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As smaller manufacturers look for ways to stay viable, wholly unique models are becoming a thing of the past. Will that hurt the image or experience?

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Short-term pain for longer-term gain? That may be the prognosis for the next-generation Toyota Prius, the world's best-selling hybrid. But, hey, the new version might get holiday season debut, now.

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It's been thirteen years since Aston Martin introduced the original V12 Vanquish. The model was effectively been replaced twice over by the time it reached its Bar Mitzvah, but its underlying platform is still around. And not just around, either: it underpins everything Aston makes and has made ever since it came on the scene, save for the Cygnet and the One-77 supercar. That includes the V8 and V12 Vantage, the short-lived Virage, the new Vanquish, the DB9, DBS, V12 Zagato and even the four-doo

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Think of it as a recharge for the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S.

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Meet German automaker BMW's vision of the future: LifeDrive.

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Even though Ford honcho Alan Mulally was seriously smitten by the company's Aussie Falcon G-Series, doubts about the car's future were presaged nearly a year-and-a-half ago as Ford built momentum behind the "One Ford" program. That initiative focused on the rationalization of platforms, so multiplel vehicles sold around the world could share underpinnings and save the Blue Oval some bucks. But with new fuel mileage requirements, the fate of the rear-wheel drive Falcon began to grow dark.

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Despite rumors of Daimler and Renault collaborating on a four-door Smart model, no official tie-up between the two companies has been announced. That could change next year when Daimler will reportedly decide who its small-car partner will be. Daimler is getting even more heavily into the development of small cars, both with its Smart brand and the Mercedes-Benz A- and B Class offerings that might one day make it to America.

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Despite rumors of Daimler and Renault collaborating on a four-door Smart model, no official tie-up between the two companies has been announced. That could change next year when Daimler will reportedly decide who its small-car partner will be. Daimler is getting even more heavily into the development of small cars, both with its Smart brand and the Mercedes-Benz A- and B Class offerings that might one day make it to America.

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On one hand, Steve Saleen has two Challengers due out under his SMS brand. On the other, he's got the slightly tangled mess of CHAMCO, it's Chinese partner Zhongxing Auto, and their joint U.S. venture, ZX Auto North America International.

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The whisperers have it that Bugatti may be borrowing from Bentley for a new sedan. What they can't seem to pinpoint is exactly what kind of sharing the two marques will be doing, and whether or not the resulting super Bug will be a supremely high-powered four-door to compete with the Rolls-Royce Phantom. If the two brands do indeed share something, like the next Arnage's platform, for instance, that might make sense. But just a few months ago, Bugatti said that its next product would be even mor

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Toyota iQ

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MotorTrend reports that GM insiders are saying that the next-generation Cadillac Escalade will jump from its current GMT900 truck platform to the Lambda crossover architecture that underpins the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave, and Chevy Traverse. MT points to the Buick Enclave Super that didn't happen as evidence that an Escalambda would be able to handle an eight-cylinder engine, which would be a step up from the rest of El Generalissimo's increasingly-crowded crossover lineup. Edgie

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The ruthless pruning continues, with GM Inside News reporting that the rear-wheel-drive Kappa II platform has gone to heaven before ever touching this mortal coil. Back in 2004, a vehicle line executive said "The Kappa architecture is a great platform for sporty, driver-oriented applications around the globe." Apparently, not one for which GM could make enough different models to actually earn some money.

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click above for more high-res images of the Dodge Demon Concept

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We don't get it. Saturn has done an amazing job transmogrifying itself into a productive division for The General, and people are wistful for the Saturn of yore? In internet parlance, WTF? Three years ago, it would have been apt to predict that Saturn would be nearly done circling the drain by now and well on its way to the same fate as Oldsmobile. What has in fact happened has been an impressive brand renaissance, invigorated by GM's smart utilization of its global operations. Jerry Garrett opi

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Getting back in the groove, we bring you Autoblog Podcast #68. Starting us off is the battle of the inside sources, where we debate which GM mole is correct about the CTS-V. One rumor has the hottest little Caddy getting the Blue Devil's 600-horsepower 6.0L V8. The competing theory is that there'll be a 6.2L V8 with mid-500 horsepower, not the Blue Devil's mill. Either way, it will add up to M5 punch in an M3-sized wrapper. GM has more RWD goodies for us, as word of its Alpha platform replacing

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It's nice to be back in the swing of things. We're once again cranking out weekly podcasts, and #63 is a compact one. We start off salivating over the news that the next generation Suzuki Swift will be headed for US shores. We devolve from discussing an unsubstantiated rumor into wistful praise for the current can't have it Swift, and even make mention of Swifts from nigh on twenty years ago. The dustup over Alan Mulally's work of fiction at the New York Auto Show keynote draws our ire next. Th

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click image to view high-res gallery of the Holden Commodore SS V-Series

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