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Ford Inks Three-Year Deal with Alibaba

Agreement opens another door to sell vehicles in China

by on Dec.07, 2017

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, back left, and Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang, back right, oversee the signing of a three-year deal between the two companies.

In the event it wasn’t clear that Ford is serious about increasing its sales in China, it’s new partnership with Alibaba Group should clear up any confusion.

The new three-year agreement announced today with Alibaba, essentially China’s version of Amazon, may offer Ford an online outlet for its vehicles. The deal, which was reported to be in the works earlier this week by TheDetroitBureau.com. The deal came at the end trip by Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and CEO Jim Hackett.

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Last month, Ford committed to a more than $750 million tie-up with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to build electric vehicles in China. Earlier this week, Chairman Ford and Hackett announced in plans to bring 50 new vehicles to the Chinese market by 2025, including 15 EVs as well as building five new vehicles locally in that country. (more…)

Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

New passenger offset tests lowers number of top-ranked vehicles.

by on Dec.07, 2017

IIHS President Adrian Lund explains the testing processes implemented for the "Top Pick Plus" ranking.

With new tougher standards in place for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s coveted “2018 Top Pick Plus” rating, just 15 vehicles earned the distinction compared with 38 for 2017.

The safety advocacy group, which performs a variety of crash tests on vehicles, added two new tests in the past year: one for improved headlights, which was included in the 2017 “Top Pick Plus” ranking, but not in the “Top Pick” results, and the new passenger-side small overlap front crash.

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Overall, Hyundai posted six vehicles and Subaru four in the “Top Pick Plus” category. In addition to the 15 “Top Pick Plus” designees, there were 47 “Top Pick” vehicles. Toyota led the pack with 11 vehicles in the “Top Pick Plus” and “Top Pick” categories combined with Hyundai (9) and Subaru (7) taking the next two spots. (more…)

Mitsubishi Gaining Sales Momentum in US

New products helping to keep dealers excited.

by on Dec.07, 2017

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is helping to draw new buyers to the Japanese brand.

Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan alliance a little more than a year ago and the change has given the automaker an enormous lift, according to executives from Mitsubishi Motors North America.

The shift has boosted the spirits of dealers, given the company more clout while buying ads and within three years Mitsubishi expects new products, developed by the alliance, will start showing up in Mitsubishi showrooms around the country, said Don Swearingen, MMNA executive vice president and chief operating officer.

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The first product from the alliance will roll out in 2020 as 2021 model, Swearingen said. At the same, time the company will be sharing its plug-in hybrid technology with Nissan. In turn, Renault-Nissan will provide Mitsubishi with battery electric vehicles, he said.  (more…)

Ford Heavy Duty Laying Claim to Biggest, Baddest Truck

New beast puts out 450 horsepower, tows 34,000 pounds.

by on Dec.06, 2017

The 2018 Ford Super Duty boasts a new 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel putting out 450 horsepower and can tow 34,000 pounds.

Ford is looking to eliminate any doubt about which heavy-duty truck line-up with the introduction of its 2018 portfolio that may be best described as bigger, badder and better than anything else courtesy of the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel.

The new power plant lets Ford’s Super Duty haul and tow more than its competitors, which is the most common measuring stick for claiming the title of “The Best.”

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“Super Duty customers expect the best, and for 2018 we’re giving our customers even more power and torque from our 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel – delivering the most horsepower and torque available among all heavy-duty pickups,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. (more…)

Ford Recalls 202K F-150 Pickups, Explorers

Second time in last two months for truck recall.

by on Dec.04, 2017

Ford recalled more than 200,000 2016 Ford F-150s and Explorers due to a problem with the front seats.

Ford Motor Co.’s F-Series pickup trucks may be the best-selling vehicles in America for nearly four decades, but they’re also creeping up a title the company may not want: most recalled vehicles.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker recalled more than 202,000 F-150s and Explorers for an issue with a front seat adjuster. The recall affects 2016 model year trucks with power front seats.

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A bolt on the seat adjuster may come loose or fall out, according to the company. If the front seat cushion is missing the upper left pivot bolt, it could move more in a collision, potentially increasing the chance of injury.  (more…)

Industry Experts Expecting A “Strong” Year for 2018

Trucks will continue to dominate the market.

by on Dec.04, 2017

NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli believes 2018 will be a strong year, adding that he'd be happy with anything more than 16 million units in sales.

The National Automobile Dealers Association expects new vehicle sales to decline in 2018.

In a forecast released Friday, NADA predicted the sale of 16.7 million new cars and light trucks. The NADA forecast for 2018 was lower than the 17.1 million units of sales predicted by the University of Michigan’s annual economic forecast, which also predicted the U.S. economy would grow by 2.5% next year.

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“We expect 2018 to be a robust year,” said NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli, a Chicago-area car dealer. “NADA’s 2018 auto sales forecast is indicative of a stable, healthy market for new vehicles,” he added.  (more…)

Aria FXE has American Supercar Fans Singing a New Tune

California-based maker uses gas/electric combo to hit 1,150 horsepower.

by on Dec.01, 2017

Aria's new FXE uses a gasoline engine and two electric motors to produce 1,150 horsepower.

Aria is singing a tune it hopes some American performance car fans will like, the California-based start-up revealing an 1,150 horsepower, U.S.-made supercar that it says will be able to hit a top speed of 220 mph.

The Aria FXE concept should enter production within two years, the company said during its news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s the second prototype the Irvine-based company has brought to the show, following the debut of the Aria FE a year ago.

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Aria is one of a growing array of start-ups in the U.S. and abroad hoping to get into the supercar market – though a number of others, including Lucid and Faraday Future, have been turning to purely electric propulsion. (more…)

Kia Gears Up for Utility Battle with New Sorento, Niro

New utes help Kia with ever-more competitive segment.

by on Nov.30, 2017

The 2019 Kia Sorento gets new front and rear fascias giving the ute a more sophisticated look.

Like so many other automakers, Kia is looking to jump on the wave of crossover and sport-utility vehicle sales that have driven the market recently with its new 2019 Sorento and 2018 Niro models unveiled in Los Angeles.

The new Sorento and Niro, the South Korean automaker upgrades and fills holes in its utility vehicle portfolio as demand continues to soar. The larger Sorento gets some exterior upgrades as well as additions to its technology features.

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In the highly competitive crossover category, the Sorento is a clear example of how world-class design and craftsmanship are executed,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, KMA. (more…)

Subaru, Land Rover Take 2018 Residual Value Awards

Winners swept their individual categories this year.

by on Nov.28, 2017

Subaru's new Crosstrek won its individual category helping the brand take top honors in ALG's Residual Value Awards this year.

Consumers searching for vehicles that will hold their value over time can place their faith in Subaru and Land Rover, as the brands were named the winner of ALG’s 2018 Residual Value Awards.

Subaru captured the Mainstream brand award for the third year in a row while Land Rover took the Premium brand honor for the fourth consecutive year. The companies will receive their awards at the Automobility LA.

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The awards recognize vehicles in 26 segments that are forecast to retain the highest percentage of their Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price after a three-year period.   (more…)

Mazda Takes Victory for Top Car Brand in US

U.S. News & World Report's Best Brands honors kick off award season.

by on Nov.28, 2017

Mazda's car line-up captured the "Best Car Brand" honor from U.S. News & World Report.

Automotive awards season is just about to get underway in full and U.S. News & World Report is kicking it off by unveiling its Best Brands Awards.

The magazine recognizes “brand-wide excellence” for cars, SUVs, trucks and luxury vehicles. The idea behind the honors is ultimately to help consumers buy vehicles that provide the most bang for their buck.

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“Deciding where to start looking for a new car, truck or SUV can be one of the most overwhelming parts of buying a car,” says Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars.   (more…)