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Want a 205 mph BMW 7-Series? Here Comes the New Alpina B7

What else could you want for $141,700?

by on Feb.11, 2019

Alpina is going where the folks at BMW fear to tread by producing its own version of the M7 named the B7.

There’s long been a yawning gap in the BMW line-up. While virtually everything the automaker now offers is available with an “M” option, the Bavarians have resolutely refused to offer an M7 model. But that’s where Alpina, a German tuner with a long relationship with BMW comes in.

And it’s about to launch its own take on a performance version with the debut of the latest-generation Alpina B7. The sixth-generation sedan – and the third generation of Alpina B7s to make it to the U.S. – starts out from where the newly updated 2020 BMW 7 Series leaves off.

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If anything, the 2020 Alpina B7 adds even more luxurious details to the latest BMW 7, while also boosting performance significantly, the full-size sedan now able to hit 60 in a mere 3.5 seconds before racing to a top speed of 205 mph – 12 mph faster than the prior-generation B7. (more…)

Mazda Marks Miata’s 30th With Party, Special Edition

Carrot-colored 30th Anniversary Edition will start at $35,915.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Mazda Motors North America President Masahiro Moro introduces the 30th anniversary limited-edition Mazda MX-5 Miata in Chicago.

February in Chicago isn’t normally what you’d call convertible season, but on a cold and blustery morning almost 30 years ago to the day, Mazda took ragtop fans and, indeed, the rest of the auto industry, by surprise with the debut of the original Miata roadster.

While never a major seller, the pint-sized two-seater also known as the MX-5 captured the hearts – and checkbooks – of those who wanted something that put the emphasis on pure driving fun, inspiring a wave of imitations from Mazda’s Japanese, German and U.S. rivals.

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On another cold and blustery day in the Windy City, Mazda pulled the wraps off a special, commemorative edition of the fourth-generation Miata Thursday. And to mark the occasion, it brought to its Chicago Auto Show news conference not only some of the roadster’s most loyal fans, but some of the folks who helped create the little car. (more…)

Nissan Updates Rogue Sport for 2020

More technology and a more technical design.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport gets a mid-cycle refresh on the exterior and interior.

Nissan is giving its Rogue Sport a more technical feel with the 2020 mid-cycle update, with updates to the crossover’s exterior and interior, along with the addition of new Safety Shield technologies.

Now in its second generation, the Rogue is “a critical vehicle” in the expanding Nissan crossover/SUV line-up, says Scott Shirley, vice president of marketing operations for Nissan North America, so what might seem like a modest mid-cycle update takes on significance for the Japanese automaker.

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“We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh,” Shirley said, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2020 Rogue Sport at this week’s Chicago Auto Show media preview.

(more…)

Ford Investing $1B, Adding 500 Jobs to Expand SUV Production

Announcement comes as GM hands out pink slips to 4,000.

by on Feb.07, 2019

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of Global Operations, left, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shake hands after announcing a $1 billion investment in the Chicago Assembly Plant.

This story has been updated with new information.

Ford Motor Co. will announce plans to invest $1 billion to expand its SUV operations in Chicago, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned, in the process hiring 500 workers.

The news comes the same week as General Motors has begun handing out pink slips to approximately 4,000 of its white-collar staff as part of what will be a $6 billion restructuring. Ford is also expected to announce cuts of its own as it moves forward with an $11 billion global restructuring, with details impacting U.S. operations scheduled to be announced by spring.

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The fact that Ford is hiring now, but that it could subsequently let other workers go, reflects the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry, especially in the U.S., where buyers by the millions have shifted from passenger cars to light trucks like those being built by the second-largest domestic automaker at its Windy City plant. (more…)

Volkswagen Ups the Ante with 2019 GLI Sedan

“The heart and soul of the GTI.”

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2019 VW GLI blends the sportiest features of the Jetta and GTI models.

There are some things that Europeans and Americans just never can agree on, starting with hatchbacks and sedans. True, utility vehicles have come to dominate the U.S. marketplace, but sedans still make up a strong share of sales. Hatchbacks just can’t seem to climb out of the niche category.

So, for those who’d like the power and road-holding dynamics of a Volkswagen GTI, the GLI offers a viable, four-door alternative. And the German maker “ups the performance ante,” it promises, with the launch of the sixth-generation sedan that made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

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“Volkswagen has long been synonymous with small, sporty cars,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “The redesigned 2019 Jetta proved once more that its combination of design, technology and value continues to resonate with buyers. The 2019 GLI takes the Jetta foundation and adds performance features from the Golf GTI to give buyers a true sport sedan.”

(more…)

Subaru Storms Chicago with All-New Legacy Line

Seventh-generation gets new platform, new performance model, more.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Subaru Legacy gets a bolder look with a more coupe-like roofline.

These days, SUVs and CUVs are all the rage, and Japanese automaker Subaru gets a large share of the credit for shifting public interest dating back to the introduction of its original Outback model.

But Subie isn’t through with passenger cars. Quite the contrary. We’ve seen updates to several models in recent times and now it’s giving a complete makeover to its flagship sedan.

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The 2020 Subaru Legacy starts off with an all-new platform that, the maker claims is far stiffer and boasts a lower center of gravity. There is a new foam-filled cross-member and the Subaru Global Platform adopts a new method for joining upper and lower bodies. Those technical details are intended to make the seventh-generation Legacy more agile, stable and quiet.

(more…)

New 2020 Kia Sportage Blows into the Windy City

Compact crossover gets modest mid-cycle updates.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Kia Sportage gets its first update since being launched for the 2016 model-year.

Bigger seems to be better these days, especially when it comes to trucks and utility vehicles. We’ve seen all manner of new full-size and heavy-duty pickups debut in recent months, along with large-larger-largest SUVs and CUVs.

That includes the all-new Kia Telluride. But what if someone doesn’t need a honking big, three-row ute? Kia has rolled one possible answer into this year’s Chicago Auto Show in the form of its updated 2020 Sportage model.

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Originally introduced way back in 1994, when it was produced in classic, body-on-frame form, the Sportage has gone through a number of updates over the years. It has morphed into a modern-looking, car-based crossover, the fourth-generation model launched for 2016. That means what we’re seeing in the Windy City is a mid-cycle update.

(more…)

Those Winter Chills Take a Hard Toll on Battery Car Range, Shows New AAA Study

Impact “significantly more than we expected.”

by on Feb.07, 2019

A new study shows that cold impact electric vehicles in ways and severity not previously realized by the auto industry.

When the Polar Vortex put most of the country under a deep freeze, the impact was particularly hard felt by those driving battery-electric vehicles.

How much an EV’s range drops depends upon a variety of factors, according to industry research, and backed up by a new study, but even when it’s just a bit below zero it’s not unusual for owners to see the range of a battery car like the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt EV tumble by 40% or more, AAA researchers discovered.

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“I’m consistently seeing a 30% degradation” in range on cold days, said Henry Payne, an automotive reviewer for the Detroit News and an owner of a Tesla Model 3. When the floor fell out under the weight of the Polar Vortex, he added, he lost a full 50% of the sedan’s normal range. (more…)

Henry Ford Anti-Semitism Story Goes Viral After Dearborn Mayor Fires Writer

Piece pulled from magazine highlighting home city of Ford Motor Co.

by on Feb.06, 2019

Henry Ford was a visionary but he also had a naive, narrow-minded side that included a hatred of Jews.

(Copyright 2019, TheDetroitBureau.com)

He was one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, but Henry Ford was also one of its most virulent anti-Semites, and an attempt by a suburban Detroit mayor to censor an article detailing Ford’s hatred of Jews in a little-read local historical magazine is drawing national attention.

Most Americans are likely to think of Ford Motor Co.’s founder as the man who put the country on wheels, rolling out the Model T by the millions off his breakthrough assembly lines in the early half of the 20th century. But “he was also a man who mass produced hate,” said Bill McGraw, former editor of the Dearborn Historian. Dearborn Mayor John B. “Jack” O’Reilly late last month ordered all the copies of the Autumn 2018 issue, Volume 55, No. 3 confiscated and, days later, fired McGraw.

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A former reporter from the Detroit Free Press, McGraw wrote the issue’s cover story for the city-owned magazine: “A Special Report: Henry Ford and ‘The International Jew.’” (more…)

Pickups, SUVs Push GM Profit Well Above Expectations

Automaker betting numbers will look even better as truck production ramps up in 2019.

by on Feb.06, 2019

GM reported stronger than expected earnings as Chairman and CEO Mary Barra continues to reshape the company.

General Motors handily beat Wall Street’s earnings forecast for the fourth quarter and full year a strong performance that reflects both booming truck demand and the payoff of shedding the company’s long-struggling European operations.

For the final quarter of 2018, GM delivered earnings of $1.43 a share — $1.40 after excluding special items. The consensus, according to Zacks Investment Research, was $1.24. For the full year, earnings came to $6.54 a share, well ahead of the consensus forecast of $6.29. After special charges, the figure dropped to $5.58 per share.

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GM’s overall $8.1 billion profit for all of 2018 was more than double the $3.9 billion number from the year before, but the 2017 figure reflected a significant hit from the sell-off of the company’s long-troubled European Opel-Vauxhall subsidiary. It was acquired by PSA Group, parent of the Peugeot and Citroen brands. (more…)