Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Author Archive

Nissan Xmotion Concept “Signals Design Direction for 2020 and Beyond”

X-Trail reborn or something entirely new?

by on Jan.15, 2018

Nissan's Xmotion Concept is really more than just an idea, it's an early look at something coming around 2020.

Few foreign automakers have become more committed to crossovers than Nissan. It already boasts models ranging from the recently added Kicks up to the big Pathfinder and Murano models – never mind the more classic Armada SUV.

So what to make of the new Xmotion Concept making its debut today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As one senior company insider put it to TheDetroitBureau.com as we started sniffing around, “We don’t do concepts just for the sake of building a concept anymore.” Translation: the Xmotion is clearly pointing towards a ute that will be joining the line-up sometime around 2020 or “beyond,” according to a Nissan statement.

Product News!

As a three-row, six-passenger design, we can be pretty safe in assuming it won’t be the next-generation Juke. And while there have been rumors that Nissan might revive the classic truck-based X-Trail, we’re getting hints that the Xmotion Concept is intended as an update or replacement for something already in the line-up, and that would seem to suggest the Pathfinder, which migrated from a body-on-frame to car-based platform a few years back. And it would be due a major update around the end of the decade. (more…)

Honda, Volvo and Lincoln Take 2018 NACTOY Honors

Honda wins car honor, but Kia Stinger makes biggest splash.

by on Jan.15, 2018

Honda's Henio Archangeli enjoys the win in the 2018 North American Car of the Year Award in Detroit. (Photo credit: Brendan Strong)

In what was seen as the most unpredictable set of choices in the 24 years of the NACTOY Awards, Honda Volvo and Lincoln pulled out wins on Monday morning, marking the start of the 2018 North American International Auto Show.

The highly coveted awards, which new vehicle buyers can expect to start hearing about in a flood of online, television and radio ads almost immediately, are considered influential among new vehicle buyers.

Global Auto News!

“We have an incredibly broad set of vehicles this year,” said Mark Phelan, president of the North American Car and Truck of the Year, adding, “I’ve never had less of a clue of who I think would win” before being handed the results of the secret ballot. (more…)

Lexus Shifts Direction with LF-1 Limitless Crossover Concept

Like “molten metal being forged into a fine Japanese sword.”

by on Jan.15, 2018

Lexus is looking to get a foothold in the larger crossover segment. The LF-1 Limitless may do it, Lexus GM Jeff Bracken said.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Its been just a year since Lexus brought an all-new version of its big LS sedan to the North American International Auto Show, but what a year it has been. Time was when full-size sedans like the LS helped put a halo atop a luxury brand. But 2017 saw a dramatic shift in the U.S. market, traditional passenger cars all but dropping off the sales charts as millions of American motorists opted for sport and crossover-utility vehicles.

Hoping to catch up on that trend, the Japanese luxury brand is back in Detroit this week with what is expected to become its new flagship, a prototype it has dubbed the Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept. It features an edgy design intended to strike a balance between a crossover and a more classic sports sedan. And a production version is quite likely to roll into Lexus showrooms in the relatively near future.

An Award Winning News Source!

Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken told the auto show crowd the concept could “become a member of the family.” However, he was a little more circumspect in a post event interview with TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Infiniti Inspired: But What to Make of the New Q Inspiration Concept

Is this the long-awaited successor to the Q45?

by on Jan.15, 2018

The Q45 Inspiration Concept may not show up in the Infiniti line-up but will influence future product design, officials said.

Infiniti has a long history of teasing us with exotic concepts that eventually translate into slightly more sedate production vehicles. So, what to make of the inspiring new fastback prototype making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit?

Have we finally gotten a glimpse of the long-awaited successor to the brand’s original halo car, the 1990 Q45? Or is the new Inspiration just there to tease us with hints of the direction Infiniti will take after a recent shake-up in corporate design management?

What a Concept!

“Our Detroit concept car heralds a new generation of Infiniti,” is all we’re getting from Alfonso Albaisa, the long-time Infiniti stylist who recently was named global design director for parent Nissan Motor Co. The Q Inspiration, he added, it meant to demonstrate Infiniti’s approach to “artistry in the new age of autonomy and breakthrough drivetrains.”

(more…)

New High Performance EV to Highlight Ford’s $11b Electrification Program

Mach 1 will take aim at likes of Tesla Roadster, Porsche Mission E

by on Jan.15, 2018

Ford is tentatively calling its first high-performance EV the Mach 1, though that could change, company officials told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Ford Motor Co. will nearly triple its investment in electrified vehicles to $11 billion, Executive Chairman Bill Ford announced Sunday night, and one of the first new all-electric models it plans to launch will be a high-performance crossover taking aim at the likes of the Tesla Roadster and the Porsche Mission E.

The Detroit automaker was one of the first to add electrified vehicles to its line-up, but it’s had little success with its initial offerings, industry analysts suggesting they didn’t offer either the range or performance that potential buyers want.

An Electrifying News Source!

Codenamed Mach 1 – a name lifted from a classic version of the Ford Mustang – the high-performance battery electric vehicle will debut in 2020, said Jim Farley, the automaker’s president of global markets, and will offer, “a whole new world…for our customers.”

(more…)

Schwarzenegger Helps Kick New Mercedes G-Wagen Into High Gear

It may look the same, but it’s bigger, badder and carries over just three parts.

by on Jan.15, 2018

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrate the debut of the 2019 G-Wagen.

They both hail from the same small town in Austria and they’re both known for their muscle. So it was fitting that the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was on hand for the debut of the all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen on Sunday night.

The splashy event, held at a one-time movie palace on the edge of Detroit’s downtown, featured the same sort of pyrotechnics the one-time body builder was familiar with from his career in Hollywood.

We're Going to Pump You Up!

“This SUV can do anything and everything and that’s what I love about this car,” Schwarzenegger declared as he climbed out of one of the new 2019 SUVs to join Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche on stage.

(more…)

GM CEO Barra Wants to Turn a Profit – Soon – on Electric Vehicles

New platform, high volume and cheaper batteries are key.

by on Jan.15, 2018

General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently signed off on a plan to expand the company's portfolio of electric vehicles.

While there are only a handful of long-range electric vehicles on the market right now, you can expect to see as many as two dozen or more in U.S. showrooms by the end of the decade, and several times as many five years from now.

Virtually every major automaker has promised to “electrify” its line-up, and companies like General Motors, Toyota and Daimler AG plan to put a premium on pure battery-electric models. While that may be great news for green-minded auto buyers, there’s a serious flaw in the equation for auto manufacturers, says Woong-chul Yang, the head of R&D for both Hyundai and its sibling brand Kia.

An Award Winning News Source!

“Whenever we sell eco-friendly vehicles we all lose money,” the South Korean executive told TheDetroitBureau.com after presiding over the rollout of the new Kia Niro EV at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. “Even battery vendors are losing money.” (more…)

Ford Bites the Bullitt

New Mustang “channels the spirit” of screen legend Steve McQueen.

by on Jan.14, 2018

The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt will be more powerful - and 8 mph faster - than the Mustang GT.

The Bullitt is back, Ford dropping the first big surprise of the 2018 North American International Auto Show by announcing that it will revive the badge made famous by screen star Steve McQueen in a series of legendary chase scenes in the 1968 film that made the Ford Mustang his tire-squealing co-star.

The Mustang Bullitt will be offered as a limited-edition 2019 model boasting 475 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque – even more than the latest-edition Mustang GT. It will be offered, of course, in the same Dark Highland Green — though it will also be offered in Shadow Black – paint as the pony car that McQueen drove 50 years ago in one of his most iconic film turns.

Performance News!

“It’s badass,” declared McQueen’s granddaughter, Molly McQueen, who helped introduce the 2019 Mustang Bullitt during the first official news conference of this year’s Detroit Auto Show. “This car does something that really channels the spirit of my grandfather.”

(more…)

GM’s Barra Optimistic NAFTA Will Survive; Won’t Pull Silverado Out of Mexico

"I'm very confident NAFTA will be modernized."

by on Jan.14, 2018

Renegotiating NAFTA will be "good for all three countries" in the deal, said GM CEO Barra.

Even as Fiat Chrysler gets ready to pull its full-size pickup truck production out of Mexico, General Motors CEO Mary Barra told reporters over the weekend that GM will continue building its own trucks South of the Border.

Barra, who had briefly served on President Donald Trump’s corporate advisory council until it was disbanded early last year, has been one of the business world’s more vocal supporters of the controversial Commander-in-Chief’s economic policies. And she again defended the administration’s efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Behind the News!

“I’m very confident NAFTA will be modernized and it will be very good for all three countries,” Barra said during a scrum following the debut of the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

(more…)

Can 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Topple Ford’s King-of-the-Hill F-Series?

Chevy’s complete makeover brings eight distinct models, new powertrains, including high-mileage diesel.

by on Jan.14, 2018

Design Director Mike Simcoe reveals how the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado went from design sketch to design masterpiece.

While SUVs have garnered most of the spotlight, pickups have been building momentum at a frantic pace over the last several years and, barring a complete economic meltdown or a surge past $4 a gallon for gas, few expect to see demand for those tough trucks taper off anytime soon.

So, General Motors’ timing could be particularly fortuitous as it prepares to roll out complete makeovers of its full-size pickup line-up. The process begins with the unveiling of the all-new, 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at this week’s North American International Auto Show – and will continue when the Silverado HD and GMC Sierra pickups make their debut later this year.

Auto Show News!

“These are arguably the most important products in the Chevrolet portfolio,” said Global Chevrolet chief Alan Batey, as the new Silverado rolled onto the stage in front of a packed crowd at Detroit’s Eastern Market Saturday night. (more…)