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While some consumers – the uninformed and brand-bigoted – might remain skeptical, the 2011 Kia Optima is the new mainstream sedan benchmark.

Theodore and Associates has unveiled the Uni-Chassis, a lightweight, frameless body-on-chassis design at the 2011 SAE World Congress in Detroit, MI. The Uni-Chassis is claimed to be a low-cost alternative to both the traditional body-on-frame and unibody designs.

Xiang Dong Yu, the former Ford engineer who was convicted of stealing trade secrets, has officially been sentenced to six years in prison. According to Reuters, the Beijing native was also ordered to pay a fine of $12,500 and will be deported after he serves his prison term. The 49-year-old Yu was arrested in 2009 on charges that he stole documents worth millions of dollars from his former employer during the 10 years that he worked for Ford.

According to Automotive News, Japanese automakers have seen their production drop by over 500,000 units since the March 11 earthquake struck the island nation. In the month since the disaster, the country's seven largest automakers lost around 516,000 units of production due to damage to production facilities and supplier delays. Toyota has been the hardest hit, with a loss of 260,000 units as of April 8. The automaker has a total of 18 domestic manufacturing facilities, and while two of those a

Automakers need governments to help expand natural gas distribution for consumer vehicles

As gasoline prices climb this year, Chrysler says it is planning for some of its cars and trucks to run on a different kind of gas by 2017. The automaker says it will introduce compressed-natural-gas powered vehicles by 2017. The first vehicle is expected to be a Dodge Ram pickup. But passenger cars will come as well. The plan is part of a swell of interest in making better use of the U.S.'s vast reserves of natural gas rather than invest too heavily in much more expensive electric vehicle batt

Brazilian energy giant Petrobras expects demand for biofuels to soar within the next decade and will spend $3.5 billion over the next four years to at least double its biofuel output. However, Brazil's mines and energy minister Edison Lobao told Petrobras (a company that's partially owned by the Brazilian government) that, effective immediately, it will need to produce more ethanol. In a television interview, Lobao said:

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