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VW Back in the Global Sales Lead, But Toyota Returns to #2

Final months of 2018 could bring an epic battle.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Volkswagen appears to be the top selling automaker in the world with less than three months left in the year.

With 2018 quickly drawing to a close, Volkswagen appears to have cemented the global sales crown to its corporate head, rapidly gaining ground from its two closest competitors.

But rivals Toyota and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance are facing a classic, neck-and-neck battle that could see them fighting it out until the last sale is counted, according to data compiled by research firm Focus2Move, for second place.

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One long-time contender, meanwhile, has dropped out of the race entirely. General Motors, which led the global auto industry for more than seven decades, is well out of the running after selling off its European Opel subsidiary and shuttering operations in several other markets, including Russia and India. (more…)

Ford Readying for Launch of New Midsize Ranger Pickup

Once mothballed nameplate being built near Detroit.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Ford will offer a wide range of Ranger body styles, beds and powertrain configurations.

Ford Motor Co. has released the horsepower, torque, towing and payload numbers for the all-new 2019 Ford Ranger, as the launch of Ford’s long-awaited now-midsize pickup draws closer.

The company confirmed it will begin building the new version of the Ranger, which was one of truck the automaker’s most popular and most durable vehicles, at the Michigan Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit before the end of the year.

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The original Ranger made its debut in the early 1980s and remained in production until December 2011 when Ford finally closed the assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. (more…)

Toyota Recalls 2.4 Million Priuses Worldwide; 807K in US

Second time for this repair.

by on Oct.05, 2018

The Toyota Prius has been recalled due to a problem with stalling.

Toyota is recalling 2.4 million Prius hybrids worldwide – including 807,000 in the U.S. – that could stall while driving.

The Japanese automaker said the action covers certain 2010 to 2014 Prius hybrids and certain 2012 to 2014 Prius V hybrids. The problem stems from the vehicle failing to move into “fail-safe driving mode” when the car’s hybrid system “faults.”

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While it issue happens rarely, “the vehicle could lose power and stall. While power steering and braking would remain operational, a vehicle stall while driving at higher speeds could increase the risk of a crash.” (more…)

Polestar Moving Ahead With Development of New EV

Company testing verification prototypes in Sweden.

by on Oct.05, 2018

The all-new Polestar 1 performance PHEV is taking another step toward production with verification prototypes being tested in Sweden.

The development of the battery electric vehicles from Polestar, Volvo’s emerging battery electric vehicle brand, has taken another step forward.

The development of the Polestar 1 has moved off the computer and drawing board “with the production of the first series of “road-going” verification prototype, or VP, cars in Sweden.

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“The assembly of the VP cars means that the Polestar 1 has taken its next step towards production,” says Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive officer of Polestar.  (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…)

Euro Football Legend David Beckham Lends a Hand To Vietnam’s New VinFast Brand

Asian automaker set to launch production by mid-2019.

by on Oct.02, 2018

The VinFast Lux A 2.0 is based on the prior-generation BMW 5-Series platform.

There have been a few surprising moments at an otherwise lackluster 2018 Paris Motor Show, and several of them came from sources you wouldn’t expect, notably the debut of the first two new models from Vietnam’s first real carmaker, VinFast.

Of course, it didn’t hurt to have European football star David Beckham on the stand when the Lux A sedan and Lux SA sport-utility vehicle rolled out on Tuesday morning. The two will go into production by the third quarter of 2019 at an all-new factory build largely upon land reclaimed from Haiphong Harbor. Giving real meaning to the second part of its name, VinFast plans to add two more models, one all-electric, to its line-up by the end of next year.

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“Our ultimate goal is to become a world-class automobile manufacturer with a footprint in markets around the world,” said the start-up’s CEO Jim DeLuca, a former General Motors Asia hand who came out of retirement to help launch the company in 2017. (more…)

Ferrari’s New Monza Models Put a Modern Spin on Classic Designs

Two supercars will mark a limited run – and you’ll have to be invited to buy one.

by on Oct.02, 2018

Ferrari plans to sell just 499 of its first two "Icona Ferrari" models like the SP1. No prices were announced, but assume well into seven figures.

Ferrari has a long and glorious history, its many fans are quick to point out, and the carmaker now plans to mine that heritage for a new line of retro-futuristic models that will be sold through a new collection dubbed “Icona Ferrari.”

That will start off with the Monza SP1 and SP2 supercars making their formal debut at the Paris Motor Show today. Ferrari said at its news conference that it plans to build just 499 of them. It will offer them, it suggested, “to our best customers.” In fact, potential buyers will have to be invited just to stand in line.

Retro cars!

The forward-into-the-past design of the two Monza models is meant to harken back to one of the most glorious eras of racing, back in the 1950s and 1960s, when Ferrari dominated the European motor sports circuit. (more…)

Toyota Supra Set to Debut at 2019 Detroit Auto Show

Disappointment, again, in Paris.

by on Oct.02, 2018

With each passing day, the Toyota Supra inches closer to reality, including this heavily camouflaged model at Goodwood.

Supra fans, rejoice!

Every major auto show during the last two years has brought with it a flurry of rumors suggesting the reborn Toyota sports car would finally make its debut, hopes only to be dashed when the Supra was a no-show. And that happened again in Paris, Toyota defying hope and speculation it would finally pull the covers off the production model.

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But now, it seems, we have official or, at least, semi-official word that the long wait will soon be over. Just stay patient until January when, according to the Facebook channel operated by Toyota’s German subsidiary, the Supra will make its appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (more…)