NEW YORK --- Volkswagen is cutting the price of its top-selling vehicle in the U.S., the Jetta, when the 2011 sedan goes on sale in October.
Volkswagen of America Inc. said Tuesday that the latest Jetta will start at around $16,000. By contrast, the 2010 Jetta starts at $17,735. VW unveiled the Jetta at a news conference in Times Square.
VW said the company is reducing the price for a simple reason: to sell more cars. Last year, it sold about 100,000 Jettas in the U.S. Next year, its goal is to boost sales by 20 percent to 30 percent.
The Jetta will be sold with four engine choices, including a 2-liter "clean diesel" TDI. The car will give drivers more space, including 2.6 inches more in legroom. Jetta will come in four trims: the base S, SE, top-of-the-line SEL and diesel TDI.
The Jetta is a critical car, said Volkswagen's top U.S. executive, Stefan Jacoby, because it is the company's best-known model behind the Beetle.
GM backs off on banning 'Chevy'
DETROIT --- It turns out you can take your "Chevy to the levee" or any other place you please.
General Motors Co. has backed off what it called a "poorly worded" internal memo that asked employees to refer to the brand only as "Chevrolet" instead of its long-standing and well-known nickname.
GM said that it "in no way" is discouraging anybody from using the name Chevy. The internal memo was part of an effort to develop a consistent brand name as it tries to broaden its global presence.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said the statement was meant to make clear that the company is "honored and flattered" that the brand is so popular, regardless of what people call it. The original memo, he said, "made it look like maybe we were telling other people other people not to use 'Chevy.'
"Mostly this was just trying to train (employees)," he said. "Historically, especially recently, we've tended to use the two interchangeably."
GM said the original memo, obtained by The New York Times, spurred an emotional debate that reverberated on social media networks and Web sites.
Chevy has been ingrained in U.S. culture and mentioned in numerous pop songs. Among the best known: Don McLean's American Pie, whose sing-along chorus begins, "Bye bye, Miss American pie, drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry."
Lincoln hybrid will get 41 mpg
DEARBORN, MICH. --- Ford Motor Co. says the 2011 Lincoln MKZ hybrid will get 41 city mpg and 36 highway mpg when it goes on sale this fall.
Ford said Wednesday tha tthe EPA-certified rating makes the MKZ hybrid the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan on the market. It tops its nearest rival, the Lexus HS 250h, by 6 mpg in the city and 2 on the highway.
Ford hasn't revealed pricing; the nonhybrid 2010 MKZ starts at $34,225.
Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz also offer luxury hybrids, but sales have been modest.
Panel asked to study acceleration
WASHINGTON --- The National Academy of Sciences has asked a group of engineers, scientists and auto safety experts to identify possible causes of unintended acceleration in vehicles in the aftermath of Toyota's large recalls.
The academy advises the government on scientific matters. Dr. Louis Lanzerotti, of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, will lead the 13-member panel, which will review electronic systems across the auto industry.
The study is part of the government's work to learn what led to the recall of more than 8 million Toyotas because of sudden, unintended acceleration. The review will begin in July and is expected to last 15 months.
Ford expects heavy electrification
NOVI, MICH. --- Ford Motor Co. expects that as much as a quarter of its global volume in the next decade will be electrified, with hybrids dominating its electric fleet.
Ford expects that, by 2020, 10 percent to 25 percent of its volume will in some way run on advanced batteries, compared with about 2 percent now, said Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of global electrification. Of those, 70 percent will be hybrids, 20 percent to 25 percent plug-in hybrids and the rest all-electric.
Gioia said the range is wide because there remain unanswered questions about the access to and affordability of electrified vehicles.