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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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Over 70% of Americans “Afraid” to Ride in a Fully Autonomous Car

"The good, the bad and the ugly."

by on Mar.14, 2019

The fatal crash involving an Uber vehicle in Tempe, AZ has negatively shaped many peoples' view of autonomous vehicle technology, AAA found.

Almost exactly a year after an autonomous Uber prototype struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, a new AAA study finds more than seven in ten Americans “afraid” of riding in a fully autonomous vehicle.

That’s despite the fact that 100s of self-driving prototypes are plying U.S. roads on a daily basis, a number that could soon climb into the tens of thousands if Congress moves to approve proposed legislation designed to help make the technology a part of everyday life. Already, the first self-driving vehicle ride-sharing program has gone into operation, launched last December by Google spin-off Waymo.

Out of this World!

“Automated vehicle technology is evolving on a very public stage and, as a result, it is affecting how consumers feel about it,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering.

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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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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

Global News!

The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie

Comfort reminiscent of a luxury car with truck utility.

by on Feb.12, 2019

The 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie offers comfort reminiscent of a luxury car, but offers plenty of truck utility.

Pickup trucks are hot now and no truck is getting more attention than the Ram 1500, which is ringing up scores of plaudits.

The honors, among them North American Truck of The Year for 2019, are well deserved.

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For anyone who has driven traditional pickup for work, climbing into the cab of a Ram 1500 Laramie is a revelation as it has the kind of comfortable luxury one traditionally associates with full-sized luxury sedans. (more…)

Ram Aims for Commercial Customers With New HD Trucks

Brand focuses on truck's flexibility to lure buyers.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Jim Morrison, director of marketing, Ram Brands, introduced Ram's new commercially oriented heavy-duty trucks at the Chicago Auto Show.

Ram is hoping to lure more buyers to commercial-oriented heavy-duty pickups with a new 2019 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab, geared specifically to be put to work in a variety of different situations.

Jim Morrison, director of marketing for the Ram Brands, said the new family of heavy-duty chassis cabs will also delivers a package with more capability, more comfort and more technology.

Business News!

With a segment-leading towing capacity of up to 35,220 pounds, the highest Gross Combined Weight Rating of 43,000 pounds and payload up to 12,510 pounds, Ram’s haulers are built for heavy-duty work while achieving new levels of efficiency and upfitter friendliness, Morrison said. (more…)

Nissan Updates Rogue Sport for 2020

More technology and a more technical design.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport gets a mid-cycle refresh on the exterior and interior.

Nissan is giving its Rogue Sport a more technical feel with the 2020 mid-cycle update, with updates to the crossover’s exterior and interior, along with the addition of new Safety Shield technologies.

Now in its second generation, the Rogue is “a critical vehicle” in the expanding Nissan crossover/SUV line-up, says Scott Shirley, vice president of marketing operations for Nissan North America, so what might seem like a modest mid-cycle update takes on significance for the Japanese automaker.

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“We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh,” Shirley said, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2020 Rogue Sport at this week’s Chicago Auto Show media preview.

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Subaru Storms Chicago with All-New Legacy Line

Seventh-generation gets new platform, new performance model, more.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Subaru Legacy gets a bolder look with a more coupe-like roofline.

These days, SUVs and CUVs are all the rage, and Japanese automaker Subaru gets a large share of the credit for shifting public interest dating back to the introduction of its original Outback model.

But Subie isn’t through with passenger cars. Quite the contrary. We’ve seen updates to several models in recent times and now it’s giving a complete makeover to its flagship sedan.

Product News!

The 2020 Subaru Legacy starts off with an all-new platform that, the maker claims is far stiffer and boasts a lower center of gravity. There is a new foam-filled cross-member and the Subaru Global Platform adopts a new method for joining upper and lower bodies. Those technical details are intended to make the seventh-generation Legacy more agile, stable and quiet.

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New 2020 Kia Sportage Blows into the Windy City

Compact crossover gets modest mid-cycle updates.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Kia Sportage gets its first update since being launched for the 2016 model-year.

Bigger seems to be better these days, especially when it comes to trucks and utility vehicles. We’ve seen all manner of new full-size and heavy-duty pickups debut in recent months, along with large-larger-largest SUVs and CUVs.

That includes the all-new Kia Telluride. But what if someone doesn’t need a honking big, three-row ute? Kia has rolled one possible answer into this year’s Chicago Auto Show in the form of its updated 2020 Sportage model.

Live From Chicago!

Originally introduced way back in 1994, when it was produced in classic, body-on-frame form, the Sportage has gone through a number of updates over the years. It has morphed into a modern-looking, car-based crossover, the fourth-generation model launched for 2016. That means what we’re seeing in the Windy City is a mid-cycle update.

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Toyota’s 2020 Sequoia is Going Pro — TRD Pro

Automaker offers upgrades for TRD Pro line-up.

by on Feb.07, 2019

Toyota added the Sequoia to its portfolio of TRD Pro branded off-roaders for 2020. It debuted at the Chicago Auto Show.

For families whose idea of fun is to get off the tarmac and get a little dirty by hitting the path less traveled, Toyota has stepped up its game with the all-new 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro — the latest addition to the TRD line-up.

Unveiled today at the Chicago Auto Show, the new Sequoia gets the TRD treatment for the first time. With a chassis fortified by a TRD-tuned Fox shock absorber suspension, plus an array of proven off-road equipment specially designed or selected by Toyota Racing Development engineers, the full-size Sequoia TRD Pro offers off-road thrills for seven.

Truck News!

The TRD Pro portfolio of vehicles includes the Tacoma and Tundra pickups and 4Runner SUV. Introduced in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup emerged from Toyota’s rich off-road racing heritage. The TRD Pro badge signifies a vehicle that’s capable of going where ordinary pickups and SUVs fear to tread, while still retaining the comfort for daily driving, the automaker notes. (more…)