The Toyota Prius C, a less expensive subcompact version of the standard hybrid, has been named by Consumer Reports as one of five popular cars to avoid. The five cars to avoid list also includes the Honda Civic, Jeep Liberty, Ford Edge and Dodge Grand Caravan. The Toyota Prius C suffers from a stiff ride, noisy cabin, slow acceleration and gets 43 mpg overall, 1 mpg shy of the larger Prius hatchback, Consumer Reports said.
Mitsubishi Motors has temporarily stopped production of the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn electric cars for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen due to slow sales, reported Automotive News. Spokespersons from PSA and Mitsubishi didn’t say when production would resume. In the first six months of the year, PSA sold 935 C-Zeros and 852 iOns in Europe, according to market research firm JATO Dynamics.
A123 Systems, the ailing U.S. lithium ion battery maker, announced China’s Wanxiang Group Corp will invest up to $450 million as part of a non-binding agreement that could eventually give the Chinese company 80 percent ownership. A123, which supplies lithium-ion batteries to plug-in vehicle maker Fisker Automotive, received a $249.1 million grant from the federal government to build a factory in Michigan. Republican lawmaker Cliff Stearns of Florida is opposed to the deal, citing national security concerns, reported Bloomberg News.
Ford Motor Co. has developed a blueprint, which is based on consumer research, for introducing electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and other fuel-efficient powertrains, reported Automotive News. A senior Ford executive said the consumer study found about one in four car buyers is willing to pay extra for a fuel-efficient powertrain if the investment can be recouped in four years or less. Ford used its blueprint when it rolled out its EcoBoost family of gasoline engines, which have direct fuel injection, turbochargers and small displacements and cost an extra $800 to $1,200.
The Embassy Suites Nashville South/Cool Springs hotel, which is owned and operated by John Q. Hammons Hotels and Resorts, has replaced its traditional guest service limo service with the first all-electric Nissan Leaf stretch limousine. Imperial Coach Builders in Springfield modified the Leaf limo by adding 400 pounds and about four feet to the center of the car to make room for more seating, which now can seat up to eight passengers.