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Automotive News – October 28, 2011

The results of the newest Consumer Reports customer satisfaction survey. Consumers get a sneak peak at the Chevy Camaro ZL1. How cloud computing could change the way we drive. These and other stories of interest from the car making industry in this week’s Automotive News.

Consumer Reports Survey a Mixed Bag for American Brands

Consumer ReportsThe latest annual Consumer Reports survey on auto reliability was a mixed bag for America-based automakers. Ford took the biggest hit, dropped from 10th place in 2010 to 20th this year among the 28 major nameplates included in the survey. General Motors saw its Buick and Cadillac rankings drop six spots each to 24th and 25th, respectively. On the upside, Jeep moved up seven spots to 13th, becoming the most reliable domestic grand. Chrysler jumped 12 spots to 15th place. Lincoln came in at 14th, and Japanese brands continued to lead the field, taking the top nine spots for customer satisfaction. Except for Volvo, which ranked 10th on the survey, European brands all placed below their American counterparts.

Chevy Camaro ZL1 Details Emerge

chevyCamaroZL1A just-published dealer ordering guide has yielded tantalizing details about the upcoming high-performance 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1. GM spokesmen have confirmed the car with include:

  • An LSA supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine delivering 580 ph and 556 lb-ft of torque.
  • A standard Tremec six-speed manual transmission; a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic will be optional.
  • An all-aluminum hood with carbon fiber “Mohawk” insert.
  • A unique lighting package that includes dual fog lamps, separate daytime running lights and HID headlights with halo rings.

Scheduled to arrive in dealerships in early 2012, the Camaro ZL1 coupe is expected to have an MRSP in the low $50,000 range.

Cloud Computing Could Alter the Driving Experience

Cloud Computing Car“Cloud computing” — storing and accessing vast amounts of data wirelessly via the Internet — may radically alter the driving experience over the next 10 years, many experts believe. Already, engineers at Ford, General Motors and other carmakers are looking at ways to give drivers more control, more entertainment and an overall more pleasant and productive driving experience using cloud computing. This may include radically simplifying dashboard controls and readouts to adjusting a car’s suspension second-by-second in response to prevailing and upcoming road conditions using cloud-based computers and GPS.

DeLorean Introduces All-Electric Car

Electric DeLoreanTexas-based DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) is going back to the future with the introduction of an all-electric version of their iconic DMC-12 gull-winged sports car. DMC has reported been conducting research on the car for nearly four years, and is working with Epic EV of Southern California on development of the electric drivetrain. The current prototype is equipped with a DC power supply that delivers a normal range of 70 miles on a full charge. If driven conservatively, the eDeLorean can reach 100 miles, according to company spokesmen. A second version, incorporating the latest breakthroughs in lightweight construction, is already in the works. The eDeLorean is expected to debut in 2013 and will be priced around $90,000. No word yet if a “Mr. Fusion” unit will be optional.

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