Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for December, 2018

Hyundai Lifts Page from Smartphone Tech With Fingerprint Key

The car key may soon become a thing of the past.

by on Dec.17, 2018

A driver starts up the new Hyundai Santa Fe simply by using her fingerprint.

If you own a relatively recent smartphone odds are you no longer have to bother remembering a passcode, instead relying on fingerprint or facial recognition. Now, it seems, automakers are starting to move in the same direction.

Hyundai has pulled the wraps off the new Chinese version of the 2019 Santa Fe and, buyers in that market will be offered the ability to equip the SUV with a fingerprint recognition system that can lock or unlock the vehicle while also starting the vehicle. Depending on which of multiple users the vehicle recognizes, it will even set up automatically such things as seat position and sideview mirrors.

In the Right Key!

But Hyundai isn’t alone. A number of other automakers are looking at other ways to replace the traditional vehicle key or wireless keyfob with things like wearable bracelets and smartphone apps that an owner can share with friends and family.

(more…)

Hyundai, Kia Owners File Suit About Engine Fires

Safety regulators investigating problems with vehicles.

by on Dec.17, 2018

The 2014 Sonata is part of an NHTSA investigation about engine fires.

U.S. owners of select Hyundai and Kia models filed suit against the automakers in the U.S. trying to resolve a possible defected that may cause some engines to catch fire. The affected vehicles are already part of an ongoing investigation by U.S. regulators.

The more than 350 complaints filed by vehicle owners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration constitutes “concealment of the defect,” according to the class action suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California by law firm Hagens Berman.

News Now!

The fires have been occurring for some time, but have been difficult to separate from fires that occurred as a result of a crash and those that happened before or after a crash. In Florida, more than 400 fires were reported, but just 120 of those fit the description for the lawsuit. (more…)

Tesla’s Newest Easter Egg is a Gas … or Gaseous Anyway

Company includes new fart sound in latest update.

by on Dec.17, 2018

Looks like the new Tesla Easter egg is a lot hot air, or at least is sounds like it.

If you’ve ever been in a car on a trip when a smell invades the cabin of your vehicle, then good news: Elon Musk and Tesla have the audio to pair with your olfactory experience: a fart app.

Musk confirmed the company was working on it in a tweet: “Tesla (fart emoji) app almost done. Important to get every note right!” The fart app can be found in the Easter egg drawer of Tesla models that have received the most recent software update.

Dig Deeper!

To be clear, it’s not a euphemism for something else, instead, yes, it sounds like someone in the car – or the car itself – is passing gas.  (more…)

“Coming Soon” – Mercedes Teases Next-Gen CLA

But market has changed radically since coupe-like model first appeared.

by on Dec.17, 2018

Mercedes has offered a tease of the second-generation CLA ahead of its debut at CES.

The original Mercedes-Benz CLA, in baseball terms, knocked it out of the park, the compact, coupe-like sedan not only generating a massive sales surge but drawing in the sort of hip young buyers that the German brand long had trouble reaching.

Americans are expected to buy about 22,000 CLA sedans this year, a sharp decline from the model’s 2015 peak, when Mercedes delivered about 30,000 of them. That said, considering the rapid shift from passenger cars to light trucks – including the similarly sized Mercedes GLA crossover – the CLA remains an essential part of the brand’s line-up.

Auto Show News!

“We’re still bullish on sedans,” Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told TheDetroitBureau.com during a Los Angeles Auto Show interview, and the German brand aims to prove that with the upcoming launch of the second-generation CLA.

(more…)

Lincoln Unveils Glamorous New Limited Edition Continental

Run of 80 cars features center-opening doors.

by on Dec.17, 2018

Lincoln is producing a limited run of 80 sedans marking the Continental's 80th anniversary.

Lincoln is marking the 80th anniversary of the Continental luxury sedan with a very limited-run special edition of the iconic model that harkens back to its glamorous beginnings.

Ford Motor Co. plans to build 80 of the Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition, with center-opening doors – commonly known as suicide doors – Lincoln used back in the 1960s as well as six inches of additional leg room in its plush “Black Label” interior. The entire production run is expected to sell out quickly, Lincoln officials said.

Product News!

The Coach Door Edition originates at Ford’s assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, and then is shipped to an outfitter that modifies the vehicle for the doors, according to Ford’s precise specifications, noted Tim Sterling, chief program engineer. (more…)

California Requiring Transit Agencies to Buy Electric Buses

New mandate means 14,500 new electric buses.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Daimler Truck has invested millions in California-based electric busmaker Proterra to help with its battery-electric development.

California is looking to keep its place as the leader for clean air initiatives after the California Air and Resource Board (CARB) voted to fully transition the state’s public bus fleet to electric power by 2040.

The unanimous vote makes California the first state to sign on to such a commitment. It’s definitely a commitment as the mandate requires the state replace more than 14,000 buses with zero-emissions models.

The Last Word!

The plan requires state agencies that buy buses make 25% of those purchases battery-electric models between now and 2023. By 2025 that number must jump to 50% and by 2029 all buses bought must be battery-electric.  (more…)

China Suspends Punitive Tariffs on US During Negotiations

Tariff halt is for three months.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Chinese fans of American cars can rejoice – if only for three months – as the extra 25% tariff on autos has been suspended.

Shortly after the U.S. and China declared a truce, China put forth a goodwill gesture, announcing it will temporarily suspend additional 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts starting Jan. 1, 2019.

The 25% tariff came oddly enough just after China reduced the levy to 15% earlier this year, but when President Donald Trump decided to increase tariffs on China, the country immediately pushed it back up to 40%.

Global News!

The Ministry of Finance, in a statement on its website, the two sides can expedite talks to remove all additional tariffs on each other’s goods. For now, the suspension will last for three months. The impact in some places was immediate. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Kia Sorento SUV

Practical, yet stylish and laden with technology.

by on Dec.14, 2018

The 2019 Kia Sorento offers practicality, but with plenty of upgrades.

Practical is usually the word associated with sport-utility vehicles and that practicality makes them appealing to a wide cross section of consumers.

The Kia Sorento certainly is practical, but in a segment crowded with a lot of very good vehicles it is also stylish, loaded with features and comes with an interior that looks as if it might belong in a more traditional luxury vehicle.

Reviews to Trust!

The up-level version of Sorento that I drove carried a sticker price of $48,020, which includes the $990 transportation charge so it can hardly be considered inexpensive. (more…)

Infiniti Teases Electric Crossover Ahead of 2019 Detroit Auto Show

“An illustration of where we want to go with the brand.”

by on Dec.14, 2018

Infiniti is providing a glimpse of its first all-electric crossover concept, which it plans to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Infiniti has a history of telegraphing its future with a series of intriguing auto show concept vehicles – and we can expect that to happen once again next month as it pulls the wraps off an electric crossover concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The prototype will carry forward the striking and well-received Prototype 10 and Q Inspiration concepts the Japanese luxury brand unveiled over the past year. And it appears quite likely to tease not only an upcoming battery vehicle but an all-new EV architecture that will be used for a variety of future Infiniti models.

Product News!

“The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for Infiniti, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” said Executive Design Director Karim Habib. “Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy.” (more…)

NADA Predicts New Car Sales to Decline Slightly in 2019

Rising interest rates, falling incentives will push some buyers out.

by on Dec.14, 2018

The National Auto Dealers Association Chairman Wes Lutz predicts that auto sales will fall slightly in 2019 to 16.8 million units.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade association for new-car dealerships across the U.S., expects another strong year for new car sales in 2019 despite rising interest rates and an economy that shows signs of slowing.

“We’re forecasting sales of 16.8 million new cars and light trucks in 2019,” said Patrick Manzi, NADA senior economist, at an industry briefing. “This would represent a falloff in sales of about 1.1% compared to 2018.”

News You Can Trust!

Based on a strong November, new-vehicle sales are expected to reach 17 million units in 2018, which would mark the fourth straight year of U.S. auto sales above 17 million units.  (more…)