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2009 New York International Auto Show - Thursday Notes


Mitsubishi says electric car going global, Kia unveils Koup, VW Golf honored at NY Auto Show

NEW YORK April 9, 2009; The AP reported that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Thursday that it plans to make its i MiEV all-electric vehicle available for sale in the United States and other markets around the world.

"We are dedicated to providing these technology-sourced solutions as an important path for the world's clean-air options," Shinichi Kurihara, president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said at the New York International Auto Show.

The i MiEv is the electric version of Mitsubishi's "i" car that is sold in the Japanese market. It can go 80 miles on a full charge, which takes 12 to 14 hours on a standard 110-volt outlet or half that time with 220 volts.

Mitsubishi said previously it would roll out the i MiEV for leasing in Japan by July, and last week the Japanese company said it would increase production of the vehicle after orders for the first 2,000 cars were quickly filled.

The company didn't say when the car will be available in the U.S.

Mitsubishi also unveiled a prototype of its Outlander GT, hinting at the future of the Outlander crossover vehicle.

The GT has a new design with an aluminum roof that lowers the car's center of gravity for better handling.

Kia unveils production version of Forte Koup

Kia Motors America unveiled the production version of its 2010 Forte Koup at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday.

The two-door debuted as a concept car at last year's New York show and is now scheduled to go on sale this summer.

Michael Sprague, Kia's vice president of marketing, called the Koup a "progressive step" in the automaker's U.S. design and said it shows how it's continuing to transform itself into a world class U.S. vehicle producer.

The five-passenger car comes in "EX" and "SX" models. The sportier "SX" version includes a 2.4-liter engine capable of producing 173 horsepower and 168 foot-pounds of torque. The "SX" comes with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

The "EX" version gets an average of 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with both its four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmissions.

Subaru unveils new Outback sport utility wagon

Subaru of America Inc. unveiled an all-new 2010 Subaru Outback sport wagon Thursday at the New York International Auto Show.

The fourth-generation Outback is an inch shorter than the previous model, but there's nearly 8 percent more interior space and 4 inches of extra legroom in the back seat, thanks to a wheelbase that's 2.8 inches longer.

The car is also 2 inches wider and 4 inches taller than the previous model.

Six different configurations of the all-wheel-drive Outback will be available, three with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 170 horsepower. A new 6-speed manual transmission is standard, with a continuously variable automatic transmission also available.

The other models have a new 256-horsepower 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine with a five-speed electronic automatic transmission.

Volkswagen's Golf VI named 2009 World Car

The Volkswagen Golf VI was named as the 2009 World Car on Thursday at the New York International Auto Show.

Other finalists for the award included the Ford Fiesta and Toyota iQ. To be eligible for the award, vehicles had to be in production and on sale in at least two countries in 2008. The vehicles are chosen and voted on by a panel of 59 automotive journalists from 25 countries.

The panel also named Nissan GT-R as World Performance Car, beating out the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the Porsche 911 Carrera.

The Fiat 500 was named World Car Design of the Year, ahead of the Citroen Sedan/C5 Tourer and the Jaguar XF. And the Honda FCX Clarity was named World Green Car, beating the Mitsubishi i MiEV and Toyota iQ.