Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for February, 2014

Lexus Rounds Out RC Line with New F Sport

Maker adds third model to new coupe family.

by on Feb.28, 2014

The Lexus RC 350 F Sport falls in-between the "base" RC 350 and the RC F models.

Lexus has been using the word “passion” a lot lately, both in terms of design and performance, and it appears ready to back that up when it comes to the launch of the new RC Coupe later this year.

We’ve already seen two sporty versions of the new 2-door, the RC 350 and the RC F, and it turns out we’ll be getting a look at a third model at the Geneva Motor Show next week, the Lexus RC 350 F Sport rounding out the new line.

Always There!

For those not quite familiar with Lexus nomenclature – and it can be confusing – models designated with a simple “F” are the sportiest in the line-up.  Those dubbed F Sport are a little less extreme.

(more…)

Kia’s New Luxury Flagship Slow-Rolling into Dealers

Just 30% of dealers eligible to sell the new K900.

by on Feb.28, 2014

Kia is counting on the K900 to help reshape the maker's image among luxury buyers.

When Kia announced it was bringing the K900 to the to the market it wanted its new luxury flagship sedan to be seen on the same lofty level as a S-Class Mercedes or 7-Series BMW, including the dealership experience.

Well, some of the dealers are having some difficulty making the grade. In fact, according to an Edmunds.com report, only 30% of Kia dealers will be eligible to sell the K900 when it his showrooms in a few weeks.

The Last Word!

Dealers wanting to sell the new marque ponied up $30,000 for specialized training and showroom display upgrades. The training is aimed at helping sales staffers relate all of the high-end features available on the new car: features not available on other Kia products. (more…)

Ford Uncovers New Mustang Tech

Faster convertible top, improved aerodynamics, bigger trunk among the benefits.

by on Feb.28, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible.

Ford has plenty to celebrate as its popular pony car gets set to celebrate its 50th anniversary in just a couple more months.  But based on a tech backgrounder, buyers will also have reason to applaud when the 2015 Mustang comes to market.

Along with the updated styling, the next-generation muscle car will offer improved aerodynamics, better fuel economy, a stiffer body and platform, a roomier trunk and, Ford revealed, a significantly faster and easier-to-operate convertible top.

The Last Word!

Ford isn’t providing precise figures yet on the ragtop but hints it will take about half the time to open or close as before.  It certainly helps to simplify the task of unlocking the top, switching from two latches above either side of the windshield to one center-mounted – though Ford surprisingly still didn’t opt for the latch-less automatic top offered by so many other manufacturers.

(more…)

Chevrolet Hopes to Keep Buzz Going During Oscars

Strategy includes running ads during high-profile telecasts.

by on Feb.28, 2014

Chevrolet is keeping a high profile during big television events, like this year's Oscar ceremony. The division is showing a 60-second film from South Korean filmmaker Jude Chun that features the 2014 Chevy Cruze.

Chevrolet plans to make another advertising splash during another huge television event: the Oscars.

The maker is airing a 60-second film by South Korean independent filmmaker Jude Chun, who beat out 23 other filmmakers for the privilege of getting his movie shown during the Oscars.

Keep on Track!

“We asked filmmakers to create a short film that celebrates simple but significant moments in life that demonstrate the power of hope and possibility,” said Tim Mahoney, Chevrolet’s global chief marketing officer, in a statement. (more…)

McLaren Releases Performance Numbers for New 650S

Top speed of 207 mph; 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds.

by on Feb.28, 2014

The 641-hp McLaren 650S is faster than the maker's legendary F1 supercar.

While we got our first look at the new McLaren 650S earlier this month there was something critical missing. After all, what’s a supercar without the numbers?  The advance images were certainly handsome enough, but we were left wondering about those little details, like 0 to 60 times and top speeds.

Well, with just days to go before the McLaren 650S makes its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show, we’re getting the blanks filled in and they’re clearly impressive. To start with, the new 2-seater is a full half-second faster from a standing start to 200 kmh – 124 mph – than the current 12C and significantly faster than the legendary McLaren P1.

Performance!

To quote directly from the British maker’s release, here are some of the basics:  “The latest addition to the McLaren range accelerates to 100km/h (62mph) from rest in just 3.0 seconds, and can reach 200km/h (124mph) in just 8.4 seconds. The standing quarter mile (400m) takes 10.5 seconds, and top speed is 333 km/h (207 mph). This performance puts the latest model from McLaren a full second quicker than the iconic McLaren F1 road car to 200 km/h, and 0.6 sec faster over the standing quarter mile, underlining its performance focus.

(more…)

VW Rocks Out with T-Roc Concept

From Back to Rock…as well as rocky trails.

by on Feb.28, 2014

VW claims the T-Roc concept is more than just another car-based soft-roader,

Using a motorist’s own tablet computer, the Volkswagen T-Roc Concept lets you personalize your infotainment choices, whether they run to Bach or Rock. But the name of this new SUV is equally symbolic of its capabilities, with a diesel-powered all-wheel-drive system that’s tough enough to handle rocky trails as well as urban potholes.

Making its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen T-Roc concept appears to be more than just another pie-in-the-sky prototype, the German maker suggesting it offers a broad hint of what’s to come as it moves to “significantly extend (its SUV) range with new models in a wide variety of classes.”

Auto Show News!

VW has rapidly expanded its line-up in recent years, with a broad range of sedans, coupes, cabriolets and sports cars. What it’s been missing out on, however, has been the boom in demand for crossovers.  There’s a big gap between its current Tiguan and Touareg models – something it seems determined to correct. A new model, based on the CrossBlue concept, is expected to be produced in North America. But still other additions are in the works, and T-Roc offers some guidance as to what we can expect.

(more…)

Corker Warns Against Silencing Politicians

NLRB investigating UAW claims about inappropriate influence.

by on Feb.27, 2014

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said the NLRB could set a bad precedent if it finds in favor the UAW's objection to the election results at Volkwagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant.

While some feel that U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was less than truthful when he said that Volkswagen would build a new SUV at its plant in Tennessee if workers voted against UAW representation there, he may never have been more honest today.

“I probably am ‘Public Enemy No. 1′ to the UAW,” Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor this morning. “There’s no doubt there is some pent up anger towards me.”

Your Trusted Source!

VW workers at the plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., that builds the Passat voted 712 to 626 to reject the UAW representation in creating a German-style works council. (more…)

Cold Weather Doesn’t Dim Nissan’s Expectations

Maker’s sales heat up despite Polar Vortex, and should keep building, says senior exec.

by on Feb.27, 2014

Nissan's Fred Diaz during a Detroit appearance.

It’s been a cold month in Hell, Michigan and much of the rest of country this winter, and February is looking to deliver another big chill to the auto industry, February sales likely to echo the unexpected cool-down experienced last month.

But the impact is likely to be short-lived, suggested Fred Diaz, the new Nissan division boss, during an appearance at the Automotive Press Association on Thursday.  “I’m not a believer you lose sales for good” because of bad weather, he said. “You only delay sales” that the industry will likely regain once the weather warms up.

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

Your Auto News Source!

On the downside, the Nissan executive – who joined the company a year ago after spending a quarter-century with Chrysler – said the auto industry likely needs to prepare for a slowdown in the pace of its recovery since the end of the Great Recession.  Since bottoming out in 2010, U.S. auto sales have been growing at better than double-digit annual rates, but Diaz cautioned that level of “growth is unsustainable. We’re already seeing signs it will level off.”

(more…)

Volvo Reveals Concept Estate Ahead of Geneva Debut

Completes concept trilogy.

by on Feb.27, 2014

Volvo debuts the third in its trilogy of concept vehicles at the Geneva Motor Show: the Volvo Concept Estate.

There are plenty of big changes coming at Volvo, the Swedish maker planning a major shift in its powertrain strategy, opening a pair of factories in China – and adopting a new, and much more expressive design language.

We’ve been getting hints of where the styling side of that equation will head as Volvo has rolled out a trio of concept vehicles over the last three months covering three of its primary body styles.

Product News!

It began with the Frankfurt Motor Show reveal of the Volvo Concept Coupe, continued at Detroit North American International Auto Show with the unveiling of the Concept XC Coupe – and will wrap up at next week’s Geneva Motor Show with the debut of the Volvo Concept Estate. (more…)

Daimler, BYD Launching New Battery Car

by on Feb.27, 2014

The new Daimler-BYD joint venture will launch its first battery-car concept, the Denza NEV, in Beijing.

Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG plans to launch an all-new battery-electric vehicle it has developed as part of a joint venture with China’s BYD. To be sold through the new Denza brand, it will make its debut in concept form at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show.

The show car will be called the NEV, short for New Energy Vehicle.  The hatchback will use a pure battery-electric design with its batteries mounted under the floor and its electric motor driving the front wheels.

Plug In!

The German maker provided the basic vehicle architecture for the Denza NEV concept, along with key componentry, including the safety system.  BYD, already one of the key players in the emerging Chinese battery-car market, supplied the underlying drive system.

(more…)