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Archive for December, 2017

Next-Gen Toyota Avalon Debuting at Detroit Auto Show

Automaker readies for second product reveal at NAIAS.

by on Dec.11, 2017

Toyota plans to take the wraps of its next-generation Avalon at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Toyota Motor Corp. is going to have a full schedule at next month’s North American International Auto Show as the automaker revealed it will have a second major product debut in Detroit.

The Japanese automaker will premiere its all-new 2019 Avalon Monday, Jan. 15, during the 2018 NAIAS. The fifth generation Avalon shares the new platform utilized by the Toyota Camry and will be built at the automaker’s big assembly complex in Georgetown, Kentucky.

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Last week, it was revealed that Lexus plans to unveil a new concept vehicle in Detroit as well. (more…)

Tesla Readies to Deliver Model 3 as Truck Reservations Roll In

Sysco, Anheuser-Busch order 90 trucks combined.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Reddit user ry8 posted the email he received from Tesla informing him his vehicle will be delivered next week.

Is Tesla ready to cross a major threshold? Reports suggest that the Palo Alto, Calfornia-based EV maker is going to deliver the first Model 3 sedans to non-employees.

The initial allotment of vehicles went to employees, family members and Tesla “insiders.” However, according to Autoblog, a Reddit user, ry8, revealed on the Tesla subreddit that his Model 3 was being delivered on Monday.

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To further prove his claim, he posted a copy of his confirmation email from the company, complete with a photo of a white Model 3, the vehicle’s VIN and a request for final payment. Apparently, ry8 is a San Francisco-area resident and was one of the day one reservation holders. (more…)

Lyft Launches Autonomous Test in Boston

Long-term goal is to go fully driverless.

by on Dec.08, 2017

An autonomous prototype developed by nuTonomy, one of the models Lyft will begin using in Boston.

Lyft has become the latest ride-sharing service to begin testing autonomous vehicles.`

The pilot program, launched in Boston this week, is being run in partnership with self-driving tech firm nuTonomy. Lyft has also been working with both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, two carmakers that share its long-term goal of going completely driverless in a bid to slash costs while also improving safety.

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“Based on feedback from pilot participants, nuTonomy’s engineers will adapt and improve our system, so that we can deliver an autonomous transportation experience that is extremely safe, efficient, and comfortable,” nuTonomy said in a statement.

(more…)

Fuel Economy of New Vehicles Continues to Drop

Strong sales of large vehicles means average mpg continues falling.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Despite efforts to improve the fuel economy of large SUVs, their popular cuts into the U.S. national fuel economy average.

The fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. during November dropped by 0.1 miles per gallon to 25 mpg—the lowest mark this year, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The value for November is up 4.9 mpg since October 2007 – the first full month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle – but still down 0.5 mpg from the peak of 25.5 mpg reached in August 2014.

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In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued a monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver. The EDI takes into account both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag. (more…)

Chinese Ride-Sharing Company Eyes Move into Mexico

If Didi goes to Mexico, it would mark second showdown with Uber.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi is contemplating a move into Mexico where it will compete with Uber.

A report out of China indicates Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-sharing company in China and perhaps the world, is preparing to expand internationally for the first time by setting up shop in Mexico.

Didi basically ran Uber out of the Chinese market where Uber sustained losses totaling roughly $2 billion. If Didi moves into Mexico it would set the stage for a huge clash where Uber has established a large presence with more than 7 million users spread across 45 cities.

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Speculation about Didi’s plans, like Ford Motor Co.’s efforts to partner with Alibaba, underscore the growing influence the Chinese have on the global automotive industry. During the next decade ride-sharing companies are expected to become the major buyers of new vehicles around the world. (more…)

Ford Inks Three-Year Deal with Alibaba

Agreement opens another door to sell vehicles in China

by on Dec.07, 2017

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, back left, and Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang, back right, oversee the signing of a three-year deal between the two companies.

In the event it wasn’t clear that Ford is serious about increasing its sales in China, it’s new partnership with Alibaba Group should clear up any confusion.

The new three-year agreement announced today with Alibaba, essentially China’s version of Amazon, may offer Ford an online outlet for its vehicles. The deal, which was reported to be in the works earlier this week by TheDetroitBureau.com. The deal came at the end trip by Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and CEO Jim Hackett.

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Last month, Ford committed to a more than $750 million tie-up with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to build electric vehicles in China. Earlier this week, Chairman Ford and Hackett announced in plans to bring 50 new vehicles to the Chinese market by 2025, including 15 EVs as well as building five new vehicles locally in that country. (more…)

Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

New passenger offset tests lowers number of top-ranked vehicles.

by on Dec.07, 2017

IIHS President Adrian Lund explains the testing processes implemented for the "Top Pick Plus" ranking.

With new tougher standards in place for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s coveted “2018 Top Pick Plus” rating, just 15 vehicles earned the distinction compared with 38 for 2017.

The safety advocacy group, which performs a variety of crash tests on vehicles, added two new tests in the past year: one for improved headlights, which was included in the 2017 “Top Pick Plus” ranking, but not in the “Top Pick” results, and the new passenger-side small overlap front crash.

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Overall, Hyundai posted six vehicles and Subaru four in the “Top Pick Plus” category. In addition to the 15 “Top Pick Plus” designees, there were 47 “Top Pick” vehicles. Toyota led the pack with 11 vehicles in the “Top Pick Plus” and “Top Pick” categories combined with Hyundai (9) and Subaru (7) taking the next two spots. (more…)

Welburn Captures Lifetime Design Achievement Award

He was GM's just sixth-ever design chief.

by on Dec.07, 2017

Ed Welburn shows off the new trophy that will be given to the 2017 North American Car and Truck of the Year winners.

GM’s former chief designer Ed Welburn has been named the recipient of the 2018 Eyes on Deisgn Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual award is unique in that the selection is made by the previous winners of the award.

This group includes scores of well-known design executives, including Chris Bangle, Nuncio Bertone, Wayne Cherry, Walter de Silva, Willie G. Davidson, Tom Gale, Giorgetto Giugiaro, Chuck Jordan, Robert Lutz, Syd Mead, Shiro Nakamura, Patrick le Quement, Sergio Pininfarina, Stewart Reed, Peter Schreyer and Jack Telnack.

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The award will be presented to Welburn next June during the annual Eyes on Design weekend, which culminate in the annual automotive design exhibition, held every Father’s Day on the lakefront grounds of the Eleanor & Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores outside Detroit. (more…)

Mitsubishi Gaining Sales Momentum in US

New products helping to keep dealers excited.

by on Dec.07, 2017

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is helping to draw new buyers to the Japanese brand.

Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan alliance a little more than a year ago and the change has given the automaker an enormous lift, according to executives from Mitsubishi Motors North America.

The shift has boosted the spirits of dealers, given the company more clout while buying ads and within three years Mitsubishi expects new products, developed by the alliance, will start showing up in Mitsubishi showrooms around the country, said Don Swearingen, MMNA executive vice president and chief operating officer.

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The first product from the alliance will roll out in 2020 as 2021 model, Swearingen said. At the same, time the company will be sharing its plug-in hybrid technology with Nissan. In turn, Renault-Nissan will provide Mitsubishi with battery electric vehicles, he said.  (more…)

Ford Moving EV Production From Michigan to Mexico

Move will open up plant to build new line of autonomous vehicles.

by on Dec.07, 2017

“You’re starting to see the foundation of Ford’s bet on AVs (or autonomous vehicles),” said Jim Farley.

Ford plans to shift production of electric vehicles from a suburban Detroit plant to a factory in Mexico, a top company official said. That move will make room at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant for Ford to launch a new line of driverless vehicles that will be used by ride-sharing and delivery fleets.

The move could create some political headaches for the second-largest of the Detroit Big Three automakers. During his campaign for the White House, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly bashed Ford’s plans to move small car production from Michigan to a second assembly plant it was building in Mexico. It ultimately scrubbed that facility and will shift production of the Focus model to China, instead.

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“You’re starting to see the foundation of Ford’s bet on AVs (or autonomous vehicles),” said Jim Farley, the president of global markets for Ford.

(more…)