Buyers Shift Their Focus Downward, due to High Gas Prices

The Toyota Prius C, with a combined E.P.A. fuel-economy rating of 50 miles per gallon, is in such demand that a dealer in Florida reportedly levied a $7,000 premium on the $19,710 vehicle, a scaled-down version of the class-leading hybrid. Toyota, which began sales of the C on March 12, moved more units in its first three days than either Chevrolet, with its plug-in-hybrid Volt, or Nissan, with its purely electric Leaf, managed in all of February.

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The Out of Range Edition

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• Workers who built the final Ford Ranger on Friday are disassembling the plant in which the compact pickup truck was produced for nearly 30 years. Ford had said in recent years that it would close the St. Paul, Minn., plant as sales of the long-running truck declined. There are no plans to sell, let alone build the Ranger replacement shown at various international auto shows in the last year, in North America. (KSTP.com)
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Chevrolet to Sell Purely Electric Spark Hatchback in U.S.

General Motors introduced the 2012 Chevrolet Spark subcompact four-door hatchback in Detroit on Wednesday. The news was swiftly upstaged, however, by the subsequent announcement that a purely electric version would be available to American customers in limited quantities in 2013.

The Spark is already sold in some Latin American countries and marketed as the Beat in much of Europe and Asia. G.M. claims to have sold 270,000 Sparks and Beats since the models went on sale in 2010.
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The $41,000 Question: Is the Chevy Volt Worth the Money?

General Motors, after announcing on Tuesday that the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car would cost $41,000, was unfazed by inevitable comparisons to the Nissan Leaf, a battery electric car that will arrive in select markets at the end of the year, around the same time as the Volt. At $32,780, the Leaf is far less expensive.

“Honestly, they’re two different vehicles,” said Dave Darovitz, a G.M. spokesman. “One is range limited, and the other one offers 40 miles of gas-free driving and then a further 300 miles of travel.”
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Chevrolet and GMC Announce Pricing for 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and 2011 GMC Sierra HD

Chevrolet today announced pricing for the 2011 Silverado HD, highlighted by carryover pricing on the improved Duramax diesel engine and Allison transmission.  This means best-in-class horsepower and torque at 397 HP and 765 lb-ft of torque, respectively, for the same option price as 2010 models.

“Heavy duty pickup customers are some of the most knowledgeable out there, and we heard them loud and clear. They want maximum power and capability at the best value possible,” said Product Director Maria Rohrer.  “We delivered huge increases in power and capability while actually improving our fuel economy with the Duramax diesel engine – all while maintaining current pricing.”
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