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Genesis Tops JD Power APEAL Survey

Korean up-start topples luxury mainstays, but Detroit mainstream brands also gain ground.

by on Jul.25, 2018

The Genesis brand aced another test, a month ago also topping Power's IQS.

Genesis, the upstart Korean luxury brand, has pulled off another surprise, this time landing the top spot in the 2018 J.D. Power APEAL study, surpassing such traditional highline brands as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus.

It’s the latest in a series of coups by Genesis, which was spun off by Hyundai just two years ago. And it comes barely a month after the Korean marque also landed in the top spot on Power’s widely followed In initial Quality Survey. But there were some other surprises in the APEAL report which measures how well individual brands and models are satisfying their owners. Mainstream brands, notably including some Detroit marques, are rapidly gaining ground on the luxury badges that have traditionally led in customer satisfaction.

Beyond the Headlines!

But the industry, as a whole, achieved record levels in the 2018 APEAL study – the name short for “Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout” – the second year in a row that has happened.

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Detroit Auto Show Moving to June in 2020, Adding Major New Features

Sponsors aim to revive what's been North America’s leading car show.

by on Jul.23, 2018

Toyota Pres. Akio Toyota is shown here revealing the 2019 Camry during this year's NAIAS.

The North American International Auto Show will move from January to June in 2020, a new timeslot that organizers are betting will help revive the flagging momentum of what had long been one of the industry’s most important annual events.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association had signaled its intention of abandoning its traditional, mid-winter schedule, though a switch to October was also under study. But that would have conflicted with other shows in Europe and Asia, the dealer group’s Executive Director Rod Alberts told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview.

We Keep You In the Know!

In a background briefing ahead of today’s official announcement, Alberts said one of the advantages of a summer event is the ability to add new functions that expand beyond the confines of Detroit’s sprawling Cobo Hall convention center. “We realized we have to change the show (and) showcase Detroit, too,” said Alberts, who has been running the DADA for the past 28 years.

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Musk Denies a Quarter of Model 3 Orders Were Cancelled – But Reveals New Worry

Order rate, he reveals, has fallen behind increase in production.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied claims in a recent analyst report suggesting that nearly a quarter of all Model 3 orders have been cancelled.

Elon Musk has dismissed as “bs” a report that suggested a growing number of advanced reservations for the Model 3 battery-car are being cancelled.

The recent report from investment bank Needham & Co. isn’t the first to raise that prospect, which could make it difficult for Tesla to achieve its promised profit for the second half of 2018. Needham’s Rajvindra Gill joined a growing chorus of analysts this week in downgrading Tesla shares, triggering another dip in the stock, traded as TSLA.

“Dunno where this bs is coming from,” CEO Musk said in a Thursday night tweet – but by trying to support the idea that there’s still strong demand for the Model 3, the South African-born executive actually may have sent a signal that Tesla is facing longer-term problems. Musk indicated Tesla received 5,000 orders for the Model 3 last week, but that’s actually less than the production target for the battery-car in the months to come.

The Last Word!

According to a report Needham issued Thursday, 24% of the estimated 400,000 original Model 3 reservations have been cancelled. That’s slightly higher than the 20% figure reported by data tracking site SecondMeasure in June. Each reservation is accompanied by a $1,000 deposit, so, if Needham is right, Tesla has had to refund more than $100 million and risk the loss of perhaps $4 billion or more in sales.

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Rue Brittania? Brexit Could Chase Jaguar Land Rover from the UK

Brexit poses major financial hit, automaker warns.

by on Jul.05, 2018

Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover, celebrates a win for the Velar as World Car Design of the Year. It was a finalist for the overall World Car of the Year.

It once was said that “the sun never sets on the British empire.” What’s left of that realm could grow even smaller, ironically enough, once the United Kingdom exercises its independence and leaves the European Union.

Negotiations have been going on for months, following the Brexit vote, and among those watching closely to see how future trade relations shape up is Jaguar Land Rover, the British automaker warning that without a favorable deal, it could see its annual costs rise by 1.2 billion pounds, or about $1.6 billion, annually. That would force it to think seriously about moving out of the UK, according to a statement issued by JLR CEO Ralf Speth.

Global Auto News!

The automaker, he stressed, needs to have “free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market” if it is to successfully compete in the global market, Speth said.

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Saudi Woman Race Driver Finally Gets to Take a Lap on a Home Track

Hashemite Kingdom officially lets women drive for the first time.

by on Jun.25, 2018

Saudi Arabian race driver Aseel Al Hamad finally got a chance to drive in her home country.

She’s an experienced race driver and member of her country’s Motor Federation, but this weekend marked a special occasion for Aseel Al Hamad, the first day she could drive in her home country.

Until Sunday, Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world where women were barred from driving, but after years of external pressure and internal protest, the ban was finally lifted. While there are still significant restrictions on what women can do in the Mideast kingdom, it means women no longer have to depend on male relatives, hired drivers or ride-sharing services to get around.

News Now!

For Al Hamad, it also meant that she could drive on a Saudi track for the first time, assisted by Jaguar which provided her with an F-Type sports car to mark the special occasion. The irony is that Al Hamad not only has become an experienced driver abroad but is the first feale member of the Saudi Arabia otor Federation and the country’s representative on the Women in Motorsport Commission for FIA, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.

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AMG Electrifies: Mercedes’ New E53 Takes 1st Step towards Battery-Based Performance

48V powertrain set to debut later this year.

by on Jun.21, 2018

The Mercedes-AMG E53 will be offered in sedan, coupe and cabrio body styles.

Whether on track or on the road, Mercedes’ AMG brand offers a broad array of models that have relied on a variety of methods to maximize performance, including turbo and supercharging. Now, however, AMG is pushing into a new world with the upcoming launch of the E53.

The performance version of the familiar Mercedes E-Class will pair a turbocharged inline-six engine with an electrically driven supercharger to turn out an impressive 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. But unlike traditional “blowers,” which need to rev up before they deliver full boost, the new system will deliver maximum power essentially the moment the driver’s foot hits the throttle.

Performance News!

“Electric forced induction devices mitigate turbo lag,” explains Brian Cotter, the U.S. product manager for the AMG brand. But it promises to do even more, Cotter says, suggesting that electrified drivetrain technology could radically change the world of performance driving in the coming years.

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Big Surprises in 2018 JD Power Initial Quality Survey

Overall quality reaches record high – and Korean brands lead the surge.

by on Jun.20, 2018

The Genesis G90 topped its segment while the Genesis brand led the industry overall.

New vehicle quality has reached an all-time high according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, and the 2018 IQS reveals a number of surprising trends, starting with the fact that three Korean brands lead this year’s study.

The latest IQS, which looks at “things-gone-wrong” with vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership, reveals that traditional mechanical issues, whether powertrain problems or squeaks, rattles and wind noise, are today increasingly rare. Motorists are far more likely to experience issues with infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems, but many of those problems are also being addressed.

High Quality News!

“There’s no question that most automakers are doing a great job of listening to consumers and are producing vehicle quality of the highest caliber,” said Dave Sargent, the head of global automotive research for Power. “That said, some vehicle owners are still finding problems. As vehicles become more complex and automated, it is critical that consumers have complete confidence in automakers’ ability to deliver fault-free vehicles.”

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Electrifying Jaguar I-Pace Sets a Benchmark Even Tesla Will Have to Clear

Performance, handling, style and spaciousness come together to redefine the BEV.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Whether on a track or a back country road the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is a real game-changer.

I have seen – and driven – the future, and it is electric.

And I found it in a place you normally wouldn’t go looking, Faro, in the heart of Portugal’s Algarve region. When my plane touched down there, earlier this week, I was looking forward to some pleasant driving time. It’s beautiful countryside with lots of winding, lightly traveled mountain roads that pass through pastoral villages almost lost in time. As for the vehicle I’d crossed the ocean to test out, the new Jaguar I-Pace was, if nothing else, distinctively styled, both inside and out. Whether it would deliver that sometimes intangible concept we describe as “fun-to-drive” was going to be the real question.

When the first mass market battery-electric vehicles came to market early in this decade, about the most you could say for them was that they were environmentally friendly. They were slow, stodgy and required you to keep a constant eye on the range gauge lest you find yourself stranded miles from home. Tesla kicked it up a big notch by offering range comparable to a gas-powered vehicle and, with the optional Ludicrous Mode, blindingly fast acceleration. That said, the Models S, X and 3 each have their shortfalls. For most of us, they’re still not quite serious alternatives to conventional vehicles.

Electrifying Reviews!

The I-Pace, on the other hand, changes the equation. It is easy to fall back on clichés when trying to describe Jaguar’s first all-electric model, but it truly is electrifying, and by virtually every measure, it not only sets a benchmark for future battery-electric vehicles but also shows that BEVs can pose a direct challenge to conventional gas-powered models when it comes to not only design, interior space, comfort and utility, but performance and handling, as well.

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Polestar Will Pump Up New Volvo S60 Performance Model

Volvo takes performance to new level with modified S60 sedan.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered gets unique Brembo brakes, among other modifications.

Few brands have done more to try to transform their image in recent years than Volvo, and the new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan should continue shifting the Swedish marque in its new direction.

The latest version of the S60 not only puts more of a premium on sporty styling but backs it up with a 415-horsepower engine. But that’s no ordinary powerplant. No V-8s or turbo-sixes for this new Volvo. It’s a Polestar-modified version of the carmaker’s T8 plug-in hybrid, the top-performing version of its all-four-cylinder line-up.

First Look!

“The new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered is an electrified car that does what you want it to,” said Volvo’s Senior Vice President of R&D Henrik Green. “All components have been fine-tuned to work together, delivering a responsive and exciting driver’s car.”

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Tesla CEO Musk Survives 1st Big Challenge as Chairman as Model 3 “Quite Likely” to Meet Target

Shanghai, European plants could be announced within weeks.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk beat back challenges to his role, while 3 board members were voted back in.

Elon Musk stared down a group of dissident shareholders on Tuesday, surviving the first serious challenge to his dual role as chairman and CEO of the California automaker, while three of his hand-picked board members also fended off challenges.

Musk, who has developed an almost cult-like following among investors and electric vehicle fans alike, has faced an unusual degree of scrutiny in recent months as a result of mounting losses, struggles with production of the Model 3 sedan and a series of widely reported crashes involving Tesla vehicles. But despite some opposition, the company’s annual shareholders meeting was largely focused on promises about great things to come.

News That Matters!

Musk promised that after months of what the CEO has dubbed “production hell,” the pace is picking up at the Fremont assembly plant and that production will “quite likely” reach his 5,000 vehicle-a-week target by the end of June. Meanwhile, he and members of his senior management team outlined other developments to come, including the launch of additional production plants that could substantially boost global demand.

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