by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (UPI) Mar 21, 2012
U.S. automakers say new cars with three-cylinder engines can give better gas mileage with the same power as the four-cylinder compact sedans Americans buy now.
The cars can get 40 miles per gallon in traffic and 50 on the highway, and they're not expensive hybrids nor do they need any special fuels, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Ford Motor Co. said it will have a three-cylinder Focus or Fiesta for sale in the United States by the middle of next year.
"This engine is a game-changer," Steve Cropley of the British publication Autocar said of the three-cylinder Focus that just went on sale in Europe. "You barely hear the thing start, and it idles so smoothly you'd swear it had stalled."
Japanese makers Mitsubishi and Nissan and Germany's BMW and Volkswagen are all said to be working on three-cylinder designs.
Any vehicles with such small engines must be sure "not to compromise performance or fuel economy," to attract U.S. buyers, Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said.
Manufacturers have been encouraged by how quickly Americans have been willing to move from large power plants down to four-cylinder models.
Forty-seven percent of the cars sold last year had four cylinders, auto survey company Edmunds.com said.
"Three cylinders shouldn't be much of a stretch," Dave Sullivan of automotive consulting firm AutoPacific Inc., said.
JLR finalises Chery as partner to sell cars in China
Both firms will hold an equal stake in the venture, which will also make co-branded vehicles, according to a joint statement on the Jaguar Land Rover website.
"Working together on this proposed joint venture is an exciting prospect for both JLR and Chery," Ralf Speth, JLR chief executive and Yin Tongyao, chairman of Chery Automobile Company Ltd, said.
"Demand for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles continues to increase significantly in China. We believe that JLR and Chery can jointly realise the potential of these iconic brands in the world's largest car market."
The deal comes as a boost for JLR, now owned by India's Tata Motors, at a time when its sales in Europe remain weak due to the current economic uncertainty.
The joint venture company will set up a research and development facility, a plant to manufacture engines, and it will look after vehicle sales as well.
Tata Motors, which makes the world's cheapest car, the Nano, bought Jaguar and Land Rover from US Ford Motor Co in 2008 for $2.3 billion as part of its plans to expand beyond Asia.
Tata Motors officials have said there are plans to double its investments in JLR to 1.5 billion pounds a year, starting in the new financial year, to help launch new products and technologies.
In recent years India and China have emerged as key markets for global automakers, as car sales in most developed countries have slumped due to economic turmoil.
Chery, which makes passenger cars, utility vehicles and engines, is one of China's largest automobile makers, with exports to over 60 countries.
Car Technology at SpaceMart.com
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Space foil helping to build safer cars
Noordwijk, Holland (SPX) Mar 20, 2012
A special foil sensor developed to measure the pressure on a spaceplane's wings during reentry into Earth's atmosphere is now helping to build safer cars. This 'space' foil has been transformed into a new super-thin and accurate sensor used by VW to measure every deformation suffered by cars during crash tests. b>Space research leads to new technology br> /b> It all started in the early ... read more
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