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Chevrolet Finds New Road Cruiser in Shanghai with FNR-X Concept

“Clear masculine lines” and some cutting-edge technologies.

by on Apr.20, 2017

Officials says that the FNR-X isn't a sure thing for China, but at the Shanghai Motor Show purely to gauge interest.

Chevrolet is taking its current tagline, “Find New Roads” to new extremes – at least in China – with the second in a series of concept vehicles debuting this week at the Shanghai Motor Show.

The latest one, using shorthand, is the FNR-X, a concept version of what could be a radical take on a plug-in crossover-utility vehicle. Initial impressions suggests it would go into the emerging market for downsized utes like the Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V.

Global Auto News!

The FNR-X adopts a “powerful, attractive design language,” with “clear, masculine lines,” says Chevy, including an aggressive nose that could have been lifted off the Camaro, a high beltline and a floating roof. But the most eye-catching feature is the concept’s use of rear suicide doors, minus the traditional B-pillars, providing easy and dramatic access to its interior. (more…)

Tesla Facing New Lawsuit Over Autopilot

Three owners claim they paid for “unusable and demonstrably dangerous” system.

by on Apr.20, 2017

Tesla is being sued by three owners claiming that the $5,000 Autopilot option is dangerous and doesn't function as described.

Like Tesla itself, the battery-carmaker’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system has had its ups-and-downs. For many customers, it has been a key reason to purchase a Model S or X, but it has also been linked to a handful of crashes, including one in which a former Navy SEAL was killed last May.

Now, Tesla is finding itself facing a potential class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of three customers who say that Autopilot, designed to take control of the vehicle while driving on well-marked, limited-access highways, doesn’t live up to its billing as safe and reliable, declaring the $5,000 option “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.”

Beyond the Headlines!

“When consumers received these pricey vehicles, it became clear that Tesla’s marketing was all smoke and mirrors,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Seattle’s Hagens Berman, which has been an aggressive practitioner of plaintiff law in recent auto safety cases. “And Tesla knew when it made these promises that it didn’t have the capabilities to follow through on its deal. It knowingly deceived tens of thousands who put their faith in these cars and in Tesla.” (more…)

Venezuelan Government Seizes GM Plant as Economy Melts Down

“Illegal seizure” comes amidst growing protests over political, consumer morass.

by on Apr.20, 2017

The GM plant in Valencia employs 2,678.

General Motors has accused the Venezuelan government of an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets” and vowed to “take all legal actions” to regain control of its plant in the city of Valencia.

The unexpected move by the embattled government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is the latest in a series of moves meant to nationalize foreign-owned assets first started by former President Hugo Chavez. It comes as hundreds of thousands of citizens have been taking to the streets to protest what opposition leaders have described as an increasingly “dictatorial” situation.

Global News!

“Yesterday, GMV’s (General Motors Venezolana) plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations. In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities,” GM said in a statement.

(more…)

Audi Electrifies Shanghai with E-Tron Sportback

Debut underscores China’s growing push for electrification.

by on Apr.19, 2017

Nearly productionr ready? The Audi e-Tron Sportback Concept rolls into Shanghai.

As the Shanghai Motor Show gets underway, two trends dominate: growing consumer demand for SUVs and the government’s push for electrification.

Audi hopes to score on both counts with today’s debut of the eagerly awaited e-Tron Sportback concept. It’s the latest in a series of battery-electric show cars the German luxury maker has revealed over the last several years – and the closest yet to the production model now in the final stages of development.

What a Conceptt!

“Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi E-Tron Sportback – an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance,” said brand Chairman Rupert Stadler, during the Sportback concept’s Shanghai unveiling.

(more…)

Toyota Project Portal Would Replace LA Port Diesels with Clean Hydrogen Trucks

Fuel-cell system would replace diesels at busy, smoggy L.A. ports.

by on Apr.19, 2017

Toyota will begin a study this summer that could see hydrogen-powered trucks go into operation at two key Los Angeles ports.

While Tinseltown’s air quality has improved dramatically over the last few decades, there are still some problem spots, especially near the bustling Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach where long lines of diesel trucks queue up to drop off or pick up their loads of cargo.

State and local regulators have struggled to clear the air along the 710 freeway that links the ports but, so far, with only limited success. Now, Toyota hopes to offer an even more dramatic solution through what it is calling “Project Portal.”

Enviro News!

The maker late last year hinted that it had begun working on a project that would use its fuel-cell technology in a heavy-duty truck. On Wednesday, it revealed that the first possible application could see hydrogen-powered semis replace diesel models at the two Los Angeles-area ports. A proof-of-concept study will begin over the summer.

(more…)

Lynk & Co. Makes Shanghai Debut – Sound Familiar?

New brand could be U.S. bound - with major innovations in sales, warranty, connectivity.

by on Apr.19, 2017

The Lynk & Co. 03 Concept sedan makes its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show.

Lynk & Co. Not exactly a household name – unless you sound it out phoenetically, and it suddenly sounds like a familiar Detroit luxury brand.

For now, it’s the new, mid-range marque that Szechuan-based Geely is slotting in under its Volvo Brand. And, yes, much of what Lynk & Co. will be bringing to market have been directly designed and engineered by, or at least with the help of, Geely’s Swedish subsidiary.

Global News!

For the moment, the new brand is focusing on the booming Chinese market, but watch this space. The new models being introduced at the Shanghai Motor Show this week just might wind up rolling into the U.S. market in the not-too-distant future. In fact, we could see the Lynk & Co. 01 SUV here as early as 2019 – though, so far, Chinese automakers have failed to meet self-targeted deadlines for entering the U.S. market.

(more…)

Lexus Reveals Updated NX in Shanghai

Design tweaks and a more responsive adaptive suspension.

by on Apr.19, 2017

Lexus updates its NX crossover for the first time since its 2014 debut.

Continuing its campaign to pump more “passion” into the line-up, Lexus has rolled out a newly updated version of the NX crossover at the Shanghai Motor Show.

Already one of the most angular and aggressive models in the brand’s growing SUV and CUV line-up, the 2018 Lexus NX reveals a number of modest but notable visual revisions, front and back. It also adds some welcome new technology and, the luxury arm of Toyota claims it has also taken steps to improve the handling of the compact crossover.

Get Shanghai'd!

We’ll let Shin Kamiura, a member of the Lexus Design Division, describe some of the salient exterior updates: “Starting at the spindle grille, the way the front edges connect to the front fenders results in a much bolder expression than before, clearly highlighting the NX’s style design architecture.”

(more…)

Concept A Sedan Debuts in Shanghai: a Hint of New Small Cars to Come?

“The time of the crease is over,” says design chief Wagener.

by on Apr.18, 2017

The Concept A Sedan reveals what is expected to be a new Mercedes-Benz design language.

Small is big at Mercedes-Benz, the German automaker planning to add three more compact models to its line-up in the “near future,” and the Concept A sedan making its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show this week offers some hints of what’s to come.

The concept sedan is a far cry from the ungainly, microvan-like A-Class model that first rolled off the assembly line in 1997. The overall shape has far more in common with the coupe-like Mercedes-Benz CLS and CLA models, though the aggressive nose picks up some of its cues from the Mercedes-AMG GT.

News Now!

The Shanghai show car introduces what Mercedes is calling its “Aesthetics A” design language, something that expresses more of a “sensual purity” than existing models. And that suggests that what we’re seeing here will begin to influence not just the next generation of Mercedes small cars, but larger, higher-end models, as well.

(more…)

Most American Consumers Remain Wary of Autonomous Vehicles

But motorists welcome new advanced driver assistance features.

by on Apr.18, 2017

More and more autonomous prototypes are on the road, but consumers remain skeptical.

If you listen to the experts, the coming age of the autonomous automobile will all but eliminate crashes and fatalities on U.S. roadways. But American consumers aren’t quite so confident. According to the new J.D. Power Tech Choice Study, motorists are wary of hands-free driving.

At the same time, they have become increasingly receptive to the flood of new, semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS, technologies – such as forward collision warning and blind-spot detection – that are showing up on more and more of the latest vehicles.

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“In most cases, as technology concepts get closer to becoming reality, consumer curiousity and acceptance increase,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and HMI research at J.D. Power and Associates. “With autonomous vehicles, we see a pattern where trust…in the technology…is declining.”

(more…)

VW Reveals I.D. Crozz, Promises to Launch Battery Car in China

Battery SUV is third I.D. concept.

by on Apr.18, 2017

Volkswagen's third concept vehicle in the I.D. EV line-up is the I.D. Crozz. The ute could be VW's first EV entry into China.

Volkswagen has pulled the wraps off the third of its I.D. battery-car concept vehicles, offering a hint of what might be in store when it launches its first electric vehicle in China later this year.

VW brand boss Herbert Diess has already promised to put 30 battery models into production by 2025, and many of them are expected to carry the new I.D. sub-brand badge. The German automaker is largely shifting from diesel to battery power in the wake of its emissions scandal. But it is also facing pressure from governments around the world – China, in particular – to adopt new zero-emissions technologies.

Global Auto News!

So far, VW isn’t saying which battery model will be launched in China this year. It is likely that it will go with an existing product, such as the e-Golf. But Diess is suggesting that the new I.D. Crozz is being viewed as more than just a concept, with the battery-SUV likely to reach showrooms no later than 2020. (more…)