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Chinese EV Maker Byton Unwraps 2nd Model at L.A. Auto Show

“We need a lot of funding,” CEO admits, outlining challenges ahead.

by on Dec.03, 2018

Byton CEO Carson Breitfield talks about the new K-Byte EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The global automotive market is in the midst of a revolution, something obvious to anyone attending this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Not only are we seeing a push into new technologies like electrification and autonomy, but the established carmakers are being taken on by a variety of automotive upstarts.

To a list that already includes the likes of Tesla, Faraday Future and Rivian, add China-based Byton. The company helped anchor the first day of previews at the L.A. Auto Show by unveiling a prototype of what it says will be its second new model, the K-Byte. But Byton officials also acknowledged that they still face challenges in their road to production.

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The debut of the K-Byte follows Byton’s original prototype, the M-Byte, and targets a relatively mainstream buyer, at least by the standards of the electric vehicle market. According to Breitfeld, the sleek battery-sedan will come in at a starting price of around $45,000 when it comes to market. The target, at least, is to have it reach showrooms in China next year, followed by a late 2019 launch in the U.S., and a European roll-out in 2020. (more…)

Kia Has More Soul(s) Than Ever

Quirky crossover now available in a variety of distinct forms.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Kia now boasts six versions of the Soul crossover for 2020, including the new GT model.

Consider it food for the Soul: Kia has introduced six distinct new flavors of its quirky Soul crossover.

The car that showed us boxy can be beautiful will be back in an all-new form next year and Kia hopes to increase its appeal by adding new versions, including the GT and X-Line, while improving the appeal of the Kia Soul EV by boosting range and speeding up its charging system.

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“The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction, establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, product planning chief for Kia Motors America. “Even with a new generation of competitors crowding the marketplace, the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender, with its unparalleled style and impressive level of technology and customization options.” (more…)

Honda Insight Named Green Car of the Year

Jaguar I-Pace and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also honored.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Honda's Ray Mikichuk with Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan and Green Car of the Year Insight.

The 2019 Honda Insight was named the Green Car of the Year on Thursday, during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The hybrid sedan had to share the stage, however, with two other winners, the Jaguar I-Pace taking home a trophy as Luxury Green Car of the Year, while the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was honored as SUV Green Car of the Year.

The award comes as something of a vindication for Honda. The automaker was actually the first to sell a hybrid in the U.S. market, but the original, two-seat Insight, launched in 1999, was a slow seller and a second version bearing the Insight badge didn’t do much better. The new model finally appears to be connecting with consumers by “being a no-compromise vehicle,” Ray Mikichuk, Honda’s assistant vice president for U.S. sales, told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Volvo Expecting to Slow Ramp-Up of Charleston Plant Due to Trump Tariffs

Hiring to slow; impact could be long-term if some production shifts to China.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Volvo President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the tariffs implemented by the Trump administration are forcing a production slow down at its new Charleston, S.C. plant.

Volvo expects to slow the pace of expansion at its new factory near Charleston, South Carolina, due to the Trump trade war with China.

The move could impact how quickly the automaker expands production at the $1.1 billion plant, as well as the pace at which it brings on new workers. The workforce was expected to nearly triple, to around 4,000, by early in the coming decade with the addition of a second model at the plant. But some production now could be shifted to China, potentially having a long-term impact on plans for the factory.

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Volvo issued an official statement Thursday noting, “trade issues may impact the pace of the expansion.” But in conversations with reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Volvo’s global CEO Håkan Samuelsson took things further, indicating the production ramp-up will slow down. (more…)

Hyundai Goes Big With New Palisade SUV

3-Row, 8-seater is next in a wave of utes coming from Korea.

by on Nov.29, 2018

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade give the company an eight-passenger SUV to compete with the big boys.

Hyundai is racing to make up for lost time. The Korean carmaker has been slow to embrace the rapid transformation of the American market, motorists by the millions switching from cars to light truck. But it is launching its third new SUV of the year at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade, which goes on sale next summer, is the biggest SUV the carmaker has ever offered – with three-row seating for up to eight adults. It’s also the most lavishly equipped, with an outsized array of creature comforts and safety features that could surprise anyone who still thinks of Hyundai as an economy brand.

Auto Show News!

With even more to come, “There’s no question about it. We’re in the SUV game big time,” said Brian Smith, Hyundai’s U.S. chief operating officer, during the debut of the Palisade at the Los Angeles Convention Center. (more…)

North American Car, Truck, SUV of the Year Finalists Announced

Double threats from both Honda, Hyundai.

by on Nov.28, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 is one of the three finalists for North American Car of the Year.

It’s down to nine. From an initial list of nearly 100 passenger car and light truck models, the 60 journalist members of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year jury have narrowed things down with the announcement of the three finalists in each of those three categories today.

A number of the finalists were widely expected to make the cut, which was revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show media preview, but there were a few surprises. Among other things, both Honda and Hyundai landed two models in contention.

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But even more notable was the fact that two of the three finalists for Utility Vehicle of the Year are all-electric. In fact, the nine include quite a few “electrified” models, ranging from the mild-hybrid Ram 1500 pickup to the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace, signaling the way battery technology is rapidly moving from niche to mainstream. (more…)

Audi Taps the Iron Man to Reveal New e-tron GT

Third Audi EV will also be one of its fastest cars ever.

by on Nov.28, 2018

Actor and Audi fan Robert Downey Jr., left, and designer Marc Lichte, pull the covers off the new Audi e-tron GT sports car in Los Angeles.

We got a hint of what Audi has in mind as it launches its first performance electric car earlier this week with some intentionally blurry images of the upcoming e-tron GT. Now, the automaker has put the battery-electric sports car into sharp focus with the help of the “Iron Man,” actor Robert Downey Jr.

A serious Audi fan himself, Downey paired up with designer Marc Lichte to lift the covers off the e-tron GT during a media sneak peek in downtown Los Angeles ahead of the car’s formal debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

Global News!

“I’ve been having an extramarital affair for a decade – with a brand,” the actor joked, as he and the designer smiled for photographers gathered at the invitation-only event. (more…)

Lincoln Takes Flight With New Aviator

New ute fills gap between Navigator, Nautilus.

by on Nov.28, 2018

Joy Falotico, Lincoln president, introduces the new Lincoln Aviator at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Lincoln hopes its long-awaited revival can take off with the introduction of the all-new Aviator, the latest in a series of new or completely updated utility vehicles from the long-struggling Detroit luxury brand.

The Aviator replaces the old and largely unloved Lincoln MKT, adopting a new design, a lot of new technology and the most powerful engine Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand has ever offered with its optional plug-in hybrid package. It also helps Lincoln shed the alpha naming strategy that had largely confused potential buyers.

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“Aviator is aptly named because Lincoln is at the take-off point,” Joy Falotico, the brand’s new president, said during a media sneak preview ahead of the official unveiling of the big SUV at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. (more…)

Honda Passport One of Two New Models Revealed in Los Angeles

Japanese automaker also reveals new Talon off-roader.

by on Nov.28, 2018

Honda filled a gap in its SUV line-up, unveiling the new Honda Passport in Los Angeles.

Wherever you want to go, Honda has a product for you, something the automaker took pains to point out during an advance look at two new offerings that will officially be unveiled at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

That includes not only the all-new Passport SUV, but the Talon, a sporty offering targeting the increasing market for extreme off-roaders that allow passengers to sit side-by-side.

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But it’s the five-passenger SUV that is likely to draw the broadest attention, coming at a time when utility vehicles account for roughly half of all new automobiles sold in the United States, with demand only continuing to rise at the expense of traditional passenger sedans. (more…)

Upstart Genesis Wins Motor Trend Car of the Year With G70 Sports Sedan

Ram 1500 Named Truck of the Year, the Jeep Wrangler honored as SUV of the Year.

by on Nov.28, 2018

The 2019 Genesis G70 captured Motor Trend's Car of the Year award in Los Angeles.

The widely praised Genesis G70 landed a critical victory to mark the start of the annual Los Angeles Auto Show by being named the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Designed to challenge the likes of the vaunted BMW 3 Series, the G70 is the third new model from the Korean luxury brand spun off by Hyundai barely two years ago.

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Separately, the Ram 1500 was named Motor Trend Truck of the Year, while parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles took home a second trophy for the Jeep Wrangler honored as the SUV of the Year. While the Motor Trend Car of the Year trophy has traditionally nabbed the top headlines, these two awards are likely to resonate more broadly with consumers in a market where light trucks now account for about two of three new vehicle sales. (more…)