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New Infiniti Q60 Could Top 400-hp

Expect new coupe to match numbers of BMW 435 and Audi S5.

by on Feb.17, 2015

The concept version of the Infiniti Q60 debuted during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

Though it is still more than a year away from production, expect Infiniti to deliver some eye-popping numbers when the new Q60 coupe makes its debut in time for the 2017 model-year.

Though final testing is far from complete, sources say the goal is to take on such tough competitors as the BMW 435 and Audi S5, and that means something “in the neighborhood” of 400 horsepower, according to a well-placed source.

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Infiniti offered a very clear sense of what it has coming when it pulled the covers off a Q60 concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month. The maker billed it as a “foreshadowing” of the two-door sports coupe that will replace what was original known as the old G37 model.

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Chevrolet Planning to Launch 200-Mile Bolt Electric Vehicle in Late 2016

GM wants to “put a muzzle on” outspoken Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

by on Feb.06, 2015

The Chevy Bolt would deliver significantly longer range than almost any current battery-electric vehicle - for around $30,000. Photo by Len Katz.

General Motors will begin building a production version of its Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric concept vehicle in October 2016, several well-placed company sources told TheDetroitBureau.com, a move that will put GM into direct competition with California EV start-up Tesla Motors, as well as more traditional automakers such as Nissan and BMW.

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Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month, the Chevy Bolt concept was expected to deliver about 200 miles of range per charge – more than double that of most of the electric vehicles currently on the market. That would address the issue of “range anxiety’ which, industry analysts say, has held back demand for battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

GM officials, meanwhile, said they would deliver the Bolt for around $30,000, which would put it much closer to the price tag of a comparable, gas-powered vehicle.

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Local Motors Planning Two 3D Micro-Plants

Building cars at the Detroit Auto Show.

by on Jan.16, 2015

Local Motors is 3D printing one of its Strati cars at the North American International Auto Show.

Most automakers are content to show their vehicles at the North American International Auto Show – which opens up to the public this weekend. But the folks from Local Motors has been building vehicles on the show floor.

The start-up brought some of its 3D printing technology to Detroit’s Cobo Hall to demonstrate how it can produce one of its models, the electric Strati, just about anywhere, directly from a digital file. The first of these battery cars will go on sale later this year.

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Don’t expect Local Motors to print out a car in your garage. The company is currently operating two micro-plants, one in Phoenix and the other in Las Vegas. But it is confident enough about its future that it expects to add additional facilities in Washington, D.C., and Knoxville, Tennessee. (more…)

“Ruinous” Practices Threaten Automakers, Warns FCA’s Marchionne

“Overkill” in last year’s recall crisis may have been “the only acceptable answer.”

by on Jan.13, 2015

The auto industry may be looking at increasing sales, but FCA CEO Marchionne is still worried.

The U.S. auto market may be heading into a very good year, but there’s still reason to worry, cautioned FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, during a well-attended media “roundtable” at the opening of the North American International Auto Show.

Like other senior executives gathered for a two–day preview, Marchionne said 2015 is likely to bring further sales gains in the U.S. He also said automakers appear to be showing great restraint in holding back on the “ruinous” practices of the past – such as excess incentives – that nearly destroyed the industry during the depths of the Great Recession.

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Nonetheless, the outspoken Marchionne said there are still reasons to fret. He pointed to the ongoing problem with excess capacity in Europe, and the fact that the auto business is so costly to compete in that a failure of a single major project could put a company at risk of failure.

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Lincoln Looks to Build Momentum with Redesigned MKX

Maker moves redesigned crossover up-market.

by on Jan.13, 2015

The new Lincoln MKX will be offered in standard trim or with the choice of two optional Black Label "themes" this year.

Looking to carve out a niche in the crowded crossover market, Lincoln has unveiled an all-new version of its midsize MKX at the North American International Auto Show, adding new engine choices, improved technologies and its new Black Label personalization program.

The debut of the 2016 MKX comes at a critical time for Lincoln which has just begun to see some daylight after years of declining sales and market share in its home market. And with its recent launch in China, the maker is now ramping up plans to expand its narrow product line-up.

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“We are focused on delivering engaging and refined luxury vehicles with innovative and thoughtful technologies,” said Kumar Galhotra, the new president of Lincoln. “The all-new Lincoln MKX reflects that focus.”

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Buick Avenir Could Shatter Expectations

Production model could share platforms with upcoming Cadillac CT6.

by on Jan.12, 2015

GM Design Director Ed Welburn as the Buick Avenir makes its unexpected debut.

By the time the official auto show news conferences begin, automakers have usually signaled what they have coming. But a few surprises manage to sneak onto the schedule, one of them coming from Buick in the form of the Avenir, a boat-tailed sedan that could soon become the resurgent Buick’s new flagship.

The new sedan is intended to underscore the dramatic changes that are helping remake a brand that seemed all but certain to disappear when General Motors plunged into bankruptcy back in 2009. Officially dubbed a “concept,” the sedan apparently shares the same underlying platform as the CT6, the premium-luxury model that Cadillac plans to bring to market in 2016.

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“This car does a god job of showing everything that we’re doing in the Buick studio,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president of design, during a Sunday night media preview of the Avenir. “I just love walking into the Buick studio,” added the styling chief, who noted that the youngest members of GM’s design staff love working on Buicks.

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VW Golf, Ford F-150 Nab North American Car, Truck of the Year Awards

Victory bittersweet for Ford as Mustang misses podium.

by on Jan.12, 2015

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's President of the Americas, celebrates winning truck of the year with F-150.

The year is off to a good start for both Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co., the two makers coming home with new trophies as winners of the closely watched North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, with the Golf “family” and the new F-150 pickup.

The announcements came at the opening of this year’s Detroit Auto Show, an event that is likely to see the debut of some of the contenders for next year’s best-of cars, trucks and crossovers, with more than 45 different vehicles set to make their global debut/

A Proven Winner!

For both Ford and VW, Monday’s victories provide more than just another trophy for the closet. They serve as justification for some significant, if risky, strategic moves.

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GM Charges Up Second-Gen Chevrolet Volt

Longer range, better MPG, more room – but will buyers plug in?

by on Jan.12, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra introduced the second-generation Bolt, which will get an additional 50 miles per charge. Photo credit: Len Katz.

General Motors sparked plenty of interest when, in 2010, it launched the world’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt. But after an initial surge, sales have waned over the last several years, falling a precipitous 30% last year. So, Chevy can only hope that potential buyers will plug back in with the launch of an all-new, second-generation Volt at this week’s North American International Auto Show.

The 2016 model was designed to address many of the weaknesses of the original car, including its buzzy engine, sluggish performance and cramped interior. But it also will deliver significantly more range – an estimated 50 miles per charge – and improved fuel economy.

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And while the maker has yet to announce specific numbers, there is widespread speculation the 2016 Chevrolet Volt also will see a price cut putting it more into the mainstream of the compact American sedan market.

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Jaguar Set to Launch its First Crossover Model

CUV will share key components with compact XE sedan.

by on Jan.11, 2015

Jaguar will add its first crossover in 2016.

Jaguar wants to keep pace with the fast-changing global luxury market, and that means it will debut its first crossover-utility vehicle, the F-Pace, at this week’s North American International Auto Show.

The new model is part of a broad array of changes planned for the luxury maker and its British sibling, Land Rover, both of which will also launch a new generation of high-mileage clean diesel options across their product lines.

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The F-Pace, which will join the Jaguar family next year, is the production version of the C-X17 concept vehicle first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013. It marks a dramatic shift in strategy at a brand that long debated even adding a station wagon to its line-up.

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New GM Electric Vehicle Could Take Aim at Tesla

Chevrolet Bolt expected to deliver 200-mile range at $30,000 price tag.

by on Jan.11, 2015

The nose of the current Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-market plug-in hybrid. It was redesigned for 2016. A pure electric Chevy Bolt could follow in 2017.

First came the Chevrolet Volt, now comes the Chevy Bolt. Even as General Motors gets ready to officially unveil an all-new version of its plug-in hybrid, various sources suggest the Detroit maker also will debut a concept version of a battery-electric vehicle at this week’s North American International Auto Show.

Significantly, the Chevrolet Bolt is expected to deliver as much as 200 miles range per charge. That would more than double what most of the current crop of electric vehicles can handle – and would be in line with what Tesla is thought to be targeting for the Model III, the mainstream EV it plans to launch in a couple years.

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And, at an estimated $30,000, GM would likely undercut the smaller Tesla model while coming in only slightly higher than some competing vehicles delivering half Bolt’s range, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, and the current Chevrolet Spark, which can travel just 82 miles per charge.

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