Friday, April 29, 2011

Volkswagen E-Scooter Reveal

With Volkswagen's latest concept reveal, the auto world's attention is now spotlighted on a lightweight, two-wheeled electric scooter. Volkswagen's E-Scooter concept was revealed last week at the Shanghai Auto Show, rivalling scooters already offered by Smart and MINI.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="559" caption="Volkswagen is setting its sights on the Chinese market where 20 million scooters are sold annually."][/caption]

Weighing in at 44 pounds, the VW E-Scooter has a 350W electric engine powered by a nickel-metal-hydride battery which is removable for easy, at-home charging. The scooter has a 25-mile range with a 30mph top speed, clearly an automotive product aimed at large urban markets such as China.

Volkswagen has not committed to how exactly the E-Scooter will be marketed. Besides being sold directly to consumers, the E-Scooter has the potential for a 'bike-sharing' program where they will be rented out at high-traffic transportation hubs.

The testing phase is tentatively scheduled for 2012 and will take place exclusively in China.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chrysler in the Kitchen: SyFy's Quantum Kitchen in Detroit

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="578" caption="Marcel Vigneron was the runner-up in the second season of Bravo's "Top Chef.""][/caption]

For the season finale of the SyFy original reality show Quantum Kitchen, chef Marcel Vigneron serves up a meal inspired by the Chrysler 200.

In the episode, Vigneron, of Top Chef fame, travels to Detroit and serves up a complex dinner for a diverse blend of Chrysler employees. Also present were a dozen students from Detroit's College of Creative Studies who collaborated with Chrysler designers for a semester-long project on car models that were present at the dinner. The culinary event took place in none other than the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Vigneron specializes in molecular-gastronomy where a combination of art and science can result in wildly unique culinary creations. Therefore, it's no surprise that the meal with a Chrysler 200 theme took three days to create and was futuristic in nature. The four-course meal for 32 featured car-shaped desserts and a fish course that created its own 'psychedelic art' while being consumed.

Chef Vigneron is a self-proclaimed "car guy" who grew up attending car shows and driving at the Jim Hall racing school. During his visit to the Motor City, Vigneron took the Chrysler 200 for a test drive on the evaluation course. While touring the Chrysler design studios, he discussed the creative process behind automobile design, making parallels with his own world of culinary creativity.

Watch the full episode "Race to the Finish."

Volvo, Volkswagen Win Auto Awards

Volvo was recognized at the 2011 International Car of the Year Awards held in New York last week. The 2011 Volvo S60 was awarded the 2011 International Sedan of the Year and was voted "Most Dependable."

The 2011 Kiplinger "Best Cars for Families" list included the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI for its fuel-efficient and roomy design. Thanks to its clean-diesel powertrain engine, this car's owners will save $2,600 on gas over just the course of one year compared with its gas-engine counterpart.

Take a look at the full list of the "Best Cars for Families."

45th Annual Jeep Easter Safari Event

While much of the auto world has been glued to the events happening at the simultaneous auto shows in New York City and Shanghai, another important auto industry event took place in a lesser known venue: Moab, Utah.

The annual Jeep Easter Safari Event is a gathering of thousands of die-hard Jeep fans and off-road auto aficionados for a week of America's best trails and Jeep customized eye-candy.

The event is the auto-equivalent to a music festival, with all the hottest Jeep acts that have been customized by Mopar.

Here are just a few of the 'Moparized' custom Jeeps that were featured at the week-long event:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="508" caption="Jeep Wrangler JK-8 Indepence"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="508" caption="Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush"][/caption]

To see all of the vehicles and get more detailed information visit the official Mopar site.

Our favorite out of the collection is the Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush. Which 'Moparized' Jeep is your favorite?

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Musical Homage to Mercedes-Benz Brand

Janis Joplin did it in 1971 and now it's being done again: A musical homage to the iconic Merecedes-Benz brand.

Mercedes-Benz is a standard brand name used time and time again in the music industry. According to Billboard magazine, in the years 2003 through 2005, Benz was consistently one of the top brand names mentioned in Top 20 songs. Interestingly enough, however, the luxury automobile maker is not the company behind the song. BLAG, an international style magazine contracted British singers Estelle and Daley, along with the Grammy-winning rapper David Banner to make 'Benz.'

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="584" caption="Musical artists Estelle, David Banner and Daley accompanied by the 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Convertible."][/caption]

The song's world debut live performance took place during the Mercedes-Benz press conference at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show.

The song and video are now both available for purchase on iTunes.
Also be sure to get BLAG's iPad app featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes content of the making of 'Benz.'
What did you think of the song? Our favorite lyric is "If this is what life is all about then tell me, then put me in the driver's seat."

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Beats by Dre Chrysler Audio System

Chrysler has recruited Eminem's mentor Dr. Dre to take the 2012 300 S to the next level of luxury.

Beats by Dr. Dre, a new studio-quality audio system, is the result of  the Chrysler partnership and the latest addition to the new 300 model. The collaboration of music producer Dre, Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine and a team of Chrysler engineers is what it took to make the 'Beats' audio system a reality.

This exclusive partnership is some of the most exciting news to come out of the Chrysler portion of the 2011 New York Auto Show where it was announced on Wednesday. Chrysler sees this as a way to raise the overall bar for car audio systems. At the auto show, Interscope's Iovine spoke of  the 'Beats' system finally reconciling vehicle audio technology with the way that music should be listened to for full enjoyment.

'Beats' by the numbers:

  • 10 speakers

  • 552 watts

  • 8.4-inch touchscreen display

The 2012 300 S will be in dealerships this fall. Dr. Dre will also be featured in upcoming "Imported From Detroit" Chrysler commercials.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="630" caption="Chrysler is raising the overall standard for car audio technology with the Beats by Dr. Dre system."][/caption]

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mercedes-Benz Anniversary Collection

In the spirit of the car company's 125th year anniversary, Mercedes-Benz is releasing special edition models of its most iconic cars. It never hurts to instill a little nostalgia into your brand, and loyal Mercedes fans will  surely appreciate the auto company's decision to do so in such a fun, fan-friendly way.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="593" caption="1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster"][/caption]

The collection of scale replicas is designed to showcase the car models that best represent Mercedes-Benz as a leader in automotive design. Each model will come with a commemorative box complete with a booklet highlighting the car's history and a metal badge bearing its unique serial number. Mercedes is only releasing 1,250 units of each model ensuring them to be true collector's items.

However, the brand-birthday products do not stop with the mini-Mercedes model collection. Other merchandise includes a mug, cap, polo shirt, silver-plated key ring, umbrella, and a bag featuring the "125 Years of Innovation" theme. The Mercedes-Benz autos that are highlighted on the products include the Patent Motor Car, 300 SL and the CLS.

For purchasing details visit

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Volvo's Concept Universe

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Volvo's Concept Universe takes 'human-centric' design to a new level."][/caption]

Today at the Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo released the much-anticipated Concept Universe car. The luxury sedan is a true accomplishment of Scandinavian design, boasting comfort yet not sacrificing Volvo's well-respected safety standards in the process.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="The luxury sedan concept features a layered grill design."][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="The interior boasts intuitive controls and has a blend of textures and colors."][/caption]

Volvo's concept has sleek lines reminiscent of the brand's classic models combined with a modern interior bursting with intuitive features. The company took a 'human-centric' approach to the design, and it shows. Some of the savvy innovations include a touchscreen that approaches your moving hand and a 3D full-color windshield display that showcases navigation and speed information.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="With this concept, Volvo truly embraces style, comfort and safety."][/caption]

A true testament to luxury autos: The Concept Universe was built completely by hand and took 8,000 hours to make! Its distinctly contemporary composition was actually inspired by quintessential design influences such as Scandinavian furniture and Chinese writing.


Chrysler Enlists Detroit's Own for "Imported" Campaign

Detroit-pride is in full swing with the third installment of Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" commercials. Chrysler is breathing new life into the popular campaign with a little help from Detroit's very own citizens.

The campaign that began with Eminem will now feature a diverse group of people ranging from Detroit Lion Ndamukong Suh to a high school English teacher named Andre Harding.

Imported from Detroit Campaign

The commercials will also showcase menswear designer John Varvatos, a Detroit native who is renowned for using other homegrown Detroit icons, (Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper) in his own advertisements.

Alongside the metro-Detroiters, Chrysler's new ads will highlight the Chrysler 300 against the backdrop of some of the city's most notable landmarks such as the Detroit Public Library.

The ads will also be integrated into Chrysler catalogues that will be appearing in dealerships next month.

Stay tuned to for the premiere of the new commercials and other news from Chrysler.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chrysler's 2017 Natural Gas Promise

It has been confirmed that Chrysler is actively developing vehicles powered by compressed natural gas. The brand hopes to be producing Natural-Gas Vehicles, (NGV's) by 2017.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="315" caption="Chrysler has begun investing in natural-gas vehicles."][/caption]

Cars that use natural gas are more cost-efficient than their electric counterparts and if a recently introduced bill passes, natural gas could be even more appealing to car companies.

The new Natural Gas Bill currently residing in Congress, would allow the government to reward companies that produce natural-gas vehicles. This would be much like the credit system that is in place for electric vehicles.

Natural-gas vehicles may be somewhat of a novelty stateside, but in other countries, such as Brazil, India and Iran, as much as 2% of vehicles use natural gas.

The United States recently passed Russia as the largest producer of natural gas, although most of that resource goes toward heat and electricity for our homes. Not surprising then, the biggest roadblock with natural gas, as a potentially popular fuel source, is the lack of basic infrastructure throughout our country. There are over 100,000 vehicles powered by natural gas on America's roads today, but the majority of them are fueled at private fleet facilities that have access to their own natural gas infrastructure.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="475" caption="The new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle was revealed today in New York City and Shanghai."][/caption]

Volkswagen is known for consistently upgrading its brand and recharging old favorites with new styles. And now VW has given one of its most well-known and well-loved cars a sleek, more masculine re-design.

The new bug may be bigger than its predecessor but its fuel economy is improved by 10% and comes available with 3 types of engines: 2.5 liter/5 cylinder gas engine, 2 liter turbocharged gas engine or a 2 liter diesel engine.

Volkswagen, not forgetting to add fun features to its most cheerful and female-friendly car, has added a panoramic sunroof and a variety of adhesive wraps that will reflect the drivers' personality and original style.

The much anticipated 2012 Volkswagen Beetle had a global-wide release that featured MTV World Stage events in Berlin and New York City.

Stay tuned to GRAutoBlog for details on when the new Beetle will be released to dealerships!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chrysler Takes the Test-Drive to You

Chrysler is taking the test-drive out of the dealership and bringing it to you, at your local mall.

This unique nationwide event is poised as a chance for consumers to speak directly with Chrysler product specialists and gain a tangible, hands-on knowledge of all the innovations that have been integrated into Chrysler's 2011 refurbished lineup.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="467" caption="Chrysler launches nationwide mall test-drive event."][/caption]

Consumers that take the opportunity to embark on a test-drive may just end up in a future Chyrsler commercial, and they will also receive a $15 mall gift card.

For all you West Michiganders, the closest location for a Chrysler test-drive event:

Briarwood Mall, Ann Arbor Mich.
Sat. Apr. 30 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun. May 1 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The 2011 Chrysler vehicles available for test drives:

  • 200 Sedan

  • 200 Convertible

  • 300 Sedan

  • Town & Country Minivan

Additional dates and locations may be added at a further date. Visit or keep an eye on for continued updates on Chrysler promotions and events.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jeep's 70th Anniversary Revs Up Chrysler Museum

Jeep enthusiasts rejoice: The brand's 70th Anniversary has inspired an exhibit at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum.

The exhibit 70 Years of Jeep celebrates the beloved brand and its evolution from military vehicle to one of the auto industry's brand-darlings.

Starting April 19th and running through December, the Chrysler museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan will be home to the exhibit that will feature a classic, yet rare Jeep model: Willys MA78621.

Just how rare you ask? The car is one of only 45 known models stemming from the benchmark year of 1941. Jeep fans will cringe at the thought that this particular model was found rotting in a field near Fort Lewis. It was restored in 2002 and was believed to be one of 4 MA's shipped to Fort Lewis for testing by the 15th Infantry.

Jeep's passionate brand loyalists will relish viewing the iconic progress of Jeep with the exhibit's sizable collection of models ranging from the 1940-era classics to the innovative auto-concepts of the mid 2000's.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="The iconic Jeep Willys MA78621 is sure to be a highlight of the Chrysler Museum's exhibit."][/caption]


Click for a full list of featured Jeep vehicles and more exhibition details

Volkswagen's 'Bulli Bus' Concept Unveiled

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Volkswagen Bulli Bus concept is an upgraded version of the 1960's VW's iconic Microbus."][/caption]

The iconic Volkswagen Microbus design has received an automotive-design facelift, and then some. "Car of the future" may be an overused car-cliche, but this VW concept may truly be just that.

Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the 'Bulli Bus' is a concept that Volkswagen-devotees are hoping will actually come into fruition. If Volkswagen sees this model through to production, the VW van will be popular with both the environmentally-conscious and techie crowds thanks to its electric-engine and tablet-friendly capabilities.

The sporty and stylish Bulli is equipped with an 85 kilowatt electric motor that will run an estimated 90 miles before needing to be recharged. It also takes tech-savvy design to a new level with all its key controls integrated into an iPad interface.

Watch the video below for a more in-depth look at what the Bulli has to offer:


Here at, we would love to hear what you think about this VW concept:
What do you think of this concept car and the direction Volkswagen is heading from a sustainable standpoint, as well as, the integration of tablet technologies within its autos?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" Helps Re-brand Motor City

Detroit, poised to be the new comeback kid of American cities, goes by many names: Motown, Motor City, Hockeytown. And now, the city that represents the heart-and-soul of the American Auto Industry is embarking on a new era of civic pride and positive public relations, mostly thanks to the Chrysler brand.

Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" campaign was pushed into national consciousness with its Eminem-embellished Super Bowl commercial and has maintained momentum with a series of YouTube videos featuring local heros that represent the dedication and spirit of the city.

Now Chrysler has taken the campaign to the next level by utilizing its "Imported From Detroit" brand with merchandise that allows people to express their passion for Detroit, no matter what nickname they think fits it best.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="247" caption="This poster features the Fisher Building, an iconic building in the heart of downtown Detroit."][/caption]

Some of the brand's most popular merchandise includes tasteful posters brandishing the "Imported From Detroit" motto along with iconic images representing the past, present and future of Detroit's potential. The limited edition poster series are also a tangible effort towards rebuilding Detroit because a portion of the proceeds from each $25 poster goes toward local charities.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="196" caption="The second poster in the series showcases one of the iconic tigers guarding Comerica Park."][/caption]

Take a closer look at the complete poster series, other official "Imported From Detroit" merchandise and the charities they help support at

Ram Reveals New 1500 Express Pickup

Ram's newly revealed 1500 Express

Emerging from the shadow of Ram's "Adventurer" prototype, the freshly-named '1500 Express' has finally come into the light.

The buzz about the Express, greatly welcomed by sports-truck enthusiasts, is that it is a vehicle with a powerful engine that will not overpower your wallet. The truck boasts a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine with an impressive 20 mpg rating, 390 horsepower and a hefty 407 lb.-ft. of torque.

Ram is hoping that its new shortbox pickup will make good on its aptly-named moniker of 'Express' in the way that consumer self-'Express'ion can be fully realized by its simple design that lends itself easily to customization.

The base price for the Express is a reasonable $23,830 making it a smart choice for young first-time car buyers. This price-tag includes destination charges and leaves ample room for a multitude of custom additions and available Mopar products.

This model's production has been catalyzed by the positive response of the Ram Tradesman pickup truck, another no-nonsense model revealed at Chicago's Auto Show in February.

Visit your local Ram dealership for further details and to soon check out a Ram 1500 Express for yourself.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Volvo S60 Wins Ward's 10 Best Interiors Award

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="576" caption="The Volvo S60's award-winning interior"][/caption]

The 2011 Volvo S60 has done it again: receiving a prestigious place on the Ward's Autoworld 10 Best Interiors list.

This comes as a particularly satisfying follow-up to the Volvo S60's placement on Ward's 10 Best Engines list for its 300-hp T6 engine.

The Volvo S60's race-track inspired interior hints at forward progression and movement, even when the car is in park.

The award was judged by Ward's Autoworld editors and utilized the same method as the 10 Best Engines list. To read more about the award and to view video reviews of the cars' interiors, visit

Dodge Ram's Letters for Lyrics

Here are two great things we here at GRAutoBlog can get behind: supporting our troops and listening to great music.

You can do both thanks to Dodge Ram's "Letters for Lyrics" program.

It's a simple enough idea: Write a supportive letter to the troops, (thank you for your service, come home soon, etc.) and in return you receive an exclusive compilation album featuring Southern Ground artists: Zac Brown Band, Sonia Leigh, Nic Cowan, Levi Lowrey.

Sometimes even the most civically-minded people need a reminder to show our gratitude for the US troops and all their self-less work both overseas and closer to home.

Ram's "Letters for Lyrics" program with a little help from the Grammy-award winning Zac Brown Band does just that.

Even if the music isn't your style, we hope that supporting the troops is, so put your thankful pen to paper and turn your letter into a Dodge Ram dealership to receive the free Breaking Southern Ground album.

For more information on the program and to check out the artists, visit:

We would love to hear back from you when you participate in the program!

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Concept Teaser

The Concept A-Class by Mercedes-Benz design, the "pulse of a new generation" will be showcased at the Shanghai Auto Show taking place April 19-20. The A-Class features savvy new technologies such as radar-controlled collision prevention, adaptive brake assist, and a dashboard boasting an integrated smartphone with the COMMAND online platform which can be found in the C-Class series that was brought into the automotive lime-light earlier this year.

Let us know what you think about the concept and all its features!

For more information on the Benz A-Class Concept, take a look at what the designer has to say in the video below and read more here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dodge Charger Speeds onto the Big Screen

Check out this Dodge Charger/Fast Five commercial that proves that car chases ARE what makes movies better.

The Dodge Charger will be featured in the fifth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise Fast Five, which cruises into theaters on April 29th.

Also stop by for a closer look at the Dodge Charger and for a chance to win your own custom Fast Five Charger!

What's your favorite movie car chase?

Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" Campaign

Chrysler continues its "Imported From Detroit" campaign with an inspiring series of videos featuring local heroes who embody the dedication and perseverance that is pushing the Motor City toward a comeback.

Check out the other videos here:
Tell us what you think about Chrysler's campaign!

Volvo Art Session Time Lapse Film

We bet you've never seen a Volvo look like this!

This time-lapse video features a 5 day period during which 10 street artists used the innovative Volvo S60 as their ultimate blank canvas.

Volvo Switzerland took this on as part of their Volvo Art Session that you can check out here:

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Hey, Jeep fans: Did you know that the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee was named the SUV of the year? Both the Northwest Automotive Press Association and the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association named it the SUV of the Year.

It was also named the Best Off-Road SUV!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is the SUV of the year!"][/caption]