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Kia Has More Soul(s) Than Ever

Quirky crossover now available in a variety of distinct forms.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Kia now boasts six versions of the Soul crossover for 2020, including the new GT model.

Consider it food for the Soul: Kia has introduced six distinct new flavors of its quirky Soul crossover.

The car that showed us boxy can be beautiful will be back in an all-new form next year and Kia hopes to increase its appeal by adding new versions, including the GT and X-Line, while improving the appeal of the Kia Soul EV by boosting range and speeding up its charging system.

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“The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction, establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, product planning chief for Kia Motors America. “Even with a new generation of competitors crowding the marketplace, the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender, with its unparalleled style and impressive level of technology and customization options.” (more…)

Nissan’s Flagship Maxima Only Gets Better for 2019

Part family car, part racer powered by 300 hp V6.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, left, and Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Global Design unveil the 2019 Nissan Maxima.

Just as more and more automakers seem to be fleeing from passenger cars, Nissan appears to be doubling down — at least if the 2019 Maxima unveiled in Los Angeles is any indication.

The Maxima has long been the company’s flagship sedan. It’s part family hauler and part race car — maybe more race car. In an era that has seen passenger car sales fall precipitously, the Maxima roars on for next year, especially since it sports a standard 300 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 powerplant.

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“As our flagship sedan, Maxima is an important contributor to the Nissan brand,” said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan Division U.S., Nissan North America, Inc. “Maxima is our longest running nameplate, having thrilled owners for four decades with style, performance and quality.” (more…)

Mercedes Debuts New GLE Ute in Los Angeles

The new GLE is bigger than its predecessor.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Mercedes-Benz rolled out its new 2020 GLE sport-ute at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Most of the L.A. Auto Show product intros centered either a new EV or SUV – sometimes both – Mercedes-Benz took on the latter with the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The new GLE is more evolution than revolution with the updates for the 2020 model focusing more on innovation than design makeover. The new model gets updates on its existing advanced driver assistance systems.

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“The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has a wealth of innovations. For example, the active suspension system E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL on a 48-volt basis is a world first,” said Dietmar Exler, president and USA, Mercedes-Benz USA. (more…)

GM Moves Ammann into CEO Role at GM Cruise

Move marks the second in six months for Ammann.

by on Nov.29, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann is now GM Cruise Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann.

General Motors President Dan Ammann is changing jobs again, now serving as the full time as the Chief Executive Officer of GM Cruise, GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

Ammann had worked closely with Cruise since GM acquired the self-driving vehicle start up back in 2016.

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The move marks the second time in six months that Ammann’s role within the company has been changed. In July, he shifted some of his responsibilities to Executive Vice President Mark Reuss to focus on the company’s development of autonomous vehicles.  (more…)

Volvo Expecting to Slow Ramp-Up of Charleston Plant Due to Trump Tariffs

Hiring to slow; impact could be long-term if some production shifts to China.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Volvo President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the tariffs implemented by the Trump administration are forcing a production slow down at its new Charleston, S.C. plant.

Volvo expects to slow the pace of expansion at its new factory near Charleston, South Carolina, due to the Trump trade war with China.

The move could impact how quickly the automaker expands production at the $1.1 billion plant, as well as the pace at which it brings on new workers. The workforce was expected to nearly triple, to around 4,000, by early in the coming decade with the addition of a second model at the plant. But some production now could be shifted to China, potentially having a long-term impact on plans for the factory.

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Volvo issued an official statement Thursday noting, “trade issues may impact the pace of the expansion.” But in conversations with reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Volvo’s global CEO Håkan Samuelsson took things further, indicating the production ramp-up will slow down. (more…)

New Porsche 911 Models Come Fast … and Faster

Want a race ready 911? 200 folks can get the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.

by on Nov.29, 2018

The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S hits the runway at its debut in Los Angeles, the night before the LA Auto Show.

Porsche arrived in Los Angeles the night before the auto show hyping a theme for the debut of the eighth-generation 911: fast and faster.

The best-known of all Porsches with that iconic profile, the next-gen of flat-six turbocharged beasts gets more power as well as a complete redesign of the interior to cater to the needs of today’s driver.

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The flat-six is more powerful than ever, putting out 443 horsepower in the S and Carrera S models. The boost in power – 23 hp – comes from an improved fuel injection process and a new turbocharger and intercooler layout, according to the automaker.  (more…)

Toyota Adds New Hybrid Model to Corolla Portfolio

New battery-electric gas sipper debuts at L.A. Auto Show.

by on Nov.29, 2018

The new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is expected to get more than 50 mpg.

Toyota is known for its leadership in the hybrid marketplace with the Prius, especially with its newest model, the Prius AWD-e that debuted at the L.A. Auto Show; however, it wasn’t the only new hybrid on display, the Corolla hybrid made its premiere as well.

The big news on the Corolla was the complete exterior redesign it received for the 2020 model year, but lost in the hubbub was the fact that it also gets a hybrid version of the old reliable compact that’s been bouncing around for more than two decades.

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The new Corolla hybrid gets at least 50 mpg combined fuel economy, according to Toyota’s projections, making it the most fuel-efficient Corolla to ever. (more…)

Mazda Shows Off “Matured” Design for New Mazda3

New iterations feature an evolution of Kodo design.

by on Nov.29, 2018

The new Mazda3 sedan features a "matured" version of the brand's Kodo design language.

No fireworks were necessary for Mazda Motor Corp.’s debut of the new Mazda3 as the Japanese automaker introduced a refined, “matured” version of the brand’s entry-level sedan and hatchback in Los Angeles.

The automaker’s “matured Kodo design language” was on full display. The company’s been using the design philosophy for its exteriors for years now. It’s aim is to present clean and contemporary looks that aren’t quick to go out of style.

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“While the overall form presents a simple, single motion, subtle undulations bring the design to life through shifting light and reflections that glide over the body surface. The result is a richer and more powerful expression of vitality than previous Kodo models,” according to the automaker. (more…)

Audi Taps the Iron Man to Reveal New e-tron GT

Third Audi EV will also be one of its fastest cars ever.

by on Nov.28, 2018

Actor and Audi fan Robert Downey Jr., left, and designer Marc Lichte, pull the covers off the new Audi e-tron GT sports car in Los Angeles.

We got a hint of what Audi has in mind as it launches its first performance electric car earlier this week with some intentionally blurry images of the upcoming e-tron GT. Now, the automaker has put the battery-electric sports car into sharp focus with the help of the “Iron Man,” actor Robert Downey Jr.

A serious Audi fan himself, Downey paired up with designer Marc Lichte to lift the covers off the e-tron GT during a media sneak peek in downtown Los Angeles ahead of the car’s formal debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

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“I’ve been having an extramarital affair for a decade – with a brand,” the actor joked, as he and the designer smiled for photographers gathered at the invitation-only event. (more…)

Toyota Introducing New Prius AWD-e in L.A.

New electric AWD gives fourth-gen version more capability.

by on Nov.28, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e uses four electric motors on each will to up the power and efficiency.

What do you do when you have the best-known and best-selling hybrid in the world? Toyota made the newest Prius more … capable.

Not only can you get places cheaper, in the 2019 Prius AWD-e, you can get to more places cheaper with the car’s new AWD-e system. Toyota officials claim that new Prius AWD-e will lay claim to being one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive-equipped passenger cars available in the U.S.

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Toyota is projecting mpg estimates of 52 mpg city/48 mpg highway/50 mpg combined. Apparently, the Japanese automaker believes that “go anywhere” capability is the secret sauce as Toyota estimates that the AWD-model could account for as much as 25% of annual U.S. Prius sales. (more…)