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Exclusive: Ford-VW Deal Kicking Off With Commercial Vehicle JV, VW CEO Diess Reveals

“We are looking at other things,” VW’s Diess tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett, left, and Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess talk on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show today.

Ford and Volkswagen will formally announce on Tuesday the first of what is expected to become a broad range of joint ventures and other partnerships, the head of the German automaker told TheDetroitBureau.com during an impromptu interview at the North American International Auto Show.

The tie-up will begin with a partnership involving commercial vehicles that should help VW expand its marginal presence in the pickup segment, with Ford gaining access to product in other commercial sectors. But there are other projects that have been approved by both companies’ boards that will be revealed on Tuesday, said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

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Not everything will be announced this week, Diess said, confirming that the relationship is a work in progress. He noted that beyond what either has already been set in motion, “We are looking at other things.” (more…)

Hyundai Powers Up With New Elantra GT N Line

Targeting the tuner crowd with sporty looks and performance and “compelling price points.”

by on Jan.14, 2019

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line gives the South Korean brand another entry into the hot hatch segment.

Hyundai continues evolving away from its roots as a basic econobox brand, and the Elantra GT N Line coming to the North American International Auto Show suggests the Korean carmaker will be delivering a lot more sporty products going forward.

The GT becomes the first American offering to carry Hyundai’s new N Line badge – but it clearly won’t be the last. Globally, we’ve already seen several more models added to the performance sub-brand, Veloster N, i30 N and i30 Fastback N, with more expected to follow.

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“Hyundai N models satisfy the needs of performance-oriented enthusiasts with exclusive, custom-tuned powertrain and chassis applications,” said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Group’s Product Planning & Strategy Division.” “N Line is designed for those buyers craving N’s sporty styling cues coupled with performance-tuned suspension upgrades, all at compelling price points.” (more…)

Infiniti Charges into Detroit With QX Inspiration Battery-Car Concept

This could be “a direct blueprint” for the first pure-electric Infiniti.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Infiniti revealed the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on Jan. 14.

It’s been nearly a decade since Infiniti first promised to bring a battery-electric vehicle into its line-up, the automaker quickly deciding not to go with a gussied-up version of the decidedly down-market Leaf sold by parent brand Nissan.

With Infiniti now trying to plug back in and promising that it will electrify virtually everything in its line-up by 2021, you can expect to get a good idea of what’s coming with the QX Inspiration Concept making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“The Infiniti QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new generation of Infiniti cars and establishes a direct blueprint for the brand’s first electric vehicle,” said Christian Meunier, the luxury brand’s new president and chairman. “Based on a new, dedicated electric vehicle architecture and inspired by Infiniti’s Japanese DNA, the SUV concept previews a product portfolio which will offer high performance, ultra-low emissions and range confidence.” (more…)

Koreans Pull Double Win in North American Car, Truck, Utility of the Year Awards

Ram overwhelms its truck competition as Genesis, Hyundai score in truck, car categories.

by on Jan.14, 2019

William Lee, CEO of Hyundai’s North American operations, celebrates the South Korean brand's win for North American Utility of the Year.

In a rare double victory, the Koreans managed to nab two of the three awards as the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards were announced Monday morning.

“These are like the Oscars,” declared Erwin Raphael, the president of the Genesis brand which took home the trophy for Car of the Year with its new G70 sedan, a BMW 3-Series fighter and only the third model the luxury brand has introduced since it was spun off from parent Hyundai mid-decade.

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Hyundai itself claimed honors in the widely followed Utility Vehicle of the Year. Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Ram brand, meanwhile, wrapped up the morning event by claiming honors for Truck of the Year for its new, full-size Ram 1500 pickup. (more…)

Kia Goes 3-Row With New Telluride SUV

Korean carmaker reveals its biggest model ever.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Kia is playing catch up when it comes to its sport-utility line-up. The new Telluride is a big move in that direction.

Automotive designers like to keep an eye on the fashions of the day – which helps explain why we got a first look at a concept version of the new Kia Telluride at New York’s Fashion Week last autumn. Now, the actual production version of the three-row SUV is making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Like sibling brand Hyundai, the Korean carmaker clearly needs what will be its biggest vehicle ever. The American market has shifted rapidly from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs during the last several years, short-circuiting what had been a decade of substantial growth.

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As was widely expected, the production model is all but identical to the ute we saw in New York, minus some extreme touches like the snorkel, bumper-mounted, spare, ladder and, oddly enough, the hat box on the roof. (more…)

Nissan Hopes To Electrify With Debut of IMs Concept

Detroit show car hints at expanded line-up of battery-electric vehicles.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Nissan's IMs concept hits the Detroit Auto Show just after the company rolled out its longest-range Leaf ever.

Barely a week after unveiling the latest – and first truly long-range – version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan is offering a glimpse at where it is “imagining” its future in the form of the all-electric IMs “elevated sports sedan.”

The concept vehicle debuting at the North American International Auto Show pushes the envelope when it comes to three key trends: the shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. It also features a pure BEV drivetrain, a technology Nissan promises will dominate its line-up moving forward. The show car also adds autonomous driving capabilities. Add them together and, Nissan suggests, its future models will feature a distinctly different approach to design, as well.

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“Advances in electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving have allowed our designers to break free of the platform and packaging rules that constrain traditional passenger vehicles, to create a completely new type of car,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for design at Nissan. “The IMs explores the limits of sedan design with an approach that elevates the category in both look and functionality.” (more…)

Volkswagen Looks to Generate Buzz with New Passat

The new sedan looks to capture, amplify best of previous model.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Volkswagen's 2020 Passat uses the best of the previous model and amplifies it hoping to lure new buyers.

Volkswagen is looking to build a better mousetrap with the 2020 Passat sedan on display in Detroit today, by taking the tenets of the previous model – introduced eight years ago amazingly – that attracted buyers and improving them.

According to VW, the new Passat offers more of what matters: bolder design, upgraded technology, and enhanced access to convenience and driver-assistance features.

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“Passat is the only midsize sedan to offer German driving dynamics at an affordable price and has long resonated with buyers for its combination of comfort, reliability and driving dynamics,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen.  (more…)

Long-Awaited Toyota Supra Finally Set to Break Cover at NAIAS

The icon is back after nearly two decades away.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Toyota chief Akio Toyota welcomed back an "old friend," the new Toyota Supra at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

At a generally quiet 2019 North American International Auto Show one thing seems certain: there’ll be plenty of buzz as Toyota lifts the covers off the reborn Supra.

Though the automaker did tease us last year with a track version of the sports car, as well as a heavily disguised version of the street model during the summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this is the first time most of the world will see it, sans camouflage, as the Toyota Supra makes its return after a 17-year global absence and a 21-year deficit in the U.S. market.

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(We did get a sneak peek over the weekend, however, thanks to Toyota Mexico which issued a tweet declaring, “Our new #Supra arrived in Japan!, and this is the story that #AkioToyoda tells us about its return”, with an accompanying video profiling the sports car.) (more…)

Ford Adding Hybrid, High-Performance ST Models to Explorer Line-Up

“An Explorer for every adventure.”

by on Jan.14, 2019

Ford is expanding the Explorer line-up to include a new high-performance ST model and a fuel-efficient hybrid.

Considering the growing importance of SUVs and for Ford, in particular, the role that the Explorer plays, it’s no surprise that the automaker will be offering more versions of the big utility vehicle than ever for 2020, including a first-ever hybrid and an all-new performance variant, the Explorer ST.

Ford gave the world a first look at the fourth-generation Explorer at a splashy event in downtown Detroit last week. It saved the two new versions for a Monday debut during the North American International Auto Show. The entire Explorer line-up is set to roll out of Ford’s big Chicago Assembly Plant a few months from now.

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“This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family – and every driver – is unique,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of product development and purchasing. “With an all-new ST and an all-new hybrid, there truly is an Explorer for every adventure.” (more…)

Ford Shelby GT500 Cracks the 700 HP Barrier

“Slippery, fast, agile.”

by on Jan.14, 2019

Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets, says the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 will put out north of 700 horsepower when it hits the streets this fall.

Ford has traditionally offered the Mustang in fast, faster and fastest versions. The new Shelby GT500 making its debut at the North American International Auto Show this week takes things to a new level, cracking the 700-horsepower barrier for the first time.

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Now, from a raw number count, it won’t be the top dog in the muscle car category, that crown going to the Dodge Challenger Redeye. But Ford claims it will give that competitor a good run for the money by holding down weight and adding an array of performance-enhancing aerodynamic features. (more…)