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Archive for the ‘Crossovers/CUVs’ Category

Mercedes-Maybach is Coming Back

Super-luxurious crossover being built in Alabama.

by on Mar.18, 2019

Mercedes-Benz plans to build the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS at its plant in Alabama for global distribution.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is already churning out the GLS and a few other models, but the German automaker is adding one more to the line: The Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

Introduced in China last year as an EV concept, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will join the next-generation sport-ute getting ready to hit dealerships later this year, according to Autonews. The plant will build the new Maybach for global distribution, the automaker noted.

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Ultra-luxurious crossover is obviously playing up the theme from the original Maybach, which had its admirers, but didn’t sell in large enough numbers to build as a regular model in the 1990s and early 2000s. (more…)

Aiming to Launch Tesla Model Y Challenger in 2021, Fisker Searching for Plant Site

Electric SUV planned at "below $40,000."

by on Mar.18, 2019

The Fisker SUV will adopt an SUV style and offer more interior space than the typical ute by placing key components under the floorboard.

Long-time automotive designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker is readying a challenger to the upcoming Tesla Model Y that will be ready for production during the second half of 2021 at a price of “below $40,000.”

With a range estimated at “around” 300 miles, Fisker Inc. plans to produce it at a factory in the U.S. and is currently searching for a plant site in one of eight states, the Danish-born executive told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview. The company is putting an emphasis on acquiring an existing factory, preferably one of the many abandoned auto plants around the U.S.

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“We hope to pick a site within the next eight to 10 weeks,” Fisker said, noting that a Midwest site with ready access to existing suppliers is high on the priority list, though the final choice would also be impacted by available incentives.

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Cadillac’s New CT5 Revealed Through a “Sensory Symphony”

“We’re very much committed to sedans,” says brand boss Carlisle.

by on Mar.18, 2019

The Sport edition of the 2020 Cadillac CT5.

Hoping to rebuild momentum for its struggling turnaround strategy, Cadillac has been putting a premium on SUVs, rolling out new models like the XT4 and XT6 this past year and preparing to upgrade the older XT5 and Escalade models, as well.

That’s a logical move, considering utility vehicles now dominate the luxury car market. But General Motors’ flagship brand isn’t abandoning its more traditional product family. The CT5, the new midsize sedan that will be replacing the old CTS, is making its debut today through a broad social media campaign it is calling a “Sensory Symphony,” ahead of its more formal appearance at the New York International Auto Show next month.

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“We’re very much committed to sedans. Let me clear the air about that,” said Caddy President Steve Carlisle said during a media background briefing.

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Mustang Electrified?

Ford counter-programs debut of the Tesla Model Y and hints of a high-performance CUV to come.

by on Mar.15, 2019

“Hold your horses,” or so said Ford Motor Co. in a tweet not-so-coincidentally timed to reach the social media world just as Tesla CEO Elon Musk was getting ready to debut his company’s new Model Y battery-electric SUV.

The Ford post featured that short blurb and a blue version of the Mustang logo against a black background, nothing more. But it does hint at several projects that Ford has already confirmed are in the works. That includes both a hybridized version of the pony car, as well as a Mustang-influenced all-electric SUV that Ford announced during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Electrifying News!

An early player in the electrification field, Ford has fallen behind not just Tesla but conventional rivals like General Motors and Volkswagen, both investing heavily in long-range, battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. Ford officials say they are going to make a push to catch up and have confirmed that the first entry into next-gen electric technology would be a performance-oriented crossover tentatively named Mach 1 and due to market about when the Tesla Model Y hits the street about a year from now.

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As Tesla Model Y Debuts, Musk Asks: Do You Think We’re “S3XY”?

New Model Y to be offered in four distinct versions – but economy buyers will have to wait.

by on Mar.15, 2019

The Tesla Model Y is likely to look quite familiar to fans of the earlier Model 3 sedan.

The long-awaited Tesla Model Y made its formal debut on Thursday night, with CEO Elon Musk declaring it takes an already attractive line-up and makes it “S3XY.” The inside joke adds the new electric SUV to the automaker’s existing line-up of Models S, 3 and X.

But there’s a serious side to the launch. Tesla continues to struggle to right its balance sheet, plunging back into the red this quarter after earning money during the second half of 2018. The Model Y is expected to become Tesla’s best-seller, Musk declared, telling his audience “we’ll do more Model Ys than S, X and 3 combined.” And that includes not just the U.S. but also China, where Tesla is struggling to get a foothold in the world’s largest market for battery-electric vehicles.

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The Model Y will be one of the vehicles Tesla plans to produce once it opens up a new plant in Shanghai later this year. That will give it a way to hold costs down and also to sidestep any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

(Here’s our Model Y preview. Click Here to see how close we came.)

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Back From the Big Apple: Cadillac Comes Home With Expanding Line-Up of CUVs and BEVs on the Way

New brand boss outlines a mix of short- and long-term strategies aimed at reviving its “renaissance.”

by on Mar.13, 2019

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the brand's newest offering is now the top seller in its segment.

The boxes still have to be unpacked, but Cadillac is back from the Big Apple, ending a four-year experiment designed to put the brand more closely in touch with one of the country’s top luxury car markets. Instead, it needs to bring closer together the folks who will both design and then market the wave of new products that will be rolling out over the next decade, brand boss Steve Carlisle said during a Wednesday lunch meeting.

Long billed as the “standard of the world,” Cadillac has slipped well behind key competitors like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus. But last year’s surge in global sales suggests Caddy may finally be making some of the right moves – beyond last week’s closure of its offices in New York’s tony SoHo neighborhood.

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In a broad-ranging discussion, Carlisle outlined both the short and long-term steps Cadillac is taking in its bid to become a truly relevant luxury car player once again. It’s a move that has already begun with a shift in the brand’s product portfolio. (more…)

Mazda Takes Cover Off New Small Crossover

New CUV is latest in portfolio makeover.

by on Mar.05, 2019

Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO, reveals the new CX-30 in Geneva.

Mazda revealed the CX-30 in Geneva, the small crossover it teased last month, saying the new “core model” will be rolled out globally throughout the rest of the year.

The name of the small CUV might be slightly different in the U.S. when it finally arrives in dealerships as the earlier glimpse of the vehicle was called the CX-3. Since in America, Mazda’s alpha-numeric line-up uses just single numbers, such as CX-9 or Mazda6, it’s likely it’ll lose the zero at the end.

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Unsurprisingly, it sticks to the Kodo design language that now dominates Mazda’s product portfolio, and Mazda officials said the design team hoped to create a car that would help owners and their families “make new and stimulating discoveries within their daily lives.”

“We designed the CX-30 to be an essential partner in the customer’s life,” said Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO. Adding, “it will be made at key global plants so we can deliver Mazda’s renowned driving pleasure and matured Kodo design to customers all over the world.

(Live from Geneva! Click Here for our complete show coverage.)

“Moving forward, our new products and technologies will ensure customers continue to see the value in owning a Mazda car. We aim to be recognized as a brand that forms the strongest of bonds with each customer.”

The small crossover is designed to be big on the inside with room for four adults, making it a full-service utility vehicle. The automaker also took time to give the second-gen model some engine upgrades improving acceleration. The overall ride and handling has been improved as well.

(Click Here for TDB’s first drive in the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata.)

The new crossover is a mild hybrid and will be “the first production car to feature Mazda’s innovative SPCCI technology,” the company confirms, a reference to what is more often referred to as the SkyActiv-X engine.

For those not familiar with the “X,” it will become the first production powertrain that can run in homogeneous charge compression mode. Essentially, it uses extremely high compression rates, like a diesel, but runs on gasoline.

(Compact Mazda CUV to break cover in Geneva. Click Here for the story.)

Other automakers have been trying to figure out how to make HCCI work effectively and been stymied. Mazda’s approach is to add a spark plug to ensure the highly compressed fuel-air mixture always ignites at the right time. That’s why it calls its technology SPCCI, or Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition. The automaker claims it still can get diesel-like fuel economy, as well as surprisingly good performance, out of the engine.

Nissan IMQ “Signals the Direction” of Future Electric CUVs

A “seamless” blending of exterior and interior design.

by on Mar.05, 2019

Nissan designers opted for a sharper and more angular approach to the design of the IMQ.

Think of the new Nissan IMQ concept vehicle as a rolling crystal ball. Following on the debut of the IMs prototype at the Detroit Auto Show two months ago, the Japanese maker says its latest concept “signals the direction of (its) next generation of crossovers.”

Make that battery-electric CUVs, for the concept vehicle that debuted today at the Geneva Motor Show reveals the next-generation e-Power system, an all-electric powertrain that you might think of as the familiar Nissan Leaf on steroids.

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Actually, that is a bit misleading, as the Nissan IMQ carries with it a 1.5-liter gas engine that serves solely as a generator, providing energy when the battery is drained. That’s the same approach BMW has taken with its little i3 city car. The internal combustion engine never actually provides direct power to the wheels.

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Alfa Romeo Signals Plug-In Plans With Tonale Concept

Jeep Renegade-sized SUV a smaller alternative to current Alfa Stelvio.

by on Mar.05, 2019

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept will offer a plug-in hybrid driveline shared with Jeep.

Named after one of the most famous passes through the Italian side of the Alps, the Alfa Romeo Tonale provides a vista into the future of the brand as it both expands its line-up of SUVs and begins rolling out an array of battery-based vehicles.

Though the model that debuted today at the Geneva Motor Show is officially just a concept, the Jeep Renegade-sized crossover will soon join the Alfa line-up as a more compact alternative to the brand’s current Stelvio model.

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Tonale, meanwhile, highlights Alfa’s electrification plans. First outlined by Sergio Marchionne, the late CEO of parent Fiat Chrysler last June, Alfa plans to offer a wide array of battery-based offerings, including two plug-in hybrid halo cars.

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Imagine That! Kia Stretches its Imagination with Geneva Battery-Car Concept

There are plenty of blanks to fill in about the Imagine by Kia show car.

by on Mar.05, 2019

Kia's Imagine concept appears to be offering some hints as to future EV design cues.

You’ll have to use your imagination when it comes to the concept vehicle Korea’s second-largest automaker unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today.

“Today’s drivers understandably have many questions about electric cars,” said Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s vice president of design. “They’re concerned about range, the recharging network and whether electric cars will still be dynamic and engaging to drive. So, when we first started thinking about this concept and imagining what its role would be, we knew that the best way to answer those questions and address those concerns was by approaching electrification purely from an emotional point of view.”

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Problem is, Kia isn’t answering many of those questions, apparently asking viewers to fill in the blanks when it comes to specifics, including precisely what sort of battery-electric drivetrain is moving the five-door vehicle.

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