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Posts Tagged ‘auto new’

Alfa Romeo Set to Debut New SUV in Los Angeles

FCA continues growth of Italian brand.

by on Oct.13, 2016

Alfa Romeo's Harald Wester unveils the new Giulia models at the Geneva Motor Show. The brand's SUV is set to debut in Los Angeles.

Just a month after the long-delayed Giulia finally hit U.S. showrooms, Alfa Romeo appears ready to unveil a new SUV to join the Italian brand’s sedan.

The Fiat Chrysler brand plans to debut the small sport-ute at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, reports the Detroit News. The automaker confirmed its arrival, it declined to provide any details about the new vehicle.

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FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne has talked for some time about a new ute for Alfa called the Stelvio. Currently, the Stelvio is in the midst of testing in Europe, but the maker hasn’t uttered much about its arrival in the states. (more…)

GM Launches New Car-Sharing Service Maven

Move follows big investments in ride-sharing firms Lyft, Sidecar.

by on Jan.21, 2016

A motorist uses a smartphone to line-up a short-term rental from the new Maven service.

General Motors apparently hopes to become an industry maven when it comes to alternative mobility programs. After investing in two ride-sharing services, Lyft and Sidecar, this month, the Detroit automaker says it will start a new car-sharing company called Maven – a Yiddish word for “expert.”

GM is just one of a growing number of automakers who are looking for alternative ways to appeal to potential customers at a time when younger consumers seem less interested in owning a vehicle. Both Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand and Ford Motor Co. are making similar forays, Ford CEO Mark Fields saying his goal is to transform the smaller Detroit maker into a “mobility” company.

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“With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future,” GM President Dan Ammann said.


Automotive Loans at All-Time Highs

Rising new vehicle sales expected keep totals rising.

by on Feb.20, 2015

There are $866 billion outstanding vehicle loans in the U.S.: an all-time high.

Americans owe more money for new and used cars than ever: $866 billion, according to Experian Automotive.

That’s the outstanding loan balance for vehicles in the U.S. and not only have Americans borrowed more than ever for cars, the average length of new car loans is a record-high 67.2 months – almost six years.

It’s not entirely surprising as new cars are being sold for their highest prices ever, according to TrueCar.  The average transaction price for new cars in 2014 was $31,831. Next year it’s expected to surpass the $32,500.

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Also it’s well-documented that lenders have loosened up their requirements, which certainly played a role in the record loan number, but only in the sense that sub-prime and deep sub-prime buyers were give more loans – like everyone else. (more…)

Infiniti Reveals New QX30 Concept Ahead of Geneva Debut

Production version to follow later this year.

by on Feb.19, 2015

The QX30 Concept shares platforms with Infiniti's Q30 - and several Mercedes-Benz models.

Infiniti gave us a hint of what it had in store for the compact crossover earlier this month when it released a teaser image of its QX30 Concept. Now, two weeks before the small CUV makes its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show we’re getting a more complete look at the QX30 – which inside sources tell is “extremely close” to what the production model ultimately will look like.

The QX30 is a taller, beefier version of the Q30 concept Infiniti unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn 2013. Both models will be going into production later this year. And, in a significant development, both will share their underlying platform with some of the new small cars being built by Mercedes-Benz.

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“We wanted the spontaneous fluidity of the QX30 Concept design to cut through the urban clutter and rigidity, reflecting its go-anywhere and spur-of-the-moment nature,” Infiniti’s executive design director, Alfonso Albaisa, said in a statement. (more…)

McLaren Bringing Another Car to Geneva Motor Show

New 675LT borrows from maker’s racing heritage.

by on Jan.30, 2015

McLaren put out another teaser today for its 675LT coming to the Geneva Motor Show in March.

McLaren’s run the gamut in the last 12 months going from a company near its demise to now a company introducing new products. The maker dropped a hint that it’s bringing another new vehicle to the Geneva Auto Show, just a week after it announced it teased it’s new 650S.

The British sports car maker recently revealed it will be bringing the production-intent McLaren P1 GTR to Geneva, but today a new video featuring just a wheel spinning spitting out water as classical music plays in the background appeared.

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It took only a short bit of time for the confirmation to come: it’s coming and it’ll be called the 675LT. The “LT” is significant as it pays homage to the company’s “Longtail” branding. The Longtail name made its debut during the 1997 racing season for McLaren and “evolve into the most efficient race-focused version seen to-date,” the company said. (more…)

First Drive: 2016 Kia Sorento

Maker’s new SUV aims to compete with Grand Cherokee, MDX.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Kia is debuting a revised and refined version of the Sorento, which will reach showrooms in January as a 2016 model.

In recent years, Kia has proven adept at reading consumer trends.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2008-2009 recessions, the Korean automaker introduced the Kia Soul, a versatile, small vehicle designed to fit into tight urban spaces and appeal to the nascent “back-to-the-city” vibe among the rising millennial generation.

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As the demand for fuel efficiency has ebbed, Kia has deftly introduced its own version of practical luxury, the K900 earlier this year to catch the move towards expensive vehicle. Now with gas prices sinking and Americans clamoring for sport-utility vehicles, Kia is ready to bring on the revised and refined version of the Sorento, which will reach showrooms in January as a 2016 model. (more…)

Despite Settlement on Capitol Hill, US Auto Sales Likely Hit Hard, Says NADA Chairman

Westcott defends franchise system despite increasing attacks.

by on Oct.17, 2013

After a burst of demand over Labor Day, car sales have suddenly slowed.

Even though Democrats and Republicans have agreed to end their debate over the deficit – for now — new car sales could drop sharply this month, in part due to the impact of the government shutdown and concerns about a possible default, according to the chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association.

David Westcott, NADA’s current chairman, said he wasn’t ready to dispute the forecast by John Krafcik, president of Hyundai Motor America, who said he believed sales could fall by as much as 10%.  General Motors and Ford also have expressed concern about the potential impact of the shutdown both on September sales, and on consumer confidence over all.

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Westcott was in Detroit to meet with members of the Automotive Press Association where he discussed not only the impact of Washington’s political crisis but also about the growing challenges to the nation’s century-old dealer franchise system.  It has been facing sharp attack on a number of fronts, including a concerted effort by automotive newcomer Tesla Motors which wants to sell cars through its own, factory-owned retail network.


First Drive: 2012 Toyota RAV4-EV

Great performance offset by cheap interior and an awful infotainment system.

by on Aug.07, 2012

Toyota turned to Tesla to help it develop the battery version of the RAV4.

No automaker has done a better job of surrounding itself with a green halo than Toyota.  Its Prius model has routinely generated half of all hybrid sales, a number now approaching two-thirds since the introduction of an entirely new Prius “family,” including the big V, compact C and the Prius plug-in.

The latter model was the first from the Japanese maker to opt for state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries, rather than time-tested, if less powerful, nickel-metal hydride batteries. After running into some early development problems, Toyota has been reluctant to go with more advanced lithium – which partially explains why the Asian giant decided to reach outside for help when it laid out plans for its first pure battery-electric vehicle in two decades, the 2012 Toyota RAV4-EV.

The project pairs Toyota with Tesla Motors, the bold California start-up that just introduced its own new battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, the Model S sedan.  In fact, they share many of the same underlying components – which is why the 2012 Toyota RAV4-EV is likely to shock those used to the typically slow-as-a-snail battery car.

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The new Toyota battery car boasts great performance, and good range and handling – but echoes other recent entries from the Japanese maker by cutting corners on interior fit-and-finish.  And the new RAV4-EV introduces what may be the singularly most user-unfriendly infotainment system since the very first BMW iDrive hit the road.


Are You Driving Lady Gaga? Or Maybe the Jack o’ Lantern of Love?

New study finds most Brits name their cars. So do plenty of Americans.

by on Dec.23, 2011

Have you had a Tow-Mater in your garage? Or perhaps a Jack o' Lantern of Love?

My first car was named Smedley, a less than creative concoction for a beat-up old Chevy that carried a New Jersey license plate beginning with “SMD.”  Actually, the ’64 Bel Air had a lot of names we won’t use here, most created on the spot when it wouldn’t start, which was quite often.

Most of my friends have also given names to their cars.  There’s something about personalizing the relationship with something you spend so much time with.  A friend, having loaded up his new chariot with every possible mobile electronic device, settled on the somewhat disturbing “Hal,” and routinely would hit the voice-control button, asking to “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”  Sadly, the usual response is, “Command not recognized,” though it occasionally results in the system changing the satellite radio channel.

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Americans, it seems, aren’t the only ones in the habit of naming inanimate (okay, semi-animate) machines.  A new survey by the British parking lot operator NCP found that at least half of all English motorists personalize their vehicle with a friendly moniker.


Spyker Buys Saab, Considering New Products

Maker studying smaller 9-2; remains heavily dependent on GM.

by on Feb.23, 2010

Saab hopes to relaunch production of the 9-3 and new 9-5 in a few weeks, while launching the 9-4X crossover soon afterwards.

Dutch-based Spyker Cars has completed its once seemingly improbably bid to purchase the long-troubled Swedish automaker Saab Cars.

The deal, tenatively approved last month, saves Saab from the automotive rubbish heap.  Its long-time parent, General Motors, decided to abandon the brand prior to last year’s bankrupty reorganization, but after one proposed sale collapsed, GM began taking steps to close Saab until it a last-minute bid by Spyker, which until now has produced only a small number of high-priced sports cars.

Nonetheless, GM will retain strong ties to its former subsidiary, providing parts, powertrains and platforms for two critical models.  Longer-term, however, Saab may seek out other partners, said CEO Jan Ake Jonsson, as it moves to develop additional products, such as the next-generation 9-3 sedan.  Jonsson also revealed that the maker is considering an even smaller model that would be based on the entry-level Saab 9-2.

A Saab Story with a Happy Ending?

“As of today, our focus will be on getting back in business,” said Jonsson, speaking to reporters from Sweden during a Tuesday conference call.  He noted that as GM prepared to liquidate the brand, Saab could no longer get the parts it needed to keep its assembly lines going, despite demand for the all-new 2010 9-5 sedan.

Saving Saab involved “three months of working literally day and night,” noted Victor Muller, the one-time Dutch lawyer who decided to get into the automotive business.  In 1999, he introduced the first of several models bearing the Spyker nameplate, reviving a once-heralded Netherlands brand that had gone out of business in 1925.