NEXT HOLDEN COMMODORE VF TO GET ALUMINIUM PANELS
VF Commodore series 2014 will be the first locally-produced automobile to incorporate mass produced aluminium panels in its construction. In addition, the new large car, which will also spawn a long-wheelbase Caprice model, will get improved aerodynamics and electric power steering in place of the current-gen’s hydraulic unit. thereby make it more fuel efficient in an effort to remain competitive with the likes of the locally-produced Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Fuel savings are expected to be around the 7% mark, bringing the 9.1lt /100 km (26 mpg) combined rating of the 3.0 L V6 SIDI down to a more politically-correct 8.4 lt/ 100 km (28 mpg). Similar savings will be experienced with the older 3.6 L Alloytec V6: 9.1 lt / 100 km (26 mpg) down from 9.8 lt / 100 km (24 mpg). The program is part-funded by the Australian federal government, which poured AU$39.8 million in from the now defunct Green Car Innovation Fund.
The entire VF project has been pegged at AU$189 million; significantly less than the rumoured one billion spent on its VEpredecessor. The aluminium-pressing alone is expected to generate some 250 engineering jobs at Holden’s Elizabeth Plant where the Cruzesmall car is built.
Aluminium is up to 50% lighter than steel, though its prohibitive cost has limited its use in Australian-built vehicles. Rumours of a hybrid model continue to circulate in the Australian motoring press, and in my opinion it’s only a matter of time before the Commodore jumps that particular bandwagon. For the time being at least, the big Aussie sedan’s future would seem assured.
2011 TOYOTA PRIUS 7-SEATER CONCEPT IS BEING SERIOUSLY STUDIED
The larger Prius won’t be based on the Japanese market Prius Alpha nor the European specification Prius+, both of which pack a retractable third row of seats into the Prius V’s cargo area. The all-new Prius V five-seater minivanisn’t due to arrive in U.S. showrooms until this fall, yet Toyota is already looking into the development of a larger model capable of seating seven passengers as well as carrying their luggage.
The company has not made a final decision yet, the concept of a true 7-seater Prius minivan for the North American market is “being seriously studied”. He added that the three-row Prius would have to be based on a dedicated platform and meet certain criteria such as feature an aerodynamic shape, be able to return at least 40mpg and have a strong value-price equation.
The corporate manager of product planning Ben Mitchell, confirmed that his team has put several proposals for new hybridvehicles in different segments on the table, including that of a larger7-seater Prius as well ashybrid versions of the Sienna minivan and Venzacrossover.