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Big Three Group Supports Trump Report on USMCA Benefits

Support comes despite conflicting study from IMF.

by on Apr.19, 2019

A new report from the U.S. Trade Representative says the new USMCA will bring substantial benefits; however, an IMF study suggests otherwise.

Detroit’s automakers are rushing to defend a report from the Trump administration that touts the benefits of the new North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Trump administration report, produced by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), was released Thursday in advance of less than an underwhelming independent government estimate of the economic impact of proposed U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

Trade News!

Trump has portrayed the new agreement he negotiated as a replacement for NAFTA as likely to lead to a rush of new investment and jobs in the U.S. and an end to the outsourcing he and others have blamed for a hollowing out of American manufacturing. (more…)

Audi Tweaks Subscription Service Pricing Plan

German automaker introduces Core Collection in Dallas.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Audi of America CFO Matt Carpenter notes the new pricing tier continues the company's mission of expanding mobility products to consumers.

Audi is experimenting with new wrinkles to its novel subscription plan in its test market in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The German automaker unveiled a new pricing tier for its monthly vehicle subscription service called the Core Collection, which will become available exclusively in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Business News!

Subscribers to Audi select Core Collection will receive access to the Audi A4 and S3 sedans, Audi Q5 SUV, and Audi TT Coupe for $995 per month, plus two rental days per month at no additional cost of the Silvercar by Audi service now in place at 26 major U.S. airport and city locations. (more…)

Porsche Planning to Set New U.S. Sales Record in 2019

North American CEO says tariffs would kill record run.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said the company expects to set a new U.S. sales record this year, but a tariff would cut sales 20%.

Porsche has set its sights on setting another sales record this year as it rolls out a product plan that embraces electrification and keeps close contact with the brand’s proud heritage.

Klaus Zellmer, president and chief executive officer, Porsche North America, noted during a press briefing at the New York International Auto Show, that Porsche has chalked up a long string of annual sales records in North America and expects to set another record in 2019 by selling more than 50,000 vehicles.

News Now!

Zellmer, however, also said the threat of tariffs hangs over the ambitious goal. A 25% tariff on imported vehicles, which the Trump administration is considering, could reduce Porsche sales in the U.S. by as much as 20%. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab

Stylish looks with ample power and comfort — a recipe for success.

by on Apr.16, 2019

The Chevy Colorado Z71 offers a do-it-all vehicle in a growing and competitive segment.

Even with the car business facing some stiffening headwinds, trucks are still going strong and manufacturers are driving interest the segment with new models.

For example, the Chevrolet Colorado has been vital to the growth of the midsized truck market, which has expanded recently, prompting manufacturers to tinker with variants such as the one I drove recently.

Reviews You Can Trust!

The 2019 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Short Box with four-wheel drive has a bold presence and plenty of curb appeal as well as a spirited powertrain as well as the ground clearance to ride confidently on dirt roads or even off road. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Confidently Pays First-Ever Dividend

Payout marks optimism about rest of 2019 performance.

by on Apr.15, 2019

Fiat Chairman John Elkann told shareholders at the FCA annual meeting that he expected strong results in 2019.

The top executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. delivered an upbeat assessment of the company’s future prospects during the company annual shareholder meeting in Amsterdam, agreeing to pay a dividend to shareholders for the first time since Fiat took effective control of the Chrysler Group in 2009 and brought it out of bankruptcy.

In the first shareholders gathering since the death of Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s longtime chief executive, it fell to John Elkann, Fiat’s chairman, to deliver an optimistic forecast for 2019 despite the drop in the company’s business in North America and the slowdown in the sales of Jeep, which has emerged as the company’s principal brand.

Global News!

Elkann, the representative of the founding Agnelli family, which has run Fiat for more than 100 years, told investors the Italo-American group was ready to play a part in the “new and exciting” era for the auto industry. (more…)

From Minicars to $4M Hypercars, Something for Everyone

Check out the debuts from the foreign makers.

by on Apr.15, 2019

The New York International Auto Show will see dozens of new model introductions this year.

There’s been plenty of talk about the end of the auto show era, and we’ve certainly seen a lot of manufacturers step back from the lavish previews that were the norm in decades past. That said, this year’s New York International Auto Show looks to be a major event, with close to three dozen vehicles making either their North American or global debut.

There’s something for everyone’s taste and budget, from the new, entry-level Nissan Versa all the way up to the special edition Bugatti Chiron Sport “110 ans Bugatti,” a hypercar expected to go for somewhere around $4 million. No surprise, there’s a particular focus on sport- and crossover-utility vehicles, reflecting the ongoing shift in the U.S. market.

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We’re waiting to hear more about some of the products coming to the 2019 NYIAS, several automakers promising to deliver some surprises – such as the all-electric concept Genesis has been hinting at. But here’s a look at the foreign automaker’s products we already know about that will debut at the Jacob Javits Convention Center this coming week. (We’ve put the American brands in a separate piece due to length.) (more…)

Fiat Taking Top Off New 124 Spider Urbana at NYIAS

Latest edition of soft top carries on long tradition.

by on Apr.12, 2019

The 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Urbana Edition will make its debut at the New York International Auto Show.

Brand new convertibles fresh out the door from the factory have become a scarce commodity but they are still around.

Fiat, however, is planning to use the New York International Auto Show to show off the new 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Urbana Edition, which carries on a classic soft-top tradition.

Auto Show News!

“With the most powerful four-cylinder turbo engine in its class, our Italian-designed Fiat 124 Spider offers an authentic top-down roadster experience with fun-to-drive dynamics,” said Steve Beahm, head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. (more…)

Audi Showing Revamped TT RS in New York

Stand-out coupe gets a race-inspired makeover.

by on Apr.11, 2019

The 2019 Audi TT RS gets an exterior makeover as well as some technology updates.

In a bid to demonstrate that sports cars haven’t died, Audi plans to show off an updated version of TT RS at next week’s New York International Auto Show.

The refreshed 2019 TT RS features an aggressive new exterior with a matte black Singleframe grille with signature quattro script – now in matte titanium – in an effort to give the vehicle an even more dynamic look. The extra radiators located behind the honeycomb grille allow for improved cooling, while the TT’s wide stance is underscored by lateral air inlets that now extend to the front wheel wells.

Product News!

With a continuous front spoiler the car enjoys a lower, race car-like look. Meanwhile the redesigned fixed rear wing spoiler and large oval tailpipes convey the vehicle’s sporty DNA. (more…)

Ford Preparing Off-Road Version of Its Popular Escape SUV

New model coming six months after Escape debut.

by on Apr.10, 2019

The new 2020 Ford Escape will be getting a new off-road variant cousin. The unnamed ute will show up in about six months.

In what is billed by CEO Jim Hackett as a year of big changes for the automaker, Ford Motor Co. has unveiled both the 2020 Escape and the 2020 Explorer both of which are due for showrooms later this year.

But behind the upcoming show room appearances of the Escape and the Explorer, another introduction is making its way to the launch pad.

Product News!

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president of product development and purchasing, said during an interview on the sidelines of the Escape preview last month in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford is also working on an off-road version of its popular sport-utility vehicle. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

An impressive blend of panache and performance.

by on Apr.09, 2019

The high-performance Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio should turn heads and change perceptions about the Italian brand in the U.S.

Judging from the less than overwhelming reception it has received since the brand was brought back to the United States by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Alfa Romeo vehicles are likely to be something of an acquired taste for American motorists.

But there is a lot to like in the Alfa Romeo line-up, starting with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio with all-wheel drive – a utility vehicles with a great deal of style and panache that sets it apart from the very crowded competitive set of premium mid-sized SUVs.

Reviews You Can Trust!

In fact, the exterior silhouette of the Stelvio has done the entire industry a favor by re-defining the appearance of utility vehicles. On the outside, the Stelvio is lower, sleeker and brings elements of sports-car design, which are the foundation of Alfa Romeo’s historic identity, into a unique and distinctive package. (more…)