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Archive for the ‘Luxury Vehicles’ Category

EZ-Ultimo: A Design Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, Could Enjoy

Autonomous ride-sharing concept would target only the most elite customers.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Renault designers must have been given the freedom to indulge themselves with the EZ-Ultimo concept shown in Paris.

Only the French could have gone to market with vehicles like the DS9 and the 2CV – the deux chevaux, as it was better known. And only the French could have rolled out some of the wild and crazy concepts that populated this year’s Paris Motor Show.

As the media days wrap up, the public will be treated to the retro-futuristic Peugeot e-Legend concept, as well as the DS E-Tense, an electric supercar. But easily one of the most talked-about cars at an otherwise light Paris show was also one of the strangest, Renault’s EZ-Ultimo, which has alternately been compared to the Batmobile and “a rolling palace.”

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But the best way to think about this fully driverless prototype is the marriage of a personal jet and a ride-share vehicle – one that is completely autonomous. (more…)

VinFast Amps Up Ambitions After Strong Debut in Paris

Look for it to target markets outside SE Asia. Europe could follow.

by on Oct.04, 2018

VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca, center left, unveils the company's two offerings with Miss Vietnam, left, and David Beckham, right.

The world’s newest automaker is rapidly ramping up its plans.

Little more than a month ago, during a visit to the new VinFast headquarters and manufacturing complex in Haiphong, an hour outside Hanoi, company officials told TheDetroitBureau.com they were set to focus on the fast-growing Vietnamese automotive market, though they hinted they might look beyond the country’s borders at some time in the future.

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That future has apparently come fast. Following a well-reviewed debut of its first two products at the Paris Motor Show earlier this week, VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca revealed in an exclusive interview that “within a year we’ll be able to announce markets outside Vietnam and outside ASEAN (a trade bloc of Southeast Asian nations), to be clear. We’ve got our sights set both domestically and beyond.” (more…)

Aston Martin’s IPO Stumbles

Shares slide on opening day over concerns about long-term growth.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin's CEO, expressed optimism for the longer term run of the company's newly issued stock offering.

When they laid out plans to take the company public, Aston Martin executives clearly hoped to replicate the success rival Ferrari had with its own 2015 IPO, but things didn’t quite work out as expected, at least on opening day, with shares falling by day’s end to nearly a pound below the opening price of £19.

The decision to sell shares in the carmaker was described by Aston CEO Andy Palmer as “a historic moment” for a company best known for its long association with cinema spy 007. Indeed, it marked a major turnaround for a company that, early in the decade, seemed to many destined to face its eighth bankruptcy since being formed 105 years ago.

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But while Aston’s backers praise the aggressive “Second Century Plan” put together by Palmer, skeptics raised concerns about whether the company could deliver on a goal of launching seven new core models, as well as an assortment of specialty models, such as the reproduction of the DB5 used in one of the James Bond franchise’s most iconic films, “Goldfinger.” (more…)

Lexus Lets its Emotions Flow With New RC Coupe

New model offers improved ride and handling.

by on Oct.03, 2018

The 2019 Lexus RC 300 couple ensure the brand has at least one compelling offering from a design perspective.

Lexus designers have been charged with the task of creating more emotion-evoking vehicles in recent years. However, the RC has always been that buzz-generating offering from Toyota’s luxury brand and the 2019 model shown in Paris continues that trend.

The exterior of the coupe gets an evolutionary upgrade rather than wholesale redesign with tweaks to the sporty look that also give it an elegant feel. However, those changes include updates to the aerodynamics to give it a“sharper and more refined” drive philosophy that was introduced by the LC, officials note.

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The changes include a new front bumper corner that flows down from the headlamps and a grille mesh pattern comprising shapes which gradually transform from top to bottom, creating an intriguing visual tension, Lexus says. The vertical arrangement of the extra-small triple LED headlamps and new L-shaped LED clearance lamps add to the car’s elegance. (more…)

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Now Out of Job and Still in Jail

Ousted exec “wishes to concentrate on his defense.”

by on Oct.03, 2018

Audi's Board of Management Chairman Rupert Stadler has been fired and remains in jail on charges related to dieselgate.

During any other year, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler would have been a notable presence at the Paris Auto Show where the brand formally introduced to the public this week its new e-tron battery-electric vehicle. But Stadler was a no-show because he remains in a German jail where he has been locked up since June in connection with VW’s diesel emissions scandal.

And even if he eventually beats the charges he now faces, Stadler will have to go looking for a new job. About the same time Audi was revealing the e-tron in Paris, the Volkswagen Group announced that it was terminating Stadler, effective immediately.

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In a statement, the company said they had reached “an agreement with Rupert Stadler on the termination,” adding that “Due to his ongoing pretrial detention, he is unable to fulfill his duties as a member of the board of management and wishes to concentrate on his defense.” (more…)

Future of Alliance with Nissan/Renault the Big Question as Zetsche Prepares to End Role as Daimler CEO

Zetche and Nissan/Renault’s Ghosn insist there is more to come during Paris new conference.

by on Oct.03, 2018

Zetsche and Ghosn first met when the German exec was working at Freightliner and the Brazilian-born Ghosn worked for Michelin.

Since launching the first in a broad series of joint ventures nine years ago, Daimler AG and the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance have generated what they claim to be billions of dollars in “synergies” that have allowed them to expand their product lines and grow into new markets.

But in recent months, the future of that partnership has come under question. The last major new project was announced three years ago. And now, with Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche planning to relinquish the CEO title next year, that has raised new questions about whether his successor, Ola Kallenius, would keep the alliance going.

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“Without the chemistry between us, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” said Zetsche, during a joint news conference with Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn. But considering the results the partnership has generated, “I don’t see from my perspective why the momentum in this relationship should change.”

(more…)

First Look: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is More Luxurious – and More Capable

Mild hybrid system lets it hop out of trouble.

by on Oct.02, 2018

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE hits the stage at the Paris Motor Show. The fourth-generation of the midsize luxury ute is loaded with convenience tech.

There are few things worse than finding yourself dug into sand and unable to move, but the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE will offer a novel way of getting out of that mess, literally hopping up and down until its wheels gain traction.

What the German automaker describes as “Free-Driving Mode” is just one of the new and sometimes novel features that will debut on its next-generation midsize sport-ute. Able to seat up to seven adults with an optional third row, the remake of the popular midsize SUV is both more luxurious and more capable, based on what was shown when the 2020 Mercedes GLE made its debut at the Paris Motor Show this morning. At least some of the credit goes to the new 48-volt mild-hybrid technology built into the GLE 450 on display at the show.

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Originally known as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the midsize model helped touch off one of the most dramatic transformations in the luxury automotive market when it debuted in the 1998 model-year. There were plenty of skeptics who questioned the idea of a high-line SUV but, today, conventional sport-utility vehicles and crossovers dominate the market, with even Aston Martin, Ferrari and Rolls-Royce set to join the club. (more…)

Live from Paris!

Mercedes, BMW leading a smaller-than-usual show.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Media days are winding down at the Mondial de l’Automobile, or for non-French speakers, the Paris Motor Show. We’re continuing to scour the show looking for breaking news and back-room stories, bringing you news on the latest models and changing perspectives. So be certain to check back often at TheDetroitBureau.com.

Here is the latest news:

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Uncovered: Infiniti Project Black S

“Engineering testbed” puts F1 technology in Q60 coupe.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Infiniti's Project Black S is a key component to the luxury brand's expansion into electric vehicles.

Long a laggard in the luxury market, Infiniti has been making some serious moves to boost credibility over the last few years, notably by fleshing out its line-up with an array of sportier new models like the Q60 coupe.

Its also introduced new technology like the breakthrough VC-Turbo engine and teased the idea of challenging the likes of BMW’s M and Mercedes’ AMG performance lines. So far, prototypes haven’t turned into production models, but there seems to be something a little more serious about the Infiniti Project Black S that’s making its formal debut at this week’s Paris Motor Show.

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The concept starts out as an Infiniti Q60, but it has the beating heart of a dual-hybrid powertrain based heavily upon what you’ll find in a Renault Sport Formula One car. It’s the next step in a series of design and engineering exercises pickup up on the concept introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in early 2017. And while Infiniti will only say that it is looking at “what could be deployed in a road car,” the latest effort seems to be moving much closer to reality. (more…)

Smaller Paris Show Still Set to Deliver Big Product News

Audi, BMW, Mercedes among the headliners at Mondial de l’Automobile.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Audi is ready to take on the industry leader, Tesla, with the all-new e-tron, which will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show.

It may be the City of Lights but things will be a little darker at the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile. Otherwise known as the Paris Motor Show, it’s been hit by the same industry retrenchment that has hammered other major shows, including Detroit and Chicago during the last several years.

Among the manufacturers who’ll sit things out for 2018 are Ford, Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo, as well as several Fiat Chrysler brands. And several other carmakers are expected to downsize their presence when the show begins with the annual two-day media preview on Tuesday.

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That said, it will just allow the spotlight to shine more brightly on those brands that have decided to stick with Paris this year. Among the most prominent previews on the docket will be debuts at the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari stands. And while some of its Volkswagen Group siblings will be notably absent, Audi will retain a high-profile presence with three important public unveilings. (more…)