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Feb25

Fisker: Why the $142M sale won't help get taxpayers money back





FEATURED Auto News Auto Marketing Auto Incentives Auto Finance | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

Fisker: Why the $142M  sale won't help get taxpayers money back

 


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At the beginning of 2014, it looked like Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC was going to buy the remains of Fisker Automotive for $25 million. Just before that sale was to take place, however, Wanxiang stepped in and an auction was therefore scheduled for the middle of February. After 19 rounds of apparently frantic bidding, Wanxiang drove away the winner with a $149.2-million bid. Despite the massive dollar run-up, the Department of Energy will not be recouping any extra money from its failed loan to Fisker in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

Way back in 2010, the DOE made Fisker a loan commitment of $528 million but only ever gave the automaker $192 million before problems were identified and the ATVMP spigot was turned off. The DOE later said it "recouped more than $28 million from the company's accounts," which left $168 million unaccounted for. The DOE thus announced it would hold an auction for the remainder of Fisker's loan obligation, which was decidedly not all of the Fisker remains. That loan sale auction took place in December and was won by Hybrid Tech Holdings for $25 million, which means that the final cost to the DOE was $143 million.

The important thing to realize is that the $25 million in cash that made up Hybrid's original bid for the rest of the Fisker assets in the February auction in a Delaware bankruptcy court were the apples to the oranges of the $25 million used to buy the loan obligation in December. Since the DOE did not control - and never wanted to control - the Fisker assets, the DOE didn't get to recoup any more of the $143 million that Fisker owed on the loan despite the higher-than-expected ending price.

 

Source: Autoblog

Jan10

Free Lamborghini Aventador with a purchase of a penthouse apartment in Dubai!





FEATURED Auto News Auto Incentives Lamborghini | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

Free Lamborghini Aventador with a purchase of a penthouse apartment in Dubai!

 

Buy a $15 million penthouse in Dubai and get a $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador free!

 

Free Lamborghini Aventador with this penthouse apartment in Dubai

Forget vaulted ceilings or good lighting, this over-the-top apartment comes with the keys to a brand new Lamborghini!
As part of the Dubai Shopping Festival, Damac Properties is offering one of the wildest enticements to move into its newest luxury apartment building.


Buy the penthouse and you get a $400,000 Lamborghini thrown in, free of charge.

Located near the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Damac Maison apartment building includes everything from a spa and butler services, to private jet and yacht charters.

 

 

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The four-bedroom penthouse is the one to get, however, because that nets you the Aventador. Then again, you could always buy the Lambo separately and stay in your parent’s basement – hey, you’d save about $14.6 million!
Less expensive apartments in the building also come with a new ride, such as a BMW SUV or Mini Cooper Cooper hatchback.


News Source Daily News

Apr05

2013 Shelby Raptor 575-HorsePower Off-Road Goliath





FEATURED Auto News Ford Motor Co | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

2013 Shelby Raptor 575-HorsePower Off-Road Goliath

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Shelby American has definitely proven itself when it comes to tuning the Ford Mustang – look no further than its new 1,200-horsepower Shelby 1000 – but now the Las Vegas tuner has turned to the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.

The big change for this already high-performance off-road pickup is the addition of a supercharger atop Ford's 6.2-liter V8, with spent gasses exiting through a Borla exhaust system. This improves the horsepower rating from a stock rating of 411 up to a shenanigan-ready 575. For a Shelby, the styling of this F-150 is very toned down, with only the company's name etched into the Raptor's digital mud to go along with custom wheels wrapped in 35-inch tires.

The company is only planning to build 100 of the Shelby Raptors per year, with pricing set at $17,995 on top of the stock donor Ford, which starts at $43,630

 

PRESS RELEASE:

SHELBY AMERICAN DELIVERS BIG POWER IN A BIG PACKAGE, UNVIELING THE ULTIMATE MUSCLE TRUCK AT NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

LAS VEGAS – March 28, 2013 – Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc., (CSBI.PK), today unveiled the new Shelby Raptor, one of the most powerful, exciting and collectable off-road production trucks, during the New York International Auto Show. The Shelby Raptor marks the return of the Shelby muscle truck and is based on the 2013 Ford SVT Raptor with enhanced power and handling, topped with "Shelby Style" inside and out.

"As a native Texan, Carroll Shelby loved powerful trucks," said John Luft, president of Shelby American. "Carroll connected his love for trucks with his passion for performance on several projects, with the first one over 30 years ago. The latest Shelby truck was created to conquer any terrain with serious velocity."

Shelby American takes the impressive Ford SVT Raptor and adds some "Shelby Magic" to create the ultimate muscle truck. By forcing air through a 2.9 liter supercharger mounted on the massive 6.2L V8 engine, and then out of the Shelby Borla exhaust system, Shelby American takes the stock 411 HP rating and kicks it up to 575 HP. A six-speed automatic transfers power to all four wheels and features a manual mode to give the driver complete gear selection control.

"Aerodynamically speaking, the Raptor was engineered for maximum performance," said Gary Patterson, vice president of operations. "We spent our efforts improving the power, cooling and handling systems because every Shelby is built to excel under even the most extreme conditions."

Equipped with 35-inch Goodrich All-Terrain tires and optional custom wheels, the Shelby Raptor stays connected to any ground it faces. The "Off-Road" mode calibrates the transmission, stability and traction control systems to operate in harmony under high-speed off-road situations. In addition, any of the three Shelby graphics packages will help set it apart from every other rig on the road.

"The Shelby Raptor was an absolute thrill to test across the Nevada desert," said Vince LaViolette, Shelby American's test driver. "The suspension system allows the Raptor to go over, around or through just about any obstacle. When more power is needed, just stroke the gas to spool up the supercharger and make the big tires rip."

The post-title package starts at $17,995, not including the base Raptor. A limited production of 100 Shelby Raptors will be built per model year and each will be numbered and documented with a unique Shelby CSM number and entered into the official Shelby Registry.

"The Shelby American line up now has something for everybody," added Luft. "We continue to offer the legendary Cobra sports car, along with our GTS, GT350, Super Snake and Shelby 1000 based on the current Ford Mustang and Ford Shelby GT500 vehicles. We took a page out of our history by bringing back Carroll's beloved front wheel drive 'pocket rocket' with the Shelby Focus ST. Since Shelby American's first official appearance was at the New York Auto Show over 50 years ago, it's fitting that our 'biggest and baddest' product unveil of the year, the Shelby Raptor truck, would occur in Manhattan."

Shelby American is now accepting orders for the limited edition Shelby Raptor truck. Those interested in reserving a truck should contact the sales team at (702) 942-7325 or visit www.shelbyamerican.com.

About Shelby American, Inc.
Shelby American manufactures and markets performance vehicles and related products. The company builds authentic continuation Cobras, including the 427 S/C, 289 FIA and 289 street car component vehicles. Shelby American offers the Shelby 1000, GT350, GT500 Super Snake, and GTS post-title packages for the current generation Ford Mustang, as well as the 2013 Shelby Focus ST and Shelby Raptor. For more info, visit www.shelbyamerican.com.

 

 

 

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Aug03

Bugatti Veyron art designed by Ian Cook –





FEATURED Featured Vehicles Auto News Bugatti | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

Bugatti Veyron art designed by Ian Cook – Photos by G.F. Williams

 

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The fourth annual Wilton Classic and Supercar Festival goes down on August 5th, and organizers of the event have come up with a supremely fast attention getter: a Bugatti Veyron art car. Well, almost. The Bug was wrapped in vinyl that was designed by an artist we've written about before, Ian Cook, known as Pop Bang Colour, who immortalized an image of the Chevrolet Camaro on canvas using radio-controlled cars.

Among the Gulf-inspired livery you might notice that this particular Veyron is called the "BUGARTI," typo intended. The livery isn't for nothing, with a Gulf-liveried McLaren F1 GTR Longtail scheduled to appear at Sunday's event. If you can get there, we've heard it's worth it.

 

News Source: Autoblog.com  - GFWilliams.net via Facebook, Autoblog.nl

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Aug03

NEW BMW HP4 High Performance 1000cc class 193hp motorcycle





FEATURED Auto News BMW | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

 

NEW BMW HP4 High Performance 1000cc class 193hp motorcycle

 

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BMW has had a line of HP – for High Performance – motorcycles for seven years, but they have all used the company's signature boxer engine layout. The new HP4, on the other hand, is a 1000-cc class bike using an evolution of the four-cylinder engine from the BMW S 1000 RR sport bike.

A homologation special, the configuration isn't the only first in the HP4's arsenal: it comes standard with an active, electrically-actuated Dynamic Damping Control, a torque-adjusting Launch Control system, and BMW claims its the lightest four-cylinder supersports bike in its class, with a dry weight of 169 kg (371.8 pounds) and 199kg (437.8 pounds) with a 90-percent full tank. Bits like the lightweight, forged wheels, titanium exhaust and lighter sprocket carrier and battery have helped shed the pounds.

The engine cranks out 193 horsepower and 82 foot-pounds, the same numbers as on the S 1000 RR. However, every bit of horsepower is available in all the traction control modes, torque response has been boosted from 6,000 rpm, and the torque delivery curve is smoother when the traction control is in Rain mode. Helping a rider keep it all under control are that Launch Control, a shift assistant for seamless gearchanges, an updated, four-mode Race ABS system, traction control that can be adjusted on the fly, and Brembo monoblock brake calipers.

There's a competition package offered to harden its edge further, and a passenger package if you need to go the other way, but with two. Price hasn't been released yet but take a look at the press release.

 

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PRESSS RELEASE

 

THE NEW BMW HP4.

27/07/12 -- With the BMW HP4, BMW Motorrad presents the lightest 4-cylinder supersports bike in the 1000cc class to date. Based on the BMW S 1000 RR - or RR for short - the new sports motorcycle has an output of 142 kW (193 hp) and weighs just 199 kilos including Race ABS and with a 90% full fuel tank (169 kg dry weight with Race ABS).

The new BMW HP4 sees its world premiere in 2012 and is a continuation of BMW Motorrad's HP model series founded in 2005. After the boxer models HP2 Enduro, HP2 Megamoto and HP2 Sport, the BMW HP4 is the first 4-cylinder motorcycle in the HP family.

The HP label stands for high performance, and the HP4 once again embodies outstanding agility, power and riding dynamics. But it also reflects the use of extremely high-quality materials and intelligent technology, carefully conceived down to the last detail. In short, the HP4 stands for perfectly controllable power and sporty perfection.

BMW High Performance motorcycles are truly outstanding: exclusive and authentic, they will always remain relatively rare. This applies equally to the new BMW HP4. Each motorcycle is issued with its own HP4 serial number which is engraved indelibly in the upper fork bridge.

A genuine highlight: due to its extensive range of fittings and excellent set-up, the new HP4 is immediately ready for use on the race track ex works, requiring no elaborate modifications. But at the same time it offers great potential for dynamic riding on country roads. Still, the HP4 is entirely uncompromising, combining athletic flair and riding dynamics at the very highest level - to an even greater extent than the S 1000 RR.

The new HP4 - exclusive performance based on the S 1000 RR.
Since its international press presentation in autumn 2009, the S 1000 RR has sped from one triumph to the next - and not just in motorcycle magazine comparative tests. This is clear evidence of the qualities and the consistency of the supersports concept. Fitted with Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), the RR set a new benchmark in this hotly competed and technologically highly sophisticated segment. But even the S 1000 RR left some room for improvement.

Technical innovations for enhanced sports performance.
The HP4 provides the homologation basis for the use of BMW motorcycles in motorcycle racing, especially in the superbike and superstock category. The new model features numerous technological innovations which highlight its orientation towards racing and the race track. The standard passenger seat cover ensures the monoposto look so characteristic of the race track. But for riders who would like to travel with a passenger, BMW Motorrad also offers a passenger package as an ex works option. In addition to the passenger seat this includes the passenger footrest system.

Dynamic Damping Control DDC - a world first in serial motorcycles construction.
The new HP4 reflects its status as a high-performance motorcycle in terms of its suspension system with a world first for serial production motorcycles: it is fitted as standard with Dynamic Damping Control DDC. This system allows dynamic damping adaptation of the upside-down fork and spring strut to the specific situation on the road. The damping is adapted to the current manoeuvre or road surface by means of sensor-supplied parameters via electrically controlled regulation valves. In this way, the HP4 offers optimum damping in every situation, handling long and short shocks virtually perfectly so as to provide maximum traction and safety.

Higher performance brake system and Race ABS with IDM setting for maximum brake performance.
With the introduction of Race ABS in the S 1000 RR, BMW Motorrad underscored its pioneering role in the area of ABS. For the first time ever, an antilock brake system was consistently tailored to sporty needs.

With the new race-oriented HP4, BMW Motorrad now takes the next step in this area. In keeping with the HP4 use profile of race track and dynamic country road riding, the new bike not only has Brembo monoblock brake calipers and 9x floating brake discs at the front but also a further developed and refined Race ABS.

As before, this ABS has four different modes for wet surfaces ("Rain"), roads ("Sport"), race track with supersports tyres ("Race") and race track with slicks ("Slick"). Racing experience gained from the IDM (International German Motorcycle Championship) has been fed directly into the Race ABS fitted in the HP4. In "Slick" mode, the so-called IDM setting with refined regulation impulses now gives the skilled rider the option of maximum possible deceleration.

New 200/55 ZR 17 tyres on the rear wheel and finely adjustable Dynamic Traction Control in "Slick" mode.
The HP4 uses a rear tyre in the new format 200/55 ZR 17. The Dynamic Traction Control DTC already used in the RR has been optimized for supersports use in the HP4: now the effect of traction control can be adapted in "Slick" mode to changing conditions and the rider's individual preference while on the move.

Launch Control for perfect starts and shift assistant for optimum gearshifts.
The HP4 is the first BMW motorcycle to have a so-called Launch Control function which provides active support for the rider in "Slick" mode to achieve maximum acceleration from standing - for example on race starts. Launch Control limits engine torque so as to provide the maximum torque transferable from the rear wheel whenever the front wheel is under no throttle. This means the rider has to focus less on the throttle because he is controlling acceleration solely using the clutch. In addition, when Launch Control is activated engine torque is reduced as soon as the system detects front wheel lift. This prevents unwanted wheelies when accelerating.

The HP4 allows the rider to make instant gearshifts with virtually no interruption of tractive force by means of the shift assistant, fitted as standard. This helps gain valuable fractions of a second on the race track, too.

Weight reduction due to forged wheels, lighter sprocket carrier, titanium exhaust system and lighter battery.
New finely wrought 7-spoke wheels in forged light alloy and a new, lighter sprocket carrier give the HP4 a weight reduction of 2.4 kg as compared to the RR.

The exhaust system is made entirely of titanium and saves as much as 4.5 kilograms as compared to the RR, thereby contributing to the HP4's enhanced handling qualities. The new exhaust system has an interference pipe between cylinders two and three, a controlled acoustic valve and a closed-loop catalytic converter. It has been possible to optimise the torque curve thanks to the new exhaust system, with the engine application adapted accordingly.

Sharpened engine set-up and more torque in the mid-range.
The new HP4 is fitted with the water-cooled 4-cylinder in-line engine of the S 1000 RR with a peak output of 142 kW (193 hp) at 13,000 rpm and a maximum engine speed of 14,200 rpm. As in the RR, its maximum torque of 112 Nm goes on stream at 9,750 rpm. The torque has been perceptibly increased in the 6,000 rpm to 9,750 rpm range. In "Rain" mode there is now a smoother output and torque curve available between 2,500 rpm and 8,000 rpm.

Unlike the RR, the 4-cylinder in-line engine in the HP4 provides the full output of 142 kW (193 bhp) at 13,000 rpm in all modes - "Rain", "Sport", "Race" and "Slick" - with an identical throttle curve and thus the same response, making it perfect for use on the race track.

Supersports fittings for sporty riders.
The HP4 has numerous special features to meet the needs of sports and racing riders. For example, the instrument cluster not only has a newly designed dial face with HP4 inscription but also provides an extended range of information and functions. The information display now shows the DDC set-up menus as well as the figures for DTC fine adjustment and
Launch Control activation.

In visual terms, too, the new HP4 is consistently in line with supersports aspirations for the race track and for dynamic country road riding. In addition to the monoposto look there is a dual-section engine spoiler - elongated as compared to the RR - and a tinted windshield, both of which highlight the increased dynamic performance of the HP4. The small, light LED turn indicators are discreetly integrated and the laser-engraved HP4 logo with serial number on the upper fork bridge underscores the bike's exclusive character. An elaborate multiple colour paint finish in Racing blue metallic/Light white creates an appropriate racing-oriented appearance.

HP4 with Competition Package – top-level exclusive flair due to use of the very finest materials.
For anyone who wants even more than the functional sophistication and extreme riding dynamics of the HP4, the HP4 with Competition Package is an especially exclusive version of the motorcycle. Refined HP carbon parts including a long, closed HP engine spoiler in carbon, an adjustable HP rider footrest system, folding HP brake and clutch levers, wheels finished in
Racing blue metallic and a sponsor sticker kit provide additional enhancement of the new HP4.

A summary of the HP4 technical highlights:
- Fork bridge with engraved number and HP4 logo.
- Lightest 1000 supersports bike with four cylinders: 199 kg
- (90% DIN unladen weight).
- Innovative suspension with Dynamic Damping Control DDC.
- Race ABS with IDM setting.
- Dynamic Traction Control DTC with fine adjustment in "Slick" mode.
- Launch Control.
- Adapted wheelie detection.
- New rear wheel tyres, 200/55 ZR 17.
- Shift assistant as standard.
- Light titanium exhaust system with controlled acoustic valve and interference pipe.
- Forged light alloy wheels, anodised in black.
- Radial monoblock brake calipers by Brembo with special brake pads.
- 9x floating brake discs at front.
- Extended, dual-section engine spoiler.
- Seat in monoposto look with passenger seat cover.
- LED turn indicators.
- Tinted windshield.
- Lighter 7 Ah battery.
- Performance-oriented engine set-up.
- Increased torque in the medium engine speed range.

HP4 with Competition Package:
- Long, closed engine spoiler made of carbon.
- Sponsor sticker kit included.
- Wheels in Racing blue metallic.
- HP Carbon badge carrier.
- HP Carbon tank cover.
- HP brake lever, hinged.
- HP clutch lever, hinged.
- HP rider footrest system, adjustable.

Aug03

Mercedes pays judgment of $618,000 over lemon law'd $56K E-Class





FEATURED Featured Vehicles Auto News Mercedes Benz | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

Mercedes pays judgment of $618,000 over lemon law'd $56K E-Class

Mercedes pays judgment of $618,000 over lemon law'd $56K E-Class

Mercedes-Benz has made a payment of $618,000 by order of the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a lemon law case from 2005. In the case, a Wisconsin businessman, Marco Marquez purchased an E-Class, which turned out to be defective. By defective, Marquez's lawyer, lemon law-specialist Vince Megna says the owner needed the E320 to be repaired repeatedly, eventually seeking a refund.

The court awarded Marquez $482,000 in 2005, but Mercedes-Benz argued over having to pay, claiming that Marquez and his attorney delayed the motion to trigger something called "double damages."
According to reports, in Wisconsin, an automaker has 30 days to respond to a lemon law claim and provide a refund if it is deemed necessary. If it fails to meet that 30-day deadline, the car owner may be entitled to damages worth twice the value of the vehicle. Mercedes argued that Megna stalled in order to trigger that double penalty.

In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict, requiring Mercedes-Benz to pay the full amount. Adjusted for inflation, that number comes to $618,000. And there's still the matter of more than $200,000 in legal fees accrued since 2005. Megna had named Concours Motors in Glendale, WI as well as five other Mercedes-Benz dealers as garnishees in his motion, but Mercedes-Benz stepped in to foot the bill in the end.

 

News Source: Autoblog.com via  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Associated Press via Janesville Gazette

Aug03

AM General Re-Entering Civilian Vehicle Marketplace Humvee C-Series Kit





FEATURED Auto News Hummer | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

AM General Re-Entering Civilian Vehicle Marketplace Humvee C-Series Kit

 

AM General Re-Entering Civilian Vehicle Marketplace Humvee C-Series Kit

 

After a 12-year hiatus from the civilian vehicle market, AM General is reportedly set to offer a kit-car of the C-Series Humvee. The kit will conform to U.S. government regulations and has been made possible by a deal with General Motors.

The kit costs $59,000 – and you still need an engine. A likely favorite would be a Duramax Diesel V8 and Allison transmission combination, as was found on the H1 Alpha. AM General estimates that an owner could buy the kit Humvee and outfit a powerplant and transmission for $75,000. Not bad, considering that H1 Alpha has an MSRP of $140,000 in 2005.

How is this possible? If you recall, GM was trying to unload the Hummer brand to Chinese-based Sichuan-Tengzhong, among other suitors. As we all know, a deal never happened and the brand rumbled off into the sunset. The deal with AM General worked so that the military Humvee producer could offer a vehicle to the public as long as it was fundamentally different from the H1. By offering a kit car, they apparently end-around much of the legal confines.

But that also means are other setbacks. The final product will not look like the civilian Hummer H1, and it will not have niceties like interior trim, power locks, door mounted mirrors, or even hard doors. It will simply be a four-seat, soft-top, soft door vehicle. AM General will offer 'add-on' factory options such as the Central Tire Inflation System, rocker protection, and potentially two-piece beadlock wheels.

News Source: Autoblog.com via Hummer Guy

Aug01

BMW dealer sends armed tactical team with helicopter to recover loaner car





FEATURED BMW | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

BMW dealer sends armed tactical team with helicopter to recover loaner car

BMW dealer sends armed tactical team with helicopter to recover loaner car

 

BMW dealers in South Africa put Dog The Bounty Hunter to shame – they've got support from Airwolf.

According to IOL Motoring, when a dealer's attempts to get back a BMW 325 loaner car were rebuffed by a customer, Ravindra Jainarain, the dealer took matters into his own hands. He hired an armed team of professional repo men complete with helicopter backup. The group stormed the customer's place of work in Durban, South Africa, guns drawn, demanding he surrender the keys to the loaner car as a Netstar helicopter hovered overhead.

The man quickly handed over the keys and then called his lawyer.

A judge ruled almost as quickly that the dealer had to give the car back to customer, who was waiting to hear if his 320d would be replaced (as requested) or fixed because of inoperable air conditioning. (He was appealing the first decision.) Both sides now have another 30 days to prepare their cases for court

 

News Source: Autoblog via  IOL Motoring

Jul19

HondaLink - New Cloud-Based for your car via smartphone app





FEATURED Honda | By David Walker, LeaseTrader.com | Add Comment |

HondaLink - New Cloud-Based for your car via smartphone app

HondaLink

 

Honda let the cat officially out of the bag today, revealing details about its new HondaLink infotainment system that will be featured in the new 2013 Accord. The new midsize sedan doesn't launch until the fall, but the Japanese automaker is clearly eager to start building momentum for its long-awaited new model by addressing one of the company's long-running deficiencies: connectivity.

HondaLink will feature Aha Radio, a cloud-based digital content service that uses the driver's smart phone data connection for streaming through the vehicle's audio system. The interface uses a radio station model, with users creating content presets. Besides music, news, podcasts and other traditional audio content, Aha will allow drivers to listen to Facebook and Twitter feeds.

While the video Honda released today plays more like a commercial than a tutorial, we're looking forward to getting our hands on the system. The big question is whether it can vault Honda to the front of the mainstream infotainment pack, or merely put them where Ford was three years ago.

 

 

 

 

Press Release

 

New Cloud-Based HondaLink™ Connected Car System Helps Drivers Put Away Their Phones While Maintaining Intuitive Access to Their Favorite Media

HondaLink™ provides first-ever OEM application of Aha™, delivering robust digital content via preset smartphone app

July 18, 2012

TORRANCE

Honda today unveiled HondaLink™, a new in-vehicle connectivity system that will debut this fall on the all-new, ninth-generation 2013 Honda Accord. Featuring the first automotive OEM application of Aha™ by Harman, HondaLink will provide a personalized experience connecting drivers to thousands of cloud-based news, information and entertainment feeds from around the world, using an intuitive, audio-system based interface.

"HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda. "By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."

Honda's intuitive new HondaLink smartphone application allows owners to preset content on their phone. Once in the car, consumers can enjoy personalized content accessible via voice recognition, steering-wheel mounted controls and in-dash audio system controls. With a tethered smartphone serving as a conduit to a wealth of cloud-based media, HondaLink creates a unique, connected driving experience.

"Honda's strategy is about leveraging the cloud to bring a wealth of new information and services to Honda owners," said Charles Koch, American Honda manager of new business development. "This is the next evolution of the connected car and the connected customer."

Through the Aha service, for example, HondaLink users can listen to Facebook and Twitter audio newsfeeds, podcasts from NPR, location-based personalized restaurant listings from Yelp!, and access internet music services such as Slacker. The service is free and instantly accessible from the cloud.

Aha delivers a user-friendly experience requiring infrequent smartphone software updates, with in-vehicle content and channel access updating simply and automatically throughout the vehicle life. And content available from HondaLink will grow as the system continues to expand its services for Honda owners. HondaLink will also incorporate Pandora internet radio and voice-to-text SMS text services with pre-programmed responses, which Honda introduced on the 2012 CR-V.

HondaLink EV

The HondaLink family also includes HondaLink EV, specifically designed for the all-new Fit EV all-electric vehicle and the upcoming Accord Plug-In Hybrid. Owners of these electric vehicles will have access to unique applications designed specifically to maintain connectivity to their vehicle. The HondaLink EV application will allow the user to remotely view the state of charge, initiate charging, and activate the air conditioning and heater to pre-condition the vehicle while connected to the grid to maximize battery range on start-up. HondaLink EV will launch with the Fit EV, which will be available for lease in California and Oregon beginning on July 20, 20

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