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Rolls-Royce Offers 1st Good Look at Upcoming SUV

Project Cullinan “takes next step.”

by on Dec.01, 2016

The Rolls-Royce SUV mule will be getting a serious workout in the months to come.

Rolls-Royce is plowing plans to put its first SUV on the road – and its giving us a first look at the vehicle it’s developing as part of what it has dubbed Project Cullinan.

The British ultra-luxury brand is just one of the latest manufacturers to adapt to shifting market trends, echoing rival Bentley which launched its own Bentayga sport-utility vehicle earlier this year. With the exception of Ferrari, in fact, all major super-premium brands – including such names as Aston Martin and Lamborghini – intend to roll out utes of their own.

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“This is an incredibly exciting moment in the development of Project Cullinan both for Rolls-Royce and for the patrons of luxury that follow us around the world,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, in a statement accompanying these two images.

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Major Automakers Team Up on Ultra-Fast EV Charging Project

System could deliver 300+ miles range in 10 minutes.

by on Dec.01, 2016

A Level 4 charger could give a long-range vehicle a "fill-up" in 10 minutes or less.

Another barrier to electrification is about to fall, thanks to a new coalition pairing BMW, Daimler, Ford and the various Volkswagen AG brands.

The automakers have signed a preliminary agreement that would begin rolling out a network of ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations across Europe – setting the stage for the adoption of similar Level 4 technology in the U.S., as well. The chargers will deliver 350 kilowatts of direct current, or roughly 2.5 times the jolt of the Superchargers Tesla is deploying across much of North America.

We Keep You Plugged In!

The new system would leapfrog other Level 3 chargers just beginning to come online in many parts of the world. More importantly, they would allow a vehicle like the new, 200-mile Chevrolet Bolt (or the European version sold through Opel) to get a full charge in 10 minutes or less.

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BMW Hires Magna to Build New 5 Series Sedan

Supplier builds cars for Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

by on Nov.04, 2016

BMW selected Magna to build 5 Series sedans at its plant in Graz, Austria, where it makes cars for Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

Automakers looking to sell vehicles in other countries often set up a small plant to assemble “knock-down” kits, which are essentially nearly assembled vehicles that can be completed quickly and efficiently.

However, Magna International is acting as a substitute automaker for many car companies as locations across the globe.

The Journal of Record!

Magna’s car-building subsidiary in Graz, Austria, is now at full capacity, says Jim Tobin, the company’s chief marketing officer, with the addition of a BMW product. (more…)

BMW Planning at Least Two More “i” Models, But What Then?

Other battery models may now go to mainstream BMW brand.

by on Oct.17, 2016

The i8 Spyder concept will likely undergo significant changes before the Roadster debuts in 2018.

BMW will launch two more models for its cutting-edge i brand over the next five years, starting with a 2018 roadster based on the next-generation i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. A version of the iNext concept vehicle will follow three years later.

That falls well short of the broad, electrified product line-up the maker had hinted was in the works only a few years ago, however. There are no signs of the i4 and i5 models that some sources once reported were in the works.

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Is BMW just keeping them under tight wraps? Have they been abandoned? Or has the maker simply shifted strategy, preferring to put more of its battery-based models – including pure electric and plug-in hybrids – into the mainstream BMW brand, rather than into the niche i marque?

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First Look: All-New 2017 BMW 5-Series

Bigger yet lighter. Faster yet more efficient.

by on Oct.12, 2016

The larger 2017 BMW 5-Series boasts enough room for five adults and 4 golf bags.

From a visual standpoint, BMW has gone the evolutionary route with the new 2017 5-Series, according to both leaked and official images. That’s likely no surprise considering the strong success of the outgoing model.

That said, design chief Adrian van Hooydonk and his team have given the new 5-er some distinctive details so it doesn’t continue to look like just the middle child sandwiched between the ever-popular 3-Series and brand-defining 7-Series.

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From the spec sheet and background information the Bavarian marque has provided, it looks there’s going to be a lot to like. The 2017 BMW 5-Series promises to be slightly larger yet notably lighter, with improved performance and handling. And for technology fans, there’ll be an array of new features, including iDrive 6.0 and more driver assistance systems.

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BMW CEO Targets Changes Reshaping Company, Industry

Alternative power, connectivity, autonomous driving and vehicle sharing will pose four key challenges.

by on Oct.12, 2016

BMW CEO Harald Krueger laid out some of the maker's plans for the future, and showed off the Vision Next 100 motorcycle.

When you’re celebrating your centennial you have good reason to throw a nearly year-long birthday party. But as BMW wraps up the multicity extravaganza that began at its corporate headquarters last March, the focus is on the future, rather than the past.

And that’s likely to bring some dramatic changes for both BMW and the auto industry as a whole, said CEO Harald Krueger, during a media roundtable in Los Angeles. New technology, new regulations and new competitors will change the way cars are designed, manufactured, sold and operated, said the executive as he outlined some of BMW’s near and longer-term strategies.

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“A new era of mobility is about to begin,” Krueger said Thursday, as he introduced the BMW Vision Next 100 motorcycle, one of four concept vehicles the carmaker has introduced this year each meant to highlight elements of BMW’s plans. (more…)

BMW Rides into the Future with Vision Next 100 Motorcycle

Concept bike features gyro stabilizer, flexible frame and augmented reality.

by on Oct.11, 2016

The Vision Next 100 motorcycle makes an auspicious debut at BMW's 100th anniversary party.

All that’s missing was the neon. The motorcycle that rode into BMW’s news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday might have well driven off the set of the next Tron sequel.

But the Vision Next 100 is more than just science fiction, at least to BMW which sees the exotic show bike as a glimpse of what tomorrow’s high-tech motorcycle will look like. Cleaner, safer, connected, the Vision Next 100 suggests that many of the changes reshaping the automobile will also transform tomorrow’s two-wheelers.

Into the Future!

“Our world is rapidly changing, and individual mobility must evolve to meet the needs of a complex society,” said Harald Krueger, CEO of Bayerische Motoren Werke, during a news conference wrapping up a nearly year-long celebration of the automaker’s 100th anniversary.

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GM Reportedly Wants to Buy Lyft

Ride service tells automaker to take a hike.

by on Aug.15, 2016

GM CEO Dan Ammann (c), recently took a seat on the Lyft board of directors.

Ride-sharing service Lyft has rejected a takeover bid from General Motors, according to Silicon Valley news site The Information.

The move would have turned the country’s biggest automaker into an even bigger player in the fast-growing field of alternative mobility. GM already holds a 9% stake in Lyft and also owns San Francisco based competitor Sidecar. It has also dipped its toes into the world of car-sharing, as well.

Come Along for the Ride!

Neither GM nor Lyft will comment on the report by The Information and a second Silicon Valley news service. But sources reportedly include a “person briefed on the situation,” and comes a year after Lyft went looking for a possible buyer.

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BMW Rides Strong European, Asian Sales to Q2 Profits

German company's U.S. sales are down double digits.

by on Aug.03, 2016

BMW's $1 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, may help reverse the tide of slumping sales in the Americas, which are down 8% in the first six months of 2016.

The BMW Group posted record net income, sales and revenue for the second quarter, while maintaining its impressive margins. The results continued a trend that began with a strong first quarter.

As it recorded its best ever quarterly sales volume and net profit figures between April and June, the company wrapped up negotiations with Intel and Mobileye that reflect the company’s effort “to play a leading role in developing safe and reliable automated driving,” BMW said in a statement that accompanied the second-quarter financial statement.

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“We sold more vehicles in the second quarter than ever before and achieved record earnings. We are growing profitably while simultaneously implementing our strategy step by step,” said Harald Krüger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. (more…)

Forget Leather and Wood; Automakers Struggling to Redefine Luxury

Focus shifts to the “total customer experience.”

by on Jul.21, 2016

Lincoln will increase its suite of customers services with the launch of the new Continental.

Leather, wood, a big engine and lots of chrome. Those have been the traditional signatures of a luxury car. But what happens when you can add those same features to an entry-level sedan? That’s a question high-line brands have been struggling to deal with as they face increasing competition from more mainstream manufacturers.

That new reality is forcing luxury marques to shift focus a bit. You’ll still find massaging leather seats on a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, open-pore wood on a BMW 7-Series, and a choice of high-performance engines for your next Audi. But you’re likely also to find a variety of new features and services designed, among other things, to simplify and speed up the car buying and service processes.

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What a Luxury!

“Because so many things that used to be considered luxury are now available across the line, the only way to differentiate yourself as a luxury manufacturer is to make the total ownership experience painless and seamless,” said Joe Phillippi, senior analyst with AutoTrends Consulting.

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