The Latest: Honda Ridgeline pickup truck bed wired for sound

DETROIT (AP) — The latest developments from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. ___ 2:58 p.m. Honda is boasting about its second-generation Ridgeline pickup truck's 540-watt sound system, which is installed in the bed of the truck. Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel...

DETROIT (AP) — The latest developments from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.


2:58 p.m.

Honda is boasting about its second-generation Ridgeline pickup truck's 540-watt sound system, which is installed in the bed of the truck.

Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel says you can't see the audio system because six "exciters" inside the bed's walls replace conventional speakers — so nothing gets "bashed or scraped when you're hauling mulch or lumber."

He placed a microphone in the bed and gave a sonic sampling to those attending the introduction of the truck. "You can definitely hear it," he said.

It was hard for an Associated Press reporter standing far from the truck to gauge the quality of the sound system since he heard it through the larger sound system in place at the display.

The Ridgeline features a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine and will be available for the first time in front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations.

— Jeff Karoub, AP Business Writer



Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says the company's luxury arm Infiniti has the potential to fuel the Japanese automaker's growth after Infiniti's record-high sales in 2015.

Ghosn on Monday unveiled the 2017 version of the Infiniti Q60 sports coupe. It goes on sale this summer.

The Q60 offers powerful performance with a 3.0-liter, V-6 twin-turbo engine that's available in 300 or 400 horsepower variations. A four-cylinder 2.0-liter gasoline engine that's turbocharged to produce 208 hp also is available.

Inside, the base model features aluminum trim. A black wood option is available. Higher-end models are available with carbon-fiber highlights. White or red leather seating also is available.



Volvo says technology on its new S90 luxury sedan that allows it to accelerate, decelerate, come to a complete stop and steer in certain road conditions is another step toward self-driving vehicles.

Hakan Samuelsson, the Swedish automaker's CEO, says improvements such as the ability to detect and react to ever-changing obstacles are needed. In its newest version, the semi-autonomous feature works at speeds up to 80 mph. An earlier version on a different Volvo worked at speeds up to 30 mph and required a vehicle in front to act as a guide.

Volvo is trying to boost vehicle safety. Its Vision 2020 plan states that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

— David Runk, AP Writer



General Motors has played up the Chevrolet Bolt's 200-mile-plus range and its communication technology. Now the automaker is touting the electric car's speed.

GM product development chief Mark Reuss tells a crowd at the Chevy exhibit that the Bolt EV "performs more like a sports sedan."

GM also says that a 30-minute recharge for the five-passenger Bolt gets customers 90 miles of range.

The Bolt competes with upstart Tesla Motors on price. It costs $37,500, excluding a $7,500 federal tax credit.

GM says the Bolt's higher driving range should draw buyers even with low gas prices.

— Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer



Not content with cars, Audi AG is also helping build a lunar rover. The German automaker enlisted American astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, to show it off.

Cernan jokes that the rover might not have an easy ride. He says the moon is "full of potholes" and its gravity, weaker than Earth's, often leaves rovers on three wheels. Cernan and Harrison Schmidt explored the lunar surface during the "Apollo 17" mission in 1972.

On a more serious note, Cernan says space exploration is key to the future of the U.S. and inspires young people.

Audi is assisting the Berlin-based engineering group "Part-Time Scientists" in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a space travel competition.

— David Runk, AP Writer



The chairman of Audi AG says the German automaker is committed to fixing diesel engines that cheat on emissions tests as quickly as possible.

Rupert Stadler says the scandal "is a unique opportunity for change and for innovation."

Audi parent Volkswagen and U.S. regulators are at an apparent impasse over how to proceed with the expected recall of nearly 600,000 "clean diesel" vehicles.

They were sold with secret software designed to make their engines pass federal emissions standards while undergoing laboratory testing. The vehicles then switch off those measures in real-world driving conditions, spewing harmful nitrogen oxide at up to 40 times what is allowed under federal environmental standards.

Some Audi-brand vehicles are involved.

— David Runk, AP Writer



A cool-looking minivan? Fiat Chrysler car chief Tim Kuniskis lauds the styling of Chrysler's new one. "This may be the first minivan that you drive that the kids will let you pick them up at the front of the movie theater," Kuniskis says of the Pacifica, Chrysler's first new minivan in eight years.

It goes on sale this spring and comes in both a gas and industry-first plug-in hybrid version, which has a 30-mile all-electric range.

Kuniskis thinks low gas prices won't deter some buyers from choosing the hybrid. They'll be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

— Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer



Chevy didn't score the award for car of the year but did earn itself the distinction of becoming the first brand ever with three cars in the final 10.

The Malibu was one of the three finalists for the award, but lost out to the Honda Civic. The Camaro and Volt also made the so-called short list in the car category.

The North American Car and Truck of the awards have been handed out since 1993.



Volvo's award for the North American utility/truck of the year will be an important marketing tool as it tries to rev up sales in the U.S. market, according to Volo's CEO for the Americas.

The 2016 XC90 SUV captured the award Monday morning in Detroit. Sales of the XC90 more than tripled last year to 12,777. Overall, Volvo sold 70,000 cars in the U.S. last year, up 24 percent from 2014, according to Autodata.

Volvo was sold by Ford to China's Geely Automobile in 2010.



The Honda Civic has captured the award for car of the year for a second time. The Civic beat out the Chevy Malibu and the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Civic won previously in 2006.

The Volvo XC90 was named utility/truck of the year, also making the XC90 a two-time winner. The Volvo SUV beat out the Honda Pilot and the Nissan Titan XD. The XC90 also won in 2003.

About 55 automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists.

A vehicle must be all new or substantially changed for eligibility.

This is the 23rd year for the awards. Organizers accept no advertising, though carmakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the honors.