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Acura Prepping “Substantially New” ILX for 2016

Remake to debut at LA Auto Show next month.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Acura tosses out a teaser of the 2016 ILX.

Hoping to salvage its sluggish-selling entry-level model, the ILX, Acura is promising to reveal a “substantially new” version of the compact sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

Launched for the 2013 model-year, the ILX got off to a slow start amidst mixed reviews, though it has been bringing in some of the Gen-X and Gen-Y buyers that Acura has been desperate to win over. But playing in one of the market’s hottest – and most competitive – market segments, “good enough” clearly isn’t enough to put Acura back on the map.

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“The new 2016 ILX stands to solidify and broaden its appeal with a comprehensive update that includes a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling, and substantially upgraded interior design,” declared a statement from the Honda luxury brand.


Nissan Readying Replacement for Titan Pickup

High-mileage diesel expected to enhance truck’s appeal.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Nissan's Titan replacement will reach market about four years later than originally planned.

Better late than never? Nissan is certainly hoping so – as are those who’ve long been hoping for an update to the maker’s slow-selling full-size pickup.

It’s been a long 11 years since the original Titan made its debut – and four years since the Japanese maker originally planned to offer a replacement. But plans for the update fell apart, forcing Nissan to return to the drawing board.

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What it’s come up with will make a debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and several inside sources have confirmed to that the plans call for that preview to put the spotlight on a new diesel developed specifically for the 2016 Nissan Titan.


Audi Set to Track Test New Autonomous Race Car

Piloted RS7 Concept set to take on the Hockenheim circuit on Sunday.

by on Oct.17, 2014

Audi hopes to lap the Hockenheim circuit in just 2:10 with the autonomous RS7 race car.

“Gentlemen, start your engines!”

Might that classic announcement no longer be necessary? Then again, would NASCAR or Formula One fans be willing to pay for tickets to see a line of unmanned vehicles lapping tracks like the Indianapolis Brickyard or even the streets of Monte Carlo?

We may get a better sense this weekend, when Audi unleashes its Piloted RS7 Concept on the Hockenheimring race circuit prior to the finale of the DTM race series. Despite what the name might seem to suggest, the prototype will run laps without anyone onboard.

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Autonomous vehicle technology has been gaining plenty of attention in recent months. Nissan has promised to put its first self-driving vehicle into production by 2020. Cadillac’s SuperDrive will allow autonomous highway driving when it reaches showrooms in 2017. And Google is already rolling out the first of its new autonomous vehicle prototypes.


GM Hit with 2nd $10 Bil Lawsuit

Suit claims losses on 27 million vehicles.

by on Oct.17, 2014

The lawsuit claims a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro has lost $2,000 in value due to the recall crisis.

General Motors has been hit with another lawsuit that could seek as much as $10 billion in compensation for owners who have allegedly seen the value of their vehicles fall due to the maker’s ongoing recall crisis.

Filed in Manhattan federal court, the lawsuit was prepared by the same, Seattle-based firm that brought another $10 billion claim against GM earlier this year, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

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“The value of all GM-branded vehicles has diminished as a result of the widespread publication of those defects and New GM’s corporate culture of ignoring and concealing safety defects,” the lawsuit states, referring to the post-bankruptcy carmaker as “New GM.”


Investors Unplugging from Tesla

Delay in Model X could complicate problems as CEO warns shares are "kinda high."

by on Oct.17, 2014

The high-flying Tesla could be hurt by another delay of the "falcon-winged" Model X SUV.

After running up the stock in a frenzy more familiar to high-tech companies like Apple and Google than those in the automotive world, investors have suddenly grown wary about battery-carmaker Tesla Motors. But whether this is a short-term or long-term problem is unclear.

Traded as TSLA, Tesla’s stock is down sharply from an October high of $260 – and a 52-week peak of $291.42. It closed Thursday at $226.35 and analysts will be watching to see whether it can regain momentum during the week’s final day of trading.

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Tesla is by no means alone. Tech and automotive stocks have all been hammered by what appears to be a significant correction on Wall Street. But there are a number of problems unique to the battery-car company, including concerns that its second product line, the Model X SUV, could yet again be delayed. Even the maker’s CEO and founder has quested whether Tesla shares were “kinda high” before the stock tumbled.


Tesla May Seek Franchised Dealers After All

Battery-carmaker considers a hybrid retail approach.

by on Oct.16, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent TV appearance.

It’s been win-some-lose-some for Tesla as it pushes to reshape the automotive landscape with a marketing strategy based on factory-owned showrooms. But it now appears that the California-based battery-carmaker might be considering a revised strategy that would include at least some franchised dealers in its distribution mix.

That could permit Tesla to crack into states, such as Michigan and Texas, which have firmly ruled against Tesla’s current approach. It might also permit the maker to expand its coverage even in states, such as New Jersey and Nevada, which have okayed the factory-owned approach.

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“We may need a hybrid system, with a combination of our own stores and some dealer franchises,” Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk acknowledged during an interview with John McElroy on Autoline Daily.


GM Slides to 3rd as VW Nabs 2nd Spot in Global Sales

Toyota firmly in the lead.

by on Oct.16, 2014

Vehicles like the new Golf "family" have helped Volkswagen grow sales worldwide.

For three-quarters of a century the world’s best-selling carmaker, General Motors has slipped another notch down the automotive ladder, Volkswagen AG pushing past to become number two in the industry pecking order.

With the first nine months of the year behind it, the German maker sold 7.4 million passenger vehicles compared to 7.37 million for GM. Though it hasn’t reported its numbers for the first three quarters yet, Japanese giant Toyota Motor Co. is expected to maintain its hold on the industry’s number one spot.

Stay in the Lead!

Industry analysts say the real race, going forward, is likely to be between Toyota and VW, the German automaker laying out an aggressive expansion program it hopes will let it become king-of-the-automotive-hill before the end of the decade.


Airbag Issues Force Recalls at GM, Chrysler

New GM midsize pickups among those impacted.

by on Oct.15, 2014

They’ve been called one of the industry’s most important safety breakthroughs, but manufacturers might also call airbags a major headache lately, as a growing list of problems have led to the recall of millions of vehicles over the last year.

The latest on the list are Chrysler and General Motors, both announcing service actions due to wiring defects that could cause airbags in some vehicles to fail when needed. The issue at Chrysler is similar to one that forced a major recall by cross-town rival Ford last month.

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Among the vehicles covered by the latest pair of recalls are the all-new General Motors midsize pickups just coming to market. GM initially ordered a stop-sale in hopes of making repairs before the vehicles got into consumers’ hands, and it now says only 138 of the 2,432 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks covered by the service action have actually been delivered to buyers.


A Battle of the Super-Premium Cars May be Shaping Up

Audi hinting at new A9, Cadillac confirms CT8.

by on Oct.14, 2014

Audi plans to reveal the A9 concept in LA.

Not content with its current A8 premium luxury sedan, Audi is apparently set to nudge even higher, with a new A9 concept expected to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

With luxury car sales steadily growing in traditional markets like the U.S. and Europe – and booming in emerging markets, notably including China – manufacturers are asking “How high is up?” And the answer appears to be higher than today.


Only weeks after revealing plans for a new flagship sedan to be called the CT6, Cadillac has formally confirmed a report first posted on that it will reach even higher with a new model to be known as either the CT8 or CT9.


Mazda Reportedly Readying Rotary Revival

But Wankel engine would have a very different use going forward.

by on Oct.14, 2014

Mazda's last rotary-powered car, the RX-8.

A rotary redux?

After years of hints, promises and denials, Mazda finally appears to be moving towards the re-launch of its once-familiar rotary engine, with a concept model said to be in the works for 2017, and a production model to follow three years later.

But the revived rotary may serve a very different purpose going forward, showing up as part of a plug-in hybrid that would take advantage of the compact engine’s advantages while offsetting its traditional design limitations.

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Several senior executives have discussed the company’s options with in recent years, including several directly involved in the program. They have made it clear that Mazda would like to offer a so-called Wankel engine in its portfolio. The unusual powertrain was a signature of the brand when it first burst onto the American scene in the late 1960s and early ‘70s.