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Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

VW Unleashes Seven Sport Concepts at Southern Worthersee

SOWO show cars highlight options for both performance and off-road fans.

by on May.17, 2019

VW shows off its SOWO "enthusiast fleet."

Volkswagen has long had a history of rolling out some of its most creative niche products and concept cars at the annual Worthersee gathering in Austria. It has expanded that tradition by adding what it calls the SOWO event on Hutchinson Island in Savannah, Georgia.

Short for “Southern Worthersee,” the big gathering aims to entice VW fans this time around with seven concept vehicles featuring what it calls “sport performance add-ons and visual enhancements.”

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Considering the shift in global markets, and especially the U.S., from sedans, coupes and hatchbacks to SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks, it should surprise no one that this year’s crop of concepts includes versions of the latest Tiguan and Atlas crossover-utility vehicles. But Volkswagen traditionalists shouldn’t be disappointed, either, the automaker rolling out customized versions of the Golf, Jetta and new Arteon, as well. (more…)

GMC Tightens Up Premium Truck Segment with 2020 Sierra 1500

More technology and engine choices highlight new truck.

by on May.17, 2019

For 2020, the GMC Sierra gets a slew of new technology as well as a new engine offering.

The competition to produce the best-equipped pickup truck continued to get tighter today with GMC’s announcement that its “taking premium to the next level” for its 2020 Sierra 1500.

GMC’s full-size light-duty pickup can now get a slew of new options to take it up a notch, including expanded availability for its carbon fiber bed, 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel and 10-speed automatic transmission, plus additional technology like Adaptive Cruise Control – Camera.

Product News!

While options are great, functionality is still king among truck users and GMC is looking to make a statement in that arena too. For 2020, the Sierra 1500 will be available with the upgraded ProGrade Trailering System introduced earlier this year on the 2020 Sierra HD. The updated system offers 15 camera views – the class leader – plus an in-vehicle Trailering App which has been enhanced to simplify the trailering process. (more…)

“Hardcore” Belt-Tightening a Must, Says Tesla’s Musk

The “only way for Tesla to become financially sustainable.”

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Elon Musk has ordered employees to rein in spending on virtually everything.

Tesla will need to engage in some “hardcore” cost-cutting, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail late Thursday, a move that comes in the wake of an unexpectedly severe first-quarter loss.

The automaker earlier this month was able to raise $2.7 billion through a combination of stock and debt offerings, but investors have become increasingly wary of the challenges that face the automaker – Tesla facing substantial debt repayments on top of the costs involved in the development of an array of new products and a new plant in China.

Breaking News!

The latest cash infusion, according to Musk, will only let it go for another 10 months without getting back into the black, he wrote, which “is why, going forward, all expenses of any kind anywhere in the world, including parts, salary, travel expenses, rent, literally every payment that leaves out bank account must (be) reviewed.”

(more…)

Senators Look to Rally U.S. EV Material Production

Committee looking to expedite mining process for needed materials.

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Gigafactory is basically a one-stop shop for EV production. A Senate committee is looking to make it easier for EV makers to get the materials needed in the U.S.

While the Trump administration – through the Environmental Protection Agency – continues to press for changes in fuel economy regulations that would to sideline efforts to put more EVs on the road across the United States, the U.S. Congress is getting nervous about China’s fast moving electric-car effort.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate are voicing support for a national electric car supply chain policy in the United States Senate, according to a report from Reuters.

Technology News!

The Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing on the American Mineral Security Act. The legislation aims to make it easier and quicker for U.S. mines to meet regulations and gain permits for lithium, graphite and other minerals or precious materials needed for electric car production. It would also require a tally of metal reserves in the country. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate

Plenty of room, technology make this ute tough competition.

by on May.16, 2019

With room for five adults, the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe gives the automaker a viable competitor agains the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has lots of things going for it including a huge “likeability” factor.

After all, there is a lot to like about the vehicle. It’s handsome on the outside, spacious and comfortable on the inside, delivers and smooth and efficient ride and has ample power in segment where horsepower seems to have become a major consideration for manufacturers if not for consumers.

Reviews You Can Trust!

Hyundai, in my estimation, has actually solved one of the riddles of the contemporary car business by figuring out the placement of the center stack screen that carries information for the navigation system and entertainment system with a horizontal screen mounted just above the dashboard. (more…)

EU Auto Tariffs Deadline Fast Approaching

European and American automakers alike hope for delay.

by on May.15, 2019

President Donald Trump has until May to either enact new tariffs on EU autos or order a delay.

With one trade war already underway, the White House could kick off another battle this weekend as the May 18 deadline nears for Pres. Donald Trump to decide whether to impose tariffs on European auto imports.

Any move would follow the completion of a Commerce Department study completed last February that concluded auto imports pose a threat to America’s national security. The president has not given a clear indication of how – or whether – he will respond as a 90-day deadline approaches, though he has had harsh words about European automakers in the past, at one point threatening to banish all Mercedes products from the streets of his home city, New York.

Breaking News!

Auto imports from Europe totaled $56.4 billion last year, according to Commerce figures, Germany responsible for the bulk of that. The risk of new tariffs sent shares of German manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen reeling in recent days. But even U.S. automakers, as well as suppliers and dealers, have been pressing the Trump Administration to hold back on launching a new front in the trade war.

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Hyundai/Kia Partnering up with Croatia EV Supercar Maker Rimac

Croatian company positions itself as a major supplier of electrification technology and components.

by on May.14, 2019

Rimac founder and CEO Mate Rimac celebrates with Hyundai's Euisun Chung their new alliance.

Alliances and joint ventures are becoming as much the norm as the exception in today’s auto industry, but Hyundai Motor Group just entered a particularly strange-bedfellow sort of relationship, investing nearly $90 million in Rimac, the Croatian manufacturer of battery-electric supercars.

The Korean parent of the Hyundai and Kia brands will not only invest 80 million euros in Rimac Automobili but also establish a technology partnership that will put some high-performance electric vehicles in their future line-ups, as well.

Breaking News!

“Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us. We look forward to collaborating with Rimac on our road to Clean Mobility.”

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First Drive: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Power, handling, performance, new Shelby GT350 has it all.

by on May.14, 2019

Ford's new Mustang Shelby GT350 lives up to the hype with stellar track performance and impressive fo

By this late in May, it should be getting warm in Detroit, but despite the 50-degree chill and a depressingly leaden sky, at least the rain has held off as I strap on a HANS Device and helmet and head out to pit row at Pontiac’s M1 Concourse, where a 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is waiting for me.

On the way, I pass a vintage version of the car, one of just a handful of original 1965 models that survive. It might look dated, but when it made its debut back in 1965 it transformed Ford’s little pony car into a wicked contender. With its tiny tires and live rear axle, it was a handful to drive but nonetheless raised the muscle car bar to new heights.

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Today, the GT350 takes a back seat to the Shelby GT500, an all-new version of the 700-plus-horsepower monster set to roll out later this year. But for those who don’t need to go to the ultimate extremes – or who simply don’t have quite a large enough bank account, the latest update of the GT350 that rolled out in 2016 has plenty to offer. (more…)

Nissan Earnings Plunge on Lower Sales, Rising Warranty Costs

Ghosn problems force company to take $83 million charge.

by on May.14, 2019

Nissan Motor Corp. CEO Hiroto Saikawa delivered somber earnings news to the media and investors.

Nissan Motor Corp. officials earlier predicted that 2018 would be a difficult year for the company, and the final numbers show they were right to be worried as operating profit for the automaker dropped 57.3%.

The Japanese automaker was plagued with a variety of problems all at once, including a costly plan to improve “quality of sales” in the U.S. and the costs related to the implementation of a warranty extension effort for selected vehicles.

News Now!

Some of the issues the company faced it could have sold its way past, global unit sales fell by 4.4% to 5.516 million units. Sales in the U.S. fell 9.3% to 1.44 million units. The company is predicting a slight increase for 2019 to 5.54 million units worldwide. (more…)

Kia Offers First Look at New “Global Small SUV”

Could be called Tusker in U.S. market.

by on May.14, 2019

Kia's teaser images aren't entirely production ready, as the mirrors and large wheels suggest.

At the Seoul Motor Show in March Kia unveiled two concept vehicles hinting at how it plans to bookmark its SUV line-up. Now, it’s offering a pair of renderings that appear to show what the smaller of the two Korean concepts will actually look like in production.

The “new global small SUV” was indeed, “inspired by the 2019 Kia SP Signature Concept,” Kia confirmed in a news release this morning. But it left plenty of other questions unanswered, including the name it will give the new offering and the precise timing of its global roll-out.

Breaking News!

“We have created a car which stands out everywhere, from the city to the countryside,” said Byung Chul Juh, head of styling for the Kia brand, adding that it will offer “a wide range of features and technologies that are universally suited to younger buyers in markets around the world.”

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