Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for September, 2016

Dramatic Auto Industry Change Opens Opportunities for Renault-Nissan-Daimler Alliance, CEOs Agree

Three makers partnering on connected, autonomous and electrified automobiles.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche, left, and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn agree that new opportunities are coming.

The automotive world is at the vanguard of “more change in the next five years than we’ve seen in the past 20,” suggested Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, during a Paris Motor Show news conference.

Some of the most significant changes will involve connected and autonomous vehicles, as well as the push towards electrified powertrains, said Dieter Zetsche, chairman and CEO of Daimler AG, which seven years ago formed its own partnership with Renault-Nissan. Automakers can also add the growing interest in ride- and car-sharing to the growth areas.

Auto Show News!

“We are not afraid of these changes,” added Ghosn. “We seem them as opportunities.” But they also make cooperation among traditional rivals all the more important because “No automaker can go it alone in this environment.” (more…)

Buick Launching All-New Avenir Sub-Brand

Patterned on company’s “Denali” label, it arrives in 2018.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Coming in 2018, Buick hopes Avenir will bring the same returns that Denali does for GMC.

Buick, an automaker long associated with smooth, “boulevard” driving is about to launch a new sub-brand dubbed “Avenir.”

The name means “future,” in French, and is meant to cover the most exclusive of Buick’s future models. Avenir first appeared on a wildly popular Buick concept vehicle that made its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Branding News!

“Through the first half of 2016, Buick has been the industry’s fastest-growing major international brand, and Avenir is key to future growth and delivering on the high expectations of new customers coming to our showrooms,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick sales, service and marketing. “Avenir will be Buick’s signature.” (more…)

Could Renault-Nissan Top Toyota in Global Sales

“Not an objective,” but increasingly likely, says CEO Ghosn.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the acquisition of Mitsubishi could make his company tops in auto sales globally next year.

For much of the last decade, Toyota Motor Co. has won the global sales sweepstakes, though it is being chased by an increasingly aggressive Volkswagen AG. But now, a wildcard has entered the race, and CEO Carlos Ghosn said it’s a strong possibility that his Renault-Nissan Alliance could soon brush outside those two rivals.

The Euro-Japanese partnership lagged more than a million units behind its two rivals last year, so it would need a turbo-boost to take the lead. And that just might happen in 2017 as the Nissan side of the alliance completes its planned acquisition of struggling Japanese automaker Mitsubishi.

Global Auto News!

Would that push the Renault-Nissan Alliance over the top? “Yes,” Ghosn responded to a question during a Paris Motor Show news conference. “We may become number one, even thought that is not our objective.” (more…)

Trucks Take Top Tier at Texas State Fair

Ford puts EcoBoost in '17 Raptor, Titan puts out a "Texas" model.

by on Sep.30, 2016

With all of the truck makers on hand, it was Lonzo Anderson and his 2000 Chevy Silverado with 375,000 miles on it that stole the show.

If we’re talking about fall in Texas, the conversation is sure to center on a few things: football and trucks. It’s why automakers flock to the annual Texas State Fair to unveil their latest offerings, and like the state’s well-known high school football teams, the competition is fierce.

The fair has become truck central and this year is no different as the usual suspects all flocked to the Lone Star State to kick up some dirt and brag about which one was best and a few used the annual event to make a couple of big announcements.

Truck News!

First, Ford announced its 2017 Raptor – equipped with the all-new 3.5-liter twin-turbo high-output EcoBoost engine – with churn out 510 lb.-ft. of torque and 450 horsepower. (more…)

Smart “All-In” on Battery-Cars

U.S. only getting Fortwo ED, however.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Green machine: The Smart Fortwo ED Cabriolet makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show.

Range anxiety remains one of the biggest concerns for consumers considering a battery-electric vehicle but it’s less of a concern for those who might only need their vehicles for short runs in dense urban settings. And that could play out well for the little Smart brand.

Daimler AG’s city car subsidiary plugged into the Paris Motor Show with a trio of next-generation battery-electric vehicles, one for each of Smart’s models. The preview was part of a broader series of announcement about electrification that included the launch of the new Mercedes-EQ brand-within-a-brand.

Plug In with a Free Subscription!

“Smart is going all-in on battery power,” declared Daimler AG Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche, as the newest Smart Electric Drive trio drove onto the stage.

(more…)

Fighting Car Hacking Growing into Big Business

New IHS study predicts revenues will push $750 million annually by 2023.

by on Sep.30, 2016

While connected cars offer plenty of conveniences, they're also targets for cyber attacks.

After being ignored for years, the cybersecurity of automobiles has become a major concern for carmakers and is now expected to grow quickly into a $759 million industry by 2023, according to a new study by IHS Automotive.

The IHS study noted one result of connected car growth – there are estimated 112 million connected vehicles on the road now – is that cars and trucks are now more susceptible to cyberattacks through the many wireless and wired connections.

Tech News!

Hackers are getting more savvy in perpetrating cyberattacks – more easily and cost effectively – on connected vehicles, IHS concluded, noting that carmakers have increased their efforts to make systems more secure. (more…)

Mercedes Generation EQ Concept Moves Battery Power “into the Fast Lane”

Show car introduces new battery-based EQ brand.

by on Sep.29, 2016

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche helps reveal the Generation EQ concept vehicle in Paris.

Anyone who thinks battery power is just for a select niche of techies and greenies might come away with a very different opinion after touring this year’s Paris Motor Show. And if the message still doesn’t come across, just ask Daimler AG Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche, who assured a media audience that the Mercedes-Benz brand is moving electric vehicles “into the fast lane.”

The automaker previously committed to putting 10 plug-in hybrids and several pure battery-electric models into production over the next several years. But the Mercedes Generation EQ concept making its debut at the Mondial de l’Automobile takes things a step further. It will launch an all-new electrified brand, dubbed EQ, to challenge the likes of America’s Tesla and arch-rival BMW’s “i” brand. Future products will be badged “Mercedes-EQ, Zetsche told TheDetroitBureau.com

Powering Up!

“The emission-free automobile is the future,” said Zetsche. “And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations.”

(more…)

BMW Serves Up X2 Concept, New Gran Turismo, i3 in Paris

Maker's X2 concept mixes urban flair with functionality.

by on Sep.29, 2016

BMW put its X2 Concept, where urban chic and functionality meet, on display at the Paris Motor Show.

BMW hit this year’s Paris Motor Show with a trio of vehicles aimed at showing that good things come in small packages: the Concept X2, 3 Series Gran Turismo and new i3 electric vehicle.

The Concept X2 is a compact concept aimed to offer a sporty, urban alternative to the German maker’s X line-up of utility vehicles, or as they call them SAVs: sport activity vehicles.

Powering Up!

It certainly does stand apart with large wheels but the familiar “two-box design” reminds that this is a “functional” vehicle, like its X siblings. (more…)

Audi Reveals Trio of New Models in Paris

Modial de l’Automobile spotlights new Q5, S5 Sportback and RS3.

by on Sep.29, 2016

Audi is shifting production of the next-gen Q5 ute to its new plant in Mexico.

With a record number of new products in the pipeline, Audi had plenty to show off during its Paris Motor Show news conference Thursday, a trio of new offerings targeting a wide range of global product segments.

Already the most popular luxury crossover on the market, the Volkswagen subsidiary is hoping to build even more momentum with the launch of a completely new Q5 sport-utility vehicle. Also on hand, Audi rolled out the new S5 Sportback. The third global premier not only marked the launch of the new RS3 Sedan but the debut of the maker’s new Audi Sport sub-brand.

The Journal of Record!

“These three new models symbolize what our brand stands for,” said Rupert Stadler, the Audi AG CEO. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Unlike its two major German rivals, Audi put much of the focus on performance during its news conference, something of a surprise considering how much it has emphasized battery-car and other green technologies in recent years.

(more…)

Kia Brings Rio to Paris

Maker ready to make impact in Europe's biggest market.

by on Sep.29, 2016

Kia's new Rio subcompact, which competes in Europe's toughest market, features a new exterior design.

Kia, which has used a combination of eye-catching design and new technology to win over customers, rolled out a updated version of its Rio subcompact passenger car during previews for the Paris Auto Show.

The new Kia Rio, one of the ambitious South Korean automaker’s key vehicles – it accounts for 16% of the company’s global sales – made its world debut in Paris at the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile.

News Now!

The fourth generation offers B-segment buyers, with new design both inside and out, a package of practicality and convenience, safety technology, new connectivity features and more engaging ride and handling in keeping with the automaker’s efforts to improve its suspensions and chassis in the wake of some intense criticism. (more…)