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Vietnam’s First Real Car Co. Takes Aim at the West

Paris debut planned, U.S. launch could follow.

by on Jul.18, 2018

VinFast turned to Pininfarina to design its new models, the sedan shown in this rendering.

The first “volume” Vietnamese automaker will reveal two new models designed by Pininfarina during the Paris Motor Show this coming October, setting into motion what it hopes will be a global rollout over the next few years.

VinFast, which will be setting up a new “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” in the northern part of Vietnam plans to launch the two vehicles – an SUV and a sport sedan – in September 2019, though it will initially focus solely on “affluent” buyers in its home country before targeting opportunities elsewhere in Asia and in Western markets.

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“Our show stand will…prominently feature the best of Vietnam, demonstrating the passion and tenacity that we will bring to the global automotive stage,” said James DeLuca, CEO of VinFast Trading and Production LLC. “We have the resources, scalability and commitment to become a significant new player in the global automotive industry.”

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Electric Polestar 2 “Five-Door Coupe” Will Deliver 350 miles Range, 400+ HP

All-electric Polestar 3 SUV already in the works.

by on Jul.17, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with Polestar's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo’s performance electric brand is getting ready to charge into the market with two additional models over the next two years, starting with the all-electric Polestar 2 which, a senior official claims, will deliver range of up to 350 miles per charge.

And, in keeping with the mandate of the brand – which traces its roots back to the track – the Polestar 2 “five-door coupe” will deliver around 405 horsepower, according to the brand’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Goodman. That figure might actually underplay the potential performance of the all-electric offering, as battery-electric vehicles can deliver incredible off-the-line performance because they punch out maximum torque the moment their motors start spinning.

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The Polestar 2 is expected to share the same underlying Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, as the new Volvo 40-Series line-up. That was an obvious choice considering Volvo itself is planning to offer electrified versions of all future models and the CMA, its newest platform, was designed specifically to allow mounting a large battery pack under the load floor.

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Despite Sales Slump, Genesis on Target, Says U.S. Chief

Upturn linked to new products, standalone dealers, says Raphael.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Genesis steps things up by taking a shot at the vaunted BMW 3-Series with the new G70.

It’s not often that a senior brand executive is pleased to see his sales slide by more than 50 percent, but Erwin Raphael says the sharp year-over-year decline Genesis reported last month is pretty much right on target.

Two years after it was spun off by Hyundai as a standalone luxury brand, Genesis is in the midst of some major changes that will determine its long-term success. That starts with the upcoming launch of the 2019 G70, which targets the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series, as well as the first Genesis SUV expected to join the line-up next year.

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The Korean marque is also getting ready to launch its own standalone dealer network in the coming months, one that will see the number of Genesis outlets in the U.S. drop by more than 85 percent. But, as with sales, bigger numbers aren’t always better when you’re launching one of the first new luxury brands in decade, insists Raphael, the executive director of Genesis Motor America.

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Mercedes, Bosch Team to Launch Self-Driving Car Service

Set to debut in late 2019 in Silicon Valley.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Initially, Daimler will use the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan for the pilot ride-sharing project.

Mercedes-Benz is teaming up with German mega-supplier Bosch to launch a new ride-sharing service in Silicon Valley next year that will rely on self-driving vehicles.

The project marks the latest entry into the fast-expanding field that, by some estimates, could eventually account for as much as a quarter or more of the miles Americans travel by automobile. Other planning to launch ride-sharing services using self-driving vehicles include General Motors, Google spin-off Waymo and Uber, the country’s largest ride-sharing service.

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While Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG is referring to the vehicles it will use as “automated shuttle(s),” customers will be able to ride in style. When the project initially gets underway during the second half of 2019, it will rely on modified versions of the luxurious S-Class Sedan. Eventually, the goal is to switch to a production version of the edgy Mercedes concept vehicle, the F 015.

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Italian Design House Pinfarina Reveals 1st Teaser of New Electric Luxury Car

“World’s newest car brand” also appoints first Board of Directors.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Automobili Pininfarina revealed PF0 concept design images ahead of private client viewings of the all-electric ultra-luxury hypercar.

Italian design house Pininfarina has gone through plenty of changes in recent years, starting with a financial meltdown and its acquisition by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra. In April, the renamed Automobile Pininfarina announced plans to become a luxury auto brand focused on electric vehicles, and it’s now offering up a teaser image of what it will officially debut less than two months from now.

The rendering you see here of what will be called the PF0 was accompanied by an announcement that Pininfarina has appointed its first Board of Directors. That includes long-time automotive insider Michael Perschke, who will serve as the start-up carmaker’s chief executive officer. Former Volvo exec Per Svantesson has been named Automobili Pininfarina’s chief operating officer.

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“Automobili Pininfarina is a pioneering new business created to service the most discerning clients in the world,” said Perschke, in a prepared statement “Our product portfolio will launch with an innovative, zero-emissions hypercar that represents the progression we aim to make at the pinnacle of the luxury and sports car market.” (more…)

Bugatti Confirms Rumors of “Strictly Limited” New Model

“Happiness is not around the corner. It is the corner.”

by on Jul.10, 2018

Bugatti is bringing out a new vehicle, the Divo. Only 40 of the racers named after Albert Divo will be made.

Bugatti has finally confirmed long-standing rumors that it is preparing to launch an all-new and “strictly limited” model, dubbed Divo, which is now scheduled to make its public debut during the annual Pebble Beach Concours weekend late next month.

Expected to be based off the same platform as the current Chiron, the Bugatti Divo has been described by some who claim to have seen an early prototype as “controversial.” Only 40 of them will be produced and are expected to be targeted for track use.

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“Happiness is not around the corner. It is the corner. The Divo is made for corners,” said Bugatti Automobiles President Stephan Winkelmann in a statement, adding, “With the Divo we want to thrill people around the world.” (more…)

Official: First Look at All-New BMW 8-Series

BMW's flagship coupe returns after two-decade absence.

by on Jun.15, 2018

This is the first BMW 8-Series since the original was abandoned in 1999.

It may be time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the big news, trackside will turn to a new street model, BMW using the annual endurance race as backdrop to reveal the long-awaited rebirth of its flagship 8-Series model.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Bavarian automaker abandoned the original 8-Series, but we got word that it would make a comeback last year with the May 2017 debut of the Concept 8 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como. Finally, we’re getting a look at the production version.

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Like the original, the new 8-Series opts for a coupe body, albeit one with a much more modern, streamlined design. The pop-up headlights, for one thing, are gone, replaced by slim LED lamps and the automaker’s new LaserLight technology. Indeed, as you’d expect of a BMW flagship, everywhere you look the new coupe is loaded up with the latest in technology, from its optional carbon fiber roof to its self-parking system.

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Byton Taking Second Byte at the Apple with New Concept

New model predicted to be available in 2021.

by on Jun.15, 2018

Byton introduced its second EV concept, the K-Byte, at CES Shanghai.

With a newly gained $500 million in its pocket, electric carmaker Byton rolled out the new K-Byte, an autonomous electric vehicle concept, at CES Shanghai.

The K-Byte is the company’s second concept. At CES 2018, it debuted its first-ever vehicle, a crossover-style EV that now gets the moniker M-Byte.

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The new K-Byte would seem to be just another of a slew of newly minted autonomous battery-electric concepts that have been unveiled in the last 12 months, but this one is a little different. Byton officials claim it will be capable of Level 4 autonomy when it hits the road in 2021. (more…)

With AMR, Aston Rapide Gets a Little More Rapid

205 mph sedan is fit for street or track.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The Aston Martin Rapide AMR was first shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

Aston is no slouch when it comes to performance, but it’s in the midst of amping things up another notch with the help of its motorsports operations, Aston Martin Racing.

Appropriately, fast on the heels of the new DB11 tune-up, it’s pulling the covers off the Rapide AMR, a production version of the concept first shown at the 2017 Geneva Motors Show. If you happened to get a look at the prototype, it turns out, you’ll have a good idea what will soon be hitting the street – and the track, as many buyers will likely be finding ways to push the performance version of Aston’s sedan to its limits.

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The new performance models, Aston explained in a statement previewing the Rapide AMR, “draw a direct engineering and aesthetic link between the company’s successful race team and its road cars. As such the Rapide AMR is a sports car capable of comfortably transporting a team of race drivers to a circuit on the other side of a continent and then tackling the track when they get there.” (more…)

Mercedes Previews Electric EQA With Concept Drive in Sicily

Production model set to join new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand.

by on Jun.12, 2018

Mercedes-Benz EQA concept though still a year from production is clearly making plenty progress toward road-readiness.

While Mercedes is still a year away from introducing its all-new EQ battery-electric sub-brand, it’s giving a preview of what’s to come with these images of the Concept EQA sedan being driven through the Sicilian countryside.

A production version of this prototype, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn, will be part of a fast-growing line-up of long-range electric models, the EQC crossover set to launch the Mercedes-EQ brand-within-a-brand in 2019.

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Parent Daimler AG is committing billions in its drive to electrify virtually its entire line-up, with everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles in the planning to pre-production stage. By 2022, the automaker has said, it wants to have 10 BEV models in the Mercedes line-up alone. Add various forms of hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles and there will be 60 electrified Mercedes models and variants available by then. (more…)