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Volvo XC60 Drives Off with Japan’s Car of the Year Award

Winner pulls away at the end in close vote.

by on Dec.12, 2017

The Volvo XC60 capture the Japan Car of the Year award.

The Volvo XC60 was named Japan Car of the Year, beating out some formidable competition.

In a close vote count that saw the lead change three times between the XC60, beat out the BMW 5-Series and the closest Japanese competitor, the Toyota Camry, the XC60 pulled away at the end polling 294 votes.

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The XC60 finished some 52 votes in front of the 5-Series and 62 votes ahead of the Camry. (more…)

Next-Gen Toyota Avalon Debuting at Detroit Auto Show

Automaker readies for second product reveal at NAIAS.

by on Dec.11, 2017

Toyota plans to take the wraps of its next-generation Avalon at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Toyota Motor Corp. is going to have a full schedule at next month’s North American International Auto Show as the automaker revealed it will have a second major product debut in Detroit.

The Japanese automaker will premiere its all-new 2019 Avalon Monday, Jan. 15, during the 2018 NAIAS. The fifth generation Avalon shares the new platform utilized by the Toyota Camry and will be built at the automaker’s big assembly complex in Georgetown, Kentucky.

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Last week, it was revealed that Lexus plans to unveil a new concept vehicle in Detroit as well. (more…)

Fuel Economy of New Vehicles Continues to Drop

Strong sales of large vehicles means average mpg continues falling.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Despite efforts to improve the fuel economy of large SUVs, their popular cuts into the U.S. national fuel economy average.

The fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. during November dropped by 0.1 miles per gallon to 25 mpg—the lowest mark this year, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The value for November is up 4.9 mpg since October 2007 – the first full month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle – but still down 0.5 mpg from the peak of 25.5 mpg reached in August 2014.

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In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued a monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver. The EDI takes into account both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag. (more…)

Chinese Ride-Sharing Company Eyes Move into Mexico

If Didi goes to Mexico, it would mark second showdown with Uber.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi is contemplating a move into Mexico where it will compete with Uber.

A report out of China indicates Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-sharing company in China and perhaps the world, is preparing to expand internationally for the first time by setting up shop in Mexico.

Didi basically ran Uber out of the Chinese market where Uber sustained losses totaling roughly $2 billion. If Didi moves into Mexico it would set the stage for a huge clash where Uber has established a large presence with more than 7 million users spread across 45 cities.

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Speculation about Didi’s plans, like Ford Motor Co.’s efforts to partner with Alibaba, underscore the growing influence the Chinese have on the global automotive industry. During the next decade ride-sharing companies are expected to become the major buyers of new vehicles around the world. (more…)

Welburn Captures Lifetime Design Achievement Award

He was GM's just sixth-ever design chief.

by on Dec.07, 2017

Ed Welburn shows off the new trophy that will be given to the 2017 North American Car and Truck of the Year winners.

GM’s former chief designer Ed Welburn has been named the recipient of the 2018 Eyes on Deisgn Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual award is unique in that the selection is made by the previous winners of the award.

This group includes scores of well-known design executives, including Chris Bangle, Nuncio Bertone, Wayne Cherry, Walter de Silva, Willie G. Davidson, Tom Gale, Giorgetto Giugiaro, Chuck Jordan, Robert Lutz, Syd Mead, Shiro Nakamura, Patrick le Quement, Sergio Pininfarina, Stewart Reed, Peter Schreyer and Jack Telnack.

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The award will be presented to Welburn next June during the annual Eyes on Design weekend, which culminate in the annual automotive design exhibition, held every Father’s Day on the lakefront grounds of the Eleanor & Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores outside Detroit. (more…)

Lexus Taking Wraps Off New Crossover in Detroit

Maker has history of unveiling new models at NAIAS.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Lexus will unveil its latest creation, the LF1 Limitless, at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Lexus has always made a point of unveiling its newest most important cars and concept vehicles at the North American International Auto Show and it plans to do it again this coming January.

Lexus announced it plans to reveal a new concept that reflects “the next genre” in luxury crossover vehicles. Created by the CALTY design studio in Southern California, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless is a flagship crossover that redefines the boundaries of luxury, Lexus officials said.

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The Lexus LF-1 Limitless will make its official debut in Detroit next month, but released a teaser pic of the vehicle to come. (more…)

Production on the Rise, Keeping Gas Prices Down

Demand is lower while production levels are up.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Gas prices continue to fall as demand drops during the winter driving season.

With the winter driving season fast approaching, the price of gasoline is continuing to drop, according to AAA.

At $2.48, the national gas price average is at its cheapest level since early November. More so, pump prices nationally have been steadily dropping during the last two weeks. Today’s gas price is three cents less than a week ago, four cents cheaper than one month ago and 30 cents more than a year ago, according to AAA.

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“Cheaper winter gas prices are being seen for the bulk of the country as gasoline demand hits the lowest mark since February,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “On the week, 90% of states saw their gas price average drop – some even by double digits.”  (more…)

Toyota’s Hollis Expects Solid Sales in 2018

Automaker expects new Camry to lead the way to good year.

by on Dec.05, 2017

Toyota executive Jack Hollis told the Automotive Press Association that the company expects U.S. new vehicle sales to exceed 16.5 million in 2018.

Toyota expects 2018 to be another strong year as industry sales once again exceed hit 16.5 million units or better, Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division at Toyota Motor North America, told the Automotive Press Association.

Hollis cited several factors contributing to the continuing strength of car sales in the U.S., including a healthy U.S. economy, continuing job and wage growth, low fuel prices and improvement in consumer confidence.

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“It might not be a record but still good strong pace,” Hollis said during in his speech during the APA meeting in Detroit. (more…)

BMW Pushing to Grow EV Sales by 50% in 2018

Automaker tweaking product line-up to generate excitement.

by on Dec.05, 2017

Expect to see a production version of the BMW X7, including an electrified model, sometime next year.

After using the Los Angeles Auto Show for the debut of the new i8, BMW AG is preparing to increase its sales plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles by 50% in 2018 as it moves to bolster its position as maker of electric vehicles.

“We’ll definitely boost sales by a mid-double digit amount,’’ Klaus Froehlich, who heads development for BMW, told reporters in Munich. “This is to stay ahead of the competition that’s starting to do its own rollout.”

Global Auto News!

Like other carmakers, BMW is spending substantial sums developing a more attractive suite of electric cars to jump start sluggish consumer demand for EVs. Demand for the vehicles remains at a fraction of total auto sales, with BMW’s target paling compared to total 2016 deliveries of 2.4 million vehicles.  (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Eyes Alliance with Hyundai

Marchionne says no merger in the works.

by on Dec.04, 2017

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said an alliance or a partnership with Hyundai would make sense for FCA.

After seemingly laying off talking about potential deal, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is at it again, talking up the possibility of a partnership with Hyundai on technical projects.

Marchionne, during an appearance in Milan over the weekend, was careful to rule out any kind of merger with Hyundai after a flurry of reports this summer that FCA as eager to find merger partners for its automotive business.

Global Auto News!

“We already buy components from (Hyundai) … let’s see if we can agree on other points, especially for the development of transmissions and hydrogen,” Marchionne told journalists, adding there was “nothing to announce for the moment.”  (more…)