Episode 174 – Aston Teams-Up With Toyota, Jaguar and Land Rover in India, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

June 29th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:40

Toyota and Aston Martin are going to join forces in Europe, where Aston is going to sell a version of the Toyota iQ. Tata launched Jaguar and Land Rover in India over the weekend. All that and more, plus an up-close look at the Cadillac CTS sport wagon.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Aston Martin and Toyota team up together. Tata takes Jaguar and Land Rover to India. And an up-close look at the CTS sport wagon.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, June 29, 2009. And now, the news.

In a fascinating development, Toyota and Aston Martin are going to join forces in Europe, where Aston is going to sell a version of the Toyota iQ that will be called the Cygnet. Aston is styling the iQ to look like an Aston and wants to make the ultimate city car. In Japan, Toyota will launch a limited edition version of its own through its Netz dealer outlet that will get body modifications from the Toyota Modellista International Corporation, and chassis modifications from Gazoo Racing.

Speaking of Toyota, it, along with researchers in Japan, developed technology that allows a person to control a wheelchair using brain waves. Toyota says the technology is able to read brain waves in as little as 125 milliseconds, improving upon other systems that can take several seconds to respond. The technology is able to adjust to the characteristics of an individual therefore it can react faster when it senses the driver’s commands. Toyota is developing the technology to be used in nursing care and other medical purposes.

Plaintiff attorneys were worried that they would not be able to sue the new General Motors when it emerges from bankruptcy. Well, they can breathe a sigh of relief. They will be able to start suing GM again. However, that only applies to new law suits. Existing law suits will have to go against the old GM, and there may not be any money in the old GM to pay off any big settlements.

Mercedes is celebrating two production milestones at its plant in Rastatt, Germany. This month the company will deliver its 750,000th second-generation A-Class and its 500,000th B-Class. The A-Class is a premium compact hatchback that was first introduced in 1997. The current version dates back to 2004. The B-Class is a compact MPV like a Mazda5 or the Renault Scenic that we showed last week. It was introduced in 2005. Good news for the workers in Rastatt. Because of the popularity of these compact models, the company will be running at full production capacity until September.

Our friends at Ward’s Auto are reporting that buyers of 2010 model heavy-duty Dodge Ram pickups will experience fewer bumps in the road. The company is installing new fluid-filled body mounts (subscription required) under the 2500 and 3500 series models. The mounts are filled with glycol and are positioned at about the C-Pillar area of the truck’s frame, an area that plays a critical role in ride quality. This is Chrysler’s first application of the technology. The hydraulic mounts should reduce vibration in the driver’s seat by about 60 percent.

Tata launched Jaguar and Land Rover in India over the weekend. According to Reuters, the Jaguar XF, XK and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Discovery 3 will be sold there at hair-raising prices. They start at 6 million rupees or $130,000 and go up to 9 million rupees. The luxury car market in India accounts for less than 1 percent of sales, but Tata expects the market to grow fast over the next decade.

Coming up next, a look at the new Cadillac CTS wagon, we’ll be back right after this.

It’s a fact. Americans don’t like station wagons. Automakers treat the name like it’s a four-letter word. This is why we have hatchbacks, SUVs and crossovers today.

For many buyers, memories of old-school grocery getters dripping with fake wood trim are still alive and well, but Cadillac is trying to shatter these views with its new Sport Wagon.

Built on the stylish CTS, the brand’s newest family machine should offer a lot of luxury and utility when it goes on sale this summer.

Under the hood, Caddy offers two different engines. A 304 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is the top-dog, but now GM is making a smaller, 3.0-liter V6 available. With a compression ratio of 11.7 to one and direct fuel injection the smaller engine makes 270 horsepower! That’s an impressive specific output of 90 horsepower per liter! Good news for value-minded buyers, both engines run on regular unleaded.

One innovative new feature on the car is its programmable power lift gate. You can adjust how high it opens so if you’re shorter you don’t have to reach as far to shut it. On the practicality front, there are 25 cubic feet, or about 700 liters worth of cargo volume in the hold.

GM expects the Sport Wagon to account for about 10 to 15 percent of CTS production, but they say they’re flexible and can change that number to meet demand.

The Sport Wagon will be priced slightly higher than the CTS sedan – probably right around $40,000. You can look for it on dealership lots sometime around August.

And, that’s it for today’s broadcast. But if you like what you just saw, make sure you swing by our website and check out some of our other content. We have a wide array of stuff ranging from Autoline, our weekly half-hour discussion program to John’s Journal, a place where you can get all kinds of other news, reviews and analysis. Definitely check it out. Anyway, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow, same time, same place.

21 Comments to “Episode 174 – Aston Teams-Up With Toyota, Jaguar and Land Rover in India, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Too bad we have such an aversion to the term station wagon. At the All-GM Nationals at Carlisle this past weekend there were always crowds around the few fake wood adorned leviathans that made the trek.

    One cool thing about the show…I got to meet Jim Wangers, the Father of the GTO and one of my GM heroes. Nice guy.

  2. GUY FIROR Says:


  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Too bad the CTS wagon will be out of my price range, because I like wagons and hatchbacks. It would be a nice “move up” from my Malibu Maxx, but I’m not ready to move up that much in price.

    Regarding the car, does GM have access to any good diesels of the right size for the CTS? For reasons only marketing people know, MB doesn’t put diesels in E-Class wagons bound for North America, so Cadillac could have an opening in what might be a good market.

  4. John Says:

    Hey John McElroy,

    What is the news on “Cap and Trade” with respect to the auto industry?

    How does the caddy wagon run 11:1 compression on regular? Computer timing?

  5. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    I had a 1974 Ford Esquire wagon and then an 87 Taurus wagon and they were great! I dont know why they stopped making wagons, Oh I know, the minivan came on the scene and gas went up. I wonder if MB ever plans to bring the A or B cars here?

  6. Roger T Says:

    A tiny Aston city car based on a Toyota? What in the world??? What’s next, a Porsche SUV? A VW luxury car? A Caddilac station wagon?
    Hard to believe car makers do such things to brand equity, what a disappointment.

  7. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Here we go again, yuppiefying the pickup trucks. When i want a luxury car ride, i’ll buy a luxury car. Trucks were never designed for luxury. They were originally designed for work, hauling and towing. I expect a pickup truck to ride rough, because i understand the suspension and frame technology, and that it was built for towing and hauling. To the guy asking about how a gas engine can run 11:1 compression- yes, it is timing, among other factors, some are computer controlled, some are designed in.

  8. Kim B. Foster Says:

    I can’t understand why no one, including Cadillac, has done the Vista Cruiser styling cues on a station wagon since they were discontinued by Olds. The Sceni-Cruiser windows gave Vista Cruiser station wagons style and interior space. I’m not into “retro” but the Vista Cruisers were premium priced wagons that sold very well for Olds.

  9. Valuable Internet Information » Episode 174 - Aston Teams-Up With Toyota, Jaguar and Land Rover in India, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Says:

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  10. Edwin Benson Says:

    Vive le Roadmaster Estate, le Custom Cruiser, y le Safari!

  11. Don MacConnel Says:

    I suppose somebody has to say it. The Ford Flex sure looks like a station wagon to me. I’m seeing them on the road in more affluent neighborhoods. (That I visit..)

  12. Salvador G. Says:

    Just for the record, my first reaction on that Aston/Toyota was “What tha’ hell… Oh my freakin’ Lord”. It’s Monday people and I feel like I was just punch in the face.

    But, you know what; I do tend to have a bad attitude… so I’m gonna accept it, maybe that Aston/Toyota is a good idea and I’m wrong, You know, I AM WRONG thats a nice car, That Porsche luxury car is a good idea and so was the Aztec, there I said it. Now, I’m just going to take a nap.

  13. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    @David, That is why I believe Mahindra is gonna be successful here because they’re gonna give pickup buyers what the other car makers have failed to do for years. Rough work trucks w/o all the Luxury that just adds cost and complexity to the product, just like a real “medium” sized p/u will do well.

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    With all the crap the manufafturers are adding to the pickups,the prices rival some homes,and If I had one,I would be afraid to use the damn thing. @ Pedro,your right about the Mahindra.Sure it will have an automatic,cruise and air.That is fine.It will also ride almost like a lumber wagon,hold or tow lots of weight,and ain’t too fancy to use.Coupled to a clean DIESEL it will also outwork a 1/2 ton full size.I still am amazed at the total lack of a american 1/2 ton diesel work truck.All the truck forums I have visited most everyone has been/still is patiently waiting,and waiting and waiting.I’ve made it no secret as to what my next 4×4 truck will be,(mahindra).

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of pickup trucks with excessive gadgetry, you can’t even get a manual transmission in a big pickup any more. Automatics are now mandatory in Silverado and F150. I bed you’ll be able to get a Mahindra with a manual.

  16. Joe Callimachus Says:

    Funny, I don’t think of the Mahindra as a work truck. I’ll bet it will be a big seller among us geeks. I don’t need a 10L engine. I just want something that can haul my kayak and drive on the beach (sand) when I want to go fishing and still come close to the milage of my VW TDI. The Mahindra will do this perfectly.

    Save me a black 2D, 3WD Ann.

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Actually,an automatic transmission works out much better for four wheel drive,and I have no problem with that.The last full size american 1/2 ton pu I had with a manual was a 95 silverado 4×4.I know you can still get a manual trans in a 3/4 ton and a 1 ton.1/2 ton pickups are plushmobiles not designed for the average working stiff.At least Ford incorporated side steps and a tailgate step into the design.Very usefull I will say.But the prices are just mind boggeling.Unbelieveable….

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Joe…Mahindras are THE small work truck in many asian countries,and are very sturdy vehicles.My needs warrant 4 wheel drive.I am not a fan of IFS for a 4×4 that the Mahindra has,but for a clean diesel,I can live with it easy enough ;}>You’ll get many years of surfboard haulin’ phunn,with great mileage too.

  19. Tom Tyson Says:

    Geez… that looks exactly like genuine Harris-Teeter (HT-Trader) “fitted” luggage in the new Cadillac CTS Sports Wagon! How clever!

  20. Alex Kajdi Says:


    My Family and I were very impressed by the Mercedes Benz A & B Class Vehicles running all over Italy. These cars make much more sense than the Smart Car currently being produced by Mercedes Benz for the North American Market.
    Will we very see A & B class vehicles in the USA?

  21. Gary Paul Says:

    A truly compact pickup is something I have been thinking about ever since the continuing “Americanization” of compact P/U’s has resulted in overly fat midsized machines eliminating many of the charms of a truly compact pickup—gas mileage, maneuverability, just plain easy to wash (!), etc!

    I always use the idea of the man who is trying to find a vehicle that will mimic the capability of a solid full sized truck but on a smaller level and offered with the right type of development so he can buy a basic truck, with a largish 4-cylinder diesel (> 2.5 liters), and that is still packed with wonderful trucky features and benefits. Such as these standard items:
    · Tough (meaty size ring gear) solid live rear axle
    · Smaller 15” steel wheels! No big wheels to add cost, useless un-sprung weight, and harden the ride unnecessarily
    · Timing chains—no timing belts
    · Manual steering with rugged design, unlike some racks & pinion types.
    · Standard no A/C!!
    · Excellent standard ventilation.
    · Relatively skinny (205/75) mud/snow tires to bite through dirt and snow.
    · 120 volt outlet at the rear
    · 3500 or more pounds tow package with the base engine and a standard class 3.
    · A truly comfy well padded split bench seat with some type of super tough yet comfy material
    · A radio with 2 good speakers in the doors and that’s ALL. Don’t waste development $$ on 500-800 watt stereos with kicker boxes and other absurdities
    · A really washable tough rubber floor material with drain holes and 2 little tubes that run to the outside.
    · Rugged front and rear huge rubber bumper guards
    · Makes use of empty space between the frame rails to mount the battery for example near the rear axel adding weight distribution to rear for traction.
    · Extra high air intake to discourage water intake (crossing streams, etc.)
    · Clean and well organized engine bay to ease maintenance and yeah—because it looks good—yes—looks sometimes matter even in a basic pickup.
    · Very rugged front IFS or even a solid axle.
    · Slightly extended base cab (4-5”) for added comfort or storage
    · Gas engine should obtain 23/28 mpg, diesel 27/33
    · Weight not over 3150 in base form
    · Short side exit single exhaust to cut weight, cost, and add durability (heats up faster to burn off moisture)
    · Perhaps something innovative such as a Saturn–like plastic box bed—after all fit and tight panel gaps are not so critical in this area (panel gaps are one reason why Saturn eliminated plastic exterior body panels)
    · Rugged manual trans —and available sticking up through a floor WITHOUT A CONSOLE taking up space!! —Cup holders can flip out of the dash or armrest.
    · Rear springs should likely be leaf type as coils do not distribute the stress over a large area of the frame
    · US ENGINEERS who are allowed to excel at engineering to develop a real truck that is simply compact.
    · Proper ground clearance—sway 9-10”.
    · Manual locking hubs for the 4×4 that are just rock solid and don’t get hung up and can’t get out of 4×4 mode and need fixing and attention too frequently–Unless they really can make a solid unit that works with a button for a couple hundred bucks—that would be great but some cost-cutter always seems to make them work rather poorly

    And a few fine Optional features:
    · Limited slip
    · Second steel rim package with rear real “blizzak” type snow tires available—perhaps as part of a 2wd snow package—I recall how my friend’s Studebaker Champ Pickup clawed through 10 inches of snow that way here in Michigan
    · HD payload and tow packages
    · Rear window that rolls down into cab.
    · 7-foot or longer bed
    · Extra large fuel tank.
    · Integrated 2000-pound winch built into the rear of the vehicle.
    · Easy to adjust rear shocks with perhaps 3 settings

    I will state that the goal is to provide a real man’s truck for the independent guy or just a hard working individual. Right now I drive a 4 cylinder Ford Ranger 2wd long bed and it has been a solid truck just not enough tough truck features available on these trucks like limited slip or a more hefty standard tow package or any optional tow package (again for the 4 cylinder) for that matter! I understand that the next Ranger coming soon (2011) will offer many of the above features/benefits such as diesel engines and much stronger manual transmissions

    A last thought. Comfort is not an anti-trucker theme. For example, excellent seat ergonomics built into the BENCH seat as well as other solid comforts are actually important components of a good truck. Futures like gel-filled mounts may allow for more durable suspensions or spring rates or other factors thus actually making a vehicle more rugged! So maybe Dodge has something here with the Ram goo filled compnents. Just make sure such innovations really can take the abuse!