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Ford and Mahindra Teaming Up on New SUVs and an EV

Partnership focuses on India but could target “other markets.”

by on Mar.23, 2018

Even as Ford and Mahindra lay out plans for the Indian market, Mahindra is ramping up U.S. production of its Roxor SUV.

After agreeing to form a strategic alliance last year, Ford and India’s Mahindra & Mahindra now plan to jointly develop at least two new sport-utility vehicles, as well as an electric vehicle.

The two manufacturers say they will initially target the fast-growing Indian market where Ford has been trying to expand its presence. But they eventually may look at opportunities in “other markets,” according to a source in the U.S.

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“Today’s announcement is the next step in the collaboration between Mahindra and Ford,” said Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. “Both teams are working together on joint development areas in keeping with industry requirements and leveraging mutual strengths. We are excited about the synergies unveiled through this collaboration and the potential opportunities it will bring.”


Mercedes Unleashing C-Class Coupe, Cabriolet, AMG Version

More powerful sedans hit the show floor in NYC.

by on Mar.23, 2018

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 coupe gets a bump in horsepower to 385 hp.

Mercedes-Benz continues the roll out of the new C-Class in New York. At the NYIAS, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 sedan made its world premiere in Geneva, now the C 43 coupe and cabriolet be joined by the new C-Class coupe and cabriolet for their world debuts.

Sportiness and driving pleasure have been enhanced with a sharper design, updates to the interior and exterior and new, more powerful engines. The C 300 and C 300 4MATIC models receive a new, efficient four-cylinder with a slight – 14 horsepower – increase in power to 255 hp with 273 lb-ft. of torque.

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It’s mated to a nine-speed transmission that is designed to improve performance as well as fuel efficiency. The 4MATIC has an active all-wheel torque distribution of 45% to the front and 55% to the rear. (more…)

Nissan Aims to Add 8 New EVs, Boost Electrified Vehicle Sales to 1 Mil Annually

Japanese maker also planning 20 autonomous models.

by on Mar.23, 2018

One of the new EVs will be based on the Nissan IMx concept that debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

Already the world’s largest seller of battery-electric vehicles, Nissan is targeting sales of 1 million electrified models by 2022, a five-year, six-fold increase, officials said Friday at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama.

The second-largest of Japan’s automakers also plans to add 20 new autonomous models by 2022, while having all of its vehicles, both under the Nissan and Infiniti brands, equipped with connected car technology.

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“The heart of our strategy in terms of electrification is battery EVs and e-Power technology,” Nissan Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein told reporters during a media briefing. E-Power is the company’s term for vehicles using gasoline engines to extend range.


Tesla Shareholders Vote Yes on Musk’s $2.6B Compensation Plan

Total payout could exceed $55B if Tesla his all targets.

by on Mar.22, 2018

Tesla's shareholders approved the $2.6 billion compensation package for CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla Inc. shareholders told founder and CEO Elon Musk that they liked him, but not that they really, really liked him. Investors approved Musk’s compensation package by almost a 3-to-1 margin, which is lower than typical approvals.

The grant gives Musk $2.6 billion in stock options in 12 tranches, each of which vests as the company hits performance markers during the next 10 years.

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The electric vehicle manufacturer must meet certain value targets in order for Musk to receive additional shares of Tesla stock. There is no cash compensation in the deal, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. (more…)

FCA Claims Web Developer Bribed Exec $2.4M to Raise Prices

Website maker denies claims in lawsuit.

by on Mar.16, 2018

Fiat Chrysler claims a website developer bribed an FCA executive to inflate website development costs.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. overpaid for new car dealer websites after the developer bribed Clyde Campbell, who was then the company’s managing director in the country, according a lawsuit now being tried in the United Kingdom.

The UK High Court heard evidence from Robert Olver, a web services expert appointed to come up with a fair price for the contract signed in 2010 between Chrysler and British car industry web developer Motortrak.

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Olver told the court there was no commercial justification for some elements of the contract, and Motortrak charged well above a fair price, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. (more…)

VW Ups EV Ante as it Places $25B in Battery Orders

German giant now outspending rival Tesla.

by on Mar.14, 2018

VW plans to have 30 fully electric vehicles ready by 2025, including models based on the ID Buzz and ID Crozz concepts.

As it ramps up plans to sell at least 3 million electrified vehicles annually by 2025, Volkswagen has announced orders for $25 billion worth of batteries and battery components – dwarfing the spending plans of all-electric competitor Tesla.

Longer-term, VW said it plans to more than double that total as it prepares to offer some form of electrified drivetrain for every vehicle in its line-up – including dozens of all-electric models. It plans to roll out its first three long-range battery-electric vehicles this year, including offerings from its Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi brands. It also will launch a new sub-brand, Volkswagen I.D., which will include in its portfolio the all-electric Buzz, a modern take on the automaker’s iconic Microbus.

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Among all 12 brands in the Volkswagen Group family, CEO Matthias Mueller said that there will be new battery-powered models launched “virtually every month,” as the new program ramps up, adding that “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.” (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Genesis G80

Low-priced alternative to European models.

by on Mar.14, 2018

The 2018 Genesis G80 offers performance, elegance and comfort at a lower price than Euro competitors.

New vehicles have become so sophisticated, so well-built and so expensive, the differentiators of what used to be called a mass-market car and a luxury sedan have blurred and faded away.

As the lines blur, it has created an opportunity for a new brand, such as Genesis, Hyundai’s fledgling luxury brand, to make a name for itself.

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Indeed, the formula behind Genesis is appealing elegance. It simply calls for building a car so good that it will quickly meet the demands or desires of luxury buyers while offering them something different and fresh and unbound by stuffy tradition at the same. (more…)

Toyota Set to Reveal New RAV4 at NY Auto Show

Critical debut for what’s now Toyota’s best-seller.

by on Mar.13, 2018

Toyota hasn't done much to the RAV4 since 2013, nevertheless, it has overtaken the Camry as the brand's best-seller.

Last year saw some momentous changes in the U.S. automotive market, perhaps most notably the surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks. And nowhere was that more apparent than at Toyota where the compact RAV4 toppled the brand’s long-time sales leader, the Camry sedan.

So, Toyota will have a lot riding on what it plans to introduce at the New York International Auto Show later this month, the first complete makeover of the RAV4 since the 2013 model-year. The Japanese giant is counting on the crossover to help it gain even more momentum at a time when there seems to be no end in sight to the light-truck boom.

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Toyota isn’t saying much about the fifth-generation, 2019 crossover, other than to note it will make its debut at New York’s Javits convention center on the morning of March 28, but some details can be gleaned from a teaser image and inside sources.


Tesla Shut Down Model 3 Line – Again – to Make Upgrades

EV maker makes improvements aimed at increasing production speed.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Tesla shut down its plant in California last month to make upgrades to its production line.

Tesla’s ongoing growing pains moving from a low-volume to mass market manufacturer continue as the EV maker had to shut down its production on the Model 3 for a week last month.

The company temporarily suspended production at its Fremont, California plant as well as at its Gigafactory in Nevada, Feb. 20-24, to adjust equipment to improve automation and increase production rates.

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The automaker has been under fire for continually missing deadlines for increasing the production run rates at its plant. The goal is ultimately to produce 500,000 vehicles annually, including 100,000 Model S and X vehicles. The current rate is significantly lower than that. (more…)

McLaren Teases “Hyper-GT” – Its Fastest Car Ever

Codenamed BP23, it promises to best the iconic McLaren F1.

by on Mar.09, 2018

A rendering of the McLaren BP23 hypercar instrument cluster shows it hitting 243 mph, the top speed of the legendary McLaren F1.

Just days after McLaren revealed the latest of its extreme machines, the Senna GTR, the British marque is teasing us with renderings of what it promises will be the fastest car it has ever built.

The as yet-unnamed “Hyper-GT’ will be capable, it says, of “exceeding 243 mph” which, it turns out, was the max speed of the iconic McLaren F1. Like that original, 1994 hypercar, the new model will also feature a centrally mounted seating position, with an additional passenger seat on either side.

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Codenamed the BP23, McLaren says the new model will be powered by a “petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.” Beyond that, details are scarce when it comes to the powertrain, but few would be surprised if the new hypercar would make 1,000 horsepower or more and be able to push somewhere in excess of 250 mph.