awards page at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/best-retained-value-cars.html.

All vehicle makes with more than 100,000 unit sales in the U.S. in 2012 were eligible for this year’s brand-level Best Retained Value® Awards. All model-year 2013 vehicles that were launched by the end of 2012 and had unit sales in March 2013 that were at least 20 percent of the average unit sales for the models in its segment were eligible for this year’s model-level Best Retained Value® Awards. Edmunds determined each model’s competitive segment based on its body type and the sales-weighted average MSRP of all available styles (excluding destination charges) of that model’s body type.

More details on Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value® Awards can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/best-retained-value-cars.html.


2013 Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards
Model-Level Winners




Retained Value^

Compact Truck




Convertible Under $35,000




Convertible $35K-$45K




Convertible Over $45K


Shelby GT500


Coupe Under $25,000




Coupe $25K-$35K




Coupe $35K-$45K


3 Series


Coupe Over $45,000








Large Light Duty Truck


Silverado 1500


Large Heavy Duty Truck


Sierra 3500HD


Sedan Under $20,000




Sedan $20K-$30K




Sedan $30K-$40K




Sedan Over $40K




SUV Under $25,000




SUV $25K-$35K




SUV $35K-$45K




SUV Over $45,000


LX 570






Wagon Under $35,000




Wagon Over $35,000








^ – Retained Value is the projected private party resale value after five years in the market and assuming 15,000 miles driven per year, expressed as a percentage of the True Market Value® (TMV®) price when sold new.

Porsche, Nissan dealers tops responding to internet inquiries: Piped Piper

Audi, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler lauded for improvement; 1 in 4 internet queries goes unanswered after 24 hours

It may seem obvious if the web sites you check show a pop up screen with a salesmen at the ready to answer your posit on a new vehicle on the lot, that they want your business (and we all know how many check websites before they do their showroom shopping) but a new study sales that 1 in 4 web checks is unanswered after 24 hours.

Overall, the study by Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™ (ILE™) Study showed salespeople responded to internet inquiries within 30 minutes nearly half the time (48%).  Two years ago it took a full hour to receive the same percentage of salesperson responses. Pied Pipe said that today the first response to a customer internet inquiry is an auto response 79% of the time, a personal response 14% of the time, and no response of any type 7% of the time.

Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to actual industry sales success.

Audi, Porsche and Hyundai dealerships showed the most improvement from the previous year. Nissan, as well as Chrysler Group LLC brands Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler, recorded the second year in a row of solid gains, which pushed Nissan, Dodge and Jeep into the top five of the rankings.

“Dealership performance handling internet leads can be invisible from dealership management, or even worse, hidden behind misleading data,” said Fran O’Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC.  “Shining a light on actual performance is the first step.”

Chrysler Group’s recent efforts have successfully pushed Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler’s PSI-ILE rankings from 27th, 30th and 29th in 2011 to 3rd, 3rd and 6th in 2013.

The study said that Mini, Volvo and BMW salespeople were twice as likely to reply with an answer to specific customer questions as salespeople from Lincoln, Kia or Land Rover dealerships.  Dealers encourage follow-up by telephone if customers provide a phone number.  Salespeople from Ford, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz dealerships all attempted to follow-up by telephone at least 60% of the time.  Salespeople from Lexus, GMC, Volkswagen and Land Rover dealerships were least likely to attempt to follow-up by telephone.

Of course you can’t call whom doesn’t give you a number, and that makes sense. And if you ping the dealer with a question and the sales folk are all busy at that time, response time can be delayed. That makes sense, too.

If nothing else, it shows that Internet tire-kicking is taken seriously and those who treat it so will likely reap the benefits in the showroom with a sale.

The 2013 Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™(ILE™) Benchmarking Study (U.S.A.) was conducted between April 2012 and March 2013 by submitting internet inquiries to a sample of 11,353 dealerships nationwide representing all major brands.

Most powerful Rolls Royce – the Wraith – debuts at Geneva

Rolls Royce WraithBY GERRY MILES

Finally, Rolls Royce has made a car that looks sporting, fun to drive, and like it’s not a cast off from yet another sequel of Arthur or other rich-man movie that would feature an updated version of Thurston Howell III or 13th.

After what seemed two months of slowly released teaser photos, Rolls Royce finally pulled back the cover to reveal its fastback coupe, also its most powerful car ever.

Most powerful? Yup, so spaketh RR CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos who noted that the new fastback coupe “promises the sense of adventure and speed.” In a Rolls? Good show!

Power will generate from a 6.6-liter, 624 hp, twin-turbo V-12 that also summons up some 590 pound-feet of torque. A new 8-speed transmission from Germany’s ZF will handle the power requests that can move from 0 to 60 mph in a reported 4.4 seconds.

Adding a new GPS-like twist to the performance angle, Wraith’s new 8-speed is what they called “satellite aided” meaning that it will synch it with the coupe’s Nav System so that you’re always in the optimum setting. Let’s hope MyFordTouch never attempts that. Please.

If you like high-tech doo-dads, one options allows the buyer to activate 1,340 fiber-optic strands in the ceiling to create a very realistic night-time effect. Why you’d want that, I’ve no idea, but you can have it if you want it.

The name, Wraith, incidentally, traces its heritage back to one of the marque’s more legendary badges, dating back to 1938 and a production run that totaled just 492 cars – though the maker later followed with the Silver Wraith.  Clearly, Rolls has bigger aspirations this time, at least in relative terms.

It is destined to roll into showrooms later this year.

The cost? $318,000. Seems almost affordable, doesn’t it?


The full presser is found below. Enjoy.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars proudly presents the world debut of Wraith, the most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history. At its heart lie hallmark Rolls-Royce attributes of luxury, refinement and hand-craftsmanship, but the new model from the world’s pinnacle super-luxury marque also presents a unique character defined by power, style and drama. With just a hint of the noir.

“Today we launch the ultimate gentlemen’s gran turismo, a car that embodies the spirit of Charles Stewart Rolls,” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The most powerful Rolls-Royce in history, Wraith promises the sense of adventure and speed that drove our founding forefather. But of course, Wraith’s starting point is luxury, refinement and quality, traits that remain as important to Rolls-Royce customers today as they were more than a century ago.”

Rolls-Royce Chairman and BMW Group board member Harald Krüger added the following: “The BMW Group today reconfirms its full commitment to the future of Rolls-Royce. Growth and a prosperous future lie ahead thanks to continued investment, careful brand stewardship and the launch of groundbreaking new models like Rolls-Royce Wraith, a magnificent addition to the product range.”

In profile, Wraith’s sweeping fastback design gives the car its unique character. Bold lines, tension in the panels and a raked rear screen evoke the image of a world class athlete poised in the starting blocks. Further expression of dynamic intent can be seen in Wraith’s deeply recessed grille, wide rear track and dramatic two-tone presentation.

Coach doors open to reveal a sumptuous interior complete with softest Phantom-grade leathers and expanses of wood called Canadel Panelling. Named after the famous cove in the South of France where Sir Henry Royce and his design and engineering teams spent their winters, this contemporary and tactile finish sweeps through the interior, cosseting four occupants in a space bathed in light and warmth.

The interior ambiance is complemented by Starlight Headliner, a Bespoke feature available beyond Phantom family cars for the first time. 1,340 fibre optic lamps are hand-woven into the roof lining to give the impression of a glittering, starry night sky.

Performance delivers on the promise of Wraith’s styling. Power delivery is effortless, but dramatic, thanks to a V12 engine married to 8-speed automatic ZF transmission. 624 bhp / 465kW is available to the driver while the 0-60 mph sprint is achieved in 4.4 seconds, compared with 563 bhp / 420kW and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds for Ghost.

From 1,500 rpm 800 Nm of torque is available (780 Nm for Ghost), while a wide rear track, shorter wheelbase and lower roof height further contribute to the most powerful, involving driving experience of any Rolls-Royce in history. The car’s suspension has also been tuned to minimise body roll and discreetly amplify feedback when cornering; while steering weight is heavier at high speeds and lighter at low speeds adding to the spirited drive.

However, Wraith is no GT bruiser. Agility improvements have been achieved with absolutely no compromise to the sensation of riding on a bed of air. Furthermore, the debut of Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) technology takes the powertrain to a new level of effortless delivery, one that perfectly suits the Rolls-Royce brand.

Satellite Aided Transmission uses GPS data to see beyond what the driver sees; it anticipates his next move based on location and current driving style, then selects the most appropriate gear for the terrain ahead. Corners, motorway junctions and roundabouts are all anticipated in advance meaning Wraith is constantly poised to deliver on its promise of performance.

A more polished, effortless driving experience and even better response brings a new, more dynamic dimension to the famous Rolls-Royce trait, waftability.

For over a century a Rolls-Royce motor car has featured technologies designed to support occupants discreetly, delivering a peerless driving experience epitomised by the term ‘effortlessness’. In every Rolls-Royce these assist the driver when called upon, but are prepared to return without fuss to the background when no longer required.

Advances in mechanical and electrical technology deliver systems like head-up display, adaptive headlights and Wraith’s keyless opening boot. But improvements in connectivity have taken the human-machine interface to a new level of sophistication, a suite of aids that could be likened to a contemporary on-board valet.

Voice activation commands, for example, come with a one-touch call button located on the steering wheel. A destination no longer requires manual input from a navigation menu and route assistance begins immediately, on-screen and via audio guidance following a voice command such as “navigate to Piccadilly in London.”

Additional improvements in communications come in the design and functionality of the elegant Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller. This allows navigation through on-screen functions using a touch pad that features pinch and pull functionality to echo smart phone usage. Letters can also be ‘drawn’ onto the pad by hand rather than by scrolling through a series of available characters on-screen.

In Europe, Wraith will be priced at c. €245k. Confirmation and further pricing details in all markets will be revealed later in the year.

First deliveries of Wraith will be made to customers in the final quarter of 2013.